Wednesday, September 30, 2015

FFBC: Welcome to the club, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light by Ann Jacobus

Romancing the Dark in the City of Light
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Release Date: October 6th 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Travel, Fiction, France
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A troubled teen, living in Paris, is torn between two boys, one of whom encourages her to embrace life, while the other—dark, dangerous, and attractive—urges her to embrace her fatal flaws.

Haunting and beautifully written, with a sharp and distinctive voice that could belong only to this character, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is an unforgettable young adult novel.

Summer Barnes just moved to Paris to repeat her senior year of high school. After being kicked out of four boarding schools, she has to get on track or she risks losing her hefty inheritance. Summer is convinced that meeting the right guy will solve everything. She meets two. Moony, a classmate, is recovering against all odds from a serious car accident, and he encourages Summer to embrace life despite how hard it can be to make it through even one day. But when Summer meets Kurt, a hot, mysterious older man who she just can't shake, he leads her through the creepy underbelly of the city-and way out of her depth.

When Summer's behavior manages to alienate everyone, even Moony, she's forced to decide if a life so difficult is worth living. With an ending that'll surprise even the most seasoned reader, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is an unputdownable and utterly compelling novel.

Hello Ann! We are super excited to have you in our FFBC tours!

Thank you! I’m truly delighted to be here.

Could you tell our Book Addicts a little bit about “Romancing the Dark in the City of Light” without giving away spoilers?

Eighteen year-old Summer Barnes is ready to end it all. Even though she‘s now in Paris, the most romantic city in the world, she’s been kicked out of yet another boarding school for drinking, smoking, snorting and flunking.

Then Summer meets an awesome guy, nicknamed Moony, at the Paris American International School where they’re both seniors; and mysterious Kurt while she’s out scoping a celebrity cemetery. He’s so hot, he may be out of her league. 

Moony barely survived a horrific car crash as a kid. He’s totally upbeat about life and he wants Summer to embrace her own, maybe starting with a little less solo champagne drinking? Summer needs Moony’s friendship desperately, but no way will he put up with her bad choices much longer.

Kurt, on the other hand, is all about self-destructive fun. It gets harder and harder for Summer to resist him. He wants her to understand that life, and death, are in her own hands. 

Is there a specific scene that you had the most fun writing?

My editor and I changed the ending, not so much what happens, but where it was set. It’s really the last three chapters. I loved (re)writing that!

Is there a specific routine you follow when you sit down to write?

I get started early in the morning, sometimes postponing getting dressed until close to lunch time. I keep lots of snacks on hand, so the first thing I do is make sure my supplies (lately nuts, dried fruit, and, okay, chocolate) are stocked. I keep a cup of tea nearby and refill it several times. I used to do this with paint-peelingly strong coffee, Rolos and Twizzlers but finally realized there was a reason I was bouncing off the walls and not sleeping at night. Checking email and any social media early, then turning it all off until later, greatly increases my productivity.

Do you have a favorite fan moment?

A few early readers have let me know about their struggles, or those of someone they love, with depression and/or feeling suicidal. These are hard subjects to talk about, and I’m grateful for their stories and happy to encourage more talking about these things in general.

What would you say is harder to write, the first line of a book or the last?

First and last lines are both so important and correspondingly difficult to write. They’re both also most likely revised many times. Getting the opening and really, the first chapter “right” probably takes me more time and effort. 

What authors are auto-buys for you?

Ah, this is my problem. I have too many auto-buys. I’m sort of a “greatest hits,” reader, though, and can’t think of too many authors whose every book I’ve read. In YA, I love: Laurie Halse Anderson, M.T. Anderson, Markus Zusak, Sherman Alexie, Nancy Farmer, E. Lockhart, Rainbow Rowell, Kekla Magoon, Gayle Forman, Stephanie Perkins, Lauren Oliver…I could go on.

What would you say has been the most surprising thing you learned about becoming a published author?

How little it pays :)

Favorite book of 2015?

Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun was a standout, for sure. I read lots of books debuting this year and loved them all. I just finished Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. The Weight of Feathers by Annamarie McLemore, and The One Thing by Marci Lyn Curtis, The Fix by Natasha Sinel, were three other wonderful reads. See? I can’t pick just one. Oh, and Jennifer Niven’s All the Bright Places was another standout read this year. I think Book Addicts understand.

What shows are you currently watching?

I haven’t had much time for TV this new season, but I love Mad Men, Breaking Bad, OITNB. I’m way behind on Game of Thrones and must catch up. I will sob uncontrollably when Downton Abbey is finished. Really.

Thank you for participating in our FFBC Tours, Ann!

Thank you for having me.

Follow the Romancing The Dark in The City of Light by Ann Jacobus Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Ann Jacobus earned an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lived with her family for many years in the Arabian Gulf and in Paris, France. She now lives in San Francisco where she writes, reads, volunteers weekly on a suicide crisis line, and frequently resorts to crock-pot meals of canned soup, fowl and whatever's in the fridge.

Win (1) finished copy of ROMANCING THE DARK IN THE CITY OF LIGHT by Ann Jacobus (US Only)
Win (1) finished copy of ROMANCING THE DARK IN THE CITY OF LIGHT by Ann Jacobus (INT)
Win (1) of (2) ROMANCING THE DARK IN THE CITY OF LIGHT swag packs (US Only)

Book Blitz: Summer Crush by Sasha Hibbs, S.D. Wasley, Melissa Frost, Diana Stager, Deanna Dee & Bridie Hall

Summer Crush
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Release Date: August 21st, 2015
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Summer Crush: A wonderfully romantic boxed set of Upper YA short stories by today's hottest authors. 

Summer is the time for lazy days at the beach, sun-kissed hair, flip-flops, and sizzling nights with a new crush. Those stolen glances and first kisses can quickly spark a flame. However, the road to love isn’t always a smooth ride.

Every Summer has a story, whether it’s a second chance on love, seeing a friend in a different light, or taking a step in a new direction with someone special. Love and long days create endless possibilities, but can a summer crush really last?

Sutton Summer by Sasha Hibbs:
After breaking Dylan's heart last year, McKenzie returns to Sutton Lake for another summer. McKenzie realizes love was in front of her the entire time, but is it too late for Dylan to forgive her?

Exquisite Torture by S.D. Wasley
16 year old Ryan thinks he's in for the summer from hell, stuck at his Gran's farm in a remote town ... until he meets the adorable Connie. But why is she so cagey about her past?

Forbidden by Melissa Frost:
The new guy in town has a bad reputation and a bad boy demeanor to go with it. Even so, Olivia can’t help feeling drawn to Gavin. Can she convince her mother he’s not the delinquent everyone believes, or will his past tear them apart?

Taking the Plunge by Diana Stager:
Overwhelmed and alone, Jessica is a teenage mother struggling to give her son the best possible life. Erik, a lifeguard at the local pool, never expected the girl of his dreams to have baby in tow. They have issues, but will it keep them from pursing the relationship, or are they willing to take the plunge?

Boarderline Love by Deanna Dee:
Nearly drowning wasn’t part of Dalya’s vacation plans. Neither was being rescued by a guy with a perfect six pack and a haunted look in his eyes. Mason reminds Dalya too much of her over-protective older brother, but when he offers to teach her to surf, she can’t say no. Can Dalya get past her frustration with her brother to realize how much Mason means to her?

An Ocean of Their Own by Bridie Hall:
Lola spends her days trawling the sand dunes in search of the perfect subject for her art. She finds it in a solitary, beautiful girl. Sarah doesn’t just fill the pages in her sketchbook, she enchants Lola’s heart too. But how can Lola tell her family about Sarah?

Release Day Blitz: Devil and the Deep (Ceruleans, #4) by Megan Tayte

Devil and the Deep (Ceruleans, #4)
by Megan Tayte
Publisher: Heaven Afire
Release Date: September 30th 2015
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Scarlett is living her happy-ever-after, back in the real world. Only the ‘happy’ part is proving problematic.

For starters, there’s the isolation. Being a Cerulean among humans is fraught with risk, so her time with people can only be fleeting. Which means being with Luke but not being with Luke.

Then there’s her Cerulean light, her power over life and death. Less awesome talent, as it turns out, and more overwhelming responsibility. And it comes with rules – rules that are increasingly difficult to obey.

But what’s really pushing Scarlett to the precipice is something much bigger than herself, than her life in the cove. A force to be reckoned with:


When long-buried truths are exposed, will Scarlett keep her head above water – or will she drown in the blood-dimmed tide that is unleashed?

It began with screaming. Shrill, ear-piercing, horrified screaming.
A girl shrieked, ‘Blood! Look, look – it’s everywhere!’ and pressed her hand to her mouth.
A man shouted, ‘Good grief!’ and another, ‘Great Scott!’
An old lady swooned gracefully and would have tipped over the balustrade of the riverboat had a lanky lad not caught her.
The cause of the excitement – a woman lying slumped on the long table on deck, cheek on her bread plate, headdress in the butter dish – twitched a little.
‘She’s alive!’ cried a lad beside her delightedly. ‘She moved!’
‘Did not,’ argued another.
‘Did too!’
‘Gentlemen,’ interjected a short, portly man with a twirly black moustache, ‘if you will forgive my intrusion, it must be noted that this woman has a bullet hole in her head and is logically, therefore, quite definitely deceased.’
Another old dear folded to the deck with a prolonged ‘Ohhhhhh’ and her husband grabbed a feathered fan and began wafting cool evening air in her face while calling, ‘Smelling salts – does anyone have any?’
I tried to keep a straight face. Really I did. I bit my bottom lip until I tasted my cherry-red lipstick. I pinched my leg through the cream satin of my gown. I dug my long cigarette holder into the sensitive flesh of my arm.
But it was no good.
The ‘What ho, chaps’ posh accents.
The buxom woman sagging in the arms of an elephant hunter wearing Converse All Stars.
The production of smelling salts in a bottle whose label read Pepto-Bismol.
The corners of the little round man’s moustache coming looser with his every word.
The fast-pooling puddle of pinkish blood on the bread plate, buffeted by the steady in-and-out breaths of the corpse.
Take it from a girl who’s really died – death on the River Dart, Devon, is hilarious.
‘Dear me, Ms Robson here appears to be quite overcome with shock,’ said the guy at my side suddenly, and he slipped an arm around me and turned me away. ‘Come, madam. Let us get some air.’
I smiled at him. Then grinned. Then choked back a guffaw. Thankfully, by the time full-scale hilarity hit me I’d been led to the rear of the boat, away from the rest of our party, and could bury my face in the bloke’s chest and shake mutely with laughter.
The gallant gentleman rubbed my back soothingly as I let it all out and said loudly, for the benefit of any onlookers, ‘There there, pignsey, there there.’
‘Pigsney?’ It was the final straw. My high-heeled sandals gave way and I melted into a puddle of mirth on the deck.
‘I’ll have you know, Scarlett Blake,’ hissed Luke, my boyfriend a.k.a. gallant gent, hoiking up his too-tight corduroy trousers so he could squat down beside me, ‘I Googled “old-fashioned terms of endearment” and pigsney’s a classic.’
I wiped tears from my eyes, dislodging a false eyelash in the process, and tried to catch my hiccupping breath as Luke went on.
‘Means pig’s eye. No idea why that’s appealing, but apparently in the seventeenth century, calling a lady pigsney was the very height of courting.’
Through his fake specs Luke’s blue eyes fixed me with a stare so earnest I almost managed to stop laughing.
‘But this is a Death on the Nile-Stroke-Dart murder mystery night, Luke,’ I managed to get out. ‘Set in the nineteen thirties, not the seventeen thirties.’
‘Ah,’ he said, ‘but my character tonight, Mr Fijawaddle, is a historical fiction writer, isn’t he? So as well as dressing like a brainy recluse – and I’m warning you now, I won’t hear another slur against this tweed jacket – he’d know all kinds of obscure terms. Like ginglyform and jargogle and nudiustertian and bromopnea and farctate and quagswag and philosophunculist.’
His showing off sobered me just enough to control the giggles. ‘You made those words up,’ I accused, poking a crimson talon into his mustard-yellow shirtfront.
He blinked at me innocently. ‘Did not. I told you before we left the house, I did my homework.’
I narrowed my eyes. ‘All right then, Mr Fijawaddle, what does that last word you said mean?’
‘Yes, that.’
‘Er…’ Luke gave me a sheepish grin.
‘Spill it,’ I said menacingly. As menacingly as a girl dressed up as a vintage Hollywood starlet with cute little pin curls and rouge aplenty can be, that is.
‘Philosophunculist,’ recited Luke. ‘Noun. A person who pretends to know more than they do in order to impress others.’
I threw my head back and laughed. ‘Busted!’
Luke slipped an arm around me and pulled me close. Really close.
‘Bet you like it when I use long words,’ he said huskily, eyes fixed on my too-red lips.
‘Bet you like it when I wear a clingy nightgown as a dress,’ I replied, eyes fixed on his too-kissable lips.
‘Brazen hussy,’ he growled at me.
‘Randy boffin,’ I murmured back.

Then neither of us said another word for quite some time.

Once upon a time a little girl told her grandmother that when she grew up she wanted to be a writer. Or a lollipop lady. Or a fairy princess fireman. ‘Write, Megan,’ her grandmother advised. So that’s what she did.

Thirty-odd years later, Megan is a professional writer and published author by day, and an indie novelist by night. Her fiction – young adult romance with soul – recently earned her the SPR’s Independent Woman Author of the Year award.

Megan grew up in the Royal County, a hop, skip and a (very long) jump from Windsor Castle, but these days she makes her home in Robin Hood's county, Nottinghamshire. She lives with her husband, a proud Scot who occasionally kicks back in a kilt; her son, a budding artist with the soul of a palaeontologist; and her baby daughter, a keen pan-and-spoon drummer who sings in her sleep. When she's not writing, you'll find her walking someplace green, reading by the fire, or creating carnage in the kitchen as she pursues her impossible dream: of baking something edible.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Blog Tour: Picture Imperfect by Jelsa Mepsey

Picture Imperfect
by Jelsa Mepsey
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Release date: September 22nd 2015
Genres: Romance, Young Adult
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Sixteen-year-old Max Prescott knows all too well the joys of cheating girlfriends and traitorous friends. He’s not eager to have his heart trampled again, but money and a fresh start can mean the difference between happiness and a dark path with his name on it.

So when Melly Hewson, a perky and enigmatic classmate, asks him to be her model for a year-long photography project, Max agrees. Melly Hewson is everything Max isn’t. She’s outgoing, witty and always knows the right words to say. And despite his best efforts, Max finds himself drawn to her.

Still, he isn’t stupid. He knows a girl like Melly will only use him and then never speak to him again. Besides, he’s been to that rodeo. As long as he keeps his feelings off the market, he won’t make the same mistakes as last time.

Yet underneath Melly’s sweet smiles lies a secret she’d rather kept hidden. And as the year goes on and the photos pile up, Max and Melly will find themselves developing through the negatives, a story that when told could push them to opposite ends of their world. But the only thing worst than the truth is, the facade that surrounds them.

by Jelsa Mepsey

Seeing as I don’t have much advice from personal experience about heartbreak, I thought I would look to some songs other people have written. Many of these couldn’t be in Picture Imperfect’s official playlist due to limited space and how well the song fit Max’s situation, so I thought this would be a good place to provide additional music selections.

Speed Dial – Mitchel Musso

The overall sound and the story in this song makes this one of my favorite Mitchel Musso songs, and in the future I could see it easily inspiring a short story.

Cry Me a River – Ella Fitzgerald

I first heard this song in a vocal instruction class and appreciated the different perspective it brought. It’s also one of the few songs from the 1900s that I know.

In Case – Demi Lovato

As you date someone, each of you accumulates the other’s items. The focus on many of these physical aspects is very well done.

Someone Else Before – Hawk Nelson

The phone conversation in the middle of the song functions both as a bridge and as clarification for listeners. There’s lots of breakup songs out there, but the way this one is presented is unique.

The One that Got Away – Katy Perry

I’ve always found the music video for this song to be very profound. This is definitely one of my favorite Katy Perry songs.

When I Was Your Man – Bruno Mars covered by Sam Tsui

There are many times when I think about how I can be a better friend and/or girlfriend, and I love the way this song gets very specific in the ways the narrator wishes he had treasured what he had before it was gone.

Heart Heart Heartbreak – Boys Like Girls

Boys Like Girls has a lot of breakup songs, so I went for one with a simpler chorus and great instrumentals.

Pretend – Secondhand Serenade

This song really emphasizes that when people come into our lives, it’s difficult when they leave.

Heartbreak Therapy – Tanner Patrick

This song is very upbeat considering its content, but shows that the narrator is hopeful about the future.

Just a Little Bit of Your Heart – Ariana Grande

While it’s not necessarily a breakup song, this is a feeling many people can probably relate to if they are in a loveless relationship before ending it.

I hope you enjoyed these songs as much as I do and that if you need them right now, at least one of them was helpful. After all, this list has a large variety of viewpoints, and one of them is bound to resonate with each of us.

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Jelsa Mepsey writes young adult contemporary romance fiction, drawing inspiration from daily life. With her work, she is dedicated to spurring people to think about what they have taken for granted and to shed light on the issues people avoid talking about. As an Asian-American in her 20s, she is excited to explore more of the human experience as she herself journeys through life. Writing, rock climbing 5.12 routes, and playing various instruments have resulted in the formation of many calluses on her hands over the years. When not engaging in her previously mentioned hobbies, Jelsa can be found at her local library with a stack of at least ten books, naming her various pens, or staring at her dog Waffles for inspiration.