ARC REVIEW: Spelled by Betsy Schow



Betsy Schow

Expected publication: June 2nd 2015 by Sourcebooks Fire

YA > Contemporary | Retelling | Romance

352pages (hardcover)

arc via publisher



4 ★★★★



Purchase links:

Amazon | Kobo | BN | TBD | iTunes | IndieBound | Indigo | BaM





Fairy Tale Survival Rule #32: If you find yourself at the mercy of a wicked witch, sing a romantic ballad and wait for your Prince Charming to save the day.

Yeah, no thanks. Dorthea is completely princed out. Sure being the crown princess of Emerald has its perks—like Glenda Original ball gowns and Hans Christian Louboutin heels. But a forced marriage to the brooding prince Kato is so not what Dorthea had in mind for her enchanted future.

Talk about unhappily ever after.

Trying to fix her prince problem by wishing on a (cursed) star royally backfires, leaving the kingdom in chaos and her parents stuck in some place called “Kansas.” Now it’s up to Dorthea and her pixed off prince to find the mysterious Wizard of Oz and undo the curse…before it releases the wickedest witch of all and spells The End for the world of Story.




[tour schedule]



Welcome to my stop for the SPELLED tour! I am so thrilled to be part of this Book tour. Spelled is one of my favorite read this year. Yes, you heard/read that right! Scroll down and find out why this book completely made me love it!






“Maybe I wasn’t the hero. Maybe I was the villain”

Reading Spelled was such an adventure! This book is definitely a page turner. You never know what or who will you encounter in every page. You never know what your emotions will be either. Betsy Schow keeps surprising me in every page. I believe no one will argue with me if I say that retellings of The Wizard of OZ is all over the YA-sphere. A lot are turned into a way that will make you sob and some are written to creep you out. Its so refreshing to read a retelling that instead of tears, it brought me laughter. Lots of it.

Dorthea or Dot is not someone you’ll like immediately. She’s a girl ….and she’s very serious about being one. We’re talking about branded shoes hoarding and stomping your feet when you’re angry kind of girl. Obviously, she needs to learn a lot of things. Especially when it comes to Princess duties. And don’t worry, she did learn! It may not be in the easiest way, but the most important thing is she did learn. She grew up. She developed as a main character as the story progresses and I just caught myself rooting for her and her crew. And they were a weird and hilarious crew,

Betsy Schow’s characters are solid. Give me one sentence from the book and I can tell you who said it. They have their own tones and the characterization are just superb! Even those characters who showed up and disappeared instantly were memorable. Memorable is absolutely the right word for Spelled.

And if you think you won’t swoon at this book, think again. A boy named Kato just turned me into a puddle and I honestly can’t get enough. It was slow… and I feel like there should be more but despite that, I’m not complaining. Romance that started from hate at first sight needs to be handled carefully to be made believable… and yes, Betsy just made me believe in these two, I SHIP IT, Ka-Dot forevs.

Spelled is definitely one of my favorite book this year. I want– okay, I NEED MORE. This hilarious and creative novel is the answer to our sad and hurting fangirl hearts. While reading Spelled, I can’t help but feel like I went through an adventure myself! I highly recommend it!



You can read the first few chapters of SPELLED on Wattpad!







Website | Twitter 

BETSY SCHOW is the TODAY Show featured author of the non-fiction book, Finished Being Fat; however she’s been mixing up real life and fantasy for as long as she can remember. If someone were to ask about her rundown truck, she’s 100% positive that mechanical gremlins muck up her engine. And the only reason her house is dirty is because the dust bunnies have gone on strike. She lives in Utah with her own knight in geeky armor and their two princesses (that can totally shapeshift into little beasts). When not writing, she acts as the Tournament Director for Odyssey of the Mind and helps teach kids creative thinking (or how to turn their toasters into robots). 

Her debut novel, Spelled, comes out June 2015 from Sourcebooks. She is represented by Michelle Witte, Mansion Street Literary Agency.






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ARC REVIEW: They Call Me Alexandra Gastone by T.A. MacLagan + Giveaway!!

They Call Me Alexandra Gastone
T.A. MacLagan
Published May 20th 2015 by Full Fathom Five Digital
YA > Contemporary | Suspense
226pages (ebook)
arc via publisher

4 ★★★★

Purchase links:
Amazon | Kobo | BN | FFF
When your life is a lie, how do you know what’s real?
Alexandra Gastone has a simple plan: graduate high school, get into Princeton, work for the CIA, and serve her great nation. 
She was told the plan back when her name was Milena Rokva, back before the real Alexandra and her family were killed in a car crash.
Milena was trained to be a sleeper agent by Perun, a clandestine organization from her true homeland of Olissa. There, Milena learned everything she needed to infiltrate the life of CIA analyst Albert Gastone, Alexandra’s grandfather, and the ranks of America’s top intelligence agency.
For seven years, “Alexandra” has been on standby and life’s been good. Grandpa Albert loves her, and her strategically chosen boyfriend, Grant, is amazing.
But things are about to change. Perun no longer needs her at the CIA in five years’ time. They need her active now.
Between her cover as a high school girl—juggling a homecoming dance, history reports, and an increasingly suspicious boyfriend—and her mission in this high-stakes spy game, the boundaries of her two lives are beginning to blur.
Will she stay true to the country she barely remembers, or has her loyalty shattered along with her identity?
[tour schedule]

 Welcome to my stop for the Alexandra Gastone tour! There’s a new spy on the block!! Read my review and find out why you have to meet this girl!!





“For the blood of the fallen. For the blood of the living. For Olissa we fight.”

 Heck yeah!! What a badass book. Have you ever read a book that while reading it, you just have that strong feeling… that feeling that says ‘YESS THIS BOOK SHOULD BE A MOVIE’ It was like I was watching a film throughout the book, and I can’t take my eyes off the screen.

 Whether she’s Milena or being Alexandra Gastone, its clear that I love this character, I remember this love towards a character before, it was when I was reading Vampire Academy and I was obsessed with Rose and I don’t want anything in life but to be friends with her. Yep, that’s what I feel towards Alexandra or ‘Lex’. Her thoughts and emotions is very genuine and I don’t think there was a time in the novel when I was frustrated or annoyed by her. Nope, all I have is pure admiration. I can’t even put myself in her shoes because, well, I don’t want to. She is battling with the question LOVE OR DUTY?

 The plot was so intricately done. It all seems so real that even a hint of doubt didn’t creep in. It was so obvious that T.A.MacLagan researched this concept thoroughly. Her characters are all well written. There were turns and twists that I didn’t see coming. There was a right amount of drama balanced with action and romance that affected me a lot. They Call Me Alexandra Gastone is such a smart book. Its definitely a new series to watch out for!!!






author pic 1

Website | Twitter | Facebook


T.A. Maclagan is a Kansas girl by birth but now lives in the bush-clad hills of Wellington, New Zealand with her Kiwi husband, son and four pampered cats. With a bachelor’s degree in biology and a Ph.D. in anthropology, she’s studied poison dart frogs in the rainforests of Costa Rica, howler monkeys in Panama and the very exotic and always elusive American farmer. It was as she was writing her ‘just the facts’ dissertation that T.A. felt the call to pursue something more imaginative and discovered a passion for creative writing. They Call Me Alexandra Gastone is her first novel.








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BOOK SPOTLIGHT+SNEAK-A-PEEK: Powerless (The Hero Agenda #1) by Tera Lyn Childs and Tracy Deebs + Giveaway!!


Powerless (The Hero Agenda #1)
Tera Lynn Childs
Tracy Deebs
Expected publication: June 2nd 2015 by Sourcebooks Fire
308 pages (Hardcover)
YA > SciFi | Fantasy
Purchase links:
AmazonBN | TBD | iTUNES | Kobo


Kenna is tired of being “normal.” 
The only thing special about her is that she isn’t special at all. Which is frustrating when you’re constantly surrounded by superheroes. Her best friend, her ex-boyfriend, practically everyone she knows has some talent or power. Sure, Kenna’s smart and independent, but as an ordinary girl in an extraordinary world, it’s hard not to feel inferior.
So when three villains break into the lab where she interns, Kenna refuses to be a victim. She’s not about to let criminals steal the research that will make her extraordinary too.
But in the heat of battle, secrets are spilled and one of the villains saves her life. Twice. Suddenly, everything Kenna thought she knew about good and evil, heroes and villains is upended. And to protect her life and those she loves, she must team up with her sworn enemies on a mission that will redefine what it means to be powerful and powerless…



I have a treat for you all today. Check out this sneak peek from Tera Lyn Childs and Tracy Deebs’s latest novel, Powerless! Tell me what you think! And don’t forget that Sourcebooks Fire is giving away a finished copy of the book below and some awesome stuff!





“You never answered my question. What are you doing down here so late?”
Those bright blue eyes sear into me as he takes a step back. “I have to go.”
His sudden evasiveness makes me suspicious, so when he starts to move past me, I sidestep into his path. “Excuse me,” I say, “but this is a secure level. Are you even authorized to be down here?”
“My dad,” he says, scowling at me. “He’s a security guard.”
A security guard? The facility might be so big that I can’t keep track of everyone who works in every lab, but I know all the guards by name. Especially the night guards, since I’m usually the last one here.
Travis and Luther are on duty tonight. Travis and his wife just had their first baby, a girl named Tia. Luther is old enough to be my great-grandfather and he never married.
I take half a step back as my suspicions turn to concern. “Who’s your dad?” I demand.
This guy definitely has the look of a villain.
What if he really is one?
He glances nervously over his shoulder. “He’s—”
I shake my head and start to walk away before he can finish the lie.
He reaches for me, but I shrug him off. My heart is beating way too fast. This could go way bad, way quick.
“Please, just listen.” He waits until I’m looking him in the eye before he continues. “You know me,” he says, his voice taking on this weird, hypnotic tone. “We’ve met before.”
His eyes start to burn brighter and brighter. Oh crap. He must be a villain, and one with a psy power. The vilest kind. Fear and anger collide inside me as I wonder what to do about him trying to mess with my head. How to play this? I can’t exactly tell him I’m
Suddenly, the floor beneath my feet shudders violently, knocking me off balance. I lurch forward into Dark-and-Scowly’s arms. He catches me, grabs my upper arms, just as a concussion wave of air and sound hits us.
That sounded—and felt—like a bomb went off in the lab. If we weren’t a hundred feet underground and shielded by every protection science and superheroes can create, I’d think the supervillain Quake had struck. But that’s impossible.
Then again, impossible doesn’t always apply in the superhero world. After all, impossible didn’t keep Dark-and-Scowly from being where he doesn’t belong.
Suddenly, every alarm in the facility blares. I freak. The lab! All that research—Mom’s and mine—is priceless. The superhero blood samples alone are more valuable than anything else in the building.
Panic overrides judgment and I push away, but his grip only tightens. The jerk. A little super strength would be really useful right now.
“You can’t go in there.”
“Who are you?” I demand, struggling to get out of his grasp. If he really is a villain, I don’t want him near me or this lab. Not with what villains are capable of. “What have you done?”
He doesn’t answer. More pissed than ever, I fake left and pull right. He follows my fake-out, and as his hair swings with the momentum, I see the mark I’d been looking for earlier. Not under his right ear like the superheroes. Under his left.
“You’re a villain.”






Website | Twitter | Facebook


One fateful summer, Tera Lynn Childs and Tracy Deebs embarked on a nine hour (each way!) road trip to Santa Fe that ended with a flaming samurai, an enduring friendship, and the kernel of an idea that would eventually become Powerless. On their own, they have written YA tales about mermaids (Forgive My Fins, Tempest Rising), mythology (Doomed, Oh. My Gods., Sweet Venom), smooching (International Kissing Club), and fae princes (When Magic Sleeps). Between them, they have three boys (all Tracy), three dogs (mostly TLC), and almost fifty published books. Find TLC and the #TeamHillain headquarters at Check out Tracy and the #TeamVero lair at Hang out with all the heroes, villains, ordinaries, and none-of-the-aboves at




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Author Takeover #004: Emily Adrian, author of: ‘LIKE IT NEVER HAPPENED

author takeover


Author Takeover is a new feature here in HBT where we let our current favorite authors took over the blog. Expect Guest Posts, Interviews, LOTS of Playlists, giveaways and of course, a bunch load of FUN!

Okay, first, let me thank you all who supports this new-ish feature of HBT. I really appreciate it and I hope you guys keep coming back and keep supporting the awesome authors we feature. Today, we’ll be featuring another 2015 debut author. My hands are itching for her upcoming book!! And I KNOW that some of you guys are too 😉 So, without further babbling from me, let’s all welcome and say hi to EMILY ADRIAN! Author of the upcoming, LIKE IT NEVER HAPPENED <3


The Book..



Like It Never Happened

Expected publication: June 2nd 2015 by Dial Books
YA > Contemporary | Romance

Purchase it: amazon | bn



About the book..


Stereotypes, sexuality, and destructive rumors collide in this smart YA novel for fans of Sara Zarr’s Story of a Girl, Siobhan Vivian’s The List, and E. Lockhart’s The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks.
When Rebecca Rivers lands the lead in her school’s production of The Crucible, she gets to change roles in real life, too. She casts off her old reputation, grows close with her four rowdy cast-mates, and kisses the extremely handsome Charlie Lamb onstage. Even Mr. McFadden, the play’s critical director, can find no fault with Rebecca.
Though “The Essential Five” vow never to date each other, Rebecca can’t help her feelings for Charlie, leaving her both conflicted and lovestruck. But the on and off-stage drama of the cast is eclipsed by a life-altering accusation that threatens to destroy everything…even if some of it is just make believe.



The author..



connect: twitter | website | goodreads page


The Interview..


Hi Emily! Thanks for stopping by. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Sure! I’m originally from Portland, Oregon, but now I live in Canada with my husband and our boisterous dog. I like big cities, swimming pools, spicy food, and animals of all sizes.


Many novels are inspired by a single question. Was there one that sparked Like it Never Happened?
I think the question was: Is it possible to make a perfect distinction between our true selves and the various roles we play?


Describe your debut, Like It Never Happened,  in 5-7 words for us.
When all your friends are actors.


How did you decide your novel’s book cover? Which, by the way, is very gorgeous!!
The cover was designed by Kristin Logsdon at Penguin, and I adore it. I think the typography captures the book’s levity, but the distance between the boy and the girl on the bleachers hints at the darker side of the story.


How would you introduce your main character to us?
Rebecca Rivers keeps a lot of secrets.


It is obvious that your book will have a huge music/playwrights aspect, what kind of researches did you do?
Well, in the early chapters of my book, the characters perform The Crucible by Arthur Miller and The Seagull by Anton Chekhov, so I got to know those texts pretty well. And then for most of my book, Rebecca and her co-stars are rehearsing for A Streetcar Named Desire, a play by Tennessee Williams. I had to cast my own characters as Tennessee Williams’ characters, and I had to think about how mine might let their on-stage roles seep into their off-stage lives. So I ended up reading Streetcar over and over again while I was writing Like It Never Happened. I also watched the 1951 film version a few times.


What are your three current YA favorites?
I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios, Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero,All The Rage by Courtney Summers


Thanks again, Emily for the Q&A! We’re excited to hear the playlist that you’ll be sharing with us! Scroll down for the tracks. (SPOILER: They’re all aweome)



Playlist for Like It Never Happened

 Say You Don’t Want It – One Night Only
All These Things That I’ve Done – The Killers
You Said Something – PJ Harvey
Fade Into You – Mazzy Star
The Biggest Lie – Elliott Smith
Metal Heart – Cat Power
Call It Off – Tegan and SaraI Know It’s Over – The Smiths
I Feel It All – Feist


What’cha think of the new feature? Will you be reading this book? Thanks for stopping by 😀 And don’t forget to share your thoughts!


REVIEWS: An Ember in the Ashes, City of Fae, The Truth About Us a.k.a nope, wth?!, yawnfest


An Ember in the Ashes
Sabaa Tahir
Published April 28th 2015 by Razorbill
YA > Fantasy | Romance
400pages (paperback)


2 ★★




If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.
Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.





If ever there’ll be a sequel, I don’t think I’ll read it.

I did not hate the book. But I didn’t overly loved it either. I’ve always been the odd one out and I’m not even sorry.

There’s only two reasons why I read this book. 1) because of the hype, 2) because I feel like I haven’t read much from this genre. Other than that, I wouldn’t even give this another glance.

Sabaa’s writing was indeed phenomenal, I love how even though I was not enjoying the story that much, she still kept me reading. Her worlds and characters reminds me of Brandon Sanderson (w/c is the only high fantasy author that works for me) and because of that, it gave me reason to just keep on reading. This book is creative and touches every possible thought provoking theme you can think of. There were messages hidden along Sabaa’s plots and dialogues that made me admire her as an author. I really want my book meaningful and thought provoking even its fantasy (maybe especially because its fantasy)

But I just noticed that my problems of the book was outnumbering the good ones. Most are just personal, but some are the way it was written/executed.

The romance aspect was such a soap opera. It’s like a love triangle gone awry. And it might seem petty but, again, I’m not sorry. I’m a huge romance reader so I notice this things. And it also affects my reading a lot. There were two leads and each of them have their own love interest… and then by the near end, something just happened between them that I honestly believed isn’t necessary at all.


It was better left alone but for some reason, the author still did the whole thing. I was sad about this. And confused. And also frustrated.

Another one is how I feel disconnected towards these two main leads. And how they frustrate me and just… makes me want to put the book down. They actually bore me. Yes, I WAS BORED. The female main character was whiny, You might tell me, ‘HEY SHE DID GROW!’ Well, here’s what I’m going to say.. ‘REALLY? DID SHE REALLY? LAIA DIDN’T HAVE A CHOICE. HER ‘CHARACTER GROWTH’ was not something she instilled in herself. And honestly, I didn’t feel genuineness from her, Now, Elias… just plainly bored me, I.. actually forgot his name, Its like, I don’t care. AT ALL.


Another thing: It’s like a rape fest. I’m irritated and annoyed. I don’t know why does this thing keep coming up every. freaking. time. There was no actual rape that was graphically written. But it was mentioned, like, every chapter. I totally get it. I AM AWARE ABOUT THE RAPES. I find it annoying that ‘rape’ was kept plastering in my face. I know that the book was supposed to be ‘dark and edgy’ and all that. But is repeating the word rape million times the way to go?

And lastly, it was boring and it DOESN’T MAKE SENSE AT ALL. At least to me, Oh goodness it was dragging. Like, DRAGGING. I’m surprised I didn’t DNF. I was really curios about the hype that is surrounding this book, And it makes me sad that I don’t see it.

Where is it? WHERE


I’m not even gonna put here if I recommend this or not because I know you’ll still read it anyway. And yes, please do so. This book isn’t bad but its not THE BEST either. I believe that it will work on certain readers. If you LOVED it, that’s awesome, But if not, like me, then that’s cool. Giving this book a low rating isn’t a sin against to anybody.




City of Fae
Pippa DaCosta
Published May 7th 2015 by Bloomsbury Spark
NA > Fantasy | Paranormal
336pages (ebook)
 arc via publisher


2 ★★




From the moment Alina touches London’s hottest fae superstar, breaking one of the laws founded to protect all of her kind, her fate – and the fae – close in.
Below ground, the fae High Queen plots to claim the city as her own and places her pawns, ready for the battle to come. A battle she cannot lose, but for one small problem – Alina. There are four ancient keepers powerful enough to keep the queen in her prison. Three are dead. One remains … And to fight back, Alina risks sacrificing everything she has come to love.
This New Adult urban fantasy is packed with action and suspense and will have you yearning for more forbidden fae romance.




Oh my god this book.

I was expecting awesome things from this novel. I mean, with that cover!? Of course expectation of awesomeness wouldn’t be avoided, That’s why I’m so sad. Because what I read was so far from awesome. Let me remind you what my face looked like while reading it.


Think about this, the book tells us that FAE’S lives with the human now, And yet, throughout the novel, only 2-3 fae’s among humans were introduced. Most of them have 2-3 lines only. WHAT IS UP WITH THAT.


Next, FAE’S ARE WITH THE HUMANS, RIGHT? So when our heroine found out that there was a FAE WORLD, she was so shocked! Shocked! Because hello!!?!?? Why would she expect that there’s such a place like that even if Fae’s are already living in their world.


Next, our supposed-to-be-smart heroine can’t stop moistening her lips!! Anastasia Steele syndrome??? Most likely.

Next, humans can’t ever touch the FAES because once they do, Fae will steal something from them. Their essence or their soul, honestly at this point, I’m not paying much attention anymore (and this was mentioned in the start) But of course!!! Our heroine and love interest can’t resist each other. They are ‘fighting’ it. Suuuuuure.


The romance in this book reminds me so much of FSoG, I KID YOU NOT. MC is a journalist. And also an idiot. And let me tell you, that’s not a good combination.

Lastly: LOVE QUADRUPLE. Is this a thing now!? I get that you want drama, but two people can achieve that you know.

The idea/concept of this book was really kind of fresh. But the execution, the way the story was constructed. This strongly needs a lot more work. From the start, you’ll feel that there’s something wrong about this already. And the world building? Honestly, where!?!??! And the characters. MC is so dumb, she makes me want to hurt someone. Love interest is so arrogant, he makes Christian Grey looks like an angel.

And yep, this is still my face while writing this.







The Truth About Us
Janet Gurtler
Published April 7th 2015 by Sourcebooks Fire
YA > Contemporary | Romance
320pages (ebook)
arc via publisher







A powerful and gripping contemporary YA from the author of I’m Not Her that’s “Just right for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jodi Picoult.”-Booklist
The truth is that Jess knows she screwed up.
She’s made mistakes, betrayed her best friend, and now she’s paying for it. Her dad is making her spend the whole summer volunteering at the local soup kitchen.
The truth is she wishes she was the care-free party-girl everyone thinks she is.
She pretends it’s all fine. That her “perfect” family is fine. But it’s not. And no one notices the lie…until she meets Flynn. He’s the only one who really sees her. The only one who listens.
The truth is that Jess is falling apart – and no one seems to care.
But Flynn is the definition of “the wrong side of the tracks.” When Jess’s parents look at him they only see the differences-not how much they need each other. They don’t get that the person who shouldn’t fit in your world… might just be the one to make you feel like you belong.




Jess is the rich girl who is acting out. Flynn is from the wrong side of the tracks. And I’m the reader who doesn’t care at all.


I kinda understand Jess. I mean I get it, you have money, you feel like nobody loves you, dysfunctional family– you really tend to act out. An her self realizations and her desire to grow was admiring. I like that about her. She knows she’s messed up and she decided to needs to change.

Now Flynn on the other hand. Oh the hurty feelings!!! Flynn is so complicated, sometimes I wonder if he has the problem of the whole earth in his shoulders.


So tired of guys who doesn’t know what he wants. He pulls her then pushes back.


Look, I KNOW. He has issues.Please don’t assume that life is is easy on me and I’m making fun of Flynn, we all have issues. And I get Flynn. But the way Flynn is coping is so not helping him. Jess of course doesn’t get all this because she’s more into her romance dilemna. I MEAN HELLO, PRIORITIES!!!! And there’s also this thing that Flynn did towards the that is so unbelievable!!!! I can’t believe Jess forgave him so fast. It must be ~**true love**~

Janet Gurtler does have a very beautiful way of writing. But as pleasant as that was, my annoyance just keeps popping and my supposed to be swoony feeling didn’t show. I still recommend this book. I just think it’s not for everybody. I had some issues but there’s a chance you might enjoy it more.