Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Blog Tour: None of The Regular Rules by Erin Downing + GIVEAWAY!

None of the Regular Rules by Erin Downing
Publish Date: November 20, 2012
260 Pages
Source: Author for review -
Thank you! 

Sometimes, a few dares can change lives…

The weekend before the start of senior year, Sophie Erickson and her best friends, Ella and Grace, discover a handwritten list of dares tucked away in the glove compartment of Sophie’s beat-up old Toyota. But this isn’t just any list; it’s a dead girl's bucket list.

Sophie's beloved aunt Suzy died as a teenager in a fatal fall, leaving Sophie with an overly cautious family, a few fading photographs, and a bucket of bolts that barely passes for a car. But now, Sophie has Suzy’s list of the things she wanted to do in her last year of high school. Sophie can't help but wonder: What would happen if she tried to fulfill Suzy’s last wishes, to live out the longed-for life of her aunt, her hero?

As Sophie and her friends attempt to knock off the things on Suzy's list of dares, love blossoms in unexpected places and Sophie begins to feel that her life is finally coming together...when in fact, everything is slowly unraveling around her. When the truth about a long-held family secret threatens to shatter everything she believed to be true, Sophie is forced to question everything she knew about the life and people she believed in, and ultimately herself. -(from Goodreads) 

Hosted by Xpresso Book Tours

None of the Regular Rules by Erin Downing

My Thoughts:  None of the Regular Rules is a book about finding love, friendships, and coming-of-age - but not necessarily in that order. 

The first thing you need to know is this:
This is a story of friendship. 
Sophie Erickson is lucky to have the two greatest best friends ever: Ella Ambrose and Grace Cutler. The trio have been friends for years but since making it to high school, they have kind of grown in different directions as far as school is concerned. Still, they remain the best of friends. 

Being so very different is probably the thing that has kept them so close. Ella is the artsy one, almost like a hippie, the one that is just on the fringes of the regular crowd at school. She wears the loud-colored tights under her clothes and pulls together outfits that other people might not necessarily piece together. Ella is happy and completely comfortable not knowing what she wants to do with her life just yet. Grace Cutler is on the student council. She also joins just about every other extracurricular activity she can possibly fit into her schedule. She's an overachiever with high hopes of a big-time college after high school. Both of these girls get picked on regularly for their quirkiness. 

Our main character Sophie Erickson hovers in a somewhat different place - she doesn't really fit in any particular crowd. She has never had any trouble fitting in with anyone and gets along with pretty much everyone. She is content to just be. For all of their differences in terms of school, these three balance each other out really well outside of school, and they are the best of friends. 

The second thing you need to know is this:
This is the story of a romance.  
Johnny Rush is the boy next door. He is the actual boy-next-door, as in the neighbor, and he is really good-looking. He's so good-looking that Sophie's been looking out of her window at him for years while he hangs out with his friends in the yard and hosts his famous parties. In the beginning of our story, Johnny notices Sophie looking down and yells up that she should come down to his party. Partly embarrassed at being caught and partly freezing up because he's Johnny Rush from next door, she turns down the invitation and tries to play it cool - instead riding around in her car with her friends (we'll get to that in a minute). The parties happen again and again, and Sophie continues to receive these invites from Johnny.

Sophie and Johnny start spending a little bit more and more time together and gradually Sophie's friendship-crush becomes solid feelings. The problem is: Johnny has a girlfriend who is away at college and Sophie knows that she can't let herself fall for this boy, this perfect and handsome boy. But oh she wants to! Then one day, Johnny leaves town suddenly, saying he got a job as a ski instructor in another state and he'd be home soon. Sophie is crushed that he would leave so suddenly. (Trust me, he has his reasons!) Things aren't great at home and Sophie's friends aren't around anymore (more on that later) and she really, really could use Johnny hanging around next door. But he's gone and she feels so very lost without him.

I initially judged Johnny as one of those super popular party boys - the ones that would probably be a jerk and a waste of Sophie's time. I figured Sophie's crush would be big and Johnny wouldn't reciprocate or he'd break her heart or embarrass her. Boy, was I wrong. Johnny Rush is a GREAT guy.

I have to apologize to our main character Sophie Erickson, but TO ME Johnny Rush was the star of this show. (Could it be because he was named Johnny Rush? Because that name is the coolest name ever.

The third thing you need to know is this:
 This is a coming-of-age story.
When Sophie turns Johnny's initial party invitation down at the beginning of the book, she and her friends take her car out for a drive. It's an old car - not new at all. In fact, she inherited it from her Aunt Suzy who died about ten years earlier. On the drive, they end up with a flat tire. While fumbling through the glove compartment for the instruction manual to see how to change the tire, a piece of paper falls out - this ends up being a an old list belonging to Aunt Suzy. The list is kind of like a group of dares that Suzy wanted to accomplish before she graduated high school. Some of the things aren't very hard and some are downright crazy. All seem relatively doable. In an impulsive moment of girlfriend-bonding, they decide that HECK YEAH! they'll complete Suzy's old list since she didn't get to! 

The list takes them places they never knew they'd go. At first, they have a great time crossing things off. For example, they chop off Sophie's hair and donate it to Locks of Love and then give her a pink streak - everyone loves it, including Johnny Rush. There are other parts of the list that are more intense, like breaking into a local planetarium, in which not all of them make it out without getting into big trouble. List-related times and events like this begin to place strain on their friendship. Then there are boys...Grace's boyfriend becomes jealous becomes possessive starts acting overly weird that the girls are spending so much time together and starts forbidding discouraging Grace to have anything to do with the list. Ella becomes interested in a new guy and lands a part in a chorus production and has less time to complete the list. Sophie is hanging out with Johnny Rush in all of her spare time. Girlfriend/list time is slowly turning into boy time and before Sophie knows it, finishing the list with her isn't the most important thing to Ella and Grace anymore. 

Sophie gets kind of sad that her friends are falling away as they are making good progress on the list - just as a huge shocking piece of information is passed onto her that may change everything she has ever known about herself. With neither Grace nor Ella around much (and Johnny still out-of-state), Sophie is alone in her grief and sadness and despair and confusion over this crazy information she's found out. 


None of the Regular Rules by Erin Downing came along at exactly the right time for me. It was exactly the book I needed to read, but it actually was exactly the book I wanted to read as well. It was such a great story about a girl searching for something, anything to liven up her boring life. It was a great coming-of-age story, with a wonderful friendship story and great romance interlaced throughout. 

At the time Sophie finds her Aunt Suzy's list, she already feels like she's living life by going through the motions, just breezing by. Sophie is going into her senior year of high school and doesn't feel like she has left her mark on anything and has nothing to show that she's actually been there. In a way, finding the note gives her a way to leave her mark and burn her existance into her high school career. It also gives her a way to honor her Aunt Suzy, who meant so much to her. Most importantly, her two best friends can join her in this endeavor so it is something they can do for fun together. And it does seem fun - until things start to go wrong. 

Sophie eats, breaths, and sleeps the list. She carries it around in her pocket every day. It's pretty much all she thinks about. She kind of expects the same from Grace and Ella, and while they're on board with Sophie - they have lives of their own. The list never consumes them the way it does Sophie, and it takes her a while to realize that. Eventually it causes friction in their wonderful friendship, and the friction turns into an all-out fight that leaves them not speaking for a length of time. It broke my heart to read about this small break in their friendship, but I also found it very true to life and authentic because I know that at least in my experience, most friends go through periods where they need a break from each other for awhile, or they at least have disagreements. The best part of all of this comes in how this fight/disagreement/break is resolved, and how it is obvious that the three are stronger friends than we readers even knew from the beginning. It is a marvelously written friendship, filled with honesty (even when it isn't all that pretty), fun times, and short-term friendship break-ups. I loved it. 

Let's talk about this romance for a second. Johnny Rush is one of the best male main characters in a book I think I've ever read. He is thoughtful, caring, and kind. He's funny and has a sense of adventure. When he has parties, he goes around and spends time with pretty much everyone that takes the time to attend. When you're speaking with him, he makes you feel like you're the only person on earth. There are details that come out in the story that show you that he is willing to sacrifice the things that he wants for other people, even when it kind of breaks his heart a little. And best of all, Johnny Rush respects women. He really is one of the more perfect YA male characters out there. So I understand completely why Sophie would fall for him, despite her best efforts at trying not to because he already has a girlfriend. The thing about this is how the two handle the "But you have a girlfriend!" thing. I'm pretty sure everyone will approve. It's so sweet and wonderful and refreshing and handled in a way that is...really, really nice. Way to go, Johnny Rush!

The summary speaks of a "long-held family secret" and I have to admit I was wondering when that would come up as I kept reading. What could it be? The book was so good and I didn't really want anything that would shatter my feelings about it! When the secret was revealed, it breaks Sophie's heart and it just happens to occur during one of the worst times possible for her. Isn't that how life is sometimes? For a time, we see Sophie kind of spiral downward. It's tough, but it's part of the coming-of-age tale in the story. The wonderful part of this is later on, when the girls come back around and when Johnny comes back home, hearts get healed. Sophie is able to share her thoughts and feelings on this big issue and thus begin her healing process with this big life-changing secret. 

None of the Regular Rules by Erin Downing is one of those absolutely, all-around good books. It's one you read when you're looking for comfort, for something happy. It's a quick read with wonderful, wonderful characters. I recommend None of the Regular Rules for fans of YA contemporary romance that enjoy slow-burn romances and great friendships and coming-of-age tales. 


None of the Regular Rules will appeal to fans of:

YA Contemporary Romance
Romance: No triangle. Slowly developing relationship. 
Coming-of-age story. 
Large focus on friendships. 

None of the Regular Rules by Erin Downing
is currently available for purchase.


Erin Downing has written more than a dozen books for young adults, tweens, and kids. Her guilty pleasures include an unhealthy obsession with reality TV and cheesy romantic dramas (Revenge! Alias!), an addiction to Us Weekly magazine, and cupcakes.

Before turning to writing full time, Erin worked as a book editor, spent a few months as a cookie inventor, and also worked for Nickelodeon. Erin has lived in England, Sweden, and New York City, and now resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her husband and kids. More information about Erin and her books can be found at:

You can find Erin Downing in the following places: 


Click HERE to see the full tour schedule
for reviews and GIVEAWAYS! 

has generously provided 
(Open Worldwide) 

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

...on If You Stay by Courtney Cole

If You Stay by Courtney Cole
Series: Beautifully Broken #1
Published by Lakehouse Press
Publish Date: February 5, 2013
220 Pages
Source: Kindle Loan 

24-year old Pax Tate is an asshole. 

He’s a tattooed, rock-hard bad-boy with a bad attitude to match. 

But he’s got his reasons. 

His mother died when Pax was seven, leaving a hole in his heart filled with guilt although he doesn’t understand why. What he does know is that he and his dad are left alone and with more issues than they can count. 

As Pax grew up, he tried to be the kid his father always wanted; the perfect golden boy, but it didn’t work. His dad couldn’t overcome his grief long enough to notice and Pax couldn’t keep up the impossible perfect fa├žade. 
So he slipped far, far from it. 

Now, he uses drugs and women to cope with the ugliness, the black void that he doesn’t want to deal with. If he pretends that the emptiness isn’t there, then it isn’t, right? 

And it’s never more apparent than when he meets Mila. 
Sweet, beautiful Mila Hill is the fresh air to his hardened frown, the beauty to his ugly heart. He doesn’t know how to not hurt her, but he quickly realizes that he’s got to figure it out because he needs her to breathe.

When memories of his mother’s death resurface from where he’s repressed them for so long, Mila is there to catch him when the guilt starts making sense. Mila is the one…the one who can save him from his broken troubled heart; from his issues, from the emptiness. 

But only if he can stop being an asshole long enough to allow it. 

He knows that. And he’s working on it. 

But is that enough to make her stay?
-(from Goodreads)

If You Stay by Courtney Cole

My Thoughts:  Books like If You Stay are like coffee or chocolate to me - once I get it in my head that I want to read it, I pretty much can't think of anything else until I satisfy that craving. When I saw this cover and read this summary, I knew it could be one of those 'candy-sweet' reads that I love so much. I had to carve some time out and see if this book is as good as it looks. Honestly, with a series name like Beautifully Broken, I wasn't sure what I was going to get but I had high hopes!

The first thing you need to know is this:
The beginning is a little, um, shocking. 
Apparently Courtney Cole thought she'd just throw us into the water head first. I think it's fair to say if you make it past the first few scenes of the book, you'll probably be alright. You might even find yourself falling for Pax and his charm. Myself, personally: my jaw did hit the floor, but I just kept on reading. 

The book opens as our stereotypical bad boy Pax Tate is in a bit of a compromising position with another woman. After an interesting opening scene that left me pretty surprised and a lot blushing, Mila Hill happens upon Pax while he is unconscious in his car. She ends up saving his life. It's all very dramatic and intense and starts like BAM!

That, my friends, is how Courtney Cole introduces Mila and Pax to one another (well, kind of - Pax was unconscious) and also how we get our first glimpse at their initial one-sided interaction. Things kind of move forward from there after Mila visits Pax in the hospital and the two keep running into one another by chance in various places in town. Eventually, the two decide to go out on a few dates and their relationship progresses from there.    

The second thing you need to know is this: 
As the relationship progresses, Mila wonders if she is making a mistake 
in getting involved with a guy like Pax. 
He has problems AND issues, and Mila doesn't want to get hurt!
It's true. Pax Tate is not the kind of person you would really want to get involved with. He is rude, arrogant, and he has poor ways of dealing with his problems: booze, drugs, women. Pax also has some unresolved issues stemming from his past surrounding the death of his mother when he was just a child. All of these things mixed together make Pax act like a first-class jerk on a regular basis until Mila saves his life. After he meets Mila, Pax feels like he has a reason to clean himself up and be better for the first time in a long time. He isn't exactly sure of the best way to accomplish this, but he is willing to try.

After Mila's parents died a couple of years ago, she buried herself in her work as an artist. She has a studio in which she sells her work and offers private lessons. She also helps her sister maintain the family business in her family's memory - it's an Italian restaurant. Mila has enough to do without taking on a relationship that comes with the burden of drug abuse, womanizing, and other big issues. She can feel in her gut that Pax is not the best choice for her right now, but she still can't shake his face from her mind and her heart. Despite her reservations, Mila finds that she enjoys the time that she spends with him and can't help falling for him. She is scared - scared of him making huge mistakes and hurting her, leaving her like her parents did when they died in their car accident a few years earlier. 

Despite all of the reasons not to get involved, Pax and Mila gave their feelings a shot and get serious.

The third thing you need to know is this:
 Eventually the issues had to come out. 
But we all knew that, right?
Pax and Mila were cruising along with life, enjoying each other and their life together, when one day Pax remembered some key events surrounding the death of his mother. These events are part of the issues that had been plaguing him for years and keeping him from moving on from this tragedy. Mila was there for him, as she promised she would be, but his self-destructive behavior was there for him too, as it always was. 

It was hard to watch Pax struggle with himself and his issues, and with Mila over everything. I found myself questioning whether or not their love for each other was strong enough yet to make it through what could potentially be a few huge insurmountable problems at one point. I found myself frustrated with both Mila and Pax a couple of times here and there. 

Ultimately, with a series named Beautifully Broken, I had to realize that something like this would happen, right? 

*Can they survive these huge, shocking revelations that come from the memories that Pax suddenly has? 
*Can they beat these issues if they face them head-on, together? 
*Can they even face them together or will Pax shut Mila out? 
*Will Mila decide Pax is too great a risk?

Aah, I had so many questions and just had to keep reading! 


When I clicked open Courtney Cole's new book, I knew that I had high hopes and I wanted to love it so much. The cover of If You Stay is great and the summary sounds exactly like the New Adult books that I am loving the most lately - contemporary romances with some issues. I just can't get enough of these books. The thing is - truthfully - after that opening scene, I had no idea how I would feel about the book and more specifically, bad-boy Pax Tate. While I don't mind a bad-boy, Pax goes to great lengths to paint an awful picture of himself in the opening pages. I was just wow'd at how bad his behavior was at one particular point during the opening scene. 

In the beginning, I couldn't really understand why Mila was so intrigued with Pax. He was a jerk, yes. He made some HUGE mistakes right around the time he begin to see Mila, yes. While it is true that he was completely honest with her about them, I felt like I would've taken his "honesty" at that particularly point (you'll know what I'm talking about) and RUN THE OTHER WAY. But as I kept reading, I realized that I really couldn't help falling for his charms because he was indeed a very charming guy. Pax is a stereotypical bad boy - a beautiful, broken, bad boy in a leather jacket - and he has the issues to back it up. But as his backstory is revealed little by little and as his character grows and develops, it is obvious that he wants to change and be a better person. The deal with Pax is that before he met Mila, he never felt like he had a reason to be better. Mila's good nature, her kindness, her ability to not judge him - all of these things helped Pax see beyond himself and realize that he could open his heart a little and let love in. 

However, opening his heart to the good things in life also means your heart is open to experience bad things as well. Along with loving Mila and experiencing happiness for the first time in many years, Pax also had to go through and deal with some pretty big past hurts and experiences, including dealing with the death of his mother at a very young age. These scenes are heartbreaking. By the time they occurred, I already had fallen pretty hard for Pax and decided that I really, really liked him. To see him struggle with these repressed memories suddenly resurfacing made me feel terrible for him - then to see Mila and Pax have to deal with all of these hard things together made me feel even worse. Pax makes some less-than-ideal decisions and Mila kind-of freezes up because neither know how to deal with this level of grief. 

I am happy with how Pax developed as a person and made some changes within and for himself. Huge, huge character development and lifestyle changes! In my opinion, he is the star of the story. Mila made some development as well although I just have to come out and say that I didn't understand a lot of what she did. (For example, Mila: you started dating someone you just met after you saved his life when he overdosed on drugs and alcohol?) I definitely was more sympathetic to Pax than I was to Mila but I think that the both of them were very different people at the end of the story based on who they were when the book began, and that makes me happy as a lover of great characters and good development across the story. And I did like the ending, which also made me happy.

I know that sometimes readers tend go on-the-defensive when they read reviews or summaries about girls or guys with issues, but perhaps some of you will take a chance on this one. It is a good one - what I call "candy-sweet" - and I think that lots of you will find Pax to be an irresistible charmer, even as he is a work-in-progress. Thankfully, I knew to expect some big issues going into this book because the series is titled Beautifully Broken and because of some other blog posts that I had read, so I wasn't broadsided when I got some big issues. If You Stay is intense, but not too intense. And the romance makes up for all of the intensity of the issues. I really loved the heck out of it. I borrowed the book to read as a Kindle loan, but quickly went back to Amazon and one-clicked to purchase my own copy. I will certainly be reading the next book in this companion series which, if I remember correctly, will be Mila's sister Madison's story. (Someone please correct me if I am wrong about this!)

I recommend If You Stay for fans of New Adult contemporary romance with issues. (Fans of Colleen Hoover's Hopeless may enjoy this book.) I recommend it for older YA readers and adult readers because it isn't intended for those younger than that! Be smart, younger readers! 


IF YOU STAY will appeal to fans of:

Mature YA/New Adult Contemporary Romance
with Issues
Romance: No triangle. Fast attraction.

**Be smart, younger YA readers! 
There are some things in here that should be reserved for an older crowd.**

IF YOU STAY by Courtney Cole
is currently available for purchase.


Has anyone else read IF YOU STAY yet?
Is anyone considering it? 

Friday, February 22, 2013

I'm Always Reading: Series Finale Fear!

This picture is mine, as is the coffee inside of it.
(By the time this post goes live, this coffee will be gone!)

Last time I did one of these I'm Always Reading! posts, I talked about my Bookish Stress and how it affects me so much. Like, SO MUCH. Here's a little of what I had to say about my bookish stresses: 

When I feel Bookish Stress, I get the feeling that I'm having a fluttery heart.... 
I pace the floor while I read. I make lots of faces, and I'm sure they're hilarious.... 

You guys, I FEEL the books I read, down to the core of my very being. 
It's bookish stress! 
It's the very best kind of stress to have, you see. 
I absolutely love it.


It isn't an accident that in the very same bookish stress post that I mention above, I mention Lauren DeStefano's Chemical Garden Trilogy. If you want to talk about something to really get me going, mention the final book in a series that I love and then suggest that I read it. Deep down I WILL WANT TO, I really will. But I will be scared to. WHY IS THAT? 

I loved Wither so much. The story is so dark and gritty and yet at the same time, Lauren DeStefano was able to write such a bleak, sad, and horrific world with a language and prose so stunning that I could barely handle its beauty. I was captivated by all of her words. And then when I picked up Fever, I nearly ATE that book with the fervor that I felt while reading it: I can remember at one point, I was pacing my floors, holding the book in my left hand and gesturing wildly with my right hand. I was YELLING at a certain character because of a certain thing that he/she was doing! And the thing is, that isn't the only time that happened during that book! Wither and Fever made me FEEL things, and I love them so much for it. I read these first two books with such a broad range of emotions - ALL OF THE EMOTIONS - and at the end of Fever, I knew I was doomed. DOOMED! 

(Hang on, I need to take a second to catch my breath. I'm not even kidding.)

My beauties:
Wither and Fever by Lauren DeStefano
I love them so much.
Friends, the moment of truth is here. It is NOW. Sever is out. Release day has come and gone, and Sever is out in the wild! That is so exciting, right? Oh, absolutely! And the book is beautiful. BEAUTIFUL. 

But I have left it sitting by my bedside for days. DAYS! What!? Asheley, what are you talking about?? Oh, I think you all know. YOU KNOW. It's the final book in the series, see - the end of the trilogy. So that means I have not been able to read it. I haven't even been able to PICK IT UP. The closest I've been to reading it is to glance over a few times and see it there, sitting patiently in the stack. Admission:


It is an ugly monster. And it is very real. 
I'm taming this beast, because it has gotten ridiculous.
AND there are so many great series ending this year. 
And even more to come next year. 

2013 is my year! Cross your fingers for me! 


Let's Back Up. 

All of that being said, I did in fact crack open Lauren DeStefano's beautiful book Sever. And because I am such a melodramatic series finale oddball, the very act of opening the book was like a ceremony and I had to take a picture of the title page and just look at it for awhile. (I do this for all of the books, particularly the finales - when I read them, which isn't often.) 

And then I turned to the Acknowledgements...

Do any of you ever actually read the Acknowledgements section of the books? I do. Everyone should, because they are a real treat. I love to see who the authors thank and for what. And some of the authors' acknowledgements (cough*Tahereh Mafi*cough) are like absolute poetry, they're so beautifully written. But anyway, I read the Acknowledgements of Sever...aaaand here come the tears. WHY WHY WHY? Probably because I'm already a little emotional and nervous to be starting the book? Probably because Lauren DeStefano decided to thank her family first instead of at the end, like I often see? I DON'T KNOW. I don't know! But the tears began with the ACKNOWLEDGMENTS, you guys. 

I made my title page picture into
an Instagram. OF COURSE.

So then I start the book. And I read for a while. I'm loving it! Questions that I've had for the entire series are being answered! I'm totally hating on the evil villain! The story is perfect so far! BUT.....then I have to put the book down to do some real-life things and I HAVE THIS HUGE LIFE-ALTERING THOUGHT. An AHA moment, if you will. (Okay, that may be a little dramatic, but just go with it.) 

I remember a long time ago when I watched the movie Postman with Kevin Costner. I loved that movie so much. So very, very much. When the movie was over, for a fleeting second I was all YES! THAT MOVIE WAS AWESOME! and then I was really sad for a while. Why? Because I realized that I could never again experience it for the first time. 

We all, as readers, have those moments when we read books and LOVE THEM SO HARD and we want to dance and flail and shout from the rooftops and HUG THE BOOK and everything, and then for a minute we wish we hadn't read it yet so we can read it all over again for the first time. I know I'm not the only one. I know it! 
So when I sat down this series finale to do the real-life things that I had to do, I felt all of the weight of reading it for the first time and KNOWING that it will be the only time that I will read it for the first time. This is part of my series finale fear! Add to that the fact that I have no idea what is going to happen with this story. And then add to that the even bigger fact that this is the end of the road for these characters that I've grown SO ATTACHED TO - All of these things just make it so hard for me to pick up final books in a series. 
I have it. 

It isn't just The Chemical Garden Trilogy, oh no! This series just happens to be the series that that I happened to be reading when I chose to write this post. There will be lots of these series this year because I'm planning to beat this ugly beast (bites nails) this year. I have all of you guys to help me with that. In fact, I just recently read Boundless by Cynthia Hand, which was the final book in her Unearthly series! GO ME! 

I know I can do this. 
I know I can do this. 
I know I can do this. 

The comment made to me when I got up to do the real-life things went something like this: ARE YOU REALLY CRYING OVER A BOOK? 

My response went something like this: YES. YES, I AM. I JUST GET REALLY ATTACHED. 

Fact: I had just finished Chapter Three. (of Thirty-One. Long road ahead, no?)


Are you curious about my thoughts on: 

Wither? See them HERE
Fever? See them HERE


Jamie from The Perpetual Page-Turner has also done some blogging on 
her big fears! I love these posts. You should check them out! 

When someone reads a book she loves/recommends: HERE.
Moving to the next book in a series: HERE.
Favorite authors releasing new books: HERE.


Am I the only one out there with SERIES FINALE FEAR?

Honestly, how ridiculous is it?
You're not gonna hurt my feelings! 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Blog Tour! HARKEN by Kaleb Nation: Interview + GIVEAWAY!

Harken by Kaleb Nation
Series: Harken #1
Publish Date: January 9, 2013

375 Pages
Source: Author for review - 
Thank you!

After surviving an assassination attempt, teenager Michael Asher discovers that he is at the center of a worldwide conspiracy reaching higher than any earthly power. A supernatural organization desperately wants him dead. He doesn't know why. Everyone who might have the answers has already been killed.Tumbling into a web of international secrets, Michael is forced to fight back and dig up the truth. He begins to question how much of the world is truly as people are led to believe it is. Are there things that humanity is not being told? Who is the puppet master? And how far into the maze can he venture before he is lost forever? -(from Goodreads) 

I'm so excited that today is my stop 
on the blog tour for
HARKEN by Kaleb Nation!

I'm a huge fan of Kaleb Nation and all of his bazillion projects around the internet like THIS and even THIS. He's such an entertaining guy, and so informative on all things pop culture as they relate to books and movies and all sorts of interesting stuff. A while back, Kaleb announced that he had an idea for another book and began hinting at it in bits and pieces on his YouTube videos and on Twitter. It was known as #SecretKalebBook and it went viral among his fans. People were having a fit to know any little thing about the book but Kaleb remained fairly tight-lipped until fairly recently when the book became #Harken. At that point, everyone began the impatient wait until Harken became available. Now that it is available to us, the response is tremendous, and it is really exciting to be a part of something as cool as this blog tour, particularly since I've been following the making of this book for a long time. Congratulations, Kaleb Nation! 

(You can read my thoughts on Harken HERE.)

That being said, I'm really excited to have Author Kaleb Nation on the blog today to answer a few questions about his newest book, Harken. This is his first YA book. 


Hi Kaleb! Thanks so much for stopping by Into the Hall of Books today to talk about Harken! I have a few questions for you...

1. Main character Michael Asher has an unusual ability to read a person's true emotions by looking into their eyes - he calls this The Glimpse.

While you were writing and developing Michael's character, did you subconsciously find yourself trying to look other people in the eyes and read their true emotions?
Yes! You can tell a lot about a person through their eyes. Can they look at you straight or do their eyes dodge away? Are they telling a lie when their pupils move at a sudden question? I believe that all of us have Michael’s gift to a much smaller degree, but we just call it intuition.

2. The Guardians are a race of unearthly creatures that have some pretty interesting supernatural abilities - they can fly and do some other pretty cool things. If you could have one supernatural ability, which one would you choose?
There’s a reason I made the Guardians able to fly… that’s the super power I wish I had! I would love to be in the sky with no other noises around me, or to visit another continent without needing to buy plane tickets. Sometimes I look up at a skyscraper and think, “I wish I could just fly and sit on top of that.”
3. Harken has a great cover, great characters, and a page-turning plot - all of these are things that I love in a great book. What are some things that you look for when you're reading a great book and can you tell us some of your favorites?
I love a book with a cast of eccentric characters. My favorite books also tend to be quirky. I devour anything by Lemony Snicket / Daniel Handler. At the same time, I also love adventurous teen books like The Hunger Games. That has the perfect mix of compelling characters and excitement. 
I’ve written so many words in my lifetime that it’s tough for a book to actually make me feel something, so when it does, I am obsessed. If I Stay by Gayle Forman and Looking For Alaska by John Green are in that category.

4. Can you talk a little bit about the response and support you've received from the very beginning til now, from #SecretKalebBook all the way up until Harken was released? I mean, people have been doing things like writing original songs for Harken and there are even Harken fan pages...that's really awesome!
Let’s be honest here: it’s nuts. I’ve never heard of a book having a song written for it a week after its release… much less songs by two artists and a full soundtrack score by another. #Harken has even trended on Twitter multiple times. I don’t know how to react except to smile a LOT. 
All of the buzz is coming from the readers telling their friends, and then their friends telling their friends – it’s word of mouth. Those are the people who keep me going. I’m so grateful that creative people are connecting with something I wrote on such a deep level. It’s everything I dreamed would happen. If this is happening now, I can’t even imagine what it’ll be like in 3 months.

Thank you so much for stopping by today, Kaleb! 
It was a blast reading the book and chatting with you. I can't wait for the next book in the series and trust me, I'll be watching for it!
Actually, I take that back. #DontTrustAnyone...  -Asheley


KALEB NATION is an author and online personality. His blogs and videos have received over 50 million hits online, and he has been featured on NPR, Entertainment Weekly, The Huffington Post, and more.

While writing Harken, Kaleb documented his progress through video blogs at A black belt in taekwondo, Kaleb lives in California with his chinchilla, Chilla. Harken is his first novel for teens.

Kaleb regularly posts on Twitter (@KalebNation) and blogs at You can also find Kaleb on Goodreads.  

Click HERE to buy Harken at
Click HERE to buy Harken at

Click HERE to read the first three chapters of Harken FREE! 

Be sure to check out the rest of the 
Harken Blog Tour Schedule! 
Visit each of these tour dates to enter to win prizes!

2/25 -


has generously provided 
(Open Worldwide) * (Ends 3/3) 

All of the participating blog tour sites are giving away one Prize Pack consisting of

- a giant HARKEN poster (signed)
- a HARKEN glow-in-the-dark wristband
- a Kaleb Nation postcard (signed)
- a HARKEN glow-in-the-dark silver ring

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Everyone can also enter to win the GRAND PRIZE 
which is a Harken-Themed Kindle Paperwhite and a Prize Pack! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!