PAGES

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

April Henry, author of THE LONELY DEAD, on being tenacious

We're excited to have April Henry stop by to share more about her latest novel, THE LONELY DEAD.

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

I write on a Lifespan Treadmill desk. It’s a desk with a treadmill underneath. The treadmill is specially geared to work well at a walking pace. I used to write books in a coffee shop and nearly every day I had one or two of these cute little cookies they offered. The treadmill desk is much better for my health.


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


Be tenacious. I have seen better writers than me give up because they got a few rejections. I never gave up, even despite getting over a hundred rejections before I found an agent, and many more before I got my first contract. The Lonely Dead is my 23rd book.




What are you working on now?

I just finished a big revision of The White Van, which comes out in about a year. It was inspired by a real kidnapper who was stalking girls in my neighborhood. And this week I’m going to start working on the book after that, which is called Playing with Fire, and was inspired by a real group of people who were trapped in Oregon’s 2017 Eagle Creek Fire.



ABOUT THE BOOK

The Lonely Dead
by April Henry
Hardcover
Henry Holt and Co.
Released 1/29/2019

For Adele, the dead aren’t really dead. She can see them and even talk to them. But she’s spent years denying her gift. When she encounters her ex best friend Tori in a shallow grave in the woods and realizes that Tori is actually dead -- that gift turns into a curse. Without an alibi, Adele becomes the prime suspect in Tori’s murder. She must work with Tori’s ghost to find the real killer. But what if the killer finds Adele first?

Purchase The Lonely Dead at Amazon
Purchase The Lonely Dead at IndieBound
View The Lonely Dead on Goodreads



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

New York Times-bestselling author April Henry knows how to kill you in a two-dozen different ways. She makes up for a peaceful childhood in an intact home by killing off fictional characters. There was one detour on April's path to destruction: when she was 12 she sent a short story about a six-foot tall frog who loved peanut butter to noted children's author Roald Dahl. He liked it so much he showed it to his editor, who asked if she could publish it in an international children's magazine. By the time she was in her 30s, April had started writing about hit men, kidnappers, and drug dealers. She has published 21 mysteries and thrillers for teens and adults, with more to come. She is known for meticulously researching her novels to get the details right.

---

Have you had a chance to read THE LONELY DEAD yet? Have you tried writing while walking? Are you inspired by news stories? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

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

Monday, January 28, 2019

New Releases 01/28 - 02/03 plus 2 Giveaways

Happy Monday! We're so excited to be featuring so many new releases this week. Don't forget to check them all out below and enter to win!

Happy Reading,

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


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK


* * * *


The Cerulean
by Amy Ewing
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

HarperTeen
Released 1/29/2019

Sera Lighthaven has always felt as if she didn’t quite belong among her people, the Cerulean, who live in the City Above the Sky. She is curious about everything—especially the planet that her City is magically tethered to—and can’t stop questioning things. Sera has always longed for the day when the tether will finally break and the Cerulean can move to a new planet.

But when Sera is chosen as the sacrifice to break the tether, she feels betrayed by everything in which she’d been taught to trust. In order to save her City, Sera must end her own life.

But something goes wrong, and Sera survives, ending up on the planet below in a country called Kaolin. Sera has heard tales about the dangerous humans who live here, and she quickly learns that these dangers were not just stories.

Meanwhile, back in the City, all is not what it seems, and the life of every Cerulean may be in danger if Sera is not able to find a way home.

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

* * * *


The Lonely Dead
by April Henry
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Henry Holt and Co.
Released 1/29/2019

For Adele, the dead aren’t really dead. She can see them and even talk to them. But she’s spent years denying her gift. When she encounters her ex best friend Tori in a shallow grave in the woods and realizes that Tori is actually dead -- that gift turns into a curse. Without an alibi, Adele becomes the prime suspect in Tori’s murder. She must work with Tori’s ghost to find the real killer. But what if the killer finds Adele first?

Purchase The Lonely Dead at Amazon
Purchase The Lonely Dead at IndieBound
View The Lonely Dead on Goodreads


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS


A Thousand Sisters: The Heroic Airwomen of the Soviet Union in World War II by Elizabeth Wein: Linda L.
Imprison the Sky by A.C. Gaughen: Summer D.
The Birds, the Bees, and You and Me by Olivia Hinebaugh: Dani W.

MORE YOUNG ADULT FICTION IN STORES NEXT WEEK WITH AUTHOR INTERVIEWS


* * * *


Death Prefers Blondes
by Caleb Roehrig
Hardcover
Feiwel & Friends
Released 1/29/2019

Teenage socialite Margo Manning leads a dangerous double life. By day, she dodges the paparazzi while soaking up California sunshine. By night, however, she dodges security cameras and armed guards, pulling off high-stakes cat burglaries with a team of flamboyant young men. In and out of disguise, she’s in all the headlines.

But then Margo’s personal life takes a sudden, dark turn, and a job to end all jobs lands her crew in deadly peril. Overnight, everything she’s ever counted on is put at risk. Backs against the wall, the resourceful thieves must draw on their special skills to survive. But can one rebel heiress and four kickboxing drag queens withstand the slings and arrows of truly outrageous fortune? Or will a mounting sea of troubles end them―for good?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Death Prefers Blondes?

Honestly, my favorite thing about this book is how me it is. That sounds a little funny to say, because every book is representative of its author; but because of the unique path this manuscript took to publication, I stopped thinking about genre and what I believed I could or couldn’t “get away with” in a novel, and just wrote what was in my heart. There’s banter and romance, glamour and intrigue, fight scenes and elements of speculative fiction…it’s all of my favorite things, rolled together in one. It’s also my chance to show queer boys embracing their femininity and kicking serious ass, which is something I’ve wanted to contribute to YA for a while now.

Purchase Death Prefers Blondes at Amazon
Purchase Death Prefers Blondes at IndieBound
View Death Prefers Blondes on Goodreads


MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK


* * * *


A Curse So Dark and Lonely
by Brigid Kemmerer
Hardcover
Bloomsbury YA
Released 1/29/2019

Fall in love, break the curse.

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she's instead somehow sucked into Rhen's cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn't know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what's at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

Purchase A Curse So Dark and Lonely at Amazon
Purchase A Curse So Dark and Lonely at IndieBound
View A Curse So Dark and Lonely on Goodreads

* * * *


Bloom
by Kevin Panetta
Paperback
First Second
Released 1/29/2019

Now that high school is over, Ari is dying to move to the big city with his ultra-hip band―if he can just persuade his dad to let him quit his job at their struggling family bakery. Though he loved working there as a kid, Ari cannot fathom a life wasting away over rising dough and hot ovens. But while interviewing candidates for his replacement, Ari meets Hector, an easygoing guy who loves baking as much as Ari wants to escape it. As they become closer over batches of bread, love is ready to bloom . . . that is, if Ari doesn’t ruin everything.

Purchase Bloom at Amazon
Purchase Bloom at IndieBound
View Bloom on Goodreads

* * * *


Come Find Me
by Megan Miranda
Hardcover
Crown Books for Young Readers
Released 1/29/2019

After surviving an infamous family tragedy, sixteen-year-old Kennedy Jones has made it her mission to keep her brother's search through the cosmos alive. But then something disturbs the frequency on his radio telescope--a pattern registering where no signal should transmit.

In a neighboring county, seventeen-year-old Nolan Chandler is determined to find out what really happened to his brother, who disappeared the day after Nolan had an eerie premonition. There hasn't been a single lead for two years, until Nolan picks up an odd signal--a pattern coming from his brother's bedroom.

Drawn together by these strange signals--and their family tragedies--Kennedy and Nolan search for the origin of the mysterious frequency. But the more they uncover, the more they believe that everything's connected--even their pasts--as it appears the signal is meant for them alone, sharing a message that only they can understand. Is something coming for them? Or is the frequency warning them about something that's already here?

Purchase Come Find Me at Amazon
Purchase Come Find Me at IndieBound
View Come Find Me on Goodreads

* * * *


Goodbye, Perfect
by Sara Barnard
Hardcover
Simon Pulse
Released 1/29/2019

Eden McKinley knows she can’t count on much in this world, but she can depend on Bonnie, her solid, steady, straight-A best friend. So it’s a bit of a surprise when Bonnie runs away with the boyfriend Eden knows nothing about five days before the start of their final exams. Especially when the police arrive on her doorstep and Eden finds out that Bonnie’s boyfriend is actually their music teacher, Mr. Cohn.

Sworn to secrecy and bound by loyalty, only Eden knows Bonnie’s location, and that’s the way it has to stay. There’s no way she’s betraying her best friend. Not even when she’s faced with police questioning, suspicious parents, and her own growing doubts.

As the days pass and things begin to unravel, Eden is forced to question everything she thought she knew about the world, her best friend, and herself. In this touching and insightful novel, bestselling author Sara Barnard explores just what can happen when the pressure one faces to be “perfect” leads to drastic fallout.

Purchase Goodbye, Perfect at Amazon
Purchase Goodbye, Perfect at IndieBound
View Goodbye, Perfect on Goodreads

* * * *


King of Scars
by Leigh Bardugo
Hardcover
Imprint
Released 1/29/2019

Face your demons...or feed them.

Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war―and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried―and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

Purchase King of Scars at Amazon
Purchase King of Scars at IndieBound
View King of Scars on Goodreads

* * * *


Ransacker
by Emmy Laybourne
Hardcover
Feiwel & Friends
Released 1/29/2019

Rare powers. Precious metals. A final showdown.

1886. The Hemstads possess supernatural powers bestowed upon their family by the ancient Norse gods. Now Sissel, the youngest at 16, discovers her gift: she is a Ransacker. She can find gold and other precious metals and pull them to her. Hers is an awesome and dangerous gift.

Sissel and her siblings have been living peacefully in a small town in Montana, trying to blend-in and escape the violent events that haunt them, but they’ve all been tricked―the handsome young man courting Sissel is secretly a Pinkerton spy, reporting to the man who wants to control them, the Baron Fjelstad.

Sissel’s beau is not the only one interested in her new talents. She’s also caught the attention of a local mine owner who’s convinced Sissel has a lucky touch when it comes to finding gold. With betrayal lurking around every corner, Sissel must tread carefully. Harnessing her powers could bring great fortune . . . or cause the powerful Baron to come hunting her and her siblings down for once and for all.

Purchase Ransacker at Amazon
Purchase Ransacker at IndieBound
View Ransacker on Goodreads

* * * *


The Dead Queens Club
by Hannah Capin
Hardcover
Inkyard Press; Original editio
Released 1/29/2019

You’d think being the new girl in a tiny town would equal one very boring senior year. But if you’re me—Annie Marck, alias Cleves—and you accidentally transform into teenage royalty by entering Lancaster High on the arm of the king himself? Life becomes the exact opposite of boring.

Henry has it all: he’s the jock, the genius and the brooding bad boy all in one. Which sort of explains why he’s on his sixth girlfriend in two years.

What it doesn’t explain is why two of them—two of us—are dead.

My best friend thinks it’s Henry’s fault, which is obviously ridiculous. My nemesis says we shouldn’t talk about it, which is straight-up sketchy. But as the resident nosy new girl, I’m determined to find out what really happened to Lancaster’s dead queens…ideally before history repeats itself.

Purchase The Dead Queens Club at Amazon
Purchase The Dead Queens Club at IndieBound
View The Dead Queens Club on Goodreads

* * * *


The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali
by Sabina Khan
Hardcover
Scholastic Press
Released 1/29/2019

Unable to come out to her conservative Muslim parents, Rukhsana Ali keeps that part of her identity hidden. And that means keeping her girlfriend, Ariana, a secret from them too. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life at home and a fresh start at Caltech in the fall. But when Rukhsana's mom catches her and Ariana together, her future begins to collapse around her.

Devastated and confused, Rukhsana's parents whisk her off to stay with their extended family in Bangladesh, where she is met with a culture of arranged marriages, religious tradition, and intolerance. Fortunately, Rukhsana finds allies along the way, and, through reading her grandmother's old diary, finds the courage to stand up for her beliefs, take control of her future, and fight for her love.

Purchase The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali at Amazon
Purchase The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali at IndieBound
View The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali on Goodreads

* * * *


Winner Take All
by Laurie Devore
Hardcover
Imprint
Released 1/29/2019

For Nell Becker, life is a competition she needs to win.
For Jackson Hart, everyone is a pawn in his own game.
They both have everything to lose.

Nell wants to succeed at everything―school, sports, life. And victory is sweeter when it means beating Jackson Hart, the rich, privileged, undisputed king of Cedar Woods Prep Academy. Yet no matter how hard she tries, Jackson is somehow one step ahead. They’re a match made in hell, but opposites do attract.

Drawn to each other by their rivalry, Nell and Jackson fall into a whirlwind romance that consumes everything in their lives. But when a devastating secret exposes their relationship as just another game, how far will Nell go to win?

Purchase Winner Take All at Amazon
Purchase Winner Take All at IndieBound
View Winner Take All on Goodreads




Saturday, January 26, 2019

Sarah Glenn Marsh, author of SONG OF THE DEAD, on staying true to the story you want to tell

SONG OF THE DEAD is book two in the Reign of the Fallen series, and we're thrilled to have Sarah Glenn Marsh join us to share more about it.

Sarah, 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? 

When I think of a challenging scene in SONG, two come to mind! Both are full of spoilers, but you'll know them when you read them because they're arguably the two darkest scenes in the book. Those dark scenes involve a lot of angst and a lot of action, so it was hard for me during the first draft and subsequent revisions to keep track of where everyone was, what everyone was doing, feeling, etc, on top of all the emotions swirling around! I'm definitely proud of those two scenes--and I'll be even prouder if they shock readers the way I want them to!

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

If you love the tolerance and lack of discrimination in SONG, you'll want to check out Becky Chambers' amazing sci-fi novels, starting with The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (I will never stop recommending this gem of a book!). If you love your fantasy mixed with horror (first of all, *high five*), then you'll want to check out Garth Nix's powerful Abhorsen series, which is full of undead goodness. On a similar note, you'll want to pick up Beth Revis's Give the Dark My Love--true to its title, it's a dark read that doesn't hold back. For a nonfiction read that, like SONG, explores a wider world, check out The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston. It reads like an adventure story, though it's true, and I was absolutely riveted. If badass leading ladies and royal intrigue are more your style, check out the upcoming book Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte. I tore through it!

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

Honestly? It taught me that writing sequels are hard, and that the best way to do so is with a copy of the first book--and your world building notes--in hand so you can double-check each little detail. It also taught me that I can write a sequel I'm really proud of wrangling a large cast of characters and multiple plot threads to a satisfying end. It showed me how dark I can go with my writing, too--and how much fun I can have while doing so!

What do you hope readers will take away from SONG OF THE DEAD? 

While in the publication process for SONG, I experienced a crushing personal loss. I felt for Odessa in a way I couldn't before; I hope readers will know that it's okay to grieve in whatever way feels right to them, and that no one can tell them how long that process should take or what it should look like. I hope they'll recognize how Odessa and various mages she meets are all very different, yet they respect each other all the same, and many become heroes in their own right; I hope they'll feel seen by this story, and know it's not just okay to be different, but that being different can be absolutely wonderful.

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

I can't listen to music while I write--if I hear a song I like, I'll start singing and dancing (and confusing my dogs)! I work at home, surrounded by my sighthounds, with noise-cancelling headphones on. I run a beautiful nature track through the headphones, and when I hear those sounds, my brain knows it's time to get down to business and focus!

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

Remember the joy in what you do, remember who you write for, and above all else, stay true to the story you want to tell, because no one else can write it.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Song of the Dead
by Sarah Glenn Marsh
Hardcover
Razorbill
Released 1/22/2019

Karthia is nothing like it used to be. The kingdom's borders are open for the first time in nearly three hundred years, and raising the dead has been outlawed. Odessa is determined to explore the world beyond Karthia's waters, hoping to heal a heart broken in more ways than she can count. But with Meredy joining the ocean voyage, vanquishing her sorrow will be a difficult task.

Despite the daily reminder of the history they share, Odessa and Meredy are fascinated when their journey takes them to a land where the Dead rule the night and dragons roam the streets. Odessa can't help being mesmerized by the new magic--and by the girl at her side. But just as she and Meredy are beginning to explore the new world, a terrifying development in Karthia summons them home at once.

Growing political unrest on top of threats from foreign invaders means Odessa and Meredy are thrust back into the lives they tried to leave behind while specters from their past haunt their tenuous relationship. Gathering a force big enough to ward off enemies seems impossible, until one of Queen Valoria's mages creates a weapon that could make them invincible. As danger continues to mount inside the palace, Odessa fears that without the Dead, even the greatest invention won't be enough to save their fates.

Purchase Song of the Dead at Amazon
Purchase Song of the Dead at IndieBound
View Song of the Dead on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarah Glenn Marsh writes young adult novels and children’s picture books. An avid fantasy reader from the day her dad handed her a copy of The Hobbit and promised it would change her life, she’s been making up words and worlds ever since.

When she’s not writing, Sarah enjoys watercolor painting, ghost hunting, and pursuits of the nerd variety, from video games to tabletop adventures. She’s never met an animal or a doughnut she didn’t like.

Sarah lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband and their tiny zoo of four rescued sighthounds, two birds, and many fish. She is the author of Fear the Drowning Deep, the Reign of the Fallen series, and several picture books.

---

Have you had a chance to read SONG OF THE DEAD yet? Is there a particular thing you do to let your brain know it's time to write? Are you able to remember the joy in what you do? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

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

Friday, January 25, 2019

Olivia Hinebaugh, author of THE BIRDS, THE BEES, AND YOU AND ME, on stealing time to write

We're delighted to have Olivia Hinebaugh join us to chat about her debut novel, THE BIRDS, THE BEES, AND YOU AND ME.

Olivia, what did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

It solidified a lot of opinions I have about the need for thorough and inclusive sex ed. But I also learned a lot about the term amatonormativity, which is the social structures that focus on and prioritize amorous relationships. Like how we all kind of assume romantic relationships are more important than any other types of relationships. Learning about this really made me start to see things through a different lens, and as I edited the book, I really think it informed how important the platonic relationships in the book are. You can read about amatonormativity here! https://everydayfeminism.com/2016/04/amatonormativity-expectations/

In terms of learning about writing, it really struck home that writing a book is a great way to explore topics that interest me. I love falling into research holes. Even when my writing time is spent reading and learning more than actual writing, it's all been so valuable and enjoyable. I hope to always work on projects that invite this kind deep dive into new worlds.

What do you hope readers will take away from THE BIRDS, THE BEES, AND YOU AND ME?

I honestly mostly hope it makes people happy. But, especially for teen readers, I hope they learn something about sex that makes them feel empowered. I hope they see that there are supportive adults and that it's possible to make changes and reject systems that aren't working for them. Oh, and I hope they like the characters half as much as I do.

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

I wish I had more of a ritual. The idea of writing at a certain time of day under specific circumstances sounds like heaven. But I'm a write-at-home mom who has to steal time when I can. I will say that music is pretty crucial to writing. I work really hard to cultivate playlists for the project and normally putting that music on is what helps me get in the zone. For The Birds, the Bees, and You and Me the playlist was also really important because I had to know what the band in the book would be playing. And not to be a cliche or anything, but I super enjoy having a hot beverage or peanut M&Ms when I work, but that doesn't always work out.

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Birds, the Bees, and You and Me
by Olivia Hinebaugh
Hardcover
Swoon Reads
Released 1/22/2019

Seventeen-year-old Lacey Burke feels like the last person on the planet who should be doling out sex advice. For starters, she’s never even kissed anyone, and she hates breaking the rules. Up until now, she's been a straight-A music geek that no one even notices. All she cares about is jamming out with her best friends, Theo and Evita.

But then everything changes.

When Lacey sees first-hand how much damage the abstinence-only sex-ed curriculum of her school can do, she decides to take a stand and starts doling out wisdom and contraception to anyone who seeks her out in the girls' restroom. Meanwhile, things with Theo have become complicated, and soon Lacey is not just keeping everyone else’s secrets, but her own as well.

Purchase The Birds, the Bees, and You and Me at Amazon
Purchase The Birds, the Bees, and You and Me at IndieBound
View The Birds, the Bees, and You and Me on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Olivia Hinebaugh loves all stripes of literature for children. When she isn’t writing fiction, she can be found writing freelance, making art, discovering new songs on spotify, texting her writing buddies, or folding laundry. She lives near Washington, D.C. with her spouse, three kids, a dog that looks like a coyote, and a one-eyed cat. The Birds, The Bees, And You And Me is her debut novel. Her bio feels incomplete without this mention of coffee.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Evelyn Skye, author of CIRCLE OF SHADOWS, on previous writing being part of the journey

We're delighted to have Evelyn Skye join us to chat about her latest novel, CIRCLE OF SHADOWS.

Evelyn, how long did you work on CIRCLE OF SHADOWS?

This book took me a while. I wrote the first draft back in the winter of 2014, when my agent was pitching THE CROWN'S GAME to publishers. I needed something to keep my mind occupied so that I wouldn't obsess over whether or not any editors would like THE CROWN'S GAME, so I made myself start a new project.

CIRCLE OF SHADOWS was inspired by ninja lore, but those old stories were almost always about boys or men. I thought it would be fun to write a ninja-inspired story with a girl at its center, and with a heavy dose of magic, mischief, and wisecracks to boot.

In January 2015, right around the time I finished the first draft of CIRCLE OF SHADOWS, several publishers indicated their interest in THE CROWN'S GAME. It was ultimately picked up by HarperCollins. They also wanted CIRCLE OF SHADOWS, which was great news because I knew I'd get to have at least four books with them (both THE CROWN'S GAME and CIRCLE OF SHADOWS series are duologies.) However, THE CROWN'S GAME books were up first, which meant CIRCLE OF SHADOWS got set on the back burner for a couple years. I didn't return to the story until 2017.

When my editor and I finally re-opened CIRCLE OF SHADOWS, we found that the first draft was not the story that really needed to be told. It took a while to tease it out--during which I threw out the entire first manuscript, wrote a new one, and tossed many, many of those words away, too--but in the end, I wrote the characters and the story that my readers deserved. At least, I hope I did!

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

It taught me that I should really learn how to outline! I am such a pantser (meaning I don't plan ahead and I write by the seat of my pants). I love how pantsing allows the characters to take me where they want to go, but unfortunately, they sometimes go in the wrong direction, and then I end up trashing months of work and starting over.

I'm working on the sequel to CIRCLE OF SHADOWS now, and my editor had me outline it, which was a hard thing for me to do, but it made the actual writing of the book so much easier. My goal is to try to outline my next book after this series, and maybe this whole planning-ahead-thing will stick. We'll see!

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 wrote seven or eight full manuscripts (I've lost count) before I was published, and I'm on my second agent. Those manuscripts will never see the light of day, and I'm okay with that, because I'm a much better writer now than when I started. All my previous work was part of the journey; I learned from it, and those manuscripts got me to the point where I could land two duology deals with a major publisher.

Don't get me wrong--in those years when I was writing and not even getting any interest from agents, I didn't know if I'd ever make it. It was like treading water without knowing if a ship was ever going to come by to pick me up. But I also knew that I loved writing like I had never loved any other work before, and I couldn't give that up. Plus, a fortuneteller told my mom I'd be successful, so that didn't hurt in keeping me going, haha.

If I could give any advice to other writers, it would be this: If you love writing, keep doing it. Keep reading books on craft, keep seeking out critiques from other writers, keep going to conferences, keep writing the gorgeous stories in your head, keep submitting to agents and editors, keep dreaming and striving and dreaming some more. Take breaks if you need to, whether it's a week or a year or a decade, but come back to writing when you love it again.

The reason I say this is that I was on the brink of quitting after eight unsuccessful manuscripts. I thought maybe writing was wrong for me. But then I threw myself into what I thought might be one last manuscript, and there it was... the story I'd been working toward all along. I got published. I achieved this crazy, amazing dream. And it was everything I had hoped it would be.

Best of luck to all of you. I can't wait to see your books on the shelves.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Circle of Shadows
by Evelyn Skye
Hardcover
Balzer + Bray
Released 1/22/2019

Sora can move as silently as a ghost and hurl throwing stars with lethal accuracy. Her gemina, Daemon, can win any physical fight blindfolded and with an arm tied around his back. They are apprentice warriors of the Society of Taigas—marked by the gods to be trained in magic and the fighting arts to protect the kingdom of Kichona.

As their graduation approaches, Sora and Daemon look forward to proving themselves worthy of belonging in the elite group—but in a kingdom free of violence since the Blood Rift Rebellion many years ago, it’s been difficult to make their mark.

So when Sora and Daemon encounter a strange camp of mysterious soldiers while on a standard scouting mission, they decide the only thing to do to help their kingdom is to infiltrate the group. Taking this risk will change Sora’s life forever—and lead her on a mission of deception that may fool everyone she’s ever loved.

Purchase Circle of Shadows at Amazon
Purchase Circle of Shadows at IndieBound
View Circle of Shadows on Goodreads
Autographed first editions through Kepler's Books: https://www.keplers.com/pre-order-your-copy-circle-shadows

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Evelyn Skye is the author of New York Times bestsellers THE CROWN’S GAME and THE CROWN’S FATE. Her new series, CIRCLE OF SHADOWS, will be published on January 22, 2019.

Evelyn has a B.A. in Russian literature & history from Stanford University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. She was once offered a job by the C.I.A., she not-so-secretly wishes she was on “So You Think You Can Dance,” and if you challenge her to a pizza-eating contest, she guarantees she will win. She can be found online at www.evelynskye.com and on Twitter @EvelynSkyeYA.

---

Have you had a chance to read CIRCLE OF SHADOWS yet? Do you outline your stories before writing? Does your love of writing keep you going? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

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

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Elizabeth Wein, author of A THOUSAND SISTERS, on when a story falls perfectly into place

We're excited to have Elizabeth Wein stop by to share more about her latest book, A THOUSAND SISTERS: THE HEROIC AIRWOMEN OF THE SOVIET UNION IN WORLD WAR II.

Elizabeth, what was your inspiration for writing A THOUSAND SISTERS?

I’ve known about these incredible aviators for at least ten years, and even included a fictional Soviet fighter pilot named Irina Korsakova as a minor character in my 2013 novel, Rose Under Fire. I’ve always wanted to write about these women, but felt that I didn’t know enough about Russian culture and Soviet history to be able to get inside the head of a viewpoint character in a novel.

So when Kristin Rens asked if I’d be interested in working on a non-fiction volume about these aviators, I loved the idea. I thought it would be a good way to write about them without having to fully immerse myself in their emotional and mental background – although, as I did the necessary research, I ended up immersed in it anyway! (And as a result, I did after all write some fiction about a Soviet woman pilot: a short YA novel called FIREBIRD, published in 2018 by Barrington Stoke in the UK.)

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 hardest part of this book to write was the prologue – it got written after all the rest of the book was finished. My editor Kristin and I talked about the need for a strong introduction, something that would draw in young readers and help them to relate to the work’s very unusual and alien material – something to shoehorn readers into the world of these young women battling on the other side of the globe in 1943.

That “shoehorn” was the screenplay written by the American novelist William Faulkner for an unfilmed Hollywood epic called BATTLE CRY. A large part of the BATTLE CRY script is devoted to a segment about a pair of Soviet women bomber pilots, based on a radio play from a patriotic series broadcast during wartime. When I uncovered the background for this segment of the film, it seemed the perfect way to make the story accessible. Hollywood in wartime! A Nobel prize-winning American novelist! A-list actors! A possible enemy chemical weapons attack in Los Angeles! It was so fascinating that the true story felt magical – heaven-sent.

I spent a solid week drafting the prologue, sent it off with trepidation, and Kristin loved it. It was exactly what the book needed and worked perfectly.

I am proud of it and also kind of amazed that it exists – that the story fell into place so perfectly.

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

Gwen Katz has written a thoroughly researched and moving novel for young adults about one of these Soviet regiments – her book is called AMONG THE RED STARS. It’s about a young female night bomber pilot and a daring rescue.

For a terrific novel about a young American woman flying in World War II, try FLYGIRL by Sherri L. Smith. The heroine is an African American teen who has to pass as white in order to join the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP).

If you want to learn more about the Soviet Union in World War II, M.T. Anderson’s young adult non-fiction SYMPHONY FOR THE CITY OF THE DEAD tells a breathtaking story of the tragic siege of the Leningrad, intertwined with a moving biography of the composer Dmitri Shostakovich.

How long did you work on A THOUSAND SISTERS?

I began research for the book in June 2016, wrote the main body of the text in stages during 2017, and completed the prologue (see above!) in January 2018. I spent most of 2018 revising, fact-checking, and creating end notes and a bibliography for the book. So – about two-and-a-half years altogether.

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

I found it an unexpected pleasure to be working on non-fiction – something that I wasn’t making up. I still had to figure out how to tell the story, much as I do when I’m writing fiction, but the plot wasn’t up to me. It didn’t actually make it easier – more like a puzzle that had to be solved. I enjoyed that and wouldn’t mind doing it again.

I was also surprised at how invested I became in learning about Soviet history, a thing I never imagined I would take an interest in. Now I am genuinely fascinated by 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 this book? What was it?

Not so much the key to writing a book in general, but I did have an “AHA!” moment over how to end A THOUSAND SISTERS and tie everything together. I was watching a production of Sting’s musical THE LAST SHIP at Northern Stage in Newcastle, England, and the show ended with a “call to action” as the narrator challenged the audience to go out into the world and create positive change. I realized that in many ways this was also the message of A THOUSAND SISTERS – that one individual can make a difference. So I tried to make a similar challenge at the end of the book. Indeed, the last sentence urges the reader to “Go out and change the wind.”

There are so many ways we can shape our world – I hope that this book inspires readers to fly!

ABOUT THE BOOK

A Thousand Sisters: The Heroic Airwomen of the Soviet Union in World War II
by Elizabeth Wein
Hardcover
Balzer + Bray
Released 1/22/2019

In the early years of World War II, Josef Stalin issued an order that made the Soviet Union the first country in the world to allow female pilots to fly in combat. Led by Marina Raskova, these three regiments, including the 588th Night Bomber Regiment—nicknamed the “night witches”—faced intense pressure and obstacles both in the sky and on the ground. Some of these young women perished in flames. Many of them were in their teens when they went to war.

This is the story of Raskova’s three regiments, women who enlisted and were deployed on the front lines of battle as navigators, pilots, and mechanics. It is the story of a thousand young women who wanted to take flight to defend their country, and the woman who brought them together in the sky.

Packed with black-and-white photographs, fascinating sidebars, and thoroughly researched details, A Thousand Sisters is the inspiring true story of a group of women who set out to change the world, and the sisterhood they formed even amid the destruction of war.

Purchase A Thousand Sisters: The Heroic Airwomen of the Soviet Union in World War II at Amazon
Purchase A Thousand Sisters: The Heroic Airwomen of the Soviet Union in World War II at IndieBound
View A Thousand Sisters: The Heroic Airwomen of the Soviet Union in World War II on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Elizabeth Wein has lived in Scotland for over 10 years and wrote nearly all her novels there. Her first five books for young adults are set in Arthurian Britain and sixth-century Ethiopia. The most recent of these form the sequence The Mark of Solomon, published in two parts as THE LION HUNTER (2007) and THE EMPTY KINGDOM (2008). THE LION HUNTER was short-listed for the Andre Norton Award for Best Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction in 2008. Elizabeth also writes short stories.

Elizabeth's latest novel for teens is a departure in a totally new direction. CODE NAME VERITY is a World War II thriller in which two young girls, one a Resistance spy and the other a transport pilot, become unlikely best friends. A companion novel, ROSE UNDER FIRE, won the 2014 ALA Schneider Family Book Award for Teens.

---

Have you had a chance to read A THOUSAND SISTERS yet? Have you tried writing nonfiction? What type of "call to action" would you put at the end of your current WIP? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

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

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

A.C. Gaughen, author of IMPRISON THE SKY, on chiseling a book out of marble

IMPRISON THE SKY is book two in The Elementae series, and we're thrilled to have A.C. Gaughen here to tell us more about it.

A.C., how long did you work on IMPRISON THE SKY?

IMPRISON took me about 10 months to write before it went into the editorial pipeline, which is another few months. For a book of this size, that's pretty fast--especially in comparison to the fifteen years it took me to figure out how to write REIGN THE EARTH, the first book in the series. I think some books just come to me with a better sense of their full storyline, and some I really have to chisel out of the marble.

Interestingly, when I looked back recently, I also realized that Aspasia has an awful lot in common with Kate, a side character in LION HEART. I think part of me was dying to tell this story before I knew I would have the chance.

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

It was really an incredible reminder that sometimes, imagination can heal. There was so much joy, peace, and satisfaction in writing a book set on the ocean because that is a setting I truly, truly love, and it was a pretty powerful reminder that the things I think about, write about, surround myself with--they all have power.

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

Something I've come to realize is that I don't think I'll ever have a great answer to this question. What often works for me is writing days; I work full time for the Girl Scouts of Eastern MA (love to my Girl Scout sisters!) and I don't get writing time every day--FAR FROM IT. So I bank my time and try to get one day every two weeks to write for 8-10 hours, usually at Panera.

The story doesn't always cooperate. I've worked on stories where I might only write 200 words a day, and that's monumental (but you can see the issue with timeline if I get one day every two weeks...) and I have books that I can churn out 10k without breaking (much of a) sweat. I've learned that I can't force the book into my process, and instead I have to adapt into what works for the story.

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

It feels impossible, especially at first, when you are facing rejection and revisions and still more rejection, but have faith in yourself. There are so many moments along this journey that are designed to take away your power, agency, and sense of self, and it's not always easy to keep that away from your writing life. There will be days when you don't have words and days/months/years where you can't find the story with a keyboard and a flashlight, but have faith in yourself. Keep filling up the well of creativity in as many ways as you can--music, books, walks on the beach, Netflix. Do whatever you need to do so that you can see the world as a place full of stories again.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Imprison the Sky
by A.C. Gaughen
Hardcover
Bloomsbury YA
Released 1/22/2019

Stolen from her family as a child, Aspasia has clawed her way up the ranks of Cyrus's black market empire to captain her own trading vessel--and she risks it all every time she uses her powerful magic to free as many women, children, and Elementae from slavery as she can.

But Cyrus is close to uncovering her secrets--not only that Aspasia is a wind Elementa with the ability to sail her ship through the sky, but that she is also searching for her lost family. And if Aspasia can't find her younger siblings before Cyrus does, she will never be able to break free.

Armed with her loyal crew full of Elementae and a new recruit who controls an intriguing power, Aspasia finds herself in the center of a brewing war that spans every inch of the ocean, and her power alone may not be enough to save her friends, family, and freedom.

Purchase Imprison the Sky at Amazon
Purchase Imprison the Sky at IndieBound
View Imprison the Sky on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A. C. GAUGHEN is the author of the Scarlet Trilogy (Scarlet, Lady Thief and Lion Heart) and the Elementae, which will start with REIGN THE EARTH in January 2018. She serves on the board for the non-profit Boston GLOW, creating opportunities to encourage and engage teen girls in the Greater Boston area. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from St. Andrews University in Scotland and a Masters in Education from Harvard University.

---

Have you had a chance to read IMPRISON THE SKY yet? Do you have a set writing process or do you adopt it per story? What kind of things do you do to fill your well of creativity? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

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

Monday, January 21, 2019

New Releases this week 01/21 - 01/27 Plus 3 Giveaways

Happy Monday! We're starting off the week great with a bunch of new giveaways, including an international one. Don't forget to check out all the new releases below!

Happy Reading,

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

YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK


* * * *


A Thousand Sisters: The Heroic Airwomen of the Soviet Union in World War II
by Elizabeth Wein
Hardcover Giveaway
International

Balzer + Bray
Released 1/22/2019

In the early years of World War II, Josef Stalin issued an order that made the Soviet Union the first country in the world to allow female pilots to fly in combat. Led by Marina Raskova, these three regiments, including the 588th Night Bomber Regiment—nicknamed the “night witches”—faced intense pressure and obstacles both in the sky and on the ground. Some of these young women perished in flames. Many of them were in their teens when they went to war.

This is the story of Raskova’s three regiments, women who enlisted and were deployed on the front lines of battle as navigators, pilots, and mechanics. It is the story of a thousand young women who wanted to take flight to defend their country, and the woman who brought them together in the sky.

Packed with black-and-white photographs, fascinating sidebars, and thoroughly researched details, A Thousand Sisters is the inspiring true story of a group of women who set out to change the world, and the sisterhood they formed even amid the destruction of war.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about A Thousand Sisters: The Heroic Airwomen of the Soviet Union in World War II?

What I loved best about writing A THOUSAND SISTERS is that it’s non-fiction. It’s the first non-fiction I’ve ever written for a mainstream audience. That was a real challenge in terms of getting the facts right. When you’re writing fiction, if you can’t connect two historical events, you can make up something to fill in the gaps. But when you’re sticking to facts, you can’t speculate. You can’t elaborate or make up conversations. You have to be able to back up your claims.

As a fiction writer and a storyteller, I found it a blessed relief not to have to make up anything as I wrote this book. The story was already there, and it was wonderful. All I had to do was find a way to tell it. It’s probably the most difficult book I’ve ever had to write, but it was a joy and a privilege to be able to tell this story. I’m very proud of what I’ve done.


Purchase A Thousand Sisters: The Heroic Airwomen of the Soviet Union in World War II at Amazon
Purchase A Thousand Sisters: The Heroic Airwomen of the Soviet Union in World War II at IndieBound
View A Thousand Sisters: The Heroic Airwomen of the Soviet Union in World War II on Goodreads

* * * *


Imprison the Sky
by A.C. Gaughen
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Bloomsbury YA
Released 1/22/2019

Stolen from her family as a child, Aspasia has clawed her way up the ranks of Cyrus's black market empire to captain her own trading vessel--and she risks it all every time she uses her powerful magic to free as many women, children, and Elementae from slavery as she can.

But Cyrus is close to uncovering her secrets--not only that Aspasia is a wind Elementa with the ability to sail her ship through the sky, but that she is also searching for her lost family. And if Aspasia can't find her younger siblings before Cyrus does, she will never be able to break free.

Armed with her loyal crew full of Elementae and a new recruit who controls an intriguing power, Aspasia finds herself in the center of a brewing war that spans every inch of the ocean, and her power alone may not be enough to save her friends, family, and freedom.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Imprison the Sky?

I think this whole book is a favorite thing--it is almost definitely my favorite of all the books I've written. As a little girl, my dad taught me to sail, and some of the most vivid and obsessive memories I have are of standing out on a bowsprit, crashing over the waves, feeling like I could fly. It was an immense pleasure writing a girl that is not only complicated, damaged, vulnerable and so strong, but also has the ability to crash over waves before she leaps into the air to fly. It is very much a childhood fantasy come true--you know, aside from the whole thing about slavery.

Purchase Imprison the Sky at Amazon
Purchase Imprison the Sky at IndieBound
View Imprison the Sky on Goodreads

* * * *


The Birds, the Bees, and You and Me
by Olivia Hinebaugh
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. & Canada Only
Swoon Reads
Released 1/22/2019

Seventeen-year-old Lacey Burke feels like the last person on the planet who should be doling out sex advice. For starters, she’s never even kissed anyone, and she hates breaking the rules. Up until now, she's been a straight-A music geek that no one even notices. All she cares about is jamming out with her best friends, Theo and Evita.

But then everything changes.

When Lacey sees first-hand how much damage the abstinence-only sex-ed curriculum of her school can do, she decides to take a stand and starts doling out wisdom and contraception to anyone who seeks her out in the girls' restroom. Meanwhile, things with Theo have become complicated, and soon Lacey is not just keeping everyone else’s secrets, but her own as well.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Birds, the Bees, and You and Me?

I'm gonna be honest: I like the kissing (and more than kissing) scenes. I mean, the romance is fun in general, but I love how respectful of the other person the characters engaged in said kissing are. Respectful and considerate and sweet, but occasionally awkward. Hopefully it reflects a realistic and sex positive spin on kissing scenes. I hope it makes readers smile half as much as I did while writing it.

Purchase The Birds, the Bees, and You and Me at Amazon
Purchase The Birds, the Bees, and You and Me at IndieBound
View The Birds, the Bees, and You and Me on Goodreads

MORE YOUNG ADULT FICTION IN STORES NEXT WEEK WITH AUTHOR INTERVIEWS


* * * *


Circle of Shadows
by Evelyn Skye
Hardcover
Balzer + Bray
Released 1/22/2019

Sora can move as silently as a ghost and hurl throwing stars with lethal accuracy. Her gemina, Daemon, can win any physical fight blindfolded and with an arm tied around his back. They are apprentice warriors of the Society of Taigas—marked by the gods to be trained in magic and the fighting arts to protect the kingdom of Kichona.

As their graduation approaches, Sora and Daemon look forward to proving themselves worthy of belonging in the elite group—but in a kingdom free of violence since the Blood Rift Rebellion many years ago, it’s been difficult to make their mark.

So when Sora and Daemon encounter a strange camp of mysterious soldiers while on a standard scouting mission, they decide the only thing to do to help their kingdom is to infiltrate the group. Taking this risk will change Sora’s life forever—and lead her on a mission of deception that may fool everyone she’s ever loved.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Circle of Shadows?

This fantasy is full of magic and mischief, and my absolute favorite thing is how Sora, Daemon, and their friends band together to wreak havoc against enemies who are a lot more powerful than they are. A lot of times, we can feel so small as individuals, but this is a story about what can be accomplished when you've got grit, your best friends, and the belief that you're fighting for the right side of history.

I also loved creating the kingdom of Kichona. It's not Japan but was certainly inspired by some aspects of Japanese landscape and culture, and I'm thrilled to give the book community a fantasy world that is both Asian-inspired and yet wholly its own magical place. As with all my stories, there is big magic and lots of playing with the landscape, as well as plenty of food. (Apologies if you get hungry while reading!)


Purchase Circle of Shadows at Amazon
Purchase Circle of Shadows at IndieBound
View Circle of Shadows on Goodreads

* * * *


Song of the Dead
by Sarah Glenn Marsh
Hardcover
Razorbill
Released 1/22/2019

Karthia is nothing like it used to be. The kingdom's borders are open for the first time in nearly three hundred years, and raising the dead has been outlawed. Odessa is determined to explore the world beyond Karthia's waters, hoping to heal a heart broken in more ways than she can count. But with Meredy joining the ocean voyage, vanquishing her sorrow will be a difficult task.

Despite the daily reminder of the history they share, Odessa and Meredy are fascinated when their journey takes them to a land where the Dead rule the night and dragons roam the streets. Odessa can't help being mesmerized by the new magic--and by the girl at her side. But just as she and Meredy are beginning to explore the new world, a terrifying development in Karthia summons them home at once.

Growing political unrest on top of threats from foreign invaders means Odessa and Meredy are thrust back into the lives they tried to leave behind while specters from their past haunt their tenuous relationship. Gathering a force big enough to ward off enemies seems impossible, until one of Queen Valoria's mages creates a weapon that could make them invincible. As danger continues to mount inside the palace, Odessa fears that without the Dead, even the greatest invention won't be enough to save their fates.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Song of the Dead?

It's safe to say a lot of things about SONG are my favorite, as this was my first published sequel, and it taught me so much! Still, if I had to pick one specific thing, I'd say my favorite part is the openness of the world. There are a lot of things implied by this--yes, I mean that for the first time in the series, we get a glimpse at the wider world, cultures, and beliefs outside the isolated kingdom of Karthia, as well as a look at other animals, and even other magical powers, and all of that was really exciting to me as a writer. But I also mean the way the wider world in SONG is quite open and accepting of different races of people, different sexual orientations, and different identities. Gay, straight, ace--however you identify, you can be a mage, a hero, and even befriend a dragon when you step into this story.

Purchase Song of the Dead at Amazon
Purchase Song of the Dead at IndieBound
View Song of the Dead on Goodreads


MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK


* * * *


All Is Fair
by Dee Garretson
Hardcover
Swoon Reads
Released 1/22/2019

Lady Mina Tretheway knows she’s destined for greater things than her fancy boarding school, where she’s being taught to be a proper English lady. It’s 1918, and war is raging across Europe. Unlike her father and brother, who are able to assist in the war effort, Mina is stuck sorting out which fork should be used with which dinner course.

When Mina receives a telegram that’s written in code, she finally has her chance to do something big. She returns to her childhood home of Hallington Manor, joined by a family friend, Lord Andrew Graham, and a dashing and mysterious young American, Lucas. The three of them must band together to work on a dangerous project that could turn the tide of the war.

Thrilled that she gets to contribute to the war effort at least, Mina jumps headfirst into the world of cryptic messages, spycraft, and international intrigue. She, Lucas, and Andrew have to work quickly, because if they don’t succeed, more soldiers will disappear into the darkness of war.

Purchase All Is Fair at Amazon
Purchase All Is Fair at IndieBound
View All Is Fair on Goodreads

* * * *


Love Me or Miss Me: Hot Girl, Bad Boy
by Dream Jordan
Paperback
Wednesday Books
Released 1/22/2019

What's a Brooklyn Girl to do when her best friend is away for the whole summer? Don't ask Kate, because she has no idea. Aimless, and unhappy with her new foster mother, Kate falls into the hands of a stylish, "It Chick" who whips her into fashionable shape. Armed with new confidence, and a game plan to get her man, Kate quickly falls under her new bestie's bad influence. And she becomes reckless in her pursuits. Can Kate get her life back on the right track--or is it already too late?

One year later, Kate's fantasy life of having the perfect family comes to an abrupt end when she is suddenly forced to return to the group home, a place she's fought so hard to avoid. Alone and vulnerable, Kate falls for the ever so gorgeous Percy who treats her well at first, but soon a cycle of controlling and abusive behavior begins. Kate finds herself trapped and unable to be the strong, independent girl she's tried to be her whole life. Will she be able to escape Percy's clutches?

Purchase Love Me or Miss Me: Hot Girl, Bad Boy at Amazon
Purchase Love Me or Miss Me: Hot Girl, Bad Boy at IndieBound
View Love Me or Miss Me: Hot Girl, Bad Boy on Goodreads

* * * *


Only a Breath Apart: A Novel
by Katie McGarry
Hardcover
Tor Teen
Released 1/22/2019

They say your destiny is carved in stone. But some destinies are meant to be broken.

The only curse Jesse Lachlin believes in is his grandmother’s will: in order to inherit his family farm he must win the approval of his childhood best friend, the girl he froze out his freshman year.

A fortuneteller tells Scarlett she's psychic, but what is real is Scarlett’s father’s controlling attitude and the dark secrets at home. She may be able to escape, but only if she can rely on the one boy who broke her heart.

Each midnight meeting pushes Jesse and Scarlett to confront their secrets and their feelings, but as love blooms, the curse rears its ugly head…

Purchase Only a Breath Apart: A Novel at Amazon
Purchase Only a Breath Apart: A Novel at IndieBound
View Only a Breath Apart: A Novel on Goodreads

* * * *


Parkland Speaks: Survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas Share Their Stories
by Sarah Lerner
Paperback
Crown Books for Young Readers
Released 1/22/2019

The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School share their emotional journeys that began on February 14, 2018, and continue today. This revealing and unfiltered look at teens living in the wake of tragedy is a poignant representation of grief, anger, determination, healing, and hope.

The intimate collection includes poetry, eyewitness accounts, letters, speeches, journal entries, drawings, and photographs from the events of February 14 and its aftermath. Full of heartbreaking loss, a rally cry for change, and hope for a safe future, these artistic pieces will inspire readers to reflect on their own lives and the importance of valuing and protecting the ones you love.

Purchase Parkland Speaks: Survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas Share Their Stories at Amazon
Purchase Parkland Speaks: Survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas Share Their Stories at IndieBound
View Parkland Speaks: Survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas Share Their Stories on Goodreads

* * * *


Ship of Smoke and Steel
by Django Wexler
Hardcover
Tor Teen
Released 1/22/2019

In the lower wards of Kahnzoka, the great port city of the Blessed Empire, eighteen-year-old ward boss Isoka enforces the will of her criminal masters with the power of Melos, the Well of Combat. The money she collects goes to keep her little sister living in comfort, far from the bloody streets they grew up on.

When Isoka's magic is discovered by the government, she's arrested and brought to the Emperor's spymaster, who sends her on an impossible mission: steal Soliton, a legendary ghost ship―a ship from which no one has ever returned. If she fails, her sister’s life is forfeit.

On board Soliton, nothing is as simple as it seems. Isoka tries to get close to the ship's mysterious captain, but to do it she must become part of the brutal crew and join their endless battles against twisted creatures. She doesn't expect to have to contend with feelings for a charismatic fighter who shares her combat magic, or for a fearless princess who wields an even darker power.

Purchase Ship of Smoke and Steel at Amazon
Purchase Ship of Smoke and Steel at IndieBound
View Ship of Smoke and Steel on Goodreads

* * * *


Someday We Will Fly
by Rachel DeWoskin
Hardcover
Viking Books for Young Readers
Released 1/22/2019

Warsaw, Poland. The year is 1940 and Lillia is fifteen when her mother, Alenka, disappears and her father flees with Lillia and her younger sister, Naomi, to Shanghai, one of the few places that will accept Jews without visas. There they struggle to make a life; they have no money, there is little work, no decent place to live, a culture that doesn't understand them. And always the worry about Alenka. How will she find them? Is she still alive?

Meanwhile Lillia is growing up, trying to care for Naomi, whose development is frighteningly slow, in part from malnourishment. Lillia finds an outlet for her artistic talent by making puppets, remembering the happy days in Warsaw when her family was circus performers. She attends school sporadically, makes friends with Wei, a Chinese boy, and finds work as a performer at a "gentlemen's club" without her father's knowledge.

But meanwhile the conflict grows more intense as the Americans declare war and the Japanese force the Americans in Shanghai into camps. More bombing, more death. Can they survive, caught in the crossfire?

Purchase Someday We Will Fly at Amazon
Purchase Someday We Will Fly at IndieBound
View Someday We Will Fly on Goodreads

* * * *


The Electric War: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the Race to Light the World
by Mike Winchell
Hardcover
Henry Holt and Co.
Released 1/22/2019

In the mid-to-late-nineteenth century, a burgeoning science called electricity promised to shine new light on a rousing nation. Inventive and ambitious minds were hard at work. Soon that spark was fanned, and a fiery war was under way to be the first to light―and run―the world with electricity. Thomas Alva Edison, the inventor of direct current (DC), engaged in a brutal battle with Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse, the inventors of alternating current (AC). There would be no ties in this race―only a winner and a loser. The prize: a nationwide monopoly in electric current. Brimming with action, suspense, and rich historical and biographical information about these brilliant inventors, here is the rousing account of one of the world’s defining scientific competitions.

Purchase The Electric War: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the Race to Light the World at Amazon
Purchase The Electric War: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the Race to Light the World at IndieBound
View The Electric War: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the Race to Light the World on Goodreads

* * * *


The Vanishing Stair
by Maureen Johnson
Hardcover
Katherine Tegen Books
Released 1/22/2019

The Truly Devious case—an unsolved kidnapping and triple murder that rocked Ellingham Academy in 1936—has consumed Stevie for years. It’s the very reason she came to the academy. But then her classmate was murdered, and her parents quickly pull her out of school. For her safety, they say. She must move past this obsession with crime.

Stevie’s willing to do anything to get back to Ellingham, be back with her friends, and solve the Truly Devious case. Even if it means making a deal with the despicable Senator Edward King. And when Stevie finally returns, she also returns to David: the guy she kissed, and the guy who lied about his identity—Edward King’s son.

But larger issues are at play. Where did the murderer hide? What’s the meaning of the riddle Albert Ellingham left behind? And what, exactly, is at stake in the Truly Devious affair? The Ellingham case isn’t just a piece of history—it’s a live wire into the present.

Purchase The Vanishing Stair at Amazon
Purchase The Vanishing Stair at IndieBound
View The Vanishing Stair on Goodreads

* * * *


Undying (An Unearthed Novel)
by Amie Kaufman
Hardcover
Disney-Hyperion
Released 1/22/2019

Earth's fate rests in their hands. Trapped aboard the Undying's ancient spaceship and reeling from the truth they've uncovered, Mia and Jules are desperate to warn their home about what's coming.

After a perilous escape, they crash-land on Earth's surface?but Jules and Mia can hardly fathom their new predicament: No one believes them. Because the threat against Earth is hiding in plain sight.

A mounting global crisis is taking shape, starting with a mysterious illness that seems to reduce its victims to a regressed state. Jules and Mia have no choice but to take matters into their own hands, escaping custody of the International Alliance in order to reuinte Jules with his father, the disgraced expert on the alien race, whose research may be the key to saving humanity.

Purchase Undying (An Unearthed Novel) at Amazon
Purchase Undying (An Unearthed Novel) at IndieBound
View Undying (An Unearthed Novel) on Goodreads



Saturday, January 19, 2019

Emma Mills, author of FAMOUS IN A SMALL TOWN, on submitting to publishers while in middle school

We're delighted to have Emma Mills with us to chat about her latest novel, FAMOUS IN A SMALL TOWN.

Emma, what was your inspiration for writing FAMOUS IN A SMALL TOWN?

I grew up in a small town—though not as small as the fictional town of Acadia in FAMOUS—and I knew I wanted to tell a small town story. I started with some components that I wanted this book to include—a very close group of friends, a school marching band, a hometown celebrity. I watch the Rose Parade on TV with my family every year, and when I saw it on New Year’s Day 2017, I knew it was the element that would bring everything together.

How long did you work on FAMOUS IN A SMALL TOWN?

I wrote the first draft of FAMOUS IN A SMALL TOWN over the course of about ten months.

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

FAMOUS IN A SMALL TOWN is my fourth published novel. My first published book, FIRST & THEN, was actually my ninth completed manuscript. I started submitting my work to publishers when I was in middle school; I really, REALLY wanted to be an author! I finished FIRST & THEN in college, and it was the first book I seriously queried for a literary agent. It took two years of querying before I signed with my agent, Bridget Smith of Dunham Literary. Being published has truly been a dream come true!

What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on my next YA book, which will be out in 2020. It’s a contemporary in a similar vein to my previous books—hopefully fun and heartfelt! I’m not sure how much I can reveal about it at the moment, but I will say it involves a student-run radio station.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Famous in a Small Town
by Emma Mills
Hardcover
Henry Holt and Co.
Released 1/15/2019

For Sophie, small-town life has never felt small. She has the Yum Yum Shoppe, with its famous fourteen flavors of ice cream; her beloved marching band, the pride and joy of Acadia High (even if the football team disagrees); and her four best friends, loving and infuriating, wonderfully weird and all she could ever ask for.

Then August moves in next door. A quiet guy with a magnetic smile, August seems determined to keep everyone at arm's length. Sophie in particular.

Country stars, revenge plots, and a few fake kisses (along with some excellent real ones) await Sophie in this hilarious, heartfelt story.

Purchase Famous in a Small Town at Amazon
Purchase Famous in a Small Town at IndieBound
View Famous in a Small Town on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Emma Mills is the author of First & Then, This Adventure Ends, and Foolish Hearts. She lives in Indianapolis, where she is currently pursuing a PhD in cell biology.

---

Have you had a chance to read FAMOUS IN A SMALL TOWN yet? Do you incorporate where you grew up in your writing? Were you already thinking about being an author in middle school? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

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