Book Blitz for They Call Me Alexandra Gastone by T.A. Maclagan

Introduction for the contest:
Books can show us
visions. Have you ever found your mind beginning to imagine the characters you
meet within the pages? Have you experienced a film projector of scenes in your
head as you read about the girl who travels to the fifth dimension, or the boy
who’s trying to graduate from being a wallflower? When you read, your mind
naturally creates images, almost like watching a movie.  Why not turn those images into a reality by
making a movie poster?
Full Fathom Five and
T.A. Maclagan are hosting a movie poster design contest to celebrate the
release of T.A.’s debut, They Call Me Alexandra Gastone, a novel heralded by
Booklist as “An intricate, debut spy thriller…” The contest will run from July
7th to August 15th.
One winner will
receive a $100 gift card to the retailer of their choice, a book from FFF’s
list of authors, and Alexandra Gastone swag! All participants will be featured
on T.A. Maclagan’s blog and tumblr and the winner will be featured on the Full
Fathom Five website! Artists may use any medium from crayon to photoshop.

Call Me Alexandra Gastone
Date: 05/20/15
Fathom Five Digital
from Goodreads:
your life is a lie, how do you know what’s real?

Alexandra Gastone has a simple plan: graduate high school, get into Princeton,
work for the CIA, and serve her great nation.

She was told the plan back when her name was Milena Rokva, back before the real
Alexandra and her family were killed in a car crash.

Milena was trained to be a sleeper agent by Perun, a clandestine organization
from her true homeland of Olissa. There, Milena learned everything she needed
to infiltrate the life of CIA analyst Albert Gastone, Alexandra’s grandfather,
and the ranks of America’s top intelligence agency.

For seven years, “Alexandra” has been on standby and life’s been good. Grandpa
Albert loves her, and her strategically chosen boyfriend, Grant, is amazing.

But things are about to change. Perun no longer needs her at the CIA in five
years’ time. They need her active now.

Between her cover as a high school girl—juggling a homecoming dance, history
reports, and an increasingly suspicious boyfriend—and her mission in this
high-stakes spy game, the boundaries of her two lives are beginning to blur.

Will she stay true to the country she barely remembers, or has her loyalty
shattered along with her identity?

Praise for They Call
Me Alexandra Gastone:
“An intricate, debut spy
thriller…readers will keep turning pages, and the surprise ending will have
them anxiously awaiting a sequel.” —Booklist
“…the intersection of action, espionage,
and drama makes for solid…entertainment: readers will gladly sit back and watch
Alexandra navigate the obstacle course that comes with playing her role too
well. It’s a strong debut for New Zealand author Maclagan.” —Publisher’s

“Death-threats, global takeover,
double-agents, hidden files and a blown cover—by the time you get to the
shocking conclusion of this cliff-hanger, you won’t know who to trust…” 
Girls’ Life
About the Author
T.A. Maclagan
is a Kansas girl by birth but now lives in the bush-clad hills of Wellington,
New Zealand with her Kiwi husband, son and four pampered cats. With a
bachelor’s degree in biology and a Ph.D. in anthropology, she’s studied poison
dart frogs in the rainforests of Costa Rica, howler monkeys in Panama and the
very exotic and always elusive American farmer. It was as she was writing her
‘just the facts’ dissertation that T.A. felt the call to pursue something more
imaginative and discovered a passion for creative writing. They Call Me
Alexandra Gastone
is her first novel.
You can find her online at:


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On My Bookshelf for 22 Feb 2015



Happy Reading!


On My Bookshelf for 26 Jan 2015



My hope for 2015 is to read popular books. Best-sellers. Things I wouldn’t usually pick up. I think I’m off to an okay start with some of these titles since I’d usually not consider them for not being strictly New Adult or Young Adult novels.


Happy Reading!

Review of We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Summary from Goodreads:

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE

First off, I want to say that I loved E. Lockhart’s The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks when I listened to the audiobook years ago. I was really eager to get my hands on We Were Liars, because it seemed like a cool, contemporary teen book that I would really dig.


I almost put the book down at the very beginning because there were way to many characters introduced. I didn’t know Cadence (Cady) at all, so trying to get me to know who everyone was in the family seemed a little too pushy for an introduction. Luckily, they didn’t matter anyway. Gat was the mysterious boy, the Heathcliff character, who Cady was in love with. The scenes with the two of them were cool but everything else was basically filler. I ended up skipping the fairy tales that Cady wrote just because I knew they would bring nothing to the plot. In fact, there wasn’t a plot. Stuff just happened. I noticed myself skimming through sections and getting through the book quicker than usual (one day) because it was just boring. I liked the idea that the family was wealthy and the mother was a nut job who told Cady to “act normal” whenever she got upset by anything and telling her that just because she was crippled by migraines, she still had “family obligations” (because if anyone in this book is a villain, her mother should get first dibs at that title).

The whole big thing about this book is that there’s a twist and I can tell you, that is the only reason I stuck with 67% of the book before I just wanted to know what the “twist” was so I could get on with my life.

I know people hate spoilers, but luckily, someone on Goodreads explained it in a review. I ended up going back to the book, and skipped ahead to the last section of it (there are five parts to the book – nothing happens in any of them.) I didn’t even read the whole end section either because I just did not care. You don’t get to know the characters; they’re just there. If that’s the whole point of making selfish, rich kid characters who aren’t interesting and who sit around at a beach house doing nothing then, fine, but I need a little more to be invested in their story.

And what was this whole thing about her being a “drug addict?” She had migraines that kept her in bed for days that needed medication. She couldn’t function because of the headaches, so because she wanted relief from pain that was prescribed to her, she’s an “addict?”

Anyway, I didn’t mind the semi-prose because it reminded me of Ellen Hopkins a bit (and prose novels are a thing now too) and I liked that the book was in 1st person. (I can’t really get into books that are 3rd person at all.)

So, bottom line is, I am not a fan of this book. As always, I appreciate that people are raving about it and that E. Lockhart has a smash hit, but I just didn’t get the “wow” factor in this at all. I totally give the author credit for trying to add some nice, literary elements into the passages, even if they did come across as confusing. It could have been a novella, eliminated the boring, useless scenes, focused on Cady and Gat, and been a much more satisfying read for me.

Also, as everyone else mentioned: why are they “Liars?” If they were shady, crafty, rich kids who didn’t care at all about deceiving one another and the people around them (which is what I thought the book would be about, honestly) that would have made more sense.


Happy Reading!

WWW Wednesday 31 Jul 2013 (Find out what I am reading this week)

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

I decided to read Carrie by Stephen King again for about the third time. It’s a great story, though I sort of don’t like the story as a historical account, but it makes sense. It needs that element of other people telling the story, so you can understand what Carrie’s going through. She’s not capable of explaining how weird her mother is because she has nothing else to compare it to. I’m almost finished. I put it down last night right as things were kicking off at the prom.

What did you recently finish reading?

I still am only half way through with Stunning. I read chapters here and there, but I’m not sucked in like I use to be (especially because now the mystery’s been solved, basically.)

What do you think you’ll read next?

Until the End: Final Friends Trilogy: The Party, The Dance, and The Graduation by Christopher Pike. I would really love to say that I’m going to read through all three of these books again. I’ve had it since my first trip back to Florida in 2011 and I just recently started rereading the first book. I absolutely loved Christopher Pike novels when I was in high school, and I distinctly remember this series to be more detailed and engaging as a young adult novel than the shorter books. I wanted to rekindle that excitement in reading for myself again. I want to remember what made me love a book when I was 15 years old.

By the way, the covers looked like this when I read them in the 90s:


Happy Reading and Happy Wednesday!