Friday, May 22, 2015

10 MONSTER Giveaway, Including COMPULSION, SNOW LIKE ASHES, and ICE LIKE FIRE #ReadOrWriteAnywhere

I'm back from Dallas, and wow! I've never been to a convention that huge or that full of energy. There were fabulous workshops and bookish events. I got to embarrass myself at the YA slumber party in my pajamas. I met some die hard Eight fans, and hopefully created some new ones-- interacting with readers is always so much fun and one of my favorite things about being a writer. Plus I got to fangirl over some of my favorite authors and discover that they were the BEST people in person.

The AMAZING and gorgeous Brenda Drake, who was in one of our early First Five Pages workshops, went on to start Pitch Wars and get a fantastic pub deal. SO excited for all her success -- and she's the loveliest person ever.

With Mary Lindsey, Bailey Hewlett (ibbookblogging) and Lindsay Cummings,
and all of them are incredibly kind and lovely
With Zoraida Cordova, Tara Hudson, J.R. Johansson, Victoria Scott and Bree Despain. Talk about a brilliant and intimidating bunch, but they were all so warm and kind that I could almost forget to be overwhelmed. : )
The whole week was crazy, but also incredible. Now I have a year to recover before the next one!

In the meantime, I’ve teamed up with the YA Chicks and many participating authors on a global campaign to encourage readers, writers, students, and teachers to share pictures all of the places—both ordinary and extraordinary—where they are reading and writing. This is open to all readers/writers of both middle grade and young adult books!

You can also take part in...


I’ll be giving away a signed hardcover of COMPULSION plus a lovely bunch of swag plus a Skype visit.

Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.

All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives 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.

"Darkly romantic and steeped in Southern Gothic charm, you'll be compelled to get lost in the Heirs of Watson Island series." -- #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Jennifer L. Armentrout

"A fresh twist on the Southern Gothic — haunting, atmospheric, and absorbing.” -- Claudia Gray,
New York Times bestselling author of A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU and the Evernight and Spellcaster series

"Compulsion is a stunningly magical debut with a delicious slow burn to be savored. I want to live in this story world!" -- Wendy Higgins,
USA Today and NYT bestselling author of the Sweet Evil Trilogy


Every author participating in this campaign is giving away books, critiques, swag and/or Skype visits.

So are you ready?

Drum roll….

If you don't have this book on your TBR, you're going to be missing out!

Can you guess where I am? (I'll give you the restaurant part, but I actually snuck away to read in the middle of the event for which I'm providing the clues below. Just name the week-long event I recently attended!)
  • Home of the Cowboys . . . 
  • Romance cover models walking around all week . . . 
  • Over 600 authors attended . . . 
  • Over 2500 eager readers were there . . . 
  • Teen day with signings, pizza, and parties with free books galore . . . 
Once you’ve figured out where I’m reading, head over to the YA Chicks site and officially enter the giveaway by inputting each author’s name and your guesses about our locations. 
  • Every author location you guess correctly increases your chances to win. 
  • For even more chances, post a picture of yourself reading or writing on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #ReadOrWriteAnywhere (must have the hashtag). 
For writer prize packs:
  • Post pictures of yourself writing in a fun location on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #ReadOrWriteAnywhere. 
  • Follow the directions on the Rafflecopter giveaway to let us know you did it. 
For even more chances:
  • Gather your writer friends together and post a group shot with the hashtag #ReadOrWriteAnywhere (must have the hashtag). 
  • And hey, since you're already together, why not host a write-a-thon? 
For teacher prize packs:
  • Post pictures of your class reading or writing on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #ReadOrWriteAnywhere (must have the hashtag). 
  • Let us know you did it when you enter the Rafflecopter. If you don't have a Twitter or Instagram, you can email your picture directly with the picture pasted directly into the email (no attachments--we won't open them) AND the subject, “Read or Write Anywhere.” 
  • You can also check out the YA Chicks Read or Write Anywhere lesson plan, available on their site
Now, what are you waiting for? Get out there and READ OR WRITE ANYWHERE!



I've got a hardcover of Sara Raasch's SNOW LIKE ASHES and an ARC of the sequel ICE LIKE FIRE. Are you a fan? Jump in and grab them for yourself. And don't forget to stop by the blog every Monday and Tuesday for lots more giveaways!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, May 21, 2015

1 Agent Kurestin Armada of PS Literary Talks Voice, Tea, and Originality

Kurestin began her publishing career as an intern with Workman Publishing, and spent time as an assistant at The Lotts Agency before joining P.S. Literary. She holds a B.A. in English from Kenyon College, as well as a publishing certificate from Columbia University. Kurestin is based in New York City, and spends most of her time in the city's thriving indie bookstores. She reads widely across genres, and has a particular affection for science fiction and fantasy, especially books that recognize and subvert typical tropes of genre fiction. She can be found on Twitter at @kurestinarmada.

What is it about a manuscript that excites you?

The million dollar question! This is always changing and hard to pin down, but I think the biggest draw for me is the clarity of the character’s voice. When I forget that I’m reading a story written by a person, and instead believe that I’m being told a story by the main character, I’m completely hooked. Strong, believable characterization can cover a multitude of sins in a manuscript, and it cannot be edited in afterwards if it’s missing. I can help a manuscript along, and the editor can make it absolutely shine, but we can’t insert a compelling voice for your characters.

What is on your wish list?

It’s hard to pin down my wish list at the moment, because I want to be surprised. I think there has recently been a strong trend of retellings of various stories, and many have been very excellent, but now it’s time for some weird, very original stories.

What are some of your favorite authors/books and why do you love them?

 I love everything Nick Harkaway has done, because his books always have this element of humor and fun even while his characters face danger and very real consequences. I really enjoy John Scalzi’s work for the same reason. That fun element is extremely important to me, even when the world is an extremely dark or violent one.

I also love sweet romances, like the one in EVERYTHING LEADS TO YOU by Nina LaCour, and strong, loving friendships like those in VIVIAN APPLE AT THE END OF THE WORLD by Katie Coyle, and THE RAVEN CYCLE books by Maggie Stiefvater.

What are some things you love to see in a query?

I love when people get down to business in the query, and focus on the book! That may sound obvious, but I get a lot of queries that tell me everything except for what the book is about. That’s all I care about when I’m first reading a query! Someone who clearly knows what their own book is about and can tell me about in a very clean, concise way is my favorite kind of query-writer.

What are some of the worst things you've seen in a query?

People who say they saw one of our rules (for instance, no attachments unless requested) and ignored them on purpose. People who skip the query entirely, and just start with the story. When the query isn’t even written by the author, or is composed entirely of reviews from other people. All of these things will get a query instantly put in the “no” pile for me. Most other things though, like pitching a genre I’m not currently looking to acquire, won’t stop me from reading the query and giving it a chance to interest me.

Are you an editorial agent?

I am, yes. As I read the partials and fulls I’ve requested, I’m constantly making mental notes on how to make the manuscript more effective. There are always places where the descriptive details can be more engaging, where the characters can pop off the page a bit more, and where the action can be tightened and sped up (or drawn out for the sake of tension!). 

Character, world, or plot?

Character is king, absolutely. Next is the world, and then finally the plot. Of course all of these things need to come together, but the plot is the thing that can be edited with the most ease, in my opinion.

Coffee, tea, wine, chocolate, or any other vices?

Tea! I was given a giant electric kettle for my birthday, and I use it constantly. I also have a huge weakness for beautiful yarn, since I knit a lot. And of course now that it’s beautiful and warm outside, you can find me out in the sun drinking mimosas on weekend afternoons.

What genres are you drawn to most?

Science fiction and fantasy are the top two for me. I read and work outside of those genres, but those are the ones that are the closest to my heart! Contemporary LGBT YA novels are a very close contender, though.

Which is more crucial: emotional connection or current marketability?

It’s always both, it has to be that way. If there was a manuscript I absolutely loved but I didn’t believe would sell well right now, I can imagine asking the author to hold it back and try something else first. But that’s not a request any author is going to enjoy hearing, unless they’re already a client and we’re planning their long-term career. So if this was a new author that I loved but didn’t see a current market for, I would probably have to pass in the end. And then on the other side, if I see a market for it but I don’t enjoy the book, I am absolutely not the right agent for it. So they don’t always have to be equal, but both elements have to be there in some amount for me to start a working relationship with that author.



Title: Gabriel

Author: Nikki Kelly

Series: The Styclar Saga #2 

Publisher: Feiwel and Friends 

Release Date: October 27th 2015

Goodreads Page

Pages: 352 


The handsome Angel from Lailah gets center stage in this continuation of Wattpad sensation Nikki Kelly’s romantic and action-packed series about mortals, vampires, and angels.

Gabriel is an Angel Descendant. He's also an ally to a generation of vampires who want to break away from the demon who controls them. His faith in the power of good over evil wavers, however, when he discovers that Lailah, the woman he considers his only true love, may be both angel and demon. Is their love enough to overcome the dark forces who are ready to go to war with Gabriel, the vampire Jonah, and the angel and vampire forces? And can Gabriel compete with Jonah, who is also in love with Lailah?

Once again, Nikki Kelly looks deeply into the heart and soul of good and evil to create a romantic, action-packed reading adventure.


Will we get a peek at Styclar Plena in the current action of the book or are we doomed to just hear about from Gabriel's memories only?

Lol doomed you say?! I can tell you exclusively, here in this interview, that in Book3 we get to go to to third dimension, and the first dimension (Styclar-Plena) in the current action of the book ;)

I need a sneak peak! What's going to happen with Jonah? *waves #TeamJonah flag*

...Now that would be telling ;) You can, however, get a sneak peek through the Gabriel cover reveal blog tour, where I shared 6 excerpts form Book2:

Can you describe this second book in a tweet? (140 characters)

Just when you think you know... you have no idea ;) #TheStyclarSaga #GABRIEL #NoMercy

Best gif that describes Jonah and another for Gabriel?

How much of Jonah will we see in Gabriel?

Plenty, I promise! ;) The second book may be titled GABRIEL, but it is told from Lailah's POV. The reason the book is called GABRIEL is because there is a focus on what becomes of Gabriel's 'soul' if you will. Take my word for it though, Jonah gets plenty of 'screen time' ;)

If you were FORCED (hahahahha) to help Gabriel or Jonah train to be lifeguards, who would you choose?? Obviously they will only be wearing red speedos. ;)

Sadly, I wouldn't be able to help either train to be a lifeguard as my ability in water is non-existant... That said... *has idea!* I could quite easily throw myself in and begin to drown (because that would require no acting on my part what so ever) and then they would have to jump in and save me... In fact, I think that's exactly what we should do, that way we also get to see both of the boys in red speedos.. because #HellsYes !

In 10 words or less, what can we expect from Gabriel?

A definite need to *fist pump and plenty of *face palming!

(Okay, I know that was 11, but it was close!)

What's the ONE thing about the series that you'd like readers to know that they don't know already? : )

There are elements of my own life weaved through the story telling of the entire series. When I say I gave a part of myself to these novels, I wasn't joking!

What inspired you to mix vampires and angels together?

I wanted to tell a story about light and dark, good and evil if you will, and how things are never quite what they seem....To do this for the saga, I borrowed a little here and there from my own belief system, and I was able to create new worlds and beings, but utilize existing belief or myth on which to base them. For example, the two worlds the beings emerged from were based on the concept of Heaven and Hell. I then spun that into something else entirely. I took the myths about vampires and angels etc. and tried to demonstrate how, through storytelling and game of telephone, the idea of what they are has become quite different from the truth – the truth of course being the reality of things in my books! If you want to tell a story about light and dark, preconceived notions and perception, what two better candidates than Gabriel and Jonah, an Angel and a Vampire in which to explore those very themes!

What was the most challenging part of writing Gabriel?

Lailah picks her ship! That was not an easy thing to pen! **eep**

Lailah was such a successful start to this series, people seemed to really love it! Did that make you feel additional pressure to ensure the sequel was just as good?

When people express their love for your story it always adds to the pressure of making sure you get it right, not just for your characters, not just for you, but for the reader. But there will always be instances where the reader doesn't agree with something that happens as the journey progresses, for example which ship makes it out the port! ;) I always keep the readers in mind, but ultimately I have to be true and honest to the characters and their story, even if it means that sometimes people want to throw things at you! So yes, I guess the prospect of twitter bombs being slung my way adds to the pressure!

If you had a chance to re-live your life, what would you have done differently?

Not a single thing. Every shelf I ever stacked, every customer I ever served, every diary I ever organised... in fact, every minute of every day, all the laughs and all the tears led me tohere—and here is the most wonderful place. There is a very fine balance between having ambition and gumption to go out and make your dreams a reality, trying to find the 'good times' if you like, and being able to see and know exactly when you are in them! I'm in them now.

If a celebrity was going to play Gabriel, who would it be and why?

Alex Pettyfer for sure because he's a very talented English actor... yada, yada, yada... Okay people, lets keep it real #LeSwoon .. #NuffSaid

If you had to pick ONE song that either represents you or your books, what song would you pick? (You can totally pick one for you and one for your books if you want!)

For Styclar— Imagine Dragons:Demons For me—Boyzone:Words

Where did Gabriel and jonah come from? Any real life influences?

Gabriel and Jonah both possess qualities from my own beau :) He was a little more like Jonah when I met him (I was 16) and he's a little more like Gabriel now, but when I ask nicely he will still, from time to time, point his collar up ;)

ALSO, What do you love most about Jonah?

He's a bit rough around the edges, but give him a polish and he shines likes a diamond :)

And in case you haven't read Lailah yet. . . . 


Title: Lailah

Author: Nikki Kelly

Series: The Styclar Saga #1 

Publisher: Feiwel and Friends


The girl knows she’s different. She doesn’t age. She has no family. She has visions of a past life, but no clear clues as to what she is, or where she comes from. But there is a face in her dreams – a light that breaks through the darkness. She knows his name is Gabriel.

On her way home from work, the girl encounters an injured stranger whose name is Jonah. Soon, she will understand that Jonah belongs to a generation of Vampires that serve even darker forces. Jonah and the few like him, are fighting with help from an unlikely ally – a rogue Angel, named Gabriel.

In the crossfire between good and evil, love and hate, and life and death, the girl learns her name: Lailah. But when the lines between black and white begin to blur, where in the spectrum will she find her place? And with whom?

Gabriel and Jonah both want to protect her. But Lailah will have to fight her own battle to find out who she truly is.


NIKKI KELLY was born and raised only minutes away from the chocolately scent of Cadbury World in Birmingham, England. Lailah was first launched to Wattpad, an online readers and writers community. Within six months, the novel had over one million reads. Lailah is Nikki’s debut novel, and the first book in The Styclar Saga. She lives in London with her husband and their dogs, Alfie (a pug) and Goose (a Chihuahua).

LAILAH is my debut novel, and first launched in serial form to wattpad, a readers & writers community. Within just 6months, LAILAH had over a million reads and thousands of comments and votes.

Since then, The Styclar Saga has gone on to pick up a traditional deal with Feiwel & Friends, and LAILAH, the first book in the series is due for release on October 7th 2014.

These days I spend my time balancing my amazing job of writing fantasy fiction, with my other, very important role of Chocolate Connoisseur. I like to multitask and do the two together. It makes me happy.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Pinterest | Goodreads | Wattpad | Youtube

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

5 Dear Teen Writer: The Worst Mistake You Can Make by Jami Gold

I am so thrilled to welcome the phenomenal Jami Gold to the blog today! Jami is well known among many writers as she has run her own fabulous blog for years, filled with insightful articles on items of interest in the publishing world and in a writer's life. Jami's not afraid to go deep and ask tough questions about changes in the industry.

I am also excited to have Jami here with us on the day of the release of her adult paranormal romance, Treasured Claim. I was fortunate enough to read this wonderful story of a shape-shifting dragon woman when Jami was still polishing it, and am so happy to see its release and beautiful cover.

Jami shares with us some great advice for teen writers who should never stop writing! Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter below for a giveaway of her new release!

Dear Teen Writer: The Worst Mistake You Can Make, by Jami Gold

I don’t write YA, and my books are definitely for adults, but guess what? I remember what it was like to be a teen writer. And I know the absolute worst mistake you can make.

(Actually, this advice can apply to writers of any age. So read on… *grin*)

I was about 15 when I got in trouble with my school and my parents. My school didn’t appreciate the writing I turned in for a class assignment. They called my parents, who freaked out and demanded that I explain myself.

(The assignment was to write a short story. I chose to write a fictional diary entry from a disturbed character. A first person point-of-view rant with profanity. *ahem* Yeah, that didn’t go over well.)

As a teenager, I felt misunderstood.

I felt like I’d done something wrong by listening to my characters and following my muse.

Due to that discouragement, I didn’t write again for years and years.

Worst. Mistake. Ever.

Unfortunately, as writers, we have to get used to people being discouraging. There will be no end of those eager to tell us that we’re wasting our time, that we’re not cut out for it, or that it’s not a “real” career. Or we’ll encounter those quick to judge us by assuming we are our characters or that the morals or values of our characters reflect our morals or values.

That last issue is often a problem when we’re teens, when adults have some measure of control over our lives. Concerned parents can outright forbid us to write or can delete all our work. Talk about discouraging.

So if you’re a teen facing family, friends, or teachers who don’t get you or your writing—and they might, in fact, have forbidden you from writing—you have a couple of choices:

  1. You can fight and argue and make the next few years miserable for everyone.
  2. You can be sneaky and try to write without them discovering what you’re doing and hope not to get caught.
  3. You can see if your parents will save your writing so far on a flash drive for when you turn 18 or they realize you’re not going to go nuts.
  4. You can focus your writing energy on learning craft, plotting, and character building until you’re out on your own.
  5. You can see if your parents will permit you to write outlines of story ideas so you don’t forget the different turning points you planned to explore.
  6. You can talk to your parents (or other concerned adults) about why your stories speak to you (especially if they have a happy-ish ending or a moral/lesson) and share what you find interesting in the themes of your stories.
  7. You can try plotting out a story to share with your parents (or other concerned adults) and show how you come up with ideas for stories and for how characters act.

It’s up to you on how to handle it, but you’ll notice that “You can feel so discouraged that you give up writing for decades” isn’t on the list. I really don’t recommend that one. *grin*

I also don’t recommend the destructive options of 1 or 2. Destructive behaviors will just cause more problems and make your parents think you are “crying for help.” Besides, as option 4 shows, there’s work you can do to improve your writing skills until you’re on your own. In other words, the time won’t be wasted.

Options 3, 4, and 5 are best if your parents have forbidden you to write. Yes, it’ll suck to have to wait in order to write whatever you want, but you’ll be improving your skills and using the time to prove your sanity to your parents. And things may change next year or the year after that, especially if you mix in a bit of options 6 and 7.

Options 6 and 7 are best if the adults in your life are just worried about you, and you want to work with them to gain and keep their trust. Then your goal can be to get them used to the ideas in your head and work toward their understanding of what those ideas mean to you. With their comfort comes their acceptance.

No matter what you decide, use this time to make something positive out of the situation. Life will always throw us challenges, and the only thing we can control is how we respond to those challenges.

Whether we’re a teen or an adult, we’ll occasionally need to take a break from writing. Real life can interfere with our writing plans, and discouragement can leave us less than enthused about our options for moving forward. But that break doesn’t have to be the end of the world.

Just don’t let discouragement make you give up or surrender your dreams. As long as you avoid my mistake of waiting for years to return to writing, you’ll emerge from your challenges as a stronger writer than before. *smile*

About the Book:
A shapeshifting dragon on the verge of starvation…

For Elaina Drake, sparkling jewels aren’t a frivolous matter. Without more treasure for her hoard, she’ll starve. On the run from her murderous father, she’s desperate enough to steal—er, acquire.

A modern-day knight seeking redemption…

Disgusted by his father’s immorality, Alexander Wyatt, Chicago’s biggest corporate titan, is determined to be a man of honor. Yet the theft of a necklace, stolen by an exotic beauty at his latest fundraiser, threatens to destroy all his charitable work.

A predator made prey…

Passion ignites between thief and philanthropist, sparking a game of temptation where jewelry is the prize. But when Elaina’s exposure jeopardizes Alex’s life, she must choose: run again to evade her father—or risk both their lives for love.

Available at Amazon, iTunes, B&N, and Kobo, or go to Jami’s website for more information.

About the Author:

After completing a crime sweep of Diagon Alley, Jami Gold moved to Arizona and decided to become a writer, where she could put her talent for making up stuff to good use. Fortunately, her muse, an arrogant male who delights in causing her to sound as insane as possible, rewards her with unique and rich story ideas. Fueled by chocolate, she writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy tales that range from dark to humorous, but one thing remains the same: Normal need not apply. Just ask her family—and zombie cat.

Find Jami at her blog, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

-- posted by Susan Sipal, @HP4Writers

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

10 Creative Stage vs. Analytical Stage by Julie Musil plus a Giveaway of The Notorious Pagan Jones

The fabulous Julie Musil probably doesn't need an introduction, but I'm going to give her one anyway. She's not only a lovely person, but she's made a huge difference to a lot of aspiring authors, including me, with her thoughtful breakdowns of popular books over on her blog, which she does regularly along with some of the most inspirational posts anywhere on the web. Oh, and did I mention she's a writer? : ) Check out her lovely book below!

Creative Stage vs. Analytical Stage by Julie Musil

Has this ever happened to you? You’ve written the story. You’ve edited it. You’ve sent it off to beta readers. You’re prepared to tweak the story using their constructive feedback. You read the suggestions, and...they’re not tweaks. They’re major flaws in the story. You feel like the whole thing is an unredeemable mess.

Can I get an Amen?

If you’ve been there before, or if you’re there now, believe me, I get it. I wrote a story that I absolutely loved, and when I got feedback, I realized I needed to do some serious work before it was ready for other readers. But where to begin? How would I take those helpful comments and put them into practice within the manuscript? The task overwhelmed me.

That’s when my writing buddy, superhero Leslie Rose, gave me this useful advice: exit the creative stage, and enter the analytical stage.

Leslie looooves her spreadsheets *shudder*. Leslie advised me to use one of those dreaded thingies to analyze my story. In desperation, I plugged my nose and created columns and rows. And guess what? It worked. I now have a roadmap for fixing weaknesses in my story.

If you’re willing to plug your nose and create one of those dreaded thingies (aka spreadsheet), here are some columns that can help with the analytical stage:

Chapter Number (rows)
Self-explanatory, yes?

After you’ve skimmed through the chapter, you’ll have an idea of what it’s about. What should you keep? Are there beats or moments that are crucial to the story? World-building that’s necessary for set up? If so, you’ll want to keep those. Write necessary moments and/or emotions in this column.

Are there paragraphs in this section that are unnecessary? Blah-blah-blah exposition that can go? Is there a walk-on character that can be deleted? Is there too much information in this scene, which can be threaded in somewhere else in the manuscript to increase tension? Make a note of it in this column.

Each scene should have an objective. Why is this scene here? What does the character hope to accomplish by taking this action in this particular area of the story? If there isn’t a clear objective, now you know what needs to be added.

Once you’ve established the objective of each scene and/or chapter, you can then discern what the character’s obstacles will be. Is the antagonist getting in their way? Is it the weather? An empty gas tank? The character’s own fear? Something or someone should get in the character’s way of reaching their goal. If there are no obstacles in this section, add ideas to your spreadsheet. You can even just remind yourself that you “need obstacles.”

Will the character reach her goal within this scene? If so, what will be the new objective and obstacle? If the character does not reach her goal, how does she internalize this? If you don’t like the outcome of this scene, mention why. If you have alternate ideas for the outcome, brainstorm them within your spreadsheet. When it comes time to re-write, you can then choose your new direction.

Spreadsheets are a great tool if you need to set aside the creative stage for a bit and focus on the analytical. You’re still creating, because you’re brainstorming solutions for the problems you’ve found, but you’re now looking at the story with a different side of your brain. You’ve set aside the feel-good-cuz-you’re-a-brilliant-writer mode and entered the cold-calculated-slice-and-dice-master mode.

Yes, it’s time-consuming. Yes, it’s difficult to look at your story objectively. But we want our stories to be the best they can be, even if we must create a dreaded spreadsheet thingie.

Can I get another Amen?

How do you tackle major revisions? Are you as spreadsheet-averse as I am? Do you have other ideas for how to analyze your story from the ground up? Columns we could add to the spreadsheet? Please share!

About the Book:
When her protective older brother disappears, sixteen-year-old Melody loses control of her orderly life. Her stuttering flares up, her parents are shrouded in a grief-induced fog, and she clings to the last shreds of her confidence.

The only lead to her brother’s disappearance is a 30-second call from his cell phone to Rex, the leader of a crime ring. Frustrated by a slow investigation with too many obstacles, and desperate to mend her broken family, Melody crosses the line from wallflower to amateur spy. She infiltrates Rex’s group and is partnered with Drew, a handsome pickpocket whose kindness doesn’t fit her perception of a criminal. He doesn’t need to steal her heart—she hands it to him.

With each law Melody breaks, details of her brother’s secret life emerge until she’s on the cusp of finding him. But at what point does truth justify the crime?

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads

About the Author:

Julie Musil writes from her rural home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband and three sons. She’s an obsessive reader who loves stories that grab the heart and won’t let go. Her YA novels The Summer of Crossing Lines and The Boy Who Loved Fire are available now. For more information, or to stop by and say Hi, please visit Julie on her blog, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads


Win 1 of 2 ARCs of The Notorious Pagan Jones

The Notorious Pagan Jones
by Nina Berry
Hardcover -- May 26, 2015
Harlequin Teen

Pagan Jones went from America's sweetheart to fallen angel in one fateful night in 1960: the night a car accident killed her whole family. Pagan was behind the wheel and driving drunk. Nine months later, she's stuck in the Lighthouse Reformatory for Wayward Girls and tortured by her guilt—not to mention the sadistic Miss Edwards, who takes special delight in humiliating the once-great Pagan Jones.

But all of that is about to change. Pagan's old agent shows up with a mysterious studio executive, Devin Black, and an offer. Pagan will be released from juvenile detention if she accepts a juicy role in a comedy directed by award-winning director Bennie Wexler. The shoot starts in West Berlin in just three days. If Pagan's going to do it, she has to decide fast—and she has to agree to a court-appointed "guardian," the handsome yet infuriating Devin, who's too young, too smooth, too sophisticated to be some studio flack.

The offer's too good to be true, Berlin's in turmoil and Devin Black knows way too much about her—there's definitely something fishy going on. But if anyone can take on a divided city, a scheming guardian and the criticism of a world that once adored her, it's the notorious Pagan Jones. What could go wrong?

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Monday, May 18, 2015

15 SEVEN Giveaways plus New YALit Releases 5/18 - 5/24 with Author Interviews

There are so many great books releasing this week! Check out the eighteen new titles, with eleven author interviews, and seven giveaways of six of the titles. Then tell us in the comments which ones you're looking forward to reading.

Happy reading,

Jocelyn, Martina, Jan, Shelly, Susan, Lisa, and Erin


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A Sense of the Infinite
by Hilary T. Smith
Signed Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Katherine Tegen Books
Released 5/19/2015

By the author of the critically acclaimed Wild Awake, a beautiful coming-of-age story about deep friendship, the weight of secrets, and the healing power of nature.

It's senior year of high school, and Annabeth is ready—ready for everything she and her best friend, Noe, have been planning and dreaming. But there are some things Annabeth isn't prepared for, like the constant presence of Noe's new boyfriend. Like how her relationship with her mom is wearing and fraying. And like the way the secret she's been keeping hidden deep inside her for years has started clawing at her insides, making it hard to eat or even breathe.

But most especially, she isn't prepared to lose Noe.

For years, Noe has anchored Annabeth and set their joint path. Now Noe is drifting in another direction, making new plans and dreams that don't involve Annabeth. Without Noe's constant companionship, Annabeth's world begins to crumble. But as a chain of events pulls Annabeth further and further away from Noe, she finds herself closer and closer to discovering who she's really meant to be—with her best friend or without.

Hilary T. Smith's second novel is a gorgeously written meditation on identity, loss, and the bonds of friendship.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about A Sense of the Infinite?

If you read the book’s plot description, it sounds pretty dark. There’s depression, teen pregnancy, friendships dissolving. But it’s actually a very bright, funny, and hopeful book. There’s a real sense in which Annabeth’s life gets better in spite (and possibly because) of the fact that hard things are happening. And I have the feeling that if she looked back on that year in her life as an adult, she would feel a lot of love and pride.

The darkest times in my life have always had the brightest moments nestled within them—those moments of beauty or poetry or humor that are made more radiant in the context of pain. And that’s my favorite thing about A SENSE OF THE INFINITE: it could have been a relentlessly grim and depressing book, but it has that brightness instead.

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Chantress Fury
by Amy Butler Greenfield
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Margaret K. McElderry Books
Released 5/19/2015

The sea is coming. We are coming. And we will drown you all.

With a song, Lucy can control the wind and the water; she can bring castles and kingdoms to their feet. Since Lucy mastered her powers, King Henry has kept her close as he’s rebuilt England. She’s his best ally—and his workhorse. And now he’s called her to investigate attempted murder: His men claim they were almost killed on the Thames…by a mermaid. All Lucy can glean from the creature they’ve captured is a warning: The sea is coming. We are coming. And we will drown you all.

And then the floods begin. Swaths of London are submerged as the people scramble to defend themselves against the water—and the monsters—that are flooding their streets. As mistrust of Lucy's magic grows, the king relies on Nat, Lucy's great love, to guide them through the storm. But Nat is cold and distant to Lucy. He swore his love only a year before, and now he calls her “stranger.”

Lucy is determined to defeat this powerful new magic alone if she must. But then she hears an eerie song within the water…can it mean that she’s not the last Chantress after all?

Sweepingly romantic and crackling with magic, Chantress Fury triumphantly concludes the powerful Chantress trilogy.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Chantress Fury?

After I sold the CHANTRESS trilogy, so many writers warned me about the horrors of drafting Book 3. They were right in some ways: The deadlines for CHANTRESS FURY were tough, and so was the pressure to pull everything together once and for all. Yet I truly loved writing about a Chantress at the height of her powers, facing head-on all the challenges that come with being a powerful woman in her world. It was glorious to let out all the stops on the magic – to write about uncanny floods and devious mermaids and ferocious sea serpents attacking London (and that’s just for starters)! It was a wild ride that brings Lucy full circle, giving her a deeper sense of who she is, and where she ultimately belongs.

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Killer Within
by S.E. Green
Hardcover Giveaway
Simon Pulse
Released 5/19/2015

In the heart-pounding sequel to the “zippy, gripping psychological drama” (Kirkus Reviews) Killer Instinct, teen vigilante Lane must face the secrets and unexpected consequences that arise in the wake of her first kill.

It’s been three months since Lane made her first kill—the sadistic Decapitator—and now she feels both closer and more alienated than ever from her united, grieving family. Haunted by conflicting memories of her mother, Lane resumes her role as the vigilante Masked Savior out of a feeling of obligation—but her heart just isn’t in it anymore. Now that Lane has felt the rush of deeper, darker thrills, a growing part of her wants to revisit its seductive power, and she’s not sure how long she can resist.

Meanwhile, the Masked Savior has inspired its own fan site, where groupies gather online to praise, document, and debate each delivered act of justice. But one of Lane’s secret admirers is becoming a cunning copycat, exacting “justice” on defenseless innocents, increasing the violence with each attack.

Someone is watching Lane, edging closer to making contact. Someone who knows her darkest secrets. Will Lane be able to stop the copycat and keep her identity protected? Or will she give in to the thrills that tempt her?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Killer Within?

My favorite thing about KILLER WITHIN is my main character, Lane. She's just so badass!

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Lion Heart
by A.C. Gaughen
Hardcover Giveaway (2 Copies)
U.S. Only

Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Released 5/19/2015

The eagerly-awaited conclusion to the Scarlet trilogy delivers another action-packed and romance-filled adventure.

Scarlet has captured the hearts of readers as well as the heart of Robin Hood, and after ceaseless obstacles and countless threats, readers will finally find out the fate of the Lady Thief.

Only the greatest loves can survive great danger. . .

Imprisoned by Prince John for months, Scarlet finds herself a long way from Nottinghamshire. After a daring escape, she learns that King Richard's life is in jeopardy, and Eleanor of Aquitaine needs Scarlet's help to free him. For a lifelong thief, this newfound allegiance to the crown-her family-is a strange feeling.

Scarlet knows that helping Eleanor will put her and those she loves back in Prince John's sights. Desperate not to risk anyone's life but her own, Scarlet formulates a plan to help save the king on her own. But fate-and her heart-won't allow her to stay away from Nottinghamshire for long. Even if Scarlet and Rob can together stop Prince John from going through with his dark plans for England, will their love be enough to save them once and for all?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Lion Heart?

Well, I think my very favorite thing is *CHOCK FULL O SPOILERS*, but my second favorite thing was developing the relationship between Scarlet and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Eleanor has been one of my favorite characters of all time--she's complicated and strong; she wielded incredible power and yet also had to invest her power in both her sons and her two husbands. She was a woman of powerful paradoxes!

There's this moment in LION HEART when Eleanor is attacked, and Scarlet has to fight like hell to save Eleanor and the ladies in her service. When it's over, the ladies take refuge at an abbey to clean up and regroup. They're all dirty and need to bathe, and Scarlet is bleeding--not drastically, but enough to get the water really gross, and in those days, you shared bathwater. She waits until the others bathe, and when she gets in the bath, Eleanor washes her hair, and the other women help clean her. Scarlet starts crying--this moment of intense vulnerability--and she just lets the other women help her.

This was a huge moment for Scarlet, to let someone else help her, but it was also this really emotional moment for me to write--it felt like me honoring all the women in my life who are there to pick me up when I'm broken, to wash my hair and heal me. Considering this book, this series, this whole dream of being a writer is something I wouldn't have accomplished without a tremendous amount of love in my corner, that tiny little thank you means a lot to me.

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Maximum Ride Forever
by James Patterson
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Little, Brown and Company
Released 5/18/2015

THE NINTH AND ULTIMATE MAXIMUM RIDE STORY IS HERE! Legions of Max fans won't be disappointed by this encore episode in the beloved series about the incredible adventures of a teenage girl who can fly. As Maximum Ride boldly navigates a post-apocalyptic world, she and her broken flock are roaming the earth, searching for answers to what happened. All will be revealed in this last spectacular "ride"- a brand-new grand finale featuring all of the nonstop action, twists and turns that readers can rely on in a blockbuster Patterson page turner!

Purchase Maximum Ride Forever at Amazon
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View Maximum Ride Forever on Goodreads

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Sparks in Scotland
by A. Destiny and Rhonda Helms
Hardcover Giveaway
Simon Pulse
Released 5/19/2015

First crush, first love, first kiss—Ava learns about more than her heritage while vacationing in Scotland in this addition to the sweet and clean Flirt series!

Ava is going on vacation to Scotland, where she’s supposed to learn more about her Scottish heritage. She’s excited to see the castles, abbeys, and coastal hills—and maybe even catch a glimpse of Nessie herself—but Ava doesn’t expect to meet Graham.

He’s cute, sweet, and has the perfect Scottish accent…but does he like her as much as she likes him?

And if there is something of a mutual attraction there, Ava wonders, is it worth pursuing a crush when she’ll be on the other side of the Atlantic in just two weeks?

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* * * *

A Matter of Heart
by Amy Fellner Dominy
Delacorte Press
Released 5/12/2015

Winner - Kathryn F.

Readers will happily sink into this emotionally grounded, contemporary young adult novel about the sudden end of one girl's Olympic swimming dreams and the struggles she endures before realizing there are many things that define who we are.

Sixteen-year-old Abby Lipman is on track to win the state swim championships and qualify for the Olympic trials when a fainting incident at a swim meet leads to the diagnosis of a deadly heart condition. Now Abby is forced to discover who she is without the one thing that's defined her entire life.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about A Matter of Heart?

Here’s a crazy story. When I started this book, it was going to a “funny tween” book for my editor at Walker. She wanted a middle grade book and of course I wanted to deliver. I had the idea of writing about a girl who fakes a heart condition to get on a reality show. Then I thought, “Hey, what if she actually has a heart condition—that would up the stakes.” At which point I realized there was nothing funny at all about heart conditions. Soon after that, I learned about Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy and though this was absolutely NOT the story my editor wanted (not funny, not tween) it’s a story I wanted to tell. So I did. And that’s my favorite thing now, looking back. How such a good idea could spring from one that initially was so bad!

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* * * *

Out of Control
by Sarah Alderson
Simon Pulse
Released 5/12/2015

Winner - Lauren J.

A girl looking to escape her past in New York City ends up on the run from a dangerous conspiracy in this sizzling, high-stakes novel.

When seventeen-year-old Liva came to New York City, all she wanted was to escape the painful memories of her past and finally find a fresh start. Her hopes for a new future were dashed the moment she became the sole witness to a brutal murder. When she's taken into police custody, supposedly for her own protection, she realizes something isn't right, but it's too late. Soon, bullets start flying, and Liva realizes that she is not just a witness, but the target and she needs to escape before it's too late.

With the help of a sexy car thief that she met at the station, Liva manages to get away from the massacre unharmed, but now the two of them are alone in New York, trying to outrun and outwit the two killers who will stop at nothing to find them. Liva and Jay are living on the edge, but when you're on the edge, there's a long way to fall.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Out of Control?

I’ve recently been pitching Out of Control around Hollywood (I’m a screenwriter too) and the first thing people say to me is ‘wow, the pace on this is amazing.’

The story takes place in 36 hours and it is non-stop action. I love the two main characters - Liva who has grown up in the Middle East surrounded by money and bodyguards and Jay who’s from the wrong side of the tracks and just trying to do the right thing. And they’re thrown together into this nightmare where they have to learn to trust each other and rely on each other.

But my favourite thing about Out of Control is that it’s a fun book to read but it’s also got a very serious subject at its heart (which I won’t reveal). I want to write fun stories that engage readers, but also books that have something to say about issues I think need to be addressed.

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* * * *

The Cost of All Things
by Maggie Lehrman
Balzer + Bray
Released 5/12/2015

Winner - Christina C.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind meets We Were Liars in this thought-provoking and brilliantly written debut that is part love story, part mystery, part high-stakes drama.

What would you pay to cure your heartbreak? Banish your sadness? Transform your looks? The right spell can fix anything…. When Ari's boyfriend Win dies, she gets a spell to erase all memory of him. But spells come at a cost, and this one sets off a chain of events that reveal the hidden—and sometimes dangerous—connections between Ari, her friends, and the boyfriend she can no longer remember.

Told from four different points of view, this original and affecting novel weaves past and present in a suspenseful narrative that unveils the truth behind a terrible tragedy.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Cost of All Things?

My favorite thing about the book is the part that was hardest to get a handle on while writing -- how the four storylines intersect and influence each other, and how they come together at the end. I started with four individual stories, each influenced by a character's death and the spells that were cast on them (knowingly or unknowingly), and then once I understood who these people were, I had to weave their stories together. It's the type of challenge I love, and the type of storytelling I love reading. One of the things that I kept repeating to myself as I was writing was that the characters think they're solving one mystery, but they end up unraveling a completely different one. I hope I stayed true to that throughout the book.

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* * * *

The Messengers
by Edward Hogan
Released 5/12/2015

Winner - Natasha D.

If you could see the future, would you have the guts to change it? A new psychological thriller from the author of Daylight Saving.

Fifteen-year-old Frances is sent to her aunt’s house for the summer to escape difficulties at home. Soon she meets Peter, a man unlike anyone she has ever known. Peter is a messenger—but his messages never bring good news. Peter believes that Frances is a messenger, too. In a compelling page-turner as complex as it is chilling, the author of Daylight Saving poses the provocative question: If you could change the future, where would you start?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Messengers?

I'd have to say the two central characters. I really loved spending time with my troubled protagonist, Frances, and the (even more troubled) Peter Kennedy, who works on his weird pictures in a beach hut on Brighton seafront. Peter is much older than Frances, but I soon discovered that Frances was the more stable character. She's stronger, in lots of ways. I often start writing with just the characters in mind. I'm interested in people, mainly. And - as some reviewers have noticed - plot is not my strong point!

I also enjoyed doing research for The Messengers. One of my characters, Johnny, is a boxer. I spent some time training with professional boxer John Paul Temple. It was very scary (!) but also extremely interesting. He explained the idea of "the conditioned face" - that's what it's called when you've been punched so many times, your skin no longer cuts easily. John Paul was so generous with his time, and all writers need that kind of help.

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* * * *

Hold Me Like a Breath
by Tiffany Schmidt
Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Released 5/19/2015

In Penelope Landlow's world, almost anything can be bought or sold. She's the daughter of one of the three crime families controlling the black market for organ transplants. Because of an autoimmune disorder that causes her to bruise easily, Penny is considered too "delicate" to handle the family business, or even to step foot outside their estate.

All Penelope has ever wanted is independence-until she's suddenly thrust into the dangerous world all alone, forced to stay one step ahead of her family's enemies. As she struggles to survive the power plays of rival crime families, she learns dreams come with casualties, betrayal hurts worse than bruises, and there's nothing she won't risk for the people she loves.

Perfect for fans of Holly Black and Kimberly Derting, this first book in the stunning new Once Upon a Crime Family series from acclaimed author Tiffany Schmidt will leave readers breathless.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Hold Me Like a Breath?

The main character of Hold Me Like a Breath, Penelope Landlow, is the daughter of one of the three crimes families that control the black market trade of human organs. Penny also has a bleeding disorder which cause her body to attack its own platelets and makes her prone to bruising and bleeding. These are the two facts that rule Penny’s life—her Family is involved in a dangerous, dangerous business, and because she’s seen as fragile, she’s overprotected and sheltered from it.

No one, including Penny herself, would ever consider her to have the makings of a heroine. In real life, we’ve all faced times when we feel caged in by other expectations. We’ve faced situations when we can choose to believe those judging us, or prove them wrong. So, my favorite thing about this novel is Penelope’s arc. She’s tested in devastating and painful ways—but learns she’s capable of so much more than than the limits others have placed upon her life.

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* * * *

by Heather Dixon
Greenwillow Books
Released 5/19/2015

What if the world holds more dangers—and more wonders—than we have ever known? And what if there is more than one world? From Heather Dixon, author of the acclaimed Entwined, comes a brilliantly conceived adventure that sweeps us from the inner workings of our souls to the far reaches of our imaginations.

Jonathan is perfectly ordinary. But then—as every good adventure begins—the king swoops into port, and Jonathan and his father are enlisted to find the cure to a deadly plague. Jonathan discovers that he's a prodigy at working with a new chemical called fantillium, which creates shared hallucinations—or illusions. And just like that, Jonathan is knocked off his path. Through richly developed parallel worlds, vivid action, a healthy dose of humor, and gorgeous writing, Heather Dixon spins a story that calls to mind The Night Circus and Pixar movies, but is wholly its own.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Illusionarium?

I really love the characters. And by love, I mean I love to kick the tar out of them throughout the story. I’m a sadist. But I love that they keep picking themselves up again to fight for what’s important.

And they were buckets of fun. Jonathan’s funny asides were my favorite thing to write.

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* * * *

Made You Up
by Francesca Zappia
Greenwillow Books
Released 5/19/2015

Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. Made You Up tells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion. This is a compelling and provoking literary debut that will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook, and Liar.

Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn't she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal.

Funny, provoking, and ultimately moving, this debut novel featuring the quintessential unreliable narrator will have readers turning the pages and trying to figure out what is real and what is made up.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Made You Up?

My favorite thing about MADE YOU UP is the characters. I've been working on the book for over a decade, and Alex and Miles are what kept me going. I grew up with them. I love all the secondary characters, too. A lot of reviewers have been saying that the characters are well-formed, and it makes sense--I've been hanging out with them for a VERY long time. They're real people to me. (And I'm kind of sad sometimes that I don't get to write them anymore, but their story has been told, so it's best if I let them go.)

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* * * *

Off the Page
by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer
Delacorte Press
Released 5/19/2015

From #1 New York Times bestselling authors Jodi Picoult and her daughter and coauthor, Samantha van Leer, comes OFF THE PAGE, a tender and appealing romantic YA novel filled with humor, adventure, and magical relationships.

Meet Oliver, a prince literally taken from the pages of a fairy tale and transported into the real world. Meet Delilah, the girl who wished Oliver into being. It’s a miracle that seems perfect at first—but there are complications. To exist in Delilah’s world, Oliver must take the place of a regular boy. Enter Edgar, who agrees to play Oliver’s role in the pages of Delilah’s favorite book. But just when it seems that the plan will work, everything gets turned upside down.

Full of humor and witty commentary about life, OFF THE PAGE is a stand-alone novel as well as the companion to the authors’ bestseller Between the Lines, and is perfect for readers looking for a fairytale ending. Fans of Sarah Dessen and Meg Cabot are sure to appreciate this novel about love, romance, and relationships.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Off the Page?

We love raising the idea that you might get a happily ever after...but that there will be consequences. And if you've read BETWEEN THE LINES, you are probably dying (like we were) to know what happened to Oliver and Delilah.

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* * * *

Scarlett Undercover
by Jennifer Latham
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Released 5/19/2015

Meet Scarlett, a smart, sarcastic fifteen-year-old, ready to take on crime in her hometown. When Scarlett agrees to investigate a local boy's suicide, she figures she's in for an easy case and a quick buck. But it doesn't take long for suicide to start looking a lot like murder.

As Scarlett finds herself deep in a world of cults, curses, and the seemingly supernatural, she discovers that her own family secrets may have more to do with the situation than she thinks...and that cracking the case could lead to solving her father's murder.

Jennifer Latham delivers a compelling story and a character to remember in this one-of-a-kind debut novel.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Scarlett Undercover?

That’s easy – Scarlett!

See, I’ve always loved detectives. It started with Trixie Belden, Miss Marple, and Sherlock Holmes. Then in eighth grade, Spenser: For Hire came on TV, and I liked it so much I started reading the Robert Parker novels they’d based it on. From there, I developed a hardcore Philip Marlowe addiction that has never gone away.

So when I sat down to write a mystery for myself, I knew I wanted my detective to be just as hardboiled as Spenser and Marlowe. It was so much fun figuring out how to do that! Now I’m just crossing my fingers, hoping people will enjoy reading Scarlett’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

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* * * *

The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak
by Brian Katcher
Katherine Tegen Books
Released 5/19/2015

The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak is Stonewall Award-winning author Brian Katcher's hilarious he said/she said romance about two teens discovering themselves on an out-of-this-world accidental first date at a sci-fi convention.

When Ana Watson's brother ditches a high school trip to run wild at Washingcon, type-A Ana knows that she must find him or risk her last shot at freedom from her extra-controlling parents.

In her desperation, she's forced to enlist the last person she'd ever want to spend time with—slacker Zak Duquette—to help find her brother before morning comes.

But over the course of the night, while being chased by hordes of costumed Vikings and zombies, Ana and Zak begin to open up to each other. Soon, what starts as the most insane nerdfighter manhunt transforms into so much more. . . .

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak?

It's kind of a celebration of the nerd culture I grew up in. Almost all the book takes place one night at a science fiction/comic book convention. I've been going to cons for decades and they were some of the happiest experiences of my life.

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* * * *

Three Day Summer
by Sarvenaz Tash
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Released 5/19/2015

Boy meets the most amazing concert the world has ever seen.

Michael is unsure about most things. Go to college? Enlist in the military? Break up with his girlfriend? All big question marks. He is living for the moment and all he wants is a few days at the biggest concert of the summer.

Cora lives in the town hosting the music festival. She's volunteering in the medical tent. She's like that, always the good girl. But there is something in the air at this concert and suddenly Cora finds herself wanting to push her own boundaries.

When Michael and Cora meet, sparks fly, hearts race, and all the things songs are written about come true. And all the while, three days of the most epic summer await them...

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Three Day Summer?

My favorite thing about THREE DAY SUMMER is that it allowed me to time travel back to Woodstock and—even better—fall in love at it via my characters. I’ve always loved the ‘60s and researching this book—from the music to the clothes—was a real joy.

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* * * *

A School for Unusual Girls
by Kathleen Baldwin
Tor Teen
Released 5/19/2015

The launch of a captivating new YA series set in Regency England that #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot calls “completely original and totally engrossing.”

It’s 1814. Napoleon is exiled on Elba. Europe is in shambles. Britain is at war on four fronts. And Stranje House, a School for Unusual Girls, has become one of Regency England’s dark little secrets. The daughters of the beau monde who don't fit high society’s constrictive mold are banished to Stranje House to be reformed into marriageable young ladies. Or so their parents think. In truth, Headmistress Emma Stranje, the original unusual girl, has plans for the young ladies—plans that entangle the girls in the dangerous world of spies, diplomacy, and war.

After accidentally setting her father’s stables on fire while performing a scientific experiment, Miss Georgiana Fitzwilliam is sent to Stranje House. But Georgie has no intention of being turned into a simpering, pudding-headed, marriageable miss. She plans to escape as soon as possible—until she meets Lord Sebastian Wyatt. Thrust together in a desperate mission to invent a new invisible ink for the English war effort, Georgie and Sebastian must find a way to work together without losing their heads—or their hearts...

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* * * *

by Kelly Loy Gilbert
Released 5/19/2015

Ten years ago, God gave Braden a sign, a promise that his family wouldn't fall apart the way he feared.

But Braden got it wrong: his older brother, Trey, has been estranged from the family for almost as long, and his father, the only parent Braden has ever known, has been accused of murder. The arrest of Braden's father, a well-known Christian radio host has sparked national media attention. His fate lies in his son's hands; Braden is the key witness in his father's upcoming trial.

Braden has always measured himself through baseball. He is the star pitcher in his small town of Ornette, and his ninety-four mile per hour pitch already has minor league scouts buzzing in his junior year. Now the rules of the sport that has always been Braden's saving grace are blurred in ways he never realized, and the prospect of playing against Alex Reyes, the nephew of the police officer his father is accused of killing, is haunting his every pitch.

Braden faces an impossible choice, one that will define him for the rest of his life, in this brutally honest debut novel about family, faith, and the ultimate test of conviction.

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Dangerous Deception
by Kami Garcia
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Released 5/19/2015

From the world of Beautiful Creatures--a dangerous new tale of love and magic continues in the sequel to Dangerous Creatures.

Love is ten kinds a crazy, right?
Let me put it to you this way: If you can get away, run. Don't walk.
Because once you're exposed, you'll never get a Siren outta your head.

Some loves are cursed. Others are...dangerous. Especially the love between wannabe rocker and quarter Incubus, Wesley "Link" Lincoln, and Dark Caster, Siren, and bonafide bad girl, Ridley Duchannes.

But now Ridley is missing, and Link was with her-right up until she vanished. Determined to find her, Link reunites with his New York bandmates and the mysterious Lennox Gates, who wants Rid for himself. Together they travel to the deep south, find the crossroads where blues guitarist Robert Johnson made his deal with the devil, discover a menagerie of Casters locked in cages, and uncover an evil in New Orleans that threatens to destroy them all.

This time, love might not be enough.

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Eternity's Wheel
by Neil Gaiman, Michael Reaves, and Mallory Reaves
Released 5/19/2015

The conclusion to the bestselling InterWorld series, from Neil Gaiman, Michael Reaves, and Mallory Reaves!

Joey Harker never wanted to be a leader. But he’s the one everyone is looking to now that FrostNight looms, and he’ll have to step up if he has any hope of saving InterWorld, the Multiverse, and everything in between.

Eternity’s Wheel is the heart-pounding conclusion to the InterWorld series, full of time and space travel, magic, science, and the bravery of a young boy who must now face his destiny as a young man.

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The Last Good Day of the Year
by Jessica Warman
Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Released 5/19/2015

A new powerful thriller from the globally-embraced author of Between.

Ten years ago, in the early hours of New Year’s Day, seven-year-old Samantha and her next door neighbor, Remy, watched as a man broke into Sam’s home and took her younger sister, Turtle, from her sleeping bag. Remy and Sam, too afraid to intervene at the time, later identified the man as Sam’s sister Gretchen’s much older ex-boyfriend, Steven, who was sent to prison for Turtle’s murder.

Now, Sam’s shattered family is returning to her childhood home in an effort to heal. As long-buried memories begin to surface, Sam wonders if she and Remy accurately registered everything they saw. The more they re-examine the events of that fateful night, the more questions they discover about what really happened to Turtle.

Master storyteller Jessica Warman keeps readers guessing in this arresting page-turner that questions whether the potential for evil lurks within us all.

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