Month: March 2016

Have you heard about Furious by T.R. Ragan? (+ Giveaway)

Posted March 25, 2016 by Jana in Book Spotlight, Giveaway / 0 Comments

I’m happy to spotlight a book today that I’m pretty excited to read! Furious sounds like my favorite Liam Neeson movie, Taken, so I’m sold. I can’t wait to read it! Read a little about the book and enter to win a copy!

Furious by T.R. Ragan
March 22, 2016 from Thomas & Mercer
Add to Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | The Book Depository

Faith McMann comes home to a nightmare: her husband is killed and her son and daughter are taken. Although the intruders leave her for dead, she survives. Crippling grief and fear for her children make life unbearable. Until her anguish turns to anger…and she trades victimhood for vengeance.

Frustrated with the law’s efforts, she takes action to rescue her children—and wreaks havoc on the brutal criminals who tore them from her. With her family and newfound allies at her side, Faith descends into the hellish underworld of human trafficking, determined to make those who prey on the innocent pray for mercy.

The forces she’s up against have already proven that their ruthlessness knows no bounds. And there’s nothing they won’t do to turn Faith’s crusade into a suicide mission. But they’re about to learn that nothing is more dangerous than a mother fighting for her children—especially one who’s earned the nickname Furious.

Early Praise

“Faith McMann, heroine of this gripping novel, is a Sacramento schoolteacher, wife, and mother who comes home just in time to witness her husband’s throat getting cut and her two children hauled away. The attempt on her life is botched—the killers were in a hurry—and as she recovers, she’s convinced the police are brushing her off. So she whacks a detective with his computer keyboard and gets sentenced to anger management sessions. If this were a cookie-cutter thriller, the male hero would be tracking the killers with an automatic weapon and maybe a major babe beside him. But our hero is smarter than that, and her revenge is a product of relationships, not bullets. In classes, she meets other victims as angry as she is, and, together, in fine scenes of action and suspense, they seek explanations and vengeance as well as the children’s rescue, which takes them into a slimy world of human trafficking. Learn here about “lot lizards” and “kiddie strolls” on the way to a wild finale. Suspenseful and smart, in equal measure.” —Don Crinklaw, Booklist

“Searing…Readers with strong stomachs will eagerly await the next installment.” —Publishers Weekly

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The Debut Dish: March 2016, Issue #2 (+ Giveaways)

Posted March 20, 2016 by Jana in Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway / 7 Comments

The Debut Dish, a Debut Author Challenge feature, is where you go for the scoop on some pretty awesome debut authors and their new books! Hopefully these interviews will inspire you to add many, many more books to your to-read list. Because, really, who doesn’t need more books in their lives?

This week’s issue of The Debut Dish features Elizabeth Briggs (Future Shock), Everly Frost (Fear My Mortality), Kurt Dinan (Don’t Get Caught), Christy Lenzi (Stone Field), Kim Savage (After the Woods), and Amber Smith (The Way I Used to Be).

Future Shock by Elizabeth Briggs
April 1, 2016 from Albert Whitman & Company
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Elena Martinez has hidden her eidetic memory all her life–or so she thinks. When powerful tech giant Aether Corporation selects her for a top-secret project, she can’t say no. All she has to do is participate in a trip to the future to bring back data, and she’ll be set for life.

Elena joins a team of four other teens with special skills, including Adam, a science prodigy with his own reason for being there. But when the time travelers arrive in the future, something goes wrong and they break the only rule they were given: do not look into their own fates.

Now they have twenty-four hours to get back to the present and find a way to stop a seemingly inevitable future from unfolding. With time running out and deadly secrets uncovered, Elena must use her eidetic memory, street smarts, and a growing trust in Adam to save her new friends and herself.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Twisty, romantic, thrilling, futuristic, diverse.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
The first kiss scene – it’s in the rain and comes after the two characters have finally opened up a little and decided to trust each other.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
At my desk, writing another book!

What’s your favorite junk food?
Anything with peanut butter. Sometimes I eat it straight out of the jar. Yes, it’s weird.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Green lightsaber sunglasses.

Fear My Mortality by Everly Frost
April 5, 2016 from Month9Books
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

The future is bright for 16-year-old Ava Holland and the residents of Evereach. They don’t have to worry about old age or even getting sick. In their world, humans regenerate, heal, and live for hundreds of years. Mortality isn’t something to fear. Disease has been all but eradicated. Everything changes when Ava watches her brother die and he doesn’t regenerate. Ava’s genetics are called into question by the government, scientists, extremists, and Ava herself. Could her genes hold the answer to mortality? Is she an anomaly or something to be feared? Determined not to become anyone’s guinea pig, Ava doesn’t stick around to find out. She wants answers too, but the only person who can help her is 17-year-old Michael Bradley, the boy who killed her brother. If either of them have even the slightest chance of survival, they must find the genetic keys hidden in Ava’s DNA before it’s too late.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Immortal world’s first mortal girl.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
When Ava dances in the park. Actually, it’s who she dances with and the way they start to connect that I love, but I don’t want to include spoilers.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was at work. In a quiet, open plan office. It took every ounce of self-control not to shoot out of my chair, whoop, and do a happy dance on the spot.

What’s your favorite junk food?

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A bright pink hairbrush.

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Don’t Get Caught by Kurt Dinan
April 1, 2016 from Sourcebooks
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

10:00 tonight at the water tower. Tell no one. -Chaos Club

When Max receives a mysterious invite from the untraceable, epic prank-pulling Chaos Club, he has to ask: why him? After all, he’s Mr. 2.5 GPA, Mr. No Social Life. He’s Just Max. And his favorite heist movies have taught him this situation calls for Rule #4: Be suspicious. But it’s also his one shot to leave Just Max in the dust…

Yeah, not so much. Max and four fellow students-who also received invites-are standing on the newly defaced water tower when campus security “catches” them. Definitely a setup. And this time, Max has had enough. It’s time for Rule #7: Always get payback.

Let the prank war begin.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Pranks, anti-authoritarianism, & juvenile humor.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
The book is filled with elaborate pranks, my favorite of which consists of the main characters orchestrating 1000 students to form…well, let’s just say something completely school-inappropriate…on the football field for an aerial photo.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I’d just gotten back to my car after a run at the YMCA and my agent had left me a message saying we had an offer. One of my first thoughts was, “Well, I guess exercising actually paid off for once.”

What’s your favorite junk food?
Oh man, mark my words–buffalo dip and chips will be my downfall.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
My 20+ year old college ID back when I had hair!

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Stone Field by Christy Lenzi
March 29, 2016 from Roaring Brook Press
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

In a small town on the brink of the Civil War, Catrina finds a man making strange patterns in her family’s sorghum crop. He’s mad with fever, naked, and strikingly beautiful. He has no memory of who he is or what he’s done before Catrina found him in Stone Field. But that doesn’t bother Catrina because she doesn’t like thinking about the things she’s done before either.

Catrina and Stonefield fall passionately, dangerously, in love. All they want is to live with each other, in harmony with the land and away from Cat’s protective brother, the new fanatical preacher, and the neighbors who are scandalized by their relationship. But Stonefield can’t escape the truth about who he is, and the conflict tearing apart the country demands that everyone take a side before the bloodbath reaches their doorstep.

Inspired by Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights.

Describe your book in five words or less.
American Wuthering Heights with bushwhackers.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
There’s an early scene when Cat, in a frantic state, runs to her best friend, Effie’s house. Up in the attic, Cat finds Effie calm and thoughtful even though her heart is torn. I love the interaction between them there, because we see the two women’s very different personalities—passionate in their own ways—and the dynamic of their friendship, which is an important part of the book.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was in my cubicle at work when I got the call from my agent. I grabbed my phone and shut myself in the office supply room. My heart was pounding so hard and I could barely say hello. It was such wonderful news. When I hung up, I gave a sort of yelp-scream and bounded out of the supply room and proceeded to bounce around the office, squealing and shrieking. My co-workers thought I was losing my mind. I floated through the rest of the day on a little puffy cloud, occasionally emitting a squeal of delight and pinching myself. It was one of the best days of my life.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Trader Joe’s Fireworks Chocolate Bar—dark chocolate with Red Hot Pop Rocks in it. I want one right now!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
There’s an old-school hand-held cb radio here on my desk at work. I don’t really know what we used them for in the past, but now they’re surplused. My boss has the other one on his desk. We went back and forth with the trucker lingo for a while, and I was getting pretty good at it, but he’s turned his off, now. Probably so I don’t radio “Breaker, Breaker, good buddy. Comin’ in loud and proud. Catch ya on the flip-flop!” during a meeting…

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After the Woods by Kim Savage
February 23, 2016 from Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Would you risk your life to save your best friend?

Julia did. When a paroled predator attacked Liv in the woods, Julia fought back and got caught. Liv ran, leaving Julia in the woods for a terrifying 48 hours that she remembers only in flashbacks. One year later, Liv seems bent on self-destruction, starving herself, doing drugs, and hooking up with a violent new boyfriend. A dead girl turns up in those same woods, and Julia’s memories resurface alongside clues unearthed by an ambitious reporter that link the girl to Julia’s abductor. As the devastating truth becomes clear, Julia realizes that after the woods was just the beginning.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Survival is hardest of all.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
When Alice–who doesn’t run–is running around the track, pretending to be casual, trying eavesdrop on Julia and Paula’s conversation.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
Working in the library. My agent called. I went cold all over.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Cheese. Don’t judge.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A pimped out label-maker. I’m an organizational freak.

The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith
March 22, 2016 from Margaret K. McElderry Books
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.

What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.

Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year.

Describe your book in five words or less.
betrayal, secrets, lies, trust, hope

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
I have a lot of favorites, but the scene I’m thinking of is one that takes place toward the end of the book. So without giving too much away, all I will say is that it involves the main character Eden, a former love, an intense conversation, and a monumental moment of truth…all of which happens at an IHOP (while ditching school).

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was sitting at my desk at my day job when my agent texted, asking me to call her. So I went outside and stood on a busy downtown street, and tried to breath (and block out the street noise) while I called her back. She said, “Are you sitting down? Really, are you sitting down?” And I don’t really remember the next part because I was so deliriously happy, except I think I shouted “Omigod, seriously?” after every piece of information I was given! I’m pretty sure I didn’t get any work done the whole rest of the day.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Anything dark chocolate covered…or anything peanut butter…or better yet, something that involves both dark chocolate and peanut butter!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A small ceramic dish filled with some of my favorite stones: rose quartz, lapis, blue tiger’s eye, moonstone, black tourmaline…and a miniature bronze statue of Buddha.

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Harper Summer 2016 Spotlight Tour: Wanderlost by Jen Malone (+ Giveaways)

Posted March 19, 2016 by Jana in Blog Tour, Book Spotlight, Giveaway / 10 Comments

Harper Summer 2016 Spotlight Tour: Wanderlost by Jen Malone (+ Giveaways)

Welcome to me spot along the HarperTeen Summer 2016 tour, hosted by The Irish Banana Review! I’m day 44 of 50 days of awesome books, so you NEED to run around and check them all out!

I’m pretty excited to be spotlighting Wanderlost by Jen Malone today. I love traveling. Actually, I went on a whirlwind trip through Europe just like our heroine, Aubree, does in this book. I had a lot of pretty insane and wonderful experiences. Just some of these include getting a bad case of pneumonia while on a transatlantic cruise from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy; breaking a rib while coughing in Florence; almost being abducted in Venice; being epically pooped on by a pigeon in Delft, The Netherlands; being hit on by a server in Bellagio, who gave me free chocolate on my gelato; making my way uphill both ways through Siena; eating the best nutella crepe ever in Paris; and getting caught in a downpour in Interlaaken, Switzerland. I discovered who I am, how tough I am, and how wonderful this world is. I learned what I’m capable of, how far I can push myself, how much I love art and architecture and culture and pizza, and how special and loved I am. Even though I came home a very sick puppy six weeks after I left, I was a brand new person with more confidence and love in my heart.

This is what traveling can do to a person. At least, this is what traveling does to me. I loved my time in Europe, and I would go back in Europe. There’s just something so special about discovering the world while discovering yourself. I wish everyone could have the kind of experience I had, but if all you can do is experience it through a book then Wanderlost is a fantastic option.

Wanderlost by Jen Malone
Published by HarperTeen
Releasing on May 31, 2016
Add to Goodreads
Amazon | B&N | IndieBound | The Book Depository

Not all those who wander are lost, but Aubree Sadler most definitely is on this novel’s whirlwind trip through Europe.

Aubree can’t think of a better place to be than in perfectly boring Ohio, and she’s ready for a relaxing summer. But when her older sister, Elizabeth, gets into real trouble, Aubree is talked into taking over Elizabeth’s summer job, leading a group of senior citizens on a bus tour through Europe.

Aubree doesn’t even make it to the first stop in Amsterdam before their perfect plan begins unraveling, leaving her with no phone, no carefully prepared binder full of helpful facts, and an unexpected guest: the tour company owner’s son, Sam. Considering she’s pretending to be Elizabeth, she absolutely shouldn’t fall for him, but she can’t help it, especially with the most romantic European cities as the backdrop for their love story.

But her relationship with Sam is threatening to ruin her relationship with her sister, and she feels like she’s letting both of them down. Aubree knows this trip may show her who she really is—she just hopes she likes where she ends up.

Make sure you enter to win all the prizes!

#1 – A Harper Teen Summer 2016 Catalog prize pack of 45+ books*. (USA Only)
*Titles not included: The Crown by Kiera Cass, Escape from Asylum by Madeline Roux, Sing by Vivi Greene, & United As One by Pittacus Lore

In addition to the one massive prize winner, we will also have 4 winners who will be able to select 3 titles they want from the Summer 2016 Catalog.

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#2 – 5 Finished Copies from the Harper Teen Fall 2015 Catalog. (USA Only)
5 books are: Front Lines by Michael Grant, Revenge & the Wild by Michelle Modesto, The Lifeboat Clique by Kathy Parks, Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin, & The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

How to enter:
Collect the daily word from each blog stop during the Harper Summer 2016 Tour (a total of 50). Once you’ve collected them all, email the complete saying to:

Today’s code word is bolded and in all caps at the beginning of this post.

Prize Rules:
1.) Winner must have a valid US mailing address to receive the prize
2.) Winner must be over 13
3.) Only one (1) entry per person for Prize #2 – duplicates will be deleted.
4.) Only a completed phrase will be accepted as an entry – do not email each word/phrase daily. Wait until you have the complete saying and then email in.
5.) All email submissions must be received by 11:59 PM EST 3/31/2016.
6.) Winners will be selected 4/1/2016 and will have 48 hours to claim their prize before another is selected.
7.) Participating blogs and bloggers are not responsible for unsent, damaged, and/or stolen prizes offered by the publisher.

Keeping Up With the Debuts: Lori Goldstein

Posted March 16, 2016 by Jana in Guest Post, Keeping Up With the Debuts / 2 Comments

Keeping Up With the Debuts is an original That Artsy Reader Girl feature, where I bring back former debut authors and give them the opportunity to talk about what they learned from their debut novel and what’s next for them!

I’m so excited to welcome Lori Goldstein to the blog today! Lee’s debut novel, Becoming Jinn, came out in April of 2015, and she’s here to tell us about what she’s learned, what’s she’s been up to over the last year, and what’s on the horizon!

Keeping Up with Lori Goldstein
Guest Post by Lori Goldstein

I’m an all-in kind of person. If I need to bake a cake, I do it from scratch. If I need to clean out my closet, I strip it down to the bare rod. If I need to learn how to write a novel, I read every craft book, take every writing course, and write, revise, write, revise until I’ve achieved my goal. I don’t do things halfway. But in the world of publishing a debut novel, this can be a dangerous thing.

Because doing things all the way means you begin to veer away from your original goal: to write a book, sell a book, and write another.

For me, doing things all the way meant immersing myself in not just the writing, but in the marketing and promoting of a debut novel. For months, I didn’t just dive into the deep end, I sprouted gills and lived underwater. I went down the Internet rabbit hole and read all I could about booking events, promotional campaigns, blog tours, media pitching, book festivals, writing workshops, and more. I hopped on all forms of social media and learned them inside and out. I watched my fellow authors, and I was fortunate to be able to talk with some amazingly smart writers and marketers and learn from them. I absorbed it all. And then I put it all into motion.

Since April 21, 2015, when Becoming Jinn released, I’ve attended more than forty-five events in thirteen states, I’ve spearheaded initiatives to mentor teen writers, online and in person, and I’ve helped countless writers with their own journey to publishing, editing query letters and first pages as part of the Pitch Wars contest as well as for writers who purchase or preorder new copies of my books, a marketing initiative that I’m continuing to implement.

Marketing took over writing in 2015, and still, as much as I did, there’s so much more on my list that I never got to. Because no human being is capable of learning and doing all it takes to both write and promote a novel. The field is too vast and the options and opportunities are limitless. But I tried. I really tried. Not just because I wanted Becoming Jinn and its sequel, Circle of Jinn, to be successful (which of course I did!), but because it turns out that in my debut year, I learned something: I love the “business” side of publishing almost as much as I love the writing side. It may seem a strange thing to say—and I know it is hard for some writers to believe. But marketing is actually a creative endeavor too, and it works a different side of your brain than writing does.

The time I spent marketing in 2015 did take away from writing, but I can’t imagine Becoming Jinn releasing into the world any other way. I’m an all-in kind of person, remember? And still with all that I did, I also completed revisions and edits on Circle of Jinn, which releases on May 17. I wrote a prequel story called Genius of Jinn, which will be available as a free e-book on March 15, and I wrote one manuscript that I’m revising now and plotted another that I’m writing now.

Oh, and did I mention I’m a bit tired? 2015 was a crazy year. I worked harder than I ever have, and I enjoyed it all more than I ever thought I would.

Being an all-in kind of person can be dangerous, yes, but it can also open the door to adventures you never imagined you’d have. Much love and thanks, 2015.

Thanks, Lori, for such an interesting and inspirational post! Lori brings some exciting news to those of you who have been itching to read Becoming Jinn, and also for those of you who loved it and want more!

Becoming Jinn Price Drop

Becoming Jinn is $2.99 across all ebook retailers until April 4th! This gives you time to read it before the release of the sequel, Circle of Jinn, on May 17th.

Get Becoming Jinn on ebook  today from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes!

Pre-order Circle of Jinn from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or IndieBound!

Genius of Jinn Ad

If you need a quick fix in the meantime Genius of Jinn, a free prequel e-short, was released yesterday! Grab it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble!


Inner Child: Bug Zoo Illustrated by Andy Harkness | Blog Tour

Posted March 8, 2016 by Jana in Blog Tour, Children's Book Review, Inner Child / 0 Comments


Inner Child is an original Artsy Reader Girl feature, where I take a moment to highlight a cute book for kids! I love children’s books. Hey, I started out on them! They are the foundation of my love of reading. When I need a smile, or a quick dose of the “good old days”, I never hesitate to crack open a picture book and feed my inner child.


Welcome to my stop along the blog tour for Bug Zoo, hosted by The Irish Banana Review!

bug zoo

Bug Zoo by Lisa Wheeler
Series: Walt Disney Animation Studios Artist Showcase
Illustrated by: Andy Harkness
Published by: Disney-Hyperion on February 16, 2016
Pages: 40
Source: From the publisher for the blog tour
Add to Goodreads • Buy from Amazon

Ben loves bugs: armored, teeny, leggy, greenie, floaty, wingy, jumpy, springy bugs! After a trip to the city zoo, Ben collects all of the bugs he can find and sets up a bug zoo. He couldn’t be happier–but what about his bugs?

As soon as I received this book, I noticed that it is part of a series called Walt Disney Animation Studios Artist Showcase. Being an artist myself, I was curious about what this series is all about and did a little research. Here is what I found, from an article on Publishers Weekly:

The Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios have teamed up with Disney Worldwide Publishing to launch a series of children’s books created by animation artists and storytellers at each studio. The Animation Studios Artist Showcase program gives employees the opportunity to bring their artistic talents to the page in picture books featuring original art and characters.

I thought this was really cool, and knowing the whys of the series really changed my reading experience. According to Amazon, Lisa Wheeler wrote this story and Andy Harkness, who has worked on many of my favorite Disney movies (Mulan, Tangled, and Frozen to name a few), dreamed it up and designed the illustrations using sculpture. You can tell that the focus is meant to be on the magical illustrations and not the story, as the story is very simple. Ben’s love of bugs drives him to create a bug zoo, but nobody comes. He slowly begins to realize that the bugs are not happy, and that maybe keeping them in jars is not the best idea. While the story is simple, the illustrations are quite the opposite.

Andy’s style is striking and vivid, and the colors are amazing. The extreme detail and the three-dimensionality makes each page feel like an extension of your own world. I felt myself wanting to reach out and touch the tree bark or the grass. These same details also tell the story on their own, which is wonderful for emergent readers because they can “read” without assistance. I can just imagine a little child ooing and ahhing over the illustrations and making up their own story to go along with them. Personally, I really hate bugs, but these ones don’t make me squeamish. You don’t have to love bugs to love the illustrations, but if you have a child in your life who does love bugs this book is a treat. The words in the story are simple and easy to sound out, and the font choice does not hinder from the readability of those words. The moral of the story is simple, and reminds us all that nature is truly magical and needs to be left alone sometimes. Picture books for boys can be harder to come by, and this is definitely one that can be added to the pile. Girls will appreciate and enjoy it as well, though, and parents will be pleased with a bedtime story that is not overly wordy. It’s a win for all, but especially for the little bug lover in your life.

Read more about Andy’s creative process and inspiration for Bug Zoo on Disney Insider.
Follow him on Instagram to see more of his artwork, including some of the illustrations from Bug Zoo.

Visit the rest of the tour stops for more reviews!

3/7: Reads All the Books
3/8: That Artsy Reader Girl
3/9: Gun In Act One
3/10: Such A Novel Idea
3/11: Reading Is Better With Cupcakes

The Debut Dish: March 2016, Issue #1 (+ Giveaways)

Posted March 6, 2016 by Jana in Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway / 10 Comments

The Debut Dish, a Debut Author Challenge feature, is where you go for the scoop on some pretty awesome debut authors and their new books! Hopefully these interviews will inspire you to add many, many more books to your to-read list. Because, really, who doesn’t need more books in their lives?

Today’s issue of the Debut Dish features Jennifer DiGiovanni (My Senior Year of Awesome), Mia Siegert (Jerkbait), Ami Allen-Vath (Liars and Losers Like Us), Melissa Gorzelanczyk (Arrows), Kathryn Purdie (Burning Glass), Lucy Briand (Magnetic Shift), and Katie Pottle (Cloud Shifters).

My Senior Year of Awesome by Jennifer DiGiovanni
March 1, 2016 from Georgia McBride Media Group/Swoon Romance YA
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

A girl desperately tries to avoid the boy she was voted most likely to marry by her senior classmates. To prove senior superlative votes are meaningless, she and her best friend create their own list of awesome high school achievements to be completed by graduation.

Describe your book in five words or less.
best friends, taking risks, romance

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene involves a mishap during a science lab.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was multi-tasking and watching Saturday Night Live while checking emails on my phone. I was so tired, I didn’t believe the message at first. I reread it ten or twenty times.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Ice cream.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A vision board. I created it at a workshop using magazine pictures representing all I hope to accomplish in the next year. It’s standing up on my desk, leaning against the wall, where I can see it every day and remind myself of where I’m going.

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Jerkbait by Mia Siegert
May 3, 2016 from Jolly Fish Press
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Even though they’re identical, Tristan isn’t close to his twin Robbie at all—until Robbie tries to kill himself.

Forced to share a room to prevent Robbie from hurting himself, the brothers begin to feel the weight of each other’s lives on the ice, and off. Tristan starts seeing his twin not as a hockey star whose shadow Tristan can’t escape, but a struggling gay teen terrified about coming out in the professional sports world. Robbie’s future in the NHL is plagued by anxiety and the mounting pressure from their dad, coach, and scouts, while Tristan desperately fights to create his own future, not as a hockey player but a musical theatre performer.

As their season progresses and friends turn out to be enemies, Robbie finds solace in an online stranger known only as “Jimmy2416.” Between keeping Robbie’s secret and saving him from taking his life, Tristan is given the final call: sacrifice his dream for a brother he barely knows, or pursue his own path. How far is Robbie willing to go—and more importantly, how far is Tristan willing to go to help him?

Describe your book in five words or less.
Twins, suicide, hockey, online predator

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
I have a lot of favorite scenes, but my absolute favorite would be Tristan and Robbie in the lunchroom. I can’t say more than that because major spoilers, but I’ve been told it’s a punch-in-the-gut moment. Maybe literally.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
In the little room I rent. I called both of my parents to tell them–neither answered the phone. Fiancé, who lives in Australia, was asleep so I couldn’t tell him, and my best friend was at work. It was absolutely BRUTAL to keep that secret. I’m pretty sure I went to the gym just to keep myself busy.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Ice cream. Without question, ice cream.

I also really like drinking Coke when I’m writing although I try not to because it’s unhealthy. Then again, I think that’s the point of junk food.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
I don’t actually have a desk! :) Bedside table… hm. I don’t know about odd, but I keep a himalayan salt lamp up there?

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Liars and Losers Like Us by Ami Allen-Vath
March 15, 2016 from Sky Pony Press
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Keep calm and make it to prom night—without a legit panic attack.

For seventeen-year-old Bree Hughes, it’s easier said than done when gossip, grief, and the opportunity to fail at love are practically high-fiving her in the hallways of Belmont High.

When Bree’s crush, Sean Mills, gives her his phone number, she can’t even leave a voicemail without sounding like a freak. Then she’s asked to be on Prom Court because Maisey Morgan, the school outcast nominated as a joke, declined. She apologizes to Maisey, but it’s too late. After years of torment and an ugly secret shared with their class’s cruel Pageant Queen, Maisey commits suicide. Bree is left with a lot of regret…and a revealing letter with a final request.

With Sean by her side, Bree navigates through her guilt, her parents’ divorce, and all the Prom Court drama. But when a cheating-love-triangle secret hits the fan after a night of sex, drinks, and video games, she’s left with new information about Sean and the class Pageant Queen. Bree must now speak up or stay silent. If she lets fear be her guide, she’ll lose her first love, and head to prom to avenge the death of the school outcast—as a party of one.

Describe your book in five words or less.
anxiety, grief, love, laughs, prom

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene is when a party gets busted and the main character Bree and her love interest are stuck hiding together in a closet. They talk about some serious things but also joke and laugh. And maybe there’s some kissing…

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
It was my son’s birthday and I was at Barnes & Noble with my daughter looking for some books to add to his gift. My phone pinged with a notification and I was on sub so of course I read it right away. My agent emailed me with “Call me as soon as you get this!” I knew it was an offer. So, because I’m a smart mom, I bought my daughter a toy and giant cookie, went out to the car and called my agent. And of course, even though “I knew,” I was still in shock. My son turned 13 and I got a book deal. What a great, great day.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Ice cream. Forever.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A jump rope. But maybe it’s not that odd, because writing is so sedentary. It’s good to take jumping breaks.

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Arrows by Melissa Gorzelanczyk
January 26, 2016 from Delacorte Press
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

A modern cupid story set in present-day Wisconsin combining the fantastical elements of Greek mythology with the contemporary drama of MTV’s Teen Mom.

People don’t understand love. If they did, they’d get why dance prodigy Karma Clark just can’t say goodbye to her boyfriend, Danny. No matter what he says or does or how he hurts her, she can’t stay angry with him . . . and can’t stop loving him. But there’s a reason why Karma is helpless to break things off: she’s been shot with a love arrow.

Aaryn, son of Cupid, was supposed to shoot both Karma andDanny but found out too late that the other arrow in his pack was useless. And with that, Karma’s life changed forever. One pregnancy confirmed. One ballet scholarship lost. And dream after dream tossed to the wind.

A clueless Karma doesn’t know that her toxic relationship is Aaryn’s fault . . . but he’s going to get a chance to make things right. He’s here to convince Danny to man up and be there for Karma. But what if this god from Mount Olympus finds himself falling in love with a beautiful dancer from Wisconsin who can never love him in return?

This fast-paced debut novel explores the internal & external conflicts of a girl who finds herself inexplicably drawn to a boy who seemingly doesn’t reciprocate her  feelings, touching on the issues of love, sex and responsibility, with a heroine struggling to control her destiny–perfect for fans of Katie McGarry’s novels and MTV’s 16 and Pregnant.

Describe your book in five words or less.
One arrow changes everything.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
One of my favorite scenes in the book is when Aaryn makes dinner for Karma. He’s nervous–he wants to impress her, aw!–and because she feels like she can be herself around him, she lets her guard down a bit. Aaryn’s sweet invitation at the end of the scene is just perfect. (You’ll have to read ARROWS to find out!)

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was at my sister’s house. I saw an unknown New York number pop up on my cell (my agent’s home number) and, feeling paralyzed with hope, I let it go to voicemail. Not saying a word, I snuck into the bathroom to listen to the message–my agent saying I had to call her back right away; she’d be up to answer. So I found out I had an offer in the bathroom, haha! #AuthorLife

What’s your favorite junk food?
Potato chips.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
My desk is small, so I clear it off daily. The oldest thing on it is my laptop–an ASUS that’s partially made of bamboo.

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Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie
March 1, 2016 from Katherine Tegen Books
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Sonya was born with the rare gift to feel what those around her feel—both physically and emotionally—a gift she’s kept hidden from the empire for seventeen long years. After a reckless mistake wipes out all the other girls with similar abilities, Sonya is hauled off to the palace and forced to serve the emperor as his sovereign Auraseer.

Tasked with sensing the intentions of would-be assassins, Sonya is under constant pressure to protect the emperor. But Sonya’s power is untamed and reckless, and she can’t always decipher when other people’s impulses end and her own begin. In a palace full of warring emotions and looming darkness, Sonya fears that the biggest danger to the empire may be herself.

As she struggles to wrangle her abilities, Sonya seeks refuge in her tenuous alliances with the charming-yet-volatile Emperor Valko and his idealistic younger brother, Anton, the crown prince. But when threats of revolution pit the two brothers against each other, Sonya must choose which brother to trust—and which to betray.

Steeped in intrigue and treachery, debut author Kathryn Purdie’s stunning new fantasy trilogy captivates with heartrending romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s quest for redemption.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Empath forced to protect emperor.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene is when Prince Anton helps my main character, Sonya, an empath, calm down when she’s trapped in a large crowd and overwhelmed by their emotions. He asks her to focus on only him and the details of his face. She doesn’t mean for her responses to be funny, but they are. This scene makes me swoon because it’s when both of these characters start to realize what they feel for one other.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was in the basement apartment where I lived with my family. I got the phone call from my agent, then proceeded to run around screaming, laughing, and dancing around in every room. My ten-year-old son still likes to reenact me in that moment. :-)

What’s your favorite junk food?
Double Stuff Cool Mint Creme Oreos

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
My Edward Scissorhands Funko Pop! doll.

Magnetic Shift by Lucy D. Briand
April 12, 2016 from Spencer Hill Press
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The ability to magnetize and manipulate metal with the flick of her wrist makes seventeen-year-old Lexi Adams a crack mechanic, but it’s a disaster in the making when her stepdad trades her skills to NASCAR team owner Dean Grant for an entire season’s worth of sponsorship ads.

Now Lexi has no other choice but to suck it up and hope she can keep her magnetic impulses under control—that is, until she runs into NASCAR’s hot new rookie, Colton Tayler.

When Carl Stacy, the ruthless team owner of the defending Cup Champion, discovers Lexi’s secret and plots to use it to ruin Dean’s race team for good, Lexi must either expose her ability to save Colton, risking Dean’s career and her own freedom in the process, or watch the only guy she’s ever fallen for race to his death.

Describe your book in five words or less.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene is near the end. I won’t say much about it as to not spoil it, but it gives me the butterflies every time I read it. It’s when Colton confronts Lexi after a pivotal moment. Let’s just say that everything changes for Lexi in this scene, how she sees herself and how others see her. Oh and there is kissing, there is definitely kissing. I get goosebumps just thinking about it, but that’s because I’m a big sap when it comes to moments like these.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was at home when my agent contacted me with my first offer. It was a Saturday afternoon. I was so giddy I ran up the stairs so fast to tell my husband the news, but we (my agent and I) were still waiting on word from another publisher so I contained my excitement (tried to anyway). The very next day we got a second offer. Skwee!!! I was doing the snoopy dance all over my living room for a good hour until I realized I now needed to make a decision. I hate making important life altering decisions…

What’s your favorite junk food?
Well, the French Canadian in me wants to say Poutine (fries with gravy and cheese curds) but I’m also a big fan of Popeye’s spicy Chicken.

If you meant dessert wise, then it’s Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt hands down!!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
The oddest thing on my desk would have to be a baby Disney Yoda onesie. It’s odd because I don’t have kids nor do we plan to have any, but I promised a coworker that I would get his new born son a Star Wars onesie during my trip to Walt Disney World. We just got back a few days ago and I have yet to give it to him.

Cloud Shifters by Katie Pottle
January 27, 2016 from Ellechor Publishing House
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

High above Earth the young angels of the Cloud Land of Glade are preparing for another school year. For Cadin and his best friend Lep, this means leaving middle school and entering Commons High School where they must choose a Path.

In a year where they already have to worry about homework and their Auras emerging, a challenge for Warrior Path angels opens to new students for the first time in the history of the Games. Follow Cadin’s journey through this vivid new land as he gathers an unorthodox team of young angels who must earn challenging arm badges as the first step in securing a spot in the Calvarian Games. Along the way, friendships grow and his character is tested as Cadin learns that his unique abilities make him either a weapon or a target in a looming war.

Which path will he choose?

Describe your book in five words or less.
Eventful, unique, imaginative, Young Adult.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
The students take a trip to the Cloud Park where they start with free abandon playing in the large natural clouds before their first ever cloud-shifting lesson.

It was my original inspiration for the story.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was at a taekwondo tournament that my husband and I host every year in Denver. I was taking a break after checking in with all of the rings and playing on my phone/checking my e-mail. It hadn’t been expecting to find any e-mails worth reading-but I was very wrong.
It was a good day.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Does chocolate count? Chocolate anything – shakes, brownies, etc.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Does chocolate count? Chocolate anything – shakes, brownies, etc.

Q&A with Author Kathy Parks | The Lifeboat Clique Blog Tour (+ Giveaway)

Posted March 1, 2016 by Jana in Author Interview, Blog Tour, Giveaway / 5 Comments

Q&A with Author Kathy Parks | The Lifeboat Clique Blog Tour (+ Giveaway)

Happy book birthday to The Lifeboat Clique!

Welcome to my spot on the blog tour for Kathy Parks’s The Lifeboat Clique, hosted by The Irish Banana ReviewI really enjoyed The Lifeboat Clique, and am so happy to have Kathy here today to answer a few of my questions!

1. The geography of the lunchroom is a very big deal, and was discussed in The Lifeboat Clique. Which table would your high school self have sat at?

I think I would have sat at one of the Uncategorized tables. I wasn’t an outcast but not terribly popular though I remember being friendly with most people. Of course I may be remembering wrong, and ate lunch in a closet.

2. What are the top 5 things you would have wanted with you if you were stranded on that lifeboat?

Great question!

1. A pony keg full of water. And if no water is available, then tequila. Might as well enjoy myself.
2. A laptop, so I can write about various perceived injustices from the others.
3. A wide brimmed hat. I hate the feeling of getting sunburned.
4. A very long and absorbing novel to pass the time while I’m waiting to be rescued. Maybe Prince of Tides, by Pat Conroy.
5. Mrs. Field’s Chocolate chip cookies. I just know when I start hallucinating I’m going to think there are cookies in the boat. Might as well have some of those on hand.

3. What advice would you like to give the kids in the lifeboat? They are all going through physical, emotional, and mental challenges. What would you like to tell them as they are floating around in the ocean?

I’d tell them that this whole popularity thing, this important person versus unimportant person, is all an illusion, and that catastrophe should bring out your best self, because if in fact you do die, it’s better to die as a good person. I’d also encourage them not to drink seawater.

4. YA mash-up! In The Hunger Games, sponsors could send items to help the tributes survive. Let’s pretend the lifeboat clique’s journey to survival was televised, for entertainment and sponsors could help them. What item would you have sent to the lifeboat, and who would it have been for? Why? 

I think I would have sent a Ronco Pocket Fisherman so Denver wouldn’t have had to use the wire holding together her bra to make a fishhook. I know that when a girl is on a lifeboat and her bra is uncomfortable, that makes for a very long ordeal.

Thanks for the questions!

Find Kathy on Twitter and Tumblr

As my review states, I highly recommend The Lifeboat Clique! Denver is the Veronica Mars of survival, and I’m pretty sure you will love her. Read a little about the book, and make sure you enter the giveaway below!

the lifeboat cliqueThe Lifeboat Clique by Kathy Parks
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on March 1, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, survival
My Review
Add to Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | IndieBound | The Book Depository

Some people might say that Denver had a death wish. Why else would she have dared to sneak into a Malibu beach party where she’d be surrounded by enemies, namely including her ex-BFF Abigail?

Oh yeah. Croix. Denver never thought in a million years he’d ask her out, but who was she to question this miracle of fate? Well, that wasn’t the only surprise fate had in store.

During the party a tsunami hit the coast of California, wiping out everything in its path. Denver and a handful of others escaped death by holding onto the roof of the house and were swept out to sea. Of course, one of her fellow castaways was none other than Abigail, who could barely stand the sight of her.

Now that she’s floating in the ocean, stuck on a small boat with the most popular kids in school and waiting to be rescued, Denver wonders what might kill her first-dehydration, sunstroke, or the girl she used to think of as a sister?

A hilariously dark and twisted story that sparkles with a remarkably fresh voice, The Lifeboat Clique is Kathy Park’s irreverent yet insightful novel about how to survive in the most unthinkable circumstances.

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Tour Schedule

2/29: The Irish Banana Review – Review
3/1: That Artsy Reader Girl – Guest Post
3/2: Bookiemoji – Review
3/3: Andi’s ABCs – ABC Post
3/4: Novel Ink – Review
3/7: A Book & A Latte – How I Write
3/8: Reads All the Books – Review
3/9: Actin’ Up With Books – Q&A
3/10: Paperback Princess – Review
3/11: Life According to a Bibliophile – Guest Post

Debut Author Challenge 2016: March Review Link-Up

Posted March 1, 2016 by Jana in Debut Author Challenge / 0 Comments

DAC2016SWow. It’s March! February always flies by, even though this year we had an extra day! Honestly, though, I didn’t even feel the extra day. February was here and then it was gone. How are things going for you? Read any books you loved? I read and LOVED Rebel of the Sands by Alywn Hamilton, and I’m reading The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig right now! It’s fun so far! What are you reading?

Which March debut are you excited about? I’ve got my eye on A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro and Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie, both out today! There’s lots of other awesome sounding books coming out this month, so try not to go too broke! I’m amazed by how many reviews we linked up in February! That might be a record for the challenge, so keep up the great work! I will be drawing February’s winner soon, and will be in touch shortly. Have a lovely month!

Some things to remember:

– 2015 debuts no longer count for prize pack entries. They only counted in January.

– In order to get credit for your review, you must have read the book in 2016. If you read an ARC of a 2016 debut in 2015, it does not count. (I don’t want people with access to ARCs to have an advantage over those who don’t.)

– I’m here if you have any questions at all, so don’t hesitate to shoot me a message via Twitter or comment or homing pigeon.

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