Search Results for: debut dish

The Debut Dish: Rebecca Ross, Farrah Penn, Adrianne Finlay, & Deborah Schaumberg (+ Giveaways)

February 11, 2018 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 5

The Debut Dish, a bi-monthly 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 issue of The Debut Dish features Rebecca Ross (The Queen’s Rising), Farrah Penn (Twelve Steps to Normal), Adrianne Finlay (Your One & Only), and Deborah Schaumberg (The Tombs).


The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross
February 6, 2018 from HarperTeen
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When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.

Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.

Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.

With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?

Describe your book in five words or less.
Girls overthrowing kings.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene is a HUGE spoiler, so I’ll go with my second favorite, which is when Brienna is about to ride out into battle. There is this moment of peace that comes over her, even though she doesn’t know what’s about to unfold. We truly see her transform from an uncertain young girl into a brave woman dressed in armor who is about to wage war.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I had just clocked out at work and was walking to my car in the parking lot when my agent texted me, asking if she could call me. I was like, YES, call me! And then I sat in my car and waited a moment for that phone call, thinking I probably shouldn’t attempt to drive just yet. So I was sitting in my car when it happened :)

What’s your favorite junk food?
I have a terrible weakness for Sour Patch Kids.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A jar of Kombucha. I drink this nearly every day.

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Twelve Steps to Normal by Farrah Penn
March 13, 2018 from JIMMY Patterson Books/Little, Brown
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James Patterson presents this emotionally resonant novel that shows that while some broken things can’t be put back exactly the way they were, they can be repaired and made even stronger.

Kira’s Twelve Steps To A Normal Life

1. Accept Grams is gone.
2. Learn to forgive Dad.
3. Steal back ex-boyfriend from best friend…

And somewhere between 1 and 12, realize that when your parent’s an alcoholic, there’s no such thing as “normal.”
When Kira’s father enters rehab, she’s forced to leave everything behind–her home, her best friends, her boyfriend…everything she loves. Now her father’s sober (again) and Kira is returning home, determined to get her life back to normal…exactly as it was before she was sent away.

But is that what Kira really wants?

Life, love, and loss come crashing together in this visceral, heartfelt story by BuzzFeed writer Farrah Penn about a girl who struggles to piece together the shards of her once-normal life before his alcoholism tore it apart.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Love, loss, and repairing relationships.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
Oh man, I am a big fan of kissing scenes. My book is set during the school year, and one character is working on building an enormous Audrey II puppet for the upcoming musical, Little Shop of Horrors. This might be a mild spoiler, but there’s a kissing scene that happens inside the giant Audrey II that was fun and swoony to write.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I’d left work on my lunch break to run an errand and my agent called me when I was driving. I pulled over into a gas station after she told me the news because I was so shocked and overwhelmed with excitement. I think I kept repeating, “What? Oh my god!” That lunch break lasted longer than I intended because I also had to immediately call my mom and sister—but I don’t think anyone at work noticed, haha.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Pirate’s Booty, cheddar cheese and Wheat Thins, Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt Carmel, warm chocolate chip cookies are all tied for first place.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Pencils that have food puns written on the side and a coffee mug that says “Luke’s Diner” on the front. (I love Gilmore Girls)

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Your One & Only by Adrianne Finlay
February 6, 2018 from HMH Books for Young Readers
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Jack is a walking fossil. The only human among a sea of clones. It’s been hundreds of years since humanity died off in the slow plague, leaving the clones behind to carry on human existence. Over time they’ve perfected their genes, moving further away from the imperfections of humanity. But if they really are perfect, why did they create Jack?

While Jack longs for acceptance, Althea-310 struggles with the feeling that she’s different from her sisters. Her fascination with Jack doesn’t help. As Althea and Jack’s connection grows stronger, so does the threat to their lives. What will happen if they do the unthinkable and fall in love?

Describe your book in five words or less.
The future, clones, love, humanity

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
This is a tough question! Some of my favorite scenes give a bit too much away and would probably be called spoiler-y, so I’ll choose the scene where Althea-310 and Jack kiss. It’s not a first kiss for either of them, and their past experiences make them wary for different reasons, but they’re still willing to risk their emotions. It’s complicated for both of them, but I love the way Jack handles his need to be cautious.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
In a home improvement store near a display of sinks. It felt pretty random, but a lot of the time big news feels that way regardless of where you are when you hear it.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Potato chips with french onion dip. Crispy, salty, creamy–what else could you want? I can’t have it in the house or it’ll be gone and I’ll have regrets.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A shrimp bubble. It’s a glass globe self-contained ecosystem with 5 little shrimp swimming around in it. It’s the best I can manage for a pet, only because it requires zero effort on my part.


The Tombs by Deborah Schaumberg
February 20, 2018 from HarperTeen
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Gangs of New York meets Cassandra Clare in this debut YA fantasy set in 1882 Brooklyn

New York, 1882. A dark, forbidding city, and no place for a girl with unexplainable powers.

Sixteen-year-old Avery Kohl pines for the life she had before her mother was taken. She fears the mysterious men in crow masks who locked her mother in the Tombs asylum for being able to see what others couldn’t. Avery denies the signs in herself, focusing instead on her shifts at the ironworks factory and keeping her inventor father out of trouble. Other than secondhand tales of adventure from her best friend, Khan, an ex-slave, and caring for her falcon, Seraphine, Avery spends her days struggling to survive.

Like her mother’s, Avery’s powers refuse to be contained. When she causes a bizarre explosion at the factory, she has no choice but to run from her lies, straight into the darkest corners of the city. Avery must embrace her abilities and learn to wield their power—or join her mother in the cavernous horrors of the Tombs. And the Tombs has secrets of its own: strange experiments are being performed on “patients”…and no one knows why.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Aura seers – sinister underground asylum.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
So hard to choose, especially without spoilers! There are two that come to mind – one where Avery and her drunk father reminisce about a happier time before her mother was taken. And another when Avery stumbles upon a greenhouse in The Tombs, an enchanting place inhabited by one of my favorite characters.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
Wednesday, 3/16/16 at 5:09 pm. I was home, after a long, very ordinary day. I checked my email and the day became magical! My agent informed me that Kristen Pettit at Harper Collins was prepared to make an offer; but she wanted to speak with me first! After an agonizing, jumping-out-of-my-skin, two-day wait, we talked on the phone, and our vision of the book was in perfect alignment! She said she would make the offer! Needles to say, my family and I celebrated that Friday night!

What’s your favorite junk food?
Ice cream, especially anything chocolatey and peanut-buttery! I can eat it every night.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Hmmm…what’s not odd on my desk? I tend to collect odd things! Right now there is a vertebrae of some animal, fossils, crystals, used bullet cartridges, a naked troll doll from my childhood…I could go on.


The Debut Dish: Jaime Questell & A.M. Rose (+ Giveaways)

February 4, 2018 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 4

The Debut Dish, a bi-monthly 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 issue of The Debut Dish features Jaime Questell (By a Charm and a Curse) and A.M. Rose (Road to Eugenica).


By a Charm and a Curse by Jaime Questell
February 6, 2018 from Entangled Teen
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Le Grand’s Carnival Fantastic isn’t like other traveling circuses. It’s bound by a charm, held together by a centuries-old curse, that protects its members from ever growing older or getting hurt. Emmaline King is drawn to the circus like a moth to a flame…and unwittingly recruited into its folds by a mysterious teen boy whose kiss is as cold as ice.

Forced to travel through Texas as the new Girl in the Box, Emmaline is completely trapped. Breaking the curse seems like her only chance at freedom, but with no curse, there’s no charm, either—dooming everyone who calls the Carnival Fantastic home. Including the boy she’s afraid she’s falling for.

Everything—including his life—could end with just one kiss.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Girl must escape cursed carnival.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
So I figured that living with a traveling carnival means that sometimes you have to make your own entertainment. There’s a bit where while the whole troupe is stopped to get gas, one of the teen equestrians, nicknamed Whiskey, starts a game that equal parts tag and food fight with some mini doughnuts. I loved letting these characters have some fun, not to mention Whiskey’s dialogue was •always• fun to write.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was in the car (Bluetooth for the win!), by myself and certain I was going to be pulled over for freaking out. Luckily I almost immediately came to a red light so I was able to get it together.

What’s your favorite junk food?
I have to pick a favorite?! This is hard, but I think I have to say good, old-fashioned chocolate chip cookies. I make them with the best chocolate I can get and add an extra cup of flour to the classic Toll House recipe so they don’t spread everywhere and •chef kiss• Best. Cookies. Ever.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A friend of mine gave me one of those unicorn hand puppets, where you put a hoof on four of your fingers/thumb and the head on the remaining finger. The problem is, the hooves and head never stay together, so there’s a hoof here, a severed unicorn head here…I’ve had some really confused colleagues in my office. :D

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Road to Eugenica by A.M. Rose
February 5, 2018 from Entangled Teen
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Two dimensions – And the girl who connects them.

Yesterday, Drea Smith couldn’t do anything spectacular—even walking and texting at the same time was a challenge. But today, she suddenly has more answers than Google, can speak and understand numerous languages, and she can fight. Like a boss.

Super freaky.

Drea has no idea where her encyclopedic knowledge has come from, but she’ll take it when she discovers someone out there knows her secret and wants her badly. And that they’ve been searching for her since she was born.

Since she was created.

With the help of her best friend Dylan, who just wants to keep her safe, and Maddox, a mysterious new boy who is prepared to get her answers, Drea will have to push her new skills to their limit as she uncovers nothing is quite what it seems.

As she uncovers…Eugenica.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Yikes! This is tough… I guess I would say,

Two worlds. Too many secrets.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
Phew. I’m glad I get more than five words for this one, otherwise I think it would be impossible. (LOL) I think my favorite scene(s) are Drea interacting with her Dad. He’s such an integral part of her life and they have such a strong relationship that it’s just nice to get to see her be herself. Especially when nothing in her life turns out to be normal.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I remember I was sitting at my kitchen table going through emails when I got to one from Entangled Teen saying they wanted my book. At first I think I was in shock. I had just gone from winning the NJWR Put Your Heart in a Book contest, to being asked for a full from an Entangled Editor, to an offer of publication. I didn’t even have time to query before this deal came in.

There might have been some screaming too, I can’t remember exactly. It’s all kind of a blur. But I do know my friend brought over some champagne to celebrate with me.

What’s your favorite junk food?
It’s a toss up between ice cream and chips. Depending on if I want something salty or sweet. Maybe I should try mixing them together sometime. (Maybe not.)

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
My desk lately is my couch (since I am recovering from surgery) so there’s everything from stuffed animals, blankets, sleeping cats, a stack of books, and snacks. All within reach of course.

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The Debut Dish: Claire Kann, Gloria Chao, C. V. Wyk, & Jackie Yeager (+ Giveaways)

January 28, 2018 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 6

The Debut Dish, a bi-monthly 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 issue of The Debut Dish features Claire Kann (Let’s Talk About Love), Gloria Chao (American Panda), C. V. Wyk (Blood and Sand), and Jackie Yeager (Spin the Golden Light Bulb).


Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann
January 23, 2018 from Swoon Reads
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Alice had her whole summer planned. Non-stop all-you-can-eat buffets while marathoning her favorite TV shows (best friends totally included) with the smallest dash of adulting–working at the library to pay her share of the rent. The only thing missing from her perfect plan? Her girlfriend (who ended things when Alice confessed she’s asexual). Alice is done with dating–no thank you, do not pass go, stick a fork in her, done.

But then Alice meets Takumi and she can’t stop thinking about him or the rom com-grade romance feels she did not ask for (uncertainty, butterflies, and swoons, oh my!).

When her blissful summer takes an unexpected turn, and Takumi becomes her knight with a shiny library employee badge (close enough), Alice has to decide if she’s willing to risk their friendship for a love that might not be reciprocated—or understood.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Alice meets Takumi. Chaos ensues.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
I really like the scene where Alice and Takumi have a Wallow session à la The Gilmore Girls. It involves junk food, horror movies, and onesies.

Bonus answer: Any scene with Alice and her best friend, Feenie.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was at work! Sitting at my desk, minding my own merry business, and I got an email. I wrote a blog post about The Experience here.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Pizza!

Fun fact: Pizza is also Takumi’s favorite food. Chicago deep dish style with a pound of cheese on top.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Probably my Edward Cullen Funko pop. He’s joined by Gerard Way (The Black Parade era), She-Hulk, and Voldemort.

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American Panda by Gloria Chao
February 6, 2018 by Simon Pulse
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An incisive, laugh-out-loud contemporary debut about a Taiwanese-American teen whose parents want her to be a doctor and marry a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer despite her squeamishness with germs and crush on a Japanese classmate.

At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents’ master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can’t bring herself to tell them the truth–that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.

But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?

Describe your book in five words or less.
Taiwanese-American teen defies parental expectations.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene in the book is toward the end and involves spoilers, so I will instead discuss my second favorite scene, which is the first chapter. The opening hasn’t changed much since the first draft, and the conversations between the parents and Mei, the main character, perfectly sum up what one of my conversations with my traditional Taiwanese parents look like. And yes, all those things the mother says, like, “There are no ugly women, only lazy women,” are true.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was on my way out the door to meet my husband for dinner when my agent called me to tell me about our offer. I remember keeping my composure on the call, but the second I hung up, I began bawling. Like with all news, I told my husband first (and we jumped up and down for a little while), then my parents.

What’s your favorite junk food?
I am a total chocoholic, and it can come in any form. Never met a piece of chocolate I didn’t love!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A plush tofu that was made to be a cell phone holder, but with the advent of larger smart phones, it has transitioned into holding my Bluetooth.

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Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk
January 16, 2018 from Tor Teen
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FORGED IN BATTLE…
FROM THE DUST OF THE ARENA…
A LEGEND WILL RISE

The action-packed tale of a 17-year-old warrior princess and a handsome gladiator who dared take on the Roman Republic―and gave rise to the legend of Spartacus…

For teens who love strong female protagonists in their fantasy and historical fiction, Blood and Sand is a stirring, yet poignant tale of two slaves who dared take on an empire by talented debut author C. V. Wyk.

Roma Victrix. The Republic of Rome is on a relentless march to create an empire―an empire built on the backs of the conquered, brought back to Rome as slaves.

Attia was once destined to rule as the queen and swordmaiden of Thrace, the greatest warrior kingdom the world had seen since Sparta. Now she is a slave, given to Xanthus, the Champion of Rome, as a sign of his master’s favor. Enslaved as a child, Xanthus is the preeminent gladiator of his generation.

Against all odds, Attia and Xanthus form a tentative bond. A bond that will spark a rebellion. A rebellion that threatens to bring the Roman Republic to its end―and gives rise to the legend of Spartacus…

Describe your book in five words or less.
I am Spartacus.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
The scenes featuring Xanthus and his blood-brothers were the most fun to write. Their banter and easy way with each other made me smile or smirk or snort every time, especially the scene where Iduma fights while eating hah!

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was at home playing Guild Wars 2 and trying to clear a dungeon with my party when I got The Call. I got tangled up in my headphones and fell off my chair. (The folks in the apartment downstairs came up to ask if we were okay…)

What’s your favorite junk food?
Spicy Cheetos. Whole bag. One sitting. Yes, please.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Pajama pants…Look, wearing pants at home is totally overrated, ok? All about that sartorial freedom.

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Spin the Golden Light Bulb by Jackie Yeager
January 9, 2018 from Amberjack Publishing
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It’s the year 2071 and eleven year-old Kia Krumpet is determined to build her 67 inventions, but she won’t have the opportunity to unless she earns a spot at PIPS, the Piedmont Inventor’s Prep School. Kia, who has trouble making friends at school, has dreamed of winning the Piedmont Challenge and attending PIPS ever since she learned that her Grandma Kitty won the very first Piedmont Challenge. After she and four of her classmates are selected to compete for a spot at PIPS, they travel by aero-bus to Camp Piedmont to solve a task against forty-nine other state teams to earn their place at the best inventor’s school in the country.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Oh I guess I’d have to say: imaginative, inventive, competitive, heartbreaking, and heartwarming.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
There’s a heartbreaking scene between eleven year-old Kia Krumpet and her Grandma Kitty that was particularly difficult to write. It’s a scene where I hope to show the moment in a child’s life when he or she realizes that a family member (like a parent or grandparent) is not perfect—that moment when that illusion is shattered. It happens to every child at some point in their life and can be a defining moment for them. And it’s one of my favorites!

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was home alone in my bedroom ready to fold laundry! My phone was sitting on my dresser when I heard the ding. It was my agent telling me that I had an offer! Of course I didn’t have all the details at that moment, and I didn’t know if we would accept, but at that point I knew someone wanted my story and if everything worked out, it would be published. I literally broke into tears!

What’s your favorite junk food?
That’s easy! Baked goods. I love snickerdoodle cookies, coffee cake, sweet rolls, muffins, donuts…all of it!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Well, I have a broken hour glass sitting on it right now! The glass broke out of it so it’s basically a wooden frame. I have plans to spray paint a light bulb gold and place it inside- to make it look like a golden light bulb trophy in honor of my first published book. It will either turn into the coolest thing ever or a mess. We’ll see!


The Debut Dish: Joanna Ruth Meyer, Rachel Lynn Solomon, Lianne Oelke, & Ben Guterson (+ Giveaway)

January 14, 2018 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 9

The Debut Dish, a bi-monthly 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 issue of The Debut Dish features Joanna Ruth Meyer (Beneath the Haunting Sea), Rachel Lynn Solomon (You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone), Lianne Oelke (Nice Try, Jane Sinner), and Ben Guterson (Winterhouse).


Beneath the Haunting Sea by Joanna Ruth Meyer
January 9, 2018 from Page Street
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Sixteen-year-old Talia was born to a life of certainty and luxury, destined to become Empress of half the world. But when an ambitious rival seizes power, she and her mother are banished to a nowhere province on the far edge of the Northern Sea.

It is here, in the drafty halls of the Ruen-Dahr, that Talia discovers family secrets, a melancholy boy with a troubling vision of her future, and a relic that holds the power of an ancient Star. On these shores, the eerie melody of the sea is stronger than ever, revealing long-forgotten tales of the Goddess Rahn. The more dark truths that Talia unravels about the gods’ history—and her own—the more the waves call to her, and it may be her destiny to answer.

Describe your book in five words or less.
The Silmarillion meets Jane Austen!

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene is actually the epilogue, but I can’t tell you about that because SPOILERS. One of my other favorite scenes is when Talia arrives at the Ruen-Dahr, the dreary, mysterious mansion she’s banished to, and meets Wen. He’s shocked to see her, and things go badly!

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
The initial interest from my publisher came in June 2016—I was checking my email at a stoplight (as you do), and found a note from my agent with Page’s inquiry as to wether SEA was still available. There were other moments leading up to the actual offer, but that’s what started it all!

What’s your favorite junk food?
Oreo cookies. Double stuff, or don’t bother. :D

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Currently I do a lot of writing *not* at my desk—right now, for example, I have my laptop on the floor. To the left is my 5.5 month old son, to the right my cat! Does that count? ;)


You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon
January 2, 2018 from Simon Pulse
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Eighteen-year-old twins Adina and Tovah have little in common besides their ambitious nature. Viola prodigy Adina yearns to become a soloist—and to convince her music teacher he wants her the way she wants him. Overachiever Tovah awaits her acceptance to Johns Hopkins, the first step on her path toward med school and a career as a surgeon.

But one thing could wreck their carefully planned futures: a genetic test for Huntington’s, a rare degenerative disease that slowly steals control of the body and mind. It’s turned their Israeli mother into a near stranger and fractured the sisters’ own bond in ways they’ll never admit. While Tovah finds comfort in their Jewish religion, Adina rebels against its rules.

When the results come in, one twin tests negative for Huntington’s. The other tests positive.

These opposite outcomes push them farther apart as they wrestle with guilt, betrayal, and the unexpected thrill of first love. How can they repair their relationship, and is it even worth saving?

From debut author Rachel Lynn Solomon comes a luminous, heartbreaking tale of life, death, and the fragile bond between sisters.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Twin sisters with opposite fates.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
Hmm…most of them are spoilers! I’ll go with this one: there’s a scene about 1/4 into the book where the twin protagonists are on a weekend trip to Canada with their parents. They haven’t been speaking much (for many reasons), and they’re both tiptoeing around each other. In the hotel room, one of them turns on the TV, which is playing a cheesy movie they used to like when they were younger. They start making fun of it, tentatively at first because they’re not sure how the other will react, and slowly slip back into something resembling friendship. It’s a fleeting moment — they’ll have to go through many more obstacles and dig much deeper before they can resolve all their issues — but a very sweet one, I think.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I work from home, and I was on a conference call when my agent called me. I saw her area code, freaked out, and let the phone go to voicemail. When I listened, she said to call her back asap, and after I learned we had an offer and danced a little with my dog, I had to hop on another conference call. I remember IMing one of my coworkers about what happened, and she told me to get off the conference call right away and go celebrate, which I did!

What’s your favorite junk food?
Lately I’ve been obsessed with these one-minute chocolate mug cakes from the baking aisle of the grocery store — you add milk, zap them in the microwave, and voila, a perfect little cake.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A landline.

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Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke
January 9, 2018 by Clarion Books
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The only thing 17-year-old Jane Sinner hates more than failure is pity. After a personal crisis and her subsequent expulsion from high school, she’s going nowhere fast. Jane’s well-meaning parents push her to attend a high school completion program at the nearby Elbow River Community College, and she agrees, on one condition: she gets to move out.

Jane tackles her housing problem by signing up for House of Orange, a student-run reality show that is basically Big Brother, but for Elbow River Students. Living away from home, the chance to win a car (used, but whatever), and a campus full of people who don’t know what she did in high school… what more could she want? Okay, maybe a family that understands why she’d rather turn to Freud than Jesus to make sense of her life, but she’ll settle for fifteen minutes in the proverbial spotlight.

As House of Orange grows from a low-budget web series to a local TV show with fans and shoddy T-shirts, Jane finally has the chance to let her cynical, competitive nature thrive. She’ll use her growing fan base, and whatever Intro to Psychology can teach her, to prove to the world—or at least viewers of substandard TV—that she has what it takes to win.

Describe your book in five words or less.
College, reality TV, angst, snark.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
There’s this one challenge in the reality show HOUSE OF ORANGE where Jane and her competitors have to live inside a van. Last person left wins. Jane spends days- DAYS- inside that van, with pretty much the worst character I’ve ever written. It’s disgusting and uncomfortable and kind of hilarious.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was at work when my agent called to say I had an offer. I was kind of in shock. I pretty much pretended nothing happened as no one I worked with knew I wrote a book! I definitely had celebratory beers with my boyfriend that night, though.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Caramel popcorn. Or salt and vinegar chips!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
An engraved, gold plated fidget spinner that my sister gave to me for being in her bridal party.


Winterhouse by Ben Guterson
January 2, 2018 from Henry Holt & Co. Books for Young Readers
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An enchanting urban fantasy middle-grade debut―the first book in a trilogy―set in a magical hotel full of secrets.

Orphan Elizabeth Somers’s malevolent aunt and uncle ship her off to the ominous Winterhouse Hotel, owned by the peculiar Norbridge Falls. Upon arrival, Elizabeth quickly discovers that Winterhouse has many charms―most notably its massive library. It’s not long before she locates a magical book of puzzles that will unlock a mystery involving Norbridge and his sinister family. But the deeper she delves into the hotel’s secrets, the more Elizabeth starts to realize that she is somehow connected to Winterhouse. As fate would have it, Elizabeth is the only person who can break the hotel’s curse and solve the mystery. But will it be at the cost of losing the people she has come to care for, and even Winterhouse itself?

Mystery, adventure, and beautiful writing combine in this exciting debut richly set in a hotel full of secrets.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Heroine discovers a magical book.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
I enjoy a scene early in the novel when my main character, Elizabeth Somers, explores the vast library inside the lavish Winterhouse Hotel, which is where she is staying over the Christmas holiday. I love the winter season, I love enormous lodges and mansions, and I love libraries, of course; so it was fun to write about a character who is drawn, mysteriously, to a strange book seemingly forgotten on a shelf in a quiet room.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was at work. I quit about three months later.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Every so often, a hamburger from Dick’s Drive-In in Seattle really hits the spot. If that doesn’t officially qualify as junk food, I’ll go with an Almond Joy candy bar–I really love those.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Very little that might qualify as “odd” on my desk right now–unless postage stamps are odd. I do have “Puzzle No. 3444,” a cryptic crossword torn from the last page of a magazine to which I subscribe. I love cryptic crosswords and have a folder of them I’ve been filling for years.


The Debut Dish: Laura Creedle (+ Giveaway)

December 10, 2017 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 5

The Debut Dish, a bi-monthly 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 final issue of 2017 The Debut Dish features Laura Creedle (The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily).

Sign up for the 2018 Debut Author Challenge!


The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily by Laura Creedle
December 26, 2017 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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When Lily Michaels-Ryan ditches her ADHD meds and lands in detention with Abelard, who has Asperger’s, she’s intrigued—Abelard seems thirty seconds behind, while she feels thirty seconds ahead. It doesn’t hurt that he’s brilliant and beautiful.

When Abelard posts a quote from The Letters of Abelard and Heloise online, their mutual affinity for ancient love letters connects them. The two fall for each other. Hard. But is it enough to bridge their differences in person?

This hilarious, heartbreaking story of human connection between two neurodivergent teens creates characters that will stay with you long after you finish reading.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Neurodivergent smart romance. ADHD, ASD.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
When Abelard finally texts Lily, he sends her quotes from The Letters of Abelard and Heloise. He knows she’s read it. He texts, “I have wit enough to write a letter and hope that you would permit my absent self to entertain you.” Lily figures out it’s from the book. She sends her sister Iris running through the house to find their dad’s copy of the book. She finds the perfect quote to text back, and their romance begins in a flush of word-borne feels.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
Home. My agent sent me an e-mail with two words: call me. My editor, Margaret Raymo wanted to pre-empt. It didn’t take long to say yes.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Phish food by Ben and Jerry’s. It’s like candy and ice-cream and marshmallow rolled into one caloric explosion of deliciousness. Plus, it has fish shaped chocolates. Who doesn’t love non-aquatic food shaped like fish?

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A magnetic Sylvia Plath finger puppet. When my brother found out my novel was going to be published, he sent me a box of literary finger puppets. Dickens is on the side of the fridge. I’ve lost the rest.

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The Debut Dish: Anna Priemaza, Amy Giles, & Dave Connis (+ Giveaways)

November 26, 2017 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 3

The Debut Dish, a bi-monthly 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 issue of The Debut Dish features Anna Priemaza (Kat and Meg Conquer the World), Amy Giles (Now is Everything), and Dave Connis (The Temptation of Adam).

Sign up for the 2018 Debut Author Challenge!


Kat and Meg Conquer the World by Anna Priemaza
November 7, 2017 from HarperTeen
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Kat and Meg couldn’t be more different. Kat’s anxiety makes it hard for her to talk to people. Meg hates being alone, but her ADHD keeps pushing people away. But when the two girls are thrown together for a year-long science project, they discover they do have one thing in common: They’re both obsessed with the same online gaming star and his hilarious videos.

It might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship—if they don’t kill each other first.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Gamer girl BFFs, anxiety, ADHD.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favourite* scene in the book is told entirely through the chat log of Legends of the Stone, Kat and Meg’s favourite video game. The two of them have logged on to play together for the very first time with one of Kat’s friends on her server, and chaos and hilarity ensues! It was so much fun to write.

*I’m Canadian. We include the letter “u” in everything.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was at home, in our board game room. (I almost wrote dining room, because in most people’s houses, that’s what it would be. But we’ve covered the walls in shelves and filled those shelves with board games–hundreds of them–and we picked the big table in the middle specifically with board gaming in mind.) I paced back and forth in front of our shelves and shelves of board games and cried many happy tears as my agent gave me the news.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Mars bars. It’s a chocolate bar we have in Canada that has nougat, caramel, and chocolate, and it’s sooooooooo delicious. I was horrified to learn that it’s not sold widely in the United States. Americans, I am very sorry for your country.

Also, birthday cake ice cream with cookie dough, brownies, strawberries, and raspberries mixed into it.

Also, melon ball frozen yogurt.

Also, dill pickle popcorn.

Also… I suppose I should stop now.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Fidget balls. They’re tiny, rubbery, spiky balls that look sort of like tiny hedgehogs. I have dermatillomania, aka skin picking disorder, which is an anxiety based compulsive disorder related to OCD, and which means I tend to pick uncontrollably at my skin until it bleeds. The fidget balls sometimes help me to pick at or play with something else instead.


Now is Everything by Amy Giles
November 7, 2017 from HarperTeen
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The McCauleys look perfect on the outside. But nothing is ever as it seems, and this family is hiding a dark secret.

Hadley McCauley will do anything to keep her sister safe from their father. But when Hadley’s forbidden relationship with Charlie Simmons deepens, the violence at home escalates, culminating in an explosive accident that will leave everyone changed.

When Hadley attempts to take her own life at the hospital post-accident, her friends, doctors, family, and the investigator on the case want to know why. Only Hadley knows what really happened that day, and she’s not talking.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Suspense, hope, sisters, plane crash

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
One of my favorite scenes is when I introduce Hadley and Lila’s relationship, two sisters hanging out together. Lila lost another molar and Hadley wants to know if Lila will bankroll her with some of that extra money coming in from the tooth fairy. It’s goofy and yet sweet and (I hope!) shows why Hadley will do whatever it takes to protect her little sister.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was putting my shoes on to go out to dinner when my agent called from her cell phone. I didn’t recognize her number at first, so it took me longer than it should have to catch on. I think I said, “Huh? Okay? Are you kidding me? Really?” My family figured it out before I did and started jumping up and down around me. I ended up calling my agent the next morning to ask her to explain it all over again.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Chocolate, just about any kind. Though I once bit into a chocolate covered jalapeño and I did not care for it. Not one bit.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A thermometer. I have a stomach bug. (Is that weird or just plain sad? I’m not sure.)

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The Temptation of Adam by Dave Connis
November 21, 2017 from Sky Pony Press
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Adam Hawthorne is fine.

Yeah, his mother left, his older sister went with her, and his dad would rather read Nicholas Sparks novels than talk to him. And yeah, he spends his nights watching self-curated porn video playlists.

But Adam is fine.

When a family friend discovers Adam’s porn addiction, he’s forced to join an addiction support group: the self-proclaimed Knights of Vice. He goes because he has to, but the honesty of the Knights starts to slip past his defenses. Combine that with his sister’s out-of-the-blue return and the attention of a girl he meets in an AA meeting, and all the work Adam has put into being fine begins to unravel.

Now Adam has to face the causes and effects of his addiction, before he loses his new friends, his prodigal sister, and his almost semi-sort-of girlfriend.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Deep wounds heal the brightest.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
There’s a scene in TOA where Adam and his sister, Addy, have a fight in the car. Adam lets slip something he’d been holding onto for a long time and Addy is forced to deal with it. The emotion of that moment, as well as how the two handle it always grabs my heart.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
On a ladder scraping popcorn ceiling off a house my wife and I just closed on.

What’s your favorite junk food?
GOLDFISH. QUESO. GOLDFISH. QUESO. GOLDFISH.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A Darth Vader alarm clock.

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The Debut Dish: Nikki Katz, Caitlin Sangster, & Tristina Wright (+ Giveaway)

October 22, 2017 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 3

The Debut Dish, a bi-monthly 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 issue of The Debut Dish features Nikki Katz (The Midnight Dance), Caitlin Sangster (Last Star Burning), and Tristina Wright (27 Hours).


The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz
October 17, 2017 from Swoon Reads
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When the music stops, the dance begins.

Seventeen-year-old Penny is a lead dancer at the Grande Teatro, a finishing school where she and eleven other young women are training to become the finest ballerinas in Italy. Tucked deep into the woods, the school is overseen by the mysterious and handsome young Master who keeps the girls ensconced in the estate – and in the only life Penny has never known.

But when flashes of memories, memories of a life very different from the one she thinks she’s been leading, start to appear, Penny begins to question the Grand Teatro and the motivations of the Master. With a kind and attractive kitchen boy, Cricket, at her side, Penny vows to escape the confines of her school and the strict rules that dictate every step she takes. But at every turn, the Master finds a way to stop her, and Penny must find a way to escape the school and uncover the secrets of her past before it’s too late.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Gothic, historical, retelling.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
This is such a tough one. It’s like choosing which of my three kids is my favorite! Two of my favorite scenes are actually cut from the published version of the novel, but one of my favorites is the first time Penny and Cricket kiss. Which is really funny, as I do not consider myself a romance author whatsoever! In the first couple of drafts, their first kiss came later in the novel, but I enjoyed rewriting it and setting it where it now takes place. Another favorite (see I can’t choose!) is the fight scene at the end of the novel. Fight scenes are my favorite to write.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was at home and got an email from Swoon Reads saying they wanted to schedule a call. I had a feeling that it had to be good news! Then I was home when we had the discussion and they said they wanted to publish my novel as part of the current round.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Candy. Any type but usually a gummi or jelly bean kind!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A voodoo doll that my critique partner and very VERY good friend, Demetra Brodsky, gave me for my last birthday after her trip to New Orleans!

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Last Star Burning by Caitlin Sangster
October 10, 2017 from Simon Pulse
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Sev is branded with the mark of a criminal—a star burned into her hand. That’s the penalty for being the daughter of the woman who betrayed their entire nation.

Now her mother’s body is displayed above Traitor’s Arch, kept in a paralyzed half sleep by the same plague that destroyed the rest of the world. And as further punishment, Sev is forced to do hard labor to prove that she’s more valuable alive than dead.

When the government blames Sev for a horrific bombing, she must escape the city or face the chopping block. Unimaginable dangers lurk outside the city walls, and Sev’s only hope of survival lies with the most unlikely person—Howl, the chairman’s son. Though he promises to lead her to safety, Howl has secrets, and Sev can’t help but wonder if he knows more about her past—and her mother’s crimes—than he lets on.

But in a hostile world, trust is a luxury. Even when Sev’s life and the lives of everyone she loves may hang in the balance.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Chinese dystopian sleeping beauty adaptation.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
I think my favorite scene in the book is near the beginning: Sev, the main character is hiding from something scary with Howl, and he tells her a story about the stars in order to distract her.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was sitting in my kitchen, feeding my children french toast.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Kettle-cooked potato chips. With no weird flavorings!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A terracotta warrior themed chess set.


27 Hours by Tristina Wright
October 3, 2017 from Entangled Teen
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Rumor Mora fears two things: hellhounds too strong for him to kill, and failure. Jude Welton has two dreams: for humans to stop killing monsters, and for his strange abilities to vanish.

But in no reality should a boy raised to love monsters fall for a boy raised to kill them.

Nyx Llorca keeps two secrets: the moon speaks to her, and she’s in love with Dahlia, her best friend. Braeden Tennant wants two things: to get out from his mother’s shadow, and to unlearn Epsilon’s darkest secret.

They’ll both have to commit treason to find the truth.

During one twenty-seven-hour night, if they can’t stop the war between the colonies and the monsters from becoming a war of extinction, the things they wish for will never come true, and the things they fear will be all that’s left.

27 Hours is a sweeping, thrilling story featuring a stellar cast of queer teenagers battling to save their homes and possibly every human on Sahara as the clock ticks down to zero.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Queer teens in space.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
When Rumor and Braeden out-banter each other and bring down a massive dragon threatening their home.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
Washing dishes!

What’s your favorite junk food?
Donuts.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A headless Cinderella doll (my kids broke it, don’t judge me)


The Debut Dish: Lisa Rosinsky & Gwen C. Katz (+ Giveaway)

October 8, 2017 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 4

The Debut Dish, a bi-monthly 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 issue of The Debut Dish features Lisa Rosinsky (Inevitable and Only) and Gwen Katz (Among the Red Stars).


Inevitable and Only by Lisa Rosinsky
October 10, 2017 from Boyds Mills Press
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What if you suddenly found out you had a sister . . . and she took over your life?Cadie is close to her father. They are so much alike—same temperament, sense of humor, and love for the theater—and Dad always knows how to comfort her . . . until the day he announces that he has another daughter. Suddenly, Cadie has a sister, Elizabeth—a sister who is six months older than her, a sister who is about to move in with them, a sister whose very existence means that Cadie’s beloved father cheated on her mother when they were already married. What other secrets might he have? Can she still trust him? Does Cadie really know her father at all? And when Elizabeth arrives, Cadie’s worst fears come true. Elizabeth looks just like Dad; not only that, she seems all too perfect. Until she begins stealing Cadie’s place in the family and even Cadie’s one true love . . . But Elizabeth has secrets of her own. This deeply emotional coming-of-age story explores the choices you make when your family—and your life—changes overnight. Are these choices the inevitable and only ones? And will they ultimately bring your family back together or push you further apart?

Describe your book in five words or less.
Secrets, sisters, and Shakespeare.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
This is tough! I loved writing the scene where my main character, Acadia, starts falling for her co-star during auditions for her high school production of Much Ado About Nothing (though she doesn’t realize it yet). They have instant chemistry onstage while speaking Beatrice and Benedick’s lines. I’m a huge Shakespeare and theater nerd, and that scene just wrote itself!

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
Sitting outside a coffee shop on a beautiful warm day in June, about to go teach a creative writing class at Boston University. I couldn’t tell my students that same night because it was still confidential–hardest secret I’ve ever had to keep!

What’s your favorite junk food?
Berger cookies–a Baltimore specialty. It’s a thin, soft vanilla cookie hiding under a whopping helping of fudge.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A large hyacinth plant named Helga and a tiny succulent named Sharon. Look, I get lonely when I write, and I need someone to tell all my terrible jokes to!

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Among the Red Stars by Gwen C. Katz
October 3, 2017 from HarperTeen
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World War Two has shattered Valka’s homeland of Russia, and Valka is determined to help the effort. She knows her skills as a pilot rival the best of the men, so when an all-female aviation group forms, Valka is the first to sign up.

Flying has always meant freedom and exhilaration for Valka, but dropping bombs on German soldiers from a fragile canvas biplane is no joyride. The war is taking its toll on everyone, including the boy Valka grew up with, who is fighting for his life on the front lines.

As the war intensifies and those around her fall, Valka must decide how much she is willing to risk to defend the skies she once called home.

Inspired by the true story of the airwomen the Nazis called Night Witches, Gwen C. Katz weaves a tale of strength and sacrifice, learning to fight for yourself, and the perils of a world at war.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Teen girls fly in WWII!

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
Action scenes! I love all the scenes where I got to write dogfights and “dangerous tricks in the air.”

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
Walking home from the library, which is somewhat apropos.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Candy. It’s my weakness.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A habitrail tube.


The Debut Dish: Lana Popović, Chelsea Bobulski, Rebecca Barrow, & S.F. Henson (+ Giveaways)

September 24, 2017 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 4

The Debut Dish, a bi-monthly 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 issue of The Debut Dish features Lana Popovic (Wicked Like a Wildfire), Chelsea Bobulski (The Wood), Rebecca Barrow (You Don’t Know Me But I Know You), and S.F. Henson (Devils Within).


Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popović
August 15, 2017 from Katherine Tegen Books
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All the women in Iris and Malina’s family have the unique magical ability or “gleam” to manipulate beauty. Iris sees flowers as fractals and turns her kaleidoscope visions into glasswork, while Malina interprets moods as music. But their mother has strict rules to keep their gifts a secret, even in their secluded sea-side town. Iris and Malina are not allowed to share their magic with anyone, and above all, they are forbidden from falling in love.

But when their mother is mysteriously attacked, the sisters will have to unearth the truth behind the quiet lives their mother has built for them. They will discover a wicked curse that haunts their family line—but will they find that the very magic that bonds them together is destined to tear them apart forever?

Describe your book in five words or less.
Witchy twins and family curses.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
Most of my favorite scenes are spoilers with High Drama and Magic, but without giving away too much, the scene that actually sparked this story is the one captured in the twins’ shared dream after their mother is attacked. The atmosphere of dark, ancient magic worked by fierce women against a wintry Montenegro backdrop lived with me for a long time before the book was written.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was working from home, and it was the end of a work day in which I’d also been finishing up a deal for an author client. So when the offer from Katherine Tegen Books landed, it was a total “cup overfloweth” moment. I was by myself, and I didn’t have any rakija–which is the Serbian go-to drink for pretty much anything that can be considered a celebratory occasion–so I poured two shots of vodka, cheersed with myself, and then poured one of them out in thanks.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Nachos made with Doritos, then smothered in melted sharp cheddar, black bean salsa, and Greek yogurt. Seriously, try it. Then join my support group.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Part of my desk is a makeshift curio cabinet, so it’s kind of an embarrassment of riches when it comes to calling out the weird stuff. I think it’s currently a tie between the crystal fractal tree my partner brought back from Sweden in honor of Wicked, and the herbal spell candles that hang from my cabinet knobs and are made by a very crafty friend.


The Wood by Chelsea Bobulski
August 1, 2017 from Feiwel & Friends
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After her father goes missing in the woods that they protect, Winter tries to seek the truth in what happened, why the wood is changing, and what it all has to do with the arrival of a mysterious stranger in this thrilling YA debut.

When Winter’s dad goes missing during his nightly patrol of the wood, it falls to her to patrol the time portals and protect the travelers who slip through them. Winter can’t help but think there’s more to her dad’s disappearance than she’s being told.

She soon finds a young man traveling in the wood named Henry who knows more than he should. He believes if they can work together to find his missing parents, they could discover the truth about Winter’s dad.

The wood is poisoned, changing into something sinister—torturing travelers lost in it. Winter must put her trust in Henry in order to find the truth and those they’ve lost.

Bobulski’s eerie debut is filled with friendship, family, and the responsibilities we choose and those we do not.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Haunting, atmospheric, dangerous, magical forest.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene is when my main character realizes why the fabric of time is so important, and why we shouldn’t mess with it, even when we have the noblest intentions.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
At my house. I got the phone call after having a real heart-to-heart with God that morning about whether or not I was doing what I was supposed to be doing with my life. It had been five years since I’d started on my journey to becoming a published author, and the doubt monsters were really creeping in, making me wonder if it would ever happen. I felt God tell me to trust in Him, and that night I got the call! It was one of the most magical, amazing, heart-stopping moments of my life.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Oreos. Kit-Kats. m&ms. Chocolate in general.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A hair dryer.

Don’t ask.

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You Don’t Know Me But I Know You by Rebecca Barrow
August 29, 2017 from HarperTeen
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Rebecca Barrow’s bright, honest debut novel about chance, choice, and unconditional love is a heartfelt testament to creating the future you truly want, one puzzle piece at a time.

There’s a box in the back of Audrey’s closet that she rarely thinks about.

Inside is a letter, seventeen years old, from a mother she’s never met, handed to her by the woman she’s called Mom her whole life. Being adopted, though, is just one piece in the puzzle of Audrey’s life—the picture painstakingly put together by Audrey herself, full of all the people and pursuits that make her who she is.

But when Audrey realizes that she’s pregnant, she feels something—a tightly sealed box in the closet corners of her heart—crack open, spilling her dormant fears and unanswered questions all over the life she loves.

Almost two decades ago, a girl in Audrey’s situation made a choice, one that started Audrey’s entire story. Now Audrey is paralyzed by her own what-ifs and terrified by the distance she feels growing between her and her best friend Rose. Down every possible path is a different unfamiliar version of her life, and as she weighs the options in her mind, she starts to wonder—what does it even mean to be Audrey Spencer?

Describe your book in five words or less.
Art, love, choices, hope, reality.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favourite scene is kind of a spoiler so let’s go with my second favourite, where Audrey and her best friend Rose hang out in an empty dance studio.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was leaving work and remembered I’d gotten an email while I was closing up so decided to check it before I got in the car. Then I drove home blasting Beyonce at an obnoxious volume.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Chips (or French fries as you probably call them!)

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Um…batteries and a tape measure.


Devils Within by S.F. Henson
October 31, 2017 from Sky Pony Press
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Killing isn’t supposed to be easy. But it is. It’s the after that’s hard to deal with.

Nate was eight the first time he stabbed someone; he was eleven when he earned his red laces—a prize for spilling blood for “the cause.” And he was fourteen when he murdered his father (and the leader of The Fort, a notorious white supremacist compound) in self-defense, landing in a treatment center while the state searched for his next of kin. Now, in the custody of an uncle he never knew existed, who wants nothing to do with him, Nate just wants to disappear.

Enrolled in a new school under a false name, so no one from The Fort can find him, he struggles to forge a new life, trying to learn how to navigate a world where people of different races interact without enmity. But he can’t stop awful thoughts from popping into his head, or help the way he shivers with a desire to commit violence. He wants to be different—he just doesn’t know where to start.

Then he meets Brandon, a person The Fort conditioned Nate to despise on sight. But Brandon’s also the first person to treat him like a human instead of a monster. Brandon could never understand Nate’s dark past, so Nate keeps quiet. And it works for a while. But all too soon, Nate’s worlds crash together, and he must decide between his own survival and standing for what’s right, even if it isn’t easy. Even if society will never be able to forgive him for his sins.

Like a teen American History X, S.F. Henson’s Devils Within is gut-wrenching, thought-provoking, no-holds-barred look at the plague of white supremacy in contemporary American culture that may have you examining your own soul.

Describe your book in five words or less.
A YA American History X.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene is in one of the early chapters. The main character, Nate, is describing how it feels to kill someone. He killed his father, a white supremacist leader, in self-defense, and as hard as it was to take a life, he’s happy his dad is gone. Because with his father dead the beatings stopped, both to him, and to anyone who looked or thought or acted different. With his father gone, Nate finally has some hope of moving past the hate that has always controlled his life.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
Standing in my kitchen with my husband. I might’ve literally screamed and almost dropped then phone, and there might’ve been some happy tears, and most certainly was a lot of jumping up and down.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Anything sweet. Gobstoppers are my favorite writing candy, but otherwise I always gravitate toward chocolate. Especially if it’s covering peanut butter.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Hmm, probably two lighters. I love lighting my favorite candle (Snuggly Sweater from Target) while I’m writing, so I keep a lighter handy. Or in this case, two of them, just in case.

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Debut Dish Special Edition: Heather Fawcett and Even the Darkest Stars

September 21, 2017 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish 0

Magic, Myth, & Mischief, hosted by me and Bonnie, is a month-long event that celebrates fairy tales and mythological retellings, as well as retellings of favorite classic novels and books featuring mythical beasts such as mermaids, dragons, and fae! Find the schedule of events and other information here.

The Debut Dish, a bi-monthly 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 I’m welcoming Heather Fawcett back to the blog to tell us more about herself and her debut book, Even the Darkest Stars. Heather guest posted earlier this month as part of her blog tour, and I had to invite her back to tell us more about the amazing world she created in her book.

Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett
September 5, 2017 from Balzer + Bray
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Kamzin has always dreamed of becoming one of the Emperor’s royal explorers, the elite climbers tasked with mapping the wintry, mountainous Empire and spying on its enemies. She knows she could be the best in the world, if only someone would give her a chance.

But everything changes when the mysterious and eccentric River Shara, the greatest explorer ever known, arrives in her village and demands to hire Kamzin—not her older sister Lusha, as everyone had expected—for his next expedition. This is Kamzin’s chance to prove herself—even though River’s mission to retrieve a rare talisman for the emperor means climbing Raksha, the tallest and deadliest mountain in the Aryas. Then Lusha sets off on her own mission to Raksha with a rival explorer who is determined to best River, and Kamzin must decide what’s most important to her: protecting her sister from the countless perils of the climb or beating her to the summit.

The challenges of climbing Raksha are unlike anything Kamzin expected—or prepared for—with avalanches, ice chasms, ghosts, and even worse at every turn. And as dark secrets are revealed, Kamzin must unravel the truth of their mission and of her companions—while surviving the deadliest climb she has ever faced.

1. Describe your book in 5 words or less.
Magic, monsters, and girl mountaineers.

2. Tell us about your experience as a debut author.
I’ve enjoyed it. Becoming an author means becoming part of a community of like-minded people who are all as passionate about books as you are. It’s fantastic to connect with fellow authors, readers, and bloggers.

3. What makes your book magical, mythical, and/or mischievous?
Love this! I’m going to answer for all three.
Magical: the primary magic system in this world revolves around talismans and incantations. It’s a very specific, controlled sort of magic. Anyone can do it, but some people are better than others.
Mythical: the story features heroes and monsters, and some characters who tread the line between the two.
Mischievous: Some of the animal characters fit this description!

4. When you think of the dragons in your story, what do they look like?
They’re small–perhaps a bit bigger than your average house cat, with a sinuous, almost snake-like shape. They are bioluminescent, like fireflies, with a light in their abdomen that is usually either green or blue.

5. Would you rather be a hero or a villain?
As a Gryffindor with Ravenclaw tendencies, I’d say hero, of course!

6. Who do you feel are the most romantic couples from fairytales or mythology?
Ah, good question. One of my all-time favourite myths (because, yes, I have favourite myths. Ravenclaw.) is Orpheus and Eurydice. And, of course, you can’t go wrong with Beauty and the Beast.

7. If you could be any mythical creature, which one would you choose to be and why?
Probably a hobbit, honestly. They’re not very glamorous, it’s true, but they generally seem to be very happy creatures who like good food and have a sense of fun. What more could you want?

8. If you could live in any fairy tale or mythical world, which one would you choose?
There are so many worlds I’d love to visit, but in terms of *living* in one, I’d have to say the Oxford of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. I’ve always wondered what my daemon would be.

9. Do you have any images you used as inspiration for your world or characters that you would like to share with us?
I looked at a lot of images of the Himalayas, particularly at night under starry skies. In fact, that’s my current desktop background.

10. What magical power do you wish you had?
I love this question, though my answer tends to change depending on my mood! Immortality usually ranks near the top. Not invulnerability, because I think you’d stop appreciating life if yours was never in any danger. Actually having time to get through my TBR would be great.