GIVEAWAY: Gork, The Teenage Dragon

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Fans of Harry Potter and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy will relish this teenage dragon’s spellbinding love story filled with bighearted humor and imagination.

“No good human won’t love this dragon named Gork.”—Dave Eggers

Gork isn’t like the other dragons at WarWings Military Academy. He has a gigantic heart, two-inch horns, and an occasional problem with fainting. His nickname is Weak Sauce and his Will to Power ranking is Snacklicious–the lowest in his class. But Gork is determined not to let any of this hold him back as he embarks on the most important mission of his life: tonight, on the eve of his high school graduation, he must ask a female dragon to be his queen. If she says yes, they’ll go off to conquer a foreign planet together. If she says no, Gork becomes a slave.

Vying with Jocks, Nerds, Mutants, and Multi-Dimensioners to find his mate, Gork encounters an unforgettable cast of friends and foes, including Dr. Terrible, the mad scientist; Fribby, a robot dragon obsessed with death; and Metheldra, a healer specializing in acupuncture with swords. But finally it is Gork’s biggest perceived weakness, his huge heart, that will guide him through his epic quest and help him reach his ultimate destination: planet Earth.

A love story, a fantasy, a coming-of-age story, Gork the Teenage Dragon is a wildly comic, beautifully imagined, and deeply heartfelt debut novel that shows us just how human a dragon can be.

Hardcover, 400 pages
Expected publication: July 11th 2017 by Knopf Publishing Group

Giveaway Details:

First, legal stuff.

This giveaway is legally a sweepstakes.

  • “Sweepstakes: A giveaway where a winner is chosen at random. No purchase is necessary to enter a sweepstakes.” – Definition from Parchment Girl
  • “No purchase necessary”
  • “Void where prohibited by law”
  • “The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning”

Sponser: The prize for this giveaway (1 Hardcover copy of Gork, The Teenage Dragon) was given to me by Penguin Random House for the purpose of this giveaway.

Official Rules

This giveaway will run from July 2nd to July 30th 2017 12:00 P.M EST

Prize

One winner will receive one hardcover copy of Gork, The Teenage Dragon by Gabe Hudson

Approximate Retail Value: $24.95

Eligibility

This giveaway is open to US residents only.

Must be over the age of 13 (with parent permission) or over the age of 18 (without).

 

How To Enter

To enter, comment down below with something approximating “I am entering this giveaway” and tell me why you want to read Gork, The Teenage Dragon.

In your comment, leave me a method for contacting you if you win (twitter DM, email, etc.).

Extra entries if you:

-Follow my blog.

-Follow me on twitter (@rivermoosevlogs)

(1 extra entry each, say so in your comment, I will be checking)

The winner will be chosen at random using this generator. All entries will be added from comments.

It is preferred, though not mandatory, that the winner review the book on their own blog, Goodreads, and/or a retailer’s site.

When A Winner Is Chosen

After the entry period ends (on release date), I will randomly pick a winner using a generator. Said winner will be contacted through method detailed in entry comment. The winner will have 3 days to message me back, with their address, so I may ship the prize.

If the winner does not respond, a new winner will be chosen.

Once the prize has been shipped, the winner will be posted on this page.

Please allow a couple of weeks for the prize to be shipped. I will message the winner once I have officially shipped the prize with confirmation.

I am not responsible if the package is lost or damaged in the mail, neither is Penguin Random House.


PRAISE FOR GORK

“Like nothing you’ve ever read before—a quirky, wildly fun ride.”—BuzzFeed’s Exciting New Books You Need To Read This Summer

Gork, the Teenage Dragon combines so many things I count on in fiction I love—great expansive humor, a big-hearted optimism about all that’s possible in the world and in fiction, a very clear moral purpose and a sense of social responsibility—plus a willingness to experiment with the form of writing, to push the art of writing further, and with passion.”
Dave Eggers, author of Heroes of the Frontier and The Circle

Gork, the Teenage Dragon is a hilarious ride through the mind-bending and capacious universe, a one-of-a-kind coming-of-age story for the big-hearted and beleaguered. Mostly, it’s a reminder that, now especially, we on planet Earth need a whole lot more dreamer-poets, a whole lot more gentle peace-loving fools.”
Tracy K. Smith, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Life on Mars and Ordinary Light

Gork, the Teenage Dragon is jam-packed with outrageous storytelling and soulful humor in the glorious American tradition of Kurt Vonnegut and Mark Twain. Who knew a dragon’s coming-of-age story could be filled with so much humanity?” 
Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story

“Gork’s got it going on. His secret weapon? Poetry! This wonderful, big-hearted, crazy novel is a testament to Gabe Hudson’s ingenious imagination.”
Elizabeth McKenzie, author of The Portable Veblen

“It’s hard not to love a story about a dragon with a spaceship that cribs its plot from a John Hughes movie. The hyperkinetic teen-dragon comedy-romance you never knew you wanted.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“Cleverly plotted and executed. . . . Gork’s amusing growing-up story unfolds in vignettes of encounters with various kooky fellow dragons. Throughout, Hudson makes generally witty and occasionally brilliant reflections on humans’ often reptilian behavior.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Genre-bending, age-defying appeal. . . . Gork has one thing going for him: a big, generous heart. Seriously, literary sentimentalists, can you resist?”
—Library Journal

“Like a mad scramble to find the right date for prom—but with dragons. Gork might have a ‘scaly green ass,’ but teens will laugh and relate to his desperate search for a date. Recommend this one to fans of offbeat science fiction and fantasy, such as the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series.”
—Booklist

“Big-hearted and gawky, Gork gives us a lovable loser sure to win the hearts of sci-fi readers and fans of offbeat comedies.” 
Shelf Awareness

“Harry Potter meets Sixteen Candles meets The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy . . . with one unforgettable hero: Gork.” 


“Gork, the Teenage Dragon induced in me such madcap, heartfelt delight and joy, like getting drunk but WITHOUT impaired faculties and PLUS dragons.”
Alice Sola Kim, 2016 Whiting Award Winner

“Gabe Hudson’s fire-breathing, page-scorching creation, Gork the dragon, is more human and big-hearted and generous than most people I know. This book is as sly and smart as it is hilarious.”
Ben Marcus, author of The Flame Alphabet

Gork the Teenage Dragon is on fire! It’s magnificent and exuberant and ferociously funny, and it’s also one of the most moving coming-of-age stories to appear in a long time.”
Paul La Farge, author of The Night Ocean

“An epic love story that is wondrous, enchanting, hilarious, and heartrending. This dragon Gork is a direct descendant of Huck Finn and Holden Caulfield, and his voice is a marvel of comic timing and pathos. Gork, the Teenage Dragon is sure to become an instant classic, destined to be loved by all sorts of readers through the ages.”
Akhil Sharma, author of Family Life

“A humorous coming-of-age story with a deeply heartfelt message.”
Signature Reads

“A witty sense of humor. . . . If you’re a fan of the Greek God’s series of books (Percy Jackson) by Rick Riordan, you’ll be a fan of this one. It’s a mythical story with a great adventure, a love story and dragons!”
—RedCarpetCrash.com

Discussion: On DNF Books And Reviews

DNF stands for “Did Not Finish” – an acronym you’ve probably heard around the book blogging community before.


People DNF books all the time, for all sorts of reasons.

Because they just weren’t liking the book.
Because they were bored.
Because they took a particular issue with the book (problematic /trope they dislike etc.).

Everyone has their own policy on this and I can’t speak for everyone.


I personally dislike DNFing books – it feels dishonest to pass judgement if I didn’t see it through.

I have only DNFed a handful of books. Generally because the content made me physically uncomfortable (like Nerdy and the Dirty) or I am extremely bored / disengaged / hitting a reading slump because of a book. Especially recently with my growing TBR.
Usually, if I put a book down, it’s with the intention of coming back later.


But why?
Why feel guilty about not enjoying a book and doing without it?
Book reviews are often subjective – what I enjoy or don’t enjoy may influence those of similar opinions – but it isn’t the end all be all of a books worth or who may enjoy it even if I don’t.


Recently my views of DNFing has changed. I think it’s okay. We read because our enjoy it, why continue if it becomes a chore. But we should explain ourselves.
Why did we DNF a book?
Something objective or something  subjective in its influence?
Could others potentially like it?
And definitely don’t bash a book you couldn’t finish – that I do see as unfair.


What do you think?

Do you agree with me?

What do you think of DNF books?

Netgalley Review: The Wendy Project

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I received an e-arc of this book from netgalley and this is my honest review.

Original Release Date:

July 18th 2017

Date I Read The Book:

May 2017

My Star Rating:

4 Stars

Official Summary:

 

16-year-old Wendy Davies crashes her car into a lake on a late summer night in New England with her two younger brothers in the backseat. When she wakes in the hospital, she is told that her youngest brother, Michael, is dead. Wendy — a once rational teenager – shocks her family by insisting that Michael is alive and in the custody of a mysterious flying boy. Placed in a new school, Wendy negotiates fantasy and reality as students and adults around her resemble characters from Neverland. Given a sketchbook by her therapist, Wendy starts to draw. But is The Wendy Project merely her safe space, or a portal between worlds?

My Review: 

Retellings are beyond popular – and I am a particular fan of them. Some involve the fantasy world colliding with the real world (as in Alice in Wonderland retellings where in she is psychotic – or at least perceived as psychotic). Peter Pan in particular is popular for retellings. It is also popular for theories – one prevalent one being that the lost boys are all dead and Peter is their guardian angel.

The Wendy Project plays into these ideas. We follow Wendy’s point of view through her journal/sketchbook after a devastating accident where-in her brother dies – though Wendy believes him alive, and that he has simply been taken away. We see her coping with this lose and these ideas – both her high school life and ideas of Neverland in her art, colors used to differentiate reality and fantasy, and we are generally left as unsure as Wendy is.

It is well written, and the artwork is gorgeous. I particularly liked the interspersing of Peter Pan quotes from JM Barrie.

My only issue is that its quite short – and so didn’t go into the depth that it had the potential to, and feels quite abrupt at the end.

But overall, I really enjoyed it.

 

The New Disney Princess Book Tag

Like virtually everyone else, I LOVE Disney movies. Belle in particular is my favorite disney princess (I would kill for that library) you can see my post Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast – Live Action so read my thoughts on it. I also did the Beauty And The Beast Book Tag. Check it out.

I was tagged by the lovely blogger behind Inside My Library Mind – check it out.


The RULES:

  • Mention where you saw the tag/thank whoever tagged you
  • Tag the lovely creators (Mandy & Zuky) so they can see their wonderful tag in action!
  • Play a game of tag at the end!

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SNOW WHITE

THIS BOOK (LIKE THE MOVIE) STARTED IT ALL –Favorite debut book from an author

Review: Because You’ll Never Meet Me

My love of this book is no secret on this blog. okay?

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CINDERELLA

A DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH – Just like Cinderella, you either didn’t expect much out of this character in the beginning but they turned out to be a total gem 

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Bailey from The Night Circus. His first few chapters seemed out of place to me, but he ended up being my favorite.


 

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AURORA

SLEEPING BEAUTY – A book that makes you sleepy or just could not hold your attention

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A rare DNF for me. It was cringe-y and I couldn’t do it. I didn’t care enough.


 

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ARIEL

UNDER THE SEA – A book with a water/ocean setting

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I got an ARC from netgalley and it looks SO GOOD.


 

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BELLE

BEAUTY AND THE BOOKS – Name a book with the best bookworm/book lover

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Katy from the Lux series is definitely a bookworm – she even has a book blog!


 

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JASMINE

THE THIEF AND THE PRINCESS – Name book with an unlikely love story (either in terms of romance or a book you didn’t expect to love so much)

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Fits the bill for both I’d say.


 

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POCAHONTAS

THE REAL LIFE PRINCESS – Name a book that is based on a real life person you want to read/have read

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Want to read this, one day…


 

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MULAN

THE PRINCESS THAT SAVED HER COUNTRY – Name the fiercest heroine you know

TOO MANY!!!!!!!!!

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But I’m going with a less common answer and saying Cammie – she’s fiercer than she’s given credit for.


 

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TIANA

THE PRINCESS WITH THE COOLEST AND MOST DIVERSE CREW – Name a diverse book whether it is a diverse set of characters (like tiana’s group of naveen, louis, ray, and more) or just diverse in general

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Enough said.


 

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RAPUNZEL

LET YOUR LONGGGGGG HAIR DOWN – Name the longest book you’ve ever read

I’m almost certain its Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix with 870 pages.


 

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MERIDA

I DETERMINE MY OWN FATE – A book where there is no love story/interest or isn’t needed

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Mental health and recovery – not romance.


 

ANNA/ELSA

FROZEN HEARTS – A book in a winter/cold setting

Why is this so difficult to think of? Probably because I’ve never seen snow in my life….

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MOANA

HOW FAR I’LL GO – A character that goes on a journey

Shameful Confession Time: I STILL HAVEN’T SEEN MOANA!!!!!!!!!

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All the characters, as journey’s and quests are literally THE ENTIRETY OF ALL THE BOOKS.


I Tag

B @ Icebreaker694

Kayla @ KDrew The Bookworm

Lashaan and Trang @ Bookidote

Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek

Sophie @ Blame it on Chocolate

Alex @ Lord of the Trekkies

 

Bookish Baking #3: Blue Cookies (Percy Jackson)

I’m back for the third Bookish Baking! I’m really enjoying these, and I hope you guys are too!

My first was a Butterbeer recipe and my second was Night Circus Cinnamon Things.

This time, I have a recipe from The Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series: Blue Cookies. Iconic to every PJO fan! (Not my picture below)


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Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • blue food coloring – A lot okay?
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

  • Pour the white chocolate chips into a bowl, mix in blue food coloring until they look blue – it makes more cohesively blue cookies this way.
  • Melt the butter, and mix in food coloring until desired shade. Add vanilla extract.
  • Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl to wet ones.
  • Pour butter mixture into dry ingredients until even, all clumps out and color even.
  • Stir in blue chips.
  • Line baking tray with wax paper (you’ll thank me later)
  • Roll little balls out of cookie dough, and flatten a little on the tray, space cookies an inch or two apart on tray.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes.
  • Let cool and enjoy!

Percy Jackson is beloved by most bookworms and I’m glad I got to share my version of Percy’s Blue Cookies with you!

Let me know if you liked it, how they turn out if you make them and if there are any recipes you’d like to out out for you guys!

Blog Tour: The Forbidden Darkness Chronicles – Promo

Fiery Passion (The Forbidden Darkness Chronicles #3)

by Alec John Belle
Genre: YA Paranormal

Release Date: September 2017

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Summary from Goodreads:
After the unexpected events at the end of Shadow People, Heather, Hayden, and their friends are trying to move forward with their lives. While trying to hunt down the new vessel of the Darkness, and trying to avoid a very complicated relationship, Heather thinks she can keep everything under control.

Until she’s taken by a demon named Ziminiar.

As Hayden, Kadin, Philip, and Kristen try to find their friend, Heather unravels many truths about the world she lives in, the core of her being, and the true origins of the Monster Hunters.

In the third installment of The Forbidden Darkness Chronicles, secrets will be exposed, relationships will be tested, and the ultimate betrayal will leave fans breathless.

Because in a world where demons exist, nothing is ever as it seems.

Add to Goodreads

Forbidden Darkness (The Forbidden Darkness Chronicles #1) on Goodreads

Shadow People (The Forbidden Darkness Chronicles #2) on Goodreads


About the Author

alec john belle

Alec John Belle resides in Carson City, NV, where he is currently attending high school for his senior year. At the age of 16 he wrote his first novel, Before I Break. His hobbies include reading, writing, and obsessing over Pretty Little Liars. He writes about tough topics that many are too afraid to talk about like suicide, homosexuality, self harm, bullying, mental illness, among other teenage issues, and he often blends these ideas with the paranormal. Despite writing such topics, he is a very cheerful person who enjoys looking for the best in life, while trying to help others do the same.


Author Links:

WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook


Excerpt 1

My boyfriend stepped into the room, and the first thing I caught notice of was his black tuxedo. He was typically dressed in casual attire, with jeans a t-shirt, so seeing him all dressed up was a bit of a surprise. His short dark hair was even slicked back with some type of gel and his green eyes met mine.

“You look beautiful,” he said, staring at the dress. “Kristen made a good choice.”

I snorted. “You only like it because it shows off my boobs.”

He shrugged. “Nothing wrong with that.”

Although we officially started dating, there was still a bit of awkwardness between us. I hoped that eventually it’d go away, but for now, I blushed at his comment. “There’s everything wrong with that.”

Ignoring my statement, he said, “Are you all ready to go?”

“As ready as I’ll ever be,” I said. “I just don’t know how much more of this I can handle.” Philip reached out and grabbed my hand. “Don’t worry. Whatever happens, we’ll get through it together.”


Excerpt 2

The sun disappeared as clouds rolled through the sky, creating an overwhelming darkness that I could find no words to explain. Lightning flashed in the sky, reminding me of Kadin.

I let out a scream when men started falling from the sky—big men, wearing suits of armor and wings outstretched for all to see. When they landed, the ground shook beneath them.

They were Angels.

The townsmen pulled their arrows back, shooting at the Angels, but within seconds, the they pulled out their weapons—giant swords that gleamed in the dark. I watched in horror as one of the Angels swung their weapon, beheading a man in seconds. More Angels fell from the sky, chasing after the women.

“What the hell are you doing?” I wasn’t entirely sure why I shouted, but I couldn’t watch the attacks happen trying to do something to stop it.

Right after I said it, one of the Angels looked at me—smiling a mischievous smile—and said, “You have a lot to learn, little Neph.” Although I couldn’t make out his features, that smile couldn’t be forgotten.


Blog Tour Organized by:

YA Bound Book Tours

Blog Tour Schedule –

July 10th

Huntley’s book Reviews      http://huntleyandbooks.blogspot.co.uk    Promo Post

T’s Stuff      http://teresanoel.blogspot.com/   Promo Post

3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!   http://3partnersinshopping.blogspot.com    Promo Post

July 11th

CBY Book Club   http://cbybookclub.blogspot.com/   Promo Post

The Avid Reader   http://the-avidreader.blogspot.com   Promo Post

A New Look On Books   http://anewlookonbooks.wordpress.com   Promo Post

July 12th

Adventures Thru Wonderland   http://adventuresthruwonderland.blogspot.com/    Review

Up ‘Til Dawn Book Blog  http://uptildawnbookblog.blogspot.com      Promo Post

Mythical Books http://mythicalbooks.blogspot.com    Promo Post

July 13th

Loves Great Reads     https://lovesgreatreadsblog.wordpress.com/    Promo Post

Booklove     http://readdayandnight.blogspot.com    Review

July 14th

RiverMoose-Reads         https://rivermoosebooks.wordpress.com      Promo Post

Lori’s Little House of Reviews   http://lorimurray.booklikes.com/   Review

Deal Sharing Aunt     http://dealsharingaunt.blogspot.com/ Promo Post

Netgalley Review: Man Vs. Child – One Dad’s Guide to the Weirdness of Parenting

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I received an e-arc of this book from netgalley and this is my honest review.


Original Release Date:

May 9th, 2017

Date I Read The Book:

May 2017

My Star Rating:

5 Stars


Official Summary:

Moms have hundreds of parenting advice books willing to tackle the more cringe-inducing questions of parenthood. But what about books for the other half of the equation: the dads? Man vs. Child is a funny, fresh take on the parenting guide, written from the dad’s perspective.

Author and popular Upright Citizens Brigade performer Doug Moe knows first-time fathers are as worried about being terrible at their new terrifying jobs as new moms are. But while most modern fathering guides center on men’s oafish parental failings, Man vs. Child forgoes condescension in favor of fresh and irreverent wit. This guide for first-time dads tackles funny but important questions, like how to be a good dad without becoming a BabyBjörn-wearing tool in the process, or what to do if your child loves your iPad more than they love you. From caring for a newborn to dealing with a kid on the verge of adolescence, author Doug Moe breaks fatherhood down into survival lessons like “Time to Decide About God” and quizzes that ask dads to reflect on hilarious parenting questions like “Is My Child Too Annoying for This Restaurant?”

Chapters include:
-Newborn: Keeping This Weird Thing Alive Awhile, Even As It Tries to Kill You
-Your Interesting Baby, Maybe the Most Interesting Baby Ever
-Man v Toddler: Does Your Toddler Want to Kill You?
-Now That My Kid Doesn’t Need Me, What Is My Life Worth?

Balancing relatable humor with heartfelt advice, Man vs. Child will appeal to any dad looking for both laughs and real guidance from a man who has had—and survived—these experiences himself. A perfect Father’s Day gift or present for a first-time dad!


My Review: 

Don’t even ask why I, a 17 year old girl with no plans to have children for – at least – a decade, has requested, read and now, reviewed a parenting book. I have a bad habit of requesting random things on Netgalley on a whim when bored.

That being said, I found this pretty funny and well written.

Man vs. Child makes no secret what it is a humor book about parenting but not really meant to offer concrete advice. There is no – or at least, very little – in the way of “scientifically this is how you care for a child” but rather a funny commentary on becoming a dad and being a stay-at-home dad raising your child. Its light-hearted, quick, and while not particularly informative, witty, well written and entertaining.

Make of that what you will when deciding to read it.

Blog Tour: Nostalgic Rain – Promo

Nostaglic Rain tour banner

Nostalgic Rain: Galaxies Away
by A.S. Altabtabai
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: July 1st 2017

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Summary from Goodreads:

What seventeen-year-old Leland finds in the abandoned basement of his house is something he will never forget.

Leland lost his father when he was seven. Since then, he has successfully adapted to the awful life of being a student, the man of the house, and a father figure to his two younger siblings. All of that changes when he and his best friends stumble upon a secret in his deserted basement, and fall into another dimension with three moons, foggy woods, and an ancient castle-Oremanta.

Learning who he really is, how he came to this remote planet, and the shocking, ugly mystery of Oremanta aren’t as bad as the quest he finds himself obligated to complete-killing someone he never thought he’d meet in Oremanta to save everyone.

Add to Goodreads


A.S. Altabtabai

About the Author

Medical student, writer & travel passionate.

Author Links:

WebsiteTwitterGoodreads


Chapter One

Voices

The ceiling, barely visible in the dark room, greeted Leland. He didn’t know how long he’d slept, but that didn’t matter much. It was summer. A thump resounded in the atmosphere, and it mixed with the squawking of birds and the chirping of grasshoppers. Leland rose from the sweat-soaked sheets of his bed and went to the window overlooking their small house garden. The sky was a mixture of red, orange, and yellow on one side, where the egg-yolk sun rose, and black on the other. In between the two, various degrees of blue adorned the horizon. It’s dawn.

Be it summer, spring, winter, or autumn, all dawns in Temblewood City were cold. Leland put on his red hoodie, the one he got last year on his sixteenth birthday from Jennifer, his best friend, and stomped down the wooden abode’s creaky stairs. Leland’s heavy-lidded brown eyes skimmed the familiar dilapidated furniture of the living room, but he didn’t dare complain. It was his grandfather’s house, and he had lived here with his mother and two little siblings for ten years now since his father had died.

Today, he didn’t want to drink coffee. Drinking coffee meant staying awake and alert for a long period, and he didn’t want any of that. He wished he could sleep for the rest of this summer. Instead of coffee, Leland headed to Jaime’s Café, a place more popular than Starbucks in Temblewood City, and bought a cup of hot chocolate. The cup was so hot he had to wrap it with two layers of napkins.

This summer was different from the last. Last year, he’d seen Jennifer and Dylan almost every day. He’d gone hiking and horse riding and fishing, and he’d camped on Mount Lamen, which wasn’t a good idea—they had ended up lost for two days with cops searching for them. But now he was running from everyone and everything. Jennifer and Dylan were calling every day, and he’d been creating excuses to be alone. But he missed them. A lot. The most awful thing in life is changing into someone worse but not realizing it.

Leland sat on a wooden bench not so far from Jaime’s Café and gazed at the road, which was gradually getting more crowded with cars and people. A young man wearing a black suit and a red tie sat beside him. The man, who genuinely smelled good, scrolled down his phone’s screen, checking his Twitter timeline. Yeah. That’s what normal people do. They work and they socialize and they live. Leland missed that. Fear can paralyze one’s mind and create thousands of fake barriers.

A raindrop fell on Leland’s cup. He stared at the gray clouds in the sky, and an army of a million other drops flooded the ground. That’s why he hated Temblewood. It would rain any time of year, and Leland despised rain. He knew it was going to be a bad day. All rainy days are bad. The day his father died had been a day of heavy rain and dark memories he wished he could forget. But that was impossible because it was impossible not to have rain throughout the year. And every time it rained, a powerful resurrection of that day occurred.

Leland realized the suited man beside him had left at some point during his deep and useless thinking session. It seemed Leland was the only one on the street now. He put the hoodie cap on and walked underneath shop awnings on his way back home. Now that he thought about it, Leland hadn’t learned much from his absent father.

But there was one sentence that kept ringing in his head. Leland wasn’t even sure how or when or why his father had told it to him: “The more you feed your fear, the more you become imprisoned by it.”

***

Karla and Fred giggled and ran in the corridor. They’ve grown up really fast. I can’t believe they’re starting to write and read already. Karla opened the door wide and nestled between Leland’s arms. She curled and made herself comfortable in his hands.

“You can’t touch me now!” she told Fred, sticking her tongue out.

“You’re cheating!” Fred replied, his palm on his waist.

“Hey, you two,” Leland said. “You’re supposed to be in your beds now, aren’t you?”

“We’re waiting for Aunt Abbey!” Karla said. “Mom said we can stay up late tonight.”

Leland had totally forgotten that. His aunt, Abbey, was coming back to Temblewood from Todland, a city five hours away by plane. She worked as a nurse there. The last time he’d seen her was a year ago when she came for New Year’s Eve. She’d brought them two bags of Made-In-Todland-Only candies. Leland hoped she’d bring them again this time.

Leland’s room was the smallest in the house. In one corner was his bed and in the other was a desk and a bookshelf with many Xbox games and a few novels. The only good thing about the room was the window that overlooked the street.

Fred toured Leland’s room. He flipped the pages of a book he could barely carry and then dropped it when the doorbell rang. It was more of a noisy croak rather than a musical sound.

Abbey had arrived.

***

Leland’s grandma, glued to her usual spot on the worn rocking chair she’d bought right after Leland’s birth, glimpsed him for a moment and then rolled her eyes back to the TV.

“Where have you been all day?” she complained, switching channels. “Your aunt is here, for God’s sake.”

On the table in the living room sat a cake with ‘Welcome Home’ written on it. The living room was lit by an old, handcrafted chandelier, but it did its job quite well. Leland hugged his aunt. She hadn’t changed much.

“How’s everything?” Leland asked.

“Perfect!” She replied, taking a bite of her cake. “Everything is too perfect!”

“Great. I’m glad.” He took a seat beside her. Fred and Karla were on the ground playing rock, paper, scissors. His grandfather, Richard, was listening to the news, his ears touching the radio’s speaker.

“What about you?” Abbey asked.

“I’m fine,” Leland replied, faking a smile.

“No, he’s not,” Leland’s mother said, cutting cake for Fred and Karla, pretending not to care much about the issue. “Something’s wrong with him. He hardly leaves his room.”

Leland’s face flushed. He felt stupid for not realizing his mother must have felt something was wrong with him. This meant Dylan and Jennifer, his friends, likely also noticed.

“No, it’s just—” Leland said, attempting to fake an excuse.

“Is he always alone?” Abbey asked.

“Almost,” Maria, Leland’s mother, replied.

“And he’s not eating a lot?”

“Yes.”

Leland’s heart raced. There’s no way Abbey would know what he’d been through lately. She’d been away, and he made sure no one knew.

“And he doesn’t talk much?” Abbey asked.

“Yeah. Only a little,” Maria answered.

Abbey clapped her hands and cried, “He’s in love!”

All eyes turned toward Leland. But he was relieved. She knew nothing after all. Leland pretended her assumptions were correct. He gazed down and said nothing in reply.

“There’s nothing to be ashamed of, Leland. We’ve all been through this before,” Aunt Abbey said, and then her voice dropped to a whisper. “And don’t chicken out. Women hate that.”

Leland didn’t know how to reply, so, rather awkwardly and loudly enough that everyone stared at him again, he said, “I like her.”

Okay. That’s enough for today. Leland had paid his social dues and now he had to leave. Embarrassed, Leland said, “I gotta go.”

And he went back to his room.

***

Leland collapsed into his bed with Les Miserables in his hand. He’d bought it a month ago from Harry’s Bookstore, a local shop at the end of the street. Leland read a book or two per year, but he wished he could dedicate more time to reading. He read some pages then put the book on the bedside table. With the lights on and the window opened, Leland dozed off without realizing it. Deep in his sleep, Leland woke up, sweating and trembling in fear. His breath quickened and his heart hammered against his chest. It had happened for the fifth time this week.

Voices—hundreds of thousands of throats—whispered in Leland’s ears and mumbled words he couldn’t understand. And it seemed he was the only one hearing them.

For God’s sake, what the hell is going on?


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Blog Tour Organized by:

YA Bound Book Tours


Blog Tour Schedule – Nostalgic Rain

July 10th

A New Look On Books   http://anewlookonbooks.wordpress.com   Promo Post

Reading for the Stars and Moon    http://readingforthestarsmoon.blogspot.com/   Promo Post

The Cubicle Escapee     http://TheCubicleEscapee.com     Review

The Cover Contessa    http://wwwthecovercontessa.com   Promo Post

Adventures Thru Wonderland   http://adventuresthruwonderland.blogspot.com/      Review

July 11th

Why I Read    Http://whyiread17.blogspot.com  Review

Shh, I am Reading     https://shhiamreading.wordpress.com/    Promo Post

Loves Great Reads     https://lovesgreatreadsblog.wordpress.com/    Promo Post

YA Book Divas    http://www.yabookdivas.com Promo Post

SolaFide Book Club    http://solafidepublishing.net/solafide-self-publishing-and-book-blog/ Promo Post

July 12th

Hooked To Books  https://www.hookedtobooks.com/   Promo Post

CBY Book Club   http://cbybookclub.blogspot.com/   Promo Post

The Avid Reader     http://the-avidreader.blogspot.com      Review

Up ‘Til Dawn Book Blog  http://uptildawnbookblog.blogspot.com    Promo Post

Booklove     http://readdayandnight.blogspot.com     Review

July 13th

Mythical Books http://www.mythicalbooks.blogspot.ro/     Promo Post

Adventures thru Wonderland    http://adventuresthruwonderland.blogspot.com/     Promo Post

Infinite Lives, Infinite Stories    http://infinitelivesinfinitestories.blogspot.com/    Review

RiverMoose-Reads   https://rivermoosebooks.wordpress.com    Promo Post

July 14th

The Page Unbound    http://www.thepageunbound.com/      Promo Post

deal sharing aunt     http://dealsharingaunt.blogspot.com/ Promo Post

Just Us Book Blog     http://justusbookblog.blogspot.com/    Promo Post

forthenovellovers     https://forthenovellovers.wordpress.com/  Review

Throwback Thursday: “I Hear America Singing”/”Let America Be America Again” Compare and Contrast Essay: Block Organization – Views of America

Throwback Thursday, where, essentially I post old writing samples, essays and short stories that I dig up from my pile of hoarded papers and school assignments or from the depths of my computer. So everyone can see how my writing has changed/improved over the years.


“I Hear America Singing”/”Let America Be America Again”

Compare and Contrast Essay: Block Organization

Views of America

“Let America Be America Again” by Langston Hughes and “I Hear America Singing” by Walt Whitman (who inspired Langston Hughes as a writer) are two important pieces of American poetry. They have several similarities despite being written several decades apart, and both are about America, and life in America. Both poems reflect on their author’s views on America at the time at which they were written. However, those views are very different in each poem because of the differences in experiences and culture of their two authors.

The Harlem Renaissance was a cultural movement in New York around the 1920’s. The movement consisted of African-American poets, singers, and artists beginning to express their own voice, style, and culture instead of mimicking popular white styles as they had in the past. “Let America Be America Again” by Langston Hughes was written during this time. This poem is quite long, maybe a page and a half long. In the poem, Langston Hughes talks about the American dream of freedom and equal opportunity, and how it failed to live up to that promise. He writes about wanting to change things, change America to fit the values it was built on, “O, let America be America again/The land that never has been yet/And yet must be/the land where every man is free.” About how, as a black man, the American dream never seemed to apply to him, and how he wants to change that. You can see this in the lines “There’s never been equality for me, nor freedom in this ‘homeland of the free’”. “Let America be America Again” is a more negative poem, with themes of racism based on Hughes’ own experiences.

“I Hear America Singing” by Walt Whitman was published in the 19th century, a few decades prior to Hughes poem. This poem is in, comparison quite short, maybe half a page long. In this poem, Walt Whitman writes how different people lead different lives but each works in harmony with another. He writes of different professions singing different songs, but together they are all singing, “What belongs to him or her and to none else”. This is a more metaphorical poem, as I doubt everyone he met was always singing about his or her work. But his intention was to convey that people work hard and take pride in their work. Unlike Hughes, he doesn’t speak of the differences in people or in himself. He writes about people as a whole, not separate. His poem is more positive, with themes of unity. People sing joyfully, you can tell by the line “I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear” because carols are happy songs. As a white man, Whitman didn’t have the same experiences as Hughes. So his poem is not tinged with bitterness or sadness, unlike “Let America Be America Again”.

In all, both poems show the author’s view on American life. Hughes shows a harsher reality, he is straightforward with what he says needs to change. He speaks of the dissonance between what America claims to be and what it is. And uses his own experiences, as an African-America who is free but not really as evidence to support his claims. Whitman paints a happier, more metaphorical picture. People get along, are grouped as a whole: people. Not separated. If he noticed any of the problems Hughes did he didn’t mention them. He writes about Americans having pride in themselves and their work. Hughes came only a few decades after Whitman, but their views on the very same place differed greatly. And though Whitman came earlier, he is the one who writes as if America already has had its problems fixed. He didn’t see the same problems Hughes does, because he did not experience them himself.

 

Discussion: Struggles Of A Book Blogger

Being a book blogger is weird, because it’s a hobby, at least for most it isn’t a job, and it’s fun.

But it’s also stressful like a real job – and requires a hell of a lot of effort, especially if your on your own.

Here, I’m discussing the 7 major things that can cause book bloggers stress.


Procrastination

Time management is a big thing. For most book bloggers, blogging isn’t a job it’s a hobby, which means carving out time to do it – and fun as it is, that’s not always possible. And even when it is, it can be hard to push your self to read or write when your brain is fried from real life.

Which leads to procrastination. Which is how you get the “accidental five month hiatuses” that my blog is no known for.

I deal with this by scheduling posts. Like last summer for while I was at camp, and like I have now for AP season – so I don’t have to worry about consolidating my melted brain so form a sensical string of words.

What do you do?


Stress Over Posting

Even when we do post, it brings a different kind of anxiety. Are people going to like it or hate it? Is it too over done? Is this original content stupid? Did I unleash too much of my weirdness at once? Did j say something dumb a future admissions officer will see and reject me for? (This last fear is one instilled in me by a very college oriented high school – like I needed more reasons to stress out).

These are legitimate concerns, and ones not easy to quell. This is the main reason generally behind my several month hiatuses to be honest.


Ever Growing TBR

This one is unique to book bloggers.

The ever Growing TBR.

TBR stands for To Be Read – a list of books a book blogger intends to read, and be a physical stack of book towering in ones room, can be a list online or wishlist of books to buy, can be a stack of arcs, or a massive ebook library – but the result is the same.

Sooner or later the TBR of s book blogger outgrows the reading speed – and threatens to crush them. Often this impending crushing can increase the prevalence of a reading slump and we get indecisive over what to read next and then just don’t. A vicious cycle.

Generally deadlines can get you reading again, but deadlines for reviews can bring their own kind of stress.

I myself have too many books in my TBR – a review TBR of about 50 and a physical TBR of too many to deal with.


Pressure For Content / The Look

The look of the blog matters.

Trying our best to improve the look of the blog, from graphics to the layout to the design to the domain is a big thing for us book bloggers. But when you don’t have the resources to get help and don’t have the skill to make good things yourself – it makes you feel a little behind the curve sometimes.

The pressure for the right look also applies to the content.

People like tags and memes. They are the life of book blogs. But too many and your blog is labeled unoriginal and boring.

Book reviews are a major thing. But so many discussions are being done on, really, other book bloggers don’t read book reviews – you might not even need them. But without them are you even really a book blog? But you can’t exactly churn out so many reviews since it takes time to actually read books- so what do you do?

The answer: Original content.

The elusive gold of book blogging.
It’s hard to come up with original posts consistently. And to be honest, most of us either take inspiration from or flat out copy each other (with credit unless your a terrible person). We do similar discussions and lists etc. But the continuing strive for better original content can keep you awake at night, thinking of ideas and second guessing yourself.

It’s hard to sustain.

So cut bloggers a break when there’s a lull in content okay? Okay.


Reviews / Discussions

Back to book reviews.
Every book blogger pretty much does reviews. In different styles with different frequency, but it is a staple of book blogging. (Though I read a great discussion at The Tattooed Book Geek that argues otherwise).

Reviews tend to take a long time though, so their less frequent – even if your reading pretty quickly.

Discussions are another thing – when everything seems to had been said but you still can to join in, what do you say? And how do you say t without sounding preachy or cheesy?


Role In The Industry

Sometimes other people read your stuff, and take your opinions seriously. Sometimes, I don’t feel qualified to be giving my opinion. I’m a kid! I’m 17! I have no authority! Except the fact that I’m a book blogger gives me a small amount of authority in a limited capacity – and it is occasionally terrifying.

I face this fear when I get review requests. People email me like I’m a professional. ADULTS email me asking me for my help/knowledge/influence and it’s weird. It feels like you can’t say no because, your just a kid and this is an adult. It’s a weird position, and not a universal struggle I’ll admit, just one I think about a lot.


Comparing Stats

Ah yes the stats. The thing everyone says not to worry about and yet everyone does.

But it’s hard not to.

When another blogger gets more comments or more likes then you.

When someone who’s been blogging for less time surpasses your follower count.

It’s hard to to try and measure up success. It hard not to get jealous. And want to be better than others. It’s human nature.

But sometimes being so concerned with stats can suck some joy out of blogging – that that sucks. But it’s honest.


This has been some of the struggles I’ve experienced being a book blogger – its fun, I love it, but people need to understand that it isn’t easy or quick before they start their own blogs or start getting snippy with bloggers for not posting more often. We’re only human.

Do you experience any of these?

Did I miss something glaringly obvious?

Let me know!

Harry Potter Book Tag

I was tagged by the wonderful, ever patient with my terrible upkeep with tags, Icebreaker694 – go check out her lovely blog!

I was also tagged by two other absolutely amazing book bloggers Alex @ Lord of the Trekkies and The Book Corps – Thank you! And check them out!

The Harry Potter Book Tag was created by Trang and Lashaan @ Bookidote and all the graphics below belong to them.


1flagrate

A book you found the theme interesting, but you’d like to rewrite it.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

And

Matched by Ally Condie

Both had a really great premise (generally speaking, free will and love are gone/illegal) but both had such irritating MC’s and love triangles that I couldn’t continue on with it.


2alohomora

The first book in a series that got you hooked.

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Most people find the first book hard to get into, but it made me really want to continue that series to know what the hell was going on. Its so long but so worth it.


3accio

A book you wish you could have right now.

So many. just, so many.

Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff is definitely up there though. for sure.


4avadakedavra

A killer book. Both senses. Take it as you like.

The Dexter series definitely fits this bill – for both senses.

As does Hannibal.


5confundo

A book that you found really confusing.

Not many books confuse me.

Although, I tried to read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies when I was about 7 and gave up after two pages because we were introduced to about 50 characters in that span and I was utterly lost.


6epectopatronum

Your spirit animal book.

I don’t know.

Thats like picking children.

Lets just say Harry Potter and be done.


7spetumsemtra

A dark twisted book.

I don’t really read horror.

Though Misery by Stephen King is to this day the freakiest thing I’ve ever read/watched.

Because IT COULD HAPPEN.


8adaasd

A book that surprised you in a great way, reveals to be more than it is.

Because You’ll Never Meet Me (Review: Because You’ll Never Meet Me)

I picked it up on a whim and its now one of my favorite books ever. So much more than I anticipated. And theres a sequel! (Arc Review: Nowhere Near You)

 


I Tag