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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: young adult, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 2,234
1. Happy Book Birthday to Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman!

Hey PubCrawlers, JJ here on a special Tuesday post. Today our very own Erin Bowman has a new book out! Come, raise a glass, toast our friend, and celebrate!

Huzzah, huzzah, huzzah, it’s finally here!

VengeanceRoad_CoverReveal

If you guys have been living under a rock, then you might not have heard of Erin’s awesome new YA Western pitched as True Grit meets the legend of the Lost Dutchman. I’ve wanted this book ever since I read the synopsis:

Vengeance Road

Welcome to the Wild West.

When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate discovers more about her family’s secrets, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there’s room for love in a heart so full of hate.

In the spirit of True Grit, this novel makes the cutthroat days of the Wild West come to life for a new generation.

If that doesn’t make you want to read this, then just check out this trailer!

If you’re still not convinced, then look at the heaps of praise piled on to Vengeance Road!

★ An unflinchingly bloody tale of the Wild West…Thoroughly engrossing.

Publishers Weekly, starred review

A vivid portrait of a lawless world…The book demands the same stoicism from its readers as the heroine herself possesses.

School Library Journal

Refreshingly believable. Readers will be entranced by Bowman’s swiftly paced, romantic revenge drama.

Booklist

Fast-paced [and] entertaining.

VOYA

A story of grit, love, and deadly revenge that climbs off the page and into your heart–saddle up for a thrilling, harrowing ride!

—Alexandra Bracken, NYT bestselling author of The Darkest Minds trilogy

Vengeance Road is a page-turning, unputdownable story of revenge. Bowman paints a thrilling, vivid picture of 1877 Arizona, and Kate is a heroine to be reckoned with.

—Jessica Spotswood, author of The Cahill Witch Chronicles

Gritty and honest, Vengeance Road captures the heart of the Wild West.

—Mindy McGinnis, author of Not a Drop to Drink

A take-no-prisoners heroine with a bloody debt to settle. I’m still breathing in the dust and hot Arizona sun.

—Megan Shepherd, author of The Madman’s Daughter

Relentlessly readable, Vengeance Road is a perfect western. You won’t be able to turn in until you get to the very last page!

—Saundra Mitchell, author of The Springsweet

Flinty and fierce, Kate is a formidable addition to the pantheon of tough young adult heroines. Her story and voice crackles to life.

—A.C. Gaughen, author of the Scarlet trilogy

Gold madness, a good-for-nothing posse, and frontier justice: Vengeance Road is everything you could want in a Western.

Jodi Meadows, author of the Incarnate trilogy

Vengeance Road had a bit of everything I love most in storytelling: a kick-butt heroine, life-or-death stakes, action to make my heart pound, and morals that go gray around the edges. This is the kind of book I’ll re-read again and again.

—Susan Dennard, author of the Something Strange and Deadly series

PLUS, Vengeance Road is one of PW’s Picks of the Week!

Based on all the excitement over Erin’s cover reveal, I know I’m not the only one dancing to read this. I love a good western. Growing up in California, my family history was shaped by the Wild West, gold mining, and cattle ranching, and the cowboy mystique holds some shiny for me still. I can’t WAIT to share this book with y’all!

To celebrate Erin’s release, I am giving away one hardcover copy of Vengeance Road. Tweet us a message, visit our Facebook page, add to your Goodreads shelves, or leave us a comment letting us know what your favourite Western is! Contest open until September 8, 2015 (sorry, US only!).

CONGRATS, ERIN!!!!!

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Erin BowmanERIN BOWMAN is a YA writer, letterpress lover, and Harry Potter enthusiast living in New Hampshire. Her Taken trilogy is available from HarperTeen, and her new book Vengeance Road is out now from HMH. You can visit Erin’s blog (updated occasionally) or find her on Twitter (updated obsessively).

ALSO! Two other PubCrawlers (one current, one alumna) also have books/novellas out today! Congrats to Jodi Meadows for the release of The Glowing Knight (an Orphan Queen novella) and Sarah J. Maas for the release of Queen of Shadows!

The Glowing Knight
Queen of Shadows

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2. Review: I Kill The Mockingbird by Paul Acampora

I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora is a gloriously witty and murderous book and I can’t love it enough! It’s a book about books (bookception!) and how can an avid bookworm not love and adore that?! If you geek out over books and authors — this was built specifically for you. Obviously it’s about the infamous To Kill a […]

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3. 6 Authors + 5 Books = 1 Great Evening of Readings and Book Signings…


It’s been a busy summer of new releases from Mirror World Publishing, so they’re throwing a multi-author book launch event to celebrate! If you’re in the area or able, please come out and meet the authors of five new books. Here are the details:

When: September 3rd, 2015
Where: Artspeak Gallery, 1942 Wyandotte East, Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Time: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The Authors:

Sharon Ledwith - Legend of the Timekeepers
Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred - Unintended
Rita Monette - The Legend of Ghost Dog Island
Elizabeth J. M. Walker - She Dreamed of Dragons
Nate Friedman - The Coffee Monster

From children's to middle grade, young adult and adult, Mirror World Publishing is launching creative fiction novels in every age category! Come out and hear the authors read from their new releases, pick up a signed copy, and stick around for your chance to win free books! Plus there’s going to be cupcakes and coffee on tap from local vendors. Yum!

BTW – Rita Monette is the special guest star, as she'll be coming in from Tennessee! So don't miss this opportunity to meet her and get your signed copy of The Legend of Ghost Dog Island! Hope to see you there! Cheers!

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4. Monday Mishmash: 8/31/15


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. First Day of School  My daughter went back to school today. :( I miss her already.
  2. Editing  It's probably no shock that my plate is full with edits this week.
  3. Recovering From Knee Injury  In case you didn't see my posts on FB and Twitter last week, I fell on the treadmill and now both knees look like I'm trying to audition for The Walking Dead—as a zombie of course. They're healing now, but ouch!
  4. Our Little Secret  I'm SO excited for this release on September 15. Like SO excited. I love this book, and it's gorgeous thanks to the amazing team at Limitless Publishing. I have a lot planned for the month of September to celebrate, so stay tuned.
  5. Writer Wednesday Topics  My posts from the other side of the submissions desk seem to be popular, so I thought I'd ask you if there's anything you'd like me to talk about in my Wednesday posts. What do you want to know about as far as submitting to editors?
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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5. Review of Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon

Bomb by Steve Sheinkin Bomb: The Race to Build — and Steal — the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin (Flash Point/Roaring Brook)
While comprehensive in his synthesis of the political, historical, and scientific aspects of the creation of the first nuclear weapon, Sheinkin focuses his account with an extremely alluring angle: the spies. The book opens in 1950 with the confession of Harry Gold — but to what? And thus we flash back to Robert Oppenheimer in the dark 1930s, as he and readers are handed another question by the author: “But how was a theoretical physicist supposed to save the world?” Oppenheimer’s realization that an atomic bomb could be created to use against Nazi Germany is coupled with the knowledge that the Germans must be working from the same premise, and the Soviets are close behind. We periodically return to Gold’s ever-deepening betrayals as well as other acts of espionage, most excitingly the two stealth attacks on occupied Norway’s Vemork power plant, where the Germans were manufacturing heavy water to use in their own nuclear program. As he did in the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winner The Notorious Benedict Arnold (rev. 1/11), Sheinkin here maintains the pace of a thriller without betraying history (source notes and an annotated bibliography are exemplary) or skipping over the science; photo galleries introducing each section help readers organize the events and players. Writing with journalistic immediacy, the author eschews editorializing up through the chilling last lines: “It’s a story with no end in sight. And, like it or not, you’re in it.” Index.

From the November/December 2012 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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6. Recommended Narrative Nonfiction: Young Adult

bausum_stonewallBausum, Ann Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights
120 pp. Viking 2015. ISBN 978-0-670-01679-2
Bausum begins with a detailed, nuanced exposition of the June 1969 Stonewall riots as a galvanizing moment for the gay rights movement, then traces the movement’s evolution (in a somewhat more cursory way) for the second half of the book. Bausum’s narrative integrity makes her conclusions about the persecution and resilience of the LGBTQ community all the more powerful. Bib., ind.
Subjects: Homosexuality; Activism

Superman Versus the Klu Klux KlanBowers, Rick Superman Versus the Ku Klux Klan: The True Story of How the Iconic Superhero Battled the Men of Hate
160 pp. National Geographic 2012. ISBN 978-1-4263-0915-1
LE ISBN 978-1-4263-0916-8
In 1946, the producers of the Superman radio show deployed their character’s popularity in a campaign against bigotry. Bowers explains how he dug through myths, examined original archives, and reached tentative conclusions about what most likely happened and why. A complex history of organizations guided by both ideology and profit, people both well-meaning and flawed, and shifts in popular sentiment. Bib., ind.
Subjects: Visual Arts; Cartoons and comics; Ku Klux Klan; History, American; Heroes; Race relations; Prejudices; Radio

fleischman_eyes wide openFleischman, Paul Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines
204 pp. Candlewick 2014. ISBN 978-0-7636-7102-0
PE ISBN 978-0-7636-7545-5 Ebook ISBN 978-0-7636-7407-6
A wake-up call about the environmental crisis, the book homes in on five “key fronts” — population, consumption, energy, food, and climate — and explores historical and sociological contexts. Fleischman writes urgently, conversationally, and inspirationally, in a flow of ideas that can be dizzying. Yet none of the concepts is dumbed-down. A refreshingly opinionated approach to informed action. Reading list, websites. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Pollution and Conservation; Global warming

fleming_family-romanovFleming, Candace The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion & the Fall of Imperial Russia
287 pp. Random/Schwartz & Wade 2014. ISBN 978-0-375-86782-8
LE ISBN 978-0-375-96782-5 Ebook ISBN 978-0-375-89864-8
Fleming has outdone herself with this riveting work of narrative nonfiction. Her focus here is not just the Romanovs, but the Revolutionary leaders and common people as well. The epic, sweeping narrative seamlessly incorporates scholarly authority, primary sources, appropriate historical speculation, and a keen eye for the most telling details. Two sixteen-page inserts contain numerous captioned photographs. Map, genealogy, and source notes included. Bib., ind.
Subjects: Europe; Romanov, House of; Nicholas II; Soviet Union; Biographies; Russia; Kings, queens, and rulers; Russian Revolution

The Boys Who Challenged HitlerHoose, Phillip The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club
   198 pp. Farrar 2015. ISBN 978-0-374-30022-7
When Hitler invaded Denmark, teenaged Knud Pedersen (with his brother and some mates) used civil disobedience to pester the Nazis, inspiring a larger-scale Danish revolt. Hoose brilliantly weaves Pedersen’s own words into the larger narrative of wartime Denmark, showing how the astonishing bravery of ordinary Danish teens started something extraordinary. An outstanding addition to the WWII canon. Bib., ind. Websites.
Subjects: World War II; Denmark; Righteous Gentiles; Activism; Nazism

mcclafferty_fourth down and inchesMcClafferty, Carla Killough Fourth Down and Inches: Concussions and Football’s Make-or-Break Moment
96 pp. Carolrhoda 2013. ISBN 978-1-4677-1067-1
McClafferty’s informative and useful book focuses on football to discuss the serious but historically trivialized condition of concussion. Starting with football’s beginnings, McClafferty details the game’s early casualties; the controversy over its growing presence as a college sport; and how it became entrenched in American culture. She then goes on to cover the neuroscience behind head trauma and the increased awareness of the dangers. Reading list. Bib., ind.
Subjects: Sports; Sports—Football; Human body—Brain

mitchell_freedom summer murders_170x227Mitchell, Don The Freedom Summer Murders
256 pp. Scholastic 2014. ISBN 978-0-545-47725-3
Ebook ISBN 978-0-545-63393-2
The murders of three young civil rights workers — James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner — are the focus of Mitchell’s absorbing book. He conducted interviews with friends and family members of the men, and provides a fascinating biographical sketch of each, along with a thorough account of the police investigation. This compelling book will grab you from its opening paragraphs and won’t let go. Bib., ind.
Subjects: Government, Economics, and Education; African Americans; Race relations; Civil rights; Murder; History, American; Activism

pinkney_rhythm ridePinkney, Andrea Davis Rhythm Ride: A Road Trip Through the Motown Sound
166 pp. Roaring Brook 2015. ISBN 978-1-59643-973-3
As related by an irrepressible narrator called “the Groove,” this history of Motown smartly places the company and its hit records in the context of (mostly) 1960s America — and has a great time doing so. While the tone is generally peppy, the book gives due attention to the racism the company and its artists faced. An excellent discography and many photographs are included. Reading list, timeline. Ind.
Subjects: Music; African Americans; History—American

sheinkin_most dangerousSheinkin, Steve Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War
361 pp. Roaring Brook 2015. ISBN 978-1-59643-952-8
With the timing and prowess of a writer of thrillers, Sheinkin takes on a spectacularly complex story — Daniel Ellsberg’s evolution from “cold warrior” to antiwar activist, and why and how he leaked the Pentagon Papers — and makes it comprehensible for teens. Sheinkin has an unparalleled gift for synthesizing story and bringing American history to life. Judiciously placed archival photographs appear throughout.
Subjects: History, Modern—Vietnam War; Crime; Government; Biographies; Ellsberg, Daniel

Courage Has No ColorStone, Tanya Lee Courage Has No Color, the True Story of the Triple Nickles: America’s First Black Paratroopers
148 pp. Candlewick 2013. ISBN 978-0-7636-5117-6
The World War II–era 555th Parachute Infantry Company, nicknamed the Triple Nickles, didn’t actually fight anywhere, as white soldiers didn’t want to fight alongside black soldiers. The book’s focus is wide: there are sections on segregation and stereotypes, Japanese American internment camps, Japanese balloon bombs, the Battle of the Bulge, and Operation Firefly, brought to life with archival photographs and Stone’s always clear prose. Timeline. Bib., ind.
Subjects: North America; Race relations; African Americans; Armed forces; Flight; Soldiers; History, Modern—World War II

From the August 2015 issue of What Makes a Good…?

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7. Review: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

Well, just WOW. I did not expect to be terrified absolutely witless while reading this. BUT I WAS. This book is wonderful and addictive and…frightening.  If you need me, I shall be the one rocking in the corner giving random pterodactyl screeches from the trauma. True story. The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes is about […]

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8. Friday Feature: Hot Pink in the City


HOT PINK IN THE CITY, Prizm Books/Torquere Press
Release Date: August 19, 2015
Ebook
Purchase from PrizmAmazon (vendor links will be updated on the author's site)

Asma Bashir wants two things: a summer fling and her favorite '80s songs. During a trip to New York City to stay with relatives, she messes up in her pursuit of both. She loses track of the hunk she met on her airplane ride, and she does the most terrible thing she could possibly do to her strict uncle... ruin his most prized possession, a rare cassette tape.

A wild goose chase around Manhattan and Brooklyn to find a replacement tape yields many adventures -- blackmail, theft, a chance to be a TV star, and so much more. Amid all this turmoil, Asma just might be able to find her crush in the busiest, most exciting city in the world.

Find Medeia – YA and MG Author

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Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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9. 5 YA Books You Can Read In A Day

Reading an entire book in a day is basically living the dream. And while I’m quite the reading hooligan and often read a book a day, I particularly like books that I can whip through in a few hours. (I don’t know about you, but gargantuan books terrify me. Holding a 600-page weapon in your hands? Um, pass.) […]

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10. Monday Mishmash 8/17/15


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Our Little Secret Is Up for Pre-Order!  Guys, I'm SO excited for this book. You have no idea. The pre-order went up last Friday and it's only $3.99, which makes me happy. You can pre-order your copy here
  2. Seek's Open Submissions Period Is Over  My open submissions period has ended. I want to thank everyone who queried me. I have two acquisitions I'll be sharing soon and I have four full manuscripts on my Kindle waiting for me to make decisions on. On Wednesday, I'll share some tips from what I saw in my query inbox. Be sure to come back for that.
  3. Editing  With life getting back to normal after open submissions, I'll be editing for clients again this week.
  4. Writing  Finding writing time has been tricky lately. I had to stop working on a novella, but I'm hoping to get back to it by the end of the week. Fingers crossed.
  5. Vacations  This summer we didn't get to go on the vacation we wanted, so we are planning a trip to Aruba for next summer. I know it's a long time from now, but I'm already excited.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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11. If You Feel Too Much

Sorry we haven't been posting much lately! Alethea is just on the verge of recovering from a move that started a month ago... finally reaching the late stages of unpacking, and has found the book she started reading four or more weeks ago. Until she finishes, here's Carolyn Gruss from Kid Lit Frenzy covering If You Feel Too Much by Jamie Tworkowski. Thanks, Carolyn!

ifyoufeeltoomuch.png

If You Feel Too Much by Jamie Tworkowski

Publication date: 26 May 2015 by Penguin Random House/Tarcher

Category: Young Adult Nonfiction

Keywords: Suicide, Depression, Recovery

Format: Hardcover, enhanced ebook, audiobook

Source: ARC from publisher for review

About the book

In 2006 Jamie Tworkowski wrote a story called “To Write Love on Her Arms” about helping a friend through her struggle with drug addiction, depression, and self-injury. The piece was so hauntingly beautiful that it quickly went viral, giving birth to a non-profit organization of the same name. Nine years later, To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) is an internationally-recognized leader in suicide prevention and a source of hope, encouragement, and resources for people worldwide.

Jamie’s words have been shared hundreds of thousands of times online. They’ve shown up on T-shirts and posters and even tattoos. Now, for the first time, Jamie’s writing is available in the form of a book. If You Feel Too Much is a celebration of hope, wonder, and what it means to be human. From personal stories of struggling on days most people celebrate to offering words of strength and encouragement in moments of loss, the essays in this book invite readers to believe that it’s okay to admit to pain and it's okay to ask for help.

Carolyn's Review

If You Feel Too Much is a lyrical set of short essays, many of which were originally posted as blog posts. The entries are at times insightful and touching, and the honesty of not knowing what to do or how to process what’s going on was both unexpected and impactful. The entries, which read more like eloquent and candid musings than drawn-out essays, focus on different topics, often Tworkowski’s thoughts on current events, holidays, or the growth of To Write Love On Her Arms.

While hope is a common theme throughout the book, the purpose of the entries is not simply to uplift the reader or make them feel better. But I find that the complex narrative of Tworkowski’s life inherently more comforting simply for its virtue of honesty. The acknowledgement of seemingly-mundane pain of living life while struggling with mental illness is at once heartening and all too familiar. The book never feels disingenuous or contrived, and the candidness of the entries is what I found the most appealing and the most hopeful.

While some entries might be slightly too honest for some (for those who are really struggling, there are parts that could be triggering), If You Feel Too Much is a phenomenal book that I know will impact and help many people who are struggling.

Find the book on TWLOHA.com

About the author

Jamie Tworkowski grew up in the surfing world and later fell in love with music and writing. TWLOHA began as his attempt to tell a story and help a friend in 2006. Today, Jamie spends much of his time on the road, telling the TWLOHA story and encouraging audiences at universities, concerts, and music festivals. He has been interviewed by NBC Nightly NewsCBS Sunday Morning and Rolling Stone magazine. Jamie’s favorite things are his family and friends (especially his new nephews, Landon and Declan), music, surfing, basketball (#TeamKorver), and Dr. Pepper. He drinks iced coffee every morning, even when it’s snowing. Not many people know this, but Jamie is an introvert. His first book, If You Feel Too Much, is now available.

About our guest reviewer

Carolyn Gruss blogs about YA books on Fridays at Kid Lit Frenzy.


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12. Friday Feature: Love, Lattes and Danger




It’s a dirty job, but some mutant’s got to do it…

Joel Eisler is a mutant with special talents. He can detect an oil leak in the ocean simply by tasting the water. Because of this unique ability, he’s been purchased by a large oil company, along with his dolph sister, Amy. The upside of spending his days and nights in the ocean is that it gives him the opportunity to save the lives of his brother dolphins. The downsides are life as a closely monitored slave—and that he can’t be with Piper, the dolph-girl he loves…

To make matters worse, Joel discovers the lab he grew up in has extracted his sperm and Piper’s egg and created a baby, and his handler, Craven, is plotting to kidnap Amy for more experiments. Now Joel must rescue the infant, bring her to Piper, and find a way to save Amy. And if that’s not enough of a challenge, he needs to convince Piper she belongs with him instead of her all-too-human boyfriend—if Craven doesn’t get to them first…


Multi-published author Sandra Cox writes YA Fantasy, Paranormal and Historical Romance, and Metaphysical Nonfiction. She lives in sunny North Carolina with her husband, a brood of critters and an occasional foster cat. Although shopping is high on the list, her greatest pleasure is sitting on her screened in porch, listening to the birds, sipping coffee and enjoying a good book. She's a vegetarian and a Muay Thai enthusiast.



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13. Spotlight and Giveaway: The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak

Message From the Author

Hello all you lovely readers!

First and foremost, I’d like to thank you for taking an interest in my latest YA novel The Heartbreakers. For those of you who don’t know, this story was originally posted on the online reading and writing platform Wattpad, and to date, the rough draft manuscript has been read more than 40 million times. I began working on this project in February of 2012, back when One Direction was starting to gain popularity in the United States. Fan fiction stories about 1D began popping up all over the website, so I decided to go against the grain and write a book about a fictional band instead of the real one, and that’s how the Heartbreakers were born!

The first band member I created was Oliver Perry, the lead singer. Like most successful, good-looking teen heartthrobs, he can be a bit cocky, but underneath all that confidence, he’s a HUGE softie. Next is JJ Morris, the band’s drummer. I enjoy writing goofball characters, and JJ fits that description to a T—he’s always cracking (oftentimes perverted) jokes. To balance out JJ’s outgoing personality, there’s Alec Williams. He’s the mysterious, reserved bass player for the group, and although he doesn’t talk much, he’s incredibly loyal. And last but not least, we have Xander Jones, who is lead guitarist for the Heartbreakers and everyone’s best friend. 

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy my boys’ story!

xoxo,

Ali

Excerpt from THE HEARTBREAKERS

“Do you ever miss it?” I asked, trying to distract myself again. My breathing hitched, and I hoped he hadn’t noticed.

“Miss what?”

“I don’t know, like, before everything?”

“You mean my anonymity? Sure.” Something in Oliver’s voice sounded off, and I craned my neck to look up at him. He was staring past me, deep in thought, and then a scowl crossed his face. “But I would never go back. Ever,” he added fiercely.

The skin covering his knuckles turned white as he tightened his fist, and I bit my lip, not sure what to say. I didn’t think he was mad at me, but something had upset him.

“Sorry,” I told him. “I didn’t mean to pry.”

“No worries,” he said, sounding much softer than before.

But Oliver seemed to be done talking, because he turned his attention back to the movie, and without our conversation, my nerves crept back up. I realized I was holding my breath when he started moving his thumb in small circles on my arm. For some reason I found the sensation calming, and bit by bit, my breathing returned to normal and I nestled down into his side. Just as I finally relaxed and turned my attention to the movie, Oliver chuckled and I felt him shake beneath me. Tilting my head back a few inches, I looked up at him through my lashes. There was a dusting of pink on his cheeks, and his eyes shinned as he laughed.

He must have felt my gaze, because his eyes snapped down and found mine. His lips slowly parted as he stared down at me, and my whole body flooded with warmth. Someone was shouting something crazy onscreen, but I was too preoccupied with Oliver to turn toward the TV. The way he was looking at me made me want to press my body further up against him, and the thought made me blush. Embarrassed by my own thoughts, I suddenly had the need to look away, to focus on anything but him, but as I turned, Oliver gently grabbed my chin. He held my head in place until I made eye contact, and then, once he knew I was watching, he dipped his head and brushed his lips against mine.

Book Information

Title: The Heartbreakers

Author: Ali Novak

Release Date: August 4, 2015

Publishers: Sourcebooks Fire

Genre: Contemporary Young Adult

Summary

Stella will do anything for her sick sister, Cara—even stand in line for an autographed Heartbreakers CD…for four hours. She’s totally winning best birthday gift this year. At least she met a cute boy with soft brown hair and gorgeous blue eyes while getting her caffeine fix. Too bad she’ll never see him again.

Except, Stella’s life has suddenly turned into a cheesy love song. Because Starbucks Boy is Oliver Perry – lead singer for the Heartbreakers. And even after she calls his music crap, Oliver still gives Stella his phone number. And whispers quotes from her favorite Disney movie in her ear. OMG, what is her life?

But how can Stella even think about being with Oliver – dating and laughing and pulling pranks with the band – when her sister could be dying of cancer?

Buy Links

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1JwsPYv

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1CUnxJn

iBooks: http://apple.co/1DtobIH

Author Biography

Ali Novak writes contemporary young adult romance and is a recent graduate of the University of Madison Wisconsin’s creative writing program. She wrote her first full length novel, My Life with the Walter Boys, at the age of fifteen. Since posting the story online, it has received more than 33 million reads and is now published by Sourcebooks Fire.

Social Networking Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ali.novak.908

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Fallzswimmer

WattPad: http://www.wattpad.com/user/Fallzswimmer

Tumblr: http://fallzswimmer.tumblr.com/

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14. Interview with Heather Demetrios: Serialized Novels, Social Media, and The Lexie Project

Hello everyone, Hannah here!

Recently, I have been contemplating what it means to serialize a novel. We wouldn’t have Charles Dickens without serial publishing – nearly all of his novels were serialized back in the day, when magazines published a chapter from stories like A Tale of Two Cities or Bleak House every week or month. Though we moved away from that form of novel publishing, websites like Wattpad have created a resurgence, particularly with YA stories.  Writers are able to publish one chapter or segment at a time and obtain reader input as the story progresses, quite possibly changing what the narrative may have otherwise been in a traditionally published format.

TheLexieProjectI was lucky enough to have Heather Demetrios, author of Something Real and I’ll Meet You There to name a few, answer some of my questions regarding her experiences with this form of publishing, based on her  serialized novel, The Lexie Project. If you’ve read Something Real by Heather then you’ll recognize some of the characters in The Lexie Project. Anyone considering launching a serialized or multi-platform project should take Heather’s answers to heart – she has put a lot of work and thought into the story and the social platform, and is ready and willing to share her lessons and expertise. Check out her interview below!

Me: First, tell us about The Lexie Project!

Heather: The Lexie Project is a young/new adult multi-platform story that is being written in real time with crowd sourcing. It’s a satirical look at reality TV and fame: think The Lizzie Bennet Diaries meets Clueless and Keeping Up With The Kardashians. My readers send me comments about what they hope Lexie will do in the future and I take that into consideration as I write. I also incorporate real life current events into the narrative, which takes it to unexpected and interesting places! I’m posting a chapter a week on Wattpad and on The Lexie Project website in addition to blogging as Lexie, tweeting as Lexie, and engaging with readers on Lexie’s other social media sites. I’ve hired an actress to play Lexie in videos and on Instagram. Lexie’s roommate is a YouTube star and so I’ve also hired another actress to play her and post videos. There’s even a podcast interview series with Lexie and “famed” celeb podcaster T.J. Maxxx. As you can see, the story very much incorporates our real life connection to social media and other forms of online media. All the social media and blogging is extra—the story reads as a complete novel on Wattpad itself, so for readers who don’t want to be online too much, they can still have full access to Lexie’s narrative.

Me: Something Real was traditionally published. The Lexie Project is a serialized web novel. What was it about a serial web platform that allowed you to tell this story in a way you couldn’t with traditional publishing?

Heather: I wanted the narrative to have the feel of reality TV and reflect the real-time life of a young celebrity. A novel takes lots of time to write and at least eighteen months between the time it sells and appears on bookshelves. Lexie is nineteen, very much enmeshed in our world of instant gratification fame. I wanted readers to get a sense of what her life is like, how she responds as things happen, whether that be an angry tweet using a hastag that is trending right now (like #SingleBecause) or selfie posted on Instagram. Lexie isn’t going to wait two or more years to tell you how she feels about something—she isn’t even going to wait an hour. In a way, we’ve all become our own biographers, curating our life story as we live it via our social media. Lexie’s doing the same.

Me: What should writers consider before choosing to serialize their own novels on a forum like Wattpad, versus attempting traditional or even self-publishing?

Heather: The first thing is that you don’t get paid writing a story this way and there’s no guarantee it will get picked up by a publisher down the road. Macmillan (my publisher for Lexie’s companion novel, Something Real) has been super supportive, but this project is not under contract with them—and I don’t know if it ever will be. I’m taking a risk here. Of course, I want the book to be published traditionally after I complete the online aspect of it. I think it has potential to do really well in that arena, as well. Not all readers are going to want to access Lexie’s story online. Plus, there’s the benefit of fun extras and editing and the other important things that go into a traditionally published, vetted book that readers who’ve already accessed Lexie online would like to have, as well. But I also see multi-platform storytelling as a part of publishing’s future and I want to get in on the ground level, be a maven of sorts.

Another major consideration writers should think about is the time a multi-platform project takes. Spoiler alert: it’s taking over my life. I currently have five books under traditional publishing contracts for which I receive advances to live off of. If I didn’t have those, I wouldn’t be doing this right now. Having those and Lexie…well, you can imagine how much sleep and free time I get.

Finally, your story has to work for a multi-platform project. Some stories aren’t best told this way. I mean, would you want to read M.T. Anderson’s Octavian Nothing this way? No. But you might want to read Feed like this. I have plans for a multi-platform sci-fi, but it’s going to look very different from Lexie. And I have plans for other novels—both adult and young adult—that are only going to be found in book form. You’ve got to do right by your story and characters first and foremost. The rest is gravy.

Me:Do you think the fact that you have been traditionally published provided the foundation for this project? Or is this something you could have done without first being traditionally published?

Heather: Frankly, I think starting this way would be a waste of time for any writer who hopes to be traditionally published and make a living off of their words. You do hear stories about publishers picking up books by Wattpad writers with a huge following, but the return on that investment—from what I’ve heard—isn’t always paying off for the publisher. That’s not to say you can’t break into publishing this way—I just wouldn’t bank on it. I think the fact that I’m traditionally published gives me an immediate fan base and readership. But even for me, it’s slow going. That’s part of why you can access the story both on Wattpad and Lexie’s website (which is a Tumblr platform). I knew my adult readers weren’t really on Wattpad and wouldn’t be super keen on learning how to navigate yet another social media site.

Me: What is the most important thing you have learned from this process? The biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?

Heather: I’ve actually started a blog series called Lessons From Lexie, because I’m really interested in tracking this experience. It’s, as I often say, both the Wild West of storytelling and YA on crack. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that it’s going to take five times as long to do it as you think it would. You have to be on point like nobody’s business. There are so many things outside the story to keep track of, so if you’re not careful, it can be very easy to let the writing get lazy or to just go with the easiest or most sensational plot choices. My biggest challenge, then, has been not losing sight of crafting Lexie with the same care and attention on all story levels as I do with my other books. So far, so good—but it’s a lot of work.

Me: Finally, If you could give a writer planning to serialize his/her novel one piece of advice, what would it be?

Heather: Plan as much as you can and never put any writing out there that isn’t stellar. Usually, my readers don’t get to see my work until it’s been looked at by loads of readers, copy-edited, and vetted by gate keepers and my agent. My books go through a writing and editorial process that takes years. The chapters I post for Lexie—since I’m crowd sourcing and incorporating current events—get less than seven days. When you work this way, you’re putting your first draft out there, no matter how many betas you have or how much you revise your weekly installment. That takes a lot of hubris. You need strong, solid craft and experience. You also need to be deeply grounded in your story and characters. I had a whole novel—Something Real—to get me to where I needed to be with Lexie. So there’s a lot that has to happen behind the scenes before you get online. Multi-platform storytelling is not for the faint of heart or anyone who isn’t a perfectionist—so be warned.

 

All of Heather’s advice and wisdom is spot-on, so I want to thank Heather for taking the time to talk to our readers about serial publishing and The Lexie Project! You can find more information about Heather and her books on her website, listed below, or read The Lexie Project on Wattpad. Let me know your thoughts below!

HeatherDemetriosAbout Heather: When she’s not traipsing around the world or spending time in imaginary places, Heather Demetrios lives with her husband in New York City. Originally from Los Angeles, she now calls the East Coast home. Heather has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts and is a recipient of the PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award for her debut novel, Something Real. Her other novels include Exquisite Captive, the first in the Dark Caravan Cycle fantasy series, I’ll Meet You There and the multi-platform serial novel, The Lexie Project. She is the founder of Live Your What, a project dedicated to creating writing opportunities for underserved youth. Find out more about Heather and her books at www.heatherdemetrios.com, or come hang out with her on Twitter (@HDemetrios) and any number of social media sites.

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15. Monday Mishmash 8/10/15


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Our Little Secret Cover Reveal  Last Thursday was the cover and blurb reveal for Our Little Secret, which releases September 15 through Limitless Publishing. This is a YA contemporary romance under my pen name Ashelyn Drake. 
    Becca Daniels needs to get a passing grade in Trig. Becca Daniels wants to spend more time with her best friend Tori’s twin brother Toby. What she has is a brain that refuses to understand math and a best friend with a strict “No dating the brother” rule. When her grade hits rock bottom, Becca has no choice but to get a tutor. Lucky for her, Toby is a math genius and more than willing to help her out. Turns out Becca isn’t the only one who hates Tori’s dating rule. What starts out as an innocent tutoring session quickly evolves into late night texts and hidden kisses. But the closer Becca gets to Toby, the greater the risk that she’ll lose her best friend. When their secret relationship threatens to destroy more than just her friendship with Tori, Becca will have to figure out how much she’s willing to risk to keep the guy of her dreams. 

     Add the book on Goodreads
  2. Piper Morgan Joins the Circus Cover Reveal  Stephanie Faris has a cover reveal today for Piper Morgan Joins the Circus. How adorable is this cover? 
    When Piper Morgan has to move to a new town, she is sad to leave behind her friends, but excited for a new adventure. She is determined to have fun, be brave and find new friends.
    And after learning her mom’s new job will be with the Big Top Circus, Piper can’t wait to learn all about life under the big top, see all the cool animals, and meet the Little Explorers, the other kids who travel with the show. She’s even more excited to learn that she gets to be a part of the Little Explorers and help them end each show with a routine to get the audience on their feet and dancing along!
    But during Piper’s grand debut, her high kicks and pointed toes don't go quite as planned. After causing a dance disaster, she has to prove to everyone--especially queen of the Little Explorers, Lexie--that she belongs in the spotlight.
  3. Leap Books Seek Submissions  Since Seek is open to unagented submissions, my inbox has been flooded! lol I'm blown away by how many submissions I've received. Guess what I'll be busy reading this week. I'll be announcing my first acquisitions soon too. :)
  4. Galley Proofs  The galley of Our Little Secret has been proofed. Eeeee! I'm so excited for this book. I just loved this story so much.
  5. Ashelyn Drake Blog Has Moved  After a run-in with Wordpress on my cover reveal day (AHHH!!!) last week, I decided to move Ashelyn's blog to Blogspot. I'm much more comfortable on Blogspot. Ashelyn's website will remain on Wordpress and there is a link to the new blog in the menu bar there now. If you'd like to follow Ashelyn's blog, you can find it here.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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16. Friday Feature: KR Yaddof Giveaway!


Today I'm featuring three great books by KR Yaddof. I can vouch for this series. It's amazing. And one lucky commenter will win ebooks of ALL 3 books!

About the books:

BLOOD MAGE (Book #1)
All Alexis Richmond wants is for life to be somewhat normal again. What she gets is trapped in the girls' restroom by a knife-wielding classmate, who blames her for being forced to go to school in a lovely prison-like setting for national security reasons. But Alexis can't help that her father was catapulted into the presidency when the U.S. Capitol was annihilated during the State of the Union Address. Or that he still hasn't found the terrorists responsible for blowing every major city on the planet into a post-apocalyptic state. All Alexis can do is to try to defend herself from this crazy girl. Then her late mother's locket starts glowing and sending waves of energy coursing down her arms, and she nearly launches her attacker through the puke pink wall of the school bathroom.

Fantasy becomes alarmingly real in Alexis's already shattered world when she learns from her aunt that she is descended from a family of powerful mages and warned to trust no one. Thrust into Alexis's life through school and for those annoying security reasons, the vice president's playboy son, Zachary Godard, claims to have the answers about the magical legacies their families don't want them to know. Alexis tries to fight her dangerous attraction to Zachary but knows that he understands her as only another mage can. Leaping down the rabbit hole hand in hand, together they overhear a secret society of sorcerers, the Blood Mage Order, plotting to take over the globe. As the two young mages struggle to stop the Order and save their country, they discover just how deep the world domination conspiracy goes. And Alexis will realize that nothing is black and white. Especially not magic.



DYNASTY MAGE (Book #2)
Zachary Godard’s life isn’t lacking in beautiful women, fast cars, and unlimited wealth. Or in people with reasons to kill him. As the recently inherited owner of the largest oil company in the world and the sole financier of the newly formed United Countries of America, militant political activist groups and regimes bent on world domination alike would benefit from his demise. Then there is his four-minute younger brother, who fell victim to their deceased father’s old world mentality that a second son is merely the spare. And finally his mother, vice president of the United Countries of America, second only to the man who blew the world into its current post-apocalyptic state to give rise to his Blood Mage Order, destroying Zachary’s life in the process.
With bullets whizzing by at any given moment as he tries to secretly fund a rebellion against this new supernatural world order, Zachary knows his magic isn’t enough to defend himself and is forced to hire protection. Her name is Lauren Trinidad, and she hates everything for which he stands. But he doesn’t have time to prove her wrong before he must trust her to help him find out who is trying to kill him. All he can do is hope that either his charm or the fat paycheck will convince her he’s worth saving.


MAGE ASSASSIN (Book #3) Coming Tuesday, August 11th, 2015!
Lauren Trinidad is the best private security money in the League of European Nations can buy. She's been trained by her father for her entire life to protect the good guys from the bad. But when the good guys seem to be working for the mad man responsible for blowing the world into chaos and her family is suddenly the bad, she is forced to choose between what she is taught to do and what she thinks is right. 

Captain David Trinidad is the best soldier the New Republic of Texas can find to pull off a secret mission that will decide the fate of the small country. He’s been raised in his military family to do anything to help his homeland. But when he discovers he is the only chance at saving someone he loves, he has to choose between the only two things in his life that he's never doubted. 


Meagan Trinidad is the best assassin the United Countries of America has for hire. She has walked the tightrope between making her father proud and protecting those she cares about for a while. But when her work threatens to destroy her friends, she must choose between the familial loyalty that has guided her whole life and the promise of being loved for who she is and not what she does.


Excerpts:

Lauren
“I told you I was working.” Lauren tried not to snap. Zachary obviously wanted to forget their earlier fight about whether or not it was too dangerous for her to protect the new prime minister. But Zachary didn’t give up that easily. “I was doing my job.”
“I thought you only had to stay through the prime minister’s speech.”
“I did, but I saw a few suspicious characters before I left, so I stopped them from killing everyone.”
“Oh, you did, huh?” He smiled that charming grin that made her forgive him for anything.
“Yeah, because I’m smooth like that.” She couldn’t help but smile back.
“Sure you are.” He laughed and crossed the room to her. “You’re hurt.”
“It’s nothing,” she lied. Even her teeth hurt.
“Here.” He gently took her face in his hand. He blew a thick lock of her chestnut hair back. He ran his finger over the bruise and whispered, “Curatio.”
White-hot magic radiated from his thumb into the center of the pain and slowly flowed over her face, leaving cool relief in its wake. Her hand joined his as she felt her healed face. Her skin was smooth and no longer sore.
“Thanks.” She kissed him softly. His lips felt warm, soft, and familiar. His hands immediately pulled her to him. She stopped him by putting her hands on his chest. “I need a shower.”
“Shall I join you?” He cocked a platinum eyebrow.


David
“I could never be cold when I’m near you, Abigail.” David wanted to kiss her right then. He wanted to take her in his arms and not let her go. To carry her off into the night and never have to worry about anyone coming between them again. “You are my fire. You are my reason for livin’. You are my life.”
“Oh, David.” She blushed and looked down. “I love you, too.”
“It is more than love.” He knelt down and looked up into her surprised face. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the box. Enveloping her left hand in his, he said, “Abigail Evelyn Lattimore, will you marry me?”
“Oh, my God, David!” Her hands flew to her mouth, eyes wide. She stared down at him, tears forming in her eyes. She glanced at the ring and exclaimed, “Yes! Yes, of course, I will!”
And then she was in his arms. He spun her around in elation, only stopping to kiss her. Her hands went to his face as he held her against him, and he kissed her harder than he ever had in his life. Pure joy surrounded them, and he could feel the aquamarine in the necklace she wore warming against his chest. He pulled away only to slip the diamond ring on her finger. She admired it as it also started to glow.
“Your magic approves,” he said, kissing her again. She was a white mage and had fantastical healing powers. He could feel her happiness vibrating between them and even lighting the coral in his own boar’s head ring his father had given him when he joined the service. He sighed and added, “Even if your father doesn’t.”


Meagan
“We both know you’re not going to college.” Jacob moved his mouth closer to her ear. “Why are you going to New Haven? To kill my sister?”
“What?” Meagan jerked back to see his face, but he held her too tightly.
“I know what you are, darling.” His voice was so quiet she barely could hear him. “An assassin.”
“That’s not true!” She swallowed, her head spinning. How had he figured it out? Her father was going to be pissed. “I would never hurt Kayla.”
“That may be true, but you have been hunting my brother for years.” Jacob’s hands crept up her body. They stopped on either side of her throat. He pressed harder against her. “Why do you think I’ve been keeping you so close?”
Meagan didn’t say anything. Sliding a hand behind her back, she glared at him. She went for the knife hidden in her waistband.
“I don’t think so, darling.” He grabbed her wrist and twisted it along with the other one above her head, pinning them against the door. She refused to cry out in pain. She wouldn’t give him the satisfaction. “I kept you so close I know all of your little tricks. Didn’t you wonder why I cared? You should know by now that I don’t fuck the same girl more than once. I was keeping an eye on you instead of ending you.”
She brought up her knee in a swift movement and hit him in the crotch. He grunted and doubled over in pain. She punched him in the face and pushed him off her. Spinning, she kicked him in the head and knocked him to the floor. She drove her boot into his stomach for good measure.
“Don’t ever threaten me, Jacob Godard,” she whispered in his ear, kneeling over him. “Next time I’ll slit your arrogant throat.”

Bio:
KR Yaddof was lucky enough to take a few writing classes at the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop when she was there as an undergrad getting her degree in cinema. Now she lives in Denver, CO with her husband, two kids, and one fat cat.

KR is currently finds time to write while staying home with her two small children. If you want more MAGES, cross your fingers for her children to start sleeping through the night!

Learn more about Mages & KR at: http://www.kryaddof.com/

**Don't forget to comment below to enter to win ALL 3 ebooks! Winner will be chosen at random on August 14th.**

Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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17. Micro Reviews: Demons, Race Horses, Assassins and Majors

And here’s another catch up post of long overdue mini reviews.

The Shadow Ellysium by Django Wexler

B / B+

This short novella served its purpose as a teaser to generate interest in the Shadow Campaigns series. I loaded The Thousand Names on my Kindle – now I just need time to read it!

 

To Win Her Favor by Tamera Alexander

B / B+

This inspirational romance caught my eye because of the horse on the cover.  Maggie is dismayed when her father arranges her marriage to Cullen, an Irish immigrant.  She’s reluctant to marry a complete stranger, and an Irishman at that.  She’s also fearful that he’ll object to her training her mare to run in an upcoming race. 

I enjoyed the development of the romance, as well as the details of daily life on a farm in post Civil War Tennessee.  The author doesn’t shy away from describing the prejudices and terrible treatment of the Irish and African Americans.  At first I had a hard time with Maggie because her thoughts and views mirrored those of her neighbors, but as she got to know Cullen and the farm hands working for them, she began to finally see them as individuals deserving respect.  And the horsey bits were entertaining. 

 

 

Hit! by Deliah S Dawson

C-

This just did not work for me. I can’t help but think that a huge banking conglomerate would have a better solution for deadweight borrowers than having them assassinated, or forcing them to be assassins. Meh, I didn’t care for HIT.

Mad About the Major by Elizabeth Boyle

B

Fun read with a Ferris Bueller’s Day Off vibe. Lady Arabella escapes the suffocating confines of her father’s estate to grab a small taste of freedom before she’s forced to marry a stodgy old bachelor. Her father is furious with her because a handsome stranger made a spectacle of her at a ball, and now he’s adamant that she marry before she’s completely ruined. She runs into the rakish Kingsley, the stranger from the ball, after he almost runs her down with his carriage. Arabella convinces him to accompany her on her day of freedom, arguing that he owes her three favors for his behavior at the ball. What follows is an enjoyable romp through London, as Arabella and Kingsley fall for each other during their unusual adventures. I really enjoyed this.

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18. Friday Feature: Trail of Secrets Cover Reveal


This week the cover of Trail of Secrets by Laura Wolfe was revealed. Check it out:

Trail of Secrets, by Laura Wolfe
Fire and Ice YA (Coming August/September 2015)

Spending three weeks of her summer at the elite Foxwoode Riding Academy in northern Michigan should have been one of the happiest times of sixteen year-old Brynlei’s life. But from the moment Brynlei arrives at Foxwoode, she can’t shake the feeling she’s being watched. Then she hears the story of a girl who vanished on a trail ride four years earlier. While the other girls laugh over the story of the dead girl who haunts Foxwoode, Brynlei senses that the girl—or her ghost—may be lurking in the shadows.

Brynlei’s quest to reveal the truth interferes with her plan to keep her head down and win Foxwoode’s coveted “Top Rider” award. To make things worse, someone discovers Brynlei’s search for answers and will go to any length to stop her. As Brynlei begins to unravel the facts surrounding the missing girl’s disappearance, she is faced with an impossible choice. Will she protect a valuable secret? Or save a life?

Age level:  13-18
www.AuthorLauraWolfe.com

Check out the trailer:


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19. Friday Feature: Avian



Avian Blurb:
What kind of power is lurking inside him?

After a year of training to become a dragonrider, Jaevid Broadfeather has been sent home to rest during a three-month interlude. But when he returns to find the king drake has chosen Beckah Derrick as his new rider, Jaevid realizes something big is about to happen. Every fiber of his being is pushed to the breaking point as Jaevid battles through his avian year, preparing for the final graduation test of the battle scenario. But there is more standing in his way than a few pushups and fancy sword moves.

Jaevid must face a new fear as he is tormented by a gruesome nightmare of a mysterious gray elf warrior murdering the royal family of Maldobar. It seems obvious to him that this is some kind of message about how the war started long ago—until Felix assures him the king is very much alive. With his strange powers growing stronger by the day, and that violent dream replaying in his mind every night, Jaevid no longer wonders if he will pass his avian year or not . . . he wonders if he will even survive it.

The truth will soon be set loose.


Buy Links:

FLEDGLING: http://www.amazon.com/Fledgling-The-Dragonrider-Chronicles-Volume/dp/1939765684

AVIAN: http://www.amazon.com/Avian-Dragonrider-Chronicles-Nicole-Conway/dp/1939765714

Nicole is sharing her playlist for book three in the series with us all today, so please welcome her.

My TRAITOR Playlist

I have to have music when I write. It is a must. It’s not that I necessarily am listening to it, but rather that it blocks out everything else going on around me. It drives my husband bonkers because I will listen to the same song on repeat for hours without even realizing it. Although, there are some songs that inspire me more than others, so here is a list of the songs I listened to while working on the next installment of the Dragonrider Chronicles, TRAITOR:

I Will Show You by From Ashes to New
Shadows by Red
Shatter Me (feat. Lzzy Hale) by Lindsey Stirling
Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon
Soldiers by Otherwise
Bad Company by Five Finger Death Punch
Good Feeling by Flo Rida
Panama by Van Halen
Who I Am by Blanca
Juke Box Hero by Foreigner
Centuries by Fallout Boy
… and pretty much every track on the Pacific Rim and Tron Soundtrack.


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20. Monday Mishmash 7/20/15


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Signing at Books-A-Million  I'll be at Books-A-Million in the Stroud Mall in Stroudsburg, PA on Saturday from noon to 3:00 p.m. If you're in the area, come see me. I'll be signing copies of The Monster Within and The Darkness Within.
  2. News!  I'm most likely going to have news to share with you this week. Stay tuned!
  3. Pepe Maurice Pierre, Poodle Extraordinaire  I got to see the cover and illustrations for my upcoming picture book, Pepe Maurice Pierre, Poodle Extraordinaire this past weekend. Wow! I was blown away. I can't wait to share this book with you soon. (My street team, Kelly's Coven, has already seen it.)
  4. Our Little Secret  I've been busy with edits for my upcoming Ashelyn Drake title, Our Little Secret. I love this story and can't wait for the release, which is happening in September! Tomorrow, I'll be sharing the blurb and tag line all over social media, so stay tuned for that.
  5. Hot Pink in the City Cover Reveal  Check out the cover of Medeia Sharif's upcoming YA title, Hot Pink in the City:
    HOT PINK IN THE CITY, Prizm Books, 2015
Release date: August 19, 2015

Asma Bashir wants two things: a summer fling and her favorite '80s songs. During a trip to New York City to stay with relatives, she messes up in her pursuit of both. She loses track of the hunk she met on her airplane ride, and she does the most terrible thing she could possibly do to her strict uncle…ruin his most prized possession, a rare cassette tape. A wild goose chase around Manhattan and Brooklyn to find a replacement tape yields many adventures—blackmail, theft, a chance to be a TV star, and so much more. Amid all this turmoil, Asma just might be able to find her crush in the busiest, most exciting city in the world.

Find Medeia – YA and MG Author

Blog   |   Twitter   |   Goodreads   |   Instagram   |   Amazon

That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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21. Trollhunters Giveaway

FTC Disclosure: samples & prizing are provided by Disney-Hyperion.

If you know anything about me, you know I love love love scary things. I grew up watching horror movies with my uncles on Friday nights and scaring the bejeezus out of myself with every episode of The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. I also like my horror with a side of humor/whimsy, so Guillermo del Toro is definitely high up on my top ten list of favorite directors. I don't re-watch horror movies very often, but when I do, The Orphanage is usually first in the rotation, followed closely by Pan's Labyrinth. My husband and I are huge fans of Pacific Rim, and he also recommends The Strain book series del Toro wrote with author Chuck Hogan. Now del Toro has teamed up with YA author Daniel Kraus for a fantastical horror novel illustrated by Gateway artist and creator Sean Murray. Read on for more about the book and a chance to win a horror fan starter pack!

Trollhunters by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus

Illustrated by Sean Murray

Released July 7, 2015 

About the book

"You are food. Those muscles you flex to walk, lift, and talk? They're patties of meat topped with chewy tendon. That skin you've paid so much attention to in mirrors? It's delicious to the right tongues, a casserole of succulent tissue. And those bones that give you the strength to make your way in the world? They rattle between teeth as the marrow is sucked down slobbering throats. These facts are unpleasant but useful. There are things out there, you see, that don't cower in holes to be captured by us and cooked over our fires. These things have their own ways of trapping their kills, their own fires, their own appetites."

Jim Sturges is your typical teen in suburban San Bernardino—one with an embarrassingly overprotective dad, a best friend named "Tubby" who shares his hatred of all things torturous (like gym class), and a crush on a girl who doesn't know he exists. But everything changes for Jim when a 45-year old mystery resurfaces, threatening the lives of everyone in his seemingly sleepy town. Soon Jim has to team up with a band of unlikely (and some un-human) heroes to battle the monsters he never knew existed.

From the minds of horror geniuses Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus comes a new illustrated novel about the fears that move in unseen places.

About the Authors

Guillermo del Toro is best known for his critically acclaimed feature films, such as Pan's LabyrinthHelllboy, and Pacific Rim, as well as his best-selling Strain Trilogy.

Daniel Kraus is the award-winning author of Scowler and Rotters, and is the director of six feature films. He lives with his wife in Chicago. 

From Pan's Labyrinth to Hellboy to his best-selling novel The Strain, del Toro has captured the imagination through his works. His co-author Daniel Kraus is another award-winning author and filmmaker with a penchant for horror stories. Kraus' debut novel, The Monster Variations, was selected for New York Public Library's "100 Best Stuff for Teens." Fangoria called Rotters, his Bram Stoker-finalist and Odyssey Award-winning second novel, "a new horror classic." Kraus' 2013 title, Scowler, also won an Odyssey Award for best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults. 

About the Illustrator

Sean Murray is an illustrator, concept artist, author and teacher known for his work on video games such as Dungeons & Dragons Online and The Lord of the Rings Online, as well as the creator of The World of Gateway, which includes his fantasy guidebook Gateway: The Book of Wizards and the upcoming card game Gateway Uprising.

Take a peek inside!

Can something be dark and luminous at the same time? I think the illustrator does a great job at capturing the spirit of adventure.
Click each thumbnail to embiggen. Images below, copyright: Sean Murray.

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Trailer

Praise for Trollhunters

“Guillermo del Toro’s name on the cover of a children’s book—be sure the adventure is not for the timid hearted! He knows the young want stories that do not lie about the shadows under beds and bridges—and in human hearts. Trollhunters teaches us about both kinds. About true friendship, grim and slimy heroes, the strength of outsiders—and the courage it takes to face everyday life.”
— Cornelia Funke, bestselling author of the Inkheart trilogy
“Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus have deftly forged a thrilling, nightmare-inducing monstrous world filled with terrifying trolls, lost boys and mysterious artifacts. The gruesome text, paired with ghoulish illustrations, makes for a fantastic adventure in an underground kingdom that’s just a dangerous as the trials and tribulations of middle school. I’m never looking under my bed again.”
— Tony DiTerlizzi, Bestselling author and co-creator of The Spiderwick Chronicles

Find the Book

IndieBound Amazon Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million

Learn more

Go to Un-RequiredReading.com / Follow Disney-Hyperion on Twitter & Tumblr / Check out the #Trollhunters hashtag

Giveaway Time!

THE HORROR FAN STARTER PACK

Get introduced to the genre!

One (1) winner will receive a Disney-Hyperion collection of Young Adult Horror Books including:

·         Trollhunters by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus

·         The Enemy by Charlie Higson

·         Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

·         plus branded Trollhunters pins!

Giveaway open to US addresses only. Prizing and samples provided by Disney-Hyperion.

  • Open to US only, ends 7/27/2015.
  • No purchase is necessary to enter a giveaway. Void where prohibited.
  • We and the publisher are not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items.
  • One set of entries per household please.
  • If you are under 13, please get a parent or guardian's permission to enter, as you will be sharing personal info such as an email address.
  • Winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter widget a day or two after the contest ends.
  • Winner will have 48 hours to respond to to the email, otherwise we will pick a new winner.
  • If you have any questions, feel free to email us at readnowsleeplater@gmail.com
  • PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ANY PERSONAL INFO IN THE COMMENTS. Sorry for the caps, but we always get people leaving their email in the comments. Rafflecopter will collect all that without having personal info in the comments for all the world (and spambots) to find.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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22. Friday Feature: A Whispered Darkness



When Claire Mallory's father leaves, her mom moves them to a new town and into a dilapidated Victorian house. 

The old house creaks and whistles, and smells well -- like it's been abandoned for years. But as the nights grow longer and the shadows take on substance, Claire wonders if the strange sounds and occurrences might be more than the house showing its age. 

Just as things start to pick up in Claire's love life, her mother becomes possessed. In an attempt to save her mother and their new home, Claire enlists the help of two boys, each of whom is interested in Claire for different reasons. As she chooses one boy over the other, something dangerous is unleashed, and the spirits make their move. 

They aren’t content to moan and scream inside Claire’s house, or even control her mom. They want a taste of freedom, and she’s their key to getting it. But is Claire strong enough to fight off the evil spirits, or will they claim her and her mom before it's all over?


Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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23. On Scaring Children

Hello from Julie! I am so excited to share a guest post today from Kali Wallace, a fellow 2016 debut author, whose YA horror novel, SHALLOW GRAVES, will be published by Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins in January 2016. I was so fascinated by everything Kali had to say about writing YA horror, I asked her to share her insights with all of us here at PubCrawl. I’m so happy she said yes! So here’s Kali, with everything you want to know about writing horror!

DSC01472The funny thing about writing a horror novel is that approximately 87% of the people you meet will tell you to your face they don’t want to read it.

Oh, there’s rarely anything malicious in this declaration. Sure, there are always a few “I only read serious books about serious topics” types with tiny minds who can’t fathom how a book about horror things can also be about other things, but nobody cares what they think. I ignore them.

For the most part the reaction from future non-readers is more along the lines of, “Oh, I don’t know if I could read that. It sounds–” And this added in an apologetic, almost conspiratorial tone, as though imparting a terrible secret from which I could have been protected, had circumstances differed: “–too upsetting.”

*

I fell into writing horror backwards, much the same way the unwary first-act hanger-on in a horror movie falls Shallow Graves by Kali Wallacebackwards into a vat of mysterious glugging liquid the remaining cast will assure themselves is simply oddly chunky water until the third act. I don’t really think of myself as a horror writer, because I write all kinds of other things too, some (a few) of which are not (very) horrifying at all (mostly). But I did write a horror novel.

It happened like this. One time I went to a garage sale and found ninety-nine Stephen King paperbacks on sale for a penny each, so I borrowed a crinkled dollar bill from my mom, took the books home, and retreated to a dark corner of my bedroom where I spent three weeks constructing a paper nest using only the shredded pages of Misery and my own spittle, and I lived there for five years, eating nothing but peanut butter sandwiches and anxiety. When I emerged I could never write anything again without ominous symbolic settings and existential dread and rotting corpses.

Or maybe it happened like this. When I wrote my first novel, I didn’t sit down at my computer and think, “I want to scare somebody’s pants off today!” I sat down and I thought:

  1. wouldn’t it be funny if monsters were teenagers
  2. i mean like really angsty teenagers the kind who feel bad a lot
  3. and they’re gross monsters not sexy monsters nobody likes them
  4. SPOOKY STUFF
  5. everybody has feelings
  6. feelings
  7. feeeeeeeeeeeeeelings
  8. dead things
  9. feelings

One of those anecdotes is the 100% true story of how I accidentally wrote a YA horror novel.

*

There are a thousand different kinds of horror stories, but the kind I wrote is a contemporary teen fantasy story covered with blood. It’s all monsters and dark magic and dark evil monster magic and teenagers encountering and/or using dark evil monster magic. It’s full of death and pain and terrible things happening. Claws, too. There are claws. Did I mention the blood? It is a bit scary in places–at least, I hope it is. It would be disappointing if I deployed that many carefully chosen adjectives and it didn’t give people at least a bit of a spine-tingle.

It isn’t too upsetting as an accidental by-product, the unintended consequence of a writer meddling with forces she cannot control. Being upsetting is, in fact, the entire point. I wrote it that way on purpose. I have my reasons, and it’s not entirely because I am a ravenous creature of shadow and darkness who survives by consuming the nightmares of my young readers. Not entirely.

There’s an oft-misquoted-but-rarely-quoted-correctly passage about fairy tales from English writer G.K. Chesterton (from Tremendous Trifles, 1909):

“Fairy tales, then, are not responsible for producing in children fear, or any of the shapes of fear; fairy tales do not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly; that is in the child already, because it is in the world already. Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.”

We know this to be true, no matter how many misguided parents and school boards try to deny it: Children and teenagers don’t need books to tell them that there is evil in the world. They know that before they crack open any book. Children and teenagers don’t need books to tell them the world is scary and unfair and that bad things happen all the time. They already know all of this. There are adults in their lives who wish them harm. Kids know this. There are monsters who wear friendly faces and are enabled by the people and institutions who ought to be protecting the helpless instead. They know.

Children and teenagers aren’t separate from the world. They are part of the world, right in the middle of it, right in the middle of all the violence and unfairness and cruelty it has to offer. For young readers, just like adult readers, stories can be both an escape from the world and a way of connecting to and understanding the world, both a shield and a lens, often at the same time.

That’s no small thing. It is the exact opposite of a small thing. It is the entire reason literature exists, and it isn’t less true or less important because the intended audience is under eighteen. I would even argue–if anybody ever wanted to argue with me about this, which nobody does–that it is even more true and more important for children’s and young adult literature. You never know who is going to pick up your stories and find something that resonates, and you never know what it will mean to them, and you never know if that reader on that particular day will need the escape or the understanding or both.

Okay, let’s be honest: It’s usually both.

*

I can’t write stories so steeped in the grit and struggle of realism they are indistinguishable from real life. I also can’t write stories that imagine life to be fantasies of summer kisses and bosom friendships. Those are all perfectly wonderful types of stories, and I love to read them and am thankful they exist in the world, but they are stories for other people to write.

Me, well, I can do ominous thunderstorms and branches scraping on dark windows. I can do the metallic taste of fear at the back of the throat. I can do people who aren’t really people and monsters who aren’t really monsters. I’m really good at describing spooky graveyards. In fact that’s my #1 life skill, ranked even higher than my formidable talent at making up silly nicknames for cats: describing spooky graveyards.

Blood and guts, monsters and magic, murderers under the floorboards and ghosts in the walls, shocking scares and sleepless nights–the trappings of horror are what makes it vivid, visceral, and oh so very fun, but it is, after all, spectacle. It’s stage-setting strung up around what really matters: a story about life and death. A story that offers a spark of life in a world where life is unwelcome and makes you think, “Oh. Oh. Everything is terrible. There is no hope. What now? What the hell do we even do now?”

Horror stories, when done well, aren’t powerful because life is cheap, but because life is precious. And because life is precious, we get carried right along when characters faced with monsters and mayhem have to fight for it, for themselves and their families and maybe people they’ve never met, against horrors and nightmares and impossible odds, as they feel fear and despair and hope and anger and grief and every human emotion in between. The fantasy is in the details, but the realism is in the emotion, and it’s the emotional realism that leaves a mark long after the story is over.

Stories are how we make sense of the world, and the world is terrible and wonderful, frightening and hopeful, beautiful and ugly, and it is, alas, full of monsters. Lucky for us, it’s also full of people who know, or want to believe, even if they aren’t quite convinced, that monsters can be faced and fought and sometimes, maybe, maybe, they can also be defeated.

Kali, thank you so much for being our guest here today on PubCrawl! Readers, now it’s your turn–do you like to read horror? Do you like to write scary stories? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

For most of her life Kali Wallace was going to be a scientist when she grew up. She studied geology in college, partly because she could get course credit for hiking and camping, and eventually earned a PhD in geophysics. Only after she had her shiny new doctorate in hand did she admit that she loved inventing imaginary worlds as much as she liked exploring the real one. Her short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, F&SF, Asimov’s, Lightspeed, and Tor.com. She was born in Colorado and spent most of her life there, but now lives in southern California. Shallow Graves, her first novel, will be published by Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins in January 2016.

You can visit Kali on her website, follow her on Twitter, and add SHALLOW GRAVES on GoodReads!

 

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24. Monday Mishmash 7/27/15


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. I'm the New Acquisitions Editor For Leap Books Seek  In case you missed my announcement last week, I'm the new acquisitions editor for Leap Books' middle grade line, Seek. I'm so happy about this. I've also decided to open to unagented submissions for a brief time in August, so stay tuned for that announcement.
  2. Our Little Secret Has a Cover  I got to see the cover for Our Little Secret (releasing September 15 through Limitless Publishing). I'm SO happy with it. Can't wait to share it soon.
  3. Pepe Maurice Pierre, Poodle Extraordinaire is Now Available!  You can grab your copy of my newest picture book here
  4. Falling For You is Available and FREE!  My secret Ashelyn Drake title isn't a secret anymore, and it's doing really well on Amazon. Check this out. 
  5. Signing at Books-A-Million  I want to thank everyone who came out to see me this past Saturday for my book signing. I had an amazing time and got to see returning fans, which is always great.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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25. Micro Reviews: Pop Stars, Cowgirls, Zombies, and Beasties!

 

I have been reading up a storm, but I’ve been lax on writing reviews.  Here’s a quick catch up post with short reviews.

Hello, I Love You by Katie M Stout

C-

This dragged for me, and I didn’t think there was any chemistry between Grace and Jason. I read this mainly for the setting, but the school might as well have been anywhere, which was a big disappointment. Cultural details were sparse and shallow.  I didn’t get a feeling that Grace was in a foreign country, and the fact that everyone she interacted with spoke English didn’t help make this unique or different. It also bugged me that Jason and his sister were the only Koreans to use Korean names.

 

The Surgeon and the Cowgirl by Heidi Hormel

C / C+

Both protagonists were all about “Me, me, me!” and it felt like it took forever for them to mature. I’m not completely convinced that they will ever effectively communicate, which made the ending rushed and not completely believable.

What Once We Feared by Carrie Ryan

Not enough here to even call this a short story. Lots of potential, but it fell flat because it felt so incomplete. This should have been called a teaser, not a short story.

 

Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire

B/ B-

Fun, quirky read that somehow combines ballroom dance with mythological critters.

Verity comes from a long line of cryptozoologists, but her true passion is for competitive dance. She’s spending a year in Manhattan to pursue her dance career, as well as to keep an eye on the beasties living in the big city. When Dominic, a member of Covenant, arrives in town, his kill all non-humans before even asking them how their day is going attitude gets on Very’s nerves. Both Dominic and the sudden appearance of a snake cult in the sewers under the city have made her life extremely complicated.

Though it got a little draggy in places, and was over the top in others, overall Discount Armageddon was a fun adventure.

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