Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Starry-Eyed Revue is four years old! Well, technically, not till tomorrow, but we thought we'd get the party started early. You don't mind, do you? ;0)

When I started this blog, I didn't think it would become anything more than an online journal where I recorded my thoughts and feels on books and movies and the like. Never did I imagine that I'd meet so many awesome bookish people and find my little niche in this community.

There was a period where I wasn't sure if I'd continue, though. And then lo and behold, April mentioned wanting to blog WITH someone, and the rest, as they say, is history.

I felt the same way about blogging as Jen did early on. Just a little space to jot down my thoughts, but who cold have guessed all the amazing friends I would make. While I've only been blogging with her for a little over a year, I started up my own blog around the same time as she did. So we've been in this together from day one. The best experiences I've had blogging so far have been here with The Starry-Eyed Revue.

You have all been so wonderful and welcoming. The blogging community has changed so much over the last couple years. Just the feel of it all, but your love and support has remained steady and for that we are so grateful.

Truly. We know we haven't been around as much to respond to your lovely comments or to visit you at your own blogs, and we apologize for that. It's a struggle to find time to do all of that AND create new content on the blog, work full-time, and be awesome moms, too. :) We're not trying to make excuses...we just want you to know that we still value your thoughts and miss you guys terribly. 

Anyway, that's not why we're here today. (We'll get back to doing all of that and it will be like old times. :D) No...we're here to celebrate! We've both been blogging for FOUR years, some of that together and some of that separately, but dammit, we deserve to party like it's our birthday. [Incidentally, it is my birthday on Friday. ;0) ] And what better way to celebrate our FOURth blogoversary than by having Four dance a little jig for us?!? All in favor, say aye!

Whew, it's hard to follow up Four dancing, but I think we have something that will be just as enticing. For being the best followers ever, we have a few giveaways for you!

Last year for Jen's Bday, I sent her Jenny Hans' Summer series. It's one of my favorites and perfect reading for this time of year. So these are what I'm offering up...

  • This giveaway is US only
  • One entry per household. 
  • Entries will be verified. Any entry found to be falsified will result in disqualification of all entries for that participant.
  • Please note that if you use your Twitter account solely for giveaway entries and you enter using the Tweet about the Giveaway entry, that entry will be disqualified. Please remember that this entry method is to spread the word about the giveaway, not simply increase your chances of winning.
  • Winner will be notified via email. Winner will then have 48 hours to respond before another winner will be selected. Please check your SPAM folder!!! 
  • We are not responsible for lost packages.  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

And I've just been over here collecting ARCs and little goodies for you guys. Some I've read and absolutely adored and others I've heard great things about and can't wait till I can read them myself. And, of course, I had to share some of my favorite bookish things with y'all, too. This giveaway is US only, so the same rules apply as above.

a Paddywax Jane Austen candle
the fantasy bookmark pack from craftedvan

a Rafflecopter giveaway

But we didn't forget about all of our international followers. For those of you outside of the States, we're offering up your choice of any book from TBD, up to $15 USD.

  • This giveaway is international. As long as The Book Depository ships to your location, you are good to go. (You can double-check that here.)
  • One entry per household. 
  • Entries will be verified. Any entry found to be falsified will result in disqualification of all entries for that participant.
  • Please note that if you use your Twitter account solely for giveaway entries and you enter using the Tweet about the Giveaway entry, that entry will be disqualified. Please remember that this entry method is to spread the word about the giveaway, not simply increase your chances of winning.
  • Winner will be notified via email. Winner will then have 48 hours to respond before another winner will be selected. Please check your SPAM folder!!! 
  • We are not responsible for lost packages.  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Just our way of saying thanks for following and reading our rambling thoughts over these last four years. Here's to many more!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Welcome to my stop on The Game of Love and Death Blog Tour, hosted by the ladies of Rockstar Book Tours. I've got a review and giveaway for you, but be sure to check out the rest of the stops (schedule at the end of the post) for more awesome content, including interviews and guest posts from the author!

Title: The Game of Love and Death
Author: Martha Brockenbrough
Series: n/a
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Publication Date: April 28, 2015
Source: ARC received from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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Antony and Cleopatra. Helen of Troy and Paris. Romeo and Juliet. And now . . . Henry and Flora.

For centuries Love and Death have chosen their players. They have set the rules, rolled the dice, and kept close, ready to influence, angling for supremacy. And Death has always won. Always.

Could there ever be one time, one place, one pair whose love would truly tip the balance?

Meet Flora Saudade, an African-American girl who dreams of becoming the next Amelia Earhart by day and sings in the smoky jazz clubs of Seattle by night. Meet Henry Bishop, born a few blocks and a million worlds away, a white boy with his future assured — a wealthy adoptive family in the midst of the Great Depression, a college scholarship, and all the opportunities in the world seemingly available to him.

The players have been chosen. The dice have been rolled. But when human beings make moves of their own, what happens next is anyone’s guess.

Achingly romantic and brilliantly imagined, The Game of Love and Death is a love story you will never forget.

The Game of Love and Death was absolutely exquisite. It was eloquent and beautiful, and you can't help but be pulled into the love story of Henry and Flora. But this story wasn't just about the romance; there's also a lesson or two in there about overcoming fear, among other things.
"Death is the finest teacher. The finest, and the most cruel."
The book itself was incredibly atmospheric, set in 1937 after the Great Depression, when practically everyone but the rich white male was oppressed in some way or another. I found the depictions of life in this time period to be beautiful -- if not heartbreaking -- in their portrayal, and it all felt authentic based on what I know of the period from history texts and stories from my own grandparents. The inclusion of music as a common interest between the players but also as the soul-searing source of their bond was a brilliant touch.

I was completely engrossed as the game unfolded, and as the details of the game -- and some from previous games -- were revealed, I found myself drawn as much to the characters of Love and Death as I was to the players. They were so enigmatic and yet I felt I knew the truth of them from the very first page. But it was Henry and Flora's souls that captured my heart. Okay, and maybe Ethan's, too, for he stole my heart more completely with every page turned. None of them had an easy go of it, especially considering the times and what was considered taboo in those days. And taboo is probably putting it a little too mildly.
"But what were odds? The odds against any one human being born were tremendous. The chain of moments that led to it was long, a chain made of infinite human choices that each had to occur in sequence to lead to a particular birth. The odds of either Flora or Henry being here at all were one in four hundred trillion, give or take."
I came to love these characters and longed for them to beat Love and Death at their own game. Still, I never really felt that connection to the characters, that certain something that means I am 100% invested in the story. I knew them. And I would want to know them in real life. But the only time I felt that emotional pull toward them was when they were on the page together. Their chemistry was palpable, even when it was the lightest, most innocent of touches bringing it out of them. Yet, I felt a lot like Flora must have throughout the story: there and in the moment and yet not a part of it.

This story was gorgeous in execution and brilliantly told, the kind of love story that you can get swept away in without risking too much. Love and Death's past is haunting and slightly horrifying, and Henry and Flora's future is bleak, and yet the story as a whole is just so achingly beautiful. And terribly romantic. It's not just the story of two people falling in love but one of overcoming the odds and conquering fear. In a word: exquisite.

GIF it to me straight:

About the author:

Martha Brockenbrough (rhymes with broken toe) is the author of two books for adults and five books for young readers.

She's the founder of National Grammar Day (every March 4), and she's written game questions for Cranium and Trivial Pursuit. The former editor of, Martha has interviewed lots of celebrities, including the Jonas Brothers and Slash (his favorite dinosaur is the diplodocus). Her work has been published in a variety of places, including The New York Times. She also wrote an educational humor column for the online encyclopedia Encarta for nine years.

She lives in Seattle with her family. Her favorite kind of food is Indian, although Thai runs a close second. Besides writing, she likes board games, playing music with the family band, travel to places far and near, drinking lots of coffee, and working out really hard at the gym.

Find Martha:

Website | BlogTwitter | FacebookGoodreads | Pinterest | Tumblr

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Tour Schedule:

Week One:
4/20/2015 - Alice Marvels - Interview
4/21/2015 - Books, Bones & Buffy - Review
4/22/2015 - A Glass of Wine - Guest Post
4/23/2015 - Jump Into Books - Review
4/24/2015 - Icey Books - Interview

Week Two:
4/27/2015 - Fiction Freak - Review
4/28/2015 - Nerdophiles - Guest Post
4/29/2015 - The Starry-Eyed Revue - Review
4/30/2015 - Seeing Double in Neverland - Interview
5/1/2015   - Winterhaven Books - Review

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's WoW selections are...

's Pick:

Title: The White Rose
Author: Amy Ewing
Series: The Lone City #2
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: October 6th, 2015

Add to Goodreads
Violet is on the run. After the Duchess of the Lake catches Violet with Ash, the hired companion at the Palace of the Lake, Violet has no choice but to escape the Jewel or face certain death. So along with Ash and her best friend, Raven, Violet runs away from her unbearable life of servitude.

But no one said leaving the Jewel would be easy. As they make their way through the circles of the Lone City, Regimentals track their every move, and the trio barely manages to make it out unscathed and into the safe haven they were promised—a mysterious house in the Farm.

But there’s a rebellion brewing, and Violet has found herself in the middle of it. Alongside a new ally, Violet discovers her Auguries are much more powerful than she ever imagined. But is she strong enough to rise up against the Jewel and everything she has ever known?

The White Rose is a raw, captivating sequel to The Jewel that fans won’t be able to put down until the final shocking moments.

I read The Jewel last Summer and I really enjoyed it. It was fun. Also, I think I like this cover even more than the first. So pretty.

's Pick:

Title: Slasher Girls & Monster Boys
Author: various, stories selected by April Genevieve Tucholke
Series: anthology
Publisher: Dial
Publication Date: August 18, 2015

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For fans of Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Lois Duncan, and Daphne Du Maurier comes a powerhouse anthology featuring some of the best writers of YA thrillers and horror

A host of the smartest young adult authors come together in this collection of scary stories and psychological thrillers curated by Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’s April Genevieve Tucholke.

Each story draws from a classic tale or two—sometimes of the horror genre, sometimes not—to inspire something new and fresh and terrifying. There are no superficial scares here; these are stories that will make you think even as they keep you on the edge of your seat. From bloody horror to supernatural creatures to unsettling, all-too-possible realism, this collection has something for any reader looking for a thrill.

Fans of TV’s The Walking Dead, True Blood, and American Horror Story will tear through tales by these talented authors:

Stefan Bachmann
Leigh Bardugo
Kendare Blake
A. G. Howard
Jay Kristoff
Marie Lu
Jonathan Maberry
Danielle Paige
Carrie Ryan
Megan Shepherd
Nova Ren Suma
McCormick Templeman
April Genevieve Tucholke
Cat Winters

I don't read all that many anthologies, but I loved April's series about delicious devil boys with sparks and burns, so I know she won't fail to impress with this collection of thrillers. And some of my other favorite authors' works are included, which makes me doubly excited to get my hands on this.

What are you desperately waiting for this Wednesday? Let us know in the comments or share a link to your own WoW post!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

I am so excited that AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir releases today and that I get to share the news, along with a special introduction from Sabaa herself! I had the pleasure of reading an ARC, and I was pretty awestruck by this the best way. You can find my review here.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for signed copies of the book plus some of those awesome sword letter openers we’ve seen around, courtesy of Sabaa, Penguin Teen, and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

A letter from Sabaa Tahir:

Dear Readers,

Today, my “baby” AN EMBER IN THE ASHES is finally out in the world! From inception to pub date, this journey took eight years. And what a journey it was: writing, rewriting, revising, editing, querying, submitting; Meeting other debuts, bloggers, booksellers and librarians, and hearing their thoughts on EMBER. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe the radness.

And now, the book is here! I am so excited to see it in the hands of readers. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. To celebrate release day, I’m giving away two signed, first-edition hardcovers of the book. Details below!

All my best,


Title: An Ember in the Ashes
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: April 28, 2015
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Add to Goodreads
Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told.

LAIA is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire’s greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution.

ELIAS is the academy’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias is considering deserting the military, but before he can, he’s ordered to participate in a ruthless contest to choose the next Martial emperor.

When Laia and Elias’s paths cross at the academy, they find that their destinies are more intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change the future of the empire itself.

Check out the book trailer!

About the author:

Sabaa Tahir grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s 18-room motel. There, she spent her time devouring fantasy novels, raiding her brother’s comic book stash and playing guitar badly. She began writing An Ember in the Ashes while working nights as a newspaper editor. She likes thunderous indie rock, garish socks and all things nerd. Sabaa currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.

Find Sabaa:

WebsiteTwitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Tumblr | Instagram

Giveaway Details:

2 winners will receive a signed hardcover of AN EMBER IN THE ASHES. US Only.

3 winners will receive a hardcover of AN EMBER IN THE ASHES and a Sword Letter Opener! US Only.

Ends on May 9th at Midnight EST!

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the awesome ladies at The Broke and the Bookish. Apparently, they are overly fond of list-making and love to share their bookish lists with the rest of us book nerds.  =) We're game.

This week's topic is the Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Who _____ (are musically inclined, have lost someone, have depression, who grow up poor, etc.). We went with Characters Who See Dead People/Ghosts:

April's Picks:

I realize while doing this, I haven't read too many books with ghosts. This was a hard one. There was actually 2 that I wanted to add, but by adding them on here.. it spoiled the book. So I stuck with these 5. Anna Dressed in Blood may be my favorite ghost related book. I really need to read the second book. Harry Potter, well who doesn't love moaning Mertle! lol. The Summoning and Dark House has lots of Ghosty activity. And If I Stay, well that's kind of a stretch, but its a fabulous book so I'm using it.

Jen's Picks:

Hehe, April and I had a little fun with this TTT since we got to pick it for ourselves. =) Of course, The Raven Cycle and The Archived books are among my favorites ever, but I love the less serious vibe of the Hex Hall and Soul Screamers series, too. And the Shade series is a little bit funny, a little bit dangerous, and a whole lot romantic.

Do you enjoy books featuring the undead? :P What subject did you pick for today's open-ended topic? Be sure to share a link to your TTT post so we can visit!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Title: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: Becky Albertalli
Narrator(s): Michael Crouch
Series: stand-alone
Length: 6 hrs 45 mins
Publisher: Harper Audio
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
Source: received from publisher via Edelweiss, borrowed audiobook from library
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

I'll admit it: I didn't think this book could be as adorable as everyone was saying. There was just no way it could be that cute and funny while also dealing with a tough subject like this. But it was and it did…and in a way that felt genuine and realistic.

As is often the case, I had a review copy but never found the time to get to it, so I opted for an audiobook version from my library. Waiting to listen to this book instead of reading the copy I had was probably the best decision because the narrator totally sounds like Jesse Eisenberg, and I think I loved the story even more because of that. Because I could totally see him playing a character like Simon, so articulate and slightly awkward and completely adorable. I think the narration made this novel even more fun, if that's possible.

I loved their grammatically correct email correspondence between Simon and "Blue", getting to know each of them as they were getting to know each other over the course of months. It was so sweet to see them falling for each other, and yet each scared of fully investing themselves in this thing that was developing between them. Despite that, I was glad to see that they'd forged a friendship first, even if they were hesitant to name what they were becoming to each other and where that might lead.

This story was just so touching and thoughtful, even if the matter at hand was delicate and a little scary. I think the author did a fabulous job of portraying how difficult coming out is and how many relationships can be affected by doing so. I have someone in my life who has still not come out to his family and friends, despite all evidence pointing to it, but I get it, and I'll still love him either way. And I understood Simon's decision to wait until he was ready, even if others decided to make that decision for him.

The blackmail aspect left me more than slightly angry, especially since the kid doing the blackmailing could have been a nice guy and someone Simon might have been friends with, if not for the situation he'd forced Simon into. But taking that decision away from Simon was wrong in the worst possible way. His owning up to it and apologizing later in the story abated my anger somewhat, but the damage was done.

It's lucky for that kid that Simon had such awesome friends and family surrounding him. They didn't exactly make coming out easy, but they were there to support him. I actually really appreciated all of the relationships in this book, familial and otherwise. They were realistic, full of drama and genuine love, and they were honest. They were messy and complicated, just like in real life, and I loved them for it.

Honestly, I loved everything about this story. It was witty and adorkable and everything I'd already been told it was. I can't imagine that anyone with a heart could do anything but love this story. I can't believe this is the author's debut. May everything else she writes be as obscenely adorable as this.

GIF it to me straight:

About the author:

Becky Albertalli currently lives in Roswell, Georgia with her husband and two sons. She spends her days writing about teenagers and reading board books about trucks. She is a licensed clinical psychologist who got to work with the most amazing kids, teenagers, and adults. She is not currently practicing as a psychologist.

Find Becky:

Website | TwitterGoodreads | Tumblr | Instagram

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