Raves & Craves: Ziggy, Stardust and Me by James Brandon

Ziggy, Stardust, and Me
Title:
Ziggy, Stardust and Me
Author:  James Brandon
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 6, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, LGBT, Historical
Source: Physical ARC from publisher

 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg

Synopsis:

The year is 1973. The Watergate hearings are in full swing. The Vietnam War is still raging. And homosexuality is still officially considered a mental illness. In the midst of these trying times is sixteen-year-old Jonathan Collins, a bullied, anxious, asthmatic kid, who aside from an alcoholic father and his sympathetic neighbor and friend Starla, is completely alone. To cope, Jonathan escapes to the safe haven of his imagination, where his hero David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and dead relatives, including his mother, guide him through the rough terrain of his life. In his alternate reality, Jonathan can be anything: a superhero, an astronaut, Ziggy Stardust, himself, or completely “normal” and not a boy who likes other boys. When he completes his treatments, he will be normal—at least he hopes. But before that can happen, Web stumbles into his life. Web is everything Jonathan wishes he could be: fearless, fearsome and, most importantly, not ashamed of being gay.

Jonathan doesn’t want to like brooding Web, who has secrets all his own. Jonathan wants nothing more than to be “fixed” once and for all. But he’s drawn to Web anyway. Web is the first person in the real world to see Jonathan completely and think he’s perfect. Web is a kind of escape Jonathan has never known. For the first time in his life, he may finally feel free enough to love and accept himself as he is.

A poignant coming-of-age tale, Ziggy, Stardust and Me heralds the arrival of a stunning and important new voice in YA.


Ziggy banner

Hi everyone! Today I am hosting a Raves & Craves post for Penguin Teen’s Daring Debuts campaign! I hope you are ready for a yummy treat paired with a raving review of Ziggy, Stardust & Me by James Brandon.

3

My heart is so content and heavy by how unbelievably earth-shattering, tear-inducing, and beautifully written this book is. Ziggy, Stardust & Me reads like a song that you want to hear for the very first time all over again. James Brandon’s words will flood your soul with tears of sorrow and intense pride.

Set in the 1970s, this novel clinches the historical realities of corrupt government scandals, blatant racism, and the treatment of homosexuality as a mental disorder. Mesh these wrongs with abstract lyrics of self-acceptance, change, hope, love, and the perceptive of humanity, and you encompass the heart and struggles found in Ziggy, Stardust & Me.

Jonathan (also known as Johnny), the main character, is going through so many life-changing experiences at once, which sets up his adolescence in a galactic spin of hardships, falling in love, and finding self-acceptance. Ziggy, Stardust & Me will immerse your heart in a coming of age story that is very relevant to today’s young generation who, like Johnny, struggle to find their own voice and find pride in who they are.

4

One of my favorite parts of this book was watching the friendship and relationship develop between Johnny and his new classmate and American Indian friend, Web. They share a love for music, imagining the moon as their safe haven, and accepting ice cream as a peace offering. I was constantly highlighting and tagging scenes and quotes between these two characters. Some of my favorite quotes that inspired this blog post snack are:

“You know, Carl Sagan says we’re all made of star stuff. Everything is made of it. When stars die they fall into our atmosphere and turn into these chemical compounds that become things. Sometimes they become people.”
“Far out.”
“I know. I hope one day we’ll all see each other without these stupid labels and instead see each other for who we really are. Starfolk.”

“And remembering a quote President Kennedy once said: ‘We choose to go to the moon not because it’s easy, but because it’s hard.’
I think I finally get it now. It’s a lot like love, isn’t it? It’s hard work, but if you don’t give up and keep pushing forward, the rewards are infinite . . .”

“We can always go there, you know? To the moon. It’s safe at least . . .”

“Just us, remember? To the moon,” he whispers.

In reference to these beautifully written scenes, I was inspired to make my own bowl of comforting ice cream sundae. While Johnny’s favorite ice cream is bomb pops and Web’s are Push-up pops, I thought I would put my own “To the Moon” sundae spin with my favorite ice cream, cookies ‘n cream. 

Ingredients:

  • Ice cream (vanilla)
  • Oreo
  • Cherries
  • Sprinkles (stars and moons, if you got them)

Instructions:

Scoop up your favorite flavored ice cream and place it into a bowl. Then add all your favorite toppings. In this case, I have added large crumbles of Oreo cookies, cherries (because the flavor reminds Johnny of Web), and a sprinkle of stars to represent their friendship and being ever-loving starfolk.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

18089438
James Brandon
 produced and played the central role of Joshua in the international tour of Terrence McNally’s Corpus Christi for a decade, and is codirector of the documentary film based on their journey, Corpus Christi: Playing with Redemption. He’s the cofounder of the I AM Love Campaign, an arts-based initiative bridging the faith-based and LGBTQ2+ communities, and serves on the Powwow Steering Committee for Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits (BAAITS) in San Francisco. Brandon is a contributing writer for Huffington PostBelieve Out Loud, and Spirituality and Health MagazineZiggy, Stardust and Me is his first novel. You can visit James Brandon at justbejb.com

TOUR SCHEDULE

Ziggy, Stardust and Me

Week One:

August 5 – The Book Bratz – Covers inspired by favorite singers
August 6 – Goblet of Fiction – Creative Instagram Picture
August 7 – The Quirky Book Nerd – Author Guest Post: What theme song would you choose for each character and why?
August 8 – Confessions of a YA Reader – Playlist
August 9 – Velarisreads – Inspired by the Book: Makeup

Week Two:

August 12 – Liv The Book Nerd – Review + Playlist
August 13 – The Nerdy Girl Express – Review
August 14 – Rants and Raves of a Bibliophile – Raves and Craves
August 15 – LGBT YA Catalog – Author Guest Post
August 16 – @booksandbrandy – Creative Instagram Picture

Swirl break

Note: A huge thank you to the Penguin Teen for inviting me on this blog tour and for providing me an ARC to read and review. All statements and opinions are my own.

COVER REVEAL: BROKEN KNIGHT by L.J. Shen

Photo Jun 22, 4 44 34 AM.png

“Not all love stories are written in the same way.

Ours had torn chapters, missing paragraphs, and a bittersweet ending.”

Broken Knight, the highly anticipated new standalone in the All Saints High series from USA Today bestselling author L.J. Shen is coming August 25th, and we have the red-hot cover!

IMG_9194.jpeg

Luna Rexroth is everyone’s favorite wallflower.

Sweet.

Caring.

Charitable.

Quiet.

Fake.

See, under the meek, tomboy exterior everyone loves yet pities is a girl who knows exactly what – and who – she wants.

Namely, the boy from the treehouse, who taught her how to curse in sign language.

Who taught her how to laugh.

To live.

To love.

Knight Cole is everyone’s favorite football hero.

Gorgeous.

Athletic.

Jagged.

Popular.

Liar.

See, the daredevil hellraiser could knock you up with his gaze alone, but only has eyes for the girl across the street.

But Luna is not who she used to be. She doesn’t need his protection anymore.

When life throws a curveball at All Saints’ golden boy, he is forced to realize that not all heroes are knights.

Sometimes, the greatest love stories could flourish amidst the worst tragedies.

Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2YbCrun

Sign up here to be notified FIRST when Broken Knight is live: http://bit.ly/2umcYPg

Photography by Andrew M. Gleeson

Model: Orri Helgason

About LJ Shen

L.J. Shen is a USA Today, Washington Post and Amazon #1 Best-selling author of contemporary, New Adult and YA romance. Her books have been sold to nineteen different countries.

She lives in California with her husband, son, cat and eccentric fashion choices, and enjoys good wine, bad reality TV shows and catching sun rays with her lazy cat.

LJShen.jpg

Connect with L.J. Shen

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorljshen/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lj_shen

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/authorljshen/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorljshen/

Stay up to date with L.J. Shen by signing up for her mailing list:

http://bit.ly/2umcYPg

Website: http://www.authorljshen.com/

 

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Review & Favorite Quotes of Hello Girls

 

HELLO GIRLS TOUR BANNER

hello girls book cover
Title: Hello Girls
Authors: Brittany Cavallaro & Emily Henry
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: August 6th 2019
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult

 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg

Synopsis:

Best friends are forged by fire. For Winona Olsen and Lucille Pryce, that fire happened the night they met outside the police station—both deciding whether to turn their families in.

Winona has been starving for life in the seemingly perfect home that she shares with her seemingly perfect father, celebrity weatherman Stormy Olsen. No one knows that he locks the pantry door to control her eating and leaves bruises where no one can see them.

Lucille has been suffocating beneath the needs of her mother and her drug-dealing brother, wondering if there’s more out there for her than disappearing waitress tips and generations of barely getting by.

One harrowing night, Winona and Lucille realize they can’t wait until graduation to start their new lives. They need out. Now. All they need is three grand, fast. And really, a stolen convertible to take them from Michigan to Las Vegas can’t hurt.


1

“Am I hallucinating?” Lucille asked. “Are we even on earth or, like, on Tatooine? Is this . . . suburban Tatooine?”
“No,” Winona said in a hushed voice. “It’s a truck stop.”—Hello Girls

WHOA! You guys, Hello Girls threw me through so many loops and unexpected turns. I cannot even count how many times my eyes went wide, my mouth awed, and I kept thinking, “this is so dark.” The two main characters, Lucille and Winona, are total opposites to any outsider, but their friendship is the only thing that is firm and good in their lives. Both characters have faced some traumatic abuse from the men in their families, which, at one point, becomes too much and they both plan an escape from their cruel worlds.

“You absolutely amaze me, Winona Olsen,” Lucille said. “You terrify me, but you amaze me too.”—Hello Girls

As a heavily action-packed story, these fierce girls literally and figuratively drive on unknown roads to escape their pasts; they naively create plans that often end in disappointment, but damn, they never stop trying. The pages of Hello Girls are salted with dark humor which provides the most refreshing opportunity for the characters to be themselves. Their road trip doesn’t hold the best laid out plans, but I love how their minds are constantly in sync and in survival mode.

“Why did people lie? With their words, with their voices, with their bodies, with their beautiful houses and beautiful clothes and sometimes even their faces? Why couldn’t everyone just be what they were?”—Hello Girls

In the end, Hello Girls is a testament to survival, self-acceptance, and the incredible strength found in female friendships. Lucille and Winona are trailblazers writing their own stories, finding their own freedom, and hopefully just a smidge of a happy ending.

“How do I make myself cry?”
“I don’t know!” Lucille said. “How does Jennifer Lawrence do it?”
“Probably just thinks about Hollywood pay discrepancies?” Winona said.—Hello Girls
3

WIN a 1 of 5 copies of Hello Girls (USA only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

2

 

brittany
Brittany Cavallaro is a poet, fiction writer, and old school Sherlockian. She is the New York Times bestselling author of the Charlotte Holmes novels from HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books, including A STUDY IN CHARLOTTE, THE LAST OF AUGUST, and THE CASE FOR JAMIE. She’s also the author of the poetry collection GIRL-KING (University of Akron) and is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. She earned her BA in literature from Middlebury College and her MFA in poetry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She lives in Michigan with her husband, cat, dog, and collection of deerstalker caps.

 

websitegoodreadstwitterinstagramtumblr_icon.1
Emily Henry
Emily Henry is the author of The Love That Split the World and A Million Junes. She is a full-time writer, proofreader, and donut connoisseur. She studied creative writing at Hope College and the New York Center for Art & Media Studies, and now spends most of her time in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the part of Kentucky just beneath it. She tweets @EmilyHenryWrite.
goodreadstwittericon_facebook_32x32instagram

TOUR SCHEDULE

Note: Thank you to the The Fantastic Flying Book Club for having me on this blog tour. And a huge thank you to Harper Teen for providing me an e-ARC to read and review for free in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own. Please note that all quoted material is not final and may change in the final publication of the book.

Treat Yo Shelf: July 2019 Recap

treat-yo-shelf

July 2019: Monthly Recap

Welcome to my monthly recap post, in which I highlight the books I read in the last month, bookish items I acquired, book events I attended, bookish news, and/or subscription boxes I received this month.

what did I read

39280206  46830581  40599855._SY475_  36596442

what did i review

(Click on the banner to be linked to blog post)

Stealing Home Banner

Banner for War

publishers and authors

IMG_0105
A huge thank you to Lauren and Simon Pulse for sending a free copy
The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett to read. I adore Jenn’s books and this one was also amazing. I should have a review up soon. 

monthly raves

Uppercase’s July Box

IMG_0162
Sadly, Uppercase Box will not longer be sending out subscription boxes, so this is my last Uppercase unboxing *hysterically cries into hands*.

July Bookhaul

Swirl break

How did you treat your shelves in July?

Waiting on Wednesday: Well Met by Jen DeLuca

waiting on wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme that highlights pre-publication/upcoming releases that readers cannot wait to get their hands on. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

43205122

Title: Well Met
Author: Jen DeLuca
Publication date: September 3, 2019
Publisher: Berkley Books
Genres: Adult, Romance, Contemporary

Synopsis

All’s faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author, Jen DeLuca.

Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?

The faire is Simon’s family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn’t have time for Emily’s lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she’s in her revealing wench’s costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they’re portraying?

This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can’t seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon, or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.

Goodreads | AmazonBarnes & Noble

Waiting on Wednesday: The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young

waiting on wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme that highlights pre-publication/upcoming releases that readers cannot wait to get their hands on. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

42867937

Title: The Girl the Sea Gave Back
Author: Adrienne Young
Publication date: September 3, 2019
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical

Synopsis

The new gut-wrenching epic from the New York Times bestselling author of Sky in the Deep.

For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home. 

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Book Review: War by Laura Thalassa

46830581
Title: 
War
Author:  Laura Thalassa
Publisher: Lavabrook Publishing, LLC
Release Date: July 10, 2019
Genres: Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Rating: ★★★

 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg

Synopsis:

They came to earth—Pestilence, War, Famine, Death—four horsemen riding their screaming steeds, racing to the corners of the world. Four horsemen with the power to destroy all of humanity. They came to earth, and they came to end us all. 

The day Jerusalem falls, Miriam Elmahdy knows her life is over. Houses are burning, the streets run red with blood, and a traitorous army is massacring every last resident. There is no surviving this, especially not once Miriam catches the eye of War himself. But when the massive and terrifying horseman corners Miriam, he calls her his wife, and instead of killing her, he takes her back to his camp. 

Now Miriam faces a terrifying future, one where she watches her world burn town by town, and the one man responsible for it all is her seemingly indestructible “husband”. But there’s another side to him, one that’s gentle and loving and dead set on winning her over, and she might not be strong enough to resist. 

However, if there’s one thing Miriam has learned, it’s that love and war cannot coexist. And so she must make the ultimate choice: surrender to War and watch humankind fall, or sacrifice everything and stop him.


Banner for War

After reading Pestilence last year, and enjoying the hell out of it, I could not wait to read War. I love apocalyptic books that not only mix in a story of survival, but add in a dash of romance and a light fictional take on Biblical references, and I am all over it. Just like his brother Pestilence, as one of the four horsemen, War is also a cruel and stubborn anti-hero. But as the current terror on humanity, he meets his match with a just as stubborn heroine named Miriam.

The romance in this book is a very slow-burn and a hate-to-love mess of attraction, loathing, and adamant quarreling. The chemistry between the two main characters is fiery and teeth-clinching. While War is determined to do his holy job by destroying humanity, Miriam’s goal is to save mankind by defying War’s orders. However, as a divine being, it’s hard for Miriam to get an upper hand on his destruction. 

The entire book is action-packed, but oftentimes the internal and external battles are so exhausting and heartbreaking. Compassion plays a huge part in War, while the struggle between holy duties and redemption is tugged and pulled back and forth throughout the pages. I am looking forward to see how the next of the four horsemen reigns the earth. 

Swirl break

Note: I bought this book with my own funds. I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in an exchange for a review; I reviewed it at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are mine.