Monday, May 30, 2011

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

Memorial Day weekend is the perfect time to bookmark sparkly summer reads! Read on for author interviews and be sure to scroll all the way down to enter our giveaway.

This Week's Interviews

Spoiled by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
  • From Goodreads: 16-year-old Molly Dix loves her ordinary life in suburban Indiana, so when her single mother passes away, she is shocked to discover that her biological father is Brick Berlin, world famous movie star and red carpet regular. Equally intrigued and terrified by her Hollywood lineage, Molly moves to Southern California and plunges head-first into the deep end of Beverly Hills celebrity life. Just as Molly thinks her new life and family couldn't get any stranger, she meets Brooke Berlin, her gorgeous and spoiled half-sister whom welcomes Molly to la-la land with a healthy dose of passive-aggressive "sisterly love."
How long did you work on this book?
JESSICA: Actually getting to the point where we were writing the book itself took longer than the actual writing process. We worked on the outline, sample chapters and proposal for AGES -- it felt like. But once it went out to publishers and sold to Poppy, we were on a pretty tight deadline. I think we had about three months to write the book itself? So the overall process was lengthy, but the actual TYPING was pretty speedy!

HEATHER: You'd think with two of us, it'd be half the work, but no. We each would take a chapter and write the rough draft, then we'd trade and work through each other's and add ideas or substract stuff and then we'd smoosh them together and move onto the next two, and so forth. So basically every chapter was written by both of us, more than once. In that three-month span. Seriously. With the most concentrated work coming from January to March, which is the busiest period of our blog's life (Globes, Oscars, Grammys, SAGs, Fashion Week...) My back hurt by the time we were done with all that typing.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
JESSICA: Heather and I were really fortunate. Because our blog, Go Fug Yourself, was fairly well-known amongst publishers and editors, and because we'd written a book based on it in 2008, our awesome agent -- Scott Hoffman, at Folio, who deserves a shout-out! -- was able to drum up some interest in the project before we were done with the proposal. And we were really lucky that we had an agent before we even started working on it, which I know is not always the case. I think we definitely benefited from being a known quantity. So when he sent the actual proposal and sample chapters out, we got feedback pretty quickly. Certain publishers definitely passed, but we ended up taking phone calls from a few of them and two made offers. We really, really liked both sets of editors, but we eventually decided to go with Poppy.

HEATHER: We did a whole proposal that we threw out -- same premise but kind of a brain dump, where we threw ALL our ideas out on paper and then were able to sift through it and say, okay, that's extraneous, that's good, that's just flat-out terrible, oh my God what are we thinking with this, etc. From there we wrote a modified one that we felt really good about, and that's what made the rounds. It was far from perfect, but I think it showed that the raw material was there. Thankfully the ladies at Poppy agreed. For us, the trick, and the focus of our first round of notes, really was learning to write a Hollywood parody novel that didn't descend into all-camp, all-the-time. It's always better to throw in too much and scale back than to have too little, but since the pages we sent for the proposal were all about establishing the universe, we tended to push really hard with the parody and our editors were awesome about shepherding us through scaling back on that and mixing in enough heart to get people hooked. And then we were off and running.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
JESSICA:  The best advice I ever got was just to KEEP WRITING. Simple, but true.

HEATHER: It really is. You don't know who or what you are as a writer until you try it. And, be prepared to have the first thing you try really, really suck. It might not, but if it does, you're in good company with, oh, almost everyone else who's ever written anything. Nobody is perfect out of the gate. Our first proposal, the one we dumped and started over with? I look back and shudder. I have kept it and occasionally look at it just to remind myself how much we've grown as writers even just since then. It's hard to see it and know we didn't knock it out of the park from day one -- Jess and I are both perfectionists and we don't like screwing up, which is not to say we don't DO it, just that we hate it. But thank God we got it on paper, because we learned a TON. It takes guts to try and fail but that's all part of it.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
JESSICA: I think the most delightful thing about it, so far, is hearing from the readers of our blog how excited they are about the book, and how much they're enjoying it. I wouldn't say I'm surprised, per se, about how supportive they've been, but it has been really lovely to find out how many people are happy and excited for a friend (or someone who feels like a friend) when they publish a book.

HEATHER: I am surprised that anybody becomes an author in The Age Of The Amazon Sales Rank and still retains their sanity. So far I'm doing okay, though. Who knew?


Nightspell by Leah Cypess

  • From Goodreads: Here be ghosts, the maps said, and that was all. In this haunted kingdom, ghosts linger—not just in the deepest forests or the darkest caverns, but alongside the living, as part of a twisted palace court that revels all night and sleeps through the daylight hours. Darri's sister was trapped in this place of fear and shadows as a child. And now Darri has a chance to save her sister . . . if she agrees to a betrothal with the prince of the dead. But nothing is simple in this eerie kingdom—not her sister, who has changed beyond recognition; not her plan, which will be thrown off track almost at once; and not the undead prince, who seems more alive than anyone else. In a court seething with the desire for vengeance, Darri holds the key to the balance between life and death. Can her warrior heart withstand the most wrenching choice of all?
How long did you work on this book?
Well, that depends on how you're counting. I started it over a decade ago, when I was still in high school. (Okay, far more than a decade!) I worked on it for a summer, got the plot hopelessly entangled, gave up, and moved on to other things. But I never put that notebook into my "discards" pile, because I really like the idea of a kingdom where ghosts lived side by side with the living, and I wasn't willing to give up on it. A few years ago, when I took a year off to write full time, I pulled out that notebook, read through it, then put it aside and started over. From there, it probably took me about three years.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
Put it this way: when I got my offer from HarperCollins, I also got an agent, and he asked me to send him a complete list of my manuscripts and their submission histories. It was sixteen pages long.

I had written three manuscripts that had all been rejected by every publisher in existence, one that was still making the rounds, and then Mistwood. Mistwood was snapped up almost immediately, but I think of it as the culmination of that whole process; every book I wrote allowed me to add a few more editors to the list of those who had asked me to send them my next manuscript. In fact, the imprint that bought Mistwood (Greenwillow Books) is currently closed to unagented submissions - but 7 or so years ago, when they were still open, I got my first "but do send me your next book" rejection letter. So I was sort of grandfathered in.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Not to pin all your hopes on a single manuscript or story. I had one manuscript that I was *sure* was going to be the one published – it got a revisions request from one editor, a request for its submission status from another, positive responses from pretty much everyone. But in the end, it was "almost but not quite" everywhere I sent it. Eventually I had to shelve it and move on to the next thing. I still think it's a great story, and maybe someday I'll be able to revise and publish it, but it obviously didn't have whatever it took to be my break-in novel.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
While I was on my submissions journey, getting published was the gold at the end of the rainbow - I didn't think past it - so pretty much everything has been a surprise! Some surprises have been pleasant, some unpleasant, but in a way it's like I entered an entirely different world. I would say my first and possibly biggest surprise was how thorough and intensive the revisions process is. It seems that even when a publisher likes a book enough to buy it, it still has to go through huge changes before it's publishable.


She Loves You, She Loves You Not... by Julie Anne Peters

  • From Goodreads: Seventeen-year-old Alyssa thought she knew who she was. She had her family, her best friends, and most importantly, she had Sarah. Sarah, her girlfriend, with whom she dreamed with about the day they could move far away and live out and proud and accepted for themselves, instead of having to hide their relationship. Alyssa never thought she would have to make that move by herself, but disowned by her father and cut off from everyone she loves, she is forced to move hundreds of miles away to live with Carly, a mother she barely knows, in a town where everyone immediately dismisses her as 'Carly's girl.' Struggling to forget her past and come to terms with her future, will Alyssa be able to build a new life for herself and believe in love again? Or will she be forced to relive the mistakes that have cost her everything and everyone she cared about?
What routines do you find helpful for you to stay actively writing?
If I'm working on a first draft, I get up early every morning (five days a week) and write until my hand hurts or I can't stay in the alternative universe I've created. Three hours is about as long as I can project myself completely into a story. Since I write in longhand, I have to take occasional mini breaks to shake off the carpal tunnel. I'm a morning person, so all the writing I do, whether it's original or revision, is completed while I'm coherent. By the afternoon, my brain is sludge. That's when I answer my emails and do my social networking.

I read as much as possible to remind me why I write -- because writing is the hardest work I've ever done. Over time, it takes its toll emotionally, physically, spiritually and financially. My love affair with reading and my readers keeps me going.

Between writing books, I try to take a month-long mental break. But since I write for a living, I'm not allowed the luxury of slacking off for too long.

As a published writer, do you feel pressure to balance your creative writing license with what the audience wants? If so, how do you balance the two?
No, not really. I write books I'd want to read. I'm my own best audience.

What advice would you offer writers to build their marketing platform before they become published?
This is an ongoing issue we discuss in my critique group. We have writers who are in the early stages of publication or on the verge of having their first book published. We talk a lot about blogging, twittering and social networking. In addition to suppporting each other, we're making plans to create our own Web site and blog to drive traffic to our books and art. I definitely think it's advantageous to combine your marketing efforts with those of other writers. A chorus of cheerleaders is louder than one lone voice in the crowd.

How much do trends influence your writing?
The trends I watch carefully are societal and political changes in the LGBTQI movement. For example, young people are coming out sooner and feeling comfortable calling themselves lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Bisexual youth, especially, would like to see more literature featuring them. LGBTQI characters aren't as prevalent as they could be in many of the genres, including paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, horror, mysteries, etc. And writers for younger readers, even as young as picture book readers, should be considering stories about gender and sexual diversity.


Queen of the Dead (The Ghost and the Goth #2) by Stacey Kade

  • From Goodreads: After being sent back from the light, Alona Dare - former homecoming queen, current Queen of the Dead - finds herself doing something she never expected: working. Instead of spending days perfecting her tan by the pool (her typical summer routine when she was, you know, alive), Alona must now cater to the needs of other lost spirits. By her side for all of this - ugh - “helping of others” is Will Killian: social outcast, seer of the dead, and someone Alona cares about more than she’d like. Before Alona can make a final ruling on Will’s “friend” or “more” status, though, she discovers trouble at home. Her mom is tossing out Alona’s most valuable possessions, and her dad is expecting a new daughter with his wicked wife. Is it possible her family is already moving on? Hello! She’s only been dead for two months! Thankfully, Alona knows just the guy who can put a stop to this mess. Unfortunately for Alona, Will has other stuff on his mind, and Mina, a young (and beautiful) seer, is at the top of the list. She’s the first ghost-talker Will’s ever met—aside from his father—and she may hold answers to Will’s troubled past. But can she be trusted? Alona immediately puts a check mark in the “clearly not” column. But Will is - ahem - willing to find out, even if it means leaving a hurt and angry Alona to her own devices, which is never a good idea.
How long did you work on this book?
Let's see...I think I started working on Queen of the Dead in May 2009. I turned in the final draft in June 2010. But that included extensive (and necessary) revisions/rewrites as well.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
I've been writing for publication since about 1998. And yeah, it was a long road. :) Many, many rejections. But I learned a lot during that time!

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Finish your draft. No matter how off the rails it seems to have gone. Don't stop and attempt rewrites while you're still in the middle of the story (as I have done many times before). You don't always know what you need to fix at the beginning until you make it all the way until "THE END." :) A very hard lesson for me to learn, that was.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
When I was a kid, I used to sort of think there would be a day when I'd wake up and know everything I needed to know to be an "adult." :) I think I had the same misconception about being published. You know, the idea that once your book is on the shelf, you're instantly filled with all this wisdom and confidence when it comes to telling stories. Um, yeah. Not so much. I'm still figuring it out as I go along, just like always. :) (And if someone actually did receive an instant download of wisdom and confidence on their release day, don't tell me. I don't want to know. Believing that ALL of us are out here doing our best and yet still kind of flailing around helplessly sometimes is what allows me to sleep at night.)


Forgiven by Janet Fox

  • From Goodreads: Kula Baker never expected to find herself on the streets of San Francisco, alone but for a letter of introduction. Though she has come to the city to save her father from a cruel fate, Kula soon finds herself swept up in a world of art and elegance - a world she hardly dared dream of back in Montana, where she was no more than the daughter of an outlaw. And then there is the handsome David Wong, whose smiling eyes and soft-spoken manner have an uncanny way of breaking through Kula's carefully crafted reserve. Yet when disaster strikes and the wreckage threatens all she holds dear, Kula realizes that only by unlocking her heart can she begin to carve a new future for herself.

How long did you work on this book?
FORGIVEN is the second novel in a four-novel series of connected stories. I finished the edits on my first novel, FAITHFUL, in November 2009 (it came out in June 2010) and I had a deadline for novel #2 – which became FORGIVEN – of July 1 2010. So I had no time to lose in writing FORGIVEN! I started it in December 2009 and sent it to my editor before the deadline, which meant I wrote the entire novel in under 6 months, a record for me. It felt like a bit of a race, but I was also in the final semester of my MFA program, which meant I had the oversight of my amazing advisor Leda Schubert, and I was able to work on it for my creative thesis.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
I had a million rejections. Well, maybe not a million, but a very large number. I’d been writing and sending things out for four years before I sold my first story to Spider Magazine. Then I sold a non-fiction piece to Highlights, and a non-fiction book to Free Spirit Publishing (GET ORGANIZED WITHOUT LOSING IT.) Those successes gave me the confidence to go on. I found my agent at an SCBWI conference critique; she sold my first novel, FAITHFUL, almost a year after I signed with her, and she sold it as part of a two-book deal, which was fabulous. There is no question that the main character trait of a successful writer is perseverance.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Other than to persevere, I have several pieces of advice. First, show up. As Jane Yolen likes to say, BIC – butt in chair. Writing to success takes a lot of hard work and the willingness to revise and learn and grow. Second, read everything. Read constantly. Read in your genre and outside your comfort zone. You cannot become a writer who writes in a vacuum; what kids and teens read today is not what your mother read or even what you read. Third, (the advice I’d give anyone, anywhere) be nice. Respect other authors, editors, agents, reviewers. Be yourself, but be nice.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
What a wonderful community the kidlit community is – how many lovely friends I’ve made, and how caring, warm and open is the community of people who write for children. That community is just as important to me as my success – in fact, it’s more important. It’s a community that truly believes that writing for children is a mission: a mission to improve literacy, to improve the condition of children everywhere, to reach kids and touch them as individuals. That I belong to such a selfless and dedicated family of friends has surprised and pleased me more than anything.

The Eternal Sea by Angie Frazier
  • From Goodreads: Romance and adventure are just around the corner . . . After the thrilling journey that led Camille through the dangerous discovery of love, secrets, and a magical stone that grants immortality, Camille has everything she wants. She's escaped the men who wanted her dead, and now she is ready to build a new life with Oscar, her one true love. But things are not to be so simple. Oscar is acting strangely, and before they can even board a ship from Australia back home, to San Francisco, Camille learns that the journey is not over. If she does not follow the magic of the curse of Umandu, her life and Ocar's could be in grave danger.
How long did you work on this book?
I started writing The Eternal Sea before I’d even sold Everlasting. I knew I wanted to continue Oscar and Camille’s story, so even without knowing whether or not it would sell I started it. I did what I usually do: I wrote fast and then revised slowly! Overall, I think it took me about three years to write and revise. I still wish I’d had more time to write it though!

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
It was long and painful with numerous rejections. I had a box filled with all of my rejection slips and letters at one point, but I’ve since tossed it. I remember the crushing pain well enough! But with every rejection, I would get more and more stubborn, and I’d send out another query. I pushed aside the hurt, and move on. It’s the only way to make it.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Besides not letting the rejections stop them from sending out more queries (and I’m not talking about 10 or 20 query letters and rejections, but up to 100 or more!) my best advice is to concentrate on the writing. Ultimately, your writing is the final factor. If you read as much as you can, pay attention to the craft, and spend more time writing than networking online, your devotion will show in your manuscript.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
One year from my debut release, I’m the most surprised by how being a published author is just as anguishing (if not more so!) as it was being an aspiring author. I’m extremely grateful to have three books out with Scholastic—it’s my dream come true. But there have also been disappointments, setbacks, and factors that are completely out of my control. Being published is like entering a new side of my dream job, and it comes with new goals. Now, more than ever, I realize that the writing is the most important thing for me to concentrate on.

Additional Releases

The Vampire Stalker by Allison Van Diepen
  • From Goodreads: Amy is in love with someone who doesn't exist: Alexander Banks, the dashing hero in a popular series of vampire novels. Then one night, Amy meets a boy who bears an eerie resemblance to Alexander. In fact, he IS Alexander, who has escaped from the pages of the book and is in hot pursuit of a wicked vampire named Vigo. Together, Amy and Alexander set out to track Vigo and learn how and why Alexander crossed over. But when she and Alexander begin to fall for each other, Amy wonders if she even wants him to ever return to the realm of fiction.
Giveaway

Thanks to generous authors and awesome publishing houses, YOU can get your hands on some of these great books. FORGIVEN, SPOILED, THE ETERNAL SEA, SHE LOVES YOU, SHE LOVES YOU NOT, and QUEEN OF THE DEAD are all up for grabs. Don't forget to enter again tomorrow when we reveal even more giveaways! Please leave a comment on this post and fill out the form below. The contest is open to US residents and we will announce winners on Thursday!

Happy reading,
The Ladies of ACP

51 comments:

  1. Lots of great choices for this week. I live for In Store This Week (even if my bookshelf doesn't). :D

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  2. I haven't heard much about most of these books, but I love all of the covers and I can't wait to learn more!

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  3. I hadn't heard of these books yet. Forgiven and Spoiled look awesome.

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  4. Thanks for the giveaway! So many good books out this week - I can't wait to read them!

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  5. I love hearing authors describe their writing process. It's so helpful to new authors... especially to find out how wide and varied the different methods are, and how there really is no right way to go about it. (Pun intended?)

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  6. I always love seeing what books will be posted every week. They alll sound great & thanks for the chance to win!

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  7. I love that there's a few sequels this week. Can't wait to continue the story!

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  8. Ooh, lots of great releases this week! I really liked Leah Cypess' interview. Inspiring!

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  9. Thank you for the giveaway! So many new books this week to add to my TBR list! :)

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  10. This is awesome! Thanks so much.

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  11. All of these books look fantastic! Thanks for the giveaway! :)

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  12. I read an ARC of Queen of the dead and LOVED IT!!!! seriously it was amazing!

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  13. I really enjoyed Queen of the Dead! And Forgiven looks quite good.

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  14. Yay! Very excited! I loved Mistwood, and can't wait for Nightspell! And I've been looking forward to the Vampire Stalker for ages!
    Thanks!

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  15. I love the fuggirls and hope to win their book spoiled! It loomks so good!!

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  16. Ooh, I'm in cover love with Forgiven! Thanks for the chance! wilsondev(at)gmail(Dot)com

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  17. I was encouraged by the fact that even successful authors have had their share of rejections. It gives me the courage to keep trying.
    Also, any of these books would be wonderful. As per usual the titles you're offering are top notch.

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  18. Victoria ZumbrumMay 30, 2011 at 9:03 PM

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

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  19. They all sound interesting, but Spoiled sounds especially page-turning!

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  20. Awesome. How do you put all this together each week and still live your lives?!

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  21. What a great selection of books! I'll be on the lookout for them at B & N. :-)

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  22. I am so, so excited for QUEEN OF THE DEAD! And I wasn't a huge fan of FAITHFUL, but the cover of FORGIVEN makes me feel like I should give it a chance...

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  23. I want Queen of the Dead and Forgiven. I didn't like Kula all the much but maybe it'll change me!

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  24. Nightspell! Wow there are some other great titles on there! I cannot wait to check them out.

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  25. I'm a middle school teacher, so I'm always excited to read about new YA books--not only because of my students, but because I can't wait to read them myself! I'm really looking forward to Spoiled. I think it will be a hit with my students and a fun summer read. Hope I win it!

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  26. So many awesome reads coming out!!

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  27. I would love to read The Eternal Sea.

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  28. I love Queen of the Dead interview. I can't wait to read it.

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  29. I love the cover for Forgiven! I met Janet Fox at Kidlit Con and she was super super nice!

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  30. Wow, great selection of books! very excited :)

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  31. I can't wait to read these books. They sound great!

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  32. Really excited about Forgiven and Queen of the Dead, both of which are high on my wish list.

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  33. Such an awesome group of books this week!

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  34. thanks for the awesome giveaway! Here's to hoping *crosses fingers* :)

    Diana

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  35. I'm really excited about a lot of these books. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  36. I really do love reading these interviews. There is always a surprise with how an author finally became published or the surprises they now have as a published author.

    Thanks for sharing and for the giveaway!

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  37. I am always looking forward to Mondays here thanks for the wonderful interviews and giveaways.

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  38. Awesome contest! These are some of the books that I have been wanting to read! Thx!

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  39. Nightspell is one I've been waiting for. I just adored Mistwood.

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  40. So many wonderful books. I am looking forward to reading Spoiled. :)

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  41. Last year when I read The Ghost and the Goth I devoured it in a matter of hours. Can't wait to get my hands on Queen of the Dead. :)

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  42. what a great selection of books :) cant wait to get them

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