Monday, 6 July 2015

Virtual U.S. Road Trip- Day 6- Colorado


Day 6 of our virtual U.S. Road Trip and it has been so much fun so far. Yesterday we where in California with blogger Stacee at Adventures of a Book Junkie which you can check out here

Today we are in Colorado with author Devin O’Branagan. Colorado is a state I have wanted to visit so this see what awaits us in Colorado. Over to Devin.

The beauty of Colorado is truly beyond description. It is a state of extremes, notable for its diverse geography: alpine mountains, arid plains, deserts with huge sand dunes, deep canyons, sandstone and granite rock formations, rivers, lakes, and lush forests. The elevation ranges from 3,317 feet at the lowest point to a height of 14,440 feet. Weather is wild, with temperature shifts of 80 degrees common in a single day. It is magnificent.

Colorado is famous for its popular ski resorts and gold-mining towns with their historic ambiance restored, now mining wealth via their gambling casinos. Culture abounds in film festivals, theatrical performances, art galleries, fabulous symphonies, and a myriad of talented authors. (I think the Muses have blessed the water here.)

The world’s only naturally occurring, acoustically perfect, outdoor amphitheater is the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, a rock structure ten miles west of Denver. The venue seats 9,450 people and is located in Red Rocks Park, part of the Denver MountainParks system. There is no better place to hear a rock concert, and many famous bands have recorded albums there. 

Every year Denver hosts the world’s largest rodeo, the Western Stock Show and Rodeo. Established over a hundred years ago, it is an annual event now attended by over 600,000 people. 

At the foot of the western slope of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range is the small town of Crestone. It’s called “the Shambala of the Rockies” and is considered by many to be one of the most spiritual places on the planet. Once sacred to Native Americans, the area now hosts a variety of spiritual centers: Tibetan Buddhist, Zen Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, and Native American . A high-ranking Tibetan Buddhist lama recently said that the area is one of two or three places on Planet Earth best suited for retreat practice. Even the mountains have a sacred name— Sangre de Cristo, the Blood of Christ.

Did I mention that Colorado is a place of extremes Coloradoans are a quirky lot, evidenced by the following examples: 
  • Rocky Mountain Oysters are a popular food. They are fried bull testicles. 
  • Coloradoans have always enjoyed getting high. (I blame it on the altitude.) Colorado repealed alcohol prohibition in 1932, a year before the federal government did. In 2012 Colorado was one of the first two states in the country to legalize recreational marijuana. Colorado wines, made from superior Vitis vinifera grapes grown in the highest elevation vineyards in the United States— as well as cherries, peaches, plums and honey— have won top national and international awards for their quality. Colorado has more microbreweries per capita than any other state. However, I’m not implying we’re all lushes and stoners. Actually, according to the Gallup Poll, Colorado consistently ranks in the top ten healthy states. In 2012, Colorado received the number one spot. Our population is simply free-spirited.
  • Frozen Dead Guy Days is an annual festival held in the town of Nederland to celebrate the 1994 discovery of a cryogenically frozen man’s body in a Tuff Shed. Events include coffin races, frozen tee-shirt contests, Frozen Dead Guy lookalike contests, and the Parade of Hearses. There are tours of the infamous Tuff Shed where the body still remains, frozen in dry ice; a polar plunge for those brave enough to go swimming in early March (which generally requires breaking through the ice); and a dance called “Grandpa’s Blue Ball.” Glacier Ice Cream, headquartered in the nearby city of Boulder, makes a flavor specifically for the festival (named, appropriately enough, Frozen Dead Guy). It consists of fruit-flavored blue ice cream mixed with crushed Oreo cookies and sour gummy worms. As bizarre as this all sounds, thousands of people attend every year. In a 2015 poll conducted by USA Today asking readers to name the top ten cultural events in the world, Frozen Dead Guy Days ranked #5. Frozen Dead Guy Days won the Governor’s Award for “Best Promotional Event in Colorado,” and Reader’s Digest named it one of the “Top Five Winter Festivals in the Country.” Seriously. 

Books set in Colorado: 
  • Most notably, several of Stephen King’s books are set in Colorado because he lived in Boulder for a time. Portions of The Stand take place in Boulder. And the hotel in The Shining, The Overlook, was actually based on The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. King was inspired to write the novel after he and his wife spent a night there in 1974. According to the staff, the Kings arrived a day before the hotel was set to close for winter, and that night they were its only guests. King wandered the maze-like hallways, drank at the bar, and stayed in room 217. Paranormal investigators consider The Stanley Hotel to be one of the world’s most haunted places.
  • Almost all of my novels feature Colorado in one form or another. It doesn’t matter if I’m writing about a thriving metropolis, a farm on the high plains, a college town in the foothills, a ranching community in the low mountains, or a village in the high mountains that’s considered to be one of the most spiritual places on Earth. This state has it all. 

*** Bestselling author Devin O’Branagan weaves tales of uncommon heroes while drinking the magical, Muse-infused water from Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Devin’s genres include paranormal thrillers, young adult urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and romantic comedy. Her books have been published by Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books, German publisher Heyne Verlag, Turkish publisher Dogan Egmont, and indie publisher Cornucopia Creations. They are available in print, eBook, and audio formats. Devin’s Legend of Glory trilogy is currently under contract with a prominent Hollywood producer. 

Interview with M.Beth Bloom & #Giveaway



Blurb taken from Epic Reads.com

Eva has always wanted to write a modern classic—one that actually appeals to her generation. The only problem is that she has realized she can't "write what she knows" because she hasn't yet begun to live. So before heading off to college, Eva is determined to get a life worth writing about.
Soon Eva's life encounters a few unexpected plot twists. She becomes a counselor at a nearby summer camp—a job she is completely unqualified for. She starts growing apart from her best friends before they've even left for school. And most surprising of all, she begins to fall for the last guy she would have ever imagined. But no matter the roadblocks, or writer's blocks, it is all up to Eva to figure out how she wants this chapter in her story to end.
Perfect for fans of E. Lockhart, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell, Don't Ever Change is a witty, snarky, and thought-provoking coming-of-age young adult novel about a teen who sets out to write better fiction and, ultimately, discovers the truth about herself.

Tell me a little about yourself and your writing career?


I was born and raised here in Los Angeles, with only a brief stint across and out of the country.  Some might say I'm SO LA.  I initially went to school with the hopes of becoming a playwright and studied the craft all through college.  Somewhere in there I found a love for short story writing and an obsession with the idea of the NOVEL.  I never thought I'd write one, let alone a young adult one, but the concept of creating such a long work with such languid timing and pacing intrigued me.  Could I do it?  Yes... Sort of... Lots of drafts, energy, weirdness, blockage, tears, and then my first novel DRAIN YOU appeared.  From there it was write, write, write, till you fall on the bed.

Tell us about your novel Dont Ever Change?

Eva is a graduating senior, who much like myself at the time, is obsessed with being a writer.  She doesn't want to live really, just record, and this poses a problem when her favorite teacher has to point out her arrogance.  She spends the summer before college as a camp counselor, losing her friends, her cool, her mind... It's meant to be witty and charming and hopefully self-reflexive in a way that strikes a ding with other such stubborn creatives.  

Where did the idea for the novel come from?

My own life mostly.  My journey as a young writer and arrogant brat.  I also worked at a summer camp and did a horrible job at everything but hanging out with the kids.  I could barely take care of myself and there I was leading a bunch of girls who hadn't yet learned the meaning of angst or depression or rent.  And I was certainly allergic to fun.

Describe your Protagonist Eva in 140 Characters or less.
She won't ever change.


Why should we pick up Don't ever change?

It's not every YA protagonist who's got such a minor, but real, struggle.  Eva doesn't have to save the world, the dystopian future, herself or a friend from a fatal disease - she just has to mature at an age when she's sure she knows it all. I see Eva in the new wave of feminist; she's embracing the wholeness of herself, a strong woman but also being a complicated, messy, funny, dramatic one.  

Don't Ever Change is available VIA Harper Teen July 7th

Giveaway:

Author M.Beth Bloom has offered a hard copy of her book Don't Ever Change to one lucky reader. Giveaway is International. Ends 20th July 2015


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Merry Monday #1- Resolutions- Ahhh what are they?

Merry Mondays

Merry Mondays is hosted by Mom With A Reading Problem, where we can celebrate all things Christmas and the holiday season. This usually happens in December (that is when Christmas is) but it sometimes happens in July ;) Christmas in July anyone :)  and am excited to be taking part for the next month.

This weeks topic: It’s been 6 months. Time to check in! How are you doing with your New Year’s Resolutions?

Resolution... hmmm what's that? I didn't fail them all in the first few days of the new year did I? I did and I always do. I am not good at sticking to resolutions or schedules basically any thing that you need will power for. I don't have will power especially when I set tasks like read certain books that year, don't buy any books you really aren't going to read, to serious ones like try to be healthier, maybe look for a new job with more hours. I fail on all levels and you know what I know am never going to stick to them so why even try LOL 

How have your new year resolution's gone?

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Virtual U.S. Road Trip- Day 5 - California



Welcome to day 5 of our road trip and today we are in sunny California with Stacee from Adventures of a book Junkie.

Don't Forgot to check out yesterday's post in Arkansas & giveaway here and our extra stop on Texas with author Rachel Caine & Giveaway here

 Check out what awaits us in California. Over to Stacee.

California is a huge state and there’s just so so so much to see. I’m going to break it up between the three main sections of the state that I go to.  I live in San Diego, but we’re in LA quite often.  We’ve been to San Francisco a few times and with every visit, I want more. 

Without further ado: 

San Diego:
Seals and sea lions at Children’s Pool in La Jolla

Los Angeles:

Disneyland {technically, it’s Orange County, but whatever}

San Francisco:

 Places to eat

Mexican food is a big deal in SoCal.  Much like Starbucks, you can find a taco shop on nearly every corner, and everyone has their favorite place to go. One of the staples is carne asada and a common item to order is a California Burrito.  Curious as to what it is? This article explains.  

Think I’m joking about how serious it is? Here’s a “12 best California Burrito list”, although I firmly believe Lolita’s needs to be higher on the list.


Quirky things about California

I found a few weird laws…

In Arcadia: “Peacocks have the right of way to cross any street, including driveways.”
In Baldwin Park: “Nobody is allowed to ride a bicycle in a swimming pool.”
In Blythe: “You are not permitted to wear cowboy boots unless you already own at least two cows.”
In Carmel: “Ice cream may not be eaten while standing on the sidewalk.”

And then there’s this website called Weird California which highlights some of the stranger things about the state and odd places to see.


Famous people from California

It used to be a big deal to be a California “native”. Now, not so much. When I did a search for celebrities born in Cali, there were a lot of names. Pages and pages and pages of names. When I started clicking on some of those names, it would change and say that the person was currently living in Cali, but was born somewhere else. 

So. Famous people from Cali?  Apparently everyone. 

I do know that Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge from the band Blink-182 are from San Diego, but I couldn't name anyone else. 


Authors or books set in California

Just some of the authors who live in Cali: Gretchen McNeil, Jennifer Niven, Robin Benway, Leigh Bardugo, Mary E. Pearson, Bethany Crandall, Kiersten White, Jandy Nelson, Veronica Rossi, Tahereh Mafi, and Margaret Stohl.

A couple of my favorite books set in Cali: 


 

 

Hopefully, this gave a bit of insight on my favorite state in the nation. Huge thanks to Megan for the invite! I learned a few things myself. :D



Thanks Stacee. I have learned a lot about California. What do you guys learn? Have you been to California, do you live in California? Leave me and Stacee a comment below.

Come out day six's Colorado post with author Devin O' Branagan 

You can follow all the road trip posts here

Sunday Post #21- Having fun on my Virtual U.S. Road Trip

The Sunday Post

The Sunday Post was created by Caffeniated Book Reviewer this is a post where we recap on the going on's on the blog the week previous and the week coming up as well as the awesome books we have received, bought or been gifted for review!




So my Virtual U.S. Road Trip kicked of on Wednesday and I am having so much fun with it. Here's what has happened so far:

Our first stop was in Alabama with author Ginny Gallagher, and Ginny sold me Alabama , I want to get on the first plane out there. Ginny also offered a giveaway. You can check out the post here

We then hit Alaska with author Jolene Perry, you can check out her post here


On Friday we where in Arizona and I took the task on writing that post and I found out some awesome things about Arizona. I didn't know so many famous people came from Arizona. Check out the post here


Yesterday we had two stops. First we where in Arkansas and I took on that task again as Arkansas is one of my top places to visit in the U.S. I also offered a giveaway with the post which you can check out here We then had a special stop in Texas with author Rachel Caine. I was so excited to have Ms Caine on my blog and with the post was an amazing giveaway, you can check it out here


And finally, today we are in California with blogger Stacee which you can check out here


This weeks tour schedule: 



July 6th- Colorado- tour guide, author Devin O Branagan
July 7th- Connecticut- tour guide, author Kourtney Heintz & Giveaway
July 8th- Delware- tour guide, Booktuber- Samantha @ thoughts on tomes & Giveaway
July 9th- Florida- tour guide, author Michelle Madow
July 10th- Georgia- tour guide,  author srjohannes
July 11th- Hawaii- Me ( for some reason I couldn't find any authors or bloggers here)
July 11th- Idaho- tour guide- author Coutney J Pearson

I should have some other non related road trip posts up this week but am not sure which yet. 


I just wanted to show you guys this as I want it is bad. It released earlier in the week and this is the description from Harper Collins UK's website

J. M. Barrie’s classic children's story is reimagined in this delightful full-color deluxe edition filled with all-new illustrations and ten removable features specially designed by MinaLima, the award-winning design studio behind the graphics for the Harry Potter films........

.....Peter Pan is packed with a lush array of colorful illustrations and interactive removable features, including a detailed map of Neverland, multicolored tri-folds, and a pouch of fairy dust. Beautiful and captivating, filled with breathtaking artwork, this stunning book is sure to become a treasured keepsake for fans of all ages.


I want this so, so bad!!

Books I got this week:


I got the above proofs from Chicken House, I love Chicken House's proofs they all look the same then you get the covers as post cards. Crow Mountain releases in September and Darkmere releases in August.


I got a netgalley copy of LOL last week but I saw this paperback cheap so I picked it up. I won an ebook of Fever VIA Michele @ 



The Billionaire wins the game was a kindle freebie and I got Never Always Sometimes on Netgalley. I have heard amazing things about this book.



Finally Has to be love I picked up on Netgalley and it releases in September .

How was your week?




Saturday, 4 July 2015

Virtual U.S. Road Trip- Day 4 (Extra stop) Texas & #Giveaway



Today we are in both Arkansas and Texas, it's Independence Day so why not visit two awesome states.

 We are making 489 miles trip from Arkansas ( You can check out the Arkansas post & giveaway here ) to Texas to see author Rachel Caine. I am so excited to have Rachel on my blog. Check out her post below and an awesome giveaway below.

Top 3 places only a native Texas person would know to visit

Big Bend is a lovely state park that is really worth visiting; it's got beautiful views, great hiking, and if you're the outdoorsy sort, it's a great place to go! 



The wonderful thing about Texas is that it is larger than most other states, and it has a wide variety of climates. We've got forests (East Texas), hill country (Central), coastline (South), plains (North) and desert (West) all in one place. The one thing we're a bit short on is mountains. If you want to visit our local edition, go to the Guadalupe Mountains in West Texas, which is near El Paso. It's beautiful.



Not the outdoorsy sort? We've got that covered! Talking just of Dallas/Fort Worth has the Nasher Sculpture Garden in downtown Dallas, two world-class art museums (Dallas Museum of Art and The Kimball in Fort Worth), and an array of other great cultural centers, like a wonderful concert and opera hall, and the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Kalita Humphreys Theater. The Dallas Arboreteum and Fort Worth Japanese Gardens are both worth strolling. And, of course, we've got SPORT. The new Dallas Cowboys AT&T Stadium in Arlington is a wonder, and gives tours! Plus, hockey (Dallas Stars), basketball (Dallas Mavericks), and baseball (Texas Rangers ballpark in Arlington).



And that's just Dallas. You can make just a long a list for Austin (don't miss Sixth Street and the Congress Avenue bridge bats!), San Antonio (Alamo and Riverwalk), El Paso (Chamizal National Memorial, the Tramway) ... as the travel bureau says, "Texas is a whole other country!"

What is some Texas "meals" we should try that aren't in any other places in the US?

We're best known for three things: steakhouses, Tex-Mex food, and barbecue. You can find steakhouses and barbecue in other states, but Tex-Mex is a thing that is pretty specific cuisine. Make sure you stop in at a really good restaurant and have some down-home enchiladas, tacos, and fajitas. And a margarita OF COURSE, if you're of legal age. (My recommendation? Mariano's in Arlington, in business since 1975, and the inventor of the world's first frozen margarita machine!)

Which Towns should we visit within Texas and why?

You really can't be bored visiting Texas. I didn't mention Houston above, but it's a world-class powerhouse of a city, and has a really gorgeous arts district, with great museums and cultural attractions. Galveston has wonderful coastline and history. El Paso is a very old city (in American terms), and has one of the oldest working Spanish missions in the country -- the Ysleta mission, which is still a working church, and is very worth a visit. It's beautiful and historic.

But really, you could go anywhere and find fascinating things. We have towns that were built by German immigrants and retain that cultural history, so you can even go have a bratwurst and dunkelbier at Oktoberfest!

What does Texas have to offer for a book addict, on a road trip?

Two hours outside of Dallas is a tiny little town called Archer City ... it's a one-stoplight hamlet that happens to be the birthplace of legendary US writer (and Pulitzer Prize-winner) Larry McMurtry. Mr. McMurtry bought most of the disused buildings in downtown Archer City about 15 years ago and created a bookstore out of them that specializes in rare and used books of all kinds. For book lovers, it's heaven! http://www.bookedupac.com/

What book should we read driving though Texas?

I'd recommend Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry! On the way to Archer City, of course. (And also, just a tip: you really must drive in Texas, or take a bus. There's virtually no train service, and the distances (and weather) are not conducive to biking it!

Thanks for having me in to talk about the great state of Texas -- I've hardly even scraped the surface. It's a rich and varied state full of wonders and warm, friendly people. Come see me!
Rachel Caine

http://www.rachelcaine.com

@rachelcaine

Facebook: rachelcainefanpage


Wow I want to go to Texas it sounds awesome. Thanks Rachel for being on my blog and telling us more about your state. What do you think of Texas? Leave me a comment below.

Note:



Rachel's new book Ink and Bone release's in the U.S. on Tuesday and in the UK July 22nd. It sounds awesome. You can find out more about the book here.

Tomorrow we will be in California with blogger Stacee @ Adventures of a book Junkie.

You can follow all the virtual tour posts here

Giveaway




Rachel's wonderful UK publishers, Allison & Busby has offered 10 paperback copies of Rachels stand alone book Prince of Shadows, which is a retelling of Romano and Juliet. Yes guys 10 COPIES. This gives is open to anyone in the UK & Europe. Giveaway Ends August 4th 2015.






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Virtual U.S. Road Trip- Day 4- Arkansas & #Giveaway


Happy Independence Day

Today we are in Arkansas, formerly known as The Land of Opportunity and currently known as The Natural State according to Wikipedia. Today I am your tour guide. Arkansas is one of the states I want to visit so I thought I would tell you some of the places and things I have found that I want to check out. 

Check out yesterday's stop in Arizona here

Arkansas is located in the Southern Region of the United States and, so naturally I want to visit it as I want to go to all the Southern States.

Things to do in the state of Arkansas:

North Central Arkansas: Blanchard Spring Caverns these caverns stay 56 degrees all year round.

Upper Delta: Parkin Archaeological State Park this is a native American park dating back to 1000 AD.

Lower Delta: Bayou Bartholomew - you have to visit a Bayou, so why not the longest Bayou in the world.

Check out more places to visit in Arkansas here

Places to eat:

I love my food so of course am going to check out all the best places to eat. And what's better than Southern Cuisine.




Famous people from Arkansas:

Former President Bill Clinton
Johnny Cash

That's just a little insight into Arkansas, it's a big state but it's one I hope to visit one day.

Today we have an extra stop over in Texas with author Rachel Caine.  After you've entered the giveaway why not hop over and check out the post here

Tomorrow we will be in California with Stacee at Adventures of a Book Junkie 

You can follow all the road trip posts here

Giveaway

A £10 amazon.co.UK gift card open to anyone who can receive gift cards from Amazon.co.UK. Ends 23rd August.