Thursday, April 13, 2017

A World Without Tacos - A Blog Tour Post

Hi everyone!

I don't know if you have heard or not, but dragons absolutely love tacos.  Tacos are their most favorite thing in the world.  They eat them day in and day out.  Nothing is better than a taco.  There is a whole book telling us about this...and there is a dragon with a taco right here!

But could you imagine what the world would be like without tacos?!

I mean just look at this glorious thing!  How could anyone even want to live in a world without tacos in it?

For one thing we have to think about the dragons!  What would they eat if they didn't have any tacos?!

And then we need to think about the babies....  Would they just eat rice like this poor kid pictured here?

What about the dogs?  What would they be asking for with their puppy dog eyes if not tacos?

To me it is obvious that they want tacos.  There is no way it couldn't be about tacos!

To imagine a world without tacos is horrible.  We want to see the kids laughing and happy.  We don't want to see them like this...

A world without tacos is definitely not a world I want to live in...

Good thing we have these two books to help us remember how important tacos are (especially to Dragons).  The first one is out now, and the sequel is out soon!!!


And yes...there is a giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter for a chance to win one (1) of five (5) Dragons Love Tacos Book and Toy Sets (ARV: $17.99 each).
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on April 3, 2017 and 12:00 AM on May 1, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about May 5, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

And check out the rest of the tour!  There is a lot of good stuff!

Week One:
April 3 – Pirates n’ Pixie Dust – Taco Scavenger Hunt
April 4 – Margie’s Must Reads – Review + Recipe
April 5 – A Story a Day – Review + Taco Craft
April 6 – The Book Shire – Review
April 7 – Swoony Boys Podcast – Recipe + Taco Craft
Week Two:
April 10 – Ali’s Book Nook – Review + Recipe
April 11 – Mundie Kids – Review + Taco Party Checklist
April 12 – The Children’s Book Review – When You Invite a Dragon to Dinner…
April 13 – Reading is Better with Cupcakes – A World Without Tacos?!
April 14 – My Bookbloom – Review + Taco Activity
Week Three:
April 17 – As They Grow Up – Review
April 18 – The Book Nut – Taco Soup Recipe
April 19 – YA Book Nerd – Missing Taco Hunt
April 20 – Inspiration Laboratories – Dragons Love Tacos Birthday Party
April 21 – In Wonderland – Review + Taco Salad Recipe
Week Four:
April 24 – A Homeschool Mom – Review + Chili Pepper Experiment
April 25 – The Plot Bunny – Review + Recipe
April 26 – No BS Book Reviews – Taco Craft
April 27 – My Little Poppies – Review
April 28 – Happily Ever Elephants – Review

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Blog Tour: Stranger Things Have Happened by Jeff Strand

Title: Stranger Things Have Happened
Author: Jeff Strand
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Source: Publisher

Hey!  I'm back with yet another book that should be on your radar!  It is definitely on mine, I just sadly haven't gotten around to reading it (story of my life and my overwhelming tbr pile!) but I wanted to make sure you all knew about it too!

First up, here is what the book is about:

You can’t always believe what you see in this hilarious coming of age novel from the author of The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever and I Have a Bad Feeling about This

Harry Houdini. Penn and Teller. David Copperfield. Marcus Millian the Third.

Okay, so Marcus isn’t a famous magician. He may not even be a great magician. But his great-grandfather, the once-legendary and long-retired Zachary the Stupendous, insists Marcus has true talent. And when Grandpa Zachary boasts that he and Marcus are working on an illusion that will shock, stun, and astonish, Marcus wishes he could make himself disappear.

The problem? Marcus also has stage fright—in spades. It’s one thing to perform elaborate card tricks in front of his best friend, Kimberly, but it’s an entirely different feat to perform in front of an audience.

Then Grandpa Zachary dies in his sleep.

To uphold his great-grandfather’s honor, the show must go on. It would take a true sorcerer to pull off the trick Marcus has planned. But maybe he’s the next best thing…

Up next we have some words from the author Jeff Strand:

Hello. I'm author Jeff Strand. If you tolerated A Bad Day For Voodoo, were ambivalent toward I Have a Bad Feeling About This, and had little or no opinion regarding The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever, I'm pleased to announced that you'll be equally unenthused about my latest YA novel, Stranger Things Have Happened.

It's an extremely silly comedy about 15-year-old Marcus Millian III, who aspires to be a legendary magician like his great-grandfather, Zachary the Stupendous. The problem (well, the first problem of many) is that he suffers from paralyzing stage fright. That's a bit of an issue when you want to be a stage magician.

Some stuff happens, and Marcus finds himself part of a bet between Grandpa Zachary and his arch-nemesis Bernard. Marcus has to invent and perform a ridiculously amazing illusion that will astound the audience at Bernard's theater. Yeah, this is going to be a challenge, but at least he's got Grandpa Zachary to help him. Until Grandpa Zachary dies in his sleep.

So now Marcus is on his own. Well, not entirely. He's got his neighbor (and secret crush) Kimberly to help out, along with the very socially awkward and heavily bullied new kid, Peter, who has...secrets. Together they will work to create the ultimate illusion, one that may or may not involve making a shark disappear from a tank in front of a live audience.

Also, there's a really evil guy named Sinister Seamus. Watch out for him.

Readers who are into magic (of the Penn & Teller variety, not Harry Potter) should enjoy this book because that's kind of what the whole thing is about. Readers who are into books that are filled with silly (some might even say stupid) jokes should also enjoy it. It's also about overcoming obstacles and following your dreams, if that's the angle you want to play.

And of course we have an excerpt:

“What is this slop?” asked Grandpa Zachary.

“Shhhh,” Mom hushed.

“Marcus, do your magic. Turn this food into something edible—wait. No magician has that much talent.”

Marcus was with his family at a fund-raiser potluck for a local animal shelter. Since his retirement, Grandpa Zachary had focused his attention on raising money for charitable causes, although he had trouble sticking with any particular cause for very long. Last month he’d been saving the red-tailed hawk, which he later discovered was nowhere close to being an endangered species.

“I wouldn’t feed this slop to the dogs we’re trying to help,” said Grandpa Zachary.

“Shhhh,” Mom repeated.

“I’m speaking at a very low volume. The people who brought this vile gunk won’t hear.”

There were about fifty people in the park. Admission was five dollars. Plus you were supposed to bring your own dish of food to share. Grandpa Zachary didn’t generate a lot of money for his causes, but he did give most of his free time.

Grandpa Zachary dipped a pretzel stick into the translucent goo and popped it into his mouth. “Actually, that’s infinitely better than it looks. I withdraw my criticism.” He snapped off the end of his pretzel so he wouldn’t be accused of double dipping. (Grandpa Zachary hated double dippers.) Then he plunged the pretzel into the sludge again. “Marcus Three, do me a favor. Find me a paper bowl so we can take this home with us. It’s delicious.”

Marcus went off in search of a bowl, grabbing an oatmeal raisin cookie along the way. The band, which had arrived half an hour late, was finally set up and ready to perform. The lead singer was wearing sweatpants, a white hat, and nothing else. He had dark circles under his eyes and looked like his latest shower was a distant memory.

“Good evening, everybody,” the singer said into the microphone. He held onto the stand as if to keep himself upright. “We’re Banjo Dan and the Wham Zaps. We’ve been drinking since nine-thirty this morning. Enjoy the show.”

He plucked a few strings on his instrument, which Marcus was pretty sure was a ukulele and not a banjo.

“This is a benefit for an animal shelter, right? So here’s a little song we wrote called ‘Your Wife Is Uglier than a Dog’.”

“Nope, nope, nope, we won’t be hearing that,” said Grandpa Zachary, hurrying up to the stage. For an eighty-nine-year-old, the man could move.

Still, he wasn’t fast enough to get there before Banjo Dan passed out. The other two members of the band just stood there, staring awkwardly at their fallen leader.

“What other songs do you know?” Grandpa Zachary asked them.

“Uhhhh…we actually just stand here and pretend to play.”

“Begone!” cried Grandpa Zachary. “Take your snookered friend with you. Shame, shame, shame!”

The Wham Zaps dragged Banjo Dan away.

Grandpa Zachary picked up the microphone. “Ladies and gentlemen, I apologize for that crass spectacle. What a disgrace.” He shook his head and started to scan the audience. “But the show will go on. Let us amuse you with a different act.”

Marcus suddenly felt sick to his stomach. He began to sweat. It was hard to breathe. His feet hurt, even though he couldn’t explain why.

Grandpa Zachary’s gaze fell on him, and Marcus started to tremble. He loved to perform tricks for Kimberly. Loved to perform tricks for his great-grandfather. Loved to perform tricks for his parents. But he was terrified of performing in front of an audience. He’d never done it before.
It was a fear he knew he’d have to overcome to pursue his dream of being a famous magician, but he sure wasn’t over it yet.

Grandpa Zachary cleared his throat. “Ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together in a warm welcome for Marcus!”

And of course we can't forget the giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 10, 2017

Blog Tour: Pretty Fierce by Kieran Scott

Title: Pretty Fierce
Author: Kieran Scott
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Source: Publisher

Hi Guys!

I am just here to help put this gorgeous book onto your radar!  It is definitely on my to read list, I just haven't been able to get to it yet.

Wondering what it is about?  Well here is the blurb!

An action-packed, edge-of-your-seat novel about a teen who, when backed into a corner, fights back, from the author of What Waits in the Woods

Kaia has been on the run her whole life. The daughter of professional assassins, she knows danger—and she’ll do anything to survive. After her parents vanished during a job gone bad, Kaia’s spent the last year in hiding, trying to blend in as an ordinary teenager, and there’s no one who makes her feel more normal, more special, than her boyfriend, Oliver.

But when she's attacked by someone from her mother's past and Oliver catches her fighting back, Kaia's secret is exposed. In a split-second decision, she flees the small town, taking Oliver with her. Stalked at every turn, Oliver and Kaia must protect each other...or die trying.

Think that is all I got for you today? Well you are is something from the author Kieran Scott!

One of my favorite things about writing PRETTY FIERCE was trying to figure out what Kaia would do next. I don’t consider myself to be particularly brave—except for the fact that I don’t mind public speaking which is one of those things that keeps people awake at night. But I imagine that if I were ever in a situation like Kaia is in—being pursued by bad guys, hunted down at every turn, forced to try to protect the man I loved—I’d probably end up a ball of blubbering mush in a corner. So when I was writing her, I would try to imagine the exact opposite of what I would do in a given situation, and then write that. More often than not, it ended up being the thing that I wish I would have the guts to do, but really just couldn’t imagine myself doing. And that’s what I think makes a great kick-butt heroine—someone who allows us to see the possibilities of what we could do—what we could be—if we could find that deep well of courage within ourselves.

Here is one of my favorite kick-butt heroines:

Laia, An Ember in the Ashes, Sabaa Tahir

This book is just one of those reads that completely blew me away. It’s not only full of action and emotion and suspense and a ridiculously well-realized world, but the characters are so believable and realistically flawed. Laia, though an orphan, lives a relatively peaceful life in the military state of the Martial Empire, but when her grandparents are slain right in front of her and her brother, Darin—her only living relative—taken to prison, she rises to the occasion. Though Laia is almost always afraid, she takes on the role of spy/slave under basically the scariest woman in all of literature—the Commandant of Blackcliff Academy—in an attempt to save her brother. Laia’s fierceness is a quiet, but incredibly powerful kind. Sometimes the greatest strength lies where you least expect it.

Oh but I am not done yet!  I also have an excerpt to share!!!

Oliver was bartering with the cab driver, trying to tip him with cans of soup, when we pulled up in front of my house, and their conversation faded into the background. A lump the size of a soccer ball formed in my throat. The house was exactly the same.
Same olive-green siding, same intricate white trim, same yellow and purple flowers bursting from the flower boxes. My parents’ rocking chairs sat on the porch, angled toward each other as if waiting for them to walk out the front door with glasses of lemonade. Next to them was the wicker couch that I’d always laid out on, my knees crooked over the arm, my bare feet dangling down the side closest to my father, so he could tickle them. The door was the same burgundy color and looked freshly painted. The lawn was recently mowed.
Was someone living here?
My heart seized.
Was my mother living here?
What if I walked through the door, and she was sitting on the couch in her old, fluffy pink slippers, waiting for me? What if, all along, all I’d needed to do was come home? The idea made me queasy with excitement and dread.
The taxi’s door opened, and Oliver was there, right in front of me. I blinked up at him. I hadn’t even heard him get out of the car. He offered his hand, but I ignored it and shoved myself out, feeling silly. I walked to the end of the driveway and looked at the garage. I could see the top of my father’s silver SUV through the garage door window. I felt disoriented, as if I’d stepped into a time warp.
“What?” Oliver asked. “What is it?”
“My dad’s car. It’s still here.”
If anyone was living here, it wasn’t a new family.
My pulse raced. I bounded up the porch steps and over to the fourth shingle under the second window, jabbing my fingers up under the crease. A key fell into my hand and the lump in my throat widened.
“You okay?” Oliver asked.
All I could do was nod. Tears were threatening to spill over. I shoved the key into the lock, turned it, and pushed open the door, quaking with pent-up emotions—anticipation battling it out with hope and anger and fear.
No one was home. That was obvious the second I stepped inside. The air was stale with the scent of too many hot days with windows locked tight. A thin layer of dust had accumulated on the table next to the stairs, where my mother’s favorite, framed picture of our family sat. I ran a finger through the dust and swallowed.
Oliver squeezed my shoulders. “So,” he said lightly. “This is where you grew up.”
“Sort of. I mean, we were hardly ever here, but…we were here more than any other place. My parents called it ‘home base.’”
Oliver kissed my cheek and squeezed my shoulders again, grounding me. Reminding me that even though my parents weren’t here, he was. He headed toward the foot of the stairs.
“What’re you doing?” I asked, swiping a hand across my cheek.
His fingers curled around the top of the newel post and he grinned. “I’m going to go see your room.”
Oh crap.
“Oliver! Oliver, no!”
But he’d gotten a lead on me. By the time I made it to the second floor he was already throwing open doors. To the bathroom, the linen closet, the spare room, and then—
“Don’t,” I said, eyeing his hand on the doorknob.
“Oh, but I have to,” he replied playfully.
He opened the door, and a shaft of pink light engulfed him.
“Oh. My. God. It’s like a My Little Pony shrine in here!”
My love of pink had come from my mother. But while she had used the color as a mere accent—a bag strap here, a beaded bracelet there, the occasional stripe on a headband—I had embraced the color with every fiber of my being. When I was four.
“You cannot judge me by this room!” I said, arriving at the door as he flung himself, face up, onto my canopy bed.
Damn. It was even pinker than I remembered. A light pink rug, pink and hot pink striped walls, a pink flowered canopy and pink plaid sheets. There were pink stuffed animals, a pink-framed mirror, pink bookshelves filled with pink and purple and white books and toys and knickknacks. There was no color in the room other than pink and white and purple. Except for Oliver. He was all gray T-shirt and tan skin and blond hair.
“I never had you pegged for a Disney Princess,” Oliver said, pushing himself up on his elbows.
I walked over and sat next to him. The bed gave a familiar squeak. “I thought about changing it when I was thirteen, but we never got around to it. We were rarely here, so it didn’t seem to matter. I never even thought about the fact that a guy might see it one day.”
“Are you saying I’m the first guy you ever invited into your Barbie Dreamhouse?”
“I didn’t exactly invite you,” I pointed out, shoving his chest. “You barreled right in.”
Oliver reached an arm around my waist. He got that look in his eye he only got when we were entirely alone. It made my heart catch.
“Just like the day we met.”
I smiled. The day we met. Probably the single best day of my life.
Now, an entire year of kisses and phone calls and texts and adventures and secrets and whispers and near-death experiences between us, we were sitting in my pink explosion of a room, and I was overwhelmed by the sheer luck I felt at finding him. I leaned down and kissed him. He pulled me to him, pressing the whole length of his body against mine, and slid his hand under my short hair, around the back of my neck. We kissed for a long time, legs intertwining, chests bumping, hands exploring. For those few spare minutes, there was only Oliver.
Then he rolled me onto my back, and I winced as one particular bruise on my spine ached. I sat up, remembering why we were here. Oliver almost fell off the bed.
“What? What’s wrong?” he said.
“Oliver,” I replied, gasping for air. “I have to show you something.”

And last but not least GIVEAWAY!