Monday, June 6, 2011

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

Have you been itching to start your summer reading? These books release just in time to satisfy. Read on for author interviews, fabulous new books, and one-of-a-kind giveaways! Don't forget to stop by tomorrow for a second chance to enter our contest.

This Week's Interviews

What We Keep Is Not Always What Will Stay by Amanda Cockrell
  • From Goodreads: Fifteen-year-old Angie never used to think much about God—until things started getting weird. Like the statue of St. Felix, her secret confidante, suddenly coming off his pedestal and talking to her. And Angie's mother, who's busting up her third marriage for no apparent reason. Then there's Jesse Francis, sent home from Afghanistan at age nineteen with his leg blown off. Now he's expected to finish high school and fit right back in. Is God even paying attention to any of this? Against the advice of an increasingly vocal St. Felix (who knows a thing or two about war), Angie falls for Jesse—who's a lot deeper than most high school guys. But Jesse is battling some major demons. As his rages start to become more frequent and unpredictable, Angie finds herself losing control of the situation. And she's starting to wonder: can one person ever make things right for 'someone else?
How long did you work on this book?
Longer than I care to think about. I started it in 2004 and other things kept getting in the way, but I loved the idea so I never really let go of it.

I hadn’t let go of the idea in decades actually, and this why you never throw anything away: The germ of the plot was my college senior thesis, which was a historical play in verse, heavily under the influence of Christopher Fry. It concerned a girl who has been praying to the statue of a saint, which suddenly comes alive, claiming that God has de-sainted him for not being holy enough. I don’t write blank verse nearly as well as Christopher Fry did, and there is not a lot of market these days for historical plays in blank verse. But years later I thought the premise still had possibilities, and the war had been on my mind, and I thought the saint probably had some old battle scars of his own.
I started really working on it in 2007 and it took about a year to get a first draft down. Then another six months to polish it.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
A friend had me send it to her editor, who asked for revisions, and then more revisions, and more, and then finally just faded away. Then I sent it to Sarah Davies of The Greenhouse, an agent who had spoken at Hollins University, where I direct the Graduate Program in Children’s Literature. She had given a talk at Hollins, and I liked her approach, so I emailed her and said that I had finally finished a YA novel and would she be willing to take a look.

She would.
I sent it to her.
Hmmm, she said. It had possibilities but needed work. She gave me some guidance as to what kind of changes would make it stronger—some the opposite of what the editor had asked for, but much more to my liking.
However...
I did a really awful revision.
She turned it down.
Agony. Rethinking. Light dawns. Reluctance to tackle the tough stuff had done me in.
Timid plea for another shot at it.
Gracious assent.
Five months of taking the entire middle apart and reassembling with new parts.
Nerve-racking but well worth the agony and I learned something crucial about revision from it.

She sent it to a bunch of places, got some turn-downs, some nice letters from editors who had just published something with a too-similar theme, and a Yes from Flux.

It was originally titled The Untied Church of Dog, from a bumper sticker that my heroine sees that says:

DYSLEXICS, REMEMBER THAT DOG LOVES YOU.
A MESSAGE FROM THE UNTIED CHURCH OF DOG.

All the writers I knew loved it, but Sarah and my editor both kindly pointed out that booksellers would be bound to type “United” into their computers instead of “Untied” and not find it. So that was the nail in the coffin for that title.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
When you find yourself not wanting to write a scene, dodging that bit, thinking maybe you can just summarize it, or otherwise trying to weasel out of writing it because it makes you uncomfortable, that is a sure sign that this is something you have to write. It has to do with the heart of your book and you will shortchange the story and your readers if you dodge it.

And pay attention. The world is full of stuff too peculiar and wonderful to make up. Be interested in everything.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

Not a whole lot, actually. My parents were writers—a novelist and a screenwriter—and I was well aware that the family profession was severely lacking in glamour. I have published a lot of books for adults before now, but this is my first for young adults. What did surprise me was that my YA publisher, Flux, has paid a lot more attention to me, and been much more supportive, than any of the previous publishers of my adult fiction. They even gave me input on the cover, resulting in the only cover I have ever had that I simply love. And my editor, Brian Farrey, sent me this on April Fool’s Day, which cemented him in my heart forever:

Dear Flux authors,

In an effort to keep with the times and provide clearer editorial notes for our authors, you will henceforth be receiving marked-up manuscripts with the following revision comments. Feel free to print out the guide below and paste it near your work station for easy reference. We feel that revisions will go much more smoothly in the future if we’re all on the same page.

~Brian

Sirenz by Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman
  • From Goodreads: Bickering frenemies Meg and Shar are doing some serious damage at a midnight sample sale when they find themselves arguing over a pair of shoes—with fatal consequences. One innocent bystander later, the girls are suddenly at the mercy of Hades—the god of the underworld—himself. To make them atone for what they’ve done, Hades forces the teens to become special-assignment Sirens, luring to the Underworld any individual whose unholy contract is up. But just because they have an otherworldly part-time job now doesn’t mean Meg and Shar can ignore life’s drudgeries (work) or pleasures (fashion!). Finding that delicate balance between their old and new responsibilities turns out to be harder than they expected, especially when an entire pantheon of Greek deities decides to get involved. Then there’s the matter of the fine print in their contracts . . .
How long did you work on this book?
From conception to holding SIRENZ in our hands took about three years--sometimes for hours a day, sometimes just a quick email, sometimes just wishing for success.

How was your journey to publication--long, short, how many rejections?
We stopped counting the rejections we got (we're definitely in double digit territory)--and so many times we were SO close! It seemed a long road with no end in sight, but looking back it's hard to believe it's been three years. Sometimes it seems like yesterday, but while you're going through it...

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Char~Learn what you need to know--how to write well, how to edit your work, how the process works, which editors will be interested, etc. There's a lot to learn, and if you want to be successful, you have to learn it, or be awfully lucky. It's not easy, it's not fast, it's not for anyone who can't take criticism. You're putting yourself into your work and not everyone is going to like it.

Nat~Never, under any circumstances, give up. NEVER. Hard as it may be sometimes, you MUST believe in yourself. YOU CAN DO IT.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
One of the most surprising things about becoming a published author is the amount of non-writing work that happens before during and after the publishing process. Once you write your book, you're not done. There's any number of rewrites and revisions, promotion, marketing and selling--and while publishing houses will help their authors in different degrees authors are still expected to do a lot--getting the word out about your book is not an easy task. *BUT* the writing community is very tight knit and supportive--and this doesn't just include writers, but readers, editors, agents, bloggers and librarians. The amount of help we got from the community--advice, encouragement, promotion--has been just amazing. We hope we're returning the favor!

The Quicksilver Faire: The Scions of Shadow #2 by Gillian Summers
  • From Goodreads: Keelie Heartwood believes that her mission in Canada is to resolve a conflict between the elves and the fae. But at the dazzling Fairy High Court — fraught with enchantments and trickery — she soon learns otherwise. An imbalance in magic has created a colossal rift that can destroy the world. Keelie's mixed blood (elf, human, and fae) makes her powerful, but this sixteen-year-old L.A. girl can't fix things alone. In this strange, magical place where time is unruly, nasty goblins run amok, and an ancient (and handsome) forest god is pursuing her, Keelie isn't sure just whom to trust.
How long did you work on this book?
It took us about six months to work on this book. It went quickly because we knew the plot and being the fifth book, we’re very familiar with Keelie’s world.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
Our journey to publication as Gillian Summers was very short – one proposal with an arc for the first three books was sent to our agent, and bang, it sold. Individually it’s a different matter. :)

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
1.) Above all, be persistent, don’t give up, keep working on your craft.
2.) Develop a tough skin when dealing with critique and rejection.
3.) Learn to look at your work objectively.
4.) Let others read your work, especially fans of the genre you write (Great Aunt Mabel might not get the historical werewolf princess story). Repeat 2 and 3 if you get tough critiques Absorb and act on wise counsel and ignore the haters.

We both love to take craft classes, and even if it’s something we’ve heard before, it’s always interesting to see how other authors approach the subject, especially plotting and world-building. We love to learn and improve.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
It’s surprising how much time we spend working on a book way after we've turned it in. Edits, copy edits, galley proofs - it's like having the same Trick or Treater come by the house three times. First time it's "Oh, how cute! Love your costume!" Then it's "Hmm..must love candy. Here you go." Then it's, "You again?” Number four would be "Oh hell no. Turn the lights off, Larry." LOL!

Crossing Lines by Paul Volponi
  • From Goodreads: Adonis is a jock. He's on the football team and he’s dating one of the prettiest girls in school. Alan is the new kid. He wears lipstick and joins the Fashion Club. Soon enough the football team is out to get him. Adonis is glad to go along with his teammates . . . until they come up with a dangerous plan to humiliate Alan. Now Adonis must decide whether he wants to be a guy who follows the herd or a man who does what's right.From critically acclaimed author Paul Volponi comes this discussable and finely wrought story of bullies, victims, and the bystanders caught in between.
How long did you work on this book? Crossing Lines took me about a year to write and revise. That's pretty normal for me. Sometimes novels happen by accident. I was sitting in a dentist’s outer-office, trying to kill time while my wife was having her teeth cleaned. I picked up one of the national news magazines, the kind I rarely get a chance to see. Thumbing through the pages, I came across a story of a young man who felt like he needed to go to school dressed as a female, because that’s who he believed he was on the inside. Well, it wasn’t too long before another student couldn’t take the idea of it anymore, and acted out violently against this young man. I was very much moved by the story and wanted to write about it. I understood completely that I didn’t know a thing about wanting to dress as a female, and probably couldn’t do justice to the teen. But something inside of me couldn’t let it go. So I began to play with the concept in my mind. From what viewpoint was I qualified to tell this story? After a few minutes, I had the voice of Adonis (a macho football player) in my head. The cross-dressing teen, the only boy in the high school fashion club, would be his sister’s best friend. That meant the teen would probably spend time at Adonis’ house, and maybe stay over for dinner sometimes. Adonis would have to explain all of this to his football buddies. He would have to wear two faces—one to appease his parents and sister, and another to satisfy his less than understanding friends. Hence, Crossing Lines (I had the title before I’d written a single word of the novel) was born. Over the next several months, as I wrote the heart of the story, I was moved by a seemingly endless stream of school-bullying stories in the media. Some of those stories influenced the tone and color of this work. I firmly believe that Crossing Lines is my best and most meaningful novel to date. I hope you will give this novel’s not-so-politically-correct narrator (Adonis) the opportunity to mature before your very eyes.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
My advice to other writers (especially teens) is that you're doing something very important. You're expressing yourself and creating a record of how you feel and interpret the world at a given moment. That a very powerful thing-- for you, your friends, your family, and sometimes for people who you haven't even met. Don't let anyone discourage you.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
Black and White, which one the IRA's Children's Book Award, was turned down by many publishers before Viking signed it. So it wasn't any sort of easy ride at first. But I really liked the novel and kept pushing for a deal in different places. Crossing Lines is my tenth book. I pitched the idea to my editor a few days after I had the narrative voice and basic plot. Within a few days, we were all on the same page about getting it done.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
The best part about having your work on a library shelf, or being read in a high school English class, is that you get to touch people you don't even know. You also get to share intense feelings with them. I especially sense that with my novels Hurricane Song and Rikers High. If I'm riding a train or bus in NYC, and a high school student is reading one of my books, I'll go over and say hello. It leads to some pretty great encounters. I'm also thrilled to be doing SKYPE visits to high school classes, reading and writing groups around the country. It's wonderful to meet so many teens and hear what they're thinking.

What Would My Cell Phone Do? by Micol Ostow
  • From Goodreads: When Aggie Eckhart's family moves from Miami, Florida, to Denville, Alaska, because of her father's job, Aggie feels like a fish out of water. Not only is frozen Denville a far cry from sunny Miami, but she's got no friends, her mother is driving her crazy, and she loses her cell phone within the first monthÑ cutting off her lifeline to civilization. But when an online search for her phone (using the schmancy built-in GPS tracker) reveals that the cell is enjoying life up north much more than Aggie is, she adopts a whole new outlook. No more woe-is-me, now it's all WWMCPD (What Would My Cell Phone Do)? And before Aggie knows it, things are looking a whole lot brighter in this charming, fun, and lighthearted YA romance.
How long did you work on this book?
From conception to publication, I've been working on this book since spring 2007, but that date is a bit misleading, because during that time, I wasn't working on this one project consecutively. My agent and I discussed the concept just before I went into my MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and I put together the first three chapters and a detailed proposal that first semester. My agent and I went back and forth on the proposal a bit, revising and updating, and it took a few months to sell.

After we closed the deal with Puffin, we determined that it publish on the summer 2012 list, which meant that we had quite a bit of time before the first draft was due. In that time, I was busy working on the first draft of 'family,' teaching, and keeping up with grad school. I began working on 'Cell Phone' in earnest during the spring of 2009, after a few back and forths with my editor on the outline and a few key plot points. I turned the first draft in two days before my wedding, in December of 2009! Then, the revision was due a week before my honeymoon, in February '10. So, after a lot of "hurry up and wait," I had to kick it into high gear. Which always seems to be the case. When it rains, it pours!

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
My experience was different than most authors, since I was working in publishing and was initially approached by a colleague about doing some writing. So I managed to sidestep the querying stage, and had access to my wonderful agent from my own work as an editor.

That said, we all face rejection at some point or another as writers -- and it's never easy!

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
I think the most important things to keep in mind are:

To persevere through the rejections. We all hear stories of those overnight successes, and we all wish that could happen to us. But the vast majority of writers will face rejection and disappointment. It's the writers who consistently work to improve their craft, to evolve, and who pick themselves up after rejection who ultimately find the "right" project that clicks, and connects with an editor.

So don't give up! And don't get too attached to any one project. Be flexible, and willing to grow.

On a related note, be honest with yourself, and push yourself to produce your very best work. So often, promising writers are so eager to be published that they query editors and agents before their work is ready, and the market is simply too competitive to support anything other than your very best work. Be patient, and be willing to put in the time to get it right.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
The support of the YA writing community. YA writers are the most nurturing, encouraging writers around!

Displacement by Thalia Chaltas
  • From Goodreads: Home is supposed to be a place you belong. It's supposed to be parents who are there and siblings who bug you and a life that feels comfortable. It’s not supposed to be an absentee mother or a drowned sister. But that's Vera's reality, and she can’t stand it anymore. So she runs. She ends up in an old mining town in the middle of the California desert. It's hot, it's dusty, and it's as isolated as Vera feels. As she goes about setting up her life, she also unwittingly starts the process of healing and–eventually– figuring out what home might really mean for her.
How long did you work on this book?
I worked on it about a year and a half, from research trip to Death Valley till the final edit. I tend to write three major drafts for a book, the first draft being absolute junk, the second draft being much more cohesive, and the third draft being pretty well set - with a bunch of small edits still to happen.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
This book was written on contract with Viking, and they accepted my first draft of absolute junk, ha ha! But based on working with me on BECAUSE I AM FURNITURE, they also knew I would be able to pull it together. I wrote the first draft after finishing my research in Death Valley, and it was kind of all over the place - it took two very hefty rewrites to make it readable.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
If you feel like writing is not coming well, start reading. Other peoples' writing will spark my writing side, often because I wonder what I would have done differently. Their cadence is different, their timing is different, their characters are different, all through the other author's eyes. How would I change it to suit me? Reading other authors is a great bouncing board when I'm stuck.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
Fans! I never never never even thought about readers reaching out to me. Authors work alone. I hoped I would touch people, but to hear how someone enjoys my work is fantastic. Authors are so accessible now, and I love hearing from people who make connections between themselves and the characters, what the characters go through, or how they understand someone else because of what I've written. My readers are the best surprise I could have received. Thank you!

Additional Releases
The Waking: Spirits of the Noh (Waking - Trilogy) by Thomas Randall
  • From Goodreads: Kara Foster is finally starting to fit in at her boarding school in Japan—after all, nothing bonds you with your classmates like having an ancient demon put a curse on you. Hoping life can go back to normal now that the monster has been laid to rest, Kara joins her friends Sakura and Miho in putting on a play for the Noh drama club. It's the story of the Hannya, a snake demon who inhabits the body of a beautiful woman. When a few members of the Noh club go missing, Kara fears that the real Hannya has been awakened by the curse. Then Miho is abducted, and Kara must find her before the Hannya exacts her terrible revenge. But the demon is wily and may be hidden in the last place anyone would think to look.
Cruel Love (Privilege) by Kate Brian
  • From Goodreads: After escaping from the Brenda T. Trumball Correctional Facility for Women and stealing the identity of rich socialite, Ariana Osgood finally thought she was on the path she always believed she deserved. But her past caught up with her and she is forced right back to her old ways, making everything she wants seem further out of reach. And some familiar faces are back to make things even worse for her. The Privilege series comes to and end with all the suspense, romance, drama and, wherever Ariana is concerned, murder you'd expect.
Brother/Sister by Sean Olin
  • From Goodreads: Will and Asheley have a troubled past. Their father left them when they were little, and their mother has just been carted off to an alcohol treatment center. Now, they have the house to themselves, and an endless California summer stretching out before them. Through alternating perspectives, they tell the story of how and why their lives spun violently out of control - right up to the impossibly shocking conclusion you'll have to read for yourself to believe.
Giveaway
You're in luck- several of these books are up for grabs thanks to the generosity of the authors and publishing houses. Fill out the form below and leave a comment on this post. You'll be entered to win WHAT WE KEEP IS NOT ALWAYS WHAT WILL STAY, SIRENZ, DISPLACEMENT, THE QUICKSILVER FAIRE, CROSSING LINES, and CRUSH CONTROL. Be sure to return tomorrow so you can enter AGAIN! The contest is open to US residents and winners will be announced on Thursday.

Happy reading,
The Ladies of ACP

41 comments:

  1. Epic giveaway! These all look great.

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  2. Some very interesting releases this week. Displacement looks great. Thanks again!

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  3. Great giveaway. I'd love to win The Quicksilver Faire.

    FYI I'm interviewing Elana Johnson today and doing a big giveaway to support the debut of her book tomorrow at Literary Rambles. I hope you'll stop by.

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  4. Thanks for the giveaways! I haven't heard of many of these books, but they sound good. Thanks for the interviews and opportunity to win.

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  5. So many great choices and a few I haven't heard of. Thanks for highlighting them and for the giveaway!!

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  6. I'm quite excited about WHAT WE KEEP IS NOT ALWAYS WHAT WILL STAY. Flux puts out such great contemporary reads! Great list!

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  7. Those sound like great books! I'm especilly looking forward to "What We Keep...."

    thanks!

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  8. Inspiring interviews, as usual! These all look great~ Crossing Lines and Displacement sound like powerful stories :)

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  9. Glad to see so many great books coming out this week! :)

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  10. More books for my wish list! I am looking forward to Displacement the most, though :)

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  11. Oh wow...these look so great! And I didn't know about any of them! Thank goodness you guys keep me in the loop! :)

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

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  12. Lots of great books! I am especially looking forward to reading Sirenz

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  13. Displacement looks intriguing.

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  14. These books sound like good reads. I love to read YA fiction because it's usually faster paced and more compelling than the average adult lit. I particularly want to read "What we keep is not always what will stay" because the main character struggles with her faith.

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  15. Some of these look incredible. I've been waiting for Crush Control for a while. Glad it's out! I loved the editing marks!

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  16. My TBR pile is going to topple :) These books sound so great! Also: happy to hear it takes some writers years to get to publication. :)

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  17. This an a great giveaway. Thank you so much for doing this. I'm an avid reader of fantasy, especially YA, so I really hope I win. I'm especially excited abotu The Quicksilver Faire. I love any book with faeries in it!

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  18. YEAH! I am so excited for these books! [:

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  19. Thanks for this awesome giveaway! I can't wait for What we Keep is not Always What will Stay. Actually all of these books sounds pretty awesome. I love the sounds of Sirenz. Thank you!

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  20. What an eclectic group this week!! My wishlist keeps growing!

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  21. All these books sound so great! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  22. Love Fairy stories. The Quicksilver Faire looks great.

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  23. Victoria ZumbrumJune 6, 2011 at 8:17 PM

    Thanks for the giveaway. Some really great books. Tore923@aol.com

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  24. Can't wait for Sirenz! Saw the excerpt on Natalie Zaman's blog and couldn't wait for June to roll around.

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  25. Hey I got The Warlock in the mail today! Thanks again.

    thegirlonfire

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  26. Yay! A lot of great books coming out this week!

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  27. Awesome books this week! Sirens look really kool, can't wait to read it!

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  28. Great interviews as always. I love reading these!

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  29. Wow. So many books coming out that I want...my husband is gonna be thrilled :o

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  30. Yeah! New books! I hope I win something :)

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  31. So many wonderful books and authors!

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  32. This week's books are full of awesome!

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  33. Awesome books releasing this week! Yay, Thalia and Elana!!

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  34. Awesome, Awesome stories. I want to read them.

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  35. Ahh so many good books again & I love reading the interviews :)

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  36. Eep! So many brilliant sounding books!

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  37. What We Keep and WWMCPD both sounds great. I also can't wait to read the Tuesday books! They all look fantabulous!

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  38. Great Interviews! There are a lot of great books featured that I did not know about.

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  39. Amanda Cockrell's story is so encouraging, to work on a book since 2004 and not give up and finally see it in print. What persistance. That alone makes me want to read her book.

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