Blog Tour | Traveler by L.E. DeLano

travelertourbannerI received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

27242803Traveler by L.E. DeLano
Release date: February 7th, 2017
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley

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Goodreads | Amazon

Jessa has spent her life dreaming of other worlds and writing down stories more interesting than her own, until the day her favorite character, Finn, suddenly shows up and invites her out for coffee. After the requisite nervous breakdown, Jessa learns that she and Finn are Travelers, born with the ability to slide through reflections and dreams into alternate realities. But it’s not all steampunk pirates and fantasy lifestyles…Jessa is dying over and over again, in every reality, and Finn is determined that this time, he’s going to stop it… this Jessa is going to live.

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Traveler is about a Jessa St.Clair, a teenager with a vivid imagination who has a natural talent for writing. She’s constantly scribbling down story ideas based on her dreams. One day her rather ordinary life is turned completely upside down when one of her characters, a boy from her dreams, approaches her in real life. He tells Jessa that she’s a traveler, a person who can travel between dimensions and worlds. The catch? She’s in grave danger. Someone is trying to murder her in every dimension and they both need to work together to find out why.

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  • The pacing was was very slow at the beginning. I didn’t initially connect with the story or the characters at all. To be completely honest, I would have given up if I didn’t have to write a review for this blog tour. I’m very glad that I didn’t because about a quarter of the way into the story things start to pick up and it’s pretty fast paced from there on.
  • I really enjoyed the characters. Jessa was the type of character that I could see myself being friends with in real life. She’s tough, caring and made tons of comic book references that made my little nerd heart happy. Jessa’s older brother Danny has autism but it doesn’t define who he is. There were tons of hints that he was the only character to actual know Jessa was traveling between dimensions, he just couldn’t properly articulate it. I think he’s going to play a much larger role in the sequel. How? I’m not really sure but there’s something definitely there. And I can’t talk about the character without mentioning Finn. Oh, Finn *sigh* I loved him to pieces.
  • The book doesn’t give anything away and I really enjoyed that about it. I had no inkling about who was targeting Jessa until the last few chapters. It kept me guessing and that’s what really kept me going through the slow parts of the story. I hate it when books reveal everything to the reader too soon.
  • The ending was so, so good! It was shocking but in a good way. I’m now completely hooked and want the sequel in my hands right away. My mind was racing trying to figure where the author will take the characters next but every scenario I come up with leaves me with just too many questions.
  • I loved how the author included a recipe for glitter mousse at the end of the story. What is glitter mousse you ask? You just need to read the book to find out. 🙂

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  • It’s advertised as being about steampunk pirates and yeah, a charming pirate appears but not nearly enough. I kind of feel ripped off in a way. Like I signed up for something and only got half of what I was promised.
  • There is a love triangle and I HATE LOVE TRIANGLES so yeah…NO!
  • There was one scene in particular that rubbed me the wrong way. In it Jessa judges another girl based on her tight clothes and heavy makeup. I hate it when books have their female characters judge each other. It’s hurtful and damaging. It’s basically saying if you dress like this then you are this type of person. NO! This scene also stood out because it didn’t fit Jessa’s characterization.

So, while Traveler wasn’t exactly what I was hoping it to be, I did quite like it by the end. I think it’s one of the book series where each book is better than the last. The author has setup a solid foundation and left me wanting more. The sequel, Dreamer, is scheduled to be released next year.


about

headshotL.E. DeLano is a YA novelist rep’d by Barry Goldblatt Literary, author of the upcoming Traveler (Swoon Reads/MacMillan 2017) and lifelong writer.

Probably best known under her alternate moniker, Ellie DeLano, she has blogged for both Woman’s Day and Mom’s Magazine, and runs her own blog on parenting and autism at SingleMomtism.com.

She lives in Pennsylvania with two very adventurous kids and two very ridiculous cats. In her spare time, she writes (of course) and binge-watches way too much Netflix.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook

Blog Tour: Finding Paradise by V.P. Ortiz (Guest Post)

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I’m very excited to be hosting a stop on the Finding Paradise blog tour! Since the book is all about Hawaii and romance, author V.P. Ortiz has put together a list of some of the most romantic things to do in Oahu, Hawaii. *sigh* I totally need a vacation!


32192952Finding Paradise by V.P. Ortiz
Release date: September 24th, 2016
Publisher: V.P. Ortiz Publishing
Genre: New adult, romance
Formats: eBook, paperback

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Mila Quinn is ready to finally move out of the college dorms into an apartment with her longtime boyfriend, Ethan Lowe. But when Ethan reveals a big secret, her world is suddenly turned upside down, stirring up old memories of love and loss. Completely torn apart, she boards a plane to Hawaii to escape for the summer.

Even though Mila wants to spend her time in paradise in isolation, fate has other plans when it drops sexy local Gage Madden in her lap. Hesitant at first, she agrees to let him take the reins on her island exploration. As Mila discovers the wonders of Oahu with Gage, it becomes harder for her to fight the budding attraction between them.

But behind the curtain of island adventures and undeniable chemistry, trouble is brewing where Mila least expects it. Secrets begin to bubble to the surface that could destroy her all over again. Will Mila find her paradise? Or will she leave Hawaii with another broken heart?


TEN MOST ROMANTIC THINGS TO DO IN OAHU, HAWAII

Hawaii is a beautiful place. From the ocean waves to the warm weather, it’s hard not to fall in love with the islands. I know the feeling myself. I’ve only visited Oahu twice, but I’m already planning out my retirement in Hawaii.

Finding Paradise is a romantic story that takes place on the gorgeous island of Oahu, which is the most visited island in Hawaii. Today, I am bringing you the Ten Most Romantic Things to Do in Oahu! If you’ve read Finding Paradise, some of these might even seem a bit familiar to you.

  1. Watch the sunrise on the windward (east) side of Oahu: What could be more perfect than watching the sun rise over the Pacific Ocean? Snuggling next to someone you love while you do it! Don’t worry about cold weather – even at the crack of dawn, the weather is fantastic. Just be weary of rain during the winter months.
  2. Go paddleboarding: Stand-up paddleboarding is a cool way to get in some exercise and get out further on the ocean, especially if you don’t know how to surf. In the winter, Waikiki Beach is your best bet because the waves are much too large on the North Shore to paddle. But in the summer, the opposite is true. The North Shore has calmer waves and you might even spot some sea turtles like Mila and Gage did in Finding Paradise!
  3. Have a picnic at the Liliuokalani Botanical Garden in Honolulu: This botanical garden is the garden of all gardens. Some of the tropical plants in the Liliuokalani Garden can only be found on the Hawaiian islands. There are plenty of places to have a sweet and romantic picnic. Just be sure to clean up after you leave! Hawaiians take great pride and care of their home.
  4. Hike up to Manoa Falls: Just as Mila and Gage did during one of their first few outings together, hiking up to Manoa Falls is a great way to get some quiet, romantic time together. Tucked in the neighborhoods of Honolulu, Manoa Falls offers a gorgeous waterfall at the end of the hike. Just try not to sneak in a smooch in this place!
  5. Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay: Grab your honey’s hand, put on your flippers, and snorkel your way through Oahu’s most famous snorkeling beach. Together, you’ll find multitudes of coral and fish. Maybe you’ll even spot the Hawaiian state fish – the humuhumunukunukuapua’a (“who-moo-whoo-moo-new-coo-new-coo-ah-poo-ah-ah)!
  6. Go on a helicopter tour: There’s no shortage of helicopter tours on any of the Hawaiian islands and some tours if you’re willing to fork out the money and the time, will take you to multiple islands. Nothing beats seeing the beauty of the islands from the sky while holding your lover’s hand. Just remember to keep your seatbelts fastened, no matter how much closer you want to get.
  7. Go whale watching: In the winter, the humpback whale ventures down to the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean and can be seen all around the island. Book a boat tour and while there’s no guarantee that you will see a whale, it’s a romantic ride that will only be made even more perfect by seeing one of those majestic creatures leaping from the ocean.
  8. Hike up the Koko Crater Trail: Since the Haiku stairs closed to the public, the next best hiking trail to get a panoramic view of part of Oahu is through the Koko Crater Trail. Though it is strenuous and a bit crowded later in the day, the view is astounding and breathtaking, much like you’ll feel when you have your sweetheart by your side for the ride.
  9. Go on a dinner cruise: Taking off just before sunset, most dinner cruises will take you past Waikiki Beach, around Diamond Head crater, and to the windward side of the island. Enjoy a glass of champagne with your loved one while taking in the views of the island from the ocean before sitting down to a five-star meal. Some dinner cruises offer live entertainment and dancing. What could be better than learning the hula together?
  10. Watch the sunset on Waikiki Beach: As your day winds to a close, the hotel patios welcome live music from local artists and their melodies travel through the salty air. The ocean roars in the background just as the sun begins to set over the ocean. The orange sky reflects off the ocean and into your lover’s eyes. As the ukulele plays a Hawaiian song of love and forever, you realize that paradise isn’t just on Oahu or Hawaii. It’s with the person in your arms.

Many of the locations visited by Mila and Gage in Finding Paradise, some of which are on this list, are actual places that I have visited multiple times. Because I’ve been asked several times since Finding Paradise was published for photos of those tourist spots, I posted a photo tour guide on my website at www.vportiz.com/findingparadise-phototour. I hope this brings your experience of Mila and Gage to life even more! If you haven’t picked up Finding Paradise yet, I hope this intrigues your curiosity for both Hawaii and for Finding Paradise!

Top Ten Tuesday

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. The topic this week is: Ten Books I Loved Less/More Than I Thought I Would. I’m going to switch the prompt up a tiny bit and go with books that five books that disappointed me and five books that blew me away.

Top 5 Books That Disappointed Me in the Past Year:

Top 5 Books That Exceeded My Expectations in the Past Year:

Have you read any of these? What were your thoughts?

Guest Post: “Things Every Girl Must Pack for the Sixteenth Century” by Rachel Harris

guest-post_Hey everyone, and thank you Jacquie for having me here today. I’m so excited to be talking about my fun time-travel book, My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century (review here), and highlighting some of the silly stuff I learned while writing it.

First, a quick recap of the book: The main character, Cat Crawford, is a modern-day girl who finds herself sent via gypsy magic back to Renaissance Firenze. Lucky for her, she gets to bring a backpack filled with contraband items from the future.

This was one of my favorite elements of the book because it not only brought about some fun moments within the story, but I had a ton of fun imagining what sorts of things I would bring with me if I had a chance to travel to the past. So, with that in mind, I thought it’d be fun to list my Top 16 things that I think would be essential for any time-traveling chica.

Here’s my list…and I’d LOVE to know what your list would include!


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  1. Toothpaste. Our brands are much better than the homemade sour mixture they concocted, trust me.
  2. Makeup. There the look is pasty white faces with bright crimson cheeks. Not really feeling it.
  3. Bubble bath. You have to have some indulgences, and since they didn’t do showers…and didn’t even bathe that often…you’re gonna wanna enjoy bath time when you can.
  4. Deodorant. Not really something they used. Plus, see bath above.
  5. iPhone/iPad/iPod. A link to sanity plus it could prove amusing if you choose to share it with any Renaissance folk. Trust me on this.
  6. Digital camera. You’re gonna want to take pictures of everything to remember it and prove you aren’t crazy once you get back.
  7. Tons of batteries. Unfortunately, there aren’t going to be any outlets to recharge, or stores to buy more.
  8. Comfortable shoes. Sixteenth-century footwear? Not so stellar.
  9. Modern-day fat-suckers to bypass (or so you hope) the horrid corset. Those things are just evil.
  10. (While we’re on this topic) Clean underwear. Yeah, they didn’t really wear any back in the day. Either embrace the commando or bring some with you.
  11. Gallon size bag of peanut M&Ms. Snackage is essential, and they tended to have an interesting menu back then. One such item, roasted peacock. No thank you.
  12. Hand-held motorized fan. No A/C and a bazillion layers isn’t an awesome mix. (see tons of batteries above)
  13. A history book so you can know what’s happening around you and sound really, really smart
  14. Bottled water (turns out, they couldn’t drink theirs).
  15. A couple Cokes, while you’re at it. A girl’s gotta have her caffeine.
  16. And finally, a tub of Breath mints so you can have minty fresh breath for all the Renaissance hotties running around.

about

5347676New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Rachel Harris writes humorous love stories about sassy girls-next-door and the hot guys that make them swoon. Vibrant settings, witty banter, and strong relationships are a staple in each of her books…and kissing. Lots of kissing.

An admitted bookaholic and homeschool mom, she gets through each day by laughing at herself, hugging her kids, and watching way too much Food Network with her husband. She writes young adult, new adult, and adult romances, and LOVES talking with readers!

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

The Entertainer Blogger Award

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A big THANK YOU to Zainab at A Bibliophile’s Obsession for nominating me. If you have some time, please go check out her blog. It’s super cute! 🙂

Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Add these rules to your post.
  • Answer all the questions below.
  • Display the award picture in your post.
  • Nominate 12 other bloggers who are funny, inspiring and most important of all ENTERTAINING!

Questions:

Q1. Why did you start a blog in the first place?

I started it because I wanted to challenge myself and of course share the books that I love. I had wanted to start a blog for a while, but it was mostly just me lurking around, visiting blogs and following bookish accounts on Twitter. This past January I finally gathered up enough courage and here we are. 🙂

Q2. What is your favorite book?

Persuasion by Jane Austen has always been one of my favourites! I loved Six of Crows and I just received my copy of Crooked Kingdom in the mail. I’m pretty sure the duology is going to be one of my favourites because Leigh Bardugo is simply amazing!

Q3. What do you dislike the most?

Oh where do I start?! Hahaha! I normally would list bookish things, but right now what annoys me the most is when people don’t use their directional signals on busy roads. I nearly crashed twice yesterday coming home from work. Or when people try to shove their car into the space between your car and the one in front of you. NO people! That space is left for safety and use your signals to let me know you want to fit. Don’t dive bomb it and hope for the best. Wow! Sorry for the mini rant. Moving on…

Q4. What is your favorite food item from the mall?

When I was younger my mom and I always picked up A&W when we went shopping. For the longest time they only had restaurants in mall food courts. Now, A&W is everywhere! Other than that I usually don’t eat at the mall.

Q5. What is your favorite pastime?

Sleep? Hahaha! No, really, I love reading, obsessively listening to Bastille and right now I’m binge watching Quantico on Netflix. I’ve also started running again. I’ve signed up for a 5K in a few weeks so I have try to get myself into the running mood.


Nominations:

September Wrap Up!

warpup-001SOME THOUGHTS

Fall is officially here! It’s my favourite season because the weather gets cooler, I can wear my sweaters and blazers without melting to death and pumpkin spice is everywhere! Hurray!

September was a wonderful month! I received a physical ARC of Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco, which I totally fangirled about in my review. I had wanted to read the book for ages and it exceeded all of my expectations. Now I have to wait a year for book two! *sobs* Gina also rejoined the land of blogging! Between work, planning a wedding and everything else she’s had on her plate, reading/blogging has been very hard. She’s also looking for book recommendations, so if you have any that you think she’d like please leave them in the comments.

I’m also not making a TBR for October. I didn’t for September and it was amazing. I felt so free to read whatever I liked without trying to stick to books I set aside to read. The only book on my MUST READ list is Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. My copy just arrived and I couldn’t be more excited.


BOOKS HAULED


BOOKS READ

Rex by Rita Stradling | ★★★★
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco | ★★★★★
Sula’s Voyage by Catherine Torres | ★★★★★
The Last Cherry Blossom by Kathleen Burkinshaw | ★★★★½
Forget Tomorrow by Pintip Dunn | ★★★★½
Bitter Sweet Love by Michael Faudet | ★★★★★
A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray | ★★
Jenna’s Truth by Nadia L. King | ★★★
Spindle by Shonna Slayton | ★★★
Forget Me Always by Sara Wolf | ★★
The Universe of Us by Lang Leav | ★★★★★
Blood Red, Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick | DNF


POSTS

Reviews:

Snow White · The Graces · Girl on a Plane · The Dream Protocol · A Mortal Song · Jenna’s Truth · The Replacement Crush · Blood of the Prophet · Stalking Jack the Ripper · Rex · The Last Cherry Blossom · Sula’s Voyage · Forget Tomorrow

Memes:

Top Ten Tuesday · Waiting On Wednesday

Tags:

A-Z About Me · Book Fangirling Award · Blogger Recognition Award · Real Neat Blog Award

Other:

Tiger’s Watch Cover Reveal + Author Guest Post · Labyrinth Lost: Spotlight + Giveaway! · Bookish Bingo

Have a wonderful October! 🙂

Labyrinth Lost: Spotlight + Giveaway!

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova was released last week and in celebration Sourcebooks Fire has shared some extra goodies and is hosting a giveaway. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this fantastic book. It was one of my most anticipated released and it more than lived up to all of my expectations. YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK!

cover85322-mediumLabyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
Release date: September 6th, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Length: 336 pages
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook

Goodreads | Amazon

** My 5 heart review! **

Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

I fall to my knees. Shattered glass, melted candles and the outline of scorched feathers are all that surround me. Every single person who was in my house – my entire family — is gone.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange markings on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…

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  • Click to download a special colouring page.
  • Watch the very cool Book Trailer here.

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Follow our voices, sister.
Tell us the secret of your death.
—- Resurrection Canto, Book of Cantos

The second time I saw my dead aunt Rosaria, she was dancing.
Earlier that day, my mom had warned me, pressing a long, red fingernail on the tip of my nose, “Alejandra, don’t go downstairs when the Circle arrives.”
But I was seven and asked too many questions. Every Sunday, cars piled up in our driveway, down the street, and around the corner of our old, narrow house in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Mom’s Circle usually brought cellophane–wrapped dishes and jars of dirt and tubs of brackish water that made the Hudson River look clean. This time, they carried something more.
When my sisters started snoring, I threw off my covers and crept down the stairs. The floorboards were uneven and creaky, but I was good at not being seen. Fuzzy, yellow streetlight shone through our attic window and followed me down every flight until I reached the basement.
A soft hum made its way through the thin walls. I remember thinking I should listen to my mom’s warning and go back upstairs. But our house had been restless all week, and Lula, Rose, and I were shoved into the attic, out of the way while the grown–ups prepared the funeral. I wanted out. I wanted to see.
The night was moonless and cold one week after the Witch’s New Year, when Aunt Rosaria died of a sickness that made her skin yellow like hundred–year–old paper and her nails turn black as coal. We tried to make her beautiful again. My sisters and I spent all day weaving good luck charms from peonies, corn husks, and string—-one loop over, under, two loops over, under. Not even the morticians, the Magos de Muerte, could fix her once–lovely face.
Aunt Rosaria was dead. I was there when we mourned her. I was there when we buried her. Then, I watched my father and two others shoulder a dirty cloth bundle into the house, and I knew I couldn’t stay in bed, no matter what my mother said.
So I opened the basement door.
Red light bathed the steep stairs. I leaned my head toward the light, toward the beating sound of drums and sharp plucks of fat, nylon guitar strings.
A soft mew followed by whiskers against my arm made my heart jump to the back of my rib cage. I bit my tongue to stop the scream. It was just my cat, Miluna. She stared at me with her white, glowing eyes and hissed a warning, as if telling me to turn back. But Aunt Rosaria was my godmother, my family, my friend. And I wanted to see her again.
“Sh!” I brushed the cat’s head back.
Miluna nudged my leg, then ran away as the singing started.
I took my first step down, into the warm, red light. Raspy voices called out to our gods, the Deos, asking for blessings beyond the veil of our worlds. Their melody pulled me step by step until I was crouched at the bottom of the landing.
They were dancing.
Brujas and brujos were dressed in mourning white, their faces painted in the aspects of the dead, white clay and black coal to trace the bones. They danced in two circles—-the outer ring going clockwise, the inner counterclockwise—hands clasped tight, voices vibrating to the pulsing drums.
And in the middle was Aunt Rosaria.
Her body jerked upward. Her black hair pooled in the air like she was suspended in water. There was still dirt on her skin. The white skirt we buried her in billowed around her slender legs. Black smoke slithered out of her open mouth. It weaved in and out of the circle—-one loop over, under, two loops over, under. It tugged Aunt Rosaria higher and higher, matching the rhythm of the canto.
Then, the black smoke perked up and changed its target. It could smell me. I tried to backpedal, but the tiles were slick, and I slid toward the circle. My head smacked the tiles. Pain splintered my skull, and a broken scream lodged in my throat.
The music stopped. Heavy, tired breaths filled the silence of the pulsing red dark. The enchantment was broken. Aunt Rosaria’s reanimated corpse turned to me. Her body purged black smoke, lowering her back to the ground. Her ankles cracked where the bone was brittle, but still she took a step. Her dead eyes gaped at me. Her wrinkled mouth growled my name: Alejandra.
She took another step. Her ankle turned and broke at the joint, sending her flying forward. She landed on top of me. The rot of her skin filled my nose, and grave dirt fell into my eyes.
Tongues clucked against crooked teeth. The voices of the circle hissed, “What’s the girl doing out of bed?”
There was the scent of extinguished candles and melting wax. Decay and perfume oil smothered me until they pulled the body away.
My mother jerked me up by the ear, pulling me up two flights of stairs until I was back in my bed, the scream stuck in my throat like a stone.
“Never,” she said. “You hear me, Alejandra? Never break a Circle.”
I lay still. So still that after a while, she brushed my hair, thinking I had fallen asleep.
I wasn’t. How could I ever sleep again? Blood and rot and smoke and whispers filled my head.
“One day you’ll learn,” she whispered.
Then she went back down the street–lit stairs, down into the warm red light and to Aunt Rosaria’s body. My mother clapped her hands, drums beat, strings plucked, and she said, “Again.”

about

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Zoraida Córdova was born in Ecuador and raised in Queens, New York. She is the author of the Vicious Deep trilogy, the On the Verge series, and the Brooklyn Brujas series. She loves black coffee, snark, and still believes in magic.

Website | Twitter Tumblr | YouTube

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Win a copy of Labyrinth Lost with signed Labyrinth Lost bookmarks! The giveaway ends on September 19th and is only open to residents of Canada and the US. Click here to enter!