Friday, February 28, 2014

37 Emptying the Shelves Giveaway -- Twelve YA Book Giveaways

Don't forget that the Free March First Five Pages workshop starts tomorrow at noon. Our mentor this month is the fabulous Elana Johnson. Check out the rules here, and take a peek also at our new list of permanent mentors who will be supporting participants with additional critiques through the initial entry and two revisions we will do together.

Also, we are moving our Roundup of New Releases to Mondays, so the list of new releases for next week--along with the giveaways for next week--will be posted on Monday, March 3rd. Today's post is what I like to call an Emptying the Shelves Giveaway. We're giving away the lingering ARCs and hard copies that we have. Check out the great books we're giving away and enter to win at the bottom of the post!


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by Tonya Cherie Hegamin
Advance Review Copy Giveaway
Released 2/11/2014

Winner - Kateri Ransom

In 1848, an educated slave girl faces an inconceivable choice — between bondage and freedom, family and love.

On one side of the Mason-Dixon Line lives fifteen-year-old Willow, her master’s favorite servant. She’s been taught to read and has learned to write. She believes her master is good to her and fears the rebel slave runaways. On the other side of the line is seventeen-year-old Cato, a black man, free born. It’s his personal mission to sneak as many fugitive slaves to freedom as he can. Willow’s and Cato’s lives are about to intersect, with life-changing consequences for both of them. Tonya Cherie Hegamin’s moving coming-of-age story is a poignant meditation on the many ways a person can be enslaved, and the force of will needed to be truly emancipated.

Purchase Willow at Amazon
Purchase Willow at IndieBound
View Willow on Goodreads

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Feral Curse
by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Hardcover Giveaway
Released 2/28/2014

Winner - Anne Marie Carter

The second installment of New York Times best-selling author Cynthia Leitich Smith’s thrilling Feral series delivers danger, romance, and suspense in an all new action-packed adventure.

The adopted daughter of two respectable human parents, Kayla is a werecat in the closet. All she knows is the human world. When she comes out to her boyfriend, tragedy ensues, and her determination to know and embrace her heritage grows. Help appears in the lithe form of sexy male werecat Yoshi, backed up by Aimee and Clyde, as the four set out to solve the mystery of a possessed antique carousel while fielding miscast magic, obsessive strangers, and mounting species intolerance. Paranormal fans will go wild for this rousing second Feral adventure.

Purchase Feral Curse at Amazon
Purchase Feral Curse at IndieBound
View Feral Curse on Goodreads

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Pieces of Me
by Amber Kizer
Hardcover Giveaway
Delacorte Press
Released 2/28/2014

Winner - Marie Hemphill

When high school oddball and introvert Jessica Chai is killed in a car accident, her parents decide that Jessica would have wanted her organs donated to those who so desperately need these gifts of life. But Jessica is angry about dying and being dismembered. Taking the idea of cell memory to the next level, not only do the recipients get pieces of Jessica, but gets pieces of their memories and lives moving forward—she knows what they know and keeps tabs on their growth, recovery, and development. This begins her journey to learn her purpose as she begins to grasp that her ties to these teenagers goes beyond random weirdness. It's through their lives that Jessica learns about herself, as she watches the lives she literally touched continue to interlock.

Purchase Pieces of Me at Amazon
Purchase Pieces of Me at IndieBound
View Pieces of Me on Goodreads

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The True Adventures of Nicolo Zen
by Nicholas Christopher
Hardcover Giveaway
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Released 2/28/2014

Winner - Erin Gunderson

This richly-detailed historical novel from master storyteller Nicholas Christopher features an unforgettable hero: Nicolo Zen is all alone in 1700s Venice, save for his clarinet, which a mysterious magician had enchanted, allowing its first player to perform expertly. Soon Nicolo is a famous virtuoso, wealthy beyond his dreams, but he can't stop wondering if he earned the success himself -- or what might happen if the spell were removed. And throughout it all, he continues to think about the girl he met in Venice, what she might be doing and if she's safe from harm.

With a guest appearance by composer Vivaldi, and brimming with fascinating period details, this is a compelling coming-of-age story full of universal themes and a love story that will conjure memories of Romeo and Juliet, perfect for teens who love stories set in other times, but without a paranormal storyline (as long as you don't count a magician who dresses all in white and can be in two places on once . . . ).

Purchase The True Adventures of Nicolo Zen at Amazon
Purchase The True Adventures of Nicolo Zen at IndieBound
View The True Adventures of Nicolo Zen on Goodreads

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The Kill Order
by James Dashner
Paperback Giveaway
Delacorte Press; Reprint edition
Released 2/28/2014

Winner - Vero Jimenez

The prequel to the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series—The Kill Order is a modern classic for fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent. It can be read alone or as a companion to the action-packed series.

Before WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares hit the earth and mankind fell to disease.

Mark and Trina were there when it happened, and they survived. But surviving the sun flares was easy compared to what came next.

Now a disease of rage and lunacy races across the eastern United States, and there’s something suspicious about its origin. Worse yet, it’s mutating, and all evidence suggests that it will bring humanity to its knees.

Mark and Trina are convinced there’s a way to save those left living from descending into madness. And they’re determined to find it—if they can stay alive. Because in this new, devastated world, every life has a price. And to some, you’re worth more dead than alive.

Purchase The Kill Order at Amazon
Purchase The Kill Order at IndieBound
View The Kill Order on Goodreads

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by Sophie Jordan
ARC Giveaway
Released 2/28/2014

Winner - Rachelle Hayes

The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report in bestselling author Sophie Jordan's chilling new novel about a teenage girl who is ostracized when her genetic test proves she's destined to become a murderer.

When Davy Hamilton's tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn't feel any different, but genes don't lie. One day she will kill someone.

Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he's not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.

The first in a two-book series, Uninvited tackles intriguing questions about free will, identity, and human nature. Steeped in New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan's trademark mix of gripping action and breathless romance, this suspenseful tale is perfect for fans of James Patterson, Michelle Hodkin, and Lisa McMann.

Purchase Uninvited at Amazon
Purchase Uninvited at IndieBound
View Uninvited on Goodreads

Angel Fever
by L A Weatherly
Hardcover Giveaway
Released 11/26/2013

Winner - Rosi Hollinbeck

As half-angel Willow strives to save the world from her parasitic otherworldly kin, romance and tension heat up to a climactic finale.

In the devastated remains of the world, millions of people live in "refugee" camps provided by the angels who have all but enslaved humanity. As this angelic stranglehold tightens, Willow and Alex are recruiting and training new Angel Killers while struggling to hold ground on the celestial battlefield. But Willow continues to have feelings for Seb, and her love and resolve are tested as a shattering revelation sends Alex on a separate journey. Now that the final battle versus the angels is about to begin-and the fate of the world hangs in the balance-each of them must face the consequences of their own choices. Will love endure? Will the human race survive?

Purchase Angel Fever at Amazon
Purchase Angel Fever at IndieBound
View Angel Fever on Goodreads

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Boy on the Edge
by Fridrik Erlings
Hardcover Giveaway
Released 2/25/2014

Winner - elisquared

Can a boy on the edge find his way back? From award-winning Icelandic author Fridrik Erlings comes a novel as cruel as it is tender.

Henry has a clubfoot and he is the target of relentless bullying. One day, in a violent fit of anger, Henry lashes out at the only family he has — his mother. Sent to live with other troubled boys at the Home of Lesser Brethren, an isolated farm perched in the craggy lava fields along the unforgiving Icelandic coast, Henry finds a precarious contentment among the cows. But it is the people, including the manic preacher who runs the home, who fuel Henry’s frustration and sometimes rage as he yearns for a life and a home. Author Fridrik Erlings offers a young adult novel that explores cruelty and desperation, tenderness and remorse, but most importantly, kindness and friendship.

Purchase Boy on the Edge at Amazon
Purchase Boy on the Edge at IndieBound
View Boy on the Edge on Goodreads

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Dead Set
by Richard Kadrey
Hardcover Giveaway
Harper Voyager; First Edition edition
Released 10/29/2013

Winner - Alice Atorly

After her father’s funeral, Zoe and her mother moved to the Big City to start over. But life’s not so easy, the money is tight, and a new school brings trials. Fortunately, she has an escape: her dreams. A world of freedom and solace removed from the loneliness and anxieties of real life, Zoe's dreamscape offers another, more precious, gift: It is the only place where she can spend time with her closest companion — her lost brother Valentine.

Yet something is very wrong. An unfamiliar — and uninvited — presence has entered her private realm to threaten Zoe and Valentine, a disturbing turn of events that is compounded by an impossible discovery. A chance encounter at a used record store where the grooves of the vinyl discs hold not music, but lost souls, has opened up a portal to the world of the restless dead. Now, the shop’s strange proprietor is offering Zoe the chance to commune with the father whose passing took a piece of her heart. The price? A lock of hair. Then a tooth. Then...

How far into this eerie world will Zoe go to discover what she truly needs? And once she does, will there be enough left of her to come back?

Purchase Dead Set at Amazon
Purchase Dead Set at IndieBound
View Dead Set on Goodreads

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More than This
by Patrick Ness
Advance Review Copy Giveaway
Candlewick; First Edition edition
Released 9/10/2013

Winner - Rachel Spring

From two-time Carnegie Medal winner Patrick Ness comes an enthralling and provocative new novel chronicling the life — or perhaps afterlife — of a teen trapped in a crumbling, abandoned world.

A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What’s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonizing memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this. . . .

Purchase More than This at Amazon
Purchase More than This at IndieBound
View More than This on Goodreads

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One or Two Things I Learned About Love
by Dyan Sheldon
Hardcover Giveaway
Released 12/10/2013

Winner - Michelle Lee

If this first love is true love, why can’t Hildy hang out with her friends without feeling guilty? Dyan Sheldon takes on the possessive side of summer romance with humor and insight.

Hildy has only had two-and-a-half dates in her whole life, and she isn’t counting the half. It’s starting to look as if she’s never going to have a third date, or be kissed, or know a boy who is more than just a friend. Then, on an ordinary day, she meets Connor of the melt-that-ice-cap smile — and a summer that was going to be ordinary as toast turns into Hildy’s summer of love. But love for Hildy is a little more complicated than the songs and movies have led her to believe. It’s not so much girl-meets-boy-and loses-her-heart as boy-meets-girl-and-loses-his-mind. Part cautionary tale and part romantic comedy, Dyan Sheldon’s wry, diary-style novel weighs in on all ends of the relationship scale in a story of first love.

Purchase One or Two Things I Learned About Love at Amazon
Purchase One or Two Things I Learned About Love at IndieBound
View One or Two Things I Learned About Love on Goodreads

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by Ellen Hopkins
Advance Review Copy Giveaway
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Released 9/10/2013

Winner - Katherine Ivan

Pattyn Von Stratten’s father is dead, and Pattyn is on the run. After far too many years of abuse at the hands of her father, and after the tragic loss of her beloved Ethan and their unborn child, Pattyn is desperate for peace. Only her sister Jackie knows what happened that night, but she is stuck at home with their mother, who clings to normalcy by allowing the truth to be covered up by their domineering community leaders. Her father might be finally gone, but without Pattyn, Jackie is desperately isolated. Alone and in disguise, Pattyn starts a new life, but is it even possible to rebuild a life when everything you’ve known has burned to ash and lies seem far safer than the truth?

Purchase Smoke at Amazon
Purchase Smoke at IndieBound
View Smoke on Goodreads

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

2 Wish I'd Written by Courtney C. Stevens

(Okay, I have to start with a little caveat. I don’t really wish I’ written my book of choice, because then it wouldn’t be exactly like it is. That would be devastating, as it is one of my all-time favorites. I could never do this book justice, but this is an excellent opportunity to pay homage to a lovely novel.)

I wish I’d written I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak.

I came to this story for the first time when I checked the audiobook out of my local library. I was heading to the beach on a writing retreat and I always choose an audiobook for the journey.

I liked the voice immediately, but I knew I was in love with Ed Kennedy by chapter two. He has a way of telling that’s not telling, of talking to the reader without interrupting the story. This paragraph is when I knew I was going to love Ed, (just Ed.)

“Personally, I think sex should be like math.
At school.
No one really cares if they’re crap at math. They even proclaim it. They’ll say to anyone, ‘Yeah, I don’t mind science and English, but I’m absolutely shithouse at math.’ And other people will laugh and say, ‘Yeah, me, too. I wouldn’t have a clue about that logarithm shit.’
You should be able to say that about sex, too.
You should be able to proudly say, ‘Yeah, I wouldn’t have a clue about that orgasm shit, ay. I’m okay at everything else, but when it comes to that part I wouldn’t have a clue.’
No one says that, though.
You can’t.
Especially men.
We men think we have to be good at it, so I’m here to tell you I’m not. I should also explain my kissing leaves a lot to be desired as well.”

When does a character, a nineteen-year-old character, say things like this? Never. It was the perfect amount of self-depreciating humor and honesty. And I loved every minute of it.

Zusak has a way with words and sparse sentences. He takes up space on the page better than Tim Riggins takes up camera space on Friday Night Lights. (And that’s about the highest compliment I have.)

He also used a set-up that could have felt episodic, but never did. He worked his way through the deck of cards, and I went with him everywhere he asked me to. IatM is an honest journey of an underachiever on his way to becoming someone. Sometimes, it felt like he was telling my story … you know, if I were an underage cab driver in Australia who got bullied into changing people’s lives after stopping a bank robbery. I wouldn’t mind getting a playing card in the mail that reminded me to make a difference in my community.

The secondary characters are charming and often beautiful (Milla, Doorman, Lua, Suzanne Boyd, Father O’Reilly) The cast is large, but Zusak weaves them throughout the narrative in a way that’s very satisfactory. I was never confused and always invested, particularly in the Milla story line. Of course, the primary story is Ed’s journey with his closest friends: Richie, Marv and Audrey. That part of the story is where the characters grab me by the guts and demand that I listen to their lessons. This is what it is to love the people in your life, to know the boundaries, and to know no boundaries when necessary. It’s speaks of love that feels like friendship and friendship that embodies love.

Imbedded in the text is also the author’s journey, which without spoiling too much comes to a fine point in the denouement. The ending is either this novel’s greatest strength or greatest weakness. When I discuss IatM with friends, (as I’m prone to doing), we’re in a 50-50 split on whether we like the ending, but we’re 100 percent willing to agree that this is one of those stories where it doesn’t matter whether you like the ending or not. Nothing can spoil this masterpiece of characters and the card-playing, dog-loving, patient, kind, funny, redemptive Ed Kennedy.

I’ve read and listened to this book an average of three times a year since I discovered it. I imagine that is an average that will only increase as the years pass.

About The Author

Courtney C. Stevens grew up in Kentucky and lives in Nashville, Tennessee. She is an adjunct professor and a former youth minister. Her other skills include playing hide-and-seek, climbing trees, and being an Olympic torch bearer. Faking Normal is her first novel.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

About The Book

An edgy, realistic, and utterly captivating novel from an exciting new voice in teen fiction.

Alexi Littrell hasn't told anyone what happened to her over the summer. Ashamed and embarrassed, she hides in her closet and compulsively scratches the back of her neck, trying to make the outside hurt more than the inside does.

When Bodee Lennox, the quiet and awkward boy next door, comes to live with the Littrells, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend in "the Kool-Aid Kid," who has secrets of his own. As they lean on each other for support, Alexi gives him the strength to deal with his past, and Bodee helps her find the courage to finally face the truth.

A searing, poignant book, Faking Normal is the extraordinary debut novel from an exciting new author-Courtney C. Stevens.

Amazon | IndieBound | Goodreads

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

7 WOW Wednesday: Push Yourself To Finish by Lamar Giles

Lamar Giles is also the popular adult writer L.R Giles, and with the January release of FAKE I.D, he made his YA debut and we are so happy to keep promoting the book! He's clearly got some great writing experience, what with 3 adult books already published, so listen up!

Push Yourself To Finish by Lamar Giles

This is going to sound simple.

But, let’s not confuse simple with easy, or even possible. What I’m about to suggest won’t be the former, and is too rarely the latter. For many aspiring writers, it won’t ever be achievable.

This simple, hard, sometimes impossible piece of advice is the best I’ve ever gotten on the craft of writing. Are you ready? Have I built it up enough? Well, then…

If you want to write, you must finish.

There. That’s it.

If I stopped the post right now, you’d probably feel cheated. I know I did the first time I heard that. There must be more to it. Certainly, you must be well read, and write 3 pages a day everyday of your life.

You have to have the correct writing space, and good coffee, and an ergonomically correct chair.

You must be accepted to the proper MFA program, get stories published in prestigious journals, win awards, and inspire tears with your words.

You must go to conferences, and have the respect of your peers, and SUFFER for you art. Right?


None of those things hurt, necessarily (well, the suffering might…), but they are not requirements for being a writer. Technically, finishing isn’t REQUIRED. You could be the kind of writer who starts project after project, and never types the words THE END. At one time I was.

And the lies I told myself about why I wasn’t finishing! The story flamed out. The new idea was better and had to be written atop the discarded corpse of the previous half-story. My critique partners said I’ve got the kind of voice that would suit a 3rd person epic fantasy instead of this 1st person crime novella. Oh, oh, this next idea is PERFECTION!

It was great “writer-talk,” the stuff that made me sound like I was busy, and doing what writers do. It was camouflage, though. Stealthy, Ninja-like writer’s block. In chasing perfection, I was trapping fear and creating a shield. If perfection was the standard, then I would never be done. No work could be published. I would never have to rack up a stack of rejections, or read a harsh review, or discover I’m not selling well enough to justify another contract. If I didn’t finish, I’d never have to come to terms with whether I’m really able to cut it in this extremely tough industry.

It was a college writing teacher who exposed me, and called me out on all of my excuses. Things I was afraid of (criticism, rejection, failure) were all GOING TO HAPPEN. But, that makes finishing work over and over and over again so important. Because, where one story (or a hundred) fails, another will succeed.

And, here’s the other part of it. If you write, and sell, the perfect story that goes on to universal acclaim like you always imagined, guess what…your agent/editor/publisher is going to expect you to do it again next year. And the year after.

You might as well get used to finishing now, because it doesn’t get easier when a paycheck is on the line and a deadline is looming.

So, you finish, and what you end up with is not perfect, nowhere near. Your doubts are front and center. You KNEW you weren’t cut out for this. Don’t worry. I’m willing to bet most writers feel that way. The difference between us and those who close the final act…

We know there’s always another blank page daring us to do better.

About The Author

Lamar has been writing for a very long time. He's sold some stuff, published some stuff on his own, and even won some awards. He grew up in a town called Hopewell, Virginia and now resides in a great city called Chesapeake with his wife. In January 2014 HarperCollins published his Young Adult thriller FAKE ID, and yeah, it’s kind of a big deal. He wants a dog someday.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

About The Book

Nick Pearson is hiding in plain sight…

My name isn’t really Nick Pearson.

I shouldn’t tell you where I’m from or why my family moved to Stepton, Virginia.

I shouldn’t tell you who I really am, or my hair, eye, and skin color.

And I definitely shouldn’t tell you about my friend Eli Cruz and the major conspiracy he was about to uncover when he died—right after I moved to town. About how I had to choose between solving his murder with his hot sister, Reya, and “staying low-key” like the Program has taught me. About how moving to Stepon changed my life forever.

But I’m going to.

Amazon | IndieBound | Goodreads

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

4 Interview with PANIC Author Lauren Oliver

We are SO excited to have Lauren Oliver, author of the incredibly popular and much loved Delirium trilogy here with us for an interview today. Lauren's newest book, Panic hits stores on March 4th and it is one absolutely crazy story. Heather and Dodge's wild summer participating in the game Panic is a heady adventure full of insane stunts and heart wrenching family dynamics and definitely worth a read.

When did you first know you wanted to become a writer, and how long did it take you to get published?

I've always written; reading stories and telling stories has always been a part of my life, so it's difficult to say exactly when I knew I wanted to pursue it as a career. I've been writing every day since I was about nine, and I published my first book at 26--so in that sense, it took me about seventeen years to get published! But I submitted my first book for publication about five years before I ever wrote a book that made it onto the shelves.

If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring authors, one thing that you feel changed the way you wrote and made your manuscripts publishable, what would it be?

The biggest game-changer for me and my career was learning about narrative structure and what that means. I had to understand how to tell a story--not just write a pretty sentence--before I could ever finish writing a good novel.

And if you could give them a second piece of advice?

Practice every day. Read as much as possible. It's the only way to get better.

How many drafts of a manuscript do you usually do between the initial idea and sending it to your agent or editor?

It really depends. I'm a sloppy drafter--I definitely go through a manuscript at least twice, and sometimes more, before the book even becomes decipherable!

What's your favorite thing about the writing process?

There is nothing so incredible as the first spark of a new idea. I love wrapping my mind around new characters, and taking my first, tentative steps into their world; it is quite literally like first beginning to speak a different language, or traveling somewhere new and slowly learning the geography.

If you could go back and change one thing about your writing career so far, what would it be?

Man. I feel so blessed, I don't even want to answer that question. I don't think I have the right to complain!

What's been your favorite book to write so far?

They've all presented unique challenges and yet been rewarding in such different ways. Books are like siblings, or children--they drive you crazy and simultaneously bring you joy in totally individual ways. In general, I do love the feeling of writing middle grade; it gives me the same sense of cozy satisfaction I first found by reading.

How do you feel Panic is most different from your other books, and how is it most the same? What expectations do readers need to check at the door?

Panic is the most strictly realistic book I've ever done, and also the grittiest. It paints an honest portrayal of some pretty disturbing issues, although it is ultimately redemptive, as are all of my books. I think readers will detect some of my favorite themes--courage, transformation, the discovery of self through sacrifice and giving--even though the book's world and its characters are distinct. In terms of expectations to check at the door? Heather and Dodge, the girl and boy POV characters, absolutely do NOT end up romantically involved. Not even close.

If you could pick three recent young adult books you most wish you had written yourself, what would they be?

Eleanor + Park; The Fault in Our Stars; and Shipbreaker.

About The Author

Lauren Oliver comes from a family of writers and so has always (mistakenly) believed that spending hours in front of the computer every day, mulling over the difference between “chortling” and “chuckling,” is normal. She has always been an avid reader.

She attended the University of Chicago, where she continued to be as impractical as possible by majoring in philosophy and literature. After college, she attended the MFA program at NYU and worked briefly as the world’s worst editorial assistant, and only marginally better assistant editor, at a major publishing house in New York. Her major career contributions during this time were flouting the corporate dress code at every possible turn and repeatedly breaking the printer. Before I Fall is her first published novel.

She is deeply grateful for the chance to continue writing, as she has never been particularly good at anything else.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

About The Book

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

Amazon | IndieBound | Goodreads

Monday, February 24, 2014

6 Inspired Openings: An Agent's Perspective on Prologues by Seth Fishman

Today we have the awesome insight of what a literary agent looks for in an opening sequence of a book. Seth Fishman is a literary agent and debut young adult author as of this month!

An Agent's Perspective on Prologues by Seth Fishman

As a literary agent, I receive hundreds of queries a month and find myself in a tricky situation of being forced to make decisions without properly examining the entire query set in front of me. The query letter, of course, is the big problem most writers have but so is the first page, the first paragraph, the first sentence. While I can think of plenty of books that started slow, when it comes to increasing your odds of publication, you want to hit the right note off the bat with your reader. This understanding, this aim for opening line greatness occasionally calls for a few cheats.

That’s why I want to take a hard position here against the beloved institution of The Prologue. I’ll start right off and say that there are certainly exceptions to this rule, and that there even some books that sell amazingly despite poorly constructed prologues (Twilight, for instance, has a bad prologue but a good chapter one and compelling narration), but for the most part, I’ve learned over time and through many many queries that prologues tend to be created from fear. In general, the prologue serves as a trick to bring the reader into an ‘exciting’ point in a story. Usually near-death moments, we open the book and find ourselves fighting for our lives, and then, just like that, it’s over. No conclusion, no reveal, just that we’re in a calm place with seer-like knowledge that the tranquility won’t last. Again, I’m not denying the occasional effectiveness of the device, but I’ll say this straight up: most of the time that you see a prologue it is because an author is afraid that his/her beginning is boring. The author thinks, hmm, no one will want to read on from here, so I better take an action sequence, or mysterious moment and shove it into the front of the book to get a reader hooked, then we’ll go from there.

The point I’m trying to make is that you should always strive to be confident in every page, to the point where you should never need a crutch like a prologue. Instead, the beginning needs to be amazing. Not necessarily adrenaline-filled, not necessarily action-oriented. Just damn good. Every page of your book should be, at the very least, strong and interesting writing, and your opening should have the tangible hooks of the ‘problem’ we feel in this book, even if they are only tugging ever so gently. If you have a prologue its worth examining the real page one and making it stronger, finding your real beginning, having faith in your book and your writing. If it doesn’t hold up, prologue or no, the book won’t work.

My own book, The Well’s End was roughly inspired by a true-life event that happened in my home town when I was a kid. Jessica McClure, a toddler, fell down a well and was stuck, and the entire country was riveted, watching rescuers try to dig her out. I’ll say here, crystal clear, that the book I wrote has nothing to do with the actual Jessica McClure – I have no interest in invading her space and memories and privacy. Instead, I was just over and again fascinated with a different type of backstory for a young woman. No parental abuse, no family death (well, there’s that too), but instead an out-of-the-ordinary event that plays upon all of our fears and provides pretty easy access to a part of my mind that helps me envision the type of character Mia Kish (my protagonist) is. I loved writing the opening of my book because just by describing Mia’s past, it allows readers to understand what kind of fears were inside her. It allowed me to shove a lot of really compelling personality and depth into my main character with just a page or two. That sounds very clinical – it wasn’t. I found myself sitting at my computer staring into the darkness out my window trying to imagine what it’s like deep within a well, stuck, unable to move, the sound of diggers on their way. I’ve always wondered that, ever since the real Jessica McClure fell down that well. I had to find out, and Mia led the way.

Killer opening lines (the first two, I can’t help it, are BOTH elevator scenes):
“The elevator continued its impossibly slow ascent. Or at least I imagined it was ascent.” Haruki Murakami’s Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.

“It’s a new elevator, freshly pressed to the rails, and it’s not built to fall this fast.” Colson Whitehead’s The Intuitionist.

“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.” (classic one, suggested to me) – Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Hundred Years of Solitude.

“The beet is the most intense of vegetables.” Tom Robbin’s Jitterbug Perfume

About The Author

Seth Fishman was born and raised in Midland, Texas (think Friday Night Lights) and received his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England (think cold and rainy and millions of castles). His YA thriller, The Well's End, is the first in a series and the protagonist, Mia Kish, is roughly inspired by a hometown drama that really blew him away

When not writing, Seth is a literary agent at The Gernert Company, and thinks writing and agenting are the two very best jobs in the world.

WebsiteTwitter | Goodreads

About The Book

A deadly virus and an impossible discovery unite in one enthralling can’t-miss read...

Sixteen-year-old Mia Kish has always been afraid of the dark. After all, she’s baby Mia, the one who fell down a well. That was years ago, though the darkness still haunts her. But when her classmates and teachers at ritzy Westbrook Academy start dying of old age from a bizarre and frightening virus that ages its victims years in a matter of hours, Mia becomes haunted by a lot more than the dark. Their deaths are gruesome and Mia worries she and her friends may be next. In order to survive, Mia and her small crew must break quarantine and outrun armed soldiers in hazmat suits who shoot first and ask questions later.

And there’s only one place to go—the Cave, aka Fenton Electronics. Mia knows it’s somehow connected and hopes her dad, Director of Fenton Electronics, who has always been strangely secretive about his work, has the answers she needs, and more importantly a cure to save everyone before the whole town succumbs to the mysterious virus. Unfortunately, it’s not answers Mia discovers, but something far more treacherous and impossible than even the virus itself.

A high-stakes, fast-paced adventure with imagination and heart.

Amazon | IndieBound | Goodreads

Sunday, February 23, 2014

0 Top 50 of the Pitch Plus One Writing Contest Are on Their Way to the Blogger Judges!

Here are the final first round winners -- the actual entries will be going up at 10:00 am today on the AdventuresInYAContests site! Congrats to everyone, and if your favorite isn't here, or your entry isn't here, remember that writing is an art--it's all subjective. Participants, read our note to you here, and give yourselves a huge round of applause. Whether you made it to this next round or not, you won just by taking the huge step of putting your work out for feedback, and hopefully you will have found the feedback helpful.

Entry #2 — Punishment Summer
Entry #7 — Defying the Starts
Entry #11 — Elspeth
Entry #13 — The Cardinal Sign
Entry #15 — A Serpent in the Garden
Entry #16 — Becoming Hook
Entry #17 — The Unbelievable Misadventures of Avery Mann
Entry #18 — Love and the Bard
Entry #22 — Dwarfed
Entry #24 — Where There Is Dark
Entry #25 — Traveler
Entry #27 — Leaving Peaceylvania
Entry #30 — Heritage Blade
Entry #33 — Class Clown
Entry #35 — Conduit
Entry #36 — The Adventures of the Boy-Crazy-Boy-Lovers
Entry #41 — Music of the Night
Entry #42 — Twist of Fate
Entry #43 — Nanny Murto
Entry #46 — The Elder Race
Entry #48 — The Book of Adam
Entry #49 — Dirty Rainbow
Entry #55 — Thirty Dias
Entry #57 — What Lies Between
Entry #59 — Bad Dreams
Entry #60 — The Beast of Gantu
Entry #61 — Paloma and the Bow Wow Bar Mitzvah
Entry #62 — Helica
Entry #63 — Sidewalk Chalk
Entry #64 — Darkenwear, Inc.: Feathers vs. Scales
Entry #65 — If I Promise You the Sun
Entry #66 — Don Q. Oatney: Vampire Hunter
Entry #69 — The Last Flock
Entry #70 — Sign of the Star
Entry #71 — Sworn
Entry #72 — Roger Firebug
Entry #73 — Enthralled
Entry #74 — Gerald and the Amulet of Zonrach
Entry #75 — Summer of Hope
Entry #76 — The Witch’s Brew
Entry #77 — Ivan and the Grey Wolf
Entry #79 — Snap
Entry #82 —The Comic Adventures of Ruby Bella Brown
Entry #83 — Something Wicked
Entry #84 — The Oyster’s Autobiography
Entry #85 — See You Then, Joshua Jacobs
Entry #86 — Camp Cammoodle
Entry #87 — Neophyte
Entry #88 — Words in the Windowsill
Entry #89 — Luma

And here, to refresh your memory, are our wonderful author judges, who will be judging the entries and deciding who is going to make it through to the next round of 25 entries. But each of the top 50 will be getting detailed feedback from our judges in this round, as well as getting feedback from fans, each other, and general participants.


Angela often writes about mythology in the real world, but twists everything so that it's much darker and interesting. Bad things happen, but her teen and pre-teen characters always rise to the challenge in impossible situations.

Another passion of Angela's is helping writers succeed. She enjoys working with writers on strengthening their craft and helping them find the tools and resources they need to take their writing to the next level. She teaches workshops on writing and social media, belong to SCBWI and is a strong believer in paying it forward. Along with Becca Puglisi, she is the author of popular brainstorming tool, The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writers Guide To Character Expression.

Natalie Aguirre is an aspiring middle grade and YA fantasy writer. She’s an attorney by day, a wife, and a mother of one child. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She joined Casey as a blog partner on March 7, 2011. She interviews authors, many who are debut and/or middle grade authors, and spotlights their books with ARC or book giveaways on Mondays.

Rabid reader of young adult and middle grade books, all genres. Love to analyze books from a writing perspective. Somewhat deluded that writing at high altitude (Laramie, Wyoming, 7200 ft) gives me an edge.

Also suffer from the delusion that mythical creatures are real. Because a pendragon isn't just a medieval surname but a tiny dragon that sparks flames when you write with it.

Carrie daydreamed her way through college—until they thrust a marketing degree into her hands, slapped a summa cum laude seal on the corner, and booted her out into a less-than-stellar job market.

Instead of panicking at the prospect of unemployment, she used her Midwestern logic to steer into the skid and point her life in the direction she really wanted to go: writing out those daydreams.

Her passion for New Adult fiction led her to co-found NA Alley—one of the first websites dedicated to the category. A year later, she started a design business specializing in graphics for the publishing industry, called Forward Authority. Her Mark of Nexus series has appeared on Amazon bestselling, top-rated, and hot new release lists in various genres.

An avid reader since she was young, Stacee started blogging in 2011 after going to 4 author signings in 5 days. Since then, she has traveled all over [even flying from SoCal to Chicago] to see her favorite authors in person. Her blog, Adventures of a Book Junkie chronicles the different events she attends.

When she's not battling the TBR stacks in her apartment, she is a: NOH8 Campaign supporter. Book boyfriend hoarder. Whovian. Road trip taker. London lover. MINI driver. Tattoo getter. Concert goer.

Young adult writer represented by Michelle Andelman of Regal Literary.

Treehouse builder. Mom to two boys. History and Spanish major. Former teacher. Former grant writer. Amateur designer. Intermediate quilter. Fan of list-making.

Angelica R. Jackson, in keeping with her scattered Gemini nature, has published articles on such subjects as gardening, natural history, web design, travel, hiking, and local history. Other interests include pets, reading, green living, and cooking for food allergies (the latter not necessarily by choice, but she’s come to terms with it). Ongoing projects include short fiction, poetry, YA novels, art photography, and children’s picture books.

In 2012, she started Pens for Paws Auction, which features critiques and swag from agents and authors to raise money for a no-kill, cage-free cat sanctuary where she volunteers, Fat Kitty City. This year's auction will run July 14-19. She blogs at Angelic Muse and as an operative at the group blog Operation Awesome, and also volunteers at the regional conference for her local SCBWI chapter (which she recommends as a great way to get involved in the writing community). She can be found on Twitter at @angelicarjaxon and onFacebook .

It should be noted (and perhaps celebrated) that Angelica successfully restrained herself from writing a satirical bio this time around.

S.A. Larsen began creating quirky worlds at an early age, more attracted to telling stories through illustrations (elementary scribblings >_<). Her deep love for writing children’s literature pushes her to explore the joys and angst of the young adult years, the awkward middle grade years, and the curious and sweet younger years of picture books. She lives in the land of lobsters, snowy winters, and the occasional Eh’ya, with her husband of over twenty years, their four children, and a playful bich-poo Gracie.

I have a master's degree in Education and teach high school English in Montana, where I live with my husband and three children.

On the writing side of things, I am the author of two picture books and a middle grade novel and am represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary. While seeking the right 'home' for my stories, I continue writing and working with young writers in my community.

Candace is a wife and mother to two. She’s blogged at Candace’s Book Blog since November 2008.

She's an eclectic reader who enjoys a variety of genres. She's also the owner and operator of CBB Book Promotions.

You can see the full list of blogger, author, and agent judges here.

Good luck to everyone! 

Martina, Lisa, Jan, and Alyssa

Saturday, February 22, 2014

23 HOLLOW CITY by Ransom Riggs and EXPOSURE by Kathy and Brendan Reichs giveaways & YA Pick and Mix 2/2214 Edition

Well, I thought I was going to have cover news for you this week, but I was wrong. So I'm practicing delayed gratification. And it's HARD to wait. There will, however, be epic awesomeness to share with you shortly--huge giveaways and lots of fun things. Meanwhile, I'm trying to get ahead on the blogging because I need to concentrate on Book Two. And I have a new editor -- Sara Sargent has joined the Simon Pulse team and she'll be working with me on the sequel to Compulsion. She's lovely, so I'm delighted.

What else? Hmmh. We have a new First Five Pages workshop starting up next Saturday. As always, get the rules here. Our guest mentor will be the fabulous Elana Johnson, along with our entire list of permanent mentors.

And don't forget that the first round winners of our Pitch Plus One contest were announced today! Check the list out at the Adventures In YA Contests site, and then come back here tomorrow for the links to the shiny new pitches the top 50 participants have prepared based on the feedback they received.

Happy reading and writing,



Via Sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn


Hollow City
by Ransom Riggs
Quirk Books
Released 1/14/2014

The extraordinary journey that began in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children continues as Jacob Portman and his newfound friends journey to London the peculiar capital of the world. But in this war-torn city, hideous surprises lurk around every corner. Like its predecessor, this second novel in the Peculiar Children series blends thrilling fantasy with never-before-published vintage photography to create a one-of-a-kind reacting experience.

Purchase Hollow City at Amazon
Purchase Hollow City at IndieBound
View Hollow City on Goodreads

* * * *

by Kathy Reichs and Brendan Reichs
Putnam Juvenile
Released 3/4/2014

If you like the TV show Bones (I do) or Maximum Ride, you’ll love Virals.”—James Patterson 

Another thrilling Virals adventure from New York Times bestsellers Kathy and Brendan Reichs.

When twin classmates are abducted from Bolton Prep, Tory and the Virals decide there’s no one better equipped than them to investigate. But the gang has other problems to face. Their powers are growing wilder, and becoming harder to control. Chance Claybourne is investigating the disastrous medical experiment that twisted their DNA. The bonds that unite them are weakening, threatening the future of the pack itself.

The Virals must decipher the clues and track down a ruthless criminal before he strikes again, all while protecting their secret from prying eyes. And everyone seems to be watching.

My favorite thing about Exposure was exploring deeper connections between the Virals themselves. After the events of Code, the pack is in disarray, and they have a lot of personal issues to deal with. For the first time, they aren't working well together as a team, and it may be affecting their abilities. When confronted with a kidnapping that touches very close to home, the Virals have to get their act together in a hurry. In many ways, I think this is the most complete Virals adventure yet, and I hope the readers agree.


Grasshopper Jungle
by Andrew Smith
Dutton Juvenile
Released 2/11/2014


Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the story of his Polish legacy with the storyof how he and his best friend , Robby, brought about the end of humanity and the rise of an army of unstoppable, six-foot tall praying mantises in small-town Iowa.

To make matters worse, Austin's hormones are totally oblivious; they don't care that the world is in utter chaos: Austin is in love with his girlfriend, Shann, but remains confused about his sexual orientation. He's stewing in a self-professed constant state of maximum horniness, directed at both Robby and Shann. Ultimately, it's up to Austin to save the world and propagate the species in this sci-fright journey of survival, sex, and the complex realities of the human condition.

Purchase Grasshopper Jungle at Amazon
Purchase Grasshopper Jungle at IndieBound
View Grasshopper Jungle on Goodreads

* * * *

by Brandon Sanderson
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Released 9/24/2013

WINNER: Pedro Nascimento

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics.

But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills.

Nobody fights the Epics... nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart—the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father. For years, like the Reckoners, David's been studying, and planning—and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He's seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

The pacing. There are certain things that I was able to do with a single first-person viewpoint in a fast-paced action-oriented story that I haven't been able to do in any other story that I've written. I feel like the awesome pacing just tears you through the book and reads like a really fun action movie. I'm quite proud of how that worked.

Purchase Steelheart at Amazon
Purchase Steelheart at IndieBound
View Steelheart on Goodreads


Out of The Easy
by Ruta Sepetys
Released 2/12/2013

It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street.

Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.

Note from Martina

I’m late to the party on this one, but man, was it worth the wait! OUT OF THE EASY is full of vivid characters, tense plot points, and a setting and world that feels immediate and real, and yet appropriately historical all at once. The characters crack several jokes about Jo’s similarity to Cinderella, but also highlight the ways in which Jo is nothing like that scullery-wimp. Sure, Jo has scrubbed blood and booze and shame off the floors of a whorehouse most of her life, and yes, her own mother steals from her. But Jo isn’t satisfied with that limited existence, and she's already travelled everywhere in the books she's devoured at the bookstore where she lives and works. She intends to get out of New Orleans. Her desire to elevate herself drives the tension as events around her threaten to drag her back into the swampy morals and demands of her family and friends. She’s a brilliant character, and OUT OF THE EASY is the kind of a book you pick up and know from the first sentence that you’re in masterful hands. Ruta’s writing is deft and rich, and the story is mesmerizing. Love, love, love this book, and I couldn't recommend it more.

Purchase Out of The Easy at Amazon
Purchase Out of The Easy at IndieBound
View Out of The Easy on Goodreads


I've had my head down all week, so I'm behind on the bookish news. I do want to give a shout out to Katie and Sophie, the Mundie Moms, whose wonderful book blog turned five on Valentines Day. Stop by and wish them a happy birthday--but they're the ones handing out the presents in a MASSIVE giveaway.


via Sydney Standard
So what about you? What's new in your book world? What are you reading? What do you wish you were reading?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, February 21, 2014

28 SEVEN Giveaways plus New YALit Releases 2/21 - 2/28


* * * *

by Jessica Brody
Hardcover Giveaway plus Paperback of Unremembered
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Released 2/25/2014

Some memories are better left forgotten...

After a daring escape from the scientists at Diotech who created her, Seraphina believes she is finally safe from the horrors of her past. But new threats await Sera and her boyfriend, Zen, at every turn as Zen falls prey to a mysterious illness and Sera’s extraordinary abilities make it more and more difficult to stay hidden. Meanwhile, Diotech has developed a dangerous new weapon designed to apprehend her. A weapon that even Sera will be powerless to stop. Her only hope of saving Zen’s life and defeating the company that made her is a secret buried deep within her mind. A secret that Diotech will kill to protect. And it won’t stay forgotten for long.

Packed with mystery, suspense, and romance, this riveting second installment of Jessica Brody’s Unremembered trilogy delivers more heart-pounding action as loyalties are tested, love becomes a weapon, and no one’s memories are safe.

Purchase Unforgotten at Amazon
Purchase Unforgotten at IndieBound
View Unforgotten on Goodreads

* * * *

Faking Normal
by Courtney C. Stevens
Signed Hardcover Giveaway
Released 2/25/2014

An edgy, realistic, and utterly captivating novel from an exciting new voice in teen fiction.

Alexi Littrell hasn't told anyone what happened to her over the summer. Ashamed and embarrassed, she hides in her closet and compulsively scratches the back of her neck, trying to make the outside hurt more than the inside does.

When Bodee Lennox, the quiet and awkward boy next door, comes to live with the Littrells, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend in "the Kool-Aid Kid," who has secrets of his own. As they lean on each other for support, Alexi gives him the strength to deal with his past, and Bodee helps her find the courage to finally face the truth.

A searing, poignant book, Faking Normal is the extraordinary debut novel from an exciting new author-Courtney C. Stevens.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Faking Normal?

Hmm. That’s a tough question because Faking Normal hits on so many levels for me. I believe it’s the book I was meant to write, and there’s some triumph in the fact that I ever wrote the first sentence. But my favorite part is the character of Bodee.

He’s very real to me, and I’m thankful for him. I suppose that sounds funny or a little crazy to anyone who isn’t an author. When I was writing Faking Normal, I re-experienced so much personal healing through his character. Characters, while they obviously come from the writer’s brain, don’t often manifest like a personal creation, but rather as their own entity. Bodee waltz into my life, and as he reintroduced himself, I wrote down everything he told me, everything he said that was true about me and others who have experienced pain.

Faking Normal is fiction, but I tried to be true to pain, but also to hope. Bodee is dressed in hope and speaks with healing. And I believe for every pain in the world, there is a Bodee. He will always be the boy who loved Alexi anyway, and that’s a powerful message in my own life.

One of my favorite musicians (Andrew Peterson) has a line in his song Lay Me Down that I come back to all the time. He says,
“And all of the death that ever was,
if you set it next to life
Well, I believe it would barely fill a cup.”

Pain is the common denominator of the human experience. See, the tricky thing about pain is that we all have it, but we rarely share it. What if we did? What if we chose vulnerability over shame? What if we chose honesty over secrets? What if we chose to channel our brave instead of letting fear rule us? That’s what Bodee does. He decides to tell Alexi his story, his pain, and that makes all the difference.

I’d like to be a Bodee.

And if you have pain, I hope you find your Bodee.

(If you’re interested in how Bodee became Bodee, check out The Blue-Haired Boy, a Harper Impulse story that releases 3/4/14.)

Purchase Faking Normal at Amazon
Purchase Faking Normal at IndieBound
View Faking Normal on Goodreads

* * * *

by Patrick Carman
Signed Hardcover Giveaway
Katherine Tegen Books
Released 2/25/2014

In the year 2051, some people have a second pulse…

Like all who have “the pulse,” Faith Daniels and Dylan Gilmore have telekinetic powers—they can move objects with their minds. But there are five “second pulses” in the world who have an even greater power: Almost nothing can harm them. They are virtually indestructible.

Both Faith and Dylan have the second pulse. But the other side has second pulses, too, and they’ve been training for a war that has been brewing their entire lives. As Dylan executes a plan to infiltrate enemy grounds, he’ll have to face his only weakness, and a family secret that will threaten his very existence.

Together, Faith and Dylan are the only hope this world has left, but they must go their separate ways in order to accomplish their plan. Will their love survive?

With richly developed characters and heart-pounding action scenes, the second book in Patrick Carman’s Pulse trilogy continues the electrifying dystopian story of love and revenge.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Tremor?

Second books in a series can be challenging to write, but I have to say, writing TREMOR (the second PULSE book) was a blast. Everything was so tee'd up at the end of the first book! All the main character were pumped up and ready to fight, so I could put them directly into the serious action. From the word go, TREMOR is a fast paced section of the overall story, and I love writing those books - my fingers can't fly across the keyboard fast enough. Two other things I loved about this book: being able to reveal some big things I'd been hiding, and moving the key characters forward in their emotional journey. If you read the first book, TREMOR pays off on a lot of scores.

Purchase Tremor at Amazon
Purchase Tremor at IndieBound
View Tremor on Goodreads

* * * *

The Well's End
by Seth Fishman
Personalized Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. and Canada

Putnam Juvenile
Released 2/25/2014

A deadly virus and an impossible discovery unite in one enthralling can’t-miss read...

Sixteen-year-old Mia Kish has always been afraid of the dark. After all, she’s baby Mia, the one who fell down a well. That was years ago, though the darkness still haunts her. But when her classmates and teachers at ritzy Westbrook Academy start dying of old age from a bizarre and frightening virus that ages its victims years in a matter of hours, Mia becomes haunted by a lot more than the dark. Their deaths are gruesome and Mia worries she and her friends may be next. In order to survive, Mia and her small crew must break quarantine and outrun armed soldiers in hazmat suits who shoot first and ask questions later.

And there’s only one place to go—the Cave, aka Fenton Electronics. Mia knows it’s somehow connected and hopes her dad, Director of Fenton Electronics, who has always been strangely secretive about his work, has the answers she needs, and more importantly a cure to save everyone before the whole town succumbs to the mysterious virus. Unfortunately, it’s not answers Mia discovers, but something far more treacherous and impossible than even the virus itself.

A high-stakes, fast-paced adventure with imagination and heart.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Well's End?

My favorite thing about TWE is that I wanted to create a world that felt grounded and exciting, but then to slowly take the reader into a brand new world, one they might not normally travel to. I think it's a risk but one, as an agent, that I haven't really seen much of before and that's the goal: to try to do something totally different in a way that will appeal to lots of readers. I guess we'll see if it works! I also like elite prep schools and things that go wrong. Who doesn't?

Purchase The Well's End at Amazon
Purchase The Well's End at IndieBound
View The Well's End on Goodreads

* * * *

Year of Mistaken Discoveries
by Eileen Cook
Hardcover Giveaway
Simon Pulse
Released 2/25/2014

Friendship is a bond stronger than secrets in this novel from the author of The Almost Truth and Unraveling Isobel.

As first graders, Avery and Nora bonded over a special trait they shared—they were both adopted.

Years later, Avery is smart, popular, and on the cheerleading squad, while Nora spends her time on the fringes of school society, wearing black, reading esoteric poetry, and listening to obscure music. They never interact...until the night Nora approaches Avery at a party, saying it’s urgent. She tells Avery that she thought she found her birth mom—but it turned out to be a cruel lie. Avery feels for Nora, but returns to her friends at the party.

Then Avery learns that Nora overdosed on pills. Left to cope with Nora’s loss and questioning her own actions, Avery decides to honor her friend by launching a search for her own birth mother. Aided by Brody, a friend of Nora’s who is also looking for a way to respect Nora’s legacy, Avery embarks on an emotional quest. But what she’s really seeking might go far deeper than just genetics…

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Year of Mistaken Discoveries?

How does someone choose one favorite thing from a book? The inspiration for this book came when I was looking at how friendships reflect who we are, and how when we change this puts pressure on those relationships. The main character, Avery, has grown apart from her childhood best friend, Nora. Even though she doesn't really hang out with Nora anymore, she still feels as if they're friends. Nora is a part of her growing up. When Nora kills herself, Avery has to decide how to honor that friendship and what the loss of Nora means to her. It sends her off on a quest to find her own birth mom and a chance to decide who she wants to be.

I am fascinated in that period in your life when you let go of being who your family and friends want you to be and start deciding what it is you want from your life. This book has some more serious moments as compared to my others, but I love the characters and the journey they take. And in case anyone is worried- there are still lots of laugh out loud moments.

However, if I had to pick one favorite thing, it hasn't happened yet. It's the moment when I open my email and see a note from a reader saying that she loved the book. I wouldn't trade that moment for anything.

Purchase Year of Mistaken Discoveries at Amazon
Purchase Year of Mistaken Discoveries at IndieBound
View Year of Mistaken Discoveries on Goodreads

* * * *

Boy on the Edge
by Fridrik Erlings
Hardcover Giveaway
Released 2/25/2014

Can a boy on the edge find his way back? From award-winning Icelandic author Fridrik Erlings comes a novel as cruel as it is tender.

Henry has a clubfoot and he is the target of relentless bullying. One day, in a violent fit of anger, Henry lashes out at the only family he has — his mother. Sent to live with other troubled boys at the Home of Lesser Brethren, an isolated farm perched in the craggy lava fields along the unforgiving Icelandic coast, Henry finds a precarious contentment among the cows. But it is the people, including the manic preacher who runs the home, who fuel Henry’s frustration and sometimes rage as he yearns for a life and a home. Author Fridrik Erlings offers a young adult novel that explores cruelty and desperation, tenderness and remorse, but most importantly, kindness and friendship.

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Never Ending
by Martyn Bedford
ARC Giveaway
Wendy Lamb Books
Released 3/11/2014

Shiv's best mate, her brother Declan, is dead. It's been all over the news. Consumed by grief and guilt, she agrees to become an inpatient at the Korsakoff Clinic. There she meets Mikey. Caron. The others. They share a similar torment. And there, subjected to the clinic's unconventional therapy, they must face what they can't bear to see.
   Shiv is flooded with flashbacks, nightmares, haunting visions of Declan on their last, fateful family vacation in Greece. And with memories of Nikos, the beautiful young man on the tour boat. It started there, with him, beside the glittering sea . . . the beginning of the end.

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Ignite Me
by Tahereh Mafi
Released 2/4/2014

Winner - Nora Geer

The heart-stopping conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, which Ransom Riggs, bestselling author of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, called "a thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love"

Juliette now knows she may be the only one who can stop the Reestablishment. But to take them down, she'll need the help of the one person she never thought she could trust: Warner. And as they work together, Juliette will discover that everything she thought she knew-about Warner, her abilities, and even Adam-was wrong.

In Shatter Me, Tahereh Mafi created a captivating and original story that combined the best of dystopian and paranormal and was praised by Publishers Weekly as "a gripping read from an author who's not afraid to take risks." The sequel, Unravel Me, blew readers away with heart-racing twists and turns, and New York Times bestselling author Kami Garcia said it was "dangerous, sexy, romantic, and intense." Now this final book brings the series to a shocking and climactic end.

Praise for the Shatter Me series:

"Dangerous, sexy, romantic, and intense. I dare you to stop reading."-Kami Garcia, #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of the Beautiful Creatures series

"Tahereh Mafi's bold, inventive prose crackles with raw emotion. A thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love, the Shatter Me series is a must-read for fans of dystopian young adult literature-or any literature!"-Ransom Riggs, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

"Addictive, intense, and oozing with romance. I'm envious. I couldn't put it down."-Lauren Kate, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Fallen series

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Run to You: Third Charm
by Clara Kensie
Harlequin Teen
Released 2/15/2014

Winner - Perla Munoz

Part Three in the riveting romantic thriller about a family on the run from a deadly past and a first love that will transcend secrets, lies and danger…

Betrayed, heartbroken, and determined to save her family, Tessa Carson refuses to give in to Tristan Walker’s pleas for forgiveness. But her own awakening psychic gift won’t let her rest until she uncovers the truth about her family and her past. And Tristan is the only one who can help her sift through the secrets to find the truth hidden in all the lies…

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Better Off Friends
by Elizabeth Eulberg
Released 2/25/2014

WHEN HARRY MET SALLY . . . for teens, from romantic comedy star Elizabeth Eulberg.

For Macallan and Levi, it was friends at first sight. Everyone says guys and girls can't be just friends, but these two are. They hang out after school, share tons of inside jokes, their families are super close, and Levi even starts dating one of Macallan's friends. They are platonic and happy that way.

Eventually they realize they're best friends -- which wouldn't be so bad if they didn't keep getting in each other's way. Guys won't ask Macallan out because they think she's with Levi, and Levi spends too much time joking around with Macallan, and maybe not enough time with his date. They can't help but wonder . . . are they more than friends or are they better off without making it even more complicated?

From romantic comedy superstar Elizabeth Eulberg comes a fresh, fun examination of a question for the ages: Can guys and girls ever really be just friends? Or are they always one fight away from not speaking again -- and one kiss away from true love?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Better Off Friends?

It's hard for my to pick my one favorite thing about Better Off Friends. I like that it takes place over five years so you get to see Levi and Macallan's relationship grow. I also always enjoy books told in multiple points of view so you know what each character is thinking. That wasreally critical in this book since at times both Levi and Macallan weren't very straightforward with the other person.

But if I HAD to pick, my absolute favorite thing about the book is the little "interstitials" between each chapter when the two simply banter back and forth. It really shows their personality and relationship with each other. Plus, it was my favorite parts to write. When I first started writing, I didn't think I would get away with it since it's a little unusual, but I'm thrilled to hear that people who have read the book have enjoyed it.

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Fire & Flood
by Victoria Scott
Scholastic Press
Released 2/25/2014

A modern day thrill ride, where a teen girl and her animal companion must participate in a breathtaking race to save her brother's life—and her own.

Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can't determine what's wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She's lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she's helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It's an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother's illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there's no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can't trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Fire & Flood?

Hands down, the Pandoras. I'm a huge animal lover, and I knew I wanted to feature them in this book. Pandoras are companions to the Contenders running the race, and their goal is to help their Contender win. Getting to pick X-Men like capabilities for each Pandora was more challenging than I'd initially thought, but always, always fun!

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Lych Way
by Ari Berk
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Released 2/25/2014

If Love and Death die, what is left?

Silas Umber has returned from Arvale, his family’s ancestral home, having disturbed the tormented spirits of his ancient line. Frantic to retrieve the shade of his beloved Beatrice, he turns his back on the spectral chaos he has left behind, unaware that the malevolence he unleashed has followed him back to Lichport.

As his family and friends suffer and fall at the hands of the vengeful Huntsman from Arvale's sunken mansions, Silas must reach deep into his complicated bloodline to summon powers and wisdom beyond those required of a simple Lichport Undertaker. But the dark and painful secrets of his birth threaten to overwhelm him, and if he can’t lay the ghosts of his own past to rest, if he refuses to make the required sacrifice, Silas may lose everything and everyone he has grown to love and worked to protect.

With the stunning conclusion to the Undertaken trilogy, Ari Berk returns to the series that Publishers Weekly calls "thought-provoking gothic fantasy," School Library Journal praises as "reminiscent of the classic gothic works of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Shirley Jackson," and VOYA applauds as "a captivating world that seduces with each page turn."

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Lych Way?

My favorite thing is that this book pulls no punches. It delves deeply into the ways Life, Love, and Death are inextricably linked to each other.

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Burn Bright
by Bethany Frenette
Released 2/25/2014

Audrey Whitticomb saved her entire city.

Well, kind of. The superhero Morning Star (who just happens to be Audrey's mom) might have played a small part, and her sidekick, Leon—Audrey's sort-of boyfriend, who is gorgeous... and frustrating—maybe helped, too.

But after two peaceful months, there is a vicious new threat in Minneapolis. Her name is Susannah, and she's a Harrower, a demon hell-bent on destroying people like Morning Star, Leon, and Audrey—the Kin. Like others before her, she seeks the Remnant, a Kin girl who has the power to unleash the inhabitants of the Beneath. But to what end?

Audrey already has a ton on her plate: dealing with her best friend Tink's boy drama, helping her other best friend Gideon figure out his nightmares, and exploring the highs and lows of "dating" Leon. But when she develops a powerful new ability, Audrey seizes on the chance to fight, despite her mother's protests and Leon's pleas.

As Audrey gets closer to figuring out Susannah's motives and tracking down the Remnant, she'll uncover more than she bargained for. The terrible truth is staring Audrey in the face. But knowing the truth and accepting it are very different things.

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by David Klass and Perri Klass
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Released 2/25/2014

Freshman Daniel Pratzer gets a chance to prove himself when the chess team invites him and his father to a weekend-long parent-child tournament. Daniel, thinking that his father is a novice, can’t understand why his teammates want so badly for them to participate. Then he finds out the truth: as a teen, his father was one of the most promising young players in America, but the pressures of the game pushed him too far, and he had to give up chess to save his own life and sanity. Now, thirty years later, Mr. Pratzer returns to the game to face down an old competitor and the same dark demons that lurk in the corners of a mind stretched by the demands of the game. Daniel was looking for acceptance—but the secrets he uncovers about his father will force him to make some surprising moves himself, in Grandmaster by David Klass.

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The Hit
by Melvin Burgess
Chicken House
Released 2/25/2014

Live the ultimate high. Pay the ultimate price. The shocking return to YA by the author of SMACK.

A new drug is on the street. Everyone's buzzing about it. Take the hit. Live the most intense week of your life. Then die. It's the ultimate high at the ultimate price. Adam thinks it over. He's poor, and doesn't see that changing. Lizzie, his girlfriend, can't make up her mind about sleeping with him, so he can't get laid. His brother Jess is missing. And Manchester is in chaos, controlled by drug dealers and besieged by a group of homegrown terrorists who call themselves the Zealots. Wouldn't one amazing week be better than this endless, penniless misery? After Adam downs one of the Death pills, he's about to find out.

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by Eliot Schrefer
Scholastic Press
Released 2/25/2014

Into the jungle. Into the wild. Into harm's way.

When he was a boy, Luc's mother would warn him about the "mock men" living in the trees by their home -- chimpanzees whose cries would fill the night.

Luc is older now, his mother gone. He lives in a house of mistreated orphans, barely getting by. Then a man calling himself Prof comes to town with a mysterious mission. When Luc tries to rob him, the man isn't mad. Instead, he offers Luc a job.

Together, Luc and Prof head into the rough, dangerous jungle in order to study the elusive chimpanzees. There, Luc finally finds a new family -- and must act when that family comes under attack.

As he did in his acclaimed novel Endangered, a finalist for the National Book Award, Eliot Schrefer takes us somewhere fiction rarely goes, introducing us to characters we rarely get to meet. The unforgettable result is the story of a boy fleeing his present, a man fleeing his past, and a trio of chimpanzees who are struggling not to flee at all.

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by J. Nelle Patrick
Released 2/27/2014

Natalya knows a secret.

A magical Faberge egg glows within the walls of Russia's Winter Palace.
It holds a power rooted in the land and stolen from the mystics.
A power that promises a life of love for her and Alexei Romanov.
Power, that, in the right hands, can save her way of life.

But it's in the wrong hands.

An epic romance with glittering magical elements, TSARINA is swirling with beautiful prose, stark Russian contrasts, and lavish visuals perfect for fans of Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty.

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White Hot Kiss
by Jennifer L Armentrout
Harlequin Teen
Released 2/25/2014

One kiss could be the last

Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she's anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses.

Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she's crushed on since forever.

Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she's not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn't an issue, considering Roth has no soul.

But when Layla discovers she's the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne…it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.

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