Blog Tour: LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff

I'm so excited to be kicking off the tour for Jay Kristoff's newest YA series LIFEL1K3! I LOVED this new sci-fi story, and I'm really glad to tell you why. Keep scrolling to check out my review and a giveaway for cooies of the book!

Rating: 5 stars
Release Date: May 29, 2018
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: young adult science fiction
Format/Source: ARC, TLA conference

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book by the publisher at a work conference and volunteered to be part of the tour, which was organized & hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. This does not affect the content of my review. The full tour schedule can be found HERE. Please go give my fellow tour hosts some love!

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On a floating junkyard beneath a radiation sky, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap.

Eve isn’t looking for secrets—she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she’s just spent six months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, and the only thing keeping her Grandpa from the grave was the fistful of credits she just lost to the bookies. To top it off, she’s discovered she can destroy electronics with the power of her mind, and the puritanical Brotherhood are building a coffin her size. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it.

But when Eve discovers the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic conscience, Cricket, in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, infiltrate towering megacities and scour the graveyard of humanity’s greatest folly to save the ones Eve loves, and learn the dark secrets of her past.

Even if those secrets were better off staying buried.

Listmania: Hockey books

In honor of the Stanley Cup playoffs, I'd like to talk about one of my favorite types of book: the hockey book. While I do love the Nashville Predators (#StandWithUs #Smashville) and like the Dallas Stars and find Sidney Crosby to be ridiculously attractive, I'm not a diehard hockey fan. I obsess over football in real life, but hockey? Not so much. I cheer for my teams and enjoy games in person, but I don't actively seek out hockey information. In fiction, it's a whole other story. I LIVE for hockey stories, ESPECIALLY hockey romance. I'm not sure why this is. Possibly it's because I'm such a casual fan that I don't actively search for inconsistencies and factual errors the way I do when I read a football book (hoo boy, football books are awesome, but they drive me crazy). Possibly it's just because fictional hockey players are hot af. We'll never know. But here's a list of some of my favorites!

New Adult

The Off Campus series by Elle Kennedy is hands-down my favorite hockey series. Elle Kennedy sucked me in with The Deal (check out my review!), and I've been hooked on her books ever since. This series follows a group of four hotshot hockey star roommates and their lady loves. The Deal has one of the best scenes I've ever read in my entire life (it's at 90% if you're reading the ebook), and all four books are simply stunning. Elle is currently writing a spinoff series featuring the next generation of guys to inherit the house. Briar Hockey starts with The Chase, which features a teammate of the original guys and one of the guys' little sister. Bring on the trope-y goodness! It's going to release later this summer. Word of advice: don't listen to the audiobooks of The Deal or The Mistake, but the other two are great!

The Ivy Years series by Sarina Bowen is another favorite. I LOVE bingeing this series all in a row. I've done it like three times now. Again, we have a college hockey team, and each book features either one of the guys on the team or someone connected to it. Books 1 and 2 also feature female hockey players, although the heroine in book 1, The Year We Fell Down (it's free on amazon!!!), is recovering from a life-changing injury that has permanently disabled her. Book 3 is an m/m story about two guys on the Harkness team who loved each other in high school but were torn apart by a tragedy. Book 4 is about the hockey team's manager, and book 5 is one of the teammates' younger brother, who is the DJ for home games. Sarina is currently releasing a serial called Studly Period, which about another Harkness hockey teammate you'll meet in the series, and I adore it. There's only a one more chapter (releasing tomorrow) until it's fully released so now's a great time to sign up (and it'll disappear in a few weeks so you definitely want to jump in now)! Studly Period has finished its initial run, but if you missed it, you can sign up to get installments daily!

Him is a duology cowritten by Elle and Sarina about two former friends and hockey camp roommates who fell apart in high school but have reunited after their college graduation for one last summer, this time coaching at the camp where they met. Two years ago at BEA, I was hanging out with Katie (formerly of the Polished Page Turners), and apparently I mentioned Him like four times in an hour. Whoops! This series has one of THE best executions of the friends-to-more trope I've ever read. Wes & Jamie are the most precious little pairs in the universe. They must be protected!


Speaking of Sarina and Elle, they have another cowritten series called the WAGs (it stands for Wives and Girlfriends). It's a spinoff from Him and Us about Wes's teammates in Toronto and features some adorable pups in addition to hot hockey guys. Currently there's just two books, but both Sarina and Elle have said that there's hope for more books in the future so my fingers are crossed!

Speaking of spinoffs written by Sarina, the Brooklyn Bruisers series spins off The Ivy Years with one of Harkness guys/big brother of book 5's hero finally getting a shot at love and the NHL (pun intended). This series follows three of the Bruisers as the newly reformed franchise make a run for the cup AND fall for some of the fantastic women working for the team. Book 4 focuses on the team's adorkable billionaire owner, who has always been a fan favorite. 

I'm also a huge fan of Sawyer Bennett's Cold Fury Hockey series. If you love huge romance series that stick with people in one place or one family, this one's for you. CFH features the players of the Carolina Cold Fury hockey team, and book 11 is about to release in a couple weeks! I've actually only read the first four (several times each), but one day soon I'm looking forward to bingeing the rest.

If you prefer your romance ridiculous (and your humor on the crude side with a healthy dose of slapstick), Helena Hunting's Pucked series is the one for you. I buddy read Pucked with Andi of Andi's ABCs a couple years ago, and it... was really something. High lit this series is not, but it's funny, and it's fun. Pucked Up, book 2, is my favorite.

Young Adult

Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill is one I'll alllllways put on my lists of favorite sports books. It's got kind of a Prince & the Pauper switcheroo deal going on, but it's two girls with the same name rather than the same face. This book made me obsess over poutine, which I have since tried, and I can attest: poutine is delicious. Way to go, Canada! You can check out my full 5 star review here

Sarah Ockler's Bittersweet combines a fun sportsy story with CUPCAKES so honestly, could it be any better? (yes, cupcakes. The cookies on the cover are inaccurate, but each chapter is paired with a yummy cupcake description) Also, this book has the best trope ever: the one where the mc and the li have to hole up somewhere overnight to survive a storm. TBH, it's just as delicious as the cupcakes.

I'm so glad I had the opportunity years ago to be on the tour for Beth Pond's Podium Finish. It's similar to Being Sloane Jacobs in that it contains storylines about both a hockey player and figure skater, but it's very, very different, with much more of a focus on the sports rather than the romance (but there's also romance). You can read my full review here.

Coming in as a NON romance hockey book, Jerkbait by Mie Siegert is a story about two brothers and their relationship with hockey, one another, and their parents. I haven't read this one yet, but it's high on my TBR!

List of hockey books/series:
(keep in mind like 99% are straight up romance)

Aces Hockey series - Kelly Jamieson
Assassins series - Toni Aleo

Bayard Hockey series - Kelly Jamieson
Beauty and the Beefcake - Pippa Grant
Being Sloane Jacobs - Lauren Morrill
Bellevue Bullies series - Toni Aleo
Bittersweet - Sarah Ockler (YA)
Blades Hockey series - Maria Luis
Breakaway (Pro-U #1) - Ali Parker
Briar Hockey series - Elle Kennedy
Brooklyn Bruisers - Sarina Bowen

Cayuga Cougars series - V.L. Locey
Check, Please! - Ngozi Ukazu (YA graphic novel)
Chicago on Ice series - Aven Ellis
Chicago Rebels series - Avery Flynn
Chinooks Hockey Team series - Rachel Gibson
Cold Fury Hockey series - Sawyer Bennett
Cold Hard Truth - Anne Greenwood Brown (YA)
Cranberry Inn series - Beth Ehemann

Dallas Demons series - Aven Ellis
Dartmouth Cobras series - Bianca Sommerland
Dating by Numbers series (particularly One Baby Daddy) - Meghan Quinn

Fire on Ice series - Brenda Rothert
For Crosby (For You #3) - J. Nathan

Harrisburg Railers series - R.J. Scott & V.L. Locey
Hat Trick series - Avon Gale & Piper Vaughn
Hellions Angels series - Lia Riley
Him duology - Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy
Hooked - Brenda Rothert
Hot off the Ice - A.E. Wasp

In the Zone series - Kate Willoughby

The Ivy Years - Sarina Bowen
Jerkbait - Mia Siegert (YA)

Men with Wood series - C.M. Seabrook

Misadventures of a Rookie (Misadventures #11) - Toni Aleo
New York Blades series - Deirdre Martin

Off Campus series - Elle Kennedy
On the Line series - Brenda Rothert

The Pilot & the Puck-Up - Pippa Grant
Pilots Hockey series - Sophia Henry
Play by Play series - Jaci Burton
•Taking a Shot (#3)
•Melting the Ice (#7)
•Holiday on Ice (#8.5)
•Shot on Gold (#14)
Podium Finish - Beth Pond (YA)
Point Shot series - V.L. Locey
Portland Storm series - Catherine Gayle
Pucked series - Helena Hunting

Razors Ice series - Rachelle Vaughn
Rinkside in the Rockies series - Aven Ellis
Rough Riders Hockey series - Skye Jordan
Royally Pucked - Pippa Grant

Score (Men of Hidden Creek #5) - A.E. Wasp
Scoring Chances series - Avon Gale
Seattle Sharks - Samantha Whiskey
Something So series - Natasha Madison
Stick Side series - Amy Aislin

To Love a Wildcat series - V.L. Locey

Until It Fades - K.A. Tucker

WAGs series - Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

Pekka Rinne is the GOAT
(although his performance Saturday was... not great.
Here's hoping for a better one tonight!)

Mary's Minute: Why I don't write negative reviews

Thanks for joining me for another Mary's Minute! Today's topic is one that I wrestle with constantly. We're talking 1 star reviews. 

Bloggers get access to a fair amount of free books and work with publishers and authors to promote those books. So what happens when you don't like the book? Do you review or do you not review? THAT is the question. Personally, I refuse to post a 1 or 2 star review on my blog. Plenty of bloggers do, and that's cool; no judgment from me. I'm just going to give you my personal reasoning for not enjoying writing them.

A preemptive note:
This post is regarding negative reviews of books that I don't like/just don't work for me. I am NOT talking about reviews that point out harmful representation of marginalized characters and communities such as that famous review of a book that rhymes with Flack Snitch.  

Why I don't post negative reviews:
I refuse to post negative reviews (I consider 1 and 2 stars to be negative with 1 meaning I hated/really disliked the book, and 2 meaning it was meh) here on Mary Had a Little Book Blog not because I'm afraid of angering an author or a publisher. Instead, it's more that I don't think of myself as being in the business of telling people what not to read. I've always been the girl who people ask what to read. Not just my family and friends, although they do ask my opinion frequently, but also random people in bookstores. I guess it's an air I give off that says, "I know books." I absolutely never grab a book and say, "Ugh. This one is TERRIBLE and I hated it." That's so stupid and utterly pointless. I'd much rather grab a book that I loved and say, "This is wonderful! You should read it."

I once read that there are something like 100,000 members of the Screen Actors Guild, which is basically Hollywood's union. Of that 100K, only 2,000 members make their living acting on screen. The remaining 98% must supplement their acting income with jobs like waiting tables or modeling or whatever. I presume being an author is kind of like that. There are a handful of  NYT best-selling authors who get 7 figure book deals and sometimes 7 figure movie deals to go with. You know who those authors are; I don't have to tell you. But so many others don't have that. They not only have to fight for sales but they often have to fight just for marketing and publicity from their own publisher. It's very dog-eat-dog so many authors also have to have another source of income. This might be a spouse who works, but there are many writers who balance their writing with a full-time job.

Ain't nobody got time for that:
I can post only so many reviews on my blog a year. Last year, it was about 30. I don't want to waste precious review posts on talking about how much I dislike a book. Same goes for Amazon. I would hate if someone was on Amazon, about to buy a book, when they see my 1 star review blasting that author and that book for how awful it was. I don't want to ever be in a position where I am taking sales away from someone. While I may not like a book, that's not to say that someone else won't like it. My favorite comments are those that come from my blog readers saying that my review helped them decide TO read a book. If I ever received a comment saying, "Thanks for sharing. I will never pick that book up," I think I might actually die. 

I know there's this whole thing where it's fun to laugh at absurd 1 star reviews. I'll admit, I've read some good ones, such as this gif-tastic review of Fifty Shades of Grey (fun fact: it's Goodreads's most popular review). Romance reviews in particular are rib-tickling. But these in-jest reviews really depend on the writing ability of the person writing them. There is a line between making fun and being cruel, and I think a lot of people don't know exactly where that line is. Sometimes, I make mistakes when I don't recognize that line either. So, to make sure I never make that mistake when it comes to blogging, I choose to stay as far away from it as possible. YMMV.

Now, this is just on my blog and on retailer websites. Goodreads is its own beast entirely and is subject for another post on another day, but for the record, I actually am okay posting my negative reviews there. Yes, even with the negative review controversy that pops up on GR every now and then. But again, that's for another time.

I want to know what you think. Is my review policy insane? What are your feelings about negative reviews?

Blog Tour: Trouble Never Sleeps by Stephanie Tromly

Yesterday, the third and final installment of Stephanie Tromly's hilarious and captivating Trouble trilogy released. I loved this series from page one of Trouble is a Friend of Mine, and I'm so excited to have the opportunity to interview Stephanie about the series and her characters!

Rating: 5 stars
Release Date: April 24, 2018
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Genre: young adult mystery
Format/Source: ARC, from the publisher
Status: Book 3 of the Trouble is a Friend of Mine trilogy
Links: Trouble is a Friend of Mine review (also 4 stars)

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Happily Ever After gets a serious makeover in this swoony, non-stop, thrill-ride of a conclusion to the Trouble Is a Friend of Mine trilogy.

Digby and Zoe have been skirting around each other for so long that you might think they'd lose their magic if they ever actually hooked up. But never fear--there's all the acerbic wit, steamy chemistry, and sarcastic banter you could possibly hope for.

Now that Digby's back in town he's plunged Zoe (and their Scooby Gang of wealthy frenemy Sloane, nerd-tastic genius Felix, and aw-shucks-handsome Henry) back into the deep end on the hunt for his kidnapped sister. He's got a lead, but it involves breaking into a secret government research facility, paying a drug dealer off with a Bentley, and possibly committing treason. The schemes might be over-the-top but this Breakfast Club cast is irresistibly real as they cope with regular high school stuff from social media shaming to dating your best friend, all with a twist no one will see coming.

With acerbic banter, steamy chemistry, and no small amount of sarcasm, Zoe and Digby are the will-they-or-won't-they, charismatic crime solving couple you've been waiting for.

Book Blitz: Now a Major Motion Picture by Cori McCarthy

As soon as I heard about Now a Major Motion Picture, I knew I had to have this book in my life. Fandom, book nerds, movie sets... this book might as well be a box trap set up with a sign that says "for Mary". I can't wait to read it, and today, I'm sharing an excerpt and a giveaway so you can win your own copy!

Author: Cori McCarthy
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: young adult contemporary
Status: standalone

Summary: Their fantasy is her reality in this bright and uplifting contemporary coming-of-age novel by the acclaimed author of Breaking Sky and You Were Here.

Iris Thorne wants to blaze her own path. That’s easier said than done when you’re the granddaughter of M. E. Thorne, famous author of the Elementia series, hailed as the feminist response to J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. And with a major motion picture adaptation of her grandmother’s books in the works, Iris can say goodbye to her dream of making her own way in the music industry.

So when Iris and her brother get invited to the film set in Ireland, she’s pretty sure the trip will be a nightmare. Except Iris can’t deny the rugged beauty of the Irish countryside. And brushing shoulders with the hot, young cast isn’t awful, especially the infuriatingly charming lead, Eamon O’Brien. Iris even finds the impassioned female director inspiring. But when the filming falls into jeopardy, everything Iris thought she knew about Elementia—and herself—is in question. Will making a film for the big screen help Iris to see the big picture?

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Praise for Now a Major Motion Picture:
“A war cry and a love letter all at once.”– Kirkus

“This is simultaneously a whimsical teen romance and an emotionally compelling story about family, creativity, and courage.”– School Library Journal

“Joyful and authentic. With a vivid cast of unique characters, the story is engrossing, right down to the sometimes wryly self-referential, on-point chapter titles.” – Booklist


The guy was probably a painter. Possibly a drummer.

College age and wearing all black, he’d been the unique focus of my thousand-hour red-eye. My inflight boyfriend. It was a torrid, imaginary romance. We’d gone on at least a dozen dates and told adorable anecdotes to our future children about how their parents met a few miles in the air.

Now we were no longer separated by two Aer Lingus seats. We were shoulder to shoulder, dazedly watching the baggage belt spin. Just say hi. Ask him something.

I hugged the neck of my guitar case. “Do you know the time?”

He checked a large, silver watch. “Half twelve.”

“What?” I blurted. The bags began to emerge, and I was suddenly under new pressure to break the ice before we parted ways. After all, an entire transatlantic daydream depended on it. “Is that six? Eleven thirty? I’m so jet-lagged it could be either.”

“Twelve thirty.” His Irish accent made his words feel like lyrics to a decent song.

“Yeah, that doesn’t make sense. Half of twelve is six.” I smiled.

“Americans,” he muttered with a snicker.

And he continued snickering as he reached for a suitcase, leaving me with the unparalleled awkwardness of being embarrassed by and disappointed in a complete stranger. I’d mentally dumped him four exotic ways—my favorite involving a baseball stadium video screen—by the time my little brother came running back from the bathroom.

“Iris!” Ryder yelled. “I peed for like two whole minutes. I should’ve timed it!”

The baggage claim crowd parted for him—people tend to do that when someone’s yelling about their urine. Now I really felt like a gross American. Thanks, Ireland. We’re off to a great start.

“Eleven days,” I murmured. “Only eleven days.”

Ryder showed no sign of jet lag. He wrestled a foam fantasy axe out of his backpack, spilling weapons everywhere. He then engaged imaginary opponents in fierce battle while the people from our flight continued to back away. My ex-in-flight boyfriend even gave him a dirty look—before giving me a dirtier look.

“I’m not his mom, you know,” I said as I collected Ryder’s weapons off the floor.

A well-meaning Irish granny stepped up. “Is this your first time in Ireland?” she asked Ryder, placing a steadying hand on his shoulder. My brother nodded and squirmed. I checked my desire to tell her that, in America, we don’t touch kids we don’t know, but I didn’t want to call more attention to our swiftly amassing cultural differences. “Are you going to see the Giant’s Causeway? Or the Cliffs of Moher?”

“No,” Ryder said, breaking free from her hold. “We get to meet famous people and help out on set and probably even get bit roles.”

“No bit roles, Ry. You know that,” I said.

McGranny looked to me for an explanation. I zipped up Ryder’s backpack and said it fast. “He means the adaptation for Elementia. They’re filming here for the next two weeks. We’ve been invited to…” What were we supposed to do? “Watch, I guess.”

“Our grandma wrote that book!” Ryder said so loud we now had an even larger audience. Everyone who’d been groggily waiting to claim their luggage had tuned in.

“Excuse me?” My ex-love was back in the picture, not snickering this time. “Did you say your grandmother was the author M. E. Thorne?” The spark in his eyes seemed desperate to rekindle our imaginary flame.

Get out of your own head, Iris.

“Yeah,” I managed.

“Have I got something to show you.” He started to take off his shirt.

“Oh, for the love of…” I whispered, staring down at my red Chucks.

“Look!” Ryder proclaimed. “Iris, look! He’s got the map of Elementia on his ribs!”

I had to peek. It was an awfully big map. Alas, my curiosity was rewarded by a rich paleness smattered in black chest hair.

He put his shirt back down and smiled, but I kept hearing the way he’d grumbled Americans. “So are you excited about the film adaptation?” he asked. “Are you having a hand in its development? How do you feel about them changing the ages of the characters?”

I braided my hair back and said nothing, reminded once again of my life’s golden rule. People usually treated me one of two ways. One: like I was M. E. Thorne’s granddaughter, gifted with an otherworldly glow. Two: no one. I’d give anything for a third option.

“This is all you talk about, isn’t it?” he continued. “You’ve probably been reading your grandma’s books since you were a kid. I discovered them a few years back. Then again, I bet you can’t say anything because of the movies. Top-secret insider information, right?”

I chewed on my response. The gristle of this fantasy talk would not go down. Everyone assumed I’d be over the moon about the adaptation, but it meant the story’s fandom would triple. Quadruple. Soon everyone would revise their interest in me, just like this guy.

“Ryder, see if that’s our bag,” I said, moving us to the other side of the carousel. When I had my back to everyone from our flight, I squeezed my eyes, a little scream coming up from deep inside.

“You okay, Iris?” Ryder put a hand on my shoulder. I opened my eyes. Not his hand—it was his foam dwarf axe. At least his little-kid expression was earnest.

“I’m fine.” I rested my forehead on the top of my guitar case. I knew better than to check out when I was on Ryder duty, but I couldn’t help it. One moment later, my brother was lunging for his luggage, and the next, he was on the carousel, disappearing through the plastic hanging strips and into the bowels of Shannon Airport. “Hey!” I yelled. “Ryder!” Fear slapped me awake, and I almost crawled through the plastic strips after him. “Hey!”

“Need some help, then?”

I turned toward a new Irish voice and almost fell over. “Oh no.”

The boy had elf ears. Honest to God, pointy and flexed into his hairline elf ears.

“Oh no?” he returned, his eyebrows sky-high.

“What’re you… What are you?”

“I’m an elf,” he said as casually as if he were telling me he was an art major. “I’m here to give you a lift.” He held up a printed sign that read Thorne.

“Put that down. These people are already too curious.” I grabbed the paper and balled it. “And if you’re here to help, solve that equation.” I pointed to the baggage exit. “One brother went in. No brothers are coming back out. He’s probably on the runway by now.”

“Ye of little faith,” Elf Ears said, crossing his arms. “He’ll pop back through in a moment.” He leaned over conspiratorially. “It’s a circle, you know.”

I couldn’t believe that a stranger with artificial ears was “ye of little faith”-ing me. “What if security catches him? In the United States, the TSA confiscates firstborns for this kind of thing.”

On cue, Ryder came back through the plastic strips, sitting on my duffel and wearing my sunglasses he’d pillaged from the outer pocket. He knew he was in trouble, and yet he grinned. Then he saw the guy beside me, and his mouth dropped open. Ryder jumped down and ran over, leaving me to fetch both of our bags from the carousel.

By the time I’d returned, Ryder’s face was a full moon of excitement. “Iris. This is Nolan. Nolan.”

Nolan held out his hand as though we hadn’t previously met, i.e., argued. “It’s Eamon. Eamon O’Brien.”

I dropped Ryder’s bag to shake Eamon’s hand. “What a name. Did you spring from the roots of Ireland itself?”

I had to hand it to him—he didn’t flinch.

“And you’re Iris Thorne. Nothing to slag there, right?”

Ryder pulled on my shirt, revealing way too much of my bra, while hissing, “It’s Nolan.”

I grabbed his hand and yanked up my neckline. “Stop it or I’ll snap your dwarf axe over my knee.” I plucked my sunglasses off Ryder’s face and put them on in time to catch quite possibly the dirtiest look an elf has ever given a human. “Oh, come on. I don’t really break his toys. And how come there are three of us, but I’m carrying all the bags?”

“It’s not a toy,” Ryder snipped. “It’s a costume replica.”

Eamon continued to glare, proving his eyes weren’t blue but a crystal color that felt digitally enhanced. No wonder he’d been cast as the famous elf in Grandma Mae’s books. Nolan—Eamon—whatever his name was threw the strap of my huge duffel over his shoulder and tried to take my guitar.

“Don’t even think about it,” Ryder said for me. “She’s married to that thing.”

“Is that legal in America these days? Do you share health care?”

I stuck out my tongue, and Eamon grinned wildly, which encouraged me to put my tongue away and wonder how he’d reduced me to Ryder’s maturity level in a matter of minutes.

We passed under the green banner of Nothing to Declare, and I tried some light conversation. “So, if you’re one of the actors, why are you doing airport pickups?”

“I volunteered. I’m a huge fan.”

Good Lord.

“Hey, I read about you,” Ryder said. “This is your very first movie!”

I couldn’t help myself. “Then how’d you get the role?”

“That’s a fine story. I love Elementia. It’s in my blood. I first read it with my mam when I was, oh, about this high.” He held his hand to Ryder’s head, making my brother beam. “When they announced the movie and open casting, Mam and I decided to dream big. We made an audition video in a wooded bit on Saint Stephen’s Green.”

“Elijah Wood did that to become Frodo,” Ryder said.

“Right, right.” He knocked Ryder’s shoulder, best friends already. “I thought, if it worked for Elijah, why can’t it work with me?”

“Because Elijah Wood had an established film career before he did that,” I muttered.

“What was that?” Eamon asked.

“Nothing.” I knew where this story was going. Without a doubt, it would conclude with “then I met the grandchildren of M. E. Thorne and it was the most magical thing to ever happen to me.”

Eamon continued. “Lo and behold, I’m cast as Nolan. And today I’m getting fit for my ears when Cate Collins, wonder director, needs someone to pick up M. E. Thorne’s grandchildren. I volunteered, quick as light.” Eamon shifted the bag on his shoulder and glanced at me. “This is when I meet a tiny, axe-wielding hero and his mountain troll of a guardian.”

My guitar case slipped out of my hand, banging hollowly on the ground. “What the…”

Ryder’s smile was wider than both of the hands he used to cover it.

“Pardon that.” Eamon winked at me—the sassiest thing I’d ever seen a guy manage. “I’m prone to descriptive exaggeration, me springing outta the roots of Ireland and all.”

I blushed, an odd mixture of offended and ashamed.

“Iris Thorne!” an unfamiliar voice yelled from behind.

I turned, my pulse turning into a drum. Just like there were two ways people treated me, there were two kinds of Elementia fans: the ones who loved the trilogy—and the ones who’d reconstructed their lives for it. The latter group called themselves Thornians. They wrote letters to my family. They knew my birthday.

And one of them tried to abduct Ryder when he was six.

I was sort of relieved to see it was my ex-in-flight boyfriend, the newly redubbed Mr. Nerdy Torso Tattoo, jogging over. “How do you know my name?” I asked, my voice breaking a little as I put out an arm to keep him from getting too close to Ryder.

“Your brother was yelling it. I didn’t even know M. E. Thorne had young grandkids.”

I relaxed slightly. “I’m not that young.”

“I’m crossing my fingers you’re eighteen.” The guy leaned close with flirtatious wickedness, reminding me of what had drawn my attention to him during the flight. Lanky gorgeousness. The glasses. Blue eyes. Dark, tight swirls of hair. He rested a long-fingered hand on the top of my guitar case. Definitely musician’s fingers. Also, it was suddenly quite obvious that I’d been wrong; he was well beyond college age.

Earth to Iris. Walk away, Iris.

“I’m…seventeen.” I stepped back, oddly relieved to bump into Eamon. “Have to go.”

The guy pulled out his wallet and handed me a business card. “Shoot me a message around your birthday. I’ll take you out, and we can talk about the movie, or the books, if you prefer.”

Neither, thank you. “I live in LA.”

“I’ll make the trip.” He smiled at the person he thought was me. He walked away. And I hated M. E. Thorne more than usual, which, to be honest, was already a lot.

We walked toward the parking lot, and I kept my head down.

“You work fast, Lady Iris,” Eamon said, low enough that Ryder couldn’t hear.

“No way,” I muttered back. “That guy has the hots for my dead grandma.” He glanced at me, concerned. “I’m fine,” I added, hoping I looked annoyed—bold and unflappable—but from the way his expression fell, I think maybe my sad was showing.

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About the Author:
Cori McCarthy studied poetry and screenwriting before falling in love with writing for teens at Vermont College of Fine Arts. From a military family, Cori was born on Guam and lived a little bit of everywhere before they landed in Michigan. Learn more about their books at

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Blog Tour: The Pros of Cons by Alison Cherry, Lindsay Ribar, & Michelle Schusterman


Rating: 4 stars
Release Date: March 27, 2018
Publisher: Point
Genre: young adult contemporary
Format/Source: ARC, from the publisher
Status: standalone

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour, which was organized & hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. The full tour schedule can be found HERE. Please go give my fellow tour hosts some love!

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour. This does not affect the content of my review.

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Drummer Phoebe Byrd prides herself on being one of the guys, and she's ready to prove it by kicking all their butts in the snare solo competition at the Indoor Percussion Association Convention.

Writer Vanessa Montoya-O'Callaghan has been looking forward to the WTFcon for months. Not just because of the panels and fanfiction readings but because WTFcon is where she'll finally meet Soleil, her internet girlfriend, for the first time.

Taxidermy assistant Callie Buchannan might be good at scooping brains out of deer skulls, but that doesn't mean it's her passion. Since her parents' divorce, her taxidermist father only cares about his work, and assisting him at the World Taxidermy and Fish-Carving Championships is the only way Callie knows to connect with him.

When a crazy mix-up in the hotel lobby brings the three girls together, they form an unlikely friendship against a chaotic background of cosplay, competition, and carcasses!

Blog Tour: The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton

Rating: 4 stars
Release Date: March 27, 2018
Publisher: Tor
Genre: adult fantasy, Shakespeare retelling
Format/Source: hardcover, from the publisher
Status: standalone

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour, which was organized & hosted by Jean Book Nerd Tours. The full tour schedule can be found HERE. Please go give my fellow tour hosts some love!

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour. This does not affect the content of my review.

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A kingdom at risk, a crown divided, a family drenched in blood.

The erratic decisions of a prophecy-obsessed king have drained Innis Lear of its wild magic, leaving behind a trail of barren crops and despondent subjects. Enemy nations circle the once-bountiful isle, sensing its growing vulnerability, hungry to control the ideal port for all trade routes.

The king's three daughters—battle-hungry Gaela, master manipulator Reagan, and restrained, starblessed Elia—know the realm's only chance of resurrection is to crown a new sovereign, proving a strong hand can resurrect magic and defend itself. But their father will not choose an heir until the longest night of the year, when prophecies align and a poison ritual can be enacted.

Refusing to leave their future in the hands of blind faith, the daughters of Innis Lear prepare for war—but regardless of who wins the crown, the shores of Innis will weep the blood of a house divided.