Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Blog Tour: "Tweet Cute" by Emma Lord


Hello all! Today I am very excited to bring another blog tour to you guys! Today I'm discussing Tweet Cute by Emma Lord, a new contemporary that's coming out in just a week! In today's post, you'll find information about the book and author, links to preorder, my review, and an exclusive excerpt. Let's go ahead and dive right in! 



SYNOPSIS

Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming — mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account. 

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time. 

All’s fair in love and cheese — that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life — on an anonymous chat app Jack built. 

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate — people on the internet are shipping them?? — their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.



MY REVIEW

The moment I read the synopsis for this book I knew that I was intrigued. I really wanted to read it, so when I got the confirmation that I was accepted onto this tour I got really excited. This book was really fun. It was lighthearted, witty, sassy, fun, all of the above! The Twitter banter aspect made this novel really original and I enjoyed getting to see how social media played into the romance. 

The two main characters were hilarious and fun and realistic. Jack and Pepper were absolute joys to read from. I loved their dynamic and how their relationship developed throughout the novel. Not to mention, they were just so relatable and unique characters. 

This book was really lighthearted and fun as well as full of pop culture references that really drew me in and made me comfortable with the book. I will say that it was a bit cliche at times, but overall it was a rather enjoyable book and I think many romance readers will like it a lot! 



MEET EMMA LORD

Emma Lord is a digital media editor and writer living in New York City, where she spends whatever time she isn’t writing either running or belting show tunes in community theater. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a major in psychology and a minor in how to tilt your computer screen so nobody will notice you updating your fan fiction from the back row. She was raised on glitter, grilled cheese, and a whole lot of love. Her sun sign is Hufflepuff, but she is a Gryffindor rising. TWEET CUTE is her debut novel. You can find her geeking out online at @dilemmalord on Twitter.


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PURCHASE TWEET CUTE




EXCERPT

JACK

“Look.” I glance into the classroom, where Ethan is thoroughly distracted by Stephen and no longer keeping an eye on us. “I may have . . . overreacted.”

Pepper shakes her head. “I told you. I get it. It’s your family.”

“Yeah. But it’s also—well, to be honest, this has been kind of good for business.”

Pepper’s brow furrows, that one little crease returning. “What, the tweets?”

“Yeah.” I scratch the back of my neck, sheepish. “Actually, we had a line out the door yesterday. It was kind of intense.”

“That’s . . . that’s good, right?”

The tone of my voice is clearly not matching up with the words I’m saying, but if I’m being honest, I’m still wary of this whole overnight business boom. And if I’m being honest, I’m even more wary of Pepper. If this really is as much of a family business as she claims it is—to the point where she’s helping run the Twitter handle, when even I know enough about corporate Twitter accounts to know entire teams of experienced people get paid to do that—then she might have had more of a hand in this whole recipe theft thing than she’s letting on.

The fact of the matter is, I can’t trust her. To the point of not knowing whether I can even trust her knowing how our business is doing, or just how badly we need it.

“Yeah, um, I guess.” I try to make it sound noncommittal. My acting skills, much like my breakfast-packing skills, leave much to be desired.

“So . . .”

“So.”

Pepper presses her lips into a thin line, a question in her eyes.

“So, I guess—if your mom really wants you to keep tweeting . . .”

“Wait. Yesterday you were pissed. Two minutes ago you were pissed.”

“I am pissed. You stole from us,” I reiterate. “You stole from an eighty-five-year-old woman.”

“I didn’t—”

“Yeah, yeah, but still. You’re them, and I’m . . . her. It’s like a choose your fighter situation, and we just happen to be the ones up to bat.”

“So you’re saying—you don’t not want me to keep this up?”

“The way I see it, you don’t have to make your mom mad, and we get a few more customers in the door too.”

Pepper takes a breath like she’s going to say something, like she’s going to correct me, but after a moment, she lets it go. Her face can’t quite settle on an expression, toeing the line between dread and relief.

“You’re sure?”

I answer by opening the container she handed me. The smell that immediately wafts out of it should honestly be illegal; it stops kids I’ve never even spoken to in their tracks.

“Are you a witch?” I ask, reaching in and taking a bite of one. It’s like Monster Cake, the Sequel—freaking Christmas in my mouth. I already want more before I’ve even managed to chew. My eyes close as if I’m experiencing an actual drug high—and maybe I am, because I forget myself entirely and say, “This might even be better than our Kitchen Sink Macaroons.”

“Kitchen Sink Macaroons?”

Eyes open again. Yikes. Note to self: dessert is the greatest weapon in Pepper’s arsenal. I swallow my bite so I can answer her.

“It’s kind of well-known, at least in the East Village. It even got in some Hub Seed roundup once. I’d tell you to try some, but you might steal the recipe, so.”

Pepper smiles, then—actually smiles, instead of the little smirk she usually does. It’s not startling, but what it does to me in that moment kind of is.

Before I can examine the unfamiliar lurch in my stomach, the bell rings and knocks the smile right off her face. I follow just behind her, wondering why it suddenly seems too hot in here, like they cranked the air up for December instead of October. I dismiss it by the time I get to my desk—probably just all the Twitter drama and the glory of So Sorry Blondies getting to my head.

“One rule,” she says, as we sit in the last two desks in the back of the room.

I raise my eyebrows at her.

“We don’t take any of it personally.” She leans forward on her desk, leveling with me, her bangs falling into her face. “No more getting mad at each other. Cheese and state.”

“What happens on Twitter stays on Twitter,” I say with a nod of agreement. “Okay, then, second rule: no kid gloves.”

Mrs. Fairchild is giving that stern look over the room that never quite successfully quiets anyone down. Pepper frowns, waiting for me to elaborate.

“I mean—no going easy on each other. If we’re going to play at this, we’re both going to give it our A game, okay? No holding back because we’re . . .”

Friends, I almost say. No, I’m going to say. But then—

“I’d appreciate it if even one of you acknowledged the bell with your silence,” Mrs. Fairchild grumbles.

I turn to Pepper, expecting to find her snapping to attention the way she always does when an adult comes within a hundred feet of disciplining her. But her eyes are still intent on me, like she is sizing something up—like she’s looking forward to something I haven’t anticipated yet.

“All right. No taking it personally. And no holding back.”

She holds her hand out for me to shake again, under the desk so Mrs. Fairchild won’t see it. I smile and shake my head, wondering how someone can be so aggressively seventeen and seventy-five at the same time, and then I take it. Her hand is warm and small in mine, but her grip is surprisingly firm, with a pressure that almost feels like she’s still got her fingers wrapped around mine even after we let go.

I turn back to the whiteboard, a ghost of a smirk on my face. “Let the games begin.”



EARLY PRAISE

"Tweet Cute delivers in every possible way: a perfect enemies-to-lovers romance, a whip-smart plotline, and endearingly real characters. I devoured it.” - Francesca Zappia, author of Eliza and Her Monsters

"Sweet and fun! An adorable debut that updates a classic romantic trope with a buzzy twist." - Jenn Bennett, author of Alex, Approximately and Serious Moonlight

“A witty rom-com reinvention for the Twitter age, Tweet Cute pairs delicious online rivalry with deeply relatable insights on family pressure and growing up. This fresh, funny read had us hitting ‘favorite’ from page one.” - Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka, authors of Always Never Yours and If I’m Being Honest 



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Favorite Books of 2019


It's now time for one of my favorite annual posts where I discuss my favorite books of the previous year! This past 2019 was an insane year for me in all aspects of life, but especially in reading. I read 138 books in the span of the last twelve months and narrowing down my top 10 was definitely challenging for me. There are so many other books that I could have put on this list, but if you'd like to know more of my favorites, check out my Goodreads shelf here.

A few little things before going in: I narrowed it down to just 10 this year because a longer list would be a lot in a blog post. Additionally, I included books in the same series as one spot because if I'd kept them separate, this list would have been dominated by three series. Now that that's out of the way, without further ado, let's dive into the books I loved in 2019!



#10: Only A Breath Apart by Katie McGarry


I read this back in June and was blown away. This book impacted me in ways I can't even describe. I saw so much of myself in these characters and this story and I felt so seen. While I can relate to characters in other novels, I felt that this story especially hit me hard because I could understand a lot of the situations more. I will admit to crying a lot in this book. I had always enjoyed Katie's books when I'd read them previously but this book really cemented in Katie's place on my favorite authors list.

Goodreads     |     Review



#9: The Last Namsara & The Caged Queen by Kristen Ciccarelli

The Caged Queen (Iskari, #2)

I'd been wanting to read The Last Namsara since it first came out and I was lucky enough to be sent all three books in this series in exchange for review. I finished the first two in the last bits of 2019 and I'm very much looking forward to the third. What really made these books hit this list was the fact that I definitely binge-read as much of these books as I could. Both of these are pretty different from each other but I thought that really shows Kristen's diverse writing ability. After these two, I'm very excited to see what she does next with the final book.

Goodreads     |     Book 1 Review     |     Book 2 Review



#8: A Wicked Trilogy by Jennifer L. Armentrout


Jennifer is one of my favorite authors of all time and I was so excited to dive into another series of hers. I binge-read this one over the summer and absolutely fell in love with the characters and story. It's set in New Orleans, a place I've always wanted to visit, and is all about fae and fae-hunters. It was a wonderful ride from start to finish that had me laughing, crying, and throwing the book across the room (which, as all readers know, is the highest praise). I'm very excited to dive into the spin-off sequel novellas as soon as the third one is released later this year.

Goodreads     |     Book 1 Review     |     Book 2 Review     |     Book 3 Review



#7: A Fallen Hero by Sara A. Noë

A Fallen Hero (Chronicles of Avilésor: War of the Realms #1)

This was one of the more surprising placements on this list. When I was first contacted about reviewing this book, I was interested in the story but had reservations since I hadn't seen much conversation around it. I'm so glad that I gave it a go because it was a wonderful ride. It's such an interesting story concept and, despite being over 450 pages, I felt like I flew through it. I never wanted it to end and I already can't wait for the sequel to come out later this year.

Goodreads     |     Review



#6: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Red, White & Royal Blue

Up next I have another surprise placement. I don't tend to reach for or read a lot of contemporaries because I prefer my stories to have something else going on besides just the romance. However, there was a lot of hype surrounding this one and it actually sounded like something I'd be interested in, so I preordered it. I ended up reading it in almost one sitting and absolutely loved it. I was laughing, I was crying, and I was so invested in this book and these characters. I can't wait to reread it soon and also see what the author does next!

Goodreads     |     Review



#5: Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco


While I read the first book back when it came out many years ago, I didn't actually get around to reading the rest of these books until 2019. I don't know why, since Stalking Jack the Ripper was a book that I absolutely loved. However, I finally read them all this year and absolutely fell in love even more than I already was. Every book took the characters on a different journey and development and it was honestly such a joy to read it all.

Goodreads     |     Book 2  Review     |     Book 3 Review



#4: Witchlands series by Susan Dennard

Image result for witchlands series 

While I read Truthwitch at the end of 2018, I read the rest of these books in 2019 to catch up with the series and fell in love with them. I think Bloodwitch is my favorite so far and I can't wait to see what happens in the next few books in the series. These books are just so interesting and fun and suspenseful. The world is interesting, the magic exciting, and the characters compelling. I can't wait to reread them soon!

Goodreads     |     Book 1 Review     |     Book 2 Review



#3: Kingsbane by Claire Legrand


Furyborn was one of my favorite books of 2018 so it's no surprise that Kingsbane also landed a spot on my favorites list. This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2019 and it definitely blew me away. So much happens in this book and there were so many mind-blowing moments. I definitely was completely destroyed by the ending of this book and I can't believe the massive cliffhangers that we got left with. I just have one thing to say...I really need a copy of Lightbringer already.

Goodreads     |     Review



#2: The City of Brass & The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty


These first two books in the Daevabad trilogy also were a complete shock to me when I read them. To be fair, I'd heard nothing but good things about them but I didn't really have the desire to get copies of them until I won a giveaway for the first book and ended up with an ARC of the second. I binged them one after the other and fell in love. There was not a moment while reading these where I wanted to put them down. The characters are phenomenal, the world extremely vivid and interesting, and the political intrigue and social issues kept me turning the pages as fast as I could. I am so excited for the final book to release in 2020, though I am sad to see this trilogy come to an end so soon after I discovered it.

Goodreads     |     Book 1 Review     |     Book 2 Review



#1: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin


My favorite book of the year definitely goes to Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin. Not only is this book extremely gorgeous, but the story itself is a perfect combination of a lot of my favorite tropes and genres. We have a fantasy romance with some enemies-to-lovers, arranged marriage, witch vs witch hunter, and even more. I read this book so quickly and I think about it all the time. I've been wanting to reread it from the moment that I finished the last page and I can't wait to actually be able to reread it later this year.

Goodreads     |     Review



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Saturday, January 4, 2020

Blog Tour: "Scavenge the Stars" by Tara Sim + GIVEAWAY



Hello everyone...I'm back today with the first blog tour of 2020! Blog tours are one of my absolute favorite things to do on my blog and I'm very excited to be sharing this awesome book with you today. Here's what you should look forward to in this post: synopsis and information on the book, purchase links, my personal review, a preorder campaign where you can get exclusive Scavenge the Stars goodies, information about the author, and an exclusive giveaway! How about we just jump straight in...



SYNOPSIS

When Amaya rescues a mysterious stranger from drowning, she fears her rash actions have earned her a longer sentence on the debtor ship where she's been held captive for years. Instead, the man she saved offers her unimaginable riches and a new identity, setting Amaya on a perilous course through the coastal city-state of Moray, where old-world opulence and desperate gamblers collide. Amaya wants one thing: revenge against the man who ruined her family and stole the life she once had. But the more entangled she becomes in this game of deception-and as her path intertwines with the son of the man she's plotting to bring down-the more she uncovers about the truth of her past. And the more she realizes she must trust no one…

Packed with high-stakes adventure, romance, and dueling identities, this gender-swapped retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo is the first novel in an epic YA fantasy duology, perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Sabaa Tahir, and Leigh Bardugo.

Written by Tara Sim
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: January 7th 2020
Book Length: 336 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings



MY REVIEW

4 // 5 stars

I was very excited when I found out that I was going to get a chance to read this book early. It had been on my radar for a few months and sounded right up my alley. I really did enjoy it and I'm super interested in seeing where the story goes in the sequel. 

Okay so this is a gender-bent Count of Monte Cristo retelling, which would mean more to me if I even knew what Monte Cristo was about. However, you don't need to know that story to enjoy this one (obviously, seeing as I wasn't confused throughout). We follow two main perspectives that alternate every chapter and begin to intertwine the further along in the novel you read. I really enjoyed reading about both of the two characters who narrated these perspectives.

I'm trying to keep this review a bit shorter since this is a long post, but I do want to briefly mention the things I enjoyed: the ruthless nature of this world, the characters (main and side), the high-stakes and backstabbery, the representation, and so much more. I do think that the one thing this story could have benefited from was a richer world-building. The world is so unique and interesting, but we weren't given much information on it which was a bit confusing at times when characters would refer to cultures or empires. On the other hand, we also didn't get info-dumped on, which was good.

Overall, I did enjoy my time reading this book and I am excited to find out what happens next! 




MEET TARA SIM

Tara Sim is the author of Scavenge the Stars (Disney-Hyperion) and the Timekeeper trilogy (Sky Pony Press) and writer of all things magic. She can often be found in the wilds of the Bay Area, California.

When she's not writing about mischievous boys in clock towers, Tara spends her time drinking tea, wrangling cats, and occasionally singing opera. Despite her bio-luminescent skin, she is half-Indian and eats way too many samosas.

Tara is represented by Victoria Marini at Irene Goodman Literary Agency.

Name pronunciation: "tar-ah" (not "terr-ah").

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PURCHASE SCAVENGE THE STARS


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PREORDER PROMOTION

This book has a preorder campaign! Don't know what that is? A preorder campaign is typically done to promote a book prior to its release. If you screenshot your preorder receipt, you can submit it via a special link or email to get some goodies! Scavenge the Stars has a great preorder campaign going on RIGHT NOW so definitely check it out if you're interested in snagging some goodies for this book!


Prize Details
  • Original 9x12 art piece from Alex Castellanos (@alexisc_art)
  • 3 exclusive character cards
  • Exclusive book mark
  • Signed bookplate from author Tara Tim

If you submit your receipt here by January 7, you can receive all of the goodies listed above and shown in the picture! 

If you'd like more information, you can find the original announcement post from the author right here



GIVEAWAY

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, there is a tour-wide giveaway being run! Unfortunately, this is US-only but for all of you American readers out there, you'll definitely want to check this out!

Details
Win 1 finished copy of Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim
Ends January 15, 2020
US-only

a Rafflecopter giveaway
If the widget doesn't work, enter via this link here



Follow along with the rest of the tour here!





Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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