Blog Tour: Game On // Author Interview with Laura Silverman!

Hiya everyone! Today I’ll be hosting a blog tour stop for Game On by Laura Silverman, as well as a collection of other (lovely) authors. I hope you enjoy!

Game On by Laura Silverman

Book Info

Title: Game On: 15 Stories of Wins, Losses, and Everything in Between Edited by Laura Silverman

Genre: Young Adult Anthology

Publication Date: January 18th, 2022

Synopsis

A charming and inclusive YA anthology all about games–from athletic sports to board games to virtual reality–from editor Laura Silverman and an all-star cast of contributors.

From the slightly fantastical to the utterly real, light and sweet romance to tales tinged with horror and thrills, Game On is an anthology that spans genre and style. But beneath each story is a loving ode to competition and games perfect for anyone who has ever played a sport or a board game, picked up a video game controller, or rolled a twenty-sided die.

A manhunt game is interrupted by a town disappearing beneath the players’ eyes. A puzzle-filled scavenger hunt emboldens one college freshman to be brave with the boy she’s crushing on. A series of summer nights full of card games leads a boy to fall for a boy who he knows is taken. And a spin the bottle game could end a life-long friendship.

Fifteen stories, and fifteen unforgettable experiences that may inspire readers to start up that Settlers of Catan game again.

//Goodreads//Amazon//Barnes and Noble//Book Depository//Indigo//Indiebound//

Here is the tour schedule link. If you have time, do check out the other lovely tour stops as well!

Now onto the interview!

1. Hi there! I’m so excited to have you with us Laura! Before we begin, do you mind sharing some random facts about yourself?

Laura: Thanks so much for having me! Let’s see…random
facts…I started my own Etsy shop a few months ago. I design candles, notebooks, and other cute gifts for writers! I also started playing chess during the pandemic and got pretty decent at it. And if I could afford it, I would eat sushi every day of my life.

Saniya: I think it’s so cool you have an Etsy Shop! Chess is one of my favourite board games, so it’s awesome to know that you took it up recently.

2. Your upcoming 2022 release is an incredible young adult anthology. What is your favourite part about creating short story collections? 

Laura: My favorite part is working with so many amazing authors! It’s seriously been such a gift to collaborate with these brilliant writers. They are all so kind and creative, and I know readers will love these stories as much as I do!

3. Game On includes a variety of sports. As a child, was there ever a sports player who inspired you? If so, who?

Laura: *averts eyes with camera* I can’t say I had a sports idol as a child.
I did love watching the Olympics and even got to attend the Atlanta Olympics when I say six. But that’s what I love about this anthology! There’s a type of game in here for everyone – from sports to board games to videos games and puzzles, there are competitions for everyone to get excited about!

Saniya: That’s what I love about Game On! There’s something for everyone.

4. Lastly, what is your favourite board game and why?

Laura: I love so many! Like I mentioned, I really got into chess this past year. I also loved playing a fairly new game called Wingspan. But my absolute favorite still has to be Settlers of Catan. I used to play it every week in
graduate school with fellow anthology contributors Kika Hatzopoulou, Amanda Joy, and Anna Meriano! It was really special working on this anthology with them since we bonded over both writing and games. Quick pitches for their stories – Kika wrote a really fun Mafia story where our MC is unsure whether or not she’s on a first date with the girl she likes, Amanda wrote an incredible love/hate story about teammates on a cheer squad, and Anna wrote a delightful romcomedy of errors about muggle quidditch and crushing on your roommate!

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About the Author

Laura Silverman is an author and freelance editor and currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. She earned her MFA in Writing for Children at the New School. Her books include Girl Out of Water, You Asked for Perfect, It’s a Whole Spiel, Recommended for You, Up All Night, and the upcoming Game On. Girl Out of Water was a Junior Library Guild Selection, and You Asked for Perfect was named to best teen fiction lists by YALSA, Chicago Public Library, and the Georgia Center for the Book. You can contact Laura on Twitter @LJSilverman1 or through her website LauraSilvermanWrites.com.

//Website//Instagram//Goodreads//Twitter//

Thank you so much for reading this tour stop post! I hope you decide to check out Game On. It’s an amazing book, and there’s truly a story for everyone. Have a fabulous day!

Blog Tour: For All Time // Review & Top 5 Reasons to Read This Book!

Hi! I hope your day has been amazing. Today I’m bringing you a review, along with five reasons to read For All Time by Shanna Miles. Enjoy!

For All Time | Book by Shanna Miles | Official Publisher Page | Simon &  Schuster

Book Info

Title: For All Time

Author: Shanna Miles

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Fantasy, and Romance.

Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers

Release Date: September 28th 2021

Buy Link: https://bookshop.org/a/11727/9781534485976

Synopsis

“An unforgettable and artfully crafted romance right down to the very last page.” —Julie Murphy, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin’

“A romance for the ages. Fresh voices and original predicaments make this one perfect little novel.”

—Stacey Lee, award-winning author of The Downstairs Girl

The Sun Is Also a Star meets Outlander in this vivid, utterly romantic debut novel about two teens who relive their tragic love story over and over until they uncover what they must do to change their fate.

Tamar is a musician, a warrior, a survivor. Fayard? He’s a pioneer, a hustler, a hopeless romantic.

Together, Tamar and Fayard have lived a thousand lives, seen the world build itself up from nothing only to tear itself down again in civil war. They’ve even watched humanity take to the stars. But in each life one thing remains the same: their love and their fight to be together. One love story after another. Their only concern is they never get to see how their story ends. Until now.

When they finally discover what it will take to break the cycle, will they be able to make the sacrifice?

Tour Schedule

Here is the tour schedule link. If you have time, do check out the other lovely tour stops as well!

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Review

For All Time is a beautifully crafted story on one’s will to never give up.

What I love most about the novel is its eccentric time travel. Tamar and Fayard, the main characters, travel to the thirteen hundreds! I’ve seen few books pull off such old time periods so uniquely. 

Moreover, the characters were such a delight! I’ll admit, at first, I wasn’t too fond of Tamar. I found her to be rather obnoxious. Fayard on the other hand, I liked from the start. While I didn’t particularly love some characters, there were quite a few I had a soft spot for. 

The writing was absolutely incredible! It was emotional and raw. Without spoiling too much, you could really feel the love Tamar and Fayard had for each other.

In addition, I really loved the dialogue. It was the right amount snarky, and heartbreaking. 

Unfortunately though, I found the time jumps to be rather confusing. At times they felt too sudden and out of place. 


Overall, I really enjoyed this book! While the book was confusing at times, it was simply too gripping to put down. If you’re looking for a speculative or emotional story then I highly recommend For All Time.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Top Five Reasons to Read For All Time

1. Diverse story

The main characters Tamar and Fayard are of African American descent!

2. A look at the thirteen hundreds

For All Time takes readers through a journey into the thirteen hundreds! It’s not a time period I’m 100% familiar with, so it was very refreshing to read about.

3. There’s Musician Rep!

Teens who play instruments are rare to see in YA, so I was very happy to see that Tamar plays an instrument.

4. Witty Main Character

Tamar is very witty. I liked how straightforward and blunt she was at times. It was nice to see her taking charge to achieve her goals instead of just sulking about.

5. A story where more than one character time travels

Now, this might be an unusual reason, but it’s definitely a meaningful one. I’ve only ever read books where one person time travels, not two people. This led way for such an interesting dynamic that you don’t want to miss!

About the Author

Shanna Miles is an author, reviewer and librarian who lives in Georgia with her two daughters, and educator husband and advocates tirelessly for appropriate representation for marginalized people in children’s fiction. Her passion is Paranormal Romance, but she also has a deep affinity for diverse Science Fiction like that of Octavia Butler and Sherri L. Smith. “Willow Born” is Shanna Miles’ latest work.

Alrighty friends, that’s a wrap! I hope you enjoyed. Have a wonderful day!

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Blog Tour: It All Comes Back to You // Author Interview & Top 5 Reasons to Read This Book!

Hiya everyone! Today I’ll be hosting a blog tour stop for It All Comes Back to You by Farah Naz Rishi. This novel has been one of my most anticipated reads of the century! So I’m very excited for this tour. I hope you enjoy!

It All Comes Back to You by Farah Naz Rishi

Book Info

Title: It All Comes Back to You

Author: Farah Naz Rishi

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Publication Date: September 14th 2021

Content Warnings: References to death of a parent, references to drug use, emotional abuse, anxiety, guilt

Synopsis

After Kiran Noorani’s mom died, Kiran vowed to keep her dad and sister, Amira, close. Then out of the blue, Amira announces that she’s dating someone and might move cross-country with him. Kiran is thrown.

Deen Malik is thrilled that his older brother, Faisal, has found a great girlfriend, even if it’s getting serious quickly. Maybe now their parents’ focus will shift off Deen, who feels intense pressure to be the perfect son.

When Deen and Kiran come fact to face, they silently agree to keep their past a secret. Four years ago–before Amira and Faisal met–Kiran and Deen dated. But Deen ghosted Kiran with no explanation. Kiran will stop at nothing to find out what happened, and Deen will do anything, even if it means sabotaging his brother’s relationship, to keep her from reaching the truth. Though the chemistry between Kiran and Deen is undeniable, can either of them take down their walls?

Find out more about It All Comes Back to You with these links!

//Goodreads//Amazon//Barnes and Noble//Book Depository//Indigo//Indiebound//

Here is the tour schedule link. If you have time, do check out the other lovely tour stops as well!

Now onto the interview!

1. Hi there Farah! I’m super excited to have you here with us today. Before we begin the interview, do you mind sharing some random facts about yourself?

Farah: Hi hi!!! Thank you for having me—I’m so happy to be here! 😀
Okay, some random facts: I foster kittens (so I almost always have some random kittens running around my office while I write). I really like old movies (one of my favorites is Some Like it Hot). I have really bad social anxiety and my way to cope is weight-lifting for some ungodly reason. Oh, and my favorite desi dessert is rasmalai, with laddoo being a close second.

2. It All Comes Back to You is amazing, and I can’t wait for other people to read it as well! May I ask, what inspired you to write it?

Farah: Ahh, thank you, thank you! ❤
I’ve always wanted to write a second-chance romance story, and one day, it felt like Deen just strolled into my head. I adore characters who were kind of a jerk in the past—think Naveen from Princess and the Frog or Flynn from Tangled—but their behavior is simply a mask to hide their insecurities and fears. When Deen popped in my head, I began asking myself a thousand questions: who is he, what did he do in the past, what is it that he truly
wants more than anything else? The image of Kiran followed soon after, which of course then snowballed into this much bigger story.

3. The book features two desi characters (whom I love). Do you see yourself in Kiran or Deen?

Farah: I’ve asked myself the same question a thousand times and I’m still not fully sure the answer! At first, I thought I had more in common with Kiran: her stubbornness, her protectiveness, her willing to do anything to protect the people she loves. But there are parts of Deen that are just so relatable, too. I think almost all of us wear masks, and we all have some things in our pasts we may regret (or at least wish we did differently). I also think the shame of not being a “good enough” Muslim, whatever that means, is also (unfortunately) relatable for a lot of people—whether it be the pressure coming from our parents, or our community, or ourselves.  Short answer? Both 😊 But honestly, as the author, I relate most to Asher because he’s just so Done™. 

Saniya: I love how you relate to each character in some way!

4.  As a South Asian Muslim myself, I’m elated to see more authentic desi muslim representation in the media. What do you hope young desi readers will take from the book?

Farah: The crux of the story is about how broadly speaking, desi people suck with communication. We’re not good at expressing ourselves or showing our pain. We don’t know how to seek help when we should. And it makes sense; desi people are community-based—it’s how we’ve survived years of war and famine and colonialism—so we’ve internalized this idea that it’s better to hide our inner struggles in order to protect family honor. We don’t like showing weakness. But sometimes, like in the case of It All Comes Back to You, that can backfire. It can be detrimental to our collective mental health. Heck, I grew up with that same mentality and that’s partly why I have anxiety. 

5. To end off this interview, I have a very, very, very important question to ask you. Do you prefer Naan or rice? 

Farah: OH NO, WHY WOULD YOU ASK THIS?! Oh gosh. This one’s so hard. Hmm…….gosh, okay, if I have to pick…I’d go with rice. The smell of basmati reminds me of home. 

Saniya: I couldn’t agree more. 😆

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Top Five Reasons to Read It All Comes Back to You

1. The main characters are South Asian Muslims

The representation in the book is awesome, and diverse! It All Comes Back to You has a cast of desi characters with nuanced representation, which I think is incredibly important to have in the media.

2. It has all the wedding vibes

I love that the book showcases desi weddings, because they can be such festive times filled with fun, and joy.

3. The themes of mental health

Without spoiling too much, mental health is such a big part of the story. Whether one’s mental state is good or not can greatly affect the actions they take. And this novel is a prime example of that.

4. Will make you feel all the feels

It All Comes Back to You might look like a rom-com, but don’t let it’s gorgeous yet decieving cover fool you. This is such an emotional story, but in such an amazing way.

5. A+ Banter

I mean, who doesn’t love good banter?

Giveaway! (US Only)

One winner will receive a finished copy of It All Comes Back to you. The giveaway starts onSeptember 13th and ends on September 20th.

Click this link for more info!!

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About the Author

Farah Naz Rishi is a Pakistani-American Muslim writer and voice actor, but in another life, she’sworked stints as a lawyer, a video game journalist, and an editorial assistant. She received her B.A. inEnglish from Bryn Mawr College, her J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School, and her love of weaving stories from the Odyssey Writing Workshop. When she’s not writing, she’s probably hanging out with video game characters. You can find her at home in Philadelphia, or on Twitter at @farahnazrishi.

//Website//Instagram//Goodreads//Twitter//

Thank you so much for reading this tour stop post! I hope you decide to check out It All Comes Back to You. Have a fabulous day!

Blog Tour: The Marvelous // Author Interview With Claire Kann!

Hiya! I hope you are well. I’m super excited for today’s post because I’m going to be hosting a blog tour stop and interview with Claire Kann, the author of The Marvelous! Before we get into the tour, here is a bit about the author’s newest novel…

The Marvelous by Claire Kann

Book Info

Title: The Marvelous

Author: Claire Kann

Genres: Young Adult Contemporary, Mystery, Young Adult

Publication Date: June 8th 2021

Synopsis

From the author of Let’s Talk About Love and If It Makes You Happy, this exuberant YA Novel follows six teens locked together in a mansion, contending for a life-changing cash prize in a competition run by a reclusive heiress.

Everyone thinks they know Jewel Van Hanen. Heiress turned actress turned social media darling who created the massively popular video-sharing app, Golden Rule.

After mysteriously disappearing for a year, Jewel makes her dramatic return with an announcement: she has chosen a few lucky Golden Rule users to spend an unforgettable weekend at her private estate. But once they arrive, Jewel ingeniously flips the script: the guests are now players in an elaborate estate-wide game. And she’s tailored every challenge and obstacle to test whether they have what it takes to win–at any cost.

Told from the perspective of three dazzling players–Nicole: the new queen of Golden Rule; Luna: Jewel’s biggest fan; and Stella: a brilliant outsider–this novel will charm its way into your heart and keep you guessing how it all ends because money isn’t the only thing at stake.

Find out more about The Marvelous with these links!

//Goodreads//Amazon//Barnes and Noble//iBooks//Kobo//Google Play//

Here is the tour schedule link! If you have time, do check out the other lovely tour stops as well!

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Giveaway (US/Canada Only)

One winner will receive a print copy of Made in Korea. The giveaway will end on June 17th 2021.

Click the link below to enter the giveaway!!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d04251234335/

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Onto the interview!!

1. Hi there Claire! I’m beyond excited to have you here with us today. If you don’t mind, would you be so kind to share a bit about yourself?

Claire: Hello! My name is Claire and I’m the author of several young adult novels ranging in topics from romance to adventure. I love cats, spend way too much time on youtube, and would dominate in a trivia night competition.

2. The Marvelous has such a dazzling cover. May I ask how the design came to be?

Claire: All credit goes to Liz Dresner, Associate art Director at Macmillan and the artist, Rachelle Baker.

3. What is a typical writing session like for you? Do you play music, or perhaps have a specific routine?

Claire: A typical writing session for me involves wasting time, uh I mean amping myself up to get started. First I stare at the word doc file before deciding to check the news to make sure nothing major is happening that I need to read about. Then I open the document–as soon as I see a hint of white background my screen inexplicably changes to Instagram? Weird how that always happens. But! Since I’m already there, I spend some time scrolling the timeline and watching stories. The moment I’ve realized a criminal amount of time has passed, I check my document and am shocked to find my word count has not magically increased on its own! Rude! Somehow I muster up the strength to reread what I wrote the day before–and hey! It’s (usually) not too bad. Finally free from distractions and convinced I’m not completely talentless, I turn on my playlist and begin writing.

Saniya: I love this so much 😆.

4. The Marvelous tells an incredibly unique story, and I’m beyond excited for its release. What inspired you to create such an intriguing mystery told through the eyes of three young people?

Claire: I wanted to write a story where kids got to be kids without any external pressure forcing them to be a certain way or thing. I wanted them to have fun and make friends and maybe get creeped out a little. That’s all.

Saniya: That’s very cool, thank you for sharing!

5. Many of your books include fat positive themes, which I am totally here for! Why do you think it’s important to portray diverse narratives in the media?

Claire: I believe the media we consume should be a reflection of the world we live in–whether it be the bodies we inhabit or the dreams we aspire to, no matter how mundane or fantastical. I’m in a fortunate position that allows me to contribute to that.

Saniya: I definitely agree, and it’s so amazing that you’re able to contribute as well.

6. Lastly, what aesthetic would you prescribe to your book?

Claire: A night out with friends at a carnival. All vibes, rides, and delicious food.

Saniya: Ooo love it!

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About The Author

Claire Kann is the author of LET’S TALK ABOUT LOVE and an award-winning online storyteller. In her other life, she works for a nonprofit that you may have heard of where she daydreams like she’s paid to do it. Find out more by visiting her website: www.clairekann.com (and while you’re there, tell her about your cats. She loves cats. A lot.)

Want to follow the author? Visit the links down below!

//Instagram//Goodreads//Facebook//Twitter//Newsletter//

This tour was organized by Xpresso Book Tours

Thank you so much for reading this post, I hope you enjoyed! Have a fabulous day!

Blog Tour: Made In Korea // Author Interview With Sarah Suk!

Hiya! Today’s post is a very exciting one because I’m going to be hosting yet another blog tour stop and interview with Sarah Suk, the author of Made in Korea! Before we get into the tour, here is a bit about the author’s debut novel…

Made in Korea | Book by Sarah Suk | Official Publisher Page | Simon &  Schuster Canada

Book Info

Title: Made in Korea by Mariko Turk

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Publishing Date: May 18, 2021

Synopsis

Frankly in Love meets Shark Tank in this feel-good romantic comedy about two entrepreneurial Korean American teens who butt heads—and maybe fall in love—while running competing Korean beauty businesses at their high school.

There’s nothing Valerie Kwon loves more than making a good sale. Together with her cousin Charlie, they run V&C K-BEAUTY, their school’s most successful student-run enterprise. With each sale, Valerie gets closer to taking her beloved and adventurous halmeoni to her dream city, Paris.

Enter the new kid in class, Wes Jung, who is determined to pursue music after graduation despite his parents’ major disapproval. When his classmates clamor to buy the K-pop branded beauty products his mom gave him to “make new friends,” he sees an opportunity—one that may be the key to help him pay for the music school tuition he knows his parents won’t cover…

What he doesn’t realize, though, is that he is now V&C K-BEAUTY’s biggest competitor.

Stakes are high as Valerie and Wes try to outsell each other, make the most money, and take the throne for the best business in school—all while trying to resist the undeniable spark that’s crackling between them. From hiring spies to all-or-nothing bets, the competition is much more than either of them bargained for.

But one thing is clear: only one Korean business can come out on top.

Find out more about Made in Korea with these links!

//Goodreads//Amazon//Barnes and Noble//Book Depository//Indigo//IndieBound//

Here is the tour schedule link! If you have time, do check out the other amazing tour stops as well!

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Without further ado, here is the interview!

1. Hi there Sarah! I just want to say that I’m so excited to have you here with us today. Before we get into the interview, do you mind telling us a bit about yourself?

Sarah: Thank you so much for having me! So I’m Sarah – nice to meet you – and I live in Vancouver, Canada where I write books for kids and teens. Other than writing and reading, I love film, photography, spending time by the water, and making souffle pancakes.

2. Any book that mentions Hi-Chews is a win for me! So I have to ask, what’s your favorite Hi-Chew flavor? After reading your (lovely) novel, I’ve learnt that there is a flavor for every occasion. What flavor would you give Made In Korea?

Sarah: My favorite flavor would have to be strawberry. As for a flavor for Made in Korea, I’d have to say mango! Mango is Valerie’s celebration flavor, and this book is very celebratory to me. Both in personal ways, because it is my debut novel, and in the book itself, because I feel like the story is a
celebration of many things, including Korean culture and teen entrepreneurship.

Saniya: Ooo good choice, strawberry is always nice! I NEED to try the celebration flavor now. 😆

3. I love how Made In Korea revolves around young entrepreneurs! What inspired the entrepreneurial aspect of the novel?

Sarah: I love that part too! I was just really intrigued by the idea of students selling things at school and running their own businesses. Teens are so innovative and creative, and I wanted to explore that through an entrepreneurial lens in Made in Korea.

4. If I may ask, what is your favorite scene in the book and why?

Sarah: Definitely all the scenes between Valerie and Halmeoni (her grandmother). Those were some of my favorite moments in the book. They were just very healing and tender. I also loved writing the Halloween scenes!

Saniya: 100% agree. Valarie and her halmeoni have the best bond. Ahh yes, the Halloween scenes are iconic!

5. Do you have a specific writing routine?

Sarah: I feel like this changes with each project and sometimes even with each day, but there a few things that have stayed consistent in my writing routine. I always write down my writing goal for the day in my bullet journal to help me keep track of what I need to do. Then I usually make myself a cup of tea, sit down at my desk, procrastinate for a while, and realize I should probably turn off my wi-fi if I want to get any work done. Sometimes I also listen to an instrumental or lofi playlist while I write to
help me focus.

Saniya: It’s so cool that you use a bullet journal, they truly are helpful. I liked what you said about how your routine changes with each project too!

6. Is there a character in the book that you resonate most with?

Sarah: I resonate with each of them in different ways because I feel like I can see a part of myself in every character. For example, I relate with Valerie’s ambition and tendency to define herself by her goals, as well as Wes’ passion for the arts and people pleasing nature. I even resonate with some of the side characters like Charlie and Pauline in their loyalty and inquisitiveness.

7. What do you hope readers will take away from Made In Korea after reading it?

Sarah: Mostly, I hope readers will feel something while reading the book. Whether it makes them laugh or reflect or empathize with a character, I hope there would be something in the story that sparks a sense of joy.

Saniya: That’s such a beautiful message, I love it!

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Giveaway (US/Canada Only)

One winner will receive a finished copy of Made in Korea. The giveaway will end on May 24th.

Click this link to enter the giveaway!!

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/fc15a59531/

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About The Author

Sarah Suk (Author of Made in Korea)

Sarah Suk (pronounced like soup with a K) lives in Vancouver, Canada where she writes stories and admires mountains. When she’s not writing, you can find her hanging out by the water, taking film photos, or eating a bowl of bingsu. You can visit her on Twitter and Instagram @sarahaelisuk.Sarah is represented by Linda Epstein at Emerald City Literary Agency.

//Website//Twitter//Instagram//Goodreads//

Thank you so much for reading this blog tour stop post, I hope you enjoyed it. Ms. Suk’s debut novel is amazing, and I can’t wait for you to read it! Have a great day!

Blog Tour: The Other Side of Perfect // Author Interview With Mariko Turk!

Hey everyone! Today’s post is a very exciting one because I’m going to be hosting a blog tour stop for the lovely YA novel, The Other Side of Perfect by Mariko Turk! Before we get into the tour, here is a bit about the author’s debut novel…

The Other Side of Perfect by Mariko Turk

Book Info

Title: The Other Side of Perfect by Mariko Turk

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Publishing Date: May 11, 2021

Synopsis

Content Warning: protagonist is dealing with a lot of anger and some depression, various experiences of racism

Alina Keeler was destined to dance, but one terrifying fall shatters her leg–and her dreams of a professional ballet career along with it. After a summer healing (translation: eating vast amounts of Cool Ranch Doritos and binging ballet videos on YouTube), she is forced to trade her pre-professional dance classes for normal high school, where she reluctantly joins the school musical. However, rehearsals offer more than she expected–namely Jude, her annoyingly attractive cast mate she just might be falling for. But to move forward, Alina must make peace with her past and face the racism she had grown to accept in the dance industry. She wonders what it means to yearn for ballet–something so beautiful, yet so broken. And as broken as she feels, can she ever open her heart to someone else?

Touching, romantic, and peppered with humor, this debut novel explores the tenuousness of perfectionism, the possibilities of change, and the importance of raising your voice.

Find out more about The Other Side of Perfect with these links!

//Goodreads//Amazon//Barnes and Noble//Book Depository//Indigo//IndieBound//

Here is the tour schedule link! If you have time, do check out the other amazing tour stops as well!

Without further ado, here is the interview!

1. Hi there Mariko! I’d just like to say how amazing it is to have you here with us today! Before we start, do you mind telling us some random facts about yourself?

Mariko: Hello and thanks so much for having me! Some random facts about me are: I love tea and tacos, I’ve lived in Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Colorado, when I’m at home I exclusively wear pajamas, and my favorite flowers are hydrangeas!

2. Congrats on your debut! I’m so incredibly happy for you! If I may ask, what inspired the making of The Other Side of Perfect?

Mariko: It was inspired by a couple of different things. First, right after college, I broke my leg while dancing ballet. Second, I’ve always been interested in how people grapple with the negative aspects of the things they love. For instance, I love ballet, but I know it has its share of harmful aspects—like its lack of diversity and its reliance on racial stereotypes in many classical pieces. So I started wondering, if ballet perpetuates these negative things, does that mean I shouldn’t love it? And if I do still love and support it, what does that mean about me?

When I decided to try writing a YA novel, I imagined what would happen if a 16-year-old half-Japanese girl who dreamed of dancing professionally had a career-ending injury and had to deal with losing something she loved with all her heart and with wondering if she ever should have loved it in the first place. Her story became The Other Side of Perfect.

Saniya: Thank you for sharing such a thought provoking response Ms. Turk!

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3. The Other Side of Perfect tells the story of a young girl of color as she navigates racism, ballet, and love. The diversity is amazing! What was your experience writing the novel?

Mariko: This book is so special to me because it’s the first book I ever finished! So in a lot of ways, my experience writing it felt so new. I pantsed the first draft. I knew the general idea and some of the characters, but I figured out the themes and the plot as I went along, and it went pretty quickly. I finished in a few months. But then I spent about two years revising. I actually loved the long revision process because it gave me a chance to make the themes richer and more complex, and get to know the characters on a deeper level.

Saniya: I’m glad you loved the long revision process!

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4. If you could give your past writer self one piece of advice, what would you say?

Mariko: To just write and not worry about if it’s “perfect” or not. My tendency to edit as I wrote really slowed me down and stopped me from finishing so many projects because I’d get so caught up in individual sentences and paragraphs that I’d lose steam. The Other Side of Perfect is the first book I ever finished, and it’s because I told myself I had to keep moving. I knew I’d have lots of changes to make. Sometimes I realized what those changes should be when I finished a chapter. But I didn’t go back to change them until I had a full draft.

Saniya: I loved what you said about how you just need to keep moving. It’s so easy to get caught up in little things, when we should really just be moving forward instead of holding ourselves back. Well said!

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5. Racism is something that many people of color experience, and it really hurts my heart to see kids experiencing discrimination. Why do you think it’s important to portray authentic  and diverse characters in the media?

Mariko: I think it’s so important for all young people to be able to see themselves in the stories they read and watch. And not just in one book or movie here and there, but in many. Young people deserve multiple stories that they relate to and that speak to them and their experiences in various ways. So in other words, diverse characters shouldn’t only star in stories about racism and discrimination, but also in stories about love and friendship and family and school and everything else.

Saniya: I couldn’t agree more.

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6. Lastly, what do you hope readers will take away from The Other Side of Perfect? Thank you so much for your time Ms. Turk!

Mariko: I hope one message readers take away is that there’s a way out of isolation and unhappiness. And that finding the way out might be tough, messy, and take longer than you want it to, but that it can also be funny, exciting, and full of unexpectedly spectacular possibilities. Thank you for these wonderful questions!

Saniya: This is such a beautiful message! Thank you once again for answering my questions. It was truly a delight to have you. 🙂

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About The Author

Mariko Turk grew up in Pennsylvania and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a BA in creative writing. She received her PhD in English from the University of Florida, with a concentration in children’s literature. Currently, she works as a Writing Center consultant at the University of Colorado Boulder. She lives in Colorado with her husband and baby daughter, where she enjoys tea, walks, and stories of all kinds.

//Website//Twitter//Instagram//Goodreads//

Thank you so much for reading this blog tour stop post, I hope you enjoyed it. Ms. Turk’s debut novel is lovely, and I can’t wait for you to read it! Have a fabulous day!

Blog Tour: In Deeper Waters // An Author Interview, Journal Spread and a Review!

Hey everyone! I am super excited to bring you a blog tour stop of In Deeper Waters by F.T. Lukens! Thank Turn The Page Tours for the lovely opportunity. On today’s agenda we have an author interview, a journal spread, and a review. So grab some popcorn, and let’s get into it!

Book Info

Title: In Deeper Waters

Author: F.T. Lukens

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

RELEASE DATE: April 20th, 2021

GENRE(S): YOUNG ADULT FICTION–Historical, Fantasy, Romance

BUY LINK: https://bookshop.org/a/11727/9781534480506

Synopsis

A young prince must rely on a mysterious stranger to save him when he is kidnapped during his coming-of-age tour in this swoony adventure that is The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue meets Pirates of the Caribbean.

Prince Tal has long awaited his coming-of-age tour. After spending most of his life cloistered behind palace walls as he learns to keep his forbidden magic secret, he can finally see his family’s kingdom for the first time. His first taste of adventure comes just two days into the journey, when their crew discovers a mysterious prisoner on a burning derelict vessel. Tasked with watching over the prisoner, Tal is surprised to feel an intense connection with the roguish Athlen. So when Athlen leaps overboard and disappears, Tal feels responsible and heartbroken, knowing Athlen could not have survived in the open ocean. That is, until Tal runs into Athlen days later on dry land, very much alive, and as charming—and secretive—as ever. But before they can pursue anything further, Tal is kidnapped by pirates and held ransom in a plot to reveal his rumored powers and instigate a war. Tal must escape if he hopes to save his family and the kingdom. And Athlen might just be his only hope…

Book Review

I received an advanced reader copy via Netgalley and Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The synopsis of In Deeper Waters sounded very promising, and I’m happy to report that the story really held up! It was easy to understand, and the world building was done incredibly well. There was no info dumping, nor was it written vaguely. The adventure was such a fun time too. I adored every minute of it!

The main characters where especially likeable. Tal was so nice and genuine. From the start I could tell I’d love him! Athlen was also very wholesome. At first, I wasn’t particularly fond of him. However, as the story progressed, I found myself absolutely adoring his character!

Moreover, the side characters where one of the best parts of the book! I love how each and every one of Tal’s siblings had their own distinct personalities. Kest was courageous and kind, much like Tal. On the other hand, Garret was spontaneous and outgoing. His sisters where also strong and resilient. Adding on to that, I really loved how In Deeper Waters contains such powerful women. From Tal’s bodyguard, to a fiery sea captain, women can do it all!

In addition, the dialogue was very heartwarming. I enjoyed reading Tal’s conversations with his siblings. They each had a special way of interacting, and it was just too cute! Athlen and Tal’s conversations where at times mysterious, and this only made me want to read more. However, the dialogue between all the characters where mostly joyous or emotional.

At first I couldn’t resonate much with the writing style. Third person writing is not my thing, but In Deeper Waters has changed my perspective on it. The writing was eccentric and fresh. It always had me at the edge of my seat! Furthermore, the talk about classism intrigued me quite a bit. It’s not something I see discussed much in historical fiction, so I’m glad it was mentioned.

The overall enjoyment level of In Deeper Waters is very high. It took a little while for me to be fully engrossed in the story, but once I got into it, the book was immensely enjoyable! All in all, this novel is an exceptionally refreshing read that’s perfect for spring! It’s the epic high fantasy you’ve been waiting for!

Age Rating: 15 and up

TW: Torture, violence, death

Final Rating: 9.5/10 or 4.75 stars

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Journal Spread

Google very much distorted the quality of the image. 😢 Nevertheless, I still hope you like it.

Author Interview

1. I’m so happy to be holding this interview/blog tour stop with you today, it’s lovely to have you! Do you mind telling us a bit about yourself?

F.T. Lukens: Hi! I’m FT Lukens and I’m the author of In Deeper Waters. I am a lover of sci-fi and fantasy especially comedy and romance. I also love cryptozoology and superhero movies and television shows about magic.

Saniya: That’s very cool!

2. In Deeper Waters has an absolutely stunning cover! Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration and process of creating it?

F.T. Lukens: It’s such a great cover! I was so happy when I saw the initial sketches. The artist, Sam Schechter, did a wonderful job of bringing Tal and Athlen to life in both their poses and expressions. I think there was maybe one change from the original sketch to the finished product and it was a small detail. The illustrator had captured them so perfectly from the start. Also, the colors are beautiful – the sunset on the water. It really screams fantasy romance. It’s the first illustrated cover I’ve had for a book and I adore it.

Saniya: That’s lovely! It truly is beautiful.

3. Do you have a favorite place to write? Or a specific writing routine?

F.T. Lukens: I actually don’t have a favorite place to write. I have a desk that is surrounded by art and Funko Pops and posters that I use the most often that is my creative space. Unfortunately, now that I work my day job from home, I sit at that desk for eight hours a day already. So sometimes I migrate to the couch or dining room table. As for writing routine, I write best when others are writing with me. It may sound weird, but if I have a writing partner then I achieve much more than just by writing alone. I love writing sprints. I love writing during NaNo. I love participating in a writing discord. It motivates me to see other succeeding and helps me see a project through to the finish.

Saniya: It’s so cool that you love writing with others!

4. What is the most spontaneous thing you have ever done?

F.T. Lukens: I’m not a spontaneous person. I thrive with routine and don’t like surprises, so I had to really think about this question. The best answer I could come up with is that I adopted a puppy a couple of years ago from a shelter on a whim. He was part of a litter of nine. They were born in November and were given the name of Santa’s reindeer. (His name was Prancer, but we renamed him Zuko.) I fell in love with his picture online and I sent in an adoption request and was approved. They told me he was a lab via email. When I went to pick him up… Reader, he was not a lab. He is a redbone coonhound which is definitely not a lab. He howls. He chases things. On our walks, his nose is always on the ground. He’s strong and lean and ready to run at all times. I still love him, and he’s mellowed out as he’s grown older, but wow that was a rough first year. LOL.

Saniya: Awww that sounds adorable~! I love the name Zuko too!

5. Is there a character in your new novel In Deeper Waters that you resonate with the most?

F.T. Lukens: Probably Tal. He is the fourth of five siblings and at the beginning of the novel, he’s unsure of his place in his family and in the world. I remember being that way when I was a teenager. I was the fourth of four myself and I was just hitting that awkward teenage phase while my siblings were all grown up and established, married, having kids, off at college etc. It was a weird space to be in where you feel both left behind because the people you’ve been raised with have moved on and have started creating their own lives and families, but also like you’re not ready to follow them.  

6. Do you have a favorite scene in In Deeper Waters

F.T. Lukens: I do! But it’s at the very end of the book so I don’t want to spoil it. But it was the scene that I was writing toward when developing the first draft. It was the scene that I’d come up with really very early on in the planning and writing of the book and it was both a joy and a relief when I was finally able to write it.

Saniya: I love every scene in the book, but I think I know which one you’re talking about. If I’m right, it’s my favorite one too. 🙂

7. Lastly, what is the main message you would like your readers to take away from the novel?

F.T. Lukens: I really hope that readers will just enjoy the book. I hope they can curl up with it and lose themselves in a fairy tale for a few hours and be happy. One of the main messages is about remaining kind in a world that’s not been kind to you while still standing up for yourself and your family when necessary. So I hope readers will take away some strength, and peace, and joy.

Saniya: This is such a beautiful message, I love it!

About The Tour

Tour Schedule Link!

Giveaway Information

Up for grabs, we have ONE (1) physical copy and ONE (1) digital copy of In Deeper Waters by F.T. Lukens. This giveaway will end on April 26th at 11:59 PM CST. The physical copy will be available to win by US residents only and the digital copy will be available to win by INTL residents only. To enter, click the link below!

RAFFLECOPTER LINK: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1e4a114d36/?

About The Author

F.T. Lukens is the author of four young adult novels published through Interlude Press, and her book Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic was a 2017 Cybils Award finalist in YA Speculative Fiction, won the ForeWord INDIES Book of the Year Gold Award for YA Fiction, and the Bisexual Book Award for Speculative Fiction, and it was also recently named to ALA’s 2019 Rainbow List. F.T. lives in North Carolina with her husband, three kids, three dogs, and three cats. Visit her at FTLukens.com.

And that’s a wrap! I hope you all enjoyed this tour stop, because I had so much fun making it. Have a wonderful day, and stay safe! 💟

Book Tour: My Last Summer With Cass// Author Interview With Mark Crilley & Top 5 Reasons to Read This Book!

Hey everyone! Today’s post is a very exciting one because I’m going to be hosting a blog tour stop for the lovely graphic novel My Last Summer With Cass by Mark Crilley! Before we get into the tour, here is a bit about the author’s newest graphic novel.

Book Info

Title: My Last Summer With Cass by Mark Crilley

Genre: Young Adult Graphic Novel

Publishing Date: March 16, 2021

Synopsis

This One Summer meets The Edge of Seventeen in this poignant coming-of-age YA graphic novel about two childhood friends at a crossroads in their lives and art—-from the author of Mastering Manga. Megan and Cass have been joined at the brush for as long as they can remember. For years, while spending summers together at a lakeside cabin, they created art together, from sand to scribbles . . . to anything available. Then Cass moved away to New York.

When Megan finally convinces her parents to let her spend a week in the city, too, it seems like Cass has completely changed. She has tattoos, every artist in the city knows her—she even eats chicken feet! At least one thing has stayed the same: They still make their best art together.

But when one girl betrays the other’s trust on the eve of what is supposed to be their greatest artistic feat yet, can their friendship survive? Can their art?

Find out more about My Last Summer With Cass with these links!

//Goodreads//Amazon//Barnes and Noble//Book Depository//Indigo//IndieBound//

Here is the tour schedule link! If you have time, do check out the other amazing tour stops as well!

Top 5 Reasons to Read My Last Summer with Cass

1. The Friendship

Anyone who has been through a friendship breakup or has had conflict with their close friends will deeply relate to what Megan and Cass go through. The kind of bond the two share is so incredibly precious yet so hard to come by. The novel displays their relationship in such a heart-wrenching way, and I am totally here for it.

2. The Exploration of Different Art Styles

My Last Summer With Cass features unique characters, with even more unique art styles. One person only uses two different shades of one color! Another creates their art very abstractly. However, my most favorite art pieces are the ones Megan and Cass create together. You can really see their different art styles work together in such an interesting way!

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3. The Setting

The story takes place in the bustling city of New York. In my opinion, the city Cass lives in (New York City), really resonates with her personality. It’s busy and creative, just like Cass. I thoguht the setting was depicted in such an intriguing way, and I really do believe that Mark Crilley draws the best atmospheres I’ve ever seen. Crilley creates scenes that draw you in, and only let you go once you’ve finished the book.

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4. The Captivity

My Last Summer With Cass is a graphic novel that you won’t want to put down. As mentioned early, the way the art is drawn is so incredibly intriguing. It allows the readers to feel as though they are in the story, and to me, that’s incredibly beautiful.

5. The Colors

The author uses colors that I’ve never seen any artist use consistently throughout graphic novels. I liked how their wasn’t much use of black. It was very refreshing to see. To top it all off, purple and blue are used quite a bit, and are used in such different emotional context as well. The colors were used in a way that portrayed every emotion the characters where experiencing in such unique ways!

Here is my bookstagram post for the tour! Simply press the image to view it on my bookstagram account.

Without further ado, here is the interview!

1. I just want to say thank you so much for being here with us today! Before we begin, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Mark Crilley: I grew up in Detroit, Michigan, where I was fascinated with drawing from my very earliest years. I continued honing my skills throughout elementary school and high school, and when I became an art major at Kalamazoo College in 1984, I had the good fortune to study under the great children’s book writer and illustrator David Small. A few years later, while teaching English in Japan, I challenged myself to create a comic book, one page per week. Upon my return to Michigan, that story– Akiko on the Planet Smoo– was eventually published, and it led to a career in comics that has continued to this day.

Saniya: That’s such a fascinating journey, thank you for sharing!

2. My Last Summer with Cass is a beautiful story. Did any real life occurrences or experiences influence the making of the book?

Mark Crilley: Thank you! Actually, this graphic novel is the most directly autobiographical story I’ve ever done, and there are many parallels between Megan’s life and my own. The character of Cass was inspired by a dear friend of mine who I first met in high school: John Walter. John eventually settled in New York City, where he became an award-winning film editor and director. I visited John in the city several times, and saw that he was moving in much more sophisticated circles than I was, and was investigating far more adventurous types of art, music, and literature than I ever had. John and I never came into conflict with each other, happily! But all of these real-life experiences, and the fact that two good friends could have such dramatically different artistic instincts, became the main source of inspiration for My Last Summer with Cass.

Saniya: That’s so cool!

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3. What was the illustration process like? Was there a certain mood or feel you wanted to portray in the art style?

Mark Crilley: I wanted the artwork to be reminiscent of artist’s sketches rather than polished, slick illustrations. So I resolved not to have any inked lines in the whole book. While I used Photoshop to push the colors in certain directions, almost everything you see in the book is hand-made art, created with pencil, markers, pastels, and white gouache. This hopefully gives the art a more organic look, with a human touch that accentuates the messy imperfections of the two main characters’ lives.

Saniya: I think it looks amazing, and totally gives off such an organic look!

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4. My Last Summer with Cass has an abundance of unique and memorable characters. Which character’s art style resonates the most with your personality?

Mark Crilley: It’s an interesting question, since all of the artist characters in the story are making artwork that was, naturally enough, actually made by me. And while Megan resembles me in terms of her personality, I have presented her as an artist who has not yet discovered her own style. When I was in college, part of me was actually quite attracted to the idea of minimalism. In this sense, the relatively minor character of Taja, who creates all her paintings from just two different shades of the same color, is probably the one whose art would resonate with me most if I saw it in real life.

Saniya: That’s very interesting.

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5. What is the main message you would like your readers to take away from this (absolutely stunning) graphic novel?

Mark Crilley: Well, wow, first let me thank you for your kind words! You know, the story builds toward a theme of how good friendships can go bad, and how important it is to not give up on them. So surely that’s the main one. But there’s a lot of other messages woven into the story, I think. The value of getting out of your comfort zone and being exposed to new things. The importance of choosing your own path in life, rather than one dictated to you by your parents. The danger of comparing yourself to others, and allowing that to make you feel insecure about yourself. All of this is in there, but hopefully in a quiet way. Really I just wanted to tell a good story, one in which readers would genuinely care about these characters, and want to see how things would work out for them.

Saniya: That’s so intriguing. I for one felt very attached to the girls’ stories, it was incredibly poignant and beautiful.

About The Author

Mark Crilley was raised in Detroit, Michigan. After graduating from Kalamazoo College, he traveled to Taiwan and Japan, where he taught English for nearly five years. It was during his stay in Japan that he created the Eisner Award–nominated comic Akiko on the Planet Smoo, which spawned a series of graphic novels and prose novel adaptations. In 1998, Mark Crilley was named to Entertainment Weekly’s It List of the 100 most creative people in entertainment.

//Website//Instagram//Goodreads//Facebook//YouTube//

Thank you so much for reading this tour stop post, I hope you enjoyed! I hope you decide to check out My Last Summer With Cass. Have a fabulous day!