Monday, July 30, 2018

5 New Releases this week 07/30 - 08/05 plus Giveaway of HOW WE LEARNED TO LIE

Happy Monday! This week's giveaway is for HOW WE LEARNED TO LIE, which sounds super interesting! Don't forget to check out all the books below and enter to win.

Happy Reading,

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

YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK


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How We Learned to Lie
by Meredith Miller
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

HarperCollins
Released 7/31/2018

This isn't a love story, but it is a story about love.

This is the story of Joan Harris and Daisy McNamara and the year everything in their lives came apart.

It starts when Robbie McNamara appears at Joan’s house with someone else’s blood dripping from his hands. Then it all unravels from there in a string of bad angel dust, good biology teachers, rusty scalpels, and stunning car crashes. People keep disappearing, and everyone is lying.

There was always Joan and Daisy, just Daisy and Joan. The thing is, even if you love someone, how long should you hold on before letting go to save yourself?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about How We Learned to Lie?

I love the world. I really enjoy writing place, landscape, atmosphere. I love Andre's music. Most of all, I love the two main characters. When I began HOW WE LEARNED TO LIE, I knew the story I wanted to tell, but I didn’t yet know Joan and Daisy. Any fiction writer will tell you that building characters is a strange process. You write and write through a lot of frustration until one day a character comes alive and says, “No, I wouldn’t do that.” or “Actually, I would say this.” Once Joan and Daisy popped off the page, they did things that made me laugh and cry. I fell in love with everything strong and curious and intelligent about them, but also with Joan’s prickliness and Daisy’s annoying passivity. Mostly, I fell in love with their difficult love for each other.

Purchase How We Learned to Lie at Amazon
Purchase How We Learned to Lie at IndieBound
View How We Learned to Lie on Goodreads


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS

Sanctuary by Caryn Lix: Laura E.

MORE YOUNG ADULT FICTION IN STORES NEXT WEEK WITH AUTHOR INTERVIEWS


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The Darkest Legacy
by Alexandra Bracken
Hardcover
Disney-Hyperion
Released 7/31/2018

Five years after the destruction of the so-called rehabilitation camps that imprisoned her and countless other Psi kids, seventeen-year-old Suzume "Zu" Kimura has assumed the role of spokesperson for the interim government, fighting for the rights of Psi kids against a growing tide of misinformation and prejudice. But when she is accused of committing a horrifying act, she is forced to go on the run once more in order to stay alive.

Determined to clear her name, Zu finds herself in an uncomfortable alliance with Roman and Priyanka, two mysterious Psi who could either help her prove her innocence or betray her before she gets the chance. But as they travel in search of safety and answers, and Zu grows closer to the people she knows she shouldn't trust, they uncover even darker things roiling beneath the veneer of the country's recovery. With her future-and the future of all Psi-on the line, Zu must use her powerful voice to fight back against forces that seek to drive the Psi into the shadows and save the friends who were once her protectors.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Darkest Legacy?

Not to be a total cornball, but there are so many things that I love about this book! It’s really hard to pick one favorite thing… but I think if I’m going to narrow it down, it has to be the fact that I got to write this book from Zu’s point of view. I loved being in her head and getting to know her on a deeper level. She always fascinated me in the original trilogy, but—and I hope this isn’t too big of a spoiler—she was missing for the entire second book, and part of the third. There was so much left to explore with her, and I just couldn’t make the logistics of travel and time passed work to bring her back into the trilogy sooner.

So much of Ruby’s journey is centered on her learning to control her powers and coming to terms with their implications to fully accept herself for who she is. It was such a fun challenge to turn around and write something completely different for Zu. She loves her power, and she’s in full control of it. It doesn’t bring her shame, and any hesitance she has in using it is related to her job within the government, which is public relations. She, and all of the other Psi, have to walk a tightrope with the public to maintain that they aren’t a threat to the wider world, and that works well enough for Zu… until it doesn’t.

I can’t wait for readers to meet her as an older version of herself. She’s still the sweet, empathetic person we all know and love, but she has more edge and strength than I even I knew.


Purchase The Darkest Legacy at Amazon
Purchase The Darkest Legacy at IndieBound
View The Darkest Legacy on Goodreads


MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK


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Dark Divide
by Sonja Stone
Hardcover
Penguin Publishing Group
Released 7/31/2018

With the trials of first semester behind her, sixteen-year-old Nadia Riley returns to Desert Mountain Academy to quietly complete her junior year--but at a Black-Ops training facility for the CIA, nothing stays quiet for long. When she's hunted by an ex-teammate during her first survival course, Nadia's semester takes a terrifying turn. Her pursuer is relentless, his agenda frightening. And if he succeeds, it will cost Nadia her life.

Purchase Dark Divide at Amazon
Purchase Dark Divide at IndieBound
View Dark Divide on Goodreads

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Grace and Fury
by Tracy Banghart
Hardcover
Little, Brown Books for Young
Released 7/31/2018

In a world where women have no rights, sisters Serina and Nomi Tessaro face two very different fates: one in the palace, the other in prison.

Serina has been groomed her whole life to become a Grace--someone to stand by the heir to the throne as a shining, subjugated example of the perfect woman. But when her headstrong and rebellious younger sister, Nomi, catches the heir's eye, it's Serina who takes the fall for the dangerous secret that Nomi has been hiding.

Now trapped in a life she never wanted, Nomi has only one way to save Serina: surrender to her role as a Grace until she can use her position to release her sister. This is easier said than done. A traitor walks the halls of the palace, and deception lurks in every corner. But Serina is running out of time, imprisoned on an island where she must fight to the death to survive and one wrong move could cost her everything.

Purchase Grace and Fury at Amazon
Purchase Grace and Fury at IndieBound
View Grace and Fury on Goodreads

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If Only
by Jennifer Gilmore
Hardcover
HarperTeen
Released 7/31/2018

BEFORE: When Bridget imagined her life at sixteen, it didn’t look like this. She didn’t think that her boyfriend would dump her for another girl. And she certainly didn’t think that she would be pregnant.

With just a few months until she gives birth, Bridget must envision an entirely new future—one for her baby. But as she sifts through the many paths and the many people who want to parent her child, she can’t help but feel that there is no right decision.

AFTER: Ivy doesn’t know much about her birth mother. She knows that she is now the same age Bridget was when she placed Ivy for adoption. She knows that Bridget was the one who named her. And she knows that fifteen years ago Bridget disappeared from Ivy’s and her adoptive moms’ lives.

Ivy wants to discover more about herself, but as she goes to find Bridget, she can’t help but feel that the risks might far outweigh the benefits of knowing where she comes from and why her birth mother chose to walk away.

Purchase If Only at Amazon
Purchase If Only at IndieBound
View If Only on Goodreads

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The Cheerleaders
by Kara Thomas
Hardcover
Delacorte Press
Released 7/31/2018

There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.

First there was the car accident--two girls dead after hitting a tree on a rainy night. Not long after, the murders happened. Those two girls were killed by the man next door. The police shot him, so no one will ever know his reasons. Monica's sister was the last cheerleader to die. After her suicide, Sunnybrook High disbanded the cheer squad. No one wanted to be reminded of the girls they'd lost.

That was five years ago. Now the faculty and students at Sunnybrook High want to remember the lost cheerleaders. But for Monica, it's not that easy. She just wants to forget.

Only, Monica's world is starting to unravel. There are the letters in her stepdad's desk, an unearthed, years-old cell phone, a strange new friend at school. . . . Whatever happened five years ago isn't over. Some people in town know more than they're saying. And somehow, Monica is at the center of it all.

There are no more cheerleaders in Sunnybrook, but that doesn't mean anyone else is safe.

Purchase The Cheerleaders at Amazon
Purchase The Cheerleaders at IndieBound
View The Cheerleaders on Goodreads

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The Girl You Thought I Was
by Rebecca Phillips
Hardcover
HarperTeen
Released 7/31/2018

No one looking at Morgan Kemper would think she had a secret—at least not one that she’s deeply ashamed of.

To everyone she meets, she comes across as sweet, pretty, and put together. But Morgan knows that looks can be deceiving. For over a year, she’s shoplifted countless pieces of clothing and makeup. Each time, she tells herself it will be the last, and each time, it never is.

But when she’s caught and sentenced to thirty hours of community service, the image Morgan has carefully constructed starts to crumble. She’s determined to complete her punishment without her friends discovering the truth about her sticky fingers, but that’s easier said than done...especially once she meets Eli, the charming, handsome nephew of the owner of the charity shop where Morgan is volunteering.

Soon Morgan is faced with an impossible decision: continue to conceal the truth or admit that she’s lied to everyone in her life, including the boy she’s falling for.

Purchase The Girl You Thought I Was at Amazon
Purchase The Girl You Thought I Was at IndieBound
View The Girl You Thought I Was on Goodreads

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The Impossibility of Us
by Katy Upperman
Hardcover
Swoon Reads
Released 7/31/2018

The last thing Elise wants is to start over in a new town. But after her brother’s death in Afghanistan, she and her mother move to a sleepy coastal village to be closer to Elise’s sister-in-law and niece.

When Elise meets Mati during a beachside walk, they quickly discover how much they have in common. Mati is new to town, too. Over the course of the summer, their relationship begins to blossom, and what starts out as a friendship becomes so much more.

But as Elise and Mati grow closer, her family becomes more and more uncomfortable with their relationship, and their concerns all center on one fact―Mati is Afghan.

Beautifully written, utterly compelling, and ultimately hopeful, The Impossibility of Us asks―how brave can you be when your relationship is questioned by everyone you love?

Purchase The Impossibility of Us at Amazon
Purchase The Impossibility of Us at IndieBound
View The Impossibility of Us on Goodreads


Sunday, July 29, 2018

0 Meredith Miller, author of HOW WE LEARNED TO LIE, on becoming a novelist

We're excited to have Meredith Miller stop by to tell us more about her latest novel, HOW WE LEARNED TO LIE.

Meredith, what was your inspiration for writing HOW WE LEARNED TO LIE?

When I look back on my teenage years, I realise that I lost touch with some really important people. I didn't realize how much they mattered at the time, that they were the real jewels, the ones I should have been paying attention to, should have hung on to. So I wanted to write a story about love and growing apart. And about hanging on.

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 closing scene was hard, in the sense that it felt very emotional. I cried! I didn't want to let the characters go. There is also a very unhealthy relationship (no spoilers!) that was hard to write because one of the characters is a creep, but the narrator doesn't see that. So you want to jump in and shout, 'He's a creep!' There's a scene I love between Joan and her father. It takes place on Joan's birthday. I really wanted to explore masculine relationships in this book: brothers (good and bad), fathers, and interactions between men. I love Joan's dad and her brothers. And of course, I love Daisy.

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

Readers who really like my books often compare me to Truman Capote and other southern gothic writers. And Capote's Other Voices, Other Rooms (with all its problems) is one of my favorite books. The same with everything of Carson McCullers'. A reviewer said that LITTLE WRECKS (my first novel) was a lot like Catcher in the Rye, that it was like 'Holden Caulfield through a disco ball'! A lot of reviewers compared that first book to THE VIRGIN SUICIDES. HOW WE LEARNED TO LIE is similar in period, place and theme, and in its horrific climax, so that might be a good comparison too.

How long did you work on HOW WE LEARNED TO LIE?

I was on a schedule for this novel, because it was the second in a two-book contract. We signed in October of 2015 and I started thinking about the second book (HWLtL) right away. My (totally wonderful) editor signed off on the final manuscript in July of 2017. So that's a little more than eighteen months, but we were editing and doing all the production on the first book at the same time. Emilia Rhodes, my editor, was very supportive and I relied on her feedback to get things right. I also wrote three chapters for edited collections during that time. 2016 and 2017 were very busy!

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?


The most important thing I learned was that I could do it, a second time and a third time. That I wasn't a person who had written a novel, I was a novelist. I learned to be disciplined about my writing work. I've also done a lot of reflecting on my own childhood, on families and friendships, trauma and recovery.

What do you hope readers will take away from HOW WE LEARNED TO LIE?


I hope this book helps people love reading and writing for its own sake. I hope they might think about friendship and how to value the people who love them.

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


Well, I wrote that terrible apprentice novel that everyone writes. The thing about that one is, it doesn't take long because you don't know about editing and redrafting. Then I wrote LITTLE WRECKS, starting in 2012. So it was three years from the time I started that novel to the time I sold it. Not too bad. To be honest, I don't have much trouble with finding agents and all that. I have more trouble selling things, because it's hard to categorize what I do. The book business, and the vast majority of readers, like things that fit nicely in categories.

Was there an AHA! moment along your road to publication where something suddenly sank in and you felt you had the key to writing a novel? What was it?

I don't know when the realization came, but I think the key to writing a novel is not to stop. Most people give up when it gets tough. You have to write through the terrible days when you don't believe in it or yourself, to get to the wonderful days when you do. After a while you learn that those wonderful days will back come if you keep going. So that's more of a slow learning than an AHA.

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


I write at home in my loft space. Absolutely no music, no sound at all and hopefully no neighbor's dog barking! I write from early in the morning, usually seven or eight o'clock, until about 1pm and then I'm done for the day. On a good day, I'll get about 2500 words out in that time. Once I have a feel for the whole novel, I'll map it out in sections and scenes. At that point I can simply sit down, look at the map and write the next scene. That comes after a lot of 'back-writing' though, on characters, atmosphere, language, etc. That first stage takes a few months. The research is ongoing, too.

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

Keep going! Don't worry too much about your first draft. The point of the first draft is to give you material to work on. The second draft is for structure. The third, fourth, fifth drafts are for all the finishing: language, continuity, etc.

ABOUT THE BOOK

How We Learned to Lie
by Meredith Miller
Hardcover
HarperCollins
Released 7/31/2018

This isn't a love story, but it is a story about love.

This is the story of Joan Harris and Daisy McNamara and the year everything in their lives came apart.

It starts when Robbie McNamara appears at Joan’s house with someone else’s blood dripping from his hands. Then it all unravels from there in a string of bad angel dust, good biology teachers, rusty scalpels, and stunning car crashes. People keep disappearing, and everyone is lying.

There was always Joan and Daisy, just Daisy and Joan. The thing is, even if you love someone, how long should you hold on before letting go to save yourself?

Purchase How We Learned to Lie at Amazon
Purchase How We Learned to Lie at IndieBound
View How We Learned to Lie on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Meredith Miller is the author of Little Wrecks and How We Learned to Lie. She grew up in a large, unruly family on Long Island, New York, and now lives in the UK. She is a published short story writer and literary critic with a great love for big nineteenth-century novels and for the sea. Her short stories have appeared most recently in Stand, Short Fiction, Prole, Alt Hist, and The View from Here.

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Have you had a chance to read HOW WE LEARNED TO LIE yet? Do you do 'back-writing' to get a feel for characters, atmosphere, and language? Are you able to keep going through the terrible days? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

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

Saturday, July 28, 2018

1 Erin Bowman, author of CONTAGION, on being inspired by a nightmare

We're thrilled to have Erin Bowman stop by to tell us more about her latest novel, CONTAGION.

Erin, what was your inspiration for writing CONTAGION?

CONTAGION is the first book I've ever written that was inspired by a dream. (Well, less of a dream and more of a nightmare.) In this nightmare, I was part of a crew that had landed on a deserted planet. Our mechanic was locked in our medbay because he was...not himself. I watched him claw the skin off his face before waking up. Once awake, I feverishly typed some notes into my phone so I could return to the idea later.

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

I think CONTAGION would be a great fit for fans of The Illuminae Files.

How long did you work on CONTAGION?

I started playing with a kernel of an idea that would eventually become CONTAGION back in 2012, after my dream/nightmare about the mechanic in the medbay. It took me ages to find the actual story, though, and the manuscript didn't begin to resemble the published story until about 2015. The bulk of writing/revising for CONTAGION happened between 2015-2017.

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

This book taught me how to write tension. I've always prided myself on writing page-turners, but CONTAGION is equal parts thriller and horror, and I hadn't published in that genre before. Creating mystery early, slowly peeling back layers to reveal a terrifying truth, and seeding clues to create tension and anticipation for the reader were all skills that I had to hone while working on this novel.

What are you working on now?

I'm currently putting the final touches on the sequel to CONTAGION, which should be out summer 2019. And when I have time, I'm playing around with a new novel idea that I'm extremely excited about. It has pieces of everything I've published so far—western elements, a dash of dystopia and sci-fi, tons of morally gray characters, a setting so rich it's practically a character... I hope it can become a real book some day so you can read it. :)

ABOUT THE BOOK

Contagion
by Erin Bowman
Hardcover
HarperTeen
Released 7/24/2018

After receiving a distress call from a drill team on a distant planet, a skeleton crew is sent into deep space to perform a standard search-and-rescue mission.

When they arrive, they find the planet littered with the remains of the project—including its members’ dead bodies. As they try to piece together what could have possibly decimated an entire project, they discover that some things are best left buried—and some monsters are only too ready to awaken.

Purchase Contagion at Amazon
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View Contagion on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Erin Bowman used to tell stories visually as a web designer. Now a full-time writer, she relies solely on words. She lives in New Hampshire with her family and when not writing she can often be found hiking, commenting on good typography, and obsessing over all things Harry Potter.

Erin is represented by Sara Crowe of Pippin Properties, and is the author of the Taken Trilogy, VENGEANCE ROAD, RETRIBUTION RAILS, and the forthcoming CONTAGION (7/24/18).

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Have you had a chance to read CONTAGION yet? Have you ever turned a dream or nightmare into a story? Has reading or writing a particular story taught you about creating tension? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

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

Thursday, July 26, 2018

0 Will McIntosh, author of THE FUTURE WILL BE BS FREE, on having a revolving door of books to work on

We're excited to have Will McIntosh with us to share more about his latest novel, THE FUTURE WILL BE BS FREE.

Will, what was your inspiration for writing THE FUTURE WILL BE BS FREE?

I was giving a test in the 300-student Intro to Psychology class I taught at William and Mary until recently. With so many students, you need at least two proctors, so a graduate student with a background in physiology was helping me. When the room was nearly empty, we got talking about future developments in her field. I asked if it might be possible to use a brain scan to tell when people were lying, and she told me about a part of the brain whose function was to resolve internal discrepancies. When people lie, that part of the brain is very active, and a brain scan, an fMRI, might one day be sensitive enough to detect this. That got me thinking about the implications of someone inventing a portable, foolproof lie detector.

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?

There's a scene where the brilliant teens who invent this portable lie detector realize that a lie detector not only makes it hard get away with lies, it also makes it hard to keep secrets. They sit around a bonfire and tell each other all of their secrets, to come clean so they don't have to fear their own invention. I gave my characters some painful secrets, and one secret that paints my protagonist in a very negative light. I risked making him unsympathetic to my readers, because I decided if I was going to write a book about lies and deception, the things that come to the surface shouldn't be easy to dismiss. It's not always an easy book to read.

How long did you work on THE FUTURE WILL BE BS FREE?

At this point in my career, I write quickly once I have a rough idea of the plot and characters. It took my about 5 months to write this one.

What do you hope readers will take away from THE FUTURE WILL BE BS FREE?

I hope it will lead readers to imagine what the world would be like if no one could lie, both the pros and cons. And in doing so, I hope it leads them to realize what a staggering role lies and deception play in the modern world.

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

Writing is my full-time job now, so generally I write Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, with a break for lunch and exercise. I listen to music pretty much the entire time. Loud, driving music. A lot of people would find that distracting, but it works for me. I don't write quickly -- a really good day for me is 2000 words -- but the words pile up because I don't take many days off.

What are you working on now?

I'm working on a middle grades book, a young adult book, a contemporary thriller, and a futuristic thriller. They're all at different stages. I keep the revolving door moving, so if I get stuck on one project, I can quickly shift to another.

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Future Will Be BS Free
by Will McIntosh
Hardcover
Delacorte Press
Released 7/24/2018

In a Putin-esque near-future America, the gifted and talented high school has just been eliminated, and Sam and his friends have been using their unexpected free time to work on a tiny, undetectable, utterly reliable lie detector. They're all in it for the money--except Theo, their visionary. For Theo, it's about creating a better world. A BS-free world, where no one can lie, and the honest will thrive.

Just when they finish the prototype and turn down an offer to sell their brainchild to a huge corporation, Theo is found dead. Greedy companies, corrupt privatized police, and even the president herself will stop at nothing to steal the Truth App. Sam sets his sights on exposing all lies and holding everyone accountable.

But he and his friends quickly realize the costs of a BS-free world: the lives of loved ones, and political and economic stability. They now face a difficult question: Is the world capable of operating without lies, or are lies what hold it together?

Purchase The Future Will Be BS Free at Amazon
Purchase The Future Will Be BS Free at IndieBound
View The Future Will Be BS Free on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will McIntosh is a Hugo award winner and finalist for the Nebula and eleven other awards. His most recent novel is Burning Midnight (Penguin Random House). His previous book Defenders (Orbit Books) was optioned by Warner Brothers for a feature film, while Love Minus Eighty was named the best science fiction book of 2013 by the American Library Association. Along with six novels, Will has published around fifty short stories in Asimov’s (where he won Reader's Awards in 2010 and 2013), Lightspeed, Science Fiction and Fantasy: Best of the Year, and elsewhere. Up next is Faller, a wild SF adventure novel to be published by Tor Books.

Will lives in Williamsburg, Virginia with his wife Alison and twins Hannah and Miles. He left his position as a psychology professor in Southeast Georgia to write full time, and still teaches as an adjunct, at the College of William and Mary. Will is represented by Seth Fishman at The Gernert Company.  Follow him on Twitter @WillMcIntoshSF

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Have you had a chance to read THE FUTURE WILL BE BS FREE yet? Has a conversation with someone sparked a story idea? Do you work on multiple projects at one time? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

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

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

0 Caryn Lix, author of SANCTUARY, on being inspired by a single image

We're delighted to have Caryn Lix here to chat about her debut novel, SANCTUARY.

Caryn, what was your inspiration for writing SANCTUARY?

I always remember that C. S. Lewis said he started The Chronicles of Narnia with an image of a fawn by a lamp post. That's how my stories start, too: with a single image. In the case of SANCTUARY, it was Kenzie standing at a porthole, watching her father's shuttle return to Earth, wondering if her family would ever be the same, with a horde of superpowered prisoners at her feet. From there the larger story grew. But I always seem to start writing from one single image, line, or character, and this was the one that inspired SANCTUARY.

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

This is a story I constantly tell my sixth graders, because I don't ever want them to give up on their dreams. I realized I wanted to publish a book when I was fourteen, and I signed my publishing contract when I was 37. That's twenty three years from dream inception to realization! In more realistic terms, I wrote off and on for those twenty three years, including two finished novels prior to Sanctuary. I got a lot of good feedback on them, but it was "almost but not quite." That can be the most discouraging thing: to have a lot of people interested, but no one bite. You start to wonder if there's a point. You start to consider quitting. I did quit, more than once. But I kept coming back because I couldn't stand to not write! All in all, I would say I spent about ten years writing and seeking publication -- sometimes intensely, sometimes sporadically -- before finding my niche with SANCTUARY.

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

1. Find a balance between what you love and what sells. If you love to write young adult paranormal, that's what you should do -- but you should also take a look at the market and see if there's any hope of publishing a novel in that category. For example, I love dystopian literature, but the market is so saturated in that it makes it hard to work with at the moment. At the same time, though, I couldn't force myself to write contemporary. There are so many wonderful contemporary novels, I would be doing them -- and myself -- a disservice by trying to shoehorn into a market that isn't my passion. Write what you love, but try to be realistic about it.

2. Don't give up. It's a cliche, but it's valid. Writing is subjective. Publication takes time, and the book world moves at a snail's pace. Don't let that get you down. If this is what you love, keep at it.

3. Find yourself a community -- and take their advice. NOTHING goes to my agent or editor until I've run it past my critique partners. Sometimes the things they tell you will be hard to hear. That's how you know you have good partners. If you're not getting anything but love, you're with the wrong people. My rule is to have two or more critique partners. If one highlights something in my text and I disagree with them, I'm pretty comfortable ignoring it, but if a second critique partner flags it, I have to seriously consider that I'm in the wrong!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Sanctuary
by Caryn Lix
Hardcover
Simon Pulse
Released 7/24/2018

Kenzie holds one truth above all: the company is everything.

As a citizen of Omnistellar Concepts, the most powerful corporation in the solar system, Kenzie has trained her entire life for one goal: to become an elite guard on Sanctuary, Omnistellar’s space prison for superpowered teens too dangerous for Earth. As a junior guard, she’s excited to prove herself to her company—and that means sacrificing anything that won’t propel her forward.

But then a routine drill goes sideways and Kenzie is taken hostage by rioting prisoners.

At first, she’s confident her commanding officer—who also happens to be her mother—will stop at nothing to secure her freedom. Yet it soon becomes clear that her mother is more concerned with sticking to Omnistellar protocol than she is with getting Kenzie out safely.

As Kenzie forms her own plan to escape, she doesn’t realize there’s a more sinister threat looming, something ancient and evil that has clawed its way into Sanctuary from the vacuum of space. And Kenzie might have to team up with her captors to survive—all while beginning to suspect there’s a darker side to the Omnistellar she knows.

Purchase Sanctuary at Amazon
Purchase Sanctuary at IndieBound
View Sanctuary on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caryn Lix has been writing since she was a teenager and delved deep into science fiction, fantasy, and the uncanny while working on her Masters in English literature. Caryn writes novels for teens and anyone else who likes a bit of the bizarre to mess up their day. When not writing, Caryn spends her time obsessively consuming other people’s stories, plotting travel adventures, and exploring artistic endeavors. She lives with her husband and a horde of surly and entitled animals in southern Alberta.

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Have you had a chance to read SANCTUARY yet? Are you able to find the balance between writing what you love and writing what sells? Do you have critique partners that you trust? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

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

Monday, July 23, 2018

4 New Releases 07/23 - 07/29

Happy Monday! While we don't have many giveaways for this week, our giveaway is for SANCTUARY by Caryn Lix, which sounds amazing! Don't forget to check out all the books below and enter to win.

Happy Reading,

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


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK


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Sanctuary
by Caryn Lix
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Simon Pulse
Released 7/24/2018

Kenzie holds one truth above all: the company is everything.

As a citizen of Omnistellar Concepts, the most powerful corporation in the solar system, Kenzie has trained her entire life for one goal: to become an elite guard on Sanctuary, Omnistellar’s space prison for superpowered teens too dangerous for Earth. As a junior guard, she’s excited to prove herself to her company—and that means sacrificing anything that won’t propel her forward.

But then a routine drill goes sideways and Kenzie is taken hostage by rioting prisoners.

At first, she’s confident her commanding officer—who also happens to be her mother—will stop at nothing to secure her freedom. Yet it soon becomes clear that her mother is more concerned with sticking to Omnistellar protocol than she is with getting Kenzie out safely.

As Kenzie forms her own plan to escape, she doesn’t realize there’s a more sinister threat looming, something ancient and evil that has clawed its way into Sanctuary from the vacuum of space. And Kenzie might have to team up with her captors to survive—all while beginning to suspect there’s a darker side to the Omnistellar she knows.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Sanctuary?

SANCTUARY is the kind of story I loved to read when I was young: full of adventure and heart stopping terror but also with a core of people finding themselves, finding each other, and learning that they are capable of more than they dreamed. I've always loved stories that have a break neck speed. Sometimes I think those tales get dismissed as escapism and fantasy, and to a degree they are -- there's nothing wrong with that. But I think there's more to it. When you see people pushed to the very brink, you see who they really are. You see what they're capable of. They surprise themselves, and each other. It's that element of self discovery I always loved about science fiction, fantasy, horror, and adventure stories. Yes, they're exciting and fun, but I love the growth you see in characters, how they come through these extraordinary circumstances better and stronger than they ever suspected they had in them. SANCTUARY is about many things: accepting people for who they are rather than falling into preset ideas, family, friendships, and self-knowledge. And I suppose that is my favorite thing about it: that I can use this vehicle of exciting action adventure to explore how people grow in extreme circumstances!

Purchase Sanctuary at Amazon
Purchase Sanctuary at IndieBound
View Sanctuary on Goodreads


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS


Price of Duty by Todd Strasser: Danielle H.
The Year of Living Awkwardly: Sophomore Year by Emma Chastain: Cassandra D.

MORE YOUNG ADULT FICTION IN STORES NEXT WEEK WITH AUTHOR INTERVIEWS


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Contagion
by Erin Bowman
Hardcover
HarperTeen
Released 7/24/2018

After receiving a distress call from a drill team on a distant planet, a skeleton crew is sent into deep space to perform a standard search-and-rescue mission.

When they arrive, they find the planet littered with the remains of the project—including its members’ dead bodies. As they try to piece together what could have possibly decimated an entire project, they discover that some things are best left buried—and some monsters are only too ready to awaken.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Contagion?

My favorite thing about CONTAGION is that there isn't a traditional antagonist or villain. Instead, the characters are pitted against an invisible enemy they can't defeat: disease. This is an enemy that spreads, that can't be reasoned with, that attacks without mercy... It was a lot of fun to write.

Purchase Contagion at Amazon
Purchase Contagion at IndieBound
View Contagion on Goodreads

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The Future Will Be BS Free
by Will McIntosh
Hardcover
Delacorte Press
Released 7/24/2018

In a Putin-esque near-future America, the gifted and talented high school has just been eliminated, and Sam and his friends have been using their unexpected free time to work on a tiny, undetectable, utterly reliable lie detector. They're all in it for the money--except Theo, their visionary. For Theo, it's about creating a better world. A BS-free world, where no one can lie, and the honest will thrive.

Just when they finish the prototype and turn down an offer to sell their brainchild to a huge corporation, Theo is found dead. Greedy companies, corrupt privatized police, and even the president herself will stop at nothing to steal the Truth App. Sam sets his sights on exposing all lies and holding everyone accountable.

But he and his friends quickly realize the costs of a BS-free world: the lives of loved ones, and political and economic stability. They now face a difficult question: Is the world capable of operating without lies, or are lies what hold it together?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Future Will Be BS Free?

The inadvertent timeliness of the central issue I explore in the book. It's about lies and deception, and what would happen if people could tell when someone was lying...and especially when our leaders are lying. I wrote the book in 2014-15.

Purchase The Future Will Be BS Free at Amazon
Purchase The Future Will Be BS Free at IndieBound
View The Future Will Be BS Free on Goodreads


MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK


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Between Frost and Fury
by Chani Lynn Feener
Hardcover
Swoon Reads
Released 7/24/2018

Delaney has been kidnapped by aliens. Again. After only a month back on Earth with her hot new alien boyfriend Ruckus, the deadly and devastatingly handsome prince Trystan has dragged her right back to his planet.

While some girls may dream of winning a prince’s heart, Delaney just wishes this one would leave her alone. Instead, she finds herself at the center of both a tense political battle between two alien kingdoms and Trystan’s romantic attentions, both of which are absolutely ruining the life she’s built on Earth. Not to mention the fact that she’s about to be crowned queen of a planet she’s barely even visited. Just another day in the life of an ordinary human girl.

Purchase Between Frost and Fury at Amazon
Purchase Between Frost and Fury at IndieBound
View Between Frost and Fury on Goodreads

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Endless Water, Starless Sky
by Rosamund Hodge
Hardcover
Balzer + Bray
Released 7/24/2018

In the last days of the world, the walls of Viyara are still falling, and the dead are rising faster than ever.

Juliet is trapped—ordered by Lord Ineo of the Mahyanai to sacrifice the remaining members of her family, the Catresou, to stave off the end of the world. Though they’re certain his plan is useless, Juliet and her former friend Runajo must comply with Lord Ineo’s wishes—unless they can discover a different, darker path to protecting Viyara.

Romeo is tortured: Finally aware that his true love is alive, he is at once elated and devastated, for his actions led directly to the destruction of her clan. The only way to redemption is to offer his life to the Catresou to protect and support them . . . even if it means dying to do so.

When Romeo’s and Juliet’s paths converge once again, only a journey into Death will offer answers and the key to saving them all—but is it a journey either of them will survive?

Purchase Endless Water, Starless Sky at Amazon
Purchase Endless Water, Starless Sky at IndieBound
View Endless Water, Starless Sky on Goodreads

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Scream All Night
by Derek Milman
Hardcover
Balzer + Bray
Released 7/24/2018

DARIO HEYWARD KNOWS ONE THING: He’s never going back to Moldavia Studios, the iconic castle that served as the set, studio, and home to the cast and crew of dozens of cult classic B-horror movies. It’s been three years since Dario’s even seen the place, after getting legally emancipated from his father, the infamous director of Moldavia’s creature features.

But then Dario’s brother invites him home to a mysterious ceremony involving his father and a tribute to his first film—The Curse of the Mummy’s Tongue. Dario swears his homecoming will be a one-time visit. A way for him to get closure on his past—and reunite with Hayley, his first love and costar of Zombie Children of the Harvest Sun, a production fraught with real-life tragedy—and say good-bye for good. But the unthinkable happens—Dario gets sucked back into the twisted world of Moldavia and the horrors, both real and imagined, he’s left there.

With only months to rescue the sinking studio and everyone who has built their lives there, Dario must confront the demons of his past—and the uncertainties of his future. But can he escape the place that’s haunted him his whole life?

Purchase Scream All Night at Amazon
Purchase Scream All Night at IndieBound
View Scream All Night on Goodreads


Saturday, July 21, 2018

0 Todd Strasser, author of PRICE OF DUTY, on puzzle pieces falling into place while sleeping

We're thrilled to have Todd Strasser stop by to share more about his latest novel, PRICE OF DUTY.

Todd, what was your inspiration for writing PRICE OF DUTY?

As a teenager in the 1960s I was deeply moved by the anti-Vietnam War movement, and by many of the anti-war folk songs of the time. Certainly, by Dylan’s Masters of War (“You hide in your mansion while young people's blood flows out of their bodies and is buried in the mud.”) And Phil Och’s I Ain’t Marchin’ Anymore (“It's always the old to lead us to the war. It's always the young to fall.”) The idea of writing about young people and the military was probably spawned close to a decade ago, but for many years I couldn’t find the storyline. Finally, about four years ago, I was doing a Skype about my book, The Wave, with a class from Mississippi, and I noticed that five or six of the students were wearing uniforms that looked somewhat military in nature. I asked them why and they told me they were members of the school’s JROTC unit. No sooner did the Skype end than I finally had the storyline I’d been searching for.

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

It’s said that the author’s purpose is to persuade, to inform, and to entertain (PIE). But I believe there is a fourth purpose as well – that is for the writer to learn about, and explore, his or her own feelings about a topic. Often when I begin a book, I’m not entirely sure what my ultimate point or message will be. For me, revisions don’t just hone the writing, but sharpen the focus and thrust of the story as well. Among the many things I learned while writing this book was about the enormous number of civilian deaths that have accompanied modern wars. It is a fact that since the First World War, far more civilians have died than soldiers. And even while this makes me feel more opposed to war than ever, through creating this book I also came to realize that we must have a military and we must be prepared to go to war.

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

Writing is the default activity of my life. I’ve been doing it for more than 50 years. I’ve never had to make myself write. Instead, I have to make myself find other things to do so that I don’t wind up writing all the time. To that end, I read, play tennis, surf, and play the guitar badly. I’ve never been much of a TV watcher, but recently I discovered some shows that are beautifully written. My current favorite is The Wire. It turns out that a number of very accomplished crime novelists – Dennis Lehane, George Pelecanos, Richard Price, among them – have written for that show. So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that it’s so good. Finally, one aspect of “my ritual” that does surprise me is what my brain does while the rest of me is asleep. We’ve all heard authors say that creating a novel is like putting together a puzzle. I often wake in the middle of the night to the realization that another piece has been put in place while I slept.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Price of Duty
by Todd Strasser
Hardcover
Simon & Schuster Books for Yo
Released 7/17/2018

Jake Liddell is a hero.

At least, that’s what everyone says he is. The military is even awarding him a Silver Star for his heroic achievements—a huge honor for the son of a military family. Now he’s home, recovering from an injury, but it seems the war has followed him back. He needs pills to get any sleep, a young woman is trying to persuade him into speaking out against military recruitment tactics, and his grandfather is already urging him back onto the battlefield. He doesn’t know what to do; nothing makes sense anymore.

There is only one thing that Jake knows for certain: he is no hero.

Purchase Price of Duty at Amazon
Purchase Price of Duty at IndieBound
View Price of Duty on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shortly after Todd was born in New York City his parents moved to Roslyn Heights, New York (Long Island). Todd went to the I.U. Willets Elementary school and then attended the Wheatley School for junior high and high school. His best subject was science. He also liked to read, but had difficulty with spelling and grammar, and struggled in English. His favorite sports were tennis, skiing, and fishing.

Todd went to college at New York University for a few years, and then dropped out. He lived on a commune, then lived in Europe where he was a street musician. All the while, he wrote songs and poems and lots of letters to his friends back home.

After returning to the United States he studied literature and writing at Beloit College. After college, Todd worked as a reporter at the Middletown Times Herald-Record newspaper in Middletown, New York, and later at Compton Advertising in New York City.

In 1978, he sold his first novel, Angel Dust Blues, and used the money to start the Dr. Wing Tip Shoo fortune cookie company. For the next 12 years, Todd sold many more fortune cookies than books.

In 1990, Todd moved with his family to Westchester County, N.Y. He is the author of more than 140 books for teens and middle graders including the best-selling Help! I’m Trapped In series, and numerous award-winning YA novels including The Wave, Give A Boy A Gun, The Accident, Can’t Get There From Here, Boot Camp, If I Grow Up and Fallout.   

Todd (right) with news photographer
at West Point in 1975 
Several of his books have been adapted for television and his novels The Wave and How I Created My Perfect Prom Date became feature films. His books have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and he has also written for television, newspapers such as The New York Times, and magazines such as The New Yorker and Esquire.

Todd now divides his time between Westchester and Montauk, NY. He likes to read and watch movies, spend time with his grown children, play tennis and ski, but his favorite new sport is surfing.

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Have you had a chance to read THE PRICE OF DUTY yet? Does writing help you learn, explore, and figure out your feelings on a topic? Is writing the default activity in your life? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

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

Thursday, July 19, 2018

0 Jennifer Honeybourn, author of WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU DEMONS, on needing the roadmap of an outline

We're delighted to have Jennifer Honeybourn with us to chat about her latest novel, WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU DEMONS.

Jennifer, what was your inspiration for writing WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU DEMONS?

I wanted to take a crack at writing a paranormal and I liked the idea of a character training to be an exorcist, someone who felt a bit ambivalent about the whole thing and who felt like she had to hide what she was up to from her friends.

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?

Endings are always the most challenging for me to write. I’m not sure why, but they continue to be difficult for me. As for scenes that I love, I like the scene in Shane’s bedroom, when Uncle Roy sends Shelby over to talk to him. And the scene with the Freemont Troll. I like the scenes with Shelby’s teacher, as well, especially the scene in the bar.

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

I try to use humor in my books, and two authors who I love who also use humor — and whose books are ridiculously amazing — are Lilly Anderson (THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN ME IS YOU) and Emma Mills (FOOLISH HEARTS, THIS ADVENTURE ENDS).

How long did you work on WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU DEMONS?

I first started writing WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU DEMONS in 2012. I got a bit stuck with it, so I put it aside when the idea for WESLEY JAMES RUINED MY LIFE came to me. I still loved the premise, though, so when it came time to talk with my editor about my option book, I pitched it and fortunately she was into the idea.

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

It taught me that I could write a book under a deadline. Deadlines can sometimes be daunting, but it forces me to get the book done.

What do you hope readers will take away from WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU DEMONS?

My main goal with my books is to entertain, so if someone has fun reading the book, then I feel like I’ve done my job.

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

I’ve been writing on and off for most of my life. I actually wrote the first draft of WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU DEMONS before I wrote WESLEY JAMES RUINED MY LIFE, my debut novel. Before both of those books, I’d written another book (which will never see the light of day) and a bunch of short stories. I was in my forties when WESLEY JAMES RUINED MY LIFE was published, so it was definitely a long road to publication, but I’m grateful that things turned out as they did. I think I’m a better writer for it.

Was there an AHA! moment along your road to publication where something suddenly sank in and you felt you had the key to writing a novel? What was it?

I don’t really feel like I have the key to writing a novel and I’m not sure that I ever will. I still stumble through it. For me, having an outline is important — I need a roadmap for where I’m going. Having an editorial agent as well as an editor helps immensely because they can shine a light on the places in the manuscript that I need to work on and just all around help me create a better book. Beta readers are a big help as well.

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

I do most of my writing at a coffee shop (in fact, I’m at the coffee shop right as I type this!). I don’t connect to the wi-fi, so I’m not tempted to surf the internet. It forces me to just get to work. I’m more likely to be distracted at home.

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

Just write. Like anything, you need to practice if you want to get better at it. I’ve written many things that will never get published, but they’re still of value because they taught me a lot about writing. And, of course, you need to read. A lot.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on my third book for Swoon Reads, which will be released in summer 2019. It’s about a girl who worked as a housekeeper at a luxury hotel in Maui. She stole some items from guests and now she has terrible karma, so she’s trying to turn her luck around by tracking down the owners of the items and sending them back.

ABOUT THE BOOK

When Life Gives You Demons
by Jennifer Honeybourn
Hardcover
Swoon Reads
Released 7/17/2018

Some people have school spirit.

Shelby Black has real ones.

Shelby Black has spent the past six months training to be an exorcist. Her great-uncle Roy―a Catholic priest―has put her through exorcist boot camp hell, hoping to develop her talent, but ohmygod, he still doesn’t trust her to do an exorcism on her own.

High school is hard enough without having to explain that you fight demons for a living, so Shelby keeps her extracurricular activity to herself. The last thing she wants is for her crush, Spencer, to find out what she does in her off time.

But Shelby knows how to keep a secret―even a big one. Like the fact that her mom left under mysterious circumstances and it’s all her fault. Shelby is hellbent on finding her mom, no matter what it costs her―even if what it ends up costing her is her soul AND a relationship with Spencer.

Purchase When Life Gives You Demons at Amazon
Purchase When Life Gives You Demons at IndieBound
View When Life Gives You Demons on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Jennifer Honeybourn works in corporate communications in Vancouver, British Columbia. She’s a fan of British accents, Broadway musicals, and epic, happily-ever-after love stories. If she could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, she’d have high tea with Walt Disney, JK Rowling, and her nana. She lives with her husband, daughter and cat in a house filled with books.

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Have you had a chance to read WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU DEMONS yet? Are endings challenging for you? Do you have unpublished stories that have taught you a lot about writing? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

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

Monday, July 16, 2018

2 New Releases 07/16 - 07/22 plus Giveaway of PRICE OF DUTY

Happy Monday! While we don't have many giveaways for this week, our giveaway is for PRICE OF DUTY! Don't forget to check out all the books below and enter to win.

Happy Reading,

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


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK


* * * *


Price of Duty
by Todd Strasser
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Simon & Schuster Books for Yo
Released 7/17/2018

Jake Liddell is a hero.

At least, that’s what everyone says he is. The military is even awarding him a Silver Star for his heroic achievements—a huge honor for the son of a military family. Now he’s home, recovering from an injury, but it seems the war has followed him back. He needs pills to get any sleep, a young woman is trying to persuade him into speaking out against military recruitment tactics, and his grandfather is already urging him back onto the battlefield. He doesn’t know what to do; nothing makes sense anymore.

There is only one thing that Jake knows for certain: he is no hero.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Price of Duty?

That the book asks important questions about the military and young people that have not been previously addressed in any depth in YA literature. Questions such as: At what age should high school (and in some cases, even middle school) students be encouraged to select a track that will lead to military service? There are more than 3,000 JROTC (Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps) units in high schools around the country. Are students in 9th and 10th grade mature enough to make decisions that will affect the entire course of their lives? Currently, military recruitment is allowed in many high schools. Should that continue? If the answer is yes, does the military have an obligation to present an honest assessment of the risks and dangers? The issue is not whether we need a military. Sadly, given the world we live in, we must maintain the ability to protect ourselves. To me, the issue is, if young people are going to be enticed into the military with financial bonuses and promises of advancement and heroism, shouldn’t they be made thoroughly aware of the potential dangers?

Purchase Price of Duty at Amazon
Purchase Price of Duty at IndieBound
View Price of Duty on Goodreads


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS

The Year of Living Awkwardly: Sophomore Year by Emma Chastain
*We're still working on the winner from last week! Keep an eye out for an update next week.

MORE YOUNG ADULT FICTION IN STORES NEXT WEEK WITH AUTHOR INTERVIEWS


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When Life Gives You Demons
by Jennifer Honeybourn
Hardcover
Swoon Reads
Released 7/17/2018

Some people have school spirit.

Shelby Black has real ones.

Shelby Black has spent the past six months training to be an exorcist. Her great-uncle Roy―a Catholic priest―has put her through exorcist boot camp hell, hoping to develop her talent, but ohmygod, he still doesn’t trust her to do an exorcism on her own.

High school is hard enough without having to explain that you fight demons for a living, so Shelby keeps her extracurricular activity to herself. The last thing she wants is for her crush, Spencer, to find out what she does in her off time.

But Shelby knows how to keep a secret―even a big one. Like the fact that her mom left under mysterious circumstances and it’s all her fault. Shelby is hellbent on finding her mom, no matter what it costs her―even if what it ends up costing her is her soul AND a relationship with Spencer.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about When Life Gives You Demons?

My favorite thing is probably the relationship between Shelby and Uncle Roy. They get under each other’s skin, but there’s a lot of love there and they really rely on each other. I also had a lot of fun writing Shelby’s exorcism notes. I had fun writing Shelby in general.

Purchase When Life Gives You Demons at Amazon
Purchase When Life Gives You Demons at IndieBound
View When Life Gives You Demons on Goodreads


MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK


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Campfire
by Shawn Sarles
Hardcover
jimmy patterson
Released 7/17/2018

While camping in a remote location, Maddie Davenport gathers around the fire with her friends and family to tell scary stories. Caleb, the handsome young guide, shares the local legend of the ferocious Mountain Men who hunt unsuspecting campers and leave their mark by carving grisly antlers into their victims' foreheads.

The next day, the story comes true.

Now Maddie and her family are lost in the deep woods--with no way out--being stalked by their worst nightmares. Because there were other, more horrifying stories told that night--and Maddie's about to find out just how they end...

Purchase Campfire at Amazon
Purchase Campfire at IndieBound
View Campfire on Goodreads

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Girls Can't Hit
by T. S. Easton
Hardcover
Feiwel & Friends
Released 7/17/2018

Fleur Waters never takes anything seriously--until she shows up at her local boxing club one day to prove a point. She's the only girl there, and the warm-up alone is exhausting . . . but the workout gives her an escape from home and school, and when she lands her first uppercut on a punching bag she feels a rare glow of satisfaction.

So she goes back the next week, determined to improve. Fleur's overprotective mom can't abide the idea of her entering a boxing ring (why won't she join her pilates class instead?). Her friends don't get it either and even her boyfriend, 'Prince' George, seems concerned by her growing muscles and appetite--but it's Fleur's body, Fleur's life. So she digs in her heels in hope that she can overcome the obstacles and strike a blow for equality.

Purchase Girls Can't Hit at Amazon
Purchase Girls Can't Hit at IndieBound
View Girls Can't Hit on Goodreads

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Hullmetal Girls
by Emily Skrutskie
Hardcover
Delacorte Press
Released 7/17/2018

Aisha Un-Haad would do anything for her family. When her brother contracts a plague, she knows her janitor's salary isn't enough to fund his treatment. So she volunteers to become a Scela, a mechanically enhanced soldier sworn to protect and serve the governing body of the Fleet, the collective of starships they call home. If Aisha can survive the harrowing modifications and earn an elite place in the Scela ranks, she may be able to save her brother.

Key Tanaka awakens in a Scela body with only hazy memories of her life before. She knows she's from the privileged end of the Fleet, but she has no recollection of why she chose to give up a life of luxury to become a hulking cyborg soldier. If she can make it through the training, she might have a shot at recovering her missing past.

In a unit of new recruits vying for top placement, Aisha's and Key's paths collide, and the two must learn to work together--a tall order for girls from opposite ends of the Fleet. But a rebellion is stirring, pitting those who yearn for independence from the Fleet against a government struggling to maintain unity.

With violence brewing and dark secrets surfacing, Aisha and Key find themselves questioning their loyalties. They will have to put aside their differences, though, if they want to keep humanity from tearing itself apart.

Purchase Hullmetal Girls at Amazon
Purchase Hullmetal Girls at IndieBound
View Hullmetal Girls on Goodreads

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Like Never and Always
by Ann Aguirre
Hardcover
Tor Teen
Released 7/17/2018

Liv Burnham thinks nobody knows Morgan Frost like she does, but a terrible accident pushes her down the rabbit hole where Morgan's secrets hide and she'll be lucky to make it out alive....

On a hot summer night, Liv, Morgan, Clay and Nathan are on the way home from a party in Clay's convertible. Best friends dating brothers? It doesn't get better than that. But the joyride ends in sudden impact, a screech of brakes, and shattering glass. On that lonely country road, four lives change forever.

Liv wakes in the hospital. At first she's confused when they call her Morgan, but she assumes it's a case of mistaken identity. Yet when the bandages come off, it's not her face inthe mirror anymore. It's Morgan's.

Morgan always seemed to have the perfect life. But as Liv tries to fit herself into Morgan's world, she discovers endlessly disturbing secrets of the criminal and murderous variety and a dark task to finish...if she doesn't lose her mind first.

Forced to confront the disturbing truths that Morgan kept hidden in life, Liv must navigate a world of long-buried murder, a dangerous love affair―and a romance that feels like a betrayal.

Purchase Like Never and Always at Amazon
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View Like Never and Always on Goodreads

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Wrong in All the Right Ways
by Tiffany Brownlee
Hardcover
Henry Holt and Co.
Released 7/17/2018

Emma’s life has always gone according to her very careful plans. But things take a turn toward the unexpected when she falls in love for the first time with the one person in the world who’s off-limits: her new foster brother, the gorgeous and tormented Dylan McAndrews.

Meanwhile, Emma’s AP English class is reading Wuthering Heights, and she’s been assigned to echo Emily Bronte’s style in an epistolary format. With irrepressible feelings and no one to confide in, she’s got a lot to write about. Distraught by the escalating intensity of their mutual attraction, Emma and Dylan try to constrain their romance to the page―for fear of threatening Dylan’s chances at being adopted into a loving home. But the strength of first love is all-consuming, and they soon get enveloped in a passionate, secretive relationship with a very uncertain outcome.

Purchase Wrong in All the Right Ways at Amazon
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View Wrong in All the Right Ways on Goodreads


Saturday, July 14, 2018

0 Kathy Parks, author of NOTES FROM MY CAPTIVITY, on the road to publication being full of twists and turns

We're thrilled to have Kathy Parks stop by to tell us more about her latest novel, NOTES FROM MY CAPTIVITY.

Kathy, 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 river accident with Adrienne and Dan was difficult just to try to capture the terror and the helplessness of it, moment by moment. The scene where Adrienne’s biological father counsels her on forgiveness is one of my favorite, and that was suggested by my editor.

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


It’s hard to quantify this particular book because it crosses genres, but I believe readers who love a good romance and a good adventure with high suspense would enjoy this novel.

How long did you work on NOTES FROM MY CAPTIVITY?

Notes from my Captivity had an abbreviated timeline: The research and writing of the initial draft was probably 3-4 months, then the rewrites went on for several months.

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

It left me with a deep appreciation for the beauty and the harsh punishments of Siberia.

What do you hope readers will take away from NOTES FROM MY CAPTIVITY?


I hope they will take away the fact that we often live in our own bubble of culture, with our own perspective. Then when our perspective is forced by travel or circumstance or accident, we emerge with a deeper understanding of other peoples and a kinder definition of the word “stranger.

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

The road to publication is as full of twists and turns as any international adventure! I have written somewhere around seventeen novels. Notes on My Captivity will be my eighth published novel. The rest are in a land where unsold novels live, perhaps to one day rise again.

Was there an AHA! moment along your road to publication where something suddenly sank in and you felt you had the key to writing a novel? What was it?


That AHA moment came months or a couple of years before, when I did research on the Lykov family in Siberia, a family I used as inspiration for the Osinovs. Anyone who wants to read a fascinating and true tale of survival in Siberia should look up the Lykovs!

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

The best time for me to write is the first thing in the morning. I feel a bit like a surfer and I need to ride that wave. I like listening to storm sounds or rushing water. I try to keep visual distractions to a minimum — decorations, photos, etc. My husband is at work and my cats hate me, which does allow for greater concentration. As for venue— sometimes at my house, sometimes at a coffee shop, sometimes in the driver’s seat of my car. I know, I’m a weirdo.

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


My advice to other writers is to break down the act of writing a novel into small winnable portions and then keep track. As Stephen King advises, even if you write a mere page a day, in less than a year, you’ve got a full novel.

What are you working on now?


I’m actually writing a book about writing a novel, my attempt to demystify the process.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Notes from My Captivity
by Kathy Parks
Hardcover
Katherine Tegen Books
Released 7/10/2018

Adrienne Cahill cares about three things: getting into a great college; becoming a revered journalist like her idol, Sydney Declay; and making her late father proud of her.

So when Adrienne is offered the chance to write an article that will get her into her dream school and debunk her foolish stepfather’s belief that a legendary family of hermits is living in the Siberian wilderness, there’s no question that she’s going to fly across the world.

But the Russian terrain is even less forgiving than Adrienne. And when disaster strikes, none of their extensive preparations seem to matter. Now Adrienne’s being held captive by the family she was convinced didn’t exist, and her best hope for escape is to act like she cares about them, even if it means wooing the youngest son.

Purchase Notes from My Captivity at Amazon
Purchase Notes from My Captivity at IndieBound
View Notes from My Captivity on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

As a baby, Kathy Parks was thrown out with the bathwater. This experience shaped her life and art. She is the author of novels including The Lifeboat Clique and Notes from My Captivity, and she also works as an advertising copywriter. She lives with her husband, Michael, in Boulder, Colorado.

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Have you had a chance to read NOTES FROM MY CAPTIVITY yet? Do you need to ride the wave of writing? Do you break down the act of writing a novel into small winnable portions and then keep track of it? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!


Happy Reading,

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

Friday, July 13, 2018

0 Kerry Winfrey, author of THINGS JOLIE NEEDS TO DO BEFORE SHE BITES IT, on avoiding preciousness in her writing routine

We're excited to have Kerry Winfrey with us to chat about her latest novel, THINGS JOLIE NEEDS TO DO BEFORE SHE BITES IT.

Kerry, what was your inspiration for writing THINGS JOLIE NEEDS TO DO BEFORE SHE BITES IT?

Jolie has an underbite that she gets surgically corrected, and that was a real experience I went through at the end of high school. All of Jolie’s orthodontic trials—the multiple rounds of braces, the palate expander, the constant visits to the orthodontist—are based on my experiences. I was also afraid I was going to die during surgery, and spent a lot of time wondering if I’d really lived my life to the fullest. But unlike Jolie, I didn’t create a list of things I needed to do or try out for the school musical. Basically, Jolie has all the courage that I wish I’d had!

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?

Any kind of fight is always difficult for me to write, because my first instinct is to have my characters get along perfectly and calmly resolve their problems and go back to being friends. Which is…not a very exciting book! So it takes a lot of work and many, many drafts for me to give a fight enough tension and anger. There’s one particular fight between Jolie and her best friend Derek that I really ended up loving. They’re able to get out a lot of their pent-up feelings and admit some harsh truths, which was very cathartic to write.

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

I think that readers who like funny, romantic YA—like Amy Spalding, Maurene Goo, or the queen of YA Meg Cabot—will like THINGS JOLIE NEEDS TO DO BEFORE SHE BITES IT. I hope so, anyway.

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

JOLIE taught me that I’m capable of writing a book. You’d think my first book would have taught me that, but I thought maybe it was a fluke. Working on JOLIE was a joy, but I was very busy at the time. My son had just been born, and I drafted the book while he was only a few months old. It was something I genuinely wasn’t sure I could do—I mean, how could I write a book when I was sleeping just a couple of hours every night? But I did it, slowly but surely, and even though my first draft read like garbage, eventually it really did turn into a coherent book.

What do you hope readers will take away from THINGS JOLIE NEEDS TO DO BEFORE SHE BITES IT?

At first, I struggled a lot with feeling like I needed some sort of overarching “message” in this book. It’s primarily about Jolie’s self-confidence and how that ties into her appearance, and I kept feeling like I needed to Say Something Important about beauty standards. And that’s hard, because I’m a human being—my beliefs about beauty and appearance and confidence vary from day to day. So instead, I settled on hoping that readers would see that they are the only ones who get to decide how they feel about themselves. There isn’t some objective standard of beauty out there—if you think you’re beautiful, you are. If you don’t care at all about beauty, that’s cool too. Your feelings are your own! You’re allowed to feel them.

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

I spent a long time WANTING to write a book before I ever actually wrote one. Despite loving writing my entire life and getting a degree in creative writing, there was something in me that said I could never actually write a book. I think part of it was that, at the time, I didn’t know any writers, and I just didn’t believe that someone from my small town could write a book that would be in bookstores and libraries all over the country. I blogged and wrote about books for years before I got the courage to try writing one of my own. JOLIE is my second published book. Technically I did write one that was never published, but honestly it was very, very bad and I’m glad I never tried to do anything with it. Sometimes you need to write the bad stuff in order to get to the good stuff.

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


I’m a stay-at-home mom to a toddler, so my writing routine is basically NO routine. I only work when he’s sleeping, which means I’m either writing early in the morning or late at night or when he naps. Well, IF he naps, because the thing about toddlers is that they don’t really care whether or not their moms write books. It’s been such a great opportunity for me to avoid preciousness about my writing routine. If I have a deadline, I need to use every spare five minutes I have. I do love to write outside with plenty of beverages surrounding me, but that’s not usually my reality, and that’s okay!

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

I always tell people that they can write a book in the life they’re living now. You don’t have to wait until you quit your job, your kids are grown, etc. Some people think writers need to have all day to sit at a computer and write their stories, but I don’t think that’s the reality for most people. If you don’t have hours of time, that’s fine! I wrote JOLIE in very small pockets of time. It might take you awhile, but you can write a book in 15 minute increments as long as you keep going.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on something that’s pretty different from what I’ve done so far, but it’s still a romcom. I’m not sure I know how to write anything that doesn’t involve a climactic kiss.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Things Jolie Needs to Do Before She Bites It
by Kerry Winfrey
Hardcover
Feiwel & Friends
Released 7/10/2018

Jolie’s a lot of things, but she knows that pretty isn’t one of them.

She has mandibular prognathism, which is the medical term for underbite. Chewing is a pain, headaches are a common occurrence, and she’s never been kissed. She’s months out from having a procedure to correct her underbite, and she cannot wait to be fixed.

Jolie becomes paralyzed with the fear that she could die under the knife. She and her best friends, Evelyn and Derek, decide to make a “Things Jolie Needs to Do Before She Bites It (Which Is Super Unlikely, but Still, It Could Happen)” list. Things like: eat every appetizer on the Applebee’s menu and kiss her crush Noah Reed.

But since when did everything ever go exactly to plan?

Purchase Things Jolie Needs to Do Before She Bites It at Amazon
Purchase Things Jolie Needs to Do Before She Bites It at IndieBound
View Things Jolie Needs to Do Before She Bites It on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Kerry Winfrey grew up in Bellville, Ohio, where she spent most of her time reading inappropriate books at the library. Not much has changed. Kerry writes for HelloGiggles and blogs at welcometoladyville.com. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband, their son, and their dog, Merlin. You can find her on Twitter @KerryAnn.

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Have you had a chance to read THINGS JOLIE NEEDS TO DO BEFORE SHE BITES IT yet? Did you spend a long time wanting to write a book before finally taking the plunge? Do you write in any small increment you can find? 

Happy Reading,

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