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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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text 2018-06-07 08:10
Blog Tour - Just One Of The Royals
 
 
Just One of the Royals
(The Chicago Falcons #2)
by Leah Rooper and Kate Rooper
Publication Date: June 2018
Publisher: Entangled Teen: Crush
 
 

Star hockey player Daniel Sacachelli wants only two things: 1) for the Falcons
to win next season, and 2) for his secret — the fact he’s actually the prince of Eldonia — to never make its way to Chicago. But if Daniel keeps avoiding his crown, their family will lose their kingdom forever.

Madison Myong can’t believe that her will-they-or-won’t-they best friend Daniel is
really a prince! He’s always seemed more rebel than royal. But now, he needs to clean up his image, fast. Posing as his long-time girlfriend, Madison accompanies him back to Eldonia, intending to give Daniel a makeover fit for a king.

Only, the more royal Daniel becomes, the more Madison misses her best friend. And if she does her job right, she’ll lose him forever...

 

Purchase Links:


Link to Tour Schedule:

http://www.chapter-by-chapter.com/tour-schedule-just-one-of-the-royals-by-leah-rooper-and-kate-rooper/

Goodreads:





ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Leah and Kate Rooper are sisters from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Growing up beside the Pacific Ocean and inside a temperate rainforest fed their sense of adventure as children, and nourished a curiosity for strange and distant lands. They fed this curiosity with books - lots and lots of books. After experiencing the magic of Middle-earth, they began creating their own worlds. When they're not writing, Leah and Kate spend their time blogging and vlogging about their travel adventures and their writing journey.



Kitty's Book Spot!- Guest post
 
KBS:  I would love a Guest Post about music. Whether the author(s) listen to it as they write, or make playlists for their books?
 
 
LKR:  We are so excited to write a post about music! Music plays a huge role in the way we write. We use music differently in the various stages of writing, so we thought we would break those down.

Brainstorming

This is where the story is just starting to take form in our minds. We’ll often create a joint Spotify playlist and add songs that inspire us. Usually, the songs we add correspond to a certain scene in the book. For example, we listened to “Nice and Airy” by Patrick Doyle from the Cinderella soundtrack to help inspire the sprawling green hills and quaint feel of Eldonia. We’ll often listen to the playlist together while we’re cooking or doing dishes and talk about ideas or what each song means.

Outlining


Once we finish our outline on paper, we’ll go back into Spotify and create a playlist that follows the order of the book. This playlist often includes a mix of scores and songs with lyrics. Each scene of the book has its own song (or two). Our parents live almost two hours away, so we’ll listen to this playlist on the drive to visit them and flesh out the plot.


First Draft


When writing the first draft, we’ll usually put our headphones on and listen to the song that most inspires the scene we're writing. It’s not uncommon for us to listen to the same song on repeat for an hour while writing a scene.


Editing


We don’t listen to as much music while editing. We find we really need to concentrate on the words and sentence structure. We’ll often put on relaxing background music or a "rain sounds" video from YouTube. Video game music is great for this — the Breath of the Wild and Animal Crossing soundtracks are two of our favs!

Thanks for taking the time to read about our music process! As a bonus, we’ve included some of our favourite songs from the “Just One of the Royals” playlist!

  • Chelsea Dagger by The Fratellis: This is the song the Chicago Blackhawks (our favourite NHL team) play when they score a goal...so obviously we imagine it as the goal song for our Chicago Falcons :) 
  • Almost There from Princess and the Frog: We love Disney music, and although the lyrics aren’t perfect, this song embodies Madison in a lot of ways. Madison does so much for other people and tries to accomplish so many things that she doesn’t have time to be a normal teenager.
  • Bella Notte from Lady and the Tramp: Daniel Sacachelli is very proud of his Italian heritage and besides being an amazing hockey player, he’s also a talented cook. His signature dish is spaghetti, so obviously the most famous spaghetti-eating song of all time had to make it on our playlist. 
  • Who is She by Patrick Doyle: We listened to the Cinderella soundtrack A LOT when writing this book. Of course, being set in a castle we needed lots of grand ballroom songs.
  • Dive by Ed Sheeran: This song really struck us as Daniel and Madison, two people who care so much about each other, but there’s so many things keeping them apart.




Giveaway Details:

$20 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
 
 

Direct Link to Giveaway:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/c08c9e8e694/?





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quote 2018-05-25 06:24
“What is a Gallagher Girl? She's a genius, a scientist, a heroine, a spy... a Gallagher Girl is whatever she wants to be.”
United We Spy - Ally Carter

~~ Ally Carter, United We Spy

(Gallagher Girls series #6)

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text 2018-05-18 08:10
Sale Blitz - Going Down In Flames
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Going Down in Flames
by Chris Cannon
Release Date: June 30th 2014
Entangled Teen

Summary:

FF&P’S 2015 PRISM Finalist

A 2015 Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence *WINNER* in the Young Adult with Romantic Elements category


If her love life is going down in flames, she might as well spark a revolution.

Finding out on your sixteenth birthday you’re a shape-shifting dragon is tough to swallow. Being hauled off to an elite boarding school is enough to choke on.

Since Bryn is the only crossbreed at the Institute for Excellence, all eyes are on her, but it’s a particular black dragon, Zavien, who catches her attention.

Zavien is tired of the Council’s rules. Segregated clans, being told who to love, and close-minded leaders make freedom of choice almost impossible. The new girl with the striped hair is a breath of fresh air, and with Bryn’s help, they may be able to change the rules.

At the Institute, old grudges, new crushes, and death threats are all part of a normal day for Bryn. She’ll need to learn to control her dragon powers if she wants to make it through her first year at school. But even focusing on staying alive is difficult when you’re falling for someone you can't have.
 


 
 
Check out the Going Down in Flames series (click on images for Goodreads links):
Going Down in Flames is on Sale for $0.99!
 
Purchase Links for the series:
 
 
 
 
Excerpt from GOING DOWN IN FLAMES:
 
He blinked in confusion. “What do you want to know?”
Time to ask the million-dollar question. No matter the pain it caused, she needed to know. “Who is your intended?”
He shook his head. “It doesn’t matter.”
Wrong. “It matters if you plan to spend the rest of your life with her.”
“She’s a friend.” He didn’t meet her gaze.
Bryn heard a door close. Miss Enid and Valmont had retreated into the bedroom to give them privacy.
She inched closer. Electricity sparked between them, making the hair on the back of her neck stand up. “I need to know.”
He took a deep breath and met her gaze. “My intended is Nola.”
No. Freaking. Way.
Nola? His intended was Nola? How in the hell was she supposed to compete against the dark-haired Barbie? She couldn’t. Dropping her hand from his chest, she backed up a step.
Zavien closed the distance between them. “I swear. She’s a friend.”
Wanting to believe, she placed her hand over his heart and searched his eyes for the truth. “If she’s a friend, then what am I?”
He skimmed his fingers along her jaw and down her neck. Warmth radiated from his touch. He settled his hand at the base of her skull, leaned close, and whispered, “You are temptation.”
She held her breath as he lowered his head and brushed his lips against hers. Time seemed to stand still. His mouth moved against hers. Melting against him, she fisted her hands in his shirt and tried to pull him closer. He wrapped his arm around her waist, drawing her body flush against his.
Too soon, he pulled away. “I shouldn’t have done that.”
“I’m not sorry you did.” She traced her fingertips along his jaw. For so long, she’d been unsure of his feelings. Now she knew. 
About the Author:
 
Chris Cannon lives in Southern Illinois with her husband and her three dogs, Pete the shih tzu who sleeps on her desk while she writes, Molly the ever-shedding yellow lab, and Tyson the sandwich-stealing German Shepherd Beagle. She believes coffee is the Elixir of Life. Most evenings after work, you can find her sucking down caffeine and writing fire-breathing paranormal adventures or romantic comedies.


Author Links:
   
 
 
 
 
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