Thursday, November 29, 2018

0 Lyra Selene, author of AMBER & DUSK, on staying the course even when things get hard

We're thrilled to have Lyra Selene stop by to tell us more about her debut novel, AMBER & DUSK.

Lyra, what was your inspiration for writing AMBER & DUSK?

I daydreamed of the world first--a gilded empire lit by an unmoving sun, where the light seemed thick enough to taste, like honey or ambrosia. From there, I was inspired by Cocteau's La Belle et La Bête; Inigo Jones' elaborate masque costume designs from the 17th Century; W. B. Yeats' famous line, "Things fall apart, the center cannot hold;" and a deep and enduring obsession with ball gown and banter, secrets and seduction, court intrigue and clandestine kisses.

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?

I think I'm most proud of the last scene in the final chapter. I'm terrible at endings--I always want to end with a cliffhanger! But for this story, I knew I had to find a way to give the book a satisfying sense of finality, while keeping a door open for possible future chapters of Sylvie's journey. It took me many rewrites to get it right, but I think the final image is a beautiful apotheosis of Sylvie's development as a character and manages to capture the hope, anguish, and soaring possibility of finally achieving your dreams.

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

Any books with lush aesthetics and complicated heroines will probably appeal to fans of A&D! Off the top of my head, I'd recommend The Belles, by Dhonielle Clayton, The Star-Touched Queen, by Roshani Chokshi, The Winner's Curse, by Marie Rutkoski, and The Wrath and the Dawn, by Renee Ahdieh

What do you hope readers will take away from AMBER & DUSK?

To dream perilously, to reach too high even if you might fall too far, and never stop searching for a world just a little more radiant than your own.

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

Like most authors I know, my journey to publication was at times tedious, heartbreaking, exhilaration, and utterly magical.

Amber & Dusk was the fourth novel I completed over a period of about five years. I started writing seriously in 2011, but I had zero clue about just how much I didn't know about writing, publishing, or my own grit and determination. When I finished my first novel, visions of sugar plums and six-figure book deals danced in my head. After unsuccessfully querying and submitting three full-length novels (now trunked) I started working on A&D.

One of the reasons this book is so close to my heart is because it's very much a culmination of all those years of trying and failing and trying again, and symbolizes the important to me of staying the course even when things get hard.

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


Just kidding! My best advice is to focus on your own work and try not to compare your journey to anyone else's. There's no expiration date on success, and everyone's path to publication is unique.

What are you working on now?

I'm currently drafting a secret project that readers of Amber & Dusk will hopefully be very eager to read! ;-)


Amber & Dusk
by Lyra Selene
Scholastic Press
Released 11/27/2018

Sylvie has always known she deserves more. Out in the permanent twilight of the Dusklands, her guardians called her power to create illusions a curse. But Sylvie knows it gives her a place in Coeur d'Or, the palais of the Amber Empress and her highborn legacies.

So Sylvie sets off toward the Amber City, a glittering jewel under a sun that never sets, to take what is hers.

But her hope for a better life is quickly dimmed. The empress invites her in only as part of a wicked wager among her powerful courtiers. Sylvie must assume a new name, Mirage, and begin to navigate secretive social circles and deadly games of intrigue in order to claim her spot. Soon it becomes apparent that nothing is as it appears and no one, including her cruel yet captivating sponsor, Sunder, will answer her questions. As Mirage strives to assume what should be her rightful place, she'll have to consider whether it is worth the price she must pay.

Purchase Amber & Dusk at Amazon
Purchase Amber & Dusk at IndieBound
View Amber & Dusk on Goodreads


Lyra Selene was born under a full moon and has never quite managed to wipe the moonlight out of her eyes.

Lyra grew up on a steady diet of Lloyd Alexander, Susan Cooper and Ursula K. LeGuin, scribbling in book margins and tapping on typewriters. When she isn’t dreaming up fantastical cities and brooding landscapes, Lyra enjoys hiking, rainstorms, autumn, and pretending she’s any good at music.

She lives in New England with her husband, in an antique farmhouse that’s probably not haunted. AMBER & DUSK is her debut novel.


Have you had a chance to read AMBER & DUSK yet? Do you think of the world first? Or characters? Or plot? Are you able to focus on your own work without comparison? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

Jocelyn, Halli, Martina, Erin, Susan, Shelly, and Kelly

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

0 Wow: Mountains, Marshmallows and Martyrs with Christian McKay Heidicker

Today I am so excited to be joined by Christian McKay Heidicker, author of ATTACK OF THE 50-FOOT WALLFLOWER and CURE FOR THE COMMON UNIVERSE, with a round up of his favorite pieces of writing advice. Stay tuned after the post for a bit more about Christian and his latest book!

my three favorite bits of writing advice

Hey. How are you? 

Stressed? Overwhelmed? Worried you’ll never reach your writing goals?

Shhhh. There there. You’re going to be fine. I’ve got a few things that might help. I stole them from the wisest of the wise, and they won’t mind.

(Note: It may seem like I’ve cherry picked helpful writing tips that start with the letter ‘M’ to make a punchier title. But I promise, these are, without a doubt, the tactics that kept me afloat during the long (loooooooong) slog of becoming a professional writer.)


In Neil Gaiman’s infinitely rewatchable commencement speech (, he talks about his early days as a writer. In order to keep on track, he pictured his career goal as a distant mountain. Whenever he came to a fork in the road, he simply chose the path that would take him closer to that goal. 

This is brilliant. But it’s also easier said than done. We all have bills to pay, partners to please, pets and kids to attend to. Maintaining perfect focus on the mountain is a privilege most of us don’t have.

But here’s a secret. Mostfamous writers didn’t have that privilege either, including your favorites.

         We have a tendency to mythologize writers’ early days. When Stephen King talks about his time at the Laundromat or J.K. Rowling her days in a Scottish coffee shop, we swoon. It feels so romantic! A starving author who’s got just enough grit to pull themselves out of their predicament by writing a beautiful tale that ignites heart fires and keeps the whole world spinning.

But being a starving artist feels nothinglike that. It’s crushing and debilitating, and the mountain feels so far away sometimes it’s practically vanished in the haze.

So let yourself off the hook a little. Hang out with your partner. Snuggle your cat. Accept the temp job that will pay the bills. Meanwhile, take baby steps toward the mountain. One day, you’ll look up and find you’ve made it halfway to your goal by barely trying.

Oh, and when you’re feeling reallydisparaged, read your favorite author’s origin story and realize just how difficult the process was for them too. It will make you feel a lot better about your current situation.


There’s a famous experiment where someone corralled together some kindergartners and gave them each a marshmallow: The experimenters told the kids that those marshmallows were theirs, and the kids could do with them whatever they wanted. Howeverany kid who waited a full fifteen minutesbefore eating his/her/their marshmallow would receive—wait for it—asecondmarshmallow.

         Jump ahead fifteen years when the experimenters caught up with their test subjects to see how they’d fared in life. They found that the kids who were able to delay marshmallowy gratification (by covering their eyes or singing a song and otherwise keeping themselves distracted) were quite a bit more successful in college. The experimenters concluded that these kids were able to get more done because they waited until after their work was completed to reward themselves.

         There’s some question about the accuracy of this experiment’s conclusions: Regardless, impulse control is a HUGE factor when trying to finish a book/get it submitted/edit the crap out of it. I’ve found that my impulse control is like a muscle. The more I work it, the easier the writing becomes.

         The exercise is simple: Don’t do the fun or delicious or relaxing thing until you’ve hit your word count for the day.

         Once the writing is finished, you can devour three bags of marshmallows, chase it with a jar of marshmallow puff spread, and snort a line of marshmallow minis. Or, y’know, watch Netflix or play video games or go on that Bumble date.

But remember: baby steps. Go easy on yourself. Your stress will skyrocket if you set your daily word count too high. The pressure will build and the delayed reward will appear more enticing until your impulse control collapses like the U.S. infrastructure. So set a low daily word count. 300 is more than adequate. (For reference, this article is 697 words so far; so less than half of what you see above!)

As Stephen King says, if you were to write 300 words a day, you’ll complete a book a year. (That’s a bonus piece of advice. But it doesn’t start with an M, so it’s not going in the title.)


And now for my final/favorite piece of advice.

How do I start this . . . ? Ah, yes. Ahem.

When you set out to become a writer, you will be met with crushing defeat.

Whether it’s in the form of friends who forget to read your first chapter, rejections from a dozen agents, rejections from twodozen editors, bad reviews on Goodreads, or the underperformance of the second installment in your Harry Potter spinoff movie franchise, you willfail somewhere along the way.

When this happens, avoid the enticement of feeling sorry for yourself. If you become a martyr for your own cause, collapsing attractively across the first chaise longue you find, pressing the back of your wrist to your forehead and lamenting, ‘Woe is me, the world is so hard, too many obstacles are in my way, and now I simply . . . can’t,’ then you’re done. No writing career for you.

I believe the reason most people don’t get published is because they convince themselves that the path to writing is somehow more difficult for them. They believe they’re being unfairly treated by the same system absolutely everyone else has to go through. 

But here’s the truth. We all face publishing obstacles, albeit different ones. But it’s how we react to them that makes the difference.

Instead of martyrizing yourself, become a trickster. Think three steps ahead. Be the fox. Be Loki. Sneer for a moment at your failures, then tackle the problem again. Better yet, try a different route. No one else is going to do it for you.

(I stole this bit of advice from Big Magicby Elizabeth Gilbert (who’s quoting Caroline Casey): Highly recommended.)

There. Feel better? I hope so.

The next time you’re down about your prospects as a writer, remember these three things:

1.    Imagine your career as a mountain in the distance and keep your nose pointed toward it. It’s perfectly okay to take baby steps toward your goal when other life things demand your attention.
2.    Wait to treat yourself until after the work is finished. Like a muscle, your impulse control will build over time. Remember, make your daily goals reasonable.
3.    Don’t be a martyr, who quits at the first sign of adversity. Rather, be a trickster, willing to find any way to hit your goal.

Becoming a writer is a long slow process. Give yourself time to get there. Work a little bit every day. Love yourself. And if you’re having a hard time, email me: I’m always looking for distractions.

Christian McKay Heidicker reads and writes and drinks tea. Between his demon-hunting cat and his fiddling, redheaded girlfriend, he feels completely protected from evil spirits. Christian is the author of Scary Stories for Young FoxesCure for the Common Universe and Attack of the 50 Foot Wallflower. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

From the author of Cure for the Common Universe comes a monster-movie-like novel that bravely challenges perceived notions of beauty, identity, and modern voyeurism.

Phoebe Lane is a lightning rod for monsters.

She and her mom are forced to flee flesh-eating plants, blobs from outer space, and radioactive ants. They survive thanks to Phoebe’s dad—an invisible titan, whose giant eyes warn them where the next monster attack will take place.

All Phoebe wants is to stop running from motel to motel and start living a monster-free life in New York or Paris. But when her mom mysteriously vanishes, Phoebe is left to fend for herself in small-town Pennybrooke.

That's when Phoebe starts to transform…

Christian McKay Heidicker returns with a book unlike any other, challenging perceived notions of beauty, identity, and what it means to be a monster.

Monday, November 26, 2018

1 New Releases This Week 11/26 - 12/02

Happy Monday! Don't forget to check out all the books coming out this week below.

Happy Reading,

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


* * * *

Amber & Dusk
by Lyra Selene
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Scholastic Press
Released 11/27/2018

Sylvie has always known she deserves more. Out in the permanent twilight of the Dusklands, her guardians called her power to create illusions a curse. But Sylvie knows it gives her a place in Coeur d'Or, the palais of the Amber Empress and her highborn legacies.

So Sylvie sets off toward the Amber City, a glittering jewel under a sun that never sets, to take what is hers.

But her hope for a better life is quickly dimmed. The empress invites her in only as part of a wicked wager among her powerful courtiers. Sylvie must assume a new name, Mirage, and begin to navigate secretive social circles and deadly games of intrigue in order to claim her spot. Soon it becomes apparent that nothing is as it appears and no one, including her cruel yet captivating sponsor, Sunder, will answer her questions. As Mirage strives to assume what should be her rightful place, she'll have to consider whether it is worth the price she must pay.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Amber & Dusk?

In many ways I wrote this book to be everything I loved to read. Prose like gilded dreams. An impossible, intoxicating world; ball gowns and courtly politics and sarcastic banter and ulterior motives. An ambitious, complicated heroine who dreams of a place where she can finally belong--a world as glossy as the colors spilling like jewels from her fingertips. It's the book of my heart in so many ways, which makes it hard to choose a favorite thing!

But if I had to pick one, it would have to be my MC Sylvie's magical power--the power of illusion. I spent a lot of time lingering over the descriptions of her power and its manifestation in her world, making sure every last word captured its breathtaking hold on my imagination. In some ways, it felt like her power to create illusions echoed the very act of writing--breathing life into perilous dreams and creating impossible worlds from nothing. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Purchase Amber & Dusk at Amazon
Purchase Amber & Dusk at IndieBound
View Amber & Dusk on Goodreads

* * * *

Love à la Mode
by Stephanie Kate Strohm
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Released 11/27/2018

Take two American teen chefs, add one heaping cup of Paris, toss in a pinch of romance, and stir. . . .

Rosie Radeke firmly believes that happiness can be found at the bottom of a mixing bowl. But she never expected that she, a random nobody from East Liberty, Ohio, would be accepted to celebrity chef Denis Laurent's school in Paris, the most prestigious cooking program for teens in the entire world. Life in Paris, however, isn't all cream puffs and crepes. Faced with a challenging curriculum and a nightmare professor, Rosie begins to doubt her dishes.

Henry Yi grew up in his dad's restaurant in Chicago, and his lifelong love affair with food landed him a coveted spot in Chef Laurent's school. He quickly connects with Rosie, but academic pressure from home and his jealousy over Rosie's growing friendship with gorgeous bad-boy baker Bodie Tal makes Henry lash out and push his dream girl away.

Desperate to prove themselves, Rosie and Henry cook like never before while sparks fly between them. But as they reach their breaking points, they wonder whether they have what it takes to become real chefs.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Love à la Mode?

My favorite thing about LOVE A LA MODE is the food! I absolutely love food: I love eating it, cooking it, learning about it, everything. Leafing through the glossy pages of a brand-new cookbook is one of my favorite things, and you can always catch me watching Food Network, the Cooking Channel, and my two favorite shows, Top Chef and the Great British Bake-Off. Although there's pretty much nothing that I won't eat (except for olives - I really hate olives), all of my favorite foods are dessert. Just like Rosie in LOVE A LA MODE, I love to bake, and to me, the fact that sugar, butter and flour come together to make so many incredible treats is nothing short of miraculous. I've never studied pastry formally - I'm just a passionate home baker - but being able to pour my love of pastry onto the page was my favorite part of the writing process. I hope that all of my readers get very, very hungry reading this book!

Purchase Love à la Mode at Amazon
Purchase Love à la Mode at IndieBound
View Love à la Mode on Goodreads


* * * *

by Alex R. Kahler
Harlequin Teen; Original edition
Released 11/27/2018

Magic is sin

Aidan desires only one thing: to rule. Arrogant, headstrong and driven by the element of Fire, he will stop at nothing to bring the evil Howls that destroyed Scotland to their knees. But Fire is a treacherous element, and the very magic that brought him to power could burn his world to ash.

Especially with the blood of his fellow Hunters on his hands.

Driven by a bloodlust he can’t control and dark whispers that may not be entirely in his head, he and his magic-eschewing friend Kianna will do whatever it takes to liberate their broken world. Even at the risk of confronting the Church. Even at the risk of losing his humanity.

But power isn’t the only thing on Aidan’s mind. He’s falling for the intoxicating Tomas, an Incubus who offers everything Aidan desires. For a price.

And if that price burns the world down, well…Aidan is used to playing with Fire.

Purchase Runebreaker at Amazon
Purchase Runebreaker at IndieBound
View Runebreaker on Goodreads

Saturday, November 24, 2018

0 Traci Chee, author of THE STORYTELLER, on examining and adjusting your process

THE STORYTELLER is the last book in The Reader trilogy, and we're thrilled to have Traci Chee here to share more about it.

Traci, 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 last two pages. It’s hard saying goodbye to a story you’ve had in your head for a decade, and I think I must have written and rewritten those paragraphs a dozen times at least. The last line, in particular, is something I agonized over, so I hope that when readers get to it, it feels as right and inevitable and fitting to them as it does to me.

How long did you work on THE STORYTELLER?

About 18 months, start-to-finish, but I wrote the first words of THE READER TRILOGY all the way back in 2008, so all-in-all, I’ve spent 10 years on this story!

What do you hope readers will take away from THE STORYTELLER?

Life is hard. Sometimes it seems like your challenges are insurmountable. Sometimes it feels like you’ll never be able to recover from this. But you find a way to keep going, somehow.

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 my desk with a good cup of English breakfast tea.

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

Always keep learning. So read widely, take classes, work with other writers, examine and adjust your own process. There’s always going to be something you can do better, something you can improve on, some way to refine your craft--you just have to keep working at it.


The Storyteller
by Traci Chee
G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Released 11/13/2018

The thrilling conclusion to the epic adventure that began with New York Times bestselling The Reader, "a series fantasy lovers will want to sink their teeth into." - Booklist, starred review

Sefia is determined to keep Archer out of the Guard's clutches and their plans for war between the Five Kingdoms. The Book, the ancient, infinite codex of the past, present and future, tells of a prophecy that will plunge Kelanna in that bloody war, but it requires a boy--Archer--and Sefia will stop at nothing to ensure his safety. The Guard has already stolen her mother, her father, and her Aunt Nin. Sefia would sooner die than let them take anymore from her--especially the boy she loves.

 But escaping the Guard and the Book's prophecy is no easy task. After all, what is written always comes to pass. As Sefia and Archer watch Kelanna start to crumble to the Guard's will, they will have to choose between their love and joining a war that just might tear them apart. Full of magic, suspense, and mystery, Traci Chee brings her Sea of Ink and Gold trilogy to a close in this spellbinding final installment

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


Traci Chee is the New York Times bestselling author of YA fantasy trilogy The Reader (2016),The Speaker (2017), and The Storyteller (2018). An all-around word geek, she loves book arts and art books, poetry and paper crafts, though she also dabbles at egg painting, bonsai gardening, and hosting game nights for family and friends. She studied literature and creative writing at UC Santa Cruz and earned a master of arts degree from San Francisco State University. Traci grew up in a small town with more cows than people, and now feels most at home in the mountains, scaling switchbacks and happening upon hidden highland lakes. She lives in California with her fast-fast dog.


Have you had a chance to read THE STORYTELLER yet? Are you reading widely and taking classes? Do you find ways to refine your craft? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

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

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

1 WoW: Cheyanne Young on Giving Thanks to the Writing Community

For those who celebrate the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving, this is often the time of year when we spend a little bit of time counting our blessings. Today, I'm thrilled to have Cheyanne Young, author of THE LAST WISH OF SASHA CADE (now available) with a special guest post on giving thanks to the writing community. Stay tuned after the post for more about Cheyanne and her book. Enjoy the guest post and if you're celebrating this week, Happy Thanksgiving!

Giving Thanks to the Writing Community
By Cheyanne Young

In its simplest form, writing is just pen and paper. Keyboard and an empty document. But in reality, writing is more than that. It comes with a whole stack of exciting things and stressful things, and it can often be hard to handle it all alone. From rejections and bad reviews, to agent calls and book deals, it’s vital that we have a support system we can turn to to celebrate and commiserate everything in our writing career.

I’m lucky to have a great family, and a couple of best friends in real life. They’re all here for me, but they just don’t “get it.” Every writer I talk to knows what I mean by this. Friends and family may love you and support you, but if they’re not a writer, they won’t ever fully grasp what it means to have reached your 100thquery rejection. Or your first book deal. Or selling foreign rights. Or getting that terrible trade review.

This is where the writing community comes in. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’d to share my most sincere gratitude for everyone in the writing community. Because even though a book can be written by just one person sitting alone in a room, it really does take an entire village to make that book come alive.

Thank you to the Beta Readers and Critique Partners!
I have a friend who reads every chapter of every manuscript I write immediately after I write it. It might sound weird, and it is, but I email her all of my chapters just to get some quick fun beta feedback. She’s my best friend, and she’s not writer, so she blindly loves it all. I strongly encourage writers to have beta readers like this, ones who will encourage and gush over your work. You know it’ll need a heck of a lot of revising, and maybe there are some plot holes, but hey, you’re writing. That should be celebrated.

My crit partner is a close writer friend who helps me pick apart those plot holes and strengthen my story. She’s also kind and amazing, but she isn’t afraid to be tough with me if something isn’t working. She’s a treasure and I’m so glad I have her. If you are a new writer, I strongly suggest that you reach out into the writing community and find some crit partners and beta readers. You will often build lasting friendships that follow you throughout your career.

Thank you to the Bloggers!
Book bloggers! Bookstagrammers! Seriously, where would we be without you? These bloggers have a heart for reading and sharing their love of books and often dedicate hours a day to the task. They take beautiful photos, write up glowing book reviews, and maintain friendships with authors on social media. Nothing makes my day more than seeing a new post about my book from a blogger. They do all of this hard work for free, just because they love books, and they are the glue that holds the book community together.

Thank you to the librarians!
When I was a kid I wanted to be a librarian because I thought the card catalogue system was just so cool and I thought that’s all librarians did all day. I was so, so wrong. Librarians are outstandingly smart people whose entire job is dedicated to books. They recommend books to their community, to young readers and old readers, and new readers, and reluctant readers. They support authors and hold library events. They share their favorite books with each other, and they make the world a much better place.

Thank you to the literary agents! (And my agent in particular)
It is my opinion that agents don’t get paid nearly enough. Agents work tirelessly for an author’s career. They negotiate better book deals, help you navigate the complex world of publishing, help you set your path to where it needs to be, and save you from mental breakdowns when the stress gets too much.

And finally, thank you to the readers!
Without you, books would just be words. You give the characters a home and bring the story to life. No part of an author’s career would be possible without you.

About Cheyanne Young
Cheyanne Young is a native Texan with a fear of cold weather and a coffee addiction that probably needs an intervention. She lives near the beach with her family, one spoiled rotten puppy, and a cat that is most likely plotting to take over the world. Her newest book about a girl whose dying best friend leaves her a to-do list, The Last Wish of Sasha Cade, is available now.

The day Raquel has been dreading for months has finally arrived. Sasha, her best friend in the whole world -- the best friend in the whole world -- has died of cancer. Raquel can’t imagine life without her. She’s overwhelmed and brokenhearted.

And then a letter from Sasha arrives. Has she somehow found a way to communicate from the afterlife?

In fact, Sasha has planned an elaborate scavenger hunt for Raquel, and when she follows the instructions to return to Sasha’s grave, a mysterious stranger with striking eyes is waiting for her. There’s a secret attached to this boy that only Sasha—and now Raquel—knows.

This boy, Elijah, might be just what Raquel needs to move on from her terrible loss. But can Raquel remain true to herself while also honoring her friend’s final wish?

Monday, November 19, 2018

0 New Releases This Week 11/19 - 11/25

Happy Monday! Don't forget to check out all the books coming out this week below.

Happy Reading,

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


* * * *

Any Second
by Kevin Emerson
Crown Books for Young Readers
Released 11/20/2018

Five years after being kidnapped, Elian's captor sends him into the mall--with a bomb strapped to his chest.

Across the mall is Maya, a girl whose crippling anxiety holds her prisoner in its own way.

Whether it's chance or fate, Maya keeps Eli from ending them all. And now nothing is the same. Drawn together by their dark pasts, Maya and Eli know it takes only seconds for their entire worlds to change. But time will tell if meeting each other will change them for better or worse.

Purchase Any Second at Amazon
Purchase Any Second at IndieBound
View Any Second on Goodreads

* * * *

Legacy of Light
by Sarah Raughley
Simon Pulse
Released 11/20/2018

The world is in chaos.

After Saul’s strike on Oslo—one seemingly led by Maia herself—the Effigies’ reputation is in shambles. Now they’re being hunted by nations across the globe, grouped in with the very terrorists they’ve been trying to stop.

With Maia’s resurrected twin, June, carrying out vicious attacks across the world, everyone believes Maia is a killer. Belle has gone rogue, Chae Rin and Lake have disappeared, and the Sect is being dismantled and replaced by a terrifying new world order helmed by Blackwell. As for Saul, his ultimate plan still remains a mystery.

And Maia? No one has seen or heard from her in weeks.

It’s all somehow connected—Saul, Phantoms, the Effigies, everything. But if the Effigies can’t put the pieces together soon, there may not be much left of the world they’ve fought so desperately to save.

Purchase Legacy of Light at Amazon
Purchase Legacy of Light at IndieBound
View Legacy of Light on Goodreads

* * * *

The Dark Days Deceit
by Alison Goodman
Viking Books for Young Readers
Released 11/20/2018

Lady Helen has retreated to a country estate outside Bath to prepare for her wedding to the Duke of Selburn, yet she knows she has unfinished business to complete. She and the dangerously charismatic Lord Carlston have learned they are a dyad, bonded in blood, and only they are strong enough to defeat the Grand Deceiver, who threatens to throw mankind into chaos. But the heinous death-soaked Ligatus Helen has absorbed is tearing a rift in her mind. Its power, if unleashed, will annihilate both Helen and Carlston unless they can find a way to harness its ghastly force and defeat their enemy.

In the final book of the trilogy that began with The Dark Days Club and continued with The Dark Days Pact, the intrepid Lady Helen's story hurtles to a shocking conclusion full of action, heartbreak, and betrayal.

Purchase The Dark Days Deceit at Amazon
Purchase The Dark Days Deceit at IndieBound
View The Dark Days Deceit on Goodreads

* * * *

by Yuyuko Takemiya
Released 11/20/2018

Takasu Ryuuji has learned the hard way that appearances can be deceiving. For despite his inwardly sweet personality, his unintentionally sharp gaze and aggressive features give him the air of a delinquent thug, putting his chances at making new friends, let alone a girlfriend, next to zero.

It’s Ryuuji’s first day of his second year of high school and it seems as if things are looking up. He gets to sit in between his only friend, Yuusaku, and more importantly, the girl he’s secretly crushing on, Kushieda Minori. But just when he thinks the stars are aligned in his favor, he unwittingly crosses the most feared girl in school, Aisaka Taiga, making her into his arch enemy. To top it off, Taiga has moved in right next door to Ryuuji and happens to be Minori’s best friend! Can this school year possibly get any worse?!

Purchase Toradora! at Amazon
Purchase Toradora! at IndieBound
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Saturday, November 17, 2018

0 Mary Crockett, author of HOW SHE DIED, HOW I LIVED, on writing a book born of rage and grief

We're thrilled to have Mary Crockett with us to share more about her latest novel, HOW SHE DIED, HOW I LIVED.

Mary, what was your inspiration for writing HOW SHE DIED, HOW I LIVED?

This wasn't a book I sought to write. I was hard at work on an entirely different manuscript when this story overtook me. I had read in the paper about a lost girl who was found, days later, dead. The brutality of her murder, the senseless destruction of her life, left me outraged and grieving. Worst of all, I had seen equally horrific events play out in newsprint a dozen times before with different names and details. And I knew I would read of such horrors again.

That story broke something in me. So I did what I do when I'm broken. I cried, consumed junk food, and then picked up my notebook and pen.

Writing this book was something of an act of healing for me. I had no physical connection to the story in the newspaper--except as a fellow human being, and I do believe we're all ultimately connected. And yet, that sort of violence is so hurtful, not only to the families it directly impacts, but to all the people who live in its periphery. I tried to show in HOW SHE DIED, HOW I LIVED the way a violent act ripples out into a community and creates a fog of violence that shapes how young women see their world, their choices, and their potential.

Even though this book was born out of rage and grief, I am happy with it. It feels weird to say that, but I am. I love the girls in this book. And some of the boys. The parents and teachers. I care about them, and I love seeing how they work to put together lives worth living in face of senseless violence. They work to find healing--and joy, even! They are, to my mind, the heroes of their own lives--and I loved telling their stories.

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

I hope HOW SHE DIED, HOW I LIVED would appeal to people who love books with a lot of heart... books that look at real issues facing teen girls... books that are about the power of friendship in helping us heal... books that show the world that girls they can face grief and guilt and come out as better people on the other side.

What do you hope readers will take away from HOW SHE DIED, HOW I LIVED?

I wrote this for the girls everywhere who have to deal daily with the knowledge that there are men in this world who, given the chance, would hurt them for no other reason than their own sick gratification. It's a horrific realization--and it's one that I think many girls eventually come to.

I hope those girls read HOW SHE DIED, HOW I LIVED, and that they don't feel so alone. I hope they find in these pages a friend to support them, a voice to speak with them, and a place where they can work through some of what they've experienced of pain or grief in their own lives.

I also want them to take away hope, and laughter, and all the good that makes life worth living.

That's a pretty big wish, I realize, but I'm putting it out there all the same.

What are you working on now?

I just started a new job teaching creative writing full-time at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia, so right now, I'm writing lesson plans and course schedules and emails to students! I am looking forward to summer, though, when I intend to wear my keyboard out with a new story that's been rumbling in me for several years. I don't want to say too much about it, but it's a very personal story--one that's very close to my heart--and I'm writing it primarily in verse, which somehow took me by surprise!


How She Died, How I Lived
by Mary Crockett and Madelyn Rosenberg
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Released 11/13/2018

Girl in Pieces meets The Way I Used to Be in this poignant and thought-provoking novel about a girl who must overcome her survivor's guilt after a fellow classmate is brutally murdered. 

I was one of five. The five girls Kyle texted that day. The girls it could have been. Only Jamie--beautiful, saintly Jamie--was kind enough to respond. And it got her killed.

On the eve of Kyle's sentencing a year after Jamie's death, all the other "chosen ones" are coping in various ways. But our tenacious narrator is full of anger, stuck somewhere between the horrifying past and the unknown future as she tries to piece together why she gets to live, while Jamie is dead.

Now she finds herself drawn to Charlie, Jamie's boyfriend--knowing all the while that their relationship will always be haunted by what-ifs and why-nots. Is hope possible in the face of such violence? Is forgiveness? How do you go on living when you know it could have been you instead?

Mary Crockett has crafted a powerful novel—equally heart-wrenching and hopeful—about the everyday violence that can forever change a life.

Purchase How She Died, How I Lived at Amazon
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A native of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Mary grew up as the youngest of six children in a family of misfits. She has worked as everything from a history museum director to a toilet seat hand model.

In her other life, she's an award-winning poet and teaches creative writing at Roanoke College in Virginia.


Have you had a chance to read HOW SHE DIED, HOW I LIVED yet? Do stories in the news inspire your writing? Does writing help you when you feel broken? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

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