Posts Categorized: Debut Dish

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 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 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
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

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
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke
January 9, 2018 by Clarion Books
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

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
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

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
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

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
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

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.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Temptation of Adam by Dave Connis
November 21, 2017 from Sky Pony Press
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

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!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Last Star Burning by Caitlin Sangster
October 10, 2017 from Simon Pulse
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

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
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

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
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

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!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Among the Red Stars by Gwen C. Katz
October 3, 2017 from HarperTeen
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

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
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

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
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


You Don’t Know Me But I Know You by Rebecca Barrow
August 29, 2017 from HarperTeen
Add to Goodreads

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
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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.


The Debut Dish: Kes Trester, Janelle Milanes, Maggie Ann Martin, Tiffany Pitcock, Carl Hackman, & Candace Ganger (+ Giveaways)

September 17, 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 Kes Trester (A Dangerous Year), Janelle Milanes (The Victoria In My Head), Maggie Ann Martin (The Big F), Tiffany Pitcock (Just Friends), Carl Hackman (Gerald and the Amulet of Zonrach), and Candace Ganger (The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash).


A Dangerous Year by Kes Trester
September 26, 2017 from Curiosity Quills Press
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Seventeen-year-old Riley Collins has grown up in some of the world’s most dangerous cities, learning political strategies from her ambassador dad and defensive skills from his security chief. The only thing they didn’t prepare her for: life as an American teenager.

After an incident forces her to leave her Pakistani home, Riley is recruited by the State Department to attend Harrington Academy, one of the most elite boarding schools in Connecticut. The catch: she must use her tactical skills to covertly keep an eye on Hayden Frasier, the daughter of a tech billionaire whose new code-breaking spyware has the international intelligence community in an uproar.

Disturbing signs begin to appear that Riley’s assignment wasn’t the walk in the park she’d been promised. Now, Riley must fight for her life and Hayden’s, as those around her reveal themselves to be true friends or the ultimate betrayers.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Intrigue, danger, and possibly murder.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
When Riley shows up at the MMA gym at her new American high school expecting to find other girls to spar with, but it’s only guys. It’s the first time she’s felt at home since she left the embassy in Karachi, and the familiar setting makes her a bit bold. Whether that emotion is justified when she faces off against Sam Hudson, the captain of the team, is another story.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was on vacation with my extended family. My nephew Devin had just asked what was going on with my writing when my agent called. I couldn’t have written the scene any better if I tried!

What’s your favorite junk food?
I like to switch it up, but right now I can’t get enough of a chocolate slice of heaven called Bark Thins. It sounds like a dog treat, I know, but try the coconut almond. Guaranteed to fuel at least 1,000 words!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
This is going to sound REALLY weird, but I live in a haunted house. I have a small gold angel figurine that came flying out of nowhere one day to land at my feet. Things are always appearing and disappearing around here, but the angel has stuck around for about ten years now. I keep her on my desk to remind me that kindness can be found in the most unexpected places (even from Ida, our resident ghost!).

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Victoria In My Head by Janelle Milanes
September 19, 2017 from Simon Pulse
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Victoria Cruz inhabits two worlds: In one, she is a rock star, thrashing the stage with her husky voice and purple-streaked hair. In the other, currently serving as her reality, Victoria is a shy teenager with overprotective Cuban parents, who sleepwalks through her life at the prestigious Evanston Academy. Unable to overcome the whole paralyzing-stage-fright thing, Victoria settles for living inside her fantasies, where nothing can go wrong and everything is set to her expertly crafted music playlists.

But after a chance encounter with an unattainably gorgeous boy named Strand, whose band seeks a lead singer, Victoria is tempted to turn her fevered daydreams into reality. To do that, she must confront her insecurities and break away from the treadmill that is her life. Suddenly, Victoria is faced with the choice of staying on the path she’s always known and straying off-course to find love, adventure, and danger.

From debut author Janelle Milanes comes a hilarious and heartfelt tale of the spectacular things that can happen when you go after what you really want.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Music, stage fright, romance, dreams.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
It involves karaoke and chicken cutlets, but that’s about all I can reveal! Toward the end of the book, there’s also a big climactic kissing scene in a beautiful NYC setting. Unfortunately, I can’t provide any more detail because all of my favorite scenes are spoiler-heavy!

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I’m a teacher, so I was sitting in my classroom surrounded by fourth graders when I got the email from my agent. The subject line said “OFFER” in all caps, and I almost threw up from excitement then and there. I couldn’t call my agent for another twenty minutes because I had to find someone to cover my class while I stepped out of the room.

What’s your favorite junk food?
When I’m in the mood for something savory, I reach for Cool Ranch Doritos. For something sweet, cookies and cream ice cream is my go-to.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
For some reason, when I get bored I like to draw eyes…? I know, it’s strange and a little creepy. So on my desk you will usually find an assortment of sticky notes with an eye drawn on each one.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Big F by Maggie Ann Martin
August 29, 2017 from Swoon Reads
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Danielle effed up. Big time.

Danielle’s plans for the future were all figured out…until she failed senior English and her single college application was rejected. Suddenly she’s in hot water with very few options, because, honestly, who applies to a safety school when your mom is a semi-famous “college psychic”?!

Determined to get her life back on track, Danielle enrolls in her hometown community college with a plan: pass her English class and get back into Ohio State—and her mother’s good graces. Romance isn’t on her radar. That is, until she reconnects with her childhood crush and golden boy next door, Luke.

Between family drama, first love, and finding her own way, Danielle can’t help but feel a little overwhelmed. Thankfully she has her friendship with the snarky and frustratingly attractive Porter, her coworker at the campus bookstore, to push her to experience new things and help keep her afloat.

One thing’s for sure: This time, failure is not an option.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Friendships, Failure, Future, Finding Love

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
Any time that my characters Porter and Danielle have a particularly banter-y scene, I’m so game for it. One of my favorites involves a drunken game of Eye Spy at Danielle’s very first house party (where she has no business being). We get a glimpse into their chemistry and Porter’s soft side when he has to take care of Dani who has been drinking for the first time ever.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was actually in New York visiting my sister! My whole family was together (which is pretty rare) and I was at a Buffalo Wild Wings in White Plains, New York. I got an email from my lovely editor saying that she and the director of Swoon Reads wanted to talk about my book. I scheduled a call for the next day, and the rest is history!

What’s your favorite junk food?
It’s a tie between Cheetos and mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I actually use the Reese’s minis as my reward for finishing a certain amount of words while writing or editing! :P

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
I have two baby cacti on my desk (named Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth) and they are planted together in a shiny gold pot.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Just Friends by Tiffany Pitcock
August 1, 2017 from Swoon Reads
Add to Goodreads | Author Twitter

A new spin on the classic smart-girl-and-bad-boy setup, this witty contemporary romance shows how easily a friendship – even one built on an elaborate lie – can become so much more.

Jenny meets Chance for the very first time when she is assigned as his partner in their Junior Oral Communications class. But after they rescue a doomed assignment with one clever lie, the whole school is suddenly convinced that Little-Miss-Really-Likes-Having-A’s and the most scandalous heartbreaker in school have been best friends forever. It’s amazing how quickly a lie can grow―especially when you really, really want it to be the truth.

With Jenny, Chance can live the normal life he’s always kind of wanted. And with Chance, Jenny can have the exciting teen experiences that TV shows and movies have always promised. Through it all, they hold on to the fact that they are “just friends.” But that might be the biggest lie of all.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Fake friendship, real love.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
There’s this scene the night before Christmas where Chance and Jenny are talking about Chance’s parent while they sit in the glow of the Christmas lights. I love everything about that scene.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was sitting at my desk (which I hardly EVER used) in my dorm room when I got the email.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Pretzels. I love them!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A pencil holder shaped like a hot pink dumpster.


Gerald and the Amulet of Zonrach by Carl Hackman
May 16, 2017 from Immortal Works
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

In the realm of Wyverndawn, a wizard’s height is the mark of his power, so shrinking an entire inch is disastrous for Gerald. Looking to gain a few inches, Gerald attempts to create a village landmark using his superior wizarding skills. But the spell he bought — from a guy who knows a guy — is a tad more powerful than he anticipates. The resulting earthquake, hurricane and escape of a very dangerous wizard from prison really weren’t part of the plan. To add insult to injury, a red-faced Gerald finds himself banished from his village along with the one inch demotion; two more and he’ll join his father as a Royal Equine Poop Disposal Coordinator. Gerald’s hopes of returning home hinge on repairing the devastation he caused and thwarting the evil wizard’s plans of grasping Wyverndawn for his own. Failure could mean Gerald’s next spell might well be his last.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Gerald’s in deep trouble; again.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
I have many, but there is one where Gerald is learning about the history of dragons from a trainer. In this scene you can see how his personality is changing, for the better. He was never a selfish boy, but he always took shortcuts and looked for the easy way to achieve something. To be a dragon companion he will have to learn the hard way.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I had just sat down at my desk to work on another novel when the email arrived. I ran into the bedroom to let my wife know, but obviously first thing in the morning is not the best time to be so excited as she thought we were being burgled, and her reaction to being woken by a slightly deranged husband was not entirely unreasonable.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Fish and Chips from Yorkshire, but I can’t get any over here which is very frustrating. I used to love to sit on the moors with freshly fried fish and chips wrapped in newspaper and look out over the countryside.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
It is a thirteen inch carving of a dragon. It tends to look me in the eye and I’m sure it can tell when I’m procrastinating rather then working. I keep telling him it’s research, but I’m sure he knows that I’m not being entirely truthful.


The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash by Candace Ganger
July 25, 2017 from St. Martin’s Griffin
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Birdie never meant to be at the party. Bash should have been long gone. But when they meet, a collision course is set off they may never recover from.

Sebastian Alvaréz is just trying to hold the pieces together: to not flunk out, to keep his sort-of-best friend Wild Kyle from doing something really bad, and to see his beloved Ma through chemo. But when he meets Birdie Paxton, a near-Valedictorian who doesn’t realize she’s smoking hot in her science pun T-shirt, at a party, an undeniable attraction sparks. And suddenly he’s not worried about anything. But before they are able to exchange numbers, they are pulled apart. A horrifying tragedy soon links Birdie and Bash together—but neither knows it. When they finally reconnect, and are starting to fall—hard—the events of the tragedy unfold, changing both their lives in ways they can never undo. Told in alternating perspectives, The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash by Candace Ganger is a beautiful, complex, and ultimately hopeful teen novel that will move you to the very last page.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Collision, Lies, Loss, Heartbreak, Hope

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
There’s a scene in the skating rink basement where things heat up between Birdie & Bash for the first time. I’m pretty partial to their banter because it reminds me of myself through the (awkward) high school romance years.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
Sitting on my couch! I’d had THE WORST day (and even ordered an extra large latte that morning), and then mid-morning, I received a text from my agent asking if I was free to talk. Turns out, it was THE call with THE offer.

What’s your favorite junk food?
I’m not huge on junk food anymore, but when I do, I’m a fool for donuts/doughnuts.

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


The Debut Dish: Kerry Winfrey, Lauren Karcz, & Katy Upperman (+ Giveaways)

July 23, 2017 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 Kerry Winfrey (Love and Other Alien Experiences), Lauren Karcz (The Gallery of Unfinished Girls), and Katy Upperman (Kissing Max Holden).


Love and Other Alien Experiences by Kerry Winfrey
July 11, 2017 from Feiwel & Friends
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

I’m never going outside again.

Mallory hasn’t left the house in sixty-seven days–since the day her dad left. She attends her classes via webcam, rarely leaves her room (much to her brother’s chagrin), and spends most of her time watching The X-Files or chatting with the always obnoxious BeamMeUp on New Mexico’s premier alien message board.

But when she’s shockingly nominated for homecoming queen, her life takes a surprising turn. She slowly begins to open up to the world outside. And maybe if she can get her popular jock neighbor Brad Kirkpatrick to be her homecoming date, her classmates will stop calling her a freak.

In this heartwarming and humorous debut, Mallory discovers first love and the true meaning of home–just by taking one small step outside her house.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Anxiety, aliens, homecoming, and kissing.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
Probably the scene where some of the characters go to an amusement park after hours. Not to spoil anything, but it involves all the stuff I like to write about: romantic tension, subtext-laden conversations, and someone barfing.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I wish it happened somewhere glamorous or exciting, but I was just at my desk in my home office. Maybe I should make up a better story.

What’s your favorite junk food?
I could eat a truly obscene amount of chocolate chip cookies. Like, imagine how many you think a person could eat, and then double that, and then it’s probably more.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
My Louis Tomlinson/One Direction key chain. 1D may be on hiatus, but his benevolent presence watches over me always.


The Gallery of Unfinished Girls by Lauren Karcz
July 25, 2017 from HarperTEEN
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Mercedes Moreno is an artist. At least, she thinks she could be, even though she hasn’t been able to paint anything worthwhile since her award-winning piece Food Poisoning #1 last year.

Her lack of inspiration might be because her abuela is lying comatose in faraway Puerto Rico after suffering a stroke. Or the fact that Mercedes is in love with her best friend, Victoria, but is too afraid to admit her true feelings.

Despite Mercedes’s creative block, art starts to show up in unexpected ways. A piano appears on her front lawn one morning, and a mysterious new neighbor invites Mercedes to paint with her at the Red Mangrove Estate.

At the Estate, Mercedes can create in ways she never has before. She can share her deepest secrets and feel safe. But Mercedes can’t take anything out of the Estate, including her new-found clarity. As her life continues to crumble around her, the Estate offers more solace than she could hope for. But Mercedes can’t live both lives forever, and ultimately she must choose between this perfect world of art and truth and a much messier reality.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Girls, court, art, and danger.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
It’s a kissing scene. It’s the midpoint of the book. Those middle scenes are always my favorite to write, actually. The midpoint is usually either a false victory or a false defeat for the main character. For my main character, Mercedes, she’s got herself a false victory, which she finds out just one scene later. Alas.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was at my day job. I saw an e-mail from my agent that HarperTeen had officially made an offer on my book… and then I immediately had to go to a meeting with my boss. I remember I was shaking practically the whole meeting, amazed that my manuscript was going to have readers outside my agent and my critique group!

What’s your favorite junk food?
Dark chocolate covered pretzels. Trader Joe’s brand would be my preference.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
It’s a notebook with a picture of a white cat on the front. The white cat isn’t the weird part — it’s that I’ve had this notebook since I was about 8 years old. I found it in a drawer a couple months ago and saw that it was still about half blank, so I started using it for to-do lists and critique notes. But it’s also got relics from Little Me in it: my 4th grade best friend’s phone number, drawings of characters I used to write about, star ratings of every movie I saw when I was about 11 (The Sound of Music and North by Northwest each got four stars). Such an interesting time capsule.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman
August 1, 2017 from Swoon Reads
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Kissing Max Holden was a terrible idea…

After his father has a life-altering stroke, Max Holden isn’t himself. As his long-time friend, Jillian Eldridge only wants to help him, but she doesn’t know how. When Max climbs through her window one night, Jill knows that she shouldn’t let him kiss her. But she can’t resist, and when they’re caught in the act by her dad, Jill swears it’ll never happen again. Because kissing Max Holden is a terrible idea.

With a new baby sibling on the way, her parents fighting all the time, and her dream of culinary school up in the air, Jill starts spending more and more time with Max. And even though her father disapproves and Max still has a girlfriend, not kissing Max is easier said than done. Will Jill follow her heart and allow their friendship to blossom into something more, or will she listen to her head and stop kissing Max Holden once and for all?

Describe your book in five words or less.
Girl kisses boy; trouble ensues.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My book is called KISSING MAX HOLDEN for a reason — there’s a lot of kissing! But not all kisses are created equally. Jilly’s first kiss with Max isn’t exactly romantic, and it creates a lot of problems for the two of them. But later, there’s this mistletoe kiss that totally makes up for that messy first smooch. I love this particular scene because it’s swoony and also sort of funny, and it’s one of the few scenes that’s remained almost entirely unchanged through years of rewrites and revisions.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I had just climbed into my car after a full day of substitute teaching. I checked my email before pulling out of the parking lot, and found a letter from Swoon Reads, asking if we could schedule a phone call to chat about them possibly publishing my manuscript. Needless to say, I was THRILLED!

What’s your favorite junk food?
Any sort of sweet, carb-heavy baked good. I make an especially tasty chocolate chip cookie, but I love brownies and carrot cake and croissants with chocolate drizzle and jelly beans, too.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Probably my collection of makeup brushes. My desk is multipurpose — I write at it, and it doubles as a vanity.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Debut Dish: Jennifer Honeybourn, Matthew Landis, Laura Silverman, Jennifer Fenn & Emily Bain Murphy (+ Giveaways)

July 9, 2017 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 Jennifer Honeybourn (Wesley James Ruined My Life), Matthew Landis (League of American Traitors), Laura Silverman (Girl Out of Water), Jennifer Fenn (Flight Risk), and Emily Bain Murphy (The Disappearances).


Welsey James Ruined My Life by Jennifer Honeybourn
July 18, 2017 from Swoon Reads
Add to Goodreads | Author Twitter

Sixteen-year-old Quinn Hardwick’s having a rough summer. Her beloved grandmother has been put into a home, her dad’s gambling addiction has flared back up and now her worst enemy is back in town: Wesley James, former childhood friend—until he ruined her life, that is.

So when Wesley is hired to work with her at Tudor Tymes, a medieval England themed restaurant, the last thing Quinn’s going to do is forgive and forget. She’s determined to remove him from her life and even the score all at once—by getting him fired.

But getting rid of Wesley isn’t as easy as she’d hoped. When Quinn finds herself falling for him, she has to decide what she wants more: to get even, or to just get over it.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Light, funny, love-hate, romance.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
One of my favorite scenes is near the beginning of the book, when Quinn realizes the hot guy who was just hired at Tudor Tymes, the medieval England style restaurant she works, is in fact her nemesis from elementary school, Wesley James.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
It was spring break and I was at home when I received the email from Swoon Reads. One of the best moments of my life. Still pinching myself!

What’s your favorite junk food?
I’m going to have to go with chocolate. Any kind, any time.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A lamp shaped like an owl.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


League of American Traitors by Matthew Landis
August 8, 2017 from Sky Pony Press
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

National Treasure meets Hamilton in a breathless history-based thriller from an outstanding new voice.

Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it. . . .

When seventeen year-old Jasper is approached at the funeral of his deadbeat father by a man claiming to be an associate of his deceased parents, he’s thrust into a world of secrets tied to America’s history—and he’s right at the heart of it.

First, Jasper finds out he is the sole surviving descendant of Benedict Arnold, the most notorious traitor in American history. Then he learns that his father’s death was no accident. Jasper is at the center of a war that has been going on for centuries, in which the descendants of the heroes and traitors of the American Revolution still duel to the death for the sake of their honor.

His only hope to escape his dangerous fate on his eighteenth birthday? Take up the research his father was pursuing at the time of his death, to clear Arnold’s name.

Whisked off to a boarding school populated by other descendants of notorious American traitors, it’s a race to discover the truth. But if Jasper doesn’t find a way to uncover the evidence his father was hunting for, he may end up paying for the sins of his forefathers with his own life.

Like a mash-up of National Treasure and Hamilton, Matthew Landis’s debut spins the what-ifs of American history into a heart-pounding thriller steeped in conspiracy, clue hunting, and danger.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Traitor offspring seeks ancestral redemption.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
Near the climax, there’s this moment when Jasper, my main character, realizes just exactly what it means to finish this quest–to really see it through: namely, taking a life. It’s the individual’s life he’s taking as well that makes this all the more morally complex, but since that’s a spoiler, I’ll let you find out…

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
At my kitchen counter, incessantly refreshing Gmail. I was nearing the end of the submission period and just waiting on about 3 presses to rejection us before we pulled together a plan for round two. Phew.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Fritos.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A framed picture of the Rock.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman
May 2, 2017 from Sourcebooks Fire
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Anise Sawyer plans to spend every minute of summer with her friends: surfing, chowing down on fish tacos drizzled with wasabi balsamic vinegar, and throwing bonfires that blaze until dawn. But when a serious car wreck leaves her aunt, a single mother of three, with two broken legs, it forces Anise to say goodbye for the first time to Santa Cruz, the waves, her friends, and even a kindling romance, and fly with her dad to Nebraska for the entire summer. Living in Nebraska isn’t easy. Anise spends her days caring for her three younger cousins in the childhood home of her runaway mom, a wild figure who’s been flickering in and out of her life since birth, appearing for weeks at a time and then disappearing again for months, or even years, without a word.

Complicating matters is Lincoln, a one-armed, charismatic skater who pushes Anise to trade her surfboard for a skateboard. As Anise draws closer to Lincoln and takes on the full burden and joy of her cousins, she loses touch with her friends back home – leading her to one terrifying question: will she turn out just like her mom and spend her life leaving behind the ones she loves.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Surfer girl in landlocked Nebraska.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
Ooh! Too many! I’ll pick an early one – the nighttime beach bonfire scene with Anise and her friends!

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I can’t remember exactly where I was, but I remember my agent calling me, and I was so confused because we always use email not the phone. It was completely surreal and such an amazing, happy moment! I seriously couldn’t believe it!

What’s your favorite junk food?
French fries FOR SURE. I could eat french fries every day of my life to be honest.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Probably a volume of the Talmud (a collection of Jewish writings) I use to raise up my laptop so it’s at eye level haha!


Flight Risk by Jennifer Fenn
July 18, 2017 from Roaring Brook Press
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

A debut novel inspired by true events, about a teenage boy who has stolen―and crashed―not one, but three airplanes. And each time he’s walked away unscathed.

Who is Robert Jackson Kelly? Is he a juvenile delinquent? A criminal mastermind? A folk hero? One thing is clear: Robert always defies what people think of him. And now, the kid who failed at school, relationships, and almost everything in life, is determined to successfully steal and land a plane.

Told as an investigation into Robert’s psyche, the narrative includes multiple points of view as well as documentary elements like emails, official records, and interviews with people who knew Robert. Ultimately, Flight Risk is a thrilling story about one teenager who is determined to find a moment of transcendence after everyone else has written him off as lost.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Teenage airplane thief!

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
In “Flight Risk,” Robert Jackson Kelly is an eighteen year old boy who has stolen and then survived crashing several commuter planes. He ends up a notorious celebrity on the run from the law. At one point, Robert is inside a plane, on the runway, trying to escape police who have guns drawn. He hesitates, though, because he doesn’t want to hit a goose with a broken wing that’s been abandoned by its flock. I think that scene is a tense one, and also reveals a lot about Robert’s character.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
In my home office/attic and I screamed so loudly I startled myself.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Jelly beans. I also love a good Frappuccino.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A “Wizard of Oz” coloring book and a plush pig puppet.


The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy
July 4, 2017 from HMH Books for Young Readers
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

What if the ordinary things in life suddenly…disappeared?

Aila Quinn’s mother, Juliet, has always been a mystery: vibrant yet guarded, she keeps her secrets beyond Aila’s reach. When Juliet dies, Aila and her younger brother Miles are sent to live in Sterling, a rural town far from home–and the place where Juliet grew up.

Sterling is a place with mysteries of its own. A place where the experiences that weave life together–scents of flowers and food, reflections from mirrors and lakes, even the ability to dream–vanish every seven years.

No one knows what caused these “Disappearances,” or what will slip away next. But Sterling always suspected that Juliet Quinn was somehow responsible–and Aila must bear the brunt of their blame while she follows the chain of literary clues her mother left behind.

As the next Disappearance nears, Aila begins to unravel the dual mystery of why the Disappearances happen and who her mother truly was. One thing is clear: Sterling isn’t going to hold on to anyone’s secrets for long before it starts giving them up.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Magical historical mystery and Shakespeare.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
There’s a certain kissing scene after a slow-burning build to a romance and I love how the scene turned out, and the realization that leads to it happening. The very last scene of the book is one of my favorites, too.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was driving home from New York City to Connecticut and my agent called! I had to pull off at a little rest area. I sat there for a little bit, grinning. Then I sat there for awhile longer and called my husband and my parents. I’m sure all the truck drivers enjoyed my happy car dancing on the rest of the way home.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Strawberry, banana, and Nutella crepes. Or warm chocolate chip cookies.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A pair of Crooked Kingdom dice, a Lightning McQueen car that my son just made out of beads, and a little bottle of Rescue Remedy in case of emergencies because public speaking makes me feel the teensiest bit panicky. ;D

a Rafflecopter giveaway