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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: young adult fiction, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 343
1. We Were Liars: E. Lockhart

Book: We Were Liars
Author: E. Lockhart
Pages: 240
Age Range: 12 and up

We Were Liars, e. lockhart's upcoming young adult novel, is fabulous. I couldn't put it down, particularly the last third. On finishing it, I had to go back and immediately re-read large chunks of the book. This is something I never do. Yes, it is that good.

Really, if you are an e. lockhart fan, or a fan of suspenseful young adult fiction of any stripe, that should be enough. You should stop reading here. Because this is NOT a book that you want spoiled. You want to go into it knowing as little about it as possible.

The protagonist isn't wholly likable. She's wealthy, beautiful and spoiled (with heavy parallels to the Kennedy family). She doesn't even know the names of the people who work for her extended family every summer. But it doesn't matter. She is compelling anyway - I promise.

The primary setting, a private island near Martha's Vineyard, isn't one that will resonate with most readers' personal experience. But that doesn't matter, either. Lockhart draws the island so clearly, and the characters so sharply (for good and ill) that you feel like you're there with them. 

In terms of mature content, there is some kissing, and some drinking, and some talk of (but no action regarding) sex. But this is a powerful book, and I would not give it to kids under 12. 

And honestly, that's all I have to say. Pre-order it, read it when it's available, and try not to read any detailed reviews in the meantime. Highly recommended for teen and adult readers, male or female. I won't stop thinking about We Were Liars for a while. 

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (@RandomHouseKids)  
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

FTC Required Disclosure:

This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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2. Interview with Kristi Helvig, Author of Burn Out

kristi

Writer Kristi Helvig makes her authorial debut with her young adult sci-fi novel “Burn Out” (Egmont USA) in spring 2014.

Helvig was born in North Carolina and grew up in Delaware. She holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Fla. She has spent her career in Colorado as a successful clinical psychologist and life coach. She regularly gives lectures
as a professional psychologist and visits schools where she talks with students about books and publishing.

Helvig has contributed as a guest blogger at LiteraryRambles.com and keeps her own blog updated with musings about “Star Trek,” space monkeys, books and other assorted topics.

The geek-for-science-fiction lives outside of Denver, Colo., with her husband of 17 years, two children and their behaviorally challenged dogs. In her spare time, Helvig practices yoga, hikes and loves trying new wines.

Visit Kristi online at http://www.kristihelvig.com/

How did you research the true science involved in “Burn Out?”

Google is a writer’s best friend and I always start there, but it can only take you so far. I watched a lot of documentaries on NatGeo, Science Channel, etc. and then contacted an astrophysics department at a large university. Nothing beats talking to experts in the field, and I was flattered that they took time out of their busy schedules to help me.

As you were learning about these scientific concepts, was there anything that surprised you?

I learned that sending all the world’s nuclear weapons into the sun wouldn’t cause it to burn out. Who knew? Finding a plausible way for the sun to burn out early was challenging, and where I definitely relied on assistance from astrophysicists.

Tell us about the themes you explored in the book and what you hope they mean to readers.

Trust is a huge theme throughout the book, as well as how to move forward after devastating losses. Weapons also play a big role in the book. New technology in my main character’s world has allowed for smarter, more lethal guns and she struggles with their impact on Earth’s remaining survivors.

Did your work as a clinical psychologist influence your writing?

Absolutely. I’ve seen hundreds of clients over the years and though everyone processes events according to their unique perspective, the experiences of love, fear, pain, and loss are common to humanity. It’s interesting to see how people interpret life events within their own personal construct.

What do you like about writing science fiction?burn out

That’s easy. I get to make up whole new worlds and then see what happens when I let characters loose in them. It’s creative and fun, and I get paid to do it. I couldn’t imagine anything better.

What advice do you have for other aspiring writers?

Never give up. Eat lots of chocolate. Drink lots of wine. Seriously though, the most important thing is to keep writing and find some good, honest critique partners…and then listen to them. Always strive to improve your craft. Read a lot. Reading is just as important to me as writing.

If your book were turned into a movie, who would you like to see play Tora, Markus and James?

What a fun question! I think Emily Browning would make a kick-ass Tora, and Skylar Astin as Markus would be awesome. James is tougher. Either Cam Gigandet or Alexander Ludwig is close to how I pictured James as I wrote him.

Who are some of your favorite science fiction and fantasy writers?

Lois Lowry, Madeleine L’Engle, Isaac Asimov, and Ray Bradbury to name a few. Additionally, though they’re not straight sci-fi writers, Neil Gaiman and Stephen King have had a huge influence on me.

What’s the best compliment you’ve received about your book so far?

My favorite so far was when a fellow author told me how much she loved my main character, Tora, and called her “the female Han Solo.” You can’t get a cooler compliment than that.

Is there a second “Burn Out” book in the works?

Yes, I’m hard at work on the second book, and I’m having a blast with it.

Hardcover, $17.99; eBook, $13.07
ISBN: 978-1606844793
Young Adult Science Fiction, 272 pages
Egmont USA, April 8, 2014

Purchase here!


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3. Interview with Sallie Haws, Author of Quantum Spirit: Apocalypse

sallie haws

As the great-granddaughter of the inventor of the drinking fountain and founder of Haws Corporation, Sallie Haws put her UC Santa Barbara bachelor’s degree in organizational psychology to work to make a positive impact on her family’s business. Sallie held numerous jobs in the company over her 26-year tenure from file clerk to President and CEO.

At a young age, Sallie’s passion for writing was fed by taking creative writing classes in high school and college. It was nursed along throughout her adult years by a voracious reading habit of paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy novels.

After selling the family business in 2011, Sallie finally had the time and inspiration to write.

“Quantum Spirit – Apocalypse” (August 2013, Fedd Books) is the culmination of years of personal and professional life experience combined with the
desire to empower, entertain and inspire adults and teenagers.

Sallie lives in Reno, Nevada, with her husband, son, daughter and black kitty named Chubs.

Visit Sallie online at www.quantumspiritbooks.com 

 

Salena Hawthorne, the teen heroine in “Quantum Spirit: Apocalypse,” is incredibly smart, strong and courageous. What do you want readers to learn from her?

I would love for them to learn how to tap into their own innate power and abilities. After being a business leader and mentor for many years, I decided to take what I’ve learned and share that with eager and open-minded young women through an entertaining and non-threatening medium.

My personal reading genre of choice is paranormal urban fantasy. However, I didn’t want to write a book about vampires or were-creatures. There are some awesome authors out there who do that extremely well, and I didn’t think it needed to be done again. I also wanted to write a book with a positive outlook for humanity’s future. I’m a little tired of the dystopian genre. I wanted to create a state of wonder with my audience. Our world is so full of fear and discord; it’s time to imagine a world full of love and connectedness.

On the surface, “Quantum Spirit” is a fun, easy read about a young girl who has some amazing abilities and some fantastic adventures. But the deeper you get into the book, the more profound the story becomes. Can you expand on that?

For many, the quick surface read will be enough. For those with a little more curiosity, dropping down one level, the premise of the book is how deadly fear can be, and how love, gratitude and forgiveness is the antidote. The third level introduces some metaphysical and spiritual concepts that are currently being practiced and taught all over the world. In that regard, “Quantum Spirit – Apocalypse” could almost be considered realistic fiction.sallie

How did you come up with the idea of giving Salena all of these different gifts – clairvoyance, seeing auras and traveling between dimensions?

I actually had a dream about a young girl who could change her body’s vibrational resonance that allowed her to disappear in the Third Dimension and travel to the Fifth Dimension. So that gift was the first one I came up with, but then I needed to provide reasonable cause as to why she might develop such a talent. Being an exceptionally strong clairvoyant at a young age I felt would lead credence to the development of more advanced abilities at the onset of puberty. Being able to see auras just seemed to make the package complete.

If you could have any the abilities that Salena has in your book, which would you pick and why?

I think my first choice would definitely be the ability to transcend dimensions. Being able to teleport anywhere in the world would seriously cut down on my travel expenses! Not to mention the money I would save on new clothes and accessories that I could instantly manifest while in the Fifth Dimension. As distracting as I’m sure it would be, the ability to see auras would be my second choice.

Crystals play an important role in “Quantum Spirit.” Can you tell us a little about them?

The two main types of crystals that play a role in the book are Selenite and Quartz. The use of Selenite came about by pure synchronicity. It was completely coincidental that the majestic crystal caves in Niaca, Mexico where I chose to put the Akashic Records were made of selenite. Selenite was named after the Greek word for moon, and Selene is the name for the Greek Goddess of the Moon. (I had named my heroine Salena way before I discovered the crystal caves and what type of crystals were in them.) After researching all of the physical and metaphysical properties of selenite, I knew that if the Akashic Records were ever going to be located in a single place, they would definitely be stored in those crystal caves.

I chose quartz for the healing ceremony because that is the first choice for metaphysical practitioners who use crystals to augment their healing practice. Quartz crystals are able to structure, store, amplify, focus, transmit and transform energy, which includes matter, thought, emotion and other forms of information. They were the best tool I could give Salena to allow her to trap the negative energy of the Blue Flu.

Did you do a lot of research while writing “Quantum Spirit?”

Yes. While the story is fiction, all of the metaphysical, spiritual and scientific concepts in the book are based on theories and research done by many different people. I read and/or referenced at least 13 different books and I don’t know how many dozens of websites on the various different concepts that I weaved into my story. Links to the books are all listed on my website.

Do you believe in the paranormal?

Absolutely. In fact, I believe in every one of the metaphysical concepts I put into Quantum Spirit: Apocalypse, even the existence of the Fifth Dimension. That doesn’t mean I have the ability to do any of the “paranormal” things that Salena can do, but I do believe they are possible.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Yes, I’ve always wanted to write a novel my whole life. My first attempt was in seventh grade, and there were a couple of other ones after that. After selling the family business in 2011, I knew I wanted to take this opportunity to finally write, but I didn’t have what I felt was a compelling enough story. In June of 2011, while on a houseboat vacation on Lake Shasta, I dreamed about a young girl who could change her body’s vibrational level and travel back and forth from the third dimension to the fifth dimension. Upon awakening, I walked out to the living room where my husband, son and his friends were eating breakfast and announced to the group, “I have my story.”

Without any spoilers, can you give us a hint of what to expect in your next book, “Quantum Spirit: Redemption?”

Salena has a lot of work ahead of her. On top of staying one step ahead of the nefarious goons who are trying to kidnap her, she must also continue to find a solution to help the millions of souls who are still trapped in stasis. Keeping track of Jace and trying to find a way to save him will also keep her rather busy, and she still has to pass eighth grade algebra.


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4. Interview with Amalie Howard, Author of Alpha Goddess

howardA rising star among young adult writers, Amalie Howard developed a loyal following after releasing her debut book, “Bloodspell,” in 2011. Now, she is returning with five new books that are sure to excite her devoted fans and catch the attention of new readers.

A bookworm from the beginning, Howard grew up on a small island in the Caribbean with her nose buried in books. When she was just 13 years old, her poem “The Candle” was published in a University of Warwick journal, marking a sign of great things to come. Howard immersed herself into other cultures, globetrotting through 22 countries in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. After moving to the United States, she earned a bachelor’s degree in international studies and French from Colby College in Maine. She also holds a certificate in French literature from the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, France. Traveling around the world, Howard has lent talents as a research assistant, marketing representative, freelance writer, teen speaker, blogger and global sales executive.

Howard is a recipient of a Royal Commonwealth Society award, an international youth writing competition. She is also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. 

Howard’s first book, “Bloodspell” (June 2011, Langdon Street Press) earned rave reviews and was named a Seventeen Magazine Summer Beach Read. Readers will hear more from Howard as she releases a pair of two-book series, “Waterfell” (November 2013, Harlequin TEEN) and “The Almost Girl” (January 2014, Strange Chemistry), as well as “Alpha Goddess” (March 2014, Skyhorse/Sky Pony Press) over the next two years.

Howard lives in New York with her husband, three children and one willful feline that she is convinced may have been a witch’s cat in a past life.

You released your first book “Bloodspell” in 2011, which led to an impressive five book publishing deals. How the heck do you have time to write so much, and what does it feel like to have your work recognized in such a great way?

I am so incredibly grateful that my wonderful editors saw something they loved in my books and wanted to publish them. All three of my upcoming novels—WATERFELL, THE ALMOST GIRL, and ALPHA GODDESS—each brings something different and unique to the table, so I’m really excited that readers will get to sample such a diverse range of what I have to offer as an author.

As far as writing so much, I’m very lucky that I’m a fast writer, so once I get an idea in my head, I just go. I plot a basic outline of my expectations, and then I let the story take me on its journey. And as I always say to my teen creative writing classes, writing is like homework. You have to make time for it and be diligent about doing it.

What will fans of “Bloodspell” like best about your upcoming titles?

Fans of BLOODSPELL will enjoy meeting some very special new characters and being introduced to completely different worlds—figuratively and literally, especially in THE ALMOST GIRL. In WATERFELL, I was particularly excited to share my love of the ocean (I grew up on an island) and surfing! I also wanted to explore the myth of the sea monster and shift it from something terrifying into something beautiful … enter the mysterious world of the Aquarathi!

I’ve always been fascinated by quantum mechanics (even though I was hopeless at physics in high school) and the possibility of alternate universes. In THE ALMOST GIRL, I was able to explore that and more in this book, like the whole concept of nature versus nurture and whether we evolve differently based on harsher environments. I think this book will take readers on an interesting journey.

In ALPHA GODDESS, I wanted to explore some of the stories I’d been told as a child. I also wanted to share some of my experience with readers. My father comes from a long line of Hindu priests, so these myths were a large part of my childhood. The Ramayana is a particularly beautiful love story, and while my novel is a work of fiction, I really enjoyed crafting my version from such an inspiring mythology.

Your next release, “Waterfell,” departs from the world of vampires and witches but stays in the realm of fantasy and science fiction. What do you like about those genres?

Clearly, I love escaping reality. Fantasy and science fiction have always been my true loves. Don’t get me wrong, I love a great contemporary novel as much as anyone, but getting lost in a an epic fantasy world or meeting characters from other planets who have superhuman powers is icing on the cake for me. I like being able to push the boundaries of reality, to create mind-boggling ‘what if’ scenarios … for example, with WATERFELL, what if sea monsters really did exist? And what if they were a species from another planet hiding on ours? And what if they could shift into human form? With science fiction and fantasy, the possibilities are endless.

Like all of your books so far, “The Almost Girl” features a strong, independent female character as the protagonist. What do you hope readers learn from her?

I’m a huge fan of strong female protagonists (that said, I do have a novel with a strong male protagonist so I’m not gender-biased). I do like strong protagonists on the whole, but I also do think there has to be character growth that is transparent and meaningful to the reader. No one’s going to relate to a character who stays the same. With Riven from THE ALMOST GIRL, I love that she has to dig deep down to embrace her emotions. A soldier first, she’s so hard on the outside but still vulnerable on the inside—I really connected with her struggle to just let go of all her rules and be a girl. We build so many walls to keep from being hurt that we don’t allow ourselves to connect with others. I love that she was brave enough to trust her heart. In the end, I’m hopeful that readers will empathize with Riven and learn, as she does, that humans are born to feel, and that being open to life and love doesn’t make you weaker … it makes you stronger.

“Alpha Goddess” is your take on an Indian mythological tale. Where did you first hear about it?Alpha

Although ALPHA GODDESS is a work of fiction, a lot of my inspiration for the characters and the world-building in this novel is based on Hindu mythology. My father is a second generation Brahmin (priest class in traditional Hindu society), so Indian mythology was an integral part of my childhood and religious education. Fascinated by stories and legends of various Hindu gods who incarnated as avatars to avert human tragedy, I wanted to write an epic story that encompassed some of the Hindu mythology elements I enjoyed as a child, like the Ramayana, the story of Rama and Sita. Of course, ALPHA GODDESS is my own invented take on another reincarnated version of these characters, and does not actually exist in Indian scriptures.

You are quite the world traveler. How do you incorporate the cultures you come across into your writing?

I love meeting new people and exploring different cultures. I really believe that traveling the world has helped me to craft my characters, especially the ones that aren’t human (whom I have to invent). How do they evolve? How are they different from regular people? How are they the same? I enjoy using elements and facets from all the different cultures I’ve interacted with over the years to develop compelling scenarios and create robust characters in my writing.

I also like to include some of my favorite cities in my novels, for example, Paris and New York in BLOODSPELL, San Diego, California in WATERFELL, and Fort Collins, Colorado in THE ALMOST GIRL. Although a writer can research anything online, writing about a place I’ve actually been to helps me to picture scenes and places more vividly. It allows me to create more authentic descriptions, so that my readers can feel like they are there, too.

We can only imagine you’re working on something new. Can you give us any sneak peek into the mind of Amalie Howard and what’s to come?

I’m working on several different projects. I’ve just finished writing OCEANBORN, which is the sequel to WATERFELL, and I’ve also just completed a near-future, technological YA thriller/romance, which has a male protagonist that I’m very excited about. That one is now in the capable hands of my agent. In addition to that, I have outlined a companion novel to ALPHA GODDESS, and I am about to start writing the sequel to THE ALMOST GIRL. Lastly, I’m fleshing out a joint project with another YA writer that’s super secret and under wraps for now. So yes, I’m busy, but I’m embracing it all (with a lot of gratitude).

Age Range: 12 and up
Grade Level: 6 and up
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Sky Pony Press (March 18, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626362084
ISBN-13: 978-1626362086
PURCHASE HERE!


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5. Guest Blogger: Michaela MacColl, Author of Always Emily (Giveaway)

Always Emily_FC

Emily and Charlotte Brontë are about as opposite as two sisters can be. Charlotte is practical and cautious; Emily is headstrong and imaginative. But they do have one thing in common: a love of writing. This shared passion will lead them to be two of the first published female novelists and authors of several enduring works of classic literature. But they’re not there yet. First, they have to figure out if there is a connection between a string of local burglaries, rumors that a neighbor’s death may not have been accidental, and the appearance on the moors of a mysterious and handsome stranger. The girls have a lot of knots to untangle—before someone else gets killed.

What’s Up with That Title? by Michaela MacColl

This week my new book Always Emily comes out. It’s the next novel in my series of literary mysteries – this one is about the Bronte sisters.  Charlotte Bronte (who would write Jane Eyre) is 18 and her sister Emily (of Wuthering Heights fame) is 17. The sisters get involved in a mystery on their very own moors – a mystery that threatens their peace of mind, their brother and father and even their lives.

If my story is about two sisters, what’s up with that title? Always Emily? I’ve had lots of  people ask me (especially my husband who gets this book mixed up with my last one about Emily Dickinson).  The truth is this book was originally written in alternating chapters, first Charlotte then Emily. These sisters, despite having an identical upbringing, were completely different from one another.

Charlotte was the eldest sister and she assumed responsibility for the family. She’s the one with the plan – to keep the family solvent, to find employment and to get the sisters published.  Emily, on the other hand, had zero ambitions other than to wander the moors and write her wild, uninhibited poetry and stories. Naturally Charlotte wrote about the repressed and moral Jane Eyre, while Emily penned a gothic melodrama of illicit love and revenge.

Jane Eyrewuthering heights

 

Ultimately I found the alternating narration way too confining. It didn’t seem fair to the reader to leave Charlotte locked in a trunk about to suffocate and then shift to Emily doing the most mundane of chores.  So I switched to a third person, but let each sister own their own chapters.  It worked so much better but I had to answer that pressing question, who is the main character?

bronte

I’m the eldest in my family and I’m the one who likes to plan – so my preference was Charlotte of course. But Emily was so much more fun! And if there’s to be a romance (and in these literary mysteries there is always a hint of some love in the air) Emily seems the more likely candidate. So Emily won out by a hair – Charlotte has adventures, but Emily is the main player.

Charlotte quite reasonably resents her sister’s lack of responsibilities. And how aggravating that Emily is the sister that attracts the masculine attention that Charlotte craved. More than once Charlotte mutters, “Emily, it’s always Emily.”

My editor and I liked this as a title because it sounds so romantic – but really it’s the lament of the plainer, older, duller sister. It’s always Emily!

Thanks for reading. I’d love to have you visit at www.michaelamaccoll.com , or follow me on Twitter at @MichaelaMacColl or check out Author Michaela MacColl on Facebook.

 

Read an excerpt at http://www.scribd.com/doc/198642656/Always-Emily

CCSS-Aligned Discussion/Teacher’s Guide at http://www.chroniclebooks.com/landing-pages/pdfs/AlwaysEmily_DiscussionGuide_FINAL.pdf

Win a signed copy of Always Emily!

Leave a comment, including your email address, for a chance to win an autographed copy of Always Emily by Michaela MacColl!

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  • By entering, you confirm you are 18 years of age or older and reside in the U.S. or Canada.
  • Winner will be notified by email and have 72 hours to claim the prize.
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  • Void where prohibited.

 


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6. Coming Soon!: Scan by Walter Jury and Sarah Fine

scan

Tate and his father don’t exactly get along. As Tate sees it, his father has unreasonably high expectations for Tate to be the best—at everything. Tate finally learns what he’s being prepared for when he steals one of his dad’s odd tech inventions and mercenaries ambush the school, killing his father in the process and sending Tate on the run from aliens who look just like humans.

All Tate knows–like how to make weapons out of oranges and lighter fluid–may not be enough to save him as he’s plunged into a secret inter-species conflict that’s been going on for centuries. Aided only by his girlfriend and his estranged mother, with powerful enemies closing in on all sides, Tate races to puzzle out the secret behind his father’s invention and why so many are willing to kill for it. A riveting, fast-paced adventure, Scan is a clever alien thriller with muscle and heart.

SCAN
By Walter Jury and Sarah Fine
Hardcover, $17.99
eBook, $10.99
ISBN: 978-0399160653
Science Fiction
336 pages
Penguin/G.P. Putnam’s Sons
May 1, 2014

Pre-order at Amazon and Barnes and Noble!

Walter Jury was born in London, has a background in the film industry, is a big fan of the New York Giants, and enthusiast of Jamba Juice’s Protein Berry Workout smoothie only with soy, never whey. “Scan” is his first book for teens. Oh, and under his real name, he’s a producer of one of 2014’s biggest blockbusters. Let’s just say he “diverges” in his career from film to literature quite well.

Sarah Fine was born on the West Coast, raised in the Midwest, and is now firmly entrenched on the East Coast, where she lives with her husband and two children. She is the author (as Sarah Fine) of several young adult books, and when she’s not writing, she’s working as a child psychologist. No, she is not psychoanalyzing you right now.


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7. Author Interview and Giveaway: 20 Questions with Beth Kephart

The 20 Question Interview with our very own Turkeybird is our feature interview that happens with all of the book authors, illustrators and poets we love!

Today we are delighted to welcome a friend and long time favorite author of Turkeybird’s mom, Beth Kephart. Beth’s new book Going Over was published this past week. Much like Dangerous Neighbors, You Are My Only, Small Damages and many other of Beth’s novels Going Over was one that will not soon be forgotten. After many long hours (or possibly minutes) talking with his mom Turkeybird came up with a few questions to ask Beth that he knew he needed to know. So, without further hesitation on our part, the Turkeybird’s interview with Beth Kephart…

Beth Kephart_Author Photo_smI LOVE these questions, Turkeybird. Also, you are such a cute guy! I’ve heard many fine things about you….. But I digress….

1. So, my mom tried to explain why someone would put a big wall in the middle of a big country, but why do you think they did it? Sounds pretty weird to me!

Sadly, there are still many walls in the world today. Walls between Palestine and Israel, between Yemen and Saudi Arabia, and between our own country and Mexico, among other places. Often walls are built to keep people or perceived dangers out. In Berlin, the wall was built in 1961 to keep the people in. The East Germans had begun flocking to the West—unhappy with the conditions where they lived and in search of better opportunities. The East German government needed those people to stay put—who would do the work if they were gone?—and so the Wall (devastatingly) went up.

2. How do you talk to someone when there’s a big wall in the way?

Well, often, you don’t. You can’t. You are cut off from communication. But people are ingenious, and many found a way. Westerners could visit the East, with certain passes. And sometimes the Easterners could get a pass to visit the West. But most of the time, between many people, sometimes even between husbands and wives or siblings or best friends, there was silence. It was terrible.

3. If you were seven what would you read next?

Where the Wild Things Are.

4. How about if you were four, what would you read next? (Littlebug likes to read a lot too. I’ve gotta get books for her.)

flamingo and littlebugFlora and the Flamingo. Which doesn’t even have any words, but it has the best message.
(Turkeybird: AH! That is one of her most favorite books ever…see the picture and you’ll know what I’m talking about.)

5. Swings or Slides?

I’d have to say Slides.

6. Why?

Because when I was nine years old I shattered my arm in a fall from a swing. I still have the scars and weak arm to prove it!

7. Math or English class? (I can’t decide right now, I like both!)

Don’t decide! Like both!

8. Do you have a favorite treat? (Mine is anything chocolate!)

I’m right with you, buddy.

9. Crayons or Markers?

Crayons.

10. Why?

Because then I can write the next Famous Crayon Book.

11. What’s your favorite color?

It used to be blue-green. Now it might be orange.

There's a Book_Beth's ceramics12. I heard you like to make pots and things out of clay. (That sounds neat!) What was your favorite pot that you’ve made?

Oh. I can send you a photograph. I made it for my editor at Chronicle Books, Tamra Tuller. I will attach a picture.

13. When you were my age did you like to draw and read?

I liked Spirographs! And doll fashion.

14. Why do you like to write?

Boy, well. Do you have all day? Or are you busy eating chocolate while drawing with crayons?

Going Over_FC15. My mom said you write lots of books about things that happened a long time ago, she called it history. What’s your favorite time that’s already happened?

Your mother is a smart cookie. I like her. Tell her that. I’m a big fan of late 19th century stuff. But I really loved going back to 1983 Berlin.

16. I love Legos and building things! Do you like Legos or something else fun?

Does ballroom dance count?

17. Why?

Because I can do it with the music on.

18. Lakes or the ocean? We live next to the ocean and it is so neat!

OCEAN!! (Lucky guy, you.)

19. What’s your favorite thing to do outside? (Mine is exploring!)

Walking.

20. What are you writing right now?

Answers to your questions.

TurkeybirdThe Turkeybird Speaks: Wow Beth, I can’t believe how crazy that there are still places in the world like you talked about. I asked my mom if there are any books I could read on my own about Mexico, Israel and Germany. We are going to go to the bookstore and the library to find some. I really want to learn lots and lots more!

The dancing sounds like lots and lots of fun too, but not the broken arm. I think I will stay away from swings (I didn’t like them before very much) and dance a lot more. Except my dancing is kind of really crazy!

Thank you super a lot Beth! Your answers were so so good and when I get older I really want to read all of your books, just because they sound so neat!

Going Over Blog Tour Banner

Find Going Over by Beth Kephart at the following spots:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Powell’s Books | Indiebound | Book Depository | Goodreads | ISBN10/ISBN13: 1452124574 / 9781452124575

CCSS-Aligned Discussion/Teacher’s Guide (Opens to pdf)

Going Over Radio Playlist!

Giveaway!

Thanks to the generous folks at Chronicle books we are delighted to be able to giveaway one signed copy of Going Over plus an audiobook to one lucky There’s A Book reader!
Be sure to enter using the rafflecopter form below and be aware that this one is for US/Canadian residents only.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Chronicle Books, for providing a copy of this book for review! Connect with them on Twitter, on Facebook and on Pinterest!
Purchasing products by clicking through the links in this post will provide us a modest commission through our various affiliate relationships.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Original article: Author Interview and Giveaway: 20 Questions with Beth Kephart

©2014 There's A Book. All Rights Reserved.

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8. Kindle Freebie: Psyched by Juli Caldewell

psyched

Aisi Turay has it all under control.

At least, she thinks she does. Forget that the most popular girl in school hates her guts and will stop at nothing to embarrass her. Forget that her little brother is tormented by the ghosts and demons she sees all the time. Forget that her mom is a con artist who pretends to be psychic to make some cash. Forget that her dad is hiding a secret than can destroy everything she knows about herself. Nope, she’s got this one…until that one awful day when she nearly loses it all.

With ghost-hunting hottie Vance, a guy who stumbled into her life at the worst possible moment, Aisi must search for the messages hidden in visions and memories to protect her family. Maybe, just maybe, they can reclaim what she thought was lost forever.

File Size: 376 KB
Print Length: 255 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0615838650
Publisher: Julianne Hiatt Caldwell; 1 edition (May 30, 2013)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B00D4C4HOQ

PURCHASE HERE!


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9. Book Spotlight: Dragons of Jade by Jean Lauzier

There’s no such thing as dragons.

Of that, Jade Delaney was sure. She may not have known who she was or where she came from, but at least she had a plan for her future.

All that changes when a dragon summons her back to the world from which she came. There, she learns dragons are real, the truth of her birth, and just why she was abandoned as a toddler.

Now she must discover and stop whoever is killing the dragons, while avoiding the man who is hunting her.

File Size: 2547 KB
Print Length: 163 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: White Bird Publications, LLC (April 1, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B00JD0VPJ8


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10. Book Review: Rebel Heart


Rebel Heart
Dust Lands Book 2
by Moira Young

Warning: this review may contain spoilers for the first book, Blood Red Road. If you haven't read Blood Red Road, I highly recommend it! It's about an incredibly tough heroine on a quest to save her brother in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. 

In Blood Red Road, Saba had one goal: find and save her twin brother Lugh from the people who took him. Saba knew that once she found Lugh, everything would be all right. But everything is most definitely not all right. Lugh and Saba have both been changed by the traumatic things they experienced, and the bond that connected them their whole lives seems to be broken and unrepairable.

Saba and Lugh, along with younger sister Emmi and another young man, Tommo, are on their way west to start a new life. Jack, whom Saba recently discovered is her heart's desire, separated from them to take a hard journey to deliver bad news, but he promised to meet them in the west. Saba is desperate to go west and find Jack again, but the group is stuck in the Waste, waiting for an injured horse to heal.

Then word comes that the Tonton, so recently defeated by Saba and her friends, have a new leader, who is cleansing the land of everyone except his own followers, killing or driving out the weak and the old, and taking the young and healthy. What's worse, Jack has been seen with the Tonton and may be one of them. Saba can't believe that Jack would be a part of such horrors, and she's determined to go back and find the truth, and help if she can.

Like Blood Red Road, Rebel Heart is a roller coaster of a story that grabs you and won't let go. Saba is one of the best YA heroines I've ever read. She's tough, oh yes, she's tough, but she also has heart and depth and an unshakeable resolve. Saba is a flawed heroine. She makes mistakes, she's not always kind, and she sometimes lets her single mindedness blind her. But Saba is a person who cares deeply, and would do anything for her family and her friends.

As with the first book, Rebel Heart is told in first person in Saba's distinctive voice and dialect, which is a little difficult to read at first, but it doesn't take long to seem natural, and it's such an integral part of the book that it's hard to imagine this book without it. The entire book is also written without quotation marks. All dialog is simply written out as part of the text with nothing to set it off. This also seems odd at first, but you get used to it and don't notice it. The biggest effect, to me, is that with the breakneck pace of the novel, the lack of quotation marks to slow the eye down contributes to a feeling of going downhill without brakes.

Overall, Rebel Heart and its predecessor, Blood Red Road, are excellent books that will have strong appeal to anyone who enjoys dystopian YA literature. Although more post-apocalyptic than dystopian, there are some dystopian elements in the Tonton society ruled by their new charismatic leader, the Pathfinder, and the book has a dystopian feel to it.

Rebel Heart ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, and the third book, Raging Star, is due out May 13. I can't wait to read it!

Who would like this book:

Anyone who enjoys young adult dystopian books and who doesn't mind the unusual punctuation and dialect.

Rebel Heart is a 2013 Cybils Awards Nominee. The first book, Blood Red Road, was the 2011 Cybils winner for YA Science Fiction & Fantasy.

Get it from:
Audiobook:

Rebel Heart is available as an audiobook from Audible.com. I haven't yet listened to the audiobook, but I did listen to the audiobook for Blood Red Road and thought it was very well done. Narrator Heather Lind did an excellent job. There appears to also be a version narrated by Moira Young, but Audible tells me it isn't available in my area, so I suspect it's the Canadian version. The links below are to the Heather Lind narrated version.
FTC required disclosure: Reviewed from purchased copy. The bookstore links above are affiliate links, and I earn a very small percentage of any sales made through the links. Neither of these things influenced my review.

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11. The Secret Side of Empty by Marie E. Andreu

empty

A gripping, emotional story of a young woman’s journey to belong and be free to pursue her dreams is what you’ll find in The Secret Side of Empty by Marie E. Andreu.

A straight-A student on her way to becoming valedictorian, M.T. watches while her friends get their driver’s licenses and make college plans. As an undocumented immigrant, M.T. lives in constant fear of being found out, while coping with her domineering, paranoid father who believes her education is a waste of time. Not even her best friend, Chelsea, knows the truth.

Pressure mounts as the National Honor Society wants M.T. to plan their trip abroad and M.T. begins a relationship with Nate knowing she will never fit into his perfect, wealthy, all-American life. Can M.T. learn to trust herself and others to stake claim to the life she wants?

Drawing on her own experience as a formerly undocumented immigrant, Andreu creates a superbly told, thought-provoking story that tugs at every heart string. Readers will be captivated by this young woman’s plight of seeking dreams just outside of her grasp and diminished by her militant father whose only desire is to earn enough money to return to the country of his birth, ripping M.T. away from the only land she has ever called home.

While illegal immigration is a highly politicized topic, The Secret Side of Empty isn’t a story about undocumented immigrants. It’s the story of a girl growing up in America who has to hide a secret that can end life as she knows it. It’s the story of friendship and learning to trust others. It’s a story of family and how they shape us; how they can hold us back and often how they lift us up. While I definitely believe this novel will challenge beliefs about illegal immigration, in the end, readers will remember The Secret Side of Empty because of its believable and inspiring heroine.

Highly recommended!

Rating: :) :) :) :) :)

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Running Press Kids (March 11, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0762451920
ISBN-13: 978-0762451920

I received a copy of this book from the author’s publicist. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.


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12. Book Review: Underneath

Underneath

by Sarah Jamila Stevenson

Sunny Pryce-Shah is devastated when her cousin Shiri commits suicide. How could Shiri do it? Shiri always seemed so confident, and Sunny looked up to her older cousin. Then Sunny starts to hear thoughts, and from cryptic comments in Shiri's journal, she suspects that Shiri may have had the same problem. Hearing thoughts is more of a curse than a power. It can be painful to know what people really think of you, for example, and Sunny can't control it or stop it from happening. Sunny is already dealing with so much, but she knows that she has to get the ability under some kind of control before it pulls her apart like it did her cousin.

Underneath is a contemporary YA novel with a speculative twist. The underhearing is just one of the conflicts Sunny has to deal with. In addition to grief over her cousin and dealing with her unusual problem, Sunny also has to navigate the treacherous waters of the high school social scene, and her family is dealing with the possible spousal abuse of her aunt. The relationships, including family, friend, and romantic interest, feel authentic, and I like that the book portrays how complex such relationships are. Fights happen, and sometimes no one is right or wrong and you just have to find a way to work things out. But sometimes one person's behavior is wrong, and it's not always easy to tell the difference.

The book also portrays grief in a way that seems authentic. Grief doesn't just go away because a certain amount of time has passed, and one of the difficult things for someone bereaved is when people start to feel that they should be over it. Grief also takes different forms, and different people grieve in different ways at different times.

I also like that romance isn't a major focus of the story. There are romantic interests, and even a couple of love triangles, but in the end it's not important who ends up paired with whom, and the story is really much more about friendship (and family) than romance.

From a diversity perspective, Sunny is half Pakistani. Although she is pretty much a regular American teenager, there are some bits of Pakistani culture that come from her grandparents, for example when they send over Pakistani food, or request an imam at the funeral. It's handled very naturally as a part of the normal American experience and not at all an issue.

In the end, it's character and voice that make this a compelling novel. Sunny is such an interesting character with a distinctive voice, and we feel her pain and her struggles.

The underhearing itself is never explained, and this may bother some readers. However, not understanding it is a part of the story conflict, and in real life there isn't always a neat explanation that ties things up with a bow.  I do love the word "underhearing" - it's a perfect word for what is, in essence, mental overhearing.

Who would like this book:

Teens who enjoy contemporary fiction with a paranormal twist.

Underneath is a 2013 Cybils Awards Nominee

Get it from:
FTC required disclosure: Reviewed from library copy. The author is an online friend that I've met several times at conferences. The bookstore links above are affiliate links, and I earn a very small percentage of any sales made through the links. Neither of these things influenced my review.

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13. Call for Applications: KABANATA Young Adult Writer’s Workshop



The Philippine Boardon Books for Young People (PBBY) formally launches the KABANATA Young Adult Writer’s Workshop with a call for fellowship applications. Slated to begin in October 2014 in Quezon City, KABANATA aims to provide a venue and support system to writers who share in PBBY’s commitment to the promotion of a culture of reading among Filipino youth by providing this growing population with books that recognize their culture, aspirations, and sense of maturity.

For a period of at least six months, fellows accepted to KABANATA will meet monthly for learning sessions with industry experts, and progress discussions with their co-fellows. Upon novel completion, PBBY will help fellows with publication by inviting publishers to bid on the finished works. With this, KABANATA hopes to produce chapter books and young adult novels that will set the bar for similar endeavors to aspire to, and be the growth spurt of what will hopefully become a thriving, diverse, and quality Filipino literature inventory for kids and teens.

Applicants are asked to submit, among other requirements, a novel-in-progress represented by three chapters and a chapter outline. Novels-in-progress should be aimed towards children within the age of 9 to 16. Those interested may visit pbby.org.ph or bit.ly/kabanata to see the application guidelines, fellowship requirements, and complete workshop details. For further inquiries, contact KABANATA via pbby.kabanata@gmail.com or (02) 352-6765 local 119.

The Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) is a private, non-stock, non-profit organization committed to the development and promotion of children’s literature in the Philippines and is the lead agency in the annual celebration of National Children’s Book Day (NCBD), which falls on the third Tuesday of July.

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14. The Infinite Sea Cover Reveal


The cover for The Infinite Sea, sequel to Rick Yancey's The 5th Wave, has been revealed. You can see a larger image of it over at USA Today, along with an interesting interview with Rick Yancey. (Note: Although Yancey tries to be careful not to spoil anything, I think it does give some clues about the second book).

The 5th Wave was an excellent book about the aftermath of an alien invasion, although one of the themes of the book is that this alien invasion is not a anything like what you would expect from movies and TV. ("...not-your-grandma's alien invasion," as Yancey says in the interview). You can read my review of The 5th Wave here.

I'm really looking forward to reading The Infinite Sea, which will be published September 16. I'm particularly excited that Yancey mentions in the interview that there are still some plot twists, as one of the things I loved about the first book was the layers of surprising reveals.

Also, Yancey talks about the 5th Wave movie in the interview, and it sounds like that's making progress.

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15. Kissing in Italian: Lauren Henderson

Book: Kissing in Italian
Author: Lauren Henderson
Pages: 272
Age Range: 12 and up

Kissing in Italian is the sequel and conclusion to Lauren Henderson's Flirting in Italian. Both books feature a British girl named Violet Routledge who is doing a summer study program at a villa in Italy. Violet was actually drawn to the program after seeing a painting of a girl who looked remarkably like herself, and was from a castle located close to the villa. In the first book, Violet learned that she did indeed bear a strong family resemblance to the family from the castle, leading her to suspect that she might be the illegitimate daughter of the principe. This is a problem, because Violet is strongly attracted to the principe's son Luca.

Kissing in Italian follows Violet's continuing efforts to uncover the secrets of her heritage, while also attempting to resist the dashingly attractive Luca. There is also relationship drama in the lives of the other three girls in the program, one of whom becomes involved with an older, married man. (I found this icky, but so did Violet - the relationship never comes across as acceptable). 

In truth, the mystery is pretty tame in this installment. Violet's parents are alive (though divorced and not physically with her in Italy). It's just a matter of her getting them to explain to her why she looks nothing like them, but does freakishly resemble some family in Italy. The real suspense lies in whether things will resolve in such a way that Violet and Luca can ever be together. There are other potential love interests for both Violet and Luca, too (since they are trying hard to stay away from one another, just in case). Here's Violet trying to become interested in another boy:

"Why does it feel so special when someone uses your name? Didn't some ancient society have a custom that you had a secret name that only the people you really trusted knew, because using it gave people power over you?

If that's true, and not just something I read i a novel, I really understand it now. There's something so nice about a boy saying your name. As if he likes you for yourself, what's inside as well as outside. Not just your boobs and face, but your brain, too.

Deliberately, I make myself smile back at him." (Page 36)

Despite being a bit less suspenseful than Henderson's other books (she also wrote the Kiss Me, Kill Me series), Kissing in Italian is still an enjoyable young adult romance. Settings include Siena, Florence, and Venice. There are villas, dance clubs, and late night swims with hot Italian boys. There's a hint of class-consciousness, and there are universal questions about whether one owes loyalty or protection to one's friends.

I like the multi-cultural mix of the book. Violet and Kelly's English background comes through, in contrast to Paige and Kendra's US-inspired tendencies. These are all set against the Italian backdrop, full of just enough Italian words to lend a multi-cultural feel, without making the book inaccessible. Like this:

"That's Italy for you. If you kissed passionately in public in London, people would judge you as attention-seekers and deliberately ignore you: In Italy, they practically applaud." (Page 223)

I also quite liked the way that Violet started to discover herself as an artist throughout the novel. Like this:

"I've discovered over the past few weeks that drawing or painting is the only thing in the world that can completely absorb me. It distracts me from any outside worries. When the art studio door closes, when I'm inside with paint or pastels or charcoal and a subject to focus on, I'm vacuum-sealed. The world beyond disappears. 

I feel beyond lucky to have discovered this." (Page 67)

Violet goes on to muse about whether her friends have something like this. I think that this section will make readers thing about what makes the rest of the world disappear for them, too. And that's something that teens probably should be thinking about. 

Kissing in Italian is clearly not intended to stand alone. If you haven't read Flirting in Italian, you should certainly read that first. If you have read Flirting in Italian, I'm sure that, like me, you'll want to find out how things turn out for Violet and Luca. And on that front, Kissing in Italian does not disappoint. I recommend this quick, two-book series for anyone who enjoys YA romance with an international flair. 

Publisher: Delacorte Press (@RandomHouseKids)  
Publication Date: March 11, 2014
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

FTC Required Disclosure:

This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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16. Coming Soon!: Moonflower by Angela Townsend

moonflower

Natasha remembers little from her Russian childhood, other than the lingering nightmares of her mother’s tragic death. So when someone close to her hands her a one-way ticket to Russia, along with the deed to her family farm, and then is brutally murdered, she has little confidence about what awaits her in that distant land.

With doubt and uncertainty, Natasha has no choice but to leave her life in America for an unknown future. Once overseas, the terrifying facts as to why she was really summoned home come to light.

Fact one: Monsters do exist.
Fact two: The only thing keeping those monsters out of the world is an ancient mural hidden below her family’s farm.
Fact three: The mural that keeps the evil out of the world is falling apart.
The final fact: It’s up to Natasha to restore it and save the world from a horror unlike anything seen before.

Luckily, Natasha isn’t alone in her mission. Three Russian Knights are tasked with protecting her from the demons as she restores the mural. And leading the Knights is the handsome and strong Anatoly, who seems to be everything Natasha could hope for in a man. Unfortunately, there is one huge problem. Her Knights are forbidden from having relationships with the artists they protect, and Anatoly is a hardcore rule follower. But rules cannot stop the way she feels.

When a horrifying demon breaches the barrier and pulls Anatoly inside the mural, Natasha can’t help but charge, once again, into the unknown—this time to save the man she secretly loves. Now on the demons’ turf, she risks her own life to free the very one who is supposed to be protecting her. Little does she realize that if she should fail, it could mean the destruction of the very last barrier shielding mankind. Will Anatoly refuse Natasha’s help? Or will he finally realize, when love is at stake, the rules will be broken.

COMING MARCH 31, 2014!

 

You can add Moonflower to your list on GoodReads at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20924104-moonflower


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17. Light of the White Bear Kickstarter Project


David Clement-Davies, author of The Sight, Fell, and Fire Bringer, is running a Kickstarter project to bring his newest book, Light of the White Bear, to the United States. I've read several of his books and really enjoyed them. If you like books about wild animals, with deep social and spiritual themes, you'll enjoy his books.

If you'd like to support an author fighting for autonomy over his books, or if you just like his books (or think you might!) please consider backing this Kickstarter.
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1159695087/light-of-the-white-bear

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18. To Prologue or Not to Prologue?

Ready to startMany middle grade and YA authors debate whether or not to include a prologue when beginning their manuscripts. Prologues are sections of story that precede the first chapter, similar to an introduction, but their sequencing in relationship to the following chapter(s) is not necessarily chronological. Often structured as a flash forward or flash back, a prologue can provide details that justify a character’s motives later on, or offer a quick glimpse at the central action, conflict or climax of the story that lies ahead. (This kind of prologue was used by Stephanie Meyers in Twilight.)

It’s important to know that prologues are not wildly popular with editors – they can feel like a cheat, something the author has chosen to use because he or she can’t figure out how else to incorporate that information, or because their beginning isn’t strong enough.  They can also be viewed as a stalling tactic, a way to write your way in to the story, like a kind of literary ‘throat-clearing.’

Don’t decide definitively to include a prologue until your manuscript is complete… and even then, make sure you are including one for the right reasons. Below are some pros and cons of prologues that may help in choosing whether or not to create one for your story:

Prologue Pros

  • Can provide details that will explain character motives later on
  • May tempt readers to read on by allowing a glimpse of the excitement that lies ahead
  • Provides a place for important backstory without slowing momentum once the story is underway

Prologue Cons

  • Can be viewed as a stalling tactic or sign that you’re unsure how to begin
  • May be overlooked or ignored by readers, who may then miss the key information it contains

(Interested in more information like this? Check out my home study courses in writing picture books, chapter books and middle grade novels and young adult fiction, at JustWriteChildrensBooks.com

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19. Growing Bookworms Newsletter: January 15

JRBPlogo-smallToday I will be sending out a new issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on children's and young adult books and raising readers. I currently send out the newsletter once every two weeks.

Newsletter Update: In this issue I have three middle grade and young adult book reviews. I also have a list of the books my family received for Christmas, another little literacy milestone from my daughter, and a post about the upcoming International Book Giving Day. I have two posts with links that I shared on Twitter recently. Not included in the newsletter this time around I published:

Reading Update: In the last two weeks I read seven early reader to middle grade titles and two young adult titles. (I'm including early readers here that I read by myself for potential review, but not every early reader that I read to my daughter.) I was on a bit of a middle grade graphic novel binge. I read:

  • Cynthia Lord: Half A Chance. Scholastic. Middle Grade. Completed January 4, 2013. Review to come. 
  • Charise Mericle Harper: Bean Dog and Nugget: The Ball and Bean Dog and Nugget: The Cookie. Early Reader Graphic Novels. Knopf Books for Young Readers. Completed January 10, 2014. I found these vaguely reminiscent of the Elephant and Piggie books (two friends interacting, sparse backgrounds, aimed at new readers), but I just didn't warm to the characters in the same way. My daughter seems rather luke-warm on these, too. 
  • Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm: Babymouse #1: Queen of the World. Middle Grade Graphic Novel. Knopf Books for Young Readers. Completed January 10, 2014. This was a re-read of the first title in the Babymouse series. Though I enjoyed it (I love Babymouse), it also struck me how much the series has improved over 17 books. The newer titles are just ... sharper. More witty. But I will still look forward to sharing this title with my daughter in a few years. 
  • Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm: Squish #5: Game On! Middle Grade Graphic Novel. Knopf Books for Young Readers. Completed January 10, 2014. This installment of the very fun Squish! series deals with video game addiction. I liked the Squish! figured out his problem on his own, and faced consequences. And I loved that he and his dad went to a comics show at the end, where they were able to meet the Babymouse creators. I love inside jokes like that. 
  • Jarrett J. Krosoczka: Lunch Lady and the Schoolwide Scuffle (#10). Middle Grade Graphic Novel. Knopf Books for Young Readers. Completed January 12, 2014. It makes me so sad that this is the final installment of the Lunch Lady series. But I thought that Krosoczka did a great job of wrapping things up, bringing back in several former foes of the Breakfast Bunch, giving the kids a chance to emerge as leaders, and even giving Lunch Lady a potential love interest (with one of my favorite series characters). This one will be released on January 28th. 
  • Kurtis Scaletta: Winter of the Robots. Middle Grade Fiction. Knopf Books for Young Readers. Completed January 13, 2014. Review to come.
  • A. S. King: Reality Boy. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Young Adult. Completed January 7, 2014. My review.
  • Rainbow Rowell: Eleanor and Park. St. Martin's Griffin (Macmillan). Young Adult Fiction. Completed January 8, 2014. Not reviewed, because this book has already received so very much positive attention. But I did enjoy it, and highly recommend it to fans of YA romance, especially those who were in high school in the 80s. 

I'm currently reading Champion, the final book in Marie Lu's Legend series, and Spell Robbers, the first book in Matthew J. Kirby's Quantum League series. I'm listening to The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly.

Baby Bookworm was in a bit of a reading slump until I took her to the library last Saturday. We brought home 33 books (all for her, most picked out by her), and read nearly all of them that day. This seems to have rekindled her general interest in reading, too, because we read quite a number of non-library books the next day. You can check out the complete list of books we've read to her so far this year on my blog.

Babt Bookworm's favorite standalone title right now is Arlene Mosel's Tikki Tikki Tembo. I'm proud to report that she can recite Tikki Tikki Tembo's full name, and delights in shouting it out. She still loves series books about Mercer Mayer's Little Critter, Marc Brown's Arthur, and Rosemary Wells' Max and Ruby. I'm also introducing her to Frog and Toad and Little Bear. I will report back. 

What are you and your family reading these days? Thanks for reading the newsletter, and for growing bookworms. 

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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20. Book Review: The Archived

The Archived
by Victoria Schwab

It hasn't even been a year since Ben died, and Mackenzie Bishop is already forgetting what her brother looked like. Her mother copes with the grief by throwing herself with artificial cheerfulness into projects, while her father copes by retreating into himself.

Mac knows something her parents don't: that all the memories of the dead are archived as Histories, which look and act like the living person in every way. Histories usually sleep, but sometimes one awakens and tries to get out; occasionally they're even violent. Mac is a Keeper, tasked with guarding the Narrows that border the Archive and returning any of the Histories who escape. It's a role that she inherited from her grandfather, and one that she must keep absolutely secret, even from her parents. Knowing that Ben's History is in the Archive should be a comfort to Mac, but even a Keeper can't see the Histories, and Mac fears that she is losing her memories of Ben.

When Mac's family moves into the Coronado, an old hotel converted to an apartment building, Mackenzie gets a new territory in the Narrows to patrol. But something is not right — the Histories here are restless, and Mac is busier than ever trying to return them all. What's more, it appears that a murder was committed decades ago at the Coronado, a murder that someone went to a great deal of trouble to cover up. Mac is determined to find out the truth, even if it means putting her life at risk.

The Archived is a moving exploration of life, death, and grief wrapped up in an intriguing, character-driven mystery. Mac is tough — she has to be, to deal with the sometimes violent Histories — and she has the scars to prove it. But even her toughness doesn't make her immune to grief, and like everyone else she'll need to find a way to deal with it and move towards acceptance.

The story has a strong sense of place, and the various locations are lovingly described: the elegant, library-like atmosphere of the Archives, the creepy hallways of the Narrows, and the faded glory of the Coronado, which really becomes a character in its own right. The characters are likewise vividly brought to life. Besides Mac, there is a teen boy, Wes, that she meets in the Coronado. Wes hides a surprising depth and empathy behind a façade of good-natured humor. Mac's relationship with her grandfather is developed through flashbacks. Other minor characters, such as the Librarians in the Archives, are less fully-fleshed-out, but still distinctively characterized.

The setup with the Archives is intriguing and pleasingly unique. The internal logic is pretty consistent and well-developed, with one exception that bothered me. What is the purpose of keeping the Archives in the first place? There doesn't seem to be any reason for it. Loved ones can't visit the Histories, and no one seems to read the Histories except for the occasional Librarian seeking relief from boredom, and even that seems to be discouraged. It seems like an elaborate setup requiring considerable secrecy and no small amount of risk, for no purpose. If you can suspend that disbelief, then The Archived is a pretty enjoyable book.

The Archived is a 2013 Cybils Awards Nominee

Who would like this book:

Although the setup is not strictly supernatural — Histories aren't really ghosts — it should appeal strongly to fans of supernatural fiction. Teens who enjoy mysteries or character-driven fiction may also enjoy this.

Get it from:
FTC required disclosure: Reviewed from library copy. The bookstore links above are affiliate links, and I earn a very small percentage of any sales made through the links. Neither of these things influenced my review.


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21. Book Review: The Summer Prince

The Summer Prince
by Alaya Dawn Johnson

June and her best friend Gil are thrilled to wrangle an invite to the official celebration of the newly elected Summer King, Enki. But they never anticipate that Gil and Enki will fall in love, or how much Enki will affect both of their lives. Although the Summer King has no real power, Enki, who comes from the lowest level of society, is determined to use what influence he has to help his people. June and Enki begin to collaborate on a big art installation, one that they hope will both send a message to the city, and win June the Queen's Award. But none of the three can forget that at the end of the summer, Enki will die. Because the real purpose of the Summer King is sacrifice in service of the city.

The Summer Prince is a brilliant book on so many levels. To start, it's an achingly immersive story set in a future Brazil. Added to that are elements from the Sumerian myth The Epic of Gilgamesh. Going deeper, there are the themes: power and sacrifice, choices and consequences, privilege and class, order and change. Finally, there is the writing: Alaya Dawn Johnson has created a beautiful tapestry so intricately woven that the patterns aren't always obvious on the first read-through. Even on my second read I'm not sure if I saw everything.

Palmares Tres is a gem of a city where past culture and future culture merge. It's a city where people still Samba and eat Vatapá stew, where grafeteiros create masterpieces and street gangs fight with capoeira. And yet it's a city with deep class divisions, where class hierarchy is literally expressed in the city tiers: the higher classes live on the upper levels and the lowest class lives on the bottom tier, where the the stink of the algae vats is ever present. This physical expression of class hierarchy is not a new idea in science fiction, but it's well done here. That stink, known as the Catinga, becomes a powerful symbol in the story, and in fact the higher tiers call the lowest tier "The Catinga."

Palmeres Tres is a city ruled by a matriarchy: a Queen and a council of women called Aunties. Many of them have forgotten the purpose of power, and while they, in their own way, seem to love the city, often their machinations seem designed to protect their own power rather than benefit the city. Most residents of the city live 200 years or more, setting up a situation where anyone under 30 is considered a juvenile, and not to be trusted to make good decisions. So we have class conflict, gender conflict, and age conflict, and with his election as Summer King, Enki becomes the touchstone at the center of all these conflicts.

I've seen this book described as dystopian, but I don't think that it quite falls into that classification. The traditional definition of a dystopia is one that seems utopian on the surface, but is later revealed to be oppressive and deeply flawed. I think that in some ways The Summer Prince turns that around: the flaws are fairly obvious early on, but as you continue to read it becomes clear how much the citizens of Palmeros Tres love their city with a genuine love, even in spite of the flaws. However, The Summer Prince is similar enough to dystopian literature that I think it will appeal to teens who enjoy dystopian books.

It's not necessary to be familiar with The Epic of Gilgamesh or to even recognize those elements are there to enjoy the story, but if you are familiar with the Epic it's a sheer joy to discover the iconic story of Enkidu and Gilgamesh wrestling in the streets transformed into a heart-stopping Samba when Gil and Enki first meet. The Summer Prince is not really a retelling of the myth, but there are some interesting parallels.

June is an imperfect character who struggles throughout the book to make the right choices. Her dream is to be recognized as a great artist, and when that dream comes into conflict with her awakening social awareness, she doesn't always choose the right thing. She blames her mother for her father's death, and because of that she's mean to her mother. All these things make her a believable, realistic character whom the reader can identify with as she grows through her association with Enki.

The Summer Prince does a great job of representing people who are underrepresented in YA lit. All the residents of Palmeros Tres have skin of varying shades of color, and Enki himself is described as being exceptionally charismatic and with very dark skin. Sexual relationships, both same-sex and opposite-sex, are depicted in a natural, unfettered way that's totally a non-issue. In Palmeros Tres it doesn't seem to matter whom you love.

The Brazilian setting is a refreshing change from books set in European-based settings. I personally loved that the book represented a culture and people that you don't often see in American YA Fiction, but I'd be remiss if I didn't point out this review of The Summer Prince by a native Brazilian, Ana of The Book Smugglers. I'd encourage you to read the review, but in short, Ana is concerned that the Brazilian cultural elements are not always used accurately, and don't go any deeper than those elements that outsiders identify with Brazil, such as samba, Carnival, and capoeira. To Ana, it feels like a stereotype.

I've been thinking a lot about Ana's review over the last few days. Does the book stereotype Brazilians? Maybe - it's hard for me to know since I'm not Brazilian. Should a writer be able to write about a culture as an outsider to that culture? This, I think, is the crux of the controversy, and I've seen good arguments on both sides. I personally think writers stretching to write about things outside their personal experience is a good thing, because it helps to bring those ideas and cultures to other people who are not familiar with them, but the outsider has to work harder to get it right. I found an interview with Johnson where she says about her research, "I read a lot of books, particularly about the history of the African diaspora in Brazil. Also got advice from my sister, who studied in Brazil and knew many sources. And sent it to Brazilian writers for help."

I totally understand Ana's frustration and annoyance with the book. It's not quite the same thing, but I studied a martial art for 18 years, and I get really annoyed when I read a fiction book that gets the martial arts details wrong. So I get how frustrating it would be to have your culture portrayed inaccurately. But it does sound like Johnson did try get the details right, and I hope that maybe it will at least it will inspire young people to want to learn more about Brazil and read up on it, as I did after finishing the book. In balance, I think that a book like this that encourages young people to think outside their comfort zone and learn about new ideas and new cultures is a good thing. There are no easy answers, but I think it's important that we keep having these conversations as we try to get it right.

The Summer Prince is the 2013 Cybils Awards winner for the YA Speculative Fiction category.

Who would like this book:

Science fiction and dystopian readers, as well as teens who like reading about other cultures.

Get it from:
FTC required disclosure: Review copy sent by the publisher for the purpose of Cybils Awards judging. The bookstore links above are affiliate links, and I earn a very small percentage of any sales made through the links. Neither of these things influenced my review.

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22. First Chapter Review: The Paladins DuBois by Patricia Donaruma Williford

TC&TBC

While attending the WriteAngles Conference this past November, I ran into Patricia Donaruma Williford, author of The Paladins DuBoisPat is a teacher in our local school district. Luckily, she had a copy of her book with her that I was able to purchase.

dubois

BLURB: Eighteen years after the infants Kai and Mahri DuBois were separated and taken from La Foret de Chenes for their own protection, they are called to return. Appointed as Paladins, they receive their first charges from the Elders. The twins must overcome the devastating act of treachery that tore their family apart, restore the integrity of the treasure they guard, and beat back the encroaching evil of La Famille DeMauvaise.

COVER: While I’m not always a fan of dark covers, they are popular in the young adult genre. This cover works well for the book because the dark forest with its glowing fireflies is an integral part of the story.

FIRST CHAPTER: Kai Woods, a painfully shy boy with unruly blond hair, has just graduated from high school. The letter he has received from his Uncle Frank invites him to be considered for a position of caretaker of La Forêt de Chênes, The Forest of Oaks. He follows a trail and soon comes to a cottage, where he meets the mysterious Shaun O’Shaunessey.

KEEP READING: Definitely. Williford quickly captivates the reader with her mysterious, magical tale. In a few short pages, the reader learns a bit about Kai’s past and the future that is about to unfold before him. Told from Kai’s and Shaun’s points of view, this intriguing first chapter is filled with rich descriptions that add depth but are not overdone. The back story is just enough to entice. It doesn’t cloud over the present day happenings.

While I’ll admit fantasy is not my first choice of reading material, this strong first chapter, the conflict of a family torn apart, and Kai and Mahri’s destiny enchanted me. I’m eager to continue.

Paperback: 524 pages
Publisher: Booklocker.com, Inc. (September 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1621417719
ISBN-13: 978-1621417712

This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.


0 Comments on First Chapter Review: The Paladins DuBois by Patricia Donaruma Williford as of 2/28/2014 2:02:00 AM
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23. Chasing Prophecy by James Moser with Giveaway

Title: Chasing Prophecy

Author: James Moser

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Thriller

Ebook available at: Kindle | Smashwords  




Book Description:

Mo is a shy teen who is just trying to survive high school. He has secretly fallen in love with a girl named Prophecy who lives with a group that some call a commune and others call a cult. When she disappears, Mo must find the courage to face the monster that her family has become. Chasing Prophecy is a contemporary coming of age story that is heartwarming, suspenseful, and beautifully written. This book chronicles the adolescence of one boy who must transform himself to save the girl of his dreams.

Kirkus Reviews:

“A stellar read for teens and adults, full of hilarious growing pains, tenderness and a few surprises. Moser’s debut is an unflinching young-adult novel that sees a group of friends tested by bigotry and the illegal machinations of a religious cult. The author serves up an irresistibly wisecracking narrator in Mo Kirkland. Every page ripples with a controlled cleverness. There’s also a rawness to this tale similar to that which many teens face in the real world. Moser can wax rhapsodic about young love, but he shows that he knows how to raise the tension in the second half of the novel.”


Excerpt:

Max leaned over and whispered, “They don’t have any gear.”I looked at their packs. He was right. No rolled-up tents, sleeping bags or cookware dangled from any of the straps or hooks. Just bulging backpacks. Their empty sports-drink bottles were the only clue that they’d known they were about to hike straight up a mountain.

I remember thinking how weird it was that they carried so much weight uphill and none of that weight was soap, clean clothes, or sleeping bags.

Max peeked inside one of their packs. He undid the top pull-cord and pulled out a giant freezer-bag of red crystals. I undid the top drawstring of one of the other backpacks. More bags of the same stuff. I held one up. A bright flash startled us, made us step back. After blinking away the spots, I saw Clean with one arm extended, centering us in another picture he was taking on his phone.

“What’s this?” I asked, holding up a bag of what looked like raspberry Sno-Kone.

“Drugs,” Max said softly.

“It is not ‘drugs,’” said Clean. “It is the salvation of our family. It is the sword we will use to fight off Big Brother, to beat him back from our land, to cut off his hand as it reaches for what is ours. Now put those bags of salvation back, please. I’m sending word of our salvation to my father.” He held the Blackberry closer to his face and I knew he was forwarding the picture to Able back at the ranch.

Big buckets of reality crashed down on me head. Huge bags of drugs brought in from Canada. Hiked over the border in the dense woodsy areas where the Mount Baker National Forest drops to the Canadian Border.

These guys are criminals, I thought.

Clean waved at our tents, sleeping bags, and the rest of the food. He said, “You guys should just chill for a day, catch your breath, eat, drink, and sleep. No fires. We’re way off the trail and we’re nowhere near the spot where people hang-glide, base-jump or wall-climb. I put all the dehydrated food pouches in the blue backpack—soups and chili and fruit. A whole bottle of water purifying tablets. It’s not tons but it’ll keep you fueled til you’re back home. Thanks to you, the hard work is done.”

“Thanks, bruh,” said the leader of the other team. The three of them were leaning into the rock and leaning into each other. They must have done that on the way up, at night, to stay warm.

Clean motioned us to the other end of the rock. He said, “We leave in half an hour. Drink all the water you can, then fill up one small water bottle each. Remember to add an iodine tablet. No one can get sick on the way down. And,” he said, pausing to reach into his pack. “We wear these on the way down.” He pulled out green and tan camouflage floppy hats and t-shirts that matched the backpacks our visitors had carried.

“What about . . .” I started to say.

Max took a deep breath, dropped his chin and stared at the ground. He understood before I did that the Vision-Quest was over. We’d come to exactly this spot because this was the mission Able and Clean had planned for us all along.

Clean said, “We’re carrying it back down to the trailhead. We’re taking no food. We ate less than 24 hours ago and will be able to eat again before we go to sleep, after we get home. We have water. It’s downhill for us so we should make the car before dark. I have a small thing of sunscreen. Other than that, all we need is some guts.”

Max’s face was angry. I was just plain numb. There was nothing else to say.

Half an hour later, Clean hugged his three companions goodbye. We stayed on the southern end of the ledge, teetering under the heavy packs, just nodding politely to the other crew. We started down and did not talk. The backpacks carried the same weight but since I’m smaller than Clean and Max, I struggled more. I panted and stumbled a few times. We reached the tree-line in a couple hours.

Max and I kept trading WTF looks.

I thought, What is Kazzy doing right now? Does she have backpack of drugs, too? Did she know about this? Of course she didn’t know. The day before she looked so lost and confused. As lost and confused as anyone in the dining hall. If she had drugs on her back, she was as surprised as we were.

God, I wanted to hold her and I wanted her to hold me back. I’ve never wanted to hold someone so much. I thought of the squeeze she’d given me as she left the school bus.

The school bus. Right. They’d chosen a special ed. school bus to bring us in and out because it would hide in plain sight. No cop would pull us over for a small reason.

Max suddenly said, “Shit.” He kicked a tree, nearly fell from being off-balance under the heavy pack, steadied himself, unstrapped, and dropped his pack on the ground. He looked at me, then at Clean. “This is illegal. It’s not what you said we’d be doing.”

Clean moved quickly toward Max. I dropped my pack to the ground and took a long step toward them–to break up the fight before it got started. Clean’s eyes darted to mine. He put his finger to his lips.

Max put up his fists but Clean was already past him.

Clean took two long steps down the path, to the bend in the next switchback. He looked back at us—eyes on fire. He pointed sharply at us and then up into the woods.

We pulled on our packs and labored up the rocky hillside, grabbing at pine trees and brush. Glancing to our right, I saw Clean doing the same. We reached a spot thirty feet off the trail, level and dense with ferns. From the trail we heard a rustling and the unmistakable clip-clopping of horseshoes. We dropped down in the ferns, shimmied out of our backpacks and kneeled down in the dense mossy soil.

A forest ranger on horseback came into view. As he brought the horse to a stop, it sniffed at the air, looked our way and froze. I knew it had smelled us. We turned to Clean. He put one finger to his lips and stared daggers at us.

The ranger wore an olive green, short-sleeved shirt and cargo shorts. He had a walkie talkie clipped to his belt and a satellite phone in his hand. The saddle held a canteen, knapsack, and a long leather sleeve with a shotgun handle sticking out. As he turned around, I saw a handgun holstered at his side. The guy looked straight ahead, spoke into his satellite phone, dismounted, whispered softly to the horse, and stroked its mane.

I looked back at Clean and what I saw told me that the Bethlehem family had changed forever. The fingers of one hand were spread toward us, commanding we remain still and silent. His other hand held a gun. The lines on his face were calm. He was not afraid.

The ranger turned his back to us, lowered his hands, undid his belt buckle, moved his legs apart, looked to the sky, began to whistle. Clean gently clicked off the safety. The horse heard it, darting its eyes in our direction, snuffled, pawed at the ground restlessly. The man turned back to the horse, whispered, went back to whistling.

After the ranger and horse were safely out of earshot, we stepped over to Clean.

Max said, “What are you doing with a GUN???”

I added, “Yeah, and what were you gonna do if he saw us?”

Clean looked calmly at me, snapped the safety back on, and returned the gun to the waist-band against his lower back. He clicked on his walkie talkie, adjusted the volume and channel, and said, “Redemption Team One to Redemption Team Two. Redemption Team One to Redemption Team Two. Anyone out there chillin’? Over.”

A long pause, and then the crackling response, “Chillin’ like Bob Dylan. Thought you guys were gone. Over.”

Clean said, “We just ran into Steve’s Big Brother. You remember Rick, right? Over.”

A longer, crackling pause.

“Copy that. Long time since we’ve seen Rick. He by himself? Over”

“Affirmative. Over.”

And the longest, crackling pause yet.

“How long til Rick arrives for dinner? Over.”

“He’s probably not coming to your house, but if he does go that way, it’ll be at least an hour. No more than two. Over.”

“Copy that. If you seen him again, tell him sorry we missed him and we’ll catch him next time. We’re running late and we’ll be gone in ten minutes. Over.”

“Sounds like a plan. Sorry about the fast turnaround. I know you guys are tired from the trip. From the long drive all the way from California, I mean. Over.”

“Copy that. Catch you guys next time. Over and out.”

“Copy that. Over and out.”

Clean switched off his walkie talkie and clipped it onto his belt.

“Look at me,” he said. “Everyone take a drink of water and pee if you have to. We are not stopping for a few hours, until we get to the parking lot. I will walk on point. That means I’ll be by myself about fifty feet ahead. There will be NO talking, so I can hear what’s ahead. You watch where you’re walking and you watch me. I put my hand up, that means stop. I point, and that means you have five seconds to go wherever I’m pointing.

“We run into someone and can’t hide in time, you just do exactly what I do. We’ll say hello all friendly-like, but you keep your heads down and you do not slow down no matter what. I will go first. I’ll pause, I’ll make some small talk for ten seconds while you pass me, and then I’ll bring up the rear after the two of you are down the trail a bit. I will catch up on my own so don’t look back. We don’t look back and we don’t stop no matter what.”

We nodded.

“Say it so I know you understand,” he said.

“Don’t look back,” Max said.

“Don’t stop, no matter what,” I said.

About the Author:
James Moser has always loved stories in all forms. He is in his fourteenth year of working with high school students. The author’s goal was to write a book that would inspire even his most reluctant readers. Young adults have always inspired him. As such, he wanted to show teenagers transforming themselves to overcome obstacles, which is what he watches them do, every day.

Moser has a B.A. in English and a Master’s degree in Secondary English Education. He lives in Seattle with his beautiful wife and eight year old son. When he’s not reading and writing, or thinking about reading and writing, he’s watching way too much television while snacking on frozen treats from Trader Joe’s. Man, those things are good.

Where to find James Moser:


Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Enter for your chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card or $25 PayPal cash.


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24. COMPULSION Cover Reveal and Signed Shatter Me Series Giveaway

Video Cover Reveal Teaser 

Are you ready to see the shiny new cover for COMPULSION? I'm beyond excited to share it with you. Watch the cover reveal video and you'll see it the way I'd love to introduce it. But if you're video-averse, that's okay. Read on. And please, please let me know what you think. I hope you love it as much as I do!



FROM BLOGGER TO AUTHOR

One of the reasons I really can't wait to hear what you think is that I've shared the whole path of this book with you. Or you've shared it with me. This blog is where I learned to structure and write a novel.

I only recently realized it's been almost four years since I started this blog with a friend. Back then, at a local SCBWI conference, a literary agent gave us an hour-long presentation on the necessity of blogging. But what would we blog about? Well, writing of course. That seemed the obvious answer. Um. Yeah. Obvious to us and every other writer who ever had a dream of publication.

As a writer, I assimilate information by writing it out. From the beginning, I used this blog as a sounding board to learn craft, to collect and assimilate the information I was discovering myself--information I was learning from so many of you. 

That's the great thing about the online writing community. We learn from each other. It's therapeutic to share the journey. I'm so thankful for all the support and friendship you all have given me and I'm happy to still be learning with you. The truth is, I'm still looking for the secret formula, the key to the alchemical process that will spin my straw words into gold.

Writing is magic, and we--all of us--are the magicians. What other profession lets someone weave reality out of nothing more substantial than imagination? I'm awed by the writers whose worlds become real for me. There must be a Loramendi, right? A Thisby Island, a Diagon Alley, a Night Circus. Of course there are mockingjays, and daemons, and how can there not be Grisha or a Mrs. Whatsit, or an Abhorsen?

As writers, we sit at our lonely desks and start the writing process with nothing more than a blank computer screen and a tickle in the back of the brain that will eventually spawn an idea, a page, a chapter, and a book.

But magic of any kind is elusive. Wrestling ideas is like fighting a dragon armed with nothing except a fork. A hobbit-sized fork.

I can't tell you how many times I wanted to give up over the years, and how many times I've forced myself to go on because I read something that one of you had tweeted, written on your own blogs, or left as a comment on a post here at Adventures. I've been strengthened and encouraged by the authors who've been lovely enough to come share what they've learned with us here. And I've been kicked in the ass when I needed it by friends I've made along the way.

The trip from blogger to author is both long and short. It's as hard to grasp as an idea.

If I've learned one thing over the years, it's that nothing you do can guarantee publication. But you're never going to be published if you don't try, if you don't stretch yourself to come up with the biggest, truest, most brutally honest and original idea that you can possibly spill onto a page.

I'm lucky to have found an agent and a team of people at Simon Pulse who see my idea for COMPULSION the way that I do, and I'm so, so honored and astounded that Watson Island is going to have the chance to become real for other people. I hope it becomes real for other people.

Today's cover reveal is one more giant step on the journey. I haven't quite reached the moon yet, but I'm definitely floating. And if this blog can be even a small part of helping someone else feel the way that I feel right now? That will make me even happier.

Wherever you are on your own path, I hope that seeing this happen for me convinces you that it is possible, that anything is possible.

Keep dreaming. Dream wildly, boldly, and with conviction.

 
ABOUT THE BOOK

COMPULSION
By Martina Boone
Hardcover
October 28, 2014
ISBN: 18732883
Simon & Schuster, Simon Pulse

Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.

When loss is all you know, how do you find true love?

All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lived with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead—a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family's twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.

ADD TO GOODREADS | PREORDER


ABOUT ME

I was born in Prague and spoke several languages before learning English. My first teacher in the U.S. made fun of me for not pronouncing the "wh" sound right, so I set out to master "all the words”—I'm still working on that! In the meantime, I'm writing contemporary fantasy set in the kinds of magical places I'd love to visit.

If you like romance steeped in mystery, mayhem, Spanish moss, and a bit of magic, I hope you'll look forward to meeting Barrie, Eight, Cassie, Pru, Seven and the other characters of Watson Island.



ABOUT THE GIVEAWAY

Celebrating along with a signed and personalized copy of one of the first ARCs of COMPULSION to come off the press, Martina is giving away a sterling silver key necklace similar to one of the keys on the necklace Barrie wears. There are also three signed books by some of her favorite authors:


The giveaway is international and will run through 3/31/14. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.

Want more chances to win?  Check out all eight giveaways. I'm giving away a set of books signed by my favorite authors in each one, including Laini Taylor, Maggie Steifvater, Stephanie Kuehn, Tahereh Mafi, Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl, Megan Shepherd, Kendare Blake, Kat Zhang, Meagan Spooner and Amie Kaufman, and Jennifer L. Armentrout.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

0 Comments on COMPULSION Cover Reveal and Signed Shatter Me Series Giveaway as of 3/4/2014 2:38:00 PM
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25. Giveaways of PANIC by Lauren Oliver and THE WINNER'S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski plus YA Pick & Mix 3/11/14


Last week was the cover reveal for Compulsion, and sometime this week, the ARC is making its way out into the world. This is both a strange and wondrous feeling. I adore the cover, so that's wonderful. But now it's not really my book anymore. It's going to belong to readers, and to what they (you) discover inside the story. I know from my own experience that every reader will bring something different to the table. That's a beautiful thing -- and it's scary as hell, which is why . . .

I'm leaving the country.

Um. No. That's not really the reason. But I am leaving, heading to Cozumel, Belize, and Honduras on the first real family vacation we've all had together in years. I wish I could take the dog and cat, because leaving them inevitably means the family isn't complete, but we're moving people into the house just so they won't be sad and lonely. Seriously. This is how bad I've gotten.

Do you feel guilty leaving pets? Do you feel bad leaving your writing projects? Writing isn't one of those things it's easy to leave behind.

Have a great week, everyone. Happy reading and writing,


Martina

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

Wallquote from Etsy

YA GIVEAWAY OF THE WEEK




Panic
by Lauren Oliver
Hardcover
HarperCollins
Released 3/4/2014



Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

Author Question: What is your favourite thing about PANIC?

That's a difficult question to answer. Of course, I love the characters and the way that their stories intersect, and I'm particularly proud of the dual narrative perspective, particularly because it gave me the chance to write from a male point of view. I also like the way that the town of Carp itself becomes a kind of character; it was fun to really conceive of the town as a whole and think about what growing up there would have felt like. But my absolute FAVORITE thing about PANIC? One word, man: tigers!


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The Winner's Curse
by Marie Rutkoski
Hardcover
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Released 3/4/2014


Winning what you want may cost you everything you love.

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.


Purchase The Winner's Curse at Amazon
Purchase The Winner's Curse at IndieBound
View The Winner's Curse on Goodreads

BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS

via HPAlliance


  • My cover reveal of Compulsion, in case you didn't hit all the stops, was on Mundie Moms, Hypable.com, Cuddlebuggery.com, PageTurnersBlog, The Story Siren, YASeriesInsiders.com, and here on Adventures, as well as on my personal Tumblr. Each stop has giveaways of a personalized Compulsion ARC, a sterling silver necklace similar to one of the Tiffany keys Barrie wears, and great books signed by my favorite authors, including Laini Taylor, Maggie Stiefvater, Jennifer L. Armentrout, Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl, Kendare Blake, Claudia Gray, Meagan Spooner, Meagan Shepherd, Kat Zhang, Stephanie Kuehn, Veronica Roth and more. 
  • Great collection of trailers for 2014 movies based on books provided by River City Reading.
  • Rae Carson read the first sentence for her new book and needless to say, I screamed and got even more impatient for it. 
  • Claire Legrand revealed her cover for her dark Nutcracker retelling and it looks and sounds amazing.
  • Cassandra Clare announced the title to her next Shadowhunters series, The Last Hours, which will feature the generation after Tessa, Will and Jem in 1903. As a big fan of Clare's book, there is no doubt in my mind that I will be picking these ones up. Especially if it means more Tessa and Will! Included in the post are some really amazing pictures of the characters done by Cassandra Jean!
  • Publishers Weekly announced in their weekly book deals that TOR has acquired the rights to Susan Dennard's (Author of Something Strange and Deadly) new book Truthwitch, the first in a new four book fantasy series that is being pitched as “Garth Nix meets Avatar: The Last Airbender.” Add it to Goodreads! 
  • Melissa Marr's cover for her new novel, Made For You was revealed on USA Today

WRITING TIP

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