Blog Tour: Stalking Jack the Ripper | An Interview with Kerri Maniscalco!

Posted August 14, 2016 by MC / 4 Comments

Categories: Author Interviews, Blog Tours

stalking jack blog tour

Blog Tour: Stalking Jack the Ripper | An Interview with Kerri Maniscalco!Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
on September 20th 2016
Goodreads

Presented by James Patterson's new children's imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion...
Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.
Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.
The story's shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

Hello, hello! I’m so excited to be a part of the Knights of Whitechapel and today I have a special guest here to talk to us! The fantastic Kerri Maniscalco agreed to let me pick her brain a bit!

I will be reviewing this book in a separate post, but spoiler alert! I LOVED it! It is beautifully written and gripping and haunting and….I should really stop before I go on and on with my gushing.

I had such a pleasure putting together this interview with Kerri! Check out what she has to say! Everybody say HIIIII KERRIIIIIIIIIII!!!!

Hi Kerri! And welcome! This is your debut novel and the first novel selected by James Patterson to be published by his new imprint, JIMMY Patterson Books. First of all, congratulations! Secondly, how does it feel to have your first book published? What was it like going through the process of working with a brand new imprint (and one created by a very well-known author)?

Thank you so much! It is completely and utterly surreal. I’ve been writing with the hopes of getting published since 2009/2010 and for it to *actually* be coming true? I still think I’m in shock and denial. The entire team at JIMMY Patterson Books have been incredible in every sense of the word. There were no hiccups or issues and I’ve been treated so well. I’m grateful to have each of them on my team—they’re amazing humans, and are extremely passionate about books and their jobs. I could gush over the whole team for days. But yeah. James Patterson has been really great with making sure my voice and story are well taken care of. And my editor is an absolute dream. I think everyone should be so lucky to work with Jenny!

Stalking Jack the Ripper is teeming with history, and a bit of gore as well. What drew you to the idea of telling this story?

Honestly? I’m in love with science. Forensics are a field that I’ve always been interested in for as long as I can remember. At one point, I almost switched majors—from art school in NYC to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville—to study forensics at the Body Farm. I fully believe that seeing beyond the gore and using clues left at a crime scene is like real life magic. I could nerd out for a while, so I’ll try to keep it brief…and not so gory and geek out over the Body Farm…

That mixed with my love of inspiring female leads and how they bucked the system in a restrictive society were some big draws for me.

I can picture the world you are describing so vividly as I am reading! How much research did you have to do for this book? Where did you begin? And what was one of the most interesting (or weird) things you learned while you were doing your research?

Oh! This makes me so happy to hear—thank you for the compliment. I did more research than I can ever properly express. Everything from clothing and what was worn when, from tea parties and the various nuances of what was served or discussed during them, to every detail about the Ripper case/murders. I even read through medical examiner documents that were taken at the murder scenes.

I started with the Ripper crimes and then fleshed out more historical details—even down to what soaps were used and if there were phones and electricity or gas in homes—as I wrote each chapter. Sometimes it would take three or four hours to sift through articles and documents in order to find the information I needed for a half of a sentence. Those details are worth all the time it took to find them, though. (I hope.)

One of the weirdest things I discovered was that a body smells like a raw, whole chicken when no injuries had been sustained. Pretty creepy stuff. Luckily I had my mews snuggled next to me for most of the scarier research 😀

I love the photos that you included throughout the book! They really pull you even deeper into the story. What made you decide to add photos to your book? And how did you decide which ones to use?

Thank you! I love historical novels that include period photos and illustrations, and I felt they would really add to painting a clear picture for readers to have some crime scenes or locations included. The Mitre Square photo was so evocative by itself, and then the Necropolis was another I adored. It’s always interesting to see the actual historic sites…at least, I think so.

As I am reading Stalking Jack the Ripper, I can picture you in a candlelit library, sitting in a plush armchair, plotting ways to make your readers squirm. So spill….what is your writing space really like? Do you prefer to work in order or chaos?

Hahaha I definitely like that imagery and will have to see what I can do to make that happen in reality! While writing STALKING JACK THE RIPPER I spent time between my house and Chris’s loft. I’d either write in my bed or in his while he was working on his projects in the living room, and I’d split up the scarier scenes by drinking tea and making food. For such a dark novel, I really had a great time writing it!

Recently I purchased an actual desk—it’s this really cool industrial piece with reclaimed wood—and paired it with a feminine tufted chair, so I have an office space that’s very, very neat. I have bookshelves along one wall and have hung fairy lights above them to give off a twinkling glow. I love vintage pieces and also have them sprinkled about for inspiration. I need organization in order to function, so my desk has drawer organizers and I have all my supplies in their proper homes. I like being able to know exactly where something is when I need it. When things are neat I just feel better mentally.

I know SJTR hasn’t even released yet, but what’s next? Are you working on another book? Give us the scoop!

I’m finishing up book two in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series — it’s been a TON of fun to write…probably more fun than is acceptable given the subject matter. But it’s been really wonderful getting to explore the characters and see them grow on this next leg of their journey. I’d written SJTR with the hopes of it being the first in a new series of interconnected standalones, and am thrilled I get to do just that. Book two has the same characters, a new setting, new infamous murderer, and a whole lot of intrigue. And maybe some more kissing… I love it and cannot wait for it to hit shelves in September 2017.

Ah!! I can’t wait! Thank you so much for joining us Kerri!

Meet Kerri!

Kerri Maniscalco Promo shots

Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside NYC where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats.

STALKING JACK THE RIPPER, her debut YA gothic horror, is coming September 20, 2016 from JIMMY Patterson/Little, Brown. It’s the first in a new series and incorporates her love of forensic science and unsolved history.

Twitter   |  Facebook   |   Instagram   |   Website   |   Tumblr   |   Pinterest

Photo credit: Kelli Maniscalco @ Dogwood Lane

Have we convinced you to go preorder Stalking Jack the Ripper yet?

Goodreads   |   Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |  Indiebound

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When you stalk Jack the Ripper…..

…..blame it on the books.

Pokemon Indigo League #ReadThemAllThon TBR!

Posted August 13, 2016 by MC / 8 Comments

Categories: TBR Lists

readthemallthon

All images in this post created by Aentee at Read at Midnight.

Well, I am crumbling under peer pressure and joining the Pokemon Indigo League #ReadThemAllThon created by Aentee at Read at Midnight! I know pretty much nothing about Pokemon, but this read-a-thon sounds pretty fun!

The read-a-thon runs from August 14-September 4 and there are 8 challenges, corresponding with the 8 gym badges you can earn in the Pokemon game. (Did I say that right? Like I said, zero Pokemon knowledge here.)

Check out what I’m planning to read!

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Spells and Sorcery by S. Usher Evans!!! I FINALLY met my darling Sush in person last weekend and snagged an ARC of her upcoming release! I cannot wait to dive into this one. Theres a good chance I may not be able to wait until the read-a-thon starts…

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne. I am currently finishing up an audiobook reread of the entire Harry Potter series, which has been bringing about a lot of tears lately. Why not continue the suffering and jump right into the newest Harry Potter book while I’m at it? (PS – spoil me and I will hunt you down….)

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Nevernight by Jay Kristoff. I have actually already started this one, and I can definitely say that the hype is well-deserved. I can’t wait to keep reading and laugh and cry and be destroyed by this book. (PS – as I was writing this post my Waterstones special edition arrived and all I have to say is AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! You can check out my Instagram story for a tour of my beautiful book!)

readthemallthon-badge04-rainbowBeen Here All Along by Sandy Hall. I was able to meet Sandy last weekend as well, and she is so lovely! There is a reason why I must read this book now and why I needed to talk to her last weekend, but it’s still a secret at the moment. 🙂

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My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows. I was actually ALSO able to meet Jodi last weekend! (It was seriously an awesome weekend.) For some reason, I have been reading My Lady Jane for what seems like forever. I keep putting it on the back burner, but now is my time to finish it. I am adoring it so far and I can’t wait to read more.

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Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman. This is the book of the month for August for the Fanboy Book Club! I am hosting this month and I haven’t even started the book yet, so I should really get on top of that…

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Sweep: Volume 3 by Cate Tiernan. These books are my guilty pleasure. I read them so quickly and love every second of it. Plus, it’s over 500 pages, so hooray for a high page count in a short period of time!

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Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry. I was trying desperately to find a nice short post-apocolyptic book for this challenge and someone mentioned The Giver. I’ve read that already, but I never continued with the quartet, so now is the perfect time! It should be a nice quick read, and hopefully a good one too!

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For this readathon, you can also choose a Pokemon and there are different ways you can earn points to evolve your Pokemon. I have chosen possibly one of the most useless Pokemon, Slakoth. I find it fitting however, because Slakoth likes to lounge around and be lazy all day, just like me. But then it evolves into Vigoroth, who can’t stand to sit still for very long (again, like me). Vigoroth then evolves into Slaking, who is lazy yet again. I feel like this will be a perfectly accurate representation of the stages of my readathon – lounging around doing nothing but reading, getting restless and needing to be active, and finally collapsing from readathon-induced exhaustion.

Check out Aentee’s post to learn about the point system, because there’s no way I could explain it better than her!

Will you be joining the #ReadThemAllThon??? What books did you pick for your TBR?

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When you gotta catch ’em all…..

…..blame it on the books.

Fanboy Book Club August Read!

Posted August 12, 2016 by MC / 2 Comments

Categories: Fanboy Book Club

Hello everyone! I am embarrassingly late with this post, but I am here to inform/remind you of the Fanboy Book Club pick for August!

We will be reading…..

Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman!

Fanboy Book Club August Read!Legacy of Kings (Blood of Gods and Royals, #1) by Eleanor Herman
Published by Harlequin Teen on August 18th 2015
Pages: 428
Goodreads

Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise.
Alexander, Macedonia’s sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world but finds himself drawn to a newcomer…
Katerina must navigate the dark secrets of court life while hiding her own mission: kill the Queen. But she doesn’t account for her first love…
Jacob will go to unthinkable lengths to win Katerina, even if it means having to compete for her heart with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince.
And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet betrothed, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.
Weaving fantasy with the shocking details of real history, New York Times bestselling author of Sex with Kings Eleanor Herman reimagines the greatest emperor the world has ever known, Alexander the Great, in the first book of the Blood of Gods and Royals series.

 

 

To get us all talking this month, I’d like to challenge you to talk about your favorite historical fiction books! OR, discuss something that you would like to see written…maybe there is a time period that you feel is underrepresented in historical fiction. If you aren’t a hist fic fan, talk about your favorite fantasy retellings, or a retelling you wish someone would write! Legacy of Kings is a fantastical retelling of historical events, after all. 🙂

Write a blog post, start a thread on Twitter, post pictures on Instagram – whatever way you like to talk about books, go for it! Just get talking! And make sure you tag me somehow so I can help continue the conversation!

And remember, we will be having a spoiler-free Twitter chat to discuss Legacy of Kings on Saturday August 27, 9am EST (that means 9pm PST for all my friends in the Philippines). The chat will be led by yours truly, so make sure you are following me on Twitter @blamethebooks.

You are going to want to keep an eye on this chat because we will be announcing our September read as well…and we are working with some very exciting authors and publishers for the next few months! Things are getting very exciting over at the Fanboy Book Club! Get in on the action and don’t risk missing any announcements by signing up below!

Join the Fanboy Book Club!

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When you don’t know if you can hold in your exciting news any longer…..

…..blame it on the books.

Blog Tour: Recreated by Colleen Houck | The Netherworld

Posted August 5, 2016 by MC / 1 Comment

Categories: Blog Tours, Guest Posts

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Blog Tour: Recreated by Colleen Houck | The NetherworldRecreated by Colleen Houck
Published by Random House Children's Books on August 2nd 2016
Goodreads

From Colleen Houck, New York Times bestselling author of The Tiger’s Curse, comes Recreated, the second book in the epic Egyptian-inspired Reawakened series, in which a seventeen-year-old must literally go to hell to save the love of her life.   Lily Young thought traveling across the globe with a reawakened sun prince was a grand adventure. Now she’s about to embark on the journey of a lifetime.
When Amon and Lily part tragically, he transports himself to the Netherworld—what mortals call hell. Tormented by the loss of his one true love, he’d rather suffer in agony during Lily’s mortal years than fulfill his duty to protect humanity. 
Heartbroken, Lily seeks refuge on her grandmother’s farm. Yet she can feel Amon’s pain, and she has been having dreams—dreams of Amon continually suffering. 
For before he departed, Amon gave Lily something very special, an item that connects them even though they are worlds apart. Now Lily must use this object to free him, and to free their realms from darkness and utter chaos. She will do whatever it takes.

Hi everyone! Today I have a special guest here on the blog! Colleen Houck is here to talk to us a bit about her upcoming release, Recreated. Here’s what Colleen has to say about one of the places we visit in her book, the Netherworld:

In many sources the Afterlife and the Netherworld are interchangeable. As I was researching both for my Egyptian series, it soon became clear to me that I needed to separate them into two distinct places.

My version of the Netherworld is a place the dead go after judgment if their hearts are deemed unworthy of the Afterlife. In this way, the Afterlife is more like a paradise or a place of waiting while the Netherworld is a place where the unprepared go. There they are provided opportunities to fix their past wrongs.

There are several dangers in my version of the Netherworld. The first one is the queen, called the Devourer. In some myths she is called Ammit, and is described as having the head of a crocodile, the body of a lion and the hind end of a hippopotamus. Not a very pretty picture, is it? She sits by the scales of justice and the goddess Ma’at will throw her the hearts of the wicked to devour.

I kept the idea of heart devouring but made my version beautiful and tempting. She sucks the life out of ghosts through the mouth, AKA a kiss which is much more interesting to me than just chomping on bloody hearts.

The Devourer has several minions that work for her. Reapers, (kind of a play on grim reapers but mine are actually insectoids), hellhounds (a bit like large wolves that dissolve into smoke), and an albino minotaur who is pretty much one of a kind. His weapon of choice is a whip.

In Egyptian mythology there is a Lake of Fire and I kept that in my story. There are various beasties that swim in the lake and try to stop the repentant from recovering their hearts. In Recreated, the hearts of those who are banished to the Netherworld are placed in locations of varying degrees of danger. The person brave enough to recover his, one who can learn from the mistakes made while in the flesh, can get it back. In essence, this will heal the soul who has lost his heart. They are then eligible to leave the Netherworld for the Afterlife as long as they can get past the things that might stop them.

I think my favorite place there is the field of ghosts. This is where the reapers come in. There is an actual field in the Netherworld where ghosts are planted in rows. They are allowed to “ripen” and when they’re ready, the reapers cut them down and take them to the Devourer so she can consume them. Pretty creepy, right?

Exploring the Netherworld was a fun adventure for me. I hope you enjoy heading off with Lily and her companions as she traverses the dangerous paths and creatures who live there.

Find Colleen Houck on the Internet!
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ColleenRayHouck/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ColleenHouck
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/colleen.houck/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheColleenhouck
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3097905.Colleen_Houck
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/colleenrayhouck/
Website: http://colleenhouck.com/

Purchase Recreated on Amazon here.

Watch the book trailer for Recreated here.

Colleen will be giving away five sets of Reawakened and Recreated! Enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the other stops on the tour!

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When you learn about the Netherworld…..

…..blame it on the books.

 

Top Ten ALAAC16 Moments!

Posted August 1, 2016 by MC / 5 Comments

Categories: Bloggers You Need to Know, Bookish Thoughts


Guys! I went to ALA! AND. IT. WAS.

AWESOME.

I have been thinking about this post since I got home, and honestly, if I wrote everything I am feeling about my whole experience, we would be here forever. So I am going to follow in the footsteps of Christina and Gee and list my top ten moments of ALA. (By the way, I make an appearance in both of their posts, so you should go check them out if you want a good laugh!) I will list and link all of the truly amazing people that I met at the end of this post, so you can put names to faces! 🙂

  1. Meeting Emily, my blogging inspiration and one of my first and closest blogger friends. It was absolutely amazing meeting her and I miss her dearly. She is lovely and wonderful and everything I expected her to be and even more.

  2. Meeting Marcus Sedgwick, who may or may not have thought I was stalking him. Oops….

  3. That time I asked the girl who gave me Gemina if I could hug her….and bless her heart, she obliged.

  4. Lillie’s expressions. She had the BEST reaction to meeting everyone for the first time. Honestly, this girl’s expressions are the greatest.

  5. Playing book fairy all weekend. I had to be very careful about the amount of books I took home with me because I was flying, so I took great pleasure in spreading the wealth and handing out books to everyone.

  6. That time I sniffed my pits for Erin Summerill (you had to be there.)

  7. The We Need Diverse Books panel, and later, meeting Alex Gino and Bill Konigsberg.

  8. Leading the troops through the maze of the exhibit hall each morning. Apologies to those I left behind….there were books to be had! No time for moseying! (I seriously lost Gee about every five minutes.)

  9. The hilarity of our group DM on Twitter, and more importantly, the fact that it has continued even after we all left ALA. Just over a month has passed since ALA, and we still talk to each other every single day.

  10. Realizing that I’ve never felt more myself than when I was hanging out with these lovely women. I feel like I have known them all forever, and my heart hurts thinking about how much I miss them. We only spent a few short days together, but I know that I can talk to them about anything and they will always be there for me.

ALAAC was the best experience of my life. It changed me as a person and as a blogger, and that is completely due to the people I met and the friendships I made. I would give back all the books I received (heck, I’d give ALL my books) for that experience again.

I have never met a group of more lovely, beautiful, kind, passionate people in my life, and I encourage you all to go meet them, because they will change your life as well:

Emily at Emily Reads Everything

Gee at A Book and a Cup of Coffee

Lillie at Little Lillie Reads

Kendice at Kendice Reads Books

Alex at Fiery Reads

Christina at Books and Prejudice

Aila at One Way or an Author

Cat [her awesome blog is on hiatus at the moment!]

Carrie at Paper Bindings

Tracy at Cornerfolds (who actually joined our group after ALA, but fits in perfectly as part of the family)

Brittany at Brittany’s Book Rambles

Megan at Book Birds (on YouTube!)

Michelle at Dreaming of Alba

Stefani at Caught Read Handed

Becca at Pivot Book Totes (her Etsy shop!)

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When you go to ALAAC – and it changes your life…..

…..blame it on the books.

An Interview (and more) with Bookitcon Author S. Usher Evans!

Posted July 24, 2016 by MC / 0 Comments

Categories: Author Interviews, Bookish Thoughts

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Hey, howdy, hey everyone! In case you didn’t know, Bookitcon: Chapter Two is coming up in just a few weeks on August 7! Bookitcon is created and run by the amazing Nori at ReadWriteLove28. I will leave everything you need to know about Bookitcon (and even ways to be a part of it for those who can’t attend) down below.

But first, let me introduce you to the fantastic S. Usher Evans, one of the authors who will be attending Bookitcon: Chapter Two! I was able to interview S. Usher Evans (aka Sush) so that you can all get to know her a little better before Bookitcon. And she even gave me the inside scoop on her upcoming release! Keep reading to learn more!

SUUUUUUUUUSH!!!!!!!! Welcome to my blog! Make yourself comfortable! Kick up your feet! I’m so happy to have you here today, my friend. Let’s start off with the reason you’re here…how excited are you for Bookitcon???????????

Like, been planning this for six months super excited and can’t even contain my glee excited? I just think the world of Nori, and there’s going to be so many of my Twitter friends there. I couldn’t say no!

AND I get to bring some ARCs of my new YA fantasy Spells and Sorcery! Be still my beating heart!

I’M SO EXCITED TO MEET YOU! Ok, now onto some slightly more serious questions. I know you love being an indie author and are very proud of it (as you should be!) – why did you choose to remain indie and why is it so important to you?

I chose to go indie more because I wanted to publish a book. There was no other reason behind it (at the time). During the process, I had this moment of revelation like, “This is it. This is what you were put on this earth to do” because I was running a business (which I love), scheduling projects (which I also love), and writing. All together, I couldn’t imagine a better life for me.

I really like the control. I really like how I get to tell the story I want to tell and there’s no one telling me it won’t “sell” because of subjective reasons. Granted, sometimes they’re right, and granted, sometimes it’s a lot harder to blast your own horn than have a publishing company behind your back, and granted, the slow growth of gathering an audience has been incredibly frustrating, but I’m really happy with the path I chose.

You have written so much so far! A fantasy standalone with mental health themes, a completed New Adult sci-fi series, a New Adult fantasy(ish) trilogy (conclusion coming soon!), and you are about to release the first book in a new Young Adult fantasy series. Have any of these genres/age categories been harder for you to write than the others? How have you had to change your writing or the way you approach each project?

I learned very quickly that no book is ever drafted the same because Lord knows I tried to force myself to write them all the same. Actually, every day is different. Some days, I just pick up where I left off and start writing linearly. Other days, I’ll poke through the manuscript until I find a spot that’s calling to me. And still others, I’ll poke and poke and maybe add a hundred words here and there and then give up. Some days, I get up and dump two thousand words before I’ve had breakfast. Other days, I struggle until nine at night and then dump 4k into the draft.

The hardest book to write, hands down, was Empath. It wasn’t just writing a book about a girl traveling to a fantasy land, it was an allegory to the darkest point in my life. I wrote about how it felt to have anxiety, to feel depression closing in around me while I was trying to remain outwardly happy. I wrote all my biggest fears and the things that I was afraid to face about the break-up with my ex-boyfriend. When it was done, this huge weight lifted off my chest. That’s why it’s not getting a sequel.

I hope.

I know that, in a sense, you have spent time in all of the worlds you have created. But if you had to pick just one of your worlds to live in, which one would you pick? (I know, this is a tough one!)

It’s probably a tie between having Lexie’s magic (she’s in this world) or Lyssa’s. I’d love the ability to summon and conjure things. I would never lose anything ever again. And it would be fun to zip around the galaxy with Lyssa, although she’d be a horrible traveling partner. 

You will be moderating the Surprises in Publishing panel at Bookitcon. Can you give us a sneak peak?  What are you planning on discussing with the other authors on the panel? What is one of the biggest surprises you have encountered as an indie author?

I’m super excited about the panel! I think it’s going to be pretty eye-opening about what we thought this business would be, and what it actually is. For me, the most surprising aspect of publishing is actually how easy the actual “publishing” part is. It’s literally, create an account, upload a .doc, add a cover, set the price, press publish. Voila, your book is on Amazon.

Now, of course, there’s a lot more that goes into preparing the book to be ready and marketing it. But “publishing” actually takes about three seconds.

This is a long shot, but I’m going to ask it anyway….any chance you could give us a sneak peak of your next release, Spells and Sorcery? Just a little teaser? Some inside information? Maybe? Please??? Pretty pleaseeeeeeeee?????????

GURL YAS! I’m so excited about this book. It’s been one of those in my memory bank since I was thirteen, and I’m so excited to watch everyone meet Lexie and hear her story. I’m still on the fence about how many books the series is going to be. Definitely three, perhaps four, depending on how I feel when I get there.

The snippet comes from right after her family tells her she has magic (well, her butthead older sister uses it in front of her) and she’s having a bit of trouble adjusting to this new bit of info:

I ran out of the house as fast as my legs could carry me. I couldn’t believe it. I just couldn’t…

Magic?

Was real?

Not only was it real, but I had it. So did that make me a witch or a wizard or…?

Or nothing. Magic didn’t exist.

But it did, because I’d seen with my own two eyes. 

I slowed and looked behind me to see if Jeanie or Nicole were coming after me. I wanted them to rush out and say it was a giant joke and Marie was in on it and “Ha-ha. Happy birthday, idiot.”

But as the fall night darkened around me, I heard no voices behind me. Nothing except the random car door slamming or the rumble of a truck passing on the highway nearby. 

Perhaps I’d just imagined the whole thing. Maybe I’d had a stroke. 

There was a small park in the distance, and I marched toward it, waiting to wake up from this strange dream. The lamplights snapped on, and I jumped nearly out of my skin, my heart thudding wildly. I stared at the orange glow for a moment, taking a few moments to convince myself that the streetlights were on a timer, and not turning on of their own volition. 

They couldn’t have been turned on by magic, could they?

Could they?

“I’m losing it,” I whispered, covering my face with my hands. 

I crossed the grassy park, headed for the swing set. I plopped down on the swing and leaned against the chain. After a moment, I began to swing back and forth, allowing my mind to go blank for just a moment. I took a deep breath in and out and stared at the empty suburban streets.

“Yer a wizard, Lexie…” I whispered to myself. 

“Rough day?”

My head bobbled up at the sound. An older man stood on the sidewalk. He wore casual khaki pants and a polo shirt, and his salt-and-pepper hair was neatly trimmed. He stood under one of the street lamps, which gave him an almost angelic sort of glow.

“W-what?” I said, realizing he was still talking to me. 

“I asked if you were all right,” he said, stepping out of the spotlight and closer to the swing set. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

“Have you ever questioned everything you thought was real?” I asked, for lack of anything better to say. 

“Once or twice,” he responded with a charming smile. “Mind if I join you?”

I shrugged, and he sat down on the other swing beside me. I might have thought it strange, a middle-aged man on a swing set, but I didn’t have a clear definition of weird anymore.

“Want to talk about it?” he asked.

“I doubt you would believe me,” I said. “I don’t believe me.”

“That’s a tough spot to be in. Let me guess: did they tell you about magic?”

I nearly fell out of the swing. “W-wait, you know? Does everybody know?”

He laughed, his few wrinkles deepening with smile lines. “No, of course not. Just those of us who have magic.”

“A-and how did you know I have it?” 

“We can tell,” he said. “You’ll get there, I’m sure. But I only assumed—teenage girl, looking the way you did, magical…”

I slumped lower against the metal chains. “I wonder what else people are lying to me about…”

“You know about the Easter Bunny, right?”

I sat up, wide-eyed. A man-sized rabbit existed?

“He’s not real,” the man finished with an amused smile.

“Very funny,” I said, clutching my still-pounding heart. “After tonight, I’m pretty sure I’d believe anything is real.”

“Magic is real. The Easter Bunny is not. How about we start there?”

“I can’t wrap my head around it,” I said, looking up at the stars. I might’ve still been dreaming, but this guy seemed real enough. “I mean, is science really science or is it magic?”

“I’d go out on a limb and say your understanding of science is sound,” he said thoughtfully. “Magic tends to stay within magical communities. Not too much gets out into the nonmagical lesson books.”

“What about gravity?” I said, lifting my feet from the ground and letting the swing do the work. “Does magic make the earth go ’round?”

“No, the earth rotates due to leftover inertia from when the solar system was created,” he said without missing a beat. 

My feet thudded back onto the sand and I stared at him. I’d never been out-nerded before. 

“Magic is more like another sense,” he said, slowly swinging back and forth. “It’s like an extra hand you wield with your mind.”

“Oh.” I frowned. “I don’t know what that means.”

“Here.” He flicked his hand and, in a purple puff of smoke, a thick book appeared in his hand.

My eyes nearly fell out of my head for what felt like the hundredth time that night. “How did you do that? What is that?”

“This,” he offered the book to me, “is a primer. It was used in the late seventeenth century for young magicals. Very basic, of course, but the best tutorial I’ve found to introduce magic.”

The most purple book I’d ever seen, it was well-worn, the edges frayed and water damaged. The title, Spells and Sorcery, Volume 1, was embossed in a gold lettering that almost glowed. 

It was one thing to see puffs of yellow smoke and sandwiches, but something about this book was alive, and calling to some ethereal feeling dancing in the pit of my stomach.  

I shook my head. Probably indigestion. “This is…”

“Open it.”

“I…”  Even though I was still in shock, curiosity was starting to take hold. That strange calling grew more pronounced the longer I held the book in my lap. So, almost compelled, I opened the book to the front page and ran a finger along the pressed pages. “Where’d you get this?”

“I’m a collector of old books—specifically magical ones. I’m sort of a history buff.” He paused and nodded to it. “Why don’t you take that with you and give it a read?”

Something in the back of my mind reminded me of a book that housed an evil wizard. I glanced at the book and shook my head. “I can’t possibly take this. It’s…I mean, it’s so old. Probably worth a lot of money.”

“Books are meant to be read, not gathering dust on a shelf. What good is the knowledge in here if I can’t share it?” 

I stammered like an idiot and fired off a few reasons why I couldn’t, but he placed his hand over mine. 

“I insist. Think of it as an early birthday present.”

I narrowed my eyes at him. “How did you know it was my birthday? I mean, it’s not my birthday. Tomorrow’s my birthday.”

“Magic comes at the beginning of one’s fifteenth year,” he said, standing. “I only assumed they wanted to tell you before you woke up with it…”

“Would’ve been nice if they’d told me sooner,” I said, running my fingertips down the front of the book again. 

“I have a feeling that book will help,” he said, nodding once before turning to leave.

“Oh, I’m Lexie, by the way,” I called to him. 

He paused and turned back around with a curious expression. “That’s an interesting name.”

I grimaced. Not the first time I’d heard that. “As in Alexis, but…blah.”

“I prefer Alexis myself,” he said with a smile. “I’m Gavon. Get home before it gets too dark, okay?”

I nodded and opened my mouth to agree but he was gone.

Just…disappeared in front of my eyes gone. In a puff of purple smoke.

Purple smoke.

What was it about people appearing and disappearing in smoke today?

I ran my hands over the cover of the book absent-mindedly. My head was starting to hurt from all the new information crammed into it. But I could never say no to a book, especially one which promised to give me the answers I so desperately needed. 

Thanks so much for being here today! It’s been fun! I’LL SEE YOU SOON FRIEND!!!!

And now, for some information about Bookitcon: Chapter Two!

Who?

(Full list can also be found here)

Albert Borris
Amanda Foody
Anna Breslaw
April Lindner
AV Geiger
Barbara Dee
Beth Fantaskey
Charlotte Huang
Claire Legrand
Emma Chase
Eric Smith
Jodi Meadows
Josh Berk
Julie Chibbaro
Julie Eshbaugh
Karole Cozzo
Kathryn Holmes
Kendall Kulper
Kit Grindstaff
Lee Kelly
Lisa A. Koosis
Mackenzi Lee
Martina A Boone
Mia Siegert
Nancy Norbeck
Phoebe North
S Usher Evans
Sandy Hall
SJ Goslee
Victoria Scott

What?

Bookitcon: Chapter Two is a charity book event. We currently have 28 incredible authors in our lineup. The book event will include meet-n-greets with the authors, along with two panels and the opportunity to get all of your books signed by all of the authors!

If you purchase the VIP ticket, you will also be invited to a VIP dinner/after party with the authors, along with getting an extra hour to get your books signed!

Schedule:

2:30- 3:30pm VIP signing! (open to VIP ticket holders only)

3:30- 6:00pm Regular signing! (open to all attendees)

3:30- 4:15pm Panel A- Surprises in Publishing!

4:30- 5:45pm Panel B- Facts + Fiction!  

6:00- 8:00pm VIP Afterparty! (open to VIP ticket holders only)

Panels:

Surprises in Publishing

Moderator: S Usher Evans

Panelists: Anna Breslaw, Kathryn Holmes, Lee Kelly, Jodi Meadows , Julie Eshbaugh

Facts vs Fiction

Moderator: Claire Legrand

Panelists: Beth Fantaskey, Sandy Hall, Kendall Kulper, Mia Siegert, Eric Smith

Where?

16 East Main Street Moorestown, NJ 08057

When?

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

Why? (From Nori)

I decided to start UBUbiz because I wanted a way to combine my passions for reading, business, and charity/community service. After wracking my brain for months, the idea of Bookitcon suddenly appeared! This is my second year hosting Bookitcon, and I can’t wait.

Bookitcon: Chapter Two isn’t just your ordinary book event. I’m working with the nonprofit Grace in the Mud and two K-8 schools in Camden, NJ to help them grow their outdated libraries. The proceeds from this event will be benefiting them.

You can find more information on Grace in the Mud by going to their website (http://www.graceinthemud.org/home.html), facebook (https://www.facebook.com/GraceintheMud), or gofundme (https://www.gofundme.com/justforgirls).

Other Info:

Interested in attending? Great! You can buy a ticket through the website: www.UBUbiz.com or just click here!

Are you dying of jealousy because you’d love to be able to attend and get books signed by the attending authors? Don’t fear, because virtual signings are here! You can purchase books by any of the attending authors and get it shipped to your house, easy peasy!

Link for Virtual Signings! 

Are you currently unsure but want to stay up to date with all of the latest news? Make sure to subscribe to the UBUbiz newsletter!

Social Media Links:

Website: www.UBUbiz.com

Twitter: @UBUbiz

Insta: @ububiz_

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When you are getting ready for Bookitcon…..

…..blame it on the books.

A Big Announcement!

Posted July 21, 2016 by MC / 2 Comments

Categories: Bookish Thoughts

OH MY GOODNESS OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!

I have been ready to BURST for the past week with some seriously exciting information! Are you ready for it? Are you ready? Can you handle it????

Ok, ok, here it comes……drumroll please………………….

I AM ONE OF THE NEW HOSTS OF BLOGGIESTA, ALONG WITH EMILY OF EMILY READS EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!

Are you excited??? I certainly am! Emily and I will be taking over Bloggiesta, which has been run wonderfully by the lovely Suey up until now. It is time for Suey to pass on the reins, and Emily and I are ready to take over!

In case you don’t know (although I literally tell this story ALL THE TIME), I met Emily through Bloggiesta, and she has since become my best blogging friend. I participated in my first Bloggiesta about three months after I started blogging, and it completely changed my blogging experience. It taught me so much about blogging and introduced me to so many wonderful people that I can’t imagine my life without now.

I was lucky enough to finally meet Emily in person last month, and it was such an amazing experience. When we were presented with the idea of taking over Bloggiesta, we immediately jumped at the chance.

Emily and I are already talking about all the plans we have for Bloggiesta in the future. We are so excited and we hope that you will join us! Make sure you follow us so you don’t miss any exciting news!

Bloggiesta:
Website: Bloggiesta.com
Twitter: @bloggiesta
Instagram: Coming soon!
Facebook: @bloggiesta

Emily:
Website: emilyreadseverything,com
Twitter: @emren
Instagram: @emilyreadseverything
Facebook: @emilyreadseverything

MC:
Website: Um….you’re here aleady
Twitter: @blamethebooks
Instagram: @blamethebooks
Facebook: @blamethebooks (This page is brand new, so it’s not very exciting yet!)

The next Bloggiesta will be a mini event, taking place September 15-18. The fall mini-Bloggiesta was the first one I participated in, so it’s fun thinking that it will be the first one that I am running one year later! We will be looking for volunteers to help us run some mini challenges, so keep an eye out for more information soon!

We are so, so excited about this! Thanks for celebrating with us!!

Adios amigos,

MC, Emily, and of course, Pedro 🙂bloggiestalogo

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When you take over Bloggiesta…..

…..blame it on the books.

BookTube-A-Thon TBR!

Posted July 18, 2016 by MC / 0 Comments

Categories: TBR Lists

Wrap Up _ TBR _ T5W-9

Hi everyone! I have been trying to make up my mind about the BookTube-A-Thon for weeks now, trying to decide if I wanted to participate. But I think it is exactly what I need! I haven’t exactly been slumpy lately, but I haven’t been able to read as much as I would like, so I think this readathon is perfectly timed. BookTube-A-Thon was the first “event” that I participated in when I discovered this wonderful online book community, and this will be my third year participating!

There are seven challenges for the BookTube-A-Thon, and one of those challenges is to read seven books. I just know that’s not going to happen, so I am scratching that challenge and I am going to combine a few of the other challenges as well.

Here are the challenges and what I will be reading!

  1. Read seven books 
  2. Read a book with yellow on the cover: Reawakened by Colleen Hock (the title is gold, it counts!)
  3. Only read a book after sunset: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
  4. Read a book you discovered because of BookTube: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  5. Read a book by a favorite author: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
  6. Read a book that’s older than you (I’m completely cheating and reading a book that takes place in a time older than me):  My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
  7. Read a book to movie adaptation: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

The BookTube-A-Thon starts today, July 18, and ends on Sunday July 24. The 24 in 48 Readathon is overlapping with it, and takes place on the weekend of July 23-24. So I will have double the excuses to get some reading done! I can’t wait!

Are you participating in the BookTube-A-Thon? What is on your TBR?

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When it’s time to BookTube-A-Thon…..

…..blame it on the books.

 

Blog Tour: The Chasm by S. Usher Evans

Posted July 12, 2016 by MC / 0 Comments

Categories: Blog Tours, Book Reviews

Blog Tour: The Chasm by S. Usher EvansThe Chasm by S. Usher Evans
Published by Sun's Golden Ray Publishing on July 12th 2016
Goodreads

 They survived The Island, but can they cross The Chasm?
Four months after Prince Galian was discovered alive on a remote island, he's adjusting slowly to life at the hospital under the Kylaen media's glare. His promises to Theo remain unfulfilled as fear of his father keeps him from taking concrete action. And the more he learns about the machinations in Kylae, the less sure he is that it's possible to make a difference.
Across the great Madion Sea, Major Theo Kallistrate struggles to navigate the tricky political waters of Rave's presidential staff. To make positive change for her people, she must remain relevant and interesting to the Raven media and to the president. When he asks her to deliver a speech on her supposed two-month imprisonment at Mael, she's not sure she can stomach the lies.
The Chasm is S. Usher Evans' breathtaking, fast-paced follow-up to The Island, which readers say is "not to be missed."

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Wow, Sush, you have done it again. It is always a teensy bit nerve-wracking to pick up a book written by a friend, but S. Usher Evans has yet to let me down. I really enjoyed The Island, the first book in the Madion War series (check out my review here), so I jumped at the chance to review it’s sequel, The Chasm, and be a part of the blog tour / street team. I am so impressed with this sequel, and I am very happy to be sharing my review with you today, which is THE CHASM‘S RELEASE DAY!!!!!!

After reading The Island, which mainly takes place, well, on an island, the switch to The Chasm was definitely a change of pace. The main characters, Theo and Galian, were mainly the only characters we encountered in the first book, so I already knew and loved them both. But in The Chasm, a whole new cast of characters is introduced and expanded upon. And I LOVED IT. I found myself so connected to the characters that I cried when they cried, laughed when they laughed. I absolutely adored meeting the people that brought Theo and Galian joy…as well as those that brought them pain.

The only thing that I disliked about this book is the fact that it includes a bit of (as I like to call them) “sexy times.” It is not incredibly explicit and there is absolutely nothing wrong with the scenes themselves, but I personally don’t enjoy reading about bedroom encounters. I did know what I was getting into when I picked up this book, so the fact that I disliked these scenes is entirely because of my own reading preferences and is not a critique on the writing. If you are like me and you don’t enjoy reading sex scenes, I would still encourage you to read this book. A very small portion of the book is devoted to romance, and the rest of the plot is absolutely fantastic. It would be an complete shame to overlook this series just because of a little bit of sexy times.

I actually think I enjoyed The Chasm just a teensy bit more that The Island. Meeting so many wonderful characters really sucked me in and sold me on this story. I am really looking forward to seeing what happens to all of these beloved characters in the final book in the trilogy, The Union, which releases on Valentine’s Day 2017! So you still have time to pick up The Island and The Chasm and give them a read before the final book comes out. And for now, I hope you will join me in wishing the lovely S. Usher Evans a very happy release day!!!!

To purchase a copy of The Island, click here!

To purchase a copy of The Chasm, click here!

 4 Stars

Meet the Author!

S. Usher Evans is an author, blogger, and witty banter aficionado. Born in Pensacola, Florida, she left the sleepy town behind for the fast-paced world of Washington, D.C.. There, she somehow landed jobs with BBC, Discovery Channel, and National Geographic Television before finally settling into a “real job” as an IT consultant. After a quarter life crisis at age 27, she decided consulting was for the birds and rekindled a childhood passion for writing novels. She sold everything she owned and moved back to Pensacola, where she currently resides with her two dogs, Zoe and Mr. Biscuit.

Evans is the author of the Razia series and Empath, both published by Sun’s Golden Ray Publishing.

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When a series continues to impress you…..

…..blame it on the books.

Make Me Read It Episode 8 | Bianca @ The Ultimate Fangirl: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

Posted July 4, 2016 by MC / 3 Comments

Categories: Featured Bloggers, Make Me Read It

Make Me Read It (1)

Learn more about Make Me Read It here!

Hello all! Welcome to the another episode of my Make Me Read It feature!!!! Today I have some very special guests with me here on my blog.

First, we have the wonderful Bianca of The Ultimate Fangirl, making her second appearance on my blog. I had the pleasure of interviewing her here a few months ago, and she did an absolutely beautiful job of convincing me to read The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. Seriously, her post was amazing. Make sure you go check it out here. I’ve been able to work with Bianca over the past few months as one of the hosts of the Fanboy Book Club, which she created (shameless plug…get more info here). Today she is here to convince me to read another book that is dear to her – Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick – and she has even managed to get Leonard himself to come here and talk to us!

I’m so excited to have these two guests with me today, so let’s get this interview started!

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Bianca:

Hi Bianca! Welcome back! For anyone who may not know you yet, tell us a bit about yourself and your blog.

Good to be back, MC! Hello everyone! My name is Bianca and I blog over at The Ultimate Fangirl on notoriouslaylow.wordpress.com. I just came back from a school-caused hiatus, and my blog is up and running again. Basically, my blog is quite random and can be easily mistaken for a breeding ground for fandoms. (That rhymed. Haha!) I mostly talk about books, but you can find a little something for everyone there. Be warned though, I usually talk about male characters. I mean, behind every fandom lies a handsome guy, am I right? Hahaha.

[Now do you guys understand why Bianca created the Fanboy Book Club???] What is one of the biggest tips you have learned through your blogging experience?

One of the many things I have learned from blogging is that a hiatus is inevitable. Sometimes, it’s a good thing. It gives you back all the imaginary juices to replenish your brain for wonderful ideas that you can do for your posts. I personally had a lot of hiatuses because of my ridiculous school schedule, which will make take me away from my blog when it’s my final terms.

That is great advice. I think a lot of bloggers feel guilty when they take time off from blogging, but sometimes it can best a good thing! What is your favorite book that you own (your most prized possession)?

Funny thing is, it’s the book on my first Make Me Read It participation. It’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. It’s currently with a friend, but in all honesty, I cannot stand being away from it for too long because Charlie is just precious. That book helps me when I am struggling.

I could tell how much you love that book from the last time you were here on the blog! Why should I read Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock?

Leonard is this complex male lead who just wants something to hold onto. You can feel it in his character. He treasures the people who give him time. And I think that if you give your time to sit down and read about this character, you’ll really appreciate what a character like Leonard.

I can’t wait to meet him! And of course, leave us your links so everyone can follow you!

Twitter: twitter.com/UltmtFangirl & twitter.com/fbcyaph

Goodreads: goodreads.com/theultmtfangirl

Instagram: Instagram.com/theultmtfangirl

It’s been so good to have you again, Bianca! If you don’t know Bianca yet, you definitely need to go click those links above and check her out. But first, let’s get Leonard in here and see what he has to say…

Leonard:

Hi, Leonard, thanks for joining us today. Lately I’ve been hearing a lot about your story. What can you tell us about your story (without giving too much away)?

Hello there nice lady. Now here’s someone who is in their sense to do what they love. I truly admire an adult who takes time in these endeavors. What page are we on? Oh right… my story. Let’s just say that it was my most memorable birthday yet. I planned to kill Asher Beal, and then myself. But I had to leave my legacy first. I mean, I had to leave something for the people I love before I die, right? I’m not that heartless.

Wow, that sounds like quite a birthday. I’m definitely intrigued. Tell us about the most important people in your life that make an appearance in your book.

There’s my mom, Linda (though I don’t think she counts). There’s Walt, my neighbor, who idolizes Humphrey Bogart. Then there’s Herr Silverman, my Nazi teacher. He’s an amazing person, and probably the most sensible adult out here. And… Lauren. I won’t bore you with the details, but let’s just say that I am Humphrey Bogart, and I want her to be my Lauren Bacall. I find her fascinating.

What a cast of characters! Your book deals with some pretty tough topics. Why do you think it is so important that people read your story?

I say it matters because it makes you think. Like if you’re in a bad place, you could just remember me and my book. It’s a story that you would want to contemplate with, because I know life in general can be a bummer sometimes. People should pick it up so they can be inspired with all that jazz about life.

Do you have any advice or encouraging words for those who might be experiencing tough situations in their own lives?

Herr Silverman actually made us write letters to the future, so I suggest they do the same. But I want you guys to know that if you are ever having a bad time, lean on to the closest people in your life. It can be your friends, family, or even your neighbor or teacher. There’s always something in this world that keeps everyone going on.

What wonderful advice. You have definitely convinced me to pick up your book, Leonard. I want to know more about your story. Thanks for joining us today!

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Well, that’s all everyone! Huge thanks to Bianca and Leonard for stopping by to talk to me. Ok, if you haven’t noticed by now, this was actually all Bianca! Once again, she has wowed me with her ability to step into a characters shoes to answer my interview questions. I’m so glad Bianca decided to let me interview her again. It has been a lot of fun seeing how our relationship has changed since her first appearance here. Now I can’t imagine my blogging life without her!

What is Make Me Read It? Simple – you tell me your favorite book and I interview you and your favorite character (you get to answer the questions in the character’s voice)! Let’s see if your favorite characters can convince me to read their books!

Do you want to recommend a book to me and be featured on my blog???? I would love to have you!

SIGN UP HERE!

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When you get to interview your favorite characters…..

…..blame it on the books.