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Rules for 50 50 Chances

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Author: Kate McGovern
Release date: November 24, 2015
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Pages: 352
Formats: Hardcover, eBook



Seventeen-year-old Rose Levenson has a decision to make: Does she want to know how she’s going to die? Because when Rose turns eighteen, she can take the test that tells her if she carries the genetic mutation for Huntington’s disease, the degenerative condition that is slowly killing her mother.

With a fifty-fifty shot at inheriting her family’s genetic curse, Rose is skeptical about pursuing anything that presumes she’ll live to be a healthy adult-including her dream career in ballet and the possibility of falling in love. But when she meets a boy from a similarly flawed genetic pool and gets an audition for a dance scholarship across the country, Rose begins to question her carefully laid rules.


NOTE: This review is based on a finished copy I received from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.

The Review

RULES FOR 50/50 CHANCES gives you a lot to think about both during and after the read. It poses the question – if you could find out whether you had a debilitating and ultimately fatal illness, would you want to know? It touches upon a number of issues from the loss of a parent to illness, to caring for and living with family members who are ill, to race, to class, to anger, frustration, guilt, sacrifice, and love. And it does so through a narrator who is at the cusp of starting her life as an adult, who has faced and will continue to face a number of challenges, who is anxious and upset and scared and uncertain.

Rose Levenson has lived for years with the knowledge that she would lose her mother to Huntington’s disease. She knew that she would have to live with the angry, uncensored person her mother would become. And she knew that there was a good chance that her mother’s fate would be hers.

For years she tried to bury her head in the sand and not think about the “what ifs.” But the not knowing cast a shadow over her entire life, it was all she could think about, and it affected every decision she made or chose not to make. Everyone told her that she had to live her life, to not think about a future that may or may not be hers. But how could she risk making choices she might regret? How could she risk falling in love and putting them through what her father was going through? How could she give up the possibility of knowing that she had absolutely nothing to worry about at all?

Kate McGovern created a story that is engaging, thought-provoking, heartbreaking and yet hopeful, with a character who is often difficult to like but whose actions and reactions are understandable and very realistic for someone her age, in her situation. Rose is short-tempered, self-involved, fearful, nervous, and a bit obsessive, though she can also be funny, kind, and open-minded. Her situation is one readers will be able to sympathize with, even if they don’t always find her to be sympathetic.

The author did a wonderful job of giving readers a better understanding of what life might be like living with a family member who has Huntington’s disease and what it might be like to struggle with the decision to know or not know whether the disease is a part of their future. But in attempting to tackle a number of other issues, including the challenges of an interracial relationship, the challenges facing two people from different socioeconomic backgrounds, and hinting at a physically abusive relationship, as well as trying to introduce a number of diverse characters, things fell a bit short.

By introducing and only lightly touching upon those other issues raised, they felt underserved and largely unresolved. And while the idea of incorporating diverse characters into the story was exciting, the fact of their diversity at times felt like an afterthought instead of feeling organic to the story. Trying to take on so many hard-hitting issues that were secondary to the main storyline diluted them. The focal point of the story provided plenty of food for thought. It was interesting. It was informative. It was eye-opening. It was so well-done.

Kate McGovern did not pull any punches when showing readers what life was like for Rose over the many months of her life the story encompassed. It was difficult. It was ugly. It was confusing. It was embarrassing. It was unpredictable. It was devastating.

RULES FOR 50/50 CHANCES is an important story that brings awareness to a disease that is not often written about, especially not in young adult literature. It will give readers an appreciation for those who have to live with this illness. And it will put them in Rose’s shoes and make them wonder whether they would choose as she did.

The Rating


About Kate McGovern


Kate McGovern has written both fiction and nonfiction for the educational market, and has taught theatre, literacy, and creative writing to kids in Boston, New York, and London. She received her bachelor’s in American Studies from Yale. She currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


When I’m Not Reading: I’m Remembering That Time I Went Sailing


As some of you may already know, back in October 2013 I decided to step way out of my comfort zone and take a chance at something I was sure I would be totally terrible at – sailing. Obviously I wasn’t a complete disaster, as just over two years later I am still doing it. (Maybe the various crew I have had over the years would say otherwise, but I’m sticking with “not a complete disaster.”)

When I’m not reading or working or spending time with The Dude, I am sailing or dreaming of sailing. I stare out at the water every single day and wish I was on a boat. I look back at the multitude of pics I have of my adventures and wish I was having a new adventure that was as exciting.

I’ve become a bit obsessed with sailing single-handed. But I still go out with a crew now and then. Some of my best days on the water were when I was out with other sailors.

Like this day, when we caught up with several pods of dolphins, a few who decided to keep us company for awhile.

[Video credit: Lance]

Or that time when it stormed and we couldn’t leave the marina…


Or the day when it was gusting and we were fighting to keep the rails above the water…


Or that day when we were sailing to Catalina and had to change course to avoid collision with a whale…

Whale 2

Or that day when we returned to the marina and all the birds were gathering…


Or that day we sailed for Santa Cruz Island in Santa Barbara…

Sailing to Santa Barbara

[Photo credit: Dave]

Or that day we woke up to an amazing view on the mooring at Two Harbors, Isthmus Cove, Catalina…

Catalina Sunrise-2

Or that day we had to sail into a fog bank…

The Fog1

Or that day a friendly dolphin stopped by to say hi…


Or that day we watched our fender go over and we were too lazy to haul it back in…


Or that day we got to watch the most amazing sunset…


Or that day we spent flying to Catalina sideways in 15-22.5 knots of wind…

Heeling to Catalina

Or that day I got to watch a dolphin leap into the air just off the port bow…

Dolphin 11-7-15

Or that other day we got to see an amazing sunset…

Marina at Sunset

Or that day I got really bored and made a crappy video while sailing solo and uploaded it to YouTube…

So, yeah… when I’m not reading or working or sailing I’m dreaming about sailing. But can you blame me?

And I have all these wonderful adventures, moments and memories thanks to The Dude, the amazing folks at Bluewater Sailing, and my sometimes crew – Lance, Everett, Shelley, Ryan, Brooke, Liz, Adam x2, Martha, and the few others I am completely blanking about right now.

Top 10 of 2015 {Sign-up + Giveaway}


It’s that time again… can you believe it? I can’t. Seriously. It was just July. I was sweltering. Now it’s freezing… well, California’s version of freezing. And the days are sooo short.

But even though the time has flown by, and I’m hating the fact that it gets dark so early, I am super excited that it’s almost time for the Top 10 of 2015 – a week-long event in which we look back at some of the best of all things books from 2015 and look forward to those books in 2016 that we are super stoked for.

I am also super excited to be co-hosting once again with some of my most favorite fellow bloggers – Jaime of Two Chicks on BooksMindy of Magical Urban Fantasy Reads, and Nancy of Tales of a Ravenous Reader! And, as always, I want to send out a huge thank you to our original co-hosts and creators of this event – Lisa of A Life Bound by Books and Jessica of Confessions of a Bookaholic.

This year’s sign-up giveaway – open to those who sign up for this event and participate – is for some awesome 2016 ARCs! So be sure to leave your link in the Linky and enter in the Rafflecopter.

The Details

The event runs for five consecutive days, the last week full of the year – Monday, December 21st to Friday, December 25th. Five days in which we share some of our favorite lists and we invite ALL of YOU to join in on the fun and share your lists with everyone too!

Each day of the event just visit one of the hosting blogs and share your list in the Linky below each day’s post. Just make sure to match up the correct post and Linky list to get credit.

The Schedule

Monday, December 21st

  • Best Books I’ve Read in 2015 (Doesn’t have to be released in 2015, just a book you’ve read in 2015)

Tuesday, December 22nd

  • Best Book Covers of 2015 (MUST be a book released in 2015. Would be best if it’s a book you’ve READ in 2015, but it’s not required)

Wednesday, December 23rd

  • Best ________ of 2015 (Reader’s/Blogger’s choice. Please fill in the blank with ONE of these topics – Villains, Contemporaries, Dual POV’s, Novellas, Adult titles, New Adult titles, Love Triangles, Couples, Bad Boys or Debuts. REMEMBER: this list MUST be from books you’ve READ in 2015)

Thursday, December 24th

  • Best Book Boyfriends of 2015 (MUST be from a book released in 2015 and from a book you’ve READ in 2015)

Friday, December 25th

  • Top 10 Books I’m looking forward to in 2016. (This list should be comprised ONLY of books released in 2016)

How you do these posts/lists is totally up to you. What books, covers and characters you pick are all your own.

The only rule to follow is posting the topics on the dates we’ve provided.

If you think it will be impossible to keep each list to just 10, there’s always the option of breaking the lists up. For example, creating a list for your Top 10 YA favorites and a list for your Top 10 NA favorites and a list for your Top 10 Adult favorites, etc. This is absolutely fine. You can even feel free to add in a few honorable mentions if you’re having a tough time sticking to just 10.

BUT, please try to keep it to a minimum. It totally defeats the purpose if you have 10 favorites and then 150 honorable mentions.

The goal of this event is for YOU to join in and share your lists with us and for everyone to visit as many of the other participating blogs to check out THEIR lists. It’s also to have fun – so don’t stress it too much!

The event is simple. Make note of the dates and tens list topics as provided and fill out the Linky below. This will give us an idea who will be joining us for the Top 10 week. THEN, be sure to come back to one of our blogs on each of the five days and link up your post for that specific day!

Just remember, each day will have a Linky for that Top 10 topic.

You don’t want to miss a day during the event. There might even be a few giveaways, so joining in the event, keeping up with our and everyone’s lists, just might help win you a bookish prize! Giveaway details to come, so be sure to check back to find out what we’re giving away and when!

Grab the Button

Feel free to grab our event button – THE GRAB CODE IS BELOW THE BUTTON IN THE SIDEBAR – and help spread the word for the event. We’d love to have anyone and everyone join us this year. The more the merrier!


The Giveaway

We have once again decided to do a sign-up giveaway for those who sign up early. The giveaway will end at 11:59 p.m. Pacific on December 20th, and we’ll be announcing the winner at the end of the event.

We have each donated three ARCs, all of which are pictured below and which will be sent separately to ONE WINNER.


  • Giveaway is ONLY open to those who’ve signed up and who participate
  • Must be 13 or older to enter
  • Giveaway is US ONLY
  • Giveaway is open until December 20th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific
  • Prizes will be sent separately from each of the four hosts to the winner via Media Mail

Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Linky

Don’t forget to grab the button provided for the event and display it on your blog, linking it back to this post so that anyone who wants to find out more about the event can easily do so.

We hope everyone who is as excited for this event to start as we are, and we can’t wait to check out all of your lists!

NOTE: this is the SAME Linky on each of the co-hosts blogs, so please just enter your Name, Blog Name and URL on one blog. Thanks!

Link up!

In Bookish News: SWEET RUIN by Kresley Cole {Pre-order Sweepstakes}


If you’re like me, you pre-order your favorite books. Sometimes in multiple formats.

And if you are like me, then, just in case you missed it, I thought you’d want to know that Kresley Cole is hosting a pre-order sweepstakes for her upcoming release, SWEET RUIN, the 16th book in her Immortals After Dark series.

I happened to have received an early copy and devoured it one stay-up-all-night sitting. And let me tell you, this book is incredible. And definitely one worth pre-ordering.

Especially with THIS awesome pre-order sweepstakes…


Those prizes are drool-worthy. Much like Rune and his incredible… (No, I’m not going to tell you, even though you just might guess, but you’ll have to read SWEET RUIN to finish that sentence.)

You can click the image above to be taken to Kresley Cole’s website to enter, or enter in the Rafflecopter below.

And if haven’t yet pre-ordered your copy or you’d like to know more about SWEET RUIN, information and buy links are a bit further down in the post.

There’s also a fab behind-the-scenes convo between Kresley Cole and her editor, Lauren McKenna in which they chat about “Three Favorite Kresley Cole Couples.” So be sure to check that out!

SWEET RUIN releases on December 1st, so there’s just a few days left to pre-order a copy. Once you do, just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter to enter for a chance to win.

The Pre-order Sweepstakes

a Rafflecopter giveaway



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Title & Series: SWEET RUIN (Immortals After Dark #16)
Author: Kresley Cole
Release date: December 1, 2015
Publisher: Gallery Books
Pages: 432
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, audio, eBook



An immortal assassin is caught between desire and duty in this sizzling new novel from Kresley Cole’s #1 New York Times bestselling Immortals After Dark series.

A foundling raised in a world of humans
Growing up, orphaned Josephine didn’t know who or what she was—just that she was “bad,” an outcast with strange powers. Protecting her baby brother Thaddeus became her entire life. The day he was taken away began Jo’s transition from angry girl…to would-be superhero…to enchanting villain.

A lethally sensual enforcer on a mission
Whether by bow or in bed, archer Rune the Baneblood never fails to eliminate his target. In his sights: the oldest living Valkyrie. Yet before he can strike, he encounters a vampiric creature whose beauty mesmerizes him. With one bite, she pierces him with aching pleasure, stealing his forbidden blood—and jeopardizing the secrets of his brethren.

A boundless passion that will lead to sweet ruin…
Could this exquisite female be a spy sent by the very Valkyrie he hunts? Rune knows he must not trust Josephine, yet he’s unable to turn her away. When Jo betrays the identity of the one man she will die to protect, she and Rune become locked in a treacherous battle of wills that pits ultimate loyalty against unbridled lust.


Three Favorite Kresley Cole Couples

About Kresley Cole

Kresley Cole

Kresley Cole is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the electrifying Immortals After Dark paranormal series, the young adult Arcana Chronicles series, the erotic Gamemakers series, and five award-winning historical romances.

A master’s grad and former athlete, she has traveled over much of the world and draws from those experiences to create her memorable characters and settings.

Her IAD books have been translated into twenty foreign languages, garnered three RITA awards, a Hall of Fame induction, and consistently appear on the bestseller lists, in the U.S. and abroad.

Cole lives in Florida with her family and “far too many animals.”


Cover Reveal: THE REQUIEM RED by Brynn Chapman + Giveaway

cover-revealPURP_darkenessI am super excited to be participating in the cover reveal for THE REQUIEM RED – a book whose description has me totally intrigued. A monster. An asylum. Missing girls. And corn music… wait, what? Corn music?

Yeah, definitely intrigued.

The cover looks like the perfect fit to the story. It’s a bit mysterious. A touch haunting. And yeah, I’m loving the bramble-y graphic surrounding the title (which is awesome by the way).

But that’s what I think.

What do you think?

The Cover Revealed

The Requeim Red

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Author: Brynn Chapman
Release date: March 16, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC
Pages: 300
Formats: Paperback, eBook


Patient Twenty-nine.

A monster roams the halls of Soothing Hills Asylum. Three girls dead. 29 is endowed with the curse…or gift of perception. She hears messages in music, sees lyrics in paintings. And the corn. A lifetime asylum resident, the orchestral corn music is the only constant in her life.

Mason, a new, kind orderly, sees 29 as a woman, not a lunatic. And as his belief in her grows, so does her self- confidence. That perhaps she might escape, might see the outside world.

But the monster has other plans. The missing girls share one common thread…each was twenty-nine’s cell mate.

Will she be next?


About Brynn Chapman


Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, Brynn Chapman is the daughter of two teachers. Her writing reflects her passions: science, history and love—not necessarily in that order. In real life, the geek gene runs strong in her family, as does the Asperger’s syndrome. Her writing reflects her experience as a pediatric therapist and her interactions with society’s downtrodden. In fiction, she’s a strong believer in underdogs and happily-ever-afters. She also writes non-fiction and lectures on the subjects of autism and sensory integration and is a medical contributor to online journal The Age of Autism.


The Giveaway

There is a reveal-wide giveaway for…

  • ONE (1) winner will receive a digital copy of The Requiem Red by Brynn Chapman (INT)

***Giveaway ends Nov. 27th. Title will be sent to the winner upon it’s release.***

Enter in the Rafflecopter…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

‘Five Facts About TEEN FRANKENSTEIN’ by Chandler Baker {Guest Post + Goodreads Giveaway}


I can’t wait for Chandler Baker’s next novel, TEEN FRANKENSTEIN, to be released this January. This book (and series) sounds awesome. I loved her novel ALIVE and I have a feeling I’m going to love this series even more.

So of course I’m thrilled to be able to help spread the word that Fierce Reads is currently giving away 10 Advance Reader Copies via Goodreads. I am also happy to share a post provided by the author in which she reveals five behind-the-scenes secrets about TEEN FRANKENSTEIN.

If you haven’t yet heard about this upcoming release, be sure to check out its description below. Then scroll down for the post from Chandler Baker which will totally pique your curiosity for her book. And then, if you’re in the U.S. click the image to head over to Goodreads for a chance to win one of the ARCs the publisher is offering up.

Good luck in the giveaway! I’ve already added this one to my must buy list and can’t wait to read it!


Teen Frankenstein

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Title & Series: TEEN FRANKENSTEIN (High School Horror Story #1)
Release date: January 12, 2016
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 368
Formats: Hardcover, eBook


It was a dark and stormy night when Tor Frankenstein accidentally hits someone with her car. And kills him. But, all is not lost-Tor, being the scientific genius she is, brings him back to life…

Thus begins a twisty, turn-y take on a familiar tale, set in the town of Hollow Pines, Texas, where high school is truly horrifying.


The Guest Post

Five Behind-the-scenes Secrets About TEEN FRANKENSTEIN

by Chandler Baker

This week my publisher, Macmillan, is giving away TEN advanced copies of my newest book, Teen Frankenstein, the first in the High School Horror series, out January 12, 2016. I’m psyched to start sharing this book with readers and I want you to be, too. That’s why I’m sharing five behind-the-scenes secrets about the book.

If you’d like to be one of the first readers of the series, enter to win an advanced copy here. Spread the word and follow me on Twitter @chandlerbakerYA for more upcoming news on the books!


The first line of Teen Frankenstein is: “Yesterday I didn’t win a Nobel Prize.”


Originally, the main character, Tor’s, laboratory was in a tool shed near her house. My editors were having a hard time picturing Tor’s tool shed. I decided to change it to a storm cellar, which opened up a whole plot line in the book.


Tor has a lazy, scaredy-cat bulldog named Einstein, who has been in the book since the idea’s conception and who was one of my favorite parts of the story to write.


One of my editor’s notes was that if Tor were sorted into a house at Hogwarts, she would be in Slytherin. This was a major revelation to me!


I like to think of Teen Frankenstein as more of a re-imagining than a retelling. There is a distinction in my mind where the latter tries to hit distinct plot points in the classic story on which it is based.

The Goodreads Giveaway

Fierce Reads is giving away 10 ARCs of TEEN FRANKENSTEIN (US only). The giveaway is open until November 21st. Just head over to Goodreads by clicking the image below, and enter for a chance to win.


About Chandler Baker


Chandler Baker got her start ghostwriting novels for teens and tweens, including installments in a book series that has sold more than 1 million copies. She grew up in Florida, went to college at the University of Pennsylvania and studied law at the University of Texas. She now lives in Austin with her husband. Although she loves spinning tales with a touch of horror, she is a much bigger scaredy-cat than her stories would lead you to believe.

You can find Chandler as the books contributor on the YouTube channel Weird Girls.


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