Saturday, July 27, 2013

Most Creative Blog Voting is Up! Would really appreciate your vote!

Hey guys,
Don't forget to vote in the Bloggy Awards 13 in general, but then also, vote today for Most Creative Blog! This was the wonderful blurb by Fiona Paul (her real name is Paula Stokes, which is what you should follow her as now, she has some great books coming out!) about my blog:

Ensconced in YAEnsconced in YA

So here's the deal about Ensconced in YA. Yes, it's hard to type right. And some of you might not even know what the word ensconced means. And it's true, Christina doesn't have a ginormous multi-colored header with animated rainbow and puppies. But the blog is GOOD, people.

For one, Christina has amassed 2000 followers in just over a year. That's crazy, yo! I can still count all my blog followers on the toes of my cats, and I have multiple Big Six publishing deals. Clearly, she is doing something right. Here's a rundown of some of the creative things she does:
  • twitter parties that utilize various contest formats
  • sections on her blog that appeal specifically to writers, readers, and bloggers
  • story prompts for writers
  • snippets of her own writing. Look! She's creating! That's creative, no?
  • rants--sometimes by her, sometimes by guest bloggers, about things that really grind our gears #FamilyGuyReference
  • author and character interviews that don't just ask the same 5 questions that have been answered all over the interwebs
  • FB question prompts like "How would you define the trope of Instalove?" (I bet THAT was an animated discussion!)
  • a high degree of support for indie and self-pub'd authors, which isn't common on big 2000 follower blogs
In addition to all of this, her blog is easy-to-read, informative, and professional. As an author, I don't have a lot of time to read blogs, so I always enjoy a blog like Ensconced in YA that is lighter on graphics (and thus loads quickly) but heavy on information. Vote for Christina as Most Creative Blogger because clearly she rocks or I would not have taken the time to write her this rather lengthy endorsement while on deadline :) FIONA SAYS VOTE ENSCONCED IN YA FOR MOST CREATIVE!
-Fiona Paul, author of Venom, Belladonna, and Starling

Here's the link: go vote, and THANK YOU!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cover Reveal: Riley's Redemption by Christina Smith

 I'm very excited to show you guys this cover reveal, and I'm dying to find out what happens in the final book of this great trilogy!

Is it possible to be at peace when you have so many regrets?

After everything Megan and Nate have been through, things are finally looking up, and a trip to Vegas solidifies their relationship. Everything is as it should be. Or is it? Megan is the happiest she’s ever been, and although Nate says he is too, she knows the guilt he feels for everything he has done weighs on him daily. But she hopes that one day he can let go of the past and finally live a life without regrets. After the note Nate found on his old enemy six months ago, he is determined to find out what it means, even if the answer puts him and his new pack-mates at risk.

When Megan gets a call from her friend Adrian asking for her help to find his sister, she is compelled to join him. And everyone in their group is shocked at what they find. When they return home, controversy and tension erupts, creating more questions and fewer answers.

In an unexpected twist, conflict comes between Nate and a friend he has known for fifty years. Will there be harmony in the pack once again, or will anger and hostility rip apart their formerly tight knit group?

Author Blurb:
Christina Smith grew up in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Like her mother, she fell in love with books at a young age. She started reading her books and usually hid them behind her texts at school. Then she began to venture out herself, reading anything she could find. 

After getting married, she moved to a small rural town in the country. She lives there with her husband Brad, two kids Josh and Megan, and their dog Bailey. She didn’t realize she had the ability to write until a few years ago, but ever since then, she hasn't been able to stop.

I love the cover and all of the blue! What do you guys think? 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Blogger Interview with Anasheh Satoorian and INT giveaway!

So I know I said I'm taking a blogging break, and I am (I REALLY AM!) but I can't wait to put this interview up with one of my dearest blogging friends, Anasheh, who is hailing from the terrific blog, A Reading Nurse. 

About Anasheh
I'm a 28 year old Armenian girl from Los Angeles. I'm the epitome of a Virgo: Analytical, observant, helpful, reliable, precise, and extremely loyal. Yes, I'm a little bossy too, but I like to consider it as being a born leader. I worked in Retail Management for 11 years and finally got tired of it and quit my job to go back to school. Some people called it risky, but I call it following my dream to become of a nurse. I have 5 months until I graduate LVN school and am hoping to go back in school for my RN towards the end of 2014. When I'm not studying about one disease or another, you find me nose deep into a book. Print or on my Ipad, honestly don't have a preference. I am lucky to have some amazing friends who share my love for reading, and follow me on road trips to meet amazing authors and other book lovers. My favorite genres are: YA or NA/MA. Specifically: Paranormal, Contemporary, or Historical. My other love is JAFF (Jane Austen Fan Fiction). Continuations, variations, or re-tellings with Zombies; If it's about one of Jane Austen's famous characters I am sure to read it! I spend more time on Goodreads than on Facebook or Twitter combined. Some people want to travel the worlds 7 natural wonders. I however, want to travel the world’s best libraries. I started blogging because I wanted to meet other book lovers, and so far I can honestly say that my wish has been fulfilled! 

Interview with Anasheh
1. Tell us a little bit about how you fell in love with reading.
I fell in love with reading probably at the age of 3. When my family first moved to the states we didn't have a lot of money, so my mom would take me down to the local library where they had great children's events (BTW I still go to the same library.) They would show tons of movies and I could check out as many books as I wanted. Even though English is not my first language, I was always at the top of my school's reading level throughout elementary school and was in Honors English classes in high school. And the love of reading is a big part of who I am today at the age of 28.

2. What have been your top 5 YA reads in the past year or two and why?
The biggest thing I look for when reading books regardless of what genre they are in is originality. After reading hundreds of books, like any avid reader I start being able to predict the ending and I HATE that. It’s what will make me give a GREAT book a 4 star rating instead of a 5 star. But the following I would say are my Fav Five from the last 2 years:

1)  The Madman's Daugther - Megan Shepard : Loved the mixture of historical fiction, paranormal and the anatomy thrown in!

2) Second Chance Summer - Morgan Matson: This book is a contemporary that actually had me bawling at one point. Beautiful story about making the  most of every moment you have.

3) The Bloodlines series - Richelle Mead: There is just something about reading a book by a favorite author that makes it feel like coming home. Richelle Mead is one of those authors. I love the fact that she has some kick-butt heroines and yes, her heroes aren't that bad either. 

4) Anything by Gayle Forman - Gayle Forman is one of those authors that has me glued to my seat and unable to do anything besides read her beautiful stories. I think I read If I stay, and Where she Went in one day, one sitting.

5) The Infernal Devices by Cassie Clare - I have been a huge fan of Cassie's work for years now. But since I loved The Mortal Instruments so much, I was kind of hesitant to start this series. But my one of my best friends Vivian, who knows the books I like, said that she thought I might actually like this series more. And boy was she right! Luckily I waited until all 3 books were out before I picked it up. This is hands down one of the best series out there in my opinion. It mixes historical fiction, romance, steampunk all into the amazing Shadowhunter World Cassie Clare created! 

3. What's your favorite candy?
Hmm favorite candy? Not sure about that. I'll get back to you **Runs to the nearest candy store to do research** Just Kidding. If I have to choose one, I would probably say Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

4. What superpower would you choose if you could have it?
Can I create a new one? If so I would pick the super power of not having to sleep. I could accomplish so much more that way!
But if I had to pick a super power already out there I would pick being able to fly! That would come in handy when I have to go somewhere during LA rush hour!

5. Who is your favorite author and why?
My favorite author of all time is Jane Austen. I am a huge sucker Pride & Prejudice and have watched almost every single adaptation out there. It is probably one of the most beloved love stories out there. Jane Austen was also much ahead of her time. She wrote themes and topics that were way advanced for the world she lived in.  Her stories are still beloved today, 200 years later and even though there are a gazillion adaptations out there, people still go out to see it!

6. What has been the three best things you've loved about blogging?
1) Meeting people from around world and developing some lasting friendships
2) Being able to be more active with some authors and to be able to express to them out how much their world affected me.
3) Knowing that there are thousands of people out there like me, who like to fan-girl about books and fictional characters. 

7. Which Hogwarts house would you be placed in by the Sorting Hat and why?
This has to be the toughest question yet, because honestly I have attributes that could qualify for any of the houses. But I think I would like to believe that I would I sorted into Ravenclaw. I have and always will be a nerd who loves to learn and that will probably never change.
Even though anyone who has ever known, worked as or shadowed a nurse, can say that there is a great amount of bravery associated with the nursing profession! Some obvious reasons and some not so obvious. So maybe the hat would sort me as a Gryffindor.

8. Who is your favorite villain and why?
My favorite villain has to be Valentine from the Mortal Instruments series. There is just something about him that you love to hate. Plus I would be lying if I didn't admit that I was more excited about Jonathan Rhys Meyers, being cast as Valentine than any of the other casting choices! Anyone who has watched Tudors knows why ;)  

Thanks so much to Anasheh for her awesome answers in this interview! Now please go on to enter her very generous giveaway!!! Either the box set of The Infernal Devices (US only) OR $40 Amazon Gift Card (INT).

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Oracle of Delphi Blog Tour and INT giveaway!

Prophecy of the Most Beautiful (Oracle of Delphi, #1)Goodreads Book Description: She has a destiny so great that even the gods fear her.

Constant hallucinations and the frequent conversations with the voices in her head, have earned eighteen-year-old Chloe Clever the not-so-coveted title of "Whack Job" in her home town of Adel, Georgia. With the onslaught of prescription medications and therapists threatening to push her over the edge, she wishes for a life far away from the one she has, a life where she is destined to be more than the butt of everyone's jokes and mockery.

Be careful what you wish for has never rung more true.

After living through an attack from her worst nightmare, she awakens to find herself far from home, surrounded by glorious riches and servants…and a few demigods who enjoy killing things. Upon learning that her favorite rockstar is an Olympian god, she is thrust into her new life as the Oracle of Delphi, the prophesier of the future, and the great Pythia that the gods have been anxiously awaiting to arrive for centuries. Setting out to fulfill the prophecy she has been given and to keep her family safe from a demigod Princess that wants her dead, Chloe learns of how great she is to become, all the while fighting mythical monsters, evading divine assassins and trying to outwit the ever-cunning Greek gods who harbor secrets of their own. In the hopes of discovering the Most Beautiful and the truth of her destiny, she strives to uncover the mysteries of the demigod Prince who has sworn to protect her with his life…and threatens to win her heart in the process.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Want to buy it?


Author Blurb: Diantha Jones was born the day thousands of turkeys sacrificed their lives to fill millions of American bellies on November 22 which also happened to be Thanksgiving Day (Her mother says she owes her a turkey). She is a Journalism graduate who wants to be a career novelist (of books, not Facebook posts). When not writing or working, she is reading on her Nook, being hypnotized by Netflix or on a mission to procure french fries. She also writes adult fantasy/paranormal romance under the name A. Star. Friend/Fan her at

Character interview with Chloe, main character in Prophecy of the Most Beautiful
Chloe, welcome to Ensconced in YA! I know you are busy saving the world, but I'm so happy you made it!

Thanks, Christina! Saving the world is my mission, but I've always got time for a friend of Diantha's.

We are going to do a lightning round to get to know you a little better.
1. Favorite book? Can anybody honestly answer this question? There's too many to choose from?
2. Favorite movie? The Avengers. I have a thing for heroes :)
3. Favorite song? Lover's Moon by A Divinity's Stimuli. They're my fave band.
4. Least favorite subject in school? Math. UGH. Terrible. Still aced it though.
5. Superpower that you've always wanted? Telling the future. Ha! Check.
6. Favorite TV show? Can't say I'm much of a TV person, but who can resist a Law & Order marathon?
7. Favorite ice cream flavor? Strawberry Cheesecake.
8. Boxers or briefs? Boxer briefs. Those are pretty hot.
9. Email or handwritten letters? I think Hermes Mail (celestial email) is pretty cool. But Iris delivers handwritten letters over a rainbow which is also pretty cool. Ah! I can't decide.
10. Dogs or cats? Dogs. There are already gods stalking me. Don't need a cat around doing it too.
11. Bad boys or good boys? Strafford Law. Pass your own judgement.
12. Zeus or Hades? Cupid. As far as I know, he doesn't have any sinister plans involving me...and he can kiss ;)
13. Favorite inanimate object? Lawless, my Morph. A ring that transforms into all kinds of weapons.
14. When going on a trip: are you a planner or take things as they come? I think it's pretty safe to say that I take things as they come. At this point, I don't have a choice.
15. Candy or chocolate? Chocolate!
16. Coffee or hot chocolate? Coffee. Blame my mother. I inherited the addiction.
17. Mountains or beach? Mountains. Ever seen Mount Olympus? Beautiful.
18. Hot or cold? I like both. Hot means laying out by the pool. Cold means cuddling up with Strafford. Meh. Who am I kidding? Cold all day.
19. Vampires or werewolves? Have you ever met an Empusa? Well, I have. So that's a big fat NO to the bloodsuckers. I'll go with werewolves.
20. Do you believe in soulmates? Yes. A thousand times, yes.

Thanks! Had fun!

Now enter some great giveaways!
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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Thanks so much for the Nomination of MOST CREATIVE BLOG on The Bloggy Awards 13!

OK how many days has it been since I said I would stop blogging for a while? Well, this is an exception because I am so thrilled that you guys nominated me for this award. Here is the official list, posted by the great Nikki Wang from Fiction Freak. I'll keep you posted on when voting starts. Would love to have you in my corner :-)

Nicest Bloggers
Kindles and Wine
A Sunny Spot Blog
Singing and Reading in the Rain
Book Loving Mom

Twitter Fiend
Fiction Freak
Amy Bookworm
Singing and Reading in the Rain
Cabin Goddess
The Book Stop

Best Design
Feed Me Books Now
Icey Books
Xpresso Reads
Book Loving Mom

Best Breakout Blog
The Book Stop
A Bookish Heart
Between the Lines
Reading in Twilight

Best Book Tours
Xpresso Book Tours
Rockstar Book Tours
(There was one other nominee, but she didn't run blog tours. PLEASE READ THE DESCRIPTIONS BEFORE YOU NOMINATE A BLOGGER.)

Most Influential
Nose Graze
Reading in Twilight
Jenna Does Books

Group Blog
Under The Covers
Vampires, Werewolves, Fairies, Oh My
YA Sisterhood
Great Imaginations
Kindles and Wine

Most Creative
YA Sisterhood
Ensconced in YA
Cabin Goddess
Feed Me Books Now
Perpetual Page Turner

Trending Blog
Queen of Contemporary
Nose Graze
Jenna Does Books
Mile Long Bookshelf

Best Reviews
Rabid Reads
Sparkles and Lightning
Kindles and Wine
Icey Books

Well Known
Alluring Reads
I am a Reader, Not a Writer

Blogs, Books, and Media, Oh My! (Author)
Fiona Paul
A.G. Howard

Most Social Author
AG Howard
Erin Albert
Jodi Meadows
Milly Taiden
Fiona Paul
Rachel Harris

Swoon Thursday
Top Ten Tuesday
Cover Snark
What's Next

Hilarious Reviews
Cuddlebuggery for September Girls by Bennett Madison and Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Chrstine (BookTuber) for City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
Good Books and Good Winefor The Innocents by Lili Peloquin
Writer of Wrongs for Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Fiction Freak for her Mini Freak Outs (type of review)

Blogging Fairy
Feed Me Books Now
Nose Graze
Xpresso Reads
Fiction Freak
Rabid Reads
Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My

The official link

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Beginner's Tutorial on how to attend my Twitter party!

I've gotten a lot of questions about this, and figured I should address them before tonight so everyone is up to speed!

1. You should have a twitter account.
2. You should be following both @cka1981 and @FionawritesYA to ensure that we see your tweets and that we can contact you with prize information.
3. After each comment, you should end it with #Ensconced or else we won't see it.
4. I'll be selecting winners RANDOMLY throughout the party, so the more you participate and the LONGER you participate, the more likely you are to win a prize.
5. Retweets will NOT count towards a prize. But these are nice to do for your fellow tweeters if you like what they are saying.
6. There will be one contest where Fiona Paul will post a picture, and the best tweet caption to the picture will win the grand prize. This will run for 20 minutes.
7. If we TREND, meaning if enough people attend and comment over a period of time, then I will be giving away another prize to the MOST INTERESTING comment. So be thoughtful about the comments!
8. I will be asking questions throughout the party to keep the conversation going and your creative juices flowing. It would be helpful to me if you tagged answers to questions with "A" for answer and the number attached to it. You don't NEED to do this to win, but it would be helpful for all if you labeled what you were doing.
9. The EASIEST way to follow a twitter party is to hook up your account to a chat program. TWEET CHAT IS DOWN so you cannot use this to follow. I just hooked up with which I actually like MORE than Tweetchat. All you have to do is put #Ensconced at the top of the page where it says "Enter hashtags." It should prompt you to link up your twitter account. Say yes. Then you should be good to go! The other nice thing about this is that you don't have to type #Ensconced after each comment, the program automatically does it for you. And you don't have to search for the hashtag, it automatically just follows the convo.
10. To those poor souls who don't have a twitter account. It's totally EASY. Get a twitter account! I finally got one for my blog, and it took literally seconds to set up. I'm so sorry but if you don't have a twitter account, you won't be eligible for the prizes. But I promise I'll have more giveaways that everyone can enter soon! :-)

SO EXCITED for tonight! I hope to see a ton of people there! 7pm CST for one hour! Be there!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Blog shut down until November, BUT a Twitter Party, July 11, 7pm CST #Ensconced to join!

I'm so sad, but you guys may have noticed the blog posts decreasing recently. That's because after the current giveaways finish, I'm closing down until November so I can concentrate on studying for my Pediatric Boards. I'll be back with a vengeance then though, so I hope you'll all stick around for when I get back.

But in happier news-- I'm hosting an awesome (I hope it's awesome!) Twitter party on July 11th, 7pm CST. Most of the prizes will be US only (books I have in my possession), but INT winners can win gift cards and swag!

Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin, #2) Siege and Storm (The Grisha, #2)Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1)Everneath (Everneath, #1)Everbound (Everneath, #2)

Prizes (US only) include:
1. Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers, hardcover copy
3. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry, paperback

Of Poseidon (Of Poseidon, #1)Of Triton (Of Poseidon, #2)

Grand prize of special game that Fiona is hosting: Hardcover and signed copies of both Of Poseidon and Of Triton and signed swag!

If I Stay (If I Stay, #1)Bonus prize: IF WE TREND-- If I Stay by Gayle Forman, paperback, to the most interesting comment of the night, decided by Fiona and me! :-)

As book winners are selected randomly, I'll direct you to this blog post as you can pick your prize out of the five listed above. The last two will be selected by us personally!

I would also love feedback at the end of the night about the party of what you liked or suggestions for next time, because my hope is to come back from hiatus with... ANOTHER PARTY! :-)

It's been an amazing year-- thanks for taking this crazy ride with me!

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Bloggy Awards 2013

Hey gang! I just wanted to alert you to a great new event taking place this week called The Bloggy Awards. This is a great way to support your favorite blogs!

The Categories
(In no particular order and with explanations)
Nicest Blogger: The nicest blogger you know?
Twitter Fiend: Biggest online presence!
Best Design: The prettiest design
Blogging Fairy: The one who knows everything about anything bloggy.
Best Breakout Blog: New blog (under six months) with the biggest reaction
Best Tour Group Blog: The nicest tour group blog that hosts the best tours!
Most Influential: The blogger who's word is (almost) law
Best Group Blog: Your favorite 2+ people blog?
Most Creative Blog: Which blog has the most creative events/design
Trending Blog: What blog do you think is making it's name known?
Best Reviews: Who's reviews do you always read and use/consider?
Well-Known Blog: The biggest blog? 
Blogs, and Books, and Media, oh my: The author who blogs the most and has a big online presence! 

Most Social Author: What author do you think interacts with her fans the most?
Best Meme: The Meme you love the most?
Most Hilarious Review: Which review made you LOL?

Nicest Negative Review: The review that wasn't quite positive, but still managed to be nice about it?
Publishing Fun: Which Publisher hosted an event or website you like the most? (LEAVE NOMINATIONS FOR THIS IN THE COMMENTS) EX: Tea Time, Signings, Pulse It, Pitch Dark, Breathless Reads, Fierce Reads, etc.

The Schedule
Here's the schedule for voting. VOTING WILL LAST ONE WEEK. 
July 13-Announce the nominees (10-30%)
July 19-Best Breakout Blog and Trending Blog
July 20-Best Group Blog and Best Tour Blog
July 21-Best Design and Most Creative
July 22-Nicest Blogger and Well Known Blog
July 23-Twitter Fiend and Best Meme
July 24-Most Influential and Best Reviews
July 25-Blogging Fairy and Favorite Publisher
July 26-Most Hilarious Review and Nicest Negative Review
July 27-Most Social Author and Blogs, Books, and Media oh my
Aug 3-Winners

Click this button to nominate! :-)
Bloggy Awards

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Interview and Giveaway with KA Barson, author of 45 Pounds

45 Pounds (More or Less)Goodreads Book Description: Here are the numbers of Ann Galardi’s life:

She is 16.
And a size 17.
Her perfect mother is a size 6.
Her Aunt Jackie is getting married in 10 weeks, and wants Ann to be her bridesmaid.
So Ann makes up her mind: Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less) in 2 1/2 months.

Welcome to the world of infomercial diet plans, wedding dance lessons, embarrassing run-ins with the cutest guy Ann’s ever seen—-and some surprises about her NOT-so-perfect mother.

And there’s one more thing. It’s all about feeling comfortable in your own skin-—no matter how you add it up!

"Deliciously relatable with a lot of laughter on the side." -- Rita Williams-Garcia, New York Times best-selling author

Author Blurb:
K.A. (Kelly) Barson earned an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She and her husband live in Jackson, Michigan, surrounded by kids, grandkids, unruly dogs, and too many pairs of shoes.

Author Interview
1. Tell us a little bit about your story to becoming a writer! 
After going to a lot of Highlights workshops and getting a few articles published, I went to Vermont College of Fine Arts for my MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Shortly after graduation, I queried my agent, and shortly after that, she sold 45 POUNDS. I know that sounds short, but the time between when I started until publication was eight years. 

2. What inspired you to write 45 Pounds? 
I wanted to write a book with a character who was like me. Not just a character who wanted to lose weight and went on the diet and did it, but someone who’s struggled her whole life with it. I wanted to write a story about a girl who was fatter in her head than on the scale. She IS overweight, but that’s all she can see when she looks in the mirror. I also wanted her to not be a total outcast, but she sometimes feels like one. More of her struggle is internal, but there’s some external too. It’s more about acceptance and seeing things how they really are, and changing what you have the power to change. I still struggle with being empowered to see myself realistically and make positive changes, so that’s the story I had to tell. 

3. I love your characters. Were any of them inspired by people you know? Did you have a favorite character? Which one was the most unexpected? 
All of them are me, and none of them are me at the same time. Gram is the most real to me. She’s a combination of my grandma, my mom as a grandma, and me as a grandma. She probably is the most unexpected, too, because she is so out there. 

4. What do you do in your in your none writing time? 
I play with my grandkids, go shopping with my daughters, and go to steam shows. Our family collects and show antique steam tractors. I cook, read, and watch movies, and I also spend way too much time on social media sites. 

5. Tell us something that most people don't know. 
I have crowd phobia. I get a lot of anxiety when I’m in a crowd or crowded city for too long. 

6. What was your favorite YA read of the past year? 
I’ve read a lot this year. Probably The Color of Rain by Cori McCarthy or Not a Drop To Drink by Mindy McGinnis. They are both ruthless writers willing to take risks. I envy that kind of guts.  

7. For our aspiring writers, what has been the most unanticipated perk of your journey?
Yes! I knew there’d be tons of waiting, but what I didn’t know was that there would be so many little celebrations along the way. Each time I hand in a round of edits or when I get an editorial letter or when I get to the see the cover or when I get to reveal the cover or when I get blurbs or reviews or interviews. There are so many little big things, it makes the wait feel more like a party. 

8. Tell us what books you are writing/going to write/brainstorming so we know what to wait impatiently for!
I’m writing a new YA contemporary right now about a high school cosmetology student who thinks she has her whole life planned out and in control, but instead everything falls apart. It’s expected out around summer 2015. 

Now enter to win her awesome book signed (US/Canada Only)!
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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Review of 45 Pounds by KA Barson and US/Can Giveaway!

I'm so excited to introduce this next book and author. I feel like 45 pounds was a very different contemporary-- in a unique and great way! :-)

45 Pounds (More or Less)Goodreads Book Description: Here are the numbers of Ann Galardi’s life:

She is 16.
And a size 17.
Her perfect mother is a size 6.
Her Aunt Jackie is getting married in 10 weeks, and wants Ann to be her bridesmaid.
So Ann makes up her mind: Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less) in 2 1/2 months.

Welcome to the world of infomercial diet plans, wedding dance lessons, embarrassing run-ins with the cutest guy Ann’s ever seen—-and some surprises about her NOT-so-perfect mother.

And there’s one more thing. It’s all about feeling comfortable in your own skin-—no matter how you add it up!

"Deliciously relatable with a lot of laughter on the side." -- Rita Williams-Garcia, New York Times best-selling author

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Review:  I unexpectedly received this book in the mail a few days ago from Penguin Teen and was curious about it, so immediately picked it up. This is my favorite kind of book-- I go in with no expectations, and come out, moved.

45 Pounds by K.A. Barson is about every girl Ann, who is overweight, wears a size 17, and is incredibly embarrassed about it. She has a stick thin perfect mother who has apparently never worried about weight her entire life, and has difficulty making new friends. She's struggled through many different diets, but this one is different-- her aunt has a wedding coming up, and Ann is determined to fit into a cute bridesmaid dress. This all seems very stereotypical to teen literature, but this book takes a generic idea and makes it new.

I admit that the first 100 pages were very painful for me to read on so many different levels. Ann is the perfect teen protagonist-- very insecure with many flaws, but with so much room to grow. She's like any of us were when we were at the awkward teenager stage where all we wanted to do was belong. I'll be honest-- I almost wanted to put it down because reliving those years was not my idea of relaxation. But then midway, something changes. Ann realizes that her sphere is larger than just around herself and that everyone has their own history, their own insecurities, their own fears. Barson introduces some really wonderful supporting characters-- Raynee, Ann's new friend, was probably my favorite of them all, and they take this book to a new level. The writing is crisp and the pacing makes absolute sense.

The resolution of this book is perfect-- and it brought tears to my eyes. In contemporary YA, the characters are the center of stories, and this book is chock full of it.

Overall, a book bursting through the seams with heart, courage, and depth that I was not expecting. A must read.

Now enter to win this great book! Tune in tomorrow for an interview with the author! :-)
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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

First Blogger Interview, Starring Naznin Azeez and INT giveaway

Dear All: So excited to introduce my first blogger interview! I met Naznin recently, and we really hit it off! I really love her and her blog, so I figured, why not host her on mine!

A little paragraph about Naznin Azeez

Hello all! I am so pleased & honored to be featured here on Christina's blog, Ensconced in YA. I am an Indian by birth but I consider United Arab Emirates to be my home, considering the fact that I have spent 22 out of my 25 years of life, here. I love to blog about random things that come to my mind. I love to bring variety in my blogging topics. So I do DIYs (skin care/ haircare / crafts), book reviews, cosmetic reviews, occasional hauls etc. I would love you to check out my blog!

Naznin's blog

Interview with Naznin

1. Can you tell us a little about how you realized you loved to read and secondly, what prompted you to start a blog?.

A: My love for reading started since I was in high school. They had a lovely library there and the teachers encouraged us to read a lot. It did earn me a pair of eye glasses as early as 1998! I still need them, though I have fashionably upgraded myself to contact lenses. Along with the love for reading, my desire to write started in school too. I took part in Essay Writing/Story Writing competitions, and the certificates that followed encouraged me a lot. Last year, I decided it's been a long time since I did any kind of writing. Blogging looked perfect to me as it accomplishes two things that I love: Sharing my thoughts on just about any topic with anyone in this world and [obviously!] writing. Thus began my blogging journey!

2. What have been your top 5 YA reads in the past year or two and why?

A: My favorite genre is Suspense/Thriller. Sadly, I have only read three YA books so far, all of them, in this very year. As all three of them earned 5 star reviews on my blog, I would like to name them as my top 3. They are : The Stone Guardian by Theresa McClinton, The Chronicles of Trellah: The Perpetual Rain by T. S. Graham and Escaping Darkness by Theresa McClinton. The authors of these books have captured the essence of youth, successfully created plots that are unique and intriguing. I am so glad to include two of those books in today's giveaway.

3. What movie should we all see?

A: No one should miss seeing The Pursuit of Happyness. I just love this movie so much. I have so many other favorites and must-watchs but don't wanna go on and on!

4. What superpower would you choose if you could have it?

A: The power to read other people's minds. I think that would be super cool!.

5. Who is your favorite author?

A: Oh Christina!... It's criminal to ask this question to a book lover. I will have to name a few here. I really can't choose just one. My favs are James Patterson, David Baldacci, Sydney Sheldon, T.S Graham, Theresa McClinton and Frederick Lee Brooke. 

6. What is your favorite mode of communication- email, handwritten letter, text, etc?

A: The one that I mostly use due to it's convenience is the email. However, my favorite mode is the handwritten one. There is nothing more beautiful than your loved one's penned words on a piece of paper. The fact that they have taken the time to write a letter to you is simply adorable.

7. What do you do for a living?

A: I am a homemaker. I used to work with Singapore Airlines as a Ticketing agent until 2011. I resigned after I got married and settled in a different city in UAE. Ah!. I used to love working and earning!

8. Give us one of your favorite quotes.
My favorite quote is "If the other person's lawn is greener, then let him/her worry about mowing it". This quote has much significance about how you perceive happiness and being content with what you have. It's always good to count your blessings instead of counting other's.

I thank Christina for having me here. It felt awesome being here, and thank you to everyone who spent some of their precious time reading through this interview :)

Naznin, thank YOU! Please enter her awesome giveaway!
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