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The Tragic Age

    Top 10 of 2015: Best Contemporaries of 2015

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    Welcome to Day Three of the Top 10 of 2105

    A WEEK OF LOOKING BACK…

    …AND LOOKING FORWARD

    As I mentioned previously…

    This is my fifth year co-hosting this event with Jaime of Two Chicks on Books, my fourth year co-hosting with Mindy of Magical Urban Fantasy Reads, and my second year co-hosting with Nancy of Tales of a Ravenous Reader. Wow that’s a lot of years. But this event is so much fun, that I’m thrilled to be able to do it again in 2015.

    If you haven’t yet heard of the Top 10 of 2015 week-long event, in a nutshell it’s where we share our favorite bookish lists and invite you to share yours over the next five days by leaving your post links in the daily Linky Lists.

    Once again, we’re each hosting our own giveaways on four of the five days of this challenge – I’m hosting Day One’s giveaway, Two Chicks on Books is hosting Day Two’s giveaway, Tales of a Ravenous Reading is hosting today’s Day Three giveaway, and Magical Urban Fantasy Reads is hosting Day Four’s giveaway. So be sure to check in with each of our blogs this week.


    Best Contemporaries of 2015

    Today’s topic is:

    Best ________ of 2015

    Today is blogger’s choice and this year I decided to break with tradition and instead of debuts I have chosen to share my favorite contemporary reads of 2015 since I read so many of them this year. And while I may be stretching things a bit I am including contemporary thrillers in this list.

    If you want to know why they’re my favorites, just click their titles to check out my bookish thoughts and ratings.

    My Top 10 Favorite YA Contemporaries

    #1 BRUTAL YOUTH by Anthony Breznican – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    #2 EVERY LAST WORD by Tamara Ireland Stone – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    #3 PROOF OF FOREVER by Lexa Hillyer – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    #4 THE TRAGIC AGE by Stephen Metcalfe – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    #5 I AM THE TRAITOR by Allen Zadoff – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    #6 ALL THE RAGE by Courtney Summers – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    #7 FIRST & THEN by Emma Mills – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    #8 PLAYLIST FOR THE DEAD by Michelle Falkoff – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    #9 FIRST THERE WAS FOREVER by Juliana Romano – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    #10 LIARS, INC. by Paula Stokes – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    And instead of listing honorable mentions, though I had many of those, I am sharing…

    My Top 5 Favorite Non-YA Contemporaries

    I wish they didn’t have to be books I’d read in 2015 because I totally would have had MAYHEM by Jamie Shaw on this list. But while my review posted in 2015, I read it in 2014 so I can’t sneak it in.

    #1 MISSING DIXIE by Caisey Quinn – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    #2 SWEET by Tammara Webber – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    #3 BOUNCE by Noelle August – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    #4 FROSH: FIRST BLUSH by Mónica B. Wagner – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    #5 RULES OF SEDUCTION by Jenna Mullins – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    Well, those are my picks. What topic did you choose for blogger’s choice? And what are your favorites?


    Leave a link to your Best *BLANK* of 2015 posts in the Linky List below…



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    Top 10 of 2015: Best Books I’ve Read in 2015 + Giveaway

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    Welcome to Day One of the Top 10 of 2105

    A Week of Looking Back…

    …and Looking Forward

    This is my fifth year co-hosting this event with Jaime of Two Chicks on Books, my fourth year co-hosting with Mindy of Magical Urban Fantasy Reads, and my second year co-hosting with Nancy of Tales of a Ravenous Reader. Wow that’s a lot of years. But this event is so much fun, that I’m thrilled to be able to do it again in 2015.

    If you haven’t yet heard of the Top 10 of 2015 week-long event, in a nutshell it’s where we share our favorite bookish lists and invite you to share yours over the next five days by leaving your post links in the daily Linky Lists.

    Once again, we’re each hosting our own giveaways on four of the five days of this challenge – I’m hosting today’s Day One giveaway, Two Chicks on Books is hosting Day Two’s giveaway, Tales of a Ravenous Reading is hosting Day Three’s giveaway, and Magical Urban Fantasy Reads is hosting Day Four’s giveaway. So be sure to check in with each of our blogs this week.


    Best Books I’ve Read in 2015

    Today’s topic is:

    BEST BOOKS I’VE READ IN 2015

    I’ve read so many seriously amazing books this year, that picking just ten was a dreadfully impossible task. I’m just glad I read THE STARS NEVER RISE by Rachel Vincent in 2014 or it would have made narrowing down my list that much more horrendous. It also didn’t help that I read more books this year than last, that I’ve been in an eclectic reading mood, and that there were just so many incredible books written.

    #1 MENAGERIE by Rachel Vincent – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    Why? Because it’s unique, it’s hard-hitting, the writing is beautiful, the story is phenomenal, the series potential has me desperate for the next installment.

    #2 DEAD OF WINTER by Kresley Cole – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    Why? Because this series is an all-time favorite, because the ending is abso-freaking-lutely killer, because it’s dark and gorgeous and the waiting is exquisite torture.

    #3 SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    Why? Because the story is epic, the world-building incredible, the writing gorgeous, the detail impeccable.

    #4 TEN THOUSAND SKIES ABOVE YOU by Claudia Gray – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    Why? Because the writing is stunning, the world expansive and fascinating, the series riveting.

    #5 BRUTAL YOUTH by Anthony Breznican – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    Why? Because it’s dark and gritty and edgy and shocking and disturbing, the writing brilliant, the story unforgettable.

    #6 SCHISM by Jenna Black – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    Why? Because it’s complex and interesting and fascinating. The world is chilling and still amazing. The characters sympathetic and scary. The story compelling.

    #7 AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    Why? Because it’s thrilling and epic and gripping and unputdownable. The dual POV makes it edge-of-your-seat exciting.

    #8 THE ROSE SOCIETY by Marie Lu – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    Why? Because it’s so wicked and dark and wildly entertaining. It’s about villains. Nothing more needs to be said.

    #9 ROOK by Sharon Cameron – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    Why? Because it’s action-packed, nerve-wracking, suspenseful. There are twists and turns. There’s romance, betrayal and heartbreak. What’s not to love?

    #10 SALT & STONE by Victoria Scott – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    Why? Because it’s awesome and amazing and adorable and nail-biting. The characters are ones you can’t help but love, love, love. Though the possibility that there might not be a next book in the series is heartbreaking.


    Honorable Mentions

    I really wanted to limit honorable mentions to just five, but I couldn’t do it. Limiting it to 15 was hard enough as it was.

    So those are my favorite reads for 2015. What are yours?


    The Giveaway

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    I’m offering up for giveaway…

    • Books of Your Choice (up to $30 US) open internationally to anywhere The Book Depository ships

    ***The giveaway is ONLY open to those participating in the Top 10 of 2015 event***

    • Must be 13 or older to enter
    • There will be ONE winner
    • Giveaway ends on December 31st at 11:59 PM Pacific
    • Giveaway is open ONLY to those participating in the Top 10 of 2015 event
    • Giveaway is open internationally to anywhere The Book Depository ships
    • Prize will be ordered from Amazon or The Book Depository depending upon location
    • Winner will be chosen by and announced in the Rafflecopter
    • Winner will be contacted by email and have 72 hours to respond

    Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

    a Rafflecopter giveaway


    Leave a link to your Best Books I’ve Read in 2015 posts in the Linky List below…



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    Review: THE TRAGIC AGE

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    Title: THE TRAGIC AGE
    Author: Stephen Metcalfe
    Release date: March 3, 2015
    Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
    Pages: 320
    Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

    Description

    This is the story of Billy Kinsey, heir to a lottery fortune, part genius, part philosopher and social critic, full time insomniac and closeted rock drummer. Billy has decided that the best way to deal with an absurd world is to stay away from it. Do not volunteer. Do not join in. Billy will be the first to tell you it doesn’t always work— not when your twin sister, Dorie, has died, not when your unhappy parents are at war with one another, not when frazzled soccer moms in two ton SUVs are more dangerous than atom bombs, and not when your guidance counselor keeps asking why you haven’t applied to college.

    Billy’s life changes when two people enter his life. Twom Twomey is a charismatic renegade who believes that truly living means going a little outlaw. Twom and Billy become one another’s mutual benefactor and friend. At the same time, Billy is reintroduced to Gretchen Quinn, an old and adored friend of Dorie’s. It is Gretchen who suggests to Billy that the world can be transformed by creative acts of the soul.

    With Twom, Billy visits the dark side. And with Gretchen, Billy experiences possibilities.Billy knows that one path is leading him toward disaster and the other toward happiness. The problem is—Billy doesn’t trust happiness. It’s the age he’s at.  The tragic age.

    Stephen Metcalfe’s brilliant, debut coming-of-age novel, The Tragic Age, will teach you to learn to love, trust and truly be alive in an absurd world.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY | MACMILLANGOODREADS

    NOTE: This review is based on an ARC received from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.


    The Review

    Stephen Metcalfe’s THE TRAGIC AGE is an impactful, intense and riveting novel with a smart, interesting and somewhat antisocial protagonist whose oftentimes profound statements are delivered in a way that is sharp, clever and witty. It’s a story that makes a statement from the start with a quick, entertaining, intelligent and opinionated narrative that tells you exactly who Billy Kinsey is, how he thinks and how he sees the world.

    A number of events have led up to the Billy Kinsey we first meet. Billy might have called those events fate. His father wins the lottery. He invests well. The family moves to an affluent community. His parents fight it off but eventually conform to the behaviors of what is expected of the wealthy. His sister Dorie gets sick. She dies. Billy is forever changed.

    And during this brief time we get to know Billy, his life is altered once again. Enter Twom. He is charismatic, larger-than-life, he doesn’t play by any rules but his own. He’s non-conformist. He won’t get pushed around. He stands up to those that do. He makes Billy want to embrace chaos and change. He makes Billy engage with life.

    THE TRAGIC AGE is not a story that promises happy times and a happy ending. It’s sad. It’s violent. It’s messy. It’s complicated. It’s ugly. It’s beautiful. It’s heartbreaking. It’s hopeful. It’s real. Its characters are destructive and pessimistic and exciting and disconcerting and free-spirited and kind and cruel. They’re shaped by their circumstances, their parents, the world they live in, the time they live in, who they are, who their friends are, and most of all the choices they make.

    Author Stephen Metcalfe paints a disturbing yet authentic picture of the world today and some of the ways it has the potential to influence and impact today’s disaffected youth. He introduces a character who is brilliant and jaded and angry and fatalistic and introverted. Someone who is informed and complex and sarcastic and inventive. Someone who is capable of change, even if they don’t know it. And he does so in a way that is biting, humorous, provocative, imaginative, compelling.

    THE TRAGIC AGE is a truly spectacular must-read debut. It’s poignant. It’s stunning. It’s important. It’s compelling. It’s unputdownable. It offers a no b.s. look at the world through its main character’s eyes and through his funny and informational factoids and sidebars. It delivers thrills and excitement and a touch of romance. And, as the title promises, tragedy.

    The Rating

    DarknessPink06
    Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.

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    THE TRAGIC AGE Blog Tour: Character Interview with Twom + Giveaway

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    I am so excited to be today’s stop on THE TRAGIC AGE Blog Tour. I knew from its description that I would love this book. But until I read that introductory chapter I didn’t know just how much I would love it. In fact the writing jumped out at me so often that I actually used Post-it Notes to mark all my favorite lines and passages – something I never, ever, do. And by the story’s end, the ARC was nearly twice as thick as it was when I first picked it up. And I’m kinda sorta afraid to try and remove those sticky bookmarks in case they tear the pages.

    While I don’t imagine that Billy Kinsey and I would ever have been friends, I love the way he thinks and I especially love his voice – the non vocalized one. But I imagine I would have been as enamored of Twom as Billy was. Which is why I’m stoked to have been able to ask him a few questions for my tour stop today. (Though the questions I would have loved to have asked I couldn’t or it would have revealed too much about what happened in THE TRAGIC AGE.)

    This was one of those off-the-menu reads for me. And if you’d like to know what I thought check back this weekend for my review.  Today, though, be sure to scroll down past the book’s description to meet Twom (pronounced tomb) and just remember not to call him Willard.

    And if you’d like the chance to win a copy of the book, I’m offering one up for a quick giveaway. Because this book is spectacular and I can’t wait for its release on Tuesday so that everyone will get the chance to read it.


    About THE TRAGIC AGE

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    Title: THE TRAGIC AGE
    Author: Stephen Metcalfe
    Release date: March 3, 2015
    Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
    Pages: 320
    Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

    Read an excerpt

    Description

    This is the story of Billy Kinsey, heir to a lottery fortune, part genius, part philosopher and social critic, full time insomniac and closeted rock drummer. Billy has decided that the best way to deal with an absurd world is to stay away from it. Do not volunteer. Do not join in. Billy will be the first to tell you it doesn’t always work— not when your twin sister, Dorie, has died, not when your unhappy parents are at war with one another, not when frazzled soccer moms in two ton SUVs are more dangerous than atom bombs, and not when your guidance counselor keeps asking why you haven’t applied to college.

    Billy’s life changes when two people enter his life. Twom Twomey is a charismatic renegade who believes that truly living means going a little outlaw. Twom and Billy become one another’s mutual benefactor and friend. At the same time, Billy is reintroduced to Gretchen Quinn, an old and adored friend of Dorie’s. It is Gretchen who suggests to Billy that the world can be transformed by creative acts of the soul.

    With Twom, Billy visits the dark side. And with Gretchen, Billy experiences possibilities.Billy knows that one path is leading him toward disaster and the other toward happiness. The problem is—Billy doesn’t trust happiness. It’s the age he’s at.  The tragic age.

    Stephen Metcalfe’s brilliant, debut coming-of-age novel, The Tragic Age, will teach you to learn to love, trust and truly be alive in an absurd world.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY | MACMILLANGOODREADS


    The Character Interview

    Q&A with Willard “Twom” Twomey

    Q. You definitely make a lasting first impression, and not just because of your name. But for those who haven’t yet had the pleasure, how would you describe yourself in 15 words or less?

    Fearless. Not to say I’m never afraid. I just never let fear stop me.

    Q. Some might say you are an enigma. You certainly don’t seem to fit into any one specific mould. Do you have an aversion to labels or is there some other reason you are the way you are? Do you enjoy standing out, being different/unique/original?

    Dude, I’m just doing my own thing. I don’t like to overthink stuff. I go with the moment. What can I tell ya? – I’m a little bit of country, a little bit of rock and roll. (By way of Seattle).

    Q. What did you think about Billy Kinsey when you first met him? And how has your opinon of him changed as you’ve gotten to know him?

    I noticed him in class before I met him. This quiet kid with the birthmark on his face who never seemed to look at anybody. I was pretty surprised when he walked into the school principal’s office and all of a sudden introduced himself. Kinda ballsy. Definitly low key. I liked that. Course, once you get to know Billy you realize he’s about as low key as an air raid siren. It’s all just an act. Albert Einstein meets Robin Williams meets Mr. Hyde is inside, just waiting to bust out.  Actually Billy’s lucky he met me. I just might redeem his ass.

    Q. What has life been like for you while living with your grandmother? You have an interesting dynamic, to say the least. How would you describe your relationship?

    Gramps (I call her that cause it really annoys her) is actually sort of okay for an alchoholic, chainsmoking, geriatric-wanna-be-Vegas showgirl. I mean, it can get sorta tiresome with her being one of those people who just cause they’re, like, ancient they think they’re entitled to an opinion. But you know what? She took me in when no one else was going to. She provides me with three squares a day. Sometimes evenings we sit around and watch TV together and she comes out with some pretty funny one liners that she doesn’t even know are funny. And one night when she was blasted, she actually told me she loved me. I think she meant it, so I told her I loved her too and she started to bawl and I had to hug her and everything and then she told me I was like my grandfather “who was a good man.”  I can live with that.

    Q. If you could have changed one thing that happened, or change one thing you did, or changed one thing about yourself, what would it be? Do you have any regrets? (And, no, I’m not asking you to reveal any spoilers.)

    Big sigh, Dude. I honestly wish I’d never talked Billy into breaking into Montebello’s house. Maybe a lot of things would have been different if that hadn’t happened. Or maybe not. Maybe at the end of the day we all would have ended up in the same place anyway. Like Billy says – love your fate.


    About Stephen Metcalfe

    Stephen_MetcalfeSTEPHEN METCALFE wrote the production drafts for Pretty Woman, Dangerous Minds and Mr. Holland’s Opus, among others. His stage plays have been produced in New York and at theaters throughout the US, Europe and Japan.

    He is an Associate Artist at The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego and has been an adjunct professor in dramatic writing at University of California at San Diego, University of San Diego and San Diego State University.

    The Tragic Age is his debut novel.

    WEBSITE | BLOG | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS


    The Giveaway

    I am offering up for giveaway a copy of THE TRAGIC AGE to ONE WINNER

    • Must be 13 or older to enter
    • Giveaway is open to anywhere The Book Depository ships
    • Prize will be ordered from Amazon or The Book Depository depending upon location
    • Giveaway ends March 3rd at 11:59 p.m. Pacific
    • Winner will be chosen by Random via Rafflecopter
    • Winner will be announced in the Rafflecopter and contacted by email
    • Winner has 72 hours to respond before another winner is choen

    Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

    a Rafflecopter giveaway


    A Few Other Stops on the Tour

    Feb. 2nd – The Reading Date – Spotlight + Giveaway
    Feb. 3rd – KellyVision – Excerpt 1
    Feb. 6th – Paperback Heart – Review + Giveaway
    Feb. 7th – Amaterasu Reads – Excerpt 2 + Giveaway
    Feb. 9th – Xpresso Reads – Playlist
    Feb. 10th – The Young Folks – Excerpt 3
    Feb. 11th – The O.W.L. – Review + Giveaway
    Feb. 12th – Britt’s Book Blog – Interview + Review
    Feb. 13th – Unbound Books – Excerpt 4
    Feb. 14th – The Bookshelf – Review
    Feb. 15th – Books and Whimsy – Excerpt 5
    Feb. 17th – YA Love – Character Interview
    Feb. 19th – Stories & Sweeties – Excerpt 6
    Feb. 22nd – Word Spelunking – Review + Giveaway
    Feb. 23rd – As I turn the pages – Excerpt 7
    Feb. 24th – The Young Folks – Interview
    Feb. 26th – Xpresso Reads – Review + Giveaway
    Feb. 27th – Fiktshun – Character Interview
    Feb. 28th – Novel Novice – Excerpt 8

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