Event Recap: Leigh Bardugo in PH!

June 21st was fantastic for bookworms in Manila as it was the day of New York Times Bestselling Author Leigh Bardugo’s book signing! Many wished for Leigh to visit the Philippines and of course, the wonderful National Book Store made it come true! 🙂

Leigh Bardugo Q&A

Q&A with Leigh Bardugo

My fellow bloggers and I attended a Q&A and I’d love to share with you the information I’ve gathered from the event. Here it is:

*Leigh would love to write with Laini Taylor and JK Rowling.

*Leigh has a horror story in the anthology, Slasher Girls & Monster Boys that is coming out in August.

*Leigh enjoys stories set in our world with a fantasy element.

*Leigh would never cut a steamy scene!

*Leigh is a huge Game of Thrones fan!

*Russia felt like a good fit for her world.

*The setting of Six of Crows existed in Leigh’s mind before she wrote it.

*Shadow and Bone is a very classic “chosen one” story.

*Leigh hopes we like Six of Crows!

*Leigh might write a story about Sturmhond. According to her, it won’t happen on a few years.

*Leigh used to be a makeup and special effects artist.

*Leigh realized that no matter how old you get, no matter how smart you think you are, the fear of the dark never really goes away.

*She meant for the Darkling to be sexy. 🙂

*The Darkling is a main love interest.

*Leigh set out to write characters, not love interests.

*There’s a possibility for a novella about Alina’s origins!

*Leigh created a language to suit the moment of the world.

*Leigh wanted the language to be accessible to the reader.

*Leigh has gotten braver in her world-building.

*She literally has her dream job now.

If you wish to listen to the audio recording of the Q&A, you may access it here.

With Leigh Bardugo

With the wonderful Leigh Bardugo! 🙂

After the Q&A, we bloggers had the opportunity to meet Leigh personally at the book signing. Leigh was so kind and friendly! She asked me who my favorite character is in the Grisha Trilogy and I honestly told her that I haven’t read her books yet. I wanted to vanish into thin air as soon as I said those words! But you know what? Leigh was totally cool with it! I said I’ll read her books soon and she responded, “I hope you like them!” in a cheerful manner that made me more excited to read the Grisha Trilogy.

PH Bloggers group photo

PH YA Bloggers with Leigh Bardugo

Leigh’s agent, Joanna Volpe, was also present at the event. I got to chat with her for a while and she gave some helpful writing tips! Thank you, Joanna! Will keep those in mind. 🙂

With Joanna Volpe

With the lovely Joanna Volpe! 🙂

Aside from meeting Leigh and Joanna, I was super happy to see my blogger friends again after two months! I missed everyone very much! It was really good to catch up with them. Of course, a signing wouldn’t be complete without selfies! I didn’t get a chance to take selfies with everyone (BOO!), but here’s a collage of the very few I took with Kevin of Tomebound, Salve of Cuckoo for Books, Sab from Sab the Book Eater, and Hazel of Stay Bookish.

Selfies

Bloggers unite!

The public signing was held at National Book Store Glorietta 1. I wasn’t able to stay long because I had stuff to do in the afternoon. Anyway, from what I’ve seen in pictures shared on social media, it seems like everybody had a great time! Hooray!

Public signing

Public signing at National Book Store

Thank you so much National Book Store for making #LeighBardugoinPH possible! Meeting Leigh was an amazing experience. I’m looking forward to the next book signing event! 🙂

Signed copies of SB and SS

Signed books! Yay!

Six of Crows

Signed Six of Crows ARC! 🙂

How about you, guys? Did you attend any of Leigh Bardugo’s signing in the Philippines? Share your experience in the comment section below!

 

ARC Review: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

23341894Title: Every Last Word

Author: Tamara Ireland Stone

Publication date: June 16, 2015

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Pages: 368

Source: Gifted by the author (Thank you, Tamara!)

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Fully Booked

Synopsis:

If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling.

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

Eye-opening and inspiring, Every Last Word brilliantly depicts what it’s like to have Purely-Obsessional OCD. I had no idea about “Pure-O” until I read this book. Every Last Word is significant. I think everybody should read it to know more about “Pure-O and understand what the people who have the disorder go through. Every Last Word impressed me a lot, particularly the smooth flow of the prose, the rich, absorbing plot, and notable character development. The story grabbed me from the start, making me wish that I had all the time to read! But then there’s reality—a.k.a. work. Boo! Anyway, I loved Every Last Word because of its authentic sound and truthful disposition. Even when I was still in the first few chapters, I already felt how real it is. Every Last Word holds emotions that resonate in all corners of the heart, affecting readers deep down to their core. It inspires people to find their voice even when they thought they never would. Every Last Word shows how words are powerful in changing a person’s life. That aspect blew me away. Everything about this story radiates hope for a better life. That for me is beautiful. Oh, and the poetry is fantastic. All the poems infused Every Last Word with a distinctive personal vibe.

Sam is a genuine and insightful character that I was able to empathize with straight away. What Sam went through was an intense journey to becoming a better version of herself. Although she struggled, Sam was very determined. I loved that about her! As time progressed, Sam became comfortable with herself and accepted her flaws. In addition, I loved seeing Sam fall in love with words! That is one empowering facet in the novel.

Next is AJ, the sweet, gentle guy who knows how to make a girl melt into a puddle of swoony and happy feels. He swept me off my feet with his charming ways, good looks, and his wholehearted affection for Sam. I loved how Sam found herself because of AJ! The guy thoroughly brought out the best in her. Oh my heart!!! ❤ Plus, AJ plays the guitar and writes songs! How can I not adore him? 🙂

Caroline is a wonderful creation, exuding a mystery that added depth to Every Last Word. An unexpected twist towards the end will render you speechless. I was completely dumbfounded!

And there’s also Shrink-Sue who is my favorite character! Everything that comes out of her mouth is enlightening. Shrink-Sue just knows what to say all the time. She’s amazing! I want to have a friend like her. 🙂

The romance in Every Last Word is something that will really brighten your mood. It’s light and at the same time passionate. Not over the top but just right. Sam and AJ’s chemistry is natural and endearing. ❤

Tamara Ireland Stone’s realistic, poignant writing will set your heart falling in love with Every Last Word and its characters. Just thinking about it brings back all the deeply felt emotions. I’m sure this book will always remain in me.

Brimming with optimism and profound clarity, Every Last Word is a remarkable novel that you need to add to your TBR pile!

 

Rating:

4.5/5 stars

Bookish Birthday Bash: Birthday Post + PH Giveaway!

1

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! Wow, can’t believe I’m another year older today. It seems like it was only yesterday that I celebrated my 24th birthday. Aside from my family, friends, and my new job, my Chapter 24 was memorable because of all you amazing book loving people. You guys never fail to make me feel that I am part of something extraordinary. I knew I made a good decision in becoming a book blogger. Had I not, I wouldn’t have known all of you. I wouldn’t have discovered the books that changed my life. I wouldn’t have realized that writing is what I want to do for the rest of my life. And most of all, I wouldn’t be as happy as I am right now. In book blogging, I saw how powerful books are in connecting people to each other. I’m still amazed every time I think about that! Books helped me find you—my wonderful friends from all over the world who have the same passion as mine. 🙂

HUGE THANKS TO:

Tamara Ireland Stone—If I could time travel, I’d go back to the year 2006 when I visited San Francisco and would look for you. I know, it sounds kind of strange. Haha! 🙂 When I find you, I would give you a big hug as I say that you’re a brilliant author in the future. I’d tell you that I love every last word of your stories and that we became friends through a social media site called Twitter! I’d also mention that we talk about books, writing, and music a lot. Thank you for giving this girl the opportunity to be friends with you. *hugs* Most especially, thank you for being an inspiration to me. ❤

A.G. Howard—You remain the most magical author I’ve met online. Up to this day, the spell that your stories cast on me has not yet been broken. Thanks for making me see that I’ve got magic in me, too. 🙂

Elizabeth Richards—Liz, my very first author friend. I miss you and our conversations about Harry Potter and cute owls on Twitter! You are a remarkable writer whose books continue to be favorites of mine. Can’t wait to read your next masterpiece.

Jennifer Niven—I am forever thankful to have you as a friend. Your words of encouragement give me hope that I’d get to share my stories to the world one day. I have a long way to go in achieving that dream, but I believe that I’ll get there. Thanks for being my cheerleader! By the way, I have a feeling that I’m going to meet you sometime in the future. I don’t know why I felt that but I just did. If my hunch were true, then I’d definitely be the happiest girl in the world. 🙂

Kristin Rae—To one of my sweetest author friends ever, thank you for sharing your sunshine and for always putting a smile on my face! You are lovely! Wish You Were Italian charmed its way to my heart and I know for sure that What You Always Wanted will do the same. I can feel it!

Amy Finnegan—Thanks for showing me that the best kind of friendship does not need a script. You’ve been a really good friend to me and I’m very grateful! Your friendship is truly a gift.

Becky Albertalli—My super awesome author friend! No words can express how happy I am that you’re my friend. Our conversations about Oreos, swoon-worthy, happy books, and all things fun will always be special to me!

Lauren Gibaldi—I will never get tired of thanking you for writing The Night We Said Yes and saying that I loved it so much. I believed in myself more after reading your book. Thank you for inspiring me to go after my dreams! You are sincerely one of the best authors I’ve met on Twitter.

To all the other authors I’ve interacted with on Twitter—You are all rock stars! Your books are prized possessions in this world. May you continue to move people through your stories!

PH book bloggers—Kate, Kai, Louisse, Lyra, Sab, Dianne, Precious, Leslie, Kazhy, Maricar, Kayla, Dani, Hazel, Geraldine, Algel, Nicole, Michelle, Chyna, and Nina! You ladies rock my bookish world! I wish we’d have more bonding moments in the years to come! Love you! ❤ To the other PH book bloggers I’ve spoken to on Twitter and have met in real life, my book blogging experience is more enjoyable because of you. Many thanks!

International bloggers—Thank you for the fab book recommendations and all the delightful bookish convos on Twitter! It’s really cool to be friends with bookworms from other parts of the world. 🙂

Publishers and publicists:

To Sarah and Megan from HarperCollins, Cassie (formerly from Disney-Hyperion), Bloomsbury Children’s Books USA, St. Martin’s Press, Random House Kids, Macmillan Children’s Books, Tor Teen, and Scholastic Philippines—my sincerest gratitude for the privilege to review fantastic books! It means a lot for a blogger like me.

National Book Store—To Chad, JB, and the rest of the fantabulous NBS team, massive thanks for the recognition and the opportunities to work with you. Because of that, I became a better blogger than I was two years ago. Big hugs to every single one of you!

Lucy of Fully Booked and the friendly staff at Fully Booked Alabang—Thank you for the excellent assistance you provide every time. Shout out to Jane and Kuya Joeven because they’re both superb!

HUGS TO EVERYONE! 🙂

 

GIVEAWAY TIME!

In celebration of my birthday, I’m giving away a gorgeous finished hardcover copy of The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi!

IMG_3167

The giveaway is open to Philippine residents only. Sorry international followers! 😦

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Thank you to the spectacular and generous HarperCollins Publishers for the giveaway copy!

Bookish Birthday Bash: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone [Guest post + Playlist]

1

Hi! Welcome to Day 3 of Bookish Birthday Bash! The amazing Tamara Ireland Stone takes over the blog today for a very special guest post and a swoon-worthy playlist that will melt your hearts in no time.

Have a great reading and listening time! 🙂

4

23341894Synopsis:

If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling.

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

Every Last Word is out on June 16, 2015 from Disney-Hyperion.

Purchase the book: Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Fully Booked

 

7


tamarairelandstone TAMARA IRELAND STONE
is the author of Time After Time and Time Between Us, which has been published in over twenty countries to widespread acclaim, and hailed as “an exciting debut novel” by Booklist and “a warm, time bending romance” by Publishers Weekly. It has been optioned for film by CBS Films.

Her next novel, Every Last Word, is about a teen girl with OCD who’s hiding part of herself from the world, until she discovers a secret poetry club that changes her in unexpected ways. Every Last Word releases on June 16, 2015.

A former Silicon Valley marketing executive, Tamara enjoys skiing, hiking, and spending time with her husband and two children. She lives just outside of San Francisco. For more information, visit her website at http://www.TamaraIrelandStone.com.

*Author bio and photo from the author’s website

 

10

Happy Birthday, Jesselle! I wish I could be there in person to chat nonstop with you about books, music, and swoon-worthy fictional boys. Hopefully this post with a healthy dose of all three will suffice.

Thank you for including me in your birthday bash, and for offering to unveil the second of my four playlists!

My new novel, Every Last Word, hits shelves on next Tuesday, June 16. It’s a story about a girl named Samantha who looks perfect on the outside but feels broken on the inside, until an underground poetry club and its misfit members help her see herself in a whole new light.

This story is special to me for two big reasons:

(1) It was inspired by a family friend who was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), when she was 12. She’s someone I greatly admire, and even though this is a work of fiction, her strength, attitude, and sense of humor are firmly embedded in my main character.

(2) It’s personal, especially around the theme of the healing power of words. Even though I never let anyone else read my stories, poems, and journal entries when I was a teen, my notebooks were always my safe place. In writing this novel, I got to create a character and watch her fall in love with words. It was an unforgettable experience.

Like my other books, Time Between Us and Time After Time, music plays a big role in this story. There are actually four Every Last Word playlists: The main one—which is more like the soundtrack for the story—and three more that are mentioned in the book:

  • I recently shared my Every Last Word playlist/soundtrack, “Anything But Empty”, cover-art1here in Justine Magazine.
  • Today, I’m here at The Lifelong Bookworm to tell you all about “Song For You”, an all-acoustic guitar playlist Sam makes for AJ.
  • On Monday the 15th, I’ll be over at YA Indulgences to tell you all about “Right Beside You”, the playlist Sam makes for her friend Caroline.
  • And on Saturday, June 20, the 16-year-old who inspired Every Last Word will be sharing the playlist she created, “In The Deep.” She’ll be a guest on Gone With the Words to tell you why these songs are so special to her.

 

Every Last Word

Before I share the playlist, let me tell you a little bit about this story.

Samantha McAllister is stilled at keeping her OCD under wraps, especially from her closest friends. Sam has what’s called “Purely-Obsessional OCD” and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries she can’t turn off. Because the disorder takes place entirely in her mind, it’s relatively easy for Sam to keep it a secret. And it is, without question, her biggest secret.

Everything begins to change for Sam when she meets Caroline, a quirky girl a few lockers away who wears snarky tees and openly shares her opinions. She introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner and a group of people who are very different from her friends. They read poetry aloud, wear their hearts on their sleeves, and care very little about things like clothes and makeup. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially an adorable guy named AJ with an acoustic guitar and a gift for verse.

But Sam and AJ have history. She doubts they’ll ever become friends—it would be crazy to think they could ever be more.

Still, Sam thinks about AJ. A lot. She turns to music and lyrics to help her sort things out, so one night, she starts making a playlist of acoustic guitar songs. She imagines AJ playing, singing each one, just for her.

Sam gives all of her playlists a three-word title lifted from the lyrics of one of the songs. This playlist is titled “Song for You”, named after this beautiful tune by Alexi Murdoch. I especially love these lines:

 

And I see you

hiding your face in your hands

Talking bout far-away lands
You think no one understands

Listen to my hands

 

(I think you’ll enjoy the scene when AJ figures out that Sam made this playlist for him. Warning: swoons ahead.)

Here are a few other songs I’m especially drawn to for their lyrical connection to Every Last Word:

 

The Thick and the Thin” by Imaginary Future

I’ll be knocking soon,

Open up your room.
Now I won’t assume you’re letting me in.
Show me how to prove I’m good enough for you.
That we can make it through the thick and the thin.

 

Three Rounds and a Sound” by Blind Pilot

I was swimming,

My eyes were dark ’til you woke me,

And told me that opening is just the start.

It was.

 

Gray or Blue” by Jaymay

I know the shape of your hands because I watch them when you talk.

And I know the shape of your body ’cause I watch it when you walk.

I want to know it all, but I’m giving you the lead.

So go on, go on and take it.

  

Bron-Yr-Aur” by Led Zeppelin

This song has no words at all, but it might be the most beautiful piece of music I’ve ever heard. I wrote every AJ scene with this song in my ears.

 

Are you ready to hear to the rest of “Song For You”? Here it is:

 

songforyoufinal

CLICK HERE to listen to all four of my Every Last Word playlists.

Follow me on Spotify to hear these and more.

 

Happy birthday, Jesselle! Thanks again for spending part of it with Every Last Word and me.

 

Thank you so much for being a part of Bookish Birthday Bash, Tamara! ❤ *hugs*

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this post, guys! Share them on the comment section below. 🙂

Come back on June 15th for my birthday post and a PH giveaway! *flails*

 

 

 

 

 

Bookish Birthday Bash: The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi [Guest Post + Playlist]

1

Hey there! Welcome to Day 2 of Bookish Birthday Bash! Today’s feature spotlights debut author Lauren Gibaldi and her beautiful novel, The Night We Said Yes. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the awesomeness! 🙂

3

Untitled-4Synopsis:

A fun, romantic read, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Susane Colasanti!

Before Matt, Ella had a plan. Get over a no-good ex-boyfriend. Graduate from high school without any more distractions. Move away from Orlando, Florida, where she’s lived her entire life.

But Matt—the cute, shy, bespectacled bass player who just moved to town—was never part of that plan.

And neither was attending a party that was crashed by the cops just minutes after they arrived. Or spending an entire night saying “yes” to every crazy, fun thing they could think of.

Then Matt abruptly left town, and he broke not only Ella’s heart but those of their best friends, too. So when he shows up a year later with a plan of his own—to relive the night that brought them together—Ella isn’t sure whether Matt’s worth a second chance. Or if re-creating the past can help them create a different future.

In alternating then and now chapters, debut author Lauren Gibaldi crafts a charming, romantic story of first loves, lifelong friendships, uncovered secrets, and, ultimately, finding out how to be brave.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

The Night We Said Yes is out on June 16, 2015 from HarperTeen.

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Fully Booked / National Book Store

 

7

lgibaldi_authorphoto

Photo courtesy of Lauren Gibaldi

Lauren Gibaldi is a writer and public librarian. She’s been, among other things, a magazine editor, high school English teacher, bookseller, and circus aerialist (seriously). She has a BA in Literature and Master’s in Library and Information Studies, both from Florida State University. She currently live in Orlando, Florida with her husband and daughter. THE NIGHT WE SAID YES is her first novel.

*Author bio provided by Lauren Gibaldi

 

6

For her guest post, the wonderful Lauren Gibaldi shares the story of a memorable night where she said YES. ❤ Here it goes:

It all started with a party.

I guess a lot of stories start that way, but mine never did. I didn’t go to a lot of parties in high school, and the ones I did were either a) tame birthday parties or b) tame drama club parties. I guess crazy things might have happened at them, but I was never part of that. I was a good girl.

But during my junior year I was invited to a party at a friend’s house where his band was going to play. Parents wouldn’t be home. Lots of people were going. To say I was excited was an understatement. It was the first time I actually bought an outfit for a party.

Before leaving, my best friend and I giggled about what the night might bring. Excitement! Danger! Boys! More importantly, a specific boy. A boy I liked. He was going to be there, and, you know, a girl could dream, right?

When writing THE NIGHT WE SAID YES, that night jumped into my mind. I remember the feeling like it was yesterday. I remember pulling up to the house with all the hope and fear and anticipation in the world. With all the belief that in one night, anything and everything could happen.

In my book, a lot of crazy things happen–cops come, dares are said, and rules are broken. At my party so many years ago, not so much. It was, once again, tame comparatively, but it was still my night. I remember listening to the band and loving it so much. I remember talking to, and giggling with, my crush. I remember standing next to my best friend and feeling like the best version of myself. I remember being there, in the middle of it all.

The night didn’t make my dreams come true, but it gave me the courage and push to work towards them.

A few years ago I said yes to writing a book about a group of friends who said yes to every idea they had for one night. It was a made up idea, something that popped in my mind that felt like me. It reminded me so much of that night, way back in high school, when I said yes to living.

 

9

Presenting…

Lauren Gibaldi’s playlist for The Night We Said Yes! Happy listening! 🙂

  1. “Your Ex-Lover Is Dead” – Stars
  2. “The Night Starts Here” – Stars
  3. “Sometimes I Still Feel the Bruise” -Trembling Blue Stars
  4. “Should I Stay or Should I Go” – The Clash
  5. “We Are Young” – Fun. featuring. Janelle Monae
  6. “First Day of My Life” – Bright Eyes
  7. “It’ll Get You There” – Rilo Kley
  8. “I Wanna Get Better” – Bleachers
  9. “21 Guns” – Green Day
  10. “Shake It Out” – Florence and the Machine
  11. “Tonight the Streets are Ours” -Richard Hawley

 

So there you have it! What’s your favorite part of the feature? Share your thoughts on the comment section below!

Visit The Lifelong Bookworm again tomorrow for Day 3 of Bookish Birthday Bash with the lovely Tamara Ireland Stone and Every Last Word! 🙂

Bookish Birthday Bash: Between the Notes by Sharon Huss Roat [Guest Post + Playlist]

1

Hello! Welcome to Day 1 of Bookish Birthday Bash! I hope you enjoy today’s feature on debut author Sharon Huss Roat and her book, Between the Notes!

 

2

BTNotesHC_revealSynopsis:

When Ivy Emerson’s family loses their house—complete with her beloved piano—the fear of what’s to come seizes her like a bad case of stage fright. Only this isn’t one of her single, terrifying performances. It’s her life.

And it isn’t pretty.

Ivy is forced to move with her family out of their affluent neighborhood to Lakeside, also known as “the wrong side of the tracks.” Hiding the truth from her friends—and the cute new guy in school, who may have secrets of his own—seems like a good idea at first. But when a bad boy next door threatens to ruin everything, Ivy’s carefully crafted lies begin to unravel . . . and there is no way to stop them.

As things get to the breaking point, Ivy turns to her music, some unlikely new friends, and the trusting heart of her disabled little brother. She may be surprised that not everyone is who she thought they were . . . including herself.

Debut author Sharon Huss Roat crafts a charming and timely story of what happens when life as you know it flips completely upside down.

*Photo and synopsis provided by the author

Between the Notes is out on June 16, 2015 from HarperTeen.

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Fully Booked / National Book Store

 

7

Sharon RoatSharon Huss Roat grew up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and now lives in Delaware with her husband and two children. She worked in public relations for 20 years before deciding what she really wanted to be when she grew up. BETWEEN THE NOTES is her debut novel. When she’s not writing (or reading) books for young adults, you might find her planting vegetables in her backyard garden or sewing costumes for a school musical. Visit her online at www.sharonroat.com or on Twitter @sharonwrote.

*Author bio and photo provided by Sharon Huss Roat

 

6

Spark of idea for BETWEEN THE NOTES 

by Sharon Huss Roat 

The first little spark of an idea that led me to write BETWEEN THE NOTES was a simple case of mistaken identity. I had misjudged someone based on appearance and circumstance, and this got me thinking about how often this happens. I imagined a girl who finds her own situation dramatically changed. I wanted to explore how that would affect the way she sees herself and others—and how they see her. At that same time, a friend told me about a family she knew that was facing financial hardship. The parents were going to great lengths to keep their lavish home rather than downsize, so their teenage children wouldn’t have to adjust to a more modest lifestyle. I wondered what would happen if the parents did face the music, so to speak, and live within their means. How would that change everything else in their lives? The story grew from there—further influenced by a continuing series of sparks. Ivy’s stage fright, Brady’s disability, Ivy’s song-writing—all were the results of conversations and interactions with people I know or met along the way. I had no idea where the story was going when I started it, and learned a great deal in the writing of it!

 

9

A Between the Notes soundtrack:

Here are a few songs that are either mentioned in the novel, or are favorites of Ivy’s!

  1. Blackbird – The Beatles
  2. Crazy Little Thing Called Love – Queen
  3. Bohemian Rhapsody (on ukulele) – Jake Shimabukuro
  4. Year Zero – Ghost B.C.
  5. What Once Was -Little Invisibles
  6. Come as You Are – Nirvana

 

Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Jesselle!

 

You are most welcome, Sharon! *hugs* So guys, what do you think of Sharon’s guest post and playlist? Sound off in the comment section below!

Check back tomorrow for debut author Lauren Gibaldi and her novel, The Night We Said Yes! 🙂

 

 

ARC Review: The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi

Untitled-4Title: The Night We Said Yes

Author: Lauren Gibaldi

Publication date: June 16, 2015

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 304

Source: Gifted by the author (Thank you, Lauren!)

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / National Book StoreFully Booked

Synopsis:

A fun, romantic read, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Susane Colasanti!

Before Matt, Ella had a plan. Get over a no-good ex-boyfriend. Graduate from high school without any more distractions. Move away from Orlando, Florida, where she’s lived her entire life.

But Matt—the cute, shy, bespectacled bass player who just moved to town—was never part of that plan.

And neither was attending a party that was crashed by the cops just minutes after they arrived. Or spending an entire night saying “yes” to every crazy, fun thing they could think of.

Then Matt abruptly left town, and he broke not only Ella’s heart but those of their best friends, too. So when he shows up a year later with a plan of his own—to relive the night that brought them together—Ella isn’t sure whether Matt’s worth a second chance. Or if re-creating the past can help them create a different future.

In alternating then and now chapters, debut author Lauren Gibaldi crafts a charming, romantic story of first loves, lifelong friendships, uncovered secrets, and, ultimately, finding out how to be brave.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

Have you ever experienced feeling connected to a book even before you’ve read it? That’s what I felt toward The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi. When I read its description, I immediately sensed that it’s my kind of YA contemporary. And I was right. The Night We Said Yes is a book that’s meant to be in my life.

With a voice that reaches the depths of the heart, The Night We Said Yes delivers a fresh, reflective take on true love and second chances. More than that, it is about letting go of the past, accepting one’s flaws and brokenness, and believing in yourself. I very much appreciate how this book encapsulates the unlimited adventures of teenage life. But what I love the most is how the story inspires readers to be brave and take risks. To be different. To live in the moment. To say YES to what makes them happy. Who wouldn’t love a book that will not only make you swoon but also inspire you to be a better person? ❤ The Night We Said Yes is indeed the best of everything. It’s brilliant and uplifting until the very end! 🙂

Written in alternate Then and Now chapters, The Night We Said Yes takes readers to the past, giving them a chance to understand and know how Ella and Matt’s story began. Author Lauren Gibaldi developed characters that are compelling and believable. Insightful, kind-hearted, and smart, Ella is the best friend every girl must have in her life. I identified with Ella a lot as I saw pieces of myself in her. She’s my fictional soul sister! 🙂 And then there’s Matt—charming, caring, and really sweet! He’s the type of guy you’d want to fall in love with at first sight. Oh, and his enigmatic, geeky vibe will totally draw you to him. Most of all, I loved Matt’s effort to connect with Ella again to win her back. It’s a priceless move that makes him a keeper!

Friendship plays a huge role in The Night We Said Yes. I loved how the story showed what unfeigned friendships are—imperfect but worth having. Ella and her best friend Meg’s bond is an ideal example of a strong, irreplaceable sisterhood that will never be forgotten. On top of that, other characters like Jake, Barker, and Gabby added different hues to the already colorful tale.

The romance in The Night We Said Yes is filled with raw emotions and swoon-worthy moments that you’d want to experience for yourself. That spark full of hope in a new beginning with someone, and the moment of connection that feels so right. Believe me, you’d wish to be Ella plenty of times when you read TNWSY! Everything about Ella and Matt’s relationship is natural. They just work well together! In a very realistic manner, The Night We Said Yes proves that love is the most beautiful kind of magic there is in the world.

Lauren Gibaldi’s writing flows with authenticity and heart, making me feel that I’m living inside the book instead of reading it. The truthfulness of the words connected me to the story and its characters. It’s downright wonderful to feel that when reading a book! The Night We Said Yes hit me right in the feels, you know? Oh, and guess what? It sparked a change in me. I’m a happier, improved version of myself now than before I read it. My heart brims with gratitude that a story such as The Night We Said Yes was written. Lauren Gibaldi is a gifted writer. I’d definitely read all the books she’s going to write! 🙂

Gleaming with heartfelt moments and the brightest of possibilities, The Night We Said Yes is a remarkable debut novel that beautifully captures the core of love, friendship, and second chances in a magical and unforgettable way.

 

Rating:

5/5 stars

You’re Invited!

Hi everyone! It’s my birthday on June 15th and I’m going to celebrate it with three amazing books that are releasing on the 16th! It has always been my dream to celebrate my special day with books, so imagine my excitement when I organized this blog event! But then I was all the more ecstatic when the authors of the three books accepted my invitation to be a part of my birthday bash! *happy dance* Incidentally, my birthday is not the only one that will be recognized. This blog event will also celebrate the publication of the three books as well as every author’s success. 🙂

Without further ado, I invite you to…

1

The celebration will run from June 11th to 15th (excluding the 14th). It will feature wonderful guest posts and playlists from Sharon Huss Roat (Between the Notes), Lauren Gibaldi (The Night We Said Yes), and Tamara Ireland Stone (Every Last Word). Each author guest post highlights the heart of their respective books, which I’m sure you’ll love! As for the playlists, well, I think some of you know I have a thing for them, so that’s a huge deciding factor. 🙂 Anyway, I chose to include playlists because I love how songs can describe emotions to people. The playlists that Sharon, Lauren, and Tamara will share encompass the feelings that their books carry. ❤

The Bookish Birthday Bash schedule is as follows:

June 11th- Sharon Huss Roat / Between the Notes

June 12th- Lauren Gibaldi / The Night We Said Yes

June 13th – Tamara Ireland Stone / Every Last Word

June 15th – Birthday post + PH giveaway 🙂

Ahhhhhh I’m so excited! It would mean so much to Sharon, Lauren, Tamara, and me if you guys could celebrate with us! 🙂