Debut Author Take Over: We Rule the Night by Claire Barlett

Sadly I have come to the end of my debut author take over journey. I have had a great time working with this ladies that are new to the YA world. They have brought a spark back to my blogging life and I’m so grateful to them and to the people at  Class of 2k19 Books that contacted me and asked if I had any interest in working with this new gems.

For my last (planned) debut author take over I have Claire Barlett joining me. Claire’s debut, We Rule the Night is out on April 2, 2019. I haven’t yet read the book but I personally can’t wait. It sounds so amazing!

 

Thank you so much, Andi’s ABCs, for the chance to do a guest post! I’m super excited because today I’ll be talking about one of my favorite things: tropes.

Tropes are the building blocks of a story, whether they’re played straight, inverted, subverted or otherwise messed with. Some tropes target a community and pigeonhole marginalized groups in bad ways (for example, the bury your gays trope) and these tropes should die a horrible death. But otherwise, tropes can be effective tools, and fun to spot in the makeup of a story – at least for my nerdy self.

While writing We Rule the Night, I thought a lot about tropes – tropes I wanted to use and tropes I wanted to challenge. Of course, by the time I’d finished, I’d ended up with some unintentional tropes in the novel as well! Here are a few of the tropes present in We Rule the Night – if you’re a sucker for any of these, maybe you’d like to try out the book!

There Are No Adults: Missing, dead, off at war – doesn’t matter. The teens are in this by themselves.

I couldn’t resist this trope, even though it’s the most common one in YA! There is some slight historical relevance to it, but let’s face it – books are more fun when parents aren’t around to criticize your main character’s terrible decisions.(link: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ThereAreNoAdults)

Yellow Eyes of Sneakiness: The yellow eyes of sneakiness point to someone, well, sneaky. Wily. Cunning and clever, and often with an ulterior motive. 

In We Rule the Night, the Yellow Eyes of Sneakiness denote a group of people known as the Information Unit. I’ll leave it to you to guess what they do!(link: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/YellowEyesOfSneakiness)

Women are Better than Men: It’s not that they’re better than men, per se. But the main characters are women  and the few men present are evil, incompetent or both.

This trope is part of the Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality. And for the record, no. I don’t think women are better than men. But the central characters of We Rule the Night are women and girls, with few exceptions, and the men of the novel usually stand in the girls’ way. I purposefully wrote a story with a gender imbalance, not just because of my source material (a real life night bombing regiment known as the Night Witches), but also because in so much fantasy, even fantasy with a female main character, there’s a big gender imbalance the other way.(link to the sliding scale of gender inequality: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SlidingScaleOfGenderInequality)(link to the night witches: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_Witches)

Not Like Other Girls (inverted): She’s special. She does things other girls couldn’t or wouldn’t do. And she doesn’t go in for that feminine stuff. Of course, the other girls hate her for no reason, and the boys respect her…because they’ve got to respect someone, and it won’t be the girly girl.

A much and rightly despised trope, that has irritated me for many years. I set out to challenge it with We Rule the Night, and include a host of girls with different hobbies and preferences. And without giving away too much of the story, Linne’s main challenge is to see that trying to be Not Like Other Girls isn’t a good thing! All girls are valid and unique, and being like other girls is something to be proud of!(link: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/NotLikeOtherGirls)

There are many more tropes in We Rule the Night, so if you are intrigued and want to find more, grab a copy of the book on April 2nd! Sound off with your favorite (or least favorite!) tropes in the comments, and I hope to have more nerdy talks with you all in the future. Thank you again, Andi the brilliant host!

(link to pre-orders: https://www.lbyr.com/titles/claire-eliza-bartlett/we-rule-the-night/9780316417266/)

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Debut Author Take Over: We Rule the Night by Claire BarlettWe Rule the Night by Claire Eliza Bartlett
Published: April 2, 2019
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Two girls use forbidden magic to fly and fight–for their country and for themselves–in this riveting debut that’s part Shadow and Bone, part Code Name Verity.

Seventeen-year-old Revna is a factory worker, manufacturing war machines for the Union of the North. When she’s caught using illegal magic, she fears being branded a traitor and imprisoned. Meanwhile, on the front lines, Linné defied her father, a Union general, and disguised herself as a boy to join the army. They’re both offered a reprieve from punishment if they use their magic in a special women’s military flight unit and undertake terrifying, deadly missions under cover of darkness. Revna and Linné can hardly stand to be in the same cockpit, but if they can’t fly together, and if they can’t find a way to fly well, the enemy’s superior firepower will destroy them–if they don’t destroy each other first.

We Rule the Night is a powerful story about sacrifice, complicated friendships, and survival despite impossible odds.

Thank you so much, Claire, for stopping by and sharing some tropes with us! I’m a huge fan of a good trope and these are all fantastic!

Make sure you pick up a copy of Claire’s debut release on 4/2/19!

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Debut Author Take Over: The Fever King by Victoria Lee

I am so super excited to kick off a series of posts that will happen over the next few months. Back in September I was contacted by a group called Class of 2k19 Books. They wanted to see if I was interested in working with any of the debut authors on their list. I was immediately taken with quite a few and wrote back, maybe scream shouted, that I would love to be a part of it and so began my journey.

I won’t lie, I was in a blogging slump and having this new blood reach out helped a lot. It added a spark to my blogging life that was missing and I can’t wait to share my thoughts and some guest posts from these fabulous ladies that I have been working with for the past few months.

For my third debut author I have Victoria Lee (who I’m happy to say I got to meet at ALA at her very first signing!!!!), the author of The Fever King, with us today answering some of my questions.

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1)      First off, congratulations on your debut! It truly was fantastic. Where did the idea for The Fever King come from? Was it something you have been thinking about for a long time?

It took me a really long to figure out what story I was actually trying to tell with The Fever King. I wrote several versions of this book trying to figure it out! Parts of the book were originally ideas for other books that ended up getting cobbled together Frankenstein’s-monster style for TFK.

Primarily, I wanted to write about the intersection of intergenerational and personal trauma—about what it means to face our trauma, and the way the world can demand that we “have” to confront our abusers in order for trauma to be viewed as legitimate. I also wanted to write about the experience of feeling like an outsider in your own country. For me, I wrote this through the lens of being Jewish American (for Noam: Atlantian-Carolinian), but so many different groups have experienced this historically and today in different ways.

 

2)      I loved how politics and economic status played a huge role in this story. Why was that so important for you to share and write about? 

A lot of Noam’s experiences as a refugee were broadly drawn from the Jewish experience. Noam is the child of refugees and has spent his whole life fighting for immigrant rights—but gaining magic powers elevates to a position of privilege in his society. Now he has to reconcile the intersection of that new identity as a Level IV witching with his other lived experiences as an Atlantian. I think all of the Jewish diaspora is familiar with the sense of being an outsider in one’s own country of birth, and Jewish people still struggle to reconcile the impact of pogroms and the Holocaust as they reverberate down through the generations. Many other groups have experienced and are experiencing similar things now. Although I can’t speak to their experiences, I hope I was able to capture at least a tiny facet of one person’s experience feeling like an outsider in their own country.

 

3)      Noam and Dara are complete opposites yet there is something about their slow bond and relationship that just clicked for me. What was the driving force between these two amazing characters?

The best romances have some kind of conflict or obstacle keeping the characters apart, right? And I really wanted to write a romance where the obstacle was something ideological—not a misunderstanding, or some kind of external force keeping them apart…but something where a fundamental part of each character’s identity is at odds with the other’s. And they have to overcome that division—or at least learn how to understand and respect the other person’s position—in order to be together. I also wanted to write about how difficult it is to trust someone when you’ve experienced trauma (which both characters have, in one way or another), and how sometimes learning how to love again after trauma is one of the bravest and most difficult things you can do.

 

4)      What do you hope people take away from The Fever King?

I hope readers start thinking more about how intergenerational and personal trauma intersect to impact lives, as well as how different ways of being privileged and marginalized interact and work to shape a person’s lived experience. And—importantly—I hope readers walk away about the nature of who we view as abusers vs victims, and how we might start to challenge those perceptions and biases.

 

5)      Can you tell us anything about the second book in the series? I am DYING to know what is in store for all of these characters.

WELL. I don’t know how much I’m contractually allowed to say in public, so let me just say…Noam and Dara are both coming back in book two, and Dara will be back as a point-of-view character. Which means we’ll get chapters written from Dara’s perspective, inside Dara’s head.

And if you thought Noam and Dara had issues in book 1, that’s nothing compared to what’s coming.

 

6)      Lastly I always ask this question.  What is the one item of clothing or accessory that you could never live without? Basics aside of course.

Oh wow this one is hard. Um. Probably my favorite oversized wool sweater. I like feeling cozy, plus it’s a convenient tent when I’m writing an angsty scene and need to hide from my own feelings.

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Debut Author Take Over: The Fever King by Victoria LeeThe Fever King by Victoria Lee
Published by Skyscape
Published: March 1, 2019
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In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.

The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.

Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.

Thank you so much, Victoria, for taking the time and answering these questions.

Make sure you go out and buy The Fever King on 3/1/19!

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Debut Author Take Over – Just for Clicks by Kara McDowell

Next on my journey of Debut Books I have Kara McDowell on the blog. Her book, Just for Clicks is coming out in a little under two weeks and it is fantastic! I seriously loved this one. Since the book is about twins that are brought into the social media spotlight because of a choice from there mother Kara is sharing her inspiration behind this must read book!

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I’ve been following the same woman online for the last decade.

(More than a third of my life!)

I can’t decide if this is horrifying, or not.

(It probably is.)

Although, truth be told, keeping up with this woman hasn’t been much work. Ten years ago, I faithfully read every blog post. Now, the highlights are available to me as I scroll Instagram. Through almost no effort on my part, I can tell you the cities she’s lived in, the style of wedding dress she wore, her favorite restaurants, the places she buys her clothes.

Even more bizarre, I can tell you the names of all five of her children. (Not to mention their birthdates, favorite colors, Halloween costumes, Christmas presents, and favorite family vacations.)

As a test, I just Googled the name of her eldest daughter. Without even scrolling, I see fourteen pictures of her childhood, including a newborn picture still in the hospital bassinet. (It’s adorable, by the way.)

This young girl is a child star, but not. She is famous for being born, for looking cute, for knowing how to pose for a camera. An internet starlet before any of us knew what that term meant. Unlike the Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsens of the world, however, this girl does not go to work in the morning and come home at the end of the day. She’s eating ice cream at the park and playing with her siblings and riding her scooter. The work is her life, and vice versa. And thanks to careful editing, her parents are making more money off these breezy, carefree images than most of us can even comprehend.

I won’t lie: in the first half of this decade, I also had a mommy blog. (Didn’t we all?) One day, shortly after the birth of my second son, I was thinking about my blog and the pictures and stories I’d shared, and I had two distinct thoughts.

What if my blog had a huge following?

and

What if I never stopped writing about my kids?

The next day I hung up my mommy blogger hat and started writing JUST FOR CLICKS, which imagines the lives of two teenagers raised in the internet limelight. One of them loves it, the other resents it.

This story is inspired by so many things: my blog and my kids. This woman and her family, as well as dozens of others just like her. It’s inspired by the hateful, disgusting comments written not only about these women, but also about their children.

But most of all, it’s inspired by the question: What’s going to happen when all these blogger babies become teenagers?

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Debut Author Take Over – Just for Clicks by Kara McDowellJust For Clicks by Kara McDowell
Published by Amberjack
Published: February 19, 2019
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Mommy blogs are great . . . unless the blog happens to belong to your mom.

Twin sisters Claire & Poppy are accidental social media stars thanks to Mom going viral when they were babies. Now, as teens, they're expected to contribute by building their own brand. Attending a NY fashion week and receiving fan mail is a blast. Fending off internet trolls and would-be kidnappers? Not so much. Poppy embraces it. Claire hates it. Will anybody accept her as "just Claire"? And what should Claire do about Mom's old journals? The handwritten entries definitely don't sound like Mom's perfect blog persona. Worse, one of them divulges a secret that leaves Claire wondering what else in her life might be nothing but a sham . . .

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About Kara McDowell

Born in the mountains and raised in the desert, Kara McDowell spent her childhood swimming, boating, and making up stories in her head. As the middle of five children, Kara entertained her family on long road trips by reading short mystery stories out loud and forcing everyone to guess the conclusion. After graduating from Arizona State University with a BA in English Literature, Kara worked as a freelance writer. Now she writes young adult novels from her home in Arizona, where she lives with her husband and three young sons.

JUST FOR CLICKS is Kara's debut novel.

Make sure you pick up a copy of Just For Clicks, in stores February 19th!

 

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Debut Author Take Over: When the Truth Unravels by RuthAnne Snow

I am so super excited to kick off a series of posts that will happen over the next few months. Back in September I was contacted by a group called Class of 2k19 Books. They wanted to see if I was interested in working with any of the debut authors on their list. I was immediately taken with quite a few and wrote back, maybe scream shouted, that I would love to be a part of it and so began my journey.

I won’t lie, I was in a blogging slump and having this new blood reach out helped a lot. It added a spark to my blogging life that was missing and I can’t wait to share my thoughts and some guest posts from these fabulous ladies that I have been working with for the past few months.

For my second debut author I have RuthAnne Snow who’s book, When the Truth Unravels comes out on 1/8/19

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1)      Congratulations, RuthAnne! How exciting to have your debut novel coming out! Anyway, where did the idea to write When the Truth Unravels come from?

A lot of different factors played into the idea, actually! I had been wanting to write a friendship book, because I feel like there are not enough positive female friendship books out there. I am fully on Team More Friendship Books, haha. And I had also read THIRTEEN REASONS WHY, which affected me a lot. I think there are a lot of things that book does right and quite a few issues that could be better. So tackling the topic of suicide and how it impacts people on all these different levels, while also wanting to center the experience of the person who is having these ideations and engaging in these behaviors, was on my mind. And then one day, these four girls just popped into my head and I took it from there.

2)      I am always so impressed by authors that write whole stories that essentially take place over one day (flashbacks aside). Was that always something you wanted to do or did it just work out for this particular book?

I also love those books! Ha. I definitely had the goal to keep most of the action on one day with this book the entire time, and I probably will try that again someday, but I will probably steer away from attempting broken timelines/four narrators ever again. I love this book and I am so excited for people to read it, but it was a bear to edit and revise and I have no one to blame for that but myself.

3)      I admit at times I struggle when there are a lot of voices narrating a story. This wasn’t the case with When the Truth Unravels. I truly loved all of the girls voices, Rosie and Ket my favorites. Did you have a favorite girl to write for or did they all just come to you organically?

I’m so glad you loved them! I love them too. I really just adore all of them in different ways. I love how funny Ket is, how she bounces back from some pretty bad decisions. I love how ambitious and unapologetically bright Jenna is. I love Rosie and all her awkwardness and I just want to tell her, “College is going to be sooo much better for you, kid.” And of course I adore Elin. How can you not just want to give her a hug? And I just love the friendship between the four of them (and Teddy). (I hope that “and Teddy” didn’t sound too “and Peggy.” It should sound like, “And Teddy!”) 

4)      Elin’s suicide attempt and the secret behind it is the backbone to the story. How much research did you have to do to make sure the story was told right?

Lots. I really, really wanted to make sure that piece was right–knowing, of course, that everyone’s experiences with mental health are as unique as every individual person is and there’s no way that any one story can represent all those experiences. That said, I really wanted things to feel true, feel realistic. I didn’t want to fall into the cognitive bias of, “Well, this is how *I* experience and perceive certain things and therefore my experience is right.” I talked to therapists, academic researchers, people who have had different experiences with mental health. It definitely shaped and informed how I saw Elin and her story and how it impacts her friends and family.

5)      Can you tell us what you are working on now?

No. Haha, sorry. I am seriously the most superstitious writer ever! I hate talking about projects before they’re done, except with CPs and my agent. It just feels like I’m jinxing myself! But I will say, I think the vibe will be similar — finding the heartfelt and funny moments in a very serious situation.

6)       Lastly I always ask this question.  What is the one item of clothing or accessory that you could never live without? Basics aside of course.

Oooh, this is such a good question. Hair ties probably count as basics, yeah? I will go with my right hand ring. (Sorry to my husband that I picked the right hand ring instead of my engagement ring, haha.) I bought it for myself for Valentines Day one year when I was single and on the verge of being very mopey, and ever since it’s been a good reminder to me that, even though I am blessed to have great friends and a great partner and a great family, I am also pretty great on my own. And I think sometimes everyone needs a little reminder that they are enough. 

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Debut Author Take Over: When the Truth Unravels by RuthAnne SnowWhen the Truth Unravels by RuthAnne Snow
Published by Sky Pony
Published: January 8, 2019
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Last month, Elin tried to kill herself.

She knows she's lucky that her parents found her in time. Lucky to be going to prom with her three best friends, like any other teen. Like it never happened. And if she has anything to say about it, no one but her best friends will ever know it did.

Jenna, Rosie, and Ket will do anything to keep Elin's secret--and to make sure it never happens again. That's why they're determined to make prom the perfect night. The night that convinces Elin that life is worth living.

Except, at prom, Elin goes missing.

Now it's up to her friends to find her. But each of the girls has her own demons to face. Ket is being blackmailed by an ex. Rosie is falling in love for the first time. And Jenna . . .

Jenna is falling apart.

And no one, not even her best friends, knows why.

Heart-wrenching and utterly impossible to put down, When the Truth Unravels follows four friends as they confront their greatest hopes and darkest secrets during one life-changing night.

A huge thanks to RuthAnne for taking the time to answer my questions. Make sure you check out When the Truth Unravels when it is released in January!

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Debut Author Take Over: Match Me If You Can by Tiana Smith

I am so super excited to kick off a series of posts that will happen over the next few months. Back in September I was contacted by a group called Class of 2k19 Books. They wanted to see if I was interested in working with any of the debut authors on their list. I was immediately taken with quite a few and wrote back, maybe scream shouted, that I would love to be a part of it and so began my journey.

I won’t lie, I was in a blogging slump and having this new blood reach out helped a lot. It added a spark to my blogging life that was missing and I can’t wait to share my thoughts and some guest posts from these fabulous ladies that I have been working with for the past few months.

First up, is Tiana Smith, who’s debut, Match Me If You can is out January 8, 2019. Welcome Tiana!

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Suffice to say, my book focuses on matchmaking a bit (I mean, the title is MATCH ME IF YOU CAN). One of the characters, Robyn, prides herself on her ability to match people up with their perfect pairs. So, we’re going to play a little game of: “Which celebrity couples are COUPLE GOALS?” I’m way more excited about this than I should be. Don’t judge.

First up, we have …

Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard

Okay, when I first saw this video, I knew they were simply the cutest.

I mean, how can you not love that? These two goofballs obviously have a lot of fun together, which is the basis for a great relationship, if I do say so myself.

Tom Holland and Zendaya

These two have been pretty hush-hush about whether they’re a real couple or not (they totally are, don’t burst my bubble). All things considered, it seems pretty likely, and my character Robyn would definitely approve.

Also, there’s Tom Holland’s lip sync battle, which honestly, is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen.

John Krasinski and Emily Blunt

Awww, how cute are these two?

Also, I can’t forget to mention this interview John Krasinski did with Jimmy Fallon where he says he totally married up and that’s just the sweetest thing ever.

Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively

All I can say is, these two will make beautiful babies. (Yes, I know they already have children, but you KNOW when they grow up, those kiddos are going to be gorgeous. How can they not with those genes?)

Just look at them! They’re almost too beautiful to look at.

Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel

Another power couple right here, both of them taking over the world.

They know how to make the distance work when they’re apart (how cute is it that they didn’t kiss for the longest time because of distance, even though Jessica totally knew she was going to marry him one day?) and even a small breakup couldn’t keep them apart for long.

Sarah Michelle Gellar & Freddie Prinze Jr.

There is literally no couple that brings back such great 90’s nostalgia vibes. I had to post an older picture of them simply for that reason, but these two have been married for 16 years, which, in Hollywood is practically forever.

That’s the stuff dreams are made of right there.

Okay, as an added bonus, we’re going to do a JOINT matchmaking game. Here’s how it works. We’ll each say who we’d match a certain celebrity with and then ten years from now, we’ll see if either of us were right. Well, at least the first part of that was the truth.

Leonardo DiCaprio

Tiana says: A perpetual bachelor, that one. I know a lot of people would love to see him with Kate Winslet, but honestly, I liked him best with Claire Danes for sure. So that’s my vote.

Andi says: Can I say me for this one? I mean I have loved him since he was on Growing Pains so that has to count for something, right? But seriously, I would love to say Kate Winselt, but I admit there is something about seeing them as friends that I just love. And it pains me as a Tom Brady fan to say this, but I really did love him with Gisele.

Jennifer Aniston

Tiana says: Jennifer has definitely been through the wringer when it comes to her romantic life. I love the idea of her and Ben Affleck together, if he ever gets his addiction under control…

Andi says: So I’m gonna pull a Kelly Taylor from Beverly Hills, 90210 here and say I would be 100% okay is Jen went it alone and ended up with herself. She feels like the type of person that could be okay if she was on her own.

Selena Gomez

Tiana says: Poor Selena, and her history with Bieber. Personally, I’d love to see her with another musical heartthrob, namely Harry Styles. Because that would be ammmazzzing! Too bad there’s history with Styles and Selena’s BFF Taylor Swift, cuz it’d probably never happen.

Andi says: This is awkward but I kind of want her to actually get back with Justin Bieber. I know, I know, he is a hot mess usually, but there was something charming about them as a couple.

Channing Tatum

Tiana says: It broke my heart when Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan broke up. Especially because I love Channing Tatum in She’s The Man (true story, that movie inspired MATCH ME IF YOU CAN a bit!) and he deserves his own happily ever after. I’d put him with Anna Kendrick, I think. They’d at least have some laughs.

Andi says: Oh Channing, how you broke my heart when you and Jenna split. Actually I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that I think maybe in the future they could get back together

Orlando Bloom

Tiana says: I had the biggest crush on him in high school. Okay, it was more like an obsession. And I know she currently has a boyfriend right now, but I’m going to go with Emma Watson on this one. Wouldn’t they be the cutest?

Andi says: I’m sorry, I can’t unsee him naked on the surfboard with Katy Perry. I just can’t do it.

Sandra Bullock

Tiana says: I love Sandra Bullock so much. She seems like someone who’s genuinely friendly and lovable. I think she’d be great with someone who’s a bit of a cinnamon roll, like Gerard Butler.

Andi says: I’m going to start this by saying I love my pick with his current wife and do not wish them to break-up, like ever, but I really loved the easy chemistry between Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds.

That’s all for now folks! Thanks for indulging me, and if you like romantic mash ups and rom coms, I hope you’ll check out MATCH ME IF YOU CAN!

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Debut Author Take Over: Match Me If You Can by Tiana SmithMatch Me If You Can by Tiana Smith
Published by Swoon Reads
Published: January 8, 2019
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Mia's best friend Robyn is known for her matchmaking skills, which is perfect, because homecoming is just around the corner. But Robyn refuses to set Mia up with the guy of her dreams, which forces Mia to take matters into her own hands. She uses Robyn's matchmaking service to make sure popular Vince Demetrius falls for her.

Vince asks her out, but Mia doesn't count on Logan, the persistent school newspaper photographer who seems to like her out of the blue. Now she has to choose between Vince - the guy she knows is right for her - and Logan, who insists that she give him a chance. And she needs to make sure Robyn doesn't find out that Mia's been matchmaking behind her back.

Mia has two weeks before homecoming. Can she fix the mess she made or will she have to kiss her perfect match goodbye forever?

A huge thanks to Tiana for stopping by. Make sure you check my Twitter for a giveaway of Match Me If You Can.

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