Posts Categorized: Giveaway

Giveaway: Journey to Death by Leigh Russell

April 8, 2016 Book Spotlight, Giveaway 1

I don’t know about you, but right now I’d rather be anywhere than sitting at my desk working on my final projects for this semester of grad school. Seriously. Anywhere. When Journey to Death was pitched to me, the first thing I thought was “SEYCHELLES! Tropical paradise! A Thriller!” Basically, it has all the makings of a pretty awesome beach read, and I can’t wait to read it. Wunderkind PR agrees with me, so they are offering up a print copy to one of my readers in the USA! Read a little more about the book and enter to win a copy!

Journey to Death by Leigh Russell
Published by Thomas & Mercer on February 9, 2016
Genres: Adult fiction, contemporary, thriller
Add to Goodreads • Amazon

Lucy Hall arrives in the Seychelles determined to leave her worries behind. The tropical paradise looks sun-soaked and picture-perfect—but as Lucy soon discovers, appearances can be very deceptive. A deadly secret lurks in the island’s history, buried deep but not forgotten. And it is about to come to light.

As black clouds begin to gather over what promised to be a relaxing family break, Lucy realises that her father stands in the eye of the coming storm. A shadow from his past is threatening to destroy all that he holds dear—including the lives of his loved ones.

A dark truth is about to explode into their lives, and that truth is going to hit them right between the eyes.

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

April 3, 2016 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 4

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

This issue of The Debut Dish features Laura Shovan (The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary), Janet Sumner Johnson (The Last Great Adventure of the PB&J Society), Dana Elmendorf (South of Sunshine), and Brooks Benjamin (My Seventh-Grade Life in Tights).


The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary by Laura Shovan
April 12, 2016 from Wendy Lamb Books
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Eighteen kids,
one year of poems,
one school set to close.
Two yellow bulldozers
crouched outside,
ready to eat the building
in one greedy gulp.

But look out, bulldozers.
Ms. Hill’s fifth-grade class
has plans for you.
They’re going to speak up
and work together
to save their school.

Laura Shovan’s engaging novel is a time capsule of one class’s poems during a transformative school year. The students grow up and move on in this big-hearted debut about finding your voice and making sure others hear it.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Kid poets protest school closing.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
While Ms. Hill’s fifth grade poets stage a sit-in at the board of education, they sing protest songs and argue that their school is the backbone of their community.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
On the way to an Orioles baseball game.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Chocolate chip cookies.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A bright yellow business card holder shaped like a hedgehog.

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The Last Great Adventure of the PB&J Society by Janet Sumner Johnson
April 1, 2016 from Capstone Young Readers
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Some things are better together. Like peanut butter and jelly. Or Annie and Jason. So when her best friend’s house is threatened with foreclosure, Annie Jenkins is bursting with ideas to save Jason’s home. She could sell her appendix on eBay. (Why not?) Win the lottery. (It’s worth a shot!). Face the evil bankers herself. (She’s one tough cookie, after all.) Or hunt down an elusive (and questionably real) pirate treasure. Whatever the plan, it has to work, or this is undoubtedly THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURE OF THE PB&J SOCIETY.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Wow, this is hard!

Friendship cemented through PB&J.

or

No! You can’t move.

or how about:

Crazy plans to avoid moving.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
Annie, my main character, is deathly afraid of turkeys. So when I tell you that there is a scene involving a bunch of turkeys and a pile of turkey poop, you know it’s going to be epic. I’d love to say more, but spoiler-alert!

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was at my daughter’s gymnastics class. The moment is ingrained in my mind!

What’s your favorite junk food?
Twix. Not even a contest!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
I have an unopened Playmobil toy of a crocodile trainer and crocodile. Yeah, I don’t know why either.

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South of Sunshine by Dana Elmendorf
April 1, 2016 from Albert Whitman
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

What is Kaycee willing to risk for the sake of love?
And what will she risk for acceptance?

In Sunshine, Tennessee, the main event in town is Friday night football, the biggest party of the year is held in a field filled with pickup trucks, and church attendance is mandatory. For Kaycee Jean McCoy, life in Sunshine means dating guys she has no interest in, saying only “yes, ma’am” when the local bigots gossip at her mom’s cosmetics salon, and avoiding certain girls at all costs. Girls like Bren Dawson.

Unlike Kaycee, Bren doesn’t really conceal who she is. But as the cool, worldly new girl, nobody at school seems to give her any trouble. Maybe there’s no harm if Kaycee gets closer to her too, as long as she can keep that part of her life a secret, especially from her family and her best friend. But the more serious things get with Bren, the harder it is to hide from everyone else. Kaycee knows Sunshine has a darker side for people like her, and she’s risking everything for the chance to truly be herself.

Describe your book in five words or less.
lesbian romance southern setting

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
Chapter 7 – I call it the “Super Secret Library Meeting” where the MC, her gay best friend and the love interest are planning how to decorate the homecoming float and the MC and gay friend have the love interest take “The Oath.” I think it’s a funny, cute scene where the MC realizes she has a crush on the new girl.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
In the middle of the grocery store on a Friday afternoon. My agent called me. The ONLY other time she has called me was to offer representation. I started balling like a baby. People were walking by me, scared. I kept saying, “I’m ok. It’s a happy cry.”

What’s your favorite junk food?
Chips but mostly the kind you have to lick the flavoring off your fingertips, like Cheetos. Or Funions…mmm, Funions are good.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
My dear writer friend Kathryn Rose drew me an “Edward Cullen Owl.” It’s framed, sitting on my desk. He’s holding a little red apple too. Next the sketch it says, “Edward Cullen Owl want to be the lion to your lamb.” Kat knows what a Twilight dork I am. #Twihard 4lyf!


My Seventh-Grade Life in Tights by Brooks Benjamin
April 12, 2016 from Delacorte
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

LIVE IT.

All Dillon wants is to be a real dancer. And if he wins a summer scholarship at Dance-Splosion, he’s on his way. The problem? His dad wants him to play football. And Dillon’s freestyle crew, the Dizzee Freekz, says that dance studios are for sellouts. His friends want Dillon to kill it at the audition—so he can turn around and tell the studio just how wrong their rules and creativity-strangling ways are.

WORK IT.

At first, Dillon’s willing to go along with his crew’s plan, even convincing one of the snobbiest girls at school to work with him on his technique. But as Dillon’s dancing improves, he wonders: what if studios aren’t the enemy? And what if he actually has a shot at winning the scholarship?

BRING IT.

Dillon’s life is about to get crazy . . . on and off the dance floor.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Total dance anarchy.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene is where the Dizzee Freekz (my main character’s dance crew) perform at a mall and everything that could possibly go wrong in a dance routine goes wrong.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
In my classroom eating lunch. I nearly choked on an olive when I read the email.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Pizza, although there is nothing junky about it. It is a glorious food that I can’t live without.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A stack of tarot cards. I wish this was because I happened to be a genius tarot-card reader, but I’m not. These are for book research only. But maybe one day…

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

March 25, 2016 Book Spotlight, Giveaway 0

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


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

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

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

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

Early Praise

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

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

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

March 20, 2016 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 7

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

What’s your favorite junk food?
Pizza.

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

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

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

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

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

Let the prank war begin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inspired by Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Would you risk your life to save your best friend?

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

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
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

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
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

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
Add to Goodreads | Author Twitter

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.