Dare to Dream Blog Tour

Hey guys! I am part of a blog tour right now for this awesome book called Dare to Dream. I've got all the info and the deets, and I've interviewed the author for us. Super excited, so let's get straight to it!

The world was going to end. Of that, Maggie Trafford was certain. Fourteen-year-old Maggie Trafford leads a normal life. Well, as normal as being crammed in a three-bedroom house with four siblings and a single parent can be, anyway. But despite being somewhat ignored at home, Maggie excels, earning top grades, a best friend who would do anything for her, and stolen looks from a boy in Maths.It’s not until the dreams start that Maggie realizes “normal” is the least of her problems. Every night, she lives the same nightmare—red lightning, shattered glass, destruction. But nightmares are just that, right? No one believes her when she says it’s an omen. At least, not until the already mysterious pillars of Stonehenge start falling. No longer alone in her fear, Maggie and the world watch with bated breath as one after another, the historic stones tumble, like a clock counting down. But only Maggie knows what it means: when the last stone falls, destruction will reign. And when the world ends, there’s only one option left—survive.Horrifying and raw, Dare to Dream is equal parts tragedy and hope, detailing the aftermath of apocalyptic catastrophe, the quest for survival, and the importance of belief.

Hi, and thank you for answering my questions today. To start off, would you like to 

give a brief description about yourself?

Hi! Thanks so much for having me on your blog today. 

My name is Carys Jones. I’m a writer who lives in Shropshire, England with my beloved dog, Rollo, my one eyed guinea pig Roger and my husband. I have an unhealthy addiction to jelly babies and Grey’s Anatomy and am a wannabe Disney princess at heart.

Book questions: 

So, Dare to Dream...What inspired you to write this book?

A while ago I read Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. If you’ve not read it, it’s quite a bleak tale 

about a post-apocalyptic world. You’re never really told what happened to the world, you just 

endure the exhausting quest for survival with the MC and his son. 

The challenge of writing about a destroyed world really appealed to me. But I wanted to give 

my own story some more context, I wanted to describe what happened to the world and 

experience the destruction first hand. Then I started thinking about what if someone knew 

the world was going to end? And what if no one would listen because they were just a 

fourteen year old British school girl? And from those initial thoughts Dare to Dream was 


What makes this book stand out from others? 

I think what makes Dare to Dream unique is how the story follows the main character, 

Maggie’s, journey through Armageddon. A lot of books focus on either the before or the after 

but I wanted the reader to experience everything that happens right along with Maggie. 

Also it is written in third person which is quite unusual for YA. I’ve just always preferred both 

writing and reading in this style. 

Writing Questions:

When did you decide/know you wanted to be a writer?

Looking back I’m not sure there was one particular moment where I chose to be a writer, 

deep down it was always something I dreamed of doing. I was always writing short stories, I 

have drawers full of old notebooks of stories that I started but never finished. I used to love 

buying a new notebook and starting a new story on that very first page and wondering where 

it would take me… 

Where do you write?

I write in my pink, Disney themed study. My desk is covered in loads of cute trinkets and 

pictures of me and my friends and on the walls are programmes from all the ballets I’ve been 

to with my Mum. I like to surround myself with things that make me happy, it really helps 

when writing a tough scene to immediately be able to look up and see something which 

makes me smile.

What genre of books do you like to write and why?

My favourite genre to write is YA. As a genre it offers writers unlimited creative freedom 

because readers are so voracious and eager to devour a wealth of stories. This means that 

when I’m writing a YA book I can let my imagination run wild, which isn’t always the case 

when I’m working in another genre, like romantic suspense.

What do you think is the most challenging and the most freeing about writing?

The most challenging aspect of writing is time. There really just isn’t enough of it. What with 

deadlines and contractual obligations I’m left having to cherry pick what projects I can work 

on. I have a huge list of books that I am desperate to write, my goal is to hopefully get 

through my list but since I’m adding to it on a weekly basis I don’t see that happening in the 

foreseeable future…

The most freeing thing is being able to lose myself in a story. I find writing extremely 

cathartic. I’m at my happiest when I’m writing. 

Any advice for aspiring writers?

Write the story you want to read. It’s easy to consider which books might sell or be popular 

but stay true to yourself. Write the stories which excite you and your passion will show 

through in your work and connect with readers. 

Also, write as much as you can. Once you’ve finished one book dive right on in to the next 

one! With writing, like anything else, the more you do it the better you’ll get.

Reading Questions:

Did you always like to read before you found writing?

My Mum instilled in me a love of books from a very early age. When I was younger my 

favourite part of the day was the half hour before bedtime when I’d get to read. I can still 

remember the books which really captivated me back then like Little House on the Prairie 

and Ballet Shoes.

Who are some of your favorite authors? 

I’m a big fan of Jodi Picoult and John Green but have recently discovered Becca Fitzgerald 

and am eager to read more of her books. I like stories that are driven by emotion. Whilst 

action is important I need the pathos within a book to be able to enjoy it. Picoult and Green 

are great at developing empathy between the reader and the protagonist.

What genres do you like to read and why? 

I mainly read YA, pretty much for the same reason I like to write within the genre; the 

limitless potential. I like a book to surprise me. When I turn the page I don’t want to 

anticipate what is coming. A great book should always leave you slightly stunned at the end, 

like We Were Liars. I love that feeling, when you close the book and just think; ‘wow, what 

did I just read?!’ I rarely get that from anything other than YA.
Thank you so much!

She seems so awesome, guys. I really hope you read this book. I'm currently in the middle of it and it is AWESOME. I'll get a review out ASAP. 

Versatile Blogger Award

Ahh...A short, easy, simple award. How cute and sweet and amazing. First off, I want to thank Erica @Books4Ev and Emily @Paperback Princess for nominating me, I am super excited. So onto the actual award...

Here are the rules: 
- If you are nominated, you've been awarded the Versatile Blogger Award
- Thank the person who nominated you, just to be nice :)
- Link back to their blog. They'd be ever so grateful!
- Select bloggers to award (ones you recently discovered or follow regularly)
- Nominate them for the award (remember to notify them once you do!)
- Lastly, tell the person who nominated you seven things about yourself. Easy as that!

1. I love Les Miserables. I've said it a ton of times and I will say it again. The movie was a bit shabby, but the musical...oh the musical. I LOVE it. 
2. I am also obsessed with old bands, like The Beatles, Queen, ABBA, and The Cranberries. Oldies are the goodies.

3. I remember being obsessed with the Junie B. Jones series when I was young. She is my spirit animal.

4. Besides reading and writing, I act and sorta kinda sing. I've been recently cast as the main role in a play! 

5. I have read each Harry Potter more than 20 times and watched each movie more than 10. It's a bit of an obsession. I also love Emma Watson to the moon and back.
6. I am a proud feminist. It's something I really truly believe in. 

7. (Totally random but...) I ABSOLUTELY LOVE EDDIE REDMAYNE. Can I just talk about how excited I am he won an Oscar? AHHHHH. That is AMAZING!

I'm sorry if you've already been nominated...I've seen this award everywhere.

That's a wrap! Hope you enjoyed. :)

Top Ten Favorite Heroines from Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish where we post 10 of our favorite things in each category.
Top Ten Favorite Heroines from Books
I love this topic, because personally I love a book with a fierce, witty amazing heroine. Here are a few: 
1. Hermione from Harry Potter
This is a must. Everyone wants to be Hermione. She is brave, loyal, smart, and beautiful. 
2. Celaena from Throne of Glass
After reading the Throne of Glass series, I seriously fell in love with Celaena. She is so fierce and amazingly talented. 
3. Vera Dietz from Please Ignore Vera Dietz
I loved Vera, because I knew that she was going through a lot, but she was strong and somehow held herself together.
4. June from Legend
One of my absolute favorites. She is true to herself, a leader, and her character was written flawlessly. 
5. Jessica from the Running Dream
She went through so much. This book made me really think about what is important in life, and I think Jessica made that journey with me. 
6. Max from Maximum Ride
An oldie but a goodie. She is smart, and can lead her pack as well as anybody. She is incredibly strong as well and can beat off anything. 
7. Anne from Anne of Green Gables
Not your classic heroine, but I think that to be able to stay so positive, so radiant, and yet so utterly hilarious is something to be admired. 
8. Ridley from Beautiful Creatures
I always loved Ridley more than anyone else. I felt her pains, but I also felt that she had great power. 
9. Cinder from Cinder
Cinder is great. She is down-to-earth, strong-minded, but knows how to control herself. 
10. Nehemia from Throne of Glass
I can't forget Nehemia. Beautiful and ever so loyal to her country, I honestly think we need more people like her in real life. 

What are some of your favorite heroines?

Talkin' About: Kate Writes (?)

Kate Writes

So...yes. I write. For me it comes very naturally that by reading, I am inspired to create my own story and see where that will take me. I've wanted to be an author for about 6 years now (although now I have widened by prospects quite a bit) and I have wrote...a lot....since that dream started.

While I've been maintaining this blog, I've been writing, and I've entered a few contests along the way. If you're interested, I recently got an award from Texas Book Festival and you can see my story, set in WWII, here.

So while this is a book blog and I want to keep it as a book blog, I was wondering how it would be if I started to have a feature on here called "Kate Writes" where I could occasionally share my written work with you. They would mostly be short stories and poems, and it would be great to get some feedback on my writing.

As fellow readers, I know that you all have very accurate eyes when it comes to reading writing, and I thought it would be cool. What do you think? Would you like a feature like that? Or would you rather I stick to just book blogging? 

I would love to know :) Thanks!

Article 5 Review

Title: Article 5
Author: Kristen Simmons
Publisher: Tor Teen
Genre: Dystopian, Sci-fi

Blurb: (from goodreads) New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned.

The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.

There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don't come back.

Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren't always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it's hard for her to forget that people weren't always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It's hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different.

Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow.

That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings—the only boy Ember has ever loved.

Me: A fast-paced Dystopian with frightfully real aspects.

The Ups: I think that the most important concept of the book, and what made it stand out from other dystopians, is that the government, the society in this book had the prospect of being real. I mean, anything can happen, but this book felt like it was more realistic than other dystopians I've read. The Moral Militia, the different Articles, the Sisters of Salvation, all targeted concepts that are still concerns today. It made me really think throughout the book of not only how this is something that people around the world might be facing right now, but also how to prevent this from getting so extreme. 
It was also decently easy to get through. I had a hard time getting through the beginning, only because I didn't have much time to read, but I then read the rest of the book in one sitting. I liked Ember, and I think that by connecting to her and watching her make her journey is what really kept me going. It was fast-paced.
I also enjoyed the romance, because it wasn't overpowering. It was nicely embedded into the story and the book didn't revolve around just the romance. 

The Downs: That being said, I felt like the plot was a bit unoriginal and drab. There were no cliffhangers, no moments that I really loved. Chase also got annoying after a while, and sometimes I couldn't quite understand the relationship between him and Ember. Also, besides Ember, I didn't really connect to any of the other characters, which made me feel a bit disconnected from this world they were living in. 

Overall: A good dystopian that made me think. 

Rating: 4 kisses!

Dare to Dream Book Tour + RELEASE!!

Hey lovelies! I am super excited to announce that I have been asked to be a part of a book tour! The book is called Dare to Dream, and it's by Carys Jones. And exciting news...IT'S RELEASED TODAY!
So just as a little preview to my post that will be coming soon, (scheduled for Feb. 28th, when I'll have an interview with the author) I have an awesome book trailer for you to watch. 

I am actually currently in the middle of reading it right now, and so far it is a really hooking novel, quite different than what I've been reading recently. It showcases the process of calamity, not the aftermath like so many other books do. It's also really fast paced and interesting. I'll have a review ASAP as well.

Here's the blurb to the book: 

The world was going to end. Of that, Maggie Trafford was certain.
Fourteen-year-old Maggie Trafford leads a normal life. Well, as normal as being crammed in a three-bedroom house with four siblings and a single parent can be, anyway. But despite being somewhat ignored at home, Maggie excels, earning top grades, a best friend who would do anything for her, and stolen looks from a boy in Maths.
It’s not until the dreams start that Maggie realizes “normal” is the least of her problems. Every night, she lives the same nightmare—red lightning, shattered glass, destruction. But nightmares are just that, right? No one believes her when she says it’s an omen. At least, not until the already mysterious pillars of Stonehenge start falling.
No longer alone in her fear, Maggie and the world watch with bated breath as one after another, the historic stones tumble, like a clock counting down. But only Maggie knows what it means: when the last stone falls, destruction will reign. And when the world ends, there’s only one option left—survive.
Horrifying and raw, Dare to Dream is equal parts tragedy and hope, detailing the aftermath of apocalyptic catastrophe, the quest for survival, and the importance of belief.
I really hope you consider buying it or reading it sometime soon because it seems worth it!
Buy DARE TO DREAM by Carys Jones today!
DARE TO DREAM on Goodreads

Top Ten Book Problems I Have

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish where we post 10 of our favorite things in each category.

Top Ten Book-Related Problems I Have
A few serious ones...
1. Dog-earing pages
Ew ew ew. I can't stand this. I would much rather try to memorize the page number and forget than do this. It bugs me so much...

2. Unoriginal Covers
Sorry to single this one out here, because there are many books that just don't have very creative covers. For me, I totally judge a book by it's cover, because good covers are just so much more appealing than bland ones. 

3. Reading too much of one genre in a row
My eyes are already in pain looking at too many dystopian books in a row. I need a variety of books on my shelf, and I need to read them in such an order that I don't obsessively only read one. It gets so boring and all of the genres each have their symptoms. 

4. Uncompleted Series on my Shelves
Oh this bothers me so much. ONLY the first four AHHH! My books are all in my room, and it bothers me so much when I don't have all the books in the series. I died for 3 months until I got the final Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants book. 

5. Leaving books flipped over
You all know what I'm talking about. When you can't find a bookmark and don't want to move so you just flip the book over and keep your place. And the creases it creates on the back of paperback books. *horrified face*

Some less serious topics...but still very important

6. Fangirling over fictional guys
Probably the worst problem on this list. Why are all the amazing guys all in books? I mean I fell in love with Fred Weasley in 5th grade. How could the world be so cruel? 

7. Constantly wondering why I can't live in a book
Let's be real...I'm still waiting for my Hogwarts letter. Where is it? I mean, I am obviously a witch in disguise. 

8. Friends not understanding why I rant about books so much
All my friends think I'm crazy when I go on my 3 minute rants about different characters and different plot twists in the books I am reading. Like the other day I saw an airplane and I sent love to it...Ask the Passengers anyone?

9. Not being able to do anything else
What can I say? I'm reading! And someone's about to die! And they're about to kiss! And everything's about to go down....summary of my life. 

10. Wanting to read a bad book
Tiny problem as a book blogger, is that I just want to read a really really bad book sometimes. I want to be able to pour out my entire soul into telling how bad the book was. Is that weird?

What are some of your book-related problems? And can you relate to any of mine? 

Independent Study (The Testing #2) Review

Title: Independent Study
Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Publisher: HMH Books
Genre: Sci-fi, Dystopian 

Spoilers in white. Highlight to read. 

Blurb: (from goodreads) In the series debut The Testing, sixteen-year-old Cia Vale was chosen by the United Commonwealth government as one of the best and brightest graduates of all the colonies . . . a promising leader in the effort to revitalize postwar civilization. In Independent Study, Cia is a freshman at the University in Tosu City with her hometown sweetheart, Tomas—and though the government has tried to erase her memory of the brutal horrors of The Testing, Cia remembers. Her attempts to expose the ugly truth behind the government’s murderous programs put her—and her loved ones—in a world of danger. But the future of the Commonwealth depends on her.

Me: Again, same thing. Unoriginal. Unmemorable. Stuff we've already heard before.

The Ups: I really liked the ending. And that was basically it. The idea of a staged rebellion to eliminate troublemakers was really original and I had not seen it coming. I also loved how it cut off right there, but tied it together quite nicely. The ending made me reach for the third one right away.

The Downs: But it ends there. Every other aspect of the book was repetitive and unoriginal. 

First off, I am so sick of perfect heroines. SO DONE. I felt it with Katniss in The Hunger Games, and now I'm feeling the same with this character, Cia. She seems to be able to do no wrong. She cares for all these people dying in The Testing and afterward, even if she didn't know them or didn't care for them. She is way too sympathetic, and is also way too smart. It's impossible for her to be so extraordinary that she passes the tests that were made for the smartest people in the nation so easily. I just wanted to say, "Do you have flaws? Or are you a freaking goddess?" 
Also, why is the University basically identical to the Testing? Why do people still get "Redirected?" Was the author just too lazy to actually creatively think of a different setting and a different society that she just took the easy way out? You would think there would be a bit more interesting way of the school to work after they've gone through so much just to get to the University. 
I also felt like Tomas wasn't too interesting. I couldn't feel the security and the comfort that Cia felt around him. I couldn't really see what was so special about him. I feel like that made the romance less strong, and I didn't feel the trust and the importance between the characters. 

Overall: There just wasn't anything special, and I didn't feel connected to the story. 

Rating: 2 kisses! 

Top Ten Things I Like/Dislike When It Comes To Romances In Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish where we post 10 of our favorite things in each category.

Top Ten Things I Like/Dislike When It Comes To Romances in Books

Romance in general is an iffy topic for me, because it's so hard to portray it right. But it's been done, and I have picked out a few things I like/dislike in romances. The first five are things I like, the other five things I don't. 

 I like...
1. Meetings by chance
Look it's Lily and Snape! I feel like by-chance meetings are much more interesting and have more to build on than the whole "best friends since birth"/"He's from my village" thing or whatever. (Favoance.rite example: Eleanor and Park meet on their school bus...by complete chance.)

2. Something that makes the characters doubt their feelings
I think I can best explain this with Chaol and Celaena in Throne of Glass. Chaol doubts himself and doesn't let his affection show at first because he doesn't want to let anything confuse him from his job and his loyalty to the king. Also, I just love Chaol. So much. 

3. Lots of discussion
I personally think that there is nothing more romantic than a really good, personal conversation. If an author can build that up between two characters, I think it's much more interesting than just "Oh I love you and have always loved you even though we don't talk." (Example: The Truth About Forever, Wes and Macy and their Question game...loved it.)

4. Awkwardness
There's not enough romances that portray the true awkwardness of being in a relationship. It's hard to make it interesting, and it's hard to make it so it doesn't get annoying. Eleanor and Park were perfect at it. Their relationship had me wanting to tear my eyes out from the awkwardness but something felt very real. 

5. Honesty 
I like flirting in books. But not the shallow I'm-hinting-at-this kind. I like the more blatant, strong, a bit too honest kind that scares off people sometimes. (Example: Finch from All The Bright Places, or Levi from Fangirl)

I dislike...
6. Wayyy too much of just action
Yes, the picture is not a great description. But anyway, I hate when there is a connection physically and not mentally. When people don't talk but just...do. It feels fake and gross. (Example: DUFF)

7. Weird flirting 
Like stated before, weird shallow flirting that makes you feel icky inside is not my thing. I don't like when guys do that. It makes me hate them right away. 

8. Guys who are just a-holes in general
Out of all of these, I hate this the most. I hate it when girls keep going back to guys they "know they shouldn't be with". Like what the heck? He's a butt so ditch him. SO MUCH ANGER. 

9. Insta-Love 
Ick. I don't think love at first sight is possible. *gasp* I know, I'm a nonbeliever. No, it's just that from what I perceive as a definition of love, it requires time. I agree that you can be extremely attracted to someone, but instant love....No.

10. Girls who can't keep their minds straight. 
For me, a girl needs to have a sense of self. And I understand infatuation, but keep it together sweetie. You don't have to think about it every single second that you are breathing and alive. 

That's a wrap! What are some of the things you enjoy in romances? Don't like?