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video 2018-06-16 21:17
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review 2018-06-15 16:00
BLOG TOUR REVIEW: 'Dive Smack' by Demetra Brodsky
Dive Smack - Demetra Brodsky

I'm so excited for the release of this book, and I'm thrilled to be on the blog tour because of how amazing the book is. This was an easy 5-star read for me; as soon as I put the book down when I was finished, I was engulfed with strong (all good!) feelings for it; I’ll share more in my review! 

 

Thanks again to the amazing Fantastic Flying Book Club for having me on this blog tour; I’m especially grateful to have been on this one!

 

 

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR: DEMETRA BRODSKY (she's amazing, by the way)

 

 

 

Demetra Brodsky is an award-winning graphic designer & art director turned writer. She has a B.F.A from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and lives in Southern California with her family of four and two lovable rescue dogs. Dive Smack, her debut novel, is dedicated to Pumpkin, the monarch butterfly she once saved from the brink of death. Once you read the book, you’ll understand why. She is a first generation Greek-American and a member of International Thriller Writers. Dive Smack is a 2018 Junior Library Guild Selection.

 

CONNECT & BUY THE BOOK!

 

***You can find all her links to connect with her *HERE* and EVERY single link to PREORDER and BUY her book (via Amazon, B&N, Target, Powells, iBooks, EVERYWHERE, ie, you have NO excuse). There are some great preorder incentives (yes, I've already got my order in!).

 

There is also an audiobook sample, a book excerpt, and even a Dive Smack Spotify playlist!

 

You can find her on Twitter as demetrabrodsky!

 

 

SO...THE BOOK!

 

DIVE SMACK by Demetra Brodsky

Category: Young Adult, Contemporary
Release Date: June 19th, 2018; Tor Teen

 

SYNOPSIS:

Theo Mackey only remembers one thing for certain about the fire that destroyed his home: he lit the match.

Sure, it was an accident. But the blaze killed his mom and set his dad on a path to self-destruction. Everything else about that fateful night is full of gaping holes in Theo’s mind, for good reason. Maybe it’s better that way. As captain of the Ellis Hollow Diving Team, with straight A’s and solid friends, he’s only one semester away from securing a scholarship, and leaving his past behind.

But when a family history project gets assigned at school, new memories come rushing to the surface, memories that make him question what he really knows about his family, the night of the fire, and if he can trust anyone—including himself.

 

 

MY REVIEW: 

 

So it was quite easy to give this twisty and exciting psychological YA thriller a 5-star review. It has been harder to put into words every single thing as to why, because I was so taken by surprise by Demetra’s brilliant debut novel. It seems as though from the moment I laid eyes on the beautiful cover for ‘Dive Smack’ (the flames above a young man plunging into the water), I needed to read it. And then I was immediately lost inside this book from the opening two quotes, particularly this one from Carl Jung,


"Your vision will become clear when you look inside your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens."


What a way to start the book!


If you read the synopsis of the book above, you'll know by now that it’s about Theo Mackey, a high school springboard diver who has had both of his parents pass away tragically, and then he starts to question the memories he has of the fire that killed his mom, particularly as new ones surface as he researches a family project for school. Theo luckily has some great friends he can count on, but he lives with his alcoholic grandfather (GP), and he's starting to find his home life and new stressors are affecting his usually perfect diving, something he can’t afford to screw up, being the captain of Team Monarch. And the big school family project is what really starts to mess with Theo’s understanding of the fire, his family, and this makes him question what’s going on in his head. It seems he’s gradually losing his grip. That’s really what leads him to get more help from Dr. Maddox, a family friend and psychiatrist.

*Note: I’m leaving a LOT of story/plot out, so there are no spoilers.


Now that’s a very basic overview of what you are getting yourself into with this, but it goes from being a book about this likable guy on the diving team at a high school (and I now know so much more about springboard diving beyond my watching the Olympics every four years), to being a very clever, psychological thriller with details and twists I never expected. Demetra has employed some very clever writing devices that make this a standout: I love the way she begins each chapter with a diving term that correlates to the part of the story that it contains (note that Dive Smack is pretty painful), which is absolute genius. Her writing is also very fluid, and weaving interludes with the past and other ‘voices’ are done seamlessly. Also, since this is a thriller, the pacing builds up steadily to an eventual crescendo, within an ending where all the tense energy flows throughout the end chapters.

 

 

Theo is such a well-fleshed out character (as are Chip, Iris, Amy, and others), that you really get a feel for who this guy is; Demetra has created so many endearing things about about him, that you can’t help but root for him the whole way through: we know he has two moles on his face, his car is called Bumblebee after the Transformer, he likes classic rock, and of course, he's an orphan. And he likes to use puns.


But the real treat in this book is how it ropes you in (it gets better and better the deeper you dive in: pun intended), how it becomes way more than a book about a few high schoolers; it becomes about a sensitive young man uncovering his past and the deception that is swirling around him. Then the massive and very dark twist at the end takes the reader, and Theo, by surprise, making this precisely what earns this book its top marks. It left me tearful, it made me laugh, AND gasp. I can’t wait to see what comes from Demetra next, especially if it’s another thriller as riveting and original as this one.

 

*And just so you know - Dive Smack: When a diver under or over rotates or twists on a dive, hitting the water with enough force to cause pain or physical injury.

 

GIVEAWAY:

Hardcover copy of DIVE SMACK by Demetra Brodsky & Prize pack of necklace, bracelet, signed bookmark, & signed book plate! US only, ends 6/26.

 

Click *HERE* to enter the giveaway. Good luck!!

 

 

To continue following the tour, this will take you to the DIVE SMACK BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE.

 

That was a long one, I hope you read it all! If you go back to the first post on the tour you can read a great interview with Demetra (surprisingly she is NOT a diver, and I was so stoked to find out she also loves Teen Wolf).

 

I hope you add this to your TBR, and buy this book! Happy reading!

x Katherine

 

PS. #TeamMonarch 

 

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review 2018-06-15 04:15
'Jolie' (who has an underbite) is such a heartfelt and funny book; all the right high-school bookish tropes are there and they're PERFECT
Things Jolie Needs to Do Before She Bites It - Kerry Winfrey

I read this book just about at the perfect time; after reading seven dark thrillers, mysteries, and moody fantasies, I needed something to cleanse my literary palette and get me back to 'bookish square zero'.

 

This really was a delightful read, taking me to all the right places that I hoped a book like this would. It revolves around Jolie Peterson, who is sixteen, in high school, and has an underbite, which is medical termed as 'mandibular prognathism' (I didn't even know that, and my dog has the most severe underbite; he was my motivator for requesting an early copy of this book - yes, really). Jolie has spent her entire life NOT wanting the spotlight before of her teeth, but also preparing for surgery to 'fix her face' so that she can end the headaches, chew properly, and stop feeling like she's different from everyone else. She wrestles with the questions of what makes someone beautiful, just like a lot of young people do, whether they have a misaligned jaw or not, and it takes her a long time to realize that many people worry if they're good enough, smart enough, pretty enough.

 

While she prepares for this long-awaited surgery, so many things come up for Jolie, and it may seem like you're reading a book with all the high-school literary tropes crammed into it. But it's DONE SO WELL. She is dreading the surgery and creates a list of things she must do in case she dies under anesthesia, and these naturally include doing things like finally kissing a boy. But she also dares to try out for the school musical, and guess what, she is amazing when she auditions and she gets the lead. She also has the best of friends since kindergarten and one that happens to be a guy, Derek, and she's just now realizing he's hot. This always presents a massive problem.

 

You may think you have read this before but the author, Kerry Winfrey, writes ALL these scenarios and these characters with so much sincerity and originality, that they are not ones that I'd met before. The male high school boys are ones with honest concern for their female counterparts. The female high schoolers are smart, and Winfrey didn't see it necessary to play the 'mean girl' card, or have Jolie really bash herself into the ground to come to her final conclusions about self-esteem and beauty (although she does a lot of natural questioning and normal comparisons). Characters acknowledge their mistakes in ways that make sense, without being preachy, and I love the tone of the writing throughout the novel because of this. I also totally enjoyed the TV obsessions of the family, and the 'Terrible Movie Night' Jolie and Derek share.

 

This is a light and funny book, with some bigger issues like self-esteem, and dealing with grief and changing friendships within it, but it's ultimately about Jolie's chance to shine, to change, to grow. Her voice is charming and heartfelt, and the book left me in such a great place, feeling like I knew all these great people!

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/35795890-things-jolie-needs-to-do-before-she-bites-it
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review 2018-06-13 01:34
Ruth Ware has done it again with this gothic mystery; Agatha Christie would be proud!
The Death of Mrs. Westaway - Helen Ruth Elizabeth Ware

Ruth Ware has done it again! 'The Death of Mrs. Westaway' is even better than her last book, 'The Lying Game', and for me, that's saying quite a bit. I completely fell for Ware's writing and storytelling with that book (bonus points were given for taking me back to my boarding school days in Sussex), and I knew I had found my new favorite mystery author.

 

'The Death of Mrs. Westaway' takes the reader to Sussex again, this time to 'sunny' Brighton, where Hal - Harriet Westaway - has a job as a tarot card reader on the pier, which is what her mother used to do before she was killed suddenly by a car, leaving her alone and scraping by. As the bills are piling up and the dodgy 'bill-collector' keeps popping up, so does a letter saying that she has inherited a large sum of money by a mysterious and very old Mrs. Westaway. Although Hal realizes there is some mistake with the connection to her and her mother, she decides to go to the funeral at the Trespassen House out by Penzance. She wants a chance at just a bit of that money, and to figure out some family secrets that she feels her mum left behind.

 

Now that's a very rough, short synopsis. Since I'm from England, I have the fortune of reading Ruth Ware's books and imagining the English countryside, the Brighton pier, the foggy desolation around the abandoned mansion that is Trespassen House. But what is so glorious about Ware's writing is that she is able to create such atmosphere and mood, that she can conjure up imagery (I'm pretty sure) so effectively that it envelopes the story entirely, without having had to have been over there. In 'Westaway', the mansion and the grounds basically become a character of their own, and the gothic and dark images of Trespassen House are so well-written they come alive.

 

What also makes this novel so successful are the other family members make for a great ensemble, the secrets that swirl around slowly reveal themselves throughout the novel at the perfect pace, and Ware shows the reader what happened in the past without seeming contrived. It all fit so perfectly. And I never saw that ending coming! My biggest complaint was that I read it too quickly because once I picked the book up, I couldn't put it down.

 

It’s no coincidence that the current ‘Mistress Of Mystery’ has been so heavily influenced by Agatha Christie (and Daphne du Maurier) because Ware feels like the Christie of today.

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text 2018-06-08 15:32
#43 Follow Friday with book bloggers: Rendezvous With A Romance

 

Hello Friday! Hello Follow Friday with book bloggers! Meet Heather, an avid reader who loves romance stories.

 

Follow Friday Rendezvous With A Romance on BookLikes  http://rendezvouswitharomance.booklikes.com/

 

 

What are you reading right now? How do you like it?

 

 

I just finished Laird of the Black Isle by Paula Quinn  and started The Snow White Bride by Claire Delacroix. I loved Laird of the Black Isle and it is too soon to tell about The Snow White Bride.

 

Laird of the Black Isle - Paula Quinn   

 

 

When have you discovered you’re a book lover?

 

I was in middle school when I picked up my first romance novel, but it wasn’t until I was teaching that I became a voracious reader. It became my escape and has kept me sane.

 

 

Why reading is important to you?

 

It keeps me sane. It is the thing I do that keeps me happy and helps me get through rough school years.

 

Rendezvous With A Romance

 

 

Which books are you most excited recommending to your followers?

 

This is hard to answer, but here goes. If someone were to ask me to recommend must read books, the list would include:

 

Bec McMaster's Kiss of Steel (London Steampunk #1), Monica McCarty's The Chief   (Highland Guard #1), Sherrilyn Kenyon Born of Night  (The League #1), Christine Feehan's Shadow Rider   (Shadow Rider #1), Christine Feehan's Bound Together  (Sea Haven #6), Karen Marie Moning's Shadowfever  (Fever #5), Nalini Singh's Archangel's Blade   (Guild Hunter #4), Jeanine Frost's Destined for an Early Grave   (Night Huntress #4) and At Grave's End  (Night Huntress #3), Sherrilyn Kenyon's Styxx  (Dark-Hunter #22...

 

I really could go on and on. There are so many books that are absolute must-reads, in my opinion.

 

Kiss of Steel - Bec McMasterThe Chief - Monica McCartyBorn of Night - Sherrilyn Kenyon

Shadow Rider (The Shadow Series) - Christine FeehanBound Together (A Sea Haven Novel) - Christine FeehanShadowfever - Karen Marie Moning

Archangel's Blade - Nalini SinghDestined for an Early Grave - Jeaniene FrostStyxx - Sherrilyn Kenyon

 

 

 

Your short bio says: “I love supporting and promoting my favorite authors and promoting my favorite authors.” How do you do that?

 

Through my blog and being part of some of my favorite authors’ reading teams. Every book I read I review on various sites, Goodreads, BookLikes, Amazon, and Barnes and Nobles. I also post on various social media platforms. Any way I can get the word out about the books I read, I do. That is how I support my favorite authors.

 

 

How do you find new books to read?

 

Goodreads and Amazon mostly, and a few publishing companies will send me books to consider. That is definitely where I have expanded the types of romances I read the most.

 

 

You’re an English and creative writing teacher. How do you encourage kids and your students to read more?

 

I don’t hide that I like to read, if they see I like to read then they start asking questions. I also have books in the classroom and anytime someone says they wish they could like reading but haven’t found anything they can stick with I just start asking questions about what they like. What sort of movies and TV shows do they like? Do they like fantasy, sci-fi, spies, horror, etc. and I go from there and recommend an author or a book that fits those interests. 

 

 

Your blog name says all about your favorite book genre - romance. Do you switch between the genres or are you loyal to your favorite reading path?

 

I’m definitely loyal to romance. But from there, there are so many sub genres: paranormal, historical, contemporary, Regency, Medieval, cowboy romances, small town romances, Steampunk, etc.

 

 

Do you read one book or several at a time?

 

One at a time for sure

 

Reviewed Shelf

 

 

  1. Your BookLikes Shelf presents over 800 read titles! How much time do you spend reading?
  2. Every free moment I can. I do not have kids, so when I come home from work I like to curve up with my dogs and read. I don’t watch a lot of TV. I don’t leave the house without a book just in case I find myself somewhere waiting.

 

 

A library or a bookstore?

 

Bookstore

 

 

What are your three favorite book covers?

 

Kiss of Steel by Bec McMaster, Luck Is No Lady by Amy Sandas  , and I Knew You Were Trouble by Soraya Lane

 

Kiss of Steel - Bec McMasterLuck Is No Lady (Fallen Ladies) - Amy SandasI Knew You Were Trouble - Soraya Lane

 

 

 

A paper book or an e-book?

 

Both, I like to rotate between the two. I’ll read eBooks for a while and then switch to paperback to rest my eyes for a time.

 

 

Three titles for a holiday break?

 

 

This one is hard because I read whatever I have on hand that I have purchased or have received from NetGalley/publishers at the time of the holiday. So three books I plan on reading over the summer break I just started include: A Crown of Bitter Orange by Laura Florand, Deadmen Walking by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Torched by Donna Grant

 

 

 

 

Favorite quote?

 

Pride and Prejudice (the English teacher inside of me peaking through with this one):

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

(1.1-2).

Favorite book, one of many of the favorite lines from it.

 

 

If you could pair a book with a drink, what would you prepare to sip while reading?

 

Either a glass of wine or hot chocolate, depending on how I’m feeling.

 

 

Shelfie time! Please share your home library photos :)

 

 

Thank you!

 

*

Have you missed previous Follow Friday talks? Use ffwithbookbloggers tag or click the catch up links below: 

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