Blog Tour: Permanent Record – Mary H. K. Choi {Excerpt + Giveaway}

Blog Tour: Permanent Record – Mary H. K. Choi {Excerpt + Giveaway}Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi
Published: September 3, 2019
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Emergency Contact, which Rainbow Rowell called “smart and funny,” comes an unforgettable new romance about how social media influences relationships every day.

On paper, college dropout Pablo Rind doesn’t have a whole lot going for him. His graveyard shift at a twenty-four-hour deli in Brooklyn is a struggle. Plus, he’s up to his eyeballs in credit card debt. Never mind the state of his student loans.

Pop juggernaut Leanna Smart has enough social media followers to populate whole continents. The brand is unstoppable. She graduated from child stardom to become an international icon and her adult life is a queasy blur of private planes, step-and-repeats, aspirational hotel rooms, and strangers screaming for her just to notice them.

When Leanna and Pablo meet at 5:00 a.m. at the bodega in the dead of winter it’s absurd to think they’d be A Thing. But as they discover who they are, who they want to be, and how to defy the deafening expectations of everyone else, Lee and Pab turn to each other. Which, of course, is when things get properly complicated.

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About Mary H.K. Choi

Mary H.K. Choi is a writer for The New York TimesGQWired, and The Atlantic. She has written comics for Marvel and DC, as well as a collection of essays called Oh, Never Mind. Her debut novel Emergency Contact was a New York Times bestseller. She is the host of Hey, Cool Job!, a podcast about jobs and Hey, Cool Life!, a podcast about mental health and creativity. Mary grew up in Hong Kong and Texas and now lives in New York.

I double tap without hesitation. The gauntlet has unquestioningly been thrown. Let the record show I am game.

But for what?

For three full days I contemplate the futility of a DM slide while waffling maniacally as to whether or not I should leave a comment. I decide not to. I wish there were a field guide for this. Someone to ask about the rules. Quora, unsurprisingly, is unhelpful. That’s always an accurate gauge for desperation. If I’m on the Quora part of the Internet, it’s a cry for help.

In an effort to exert even a modicum of chill, I do absolutely nothing and writhe in self-loathing while being extra vigilant around the deli just in case she really does live in the area. The loserish feelings have reached a deafening, skin-crawling crescendo by the time she comes back.

Which she does.

Just like that.

Leanna Smart strolls into the store. This happens in a disembodying dreamscape slow motion. I’m basically Dare­devil I’m delivered so much information at once. The way she smells (different from the perfume bearing her name), the way her head bobs when she speaks, her teeth. I can’t even explain how in the moment it feels impossible but entirely inevitable. Like the end of the world in certain mythology where everyone knows it’s coming but you don’t fully believe it until it arrives. Except of course this is different. It’s a beginning.

Finally.

“Hey, Sad Boy,” Leanna Smart calls to me exactly eleven days after we met. Again at an ungodly hour.

I’m stunned as thousands of windows in the browser of my mind explode to play a manic GIF of me fist pumping the sky. I am jubilant. Triumphant. I am also tempted to poke through her cheek to make sure she’s not one of those freakish flight attendant holograms you get at the airport now.

This time she’s wearing an enormous puffer coat with a fur collar and sweats.

“Uh, hey,” I tell her. And then, “What’s up, Suarez?” Since calling her Leanna Smart feels insane. Like calling someone Mickey Mouse. Or Coca-Cola.

“You know,” she says. “I’ve eaten your food and huddled to you for warmth, but I don’t know your name.”

She smiles easily. As though we’re friends. As though we’ve been friends.

Me, I’m working on a delay. I’m stuck on her lips, the way they move. Her cheekbones. The hand brushing a strand of hair away from her forehead. Her short thumbs that make better big toes than fingers. Statistics fly through my head: 345,112,459—the number of times people have viewed Leanna Smart’s multi platinum single “Tower” from her bestselling fourth studio album Milestone. One hundred and forty-three million—Leanna Smart’s follower count across all social media platforms (rando bots notwithstanding). How her left eye’s slightly bigger than her right one. Sadder. Sadder? Yes, sadder. Slightly. And the voice, the voice, the voice. Deeper than you’d ever imagine. Gravelly. No, raspy. Textured. Tangible.

“I know ‘at Munchies Paradise’ isn’t your government name,” she says evenly. “Unless your parents are Frito-Lay industry plants and you’re the poster child for early-onset type 1 diabetes. Plus gout.”

She smiles at me, tilting her head in a way my mind recognizes as A Thing Leanna Smart Does from the hours of interview videos I’ve studied.

I remind myself to clear my browser history.

“Can you imagine?” I ask her coolly. My heart is thundering in my chest—spelunk, spelunk, spelunk—but I keep it together. “If that were what my parents ultimately wanted for my life? I’d have to tattoo junk food logos on my body like NASCAR patches.”

“That would be amazing,” she says. “Part SoundCloud rapper, part Nestlé ad.”

She approaches with her hand extended. “You can call me Lee,” she says, and I feel a warmth at the prospect of calling her anything since I thought for sure I would never see her again.

Lee. My mind furiously attempts to reconcile the syllable with building-size ads and the countless—so very many—photographs from every conceivable angle that I’ve absorbed. Lee. As in the title of the only-just-announced fifth studio album from one Leanna Smart. Allegedly the grown-up one. The . . .

Shit. Answer her.

“Pablo,” I tell her, taking her hand. It’s cold. I release it reluctantly. “And don’t think my parents did me any favors. Pablo Neruda’s my first name. Last name Rind.”

“The poet?”

Usually I dread this. People who recognize the name ask me to recite something, as if to make them closer to a dead Chilean poet laureate. Then again, I’m happy that Leanna— Lee—knows who he is. Tons of people don’t.

“Yeah,” I say.

“Jesus. That’s emo.”

She’s not wrong.

“So, wait,” she says. “Do I call you Pablo Neruda as your full first name?”

“Nah. Pab’ll do.”

“Pab’ll it is.” She smiles goofily.

 

August 26thVicky Who Reads
August 27thAdventures of a Book Junkie
August 28thUtopia State of Mind
August 29thRead by Tiffany
August 30thRich in Color
August 31stYour Tita Kate
September 2ndBooks on Pointe
September 3rdAndi’s ABCs
September 4thBook Scents
September 5thTwirling Pages
September 6thBookshelves & Paperbacks
September 9thYA Bibliophile
September 10thMary Had A Little Book Blog
September 11thChasing Faerytales
September 12thNicole’s Novel Reads
September 13thMel to the Any

One winner will receive a hardcover copy of Permanent Record. US ONLY. Ends September 10, 2019 at 11:59pm EST.

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Review: Virtually Yours – Sarvenaz Tash

Review: Virtually Yours – Sarvenaz TashVirtually Yours by Sarvenaz Tash
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Published: June 4, 2019
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five-stars

Modern love plus online anonymity is a recipe for romantic disaster in this lighthearted new romance from the author of The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love.

How bad can one little virtual lie be?

NYU freshman Mariam Vakilian hasn’t dated anyone in five months, not since her high school sweetheart Caleb broke up with her. So, when she decides to take advantage of an expiring coupon and try out a new virtual reality dating service, it’s sort of a big deal.

It’s an even bigger deal when it chooses as one of her three matches none other than Caleb himself. That has to be a sign, right?

Except that her other match, Jeremy, just happens to be her new best friend IRL.

Mariam’s heart is telling her one thing, but the app is telling her another. So, which should she trust? Is all fair in modern love?

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Way back in 2015 I came across a book called Three Day Summer and I was instantly hooked on how Sarvenaz Tash tells a story and the characters she creates. I knew immediately after finishing it I was going to eagerly anticipate all her releases and I wasn’t wrong. I have been waiting for something new since 2016 when A Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love (an all-time favorite) and when I heard about Virtually Yours I was beyond thrilled. It had been so long and the anticipation was killing me. I am happy to say that it lived up to every expectation I had and was 100% worth the wait.

Virtually Yours is about Mariam, a freshman at NYU who had her heart demolished when her boyfriend of 3 years broke up with her. Not wanting to be stuck in her room she decides to try a virtual reality dating site. Mariam is given 3 matches to pick from and to her surprise one is her ex-boyfriend, Caleb. Deciding to throw caution to the wind, she selects him in starts dating him in secret and things start to go well. Then enter Jeremy, a guy at work she immediately hits it off with. The two of them are on the fast track to being best friends. There is just one catch, he was also one of her 3 matches. Now Mariam must decide between what her head thinks she wants and what her heart actually needs.

At first glance, this book sounds like a love triangle. It is not. It is really the story of Mariam and her figuring out what she wants out of life and out of love which is what being 18 should be about. She is a freshman in college and she doesn’t have all the answers. She doesn’t have any of the answers so she does things that she thinks are right but might not be right for her. That’s what I loved about this story. By re-dating Caleb she found out she was a different person than she thought she was and found out what she truly wanted and what would make her happy.

I can’t explain enough how much I love this author and the stories she tells. Tash seems to have a great grasp on the teenage/YA emotion and I can’t get enough of her stories. I’ve been a fan since 2015 and Virtually loves just cemented that love. If this one isn’t one your TBR it should be.

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New to You (20): Jennifer reviews Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson {giveaway}

Welcome to New to You!

This idea came along last year when I was supporting Lauren Miller’s newest book All Things New and I asked Kelsey to read and review Parallel, a book I have read more than once. I didn’t really get it going until December when I offered people the chance to sign up to read and review a book that has been a favorite of mine that they have never read. I got a great response and I’m happy to tell you (minus January) you will see a New to You post twice a month.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Next up for New to You is Jennifer from YABookNerd. When Jennifer signed up I knew Second Chance Summer would be the perfect book for her to read. She told me why she put off reading and believe me I understand, but I also knew she would love it. Let’s see if I was right:

New to You (20): Jennifer reviews Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson {giveaway}Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Published: May 7, 2013
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five-stars

From the Flying Start author of Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, a powerful novel about hope in the face of heartbreak.

Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.


The news from Taylor’s Dad changed everything. Instead of the summer they planned, the whole family will be spending the summer at the lake house together. The lake house where they once spent every summer before life got in the way. The lake house where everything for Taylor fell apart – including the relationships both her best friend and her first boyfriend.

Now she’s back and everything’s different and yet the same.She has to face everyone again. Plus she has to face the fact that this is her last summer with her father. As the summer progresses, she must face both her past and her future.

My Thoughts: I adore Morgan Matson, but I put off reading this book because I knew it was going to destroy me. And it did. I made until the last little bit of the book and I bawled like a baby. My puppy grew so concerned that she came over to make sure that I was okay.

But besides the heart wrenching tears, Andi was right, this one is amazing. I loved it. I loved learning about the past and how that influenced the present. I enjoyed the moments at Taylor’s job – working with her ex-best friend and trying to navigate those waters. I liked learning how they both had changed in the years apart. I liked the banter between Taylor and Henry. I loved Henry’s little brother. I loved the dog and who he inserted himself in to the family. 


I have a hard time reading books that I know will make me cry, but I loved this book. I was sad yet hopeful and of course all about second chances. If you haven’t read this one yet, run out to the library and grab it! 


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Thanks Jennifer for signing up for New to You. I’m sorry your puppy was so concerned, but the tears are so worth it.

My review of Second Chance Summer.

Giveaway is US only and ends on November 15, 2018 at 11:59pm EST.

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Do you have a book that brings you to tears but you still recommend?

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Blog Tour: Save the Date by Morgan Matson {giveaway}

Today is my stop of the blog tour for Morgan Matson’s newest book, Save the Date (out 6/5/18). I’m super excited I was selected to take part in this tour because 1) I love Morgan and all her books, 2) She will be in the Boston area tonight for a signing, and 3) Is there a more perfect book for me to make cards for than a book about a wedding?

That’s right, for this stop on the tour I am sharing three cards I made for events that usually come with a wedding. What kind of cards did I make? I made a card for an engagement party, a bridal shower, and the wedding itself.

Let’s start with the Engagement card:

I have wanted to make a card like this for a long time. I I grabbed some Audrey Blue card stock and some silver glitter card stock and used a couple of dies I have in my stash to create the box and the “diamond”. Since the box is rather large I decided to keep the rest of the card simple and just stamped a sentiment from my favorite set that says: ‘Happy girls are the prettiest. – Audrey Hepburn’ (can you see what I’m doing here?!?!) and a simple congratulations on the inside. I have to admit it was my favorite out of all three cards.

Next up is the Bridal Shower card:

I had recently purchased a heavy weight vellum so I knew I wanted to make a card out of it. Using a stamp and die set I created the bride. I stamped her on white card stock and again on a textured card stock. I hand cut the dress out on the textured paper and glued it on. Since the card is translucent I added a second die cut to the back of the front flap to match the cover. Inside I placed a simple rectangle and once again stamped the word congratulations.

And lastly we have the Wedding Day card:

Trying to tie the Wedding card into the Engagement card I used the same silver glitter card stock and die cut out the phrase, ‘Mr. & Mrs’. I adhered that to the shimmery opal card stock and some die cut flowers. I added a gem to the center of each flower to add a little more interest. Since I didn’t want to use congratulations I simply stamped the phrase: Happy Wedding Day.

These cards were a lot of fun to make and very fitting for the subject of the book.

Blog Tour: Save the Date by Morgan Matson {giveaway}Save the Date by Morgan Matson
Published: June 5, 2018
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Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait—for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster—all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.

The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster.

There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.

There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo.

Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractingly…cute.

Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.

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About Morgan Matson

Morgan Matson was born in New York City and grew up there and in Greenwich, Connecticut. She attended Occidental College in Los Angeles, but halfway through a theater degree, she started working in the children’s department of Vroman’s Bookstore and fell in love with YA literature.

Following college graduation (and the proud bearer of an incredibly useful theater/English degree) she received her M.F.A. in Writing for Children from The New school and worked as an editor for YA novels. She received a second M.F.A. (for reasons that made sense at the time) in Screenwriting from the University of Southern California.

Her novels have been translated into dozens of languages, and published all over the world.

Morgan’s first novel, Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, was inspired by her love of road trips, snacks, and the quest for the perfect playlist. It was named an ALA Top Ten Best Book, a Publisher’s Weekly Flying Start book, and was shortlisted for the Waterstone’s Book Prize.

Her second novel, Second Chance Summer, was inspired by her experiences spending summers in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. It was the winner of the California Book Award (YA category) and was named to the ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults List, selected for the Oklahoma Sequoya List, and selected as a School Library Journal Best Book.

Her third novel, Since You’ve Been Gone, was published in 2014, and was a Publisher’s Weekly and international bestseller. It was named to the YALSA Teens Top Ten list, and the Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award List.

Morgan’s fourth novel, The Unexpected Everything, was published May 3rd, 2016.

She currently lives in Los Angeles with her dog, Murphy.

Win a copy of SAVE THE DATE by Morgan Matson; US Only; Runs 6/4 – 6/21

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Tour Schedule

June 4th
Pink Polka Dot Books– Welcome

June 5th
Aimee, Always– Q&A and Creative Option
The Candid Cover– Review

June 6th
The Readers Den– Review
Girl in the Pages– Review

June 7th
Andi’s ABCs– Creative Option
Latte Nights Reviews– Review & Favorite Quotes
JustAddAWord– Review & Book Aesthetics

June 8th
Fangirl Fury– Review
The Book Slayer– Review & Favorite Quotes
Here’s to Happy Endings– Review

June 11th
Book Beach Bunny– Review
The Heart of a Book Blogger– Review

June 12th
The Left-Handed Book Lover – Review
Rocky Reads– Q&A

June 13th
That Artsy Reader Girl– Review
Never Too Many To Read– Creative Option

June 14th
My Thoughts Literally– Review & Favorite Quotes
Vicky Who Reads– Review

June 15th
JennReneeRead– Review
The Book Nut– Review & Playlist
A Perfection Called Books– Review

 

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New to You (3): Kelsey Reviews The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash {+ a giveaway}

Welcome to New to You!

This idea came along last year when I was supporting Lauren Miller’s newest book All Things New and I asked Kelsey to read and review Parallel, a book I have read more than once. I didn’t really get it going until December when I offered people the chance to sign up to read and review a book that has been a favorite of mine that they have never read. I got a great response and I’m happy to tell you (minus January) you will see a New to You post twice a month.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Next up for New to You is Kelsey. She was the one that started this whole thing when she read and reviewed Parallel so it was only fitting she came back. When she selected her books I thought The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash would work for her. Check out her review below and find out! (Make sure you check out the giveaway at the end!)

New to You (3): Kelsey Reviews The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash {+ a giveaway}The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Published: June 14th 2016
Buy on Amazon
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four-stars

Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy. Archie and Veronica. Althena and Noth.…Graham and Roxy?

Graham met his best friend, Roxy, when he moved into her neighborhood eight years ago and she asked him which Hogwarts house he’d be sorted into. Graham has been in love with her ever since.

But now they’re sixteen, still neighbors, still best friends. And Graham and Roxy share more than ever—moving on from their Harry Potter obsession to a serious love of comic books.

When Graham learns that the creator of their favorite comic, The Chronicles of Althena, is making a rare appearance at this year’s New York Comic Con, he knows he must score tickets. And the event inspires Graham to come up with the perfect plan to tell Roxy how he really feels about her. He’s got three days to woo his best friend at the coolest, kookiest con full of superheroes and supervillains. But no one at a comic book convention is who they appear to be…even Roxy. And Graham is starting to realize fictional love stories are way less complicated than real-life ones.

Andi and I have always had very similar tastes in books, and I always turn to her for some recs when I need them. So, when she started this feature I was so excited, because I knew there were books on there she has been telling/yelling at me to read (I actually have an ‘Andi Told Me To Read This’ shelf on Goodreads). Out of the few I chose, her final choice for me was The Geeks Guide To Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash, and as always, it was a great choice indeed!

The setting and overall theme for this book is one that I have not come across too often yet in my reading: hardcore fandoms and New York Comic Con, and I loved it! I think as a reader I can totally appreciate the characters enthusiasm for their favorite author Robert Zinc and his series The Althena Chronicles as I do with book series and characters that I love (ahem, finding a book signing last minute in NYC and making my mother run 2 miles with me to meet Morgan Matson. Worth it.). Comic Con has always been something my husband and I have wanted to attend, and now I REALLY NEED TO GO.  Hearing the descriptions of the convention center, the cosplay they saw, the exhibits, and just the overall energy has just heightened that want and definitely boosted it up on my “things to do” list. I think I even picked up on some good advice – i.e. have a plan! Have a schedule! People are crazy!

I want to be friends with these characters in real life. Graham just seems like the real deal to me – thoughtful, nerdy, creative. He wants to tell his best friend, Roxy, that he has feelings for her, and he wants to do it in a fashion worthy of a book or a movie. He plans an elaborate couple of days at NYCC centered around everything she loves, and while they are there he would find the perfect time to tell her his feelings. He gives it his all, but well, life throws one curveball after another at him (as it so often does).

I know Andi said something similar in her blog, but this book is just SO REAL and so authentic. Real situations with real outcomes that honestly aren’t always ideal. Things didn’t go as planned, ideas didn’t work, and timing didn’t always work. BUT its how life kept moving and going on as it would for anyone of us, and sometimes things just work out they way that they should in the end. Between this setting and this fun group of friends (and new friends) this book was an easy thumbs up from me! Can I have a sequel about Casey or Felicia now?? *grabby hands*

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 16, 2018. It is US ONLY!

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Thanks Kelsey for signing up for New to You! I’m so happy you loved it. And I’m thrilled I have a special shelf on your Goodreads!

Here’s my review of The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love.

Have any of you read anything by Sarvenaz Tash?

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