Christmas Celebrated In Books | Author Julie Eshbaugh Guest Post

December 6, 2016 Guest Post 0

blc2016postheaderToday I’m welcoming Julie Eshbaugh, 2016 debut author of the amazing prehistoric fantasy Ivory and Bone (Have you read it yet? I really enjoyed it!). The sequel, Obsidian and Stars, is coming out on June 13, 2017 and I’m pretty excited to re-visit this world and the characters!

I love reading Christmas books, and Julie is here to highlight some magical Christmas scenes from the books we love so much! I’m currently reading my way through the Harry Potter books for the first time ever, and I’m looking forward to Christmas at Hogwarts especially!


Christmas Celebrated in Books by Julie Eshbaugh

I love encountering Christmas scenes in books, so when Jana asked if I’d like to contribute a Christmas guest post, I knew what my topic would be!

There’s something magical about celebrating a holiday with your favorite characters. Though the Harry Potter books might be the first to come to mind, there are many other books with Christmas scenes. Here is a list (in no particular order) of some of my favorite literary Christmases.


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
by JK Rowling

“Christmas was coming. One morning in mid-December, Hogwarts woke to find itself covered in several feet of snow. The lake froze solid and the Weasley twins were punished for bewitching several snowballs so that they followed Quirrell around, bouncing off the back of his turban.”


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
by JK Rowling

“Mistletoe,” said Luna dreamily, pointing at a large clump of white berries placed almost over Harry’s head. He jumped out from under it.
“Good thinking,” said Luna seriously. “It’s often infested with nargles.”


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
by JK Rowling

“But Hermione raised her wand, moved it in a circle through the air, and a wreath of Christmas roses blossomed before them. Harry caught it and laid it on his parent’s grave.
As soon as he stood up he wanted to leave: He did not think he could stand another moment there.”


A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens

“For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.”


The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak

“It was the beginning of the greatest Christmas ever. Little food. No presents. But there was a snowman in their basement.”


Bridget Jones’s Diary
by Helen Fielding

“Come on,” said Mark Darcy.
“What?” I said.
“Don’t say ‘what.’ Bridget, say ‘pardon,’” hissed Mum.
“Mrs. Jones,” said Mark firmly. “I am taking Bridget away to celebrate what is left of the Baby Jesus’s birthday.”


Persuasion
by Jane Austen

“On one side was a table occupied by some chattering girls, cutting up silk and gold paper; and on the other were tressels and trays, bending under the weight of brawn and cold pies, where riotous boys were holding high revel; the whole completed by a roaring Christmas fire, which seemed determined to be heard in spite of all the noise of the others.”


Little Women
by Louisa May Alcott

“Jo was the first to wake in the gray dawn of Christmas morning. No stockings hung at the fireplace, and for a moment she felt as much disappointed as she did long ago, when her little sock fell down because it was crammed so full of goodies. Then she remembered her mother’s promise and, slipping her hand under her pillow, drew out a little crimson-covered book.”

Those are just a few of my favorites. I hope this little glimpse into fictional Christmases around the world and throughout time has helped you feel a little Christmas spirit in your heart! Whether you celebrate Christmas, another holiday, or just enjoy the wonders of the season, I wish you happiness and joy!


About Julie Eshbaugh

Julie Eshbaugh used to have trouble staying in one spot, having lived in places as varied as Utah, France, and New York City. She eventually returned home to the Philadelphia area, where she now lives in the house she grew up in with her husband and son. Early on, Julie focused her artistic energies on filmmaking and online video. She made two short films and spent several years producing a web series for teens that became an early YouTube hit and received several honors from the Webby Awards. Julie’s debut young adult novel, Ivory and Bone, will be published by HarperTeen in 2016.

Julie is a member of the group writing blog Pub(lishing) Crawl, where she posts regularly. You can also add Julie on Goodreads, and follow her on Twitter, InstagramPinterest, and Facebook.

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Jingle Bell Harbor by Tracy Brogan | Mini Book Review

December 5, 2016 Adult Fiction, Book Review 0 ★★★★

Jingle Bell Harbor by Tracy Brogan | Mini Book ReviewJingle Bell Harbor by Tracy Brogan
Series: Bell Harbor #3.5
Published by Montlake Romance on October 20, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Holiday, Romance
Pages: 111
Format: eBook
Source: Bought from Amazon
Amazon Add to Goodreads
4 Stars
As assistant buyer for the world’s second-largest Christmas store, Kelsey Parker feels like a holiday harlot. She’s contractually obligated to promote the yuletide season. All. Year. Long. And it’s taking a toll on her spirit. But when her clueless, self-absorbed boyfriend goes on their long-anticipated romantic vacation—without her!—Kelsey is beyond disappointed to find herself tromping through the Bell Harbor snow instead of lounging on a tropical beach.

Drew Hampton is considered quite a catch among the Bell Harbor bachelorettes, but when his high school dream girl, Kelsey Parker, shows up at his grandfather’s Christmas tree lot complaining about her love life, he decides it’s long past time to get her under the mistletoe himself.

As things heat up between the two, a surprise visitor arrives, making Kelsey an offer she can’t quite believe. Now she must decide what matters most, and she just may discover the key to her happiness.

This is a sweet, funny Christmas novella that’s perfect for getting you into the holiday spirit! I’ve not read any of the other Bell Harbor books, and I didn’t feel like I was missing anything. There’s not a lot to say about it because it’s such a short book, at jut over 100 pages. I read it in one sitting and had so much fun with the characters (Drew gives me heart eyes), the holiday festivities, the swoons, and the setting. The story did not feel rushed or compressed in order to fit into a novella. I loved Tracy’s writing and bought the rest of the Bell Harbor series because this one was so much fun. I can’t wait to read them! Consider this my seal of approval. If you’re looking for a magical dose of Christmas cheer, pick up this little gem and prepare to smile!

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

December 4, 2016 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 9

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

We interrupt A Bookish Little Christmas to give you some more recommendations for the last few reading weeks of 2016! This issue of The Debut Dish features Jenny Moyer (Flashfall), Gordon Jack (The Boomerang Effect), Sara Ella (Unblemished), and Sarah Everett (Everyone We’ve Been).


Flashfall by Jenny Moyer
November 15, 2016 from Henry Holt & C. BFYR
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Orion is a Subpar, expected to mine the tunnels of Outpost Five, near the deadly flash curtain. For generations, her people have chased cirium—the only element that can shield humanity from the curtain’s radioactive particles. She and her caving partner, Dram work the most treacherous tunnel, fighting past flash bats and tunnel gulls, in hopes of mining enough cirium to earn their way into the protected city.

But when newcomers arrive at Outpost Five, Orion uncovers disturbing revelations that make her question everything she thought she knew about life on both sides of the cirium shield. As conditions at the outpost grow increasingly dangerous, it’s up to Orion to forge a way past the flashfall, beyond all boundaries, beyond the world as she knows it.

Describe your book in five words or less.
mining, kissing, suspenseful, magic, adventure

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene in FLASHFALL has kissing (LOL), and it occurs at a time when my characters have hit rock bottom and it seems all hope is lost. They are exiled to a terrifying wasteland where they are forced to mine or die, their only refuge is about to expire, and enemies are waiting for them on the other side of their sanctuary. Orion and Dram manage to find the light in their darkest moment, and it fuels their courage to fight against the odds.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
My kitchen, which was convenient because there was champagne close by. I did a lot of happy dancing in there that afternoon!

What’s your favorite junk food?
Reese’s peanut butter cups, McDonald’s french fries, fried pickles, donuts, all the cake ever . . .

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A stuffed animal bat one of my kids gave me in honor of the flash bats in FLASHFALL. It also reminds me of the bats we encountered when exploring caves for book research.


The Boomerang Effect by Gordon Jack
November 8, 2016 from HarperTEEN
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

It all started with a harmless prank. But now high school junior (and resident stoner) Lawrence Barry is one step away from reform school unless he participates in a mentorship program. His mentee? Spencer Knudsen, a Norwegian exchange student with Spock-like intelligence but the social skills of the periodic table.

Then disaster strikes—Homecoming week. When someone dressed as the school Viking mascot starts destroying the fairy tale–inspired floats, all suspicion falls on Lawrence. Add to the mix a demon Goth girl named Zoe, a Renaissance LARPing group, an overzealous yearbook editor, and three vindictive chickens, and Lawrence soon realizes that his situation may be a little out of control. But Spencer seems to have some answers. In fact, Spencer may be the one friend Lawrence never knew he needed.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Savant Saves Stoner From Self-destruction

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene in the book is when Lawrence (the stoner) and Audrey (his love interest) battle a group of cosplaying vampires after LARPing in the park.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
At school (I’m a high school librarian).

What’s your favorite junk food?
Junior mints.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
It’s either my William Shakespeare finger puppet or my squirrel underpants.

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Unblemished by Sara Ella
October 11, 2016 from Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Eliyana has always recoiled from her own reflection in the mirror. But what if that were only one Reflection—one world? What if another world existed where her blemish could become her strength?

Eliyana is used to the shadows. With a hideous birthmark covering half her face, she just hopes to graduate high school unscathed. That is, until Joshua hops a fence and changes her perspective. No one, aside from her mother, has ever treated her as normal. Maybe even beautiful. Because of Joshua, Eliyana finally begins to believe she could be loved.

But one night her mother doesn’t come home, and that’s when everything gets weird.

Now Joshua is her new, and rather reluctant, legal Guardian. Add a hooded stalker and a Central Park battle to the mix and you’ve gone from weird to otherworldly.

Eliyana soon finds herself in a world much larger and more complicated than she’s ever known. A world enslaved by a powerful and vile man. And Eliyana holds the answer to defeating him. How can an ordinary girl, a blemished girl, become a savior when she can’t even save herself?

Describe your book in five words or less.
Flaws can become strengths.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
I love the scene when the main character Eliyana is nearly kidnapped by this rotten dude. She’s about to be taken to a villain but at the last minute this guy she despises shows up and saves her.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was in my kitchen. In my pajamas. Drinking coffee. I believe my agent’s exact words were “How would you feel about Thomas Nelson publishing your next three books?” Squeeeee!!!!!!

What’s your favorite junk food?
Um, chicken fingers. Always chicken fingers.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Is it odd my desk is my couch? I guess the oddest thing there is my 4-year-old’s sock.

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Everyone We’ve Been by Sarah Everett
October 4, 2016 from Knopf Books for Young Readers
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Addison Sullivan has been in an accident. In its aftermath, she has memory lapses and starts talking to a boy that no one else can see. It gets so bad that she’s worried she’s going crazy.

Addie takes drastic measures to fill in the blanks and visits a shadowy medical facility that promises to “help with your memory.” But at the clinic, Addie unwittingly discovers it is not her first visit. And when she presses, she finds out that she had certain memories erased. She had a boy erased.

But why? Who was that boy, and what happened that was too devastating to live with? And even if she gets the answers she’s looking for, will she ever be able to feel like a whole person again?

Describe your book in five words or less.
Girl sees boy others can’t.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
There’s a scene where two characters in the book spend a day doing Completely Mundane Things with Unwarranted Enthusiasm. It was so much fun to write!

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was still a student at that time, so I was in class spacing out and refreshing my inbox a million times. They say a watched pot never boils, right? Well, a watched inbox NEVER has that beautiful (1). Except that Wednesday it did. An email from my agent popped up with good news and I spent the rest of the lecture internally freaking out and not being able to tell anyone. Okay, maybe I did stealthily send five or six all-caps texts.

What’s your favorite junk food?
The last year or so I’ve gotten addicted to Starbucks caramel frappuccinos.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A giant tennis ball with dozens of autographs.

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Unwrapping Bookish: My Top 5 Book Gifts | Author Elise Kova Guest Post

December 3, 2016 Guest Post 0

blc2016postheaderToday I’m welcome Elise Kova, author of the Air Awakens series, Golden Guard trilogy, and Loom Saga! I don’t know about you (of course I do), but I love getting beautiful books for Christmas that I know I will treasure always. There’s nothing quite as magical is opening a crisp, new, sparkly book from someone you care about. I always remember who gave me my books, and I smile and think of them each time I open one. See which books Elise has gotten the warm fuzzies from receiving!


The best presents are presents that will be used and cherished. Most of my friends and family who know me well realize that I’m not one for “stuff”. I try to live a fairly minimal lifestyle and put my money and time toward experiences. So, when I do ask for physical things, it’s usually because I really, truly, want them. Books hold true to this rule even more so because I generally prefer reading on my kindle. So the physical books I have are like more like collector’s items to me.

These are five of the best books I’ve ever been given for Christmas. They may not be the best books I’ve ever read, but they each have something special about them that’s earned them a place of prominence on my bookshelves.

1. The Legend of Zelda: The Hyrule Historia

Yep, I am the biggest Zelda geek you will ever meet and this was a highlight of my Christmas a year back.

 

2. Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Not only was this my favorite book of 2015, but the copy I own was gifted to me by a reader, making it extra special.

 

3. Dark Souls: Design Works by From Software

Most everyone knows I have a weakness for Dark Souls (really, anything From Software). Well, I also have a weakness for art books. I love to see everything from concept art to final illustration and all the sketches that are behind the finished products of video games and animation. Needless to say, this is one of my favorite books on my shelf.

 

4. A Man of His Word series by Dave Duncan

This series is one of my all-time favorites and was absolutely transformative for me when I read it in High School. I had the original prints of it and lent them to a friend, and never got them back (but, I hope my friend enjoyed them at least). Thankfully, my parents came through for me on a subsequent Christmas, getting me a republication.

 

poe5. The Complete Tales of Edgar Allen Poe

Fun fact! THE RAVEN was one of the first poems I ever memorized. I can’t quite recall all of it now, but the good thing is I have this book whenever I feel like refreshing my memory. I think we all had that dream at some point of owning a library filled with beautiful, gold-leaf, leather bound books – at least, I did. So when I got this book for Christmas in Jr High School I couldn’t have been happier. While I still don’t have that large beautiful library, I do treasure Poe’s works as some of my favorites among the classics.

What books do you want for Christmas – or any other religious/secular holiday – this year?

Let me know and say hi on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Goodreads.

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How Early Is too Early to Start Celebrating Christmas? | Blogger Guest Post

December 2, 2016 Guest Post 1

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Today I get to welcome Victoria from Doodles and Scraps (Addlepates and Book Nerds). Victoria guest posted last year all about Christmas in New Zealand, which was so fun I had to invite her back again! For the record… I start celebrating Christmas the day after Thanksgiving here in the United States, so I’m one of those people Victoria is annoyed with. :P I can’t help it, though, and that’s ok!


Hi everyone, I’m Victoria! Also known, by the end of this post, as the Christmas Grinch. When you look around the shops, or the radio, or even social media, Christmas is all over the place all the time. Halloween is over, then BAM, Christmas! November is TOO SOON people, Christmas doesn’t start until December!

victoriamallMy mum’s birthday is November 11th, so for our family you aren’t allowed anything even slightly Christmas until after then. Like, don’t even mention the word. I guess for America, Thanksgiving should be your same sort of date, right? And I think for everyone born in November/December, it’s the same feeling. Your birthday is important, let’s not skip over that! I love all sort of gift giving holidays, and your personal gift receiving day should never be dismissed because of Christmas. After the 11th, I stop getting mad at all the shops putting trees up and playing Christmas carols. Well, I only get mad internally. But it’s very important to note that this is NOT Christmas!

Not that any of the shops listen to my personal rule. Have you noticed how intense
places like the mall get about Christmas? Ours hangs Christmassy wreaths all over the place, and it has a tree that’s trying its best to touch the roof. Oh, and Santa comes to visit, of course! What’s Christmas without Santa? I went to a Christmas parade, just coincidentally after going to dinner nearby, and that was at the end of November, around the 25th. Who has a Christmas parade that early in the year?

Christmas, in my mind, starts December 1st (the day I’m writing this, actually). That’s when you get your advent calendar – wait, do people all over the world have those? Well, if you don’t, it’s this magical thing where you get to eat a chocolate every day leading up to Christmas. And you get a chocolate all of December, so it must be Christmas then, right? I don’t think you should be allowed to put up your tree until then, and even then that’s the absolute earliest. Christmas shopping? Why are you even thinking about it in November?

All of December, go absolutely crazy with the Christmas celebration stuff. I love people who go all-out with the lights, and the decorations. I mean, when you google “December”, everything that comes up is Christmas stuff! Let’s watch every Christmas movie to ever be made, and listen to Christmas carols non-stop. I know I called myself the Grinch at the start of this post, but I’m not really! Christmas is my favourite time of year, which is why I’m here doing a post for the second year in a row. Just don’t start celebrating too early, okay?

Thanks, Jana, for having me over on your blog! I can’t wait to hear your Christmas thoughts – am I being too harsh?

*Jana butts in* Yes, you’re being too harsh! I started buying Christmas presents in June and I put my tree up on November 25th!

Victoria is an 18-year-old blogger who talks about anything and everything in her life at Doodles and Scraps. She’s finishing high school, writing, reading, and watching too much YouTube to be healthy. You can find her on Twitter, Goodreads, Snapchat (@victoriajaynes), or email her at addlepatesandbooknerds@gmail.com!

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The 5th Annual A Bookish Little Christmas with That Artsy Reader Girl

December 1, 2016 Uncategorized 0

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year, aka my favorite time of year! As I’m sure you’ve come to expect from me, today begins my 5th annual A Bookish Little Christmas event! I’ve got my Santa hat on, ready to present a festive and joyous event as we count down the days until Christmas.

The next few weeks will be filled with holiday book reviews, recipes, music, and personal posts from yours truly, plus I’ve rallied together a bunch of bookish friends who will be guest posting about a number of different holiday topics. You can look forward to posts on different winter holidays, holiday customs outside the USA, gift recommendations, and more. I’ve also invited some of your favorite authors to share all-new, holiday bonus scenes/content that compliment their books. They wrote this material just for my blog event, and I’m so thankful for that! Some authors chose to write about other holiday topics, both bookish and not.

Basically, this is going to be an amazing month! So grab a cup of cocoa, your favorite cozy blanket, and snuggle up for a warm winter’s night!

The more the merrier! If you would like to join in the festivities and guest post during the month of December, email me using the button on my sidebar and I’ll add you to the line-up! Celebrating Christmas is not required. You can write about any winter holiday, and on pretty much any holiday topic!

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Debut Author Challenge 2016: December Review Link-Up

December 1, 2016 Debut Author Challenge 0

DAC2016S

Guys, we did it! It’s the last and final month of the 2016 Debut Author Challenge. I can’t believe it! We’ve got two Debut Dish posts left and then we’re DONE. This has been an amazing year for the challenge!

Just a few stats for you:
– 104 debut authors were interviewed as part of the Debut Dish series.
– 414 (and counting) debut book reviews were linked up this year (and those are just the ones you remembered to link up! lol.)! These reviews were from readers across the entire world, and in multiple different languages.
– 171 people participated in the challenge across Goodreads, blogs, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, Amazon, and Facebook.

I’m so proud! I’m SO happy that so many people came together this year to celebrate and promote all these brand new authors and their books. I’ve heard from many of them than you all made a difference, and that warms my heart. Keep up the great work during this final stretch of the challenge! Who achieved the goal of reading 12 debuts this year? Who surpassed it? Tell me how many you read in the comments below. :)

Sign up for the 2017 Debut Author Challenge!

Have a wonderful holiday season, and a very happy new year!

Some things to remember:

– It’s never too late to join the fun! If you’d like to join or make sure you’re signed up, there is a sign-up list and list of participants located in the Debut Author Challenge tab at the top of my blog.

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

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


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2017 Debut Author Challenge Sign-Ups

December 1, 2016 Debut Author Challenge 6

Are you a 2017 debut author who would like to be featured in the challenge’s bi-monthly feature, the Debut Dish? Please fill out this form.

dac2017mainbuttonIt’s that time of year again! We’re about to wrap up the 2016 Debut Author Challenge, and it’s time to start thinking about 2017! Our new authors have some pretty amazing-sounding books in store for us next year, and I can’t wait to dive in to a bunch of them! The rules are exactly the same as this year’s challenge, and I hope you’re excited to join us for 2017!

What’s changed from last year? Instead of monthly review link-ups, we’re doing quarterly review link-ups! This makes things easier on everyone involved.

Sign up below, grab one of the buttons (who doesn’t like options?), and start building your TBR! Make sure you tell all your friends to sign up with you, and it might be nice to share this challenge with all your 2017 debut author friends so I can get them scheduled for the Debut Dish series!

Challenge Objectives:

  • To introduce readers to this year’s wonderful group of debut authors.
  • To challenge readers to read 12 or more (or less! It’s up to you!) middle grade, young adult, and new adult debuts this year.

Challenge Rules:

  • You must post your thoughts on each debut book you read in order for it to count towards the challenge. You can post anywhere: your blog, Goodreads, Amazon, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr, etc. If you can link it up, it counts!
  • You can join the challenge whenever you want.
  • The debuts must have a publishing date in 2017 and must have been read between January 1, 2017 and January 31, 2018 (this extra month allows readers adequate time to read December debuts) in order to count.
  • Each review gives you an entry into the quarterly (four times a year) prize pack drawings. Make sure you post the links to my quarterly link-ups. I will post these link-ups on the first day of January, April, July, and October.
  • This challenge is open internationally, as are the quarterly prize packs.
  • I don’t care what language you write your reviews in, I just need to know which book you have reviewed so I can verify your entry. When you post your link in the Linky, please include the title in English.
  • Use the hashtag #2017DebAuthC so we can all see what everyone’s up to!

Which Books Count:

  • The book must be classified as middle grade, young adult, new adult fiction.
  • The book must be a full-length novel and not a novella.
  • The book must be the author’s MG/YA/NA 2017 debut. (If the author has published adult fiction before, but this is their first MG/YA/NA book EVER it still counts. If the author has published a YA book before and this is their first MG or NA book, it does not count. We are reading the author’s first book for young people, excluding picture books.)
  • Self-published books do not count, so if the author has self-published a MG/YA/NA book before and this is their first book published by a traditional publisher it counts toward the challenge.
  • ARCs are fine, but only if you read them the year they are published. (If you read a 2017 debut in 2016, it does not count. If you read a 2018 debut in 2017, it does not count. This way, participants who do not have access to ARCs are not at a disadvantage.)
  • Since this challenge is international, some books will be debuts in some countries and not in others. This can be tricky and put some books into a gray area, so here’s what we will do. If the book came out this year in your country for the first time, even though it was available elsewhere, then you can count it. I’m going to trust you, so please be honest.
  • Please feel free to tweet, email, etc. me if you do not know if a book counts or not. I am happy to help you.

Helpful Links:

Challenge Buttons:

That Artsy Reader Girl
That Artsy Reader Girl
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That Artsy Reader Girl

Participants List (and Sign-Ups):

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Happy Thanksgiving 2016!

November 24, 2016 Personal 1

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It’s Thanksgiving Day here in the USA, and I love this holiday almost as much as Christmas (if you know me at all, you know that’s a LOT). I love that there’s a holiday devoted to being thankful for my many blessings. I may not have everything I want/need in my life. I’ve got struggles like everyone else does, but I have so much to be thankful for as well.

If you’re celebrating Thanksgiving today, I hope it’s a wonderful day for you, filled with family, food, laughs, and reflection. I’m so thankful for you. Thank you for being a loyal reader of my blog. :)

How are you celebrating today? What are you most thankful for?

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

November 20, 2016 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 3

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

This issue of The Debut Dish features Jill MacKenzie (Spin the Sky), Kara Bietz (Until I Break), Janet McNally (Girls In the Moon), and Tara Sim (Timekeeper).


Spin the Sky by Jill MacKenzie
November 1, 2016 from Sky Pony Press
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Magnolia Woodson wants nothing more than to get her and her sister, Rose, out of the pitifully small, clamming-obsessed Oregon town that hates them—she just doesn’t know how. Forced to put up with the snide comments and hateful looks the townspeople throw at them, Mags thinks she’s destined to pay for the horrible, awful thing her mom did—and that she’s left her and Rose to deal with—until the day she dies.

But when a nationwide televised dance competition posts tryouts in nearby Portland, Mags’s best friend, George, says they have to go and audition. Not only have they spent the past fourteen years of their lives dancing side-by-side, dreaming of a day just like this, but also it could be Mags’s chance of a lifetime—a chance to win the grand-prize money and get her and Rose out of Summerland, a chance to do the thing she loves most with everyone watching, a chance to show the town that she’s not—and has never been—a “no-good Woodson girl,” like her mother. But will the competition prove too steep? And will Mags be able to retain her friendship with George as they go head-to-head in tryouts? Mags will have to learn that following her dreams may mean changing her life forever.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Dancing. Reality TV. Betrayal. Heartbreak.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
I think my favorite scene in my book is the final scene. It makes me happy. It makes me cry, too. Mags on her beach and Rose and clamming and the promise of dance in her future and the possibility of forever goodbyes and then George, always George, by her side.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
At home. At my desk. Writing something new. :)

What’s your favorite junk food?
Hershey’s Kisses. I eat about twenty bags per book. That sounds disgusting, I know, but if you figure it takes me about a year to write one, then it seems less revolting (I hope.)

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Oddest thing. Hmm. Three hair ties? Why anyone would need three on their desk, I’ll never know. The CUTEST thing on my desk right now, however, is my six-week old kitten, Jasper. If only you could see his photo. *Swoon.*


Until I Break by Kara Bietz
November 1, 2016 from Albert Whitman & Company
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Two boys: One, a star athlete and top student with a deep-seated need to prove himself. The other, a chip-on-his-shoulder quarterback who will never settle for second best. When gunshots echo through the halls of Broadmeadow High School, whose finger is on the trigger?

A year before the shooting, Sam North has a bright future as a well as a problem that nobody else seems to see—Ace Quinn, his neighbor and teammate. For years, Ace has been bullying and harassing Sam, yet he’s managed to deftly conceal his actions and threats from the rest of the world. As Ace’s secret rage intensifies, Sam becomes more desperate to stop him. But how far will he go? And what if Ace takes his threats even farther?

Describe your book in five words or less.
Bullies and bad decisions.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene in Until I Break is during a big basketball game. Writing through a very active scene like that was a challenge, but it was so much fun!

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was at work in the guidance counselor’s office of a high school. It was after the school day had ended, thank goodness. My agent called to give me the good news and I danced around and around the office with my coworkers. We had a mini celebration!

What’s your favorite junk food?
Hands down, Doritos. Not the fancy flavors, either…I like the plain, old school nacho cheese kind.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
It’s a toss-up between my Edgar Allen Poe action figure (complete with raven!) or the Hufflepuff-colored yarn and knitting needles I bought today.

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Girls In the Moon by Janet McNally
November 29, 2016 from HarperTEEN
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An exquisitely told, authentic YA debut about family secrets, the shadow of fame, and finding your own way.

Everyone in Phoebe Ferris’s life tells a different version of the truth. Her mother, Meg, ex–rock star and professional question evader, shares only the end of the story—the post-fame calm that Phoebe’s always known. Her sister, Luna, indie-rock darling of Brooklyn, preaches a stormy truth of her own making, selectively ignoring the facts she doesn’t like. And her father, Kieran, the cofounder of Meg’s beloved band, hasn’t said anything at all since he stopped calling three years ago.

But Phoebe, a budding poet in search of an identity to call her own, is tired of half-truths and vague explanations. When she visits Luna in New York, she’s determined to find out how she fits in to this family of storytellers, and to maybe even continue her own tale—the one with the musician boy she’s been secretly writing for months. Told in alternating chapters, Phoebe’s first adventure flows as the story of Meg and Kieran’s romance ebbs, leaving behind only a time-worn, precious pearl of truth about her family’s past—and leaving Phoebe to take a leap into her own unknown future.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Sisters, secrets, rock and roll.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
I have several favorites, but some of them are spoilers, so I’ll choose one that doesn’t reveal much of the plot. Phoebe is in a club watching her older sister Luna sing with her band, and she’s able to see her sister the way the rest of the world does: as beautiful, talented, a little bit magical. Later Phoebe watches her father sing on a different stage and experiences that same magic, plus the feeling that, because he’s famous, he belongs to so many other people almost as much as he does to her.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
During one part of the process, I remember that I was visiting my great aunt Rosemary, who had just turned one hundred. She can’t see well enough to read now, which makes me really sad, but she just tore through books when she was younger. She’s always loved stories. It was fun to tell her that I was going to have a novel published. She was excited.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Dark chocolate. It’s such a necessary part of my day it’s like a vitamin. Though maybe it doesn’t even count as junk food because studies have shown the benefits of dark chocolate. Or maybe I’m delusional.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
I have a standing desk, and it’s cluttered: orchids, stacks of books, expensive headphones I got for free. The strangest thing right now is probably a small stuffed sheep that someone brought me from Ireland when I was a baby. It’s missing an eye, but I still like it.


Timkeeper by Tara Sim
November 8, 2016 from Sky Pony Press
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Two o’clock was missing.

In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors.

And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve.

But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to Stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he’ll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Time, boys, clocks, magic, London.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene is when my main character, Danny, learns something shocking about his strange clock mechanic apprentice. It was such a fun scene to write, mostly because I was laughing at Danny’s reaction, and it tilts that particular character relationship in a new direction. I still grin when I go back and read it.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I’d just sat down to check my email when I saw that we had an offer for the trilogy. It was an utterly surreal moment. I didn’t even jump up and down like I thought I would–I just sat there with my mouth open for a long time! But it seemed fitting to be told my book would be published while I was sitting in the exact location where I had written it.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Pizza rolls! And candy.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A small clock cog.

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