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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Blog Tour - Made the Grade: The Mean Girl Apologies by Stephanie Monahan | Interview, Review, & Novel/Gift Card Giveaway

Today I'm turning my blog over to Stephanie Monahan, who I interviewed about her novel "The Mean Girl Apologies!"

ALSO -- Be sure to check out Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post to be able to sign up for this blog stop's GIVEAWAY(s)!! [Blog Tour will run from June 2 - 13, 2014]



My Q&A with Stephanie Monahan :

Jess : What books did you enjoy reading while growing up?

Stephanie : I was never without a book when I was a kid! I would read when I was getting my hair cut, taking a bath, and I always tried to sneak out a book when I was supposed to be walking in gym class! I was obsessed with Sweet Valley High and the Babysitters Club in elementary school. When I got older, I loved Stephen King (I was very proud after finishing all 1,000 pages plus of "THE STAND") and Judy Blume ("FOREVER" seems tame by today’s standards, but it was extremely edgy at the time).

Jess : What do you do when you are not writing?

Stephanie : I have a full-time day job in Human Resources. When I’m not at work, I love hanging out with my dog and cat and taking day trips around New England with my husband. I’m also a big TV watcher and can’t wait to binge-watch Orange is the New Black this summer.

Jess : Which of your characters would you most & least like to invite to dinner, from which book and why?

Stephanie : I love this question! :) I would say I would most like to invite Sophie from "33 VALENTINES" to dinner because I love her sense of humor and I feel like we would get along really well. I would least like to invite Amber from "THE MEAN GIRL APOLOGIES" because she makes me nervous! I feel like she would be judging me and talking about me behind my back to her friends later.

Jess : Please describe "The Mean Girl Apologies" in 75 words or less.

Stephanie : A former mean girl’s past comes back to haunt her in the form of a top 40 hit.

Jess : Which usually comes first for you, the character(s) story or the idea for the novel?

Stephanie : Almost always the characters. The story always changes, but the characters are what really gets into my mind and my heart and makes me want to write about them. Even when the idea for a story may come first, it doesn’t really come to life for me until I understand the characters involved.

Jess : What sparked the idea for "The Mean Girl Apologies?"

Stephanie : There is an amazing song called Forget Her by Jeff Buckley that I listened to obsessively for a long time. There is a line in it that says: “My tears falling down as I try to forget/Her love was a joke from the day that we met.” I couldn’t stop wondering what it would feel like to be the woman that he was singing about—and Natalie was born.

Jess : In regards to "The Mean Girl Apologies," if you could write it all over again, would you change anything about it?

Stephanie : I am a perfectionist and if I could have endless time to edit and perfect my work I would take it. I’m sure there are lots of sentence-level things I’d want to go back and change. I always feel like my writing can be tightened. But overall I’m happy with the way it turned out.

Jess : If "The Mean Girl Apologies" were to be made into a film, who do you see playing the main characters and why?

Stephanie : Looks-wise, I think Lucy Hale would make a good Natalie and I could totally see Alex Pettyfer as Jack. He’d have to wear brown contacts though!


Jess : How many books have you written? Which is your favorite and why?

Stephanie : I’ve written one other (published) book, "33 VALENTINES." It’s really hard to choose between them. Probably like choosing between kids (or pets)! Both of them are my favorite in different ways. (Did I totally wiggle out of answering that??) "33 VALENTINES" flowed perfectly from the first word to the last and it was a wonderful writing experience. "THE MEAN GIRL APOLOGIES" took much longer and went through many more revisions and was overall more difficult, but like a lot of things that take work, the end result was so worth it.

Jess : Do you have any other projects in the works? If so, can you share a little of your current work with us?

Stephanie : I’m currently working on a couple of ideas, one about a minor league hockey team and a romantic comedy set at a bed and breakfast on the MA coast. I have no titles or really much at all except for a few pages and character sketches for each. I’m excited about both ideas!

Jess : If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?

Stephanie : This is the hardest question to answer! I have no idea who would ever want to read a biography written about me. However, if one was written, I’m thinking of the title: "WOULD YOU LIKE SOME TEA WITH YOUR SUGAR? THE STEPHANIE MONAHAN STORY." (I’m a little obsessed with sugary beverages and I wouldn’t be surprised if it leads to my downfall one day.)

Jess : List 3 books you just recently read and would recommend?

Stephanie : • "The Isle of Youth" by Laura van den Berg

• "Side Effects May Vary" by Julie Murphy

• "My Life Next Door" by Huntley Fitzpatrick



About the Author :

Stephanie Monahan received her degree in English Literature from Binghamton University. In addition to reading and writing, she is passionate about her dog and cat, British pop music, and the beach. Born and raised in upstate New York, Stephanie now lives in central Massachusetts with her husband. Her first book, "33 VALENTINES," was nominated for a 2013 Book of the Year award at Coffee Time Romance & More. You can find her online at www.stephmonahan.com.



- This is an ARC book - Available Formats through Amazon.com: Kindle Edition - File Size: 1597 KB | Expected Release Date: June 2, 2014 | Publisher: Entangled Publishing : Embrace | Obtained: Sizzling PR

"The Mean Girl Apologies" by Stephanie Monahan

Author's Book Description : You know that catchy song you keep hearing on the radio?

It’s about you.


Natalie Jamison has spent five years trying to forget the girl she was in high school: popular, pretty...and, okay, mean. Now in her twenties and living once again in her small town, she’s right back where she was: following Queen Bee Amber and keeping secrets from her best friend, Sarah.

Secrets like Jack Moreland.

Everyone knows Jack Moreland—his new album, Good Enough, is everywhere. He’s famous. Impossibly handsome. Completely untouchable. But what none of Natalie’s old clique knows is that in high school, Natalie and Jack fell in love. And their secret relationship was incredible, painful—and earth-shattering enough to inspire an entire album.

Facing friends and enemies isn’t easy, but Natalie will go to great lengths to prove she is good enough—to her friends, to herself, and most of all, to the small-town boy turned worldwide heartthrob she never forgot.

My Book Review : 3.5 out of 5 stars! When you read this title, "The Mean Girl Apologies," believe it as it's written since the novel is all about Natalie apologizing to friends, her ex Jack, and to some girls in high school who she mean too. In truth, I didn't like the beginning of this novel, mostly because at that time she was still acting like a pushover to her "friend" Amber, which really pissed me off (enough to post this on my twitter account). Yet if this happens to you too I recommend you still read this novel through and stick to it, since once Natalie hears Jack's full album that was just released she finally admits that she needs to make changes in her life for good. From that point on this novel gets a whole lot better as you read about Jack and Natalie's high school "romance" interweaving with what is going on in her life currently and how she tries to make amends.

There isn't much romance in this novel. Yet, it was hard for me not to root for Natalie to create a new life for herself and have her win Jack back.

My favorite character was Natalie's new friend, Gillian. She's quirky and cute, while being a true friend and example for Natalie.

Then there's the ending, even though I liked how it wraps up it still leaves the question as to where Jack and Natalie will go from here. With that being said I hope there will be a sequel somehow, whether one of Jack or Natalie friends would be the next leads or something, so we can find out the answer to the elusive question of "where are they now?"

Overall, though, I do recommend this novel to anyone who likes contemporary NA and/or women's fiction.

Purchase This Book Here :

Author's Novel Extras : Pinterest: The Mean Girl Apologies inspiration | A Little Info About Book No. 2 | The Mean Girl Apologies! | Summer Recipes | End of Summer & A New Podcast | How Edits are Like Popcorn... | The Mean Girl Apologies teaser | On the loss of a pet, and other less depressing stuff too | June 2nd Embrace Releases and Blog Tours

Book Teaser(s) :
He bit the inside of his cheek, and inside my chest, there was this strange, fluttery feeling, like there was a bird caught up in there, fighting for its life. “I don’t know. I’ve got nothing.”
I hesitated for a second. “I have an idea,” I said. “The Kerouacs.”
“As in the writer?”
I shrugged. “I saw your book. Plus your name is Jack, so it’s kind of funny. Not completely obscure, but not as, um, theoretical, as Dirt Soup.”
He smiled slowly. “Are you going through my stuff?”
I was full-body flushing again. “Yeah, right. You left it out on the floor. I nearly tripped over it—”
“Listen, you’re stalking me. It’s okay to admit it.”
I was suddenly too weak to do anything but half laugh. Was this flirting? Was I flirting with Jack Moreland?
“Come on, Natalie. The first step is admitting you have a problem.”
A weird, little sensation shot through my toes when he said my name. “I have an idea. Why don’t you name your band the Jackasses? It’s really much more fitting.”
Jack fished the book out of his backpack and flipped through it. “No, I actually like the Kerouacs. A lot. Thanks.” ~ within Chapter 5
“Sorry, most of the questions I had I found out I wasn’t supposed to ask you.”
“Really? What were they?”
She glanced up at me, panic in her eyes, and I could feel Jack looking at me, too. I shifted my gaze to him and forced myself to speak. “We wanted to know if you’d tell your hometown paper who you were singing about. It’s all anyone around here wants to know.”
Jack nodded, pressing his fingers to his lips as he considered my question. His lips. Yeah, they were the same as I remembered, and all I could do in that second was to remember what it felt like when he kissed me—as if I’d discovered the reason lips were invented—the way no one else ever had. Sitting here like this, asking him questions like he were a stranger, I would have thought it would seem as if everything between us had happened to somebody else. But it didn’t. I was drawn to him in the same way I had been before, and it made even less sense now.
“It’s okay,” I said before he could answer. I could hear my voice shaking. “We know you’ve said a thousand times before that you’re not singing about anyone in particular. But we had to ask...for our editor.”
“Ah, for your editor.”
He was looking at me for way too long without speaking. Gillian’s eyebrows were lost somewhere in her bangs. Out of all the awkward moments I’d had in this gymnasium over the years, this had topped every last one of them. ~ within Chapter 6
For more information on this book and/or any other books by Stephanie, then please check out her website.



Giveaway!! :

  • An ecopy of "33 VALENTINES" and a $10 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn participant during the tour

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ALSO -- Be sure to follow the tour around the other blog sites!



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