Friday, August 30, 2013

(Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway) The Forgotten Ones by Laura Howard


Release date: April 30, 2013
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Pages: 197
Format: Egalley
Source: Provided for review for tour
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon
Allison O’Malley’s plan is to go to grad school so she can get a good job and take care of her schizophrenic mother. She has carefully closed herself off from everything else, including a relationship with Ethan, who she’s been in love with for as long as she can remember.

What is definitely not part of the plan is the return of her long-lost father, who claims he can bring Allison’s mother back from the dark place her mind has gone. Allison doesn’t trust her father, so why would she believe his stories about a long forgotten Irish people, the Tuatha de Danaan? But truths have a way of revealing themselves. Secrets will eventually surface. And Allison must learn to set aside her plan and work with her father if there is even a small chance it could restore her mother’s sanity.
I've been really excited to read The Forgotten Ones for a long time, so when the opportunity to participate in a tour for the novel came up, I jumped at the chance! I'd immediately been drawn in by the ridiculously pretty cover, but the description hooked me. I love stories of Irish myth but I've not read many books that incorporate it. Lucky for us, The Forgotten Ones doesn't just rely on outward appeal, though it's there in spades. It is a wholly appealing and quick read that has a genuine sense of wonder.

The beginning of the book was really appealing in that it didn't begin and dive quickly into the fantasy element. Instead it took time to establish Allison's world and those important to her. So when fantastic things began to happen, there was this wonderful foundation. I was completely afraid that--with its short length--I'd not be able to keep track of everything that was going to happen, especially when it came to names. But Laura does a great job of making the workings of the Danaan understandable and not overwhelming, even as you're given heaps of information in less than two hundred pages.

Also, I'm all about romance, but I LOVED how light the touch of it was here. In the beginning, it seems that that is Allison's focus, but the moment there are bigger things to worry about, those become her concern. She's not so intent on a boy that she's able to ignore other problems, and I loved that. I'm excited to see more romance, but it's so refreshing to see it treated in such a way.

As for complaints? I saw a couple of instances where I might have edited a bit, but in general the writing was fantastic. My only complaint is really that I would've liked a better established world of the Danaan, which I think really arises from how short a time Allison spends there. I never got a full grasp on that world and I think establishing that in the first book would have been a good idea, even if it required the book to be a bit longer. But, this is something that can easily be expounded upon in a later book.

All in all, while The Forgotten Ones follows a general pattern of books involving the fae, it is nonetheless a great read. With an Irish twist, it is a very quick adventure that will keep you interested and itching for its sequel--I know I am. :)

About the author:

Laura Howard lives in New Hampshire with her husband and four children. Her obsession with books began at the age of 6 when she got her first library card. Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High and other girly novels were routinely devoured in single sittings. Books took a backseat to diapers when she had her first child. It wasn’t until the release of a little novel called Twilight, 8 years later, that she rediscovered her love of fiction. Soon after, her own characters began to make themselves known. The Forgotten Ones is her first published novel.
For the tour, 5 ebook copies of The Forgotten Ones are being given away, along with a $25 Amazon giftcard, and the giveaway is INTERNATIONAL! Enter below, y'all!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
And if you'd like to follow the tour for The Forgotten Ones, check out the tour page at Xpresso Book Tours!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Let's Talk About... Finding the Time to Blog

I started back at school for what is effectively my senior year last week. (Effectively because it's actually the second semester of my junior year, but it's my fourth fall semester and I'm planning on graduating in the summer.) I've always been relatively busy and studious in college, but this semester is proving that it's going to be the busiest yet. Between three upper-level English classes, upper-level Italian, and an Honor's seminar, I'm already finding that I don't have enough hours in the day to get all of my work done, along with extracurriculars, and sleep.

With this happening, I can't help but wonder to myself: How am I going to keep this blog up? I'm absolutely in love with the success I've had this year. I've been getting more and more pageviews each month, with more comments and followers as well. I have worked hard to keep up posting as much as possible, and have finally figured out I like posting six days a week, taking Saturday off. During the summer, it was not a burden to me in the least. But with this new schedule I don't even have enough time to get my readings for class done. I'm finding I have to read above one hundred pages for each day of class, and this is not light YA fare. It takes time and concentration to get through.

I am not far enough into this semester that I could possibly know how I'm going to handle this. It's looking like I'm going to be spending my weekends doing homework, writing blog posts, and reading. I may not be able to keep up with posting two reviews a week like I had settled on. Right now, I'm slightly ahead of my reviews, but that will probably change very quickly. Luckily I have nights copy-editing with the school's newspaper where we spend hours doing nothing (and where I am writing this post!) to get some work done.

This isn't a discussion so much as a question: For those of you who work full-time jobs, or multiple jobs, or have children, or whatever else, how do you manage blogging and a crazy schedule? I've never been one to schedule very far in advance, but I think that's going to have to change. Any tricks for me? :)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

{Cover Reveal} Through Glass by Rebecca Ethington


We are so excited to be able to bring to you the cover reveal for Rebecca Ethington’s THROUGH GLASS which releases in less than a month on September 20th, 2013.

Both the book’s cover and description are awesome and more than a little bit chilling and we cannot wait for its release.

If you’d like to know more about the author, Rebecca Ethington, be sure to check out her website, or any of the other places she hangs out online.

And if you can’t wait until September 20th for the release of THROUGH GLASS, the first book in her Imdalind series, KISS OF FIRE, is now available in eBook format for free at AMAZON, BARNES & NOBLE and for the KOBO.

We love the cover, but what do you think?


COMING SEPTEMBER 20TH, 2013

About THROUGH GLASS
Everyone remembers the day the sky went black. They remember the screams as the blackness ate those who were out in the open, those who surrounded themselves by light, and those who made noise.

Everyone remembers the voice from the sky, the way food disappeared.

Everyone remembers the day the sky went black, and the sun was wiped from the sky.

At least that’s what I hope. I hope that there is an ‘everyone’ that will remember.

I hope that I am not alone.

Because I remember.

I remember, because it was the day I became alone.

It was the day the house went silent, and the birds stopped singing. It was the day when everyone disappeared, everyone except the boy, the only person I have seen in two years.

The boy I talk to through the glass.

***

About Rebecca Ethington
Rebecca Ethington has been telling stories since she was small. First, with writing crude scripts, and then on stage with years of theatrical performances. The Imdalind Series is her first stint into the world of literary writing.

Rebecca is a mother to two, and wife to her best friend of 14 years. She was born and raised in the mountains of Salt Lake City, and hasn’t found the desire to leave yet. Her days are spent writing, running, and enjoying life with her amazing family.

Waiting on Wednesday: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski {7}

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly awaiting!!

Title: The Winner's Curse
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Release date: March 4, 2014
Winning what you want may cost you everything you love.

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world,
The Winner’s Curse is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.
After seeing a few very early reviews of this one, I absolutely knew I had to have it. But the cover, which popped up sometime last week, is what made me about die with excitement. Yes, it's a girl in a pretty dress, but I'm in love with the typography and with the fact that she's holding on to the r. Gah, I need this book nowwww.

So what are you guys waiting on this week? :)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Books to Movies Giveaway Hop!


I'm excited to be once again taking part in a giveaway hop! This time it's Books to Movies! :) This hop is hosted by Bookhounds and I Am a Reader, Not a Writer.

One lucky winner will receive their choice of book that has been adapted into a movie (or is currently being adapted, is optioned, whatever). Here are a few I like, just as inspiration, but you can pick whatever you want:


(I haven't seen the The Mortal Instruments movie yet, so... Also, lol at three movies starring Shailene Woodley.)

The giveaway is international, so long as The Book Depository ships to you! The hop runs from August 28th to September 3rd. The winner will be selected at random through Rafflecopter, will be contacted through the email address provided, and will have 48 hours to respond, otherwise I will choose a new winner.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Be sure to check out all the other giveaways going on! :)
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Teaser Tuesday: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater {36}

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Title: The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Release date: September 17, 2013
Pages: 448
If you could steal things from your dreams, what would you take?

Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps from himself. One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams. And sometimes he's not the only one who wants those things.

Ronan is one of the raven boys--a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town. But now, like Ronan's secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface--changing everything in its wake.

Of
The Raven Boys, Entertainment Weekly wrote, "Maggie Stiefvater's can't-put-it-down paranormal adventure will leave you clamoring for book two." Now the second book is here, with the same wild imagination, dark romance, and heart-stopping twists that only Maggie Stiefvater can conjure.
My teaser, from p. 12 in the ARC:
In that moment, Blue was a little in love with all of them. Their magic. Their quest. Their awfulness and strangeness. Her raven boys.
I actually finished this one a couple of days ago, but couldn't help myself featuring it. Hands down one of the best sequels I've read. Maggie Stiefvater never lets me down (except that one time, with Forever... We don't talk about it.) This is definitely one of my favorite series. Ever.

I'll be visiting around and visiting back, so leave me links to your teasers! Have a lovely Tuesday!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Anatomy of a Single Girl (Anatomy #2) by Daria Snadowsky

Release date: January 8, 2013
Author info: Website | Twitter
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 227
Source: Received via author for review
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
After everything that happened—my first boyfriend, my first time, my first breakup—jumping back into the dating game seemed like the least healthy thing I could do. It’s not that I didn’t want to fall in love again, since that’s about the best feeling ever. But as a busy college premed still raw from heartbreak, which is the worst feeling ever, I figured I’d lie low for a while. Of course, as soon as I stopped looking for someone, an impossibly amazing—and devastatingly cute—guy came along, and I learned that having a new boyfriend is the quickest way to recover from losing your old one.

The moment we got together, all my preconceptions about romance and sex were turned upside down. I discovered physical and emotional firsts I never knew existed. I learned to let go of my past by living in the present. It was thrilling. It was hot. It was just what the doctor ordered.

But I couldn’t avoid my future forever.

In Daria Snadowsky’s daring follow-up to Anatomy of a Boyfriend, eighteen-year-old Dominique explores the relationship between love and lust, and the friendships that see us through.
Anatomy of a Boyfriend was an interesting read for me, in that I enjoyed it and could especially see the value in it, but I couldn't say I'd want to read it again. But, Anatomy of a Single Girl was a very different experience! Not only did I really enjoy it, but I can definitely say I would reread it. To me, everything about this one just worked so much better than in the previous book.

Anatomy of a Single Girl picks up a few months after its predecessor. Dom is finishing her summer at Tulane and is heading home to spend a month with Amy and with her parents before school starts again. She is doing well with her breakup with Wes, and has the prospect of a new boyfriend, but she's just not feeling into it. Then she meets Guy. He's attractive, he's into science, and Dom can't get enough of him. Soon, she's experiencing a relationship completely unlike anything before. But in this relationship, Dom quckly learns what she expects and what she needs in a romance, and what just won't cut it.

I think part of why I didn't enjoy Anatomy of a Boyfriend as much as I would've like to was that I couldn't get comfortable with Dom. Every decision she made went against my better judgement and I could see her disaster from miles away. Here, though, Dom is eons more likable. She's got a bit more life experience and she knows what she wants and what she won't settle for. Even though some of her decisions definitely weren't what I would've done, she was still completely in her own head and didn't let outside pressure change that. I respected her for the things she said and did.

Though you don't necessarily have to have read the first book to enjoy the second, I think the two really complement one another. Seeing Dom's progression in her relationships with her significant other, best friend, and parents is refreshing and enlightening. She's figuring things out that most teenagers are struggling with as well. In order to know who is right for you, you first have to know who you are.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Stacking the Shelves {30}


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to share the books we've bought, been gifted, or received for review!

How was everybody's week? Mine was decent. I started back at school, which means blogging will be taking a backseat. I'm hoping to keep my posts and reading up like they have been, though, so we'll see! :) Nothing for review this week, which is actually a relief, since I got enough books all on my own.

From the library:


The Prince (The Selection #0.5) by Kiera Cass (ebook)
Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay (ebook)
Under the Light (Light #2) by Laura Whitcomb
The Program by Suzanne Young
Perfect Scoundrels (Heist Society #3) by Ally Carter
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

A recap of the week here on Paper Cuts:
Monday - I reviewed Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry.
Tuesday - I hosted Emmy Laybourne as part of the Authors are Rockstars tour with a guest post and giveaway.
                 I teased from Deception by C.J. Redwine.
Wednesday - I was Waiting on The Nightmare Dilemma by Mindee Arnett.
Thursday - I helped reveal the cover for Kiss the Sky by Krista and Becca Ritchie.
Friday - I discussed new adult.
              I helped promote Tiffany Truitt's giveaway and the 99 cent sale on The Lost Souls series.

Books I read this week:
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
The Prince (The Selection #0.5) by Kiera Cass
The Vincent Brothers (The Vincent Boys #2) by Abbi Glines
Anatomy of a Single Girl (Anatomy #2) by Daria Snadowsky

I'm currently reading:
Disney U by Doug Lipp
The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater (I'M OBSESSED, Y'ALL.)

So that's been my week! I have the best library up at school, y'all. They're really good about getting new YA AND they have an awesome online database of ebooks and audiobooks, which you download right off the internet. :) Anyways, I'd love to see what y'all got, so leave me links! I'll be visiting about in just a little while. Have a lovely Sunday and a fabulous week!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Let's Talk About... New Adult

Here it is, y'all. My inevitable new adult discussion. Who's excited?

I'm still not sure of the necessity of new adult as a "genre". In general, I've liked most of the books that I've read that are labelled as new adult, though I've not been able to discern much of a difference from YA in them. But I have read a couple that a distinctly more adult than what I consider to be young adult. Had I not known they were classified as new adult, I might have been a little shocked at the content.

Reading YA has always felt like a safe kind of place for me. When I read adult books, many of them throw sex into a story at random, and it does not advance or benefit the story in the least. That's always been something that gets on my nerves, and I've always enjoyed not seeing that in YA. When there is sex, it's spare, to the point, completely not gratuitous, and it generally adds to the story.

I think the problem with new adult is that we haven't seen enough people really work with the new bounds. I can think of a couple of exceptions, but it seems like many books just have sex scenes added in to exploit the new trend. It would perfectly natural for the book not to contain that content. Were I to begin to see books that actively engage their new boundaries in thoughtful ways that made the books better, I'd be all for it.

New adult is meant to be a genre that explores the time between high school and adulthood, the college years, basically. Sure the characters in most of the books are college-aged, but most I've read don't seem to be dealing with issues of college-aged kids. Sex is absolutely not the only thing going on in college, or in the time following high school, if you're not attending college. For most of us, graduating high school means the end of our time as a child and the beginning of the rest of our lives. That is absolutely terrifying, and figuring out how you want to spend the rest of your life is just as a formidable task. That's what I loved about reading Losing It by Cora Carmack. Sure Bliss is trying to lose her virginity, but her virginity represents more. She is about to graduate college and try to pursue a life in theatre, which a scary career to pursue. She doesn't feel prepared or old enough for that, so losing her virginity becomes a symbol of her childhood in many ways. Yes, sex is in the forefront, but there's so much more going on, and it makes for a great book--one that deals with subjects most sixteen year olds just aren't dealing with yet.

I am completely fine with some sort of delineation to let me know that a book is going to be more graphic than your traditional YA fare, so I think the idea behind new adult could be a good one. Such a label would help readers and parents know when a teenager of a certain age should or should not be reading a book. I don't think a rating system like they have for movies is necessary in the least, but at least movies give some kind of notice of their content ahead of time. Some books are obvious, but others are not.

I guess I hope that new adult as a genre will gain some kind of specifics and lives up the reasoning for its creation. Those of us out of high school love to read about characters our own age (at least I do, don't you?), but we also want quality books.

What do you think? Do you like new adult books? What have been your favorite/least favorite? Do you see a point in the separation from young adult?

Back to Reading Contest + 99 Cent Sale on The Lost Souls Series

Hi y'all! I've got a brief message from Tiffany Truitt (author of The Lost Souls series, Chosen Ones and Naturals) to share with you:

I am so excited to be stopping by today to announce my “Back to Reading,” contest. Like millions of teachers and students, I will be returning back to the classroom, and I thought this needed to be celebrated with a MAJOR book giveaway….and other fun goodies for all my fellow fans of Young Adult Literature.

What Do You Win: One lucky winner will receive copies of the following books (US residents only):


How Do You Win: Simply stop by my website Aug. 23-26 to enter.

More Goodies: And that’s not all. Entangled Publishing and I are excited to announce that from August 23-26 books 1 & 2 of The Lost Souls Series (Chosen Ones and Naturals) will be available for Kindle, Nook, and Apple for only 99 cents. That’s right.  For less than a dollar, you can join the world of Tess and James before the final book in the trilogy hits store in April 2014.


Need more enticement? Below you will find an excerpt from book three, Creators.


Somewhere, James was just as trapped as I was.

I thought of the morning when we lay with each other, curled against one another, never beginning and never ending. How we’d stayed like that till the sun began to rise.        

James had reached down and pulled me off the ground. He wore a satisfied grin on his face. “Someone is mighty proud of himself,” I teased.        

He laughed. It bounced through the forest, calling it awake. Readying it for the day. “I’m just insanely happy.”        

I stood on the tips of my toes and kissed him gently on his scar. “I’m insanely happy too,” I whispered.        

James looked down at me, and I was lost all over again. I would never tire of looking into those mismatched eyes. They didn’t make him different. They made him him. He chuckled as he reached over and pulled a leaf from my tangled hair. “They’ll know just by looking at you that we’ve been up to no good.”

 “No good?”  I purred. “I thought it was very, very good.”

James growled and lifted me into the air. I wrapped my legs around his waist as he pressed his lips hungrily against mine. I moved my hands to his hair, curling my fingers into it, attaching myself to him. I never wanted to let go. Every part of me ached to be touched by him, and every part of me ached to touch him right back.

 “Do you know how much I love you?” he breathed into the base of my neck. His lips fluttered against my skin.        

I nodded, kissing the top of his head. “As much as I love you.”        

James slowly put my feet back on the ground. He cradled my face in his hands. “That will never change. No matter what.”        

I looked deep into his eyes. “I know.” Because I did. It was one of life’s few assurances. I would always love James.        

I pressed my lips once again to his scar. “I adore this scar,” I whispered, unable to hide the smile that seemed etched on my face all morning.        

 “You’re enough to drive a man crazy,” he said The tremble of his voice caused my toes to curl. I wanted him again. And again. And again.        

My fingers traced the waist of his pants. “Tonight?” I said, knowing full well it was a promise that I probably wouldn’t be able to keep.        

James grabbed my hand and brought it to his lips. “Tonight,” he echoed.        

As the sun climb higher into the sky, I knew our moment was coming to an end. James reached down and placed his hand over my heart. “Thank you,” he said.  

“For what?” I asked, my voice choked with emotion.        

"For everything.”        

As the memory slipped away, I looked back up at the night sky. Praying and hoping that James knew how much I wanted to thank him too.        

 For everything.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

{Cover Reveal} Kiss the Sky by Krista and Becca Ritchie




Twenty-three-year-old fashion designer, Rose Calloway, has everything figured out. Well, except her boyfriend. Pretentious, gorgeous, smart-as-hell—Connor Cobalt wants to rule the world and that means collecting as many contacts as he can. But for Rose, “people-pleasing” is another word for “fake” and tensions begin to build the longer their relationship lasts.

With the stress of her struggling fashion line, Rose finds a solution in another guy. The only problem—he’s everything she dislikes in men. But he’s her last chance to save the failing company. Now she must use Connor’s “people-pleasing” tactics to impress a guy that rattles her nerves. Rose has confidence in herself, but she also knows her boyfriend thrives on competition. And Connor hates being runner-up. If he doesn’t bottle his pride, the cost could be her future career.

They want it all: wealth, love and success.

But when two ambitious individuals fight to be the best, someone is bound to come in second. After all, only one can kiss the sky.

Standalone New Adult Romance: recommended for readers 18+ for mature content.








Becca Ritchie is a carnivore of pop culture, television, film and of course YA and NA books. While in college, she worked at The CW television network and put her vampiric knowledge to good use, blogging about hit series and swooning over actors’ abs. When she’s not blogging, she writes novels and has teamed up with her twin sister for their New Adult novel ADDICTED TO YOU. Available July of 2013.

Krista Ritchie is the mind behind popular trading website YA Book Exchange and created Nawanda Files, a book blog that also features books into movies news. When not pouring over entertainment news and the newest releases, she spends her time working in the science field. She’s happy to join forces with her sister, harnessing their twin powers to produce the first in a New Adult series.

Website † Twitter: Krista/Becca †  GoodReads 



What are your thoughts on the cover? Leave a comment below! :)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: The Nightmare Dilemma by Mindee Arnett {6}

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly awaiting!!

Title: The Nighmare Dilemma (The Arkwell Academy #2)
Author: Mindee Arnett
Release date: March 4, 2014
Dusty Everhart might be able to predict the future through the dreams of her crush, Eli Booker, but that doesn’t make her life even remotely easy. When one of her mermaid friends is viciously assaulted and left for dead, and the school’s jokester, Lance Rathbone, is accused of the crime, Dusty’s as shocked as everybody else. Lance needs Dusty to prove his innocence by finding the real attacker, but that’s easier asked than done. Eli’s dreams are no help, more nightmares than prophecies.

To make matters worse, Dusty’s ex-boyfriend has just been acquitted of conspiracy and is now back at school, reminding Dusty of why she fell for him in the first place. The Magi Senate needs Dusty to get close to him, to discover his real motives. But this order infuriates Eli, who has started his own campaign for Dusty’s heart.

As Dusty takes on both cases, she begins to suspect they’re connected to something bigger. And there’s something very wrong with Eli’s dreams, signs that point to a darker plot than they could have ever imagined.
I fell in love with the first book when I read it earlier this year. It was such a fun, unique book and I'm dying to read more about Dusty and Eli. But gah March of next year! (I also love the covers for these books; the silhouettes are striking.)

So what are you guys waiting on this week? :)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Authors are Rockstars: Emmy Laybourne Guest Post + Giveaway

Authors Are Rockstars

I am beyond excited to be hosting Emmy Laybourne today as part of the Second Annual Authors are Rockstars tour, hosted by FiktshunTwo Chicks on Books, and Magical Urban Fantasy Reads

So why do I think Emmy Laybourne is a rockstar? I was lucky enough to meet and interview Emmy last year when she was on tour with Fierce Reads. I was so nervous to meet all of the authors, but I was most nervous to meet Emmy. That's because she is more awesome than you could imagine. Prior to becoming an author, Emmy worked as a comedian with the likes of Will Ferrell, Molly Shannon, and Zach Galifianakis, among others. I'd seen her in Superstar and thought she was hilarious. All of my fears vanished when I met her, though, because she was so nice and friendly. She immediately put me at ease and spent so much time and care answering my questions.

Not only is she as sweet as can be, but she writes fascinating and exciting books filled with realistic characters. Prior to reading it, I didn't actually expect to like Monument 14, but I was blown away by it and its sequel, Sky on Fire. I quickly and deeply fell in love with the characters and needed to know more about what happened to their world. I count them among my favorite books and Emmy among my favorite authors.

So without further ado, here is Emmy's fascinating guest post about how her time as a performer--especially doing improv--affected her writing! (And stick around after that because I've got an amazing giveaway to share with y'all!)

About Emmy:

Emmy Laybourne is a novelist, teacher and recovered character actress. Emmy's first series, MONUMENT 14, tells the story of fourteen kids from Monument, CO who are trapped in a superstore as civilization collapses outside the gates. The sequel, MONUMENT 14: SKY ON FIRE, picks up the story as some of the kids leave to try to make it to an evacuation site in Denver, while others are forced to remain behind. The final installment of the trilogy, SAVAGE DRIFT, is expected in 2014.

Emmy graduated from UCLA with an MFA in screenwriting in 2006. She now lives in upstate New York with her web developer husband, two children, and six chickens.

Being a novelist is my dream job. I get paid to write books, which is wonderful because a) I love writing books and b) if I didn’t get paid, I’d have to do some other job ‘cause the kids need shoes.

But - what’s even more strange and delightful is that I used to have ANOTHER job that people dream about and I also loved it just as much (almost). That job was being a professional comic actor.

The best part about being in the comedy world was the people I got to work with. When you’re doing a scene with Will Ferrell or Eric Stonestreet or Molly Shannon or Zach Galifianakis or the Sklar brothers or Angela Kinsey, and you’re doing it well, you feel like a million bucks because, quite simply, they’re the best. With people that talented, you can play so hard, and make such outrageous connections in your improv and take risks so scandalous that you can make audience members laugh so hard they get a nosebleed. I am not kidding.

I gave up that world when I stopped acting and improvising professionally in 2004. While I miss performing comedy terribly, it was a choice I had to make for my own sanity and for my family. I miss the people, and I miss the improv shows, but man, oh, man, do I not miss auditioning. Auditioning was excruciating for me. It’s a miracle I made it out of LA not addicted to one substance or another. Again, not kidding.

My consolation? I use things I learned as an actor and an improvisor every day in my writing. Here are a few of them:

As a professional actor I learned to take care of my “instrument” (aka my body) -- if I allowed myself to get too tired, too hungry, too crabby, I couldn’t do a good job as an actor. I follow those same guidelines for my life as a writer. When I sit down to write, I am well fed and well rested. I turn off all devices that might distract me. I put in my ear-buds and play music to set the mood. And then I write and I write hard! That practice of taking care of myself - of keeping my brain in top condition so I can perform well, is one I learned in my many years as an improvisor.

Another set of tools I learned as an actor involves creating characters. I have a bunch of different exercises I
can rely on to help me figure out how a character walks and talks and thinks. I use the same techniques to create characters for my novels that I did when creating the character Helen Lewengrub in the film "Superstar."

One of my favorite exercises is called “Mall Stalking.” When I’m having trouble nailing down the attitude of a character or seeing the world through their eyes, I go to the mall. I sit and wait for someone to come along who looks like the character I’m working on. Then I follow them. And I copy their stride. Yes, I walk like them. I put my body into the cadence of a bossy girl shopping with her mom, or a super-hip teen guy breaking in a new pair of Vans.

Do I look like a crazy person? Sure. But it’s another gift I took from my life as a comic actor - I don’t care about how I look anymore! Oh, of course I try not to let them see me following them. That would be really creepy. But I don't care that the other shoppers see me loping along like a 14 year old. For all they know, I have a wicked case of scoliosis.

When I think about it, being free from self-consciousness is probably the biggest gift I took from the world of comedy.

You can check out the gallery on my website, emmylaybourne.com, for some of my favorite scenes from the work I did on TV and in film. And who knows, as my children get older and don't need me quite so much, maybe I'll get back into the world of improv. By the way, my advice to all writers, is to take an improv class, just as my advice to all improvisers is to study story structure!

It’s been such a pleasure to be here on Paper Cuts, one of my favorite book blogs! We're doing a giveaway, so sign up so you can win a copy of my newest book - MONUMENT 14: SKY ON FIRE. (You can meet the characters in the book and see how I did in creating them!)

Please keep in touch with me on FB at www.facebook.com/Monument14 or on the Twitter @EmmyLaybourne.

About Monument 14: Sky on Fire:

Trapped in a superstore by a series of escalating disasters, including a monster hailstorm and terrifying chemical weapons spill, brothers Dean and Alex learned how to survive and worked together with twelve other kids to build a refuge from the chaos. But then strangers appeared, destroying their fragile peace, and bringing both fresh disaster and a glimmer of hope.

Knowing that the chemical weapons saturating the air outside will turn him into a bloodthirsty rage monster, Dean decides to stay in the safety of the store with Astrid and some of the younger kids. But their sanctuary has already been breached once. . . .

Meanwhile, Alex, determined to find their parents, heads out into the darkness and devastation with Niko and some others in a recently repaired school bus. If they can get to Denver International Airport, they might be evacuated to safety. But the outside world is even worse than they expected. . .
As part of the tour, Emmy is giving away a hardcover copy of Sky on Fire, a Greenway tote bag (like the store in the book! These are so cute!), and some swag.

Rules:
  • US/CAN only.
  • Must be 13 or older to enter.
  • Giveaway will end at midnight EST on September 4th.
  • Winner will be chosen randomly through Rafflecopter, contacted via email, and will have 48 hours to respond.
  • Prize will be sent directly from author.
Good luck! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Teaser Tuesday: Deception by C.J. Redwine {35}

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Title: Deception (Defiance #2)
Author: C.J. Redwine
Release date: August 27, 2013
Pages: 480
Baalboden has been ravaged. The brutal Commander's whereabouts are unknown. And Rachel, grief stricken over her father's death, needs Logan more than ever. With their ragged group of survivors struggling to forge a future, it's up to Logan to become the leader they need—with Rachel by his side. Under constant threat from rival Carrington's army, who is after the device that controls the Cursed One, the group decides to abandon the ruins of their home and take their chances in the Wasteland.



But soon their problems intensify tenfold: someone—possibly inside their ranks—is sabotaging the survivors, picking them off one by one. The chaos and uncertainty of each day puts unbearable strain on Rachel and Logan, and it isn't long before they feel their love splintering. Even worse, as it becomes clear that the Commander will stop at nothing to destroy them, the band of survivors begins to question whether the price of freedom may be too great—and whether, hunted by their enemies and the murderous traitor in their midst, they can make it out of the Wasteland alive.


In this daring sequel to
Defiance, with the world they once loved forever destroyed, Rachel and Logan must decide between a life on the run and standing their ground to fight.
My teaser, from p. 230 in the ARC:
Maybe I am strong enough. Maybe the things that crouch behind my inner silence wouldn't hurt me if I drag them into the light.

Or maybe my secret horrors would cling to me with bloody fingers and destroy what's left of me.
I enjoyed Defiance last year, so I was so excited to get my hands on a copy of Deception early! (It certainly doesn't hurt that the protagonist's name is Rachel. That always makes me happy!)

I'll be visiting around and visiting back, so leave me links to your teasers! Have a lovely Tuesday!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Release date: July 31, 2012
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: ARC
Source: Trade
Pages: 392
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.

But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.
I read Pushing the Limits largely because it seemed like everyone else had read and loved it. A lot of times I convince myself I'm not going to like a book simply because everyone else likes it and I end up eating my words. This time, I went ahead and waited to pass judgement until I'd actually read it. I can tell y'all I definitely would've been eating crow had I not waited. :)

I'd expected your typical contemporary, where I sometimes wanted to strangle the characters and I couldn't help but find the essential flaws in their relationship, even though I somehow still enjoyed the book. That was not the case here! Both Echo and Noah are damaged; they've lost their ability to trust those who are supposed to protect and care for them. They have to learn to forgive themselves and those who have hurt them, learn to recognize what's healthy and safe, and finding love within one another helps that along. That's not to say they fall in love and everything just magically falls into place because love has healed all. Goodness gracious. But, in seeing that there is someone who can look past their damage and love them in spite of--and because of--it, both Echo and Noah begin a journey of healing.

I was deeply touched reading about Noah and his little brothers. Reading about a character who seems like the type who doesn't care about anyone or anything--a stoner and womanizer, for example--but who is actually working towards something so pure and heartfelt just makes me cry a little bit. (And I did cry a few times when he was with Tyler and Jacob.) I was initially very turned off of Noah because of how he was described, but his interaction with his brother's won me over very quickly. I saw how he was perfect for Echo, who needed someone who could make her feel loved, just as he did with his brothers. Noah, in turn, needed someone who didn't need to be take care of, not really. Echo seems fragile, and in many ways she is, but she's got hidden strength.

Pushing the Limits pulled me in quickly and completely. What seemed like a topical love story is really a story of how the strength of unselfish love can save you, if you want to be saved. It shows faults and failings but also power and beauty. It's definitely a new favorite contemporary and a standout of the genre.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Stacking the Shelves {29}


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to share the books we've bought, been gifted, or received for review!

How was everybody's week? :)

For review:

Six Months Later by Natalie D. Richards
Waterfell by Amalie Howard

A big, big thanks to Harlequin Teen, Sourcebooks Fire, and Netgalley for these! I can't wait to get to reading! :)

Won:

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood (paperback)
Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood (ARC)

Thanks so much to Putnam and Savannah at Books With Bite! :) Also, I now have two ARCs of Star Cursed so I may give one away soon; keep your eyes open!

A recap of the week here on Paper Cuts:
Monday - I reviewed The Fairest of Them All by Carolyn Turgeon for the blog tour, plus I shared an excerpt.
                 I showed off my new TBR jar.
Tuesday - I took the A to Z Book Survey.
                 I teased from The Boy on the Bridge by Natalie Standiford.
                 I helped reveal the cover for The Devil's Tattoo by Nicole R. Taylor.
Wednesday - I was Waiting On Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins.
Friday - I reviewed The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson.

Books I read this week:
The Fairest of Them All by Carolyn Turgeon
Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
Fallen Too Far by Abbi Glines

I'm currently reading:
Disney U by Doug Lipp
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

So that's been my week! I'd say it's been pretty good. Remember to check out my giveaway for a signed copy of Fallen Too Far by Abbi Glines (link is top left)! :) Anyways, I'd love to see what y'all got, so leave me links! I'll be visiting about in just a little while. :) Have a lovely Sunday and a fabulous week!

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Bitter Kingdom (Girl of Fire and Thorns #3) by Rae Carson

Release date: August 27, 2013
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pages: 448
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided through Edelweiss
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
The epic conclusion to Rae Carson's Fire and Thorns trilogy. The seventeen-year-old sorcerer-queen will travel into the unknown realm of the enemy to win back her true love, save her country, and uncover the final secrets of her destiny.

Elisa is a fugitive in her own country. Her enemies have stolen the man she loves in order to lure her to the gate of darkness. As she and her daring companions take one last quest into unknown enemy territory to save Hector, Elisa will face hardships she's never imagined. And she will discover secrets about herself and her world that could change the course of history. She must rise up as champion-a champion to those who have hated her most.
It's difficult to say goodbye to characters and worlds you've grown to love. Finishing Rae Carson's Girl of Fire and Thorns series was definitely one of the most painful goodbyes I've had to date in my reading life. It's rare that I find a book (or series) that so captures my imagination and makes me desperate to find a way to truly visit that world, and not just in my imagination.

Elisa is a character that you want to know if real life. She's a fiercely loyal friend, caring and loving, intelligent, and selfless. To see her grow from the scared, self-indulgent princess she was in the first book into a ferocious queen in the third is truly marvelous. She knows that stakes are high and that she cannot fail, yet she trudges onward, never giving up herself or those she cares about. She is a most admirable character and among the best I've ever read.

The Bitter Kingdom is everything I hoped and dreamed it would be, even as my heart and mind were taken on a whirlwind journey I could have never expected. There's loss and pain, but there's also redemption, forgiveness, and love. The decisions Elisa must make are difficult and painful, but she makes them out of love; she believes in her people and she believes in the goodness of others, despite all she's seen.

Not only has Rae Carson written one of my favorite heroines ever, but she's created a world, a mythology, a supporting set of characters, a love interest, and an enemy that all form an absolutely fantastic and unforgettable fantasy series. This series is the epitome of YA fantasy.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins {5}

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly awaiting!!

Title: Isla and the Happily Ever After
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Release date: May 13, 2014
From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and √Čtienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.
I was so resistant to these books originally because I just thought I wouldn't like them. Luckily, one day I randomly picked up Lola and the Boy Next Door (Yes, I read them backwards.) and was completely taken immediately. Once I finished both books, I had to find out when the next came. And, correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't this slated for 2013 originally? It broke my heart when I saw May 2014. I guess we're all really waiting on this one...

So what are you guys waiting on this week? :)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A to Z Bookish Survey!

I saw this floating around a few posts over the weekend and thought it was absolutely adorable! The A to Z Bookish Survey was created by Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner. I just had to participate! :) I'm not generally one to do this kind of thing, but how could I help myself?


Author you’ve read the most books from:
According to Goodreads, Meg Cabot, followed by Lemony Snicket. (I was quite the dedicated reader when I was younger! I've not read a book by either of them in at least 8 years.)

Best Sequel Ever:
Oh my... There are so many I've loved... Crown of Midnight, Prodigy, Siege and Storm, The Crown of Embers... But I think I'm going to have to pick Froi of the Exiles. Yep!

Currently Reading:

Drink of Choice While Reading:
I am all about tea. My favorites are Earl Grey and chai. Yummm.

E-reader or Physical Book?
In general, I like physical books better. But, sometimes it's just so convenient to have a library at your fingertips, and I love getting egalleys.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:
Mmm. I'm totally in love with Gansey from The Raven Boys right now, and probably would have been in high school. He's dedicated and driven, but he's supremely loyal to his friends. (Also, Hector from The Crown of Embers and The Bitter Kingdom--all three books, though--because who doesn't like a guy who could--and would--protect you from anything, really? Plus he's so sweet it's almost painful.)

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:
Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren

Hidden Gem Book:
Bonded by Michelle Davidson Argyle

Important Moment in your Reading Life:
There are lots, but what brought me to this point in my reading life was joining Goodreads. Through Goodreads I found tons of other people as passionate about books and reading as I was, and in turn I found the blogging world!

Just Finished:
The Fairest of Them All by Carolyn Turgeon

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:
I've never been big on mysteries, though I can read books that are heavy on mystery as long as they incorporate other things I like--and obviously I like a book with some mystery. And probably erotica... Yup.

Longest Book You’ve Read:
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (1,037 pages) Fun fact: I read this in sixth grade. It's been a long time, and I've not beaten myself... Ego busted.

Major book hangover because of:
Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta

Number of Bookcases You Own:
3, I guess? I have one large, large one with books doubled up that houses all of my YA, adult, and middle grade books. Then I have a small shelf (2 shelves) with all of my classics and random books from my childhood, and then I have another book case I keep at school, which I fill with books to be read while I'm at school.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. I actually just reread this (for about the fortieth time) and it was just as good as I remember. :)

Preferred Place To Read:
Ohhhh, my bed. Always. I get snuggled up with a cup of tea and some movie soundtracks playing quietly and go on an adventure! :)

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:
"HAPPINESS [is] ONLY REAL WHEN SHARED" - Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
After spending months alone in the wilds of Alaska, Christopher McCandless wrote this in the margins of his copy of Doctor Zhivago. I remember coming to this in Krakauer's book on McCandless' last year and stopping. It was something I'd never thought about but have always carried with me since.

Reading Regret:
I could mention a few books I wish I'd never wasted my time on, but I more regret not reading as much from tenth grade (or so) to my freshman year of college. I can't even imagine the number of books I would've gotten read!

Series You Started And Need To Finish(all books are out in series):
There are lots, but I'd say Beth Revis' Across the Universe books... And Cynthia Hand's Unearthly books. I've got copies of all that I haven't read and yet... Nada.

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:
The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, and Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

Unapologetic Fangirl For:
Robin McKinley. Y'all I don't even know how to express my love for this woman and her books. I've mention her countless times here on the blog and, of the 15 books I count as my favorites, 3 are hers. Nobody else has more than one. I've been reading her books since I was in elementary school and will continue to do so until I die.

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:
Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3) by Leigh Bardugo. It's so far away, but come onnnnnnnnnn. I NEED THIS.

Worst Bookish Habit:
There are too many I could list... I mean, I don't consider my craziness about keeping books in perfect condition a bad habit, but it sure drives others mad. Personally, I think my worst habit is accumulating books. If I liked the book and can fathom rereading it at any point the future, even if that future is fifty years from now, I will keep it. I buy more than I can ever read, but never quit doing so, and can't seem to get rid of them. They're my babies!

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:
Shadows Cast by Stars by Catherine Knutsson

Your latest book purchase:
I just bought a copy of The Girl in the Steel Corset earlier today! It won't be here for a few days, but I got a great deal on it. :)

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. It was an audio book, too, so I was sitting on my bed, just staring at a wall, listening. I was obsessed with this book while I read it.

Well, there you go! I thought that was fun. :) If you're doing the survey too, please leave me a link! I'd love to check out your answers. Or, if you're not participating, just tell me one or two answers!

Teaser Tuesday: The Boy on the Bridge by Natalie Standifor {34}

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Title: The Boy on the Bridge
Author: Natalie Standiford
Release date: July 30, 2013
Pages: 256
A new breathtaking novel from Natalie Standiford about love and trust during the Cold War.

Laura Reid goes to Leningrad for a semester abroad as Cold War paranoia is peaking in 1982. She meets a young Russian artist named Alexei and soon, with Alexei as her guide, Laura immerses herself in the real Russia--a crazy world of wild parties, black-market books and music, and smuggled letters to dissidents. She must keep the relationship secret; associating with Americans is dangerous for Alexei, and if caught, Laura could be sent home and Alexei put under surveillance or worse. At the same time, she's been warned that Soviets often latch onto Americans in hopes of marrying them and thus escaping to the United States. But she knows Alexei loves her. Right?

As June approaches--when Laura must return to the United States--Alexei asks Laura to marry him. She's only nineteen and doesn't think she's ready to settle down. But what if Alexei is the love of her life? How can she leave him behind? If she has a chance to change his life, to rescue him from misery, shouldn't she take it?
My teaser, from 11% in the egalley:
...she felt restless, and she didn't trust herself to heed her own advice. Here she was in a foreign country, sitting in a class with a bunch of other Americans, just like she would be at home. Reading about love.

Pathetic, that's what it was. Timid. Boring. She was wasting her youth--her "fleeting youth," as Pushkin might have said. No time to waste.

She longed for something to happen to her. Something exciting. It was up to her to make it happen, to take chances. Take action.

If she couldn't find an adventure in Russia, she deserved to be bored.
I was so sad not to participate in Teaser Tuesday last week, but I just didn't have the time to get two posts written! But, I'm back this week! :) I'm super excited about The Boy on the Bridge, since I love the synopsis and the cover, but I'm also thrilled to read a book set during the Cold War, which I don't see often.

I'll be visiting around and visiting back, so leave me links to your teasers! Have a lovely Tuesday!