Just South of Biloxi by Lauren Hammond | Promo + Giveaway

Just South of Biloxi by Lauren Hammond
Release Date: 07/21/15

Summary (from Goodreads):

coverJust south of Biloxi there was a girl with spunk, a girl with spirit.
A girl with fire.
A girl with a heart full of rebellion.

Just south of Biloxi there was a boy, with a dazzling smile and a kind demeanor.
A boy with morals.
A boy in love.

Just south of Biloxi there was a boy and a girl who realized too quickly,
too swiftly, that there is such a thing as shattered hearts and cracked dreams.

Just south of Biloxi there was a boy and a girl who would never truly understand the meaning of some hearts and some worlds are better left broken.

*This is the 4th book in the Asylum series but can be read as a companion standalone*

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About the Author

authorphotoLauren Hammond knew from a young age that she was born to be a writer. After publishing her first novel in 2007, she then went on to write several screenplays and a few award winning poems.She aspires to be a positive role model for young people who have a pencil, a piece of paper, and a dream. Never give up on your dreams, you might wake up one day and regret not pursuing them.She has two more novels in the works, as well as some film projects


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Ice Like Fire by Sara Raash | Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday bannerWaiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine in which we discuss our most anticipated upcoming releases.


Title: Ice Like Fire
Author: Sara Raash
Publisher: Balzar + Bray
Genre: Young Adult- Fantasy
Release Date: October 13, 2015

synopsis (From goodreads):

WARNING: SPOILERS! This is the second book in the series.

It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.

Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?

Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Januari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?

As the web of power and deception weaves tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter, but for the world.

my thoughts:

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Snow Like Ashes, and I’m excited to get back to this world! This book sounds like it’s really going to blow open the scope of the story, and I cannot wait.

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Interview with I.W. Gregorio + Giveaway | Author Interview

As I was reading I.W. Gregorio’s debut novel, None of the Above, back in June, I found myself wanting to know more about her. I was loving how informative None of the Above was, and I read from her author blurb that she was a surgeon. I was lead to her website, which has a plethora of knowledge about both herself and more information about intersex. I knew I had to interview her. Luckily, she agreed.


I. W. Gregorio is a practicing surgeon by day, masked avenging YA writer by night. After getting her MD, she did her residency at Stanford, where she met the intersex patient who inspired her debut novel, None of the Above (Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins). She is a founding member of We Need Diverse Books™ and serves as its VP of Development. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News and Journal of General Internal Medicine. A recovering ice hockey player, she lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

1. Your medical background shows through in how informative None of the Above is. I learned a lot when reading, while still finding the fiction elements engaging. How did you balance the educational elements with the fictional narrative?

This was extremely tricky to navigate for sure. In general, I like translating medical issue for laypeople – it’s so fun to think of the perfect metaphor to use to describe something that is somewhat abstract. However, because it’s so easy for me to be immune to “doctor speak”, I also relied heavily on beta readers (I specifically asked them to identify areas that were too esoteric) – and on my amazing editors, of course.

Interestingly enough, I think enough people were fascinated enough about intersex that most people wanted more. People have a spectrum of tolerance for info-dumping, of course, so I knew I couldn’t please everyone. But I think in the end no one was deterred from reading the book because of the “educational” aspect.

2. Many reviews have said that None of the Above speaks the truth of living as intersex, even though you yourself are not an intersex individual. What did you do/ who did you work with to ensure that the story remained genuine?

I spoke with many, many people within the intersex community. Last year I even went to their national support group meeting, with 200 intersex people/activists, and spent a lot of time listening. I had intersex individuals read the manuscript at all points of the journey – before I even sent it out to agents, after it was acquired, and after editorial revisions and even after copyediting. I was implementing their suggestions as late as second pass pages! And I remain forever grateful for every single comment.

3. None of the Above has already had a big impact on so many readers. What has been your favorite experience with a reader/fan thus far?

Someone asked me this question a month ago, and I would say that the highlight of my publication pathway so far was when I got the e-mail from National Book Award Winner Jacqueline Woodson saying she couldn’t put it down (we had asked her to provide a blurb, and I was on pins and needles for weeks).

But more recently, I got an even better reaction from a 13-year-old intersex girl, who told me that I was her new favorite author and that reading None of the Above inspired her to reach out to the AIS-DSD support group. I almost cried. That’s what it’s all about, folks.

4. I’m always on the lookout for LGBTQ+ fiction, and I have found more gay male coming out stories than stories involving characters falling elsewhere on the spectrum. What are some other LGBTQ+ reads you would recommend to readers who enjoyed None of the Above?

Robin Talley’s Lies We Tell Ourselves
Alex Gino’s George
Kristin Elizabeth Clark’s Freakboy
I also have an advance galley of Jeff Garvin’s Symptoms of Being Human that I’m DYING to read!

5. Lastly, what are you currently working on?

A contemporary YA book that cannibalizes my first (unpublished) book with an Asian American main character 🙂

Thank you so much Ilene for joining me on my blog!

My review:


I adored this book, and I feel that it is so important when it comes to representation, so I wanted to provide you with an opportunity to win a copy of your own!

This giveaway is international (as long as Book Depository ships to your country). It will run from July 27th to August 15th. A winner will be chosen randomly through Rafflecopter. This giveaway is NOT sponsored, and I will be purchasing the book with my own money. You must be 18 years old to enter or have permission from a legal guardian.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book Community Shoutouts!

This is an extension of the Booktuber Shoutouts Tag, which I did here on my channel today. I felt that a lot of the questions could be carried over into the rest of the book community and wanted to shout out some of my faves from other platforms as well.The questions aren’t exactly the same, as I tweaked them a little for this!

1. Who inspired you to start a blog/booklr/bookstagram/etc?

I don’t have any answer for this one, as it was very much a group effort. Once I started booktube and discovered all of the other platforms people discuss books on, I wanted to be involved in all of them! A lot of the people who inspire me are listed in the other questions.

2. Whose creativity do you love?

Blogger: I adore Tiffany‘s blog from About To Read. She is also a booktuber. Her blog posts are always super creative. She has a Fairytale Fashions feature where she talks about bookish related merchandise that she’s found that I really enjoy.

Booklr: How can I not mention the edits of the amazing Scarlett? Her photosets are always so stunning, and I always reblog whatever new work she puts out. She typically posts a lot of sets for the Throne of Glass fandom, but she’s having to take a break as another blog keeps stealing her work. :(((( I hope she is able to get back to it soon!

Bookstagram: There are so many creative bookstagrammers out there. Some of my favorite photos come from Tracey of youngadultbookaddict, Christine of weereader, Ziba.Reads, and Ursula of ursula-uriarte.

3. Whose positivity do you love?

Alexa from Alexa Loves Books stands out to me with her positivity. She organized this year’s Book Blogger Love-a-thon, which is a week long event for bloggers to spread the love and positivity. It was one of the first blogging events I took part in and was a lot of fun.

4. Whose honesty do you admire?

Lauren from Love is Not a Triangle. As it is probably obvious from her blog title, she is not a fan of love triangles. While I personally don’t have a problem with them, and sometimes love them, she is not a fan and even has a whole system in place for how to rank them. She also has a scale for cliffhangers in different series, which is really helpful.

5. Who always makes you laugh?

Kat Kennedy from Cuddlebuggery. She is hysterical and we have a very similar sense of humor, so I’m always cracking up when reading her posts. She recently did a post on how to request ARCs… as a dinosaur. She is a gem. All of the lovely ladies who run that blog are awesome!

6. Who is super friendly?

Jamie of The Broke and the Bookish. Another blog run by a lot of awesome people. Jamie is someone I see often around twitter, chatting with anyone and everyone, and I love how social she is. She is a very welcoming person.

7. Who always makes you add books to your TBR?

Honestly, who doesn’t? Everyone I follow makes me add books to my TBR. Most recently though, Sarah from What Sarah Read has consistently made me add books to my TBR. It seems like everything she mentions lately is something I want to get my hands on.

That’s all for today! I also shout out posts from other members of the book community weekly in my Sunday Survey posts, so if you like my recommendations, feel free to check out more there.

Let me know who some of your favorite content creators are in the book world!

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Madly by Amy Alward | Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday bannerWaiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine in which we discuss our most anticipated upcoming releases.


Title: Madly
Author: Amy Alward
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult- Fantasy
Release Date: September 29, 2015

synopsis (From goodreads)

When the Princess of Nova accidentally poisons herself with a love potion meant for her crush, she falls crown-over-heels in love with her own reflection. Oops. A nationwide hunt is called to find the cure, with competitors traveling the world for the rarest ingredients, deep in magical forests and frozen tundras, facing death at every turn.

Enter Samantha Kemi – an ordinary girl with an extraordinary talent. Sam’s family were once the most respected alchemists in the kingdom, but they’ve fallen on hard times, and winning the hunt would save their reputation. But can Sam really compete with the dazzling powers of the ZoroAster megapharma company? Just how close is Sam willing to get to Zain Aster, her dashing former classmate and enemy, in the meantime?

And just to add to the pressure, this quest is ALL OVER social media. And the world news.

No big deal, then.

my thoughts

I’m so intrigued by this premise. At first it sounds like a medieval fantasy setting, and then it mentions social media and the world news?! What? It sounds like this could be a really fun and original story.

Books that Celebrate Diversity | Top 10 Tuesday

Top 10 tuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s topic is books that celebrate diversity or diverse characters. I’m going to be using this week to talk about some highly anticipated LGBTQ+ reads on my TBR!

10. Aristotle & Dante discover the Secrets of the universe by benjamin alire saenz

arianddanteThe only reason I haven’t read this one yet is that I don’t own it.

9. Lies by girlfriend told me by Julie Anne Peters

liesmygirlfriendAfter the main character’s girlfriend dies, she founds out that she has been cheating on her their entire relationship. She ends up meeting up with the other girl, and they become close. I’m interested to see how this book handles a tough topic like this.

8. Black Iris by Leah Raeder

blackirisThis is a thriller, which usually isn’t my genre, but I’m willing to try it out because the main character is bisexual.

7. everything leads to you by nina lacour

18667779This one has probably been on my TBR the longest. It’s about a main character who is a lesbian, but it is not a coming out story. Sounds refreshing.

6. What we left behind by robin talley

9780373211753_BBThis one isn’t released until September, but I am so excited for it. It features a lesbian couple, who are separated due to going to different colleges. This is rare enough in YA fiction by itself, but on top of that, one of the characters is genderqueer and they become involved with the trans community on their campus. This sounds like an original story, with plenty of diverse characters that I need to read ASAP.

5. fingersmith by sarah waters

45162Sarah Waters is a critically acclaimed author who writes lesbian fiction, and I plan on working my way through her work starting with this one.

4. blue is the warmest color by Julie Maroh

17465574This graphic novel sounds stunning, both in the story and with the art.

3. Beauty queens by libba bray

9464733I have yet to read any Libba Bray, but I hope that one of my first will be this satire featuring a plethora of female characters, one of which is trans.

2. Fans of the impossible life by kate scelsa

24039396This book is going to be released in September as well. It involves a guy who falling in love with a girl and her gay male best friend. Bisexual love triangle? Yes, please. As soon as I heard about this, I requested it from the HarperCollins and kindly received an ARC. I cannot wait to read this as soon as possible.

1. The song of Achilles by madeline miller

13623848The fact that I haven’t read this is a tragedy. An Iliad retelling, revolving around the epic relationship between Achilles and Patroclus. And it of course ends tragically. Everyone I trust adores it and I cannot wait for it to rip out my heart and stomp on it.

What are some of your favorite diverse reads?

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Reorganizing, Stereotypes, & Awards | Sunday Survey

Sunday SurveySunday Survey is a weekly feature where I wrap up and shout out some of my favorite posts from other bloggers, booktubers, instagrammers, etc. from the previous week.

  • Alexa from Alexa Loves Books discussed reorganizing her TBR into a separate shelf, and the pros of that choice
  • Tracey from youngadultbookaddict posted this beautiful photo featuring The Grisha Trilogy (automatic like in my opinion).
  • Sarah from SarahSunbeemz made a wonderful video pointing out the ridiculous stereotypes of YA female protagonists. I’ve already shouted it out on twitter, but it deserves a second mention.
  • Elizabeth from BooksandPieces announced the books on the #booktubesff awards shortlist, along with the readalongs for each book in the coming months. I’m looking forward to participating in some of those!

What were some of your favorite posts this week?

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I’m Participating! | ARC August

I recently stumbled upon Read.Sleep.Repeat.’s ARC August intro post, and I knew I wanted to participate. You can get the full details from their post here.

ARC August is all about catching up on the backlog of ARCs, whether physical or eARCs.


The rules are very simple.

  • It may be a physical ARC or and eARC but it MUST be an ARC
  • Yes it can be an ARC that has released as long as it’s an ARC
  • HAVE FUN WITH THIS! Feeling like you are being “forced” to read is the best way turn a fun event into a yucky obligation.
  • Update post! You can update once a week, every other week or once for the whole darn event. This update can be in the form of a blog or tumblr post, vlog, link to your “ARC August 2015″ shelf or even an instagram pic!

The whole point is to make this as easy as possible for everyone involved. There is also a chance for participants to win a highly anticipated ARC from Read.Sleep. Repeat.!

My tbr:

I’m going to be using ARC August to get through the large stack of ARCs I received from BEA as well as a few I’ve received since. This came at the perfect time, as I’ve been holding off on reading so many of these, even though their releases are right around the corner. I don’t know why I do that, but this forces me to stop. Here are the ARCs I will be selecting from throughout the month! High priority reads are marked with a HEART!

August releases:

aug arcs

Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman – 8/25

September releases:

Sept Arcs

Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith – 9/1
Cut Both Ways by Carrie Mesrobian – 9/1
Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa – 9/8
Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson – 9/22
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – 9/29

October releases:

Oct ARCs

A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston – 10/6
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – 10/20
Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin – 10/20
What We Left Behind by Robin Talley – 10/27

 I’ll be doing update posts either here or on Instagram, most likely on Saturdays. My wrap up at the end of the month will be in video form on my channel, as always.

I’m really looking forward to this! Let me know in the comments if you are participating as well.

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Never Never by Brianna Shrum | Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday bannerWaiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine in which we discuss our most anticipated upcoming releases.


Title: Never Never
Author: Brianna Shrum
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Genre: Young Adult- Fairy Tale Retelling
Release Date: September 22, 2015

synopsis (From goodreads)

James Hook is a child who only wants to grow up.

When he meets Peter Pan, a boy who loves to pretend and is intent on never becoming a man, James decides he could try being a child—at least briefly. James joins Peter Pan on a holiday to Neverland, a place of adventure created by children’s dreams, but Neverland is not for the faint of heart. Soon James finds himself longing for home, determined that he is destined to be a man. But Peter refuses to take him back, leaving James trapped in a world just beyond the one he loves. A world where children are to never grow up.

But grow up he does.

And thus begins the epic adventure of a Lost Boy and a Pirate.

This story isn’t about Peter Pan; it’s about the boy whose life he stole. It’s about a man in a world that hates men. It’s about the feared Captain James Hook and his passionate quest to kill the Pan, an impossible feat in a magical land where everyone loves Peter Pan.

my thoughts

I, like many, love fairytale retellings. Especially ones with a darker twist. I adored Tiger Lily, which is another twist on the Peter Pan story, and when I heard about this one coming out from Hook’s perspective, I knew I had to have it. Also… pirates.

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