Blog Tour + Book Giveaway: Sarvenaz Tash on the Geekiest Thing She’s Ever Done and more...



Blog Tour + Book Giveaway: Sarvenaz Tash on the Geekiest Thing She’s Ever Done

A book giveaway, a guest post and some amazing geekiness is coming atcha!!

Blog Tour: The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love

About The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love

Goodreads | Amazon | Sarvenaz Tash’s Website

the-geeks-guide-to-unrequited-love-9781481456531_hr

Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary

Release Date: June 14, 2016

Series: Standalone

Description:

“The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love

John Hughes meets Comic Con in this hilarious, unabashedly romantic, coming-of-age novel about a teenager who is trying to get his best friend to fall in love with him from the author of Three Day Summer.

Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy…
Archie and Veronica…
Althena and Noth…
…Graham and Roxy?

Graham met his best friend, Roxana, when he moved into her neighborhood eight years ago, and she asked him which Hogwarts house he’d be sorted into. Graham has been in love with her ever since.

But now they’re sixteen, still neighbors, still best friends. And Graham and Roxy share more than ever—moving on from their Harry Potter obsession to a serious love of comic books.

When Graham learns that the creator of their favorite comic, The Chronicles of Althena, is making a rare appearance at this year’s New York Comic Con, he knows he must score tickets. And the event inspires Graham to come up with the perfect plan to tell Roxy how he really feels about her. He’s got three days to woo his best friend at the coolest, kookiest con full of superheroes and supervillains. But no one at a comic book convention is who they appear to be…even Roxy. And Graham is starting to realize fictional love stories are way less complicated than real-life ones.”

About Sarvenaz Tash

SarvenazTash-author_photoSarvenaz Tash was born in Tehran, Iran and grew up on Long Island, NY. She received her BFA in Film and Television from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. This means she got to spend most of college running around and making movies (it was a lot of fun). She has dabbled in all sorts of writing including screenwriting, copywriting, and professional tweeting. Sarvenaz currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.


About the Blog Tour Info

Check out the awesome content and giveaways on these great blogs:

Mon. 6/6 Beauty and the Bookshelf
Tues. 6/7 Prose and Kahn
Wed. 6/8 Read. Breathe. Relax
Thurs. 6/9 The Hiding Spot
Fri. 6/10 The Reading Nook
Mon. 6/13 Adventures of a Book Junkie
Tues. 6/14 Green Bean Teen Queen
Wed. 6/15 Word Spelunking
Thurs. 6/16 Andi’s ABCs
Fri. 6/17 What a Nerd Girl Says

Guest Post by Sarvenaz Tash

The Geekiest Thing I’ve Ever Done

I am, unabashedly, a geek which means I have spent hours standing in line for book releases and movie tickets, roamed convention halls for multiple days, and dressed up as all sorts of fictional characters. (Let’s face it: there has also been a lot of squeeing in my time.) So when it came to narrowing it down to the geekiest thing I’ve ever done…I’ll admit, it was hard.

But, finally, I realized I had to go with my most elaborate geek moment, the one that involved months of planning and getting about 40 of my closest friends to cooperate. I am, of course, talking about the Tridecade Tournament…otherwise known as my 30th birthday.

Now to set up a little bit here, my birthday is a week before Halloween, and ever since my 25th, I’ve thrown a big theme party every year. One year it was an ‘80s party, then a 1920s murder mystery party, followed by a Beatles party, and a ‘90s prom. But this was to be my piéce de resistance. My kiss-off to my twenties in epic, go big or go home, Weasley twins style.

The thing is, about half of my friends are really into Harry Potter and the other half (pour souls) have never read the books. My goal was to ensure that everyone had a magical time, whether wizard, squib or muggle. 

So…first there was:

The Décor:

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Floating candles.

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House banners.


Which, of course, gets us to the sorting:

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This is what it looks like when a Dementor gets sorted.

Everyone was sorted into one of the four houses, naturally. I, as the host, remained unsorted and therefore impartial.


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You try brewing Polyjuice Potion in your second year and then you talk to me!

And then the games began! Because, of course, this was a Tridecade Tournament.

Task One: Physical Challenge

I readily admit that I stole all of the ideas for these games from Minute to Win It.

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Here they are attempting to stack 6 dice onto a popsicle stick.


There was also a whole box of Oreos that succumbed to a cookie-stacking-on-the-forehead challenge, and other tasks that involved a variety of items ranging from pantyhose to cereal boxes.


Task Two: Trivia

With categories like Name that Ginger and Vocabulary Transfiguration, everyone could put their noggin to the test! It should come as no surprise that Ravenclaw did pretty well on this round.

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Name that Ginger. And, no, I have no idea what face that is I am making. It might be after-effects of the Polyjuice.


Task Three: The Biggest Ham Round

We started off with a British accent challenge that I realized halfway through I couldn’t actually judge because everyone was so good and/or hilarious. 

And, finally, the costume contest, which was voted on by all party attendants. The winners were:


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Luna Lovegood.

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Wizard chess piece.

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Dobby.

And the ultimate Tridecade Tournament winner was…

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Hufflepuff! And I realize that Hufflepuffs are totally having a moment right now, what with Fantastic Beasts and an off-Broadway play and all. But this was a few years ago when they were underdogs instead of, you know, cool.

Tridecade11


So there you have it. My geekiest and proudest moment—made possible through the creativity and dedication of my awesome friends.

Book Giveaway

Enter to win: a signed copy of The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love and a signed copy of Three Day Summer. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

     
 
 

Fun, Romantic | Book Review: The Way to Game the Walk of Shame by Jenn P. Nguyen

The Way to Game the Walk of Shame is an easy, summer read.

Book Review: The Way to Game the Walk of Shame

Goodreads | Amazon | Jenn P. Nguyen’s Website

the way to game the walk of shame jenn p nguyen

Title & Author: The Way to Game the Walk of Shame by Jenn P. Nguyen

Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary

Release Date: June 7, 2016

Series: Standalone

Publisher: Macmillan

How I Got the Book: ARC via the publisher

Description:

“Taylor Simmons is screwed.

Things were hard enough when her single-minded dedication to her studies earned her the reputation of being an Ice Queen, but after getting drunk at a party and waking up next to bad boy surfer Evan McKinley, the entire school seems intent on tearing Taylor down with mockery and gossip.

Desperate to salvage her reputation, Taylor persuades Evan to pretend they’re in a serious romantic relationship. After all, it’s better to be the girl who tames the wild surfer than just another notch on his surfboard.”

Summer Romance

I picked up The Way to Game the Walk of Shame because I was curious how the premise would play out. The whole “boyfriend for hire” or “pretend boyfriend” trope has definitely been done in YA contemporary (see: The Fill-In Boyfriend, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before).

What I found in this book was a fun, simple story. The plot plays out exactly as the description says – Taylor wants the gossip at school to stop after it gets around she and Evan made out at a party, so they find a mutually beneficial arrangement/contract to fix it.

Honestly, I was hoping for a little more. With the Kasie West or Jenny Han contemporaries with similar premises, there was more than meets the eye.

You saw the characters’ deeper struggles or challenges. You see that there’s more than just the obvious situation presented to add dimension to the story.

Unfortunately, The Way to Game the Walk of Shame doesn’t offer up the same kind of growth or character richness.

For example, Taylor just wants her classmates to stop talking about her so she can go back to being invisible and focus on her grades. But what does Evan get out of it? A better reputation (because the contract states no sleeping around while they’re together)?

I mean, there are no stakes for Evan! Other than holding hands with a pretty girl, he doesn’t really get a lot out of the contract, and I struggled with that the whole time while reading.

This is an easy read – it’s quick with a solid romantic build-up. The other characters in the story – like Taylor’s friend Carly – are cardboard cut-outs and are merely there to push the two main characters together. Pretty disappointing.

This book is all about expectations. Do you want a summer romance read? Then give this book a shot.

Do you like your contemporaries with depth and room for character development? Then skip this one.

OVERALL:

This book is best described as lighthearted without substance. The Way to Game the Walk of Shame wasn’t remotely a slam dunk (forgive the sportsball term) for me, so read with caution.

     
 
 

Summer Standalone | Book Review: Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

Girl Against the Universe is definitely a YA contemporary you’ll want to pick up!

Book Review: Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

Goodreads | Amazon | Paual Stokes’ Website

girl against the universe paula stokes book review

Title & Author: Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary

Release Date: May 17, 2016

Series: Standalone

Publisher: HarperCollins

How I Got the Book: ARC via the publisher

Description:

“Maguire knows she’s bad luck. No matter how many charms she buys off the internet or good luck rituals she performs each morning, horrible things happen when Maguire is around. Like that time her brother, father, and uncle were all killed in a car crash—and Maguire walked away with barely a scratch. But then on her way out of her therapist’s office, she meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star, who wants to help Maguire break her unlucky streak. Maguire knows that the best thing she can do for Jordy is to stay away, but staying away may be harder than she thought.”

Thinking Positive Thoughts

Let’s start this post off right: GUSH TIME. Girl Against the Universe is such a great contemporary book with a long list of things I love.

I’ve been a fan of Paula Stokes’ work for awhile (I especially enjoyed her most recent book, The Art of Lainey), but this is by far my favorite book by her.

About this book: Maguire is a pretty normal girl…well except for one tiny thing. She think’s she’s bad luck and is pretty sure she wrecks havoc wherever she goes. She’s working through her fears in therapy, and meets a cute boy who’s also working through his own challenges. And just maybe they can help and encourage each other.

Here are a few reasons why I loved Girl Against the Universe:

  • I loved the portrayal of therapy – I’m a huge proponent of therapy and loved that Maguire’s irrational thoughts are addressed and worked through the entire book. So healthy and wonderful.
  • Jordy is a wonderful teen boy character – Don’t get me wrong. He’s still a teenage BOY, but it’s so refreshing to read a male character who isn’t stereotypically overly cocky and/or girl crazy. He’s just adorable and realistic and precious.
  • Book parents are present and accounted for – So many parents in YA lit are absent. I get why (parents ask too many questions and would definitely foil plots), but I so appreciated Maguire’s family – how they stuck it out were generally very supportive.
  • I loved the journey – Fear and irrational thoughts are so challenging to overcome. I was completely engaged in Maguire’s progress and growth. She’s definitely a character I felt I could root for.

This has been the year of the contemporary novel for me. And, at the top is definitely Girl Against the Universe.

And even though many people can’t relate to Maguire’s specific issue, I loved how her problems were still very relatable. I understand believing something that isn’t true about yourself and letting it control your self-worth and self-esteem.

Also, the romance is so wonderful in this one. I don’t think I mentioned that enough – ADORBS.

OVERALL:

If you’re looking for a fun but deep summer read, look no further. Girl Against the Universe is a strong standalone contemporary for fans of Miranda Kenneally and Kasie West – recommended.

     
 
 

Historical Fantasy | Book Review: The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

The Crown’s Game was not what I expected…

Book Review: The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

Goodreads | Amazon | Evelyn Skye’s Website

the crown's game evelyn skye book review

Title & Author: The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

Genre: Young Adult – Historical Fantasy

Release Date: May 17, 2016

Series: The Crown’s Game #1

Publisher: HarperCollins

How I Got the Book: ARC via the publisher

Description:

“Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love… or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear… the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.”

Great Magic, Dull Characters

The Crown’s Game was a tough read. I LOVED the description: a Russian-inspired setting with magic, romance and a fight for power.

I’ll tell you some more info about the book before launching into my STRONG OPINIONS.

The story’s crux is this: there can only be one royal enchanter…but there are two who must fight to the death for the position – Vika and Nikolai.

Vika only just learned there was another enchanter and is whisked away to the palace to start the duel. Nikolai, on the other hand, has been raised in the palace and knows how cruel ambition can make those looking to rise to the top.

This book is told from three different perspectives, Vika and Nikolai, as you may have guessed and also Pasha, the prince and heir to the crown.

The thing about The Crown’s Game is that the magic is stunning. It’s done in large scale, showing grand design and creativity. I loved how strongly represented the fantasy element of the story was.

Unfortunately, the balance to to the magic are the enchanters. The characters in this story were insanely dull. They had no personalities. It seemed like the focus was the on the magic and there was no other room for character growth or development.

Then there’s the matter of a love triangle… This aspect of The Crown’s Game wasn’t necessary or really that believable. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the whole “hate turns to love” thing, but it just doesn’t work here. It felt very forced.

Mostly, I think this story suffered from having big ideas that weren’t executed well. The magic, the dueling for power and the romance had higher aspirations that was ultimately achieved. The results were flat characters and a predictable plot.

OVERALL:

I’m sorry to report that this story was disappointing. If you’re looking for high fantasy with a historical twist, I would recommend My Lady Jane or Grave Mercy instead. The Crown’s Game didn’t live up to its potential.

     
 
 

Let Me Send You My Favorite YA Books!

If you’ve been reading the blog for awhile or even since yesterday, you might have gotten the sense that I love to read. :)

Over the past 5 years of reading young adult books and blogging about them, I’ve developed a sense of what books are above the rest.

Not only do I share those books with you here, but I also select them to be included in my YA book-of-the-month subscription, Uppercase Box!

Get the Best Books With My YA Book Subscription Box

With almost two years under our belt, Uppercase has grown by miles. I personally aim to improve it every month, so I wanted to show you some of the past months boxes!

This is our April box!

april 2016 uppercase box ya book of the month subscription


I’ve been working so hard this year to make sure we include signed books! This month was a success – we had signed copies of Anna Breslaw’s Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here!

Below is the March box!

I’ve also been in the process of ramping up the Uppercase Reading Experience. Every book comes with a bookmark with codes and page numbers. Each page number corresponds to that moment in the book and code unlocks exclusive content on our site here: www.uppercasebox.com/book.

march 2016 uppercase box ya book subscription


The March box included special written pieces and a video from Alwyn Hamilton for Rebel of the Sands.

Here’s our February box!

Aside from the stand out books we include, I work very hard to include one-of-a-kind items. In the February box, I had custom Anne of Green Gables scarves made from India!

They are super soft and include a section of text from the beloved childhood classic.

starflight uppercase box february 2016 ya book subscription box


The thing I love most about working on Uppercase is that I get to share my incredible love of books with thousands and thousands of people. I couldn’t be happier or blessed to do this for a living, and I’m so grateful so many readers trust my book choices.

There are only a few days left to sign up for Uppercase to receive the May box!

I can promise you it’s got a stellar read and some really fun, special items. If you enjoy the recommendations and books I share on my blog, you’ll absolutely love getting a special package in your mailbox every month from me (and I’d love to send you one)!. Check out the Uppercase Box website or the #uppercasebox hashtag on Instagram to learn more!

     
 
 
   
 

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