Posts Categorized: Giveaway

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

March 19, 2016 Blog Tour, Book Spotlight, Giveaway 10

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make sure you enter to win all the prizes!

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

March 6, 2016 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 10

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

What’s your favorite junk food?
Ice cream.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s your favorite junk food?
Potato chips.

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

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Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie
March 1, 2016 from Katherine Tegen Books
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Magnetic Shift by Lucy D. Briand
April 12, 2016 from Spencer Hill Press
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

The ability to magnetize and manipulate metal with the flick of her wrist makes seventeen-year-old Lexi Adams a crack mechanic, but it’s a disaster in the making when her stepdad trades her skills to NASCAR team owner Dean Grant for an entire season’s worth of sponsorship ads.

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

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

Describe your book in five words or less.
YA X-MEN meets NASCAR.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Which path will he choose?

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

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

It was my original inspiration for the story.

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

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

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


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

March 1, 2016 Author Interview, Blog Tour, Giveaway 5

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

Happy book birthday to The Lifeboat Clique!

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


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

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

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

Great question!

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for the questions!

Find Kathy on Twitter and Tumblr


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Tour Schedule

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


My Book Blogger Reputation (+ Rebel of the Sands Giveaway)

February 22, 2016 Book Spotlight, Debut Author Challenge, Giveaway 3

I’m here today to talk a little about one of my most anticipated debut novels of 2016, Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton! I’ve been hearing amazing things about the story, and I can’t wait to read it and see what all the hype is about! Penguin contacted me and asked if I would like to participate in a fun little campaign they have running in celebration of its release, and it sounded like so much fun that I couldn’t possibly say no!

In a world where metal and magic clash with deadly consequences, Amani (our heroine) finds herself becoming a myth in the making, legendary for her sharp-shooting skills. She is known as “more gunpowder than girl”. Inspired by Amani’s reputation, Penguin asked me to come up with my own blogger reputation post, highlighting skills, behaviors, designs, or habits that I would be famous for in the blogosphere. Immediately, I knew what I would be famous for:

That Artsy Reader Girl is known for holding books captive.

People know me as that girl who can’t let a book go once she owns it. I hoard them. I don’t have the room and I don’t even LOVE everything I own, but I have a really hard time letting a book go once it’s mine. I’ve got books on my shelves that I bought 15 years ago because I thought they were pretty and sounded like something I might want to try. My tastes have changed and I’m not interested in all of them anymore, but I can’t get rid of them! I feel like I’m finally starting to get better at letting books go, especially when I can donate them to a good cause or give them homes with my friends. But the separation anxiety is strong in me. I guess it’s not the worst thing in the world, but if I die young I know it will be because my piles of books fell on me and smothered me to death! This is getting ridiculous.

What is your reputation in the bookish world? Are you too ruthless with your DNF’s? Do you dog ear your book pages? Penguin and I want to know!

Read a little bit about Rebel of the Sands (available for pre-order now!) and see if it sounds like something you’d enjoy putting on your to-read list! And don’t forget to enter the giveaway, hosted by Penguin, for a copy of the book, a Penguin tote bag, and a really pretty shimmering sand hourglass!

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
March 8, 2016 from Penguin
Add to Goodreads | Pre-Order

She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there’s nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can’t wait to escape from.

Destined to wind up “wed or dead,” Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she’d gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan’s army, with a fugitive who’s wanted for treason. And she’d never have predicted she’d fall in love with him…or that he’d help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.


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The Debut Dish: February 2016, Issue #2 (+ Giveaway)

February 21, 2016 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 6

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

Today’s issue of the Debut Dish features Amy Allgeyer (Dig Too Deep), Jenn P. Nguyen (The Way to Game the Walk of Shame), Heidi Heilig (The Girl From Everywhere), Jenny Manzer (Save Me, Kurt Cobain), Janet B. Taylor (Into the Dim), and Monica Tesler (Bounders).


Dig Too Deep by Amy Allgeyer
April 1, 2016 from Albert Whitman
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

With her mother facing prison time for a violent political protest, seventeen-year-old Liberty Briscoe has no choice but to leave her Washington, DC, apartment and take a bus to Ebbottsville, Kentucky, to live with her granny. There she can finish high school and put some distance between herself and her mother– her ‘former’ mother, as she calls her. But Ebbottsville isn’t the same as Liberty remembers, and it’s not just because the top of Tanner’s Peak has been blown away to mine for coal. Half the county is out of work, an awful lot of people in town seem to be sick, and the tap water is bright orange–the same water that officials claim is safe to drink. When Granny’s lingering cold turns out to be something much worse, Liberty is convinced the mine is to blame, and starts an investigation that quickly plunges her into a world of secrets, lies, threats, and danger. Liberty isn’t deterred by any of it, but as all her searches turn into dead ends, she comes to a difficult decision: turn to violence like her former mother or give up her quest for good.

Describe your book in five words or less.
YA Erin Brockovich in coal-country.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
Standing on a dirt road in the sunshine, next to a boy with a crooked smile who smells like peppermint toothpaste, Liberty begins to feel like the pieces of her life might someday fit back together.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
Standing in my fiance’s front yard, watching the ducks.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Hamburgers. All the hamburgers ever.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A carbon monoxide detector.

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The Way to Game the Walk of Shame by Jenn P. Nguyen
June 7, 2016 from Swoon Reads
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Taylor Simmons is screwed.

Things were hard enough when her single-minded dedication to her studies earned her the reputation of being an Ice Queen, but after getting drunk at a party and waking up next to bad boy surfer Evan McKinley, the entire school seems intent on tearing Taylor down with mockery and gossip.

Desperate to salvage her reputation, Taylor persuades Evan to pretend they’re in a serious romantic relationship. After all, it’s better to be the girl who tames the wild surfer than just another notch on his surfboard.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Two reputations. One love contract.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene is actually the opening scene when Taylor wakes up in Evan’s bed. I had so much fun writing about her freak outs and army crawling across the bedroom like a crazy person.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was at home that afternoon. I just came back from New York the night before and was checking my inbox when I saw I had an email from my editors at Swoon Reads asking to speak to me. At first, I wouldn’t wrap my mind around the they wanted to talk to me. That they wanted to publish my book. I thought maybe I won some type of free giveaway although I didn’t sign up for any. But I emailed them back to let them know I was free and they called immediately. After that, everything was a blur.

What’s your favorite junk food?
I’m not a big sweets and chips person. But I do love pizza! The more toppings on it the better!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
This is going to sound very boring, but I don’t actually have a desk. I usually just write on the couch or in bed. So I searched my book case instead and found a pair of Harry Potter glasses. It was part of the goody bag from my magical Harry Potter bridal shower that my bridesmaid threw for me.

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The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
February 16, 2016 from Greenwillow Books
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Heidi Heilig’s debut teen fantasy sweeps from modern-day New York City, to nineteenth-century Hawaii, to places of myth and legend. Sixteen-year-old Nix has sailed across the globe and through centuries aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. But when he gambles with her very existence, it all may be about to end. The Girl from Everywhere, the first of two books, blends fantasy, history, and a modern sensibility. Its witty, fast-paced dialogue, breathless adventure, multicultural cast, and enchanting romance will dazzle readers of Sabaa Tahir, Rae Carson, and Rachel Hartman.

Nix’s life began in Honolulu in 1868. Since then she has traveled to mythic Scandinavia, a land from the tales of One Thousand and One Nights, modern-day New York City, and many more places both real and imagined. As long as he has a map, Nix’s father can sail his ship, The Temptation, to any place, any time. But now he’s uncovered the one map he’s always sought—1868 Honolulu, before Nix’s mother died in childbirth. Nix’s life—her entire existence—is at stake. No one knows what will happen if her father changes the past. It could erase Nix’s future, her dreams, her adventures . . . her connection with the charming Persian thief, Kash, who’s been part of their crew for two years. If Nix helps her father reunite with the love of his life, it will cost her her own.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Myth, history, regret, time travel.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
There is a scene early on where Nix meets an old woman named Joss in downtown Honolulu. Joss ran the opium den where Nix’s father met her mother, and since NIx never knew her mother, she is desperate for information–stories, history, anything. But Joss always keeps her secrets close. I loved writing their interaction–two strong women butting heads, both trying to get what they want.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was actually in the hospital, on bed rest for pre-term labor. I got to see my heart rate pick up on the pulse monitor, it was wild.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Donuts!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
My snake. He lives in a terrarium right next to my computer and I bounce plot ideas off him all the time. He doesn’t say much but he’s a good listener.

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Save Me, Kurt Cobain by Jenny Manzer
March 8, 2016 from Delacorte Press
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What if you discovered that Kurt Cobain is not only alive, but might be your real father?

Nicola Cavan has been an outsider since age four when her mother vanished from their home in Victoria, British Columbia. Now 15, Nico is determined to find her beautiful, music-obsessed mother. After glimpsing “Cobain” on a ferry from Seattle, Nico follows the man with the blazing blue eyes to a remote Vancouver Island cabin—and her life will never be the same.

This nuanced and bittersweet YA debut will keep you guessing until the end.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Is Kurt Cobain Nico’s father?

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
I can’t say too much or risk spoilers, but I think it would be when “Cobain” and Nico are driving up the Sea-to-Sky highway together, surrounded by mountains and ocean, being chased!

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
At my home in Victoria, British Columbia.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Sun Chips.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
The wheel for a child’s scooter. I did not put it there!

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Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor
March 1, 2016 from HMH Books for Young Readers
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When fragile, sixteen-year-old Hope Walton loses her mom to an earthquake overseas, her secluded world crumbles. Agreeing to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic, but also a member of a secret society of time travelers. Trapped in the twelfth century in the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Hope has seventy-two hours to rescue her mother and get back to their own time. Along the way, her path collides with that of a mysterious boy who could be vital to her mission . . . or the key to Hope’s undoing. Addictive, romantic, and rich with historical detail, Into the Dim is an Outlander for teens.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Girl time travels on purpose.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene is when my main character, Hope, comes up with a way to break her friend out of a medieval prison. I love it because not only does she call upon her one super-power, her incredible brain, but because it takes all of the characters in the book–working together–to bust him out.

My second fave is a big old smooching scene, which I won’t tell you about yet, cause it’s a surprise!! :D

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
This is a bizarre situation. I was in London, actually, when I found out the book was going to auction. My son was starting grad school at the University College of London, and I’d gone to help him get settled.

I was flying home when the auction began. The next morning–totally jet-lagged and grief-stricken because I wouldn’t see my son for six months–the auction played out.
So…when my agent (the fantabulous Mollie Glick) called to tell me it had sold to HMH, I was curled up in my comfy chair with no make-up and my hair in a horrifying tangle, bawling my eyes out and laughing all at the same time! (It was NOT a pretty sight).

What’s your favorite junk food?
Easy question. Cupcakes. White with white icing. The best thing in the world!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Hoo boy. I have a LOT of weird stuff on my desk. But I guess I’d say…
A Game of Thrones lamp. The pole-thingee is a replica of John Snow’s sword–‘Longclaw,’ and the shade says (of course) Winter is Coming!

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Bounders by Monica Tesler
January 5, 2016 from Aladdin
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In the tradition of Michael Vey and The Unwanteds, twelve-year-old Jasper and his friends are forced to go up against an alien society in this first book in a brand-new adventure series!

Thirteen years ago, Earth Force—a space-military agency—discovered a connection between brain structure and space travel. Now they’ve brought together the first team of cadets, called Bounders, to be trained as high-level astronauts.

Twelve-year-old Jasper is part of this team being sent out into space. After being bullied back on Earth, Jasper is thrilled to have something new and different to do with other kids who are more like him. While learning all about the new technologies and taking classes in mobility—otherwise known as flying with jetpacks—Jasper befriends the four other students in his pod and finally feels like he has found his place in the world.

But then Jasper and his new friends learn that they haven’t been told everything about Earth Force. They weren’t brought to space for astronaut training, but to learn a new, highly classified brain-sync technology that allows them to manipulate matter and quantum bound, or teleport. And it isn’t long before they find out this new technology was actually stolen from an alien society.

When Jasper and his friends discover the truth about why Earth Force needs them, they are faced with a choice: rebel against the academy that brought them together, or fulfill their duty and protect the planet at all costs.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Space academy, quantum bounding, secrets.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite seen in BOUNDERS is when Jasper encounters Mira playing the piano. He is deeply moved by the music, and many of the assumptions he had about Mira are washed away. The scene shows the power of music as a form of connection and communication. It also foreshadows the growing bond between these two characters.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
When I received the email from my agent informing me that I had a three-book offer from Simon and Schuster, I was standing alone in my kitchen. It took me a few reads just to process what he was telling me. Then I fell to the floor screaming. Since I was the only one there, it was very much a tree falls in the forest and no one hears moment. So when my kids got off the bus that afternoon, I reenacted it for them. We still laugh about it.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Chocolate. All the chocolate.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
I have a few different tangle fidgets on my writing table. I like to have something to play with when I brainstorm.


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

February 7, 2016 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 6

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

This issue featuresIsabel Bandeira (Bookishly Ever After), Kathy MacMillan (Sword and Verse), Emily Skrutskie (The Abyss Surrounds Us), K.C. Held (Holding Court), Ava Jae (Beyond the Red), Riley Redgate (Seven Ways We Lie), and Jeff Garvin (Symptoms of Being Human).


Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira
January 12, 2016 from Spencer Hill Press
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In a perfect world, sixteen-year-old Phoebe Martins’ life would be a book. Preferably a YA novel with magic and a hot paranormal love interest. Unfortunately, her life probably wouldn’t even qualify for a quiet contemporary. But when Phoebe finds out that Dev, the hottest guy in the clarinet section, might actually have a crush on her, she turns to her favorite books for advice. Phoebe overhauls her personality to become as awesome as her favorite heroines and win Dev’s heart. But if her plan fails, can she go back to her happy world of fictional boys after falling for the real thing?

Describe your book in five words or less.
Turning books into advice manuals.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
I don’t want to spoil anything, but it happens in the second half, when Phoebe and Dev are counseling 6th grade camp in the Pine Barrens. Those two were so much fun to write together.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
In my apartment, in a google hangout with my future editors. :)

What’s your favorite junk food?
Salty: Cheese-its/goldfish
Sweet: Gummi bears

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Go Minam, Tae Kyung, Shinwoo, and Jeremy stand-up sticky note holders (I’m a big fan of the k-drama You’re Beautiful, and these are ADORABLE– they’re little fold-up cartoon-y versions of each Anjell band member, and the sticky notes have the pig-rabbit on them)

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Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan
January 19, 2016 from HarperTeen
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Raisa was just a child when she was sold to work as a slave in the kingdom of Qilara. Despite her young age, her father was teaching her to read and write, grooming her to take his place as a Learned One. In Qilara, the Arnathim, like Raisa, are the lowest class, and literacy is a capital offense. What’s more, only the king, prince, tutor, and tutor-in-training are allowed to learn the very highest order language, the language of the gods. So when the tutor-in-training is executed for teaching slaves this sacred language, and Raisa is selected to replace her, Raisa knows any slipup on her part could mean death.

Keeping her secret is hard enough, but the romance that’s been growing between her and Prince Mati isn’t helping matters. Then Raisa is approached by the Resistance—an underground army of slave rebels—to help liberate Arnath slaves. She wants to free her people, but that would mean aiding a war against Mati. As Raisa struggles with what to do, she discovers a secret that the Qilarites have been hiding for centuries—one that, if uncovered, could bring the kingdom to its knees.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Fantasy romance for language geeks.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene is one late in the book where the truth about Raisa’s involvement with the Resistance comes out, and she has to face the devastating consequences of betraying the person she loves most. It’s not a battle, but a conversation, and it requires more bravery than any spy mission or sword fight.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was at home packing for the camp I direct for deaf kids, which started the following day. Immediately after getting the big news, I spent a week in the woods with a bunch of middle schoolers who were thoroughly unimpressed with my book deal. (Fun fact: one of my middle school campers that week was a girl whose name I had borrowed for one of the characters years ago when she was one of my preschool students and I was first working on the manuscript!)

What’s your favorite junk food?
Marshmallow peeps and bunnies at Easter. (Which is all for the best, since those are only available for a short time each year!) I’m also a sucker for anything gummy!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A rock that resembles a primitive spear point.


The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie
February 8, 2016 from Flux
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For Cassandra Leung, bossing around sea monsters is just the family business. She’s been a Reckoner trainer-in-training ever since she could walk, raising the genetically-engineered beasts to defend ships as they cross the pirate-infested NeoPacific. But when the pirate queen Santa Elena swoops in on Cas’s first solo mission and snatches her from the bloodstained decks, Cas’s dream of being a full-time trainer seems dead in the water.

There’s no time to mourn. Waiting for her on the pirate ship is an unhatched Reckoner pup. Santa Elena wants to take back the seas with a monster of her own, and she needs a proper trainer to do it. She orders Cas to raise the pup, make sure he imprints on her ship, and, when the time comes, teach him to fight for the pirates. If Cas fails, her blood will be the next to paint the sea.

But Cas has fought pirates her entire life. And she’s not about to stop.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Pirates vs. kaiju with lesbians.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
The scene is Chapter 17 in its entirety. It’s basically Fight Club, and I “broke” it while listening to Fall Out Boy’s Immortals on loop while literally acting my way through it in the loft of my parents’ house. Fortunately my parents weren’t home at the time.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
In a statistics discussion section, acting like I was doing work so the TA wouldn’t get suspicious. The email landed in my inbox at the beginning of class, and I didn’t pay attention to ANYTHING from that moment on.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Bugles.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A magic eight ball in the shape of a pirate skull. You lift the eyepatch to see your answer.


Holding Court by K.C. Held
March 1, 2016 from Entangled Teen
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Sixteen-year-old Jules Verity knows exactly what’s in store at her new job at castle-turned-dinner-theater Tudor Times. Some extra cash, wearing a fancy-pants dress, and plenty of time to secretly drool over the ever-so-tasty–and completely unavailable–Grayson Chandler. Except that it’s not quite what she imagined.

For one, the costume Jules has to wear is awful. Then there’s the dead body she finds that just kind of…well, disappears. Oh, and there’s the small issue of Jules and her episodes of what her best friend calls “Psychic Tourette’s Syndrome”–spontaneous and uncontrollable outbursts of seemingly absurd prophecies.

The only bright side? This whole dead body thing seems to have gotten Grayson’s attention. Except that the more Jules investigates, the more she discovers that Grayson’s interest might not be as courtly as she thought. In fact, it’s starting to look suspicious…

Describe your book in five words or less.
A rollicking romantic mystery.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
It’s impossible to pick a favorite! But the scene I probably had the most fun writing is one where my main character, Jules, pretends to do a psychic reading for her best friend’s drama club nemesis. My favorite prediction involves prom and the bubonic plague.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
Walking on my treadmill desk. I’m lucky I wasn’t seriously injured. Happy dancing on a treadmill is not easy.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Hot Tamales cinnamon candy. The hotter the better!

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

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Beyond the Red by Ava Jae
March 1, 2016 by Sky Pony Press
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Alien queen Kora has a problem as vast as the endless crimson deserts. She’s the first female ruler of her territory in generations, but her people are rioting and call for her violent younger twin brother to take the throne. Despite assassination attempts, a mounting uprising of nomadic human rebels, and pressure to find a mate to help her rule, she’s determined to protect her people from her brother’s would-be tyrannical rule.

Eros is a rebel soldier hated by aliens and human alike for being a half-blood. Yet that doesn’t stop him from defending his people, at least until Kora’s soldiers raze his camp and take him captive. He’s given an ultimatum: be an enslaved bodyguard to Kora, or be executed for his true identity—a secret kept even from him.

When Kora and Eros are framed for the attempted assassination of her betrothed, they flee. Their only chance of survival is to turn themselves in to the high court, where revealing Eros’s secret could mean a swift public execution. But when they uncover a violent plot to end the human insurgency, they must find a way to work together to prevent genocide.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Alien queen and rebel framed.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
Welllll I don’t want to get too specific because spoilers, but I will say it involves kissing. Lots of kissing. And sand.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
In my dorm room! Which doesn’t sound exciting except when you consider my agent had to call back because I was walking to my dorm when she first called and she played it so cool that I had no idea she was calling with The News until the call take two.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Fruit dipped in melted, super-low sugar, super-dark chocolate! Which doesn’t sound like junk food until you consider it’s one of the only sweets I can have, as I try my best not to eat anything with added sugar in it. So. :)

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A (clean) paintbrush. I have no idea why it’s there, to be honest.

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Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate
March 8, 2016 from Amulet Books
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Paloma High School is ordinary by anyone’s standards. It’s got the same cliques, the same prejudices, the same suspect cafeteria food. And like every high school, every student has something to hide—whether it’s Kat, the thespian who conceals her trust issues onstage; or Valentine, the neurotic genius who’s planted the seed of a school scandal.

When that scandal bubbles over, and rumors of a teacher-student affair surface, everyone starts hunting for someone to blame. For the unlikely allies at the heart of it all, the collision of their seven ordinary-seeming lives results in extraordinary change.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Seven deadly sins. One scandal.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
I’m kind of a sucker for epiphany scenes. Not to get spoilery, but in one scene, one of the narrators watches someone close to him have a total breakdown, and realizes how much about the world he still doesn’t understand. It’s very vulnerable for him and I’m quite happy with the way it turned out.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was sitting on my bed in my dorm room in fourth floor Old Kenyon!

What’s your favorite junk food?
Every single junk food. All of them. Fries, chicken nuggets, burgers, I’ll eat it all.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Five boxfoxes … I’m an adult, I swear to God. (If you have never seen a boxfox. It is the cutest stuffed animal in the world.)


Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin
February 2, 2016 from Balzer + Bray
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The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is: Am I a boy, or am I a girl?

Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. The thing is . . . Riley isn’t exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in uber-conservative Orange County, the pressure—media and otherwise—is building up in Riley’s so-called “normal” life.

On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it’s REALLY like to be a gender-fluid teenager. But just as Riley’s starting to settle in at school—even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast—the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley’s real identity, threatening exposure. Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created—a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in—or stand up, come out, and risk everything.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Gender-fluid teen’s blog goes viral.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
Riley, the protagonist, flees the high school cafeteria after a bout of bullying leads to a vicious anxiety attack. Bec, a mysterious outcast with lightsaber-blue eyes, follows and pulls Riley from the clutches of the attack. Sparks fly, and a rather unconventional friendship (maybe more?) begins.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was sitting at my desk at my day job. When my agent’s name popped up on my phone, I got full body chills and ran outside to take the call. She was walking through Manhattan amidst sirens and honking cabs. I was standing on the curb next to a giant UPS truck. We had to yell into the phone in order to hear each other. When she told me there’d been an offer on my book, there may have been a great deal of screaming on both ends. Allegedly.

What’s your favorite junk food?
There’s a vegan fast food joint in OC called Native Foods. They have something called the Scorpion Burger. It tastes like fulfillment and inner beauty. I feel empty inside because I’m not currently eating one.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
The discarded wall-mount for my remote control lightsaber.


Keeping Up With the Debuts: What Lee Kelly Learned from Her Debut

February 3, 2016 Giveaway, Guest Post, Keeping Up With the Debuts 5

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

I’m so excited to welcome Lee Kelly back to the blog today! Lee’s debut novel, City of Savages, came out exactly one year ago today! She’s here to tell us about what she learned from her debut novel and to tell us about her new book, A Criminal Magic, which released yesterday!


What I Learned from My Debut
by Lee Kelly

It’s February 3, 2016 – exactly one day after the release of my second novel, A CRIMINAL MAGIC, and exactly one year after the release of my first, CITY OF SAVAGES. My debut somehow simultaneously feels like ages ago, and also just last week. I think time does funny tricks like that, bends and flexes and knots around big events in people’s lives, and this past year has been no exception.

Whenever I catch up or run into people I haven’t seen in a while, one of the first questions they tend to ask is, “Oh hey! How’s the book doing?” And while this used to feel like an antagonizing inquiry into my personal worth last winter, these days, it just feels like an honest question. I’ve gotten over the vulnerability, the obsession, the insecurity of my debut – and while debuting was truly a rollercoaster of an endeavor, I’d like to think I’m a stronger writer and person for it.

The funny thing is, with my second book, I find myself slipping back into my “debut insanity” mindset a little bit – but maybe this is somewhat inevitable, right? Maybe releasing books is a little like having kids – maybe you just can’t escape that period where life gets turned upside down, where you’re more vulnerable and irritable and feel like you may never be normal again. Here are five lessons I learned the first book around that I’m trying to remember this time:

1. Reading is subjective, and it’s supposed to be. There was a three month stretch, right around release, where I sadly spent waaaay too much time tracking Amazon and Goodreads reviews, pouring over trades, wondering when I noticed someone currently reading my novel if they’d be the type of person who would enjoy a pair of post-apocalyptic sisters, or the type who would make a hate-rant video about their idiocy.
But the truth is, tastes are erratic and completely unpredictable. I’ll hand a novel to my mom, convinced she’ll devour it, and she can’t get through the first twenty pages. My sister and I will see a movie, and at the end she’ll ask, “Wasn’t that amazing?” to which I answer, “Eh.”

Thing is, entertainment is supposed to be subjective – there are many kinds of genres and styles and messages and if we all liked the same thing, we’d all write and make the same things, and what a boring world that would be.

2. Don’t ask people if they’ve read your book. That moment where you know your husband gave a copy of your book to his colleague, and you know she liked the first two chapters because she told you in person a month earlier, and yet here you are at a cocktail party and books come up and she says nothing. VERDICT: As my father flippantly says, “So what! Who cares?” I never bring it up because she either forgot or she hated it, and those are high odds for a really awkward conversation.

3. The online book community is wonderful…. I never knew how incredibly robust and communal and supportive and fun the book community was online until I debuted. I got on Twitter late, and only after I signed my book deal with Simon & Schuster, but I seriously feel so grateful for the amazing community of fellow writers, readers, bloggers, agents and publishers that make the book community so wonderful and accessible online.

4. …But sometimes you have to go dark. For all of its amazingness, thanks to social media, it is so, so easy these days to check in on friends and colleagues and other writers, see all of the wonderful things going on in their careers (New deals! Stellar reviews! Film options!) and feel incredibly small and unworthy. And while it took me a LONG time to figure this out, I finally realized that when I’m in a really insecure place (like waiting on feedback from my editor or agent, or really struggling with a particular scene or a tough revision), I just have to turn off the internet. I’m not intentionally in the business of torturing myself, but for a short period back in 2015, I have to admit I was pretty darn good at it.

5. At the end of the day, I love writing. No matter how my last book or my new book is received, at the end of the day, I write novels because I love writing – the actual act, not everything that might come or does come after it. So I have to sit down at the computer as a writer, not as an author, which helps frame all of the above concerns as privileges.


To read about Lee’s debut novel, A City of Savages, click here!
Continue on to read about A Criminal Magic and enter to win one of two prize packages of BOTH of Lee Kelly’s books!

A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly
February 2, 2016 from Simon & Schuster
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THE NIGHT CIRCUS meets PEAKY BLINDERS in Lee Kelly’s new magical realism, crossover novel.

Magic is powerful, dangerous and addictive – and after passage of the 18th Amendment, it is finally illegal.

It’s 1926 in Washington, DC, and while Anti-Sorcery activists have achieved the Prohibition of sorcery, the city’s magic underworld is booming. Sorcerers cast illusions to aid mobsters’ crime sprees. Smugglers funnel magic contraband in from overseas. Gangs have established secret performance venues where patrons can lose themselves in magic, and take a mind-bending, intoxicating elixir known as the sorcerer’s shine.

Joan Kendrick, a young sorcerer from Norfolk County, Virginia accepts an offer to work for DC’s most notorious crime syndicate, the Shaw Gang, when her family’s home is repossessed. Alex Danfrey, a first-year Federal Prohibition Unit trainee with a complicated past and talents of his own, becomes tapped to go undercover and infiltrate the Shaws.

Through different paths, Joan and Alex tread deep into the violent, dangerous world of criminal magic – and when their paths cross at the Shaws’ performance venue, despite their orders, and despite themselves, Joan and Alex become enchanted with one another. But when gang alliances begin to shift, the two sorcerers are forced to question their ultimate allegiances and motivations. And soon, Joan and Alex find themselves pitted against each other in a treacherous, heady game of cat-and-mouse.

A CRIMINAL MAGIC casts a spell of magic, high stakes and intrigue against the backdrop of a very different Roaring Twenties.


Lee Kelly is the author of A CRIMINAL MAGIC and CITY OF SAVAGES. She has wanted to write since she was old enough to hold a pencil, but it wasn’t until she began studying for the California Bar Exam that she conveniently started putting pen to paper. An entertainment lawyer by trade, Lee has practiced in Los Angeles and New York. She lives with her husband and children in Millburn, New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter at @leeykelly and on her website at NewWriteCity.com.


Lee Kelly is offering two winners copies of both City of Savages AND A Criminal Magic! Pretty sure you should enter this giveaway.

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

January 24, 2016 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 5

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

This issue of the Debut Dish features Sarah Ahiers (Assassin’s Heart), Kali Wallace (Shallow Graves), Cait Spivey (From Under the Mountain), Rebecca Podos (The Mystery of Hollow Places), Emily Martin (The Year We Fell Apart), and Anne Riley (Pull).


Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers
February 2, 2016 from HarperTeen
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In the kingdom of Lovero, nine rival Families of assassins lawfully kill people for a price. As a highly skilled member of one of these powerful clans, seventeen-year-old Lea Saldana has always trusted in the strength of her Family. Until she awakens to find them murdered and her home in flames. The Da Vias, the Saldanas’ biggest enemy, must be responsible—and Lea should have seen it coming. But her secret relationship with the Da Vias’ son, Val, has clouded her otherwise killer instinct—and given the Da Vias more reason than ever to take her Family down.

Racked with guilt and shattered over Val’s probable betrayal, Lea sets out to even the score, with her heart set on retaliation and only one thought clear in her mind: make the Da Vias pay.

With shades of The Godfather and Romeo and Juliet, this richly imagined fantasy from debut author Sarah Ahiers is a story of love, lies, and the ultimate vengeance.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Assassins, murder, vengeance, ghosts, romance.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
I have a lot of favorite scenes, but one that I’ve really loved since the moment I wrote it is when Lea meets her estranged uncle Marcello for the first time. Things are revealed and emotions are high and I really like Marcello as a character. I get excited every time I read that scene.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
At my day job. I got an email from my agent about the offer and I was so excited and emotional that my hands were shaking when I called my sister a few minutes later.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Chocolate and chips. Even better is chocolate covered potato chips!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A measuring tape and a geode.


Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace
January 26, 2016 from Katherine Tegen Books
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For fans of Holly Black and Nova Ren Suma, a gripping, hauntingly atmospheric novel about murder, revenge, and a world where monsters—human and otherwise—lurk at the fringes.

When seventeen-year-old Breezy Lin wakes up in a shallow grave one year after her death, she doesn’t remember who killed her or why. All she knows is that she’s somehow conscious—and not only that, she’s able to sense who around her is hiding a murderous past. In life, Breezy was always drawn to the elegance of the universe and the mystery of the stars. Now she must set out to find answers and discover what is to become of her in the gritty, dangerous world to which she now belongs—where killers hide in plain sight and a sinister cult is hunting for strange creatures like her. What she finds is at once empowering, redemptive, and dangerous.

Tense, complex, and wholly engaging, Shallow Graves is a stunning first novel from Kali Wallace.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Being undead sucks.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
That’s a spoiler! Let’s just say it involves several dead bodies, a long walk underground, and a very angry woman.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was on vacation in Hawaii when I got the call from my agent, so the time difference meant that we kept missing each other and I had to get out of bed before 6 a.m. so we could actually have a conversation about the offer. Totally worth it.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Chocolate. Just… chocolate.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
The Father Ted DVD box set. I don’t know why it’s on my desk. It’s not like I’m going to watch it at my desk.


From Under the Mountain by Cait Spivey
January 26, 2016 from REUTS Publications
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As the second child of the Aridan imperial family, nineteen-year-old Guerline knows exactly what is expected of her: be unobtrusive, be compliant, and do not fall in love with her low-born companion, Eva. She has succeeded at only two of those.

But before her feelings for Eva can become a point of contention for the royal house, Guerline’s calm and narrow life is ripped away from her—in the course of a single night—and she is abruptly cast in the role of empress.

Faced with a council that aggressively fears the four witch clans charged with protecting Arido and believes they are, in fact, waging war against the humans, Guerline struggles to maintain order. As her control over the land crumbles, she learns that the war is rooted in a conflict much older than she realized—one centuries in the making, which is now crawling from under the mountain and into the light. With the fate of Arido hanging in the balance, Guerline must decide who to trust when even her closest councilors seem to have an agenda.

Darkly cinematic, From Under the Mountain pairs the sweeping landscape of epic fantasy with the personal journey of finding one’s voice in the world, posing the question: how do you define evil, when everything society tells you is a lie?

Describe your book in five words or less.
Witches. Humans. Psychopathic gods. Disaster.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
Tough one. I can’t be too specific about my favorite scene, because it’s one of those spoilerific crux scenes. Suffice it to say that it’s immediately after a major character’s death, and Guerline, the main character, is confronted by a lot of the information and feelings she’s been trying to control and suppress so far in the novel. I have to stop and read this scene every time I work on the novel, even if I’m just supposed to be skimming through.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
At home. I work from home, so I’m pretty much here all the time, haha.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Cheesecake. Or creme brûlée. Or fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies…*wanders off in search of junk food*

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
I have a little spider finger-puppet that I use to introduce people to my self-pubbed novella series, THE WEB. I try to keep my desk clear, so I guess he counts as the oddest thing.


The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos
January 26, 2016 from Blazer + Bray
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All Imogene Scott knows of her mother is the bedtime story her father told her as a child. It’s the story of how her parents met: he, a forensic pathologist, she, a mysterious woman who came to identify a body. A woman who left Imogene and her father when she was a baby, a woman who was always possessed by a powerful loneliness, a woman who many referred to as troubled waters.

When Imogene is seventeen, her father, now a famous author of medical mysteries, strikes out in the middle of the night and doesn’t come back. Neither Imogene’s stepmother nor the police know where he could’ve gone, but Imogene is convinced he’s looking for her mother. She decides to put to use the skills she’s gleaned from a lifetime of her father’s books to track down a woman she’s never known, in order to find him and, perhaps, the answer to the question she’s carried with her for her entire life.

Rebecca Podos’ debut is a powerful, affecting story of the pieces of ourselves that remain mysteries even to us – the desperate search through empty spaces for something to hold on to.

Describe your book in five words or less.
It’s a mystery about mysteries.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite might be the scene at the Boston MFA between the main character, Imogene Scott, and her best-friend-on-paper, Jessa Price, during a pivotal point in the mystery. Jessa was in some ways based upon my best friend growing up, so the evolution of the girls’ relationship as they work together to find Immy’s father is really precious to me.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
When I found out I had an offer on HOLLOW PLACES, I was in the car with my husband, leaving the motorcycle dealership where he’d just bought a bike. I made him pull over so I could tell him the good news , and he asked if I wanted to go back and buy a bike for myself to celebrate. I DID NOT.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Chocolate peanut butter, but if I eat it on celery, it’s considered “veggies with toppings.”

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
I’ve just spilled my drink across my desk, but that’s not unusual, so I’ll go with this cardboard bear I got from the Edward Gorey House. You can dress him up in all kinds of period clothing that came in the kit, which I absolutely NEEDED when I was in the gift shop a few years ago. I’m sure I’ll find a great and practical use for it someday.

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The Year We Fell Apart by Emily Martin
January 26, 2016 from Simon Pulse
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In the tradition of Sarah Dessen, this powerful debut novel is a compelling portrait of a young girl coping with her mother’s cancer as she figures out how to learn from—and fix—her past.

Few things come as naturally to Harper as epic mistakes. In the past year she was kicked off the swim team, earned a reputation as Carson High’s easiest hook-up, and officially became the black sheep of her family. But her worst mistake was destroying her relationship with her best friend, Declan.

Now, after two semesters of silence, Declan is home from boarding school for the summer. Everything about him is different—he’s taller, stronger…more handsome. Harper has changed, too, especially in the wake of her mom’s cancer diagnosis.

While Declan wants nothing to do with Harper, he’s still Declan, her Declan, and the only person she wants to talk to about what’s really going on. But he’s also the one person she’s lost the right to seek comfort from.

As their mutual friends and shared histories draw them together again, Harper and Declan must decide which parts of their past are still salvageable, and which parts they’ll have to let go of once and for all.

In this honest and affecting tale of friendship and first love, Emily Martin brings to vivid life the trials and struggles of high school and the ability to learn from past mistakes over the course of one steamy North Carolina summer.

Describe your book in five words or less.
The complicated negotiation of forgiveness.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene is the first one I wrote, which actually comes late in the novel. It’s a point where all of Harper and Declan’s past hurt and everything they’ve gone a year without dealing with finally comes to a head. Writing that scene inspired the rest of the novel, because I had to find out how these two best friends, despite all the love they have for each other, could end up in such a messy, painful place.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
Riding the T in Boston on my commute home from work. I saw my agent was calling and couldn’t resist answering, which wasn’t the brightest idea because I was underground and couldn’t hear half of what she was saying! I somehow managed to contain my flailing until the next stop, at which point I jumped out and practically skipped the rest of the way home.

What’s your favorite junk food?
I love a mix of salty and sweet–chocolate-covered pretzels and kettle corn are two of my faves!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
My desk is remarkably clean at the moment, but there is a set of Betty Boop pens that my mom sent me as an “office warming” present. They are as awesome and ridiculous as you might think.

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Pull by Anne Riley
February 2, 2016 from Spencer Hill Press
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Rosie Clayton witnesses a mugging on her first night in London—and then the scene rewinds itself.

She finds herself standing in the same place again, with the mugging happening just like before, except this time a stranger steps in and stops it. There’s no way the same incident can have two outcomes. Rosie thinks she’s losing her mind, until just a few days later, the stranger saves her.

The stranger, Albert, and his band of misfit crime-fighters, have the special ability to Pull, which allows them to rewind just enough time to undo a recent event. Someone is hunting Albert and his crew– and now that Rosie’s been seen with them, she’s a target too. Rosie is left with no choice but to trust Albert to keep her safe.

As Rosie learns more about this unbelievable ability and the people – if you can call them that – who want them dead, she discovers that the group’s desire for her blood might be more than mere coincidence. Each step into this magical side of London introduces Rosie to a family history that she never knew existed, and dangerous forces that could unravel her world in an instant.

Her family may be the reason they’re all being hunted—and she may be the only one who can figure out how to save them. Sure, between the lot of them, they have a few shots to get it right. The thing about Pulling, though, is you have to be alive to do it.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Cute English guys fighting crime.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
I love the scene where Albert is trying to teach Rosie how to Pull (rewind a section of time to change something bad that’s happened). It’s full of tension and mystery–will she be able to do it? And how does she feel about Albert standing so close to her?–and I love the chemistry between the two characters.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
In my house, changing my second child’s diaper. Glamorous, right?

What’s your favorite junk food?
Anything greasy! Burgers, fries, pizza… I’ll eat all of it!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
An atomic clock that doesn’t actually keep accurate time. (How? Isn’t that the whole point of an atomic clock?)

I’ve got a flash giveaway of Pull going on on Twitter right now! 


Shade Me Rainbow Blitz | My Favorite Red Things (+ Giveaway)

January 17, 2016 Blog Tour, Giveaway 6

Shade Me Rainbow Blitz | My Favorite Red Things (+ Giveaway)

I’m so excited to be on the Shade Me Rainbow Blitz tour, hosted by Irish Banana Tours! Seven bloggers, seven days, seven colors. Each day you’ll get to visit another blog and see why they love their assigned color (and shades of their color). First stop is right here, with the shades of red (including maroon, burgundy, pink, etc.)! I’ve chosen to do a collage of all of my favorite things. Don’t forget to read about Jennifer Brown’s Shade Me and enter to win one of three copies of the book!


Jana’s Favorite (Shades of) Red Things

ShadesOfRed

I love strawberries, A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, red velvet cake, my pink high heels, pink dahlias, my hot pink Revlon Ultra HD Matte lip color, red nail polish, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, gardens with red flowers, sunsets, fall leaves, and apples!

What are some of your favorite red (and shades of red) things?


Shade Me by Jennifer Brown
January 19, 2016 from Katherine Tegen Books
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | The Book Depository

Nikki Kill does not see the world like everyone else. In her eyes, happiness is pink, sadness is a mixture of brown and green, and lies are gray. Thanks to a rare phenomenon called synesthesia, Nikki’s senses overlap, in a way that both comforts and overwhelms her.

Always an outsider, just one ‘D’ shy of flunking out, Nikki’s life is on the fast track to nowhere until the night a mysterious call lights her phone up bright orange—the color of emergencies. It’s the local hospital. They need Nikki to identify a Jane Doe who is barely hanging on to life after a horrible attack.

The victim is Peyton Hollis, a popular girl from Nikki’s school who Nikki hardly knows. One thing is clear: Someone wants Peyton dead. But why? And why was Nikki’s cell the only number in Peyton’s phone?

As she tries to decipher the strange kaleidoscope of clues, Nikki finds herself thrust into the dark, glittering world of the ultra-rich Hollis family, and drawn towards Peyton’s handsome, never-do-well older brother Dru. While Nikki’s colors seem to help her unravel the puzzle, what she can’t see is that she may be falling into a trap. The only truth she can be sure of is that death is a deep, pulsing crimson.

Shade Me is award-winning author Jennifer Brown’s first book in a thrilling suspense series about Nikki Kill.


About Jennifer Brown:

Two-time winner of the Erma Bombeck Global Humor Award (2005 & 2006), Jennifer’s weekly humor column appeared in The Kansas City Star for over four years, until she gave it up to be a full-time young adult novelist.

Jennifer’s debut novel, HATE LIST (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2009) received three starred reviews and was selected as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a VOYA “Perfect Ten,” and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. HATE LIST also won the Michigan Library Association’s Thumbs Up! Award, the Louisiana Teen Readers Choice award, the 2012 Oklahoma Sequoyah Book Award, was an honorable mention for the 2011 Arkansas Teen Book Award, is a YALSA 2012 Popular Paperback, received spots on the Texas Library Association’s Taysha’s high school reading list as well as the Missouri Library Association’s Missouri Gateway Awards list, and has been chosen to represent the state of Missouri in the 2012 National Book Festival in Washington, DC. Jennifer’s second novel, BITTER END, (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2011) received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and VOYA and is listed on the YALSA 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults list and is a 2012 Taysha’s high school reading list pick as well.

Jennifer writes and lives in the Kansas City, Missouri area, with her husband and three children.

Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


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Tour Schedule:

1/17:  That Artsy Reader Girl – Red
1/18:  Lisa Loves Lit – Orange
1/19:  Avid Reader – Yellow
1/20:  Book Scents – Green
1/21:  Andi’s ABCs – Blue
1/22:  Fiery Reads – Indigo
1/23:  Such A Novel Idea – Violet


The Debut Dish: January 2016, Issue #1 (+ Giveaway)

January 10, 2016 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 13

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

Welcome to January’s first issue of The Debut Dish! Things are working a little differently this year. Most noticeably, we’ve got some new questions! Also, there will be two issues a month instead of an issue almost every Sunday. Last of all, I’m no longer featuring authors chronologically by release date. Sometimes it ends up that way, but I’m letting the authors choose when I feature them this year so they can do more exciting giveaways!

This issue features Marieke Nijkamp (This is Where it Ends), Natalie Blitt (The Distance from A to Z), Emily Albright (The Heir and the Spare), and Patrick Samphire (Secrets of the Dragon Tomb).


This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
January 5, 2016 from Sourcebooks Fire
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10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03
The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05
Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Four teens. One school shooting.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
There’s a scene early on in the book where one of the main characters, who is inside the school, but not inside the auditorium where the shooting takes place, is desperate to save his sister. His best friend is with him, and although normally they banter and don’t take anything seriously, here they stand beside each other unconditionally. And I loved writing that friendship between Tomás and Fareed.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
In a bookstore, with my critique partner and her agent! Which was basically the best thing ever. (And I didn’t even buy any books because I was so overwhelmed! I made up for that over the next couple of days, though.)

What’s your favorite junk food?
Ice cream! I’m an ice cream person summer or winter.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A Gallifreyan fob watch. ;-)


The Distance from A to Z by Natalie Blitt
January 12, 2016 from Epic Reads Impulse
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This full-length novel by debut author Natalie Blitt is a pitch-perfect blend of Stephanie Perkins and Miranda Kenneally that proves the age-old adage: opposites attract.

Seventeen-year old Abby has only one goal for her summer: to make sure she is fluent in French—well, that, and to get as far away from baseball and her Cubs-obsessed family as possible. A summer of culture and language, with no sports in sight.

That turns out to be impossible, though, because her French partner is the exact kind of boy she was hoping to avoid. Eight weeks. 120 hours of class. 80 hours of conversation practice with someone who seems to exclusively wear baseball caps and jerseys.

But Zeke in French is a different person than Zeke in English. And Abby can’t help but fall for him, hard. As Abby begins to suspect that Zeke is hiding something, she has to decide if bridging the gap between the distance between who she is and who he is, is worth the risk.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Amour is French for love.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
One of my favorite scenes is the first time Abby and Zeke kiss. They are having a lovely evening and Abby says something dumb that Zeke takes offense at — and they wind up on different sides of a trivia night at a local cafe. It’s fun and flirty and sad and just a little bit sexy.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
At work! Seems odd, doesn’t it? I’d had a few near misses so it was hard to not be worried, but there was definitely a lot of cheshire grins happening.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Chocolate covered espresso beans. And air popped popcorn. And red licorice.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
I bought the letters W, R, I, T, E from Michael’s and then glued on pages from an old copy (one of two) of Ballet Shoes that I’d had from when I was little. You can see the line drawings and it both inspires me and keeps me aiming high.


The Heir and the Spare by Emily Albright
January 18, 2016 from Merit Press
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Family can be complicated. Especially when skeletons from the past pop up unexpectedly. For American Evie Gray, finding out her deceased mother had a secret identity, and not one of the caped crusader variety, was quite the surprise. Evie’s mom had a secret life before she was even born, one that involved tiaras.

In this modern day fairytale, Evie is on a path to figure out who her mom really was, while discovering for herself what the future will hold. Charged with her late mother’s letters, Evie embarks on a quest into her past. The first item on the list is to attend Oxford, her mom’s alma mater. There, Evie stumbles upon a real life prince charming, Edmund Stuart the second Prince of England, who is all too happy to be the counterpart to her damsel in distress.

Evie can’t resist her growing attraction to Edmund as they spend more time together trying to unravel the clues her mother left behind. But, when doubts arise as to whether or not Edmund could ever be with an untitled American, what really ends up unraveling is Evie’s heart. When Evie uncovers all the facts about her mom’s former life, she realizes her mom’s past can open doors she never dreamed possible, doors that can help her be with Edmund. But, with everything now unveiled, Evie starts to crack under the pressure of new family responsibilities and the realization that her perfect prince may want her for all the wrong reasons.

Describe your book in five words or less.
A modern day fairytale romance.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
Hmm, I’d probably have to go with the Eiffel Tower scene on Evie’s Birthday.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
At home. I was working on another book when my agent called me and told me Merit was making an offer. Once I got off the phone I did a happy dance and squealed liked a little girl. Then I started calling my hubby and parents. It still makes me smile just to think about it.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Chocolate. Chocolate. Chocolate. Always chocolate. Chocolate makes everything better. ;)

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
I actually don’t have a desk. I use a lap desk thingy on the chaise part of my couch. But, the oddest thing within my reach would have to be my pink peppermint foot cream. Well, that or my weird, little, food-stealing puppy, Luna. The other day she stole the tuna sandwich I made for lunch and spit out all the pickles. Guess she’s not a pickle fan.

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Secrets of the Dragon Tomb by Patrick Samphire
January 12, 2016 from Christy Ottaviano Books
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Mars in 1816 is a world of high society, deadly danger, and strange clockwork machines.

Twelve-year-old Edward Sullivan wants to become a spy like the ones he reads about in his favorite magazine, Thrilling Martian Tales, but he’s far too busy keeping his eccentric family from disaster. All of that is about to change. In the north, great dragon tombs hide marvels of Ancient Martian technology, and the villainous archaeologist Sir Titus Dane is determined to loot one.

When Sir Titus kidnaps Edward’s parents, Edward, his sisters, and their mysterious cousin set off in pursuit across the Martian wilderness. Together they must battle Sir Titus’s minions, dodge hungry pterodactyls, and escape fearsome Martian hunting machines in order to rescue Edward’s parents and uncover the secrets of the dragon tomb.

Describe your book in five words or less.
A thrilling Martian adventure.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
One of my favorite scenes comes right near the beginning of the book when our hero’s idiot cousin crashes his cycle-copter (a cross between a bicycle and a helicopter) into a great pillar of rock, almost sending our hero plunging to his doom. I love this scene because it’s full of action, is very funny, and sets of a whole cascade of deadly adventure and thrilling escapes.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was reading to my oldest son (who was four at the time) and we’d just taken a break in between chapters when I found out. He was very excited, although he didn’t like the idea that someone else would buy my book as he wanted to keep it!

What’s your favorite junk food?
Chocolate. Is chocolate a junk food? Actually, I don’t think it can be. It is my opinion that if you only eat dark chocolate and only drink green tea you’ll live forever.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
I kinda don’t want to think about that right now, because my little children keep leaving weird things on my desk and sometimes they freak me out when I uncover them.