Sweet Dreams Cover Reveal + Author Interview!

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Hey everyone!  Today I am SO excited to help reveal the cover of Sweet Dreams by Nadette Rae Rodgers, which is the third and final book in the Illusion trilogy! This series has been so intriguing, and I’m so honored that Nadette asked me to be a part of this exciting event.  Alongside that, I also had the opportunity to interview Nadette!

So, without further ado, let’s reveal the cover:

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I think this cover is so gorgeous and compliments books 1 and 2 so well!  I am really looking forward to reading Sweet Dreams and seeing how this series concludes.  Just looking at this cover makes me so excited and hopeful!!

Sweet Dreams is set to release on September 15th, but you can pre-order it now by clicking here!

Also, if you’re new to the series, be sure to check out books 1 and 2 below (Psst: they’re both on Kindle Unlimited!)

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Also, like I shared earlier, I had the opportunity to interview Nadette Rae Rodgers as well!  It is all about writing, books, and of course, the Illusion Trilogy!


1. How old were you when you first started writing?

 

Honestly, I have been writing ever since I learned how! Of course, when I was little, it was more of little Christmas poems or “books” that were about a page. I have just always loved writing! But, I first began writing my first novel (Illusion) when I was 14!

 

2. Tell me a little about your writing process. Do you have a writing routine? Any writing playlists?

 

My writing routine depends on the type of scene I’m writing. But usually, I turn on the twinkly lights in my room, pick a playlist that fits what I’ll be writing about then, listen to a song or two while I jot down quick notes and ideas I have, and then I just start typing on my Alphasmart. I also love to have hot chocolate or coffee in my Eiffel Tower mug too! If I really need inspiration or get stuck, I get out my baby blue typewriter!

 

I am very inspired by music! So, yes! I have many writing playlists. I have a few that are just instrumental songs, usually from movie soundtracks I loved. I also have a playlist on my Spotify for each book I write. On it are songs that either remind me of a certain scene I’m writing because of the lyrics or sometimes I add songs to my playlist because it reminds me of a song my characters might be listening to.

3. What inspired you to write The Illusion Trilogy?

 

I find dreams fascinating! I think it is so interesting how the mind is subconsciously telling us something by our dreams. I’m sure everyone has felt that deja vu feeling after a strange dream at at least one point in their lives. I just started wondering what would happen if someone felt like that every day of their life.

 

Also, at the time, I kept searching for a certain type of book– one that combined romance and action and something unique but relatable. I couldn’t really find it. So I thought about the quote by Toni Morrison that says, ““If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” So I sat down and started writing the book I was looking for!

 

4. How long did it take for you to write the first draft?

 

The first draft took a few months. However, I wrote it when I was 14 and quite literally put it away in a box under my bed until my senior year of high school. I spent that whole school year working with my creative writing teacher to edit the book and get it ready for print.

 

5. Was it harder or easier to write the sequels?

 

To be honest, a little bit of both. It was easier because I was developing the dream world futher and the characters were showing more backstory and personality. It was easier because there was so much I wanted to do with the story, so I finally had the chance to dig deeper in the story than you do in book one.

 

However, it was also harder because I honestly wrote book one without really thinking I would publish it. So writing the sequels was interesting because I now had a deadline and also an audience reading what I was writing to consider.

 

6. What do you do when you face writer’s block?

 

I don’t want my books to seem forced. I want them to flow and feel realistic. If I get stuck, I usually take a break from writing for a little bit and revisit it. Another thing I try to do is actually write whatever scene I am struggling with in a different way. For instance, I’ll try it from another character’s point of view or I might write it as a journal entry. This way it gives me another way of looking at the situation.

 

7.  Who/what are some of the authors and books that have inspired you on your writing journey?

 

Oh my goodness! So many!

 

A big one is Ally Carter. She wrote the Gallagher Girl’s series. I have always loved her writing; I like the way it feels like the main character is just having a conversation with you and telling you about her day. I wanted my books to have that vibe too.

 

A classic book that inspired me was The Scarlet Letter  by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I had been reading that book for school around the time I was writing Illusion, and I think you can really see some influence of that book in the antagonist of Illusion.

 

8. Now that The Illusion Trilogy is coming to a close, do you have any other projects in the works?

 

I have my second children’s book coming out in a few weeks! It’s called Hoo’s Birthday Is It? and has the same adorable Little Yellow Owl as Hoo Loves You. It has a few new fun characters, too, like frogs and foxes!

 

I have had some ideas for a YA standalone novel for the past few years. I can’t get it out of my head! I have been working on that a little bit over the past few years, but have been focused on The Illusion Trilogy. Now that this trilogy is done, I do think I want to try my hand at a standalone, just to see the difference in three books to just one.

 

9. And one last question, aside from writing, what are some of your other interests and hobbies?

 

I am currently a college student studying Speech Pathology! I am very interested in that field and am so excited for my future as a Speech Pathologist!

 

I also love dancing (I am a preschool dance teacher), reading, watching Gilmore Girls with my mom and The Office with my family, and spending time with my friends.


Thank you so much, Nadette, for the opportunity to not only reveal the cover of Sweet Dreams, but also interview you!  It has been so much fun. 🙂

You can follow Nadette on Twitter, Instagram, her blog, and website!

Also, Nadette is hosting an exciting giveaway for Sweet Dreams right now.  So be sure to head on over to both of our Instagrams to get all the details on that!

Thank you all so much for reading, and remember to check out Sweet Dreams, releasing September 15th!


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Book Review | The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls

the last summer of the garrett girls.jpgTitle: The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls by Jessica Spotswood

Pages: 320

Genres: YA, Contemporary, Romance

Published by: Sourcebooks Fire (June 5th, 2018)

Summary

One summer will challenge everything the Garrett sisters thought they knew about themselves—and each other.

Kat lands the lead in the community theater’s summer play, but the drama spills offstage when her ex and his new girlfriend are cast too. Can she get revenge by staging a new romance of her own?

Bea and her boyfriend are heading off to college together in the fall, just like they planned when they started dating. But Bea isn’t sure she wants the same things as when she was thirteen…

Vi has a crush on the girl next door. It makes her happy and nervous, but Cece has a boyfriend…so it’s not like her feelings could ever be reciprocated, right?

As the oldest, Des shoulders a lot of responsibility for her family and their independent bookstore. Except it’s hard to dream big when she’s so busy taking care of everyone else.

The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls

What I Thought

I saw this book at Target and was instantly intrigued!  Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood has been on my TBR for years now, and so when I saw another one of her books, I was very curious.  After reading the back, I just knew The Last Summer of the Garret Girls was going to be a fun summer read, and had to check it out!

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Waiting on Wednesday

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Waiting on Wednesday/Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly feature, started by Breaking the Spine and continued by Wishful Endings, that puts the spotlight on upcoming releases! 

This week’s pick is:

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

RELEASING SEPTEMBER 18TH, 2018

the 7 half deaths of evelyn hardcastle.jpgHow do you stop a murder that’s already happened?

At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed—again. She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend—but nothing and no one is quite what they seem.

Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut that will appeal to fans of Kate Atkinson and Agatha Christie.

This book sounds so incredibly intriguing!  I know it was already released in other countries earlier this year, but this book is finally coming to America, and I am quite excited.  I’ve been hearing some great things about this book.  I have a feeling that The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is going to be one of those books that I just love.  So, I’m super excited to read this one and see if it lives up to my expectations!

 

 

 


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Book Review | Tied to Deceit | Tied to Deceit Blog Tour!

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Hey everyone!  To celebrate the recent release of Tied to Deceit by debut novelist, Neena H. Brar, I’m reviewing the book for my stop on the blog tour!

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Title: Tied to Deceit by Neena H. Brar

Pages: 328

Genres: Mystery

Published by: Penguide (Aug. 4th, 2018)

Summary

On a drizzly August morning, the inhabitants of the hill town of Sanover, Himachal Pradesh, wake up to the shocking news of the murder of the exquisite, secretive, malicious, and thoroughly immoral Devika Singh.

As Superintendent of Police Vishwanath Sharma begins to sift through the hidden secrets of Devika Singh’s life, it becomes evident that everyone who knew her seems to have a clear-cut motive for killing her.

Faced with the investigation of a crime that appears to have as many suspects as there are motives, Vishwanath Sharma probes the sinister web spun around a tangle of lies and deception.

Praise for Tied to Deceit:

“A remarkable whodunit that’s as sharp as it is concise.

Brar enhances her taut murder mystery with an engaging setting that effectively incorporates the local culture. The smart, believable denouement will have readers looking forward to Brar’s next endeavor.”

-Kirkus Reviews

“A literary mystery saga that includes far more depth and psychological and cultural insights than your typical murder mystery’s scenario.”

-D. Donovan, Midwest Book Review

Tied to Deceit

What I Thought

When I first read the synopsis for Tied to Deceit, I was instantly intrigued! I love a good mystery, and this one looked like it would not disappoint.

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#CLASSICSATHON TBR!

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Hello!  Today I’m going to share with you all the classic books I hope to read during the month of August for the #ClassicsAThon, hosted by Lucy Powrie, AKA, Lucy The Reader!  This is a super chill readathon, and it started August 1st, and goes throughout the entire month of August, ending on the 31st.  I’m jumping in a few days late, but that’s okay, I’m going with it!  The goal of the readathon is simply to read as much, or as little, classic literature as you want.

I’m sure I won’t get to all the books on my TBR, especially since I have other, non-classic books that I hope to read this month as well, but it would be really nice if I was able to read as many of them as I can.  I also think the #ClassicsAThon will really compliment my own #2018ClassicsChallenge, and help cross off a few more books!

So, without further ado, here’s all the classic books I want to read this month:

The Count of Monte Cristo

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I’ve been reading The Count of Monte Cristo off and on all summer.  One of my summer goals was to read a large classic, and with over 1,000 pages, this book has been doing its job!  That being said, I’m only on chapter 20, so I still have quite a while to go.  While I don’t know if I’ll be able to actually finish the entire book this month, I’d really like to get a good chunk of it read!

The Trees

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I’ll be honest, I don’t know much about this book.  I found out about The Trees from my grandma, and it’s supposed to be really good.  It takes place in Ohio at the end of the 18th century, and from what I’ve gathered, it’s a bit of an Ohioan classic.  Since I live in Ohio, I thought I’d give it a read!

Elsie’s Holiday at Roselands

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This series is considered a Christian classic, but it’s also a bit controversial.  It was written back when slavery was still acceptable, and so, there are some derogatory comments and abusive actions in this book.  That being said, the series was rewritten and revised in the early 2000’s and that series was one of my favorites when I was growing up.  Now that I’m older, I’m curious about the original series though, and I’ve started reading it.  Elsie’s Holiday at Roselands is book 2 in the series!

Anne of Ingleside

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Many of you know my love for Anne!  So, it’s no surprise that I would want to add a book from this series on my TBR.  I’ve been hesitant to read the rest of the Anne series for the simple fact that I love these books so much I don’t wan them to end.  That being said, I still really want to finish the series.  So, I’ve decided it’s time to continue on!

Rebecca

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I can’t even tell you how many wonderful things I’ve heard about Rebecca!  This book sounds so intriguing, and it is one that has been on my TBR for so long now.  I am so excited to read this book!


And there you have it!  That’s my TBR for the #ClassicsAThon!  Like I said, I probably won’t get these all read, but I’m hoping to get a good amount of reading done this month, so we shall see.

Let me know if you’re participating in this readathon, and if you are, what’s on your TBR?  Even if you’re not participating this time around, share with me your favorite classic book in the comments!

Thanks for reading!


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Book Review | Starry Eyes

starry eyes.jpgTitle: Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

Pages: 432

Genres: YA, Contemporary, Romance

Published by: Simon Pulse (April 3rd, 2018)

Summary

Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern day, Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets.

But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.

What could go wrong?

With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely.

And as the two travel deeper into Northern California’s rugged backcountry, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world? Or was it just a result of the fresh forest air and the magic of the twinkling stars?

Starry Eyes

What I Thought

I’d been seeing quite a bit of buzz about Starry Eyes, so I knew it would only be a matter of time before I picked it up.  Well, I finally picked it up from the library a couple weeks ago for Bookshelf Tee’s Book Club July pick, and I am so glad I did!

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July Wrap-Up!

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Can you guys even believe that it is August?!  Summer is flying by!  We still have a month left, though, so I’m going to appreciate it and soak up every second of summer that I can.

Altogether, I read six books in July!

BOOKS READ

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– Illusion by Nadette Rae Rodgers (ebook) \\ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

– The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares (reread) \\ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

– Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett \\ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

– The Blood Race by K. A. Emmons  (ebook) \\ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

– After the Storm (Heartland #2) by Lauren Brooke \\ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

– Breaking Free (Heartland #3) by Lauren Brooke \\ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

STANDOUT BOOK OF THE MONTH

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I have to go with Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett.  This book was so fun, adventurous, and romantic.  It made a great summer read, and made me really want to go camping!

 

BOOKS REVIEWED

Save the Date by Morgan Matson \\ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Borrowers by Mary Norton \\ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Goldie Vance Vol. 1 by Hope Larson \\ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Blood Race by K. A. Emmons \\ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

BOOK HAUL

I received a copy of The Orphan’s Wish by Melanie Dickerson as part of the Just Reads Publicity Tour!

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MISCELLANEOUS

Top Ten Tuesday new 

Here’s all the TTT’s I participated in during the month of July:

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This month I only had one Waiting on Wednesday to share with you guys:

 

Worlds beneath blog tour

I was also a part of the Worlds Beneath Blog Tour in July!


Overall, it was a bit of a quieter blogging month, but I still managed to post quite a bit and keep up a little bit of a posting schedule, and so, I am content.  Also, compared to last July’s stats, I received over double the amount of views and visitors and over three times the amount of likes and comments. So, I am celebrating how far The Calico Books has come since last year!

Here’s to a really great August!

Thanks for reading!


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Top Ten Books That Lived Up To The Hype

Top Ten Tuesday new

It’s Top Ten Tuesday again!  It’s a weekly bookish list hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl! This week’s topic is:

BOOKS THAT LIVED UP TO THE HYPE

You know those books that everyone just loves so much, you don’t know how you could possibly love it as much as everyone else seems to?  I’m reading one right now (The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, and had this been next week’s topic, let me just say, this book might have been on it!), and while it’s super intimidating to start books like that, sometimes they actually do live up to the hype.  Also, while I usually explain each of my choices, I’ve decided just to list the books, because otherwise I’d be saying the same thing for every choice: “I’d heard so many great things about this book that I didn’t think I would be able to enjoy it as much as everyone else.  But guess what, I did!” lol

So, here’s 10 books that did just that for me!

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Let me know about some books that lived up to their hype for you!

Thanks for reading!


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Book Review | The Blood Race | Worlds Beneath Blog Tour + Giveaway!

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Hello!  Today is my stop for the Worlds Beneath blog tour!  Worlds Beneath is book 2 in The Blood Race series, which was released on July 1st.  To celebrate, I’ll be sharing my review of book #1, The Blood Race, as well giving you the chance to enter to a win a signed, paperback copy of it!

Alright, let’s get this party started!


TheBloodRaceCover.pngTitle: The Blood Race (The Blood Race #1) by K. A. Emmons

Pages: 318

Genres: YA, Fantasy/Sci-fi

Published by: Self-published (July 27th, 2017)

Summary

I’ve been running from my past for one hundred years. And I’m still just a teenager.

I was selected by my teacher, Sensei, to train in The Dimension: a secret place of refuge for the ‘anomalies’ of past, present, and future earth. Here I would learn to connect to my ‘warrior within’ as Sensei calls it – to channel energy orbs, commute between realms, and even shape-shift into an alternate form. But never did I guess that my training would include taking on an anomaly student of my own: a loose cannon of a college guy named Ion.

Late one evening, I invite him over to Sensei’s house for a little chat; one that will turn his life upside-down. Shoving him into the broom closet turned portal, I drag Ion into the Dimension, opening his eyes to his true homeland: a realm of anomalies. His kin.

As we train to become Protectors of future Earth, battling each other as well as our own demons, I begin to realize that there’s more to Ion than I originally thought: a darkness he’s spent his life running from. And beyond that, a looming threat hidden in plain sight – something that could destroy me, him, and the future of Earth.

The Blood Race is K.A. Emmons’ debut novel, and the first book in a riveting and fresh YA sci-fi/fantasy thriller series. Pick up your copy of The Blood Race today!

The Blood Race (The Blood Race, #1)

What I Thought

*I received an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!  A huge thank you to author and Livy Lynn Blog Tours!*

Going into this book, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  When it comes to sci-fi/fantasy novels, I sometimes struggle to connect to the story, and often get confused.  I’ll be honest, I was hesitant to even read this book because of that.  The synopsis just kept drawing me in, though.  I’m so glad I decided to give this book a chance!

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