Friday, August 26, 2016

Blog Tour: Scary Out There by Jonathan Maberry (review + giveaway)

Horror, Short Stories, Anthology 
Publication.Date  August 30th 2016
Published By:  Simon and Schuster Books For Young Readers
AuthorJonathan Maberry

Scary Out There on Goodreads
My review copy:Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Where to get:,%20Inc_2227948_NA&sourceId=AFFGoodreads,%20IncM000004

Multiple Bram Stoker Award–winning author Jonathan Maberry compiles more than twenty stories and poems—written by members of the Horror Writers Association—in this terrifying collection about worst fears.

What scares you? Things that go bump in the night? Being irreversibly different? A brutal early death? The unknown?

This collection contains stories and poetry by renowned writers such as R. L. Stine, Neal and Brendan Shusterman, and Ellen Hopkins—all members of the Horror Writers Association—about what they fear most. The stories include mermaids, ghosts, and personal demons, and are edited by Jonathan Maberry, multiple Bram Stoker award winner and author of the Rot & Ruin series.

You're only as good
as your word. 
"All of you. Every one of you who takes a razor to your wrist or swallows too many pills. Every one of you who jumps in front of a bus. Every one of you who stands on a bridge and thinks about jumping." The boy shook his head again, his features filled with disgust. "You don't know shit about what's waiting at the bottom of that river. And if you think it means peace, then you know less than shit about it." 
He likes to peer his head around the corner of doorways, make a face at you. 

     Why is it that the most incredible books are the hardest ones to review? I've been sitting here, at my desk, for a little over two hours now, trying to find just the right words to describe this phenomenal, heart-pounding and profoundly affecting anthology, but every sentence I write falls flat and I feel like no matter what I say, I can never do this book justice. It's just one of those books that every one has to experience for themselves, for just like Jonathan Maberry said in his introduction to the collection, fear is very personal and everyone is afraid of something different.

   To me, this book is more than just a collection of exquisite horror stories. It's a beautiful reminder that we all have our demons to fight and that it's perfectly fine to be scared. Fear is very human and nothing to be ashamed of. It's there to warn us, it's there to motivate us, and as long as we don't let it control us, we can get through everything.

    The SCARY OUT THERE anthology contains 21 hand-picked horror stories written by some of the most talented authors of our times. Take a look at the contents list and you'll see names like Brenna Yovanoff, Madeleine Roux, Ellen Hopkins, Carrie Ryan, R.L Stine, Kendare Blake and more. If you'd ask me about my favorite stories from this collection, I would tell you that I loved them all (and that would be true), but the ones that  got to me the most were: Danny by Josh Malerman (I was seriously pissing my pants while reading this one-- alone, at night), The Old Radio by R.L.Stine (I grew up with the Fear Street, and this story was a quintessence of Stine's ability to thoroughly creep you out and leave you on edge), The Invisible Girl by Rachel Tafoya (such a powerful and meaningful story about self-harm and depression, and fear of being invisible, unimportant, forgotten..), Kendare Blakes story about bloody revenge (it can seriously turn your stomach inside out) and the so very Stephen King-ish The Boyfriend by Steve Rasnic Tem (for obvious reasons).
     But to tell you the truth, each and every single one of these stories has something incredible and meaningful to offer. Some of them are pure fear-fests - like Danny! Boy oh boy, was I sweating profusely while reading this one! I even took little breaks freaking out on Twitter about it, totally stalling and not wanting to find out what happens next - or rather wanting, but not being brave enough to. It's such an intense piece of fiction, I actually went ahead and ordered the author's novel (The Bird Box) right after finishing it. I'm still trying to find it in me to crack it open, though...

    At the same time, there are also stories in this collection that are more subtle and poetic, yet very powerful and important. Take Death and Twinkies. It's a story about a boy whose life is so miserable, he decides to end it, because he believes death will bring him peace. How absolutely heart-breaking, especially if you consider the fact that there are actual real teenagers and kids out there who really feel this way.

    Some of these stories end on a hopeful note, some are as dark as their character's black souls, but they all have something important to say, and they were all included in this collection for a good reason. I really believe that this anthology is a must, and not only for every self-respecting horror fan, but simply for anyone who enjoys good writing, interesting stories and food-for-thought kind of reads. This is a particularly delicious box of chocolates, my friends.

About the author:

JONATHAN MABERRY is a New York Times best-selling and multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning horror and thriller author, magazine feature writer, playwright, content creator and writing teacher/lecturer. His books have been sold to more than a dozen countries. 
LINKS: Website | Twitter


3 Finished Copies of SCARY OUT THERE (US Only)

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Tour Schedule:

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Throwback Thursday Book Review: Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Some of you may know that I originally had my own blog, Beauty but a Funny Girl, prior to joining Bookish (now Bookish Lifestyle). I was thinking the other day about all those reviews I left behind when I transferred and thought they should get some love too - no matter how badly written and newbie they come off! So I present to you: Throwback Thursday Reviews! Every once in a while I'll post an old review from Beauty but a Funny Girl, unedited in terms of content, with the exception of any spelling or grammatical mistakes. It's definitely going to be fun and interesting to see how my tastes and writing style have changed over the years!

The Infernal Devices #2
Young Adult, Steampunk, Romance, Historical Fiction
Publication.Date:December 6, 2011
Pages:502 (Hardcover)
Published By:  Margaret K. McElderry Books
Website:Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Prince on Goodreads
My review copy:

Where to get:

True love is shrouded in secrets and lies in the #1 New York Times bestselling second book of the Infernal Devices trilogy.

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when it becomes clear that the mysterious Magister will stop at nothing to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, tortured Will and the devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal and fueled by revenge. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa is drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa answers about who she really is? As their search leads to deadly peril, Tessa learns that secrets and lies can corrupt even the purest heart.


Originally posted July 23, 2013 on Beauty but a Funny Girl

Bad move on my part. I read Clockwork Princess - and wrote the review - before starting on this one. I know, I know. But I jumped right into Clockwork Princess once I finished this book and... the feels!

But back to Clockwork Prince...

I really liked Clockwork Angel and started Clockwork Prince as soon as my schedule allowed me to do so. It was a good follow up novel that answered some questions from Clockwork Angel, but also asked a lot more that were answered with Clockwork Princess.

One of my favorite things about this novel is all the plot twists! There were so many that it made it obnoxious, but there were a few where I had a "whoa, hold on there!" moment. There was also a lot of plot development going on, which really helped move the story along and keep me fully interested. 

Sophie was much more involved in this novel and I grew to love her more, if possible. Henry and Charlotte finally had a breakthrough, which was especially nice as you could see Charlotte becoming frustrated with him and his scatterbrainedness. Yes, it's a word. Now. Also, Charlotte really stands on her feet against the Council and you have to admire her strength and determination.

Also, we finally get to see our love triangle between Tessa, Jem, and Will. It's a very well done triangle and it's obvious that Tessa does love both of them in their own way. However, it's the last few chapters of the book where things really heat up. It hurts to read it as for one of these characters things are suddenly looking up, only to have it all come crashing down.

Can we just talk about the balcony scene for a minute though. Oh. My. God. I get all squealy just thinking about it! It was definitely a turning point in the novel, relationship wise, and was just this mixture of pure passion and straight up romance. *sigh*

The narration was very well done and I think having the series told in third person was a smart idea. The plot in depth and involved, if a little cliche, but Clare does make it her own. This is definitely a series not to miss out on and one that became a quick favorite of mine!

Note: I know this isn't the best review, but I'm writing this after writing my review for Clockwork Princess and two weeks after finishing the book. I know I really slacked on this one, but I was having trouble putting it into words for some reason. And of course because I flew through the novel I didn't exactly take the best notes. Please don't hate me!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Reader by Traci Chee (Giveaway)

Hello lovely bookish friends! Today, I have the utmost pleasure of sharing with you an awesome giveaway sponsored by the wonderful Penguin Random House! We are celebrating the fast approaching publication of Traci Chee's THE READER, and giving one lucky winner a chance to win a copy of The Reader and a very cool I AM THE READER tote bag! 

But first, I'd love to talk to you about what books and reading means to me. Sefia’s clue to finding her lost family lies in a book. How did I find a family through books and/or through being a part of the online book community? 

I've always been a big reader - ever since I can remember! When I was a little kid, I always had my nose stuck in a book. I've read tons of adventure books -- stories about treasure hunts, mysterious places, tree houses, etc. When I got a bit older, I moved on to The Fear Street stories, X-Files novelizations and mangas. Then I discovered Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Graham Masterton, Philip K.Dick and Arthur C.C. Clarke, and so my literary tastes began to shape - to this day, I am still a huge horror and science fiction fan. 

But at that point in life, reading was a solitary experience for me. Sure, I occasionally talked about Dean Koontz' books with my closest friends, and yes, I was part of a manga club at school where  we would obsess over the latest releases, but I didn't feel like I was a part of any community, let alone had a bookish family. No, that came much later. It wasn't until I moved to Canada to be with my husband (at the time still fiance), and I started reading in English, that I began to seek out connections in the book world. 

My husband was studying full time, I was new to Canada and still very awkward in that transplanted-European kind of way. I didn't have any friends. I was alone at home for the majority of the time, and books became more than just ways of passing time for me. They became my lifeline. And it wasn't enough for me to just read them anymore, I wanted more - I wanted to talk about them with like-minded bookworms, share my excitement, fangirl and grieve together. I desperately needed to connect with the community. 

At first, I struggled with reading in English. It isn't my first language and I always felt the need to look up every word I didn't understand - and at that time, that was probably half of every book's content - and it would take me very long to get through my usual favorite's - Stephen King or Anne Rice. 

The year was 2008 and everyone was freaking out about the Twilight movie coming out, and so I decided to read the book. And that single decision turned out to be life-changing - a real pivoting point in my life. I read Twilight. I then read the rest of the series, followed by The Host and Chaos Walking Trilogy. And then I'd obsessively peruse my local library's YA section, looking for similar, amazing, exciting, captivating reads. And I was so into these books, I decided I needed an outlet, some place to talk about my feelings and thoughts! That's when Bookish Lifestyle was born (then still just Bookish), and where my first awkward and embarrassingly short reviews were posted. 

It wasn't all sunshine and rainbows from the start, trust me. For a very long time, I felt like I was just talking to myself. No one was reading my posts, no one was commenting on them, no one in the whole world was listening. Until one day, I came across a sort of forum for bookworms, where people would share their sites and connect with other readers and even authors (gasp!). To my utter disbelief, I was asked to review some books, and even provided review copies (my very first review copies, people!). I met Rhiannon Paille, Stacy Juba, Hank Quense and many other authors who trusted me with their stories. I did my first interviews, I posted first guest posts and hosted first giveaways. And you know what? My little blog started getting some attention...

Looking back at those times, I can't help but tear up. One single decision to pick up a book and then start a blog, changed my life so much, it's kind of unbelievable. Those first years in Canada were very hard for me. I don't think I ever admitted that to anyone - not even my closest friends and family - but those were some incredibly hard and lonely years, and I was feeling lost and out of place and so very unimportant. And I couldn't even complain, because I brought it all on myself - I made the decision to leave my home country to be with someone I loved. I had to live with the consequences. 

I don't think I need to tell you just how amazing the book community is - if you're part of it, you already know that. I met some of my best friends here. Over the years, I interacted with hundreds of fellow readers and bloggers, I exchanged tweets, DMs, emails, even letters and gifts. Some of these people became my lifelines - my blog partner Andrea (who is absolutely irreplaceable), my lovely co-bloggers Debbie and Jess, my Irish bestie Amanda, the always beautiful and caring  Amber... All of my beautiful bookstagram friends (Lisa, Becca, Korrina, Alix & Kelly, Rheney, Andie, Andrea, Allison, Alison, Crystal, and like a hundred other wonderful gals and boys), who are always there to chat with me, who offer words of encouragement and support, who never fail to lift me up and make even the darkest of my days so much brighter. All of these people are like my family. No, not "like". They ARE my family. Without them, I wouldn't be here. And I don't mean to sound overly dramatic, I mean it. I've faced some of the most difficult, painful moments this year and it's been an ongoing struggle the past months. Many times I felt like I was drowning, like I was ready to give up. I felt doubts. I felt heartbreak. I was in a very dark and hopeless place. And these people, my bookish family, they gave me hope, a reason to go on and keep on fighting. They were there to say "don't give up" when I really needed to hear that. They always are. When I get sick, when I am having a bad day, when something horrible happens, they are there. They hold my hand through it all. When something exciting happens, when I have good news to share - they're always there, too. They say "congrats!" and "good job!" and "I'm happy for you, you deserve it!" and they turn good days into absolutely wonderful days. It means so much to me. It is everything. My motivation, my hope, my reason to keep getting up after every single fall. 

To me, the book community is my life. And that's not an exaggeration or a figure of speech, it's plain and simple truth. I don't know where I'd be, or who I'd be, or even if I still would BE, without it. Without you. Without all of you and every single one of you. I read to feel better, I review to feel accomplished, I design bookish merch to stay alive, I post on Instagram to stay connected to my friends and extended family. My whole life revolves around books, and I absolutely love it. I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Thank you for being part of my life. Please know, that I appreciate you - probably more than you know. 


In celebration of reading, I've partnered up with the awesome folks at Penguin Random House to bring you this exciting giveaway~

One (1) winner receives:
  a copy of The Reader
 a branded “I Am The Reader” tote bag

Giveaway open to US addresses only.
Prizing and samples provided by Penguin Random House.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
About the Reader:

Book 1 in Sea of Ink and Gold series
By Traci Chee
Release: September 13, 2016
A stunning debut set in a world where reading is unheard-of, perfect for fans of Inkheart and Shadow and Bone.

Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible.

With overlapping stories of swashbuckling pirates and merciless assassins, The Reader is a brilliantly told adventure from an extraordinary new talent.

About the author:

Traci Chee is an author of speculative fiction for teens. An all-around word geek, she loves book arts and art books, poetry and paper crafts, though she also dabbles at piano playing, egg painting, and hosting potluck game nights for family and friends. She studied literature and creative writing at UC Santa Cruz and earned a master of arts degree from San Francisco State University. Traci grew up in a small town with more cows than people, and now feels most at home in the mountains, scaling switchbacks and happening upon hidden highland lakes. She lives in California with her fast-fast dog. The Reader is her YA debut.

Read an excerpt of the first two chapters here!

Follow @TraciChee on Twitter
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