*Want to look closer? Check out the large-size cover graphics at the end of this post.
RENEGADE RED REVEALED!
RENEGADE RED, the sequel to the award-winning novel SHATTERED BLUE will be available in THREE special edition covers, in both Hardcover and Paperback, in March 2017! Distribution from online sites and into bookstores will be random, so you have a chance to collect them all— the POET EDITION, the WARRIOR EDITION, and the very exclusive TRAVELER EDITION. Happy hunting, and learn more at LaurenBirdHorowitz.com!
Featured in USA TODAY!
Join Lauren and Zoe Cope, the designer of all three covers, for a live Twitter chat at 10am PST/1pm EST Thursday 9/22. (Just click on the image below)
When I first heard about the novel Saving Phoebe Murrow a couple months ago I was intrigued. I tried to obtain an ARC at that time, but wasn’t selected as part of the lottery so when I was contacted about participating in the Blog Tour for the novel I immediately jumped on board, because I suspected this would be a novel worth talking about. This will be my first time ever participating in a Blog Tour, and I’m really excited about it!
I know this will be a long post, but it’s full of exciting things! First up, check out my thoughts on the novel, then continue reading for a post from the author herself, as well as an exclusive excerpt from the novel! And don’t miss your chance to enter to win my giveaway for your own copy of Saving Phoebe Murrow at the bottom of this post!
Title: Saving Phoebe Murrow
Author: Herta Feely
Publication Date: September 2, 2016
Format: Paperback Review Copy
Rating: 4 stars
Official Synopsis: A timeless story of mothers and daughters with a razor-sharp 21st century twist, this heart-wrenching debut for fans of Kimberly McCreight (Reconstructing Amelia) and Liane Moriarity (Big Little Lies) will make you question how you and your family spend time online.
With Saving Phoebe Murrow, acclaimed writer and longtime children’s activist Herta Feely introduces readers to Isabel Murrow: a suburban mother precariously balancing her busy career as a D.C. lawyer and her family, who she would do anything to protect. In a world of bullies and temptations, all Isabel wants is to keep her thirteen-year-old daughter, Phoebe, safe. But with her hectic schedule, Isabel fails to recognize another mother’s mounting fury and the danger her daughter faces by flirting with a mysterious boy online. A cyber-bulling incident aimed at Phoebe, with horrific consequences, finally pushes Isabel to the edge.
Smartly paced and equal parts shocking and sadly familiar, Saving Phoebe Murrow is a riveting addition to the contemporary women’s fiction landscape that will resonate with parents, teens, and anyone compelled by timely and beautifully crafted stories
Saving Phoebe Murrow is a story of two very different women, with two very different parenting styles and how their choices impact their daughters and the rest of the their friends and family. It is a story about bullying, and the consequences of your actions, and it is a story that should be read and discussed all across the country. The effects of bullying are witnessed everyday, as the internet makes it too easy to be cruel without even considering the consequences or the impact your words and actions will have on other people. Saving Phoebe Murrow gives you an intense look into the minds of the victim and the bully as well as their friends and family and shows you all the factors that can lead to tragedy. I believe it’s also a cautionary tale for parents, and gives them something to think about when it comes to interacting with their children, their children’s friends, and watching for signs that their child is either being bullied or may be a bully.
Another thing this novel does well is show the reader that bullying is no longer just a bigger kid at school demanding your lunch money. It can come in many different forms, and from unexpected places. Cyber bullying in particular is becoming more and more of a problem especially as some people still fail to recognize online attacks as “bullying.” It is also easy for online bullying to get out of hand as more and more people jump onto the bandwagon and display a mob mentality despite being alone in front of a computer – something we see happen in the novel. Taking all these things into account, and portraying them honestly makes Saving Phoebe Murrow a haunting and heartbreaking read.
This book took me through a wide range of emotions – anger, sadness, concern, anger again – and definitely kept me turning the pages. If you’re interested in real-life drama that’s relevant to current topics then I definitely recommend picking up a copy of Saving Phoebe Murrow, and don’t be afraid to share it with all the mothers and teenagers you know.
Now, please continue reading for a special guest post from Herta Feely herself, as well as an exclusive excerpt of the novel and a chance to win your own copy of the book!
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is All-Time Favorite shows, or any other TV-related variation.
It has been months since I’ve done a Top Ten and I’ve really missed it. But I started working a different schedule that’s made it a little more difficult for me to keep up with these Tuesday posts. However, I’ve decided to make an effort to change that.
I find it an amusing coincidence that the first Top Ten I’m attempting after my hiatus is TV-related. I am as big a fan of TV as I am of books. However, over the past year I’ve been trying to cut down on the number of shows I attempt to watch each season because I simply don’t have time for everything. And, last week we took the plunge and cut off our cable entirely. Now I’ll be relying on streaming services to feed my television addiction.
Since I won’t have the ability to watch any shows live next season, and I’m a huge spoilerphobe, I’ve decided my list will be the Top Ten Shows For Which I Will Withdraw From Society in Order to Avoid Spoilers.
Seriously, I will hurt anyone who spoils any of these:
- The Walking Dead – The mere thought that I won’t be able to watch this season’s premiere is already affecting my anxiety. I have to know who Negan killed, but I DO NOT want to find out online.
- Game of Thrones – I’m actually used to avoiding spoilers for this one as I rarely got to watch the show live anyway. Fortunately, I’ve learned how to do this successfully since the Red Wedding incident.
- How to Get Away With Murder – Interestingly enough, this isn’t my usual genre of show but I am completely hooked. This was one I had to watch live last year because I couldn’t bare the thought of being spoiled.
- Doctor Who – The hardest part of this one is the time difference between the UK and US airings – I have to go offline hours before it even airs in the US just to avoid spoilers coming over from the UK.
- Sherlock – I have the same problem with this as Doctor Who – I have to avoid spoilers before it’s even aired in the US.
- Arrow – This show has managed to keep me on the edge of my seat for 4 years, and it’s still going strong. I love how the storyline is still action-packed and unpredictable. Don’t anyone even THINK about spoiling this for me.
- The Flash – I feel the same way about this one. The plot has remained fresh and new and I never see what’s coming before it happens. I’m super curious about next season and will be actively avoiding any and all spoilers.
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – I’m actually still behind on last season (four episodes to go…) but I’ve managed to avoid most spoilers (the one I’ve heard vague reference to makes me very sad) so far. I’ll have to do the same next season as well.
- Once Upon a Time – I’m in the same boat here as with S.H.I.E.L.D. I’ve missed half of last season, but have managed to avoid most spoilers (except, again, one that makes me very sad). I’m currently trying to catch up on Hulu.
- Supernatural – I’ve actually gotten a little more relaxed with this one, but I still don’t want to hear anything about it if I can help it.
So there’s my list. What shows do you hate having spoiled for you? Or what’s your worst spoiler experience? Let me know in the comments and share your Top Tens!
Also: Stop by my review of Saving Phoebe Murrow by Herta Feely and enter my giveaway to win your very own copy of the book!
Well, I have to confess this year’s ARC August (hosted by Read.Sleep.Repeat. ) was not nearly as successful as last year. I only read a grand total of four (!) books this month, much less than the nine I had hoped to get through (and the 11 ARCs I read last August). But sometimes life just gets in the way and you have to roll with it. Hopefully life will slow down soon and I can get back into my reading groove!
Read in August:
- All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda – This book was definitely a page-turner.
- Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris – I was not a fan.
- A Hundred Thousand Worlds by Bob Proehl – Fun at times, but overall a disappointment.
Review to Come:
- The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry – This is a great read for anyone interested in the Salem Witch Trials. However, it won’t be published until January so I will hold my review until then.
- Saving Phoebe Murrow by Herta Feely – I’ll be participating in my first-ever blog tour for this novel, so stop back in next Tuesday!
- The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown – I started this in July, but set it aside for ARC August. I’m looking forward to picking it back up now, I had liked what I read so far.
- The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North – I swear I will finish this book this month even if it kills me.
September Reading List:
I’m almost hesitant to even bother making a September list, since I’ve been so bad at following my reading lists the last couple months, but I like having something to strive towards, so we’ll give it a shot – although I think I’ll keep it down to five this time.
- Open Season by Archer Mayor – I promised my boyfriend months ago I would give this series a try, so this will be up first in September once I finish my current reads.
- Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty – This has been sitting on my stack since the day it came out and I’m looking forward to it.
- My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Frederik Backman – I loved Britt-Marie Was Here and can’t wait to read this one.
- The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling) – I’ve been wanting to read this book for a very long time.
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte– I meant to read this over the summer, but never got to it. Hopefully I will now.
And there you go! I wish my ARC August had been more successful, but it is what it is. Hopefully I’ll still get around to each of those ARCs I had planned to read sooner rather than later.
Title: A Hundred Thousand Worlds
Author: Bob Proehl
Publication Date: June 28, 2016
Format: Advanced Reading Copy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Valerie Torrey took her son Alex and fled Los Angeles six years ago—leaving both her role on a cult sci-fi TV show and her costar husband after a tragedy blew their small family apart. Now Val must reunite nine-year-old Alex with his estranged father, so they set out on a road trip from New York, Val making appearances at comic book conventions along the way.
As they travel west, encountering superheroes, monsters, time travelers, and robots, Val and Alex are drawn into the orbit of the comic-con regulars, from a hapless twentysomething illustrator to a lesbian comics writer to a group of cosplay women who provide a chorus of knowing commentary. For Alex, this world is a magical place where fiction becomes reality, but as they get closer to their destination, he begins to realize that the story his mother is telling him about their journey might have a very different ending than he imagined. (Goodreads)
I have to be honest and say I’m not really sure how I feel about this book. I was so excited to read it because it sounded like exactly my kind of book, but then I never really got into it. There were some great things about it that I liked, but I just couldn’t identify with the characters as much as I thought I would and just wasn’t as enthusiastic about it by the end.
It was interesting reading Proehl’s made-up Pop Culture universe and trying to associate the characters, tv shows, comic book publishers with their counterparts in our world. And I really enjoyed the behind-the-scenes look at comic writing and fan conventions. I also really appreciated the over-arching theme of valuing stories and moving on. There were a lot of elements in this book that were done really well and could possibly invoke a great discussion within a book club, but for some reason I just found myself wanting to rush through it so I could get it done and move on to my next read. There wasn’t anything about this book that made me fall in love with it and want to savor the moment while reading it. Ultimately, I think I just wanted to enjoy it way more than I did, which is a shame.
I think one of my problems with the book was that most of the novel was building towards this potentially dramatic climax, that just ended up falling flat – at least for me. I also felt the novel was lacking the excitement and humor that I had expected of it – this was much more of a drama set in the world of comics and fan conventions than I was expecting. My favorite part was by far the veiled references to our own Pop Culture icons, which you had to be paying attention to pick up, as all the names and places are changed.
Overall, this book just wasn’t at all what I was expecting it to be. Perhaps if I had gone into it with fewer expectations, or had been in a different mood while reading it, I would have been able to enjoy it more.
We’re already halfway through August and I am so far behind in my ARC August goals! You may have noticed that I did not have an update last week, as I hadn’t even started on my reading list. And at this point I’ve only managed to finish two of the books on my list. Life has just been crazy this month and I haven’t been able to spend as much time reading as I’d like and sadly I’m not sure it’s going to slow down. However, I’m still going to try to get through as much of my list as I can.
Read so far…
All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda – This book was very hard to put down – a great summer thriller.
Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris – This book was almost a DNF. It was a very dark and difficult read.
A Hundred Thousand Worlds by Bob Proehl – This book sounds perfect for a fangirl like me.
The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North – This is taking me much longer to get through than I thought it would.
The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry – I really enjoyed Barry previous novels and cannot wait to read this one, especially as it deals with the Salem history.
The Wonder by Emma Donoghue – Room has been on my reading list forever, but I still haven’t gotten to it. However I won’t pass up a chance to read the ARC of her new novel.
The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight – All of her novels sound good, and I’ve been looking forward to getting to this for a while now.
Given how far behind I’ve fallen it seems unlikely that I’ll be able to make it through my entire reading list for ARC August, but I’m hoping to at least get as far as these three books. We’ll see where I stand next week!
Title: Behind Closed Doors
Author: B.A. Paris
Publication Date: August 9, 2016
Format: Advanced Reading Copy
Rating: 2.5 stars
Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace.
He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do. Though, you’d like to get to know Grace better.
But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.
Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.
Sometimes, the perfect marriage is the perfect lie. (Goodreads)
I have to admit, I did not read this novel as thoroughly as I usually do. In fact, I seriously considered dumping it in my DNF pile and moving on, but I really wanted to know how it ended so I skimmed most of the book just to see what happened. Fortunately, I think the ending was possibly the best part of the novel.
My first problem with this novel was mostly personal taste – this novel was Dark. Extremely dark. While I do tend to read a lot of psychological thrillers and books that can get pretty dark, this one really bothered me almost from the beginning. It should really come with a trigger warning. The relationship in the novel was just so dark and disturbing that it really bothered me to read it, which was the entire reason I was skimming. But I just had to know if it had a satisfying ending.
My other problem was with how weak Grace is through most of the novel. Granted, it would have been difficult to fight back in that situation and she had her sister to think about as well, but I just found myself struggling to empathize with her sometimes, which bothered me given her situation. I was bothered by what was happening to her, but I didn’t really feel for her, if that makes any sense. She just didn’t seem to have any spark or spirit, even before she met her husband.
The most interesting characters in the novel are actually the smaller characters – Grace’s sister Millie and new friend Esther. Both these women are much more interesting and well-rounded than either of the main characters. Both of these characters are also much stronger than Grace had been.
Given Grace’s weakness through much of the novel, one could argues that the ending is actually implausible, but since I thought the end was better than the rest of the book I prefer to believe it’s the rest of the book that has a problem and the ending is the part that’s done well.
So, if you’re willing to suffer through a mediocre thriller delving into the darkness and evil of a sick, twisted mind and domestic violence in order to get to a satisfying conclusion then you may want to check this book out. Meanwhile, I am going to try to reading something much more lighthearted and fun while I try to scrub this darkness from my mind.