Author Interview: James Brandon

Ziggy, Stardust and Me by James Brandon
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: August 6, 2019

The year is 1973. The Watergate hearings are in full swing. The Vietnam War is still raging. And homosexuality is still officially considered a mental illness. In the midst of these trying times is sixteen-year-old Jonathan Collins, a bullied, anxious, asthmatic kid, who aside from an alcoholic father and his sympathetic neighbor and friend Starla, is completely alone. To cope, Jonathan escapes to the safe haven of his imagination, where his hero David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and dead relatives, including his mother, guide him through the rough terrain of his life. In his alternate reality, Jonathan can be anything: a superhero, an astronaut, Ziggy Stardust, himself, or completely “normal” and not a boy who likes other boys. When he completes his treatments, he will be normal—at least he hopes. But before that can happen, Web stumbles into his life. Web is everything Jonathan wishes he could be: fearless, fearsome and, most importantly, not ashamed of being gay.

Jonathan doesn’t want to like brooding Web, who has secrets all his own. Jonathan wants nothing more than to be “fixed” once and for all. But he’s drawn to Web anyway. Web is the first person in the real world to see Jonathan completely and think he’s perfect. Web is a kind of escape Jonathan has never known. For the first time in his life, he may finally feel free enough to love and accept himself as he is.

A poignant coming-of-age tale, Ziggy, Stardust and Me heralds the arrival of a stunning and important new voice in YA.

I’ve been really intrigued by Ziggy, Stardust and Me ever since the beginning of the year when I was scrolling through upcoming YA debuts. Between the cover and the synopsis, I was super excited to read it, and I’m thrilled to bring you an interview with the author today!

Thank you so much to Penguin and James Brandon for making this post possible!


Between acting, producing, becoming a certified yoga instructor, and the different committees you belong to, you’ve had a really interesting life! Can you talk a little bit about the process of adding “published author” to that list?

Well, how’s this for an answer: astrologers have always told me I should be writing, but I resisted it my entire life for some reason. Maybe the thought terrified me. (It still does even after I’ve become published.) But I’d been mulling on the idea of Ziggy for almost a decade when my agent, who also happens to be my best friend, encouraged me to write it. After taking some classes, immersing myself in craft books, and reading a thousand more YA novels, I finally decided I had the tools to start writing. So I did. Over a hundred and fifty drafts later (a number that I assure you is not exaggerated), I turned in the manuscript and within three months it sold to Stacey Barney at Penguin. (My #1 Top Choice Editor, by the way!) Because I come from an acting background, and the immense amount of work I do to dive into each character I portray, it was surprisingly easy for me to transfer my knowledge of character building onto the page. And it was such an enormous thrill to create the words rather than speak someone else’s.

I haven’t seen a lot of YA historical fiction set in the 1970s. What inspired you to write this book?

After a friend brought me an episode of This American Life, titled “81 Words,” the seed for Ziggy, Stardust & Me was planted. The episode documents the moment in time—December 15, 1973—when homosexuality was officially removed from the DSM (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, otherwise known as the Big Book of Mental Illnesses), and suddenly all those who identified on the LGBTQ+ spectrum were cured. This, after coming on the heels of the Stonewall Riots, birthed the modern-day LGBTQ+ movement as we know it today. And I knew nothing of this time. 

Queer history isn’t taught. Currently only four US states require it in public high schools and even then it’s taking a long time to implement exactly how it will be included in curriculum. So my main goal in writing the book was to educate readers of all ages about our history, and to honor those LGBTQ+ peoples who’ve struggled, survived, and pioneered our paths so we can live out and proud today.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing this book?

There were many, but one stands out as the most challenging on a personal level. After Stacey Barney (my editor at Penguin) bought the book, we worked on two major rewrites together. Every character must have an arc, a personal journey of internal and external change they make through the course of the narrative. One of the notes Stacey gave me was that she didn’t believe Jonathan’s journey to self-acceptance. This was painful to acknowledge and incredibly hard for me to hear. Out of all the facets of the novel, and being out for over half of my life, I thought for sure I’d at least mastered this aspect of his character. But upon deeper reflection, I started to question how much I actually accept my self. Self-introspection is never easy, but this one hurt because I realized how far I have yet to go in this arena. In subsequent drafts, I wrote a line for Jonathan that says something like, “Once a seed of shame is planted within it never goes away.” This is true for anyone who’s ever been told they’re wrong for something they innately know is right. But once I discovered this truth, and embraced the complexities behind it, I was able to unlock the key to Jonathan’s journey, and maybe more importantly, my own.

I won’t make you choose which of the characters in this book is your favorite, but is there one that you relate to or connect with more than the others?

I suppose there’s a small piece of me in every character, but I think my protagonist, Jonathan, is the one I’m most connected with. He’s not me, but we definitely share some similarities. I purposely set the story in St. Louis because it’s my hometown, and growing up gay in St. Louis came with many emotional complexities I knew I could more easily attach to in his character. I also have had asthma my entire life, and although I never considered it a disability, it certainly limited my activities as a child. And because of it, because I grew up an only child and had to mostly play indoors, I developed a wild imagination. (Which you’ll note is quite prevalent to Jonathan’s character.) There are many “wishful thinking” moments I’ve incorporated into Jonathan’s voice: things I wish I was brave enough to do then, things I wished I’d said, believed, or understood. I guess in many ways writing him was a personally cathartic experience for me, one I’m incredibly grateful I had the opportunity to explore.

What are some songs that you feel fit well with your book?

Well, if you aren’t listening to Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars album while reading this book, you’re definitely missing out. This goes for Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and Roberta Flack’s First Take albums as well. There’s an entire soundtrack written throughout the narrative and I created a Spotify playlist so you can listen to each song that’s talked about for a fuller immersion into the story. You can find it on my website or linked in my bios on Twitter or Instagram.

Are there any books that you’ve read recently that you’d recommend checking out?

So many, it’s hard to know where to start! I’ll name my top recent fab five: Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian, The Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante, Pet by Akwaeke Emezi, Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay, The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg, and okay, six, The Whispers by Greg Howard (MG title), and fine, fine, fine, seven: River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy. 

What’s your all-time favorite book?

How dare you. 


About the Author

 

James Brandon produced and played the central role of Joshua in the international tour of Terrence McNally’s Corpus Christi for a decade, and is Co-Director of the documentary film based on their journey: Corpus Christi: Playing with Redemption. He’s Co-Founder of the I AM Love Campaign, an arts-based initiative bridging the faith-based and LGBTQ2+ communities, and serves on the Powwow Steering Committee for Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits (BAAITS) in San Francisco. He’s also a certified Kundalini Yoga teacher, spent a summer at Deer Park Monastery studying Zen Buddhism, and deepened his yogic practice in Rishikesh, India. Brandon is a contributing writer for Huffington PostBelieve Out Loud, and Spirituality and Health MagazineZiggy, Stardust, and Me is his first novel.


Have you read Ziggy, Stardust and Me? What’s the best YA historical fiction you’ve read recently? Let’s talk in the comments!

Find me all over the internet: Goodreads | Twitter | Bloglovin’

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Blog tour (+ review!): The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams

The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • GoodreadsB&NKoboGoogle Books
Publication Date: September 17, 2019
Source: ARC via FFBT & Netgalley

Adventures in Babysitting meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer in this funny, action-packed novel about a coven of witchy babysitters who realize their calling to protect the innocent and save the world from an onslaught of evil.

Seventeen-year-old Esme Pearl has a babysitters club. She knows it’s kinda lame, but what else is she supposed to do? Get a job? Gross. Besides, Esme likes babysitting, and she’s good at it.

And lately Esme needs all the cash she can get, because it seems like destruction follows her wherever she goes. Let’s just say she owes some people a new tree.

Enter Cassandra Heaven. She’s Instagram-model hot, dresses like she found her clothes in a dumpster, and has a rebellious streak as gnarly as the cafeteria food. So why is Cassandra willing to do anything, even take on a potty-training two-year-old, to join Esme’s babysitters club?

The answer lies in a mysterious note Cassandra’s mother left her: “Find the babysitters. Love, Mom.”

Turns out, Esme and Cassandra have more in common than they think, and they’re about to discover what being a babysitter really means: a heroic lineage of superpowers, magic rituals, and saving the innocent from seriously terrifying evil. And all before the parents get home.

I’ve been excited about reading The Babysitters Coven since I first saw the title and cover many months ago. Then it was compared to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, one of my favorite late 90s/early 2000s TV shows, and my anticipation went up about a hundred notches. When I saw the opportunity to join the blog tour, I knew I had to do it, and I was thrilled when I got the email that I’d been chosen to participate! So, first things first, thanks to the FFBT team, the publisher, the author, and Netgalley for making this blog tour and book review happen.

Now, onto the review.

From the beginning of the book, the parallels with Buffy the Vampire Slayer were really clear. Instead of Slayers fighting vampires, we have Sitters fighting evil, and I am 100% here for it. Esme and Cassandra reminded me a lot of Buffy and Faith.

I really enjoyed Esme as a main character. She doesn’t fall into a lot of the stereotypical YA main character pitfalls and instead comes across as a really average teenager. Even with all of this crazy stuff going on around her, she’s still worried about normal things like her mom’s illness, getting her drivers license, and avoiding the school bullies.

There were two things that really kept me from rating this higher than three stars, and they’re both things that are specific to me as a reader and I don’t think are necessarily problems in general. First, there’s a lot of modern slang in this book, and as I was reading, I imagined myself having to explain to my future child what “I was wrong AF, and now I am sorry AF” means. The only other thing that I didn’t love was how the book just kind of… ends. The action really ramps up a lot, then it’s all over with and the book is over too. I know there’s a second book in the series coming out next year, but I wish there would have been at least a little bit more closure.

All in all, though, this was a super fun book! It was cute, it was weird, and I can’t wait to see what Esme gets up to in the sequel.


About the Author

 

I’m a YA write or die, originally from Kansas but now living in California.

I’ve written for Cosmopolitan, NYLON and Seventeen, amongst other magazines, and worked with brands including Urban Outfitters, Vans and Calvin Klein.

The Babysitters Coven is my first novel, but fingers crossed it won’t be my last.

GoodreadsWebsiteInstagram


Follow the tour!

September 11th

The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club – Welcome Post

September 12th

Moonlight Rendezvous – Review + Favourite Quotes
Bookmark Lit – Review + Cover Colours
TBR and Beyond – Review + Playlist + Dream Cast
The Reading Chemist  – Review
Musings From An Addicted Reader – Review

September 13th

Here’s to happy Endings – Review
Hauntedbybooks – Review + Favourite Quotes
Flipping Through the Pages – Review
Phannie the ginger bookworm  – Review + Favourite Quotes
The Bibliophagist – Review

September 14th

Confessions of a YA Reader – Review + Favourite Quotes
Ambivert words – Review + Favourite Quotes
The Art of Living – Review
Pages Below the Vaulted Sky – Review
The Book Dutchesses – Review + Favourite Quotes

September 15th

The Book Nut – Review + Playlist
Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile – Review
The Layaway Dragon – Review + Favourite Quotes
Kait Plus Books – Review + Favourite Quotes
A Dream Within A Dream – Review

September 16th

Bookish Geek – Review
Artsy Draft – Review + Favourite Quotes
We Live and Breathe Books – Review
Bookish In Bed – Review + Favourite Quotes
The Desert Bibliophile – Review

September 17th

Wishful Endings – Review
Novel Nerd Faction – Review
Lili Lost in a Book – Review
The Mind of a Book Dragon – Review + Playlist
Lost in Storyland – Review


Enter the giveaway!

Win a finished copy of The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams!
(US Only, ending September 25, 2019)


Have you read The Babysitters Coven? Is it on your TBR? Can you think of any other witchy books you’ve read recently? Let’s talk in the comments!

Find me all over the internet: Goodreads | Twitter | Bloglovin’

Cover Reveal: WaterColor Wishes by Melissa Chambers

I am so excited to be bringing you a cover reveal from Melissa Chambers today! I’ve worked with Melissa a few times in the past and I always love her books and her characters. (The covers are always great, too.)


WaterColor Wishes
Love Along Hwy 30A Book Four
Releasing August 20th, 2019

A note from the author:

I want to LIVE in the covers of the Love Along Hwy 30A series! The aspect of this picture that drew me in was the intimacy of this couple. And with the brightness of the picture, I sort of feel like they are looking toward their future. WaterColor Wishes is a fun love story as hopeful as its cover portrays!

Marigold Appleton was made for the laid-back beach life of picturesque WaterColor, Florida. Unfortunately, her bank account was not. She’s about to lose her gift shop due to her hidden location. When the town which rarely allows hotels announces they are designating a plot of land for one, Marigold convinces her father to bid on the land and build one of his boutique hotels on it so she can move her shop into it. But also bidding on the same plot of land is property developer and insanely hunky Dane Knight. She’s got to keep her guard up, because his interest in her may be only to get her to drop her bid for the land. She just wishes he wasn’t the first guy in years to make her knees buckle.

For weeks, Dane has been trying to get the girl he met at the bonfire out of his brain. As she crystalizes in front of him at the bar of the WaterColor clubhouse, he knows his daydreams of her didn’t stack up to the real thing. But he just got out of a poisonous relationship. His ex has a bad habit of dropping her kids off without notice, and he’s too big of a sucker for them to say no. A relationship with Marigold is out of the question. But after he gives in to his weakness for her for the first time, he knows he’s never going to be able to get her out of his heart.

WaterColor Wishes is book four in the Love Along Highway 30A series, which features beautiful beach communities, a circle of unique and amazing friends, and romances that will have you cheering on the couples and fanning yourself from the heat. All books are standalone and can be enjoyed in or out of order.

★ Add it to your Goodreads!
★ Available for preorder on Amazon for $0.99 through release week only!

Also available in the series now:

After her ex runs up her credit card, clears her bank account, and gets her fired, Seanna escapes to Seaside, Florida where the men are hot as the Gulf Coast sun…one in particular. But while paying the price, literally, for the last man she trusted with her heart, she’s not interested in any sort of beach romance, or so she keeps reminding herself.

 

 


Maya has never had a one-night-stand. But something about being on vacation, and the hunk of a guy in front of her, has her considering giving it a try. Bo lives at the beach, and he’s sick of one-week relationships with tourists that lead nowhere. But the smart and irresistible Maya has him reconsidering. Now if he could just get her to stay.

 

 


When Shayla needs a safe place to stay to hide from her dangerous ex, Chase is just fine to offer up his guest house. But with his best friend, who happens to be her brother, breathing down his neck and warning Shayla against him, Chase knows he needs to keep his distance. If only she wasn’t the most intriguing woman he’d ever known.

 

 


★ Add them to your Goodreads!
★ All titles available on Amazon and free on Kindle Unlimited!


About the Author

Melissa Chambers writes contemporary novels for young, new, and actual adults. A Nashville native, she spends her days working in the music industry and her nights tapping away at her keyboard. While she’s slightly obsessed with alt rock, she leaves the guitar playing to her husband and kid. She never misses a chance to play a tennis match, listen to an audiobook, or eat a bowl of ice cream. (Rocky road, please!) She has served as president for the Music City Romance Writers and is the author of The Summer Before Forever, Falling for Forever, and Courting Carlyn (Entangled Teen).

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Have you read anything by Melissa Chambers? Does this book sound like something you’d be interested in? Let’s talk in the comments!

Find me all over the internet: Goodreads | Twitter | Bloglovin’

Blog tour (+ interview!): Screen Queens by Lori Goldstein

Screen Queens by Lori Goldstein
Links: Amazon • TBD • GoodreadsB&N
Publication Date: June 11, 2019

The Bold Type meets The Social Network when three girls participate in a startup incubator competition and uncover the truth about what it means to succeed in the male-dominated world of tech.

This summer Silicon Valley is a girls’ club.

Three thousand applicants. An acceptance rate of two percent. A dream internship for the winning team. ValleyStart is the most prestigious high school tech incubator competition in the country. Lucy Katz, Maddie Li, and Delia Meyer have secured their spots. And they’ve come to win.

Meet the Screen Queens.

Lucy Katz was born and raised in Palo Alto, so tech, well, it runs in her blood. A social butterfly and CEO in-the-making, Lucy is ready to win and party. 

East Coast designer, Maddie Li left her home and small business behind for a summer at ValleyStart. Maddie thinks she’s only there to bolster her graphic design portfolio, not to make friends.

Delia Meyer taught herself how to code on a hand-me-down computer in her tiny Midwestern town. Now, it’s time for the big leagues–ValleyStart–but super shy Delia isn’t sure if she can hack it (pun intended).

When the competition kicks off, Lucy, Maddie, and Delia realize just how challenging the next five weeks will be. As if there wasn’t enough pressure already, the girls learn that they would be the only all-female team to win ever. Add in one first love, a two-faced mentor, and an ex-boyfriend turned nemesis and things get…complicated

Filled with humor, heart, and a whole lot of girl power, Screen Queens is perfect for fans of Morgan Matson, Jenny Han, and The Bold Type.

As a big fan of Morgan Matson and The Bold Type, I was really excited to get the chance to participate in a blog tour for Screen Queens! Instead of my usual review, I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and doing an author interview!

Thank you so much to Penguin Young Readers and Lori Goldstein for making this post possible!


What inspired you to write this book?

I love telling friendship stories. The core of my previous books is female friendship, and that’s one of the major themes of SCREEN QUEENS too. In SCREEN QUEENS I liked the idea of telling a story set in an environment that would be unfamiliar to all the main characters so they have to come together and navigate the landscape as one—it’s a precursor to what happens in college and of course also happens in summer camps, and intense friendships can form as a result despite the individuals being very different people. Obviously I was also heavily influenced by the #metoo movement, which had developed shortly before I started writing this book. Centering the story on the harassment that women in a male-dominated field like tech experience felt both timely and important, for technology and social media especially has such a strong impact on the lives of young adults.

You’ve previously written fantasy novels. What made you take the leap from fantasy to a contemporary about Silicon Valley?

I actually think it’s less of a leap and more of a gentle hop! With my BECOMING JINN series being a contemporary fantasy, it’s grounded in our normal, everyday world with a little bit (okay, more than a little!) of magic thrown in. But the foundation being in the contemporary world means that the transition to an all realistic story without a fantastic element felt entirely natural. While Azra in BECOMING JINN struggles with her magical destiny, it’s so tightly interwoven in the life she has in the non-magical world that she feels very much like any average teenager coming to terms with who she is and who she wants to be. Those issues are core for my main characters of Lucy, Maddie, and Delia in SCREEN QUEENS. And I think many would argue that Silicon Valley is a “fantastical” place all of its own!

I think it’s so great that you’ve written a book with such a feminist theme. Was there any reason that you decided to set this book in the male-dominated field of coding?

I’m inspired by all forms of entertainment and media, especially podcasts. One of my favorite podcasts is called StartUp by Gimlet Media, which chronicles the issues faced by new businesses, especially tech-based ones. The second season centered on two women trying to grow their dating app. The struggles they encountered as female founders, things their male counterparts didn’t have to, affected me. Such as offers of funding from venture capitalists coming with the strings of dinner, drinks, or more attached. This led me to books like Brotopia by Emily Chang and articles in places like The Atlantic that offered deep insights into what it’s like to be a woman in the field of tech. The harassment and discrimination is a big part of the reason women leave the industry, which happened to a very good friend of mine who left her career as a coder. And it is also a barrier—among many barriers—for women entering the field. We all know that jobs in the future will be those related to tech, and we need to encourage more young women to consider this option from a young age, something I never did.

Your book features three really different characters. Which one do you relate to most and why?

I loved the ability to create Lucy, Maddie, and Delia, three strong, smart women with very different backgrounds and personalities. Lucy is ambitious and ready to do whatever it takes to achieve her goals, including using connections and pushing the envelope. Maddie is a talented designer, but unlike Lucy, Maddie wants to be successful simply to be able to take care of her younger brother, the only person Maddie’s able to open herself up to emotionally. Delia is loyal and deeply invested in her family and best friend. Though wildly intelligent, she lacks confidence and constantly compares herself to others. I see myself in all of these characters. My younger self was closer to Maddie; I was shy as a kid, and friendships didn’t come easily to me. As I got older, that began to change, yet I had many of Delia’s issues of lacking self-esteem, confidence, and just trusting myself. Now, I have Lucy’s drive and determination, but it’s tempered by my history and the pieces of Maddie and Delia still lurking inside. As a team, the three young ladies form a whole, and that’s mirrored in my own life.

Unrelated to your book, are there any books that you’ve recently read that you’d recommend checking out?

Absolutely! One of my recent favorites is the YA contemporary NIGHT MUSIC by the incredibly talented Jenn Marie Thorne, which focuses on a young woman struggling to find her place among her musical prodigy family. Jenn has a way with words that always leaves me aspiring to do more with my own work. Another is just about to come out on July 2, an adult called WHISPER NETWORK by Chandler Baker, which is similar to SCREEN QUEENS in its themes of female empowerment. It centers on three lawyers in a corporate firm with a boss whose behavior crosses all the lines, and the women decide to take action. It tackles so much about being a working mom and dealing with sexual harassment and discrimination but with so much humor and skill that you can’t stop flipping pages. Finally, another summer release (August 6) that I was fortunate to ready early is the YA REMEMBER ME by Chelsea Bobulski. It’s Titanic meets The Shining, and it’s a swoon-worthy love story that goes back and forth between the 1920s and present day that’s the ultimate summer read.


About the Author

 

Lori Goldstein was born into an Italian-Irish family and raised in a small town on the New Jersey shore. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Lehigh University and worked as a writer, editor, and graphic designer before becoming a full-time author. She currently lives and writes outside of Boston. Lori is also the author of the young adult contemporary fantasy series Becoming Jinn (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan). You can visit her online at www.lorigoldsteinbooks.com.


Have you read Screen Queens? Can you think of any other books about young women in traditionally male-dominated fields? Let’s talk in the comments!

Find me all over the internet: Goodreads | Twitter | Bloglovin’

Excerpt: Ask Me Anything by Molly E. Lee

Ask Me Anything by Molly E. Lee
Links: Amazon • TBD • GoodreadsPublisher
Publication Date: May 7, 2019

I  should’ve kept my mouth shut.

But Wilmont Academy’s been living in the Dark Ages when it comes to sex ed, and someone had to take matters into her own hands. Well, I’m a kick-ass coder, so I created a totally anonymous, totally untraceable blog where teens can come to get real, honest, nothing-is-off-limits sex advice.

And holy hell, the site went viral—and we’re talking way beyond Wilmont—overnight. Who knew this town was so hard up?

Except now the school administration is trying to shut me down, and they’ve forced Dean—my coding crush, aka the hottest guy in school—to try to uncover who I am. If he discovers my secret, I’ll lose him forever. And thousands of teens who need real advice won’t have anyone to turn to.

Ask me anything…except how to make things right.

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you probably know that I really love sex-positive YA books. When I heard about Ask Me Anything by Molly E. Lee, I immediately went and requested the ARC on Netgalley. I’m super excited to read it, and I was even more excited when I got an email from Heather at Entangled Publishing asking if I wanted to share an excerpt!

Honestly, everything about the excerpt just makes me want to read the book more. I have a couple library books to get through, but once those are done… I’m definitely jumping straight into this one.


excerpt

Question of the Day:
Volleyballstar6543 asks: “My boyfriend recently went to college, and while we’re making the long-distance thing work, I’m missing not only him but his…physical contact. We have phone sex, but I feel like I need more than just me to get me there. It’s slightly embarrassing, but I want to buy a vibrator, or something, but I have no clue where to start. Help!”

I’m super glad to hear that you’re making long-distance work! That is such a wonderful thing and shows you two really care about each other. And you have no need to be embarrassed. It’s completely natural to crave that intimacy even if your partner is hundreds of miles away.

And, lucky for us, we live in a digital age where almost anything can be ordered online. This saves you the hassle of finding a specialty shop and browsing the overwhelming selection of items out there—seriously, there is a ton.

My top recommendation would have to be the Smile Maker or another product from the same company. They are top-rated for their quality and execution and have over five thousand five-star reviews by customers worldwide. If none of those pique your interest, I would recommend researching what will best fit your needs and then triple check the reviews. Customer satisfaction is the number one clue on if a product is worth it or not, no matter what that product’s use may be for.

If shipping to your house is a problem, there are some major retail stores that allow you to purchase online but pick up in store. Or you could always ask your boyfriend to purchase it and then ship it to you in a personal package from him to not draw suspicion. If it’s not an issue, then more power to you!

I hope this helps keep things fresh and continues to fan the flames in your relationship!

In the meantime,

Stay Sexy. Stay Healthy.


Do you plan to read Ask Me Anything? Can you recommend any similar books to me? Let’s talk in the comments!

Find me all over the internet: Goodreads | Twitter | Bloglovin’

Blog tour: You Asked For Perfect by Laura Silverman

You Asked For Perfect by Laura Silverman
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • GoodreadsB&N
Publication Date: March 5, 2019
Source: ARC via FFBT and Netgalley

Senior Ariel Stone is the perfect college applicant: first chair violin, dedicated community volunteer, and expected valedictorian. He works hard – really hard – to make his life look effortless. A failed Calculus quiz is not part of that plan. Not when he’s number one. Not when his peers can smell weakness like a freshman’s body spray.

Figuring a few all-nighters will preserve his class rank, Ariel throws himself into studying. His friends will understand if he skips a few plans, and he can sleep when he graduates. Except Ariel’s grade continues to slide. Reluctantly, he gets a tutor. Amir and Ariel have never gotten along, but Amir excels in Calculus, and Ariel is out of options.

Ariel may not like Calc, but he might like Amir. Except adding a new relationship to his long list of commitments may just push him past his limit.

It’s been a long time since I last did a blog tour and I’m so happy to be back at it again for one of my most anticipated YA releases of the year! I’ve followed Laura on Twitter for a while and I’ve been looking forward to this book since I first read the synopsis. And that cover only made me want to read it more!

Now, I might be years out of high school, but I related to Ariel so much. I mean, everything in high school being a breeze until you hit your senior year and suddenly you’re dying? My exact experience. We didn’t have AP classes (we did dual credit instead) and I waited until college to cry over calculus, but my goodness. Ariel’s experience with calculus was basically the same as my experience with college-level physics. And the whole thing about shutting yourself off from your friends so that they can’t see how much you’re struggling? ME. I was always the friend who had everything together academically, so it took a lot for me to admit that I just was not understanding that class. Again, this is me relating so much to a fictional teenager.

If I, a 28-year-old woman, can relate to this book, clearly teenagers within its target demographic will too. It’s just so well done, from the writing to the diversity to the teenagers who actually speak and act like teenagers. I’m so impressed and I can’t wait to read more from Silverman.

#ps19: a book that’s published in 2019


About the Author

 

My debut novel, GIRL OUT OF WATER, is a summery coming-of-age story about a California surfer girl sent to landlocked Nebraska for the entire summer. It debuted in May 2017. You can order it from most book retailers and of course request it at your local library! My second novel, YOU ASKED FOR PERFECT, is about the effects of intense academic pressure on a teenage Valedictorian-to-be. It comes out March 2019, and you can add it on Goodreads here.

I have degrees in English and Advertising from the University of Georgia, and I have an MFA in Writing for Children from the New School. While I lived in NYC, I interned at Penguin and two different literary agencies. In addition to writing, I also freelance edit manuscripts and query letters. Please check out my services if you’re interested! I particularly love helping with those query letters!


Follow the Tour!


International Giveaway!

Prize: Win a copy of YOU ASKED FOR PERFECT by Laura Silverman (INT)
Disclaimer: INT as long as Bookdepository ships to the country of the winner.
Start Date: February 11, 2019
End Date: February 24, 2019

Enter using the rafflecopter here!


Have you read You Asked For Perfect? Are you looking forward to it? What’s the most recent book you read that dealt with either mental health or school stress? Let’s talk in the comments!

Blog tour: The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson

The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads • Publisher
Publication Date: December 4, 2018
Source: ARC from publisher

In this charming romantic comedy perfect for fans of Meg Cabot and Sophie Kinsella, critically acclaimed author Teri Wilson shows us that sometimes being pushed out of your comfort zone leads you to the ultimate prize. 

Charlotte Gorman loves her job as an elementary school librarian, and is content to experience life through the pages of her books. Which couldn’t be more opposite from her identical twin sister. Ginny, an Instagram-famous beauty pageant contestant, has been chasing a crown since she was old enough to enunciate the words world peace, and she’s not giving up until she gets the title of Miss American Treasure. And Ginny’s refusing to do it alone this time.

She drags Charlotte to the pageant as a good luck charm, but the winning plan quickly goes awry when Ginny has a terrible, face-altering allergic reaction the night before the pageant, and Charlotte suddenly finds herself in a switcheroo the twins haven’t successfully pulled off in decades.

Woefully unprepared for the glittery world of hair extensions, false eyelashes, and push-up bras, Charlotte is mortified at every unstable step in her sky-high stilettos. But as she discovers there’s more to her fellow contestants than just wanting a sparkly crown, Charlotte realizes she has a whole new motivation for winning.

Something you might not know about me is that I absolutely love Miss Congeniality. I don’t even know how many times I’ve seen that movie, so when I got an email from Simon & Schuster asking if I’d like to participate in the blog tour for a book that’s basically Miss Congeniality but with a librarian instead of an FBI agent, I had to say yes. This book ended up being just as fun as I’d expected.

The Accidental Beauty Queen is well-written and funny with charming characters and a sweet romance that takes a backseat to the relationship between Charlotte and Ginny. I loved all of the literary references and I loved that the love interest majored in English literature. I loved Buttercup, the French bulldog. I loved that despite their differences, neither Charlotte or Ginny thought that they were better than the other and that, by the end of the book, they really came to understand each other.

This book was just so cute, so lighthearted, and such an easy read. I would highly recommend it to anybody looking for a quick romantic comedy. Many thanks to Simon and Schuster for the free advance copy!


About the author:

Teri Wilson is the author/creator of the Hallmark Channel Original Movies Unleashing Mr. Darcy, Marrying Mr. Darcy, and The Art of Us, as well as a fourth Hallmark movie currently in development. Teri is a double finalist in the prestigious 2018 RWA RITA awards for her novels The Princess Problem and Royally Wed. Teri also writes an offbeat fashion column for the royal blog What Would Kate Do and is a frequent guest contributor for its sister site, Meghan’s Mirror. She’s been a contributor for both HelloGiggles and Teen Vogue, covering books, pop culture, beauty, and everything royal. In 2017, she served as a national judge for the Miss United States pageant in Orlando, Florida, and has since judged in the Miss America system. She has a major weakness for cute animals, pretty dresses, Audrey Hepburn films, and good books. Visit her at TeriWilson.net or on Twitter @TeriWilsonAuthr.


Have you read Fear? What’s the best political non-fiction you’ve read recently?
Let’s talk in the comments!


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