Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Scream All Night by Derek Milman - Blog Tour, Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway


I'm very excited to welcome you all to my leg of the Scream All Night blog tour, hosted by Rockstar Book Tours!  Today, you'll find the details and summary for this novel, my review, an excerpt, an about the author, Derek Milman, a giveaway, and the blog tour schedule.  Thanks for visiting my stop on this blog tour!




About the Book:
Title: SCREAM ALL NIGHT
Author: Derek Milman
Pub. Date: July 24, 2018
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Pages: 400
A darkly hilarious contemporary realistic young adult novel about growing up and finding your place in the world, perfect for fans of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and Running With Scissors.
Dario Heyward knows one thing: He’s never going back to Moldavia Studios, the iconic castle that served as the set, studio, and home to the cast and crew of dozens of cult classic B-horror movies. It’s been three years since Dario’s even seen the place, after getting legally emancipated from his father, the infamous director of Moldavia’s creature features.

But then Dario’s brother invites him home to a mysterious ceremony involving his father and a tribute to his first film—The Curse of the Mummy’s Tongue. Dario swears his homecoming will be a one-time visit. A way for him to get closure on his past—and reunite with Hayley, his first love and costar of Zombie Children of the Harvest Sun, a production fraught with real-life tragedy—and say good-bye for good. But the unthinkable happens—Dario gets sucked back into the twisted world of Moldavia and the horrors, both real and imagined, he’s left there.

With only months to rescue the sinking studio and everyone who has built their lives there, Dario must confront the demons of his past—and the uncertainties of his future. But can he escape the place that’s haunted him his whole life?

My Review: 

❋ ❋ ❋ ❋ 

I received an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Scream All Night by Derek Milman was one of my most anticipated YA debuts and luckily for me it was an absolute delight to read. I can honestly say that this is one of the most original YA novels I've had the opportunity to read - and it was exactly up my alley. If you follow me on Twitter, you might have noticed that I talk quite a bit about the horror host Svengoolie and the movies that he shows on MeTV. Long story short, but I'm a fan of cult classic B-horror movies and it's fun to chat with other fans. Anyway, I've never read a YA novel so prominently featuring these types of movies and the behind scenes work on them, but Milman does a remarkable job of bringing a dose of unsettling and absurdist dark humor to his standalone YA contemporary set in a horror film studio about a very dysfunctional family. The author also does a brilliant job of bringing all of the characters to life from Dario, Oren (a total scene stealer), Jude, Hayley, the crew, and even those that don't have a lot page time still bring a good deal to bear on the story and the core cast. I loved that all of the characters manage to feel incredibly real, if flawed and a little strange. They feel like people you could actually meet who are doing their best to figure out where they truly belong in the world. Dario's arc over the course of the novel is quite rewarding begins to sort out his priorities. Plus, the setting is totally awesome and crucial to the story - I'd don't know about you, but I'd love to explore Moldavia Castle.

Overall, Scream All Night by Derek Milman is a uniquely original must-read YA debut. I couldn't get enough of his brand of contemporary and I couldn't stop turning the pages. I was truly invested in Dario's story and watching him grow and come into his own. Like our cast, I also felt completely immersed in the insular bubble that is the studio. Seriously, this book has everything I love from fantastic characters, the mother of all dysfunctional families, a great setting and excellent world-building, a decent emotional gut punch of a backstory, laugh out loud dark comedy, and plenty of references and tidbits to keep us horror fans satisfied. Basically, you need Derek Milman's debut in your life. I'm dying to see what he'll come up with next!


Thanks again, Edelweiss!  I read this ARC from July 14 - 16, 2018 and my review is also on Goodreads.


Excerpt: 

Chapter 1: Return to Moldavia

Slightly before dinner, Keenan House, the group home where I live, gets a call that my homosexual exorcism is scheduled to take place next Thursday at four.

“But I’m not homosexual. And I’m not possessed,” I say to Len, my counselor.

“You sure?” says Len. He cracks open a PBR and takes a long, gurgling sip.

“Bet you’re both,” says my roommate, Jude, lacing up his boxing gloves.

“Actually,” says Len, belching, softly punching his gut, “I think it’s your brother calling.”

Oren. Of course.

Late-afternoon sunlight smears across the cinder-block walls through broken, yellowed blinds. I throw down my graphic novel, which I was actually half enjoying, and roll out of my sagging lower bunk with a groan. I walk down the hall and grab the phone.

“Why are you calling me?”

“’Cause I know you have lots of homo demons inside you,” says Oren, stifling one of his loud, chirpy laughs. “And I thought maybe it was time for a devil cleanse.”

“Uh-huh.” I hear projected voices in the background—like announcements on a PA or something. “Where are you?”

“Hospital.”

“What?”

“We’re burying Dad next week. Funeral is Thursday.”

“Dad died?”

“No, no.”

My dad has been slowly dying for forty years. Emphysema, hairy cell leukemia, diabetes, arthritis; it’s like he just went shopping one day for chronic diseases and never made any returns. More recently, he’s been sliding into dementia.

Thing is, this might really be it. The doctors are pretty sure. “He has two weeks max,” says Oren.

“Shit.” I bite my thumbnail—an old nervous habit instantaneously reborn. I’m suddenly terrified that my family, who I was legally emancipated from three years ago, might be planning something deeply, morbidly insane. But it’s not as bad as all that.

Just a live funeral.

“A what?” The phone slips out of my hands. I juggle it back to my ear.

“Dad’s final wish was to be buried alive,” says Oren.


About Derek:


Derek Milman was born in New York City, but grew up in Westchester, NY, where he wrote and published a successful underground humor magazine that caught the attention of the New York Times, who wrote a profile on him at the age of 14.

Derek studied English, Creative Writing, and Theater at Northwestern University. He began his career as a playwright (his first play was staged in New York City when he was just out of college), and earned an MFA in acting at the Yale School of Drama.

Derek has performed on stages across the country, and appeared in numerous TV shows and films, working with two Academy Award winning film directors.

Scream All Night is Derek's debut YA novel. He currently lives in Brooklyn where he is hard at work on his next book.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads


Giveaway Details:

1 winner will win a signed finished copy of SCREAM ALL NIGHT & swag, US Only.



Tour Schedule:

Week One:
7/16/2018- Sweet Southern Home- Excerpt
7/16/2018- YA Books Central- Interview
7/17/2018- BookHounds YA- Guest Post
7/17/2018- Always Me- Excerpt
7/18/2018- A Dream Within A Dream- Review
7/18/2018- Wonder Struck- Review
7/19/2018- Confessions of a YA Reader- Review
7/19/2018- Moonlight Rendezvous- Review
7/20/2018- Kat’s Books- Review
7/20/2018- Rhythmicbooktrovert- Review

Week Two:
7/23/2018- The Clever Reader- Review
7/23/2018- Smada's Book Smack- Review
7/24/2018- Lisa Loves Literature- Interview
7/24/2018- THE BOOK NUT- Review
7/25/2018- A Gingerly Review- Review
7/25/2018- Two Chicks on Books- Excerpt
7/26/2018- Daily Waffle- Interview
7/26/2018- Don't Judge, Read- Interview
7/27/2018- Two Points of Interest- Spotlight
7/27/2018- Book-Keeping- Review

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Novellas


Happy Tuesday everyone!  Welcome to the first Top Ten Tuesday now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week's topic is Favorite Novellas/ Short Stories.  Since I've just recently discussed some of my favorite short story collections, I'm focusing on novellas this time around.  Here we go, in alphabetical order by title:


Animals Farm by George Orwell


The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole


Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire


Fairest by Marissa Meyer


The House On Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros


The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka


The Mist by Stephen King


The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson


The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells


Have you read any of these novellas?  What are some of your favorite novellas and short stories?  As always, thanks very much for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Music Monday: Big Band Bash


Happy Monday everyone and welcome back to Music Monday! Let's share some songs we've been enjoying lately!  If you would like to play and I really hope you do, please see the rules and link up below.

Rules:

Every Monday share a few songs you've been enjoying lately.  It doesn't have to be a specific genre, new, or one of your favorites - just something you'd like to share with others.  If possible, share a music or lyric video of the song and your thoughts on the song(s), artist(s), and/or music video(s).

If you would like to participate in Music Monday, please join the link up by sharing your post's url.

A couple week ago I picked up a copy of a CD called Big Band Bash (1989) that features many essential tracks from the genre.  Most of the songs I was already familiar with, but there were a handful that I wasn't and there were a couple that I wouldn't exactly classify as a part of that genre.  Either way all of the songs are all great and needless to say I've been listening to it a lot since I got it.  Below I've decided to share two of my favorites which I definitely consider to be essentials of the genre - "Sing, Sing, Sing" by Benny Goodman and His Orchestra (1937) and "Skyliner" by Charlie Barnet and His Orchestra (1944).





Sunday, July 15, 2018

Ash and Quill (The Great Library #3) & Smoke and Iron (The Great Library #4) by Rachel Caine (ARC) - Reviews


❋ ❋ ❋ ❋ 

Ash and Quill (The Great Library #3) by Rachel Caine is officially one of the best books I've had the pleasure of reading this year. I don't know how the author does it but this series just keeps getting better. I shouldn't be surprised anymore, but each book outdoes itself. I think I need more stars to show just how much I appreciate this series. I have no idea why I put it off for as long as I did, but I expect it must be nerves at what is surely coming for this wonderful cast of characters. I adore each and everyone of these characters, but like I've said before Wolfe and Santi are hands down my favorite in this series even if they don't get quite as much page time in this volume. Plus, I think they're one of my favorite LGBT couples in YA, especially as parental figures to the rest of the core cast. Finally, this installment is so intense and that ending is a brutal place to leave us - luckily for me since I waited to pick this up, I was actually able to jump right into my ARC of Smoke and Iron. If you can't already tell I adore this series. Rachel Caine's writing is marvelous as are her characters and world-building skills. If you call yourself a bookworm, then you absolutely need to try this series.



I read this novel from June 28 - July 7, 2018 and my review is also on Goodreads.




❋ ❋ ❋ ❋ 

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Jess Brightwell and his allies are now in direct danger from the Archivist Magister and his supporters in the Great Library. The world is about to catch fire in all out rebellion and printed words are the spark to ignite the blaze. They'll have to use everything they've got if they want any chance of surviving this fight. It's down to the smugglers, thieves, and Scholars to save all that's still good about the library.

Smoke and Bone by Rachel Caine is the fourth installment of The Great Library series which has quickly become one of my all time favorite series. I know I've said this with pretty much every subsequent volume, but the series just manages to get better and better and this one is no exception! The stakes haven't been higher than they are here. I love the vivid world that the author has created, no matter how brutal it is to our favorite characters. I love her take on this alternate very near future, no matter how terrifying it is in terms of censorship, and that we've had the opportunity to travel and see that world from everywhere to London, Oxford, Alexandria, and Philadelphia. Here a great deal of the action is back in the city of the Great Library's headquarters - their return trip is according to plan but it's still heartbreaking for the characters who weren't let in on that plan.

As fantastic as Caine's world-building has been throughout this series, our diverse core cast of characters are some of the best I've had the opportunity to spend time with. I'm so invested in Jess, Khalila, Morgan, Glain, Dario, Thomas, Wolfe, Santi, and even Brendan. I love them all, but I have to admit that Wolfe and Santi are my two favorites. If anything happens to either of them, I won't know what to do. Maybe it's a sign that I'm getting older, but they've been my favorite characters since I started this series. Anyway, this time around several of our main cast have POV chapters. I was kind of worried about that element, but to be honest it's a great addition since Jess and the others are split up for a chunk of the story. Like I said before, the stakes are sky high and everyone is risking their lives, so you can imagine just how stressful it is to see my favorites in such danger. No one is safe, no one.

Overall, Smoke and Iron (The Great Library #4) by Rachel Caine is another brilliant installment of one of the most bookish, inventive, and addictive YA fantasy series currently out there. This story is marvelous and I didn't want to put it down, but honestly I was so stressed out while reading it because I couldn't be sure that all of my favorites would survive the oncoming war. I was truly worried bout these characters which is a fantastic testament to Caine's top-notch storytelling abilities and talent at creating diverse and realistic characters that feel as if they could walk right off the page. I know my review hasn't done the novel justice, but I can't recommend it enough. Seriously, I don't know how I'll cope until the final book is released next year - or after it's all over either.


Thanks again, NetGalley!

I read this ARC from July 7 - July 14, 2018 and my review is also on GoodreadsSmoke and Iron was released on July 3rd, 2018.

Friday, July 13, 2018

#PrideMonth 2018 - #PrideTBR Wrap Up & Mini Reviews


As you may know the month of June was Pride Month, and to celebrate the occasion I decided to tackle four LGBTQIAP books from my shelves.  My #PrideTBR consisted of The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Guide #1) by Mackenzi Lee, More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera, Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert, and Amberlough (The Amberlough Dossier #1) by Lara Elena Donnelly.  These had all been sitting on my shelf for quite a while and Pride Month seemed like the perfect time to tackle them.  I successfully completed all four novels before the month was out and luckily for me I liked them all.  To be honest though, I was particularly enamored with the work of Mackenzi Lee and Adam Silvera.  I hadn't had any previous experience with either of their works, but they've quickly become a couple of my favorites.  I will need to their future release!  Read on for my mini reviews of these titles:


❋ ❋ ❋ ❋ 

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee was exactly what I needed! Why didn't I read this sooner? I mean, that was exactly my kind of YA historical fiction with some romance and a dash of fantasy. I think I'm in love with Lee's style and sense of humor. Rather than just being laugh out loud all the way through there are a lot of truly heart breaking moments for our characters. The characters really make this story - I felt like they could all walk right off the page from Monty, Percy, and to Felicity. All of them are fantastically written characters, and the best part is that all of them have flaws. I liked seeing them grow from where they started off at the beginning of their romp across the Continent - I was especially pleased to see Felicity call Monty out on his crap. Personally, I think Felicity is totally the MVP of the novel and I'm so excited to see she's the focus of the coming sequel, The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy. If you like the style of My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton and Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Mansicalco, I have a feeling you'll like this too. By the way, did anyone else catch the moment where Monty channels his inner William Thatcher when he pulls out the, "Have you a name, my foxy lady?"


I read this book from June 13 - 28 and my review is also on Goodreads.



❋ ❋ ❋ ❋ 

More Happy Than Not is an incredibly powerful debut. I honestly have no idea why I hadn't picked up this YA contemporary earlier. I have no excuse for it, but I'm glad I finally made the plunge during Pride Month. Aaron's story packs quite the emotional gut punch that's for sure. You may need a tissue or two to make it through this book because his life is anything but easy. By the way, Me-Crazy's name is definitely appropriate. Just judging from his debut, but I think Adam Silvera could be a new favorite. Next up, I'll have to get to History Is All You Left Me and They Both Die at the End.

I read this Kindle library book from June 18 - 20, 2018 and my review is also on Goodreads.



❋ ❋ 

When it comes to Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert, I've seen quite a few mixed reviews featuring great, good, meh, and worse reviews, but I still wanted to try it out for myself. The description of the story sounded to intriguing to pass up. Now that it's all said and done though I have to admit I'm kind of underwhelmed. I liked that the story is so focused on complex family relationships particularly between siblings and that it features good representation for instersectional diversity. Unfortunately, I didn't feel particularly close to anyone in the story - they were lacking that spark of depth to really make me want to latch on. Overall, Little & Lion isn't a bad book in the least, but even though it has so much going for it it was a little too bland for my tastes.

I read this book on June 28, 2018 and my review is also on Goodreads.



❋ ❋ ❋ 

Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly is a brilliantly executed John le Carre meets Cabaret LGBT+ fantasy spy thriller set in a Weimar Republic, Germany-esque world. I had read many fantastic and gushing reviews of this story before going in (and just look at that awesome cover, to boot!) and, luckily for me, the story totally lives ups to it! I couldn't get enough of their world and the spies at the center of the story - Amberlough City is practically a character in its own right. All in all the story comes across as character driven and I was intrigued by everyone we met on the page, even if they were quite unlikable I couldn't help but become invested in their stories. I love the fact that many spy tactics and other things we see throughout this novel are taken from real world history. If you need a refreshingly awesome take on fantasy novels and political spy thrillers, then you absolutely need Amberlough in your life. After that ending I'm dying for the sequel, Armistice.

I read this novel from June 28 - 29, 2018 and my review is also on Goodreads.


Have you read any of these books before?  If so, what did you think of them?  Did you read any LGBTQIAP+ books for Pride Month this year?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): A Reaper at the Gates (An Ember in the Ashes #3) by Sabaa Tahir + 50/50 Friday




On Friday's I take part in three weekly link ups - The Friday 56, hosted by Freda's Voice, Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader, and 50/50 Friday is a new weekly link up and it is hosted by Carrie @ The Butterfly Reader and Laura @ Blue Eye Books. For The Friday 56, you choose a book, a book you have just finished, a book you are about to start, your current read, and share a line or a few lines that grab you (but don't spoil anything) from page 56 or 56% of the way through the ebook. Post it and share your post's url on Freda's most recent Friday 56 post. As for Book Beginnings, you share the first sentence or so and your initial thoughts, impressions, or whatever else it inspires, and then link up your post's url with Rose City Reader. Then, for 50/50 Friday, every week there's a new topic featuring two sides of the same coin - you share a book that suits each category and link up on the hosts blogs.


This week I'm spotlighting one of my current reads, A Reaper at the Gates (An Ember in the Ashes #3) by Sabaa Tahir, which is one of my most highly anticipated sequels of 2018.  I'm so excited to be reading this new release considering how much I loved the first two books in the series!  Then again, I know the final part is still upcoming next year so I'm scared to find out where this will leave our characters!

Beginning:

You love too much, my king.

56:

"Have you ever seen so many spirits this close to the border, Darin?"  The ghosts appear to multiply by the second.  "It cannot be just to torment me.  Something has happened to Elias.  Something is wrong."  I feel a pull that I cannot explain, a compulsion to move toward the Forest of the Dusk.

50/50 Friday: Favorite Book That's The Most/ Least Quotable


Most - The Princess Bride by William Goldman - I'm going to be honest, the same thing goes for the movie adaptation!


Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer - I loved this back when I read it several years ago before I started blogging.  Now, though?  I can't remember any direct quotes from it at all...


Have you read any of these books yet?  What are you reading this Friday?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Older Books I Don't Want People To Forget


Happy Tuesday everyone!  Welcome to the first Top Ten Tuesday now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week's topic is a throwback prompt to share your list of books on a topic that you've missed in the past and I've selected Older Books I Don't Want People To Forget.  Here we go, beginning with the oldest books:


The Beetle by Richard Marsh, 1897 - I read this excellent gothic horror novel for a college course and the best kind of insane.   It was released the same year as Dracula and was initially more popular at the time.  It stayed in print 1960 until it was re-released in 2004. It totally needs a cover change though - one that actually kind of reflects what it's about, or at least gives you the idea that your about to jump into pulpy horror rather than a bland piece of historical fiction.


Featuring the Saint by Leslie Charteris, 1931 - I love watching the classic tv show with Roger Moore and listening to the radio show featuring the voice talent of Vincent Price.


American Agent by Melvin Purvis, 1936 - This autobiography is easily one of the most fascinating I've ever had the chance to read.  If your not familiar with Melvin Purvis, he was the lead FBI agent on the case of John Dillinger, Pretty-boy Floyd, and Baby-face Nelson.  He would have only been 33 years old when this book was originally released.


Murder With Your Malted by Jerome Barry, 1941 - I've never read a mystery quite like this fun, fast-paced, thrill-ride with a great sense of humor.  The twist is fantastic and the characters are intriguing.  Plus, the main character is a soda-man so there's plenty of soda jargon featured in the dialogue.


Leave Her to Heaven by Ben Ames Williams, 1944 - I love a good noir-ish mystery thriller and this one totally hits the mark.  By the way, the movie which features a mustache-less Vincent Price is a good adaptation.


The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald, 1945 - I had no clue that The Egg and I movie from 1947 with Fred MacMurray and Claudette Colbert and led to the Ma & Pa Kettle spin off movie series was actually based on the real life memoir of Betty MacDonald until I listened to this audiobook.  The sense of humor is great and as with the movie, the Kettles completely steal the show.


Ross Poldark by Winston Graham, 1945 - I don't know about you, but I'm a fan of the tv adaptation featuring Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson.  Anyway, since I enjoy the show so much I thought I would give the source material a try - and luckily enough, it's an engaging historical fiction novel populated with wonderful characters.  I've only read the first two books so far, but I totally need to continue on with it.


How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying: The Dastards Guide to Fame & Fortune by Shepherd Mead, 1952 - This satirical guidebook is what inspired the musical (and movie adaptation) with Robert Morse in the 1960s and the newer revival which featured Daniel Radcliffe (and later Darren Criss and Nick Jonas).


My Family & Other Animals by Gerald Durrell, 1956 - This is easily one of my all time favorite memoirs - it's hilarious and the characters are so vibrant!


Up the Down Staircase by Bel Kaufman, 1964 - If this humorous epistolary novel following a new teacher in a metropolitan high school isn't considered a classic, it really should be.


Have you read any of these books, or have I piqued your interest in any of them?  As always, thanks very much for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!