Monday, July 31, 2017

9 New Releases this week 7/31-8/06 plus 6 Giveaways

Happy Monday! This week we're featuring a few really awesome giveaways including 3 copies of THE WAY IT HURTS. Make sure to enter to win below and check out all the other awesome books being released this week!

Happy Reading,

Shelly, Sam, Jocelyn, Martina, Erin, Susan, Kelly, Laura, Emily, Anisaa, and Lori Ann


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Project Pandora
by Aden Polydoros
Other Giveaway
U.S. Only

Entangled: Teen
Released 8/1/2017

Having spent most of his life passing from one foster home to another, seventeen-year-old Tyler Bennett decided the only person he could trust was himself. But he hasn’t been feeling like himself lately. When he learns his entire past is a lie, and someone on the other end of a burner phone can order him to do anything, anywhere, he’s not just powerless. He’s controlled.

But when Tyler wakes during the middle of an assignment, he’s painted a target on his back. In order to unlock his buried memories and keep the Project from killing him, he’s going to need to learn to trust in a group of teens—including a beautiful girl who’s imprisoned in her own mind but he’s desperate to save. If he doesn’t uncover the truth behind the Project before it’s too late, his life is forfeit—and he may be the one to end it.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Project Pandora?

My favorite thing about PROJECT PANDORA is Hades. I enjoy getting into the heads of all the characters, but he is the most entertaining point of view to write from. Since he isn’t limited by the same moral codes as the other characters, I can have him react to situations in creative, unexpected ways. Another thing I like about him is how his character development took me off guard. From the beginning, I wanted to offset his sexiness and charisma with his rage and wildness, but I didn’t expect him to evolve into the character he became. I hope readers will find him as interesting as I do.

Purchase Project Pandora at Amazon
Purchase Project Pandora at IndieBound
View Project Pandora on Goodreads

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by MacKenzie Cadenhead
Paperback Giveaway
U.S. Only

Sourcebooks Fire
Released 8/1/2017

Sarah’s dreams are everyone else’s nightmares in this thriller that perfectly combines Inception and Heathers.

As a sufferer of REM Sleep Behavior Disorder, Sarah acts out her dreams. Usually she's only a danger to herself, but when she almost breaks her best friend's neck at a sleepover, Sarah becomes a social pariah. Luckily (and stangely), Wes, a guy she's only seen in her dreams, turns up at school and the two become inseparable.

An experimental drug offers a cure, but she and Wes soon realize that not only are they sharing the same dreams, they can now alter other people's dreams. It's clear that this new drug is offering a lot more than just sleep. Will Wes and Sarah choose responsibility…or revenge?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Sleeper?

I loved developing my own fictional version of a real parasomnia (R.E.M. Sleep Behavior Disorder) and then using it to complicate and raise the stakes of my characters’ choices. Something I love about comic books is that the fake science or mythological backstory that gives a hero her power generally also creates the potentially tragic crisis she must confront. For example, if your mutant ability allows you to suck the life force out of anyone you touch, then you’d better believe your dating life will suffer.

When I use a fantastical, super heroic or science fiction element in a story, I’m using it to create a clear, high stakes situation that forces my characters to reveal themselves, flaws and all. They confront the same everyday questions we all grapple with, but because of their abilities the stakes are crazy high. In Sarah and Wes’s case, I wanted to know if absolute power corrupts absolutely or if with great power comes great responsibility. Using dreams and possession to figure that out kept the drama going.

Purchase Sleeper at Amazon
Purchase Sleeper at IndieBound
View Sleeper on Goodreads

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The Way It Hurts
by Patty Blount
Paperback Giveaway (3 Copies)
U.S. Only

Sourcebooks Fire
Released 8/1/2017

There may be two sides to every story, but sometimes there's only one way to set things right...

Music is Elijah's life. His band plays loud and hard, and he'll do anything to get them a big break. He needs that success to help take care of his sister, who has special needs. So he'd rather be practicing when his friends drag him to a musical in the next town...until the lead starts to sing.

Kristen dreams of a career on stage like her grandmother's. She knows she needs an edge to get into a competitive theater program―and being the star in her high school musical isn't going to cut it. The applause and the attention only encourage her to work harder.

Elijah can't take his eyes off of Kristen's performance, and his swooning face is captured on camera and posted with an out-of-context comment. It goes viral. Suddenly, Elijah and Kristen are in a new spotlight as the online backlash spins out of control. And the consequences are bigger than they both could have ever imagined because these threats don't stay online...they follow them into real life.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Way It Hurts?

I adore main character Kristen’s grandmother, “Etta”. She is a force of nature! When I first start a new project, I only have the two main characters in mind. The supporting cast develops as I get deeper into the plotting process. I like to play with opposites. So Elijah is this rock idol wannabe and I figure that giving him a love interest whose own passion lies in showtunes and stage productions could be interesting. Next, I decide just how Elijah and Kristen became interested in the things they love. A good portion of that brainstorming goes into their backstory.

While I was developing Kristen into this focused and driven future Tony winner, I wondered who’d help her along the way. I gave her a supportive family and at first, thought it was her mom who was that early influence. But somewhere along the way, I changed mom to grandma. I think it might have been an episode of Castle that took me in that direction. Castle’s mom is this over-the-top woman with a tendency toward hyperbole and a flair for the dramatic. She doesn’t simply walk into a room; she makes an entrance. That’s Etta. I figured it made more sense for Kristen’s grandmother to mentor her, than her mother, as I originally planned, because I’m finding as I get older, I’m growing bolder. Not necessarily braver, but bolder. Her mom hasn’t yet developed that boldness.

I adore Etta and hope readers will, too.

Purchase The Way It Hurts at Amazon
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View The Way It Hurts on Goodreads

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The Wood
by Chelsea Bobulski
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Feiwel & Friends
Released 8/1/2017

After her father goes missing in the woods that they protect, Winter tries to seek the truth in what happened, why the wood is changing, and what it all has to do with the arrival of a mysterious stranger in this thrilling YA debut.

When Winter’s dad goes missing during his nightly patrol of the wood, it falls to her to patrol the time portals and protect the travelers who slip through them. Winter can't help but think there's more to her dad's disappearance than she's being told.

She soon finds a young man traveling in the wood named Henry who knows more than he should. He believes if they can work together to find his missing parents, they could discover the truth about Winter’s dad.

The wood is poisoned, changing into something sinister—torturing travelers lost it. Winter must put her trust in Henry in order to find the truth and those they’ve lost.

Bobulski’s eerie debut is filled with friendship, family, and the responsibilities we choose and those we do not.

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

My favorite thing about THE WOOD is that it is an amalgamation of everything I’ve ever loved as a reader, especially when I was a teen, reading fantasy and paranormal novels during study hall instead of actually doing my homework. I’ve always loved to escape to the woods and be surrounded by trees—there’s something about it that just cleanses me—so setting a story in a magical wood that can be, at times, both breathtaking and frightening felt so natural, like this setting was always a part of me and it was just waiting to come out. Other elements that are everything teen reader me would have wanted in a book include: a heroine who is both physically and emotionally strong, especially when it comes to handling her responsibilities; a time-travel element (because the history major in me won’t be denied); a sassy—but loyal—best friend; and a star-crossed romance that may be doomed before it even begins. All of these elements blended together into a book that is 100% me, and I hope others will enjoy it as well!

Purchase The Wood at Amazon
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View The Wood on Goodreads

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These Things I've Done
by Rebecca Phillips
Hardcover Giveaway
Released 8/1/2017

A contemporary YA perfect for fans of Courtney Summers and Jessi Kirby, THESE THINGS I’VE DONE is the story of a seventeen-year-old girl who accidentally caused her best friend’s death and, a year later, is still grappling with the consequences.

Dara and Aubrey have been inseparable since they became best friends in sixth grade. However, as they begin their sophomore year of high school, cracks in their friendship begin to form, testing the bond they always thought was unbreakable.

It's been fifteen months since the accident that killed Aubrey, and not a day goes by that Dara isn't racked with guilt over her role in her best friend's death. Dara thought nothing could be worse than confronting the memories of Aubrey that relentlessly haunt her, but she soon realizes it isn't half as difficult as seeing Ethan, Aubrey's brother, every day. Not just because he's a walking reminder of what she did, but because the more her feelings for him change, the more she knows she's betraying her best friend one final time.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about These Things I've Done?

My favorite (and most challenging) part to write was the relationship between my main character, Dara, and Ethan, the brother of her best friend, who she accidentally killed. Dara and Ethan have known each other for years, which is a totally different dynamic from all the other romances I've written, in which the two main characters just meet and have to get to know each other. Dara and Ethan already know each other really well, but their years-long friendship has ended and they've been completely apart from each other for a year as the story begins.

When their relationship picks up again, it's understandably fraught with challenges. She accidentally killed his sister, who he was so close to growing up. Dara feels debilitating guilt, while Ethan is caught between his romantic feelings for Dara--which he's had for years and still feels--and dealing with her role in his sister's death. Dara's caught between her desire to make it up to Ethan, and her growing feelings for him that make her feel even guiltier.

Purchase These Things I've Done at Amazon
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We Now Return to Regular Life
by Martin Wilson
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Dial Books
Released 8/1/2017

A ripped-from-the-headlines novel that explores the power of being an ally—and a friend—when a kidnapped boy returns to his hometown.

Sam Walsh had been missing for three years. His older sister, Beth, thought he was dead. His childhood friend Josh thought it was all his fault. They were the last two people to see him alive.

Until now. Because Sam has been found, and he’s coming home. Beth desperately wants to understand what happened to her brother, but her family refuses to talk about it—even though Sam is clearly still affected by the abuse he faced at the hands of his captor.

And as Sam starts to confide in Josh about his past, Josh can’t admit the truths he’s hidden deep within himself: that he’s gay, and developing feelings for Sam. And, even bigger: that he never told the police everything he saw the day Sam disappeared.

As Beth and Josh struggle with their own issues, their friends and neighbors slowly turn on Sam, until one night when everything explodes. Beth can’t live in silence. Josh can’t live with his secrets. And Sam can’t continue on until the whole truth of what happened to him is out in the open.

For fans of thought-provoking stories like The Face on the Milk Carton, this is a book about learning to be an ally—even when the community around you doesn’t want you to be.

Purchase We Now Return to Regular Life at Amazon
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View We Now Return to Regular Life on Goodreads


Little Monsters by Kara Thomas: Katrina C.
The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash by Candace Ganger: Mary H.



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by Alexandra Duncan
Greenwillow Books
Released 8/1/2017

When an agribusiness facility producing genetically engineered food releases a deadly toxin into the environment, seventeen-year-old Tempest Torres races to deliver the cure before time runs out.

From the author of the acclaimed American Booksellers Association’s Indies Introduce pick Salvage, which was called “Brilliant, feminist science fiction” by Stephanie Perkins, the internationally bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss. This stand-alone action-adventure story is perfect for fans of Oryx and Crake and The House of the Scorpion.

Seventeen-year-old Tempest Torres has lived on the AgraStar farm north of Atlanta, Georgia, since she was found outside its gates at the age of five. Now she’s part of the security force guarding the fence and watching for scavengers—people who would rather steal genetically engineered food from the Company than work for it. When a group of such rebels accidentally sets off an explosion in the research compound, it releases into the air a blight that kills every living thing in its path—including humans. With blight-resistant seeds in her pocket, Tempest teams up with a scavenger boy named Alder and runs for help. But when they finally arrive at AgraStar headquarters, they discover that there’s an even bigger plot behind the blight—and it’s up to them to stop it from happening again.

Inspired by current environmental issues, specifically the genetic adjustment of seeds to resist blight and the risks of not allowing natural seed diversity, this is an action-adventure story that is Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake meets Nancy Farmer’s House of the Scorpion.

Purchase Blight at Amazon
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Genius: The Con
by Leopoldo Gout
Feiwel & Friends
Released 8/1/2017

Three teen geniuses from diverse backgrounds must work together to stop a vicious warlord, protect their families, and save the world in this fast-paced sequel to Genius: The Game.


Tunde: This fourteen-year-old self-taught engineering genius from Nigeria is in a race against time to save his village from a ruthless warlord.

Painted Wolf: This mysterious sixteen-year-old activist blogger and strategist from China is searching for a way to rescue her father from the corruption he's inadvertently been caught up in.

Rex: This sixteen-year-old Mexican-American has proven himself to be one of the best programmers in the world, only to be falsely accused of stealing billions of government secrets for the terrorist hacking group Terminal.

Pursued by the police, the FBI, and most dangerous of all, Kiran Biswas, visionary CEO and evil mastermind, three teen geniuses have to move fast and stay low as they race to find a missing brother, stop a vicious warlord, and save the world in Genius: The Con by Leopoldo Gout.

Purchase Genius: The Con at Amazon
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View Genius: The Con on Goodreads

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Just Friends
by Tiffany Pitcock
Swoon Reads
Released 8/1/2017

A new spin on the classic smart-girl-and-bad-boy setup, this witty contemporary romance shows how easily a friendship – even one built on an elaborate lie – can become so much more.

Jenny meets Chance for the very first time when she is assigned as his partner in their Junior Oral Communications class. But after they rescue a doomed assignment with one clever lie, the whole school is suddenly convinced that Little-Miss-Really-Likes-Having-A’s and the most scandalous heartbreaker in school have been best friends forever. It’s amazing how quickly a lie can grow―especially when you really, really want it to be the truth.

With Jenny, Chance can live the normal life he’s always kind of wanted. And with Chance, Jenny can have the exciting teen experiences that TV shows and movies have always promised. Through it all, they hold on to the fact that they are “just friends.” But that might be the biggest lie of all.

Debut author Tiffany Pitcock delivers a spot-on depiction of first love and the high school rumor mill in Just Friends, chosen by readers like you for Macmillan's young adult imprint Swoon Reads.

Purchase Just Friends at Amazon
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Kissing Max Holden
by Katy Upperman
Swoon Reads
Released 8/1/2017

Kissing Max Holden was a terrible idea...

After his father has a life-altering stroke, Max Holden isn't himself. As his long-time friend, Jillian Eldridge only wants to help him, but she doesn't know how. When Max climbs through her window one night, Jill knows that she shouldn't let him kiss her. But she can't resist, and when they're caught in the act by her dad, Jill swears it'll never happen again. Because kissing Max Holden is a terrible idea.

With a new baby sibling on the way, her parents fighting all the time, and her dream of culinary school up in the air, Jill starts spending more and more time with Max. And even though her father disapproves and Max still has a girlfriend, not kissing Max is easier said than done. Will Jill follow her heart and allow their friendship to blossom into something more, or will she listen to her head and stop kissing Max Holden once and for all?

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Love Is Both Wave and Particle
by Paul Cody
Roaring Brook Press
Released 8/1/2017

This achingly beautiful novel considers how to measure love when it has the power to both save and destroy.

Levon Grady and Samantha Vash are both students at an alternative high school for high-achieving but troubled teens. They have been chosen for a year-long project where they write their life stories and collect interviews from people who know them. The only rule is 100% confidentiality—they will share their work only with each other. What happens will transform their lives.

Told from the perspectives of Levon, Sam, and all the people who know them best, this is a love story infused with science and the exploration of identity. Love Is Both Wave and Particle looks at how love behaves in different situations, and how it can shed light on even the darkest heart.

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View Love Is Both Wave and Particle on Goodreads

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Miles Morales (Spider-Man)
by Jason Reynolds
Marvel Press
Released 8/1/2017

Miles Morales is just your average teenager. Dinner every Sunday with his parents, chilling out playing old-school video games with his best friend, Ganke, crushing on brainy, beautiful poet Alicia. He's even got a scholarship spot at the prestigious Brooklyn Visions Academy. Oh yeah, and he's Spider Man.

But lately, Miles's spidey-sense has been on the fritz. When a misunderstanding leads to his suspension from school, Miles begins to question his abilities. After all, his dad and uncle were Brooklyn jack-boys with criminal records. Maybe kids like Miles aren't meant to be superheroes. Maybe Miles should take his dad's advice and focus on saving himself.

As Miles tries to get his school life back on track, he can't shake the vivid nightmares that continue to haunt him. Nor can he avoid the relentless buzz of his spidey-sense every day in history class, amidst his teacher's lectures on the historical "benefits" of slavery and the importance of the modern-day prison system. But after his scholarship is threatened, Miles uncovers a chilling plot, one that puts his friends, his neighborhood, and himself at risk.

It's time for Miles to suit up.

Purchase Miles Morales (Spider-Man) at Amazon
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Sparks of Light
by Janet B. Taylor
HMH Books for Young Readers
Released 8/1/2017

For the first time in her life, Hope Walton has friends . . . and a (maybe) boyfriend. She’s a Viator, a member of a long line of time-traveling ancestors. When the Viators learn of a plan to steal a dangerous device from the inventor Nikola Tesla, only a race into the past can save the natural timeline from utter destruction. Navigating the glitterati of The Gilded Age in 1895 New York City, Hope and her crew will discover that high society can be as deadly as it is beautiful.

Purchase Sparks of Light at Amazon
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The Secret History of Us
by Jessi Kirby
Released 8/1/2017

Gorgeously written and emotionally charged, The Secret History of Us explores the difficult journey of a teenage girl who must piece her life together after losing her memory in a near-fatal accident.

When Olivia awakes in a hospital bed following a car accident that almost took her life, she can’t remember the details about how she got there. She figures the fog is just a symptom of being in a week-long coma, but as time goes on, she realizes she’s lost more than just the last several days of her life—she’s lost her memory of the last four years. Gone is any recollection of starting or graduating high school; the prom; or her steady boyfriend Matt. Trying to figure out who she is feels impossible when everyone keeps telling her who she was.

As Liv tries to block out what her family and friends say about who she used to be, the one person she hasn’t heard enough from is Walker, the guy who saved her the night her car was knocked off that bridge into the bay below. Walker is the hardened boy who’s been keeping his distance—and the only person Olivia inexplicably feels herself with. With her feelings growing for Walker, tensions rising with Matt, and secrets she can’t help but feel are being kept from her, Olivia must find her place in a life she doesn’t remember living.

Purchase The Secret History of Us at Amazon
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by Betsy Cornwell
Clarion Books
Released 8/1/2017

Young inventor Nicolette Lampton is living her own fairy-tale happy ending. She's free of her horrible step-family, running a successful business, and is uninterested in marrying the handsome prince, Fin. Instead, she, Fin, and their friend Caro venture to the lush land of Faerie, where they seek to put an end to the bloody war their kingdom is waging.

Mechanical armies and dark magic await them as they uncover devastating secrets about the past and fight for a real, lasting happily-ever-after for two troubled countries—and for themselves.

Purchase Venturess at Amazon
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View Venturess on Goodreads

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When I Am Through with You
by Stephanie Kuehn
Dutton Books for Young Readers
Released 8/1/2017

“This isn’t meant to be a confession. Not in any spiritual sense of the word. Yes, I’m in jail at the moment. I imagine I’ll be here for a long time, considering. But I’m not writing this down for absolution and I’m not seeking forgiveness, not even from myself. Because I’m not sorry for what I did to Rose. I’m just not. Not for any of it.”

Ben Gibson is many things, but he’s not sorry and he’s not a liar. He will tell you exactly about what happened on what started as a simple school camping trip in the mountains. About who lived and who died. About who killed and who had the best of intentions. But he’s going to tell you in his own time. Because after what happened on that mountain, time is the one thing he has plenty of.

Purchase When I Am Through with You at Amazon
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Sunday, July 30, 2017

0 YA Sunday Morning News: This Week for Writers 7/30/17

Hello, writers!

It's Sunday, and that means fresh YA news hot off the press! This week’s links include a section for San Diego Comic-Con, as well as a new weekly category (!)—YA Book to Screen Adaptation News. With all of the amazing books being turned into shows and films, I wanted to give these headlines their own spotlight.

Happy reading!

San Diego Comic-Con News

Writing for Publication—Book Marketing and Social Media:

Author Interviews:

Adventures in YA Publishing Author Interviews:

Literary Agent News and Interviews:

Writing and Pitch Contests:
Writing Craft:

Writing Inspiration:

YA Book to Screen Adaptation News:

Publishing News & Trends:

New YA E-Book Deals:

New YA Book Giveaways:

YA New Book Deals and Releases:

Just for Fun:

Saturday, July 29, 2017

0 Alexandra Sirowy, author of FIRST WE WERE IV, on drawing inspiration from various sources

We're delighted to have Alexandra Sirowy stop by to tell us more about her latest novel, FIRST WE WERE IV.

Alexandra, what was your inspiration for writing FIRST WE WERE IV?

Back when I was an undergrad in college, I came across this blurry black and white photo of girls surrounding a lake, lighting paper boats on fire, and sailing them out to burn. The photo was from decades before, and it was captioned Midnight Lake Ritual. From the instant I saw it, I had questions. Ritual of what? Was this an all-girls secret society on campus and did it still exist? Secret societies wormed their way into my consciousness, where they waited for the other pieces of the puzzle to fall into place years later.

The next bit came when I was scanning an entertainment blog a couple of years ago. A short post about celebrity kids using crystals to start their own religion snagged my attention. I couldn’t get the image out of my head: a few teenagers in the hills behind their Los Angeles homes, inventing something big and bonding over shared secrets. After that I knew that FIRST WE WERE IV needed to be written.

What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

The first and last.

Opening with the arrival of the police, evidence of an accident or murder, and the statement “First we were four. Now we are three,” FWWIV jumps back to relate how four best friends’ secret society ratchets dangerously out of control, leaving the mystery of what happens to one of them (and to which one) to pull readers through the book. The first scene sets the stage; it’s a vignette of the aftermath. I had to walk a fine line between enticing the reader to wonder what transpired and why, without sharing too many details that would ruin the book’s central mystery.

The last scene was difficult to write for a completely different reason. By the time I got there, 400 pages in, the four best friends FWWIV follows had come alive for me. I loved them. It’s no secret that one of them dies, and I almost didn’t have the courage or the heart to go through with it when it came time to. I remember being hunched over my laptop, crying as I wrote the final pages.

What book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or visa versa?

FIRST WE WERE IV is in the vein of FIGHT CLUB meets PRETTY LITTLE LIARS with a secret society. It also feels a little like a young adult THE SECRET HISTORY. Recently there have been a lot of reviewers who’ve recommended it for fans of E. Lockhart’s WE WERE LIARS and Lauren Oliver’s PANIC.


First We Were IV
by Alexandra Sirowy
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Released 7/25/2017

It started for pranks, fun, and forever memories.
A secret society – for the four of us.
The rules: Never lie. Never tell. Love each other.

We made the pledge and danced under the blood moon on the meteorite in the orchard. In the spot we found the dead girl five years earlier. And discovered the ancient drawings way before that.
Nothing could break the four of us apart – I thought.

But then, others wanted in. Our seaside town had secrets. History.
We wanted revenge.
We broke the rules. We lied. We told. We loved each other too much, not enough, and in ways we weren’t supposed to.

Our invention ratcheted out of control.
What started as a secret society, ended as justice. Revenge. Death. Rebellion.

Purchase First We Were IV at Amazon
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Alexandra Sirowy was born in Northern California and grew up in Providence, Rhode Island and the San Francisco Bay Area. She attended a women's college as an undergraduate and has a graduate degree in International Studies. She lives in Northern California with her husband. Visit her at


Have you had a chance to read FIRST WE WERE IV yet? Have you ever been inspired by an old photo? Have you cried as you wrote a scene? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy reading,

Emily, Jocelyn, Anisaa, Sam, Martina, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, and Lori Ann

1 Ann Aguirre, author of VANGUARD, on giving readers what they want

We are thrilled to have Ann Aguirre here to chat about VANGUARD, the fourth book in The Razorland series.

Ann, what was your inspiration for writing VANGUARD?

​I got so much reader correspondence asking what happened to Tegan and whether she eventually ended up with James Morrow, that I jokingly said, "If there's enough interest, I'll write a companion novel!" To be honest, I intended to leave that open and up to reader imaginations, but then my editor asked if I would actually do that, because it seemed there was sufficient demand for a companion story. After some reflection, I decided I would be happy to tell Tegan's story. And then I did. :)​

What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud?

​The scene where Tegan talks about the sexual abuse she suffered with the Wolves was pretty gut-wrenching to write. As a survivor myself, I had to channel some pretty dark memories to get those feelings, and it was excruciating. I don't know if I'm proud of that scene per se, but I do think it will resonate with readers who have similar experiences. I hope it helps someone to see that anger and pain depicted as accurately and honestly as I could.

What do you hope readers will take away from VANGUARD?

​A happy feeling and ​deep sigh of contentment. I also hope they'll be hungry for more stories in the Razorland world. In many ways, VANGUARD is a bridge book, wrapping up the apocalypse from the main trilogy and showing readers that the world is changing. Eventually, I plan to write an epic fantasy series set in that world, 500 years in the future. Terry Brooks wrote a fantasy set in a world that been destroyed and rebuilt, and then later wrote about that destruction. I've flipped that order and shown readers how our world ended, giving rise to these new lands.

How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?

​It was long. I wrote off and on from age fifteen to thirty-six. At twenty-one, I had an agent, but I didn't sell. Fast forward to 2007, and I finally sold a novel to Ace books. That was the science fiction romance Grimspace, and the start of a ten year career. I wrote ten books that failed before selling that​ one, and I'm now working on my 40th published novel!

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

​If this is your dream, don't ever give up. ​There's no guarantee of success, but every writer who's made it has one thing in common: they didn't quit. So keep writing, keep striving, and keep following your dreams.

What are you working on now?

​I just finished book two in the YA SF Honors series that I'm writing with Rachel Caine. I'm also drafting a thriller. Can't say more than that yet! ​


by Ann Aguirre
Feiwel & Friends
Released 7/25/2017

The Razorland saga continues. Since the war ended, Tegan has dreamed of an epic journey, so when she has the opportunity to sign on as ship's doctor, she can't wait. It's past time to chart her course. Millie Faraday, the kindest girl in the free territories, also yearns to outrun her reputation, and warrior-poet James Morrow would follow Tegan to the ends of the earth.

Their company seems set, but fate brings one more to their number. Tegan will battle incredible odds while aiding Szarok, the Uroch vanguard, who has ventured forth to save his people. Szarok is strange and beautiful, like a flower that blooms only in the dark. She shouldn't allow him close, as such a relationship is both alien and forbidden. But through stormy seas and strange lands, she will become stronger than she ever knew.

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Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. She likes books, emo music, and action movies. She writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens.


Have you had a chance to read VANGUARD yet? Have you ever hoped your favorite author would continue the story for you? Are you continuing to follow your writing dreams? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy reading,

Emily, Jocelyn, Anisaa, Sam, Martina, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, and Lori Ann

0 Kara Thomas, author of LITTLE MONSTERS, on her desk looking like a conspiracy board

We are excited to have Kara Thomas join us to share more about her latest novel, LITTLE MONSTERS.

Kara, what was your inspiration for writing LITTLE MONSTERS?

I’ve always been fascinated by the complicated nature of friendships between teenage girls. In high school, I saw a lot of toxic relationships. I think it’s very easy to be manipulated when you want to be well-liked. That’s how I came up with the idea for a girl named Kacey, who is so lost and lonely that she falls into a friendship with two girls who aren’t what they appear. And since I’m a mystery writer, of course a murder and a disappearance are involved.

What book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or visa versa?

The thrillers that have most resonated with me are Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn and Gone Baby Gone by Dennis Lehane. Both made me realize that I wanted to write mysteries with conflicted protagonists. I love how these books look at the messy dynamics of family, and present moral dilemmas for the main character and the reader. I think readers who enjoyed Little Monsters and The Darkest Corners would appreciate the two books I just mentioned. As for YA books, some mysteries that I love are Pointe by Brandy Colbert, Never Missing, Never Found by Amanda Panitch, and Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

I work at home in my office, and I write every day. Some days are much more productive than others— if I’m stuck on a plot point I have to spend time outlining. I joke that my desk looks sort of like the conspiracy board in Homeland. I have a bunch of different colored gel pens that I use to write down and connect clues, characters, and plot twists.


Little Monsters
by Kara Thomas
Delacorte Press
Released 7/25/2017

For fans of Pretty Little Liars, Little Monsters is a new psychological thriller, from the author of The Darkest Corners, about appearances versus reality and the power of manipulation amongst teenage girls.

Kacey is the new girl in Broken Falls. When she moved in with her father, she stepped into a brand-new life. A life with a stepbrother, a stepmother, and strangest of all, an adoring younger half sister.

Kacey’s new life is eerily charming compared with the wild highs and lows of the old one she lived with her volatile mother. And everyone is so nice in Broken Falls—she’s even been welcomed into a tight new circle of friends. Bailey and Jade invite her to do everything with them.

Which is why it’s so odd when they start acting distant. And when they don’t invite her to the biggest party of the year, it doesn’t exactly feel like an accident.

But Kacey will never be able to ask, because Bailey never makes it home from that party. Suddenly, Broken Falls doesn’t seem so welcoming after all—especially once everyone starts looking to the new girl for answers.

Kacey is about to learn some very important lessons: Sometimes appearances can be deceiving. Sometimes when you’re the new girl, you shouldn’t trust anyone.

Purchase Little Monsters at Amazon
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View Little Monsters on Goodreads


i-9McW7jT-XLKara is the author of the critically acclaimed THE DARKEST CORNERS. Her new book, LITTLE MONSTERS, is coming July 25th from Random House/Delacorte. She’s written for everything from her high school newspaper to Warner Brothers Television. You can find her on Long Island, bingeing on true crime podcasts and TV shows.


Have you had a chance to read LITTLE MONSTERS yet? Do you think mystery/thrillers involving high school girl relationships are even more complicated than others? How do you keep track of all the different aspects of your mystery novel? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy reading,

Emily, Jocelyn, Anisaa, Sam, Martina, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, and Lori Ann

0 Candace Ganger, author of THE INEVITABLE COLLISION OF BIRDIE & BASH, on holding onto hope no matter what

We are so glad that we collided with Candace Ganger to learn more about her debut novel, THE INEVITABLE COLLISION OF BIRDIE & BASH.

Candace, what scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

The first tragedy scene was tough, but also (without giving anything away), all the scenes with Bash and his Ma. He and I are very similar in that we're easily closed off to most, but completely vulnerable to a select few. Those two have such a special relationship, and I felt what he felt. I really enjoyed writing a scene in the skating rink basement, however risqué parts of it are, as well as the final scene (which was originally MUCH different).

What do you hope readers will take away from THE INEVITABLE COLLISION OF BIRDIE & BASH?

No matter what happens in life, hold onto the hope that things can get better. Sarge says "as long as we have hope, we have life." I think that's one of the truest things I've ever written.

What are you working on now?

Up next is another YA contemporary called Fallen Loved Ones Awaiting Transfer (FLOAT), about a girl navigating a yearly birthday tradition of seeking out red balloons that challenge her to face her fears. This awkward, anxiety/OCD-ridden bad-ass (she loves the contradiction) hasn’t ever finished all 6 challenges before, but then again, she never really had to. Now that her hero is gone, and the one who started these challenges—her Marine father who's just been killed in combat—there’s no other path she can take.


The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash
by Candace Ganger
St. Martin's Griffin
Released 7/25/2017

Birdie never meant to be at the party. Bash should have been long gone. But when they meet, a collision course is set off they may never recover from.

Sebastian Alvaréz is just trying to hold the pieces together: to not flunk out, to keep his sort-of-best friend Wild Kyle from doing something really bad, and to see his beloved Ma through chemo. But when he meets Birdie Paxton, a near-Valedictorian who doesn’t realize she’s smoking hot in her science pun T-shirt, at a party, an undeniable attraction sparks. And suddenly he’s not worried about anything. But before they are able to exchange numbers, they are pulled apart. A horrifying tragedy soon links Birdie and Bash together—but neither knows it. When they finally reconnect, and are starting to fall—hard—the events of the tragedy unfold, changing both their lives in ways they can never undo. Told in alternating perspectives, The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash by Candace Ganger is a beautiful, complex, and ultimately hopeful teen novel that will move you to the very last page.

Purchase The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash at Amazon
Purchase The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash at IndieBound
View The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash on Goodreads


Image result for candace gangerCandace Ganger is a feisty author with a passion for Tweeting cat memes. Candace is also a ghost-writer for award-winning nonfiction and best-selling fiction authors and contributing writer for Teen Vogue, Romper, Hello Giggles, Bustle, TWLOHA, XO Jane, and more. She's worked previously as assistant editor for and her various creative endeavors (literally hundreds) are sprinkled all over the globe. When she's not writing for other people's fame or stress baking, you can find her training for marathons in cemeteries or taming her two weird kids (not to be confused with her two weird cats) while consuming way too many Milky Way lattes. You can follow her obsessive cat picture posting shenanigans via @candylandgang on Twitter!


Have you had a chance to read THE INEVITABLE COLLISION OF BIRDIE & BASH yet? Did you feel what your characters feel? Do you remember to hold onto hope while writing? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy reading,

Emily, Jocelyn, Anisaa, Sam, Martina, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, and Lori Ann

Friday, July 28, 2017

0 Writing a Novel is Like Weaving a Web by Author Katie Kennedy

Author Katie Kennedy joins us today with a fun spin on write what you know. I really like her version a lot...except maybe the spiders. :-)  Be sure to check out her new release, What Goes Up, below the post.

For All You Spiders Out There... by Katie Kennedy

People say to write what you know, but I say to know what you write. What I mean is this—and here I’m going to compare you to a spider, so if that’s a deal breaker, scurry along. Writing a novel is like weaving a web, and your silk attaches to the anchors you have available. If you have more anchors—more bits of knowledge—your web-book will be beautiful because the complexity, and the meaning, is in the connections.

The way you get those anchors isn’t to run a search when you’re halfway through your manuscript. Spiders with beautiful webs don’t use Wikipedia. I feel confident about that.

They do read nonfiction, though.

I teach college history and so my work is full of historical examples, even though I write contemp/sci fi. Other people may draw on different bodies of knowledge, but that’s my primary well. For example, in LEARNING TO SWEAR IN AMERICA I mention the Battle of Marathon. Here’s what happened: with overwhelming numbers of Persians getting out of their boats just yards away, the Greeks had to decide whether to run or fight. They took a vote among their generals--and it was a tie. So they turned to the guy who had the tie-breaking vote and said, “With you it rests, Callimachus.” Everybody was looking at him. The Persians were disembarking with a rattle of armor, feet stamping the sand, waves lapping at the sides of their ships. Everything rested on Callimachus’s next words. So yeah, I thought the best analogy to the decision my teenage physicist had to make as an asteroid hurtled in came from the fifth century BCE. That’s not a connection you make unless you already know about Callimachus.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

1 WoW: Outlining Simplified with Candace Granger

Here on WoW, we're thrilled to have Candace Granger, author of THE INEVITABLE COLLISON OF BIRDIE & BASH, with us to discuss an important aspect of the drafting process – Outlining. There are many different systems and methods of outlining, some of which can be extremely time consuming and unappealing to pantser-type writers. But deciding not to outline has problems as well, since it can become difficult to spot issues with pacing and plotting until after the manuscript is written. 

Today, Candace is here sharing the simple, yet effective, method she used to outline her book. After the post, be sure and check out THE INEVITABLE COLLISON OF BIRDIE & BASH, which was released yesterday by St. Martin's Griffin and is available for purchase at all the usual places. Now, here's Candace.

Outlining Simplified (Because Life is Complicated Enough)
By Candace Ganger

When it comes to outlining, there’s a gazillion ways to do it, depending on who you ask. There’s the “snowflake method,” the classic and reliable “three-act structure”, the “pull-it-out-of-thin-air-and-hope-for-the-best” technique, the “ask your toddler what should happen” method, and too many more to list. Seriously. There’s too many to list.

Then, there’s the other camp with those who don’t use an outline at all (gasp!). I wish I had that much trust in the story or my characters, but I’ve tried this “pantsing” thing before, and all I ended up with was a weird contemporary with an Inception ending, + unicorns. I can’t be trusted with my wild thoughts, or I’ll spend way too long revising my way out of them after.

For my debut, THE INEVITABLE COLLISON OF BIRDIE & BASH, I used an outline; a thorough, but not boring, type. If I wasn’t excited to plan the story, why would I be excited to write it? My outlining process made drafting lightning fast, and while this specific book was atypical (finished in under 30 days), I generally draft fast anyway because of how I outline. Also, because I like the thrill of “can she finish or will she surrender in defeat?” I’m mega-competitive with myself so this pleases both the Author Me, and the Trash-Talking Me.

I’m asked all the time if I outline, and if so, what I use to get “there.” With as much writing as I have to turn in each week via my day job and freelance pieces (a lot), bookish things that require more time and energy sometimes get what’s left of me. Unless I have a plan. Up until summer hit (aka my kids got out of school and now stand directly in my face all day, every day), I managed to stick to my daily writing goal — thanks to my trusty, old system — and though I’m locked in neutral until the kids go back to school, I’ll be ready.

If you’re tired of all the outlining methods, I’m about to give you another! Yay! But I’m only doing so because it’s treated me so well, and I want others to have the ability to get through a draft painlessly. Cool? Here we go:
  • Buy a notebook, or use one you have on hand. Scribble down any, and every thought you have about this story. It can be details, scenes you want, random character names or characteristics — whatever. I have notebooks filled with mindless ramblings I can’t decipher now! The point is, it did its job at the time and now, they live happily on a tropical island somewhere in the Caribbean. 
  • Invest in the all-mighty Post-Its in various colors. They’re going to be your best friends for a while. Some may go for the white board thing, but I prefer having little papers everywhere. It’s part of my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. That sounds like a cruel joke, but seriously. If it weren’t for Post-Its, I’d have nothing to obsess over (that I could remember).
  • Take all those incoherent thoughts from the notebook and transfer to one color of the Post-Its. For example, in one of my actual notebooks, I scribbled “accident happens.” On the same page, I wrote “They meet at a party.” These two events are connected now, but when I first wrote them in the notebook, they weren’t. I didn’t know they’d connect, actually. Put a different scene idea on a new Post-It. Only one. I know, it’s so hard to choose!
  • Spread all the same-colored scene Post-Its in front of you across a floor or gigantic table. It’s going to look like a jumbled mess but I promise you, there’s gold in there. You just have to sift to find it.
  • Begin by moving the pieces around to create a rough timeline. You can always rearrange. Because Post-Its rock.
  • Once your scenes look solid, repeat this process with a different colored Post-It. This time, focus on any previously written details you want to include in the scene. If you need your MC to draw bears (like Bash), note that. You can list several things on one of these.
  • Spread those babies out and stick them in wherever it feels right. Sprinkling information through your scenes will help with pacing.
  • Even if your house is a Post-It nightmare, you should see your through line of events, and the details to fill them with. This is usually when I open a Word document and type the outline with bullet points so I can see things clearly.
  • Find yourself a fluffy cat to pet because you did it! You’re ready to write your story. Remember to thank me in your acknowledgements. Joking. Sort of.

There you have it! I can’t guarantee your outlining process will be as easy as I’ve made it sound, but this process helps cut out the noise. Instead of researching “best outlining techniques,” all day, you can just get to it. So go forth and outline! Now!

Candace Ganger is a feisty author with a passion for Tweeting cat memes. Her YA debut is THE INEVITABLE COLLISION OF BIRDIE & BASH (St. Martin's Griffin, July 25th, 2017), about two teens who fall in love, not knowing of each other's connection to a horrific tragedy.

Candace is also a ghost-writer for award-winning nonfiction and best-selling fiction authors and contributing writer for Teen Vogue, Romper, Hello Giggles, Bustle, TWLOHA, XO Jane, and more. She's worked previously as assistant editor for and her various creative endeavors (literally hundreds) are sprinkled all over the globe.

When she's not writing for other people's fame or stress baking, you can find her training for marathons in cemeteries or taming her two weird kids (not to be confused with her two weird cats) while consuming way too many Milky Way lattes. You can follow her obsessive cat picture posting shenanigans via @candylandgang on Twitter!
Find Candace on: Goodreads | Twitter | Blog

Birdie never meant to be at the party. Bash should have been long gone. But when they meet, a collision course is set off they may never recover from.

Sebastian Alvaréz is just trying to hold the pieces together: to not flunk out, to keep his sort-of-best friend Wild Kyle from doing something really bad, and to see his beloved Ma through chemo. But when he meets Birdie Paxton, a near-Valedictorian who doesn’t realize she’s smoking hot in her science pun T-shirt, at a party, an undeniable attraction sparks. And suddenly he’s not worried about anything. But before they are able to exchange numbers, they are pulled apart. A horrifying tragedy soon links Birdie and Bash together—but neither knows it. When they finally reconnect, and are starting to fall—hard—the events of the tragedy unfold, changing both their lives in ways they can never undo. Told in alternating perspectives, The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash by Candace Ganger is a beautiful, complex, and ultimately hopeful teen novel that will move you to the very last page.
Buy the book: B&N | Amazon | Book Depository | Indigo