Deal Alert - Just Friends by Monica Murphy for $.99!

Monica Murphy, who is one of our favorites, has a super cute YA series and we wanted to let you know book one is on sale for $.99! 

We got to hang with Monica at #SFGGAE17 last week (recap coming soon!) and can't wait for her to release Forever, book three in the Friends series - coming April 4th. You can jump start your reading of the series with Just Friends, which we have an excerpt for right here. 

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JUST FRIENDS (Friends #1)
by Monica Murphy
Published: September 6th 2016

It’s the end of summer. Just before I start senior year with my two best friends in the whole world. Dustin and Emily are everything to me. We’ve been inseparable since middle school, and when we’re together, nothing can go wrong.

But things aren’t always what they seem. Em’s turned into a drunken mess who parties too much. Dustin and I have hooked up a few times—and now he’s ready to take our relationship to the next level. Yet I’m not sure I want things to change. I’m scared if I take it any further with Dustin, our friendship will be ruined forever. Then there’s Ryan. The new guy. He’s hot. He flirts way too much. And Em has totally set her sights on him.

So when my best friend betrays me in the worst possible way, guess who’s there to help me pick up the pieces of my broken heart? Ryan. But he’s so confusing. Annoying. Sweet. Sexy. I want to trust him, yet he makes it so hard. What I really want is for everything to go back to the way it was before.

Before I found out that best friends make the worst kind of enemies.


Hello lovely readers and thank you for stopping by on our tour stop for HEARTS & OTHER BODY PARTS hosted by Rock Star Book Tours. We are always on the prowl for a book that makes our heart jump with excitement and this novel by Ira Bloom did just that. Please check out our author interview and make sure to enter the giveaway at the end of the post. Good Luck!!

About the Book:
Author: Ira Bloom
Pub. Date: March 28, 2017
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 352
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook

A novel of love and monsters.

Sisters Esme, Katy, and Ronnie are smart, talented, and gorgeous, and better yet . . . all three are witches. They have high school wired until the arrival of two new students. The first is Norman, who is almost eight feet tall and appears to be constructed of bolts and mismatched body parts. Despite his intimidating looks, Esme finds herself strangely -- almost romantically -- drawn to both his oversized brain and oversized heart.

The second new arrival is Zack, an impossibly handsome late transfer from the UK who has the girls at school instantly mesmerized. Soon even sensible Esme has forgotten Norman, and all three sisters are in a flat-out hex war to win Zack. But while the magic is flying, only Norman seems to notice that students who wander off alone with Zack end up with crushed bones and memory loss. Or worse, missing entirely.

Hearts & Other Body Parts is a wickedly addictive novel about love, monsters, and loyalty. And oh yeah, a Japanese corpse-eating demon cat.

About Ira: 

I grew up in Annapolis Maryland. My mother is an artist and my father was a judge on the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.

I studied English Literature at the University of Maryland, College Park. I also have some background in Eastern religions. After college I moved to Japan, where I taught ESL. I married a beautiful Japanese woman named Yasuko, moved to LA and taught junior high school English, ESL, and Japanese for the Los Angeles Unified School district. I am conversational in Japanese, but by no means consider myself fluent. After serving my debt to society in LA Unified, I went into the fashion business with my wife, who is a very talented fashion designer and is likely to read this, so I can’t say enough good things about her. We eventually branched into the vintage kimono business. I probably know more about Japanese textiles than any straight white man you’re likely to encounter. I’ve been writing humor for FUNNY TIMES since 2010. I currently live in West Sonoma County with my family and an assortment of furry beasts.


1. We are always in search of an intriguing read to share that with our readers, and once we realized that your novel had a Japanese corpse-eating demon cat we were couldn't wait to read it. What can you tell our readers about Hearts & Other Body Parts?

Hearts & Other Body Parts is the story of three sisters, Esme, Katy, and Veronica, who are smart, talented and beautiful, in that precise order. They are all three witches, and they love each other, and they go to high school in the town of Middleton. Not the Middleton most people think of; the other one. There they meet a new student, Norman Franklin Stein, who bears an uncanny and entirely coincidental resemblance to Frankenstein’s monster. Esme’s sisters and her familiar, Kasha the Japanese corpse-eating demon cat, all think Norm is perfect for her, as he’s smart and funny and kind, but Esme isn’t so sure she has time to date, what with her 4.5 GPA and dreams of Stanford, and maybe also because Norman is almost eight feet tall and has bolts in his neck.
And then the vampires come to town. Enter Zack, smoking hot with a British accent, exuding love pheromones and mesmerizing every girl he meets. All three sisters lose every vestige of common sense when they fall for Zack hard. Soon they’re in an all-out hex war, undermining each other, casting spells and brewing potions in desperation for the boy they each believe they can’t live without.
Only Norman sees Zack for what he is, and understands that the winner of the competition for Zack will be the first sister to die.

2.  You seem to have an extensive knowledge of plants, herbs, spells, science, medicine and so much more. It was very much appreciated because it made for a better book. How much research went into writing Hearts & Other Body Parts and how did you keep track of it all?

I did a fair amount of research for Hearts & Other Body Parts. Keeping track of it all is not so hard once it’s written down.  I don’t like to delve too deep, because sometimes too much knowledge of a subject can ruin the story. A list of herbs for a love potion can add verisimilitude, but a long list of herbs will put the reader in a coma. And I especially avoid research that might ultimately disprove a premise, or make a plot angle impossible. I write the truth as far as I know, but sometimes it’s better not to know too much.
I spent over a month writing one scene featuring Drake and Zack, the vampire antagonists of Hearts. It was set in Warsaw, and some of the dialogue was in Polish, which I don’t speak.  I pored over maps and researched neighborhoods. There was a lot of backstory about vampire society and a brutal, heartbreaking murder. And then my editor suggested we cut it. She was right of course, the book is better without it. But it was a painful cut. Oh well. To jest życie.

3. Your novel seems to have so many different characters. Which one is your favorite and why?

I don’t like to play favorites because the other characters might feel dissed, so let me put in a plug for Veronica, who is not only beautiful but also extremely tenacious.  And then there’s Norman, who is smart and funny and loyal and sweet, and a great friend to have around if you ever need to fight your way into a vampire’s lair to rescue your sisters. But my heart belongs to Kasha, the Japanese corpse-eating demon cat, because we have so much in common: we both rail against the heartless bureaucracies that control our destinies, we’re both as old as hell, and we both like to eat gophers and puke them up on the carpet.

4. There were moments while reading Hearts & Other Body Parts that we could not contain our laughter. What are some of your favorite funny quotes from the book?

My editor really liked this exchange, between Esme and her kid sister Ronnie after discussing a spate of missing girls in town:
Esme: “If a weird-looking guy offers you candy and wants you to get in his car, you know what to do, right?”
Veronica: “Get you a Snickers?”

And I like this one-liner Kasha came up with: “You are so dense it’s a wonder your head doesn’t implode from the gravitational force of your own stupidity.”

5. What are you working on next and can you share them with us?

I have so many irons in the fire, the fire went out. I put my sci-fi multiverse book (about 1/3 done) on the back burner because it’s not a good candidate for a second book, though it might make a fine third or fourth. I have great enthusiasm for a book I’m researching about a boy who is an incarnate Buddha but doesn’t know it, but it’s a very difficult POV to get my head into. I might just end up writing this farcical demonic possession idea. I think it could be very funny, and it’s the kind of thing that would be easy to write. There are also about eight other books I’m constantly scribbling scenes for, and bits of dialogue. In any event, I’m a bit preoccupied with the release of my debut novel Hearts & Other Body parts. I’m hoping to get focused again when things settle down, maybe in April.

Thank you for answering our questions and spending time with us!


3 winners will receive a finished copy of HEARTS & OTHER BODY PARTS, US Only.

Tour Schedule

Week One:
3/20/2017- Adventures of a Book JunkieInterview
3/21/2017- Here's to Happy EndingsReview
3/22/2017- BookHounds YAGuest Post
3/23/2017- YA Books CentralReview
3/24/2017- Tales of the Ravenous ReaderInterview

Week Two:
3/27/2017- Beauty and the BookshelfReview
3/28/2017- Novel NoviceGuest Post
3/29/2017- Eli to the nthReview
3/30/2017- The Cover ContessaInterview
3/31/2017- Emily Reads EverythingReview

You're Reading This, Right? - The Hate U Give (Mini-Review) + GIVEAWAY

ICYMI The Hate U Give is taking the world by storm - and rightfully so. If the many starred reviews don't convince you that you need to read it, maybe this will.

I cleared my TBR to listen to THUG on release day - and all I can say is if you haven't picked this book up, you need to. I'm going to help you with a giveaway below but I can't recommend the audiobook enough. It is SO GOOD. 

Read Angie's interview on NPR.

"People like us in situations like this become hashtags, but they rarely get justice. I think we all wait for that one time though, that one time when it ends right."

(I love her channel)

by Angie Thomas
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Published: February 28th 2017

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, Khalil’s death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Starr’s best friend at school suggests he may have had it coming. When it becomes clear the police have little interest in investigating the incident, protesters take to the streets and Starr’s neighborhood becomes a war zone. What everyone wants to know is: What really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could destroy her community. It could also endanger her life.


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What Inspired The Inexplicable Logic of My Life? Interview with Benjamin Alire Saenz

Sitting down with Benjamin Alire Saenz was the highlight of our week. So many beautiful thoughts and stories - come see why The Inexplicable Logic of My Life is a MUST READ this spring!

The ZooKeeper's Wife - Soon to Be a Movie + A GIVEAWAY

The real-life story of one working wife and mother who became a hero to hundreds during World War II. In 1939 Poland, Antonina Żabińska (portrayed by two-time Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain) and her husband, Dr. Jan Żabiński (Johan Heldenbergh of “The Broken Circle Breakdown”), have the Warsaw Zoo flourishing under his stewardship and her care. When their country is invaded by the Germans, Jan and Antonina are stunned – and forced to report to the Reich’s newly appointed chief zoologist, Lutz Heck (Daniel Brühl of “Captain America: Civil War”). To fight back on their own terms, Antonina and Jan covertly begin working with the Resistance – and put into action plans to save lives out of what has become the Warsaw Ghetto, with Antonina putting herself and even her children at great risk.

Dear lovely readers, do we have a giveaway opportunity for you.

This giveaway is for a signed copy of the book and a tote bag - totaling a value of $25. Also, we are very happy to announce that we will be giving away not just 1 but 2 packages.

  • Fill out the rafflecopter form and please adhere to the rules. We verify every winner and if you do not follow the guidelines you will be disqualified.
  • United States entrants only 
  • Giveaway will run from 3/20/17 to 3/31/17 PST.
  • Entrants will be notified by email and given 24 hours to respond after such time has passed and no response another winner will be selected.

Make sure to visit The Zookeeper's Wife on Instagram and to see it in theaters when it comes out on 3/31/17.

Tick Tock, Love Never Stops on the TIMEKEEPER Tour

Author: Tara Sim

Narrator: Gary Furlong

Length: 8h 50m

Publisher: Forever Young Audiobooks

Genre: YA Fantasy

Release date: Feb. 14, 2017


Two o’clock was missing. In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely. It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors. And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve. But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to Stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he’ll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever.

Buy on Audible/Amazon

Tara Sim is the author of Timekeeper (Sky Pony Press) and can typically be found wandering the wilds of the Bay Area, California. When she’s not chasing cats or lurking in bookstores, she writes books about magic, clocks, and explosives. Follow her on Twitter at @EachStarAWorld, and check out her website at
Gary Furlong grew up in Wexford, Ireland. Throughout his life he has worn many a hat: He has worked as a teacher in Niigata, Japan; a puppeteer in Prague; an improv artist in Memphis, Tennessee; and as a singer and actor all over Ireland. He started narrating audiobooks in late 2015 and hasn't looked back.
Gary made his acting debut in the musical Godspell as a student. Since then he has pursued acting both on the amateur and professional circuits. Notable roles include Tom Collins in Bare Cheek's production of Rent in 2010.
Over the course of his five years in Japan, he was an actor, director, and audio producer. It was during this time that he discovered his interest in audiobooks and voice-over. He now works full-time as an audiobook narrator and voice actor from his home in Ireland.

Mar. 19: The Book Keeper's Secrets (Review, Spotlight, Audio Excerpt & Interview) Tales of the Ravenous Reader (Spotlight, Audio Excerpt, Guest Post & Giveaway) Mar. 20: Reading for the Stars and Moon (Spotlight, Audio Excerpt, & Giveaway) Next Page Please (Review & Giveaway) Mar. 21: Candid Ceillie (Review & Interview) Gota Love Books (Spotlight & Audio Excerpt) Mar. 22: BookstacksAmber (Review) Mar. 23: Book Crushin (Review, Spotlight, Audio Excerpt, & Giveaway) Lilly's Book World (Review) Mar. 24: The Desert Bibliophile (Review, Spotlight & Audio Excerpt) BookstacksAmber (Interview) Mar. 25: Chapter Break (Review, Spotlight, Audio Excerpt, Interview & Giveaway) Mar. 26: Dab of Darkness (Review) Blogger Nicole (Spotlight & Audio Excerpt) Mar. 27: The Madhouse (Review & Giveaway) Mar. 28: Rolo Polo Book Blog (Spotlight & Audio Excerpt) Mar. 29: Mama Reads (Review & Guest Post) Mar. 30: Novel Ink (Review) Mar. 31: Glorious Panic (Review & Giveaway) Apr. 1: The Broke Book Bank (Review) A New Look On Books (Spotlight, Audio Excerpt, Guest Post & Giveaway) Apr. 2: Jories Loves A Story (Review & Interview) Apr. 3: The Hermit Librarian (Review) Up Til Dawn (Spotlight & Audio Excerpt) Apr. 4: Here's to Happy Endings (Review) My World In Words and Pages (Review & Giveaway) Apr. 5: Hall Ways (Review & Giveaway) terriluvsbooks (Review & Interview) Apr. 6: A Book and A Latte (Review) Apr. 7: Desert Rose Reviews (Review & Giveaway) Bound 4 Escape (Review & Giveaway) Holed Up In A Book (Review & Giveaway) Apr. 8: Zach's YA Reviews (Review) The Autumn Bookshelf (Spotlight, Audio Excerpt & Guest Post) The Queen Reads (Review)

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My art. My heart. - Interview with Kayla Cagan, Author of Piper Perish (+GIVEAWAY)

You ever walk by a book in a bookstore and take a double, triple, BUG EYED look at a book because it's so dang gorgeous? Piper Perish is totally that book. The brush stroke cover. The silver inside. The illustrations. The WORDS. You need this book in your collection.

We caught up with Kayla Cagan to chat about her debut novel, Piper Perish. Check out how Piper went from a journal with some sketches to a beautiful book!

Interview with Kayla Cagan

Piper Perish is not only told through words but includes illustrations and other forms of art, including fashion, makeup, and web design. Was that your original vision for this book? How did you work with the illustrator to convey the emotions and parts of the scenes where there are drawings?

My vision for the actual structure of the novel was a journal with some sketches and drawings – not very finished. This isn’t her sketch book, just a journal with some scribbles, and when Piper’s moved, more developed line drawings. I basically wrote directions for what I hoped the art team could include in the book, and Chronicle Books being the awesome publisher that they are, made the illustrations happen with Rookie Magazine illustrator Maria Ines Gul. Throughout the process, I got to peek at the drawings and give my opinions. Basically, it was me trying not to freak out the whole time. It’s kind of amazing and overwhelming when you see your vision come true.

Oh my gosh - your book is beyond gorgeous. The first time we saw it, we were so in love! What were your reactions and how is the final product different than how you envisioned it as you wrote it?

In love! In lust! In between the states of bliss and freaking out! It is better than I could have imagined with my small pea brain. I was thinking it would look like a beat up paperback journal or moleskin or maybe a cover with Andy Warhol on it, but then, you know, Chronicle Books became my publisher. THEY ARE THE ARTISTS and I trusted them to lead the way. I can say that I am still 100% unflappably happy about the PIPER PERISH hardback. It’s a beauty and it’s all Chronicle’s fault.

Share a few of your favorite Piper quotes with us.

We are our own treasure maps.
Now is the time for fearlessness.
Maybe nobody can really explain love.
Paintings speak back.
Go back to art class, Picasso.
My art. My heart.
Maybe my own human nature is junky and broken.

We loved how Piper embraced thrift shopping because it is also one of our favorite hobbies. How much of your hobbies found there way into Piper’s world?

I’m busted! Yes, I love a good thrift as much as the next savvy shopper. If shopping was an Olympic sport, I would have qualified long ago. Piper’s love of dancing is definitely mine as well. The rest of her hobbies are her own, except maybe eating pizza. I like that, too. I am definitely not a runner and I don’t care about jogging the way Piper and her dad do.
Piper is written in the style of a diary. Did you keep a diary? What were some of the moments you wrote about (or would have) within a diary?

I have been keeping a diary since the 4th grade. I have written about everything in my life, including very boring stuff like I ate too many cheeseburgers, I want a cheeseburger, who came up with cheeseburgers? But on a serious note, I’ve obviously written about deep and beautiful and tragic things in my life as well: my parents’ divorce, my relationships with my siblings, my marriage, living in New York during 9/11, a life-saving surgery in 2015, politics, religion, dreams and disappointments.

Despite the hardships that Piper has to go through it is clear that Piper is a fighter that goes after her dreams with intense passion. What do you wish for your readers to take away from reading your book? Will there be more Piper in the future?

I wish my readers (and all readers) the stamina, determination, and passion to follow their dreams. I wish all readers the ability to believe in themselves even when they feel the world around them doesn’t. I want readers to know that setbacks are temporary. We all have them. Sometimes they last for a really, really long time. But they aren’t forever. Believe that you will see yourself to the other side of what you want to achieve. You WILL find success. YOU will have disappointment. But YOU will make it to the other side.

Don’t. Give. Up. Please.

Will there be more Piper in the future? 

The short answer: STAY TUNED! I want to spill juicy details, but I can’t so I won’t. How’s that for a cliffhanger?

by Kayla Cagan
Published: March 8th 2017
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Buy It

Now is the time for fearlessness.

Piper Perish inhales air and exhales art. The sooner she and her best friends can get out of Houston and get to New York City, the better. Art school has been Piper’s dream her whole life, and now that senior year is halfway over, she’s never felt more ready. But in the final months before graduation, things are weird with her friends and stressful with three different guys, and Piper’s sister’s tyrannical mental state seems to thwart every attempt at happiness for the close-knit Perish family. Piper’s art just might be enough to get her out. But is she brave enough to seize that power, even if it means giving up what she’s always known?


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