Blog Tour: Below by Alexandria Warwick!


Hi there, everyone! Today on the blog, we're lucky enough to be participating in the blog tour for FOUL IS FAIR by Hannah Capin -- and we have an awesome excerpt to show you as well! So without further ado, let's get into it!

ABOUT THE BOOK

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Title: Below (North, #1)
Author: Alexandria Warwick
Publisher: Wolf Publishing
Publication Date: February 4th, 2020


Summary: In the heart of the frigid North, there lives a demon known as the Face Stealer. Eyes, nose, mouth—nothing and no one is safe. Once he returns to his lair, or wherever it is he dwells, no one ever sees those faces again. When tragedy strikes, Apaay embarks on a perilous journey to find her sister's face—yet becomes trapped in a labyrinth ruled by a sinister girl named Yuki. The girl offers Apaay a deal: find her sister's face hidden within the labyrinth, and she will be set free. But the labyrinth, and those who inhabit it, is not as it seems. Especially Numiak: darkly beautiful, powerful, whose motives are not yet clear. With time slipping, Apaay is determined to escape the deadly labyrinth with her sister's face in hand. But in Yuki's harsh world, Apaay will need all her strength to survive. Yuki only plays the games she wins.

Alexandria Warwick Lists the Top Ten Characters She Wishes She Could Be Friends With!

In no particular order…
1. Alanna of Trebond from the Song of the Lioness quartet. Alanna is a fierce heroine who will defend her friends to the death. I’d love to have her on my side.
2. Sokka from Avatar: The Last Airbender. He’s funny, he always has a plan, plus he has the best one-liners. ("It's the quenchiest!")
3. Kestrel from the Winner’s trilogy. Not only does she have a fascinating mind, but she’s a pianist, and that would be pretty cool if we could play piano/violin duets together.
4. Damen from the Captive Prince series. Just thinking about him makes me want to cry. He’s so loyal to those he cares about. An all-around great, honorable person.
5. Also from the Captive Prince series: Charls! We’d roam the world selling Veretian cloth.
6. Ivan from The One and Only Ivan. He’s a gorilla, but he sees the world with so much purity. I think everyone can learn something from Ivan.
7. Ryiah from the Black Mage series. She’s very similar to Alanna in that her loyalty knows no bounds.
8. Mushu from Mulan. Okay, who doesn’t want a sassy dragon sidekick?
9. Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle. He’s a powerful sorcerer, enigmatic, plus he's great to swoon over.
10. Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon. Enough said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alexandria Warwick

Alexandria Warwick is the #1 fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender. She is the author of The Demon Race and the upcoming North series.
Keep up with Alexandria: Website / Goodreads / Instagram

We'd like to once again thank the amazing team at The Fantastic Flying Book Club for including us in this blog tour, and another huge thank you to Alexandria for creating this top ten list for us! If BELOW sounds like the kind of book you'd be interested in, make sure to scroll up and hit that Goodreads button so you can add it to your TBR! :-)


ARC Review: Havenfall by Sara Holland

Title: Havenfall (Havenfall #1)
Author: Sara Holland
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Bloomsbury YA via NetGalley
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Publication Date: March 3rd 2020 

Summary: 

A safe haven between four realms. The girl sworn to protect it--at any cost. New York Times bestselling author Sara Holland crafts a breathtaking new contemporary fantasy perfect for fans of Melissa Albert and Holly Black. Hidden deep in the mountains of Colorado lies the Inn at Havenfall, a sanctuary that connects ancient worlds--each with their own magic--together. For generations, the inn has protected all who seek refuge within its walls, and any who disrupt the peace can never return. For Maddie Morrow, summers at the inn are more than a chance to experience this magic first-hand. Havenfall is an escape from reality, where her mother sits on death row accused of murdering Maddie's brother. It's where Maddie fell in love with handsome Fiorden soldier Brekken. And it's where one day she hopes to inherit the role of Innkeeper from her beloved uncle. But this summer, the impossible happens--a dead body is found, shattering everything the inn stands for. With Brekken missing, her uncle gravely injured, and a dangerous creature on the loose, Maddie suddenly finds herself responsible for the safety of everyone in Havenfall. She'll do anything to uncover the truth, even if it means working together with an alluring new staffer Taya, who seems to know more than she's letting on. As dark secrets are revealed about the inn itself, one thing becomes clear to Maddie--no one can be trusted, and no one is safe . . . Sara Holland takes the lush fantasy that captured readers in Everless and Evermore and weaves it into the real world to create a wholly captivating new series where power and peril lurk behind every door.


*Thank you so much to Bloomsbury and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review Havenfall. All thoughts and opinions are my own!*

I really enjoyed Sara's debut duology, Everless. So when I learned that she was going to be publishing another YA fantasy duology, I was super excited. Havenfall captivated me from page one and has me flipping the pages as fast as I could to see what was going to happen next. 

All Maddie wants is to become the innkeeper of the Inn at Havenfall, the neutral space between three different realms. Summer after summer the Inn at Havenfall has been Maddie's escape from the reality of her mother facing death row, her brother's death but it's also been the only place she gets to spend the summer with Brekken, a Fiorden solider that Maddie is falling for. But Maddie's summer begins to fall apart the moment she arrives at Havenfall, the door to Solaria, a world that was closed off generations ago has opened, someone is dead, her uncle is gravely ill and unable to run the inn and Brekken is missing. With the help of Taya, one of the mortal helping hands at Havenfall, Maddie must become the innkeeper in her uncle's absence and make sure that this years summit doesn't fall apart. But, what happens when darker forces are at work?

I really enjoyed the world building in Havenfall. Sara used a contemporary backdrop to create a captivating and lush fantasy world, that comes alive in front of your eyes. Though I have many questions about the different worlds mentioned in Havenfall, Sara gave us enough world building to get and overall idea of the world and its culture and it's importance to the story line. But I am excited to learn more about Fiordenkill, Byrn and Solaria in the next book (and possibly even get to visit one of these worlds!) In her debut series, the world building was one of the aspects that I did have issues with and I am glad to see that in this series it isn't an issue. 

I really enjoyed Maddie's character. A lot of the time in fantasy characters act older then there actual age. In Havenfall, Maddie actually felt like a seventeen year old to me. She made mistakes, she was overwhelmed and she looked to others for help. When she was a child, a Solarian broke into her house and killer her brother and her mother, trying to protect Havenfall took the blame. Through out the novel we see Maddie struggle with survivors guilt and how if she had called for help and didn't climb into the cabinet, how things might be different. 

We learn pretty early on in the story that Maddie is Bi, so when Taya was introduced I suspected that there would be a love triangle. I want to say that there is a slight love triangle, it is nothing crazy and it isn't overwhelming in the slightest. I can see Maddie ended up with both Taya and Brekken. But, with how Havenfall ended I am intrigued to see how the romance aspect is going to play out. 

Overall I really enjoyed Havenfall and I can't wait to see what book two is going to have in store for Maddie, Brekken, Taya and the rest of this cast. Sara's sophomore series is one that shouldn't be missed and has the potential to appeal to both fantasy and contemporary readers alike. 



Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite Rom-Com Covers!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl in which we create bookish lists about everything from our favorite characters to love triangles and everything in between!

This Week's Theme: My Favorite Rom-Com Covers!

This week's topic is a cover-related freebie, so I decided to highlight ten of my favorite rom-com covers, both YA and otherwise. So without further ado, here are the covers that I love!

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If you couldn't already tell, I'm huge into drawn, brightly-illustrated rom-com covers! What about you? Comment some of your favorite rom-com covers down below!

Review: Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen

Title: Loveboat, Taipei
Author: Abigail Hing Wen
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 432 Pages
Published January 2020


Summary: “Our cousins have done this program,” Sophie whispers. “Best kept secret. Zero supervision.” And just like that, Ever Wong’s summer takes an unexpected turn. Gone is Chien Tan, the strict educational program in Taiwan that Ever was expecting. In its place, she finds Loveboat: a summer-long free-for-all where hookups abound, adults turn a blind eye, snake-blood sake flows abundantly, and the nightlife runs nonstop. But not every student is quite what they seem: Ever is working toward becoming a doctor but nurses a secret passion for dance. Rick Woo is the Yale-bound child prodigy bane of Ever’s existence whose perfection hides a secret. Boy-crazy, fashion-obsessed Sophie Ha turns out to have more to her than meets the eye. And under sexy Xavier Yeh’s shell is buried a shameful truth he’ll never admit. When these students’ lives collide, it’s guaranteed to be a summer Ever will never forget.

When I first heard about this book and heard that it was being marketed as Crazy Rich Asians as a YA book, I was immediately intrigued. Crazy Rich Asians is one of my favorite book series, and I've also always been really intrigued by books that focused on the lives of the rich and glamorous. So, needless to say, I was super excited for this book to come out, and I tore into it the day it was released. So without further ado, let's get into my review!

As the summary explains, Ever Wong finds herself being shipped off to Taipei for a summer at Chien Tan, a strict educational program. But what Ever isn't expecting is for Chien Tan to be nicknamed "Loveboat" -- a summer filled with adventures, clubbing, hookups, and more. It's a world that Ever isn't used to and her parents would be shocked if they ever knew she participated in it. Which is precisely why she has to. And she knows that it's about to be a really, really interesting summer.

I really enjoyed reading this book! Like I said, I was a big fan of Crazy Rich Asians and I'm a sucker for any story that has to do with glitz and glamour -- AKA why I was such a huge fan of CRA and also Gossip Girl and The Selection and the like! So I devoured this book and seriously couldn't put it down, tearing through over 100 pages in a single day, just because I loved the story so much and didn't want it to end. Ever's narrative voice was really easy to settle into, and before long I found myself tagging along with her as she explored Taipei and even herself, learning to break all of her parents' strict rules and to chase her own freedom and happiness for once. Watching Ever's character change from the beginning of the novel until the end was definitely a really inspiring (and fun!) ride.

My favorite character in this book was definitely torn between Rick and Xavier, much like Ever is herself. They were both so different -- Rick being the "perfect" Chinese boy, with all of these accomplishments and a future so carefully mapped out for him, while Xavier is darker and more brooding, not really sure what he wants to do with his life, and also a lot more quiet and withdrawn than Rick is. Even though they seemed to be polar opposites, it was clear how much both boys cared, and I found myself swooning for them equally throughout the story.

(Spoilers here! Skip to the next paragraph to avoid them!) The only thing I wasn't super 100% crazy about with this book was the way that Ever juggled between Rick and Xavier. While she seemed happy with Rick in the end, we don't really get as much chemistry, love, and understanding as we see when she's with Xavier. Even though he wasn't the nicest guy in the beginning, I feel like he really changes throughout the story and even though I had a feeling she'd end up with Rick, I was pretty bummed for Xavier. But that's just my own personal preference!

Overall, I really loved Loveboat, Taipei. According to Goodreads, there's a second book coming, so if you need me, I'll be eagerly awaiting it! For now, if you're looking for a glitzy, glamorous, exciting new read about defying expectations, finding yourself, and maybe even falling in love, I'd definitely recommend picking this one up!



 

Interview With 2020 Debut Laynie Bynum!

In 2019, we made it our goal is to work with as many debut authors as possible and spread the word about their debut novels. It was such a success last year that we decided to continue the fun this year as well! Follow us this year as we pick the minds of the 2020 debuts and chat with them. Also stay tuned for news of giveaways, Twitter chats and more!
At the end of 2019, we Tweeted about wanting to discover more debut authors and their books. We ended up finding Laynie Bynum and her novel ADELINE'S ARIA, and we have been interested in it ever since. We are so excited to have Laynie on the blog today to answer some of our questions! 



Laynie Bynum

Laynie Bynum is a Young Adult author from Birmingham, Alabama who writes everything from Contemporary Romance to Urban Fantasy. She is inspired by the works of her favorite authors including Sarah Dessen, John Green, Cassandra Clare, and Neil Gaiman. When she isn't crafting characters who reflect her never-ending wanderlust and love of music, she is the Marketing Manager at Magnolia Press and a contributor for Alabama Family Connections Magazine. She is also the Vice President of Communications for the Young Adult chapter of Romance Writers of America. In her personal life, she strives to be an excellent mom to her two children, her “bonus kids”, and the small army of woodland creatures she has amassed including a turtle, rabbit, and hedgehog.

Keep up with Laynie: Website / Twitter / Goodreads/ Instagram


The Book Bratz: First of all, congratulations! How does it feel to be a debut author?
Laynie: Incredibly exciting but also terrifying. You spend years and years learning to write, you take this tiny grain of a concept and work hard to make it the best story it can be. You revise, you edit, you delete scenes you love, you add scenes, you let it rest, and then you do it all over again. Your characters become your best friends. Their world becomes your world. And now, it’s going out on its own. There are no more changes that can be made. The book no longer belongs to me. It belongs to the readers now. Letting go of that control and just hoping that people love it as much as I did is a lot of pressure. But at the same time, I can’t wait for the world to meet this characters on the chance that they do love them as much as I do.
The Book Bratz: In your opinion, what's the best part of the writing process? What's the hardest?
Laynie: I have a tendency to get in my own head a lot. Creating and writing help me channel that energy into something productive instead of letting it get to me. For me that is the best part. I am constantly sitting around thinking of plot ideas and characters rather than worrying about things I can’t control. It’s done wonders for my mental health. For me the hardest part is the business side. I am a creative, introverted person. I like the indoors, books, and getting lost in other worlds. Throwing myself out of that comfort zone is hard, but necessary. As backwards as it sounds, that’s why I’d like to have as much contact with my readers as I can. That way instead of talking to a room full of strangers (or a social media platform full of strangers) about my book, I’m just hanging out with friends. It takes a bit of the awkwardness and anxiety out of the mix. 

The Book Bratz: Where did you get the inspiration for ADELINE'S ARIA?
Laynie: There was no one big inspirational moment for Adeline’s Aria. I started it as a short story for my best friend who I had drug into one of my own celebrity obsessions. She read it and was like, “This is great, but what happens next?”. Which meant I needed to write more. Before the first draft was done, the main characters were an important part of our lives. 

The Book Bratz: Who was your favorite character to write? Who was the hardest?
Laynie: My favorite and the hardest are the same character. My real life is full of people struggling with something. Often it is mental health problems. Sometimes it is sexuality. Sometimes it’s family issues or past trauma. I wanted Addie’s world to reflect that too. But doing so meant trying to show those delicate situations with as much grace and authenticity as possible. Skylar, Jude’s brother, is the most easy-going and lovable guy you will ever meet, but underneath all of that, he’s struggling with quite a bit. He puts all of his issues to the side to help and be there for the MC until he lets it build up too much and can’t handle it anymore. Skylar, to me, echoes the same sentiment that Robin Williams did when he said, “I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy because they know what it's like to feel absolutely worthless and they don't want anyone else to feel like that.” It was difficult to me because his journey is so important, to the series and also for the readers who may be in a similar position, and I wanted to make sure I wrote it as well as it deserved.

The Book Bratz: Music is a big focus of the book. Was music important to you during your teenage years as well?
Laynie: It was. I was the kid with headphones in all of the time. I was hanging out in shady music venues and bars when I was much too young and just hoping not to get kicked out. I have no shame in saying that I was an emo kid. I am still a little emo, just not so much a kid anymore. Music and lyrics saved my life at times. It gave me a home when I felt lost and showed me how universal human emotions could be. A 40 year old man could write a lyric and it would be exactly what I felt but didn’t have the words to say as a 16 year-old kid. 

(Embarrassing photo time. Teenage music-obsessed Laynie at Warped Tour 2002 with Benji Madden of Good Charlotte. )

The Book Bratz: What do you hope that readers will take away from ADELINE'S ARIA?
Laynie:I always read these billionaire romances or rockstar romances and the main characters were always so put together. If I was thrown into that world, I’d be a mess. My anxiety would be out of control. My insecurities would run wild. While they were entertaining, it always made me feel a little like this situation couldn’t happen to me because I didn’t wear heels or have my life figured out. I wanted Addie to be a dumpster fire the way I was a dumpster fire. She trips over her own feet. She never says the right thing when she wants to. She wears converse instead of high heels and jeans instead of dresses. She doesn’t feel like she belongs in that world. I wanted her to be flawed and real so that girls like me could read the book and know that they are just as worthy of a great, world-altering love like you read in romance novels. That what matters is their heart, not their clothes or their pocketbook. 

The Book Bratz: Do you plan on returning to the world of ADELINE'S ARIA in the future, or do you have any other projects in mind? Can you tell us anything about them?
Laynie: There is actually a prequel to Adeline’s Aria where you get a glimpse of Jude and Lana at the very beginning of their relationship contract called Lana’s Lullaby. People reading this blog post can get it for free hereAlso, while I can’t say too much, Adeline’s Aria is the first in a series. Book two, Skylar’s Song, throws Addie and Jude into a house with his entire band while Infernal Echo records their next album. Friends become enemies, enemies become friends, and Addie’s world gets turned upside down (again!). There are also novellas coming for the side characters. Watch my social media for how to get your hands on Cameron’s Cadence and Patrick’s Playlist, which will be coming this spring/summer. 

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Title: Adeline's Aria
Author: Laynie Bynum
Publisher: Fire and Ice YA
Publication Date: January 28th, 2020

Summary: Addie is a small-town high school senior with a best friend to take care of and college plans to figure out. Jude is a British rock star turned actor and one-half of Hollywood's favorite "it" couple along side his co-star Lana Thatcher. When the two cross paths at a music festival in Addie's hometown and begin an undercover whirlwind romance, the press becomes vicious, his faux fiance flames rumors, and Addie must decide if her "dream come true" is worth the nightmare it is turning into.

Thank you so much to Laynie for stopping by and answering our questions! We are super excited about ADELINE'S ARIA and can't wait for it to be out in the world on January 28th

Celebrate So Excited GIF by Hey Violet

Top Ten Tuesday: The Ten Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl in which we create bookish lists about everything from our favorite characters to love triangles and everything in between!

This week's theme: The Ten Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf!

*Click on the covers to be redirected to their Goodreads page!*

   
   
 


Are any of these books on your list!? Leave the links to your TTT below so we can stop back!