Monday, June 2, 2014

Blog Tour: My Last Kiss by Bethany Neal - Behind The Pages #6

My Behind The Pages post for the month of June is a special one because it is part of the MY LAST KISS blog tour by Bethany Neal. Today Bethany Neal shares two annotated pages from her debut novel with us and tells us about her inspiration for Cassidy's shimmery skin. Thanks to Bethany Neal for asking me to be a part of her MY LAST KISS blog tour and for all the work she put into this guest post! Hope you enjoy it and pick up a copy of MY LAST KISS!


What if your last kiss was with the wrong boy?

Cassidy Haines remembers her first kiss vividly. It was on the old covered bridge the summer before her freshman year with her boyfriend of three years, Ethan Keys. But her last kiss--the one she shared with someone at her seventeenth birthday party the night she died--is a blur. Cassidy is trapped in the living world, not only mourning the loss of her human body, but left with the grim suspicion that her untimely death wasn't a suicide as everyone assumes. She can't remember anything from the weeks leading up to her birthday and she's worried that she may have betrayed her boyfriend. If Cassidy is to uncover the truth about that fateful night and make amends with the only boy she'll ever love, she must face her past and all the decisions she made--good and bad--that led to her last kiss.

Bethany Neal writes YA novels with a little dark side and a lot of kissing from her Ann Arbor, Michigan home. The things she is obsessed with include, but are not limited to: nail polish, ginormous rings, pigs, dream analysis, memorizing song lyrics, pickles, dessert, predestined love, not growing up, sour gummy candies, music videos, Halloween, and fictional boys who play guitar.

MY LAST KISS is her first novel. Connect with her online at and follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @BethDazzled.


Tour Schedule

May 26 The Fantastic Flying Book Club, Welcome post

Day 1- May 27 Word Spelunking, Top 10 Kisses (t/o pop culture) numbers 6-10
Reading Teen, Top 10 Kisses (t/o pop culture) numbers 1-5

Day 2- May 28 YA Love, Writing Advice

Day 3- May 29 YAdult Review, Top 6 Bad Boys (who aren't so bad)

Day 4- May 30 Book Loving Me, Story Inspiration

 Day 5- May 31 Broke & Bookish, Top 7 Ghost Stories

Day 6- June 1 Tales of a Ravenous Reader, Pinterest Inspiration Board
YA Reads, Easter Egg Hunt

Day 7- June 2 Michelle & Leslie’s Book Picks, Musical Inspiration
Miss-Page Turner's City of Books, Behind The Pages

Day 8- June 3 Supernatural Snark, Character Interview, Ethan
GUEST POST First Kiss Stories, Amy Plum’s Blog

Day 9- June 4 The Hiding Spot, Q&A
Reader Girls, Ghostly "Rules"

Day 10- June 5 Book Addicts Guide, Open Interview
Anna Reads, My First Fictional Crush

Day 11- June 6 Lady Reader's BookStuff, Playlist Reveal

Day 12- June 7 Books As You Know It, Q&A
Book Rat, Character Interview, Cassidy

Day 13- June 8 Proud Book Nerd, Characters Theme Songs
Girls in the Stacks, Podcast

Day 14- June 9 Literary Rambles, Interview/Review & signed book giveaway
YA Sisterhood, Top 10 Fictional Crushes

Day 15- June 10 The Best Books Ever, Origin Story

Day 16 June 11 Fantastic Flying Book Club, Swag Giveaway & Review


My Last Kiss by Bethany Neal

Bethany Neal: Even though my main character is a ghost(ish), I still believe My Last Kiss is more of a contemporary story than a paranormal one. The struggles Cassidy and her friends face with friendships and loyalty, personal judgment, and self-medicating through alcohol and drugs are very much rooted in reality. However, the story element that I had the most fun with while writing was Cassidy’s ghostly appearance.

The two annotated pages are from MY LAST KISS, FSG Books for Young Readers, 2014.


The Inspiration 

 The inspiration for her pearlescent shimmery skin came from three very unrelated sources.

Inspiration #1: Edward Cullen. Isn’t he so pretty? But too pretty for a teenage ghost with amnesia. I explain below. 

My first instinct when I started exploring options for how my version of a “ghost” would look was—as with everything else good in life—it should sparkle. This inevitably led to Edward Cullen because, let’s be honest, what doesn’t lead to him in the end? But I didn’t want Cassidy’s ghostly transformation to be as overtly beautiful as aforementioned sparkly vampire. I wanted her appearance to be illusive and intangible to relate back to her circumstance. She’s lost her memory; she literally can’t get a grip on her life or what happened to her. That’s where bubbles came to mind.

Inspiration #2: Soap Bubbles

There’s a sense of nostalgia when you think of blowing bubbles or chasing them as a child. It’s such a carefree association, but you can never truly enjoy a bubble for yourself. It’s beautiful and light and it makes you smile up until it inevitably pops the second you take hold of it. Bubbles are actually quite bittersweet if you think about it. Bubbles are also iridescent, which led me to my third inspiration.

Inspiration #3: The Inside of an Oyster Shell 

At one point in the book Ethan describes Cassidy’s skin as looking like “see through pearls,” and that’s ultimately the image I clung to for her otherworldly complexion. Though I did retain the sparkles for when she dissolves into “dust” when passing through people. The dust just had to sparkle!


Signing Info

MY LAST KISS Launch Party!!!
When Tuesday, June 10, 2014 7pm
Where Nicola’s Books
2513 Jackson Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Details Join Bethany in publication day festivities! There will be cake, swag giveaways, and the signing of many books.

Michigan Author Event  
When Saturday, June 14, 2014 2-4pm
Where Barnes & Noble
3311 Tittabawassee Rd.
Saginaw, MI 48604
Details Visit Bethany and fellow YAer Aimee Carter in the Teen section during this store wide event featuring Michigan authors from varying genres.

Up North 2-Day Event: Signing/Writing Workshop

When Friday, June 20, 2014 2-4pm
Where McLean & Eakin Bookstore
307 E. Lake St.
Petoskey, MI 49770

When Saturday, June 21, 2014 10am-12pm
Where McLean & Eakin Bookstore
307 E. Lake St.
Petoskey, MI 49770
Details Call McLean & Eakin for more information (231) 347-1180.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Book Review: You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Sarra Manning

Title: You Don't Have to Say You Love Me
Author: Sarra Manning
Publisher: Corgi
Publishing Date: February 3rd 2011
Length: 555 pages
Keywords: Adult, romance, sex, friendship, weight loss
Source: Bought

Sweet, bookish Neve Slater always plays by the rules. And the number one rule is that good-natured fat girls like her don't get guys like gorgeous, handsome William, heir to Neve's heart since university. But William's been in LA for three years, and Neve's been slimming down and re-inventing herself so that when he returns, he'll fall head over heels in love with the new, improved her.

So she's not that interested in other men. Until her sister Celia points out that if Neve wants William to think she's an experienced love-goddess and not the fumbling, awkward girl he left behind, then she'd better get some, well, experience.

What Neve needs is someone to show her the ropes, someone like Celia's colleague Max. Wicked, shallow, sexy Max. And since he's such a man-slut, and so not Neve's type, she certainly won't fall for him. Because William is the man for her... right?

Somewhere between losing weight and losing her inhibitions, Neve's lost her heart - but to whom?

Summary by Goodreads

YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME is my favourite Sarra Manning book so far out of all her YA and adult books. Even if Sarra's books don't sound like a perfect match for you, she makes them fit. I learned to give every book of hers a chance because in the end I could hardly say I disliked one word of her writing.

Neve is like this very real girl who could live in the flat above you or the nice girl who helps you pick up the stuff you accidentally dropped in the grocery store. She was so relatable it was no surprise I felt a strong kinship for her. She was unlike any other fictional chick lit girl I had met so far and I wanted her to be real so badly and be friends with her. Perhaps reading her story felt so emotional and real because she is dealing with a major issue so many women deal with today, losing weight and honestly evaluating your body image.

Max was the perfect male counterpart for Neve! Everyone keeps describing him a man slut. But we are granted the pleasure to know him a totally different way from the moment we meet him. He might be a tease, but he's honest and gentle and cuddly, and such a sexy sexpert. Neve wants to have Max in her life because he is so much more experienced than she is and she hopes he can kind of train her for her one true love, William. I can't imagine anyone being Team William after meeting Max first. William sends letters Neve's way, but any scene with Neve thinking about him or talking to him kind of lost me for the time it lasted. No wonder, because they didn't have Max in them, too. You can see he's my absolute favourite out of all the chick lit book boys.

The sex scenes that were a major part of Neve and Max's relationship long before feelings came into play, were some of the best I've read so far. I love how Sarra Manning took Neve on this adventurous experience of first real love and showed her how being loved, physically and emotionally could feel like, if you just found the right person. Every time Max and Neve got together my heart kept growing. Grab a copy of YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME and see for yourself how amazing their chemistry and love story is. 

5/5 ***** YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME – Yes, I do. Very much!

YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME was my highlight in the end of 2013. Who would've thought I'd rush through this 555 page book in no time and fall in love with the characters so much that I still think about them when I finished the story months ago. When I muse what Neve and Max would be up to right now a cheeky smirk of the Max kind steals over my face. 

"'Not really much point in going to bed, is there?' Max shifted in his seat so his arm and leg were pressed against Neve's. 'I'm sure we could find something else to do to pass the time.' He said it lightly and with that cheeky little smirk so Neve decided not to take offence. She smiled instead, secure in the knowledge that there was every point in going to bed, alone, to sleep for a solid five hours." p.29

YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME you might enjoy UNSTICKY by Sarra Manning, THE LONGEST HOLIDAY by Paige Toon and HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU by Mhairi McFarlane. Three chick lit stories that are whatever you need them to be. Smart, sexy & sweet.

* Have you read IT FELT LIKE A KISS yet?

* Click here to read an excerpt of YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME.

* For more information about Sarra and her books visit