Celebrating Shakespeare's birthday with the authors of Anyone But You, Kim Askew and Amy Helmes!


Happy Birthday to Shakespeare!

Shakespeare's 450th birthday is coming up this Saturday, April 26th (he was born in 1564). Last year I had a blast celebrating Shakespeare's birthday with a couple of posts! One of them was with authors, Kim Askew and Amy Helmes. This year I signed up to celebrate with them again and also spotlight their newest Shakespearean retelling, Anyone But You. You can read their guest post below, as well as enter the giveaway to win your own copy, and then check out my 4-star review here.

Anyone But You: A Modern-Day Spin on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (Twisted Lit #3)Anyone But You:
A Modern-Day Spin on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
(Twisted Lit #3)
by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes
YA Contemporary Romance
Paperback222 Pages
December 2nd, 2013 by Merit Press                  

Summary

Two Italian restaurants, both alike in dignity, in Chicago’s Little Italy where we lay our scene... After her family’s struggling eatery, Cap’s, falls prey to another of the Monte clan’s vicious and destructive pranks, sixteen-year-old Gigi Caputo finds herself courting danger during a clandestine encounter with Roman Monte, the very boy whose relatives have brought her family such grief. When the daughter and son of these two warring factions fall for each other, their quest to mend this bitter family feud turns out to be a recipe for disaster. Their story is irrevocably linked to the summer of 1933, when two twelve-year-olds, Benny and Nick, hop the turnstile at the Chicago World’s Fair. While enjoying some of the fair’s legendary amusements, Nick has a “love at first sight” encounter with Stella, a young girl who unintentionally causes a lasting rift between the two boyhood pals. Deftly winding its way through past and present day, this modern take on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet has much to do with hate — but more with love.
   

Other Books in the Twisted Lit Series
Tempestuous: A Modern-Day Spin on Shakespeare's The Tempest (Twisted Lit, #1) Exposure: A Modern-Day Spin on Shakespeare's Macbeth (Twisted Lit, #2)
(Click on the covers for my reviews.)

Happy Birthday, Shakespeare!
by “Twisted Lit” Authors Kim Askew and Amy Helmes

Our Love/Hate Relationship With Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet is arguably the most famous love story of all time, and for good reason. However, we’d also argue that nobody’s perfect… not even Shakespeare. As much as we adore the Bard’s epic tale of teen passion gone awry, there a few things that just never sat right with us, especially when we set about writing our modern YA spin on the play, Anyone But You. So, without further ado, here are the things we love (and the things we love to hate) about R&J.

Things We Love...

1. Mercutio. Sure, he occasionally acts like a horn dog, but he’s first rate as best mates go and clearly the smartest bloke on the block. If we were going to fall head over heels in love with anyone in this play, it’s definitely this guy. (It’s too bad he -- spoiler alert! -- dies. We’d love to have seen a Mercutio spin-off!)

2. The Meet-Cute. It’s the bustling Capulet masquerade shindig and party-crasher Romeo spies Juliet across a crowded room. He approaches her, they touch hands, and he charmingly convinces her to let him steal a kiss. Then, she steals one back, and … okay, so Shakespeare tells it way better, but the whole thing makes us tingly just talking about it!

3. The Angst. We all know how it ends, and yet every single time, it kills us. (Okay, bad choice of words). Still, there’s no better play to turn to when you’re in the mood for a big, messy, weepy breakdown.

4. Iconic Goodness. So many gorgeous lines from the play have entered our common vernacular, and certain scenes — like that balcony conversation and the tragic double-suicide — are forever seared in your memory once you’ve seen your first R&J production.

5. The Adaptations. From the definitive (in our eyes) 1968 Zeffirelli classic, to Baz Luhrmann’s edgy update starring the perfectly-cast Leonardo DiCaprio, very few movie versions of this play fall flat.

Things We Hate...

1. Insta-love. These two meet at a loud, crowded party and by the end of the night they’re all “let’s get married?” Yes, we’re believers in love at first sight, but still...it’s hard not to want to grab them by the shoulders and suggest they dial it back a notch.

2. Juliet, Child Bride. She may have been considered “fair game” in 14th century Verona, but by today’s standards, it’s kind of hard to think of any 13-year-old at the center of such an emotionally intense relationship, let alone tying the knot and, uh...you know.

3. Friar Lawrence. If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, this guy ought to own his own asphalt business. He was so busy pushing his agenda to unite the families that he kinda sorta used these kids as pawns. Whatever, holy man.

4. Romeo’s Rebound. Can we all just take a moment to remember how Romeo was all, “Boo-hoo, I’m so lost without Rosaline” exactly ten hot minutes before he came face-to-face with Juliet? You could almost get whiplash watching this guy fall in and out of love.

5. The Feud. Shakespeare builds a whole tragedy based on the fact that these families hate each other’s guts, but never tells us why. (Way to leave us hanging on that one, Bill!) We were so curious about the origins of the Capulet/Montague family feud that we used it as our inspiration in Anyone But You, our Twisted Lit spin on Romeo and Juliet.

About the Authors


Amy Helmes and Kim Askew are the authors of the Shakespeare-inspired YA series Twisted Lit from Merit Press. For Amy and Kim’s own take on Romeo and Juliet, check out their most recent novel, Anyone But You, which USA Today called “heartbreakingly lovely.” For more about the books in their Twisted Lit series, including their spins on The Tempest and Macbeth, check out twistedlitbooks.com. You can also follow them on twitter at @kaskew and @amyhelmes.

Giveaway

Hardcover of Anyone But You (INT as long as the Book Depository ships to you)
Ends April 30th

Due to shipping costs, this giveaway is only open to entrants that Amazon or the Book Depository can ship to. Please note that you must be at least 13 years old to enter. Please ensure that you correctly enter your email (and check your junk mail folder if I'm not on your contact list) so that I have a way to contact you. You can read my giveaway policy on my policies page. Void where prohibited by law. Enter via the Rafflecopter below.
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Review: Anyone But You by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes

Anyone But You: A Modern-Day Spin on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (Twisted Lit #3)Anyone But You:
A Modern-Day Spin on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
(Twisted Lit #3)
by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes
YA Contemporary Romance
Paperback222 Pages
December 2nd, 2013 by Merit Press                  

Summary

Two Italian restaurants, both alike in dignity, in Chicago’s Little Italy where we lay our scene... After her family’s struggling eatery, Cap’s, falls prey to another of the Monte clan’s vicious and destructive pranks, sixteen-year-old Gigi Caputo finds herself courting danger during a clandestine encounter with Roman Monte, the very boy whose relatives have brought her family such grief. When the daughter and son of these two warring factions fall for each other, their quest to mend this bitter family feud turns out to be a recipe for disaster. Their story is irrevocably linked to the summer of 1933, when two twelve-year-olds, Benny and Nick, hop the turnstile at the Chicago World’s Fair. While enjoying some of the fair’s legendary amusements, Nick has a “love at first sight” encounter with Stella, a young girl who unintentionally causes a lasting rift between the two boyhood pals. Deftly winding its way through past and present day, this modern take on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet has much to do with hate — but more with love.
   

My Review

I have been looking forward to reading Anyone But You as I enjoyed the first two books in this series and because it's a retelling of Romeo and Juliet. I was really curious how the authors would set the story, who would be our star-crossed lovers, and what the ending would be, tragic or not.

I just have to say that I loved the characters! I loved Gigi and Roman! They played their parts perfectly. I would have loved more dialogue from them, since they pretty much experience love at first sight. I also enjoyed all the other characters: The Monte and Caputo families, the other friends, family, and restaurant staff. The lingo was fun, as was the memories back in time.

The story was fun and romantic, except for the heartbreaking moments when Gigi's family struggles and the issues and events dealing with the feud. There were parts towards the end, where we slip into the past, that just about had me crying! Then there were sweet and swoon-worthy moments. I also enjoyed the teasing that went on in the restaurant and between family. I liked how the story switches from the present to the past as Gigi tries to find out how the feud between her and Roman's families even started.

This was an enjoyable story that felt historic and sweet, but had plenty of humor, heartbreak, and romance. If you enjoy reading Contemporary YA, retellings, and enjoy Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet then I would definitely recommend Anyone But You.


Content: There is some mild swearing and some crude discussions, but relatively clean and consistent with the setting and characters.

Source: From the author & NetGalley, which did not affect my review in any way.


The authors are stopping by today to share their love/hate relationship with Romeo and Juliet. There is also a giveaway for one hardcover copy of Anyone But You, so go check that out here.

Week 5: Special Content for A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander

It is the fifth and final week of these fun posts to celebrate the release
of Tamera Alexander's new book, A Beauty So Rare.

This week I get to share with you Tamera's post about this really fun scavenger hunt on Pinterest. 
Check out the details below...

Join me for a Pinterest Scavenger Hunt and win 1 of 7 copies of A Beauty So Rare, the second standalone novel in the Belmont Mansion series.
PIN IT and share the love

The questions are posted below and the giveaway runs through Sunday night, April 27. The answers to the questions can be found on my Pinterest page. Not on Pinterest? Doesn’t matter. You can still participate and find the answers by using this link.

Your correct answers must be submitted to TameraAlexander@ymail.com (numbered 1 - 6) by Sunday, April 27, midnight Central to be entered into a drawing to win one of seven copies of A Beauty So Rare, the second standalone novel in the Belmont Mansion series.
  1. On the A Beauty So Rare board, find the pin that shares the seamstress who sewed the dress on the cover of A Beauty So Rare (featuring the heroine, Eleanor Braddock) and *click the pin* to discover what the seamstress’s most challenging part of making the pink dress was. 
  2. On the A Lasting Impression board, find the pin where Tamera shares about the desert seasons in her life––those times that helped her write about a certain relationship in her novel, A Beauty So Rare. *Click the pin* to learn what specific relationship Tamera mentions in that blog. It’s the relationship between which two people?
  3. On the My Novels board, find the pin where Tamera shares about the inspiration behind A Beauty So Rare. *Click it* and watch the video to learn the true history that ties the Belmont Mansion (the setting of A Lasting Impression and A Beauty So Rare) to the real Insane Asylum that existed in Nashville in the 19th century.
  4. On the Recipes from my novels board, what's the recipe from A Beauty So Rare that is posted most often on that board (doesn't necessarily have the most re-pins)? It's also a favorite of Eleanor's.
  5. On the My Loves board, find the pin that references Easter weekend then *click it* to learn what kind of fish Tamera caught this past weekend.
  6. On the My Novels board, find the pin for the book trailer for A Beauty So Rare, then *click it* to watch the video. What is it that Aunt Adelicia is determined to find for Eleanor?
  7. BONUS: LIKE Tamera's Facebook Page for an extra chance to win.
In your email, remember to number your answers from 1 to 6, like this:
1. Answer
2. Answer
3. Answer
4. Answer
5. Answer
6. Answer
7. I liked Tamera's FB Page!



That's all. I hope you guys participate and have a great time!


Note: Pinterest is not sponsoring this promotion nor are they formally affiliated with it.

Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: A Sensible Arrangement by Tracie Peterson


Welcome to my tour stop for Tracie Peterson's newest release, A Sensible Arrangement!
There is a fabulous giveaway and I have my review below, but first about the book...

A Sensible Arrangement (Lone Star Brides, #1)A Sensible Arrangement
(Lone Star Brides #1)
by Tracie Peterson
Christian Historical Romance
Paperback324 Pages
April 1st 2014 by Bethany House Publishers                  

Summary

Marty Dandridge Olson is ready to leave behind the pain of the past.

Answering an advertisement for a “Lone Star bride,” she leaves her Texas ranch and heads to Denver to marry a man she doesn’t know.

Jake Wythe is the man waiting for her.

Burned by love, he marries now simply to satisfy the board of Morgan Bank, which believes a man of his standing in society should be wed. Together Jake and Marty agree they are done with romance and love and will make this nothing more than a marriage of convenience.

When missing money and a collapsing economy threaten his job, Jake’s yearning to return to ranching grows ever stronger, much to Marty’s dismay. But a fondness has grown between them, as well, further complicating matters.

What will happen when their relationship shifts in unexpected ways… and dreams and secrets collide?

   


My Review

I love books about mail-order brides! I think it's because I like that the husband and wife are somewhat forced to depend on each other and from that grows trust and eventually love. In A Sensible Arrangement this is also the case. Neither Marty nor Jake are looking for love, but are looking to meet other needs (Jake needs a wife to be socially acceptable in his job and Marty wants to leave Texas and the memories there). However, how can you be two lovely individuals and not learn to care for each other over time? They both have doubts and other issues in-between them that discourage their feelings from growing. The question becomes if they can work things out.

I was immediately pulled into the beginning of this story. I enjoyed Marty's adventure in getting to Colorado where Jake lives. I also enjoyed their first impressions of each other and how things go from there. There was quite a bit of religious conversations, both internally from the characters and between several of the characters. It pushed the line just a little for me for feeling natural. Marty had a lot she was struggling with though, and specifically with God.

I liked Marty's character. She is dependable, sweet, caring, and loyal. I do have to admit that she had a lying issue that bothered me. I really loved Jake. He is intelligent, has a sense of humor, caring, and loyal. I loved how sweet and gentle he was with Marty for the most part. He was also moody in places and it took him some time to get used to sharing his thoughts with Marty.

This was a story of friendship, trust, hearts opening, and learning to forgive. Overall A Sensible Arrangement was an enjoyable read and one I would recommend to Christian Romance readers.

Content: Clean

Source: I would like to thank Litfuse and the publisher, Bethany House Publishers, for my complimentary copy for review, which did not affect my opinions in any way.


About the Author

TPeterson

Tracie Peterson is the award-winning author of over eighty novels, both historical and contemporary. Her avid research resonates in her stories, as seen in her bestselling Heirs of Montana, and Alaskan Quest series. Tracie and her family make their home in Montana.



Giveaway

Welcome to the campaign launch for Tracie Peterson's 100th book! A Sensible Arrangement launches Tracie's new Texas-based series, Lone Star Brides, that’s sure to please. As a special treat, devoted fans will be able to catch a glimpse of several popular characters from previous series.

Tracie is celebrating by giving away an iPad Mini and hosting a LIVE webcast event on 4/29.
sensible-400-click 
  One winner will receive:
  • An iPad Mini
  • A Sensible Arrangement by Tracie Peterson
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 29th. Winner will be announced at the A Sensible Arrangement Live Webcast Event on April 29th. Connect with Tracie for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Tracie will also be taking questions from the audience and giving away books, fun prizes, and gift certificates throughout the evening.

So grab your copy of A Sensible Arrangement and join Tracie and friends on the evening of April 29th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by signing up for a reminder. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 29th!

Release Day Book Blitz & Giveaway: Ex-Factor by Elisa Dane


Ex-Factor
(Diamond Girls #1)
YA Contemporary
April 22nd 2014 by Swoon Romance         

Summary

Nevaeh Evan’s life is uprooted after her father’s death, when she moves in with her aunt and cousin, Livvie. Her plan to lay low at her new high school isn’t working. Her friend’s jerky boyfriend keeps asking her out, the guy she likes treats her like garbage, and the thought of tumbling again makes her want to hurl.

So when her aunt pushes her into joining the elite X-FACTOR cheer leading squad, Navaeh goes along with it.  But Nev feels she doesn’t deserve to be happy. Not after what happened the night her father died.

Bodie Scott knows about grief all too well. Critically injured in an alcohol related accident the year before, Bodie struggles with the fact that he’ll never play football again, and he’s so far behind in credits he can’t see straight. That is, until he meets Nev. Haunted by their bloody pasts and wary of a shared future, Nev and Bodie turn to one another for comfort and support, and realize they’re not so alone after all. And when the party scene at school threatens the life of a loved one, the two stop at nothing to keep the past from repeating itself.

 

About the Author

I'm a lover of books (YA & Adult romance), chocolate, reality television, and am a proud mother to three All Star cheerleaders. Woot!

I write Contemporary YA romance with cheerleaders. Yep. I write what I know, and it's my hope that my stories will not only take you on a romantic journey that will warm your heart, but that you'll find a new respect and interest in the sport of Cheerleading you may not have had before.

   

Giveaway

1 ebook of Ex-Factor & $10 Amazon gift card (INT)
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Book Blitz Organized by:

Book Blast: Summer on the Short Bus by Bethany Crandell



Summer on the Short Bus
by Bethany Crandell
YA Contemporary
April 1st 2014 by Running Press Kids

Summary

Spoiled, Versace-clad Cricket Montgomery has seventeen years of pampering under her belt. So when her father decides to ship her off to a summer camp for disabled teens to help her learn some accountability, Cricket resigns herself to three weeks of handicapped hell.

Her sentence takes a bearable turn as she discovers the humor and likeability of the campers and grows close to fellow counselors. Now, if she can just convince a certain Zac Efron look-alike with amazing blue eyes that she finally realizes there's life after Gucci, this summer could turn out to be the best she's ever had.

Summer on the Short Bus is a very non-P.C., contemporary YA with a lot of attitude, tons of laughs, and a little life lesson along the way.

    


Praise for Summer on the Short Bus

"Crandell creates a wonderful and relatable protagonist with Cricket but even better than that, she surrounds her with equally relatable, flawed, and real characters...This book is an absolute winner!" – Feathered Quill Book Reviews

“A novel oozing with heart and humanity.” - Ken Baker, E! News correspondent and author of Fangirl and How I Got Skinny, Famous and Fell Madly in Love

“A hilarious and heartwarming ride.” – Jennifer Salvato Doktorski, author of How My Summer Went Up in Flames and Famous Last Words


About the Author

Bethany Crandell lives in San Diego with her husband, two kiddos (one of whom is differently-abled), and a chocolate lab who has no regard for personal space. She believes that prayer solves problems and that Jake Ryan is going to show up at her door any minute now…. 

She is represented by Rachael Dugas of Talcott Notch Literary Services.



Giveaway


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