Throne of Glass Read Along

Discuss Chapters 1-28 for 2015 TBR Pile Challenge

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski (Review)

"unlike any book I've read before"

The Bodies We Wear by Jeyn Roberts (Review)

"as things normally go, it is in the darkest moments where we see some sort of light."

Accordance by Shelly Crane (Review)

"Accordance was a great second installment to one of my all-time favorite series!"

From Ashes by Molly McAdams (Review)

"The romance was amazing, I became so invested in the characters, and the story held me in its grasp from beginning to end."

The Queen of Zombie Hearts by Gena Showalter (Review)

"white-hot romance, amazing characters"

Of Monsters and Madness by Jessica Verday (Review)

"The world was spectacularly built ..."

Blood-Drenched Beard by Daniel Galera (Review)

"a bit too confusing and foreign for me to fully enjoy"

Review + #Giveaway: Polaroid Cube + Accessories

"a chance to win not only the Cube Cam itself, but 5 custom designed accessories that will make using the Cube 10000x more fun"

Monday, March 2, 2015

Sweet Muse by Ava Cummings {Book Blog Promo, Guest Post & Giveaway}


About The Book:



SWEET MUSE by Ava Cummings Release Date: 1.22.15 Pages: 241 Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Erotic Romance
Determined to overcome her difficult past, Anna Starr lands a coveted job at the nation's biggest celebrity magazine in the center of the New York City power scene. She learns early on to make it on her own, and through sheer force of will she does. But frustration sets in when the dark side of tabloid journalism starts to poke through, and she gets duped while dating slicker-than-thou city boys.  Amidst a sea of cocktail parties, Anna meets rising art star Damien Wolfe. Their connection is dangerous, intense, and passionate beyond her imagination.  He sees her in a way that she has never seen herself, setting her on a journey toward self- discovery— understanding what it means to be truly loved for the first time in her life. But she may lose it all when her blind ambition and his dark past lead to a crisis that changes everything.
Amazon | Goodreads | Wattpad 
 


1. In your words, please explain why you wrote Sweet Muse.

Sweet Muse is what I call a “Real Girl Romance.” Isn't it time we read more romance with

real girls? Here's what I mean: I've always loved romance novels but tired of the typical

romance plot line where the innocent assistant gets taken by the rich CEO.

I wanted to shine more of a light on the real girls—and the real guilt we feel for making

bad decisions, the insecurities we feel for not having it all figured out, and the shame we

carry for just being ourselves. In Sweet Muse, I really wanted to incorporate

this—showing the full spectrum of the agony of figuring yourself out in your 20s. I like

stories about women coming of age—and owning their experience. Maybe in some way I

can inspire women to own their own journey and be themselves, whoever that may be.

I want women to read it and feel like they can own their own journey to adulthood no

matter what bumps or mistakes they make along the way.

In college, in addition to being a journalism major, I majored in women’s studies. I even

wanted to work at Ms. magazine! I’m all about female empowerment, and I want readers

to walk away knowing that my protagonist Anna found herself, her direction, and her love

on her own terms—and that you can, too.

I think women created the words: shame, guilt and insecurity. And we spend so much

time agonizing over decisions we make, our looks, how we don’t live up. I know I

did—and still do. I feel like I spend too much of my time beating up on myself for not

being perfect. I really wanted to take those feelings and own them. Writing the book was

cathartic for me, and I hope reading it can be for you, too.

2. What in your own background informed this book?
I’ve always wanted to write a romance with New York City and the celebrity magazine

world as the backdrop. I lived in New York City for 10 years and was an editor at the

biggest celebrity magazines—and both are such a rich place of extremes. I knew they

could become characters on their own in the book.

When I was working in publishing, it was the late nineties and early 2000s, during the last

hurrah of publishing and the rise of celebrity worship—and before the Internet came in

and changed content forever. It was when editors still had expense accounts and were

still considered the arbiters of taste and creators of the cultural conversation. I wanted

those elements in the book because it was such a different yet really interesting time.

Editors were glamorous and powerful, but at the same time the office culture was insane

and high strung. I really wanted to put all of that in the book because it was a crazy time,

and I felt it would be such a cool thing to experience vicariously as a reader, to put them

in the center of the New York glamour scene and the inside of a top-selling magazine.

Everyone always asks me if the book is autobiographical, if I’m Anna Starr and if there’s

a real Damien Wolfe. All I can say is that Sweet Muse might have been inspired by

experiences I’ve had and people I’ve met and that Anna and I share some personality

traits (I also bite my nails, sadly). But other than that it’s a work of fiction.

3. What are the biggest issues that someone might face moving to New York? And

what advice would you give them?

Well, living in New York isn’t easy. You have to have a dream so strong and powerful that

you believe it with every iota of your being. Because you will live in a dump, be broke all

the time, and have to survive in a crowded, smelly, tough city of millions of other people

who are all trying to do the same thing. It’s not easy. But it’s one of the only places in the

world where you can realize your dreams—become a writer, artist, billionaire, whatever it

is—and become who you are meant to be.



4. What is the biggest takeaway from your book?
Ultimately, Sweet Muse is a woman’s coming of age story. I want women to read it and

feel like they can own their own journey to adulthood no matter what bumps or mistakes

they make along the way. In college, in addition to being a journalism major, I also

majored in women’s studies. I wanted to work at Ms magazine for years. I’m all about

female empowerment, and I want readers to walk away knowing that Anna found herself,

her direction, and her love on her own terms—and that you can, too.

I think women created the words: shame, guilt and insecurity. And we spend so much

time agonizing over decisions we make, our looks, how we don’t live up. I really wanted

to take those feelings and own them and somehow that was cathartic for me.

I also like to have fun – laugh a lot and enjoy life. And I want this to be a book that is a

fun guilty pleasure that you stay up all night tearing through and share with your

girlfriends.

5. What was it like to write it? Talk about your process.
Well, I’m wife, a mom of two young kids, and I work full time at a high level in marketing,

so this was definitely a passion project, fueled by my want to get the story out and fulfill

my dream as a novelist. I wrote it nights and weekend moments when I could steal away

time and did it that way. It took me a long time doing it this way—about four years—but I

did it!
Meet the Author:


Ava Cummings spent more than 10 years as an editor at some of the biggest and best-known magazines in the world.  She fetched coffee, fell in love with fashion, and eventually became a full- fledged editor, covering Hollywood and bringing in stories about bold women that were making a difference in the world.  She has spun together the sweep-you-off-your-feet happy endings of fairy tales, the unbelievable headlines she reads in the news, and the quirky personalities that she’s encountered in both the real world and on reality TV in her first novel, Sweet Muse Ava lives in the leafy suburbs of Boston with her husband and two children.
Social Media Links:
Follow the Tour:
March 2nd Bookish - Debbie – Guest Post
March 2nd Chosen One – Review
March 3rd Forbidden Reviews – Playlist
March 4th Beauty and the Armageddon – This or That
March 5th Karin's Fantasy World – Review
March 5th Unconventional Librarian – Guest Post
March 6th Carolyn's World – Review
March 6th Reads All The Books – Review
March 9th Babs Book Bistro  – Author Interview
March 9th Cherry Mischievous  – Spotlight/Guest Post
March 10th Nicole Alamillo –Review
March 10th Shell Williams  – Review
March 11th Heather Ann's Book Reviews  – Review
March 11th All About Books  – Review
March 12th Anna's Blog – Review
March 12th The Reader and The Chef – Review
March 13th Lara's Reviews – Review 
March 13th Pixie Vixen Book Reviews – Review 

What Readers are Saying:


"It's like Fifty Shades of Grey meets Devil wears Prada meets Girls!" —Carrie Adel
"I couldn’t put it down! Sweet Muse has it all—celebrities, scandal, and steamy romance. Ava Cummings’ writing invites the reader into Anna’s world, sharing her journey as she discovers the dark side of her dream job at a celebrity magazine and finds a love so powerful it will change everything. Totally captivating!" —Sarah Bagwell
Giveaway:
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Children's Book Review: Small Elephant's Bathtime by Tatyana Feeney


Hardcover, 32 pages
Expected publication: March 10th 2015 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Indiebound


Small Elephant likes water . . . but not when it’s in a bath.

Small Elephant’s mommy tries to make the bath more fun with toys and bubbles, but he is not fooled.

He is too busy to take a bath. He has said no many times. He is getting very cross.

And then he disappears! (Elephants who cannot be found cannot take baths.)

But Small Elephant’s daddy has a way to make the bath fun. He may look silly doing it—but it just might work!

With spare text and sprightly illustrations, Tatyana Feeney, three-time author of gently funny books for the youngest readers, takes on another very important toddler topic—bathtime!


     Small Elephant doesn't like bath time. He wants to play with his toys instead. Even when Mommy Elephant tries to offer him toys to play in the bathtub, he says "no!" and refuses to get in the water. The more she pleads, the more the little one gets madder and madder and MADDER! It isn't until Daddy Elephant comes around and gets in the tiny bathtub himself that Small Elephant - seeing how funny Daddy looks barely fitting into the tiny tub - decides to take a bath. Now that he got in, though, Mommy Elephant has a new problem - Small Elephant loves it so much, he doesn't want to come out!



     Small Elephant's Bathtime, just like the other three of Tatyana Feeney's picture books, is really quite brilliant in its simplicity. The pencil drawings are very basic - they're blue and red themed and they almost look like something a 6-8 year old kid would draw with crayons. The text is in bold red and it really pops out. All that makes this picture book perfectly suitable for even the youngest children, and even the ones who don't need convincing to take a bath.



    I guess the point of the story is that when it comes to children, no amount of pleading and convincing will make them do something they don't want to do. So instead, we should try to be smart and find a way to gently stir them towards the right decision - whether by taking the lead and showing them how to do it, or by using humor and inviting them to play along. 

     I really enjoyed this simple, but clever picture book and will be reading it to my daughter for sure.




Sunday, March 1, 2015

Interview with Michael Kardos, author of Before He Finds Her

Today, I have the enormous pleasure of welcoming  the Pushcart Prize-winning author Michael Kardos to our little Bookish corner! Michael is here to chat about his latest novel, BEFORE HE FINDS HER, as well as to talk about bookish things in general. I am beyond excited to be able to introduce Michael to you guys! I will be reviewing BEFORE HE FINDS HER later on this month (March 16th), so if you're curious what I thought about it, be sure to come back!

Interview:

1) Welcome to Bookish Michael! It's such an honor to have you here with us today. Can you tell us a little bit about your latest release, BEFORE HE FINDS HER?
Before He Finds Her tells the story of a young woman who, after fifteen years, flees the witness protection program and returns to her New Jersey hometown, where she hopes to track down  the man she’s been hiding from all this time—her own father.

2) Who or what inspired you to write it?

Ramsey Miller, the father, lived in my mind and my hard drive for a number of years before I got around to writing him into a novel. He ardently believes that a catastrophic planetary event is about to end all life on earth. Conveniently, this would also solve all his personal problems. So when the catastrophe doesn’t happen, he’s left with the decision of whether to cause a catastrophe of his own.

3) Did you face any challenges in bringing your story to life? Did you have to do any research?

One of my main characters is a long-haul trucker. The other is a pregnant 17-year-old. I am neither. So I had to do lots of research.

4) Which part of the writing process do you enjoy the most? 

Definitely the second draft. I love revision once the basic story is in place. Though really, I love the whole process, seeing it all take shape.

5) Is there a message in your book you want readers to grasp?

I think any message is up to the reader—which isn’t to say that my novel isn’t about anything. It’s actually about lots of things. But if I were able to state the message neatly, apart from the novel, then I probably wouldn’t have needed to write the novel.

6) What are some of your literary inspirations? Favorite books or writers?

So many! Here are some books I love, in no particular order:

The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien
Beloved, Toni Morrison
High Fidelity, Nick Hornby
The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Alex Haley and Malcolm X
Bel Canto, Ann Patchett
City of Thieves, David Bennioff
Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates
Clockers, Richard Price
The Girls of Peculiar, Catherine Pierce
Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
The Fan Man, William Kotzwinkle

And I know you didn’t ask about movies and TV, but here’s a list anyway:

 The Sting
 An American Werewolf in London
 Pulp Fiction
 Goodfellas
 The Crying Game
 Raiders of the Lost Ark
 The Incredible Hulk (the TV show starring Bill Bixby, not any of the awful movies)
 Breaking Bad
 Arrested Development
 Deadwood

(I love that you included a TV/movie list!!! Huge fan of Breaking Bad and Pulp Fiction here, too! *high fives* - Evie)

7) When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?

Hanging out with my wife and two little kids, reading, watching movies. I used to play a lot of music (drums), and as soon as the kids are a little older, and the prospect of staying up late is more appealing, I’ll get back to that. (Being a mom to a very active one-year-old baby girl, I can totally relate to that! No more late-night reading for the next few years! - Evie)

8) What are you working on now?

I’m at the beginning stages of a new novel. I’m afraid to talk about it for fear of losing energy on it.

9) Who would be in your ideal book club? 

Ha! Okay, how’s this for a book club: Werner Herzog, Spike Lee, David Lynch…why am I inviting only movie directors? Let’s expand the list a little: Oprah Winfrey, J. K. Rowling, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, David Foster Wallace (I know, I know—but this is a fantasy book club, right?). (Oh my gosh, I love it!!! Can I join? :) - Evie)

10) What are some of the books on your To-Be-Read pile?

The Orphan Master’s Son, Adam Johnson
A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip: A Memoir of Seventh Grade, Kevin Brockmeier
Celebrations of Curious Characters, Ricky Jay
Erasure, Percival Everett
State of Wonder, Ann Patchett,
Black Lizard Book of Locked Room Mysteries – Otto Penzler, Editor

About the author:




Website | Goodreads | Twitter
Michael Kardos is the Pushcart Prize-winning author of the novels Before He Finds Her (2015) and The Three-Day Affair, named by Esquire as a Best Book of 2012, and the story collection One Last Good Time, winner of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters award for fiction. He received a degree in music from Princeton University and played the drums professionally for a number of years before receiving his MFA from Ohio State and his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri. He currently lives in Starkville, Mississippi, where he co-directs the creative writing program at Mississippi State.
About the book:



Hardcover, 384 pages
Published February 3rd 2015 by Mysterious Press
Genre: YA Thriller
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Everyone in the quiet Jersey Shore town of Silver Bay knows the story: on a Sunday evening in September 1991, Ramsey Miller threw a blowout block party, then murdered his beautiful wife and three-year-old daughter.
But everyone is wrong. The daughter got away. Now she is nearly eighteen and tired of living in secrecy. Under the name Melanie Denison, she has spent the last fifteen years in small-town West Virginia as part of the Witness Protection Program. She has never been allowed to travel, go to a school dance, or even have internet at home. Precautions must be taken at every turn, because Ramsey Miller was never caught and might still be looking for his daughter. Yet despite strict house rules, Melanie has entered into a relationship with a young teacher at the local high school and is now ten weeks pregnant. She doesn’t want her child to live in hiding as she has had to. Defying her guardians and taking matters into her own hands, Melanie returns to Silver Bay in hopes of doing what the authorities have failed to do: find her father before he finds her. Weaving in Ramsey’s story in the three days leading up to the brutal crime, Before He Finds Heris a stirring novel about love and faith and fear—and how the most important things can become terribly distorted when we cling to them too fiercely.
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