Monday, May 9, 2011

44 In Stores This Week (with Interviews & Giveaways) Part 1

We can't help but notice all the wonderful contemporaries releasing this week. But fear not, paranormal-lovers. There's plenty for you, too. Read on for author interviews and be sure and scroll all the way down to enter part one of our awesome YA giveaway!

This Week's Interviews
Bitter End by Jennifer Brown
  • From Goodreads: When Alex falls for the charming new boy at school, Cole, a handsome, funny, sports star who adores her, she can't believe she's finally found her soul mate-someone who truly understands her and loves her for who she really is. At first, Alex is blissfully happy. Sure, Cole seems a little jealous of her relationship with her best friends, Zack and Bethany, but what guy would want his girlfriend spending all of her time with another boy? But as the months pass, Alex can no longer ignore Cole's small put-downs, pinches, or increasingly violent threats. As Alex struggles to come to terms with the sweet boyfriend she fell in love with and the boyfriend whose "love" she no longer recognizes, she is forced to choose - between her "true love" and herself.
How long did you work on this book?
I would say it always takes me somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 months to write a rough draft of a novel. And then revisions take several more months. All told, I would guess it took me about a year, or maybe even closer to a year and a half, to get from idea to finished, revised manuscript.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
I began writing for publication in 2000. My first novel, Hate List, sold in 2008. So, yes, it was somewhat of a long process for me, full of online classes and critique groups and reading, reading, reading and entering contests and submitting to magazines and writing for websites and going to conferences and pretty much trying everything I could think of to see where I fit in the business.

For a while, it looked as if I fit best in humor writing. I won the Erma Bombeck Global Humor Award two years in a row, and I had a weekly humor column in The Kansas City Star for over four years. In the meantime I was writing novel after novel after novel, and none of those were selling. So I thought I'd found my niche, but I didn't really want humor writing to be my niche. I couldn't stop writing those novels and being hopeful about them.

I wrote four novels before I wrote Hate List. One mystery, and three women's fiction novels. None of them sold. There were a lot of rejections over those eight years, and actually many rejections since, but I always keep trying, because I figure I really have nothing to lose. And there's something addictive about the process for me.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
I see so many writers make excuses for why they aren't really putting themselves into their work and really putting their work out there. Either they "don't have time" or they "write so differently their book doesn't fit into a genre" or they'll "never find an agent or editor who understands their work" or...whatever. I think it all comes down to self-belief and to fear of rejection. You have to believe in your work and you have to believe that you can handle it when the rejections come. Otherwise, you will never get out of hobbyist mode. So I guess my advice is stop making excuses for why you can't and start believing in why you can. Rejections sting, but they aren't fatal.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
A lot of things have surprised me. For starters, I was surprised by how much I didn't know about the business. I'm still learning every single day. Also, I was surprised by how supportive and wonderful YA readers are. I've met so many fantastic and kind YA fans over the past couple years. But mostly I've been surprised by how much public speaking goes along with being a published author. A lot of speeches, a lot of school visits. It's all very exciting, but I wasn't expecting it at all.

The Lucky Kind by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
  • From Goodreads: High school junior Nick Brandt is intent on getting a girlfriend, and Eden Reiss is the one that he wants. He has exactly four semesters to get the girl, but when the phone rings on an otherwise ordinary Tuesday night, life for Nick and his parents will never be the same. What had been a seemingly idyllic home life has become something else entirely. But with this shake-up comes a newfound confidence for Nick; he's become a bolder version of himself, no longer afraid to question his parents, and no longer afraid to talk to Eden.
How long did you work on this book?
The idea for The Lucky Kind started bouncing around in my imagination a few years ago, when I was still writing what became my first novel, The Beautiful Between. I made a few notes – I always make a lot of notes when I get an idea for a story – but I had to put the idea out of my head so that I could finish writing my first book. I began writing The Lucky Kind in earnest a few months after Knopf bought The Beautiful Between; but when I was about halfway through (and convinced the story wasn’t going anywhere), I put it aside to write something else. (Which I then put aside to finish The Lucky Kind, and then took up again after I’d finally finished writing The Lucky Kind; it actually became my third book, The Stone Girl.) So, as it turned out, this book took me a while, since I wrote in fits and spurts, and with a lot of starts and stops.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
I actually had a very lovely and lucky journey to publication. It definitely wasn’t short – in that I’d wanted to be a writer pretty much ever since I was old enough to hold a pen! I have notebooks full of the stories that I wrote from kindergarten through high school, during college and beyond. When I graduated college, though, I wanted to work in publishing every bit as much as I wanted to write books. I was lucky enough to find a career and a community that I love, marketing children’s books at Random House. But, I kept writing – I always hoped I would be able to do both; my “real” job and my “hobby” job. As it turned out, my “real” job takes up a lot of my time, so it was a while – a few years after college – before I’d written something I thought was worthwhile, something I was ready to send to agents.

Since The Lucky Kind was my second novel, writing it felt different from writing my first book; there was the safety of knowing that there were people on the other side of the story (my agent, my editor) whom I knew would read it. But there were plenty of nerves attached to that safety: I wanted to write something that they could be proud of me for having written. Still, when I look back on it, even with all of its starts and stops, I know that I loved writing this book.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Never stop reading; I think the best way to learn to tell your story is by reading whatever you can get your hands on, novels and non-fiction, essays and even textbooks. Plus, for me, when I love the book I’m reading, it usually gets me in the mood to write myself.

And, embrace revising (it’s my favorite part of the process, though I certainly understand that not everyone is quite so enthusiastic about it). But I would encourage aspiring writers to always be open to re-writing, to re-working, and even to cutting things entirely. The things that end up slashed from one piece of writing can be great material for another. And, the greatest compliment you can get from a teacher, an agent, or an editor is when they take the time to give you notes.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
The very idea that I am a published author is a constant source of surprise! I honestly can’t get over the fact that I get to do this: that the ideas in my head make their way onto paper (or onto the computer screen), into a book, to a bookstore, and finally to someone’s bookshelf at home. I hope that it never stops surprising me.

OyMG by Amy Fellner Dominy
  • From Goodreads: Jewish girl. Christian camp. Holy moly. Ellie Taylor loves nothing better than a good argument. So when she gets accepted to the Christian Society Speech and Performing Arts summer camp, she's sure that if she wins the final tournament, it'll be her ticket to a scholarship to the best speech school in the country. Unfortunately, the competition at CSSPA is hot-literally. His name is Devon and, whether she likes it or not, being near him makes her sizzle. Luckily she's confident enough to take on the challenge-until she begins to suspect that the private scholarship's benefactor has negative feelings toward Jews. Will hiding her true identity and heritage be worth a shot at her dream?
How long did you work on this book?
I started this book in 2006. I wanted to enter a first page panel at the local SCBWI conference. The idea for OyMG had been swimming around my brain but the conference forced me to sit down and write. I wrote the first page, got a great response at the conference, and was on my way. (Little did I know it would take me THREE years to sell the book and FIVE years to see it on the shelf.)

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
The journey began with a lot of frustration. I started with a great first page and followed it with a thousand bad ones. I wrote and rewrote but the story wouldn’t come together. Finally, I stuck the book in a drawer and gave up on it entirely. Fortunately, my agent didn’t forget that first page. (She heard it at the SCBWI conference—which was one reason she took me on as a client shortly after!) She asked about my progress on the book, so I pulled it out. Again. The months I’d spent away from the book gave me insight, and I finally finished the story. There were revisions for my agent, and then it went out into the world. I had rejections from a couple of editors, but also had two editors immediately interested—both who suggested revisions. (Without the offer of a contract.) I spent some months and rewrote the book again. But for various reasons, those situations didn’t work out. So OyMG went out again, though in a much improved form. This time, it landed in the hands of Stacy Abrams at Walker & Company. Stacy loved it, bought it, and then…asked for more revisions. :)

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
I like to think that as writers we’re works in progress—just like our stories. So every day that you write is another day that you learn and improve and grow into the writer you need and want to be. Keep writing and don’t be too hard on yourself. Even a rejection is a success because you just took another step forward.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
The best surprise has been the online writing world. Before I sold OyMG, I had never heard of a blogosphere or a twitterverse. I had dipped a toe in Facebook, but I honestly had no idea about the amazing community of writers and readers online. I have so many friends now that I’ve never met—and a place to share, vent, learn, laugh, and cry. That’s been truly amazing.

Flawless by Lara Chapman
  • From Goodreads: Sarah Burke is just about perfect. She's got killer blue eyes, gorgeous blond hair, and impeccable grades. There's just one tiny-all right, enormous-flaw: her nose. But even that's not so bad. Sarah's got the best best friend and big goals for print journalism fame. On the first day of senior year, Rock Conway walks into her journalism class and, well, rocks her world. Problem is, her best friend, Kristen, falls for him too. And when Rock and Kristen stand together, it's like Barbie and Ken come to life. So when Kristen begs Sarah to help her nab Rock, Sarah does the only thing a best friend can do-she agrees. For someone so smart, what was she thinking?
How long did you work on this book?
Not long! I spent about a week storyboarding and wrote the first draft in about six weeks. That’s just how I write… total focus until it’s done! Lots of all-nighters and emailing my awesome critique partners. I took about another month to revise before submitting.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
It took me about four years to get published. I began writing after reading “How I Write” by Janet Evanovich and there was no turning back after that! Initially, I wrote adult romantic comedy but, after submitting to contests and getting a lot of comments like “your heroine sounds like a teenager,” I decided to try my hand at YA. It was a perfect fit for my voice – I can’t imagine writing anything else.

I was pretty specific in my submission process. Initially, I focused on 5-6 agents. I was referred to my agent (Holly Root, Waxman Literary Agency) by another agent and submitted to her almost exclusively for two years after that. She just seemed like a good match for me – she’s insanely intelligent and a complete delight to know. I met her at a couple of conferences, then she offered representation on FLAWLESS. I signed with Holly in August 2009 and FLAWLESS sold to Bloomsbury in January 2010.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Two things: 1) Don’t give up! If you’re feeling like you aren’t making any progress or your writing seems stale, try your hand at something else… poetry, novellas, or a different genre. Sometimes that’s all it takes to make something click and get you fired up about writing again. 2) Keep learning! Writers spend an untold number of hours (and money) on workshops and conferences. Sometimes, what we learn sticks long term. Other times, we need to hear it again and practice it or tweak it to make it ours. If you quit learning, your writing can’t improve and that’s the key building a long-term career.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
How much non-writing work is involved in the business! Reviews, websites, blogs, social media, and book signings are all I work on these days. It’s fun because it really puts you in touch with readers and, as a debut author, that’s a real “wow” experience. I still can’t believe people are reading MY book! I’ve been super fortunate to join a group of Texas YA authors that will tour and sign together this summer. Our website is http://www.chillsandthrillsteenbooktour.wordpress.com/. I'm also super proud of my website... http://www.larachapman.com/.

After Midnight (The Youngbloods) by Lynn Viehl
  • From Goodreads: Sophomore Catlyn Youngblood is used to the nomadic existence she and her two older brothers have shared since the death of their parents. When they settle down for good in the sleepy backwoods town of Lost Lake, Florida, Cat thinks they might finally fit in. Instead, they're shunned by the locals. While riding her horse late one night, Cat meets an enigmatic and handsome boy named Jesse Raven. Even more strange than her overpowering attraction to him is Jesse's apparent aversion to the sun. As their attraction intensifies, long-kept secrets come to light. Cat learns that the Ravens are a centuries-old vampire clan . . . and worse still, that she and her brothers are descendents of Abraham Van Helsing, the world-famous vampire hunter. Mortal enemies by blood, the two families do all they can to keep them apart. But Cat and Jesse will risk everything to be together—including death.
How long did you work on this book?
I had a lot of research to do, so from conception to a completed manuscript it took about a year. I then spent eight months looking for the right publisher, and then production took another year. So almost three years, which in Publishing terms is practically overnight.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
That, unfortunately, did not happen overnight. I spent ten years pursuing publication, and racked up over a thousand straight rejections before I published my first novel in 2000. This is also why my family nickname is "Mule-Headed."

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Don't give up, it annoys the cynics. Or, if you're thinking of giving up, come and talk to me and I'll read you some of the scorching rejections I've gotten, most of which will make you feel better immediately.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
I discovered I have the power to turn other people into instant authors. It's true. All I have to do is tell someone what I do for a living, and they always say, "You know, I've been meaning to write a book." This includes my dentist, my pest control guy, and the lady down the street with the toy poodle who hates me (the lady actually turned into an instant author; the poodle just keeps trying to tear my ankles to pieces.)

Pretend You Love Me by Julie Anne Peters

  • From Goodreads: In this fresh, poignant novel Mike is struggling to come to terms with her father's suicide and her mother's detachment from her family. Mike (real name Mary Elizabeth) is gay and likes to pump iron, play softball and fix plumbing. When a glamorous new girl, Xanadu, arrives in Mike's small Kansas town, he falls in love at first sight. Xanadu is everything that Mike is not - cool, confident, feminine, sexy and - straight! No matter how close their growing friendship is, Mike is always going to be 'far from Xanadu'. Following the success of Luna, Julie Ann Peters' has written a heartbreaking, yet ultimately hopeful, novel which will speak to anyone who has ever fallen in love with someone who can't love them back.
How long did you work on this book?
From inception, it probably took me about 18 months. Then I gave the manuscript to my brutally honest critique group, which added another six or eight months of revising. The publication process, including another few rounds of revisions, normally takes about two years. So, let’s see… plant an idea, fertilize, water, kill the weeds… approximately four years.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
I suppose it’s relative, since I have friends who’ve been trying to get published for twenty or more years, but at the time it sure seemed long to me. Of course, I started at ground zero, since I didn’t have any writing experience when I began. I can’t even guesstimate how many rejections I received before I finally got my first acceptance (for a short story in a children’s magazine). After than I collected more rejections than acceptances, but little by little accumulated street cred in magazines. Then in 1992 I finally sold my first book manuscript.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Readreadreadreadread. If you want to be a writer, you have to love to read. Not only should you familiarize yourself with the genre of literature in which you want to write, you should read all sorts of things to broaden your worldview.

My advice to young writers, to writers of all ages, is to dig deep within yourselves and reveal your truths. Have the faith to believe that your voice speaks for many; that what you express in writing may resound in a silent, or silenced, person’s heart. Write honestly and fearlessly, even when your words invite censorship or controversy. Respect and honor your readers. Your advocates, too: the librarians, teachers, publishing professionals, friends, family, and fellow writers who have helped you to learn and grow and fly. Whatever you do, whether you write or draw or sing or simply work hard at a job you love, make your life count for something.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
How much revision I’d have to do after the manuscript was sold. In the beginning I thought, Sign the contract. Print the book. Ha! The publication process takes eons, and it’s especially challenging for a person who writes contemporary fiction, since “contemporary” changes day to day.

You Don't Know About Me by Brian Meehl

  • From Goodreads: Sixteen-year-old Billy Allbright is about to bust out of his sheltered cocoon and go on a gonzo road trip. He just doesn't know it yet. His ticket to freedom? A mysterious Bible containing two resurrection stories. The second is about a man Billy's never met, and who is supposedly dead: his father. But the road to a risen-from-the-grave dad, and the unusual inheritance he promises, is far from straight. Billy zigzags across the American West in a geocaching treasure hunt. When his journey includes a runaway baseball star, nudists who perform sun dances, a girl with neon green body parts, and con artists who blackmail him into their "anti-action movie," Billy soon realizes that the path to self-discovery is mega off-road.
How long did you work on this book?
YOU DON'T KNOW ABOUT ME was a particularly long one. I would say the total amount of research and writing time was about three years. After meeting the man who owns the book with Mark Twain's notes in the margins for a sequel to ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN that was never completed, the inspiration for my book took hold. This was about 2004. In 2005, I took a research trip along the Oregon Trail in a camper that took me about 9000 miles in almost a month of travel. After completing a first draft sometime in 2008, my editor at Random House wanted major changes, so I took another research trip along the Oregon Trail (I had to get the whole geocaching route down) and spend six months doing a rewrite. That is pretty much the novel that is finally being published.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
Long, compared to my other novels. No rejections, just a lot of revisions and productive back and forth with my agent and editor.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Writing isn't difficult, rewriting is. Think of a child who takes his first steps. The first step is total discovery and intuition. The next step is almost harder because the toddler also has to process the step that came before. That said, I encourage writers to think of writing, especially first drafts, as a process of discovery. Throw open all sorts of windows and jump through them. That's the real fun part: riffing on story, characters, scenes, the works. The tough part, the craft, the part that separates the idea people from the writers is shaping, reshaping, and discovering the whole of a final piece.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
How - unless you're a best-selling author, or your fortunate enough to sell the movie rights to your book - little money there is in it. E-book publishing may change that, maybe not. But what's not surprising it that I still wouldn't want to be doing something else. The psychic paycheck in writing has made me a millionaire many times over. Hey, I'm just earning my death.

Additional Releases

But I Love Him by Amanda Grace

  • From Goodreads: At the beginning of senior year, Ann was a smiling, straight-A student and track star with friends and a future. Then she met a haunted young man named Connor. Only she can heal his emotional scars; only he could make her feel so loved — and needed. Ann can't recall the pivotal moment it all changed, when she surrendered everything to be with him, but by graduation, her life has become a dangerous high wire act. Just one mistake could trigger Connor's rage, a senseless storm of cruel words and violence damaging everything — and everyone — in its path.
Then by Morris Gleitzman
  • From Goodreads: Felix and Zelda have escaped the train to the death camp, but where do they go now? They're two runaway kids in Nazi-occupied Poland. Danger lies at every turn of the road. With the help of a woman named Genia and their active imaginations, Felix and Zelda find a new home and begin to heal, forming a new family together. But can it last?



Incredibly Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  • From Goodreads: Get ready to start your own incredible, amazing life…right? Alice McKinley is standing on the edge of something new—and half afraid she might fall off. Graduation is a big deal—that gauntlet of growing up that requires everyone she’s known since forever to make huge decisions that will fling them here and there and far from home. But what if Alice wants to be that little dandelion seed that doesn’t scatter? What if she doesn’t have the heart to fly off into the horizon on the next big breeze? And what if that starts to make her feel like staying close to home means she’s a little less incredible than her friends—and her boyfriend Patrick?
What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
  • From Goodreads: Another town. Another school. Another Mclean. Ever since her parents' bitter divorce, Mclean and her father have been fleeing their unhappy past. And Mclean's become a pro at reinventing herself with each move. But in Lakeview, Mclean finds herself putting down roots and making friends—in part, thanks to Dave, the most real person Mclean's ever met. Dave just may be falling in love with her, but can he see the person she really is? Does Mclean herself know?
Giveaway

Nothing brings a smile to our faces like shiny new YA books! Here's your chance to win some. Fill out the form below and leave a comment on this post. You'll be entered to win BITTER END, THE LUCKY KIND, AFTER MIDNIGHT, PRETEND YOU LOVE ME, or one of 3 copies of FLAWLESS. We also have magnetic poetry (as seen to the right) and swag for OyMG courtesy of Amy Fellner Dominy. The contest is open to US residents and winners will be announced on Thursday. Don't forget to return tomorrow. We'll announce even MORE giveaways and you can enter AGAIN!

Happy reading,
The Ladies of ACP

44 comments:

  1. Thanks again! I've been interested in Flawless for some time.

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  2. Thanks so much for the giveaway! There are so many great books coming out this week. I am excited for Flawless, Bitter End, The Lucky Kind, Pretend You Love Me, You Don't Know About Me, and But I Love Him. Haha- almost all of them!

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  3. So many great picks!! Thanks for the giveaway.

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  4. Ohh, I really enjoyed HATE LIST! Looking forward to her next. BUT I LOVE HIM sounds really great, too. Loved her Twitter games with it.

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  5. I love HATE LIST too, so I'm looking forward to BUT IT LOVE HIM. And I can't get enough of Sarah Dessen. It's was a given her newest book would be preordered months ago. :D

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  6. I can't wait for The Lucky Kind and What Happened to Goodbye. Great choices this week!

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  7. Thanks for the great heads up on these books!

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  8. Great giveaways and interviews..as always! :)

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  9. I can't wait to read Flawless!

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  10. After Midnight sounds like a really good read, and I love the cover of Flawless!

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  11. Can't wait to read Bitter End! Thanks for reviewing these others too! Haven't heard of them, but now I'm going to read a few others on the list too!

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  12. Thanks for all of the reviews! I'm looking forward to reading the books.

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  13. I've been waiting for But I Love Him for a long while. These other books sound great, too.

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  14. Thanks for the giveaways, every week there are a ton of great books. Cant' wait to read What Happened to Goodbye & Bitter End!

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  15. Thank you for the giveaways! Always interesting to see new books!

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  16. What Happened to Goodbye. Sarah Dressen always creates a great read that I love sharing with my teens.

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  17. Pretend You Love me looks fantastic.

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  18. I'm drooling over the new Sarah Dessen! I LOVE her.

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  19. Thanks for the interviews. It"s nice to get a glimpse into the authors writing life.

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  20. I can't wait to read What Happened to Goodbye, I have enjoyed Sarah Dessen's books in the past so I can't wait to see what this one has in store.

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  21. What a treat. So many books and so little time, but some interesting books to put on my list. Thanks.

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  22. Another great post of some awesome sounding books, thanks!

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  23. They all look good this week!

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  24. Flawless and After Midnight sound awesome. But I think I'd like all of them.

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  25. So many good books coming out this week! I want to read most all of them! I love to read the interviews of the authors & especially the reviews, it helps me not to judge a book just by its cover!

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  26. I'm psyched for the next book in the Daughters series

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  27. What a great website! I've just now found it though Goodreads and will subscribe!

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  28. Thanks for the great giveaway. Lots of good books to read. Tore923@aol.com

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  29. Amazing author interviews, I know some of these author's books personally and can't wait to read some soon. Flawless was magnificent!

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  30. I never enter these, but I look forward to this blog post every week--as much as my husband dreads it :) Thanks!!!

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  31. amazing interviews! I'm looking forward to read What Happen To Goodbye. Flawless look good too!

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  32. I really enjoy reading the different author perspectives in these little interviews. Lynn Viehl's most surprising experience since becoming a published author has to be one of the best things I've read in a while. I can only imagine her going to the doctors and getting a shot, while the nurse tells her about that story that she always wanted to write.

    Thanks for sharing all this and for the giveaway!

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  33. I am a big Sarah Dessen fan! Thanks for the giveaway.

    thegirlonfire27 at gmail dot com

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  34. I'm a fan of Lynn Viehl-I've loved her other publications in other genres and I'm excited to be able to tell students and friends that she's started out in YA.

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  35. I love these posts, not just for the giveaway but to show me what I need to put on my list this week :) Looks like some great new books this week and I have already heard good things about Bitter End.

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  36. I love Sarah Dessen, so I'm excited to read her new one! I also can't wait to read The Lucky Kind, Flawless, and After Midnight especially! I love to hear about the way authors write - it gives me ideas for my own writings! thanks!

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  37. Ooh, some of these are great. I've been waiting on After Midnight and But I Love Him for a while now. Flawless sounds interesting, as well.
    I love some of those contemp covers! They're so cute; Pretend You Love Me and You Don't Know Anything About Me.
    I'll take a step back now to get away from the Hordes of Sarah Dessenites.

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  38. Love the interviews - good to read that these published authors struggle with multiple book ideas, just like me!

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  39. I can't wait to read the new Sarah Dessen book! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  40. Happy you have this list. Never heard of the Lucky Kind before and it sounds like my kind of book

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  41. Finally, I tried posting two days ago but couldn't get the comment box to work! I really enjoyed learning about the books offered here. I really think they deal with the issues that more and more teens are having to face. I think any of the books would be a wonderful thing to win.

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  42. Most of these look like they'll be really good. Then and Flawless sound interesting.

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Tell us what you think. We'd love to hear from you! :)