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  1. Kristen Simmons is one of our most favorite people.  If you haven't read the Article 5 series yet...Get on it!!  We love these books (barn scenes and belt loops make up some of our favorite parts) and when we decided to do a holiday giveaway we absolutely had to put these in the list.  

    Check out what Article 5 is all about and then scroll down to see what Kristen told us about what the holidays are like for her...there might be some information about Chase and Ember too.
    Article 5 (Article 5, #1)

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    The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.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


    I was raised in Reno, Nevada—just below Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada Mountains—with horses and dogs and Red Angus cattle. When I was little I had a colorful imagination (read: I was a cheerful liar), and loved to write stories. I rocked spandex shorts and slouch socks, put too many scrunchies in my side ponytail, and watched The Goonies approximately one kajillion times. For a brief time, I dedicated myself to a future in professional hockey after careful study of The Mighty Ducks.

    Let’s talk characters!

    What would Chase have on his Christmas list?
    Kristen Simmons. Oh wait...I mean, Jaime Arkin. No...that's not right either. Ember Miller. Ember Miller! That's what he would have. That's all he really wants. Things are much less important to Chase than people, and Ember is his forever person.

    If Chase and Ember are spending Christmas Eve together what would they be doing?
    Probably dodging gunfire or printing some contraband to distribute to the other resistance factions. Although if I had my way, they'd be stuck alone together in some barn engaged in verrrrrry important team building exercises. 

    What would Chase put in Ember’s stocking?
    Probably a knife. Or ammunition. He's a pretty singularly focused guy. 

    Now how about some questions for you!

    When do you hang up your decorations?
    Haha...Thanksgiving weekend. Only because family comes and I can convince them to help me.

    What’s your favorite holiday memory? 
    To be honest, going to Christmas Eve service as a kid, and singing loudly, and inappropriately groovily, to We Three Kings the way the camels sang it on the Claymation Christmas Special. I wonder if anyone will know what I mean when I say that. Ha. Anyway, my mom would twist my ear every time I started getting rowdy. This happened every single year.

    What’s on your holiday wishlist this year?
    A housecleaner. I have been writing a lot this year. The house apparently has not been cleaning itself. 

    What’s your favorite holiday tradition?
    My husband and I write love letters to each other and put them in our stockings at New Year's. The next year we open them on Christmas Eve. We've done this for probably twelve or thirteen years. It's so great.

    What’s your favorite Christmas song?
    Christmas Shoes. Sir, I wanna buy these shoes....for my mama, please.... Oh wait. That's not it. it's Baby It's Cold Outside. Love that one.

    What’s your favorite holiday movie?
    It's still the Christmas Claymation Special. Love the California Raisins singing Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer. 

    It’s midnight on New Year’s Eve – you can kiss any celebrity, living or dead.  Who do you pick?
    Richard Mintleaf Gansy. OOOOOMMMMMGGGGG YES. (I am currently reading Blue Lily, Lily Blue.) He counts as a celebrity, right? 

    Now tell us a little about what’s on the horizon for you? Are you working on something new? Do you have something coming out soon? 
    The Glass Arrow comes out in February and I'm so excited! This is a story where women are endangered, their population numbers controlled. One girl is caught while living in the wild by a hunting party. You can read more about it here:   I've got all sorts of giveaways going on before the release in February. I hope you check them out!

    One lucky winner will win copies of Article 5, Breaking Point, and Three - all you have to do is enter the giveaway below.  

    US Only
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    By: Bryan Bliss
    Publication Date: February 24, 2015

    This is a debut author, and I'm excited to see what she does with this story!  It's got a unique plot and the cover is so interesting! I can't wait to read it! 
    Abigail’s parents have made mistake after mistake, and now they've lost everything. She’s left to decide: Does she still believe in them? Or is it time to believe in herself? Fans of Sara Zarr, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell will connect with this moving debut.

    Abigail doesn't know how her dad found Brother John. Maybe it was the billboards. Or the radio. What she does know is that he never should have made that first donation. Or the next, or the next. Her parents shouldn't have sold their house. Or packed Abigail and her twin brother, Aaron, into their old van to drive across the country to San Francisco, to be there with Brother John for the "end of the world." Because of course the end didn't come. And now they're living in their van. And Aaron’s disappearing to who-knows-where every night. Their family is falling apart. All Abigail wants is to hold them together, to get them back to the place where things were right. But maybe it’s too big a task for one teenage girl. Bryan Bliss’s thoughtful, literary debut novel is about losing everything—and about what you will do for the people you love.

    So...What are you waiting for this week?

    Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine - make sure you head over and see what other people are waiting for!

  3. As soon as I read the summary for The Book of Ivy I decided I needed to have it in my hands and I can't gush enough about how much I loved this book. Engel grabbed my attention with the very first chapter and I wasn't able to put the book down until I finished. Plus - Bishop is one of my very favorite swoony boys for this year...not joking!

    After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual. 

    This year, it is my turn. 

    My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and restore the Westfall family to power. 

    But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.

    Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…

    I was born in Kansas and after a childhood spent bouncing between countries (Iran, Taiwan) and states (Kansas, California, Missouri, Washington, D.C.), I settled in Kansas City, Missouri where I live with my husband and two kids. Before devoting myself full time to motherhood and writing, I was a criminal defense attorney, which is not quite as exciting as it looks on television. When I have a free moment, I can usually be found reading, running, or shoe shopping.

    What would Bishop have on his Christmas list?

    I don’t think “stuff’ matters very much to Bishop. His Christmas list is probably pretty short. Maybe some gear he could use in the future to take that very long hike to the ocean.

    If Ivy and Bishop are spending New Year’s Eve together what would they be doing?

    Oh man...New Year’s Eve is probably my least favorite holiday, so it’s hard for me to come up with ideas for anyone to enjoy it! Lol. But I don’t think Ivy and Bishop would be that interested in going to a party or being around other people. They’d want to stay home alone. They enjoy each other’s company more than anyone else’s, so they’d most likely make dinner and then just hang out and talk. And kiss. I predict there would be lots of kissing.

    What would Bishop put under the tree for Ivy this year?

    He’d probably try and find a copy of a book she’s always wanted to read. I think he’d go to a lot of trouble to try and make the holiday fun for her because her family has never been very good at celebrating or finding the joy in things.

    What are the Lattimers and Westfalls doing this Christmas?

    On a typical Christmas, I don’t think the Westfalls deviate too much from their regular routine. Which mean lots of talk about the ways they want to change the government and how best to accomplish that. They probably exchange small gifts and make an attempt at a special meal, but there’s not much pleasure in any of it.

    The Lattimers celebrate in more traditional ways, with decorations and gifts and big meals, but everything is slightly tense because Erin wants it all to be perfect and Bishop really couldn’t care less about any of it. And President Lattimer tries to pretend like everyone’s having a great time.

    Wow, not sure I’d want to celebrate the holidays with either of these two families! Lol. 

    When do you hang up your decorations?

    We always decorate the day before Thanksgiving.

    Colored lights or white lights?

    We’re a white lights household. I don’t mind colored lights, though. The only thing I don’t like is when houses have a mix of the two. My OCD kicks in and makes me nuts!

    What’s on your holiday wish list this year?

    Well, my dream gift would be a literary thumbprint with all my favorite books.  You can see one here:  But I don’t think it’s going to be under the tree this year. So probably the new Stephen King novel; perfume; a Sephora gift card. Pretty basic stuff!

    What’s your favorite holiday tradition?

    Every year we give our kids a new ornament that represents something about them from the past year. So, if our daughter was really into basketball this year, then she would get a glass basketball ornament. Or if our son loved The Hunger Games, I’d find someone on etsy to hand paint a Hunger Games ornament for him. It’s so fun to look at the tree and find all their special ornaments.

    Do you open gifts on Christmas eve or Christmas day?

    Both. We open with my husband’s family on Christmas eve and then with my family on Christmas day.

    What’s your favorite holiday movie?

    It’s a tie between It’s a Wonderful Life and Love Actually.

    It’s midnight on New Year’s Eve - you can kiss any celebrity, living or dead. Who do you pick?

    Omg, this is a hard question! With apologies to my husband, I’d probably have to go with Stephen Amell.  But only if he’s in character as The Arrow--all broody and intense.

    Now tell us a little bit about what’s on the horizon for you? Are you working on something new? Do you have something coming out soon?

    I recently finished the sequel to Ivy, The Revolution of Ivy, so I’m gearing up for edits. It will be out on November 3, 2015. I’m also putting the finishing touches on a dark, gothic mystery (non-YA) that I’m hoping will find a home in the publishing world. And I have a couple of ideas for new YA novels, as well.  I’ve always got something in the works!

    One lucky winner will win a copy of  The Book of Ivy (Intl)

    If Intl - please make sure The Book Depository delivers to you before entering! 

    ** Must follow Fic Fare via Email **


    By: Josh Sundquist
    Publication Date: December 23, 2014
    We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a true story
    A bright, poignant, and deeply funny autobiographical account of coming of age as an amputee cancer survivor, from Josh Sundquist: Paralympic ski racer, YouTube star, and motivational speaker.

    Josh Sundquist only ever had one girlfriend.
    For twenty-three hours.
    In eighth grade.

    Why was Josh still single? To find out, he tracked down the girls he had tried to date and asked them straight up: What went wrong?

    The results of Josh's semiscientific, wholly hilarious investigation are captured here. From a disastrous Putt-Putt date involving a backward prosthetic foot, to his introduction to CFD (Close Fast Dancing), to a misguided "grand gesture" at a Miss America pageant, this story is about looking for love--or at least a girlfriend--in all the wrong places.

    Josh SundquistJOSH SUNDQUIST was a member of the 2006 US Paralympics Ski Team in Turin, Italy. A graduate of the College of William & Mary and the University of Southern California, he is the founder of, the worlds largest online community for amputees. He is 25 years old and lives in the Washington, DC area."

    Erin's Thoughts

    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    We Should Hang Out Sometime by Josh Sundquist was one of those books that I went into not really knowing what to expect and I have to say, by the time I finished the book, I was glad I made the decision to read it.

    This book isn’t what I would consider my normal read and I think that is what I liked about it. Josh has a pretty different story. Add to that the fact that he tends to focus on the positive and has a unique voice and I was turning the pages to better understand why he hadn’t had a girlfriend for longer than twenty three hours….in the eighth grade.

    As I mentioned, Sundquist has a unique story and embedded in that story is a deeper dive into why he hasn’t had a serious relationship. As Josh sets out to investigate what really happened, I found myself laughing out loud at some of the things I was reading. One of the things I enjoyed was how upfront Josh is about the role religion played in his house growing up and the fact that he was homeschooled until freshman year.

    There is a section of the book for each girl that Josh conducted his investigation into… he ties in a hypothesis, some graphs, and his findings which absolutely make the book the great account that it is. But as Josh finds out, what it all really comes down to in the end is that he needed to accept himself and face his fears that he might get rejected…and it is ok.

    If you are looking for a quick read that will have you turning the pages wondering just what Josh will find out in this “semiscientific, wholly hilarious investigation” definitely check this book out. I found it entertaining and Josh’s voice is definitely unique.

    Thank you to the publisher for the review copy!


  5. Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the awesome and wonderful people over at The Broke and The Bookish

    So... top ten books in 2014.  This is a joke right? I'm going to warn you right now, there may not be a way for me to narrow this down, but I'll give it a try. (Click the covers to add to goodreads)

    Jaime's Picks

    The Unexpected Favorites

    All three of these were books that I absolutely fell in love with and will forever urge anyone and everyone to read.  

    The New Adult

    I love New Adult and these were my top reads of the year - each for a different reason, but all were 5 star reads for me! 

    The Heather Demetrios

    I'm in love with her ... I can't help it. These two books are so amazing and must reads! 

    The Authors I can Count on

    I know that when I pick up a book by these authors I'm going to get a book that will make me think and feel all kinds of things, and these were the titles that did it for me this year! 

    The new to me Authors 

    These are the new to me authors that I loved and I honestly can't wait for more from each of them! 

    The Ones Erin & I Agree On
    I don't think any of these need an explanation...but if you want one leave us a comment! 

     Erin's Picks 
    The Swoony Boys 
    The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy, #1)Behind the Scenes (Daylight Falls, #1)
    Miles from Kara (Charleston Haven, #2)Boomerang (Boomerang, #1)

    I LOVE swoony boys and these are the books that stood out for me this year in that category! I know that I can go back to these books any time and get a dose of swoon!

    The Authors I Can Count On
    Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3)Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss, #3)Remember Me (Find Me, #2)
    The Forever Song (Blood of Eden, #3)Fangirl

    These are authors that have made my official auto-buy list.  They make me experience all kinds of feels and I tend to love everything they write!

    A Bit of History
    BrazenThe Boleyn Reckoning (The Boleyn Trilogy, #3)The Bronze Horseman (The Bronze Horseman, #1)

    I love Historicals and these were some of my most favorite of the entire year.  That's really all I can say other than check them out!

    Fantasy Favorites
    Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes, #1)The Perilous Sea (The Elemental Trilogy, #2)Death Sworn (Death Sworn, #1)

    Fantasy books make me happy - especially if they have magic, great characters, and a fantastic story...which all of these do!!

    So tell us - what books are on your Top Ten (or so) List for 2014??