Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman (Author Interview + Giveaway)


Hello guys! Today, I'm featuring a YA contemporary starring a half-Japanese, half-American heroine! It's an engrossing read that tackles various themes. Readers who like character growth and family dynamics would enjoy this. I'm interviewing Akemi Dawn, whose name is so gorgeous, all about her writing and Starfish. Stick around for a giveaway at the end!

How does your background in the social sciences and in the US Navy contribute to your writing?
I don’t feel like they play a role in the stories I write, but I do think they’ve had an effect on my work ethic. I’m really good with deadlines—they keep me focused and I tend to work faster when I’m on a time-limit. There was also a saying in the military that went, “Hurry up and wait.” And patience is one of the most important things you can learn in the publishing industry!

How would you best describe your writing style?
Lately everything I write seems to be moody and emotional, and I don’t know why that is. A few years ago, I wanted to write stories that entertained people. Now I have a bizarre need to make everyone cry!

How is your writing process? Could you share it with us?
I’ve got a three-year-old and a one-year-old, and my husband works off-shore. When he’s away, I usually only get to write in the evenings after the kids are in bed. But when he’s home, I write every free moment I can. So it’s less of a process, and more of a desperate attempt to get all the words down immediately. I also start with very minimal notes—I write down character names, and a rough idea of where the story is headed. And then I get to know my characters as I write, and let their personalities shape the scenes.

What or who inspired you to write Starfish?
My inspiration behind Starfish was basically my desire to write the book I needed most as a teen.

How did you craft Kiko's voice? What are the defining points and limitations in establishing her voice?
Kiko is more like me than any other character I’ve ever written, and probably ever will write. So a lot of her voice was remembering how I would’ve reacted at seventeen, and what I was feeling. But she’s also so much stronger than I was too. She spends so much of the book trying to navigate these feelings of being “not good enough,” while also having big hopes and dreams and wanting to heal. She goes through such a major journey, so as much as I could establish her voice at the beginning, I also had to let her grow.

Which was the hardest scene to write, if any?
The scene where Kiko is in the car on her way to California. I find travelling scenes so difficult to write. Maybe because I hate travelling in real life! I find them slow, and kind of a necessary evil. If I could, I’d just teleport all my characters from one place to the next. The driving could be all over in a sentence!

What is your favorite line from the book?
Almost every chapter ends in a line that describes what Kiko is drawing or painting. And I love so many of these, that it’s almost impossible for me to choose. But the one I think reflects the book the most reads, “I draw a very small fish swimming in the ocean and realizing it’s filled with planets and stars.” This is also in the same chapter where the reader will learn what a “starfish” is, so I think it’s really fitting for the book (and cover!).

If you could write something out of the YA contemporary genre, what genre would it be and what would it be about?
I’m actually working on a YA fantasy right now! But I don’t like to talk about projects this early in the drafting stage. I’m always a bit worried that the more I say, the more likely I am to feel burned out on a story. But I’m having a lot of fun with it, and will hopefully get to talk about it more in the future!

What's next for Akemi?
Book 2 was officially announced last week. It’s called SUMMER BIRD BLUE, and will be out in Fall 2018 with Simon Pulse. It’s about a teen songwriter who loses her sister in a tragic accident and is sent to live with her aunt in Hawaii while her mom deals with her own grief. It’s about loss, and family, and learning how to say goodbye to someone who is already gone. And one of the best parts is that I get to work with my incredible editor, Jen, for a second time. I’m thrilled, and can’t wait to share more soon!


Thank you, Akemi!

Photo by Rory Lewis Photography
About the Author:

Akemi Dawn Bowman is the author of Starfish. She’s a proud Ravenclaw and Star Wars enthusiast, who served in the US Navy for five years and has a BA in social sciences from UNLV. Originally from Las Vegas, she currently lives in England with her husband, two children, and their Pekingese mix. Starfish will be published later this year (9/26/17, Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster), with a second YA contemporary to follow in Fall 2018. She is represented by Penny Moore of Empire Literary.

Find Akemi: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram


Book Description:

Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: September 26th 2017 by Simon Pulse

Kiko Himura has always had a hard time saying exactly what she’s thinking. With a mother who makes her feel unremarkable and a half-Japanese heritage she doesn’t quite understand, Kiko prefers to keep her head down, certain that once she makes it into her dream art school, Prism, her real life will begin.

But then Kiko doesn’t get into Prism, at the same time her abusive uncle moves back in with her family. So when she receives an invitation from her childhood friend to leave her small town and tour art schools on the west coast, Kiko jumps at the opportunity in spite of the anxieties and fears that attempt to hold her back. And now that she is finally free to be her own person outside the constricting walls of her home life, Kiko learns life-changing truths about herself, her past, and how to be brave.

From debut author Akemi Dawn Bowman comes a luminous, heartbreaking story of identity, family, and the beauty that emerges when we embrace our true selves.

Giveaway

Thanks to Akemi for sponsoring this giveaway!
What's up for grabs: Pre-order of Starfish
Scope: International


a Rafflecopter giveaway




Get your daily dose of YA and MG debut goodness in #CelebratingDebutantes2017
Click the button above to be redirected to the main page where you can browse the list of novels and authors that we are featuring.




Friday, July 21, 2017

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: Dear Martin by Nic Stone (Playlist + Giveaway)


Hi guys! Sorry for the silence - I've been swallowed up by work - but I'm now back full force! Today I'm featuring one of the most anticipated debuts for 2017 - Dear Martin by Nic Stone! Nic is going to share with us her playlist for her debut. Stick around for the music and the giveaway!


For seventeen year old Justyce McAllister—and many of the real life African American young men (and ladies) like him—life isn’t always easy. This playlist includes everything from songs that would get him and his best friend Manny feeling good about themselves (see: Classic Man and The Man) to heavier songs that highlight the need for change (Everything Must Change; Fight the Power) to songs that convey hope for a better future (A Change is Gonna Come; Glory) to even a couple of unexpected tracks you’d likely hear on one of Manny’s random playlists (Somethin Bad; A World Alone). Taken together, they represent the message of DEAR MARTIN to a tee: life and people are complex, and it’s perfectly fine to feel, but at the end of the day, it’s up to us to offer the world our very best.


Thank you, Nic!

About the Author:

Nic Stone was born and raised in a suburb of Atlanta, GA, and the only thing she loves more than an adventure is a good story about one. After graduating from Spelman College, she worked extensively in teen mentoring and lived in Israel for a few years before returning to the US to write full-time. Growing up with a wide range of cultures, religions, and backgrounds, Stone strives to bring these diverse voices and stories to her work.

Stone lives in Atlanta with her husband and two sons. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram at @getnicced or on her website nicstone.info.

Find Nic: Website | Twitter | Instagram| Goodreads


Book Description:

Hardcover, 224 pages
Expected publication: October 17th 2017 by Crown Books for Young Readers

Justyce McAllister is top of his class, captain of the debate team, and set for the Ivy League next year—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. He is eventually released without charges (or an apology), but the incident has Justyce spooked. Despite leaving his rough neighborhood, he can’t seem to escape the scorn of his former peers or the attitude of his prep school classmates. The only exception: Sarah Jane, Justyce’s gorgeous—and white—debate partner he wishes he didn’t have a thing for.

Struggling to cope with it all, Justyce starts a journal to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But do Dr. King’s teachings hold up in the modern world? Justyce isn’t so sure.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up. Way up. Much to the fury of the white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. And Justyce and Manny get caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack. The truth of what happened that night—some would kill to know. Justyce is dying to forget.

Giveaway

Thanks to Nic for sponsoring this giveaway!
What's up for grabs: Signed Personalized Hardcover and bookmark
Scope: US only


a Rafflecopter giveaway




Get your daily dose of YA and MG debut goodness in #CelebratingDebutantes2017
Click the button above to be redirected to the main page where you can browse the list of novels and authors that we are featuring.




Sunday, July 02, 2017

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: Noah Can't Even by Simon James Green (Character Interview + Giveaway)


Hi guys! We're finally entering the second month of #CelebratingDebutantes2017! Thanks to everyone who participated and helped us in coming up with these features, as well as to our readers who continue participating and supporting the event.

Today, I'm have a special treat for you guys. Scholastic is sponsoring the giveaway for our featured novel: Noah Can't Even by Simon James Green.
It's going to be open internationally! So stick around for that.

In the meantime, Noah is on the hot seat for an interview. Let's start with that, shall we?


Hello, Noah! Introduce yourself, please.
Noah Grimes. I am nearly 16, and am the star of so-called ‘novel’ Noah Can’t Even. It’s a monumentally terrible piece of writing, full of lies about my life, and I wouldn’t recommend you bother reading it. I am a boy, and live in a small town called Little Fobbing, situated in the county of Lincolnshire, England. My favourite things are Agatha Christie novels, Murder She Wrote and Skittles. Not bragging, but I’m probably going to be made a Prefect next year.

If you could change something about your story or your story world, what would it be? Why?
Well, for a start, I would be the wealthy son of an aristocrat because it is perfectly obvious to me, and most people who meet me, that I must have been accidentally swapped at birth, and should in fact be royalty or something. I have to suffer the daily indignity of my mother having no money and refusing to cook restaurant-quality food – but if I was rich, there would be staff to do this. Also, I would have more muscles and not be so skinny. Finally, I would never have to take part in a PE lesson ever again, thus removing a major source of humiliation for me.

If you could invite the author of your story, Simon, what would you two do together?
I am still very angry with Simon for writing this book, so this is unlikely to happen – unless we go for a cliff top walk and I ‘accidentally’ push him over the edge…

Harry or Sophie? Why?
Sophie for advice, Harry for cuddles.

What is your favorite Beyonce song, since your mom is a dedicated fan?
I am actually not a fan of popular music and it is especially hard for me to like Beyoncé when my mother has ruined most of her songs. My gran is a big fan of 80’s music, so sometimes I listen to those with her.

If you could attend Pride Parade, would you go? What would be your outfit and what would you do?
Yes, I always enjoy any sort of parade or carnival – especially if I am taking part. I recently enjoyed huge success and acclaim when I dressed up as a Pikachu for the town’s summer carnival parade. Many people pointed and laughed, so I would probably go to a Pride parade as that and hand out free Skittles as they are both rainbow coloured and my favourite type of confectionary.

What is the hardest problem you have faced in life? How did you deal with it?
It was pretty tough when I was overlooked for Dinner Monitor in Year 8. I was pretty confident they were going to elect me as Dinner Monitor, so it came as a blow when it didn’t happen. To deal with this, I mounted a smear campaign against two of the successful candidates, highlighting the fact I saw them fail to wash their hands properly after going to the bathroom. They were forced to resign and I took my rightful position.

What is your deepest, darkest secret?
I have a copy of Nancy Drew – The Clue of the Dancing Puppet, which belongs to the school library and is overdue by two years. I am too embarrassed to return it and anyway, the fine would be huge. I am devising a way to hack the school library computer system and remove all trace of my ever taking it out. But all this is obviously secret.

If you could read a book now, what would it be and why?
I am very interested in a book called ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie. The book promises to increase my popularity, help win people to my way of thinking and increase my influence and prestige. How fabulous! With this book, I feel I will be unstoppable and will definitely be elected Head Boy in the Sixth Form.

Is there something you would like to tell the audience/readers?
I would be delighted if you would follow me on Twitter, where I talk about important things - @noahgrimes12


Thank you, Noah and Simon for making this happen!

About the Author:


Simon is an author and screenwriter and he sometimes does a bit of directing too. He actually did a Law degree at Cambridge University, but decided he loved writing and directing too much to go and be a lawyer. He has worked on lots of West End shows including The Rocky Horror Show, Rent and West Side Story and he has also directed Hollyoaks for Lime Pictures / C4. He writes screenplays with his good friend Sarah Counsell, including Rules of Love, a feature-length musical rom-com for the BBC, which has since sold around the world. Noah Can’t Even was selected for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators ‘Undiscovered Voices’ competition in 2016 and it’s his first novel.

Find Simon: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram


Book Description:

Paperback, 365 pages
Published May 4th 2017 by Scholastic

Poor Noah Grimes! His father disappeared years ago, his mother's Beyonce tribute act is an unacceptable embarrassment, and his beloved gran is no longer herself. He only has one friend, Harry, and school is...Well, it's pure HELL. Why can't Noah be normal, like everyone else at school? Maybe if he struck up a romantic relationship with someone - maybe Sophie, who is perfect and lovely - he'd be seen in a different light? But Noah's plans are derailed when Harry kisses him at a party. That's when things go from bad to utter chaos.

Giveaway

Big thanks to Scholastic for sponsoring this giveaway!
What's up for grabs: Finished Copy of Noah Can't Even by Simon James Green!
Scope: International


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Get your daily dose of YA and MG debut goodness in #CelebratingDebutantes2017
Click the button above to be redirected to the main page where you can browse the list of novels and authors that we are featuring.




Friday, June 30, 2017

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: The Wishing Heart by JC Welker (Playlist + Giveaway)


Hi guys! I'm featuring another playlist for #CelebratingDebutantes2017. At this rate, I would have hundreds of songs to download before the event is over. Stick around for a special giveaway at the end - open internationally!

Jennifer is going to share her playlist for the Wishing Heart, a YA fantasy with LGBT theme. I hope you guys enjoy the music! Jennifer you can take it from here. :)


Music is like a seed, it heavily influences my writing, planting seeds for me to grow a rich, tangled world. It can transport me into the mind of the character and the vision of the scene I'm creating. And in writing The Wishing Heart music created many seeds in reflecting a girl looking for love through stories and magic.

While some songs on the playlist dramatically evoke feelings and hit to the heart of each character, others reflect the world that Rebel becomes immersed in and the dark things crawling within it. You’ll notice the songs fluctuate with the books chapters, starting from the hopeless world Rebel lives in, leading into the magical, the whimsical, and the macabre, and back again until you feel like a storm is building.

If I had to pick one song for the theme of TWH it would be TRUE COLORS by Zedd/Kesha because it hits to the core of both Rebel and Anjeline coming to truly see each other for who they are, and their hearts. At one point the last song on the playlist ‘Hero’ made me cry every time I listened to it, because it’s the song I played continually when I wrote the last few chapters of the book-of Rebel’s character Arc.

And I hope you’ll see why.

Thank you, Jennifer for sharing!

About the Author:


J.C. Welker is an author who's been, among other things, a fashion designer, a filmmaker and a kickboxer (seriously). Her short documentaries, which focused on homeless Iraq veterans and lgbtq+ issues in the military have been featured on CURRENT TV, and her debut novel won first place in the paranormal category of the 2016 YARWA Rosemary Awards. She continues to work towards giving a voice to stories that are needed, while facing magic and monsters along the way.

Find Jennifer: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


Book Description:

Paperback
Published May 1st 2017 by Entangled Teen

Winner of the 2016 YARWA Rosemary Awards for paranormal fiction that Mia Siegert (JERKBAIT) calls, “An exhilarating read.”

With a book in her bag and a switchblade in her pocket, Rebel's been thieving her way through life while hoping for a cure to fix her ailing heart.

But when the bejeweled vase she just tried to hawk turns out to be a jinni's vessel, Rebel gets lost to her world and dragged within another. Now every magical being in the city wants the vase for himself.

Thrust into a game of cat and mouse in a world she never knew existed, Rebel must use her uncanny skills to find a way to free Anjeline the Wishmaker.

But wishes have consequences. And contracts. Anjeline's freedom could unravel a love like Rebel has never known, or it could come at the cost of Rebel's heart...

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Entangled

Giveaway

Thanks, Jennifer, for sponsoring this giveaway!
What's up for grabs: The Wishing Heart (finished copy) from the Book depository!
Scope: International


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Get your daily dose of YA and MG debut goodness in #CelebratingDebutantes2017
Click the button above to be redirected to the main page where you can browse the list of novels and authors that we are featuring.




Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

Book Description:

Hardcover, 416 pages
Published May 5th 2015 by Bloomsbury Children's

A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it... or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

Reviewer's Copy: Hardcover

Source: Purchased 

My Thoughts:

A Court of Thorns and Roses surpassed my expectations. It was as amazing as I thought it would be and more. I was immediately lost within its charm and riveting tale. The fey winked at me and like a willing victim, I went with them.

The story world was all the sounds and sights that I have imagined and more. Prythian was a sprawling land of surprises, magic and danger. The writing was beautiful, captivating and flawless. There was no fault that I could find. It was the first thing that drew me in. The words wrapped around me like a comfortable blanket that I could not let go of, before drifting into a magical dream.

Feyre was an artist, sensitive and observant when it came down to color and texture. However, for the most part of the book, I saw her as a hunter who had the skills to survive. She was fierce and brave, going against all odds to bring food to the table, when no one else would. Living in Prythian was life-changing for Feyre. Her heart held such loneliness and I wanted to see something good happen to her. However, instead of walking into happiness, Feyre walked into a cage of pain and trials. I was constantly at the edge of my seat with the life-threatening situations and suspense that Feyre faced.

Rhysand was the one who caught my attention and held it in his night-kissed hands. He was the High Lord of the Night Court. He was perfection in my eyes. His moon-white skin, inky black hair and violet eyes were bullets against my armor. Throughout the story, I saw the good and bad sides of him. He was magnetic, devastatingly attractive and brilliant. His mind was a beautiful thing to observe and behold - always one step ahead of the game. His charm was like the stars in the sky - constant and forever. He seemed like the bad guy at times, however, behind his actions, I could see kernels of goodness. He was constantly masking his good deeds and intentions underneath smirks and threats. He has taken my heart for himself and I cannot get it back. I have fallen in love with his character right from the beginning, in Calanmai. I am looking forward to knowing him more thoroughly in the next installments.

Tamlin, the 'Beast' of the story, was good and noble. He was the High Lord of the Spring Court. Upon bursting violently through Feyre's front door, he had my eyebrow raised. He was a gentleman in his own right, however he had a layer of temper lingering underneath his skin. He tended to be overprotective and perhaps unwilling to value other's capacity to take control of themselves and be in control of a situation over his loss of control. It made me sad and a bit put off how he dealt with some things in his life.

The minor characters were brilliant and alive as well. Lucien, the Emissary of the Spring Court, was an intriguing character. He had a dark past, a quick mind and charm. It was endearing how he and Feyre slowly began to turn into friends despite their bad beginning. Alis, one of the household helps, was also a joy to read. She had a heart for a human. Her concern and compassion spoke volumes.

The action and suspense made my blood flow a little faster and my heart beat a little louder. It brought me back to the days when I read The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa. The twists and turns kept things interesting. I was constantly picking up breadcrumbs left by Maas throughout the pages, following any trail and any pattern that I could find. I was forming and testing theories in my head all throughout the novel. It was fun and stimulating to read something so well-planned and well-written. The ending was a promise of better and exciting things to come. I was satisfied with it, considering that it dealt with my favorite characters.

A Court of Thorns and Roses is heart-pounding and unforgettable with its burst of colors, wonders and twists. Cloaked with magic and layers of secrets, it is relentless in delivering entertainment. I highly recommend this to readers of faeries/fey, readers of fantasy and readers who delight in stories inspired by fairytales. You need this series in your life!

Rating:


5 Cupids = Eternal book love.
I will never, ever, ever forget this book. I highly recommend this!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: How to Break a Boy by Laurie Devore (Interview + Giveaway)


Hi guys! #CelebratingDebutantes2017 continues with an interview with Laurie Devore about her writing and How to Break a Boy, her debut. It has been a while since I read a good contemporary. I've been on a fantasy roll for months now! Laurie's debut deals with pranks, teen social hierarchy and power. Are you interested? If yes, stick around for the giveaway - a signed Hardcover. Let's start the interview!

What was it like writing a story with a generally unlikeable character? How did it affect your writing?
I think the interesting thing for me is that I never really find the character unlikeable when I’m writing. I’ve always found myself drawn to characters others find difficult, trying to take them apart, see what makes them tick. Once I’m in a character’s head, the process becomes much more of trying to figure out how a specific type of person would react in a situation versus me as an author making any kind of moral judgement on their actions. I find that’s what it takes to build empathy with characters others find unlikeable.

Which part was the hardest to write? Why did you struggle with it?
I found with both How to Break a Boy and my upcoming novel, Winner Take All, that nailing down characters’ parents and family history is so difficult. Especially as teenagers, each character’s family and upbringing affects so much of their lives and sometimes it can be difficult working backwards. Essentially, I have to look at the character I’ve created and understand what kind of familial circumstances would’ve built them into this person. It’s definitely a challenge but I also find it deeply interesting.

What is your favourite scene and why?
In How to Break a Boy, there’s a scene with Olivia and Whit – who has been posing as Olivia’s boyfriend and whose relationship with Olivia has gotten quite complicated – right after Olivia is brought to arguably her lowest point in the book by her ex-best friend Adrienne. For both Olivia and the reader, the scene is destructive and cathartic but ultimately, draining. I love Olivia’s anger in the scene because it’s as much at herself as Adrienne, and also ties into her conflicting feelings about Whit and not wanting to let him go. I love the depth of Olivia’s pain in that scene and then her desperation to hold onto one last good thing. I still remember writing that scene which might be why I love it so much!

Which element of toxic friendships did you enjoy tackling the most? Building up the symbiotic relationship between Olivia and Adrienne was probably the most interesting part of writing this book for me. I definitely wanted the book to have this pervasive idea that while their friendship was deeply problematic, they really felt like they had needed each other up to this point in their lives, which is how their relationship became so tangled and all those layers are what make untangling it so difficult for the two of them.

If you could pull a prank on someone, who would you do it to and how would you do it?
I like really elaborate (but harmless!) pranks. I think it’d be really fun to replace all the family pictures in my mom’s house with pictures of dogs or something like that, though she would probably find it less amusing.

It seems that your next book, Winner Take All, is about love and toxic competition. I can see that you like tackling relationship issues. Is there a reason behind this?
I like thinking about morally complicated people a lot. People go out into the world every day and do terrible things! Things that seem objectively terrible, but there has to be some reason why. So I think most of my interest in these relationships stems from that. How relationships can change a person, really set them on a path. Mostly I like deconstructing stereotypes we have of different people and, excuse the cover-related reference, seeing the fireworks that go off when they collide.


Thank you, Laurie!

Guys, you have to check out Laurie's upcoming book. Here's a little teaser about Winner Take All:



About the Author:


Laurie Devore was born and raised in small town South Carolina and graduated from Clemson University. She now lives and works in Chicago, where she misses the charms and contradictions of the south every day. In her spare time, she reluctantly runs marathons, watches too much TV, and works a “y’all” into every conversation. How to Break a Boy is her first novel.

Find Laurie: Website | Blog | Twitter | Instagram


Book Description:

Hardcover, 342 pages
Published January 31st 2017 by Imprint

Keep your enemies close, but your friends closer.

Olivia Clayton has mastered the art of tearing others down to stay on top. She and her best friend, Adrienne, rule their small southern town like all good mean girls do--through intimidation and manipulation.

After Olivia suffers a family tragedy and catches Adrienne sleeping with her boyfriend, Olivia is over it. She decides to make a change--but it's impossible to resist taking Adrienne down one last time. Up to her old tricks, Olivia convinces golden boy Whit DuRant to be her SAT tutor and her fake boyfriend. But when it starts to feel real, Whit gets caught up in Olivia and Adrienne's war.

Olivia may ruin everything she touches, but this time she won't go down without a fight--not if it means losing Whit.

And definitely not if it means losing what's left of herself.

Giveaway

Thanks to Laurie for sponsoring this giveaway!
What's up for grabs: Signed Hardcover of How to Break a Boy
Scope: US


a Rafflecopter giveaway




Get your daily dose of YA and MG debut goodness in #CelebratingDebutantes2017
Click the button above to be redirected to the main page where you can browse the list of novels and authors that we are featuring.




Monday, June 26, 2017

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: #Famous by Jilly Gagnon (Character Interview + Giveaway)


Hi guys! Today you're in for a special treat. Jilly did her magic and made this fun character interview possible - with Rachel and Kyle from #Famous! I love Instagram and I can totally see myself loving this book to bits. Hope you like it! Stick around for a special giveaway at the end.

For additional points, you could answer this question: If you could post a photo on Instagram that you wouldn't have otherwise posted on a normal day, what would it be and why?

Tomorrow, head over to Blackplume for the next feature!


Precious: mic test, mic test. Is this thing working?
*Staff scrambles to fix the sound system*
Precious: Perfeeect. Hello, Rachel and Kyle! *winks* Let's start with the interview.

Describe your happiest moment to us.
Rachel: I'm not sure what I'd even pick.
Kyle: It's when you first laid eyes on me, obviously.
Rachel: You're cute and all, but that's ridiculous.
Kyle: That's mine but for you.
Rachel: And you're a total liar.
Kyle: But it sounds good, right?
Rachel: It sounds sappy. If I put that in a play Mo would cross it out and write "cliche" in red pen all over the page. And my face. And your face.
Kyle: Alright, fair. Don't tell her I said it. Mo kinda terrifies me.

What is love, for you?
Rachel: Do you even know that at our age? I feel like I'm still finding that out, honestly.
Kyle: I think love is when you'd rather make someone else happy than yourself.
Rachel: Now I feel like a jerk. What he said. Or...I dunno, puppies.
Kyle: Love is puppies?
Rachel: It's a metaphor. Or...whatever, Kyle wins this question.
Kyle: [fist pumps]

What is your ideal "happy ending?"
Kyle: I'm pretty sure whatever I say you're gonna tell me it's a cliche again, right?
Rachel: Not if you said "and then I finally accepted that my girlfriend is, and always will be, a better bowler than I am."
Kyle: She said ending. That's not over.
Rachel: Keep telling yourself that, Kyle.

What is your biggest mistake?
Kyle: Oh man, these are seriously intense questions.
Rachel: I mean, on one level the picture was a mistake...
Kyle: Oh c'mon, you don't mean that.
Rachel: Let me finish! I was going to say that on another level, it turned out pretty alright in the end.
Kyle: [indignant, gestures to self] Pretty alright? This is way better than pretty alright. I'm at least...
Rachel: A good consolation prize?
Kyle: Exactly.

What is your favorite quote? Have you used it on each other?
Rachel: Wow...can I just say "all of Mrs. Dalloway?"
Kyle: There's no way you can say that.
Rachel: Fine. I guess...I like this one Thoreau quote, "the world is but a canvas to our imagination." Sometimes it helps me when I have serious writer's block.
[pause]
Kyle: Umm...put up or shut up?
Rachel: That's not even a quote.
Kyle: Sure it is. Ollie says it all the time.
Rachel: Your favorite quote is by Ollie.
Kyle: My favorite quote is...something you've written. That I'll remember later.
Rachel: Nice save. And for the record, he has totally used that on me.

If you could post a photo on Instagram right now, what would it be and what would be the caption?
Rachel: Seriously, anything but a picture of this one. I get it, every other girl on earth is into him.
Kyle: Are you jealous? I'd post a picture of you. With the caption "The most beautiful girl in the world and somehow she fell for a doofus like me."
Rachel: You are a total suck-up.
Kyle: But, like, it works, right?
Rachel rolls her eyes but can't repress a grin

Is there something you can't do now that you could do before the incident? What is it? Why?
Kyle: I can't really work at Burger Barn any more.
Rachel: That's totally a perk.
Kyle: For sure. I'm not complaining.
Rachel: Sometimes I get recognized which is utterly bizarre. But it's not like I can't go out in public or anything. Unless I straighten my hair. But I could never really do that effectively in the first place.

Is there anything you would like to change in your life?
Kyle: Honestly? Not even a little. I feel like I won the lottery or something.
Rachel: I'd like to be a Tony-winning playwright.
Kyle: Oh, fine. If we're playing that way, I want, like...a yacht?
Rachel: I'd go with castle.
Kyle: Why choose?
Rachel: Good point. So the Tony, and the yacht and the castle. Otherwise I'm content.


Thank you, Jilly!

About the Author:


Jilly Gagnon is currently based in Chicago, but is originally from Minnesota, a fact she'll likely inform you of within minutes of meeting you. Her humor writing, personal essays, and op-eds have appeared in Newsweek, Elle, Vanity Fair, Boston Magazine, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, The Toast, and The Hairpin, among others.

She writes both humor and young adult fiction. She's represented by Dawn Frederick of Red Sofa Literary (for humor) and Taylor Haggerty of Waxman Leavell (for young adult writing).

She's an especially good conversation partner if you love amazing cocktails, terrible television, or talking to your cats.

Find Jily: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads


Book Description:

Hardcover, 384 pages
Published February 14th 2017 by Katherine Tegen Books

In this modern-day love story, Girl likes Boy, Girl takes photo of Boy and posts it online, Boy becomes accidentally insta-famous. And what starts out as an innocent joke spirals into a whirlwind adventure that could change both their lives—and their hearts—forever. But are fame and love worth the price?

Told in alternating points of view, #famous captures the out-of-control thrill ride of falling for someone in front of everyone.

Giveaway

Thanks to Jilly for sponsoring this giveaway!
What's up for grabs: Signed ARC of #Famous
Scope: US
*If you have a mailing address in US or someone to send it to, you may join


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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: The Good Byline by Jill Orr (Interview + Giveaway)


Hi guys! I hope you're having a good weekend so far! For today, we are featuring an intriguing debut about a library assistant who enjoys reading obituaries. It is quirky and so fresh. I'm interviewing Jill about The Good Byline! Stick around for the special giveaway at the end. :)

For an extra point, you could answer any of these questions: Have you ever tried reading the obituary section before? Have you read anything interesting in it?

What do you feel about scoring a three-book deal?
I was thrilled of course! I had the deal for THE GOOD BYLINE first, but my agent had told my editor that the book was planned as a series. Then a couple of months before BYLINE came out, Prospect Park Books made an offer on the next two in the series! It was such a great vote of confidence!

Since you have three books, are all the stories aligned and planned at this point? How do you outline for a three-book story?
I have a general plan for each book before I start writing and an overarching series plan. So in each book there will be a "stand alone murder" but the main character, Riley, will also be working toward solving the mysterious death of her grandfather. This mystery will unfold bit by bit in each book. For better or worse, I'm not a big planner, but I do at least know a few things going into the writing process.

From your first draft, was Riley always a library assistant? Did her character change throughout various revisions and drafts?
She was always a library assistant, but she definitely changed in other ways as I got to know her better. Because my original spark for her character was someone who was obsessed with obituaries, I thought she was going to be this dark, snarky, melancholy young woman. But as I learned more about real life "obituary enthusiasts" (yes, the exist!) I realized the reading the obits is one of the most life-affirming pursuits out there. People who read obits of people they've never met do so in order to see what made a person's life worth living and what they can learn from someone else's life story. It's pretty sweet, really. So Riley ended up becoming far more optimistic, hopeful, and romantic as I wrote her - which surprised me!

While reading and researching about people enthusiastic and interested about obituaries, did you encounter something interesting?
Oh yes! The most interesting thing about this subculture of people are into obituaries, is that they have their own chat rooms and even their own conferences! There's a book I've read and re-read as research for my own writing called LIFE ON THE DEATH BEAT: LOST SOULS AND LUCKY STIFFS by Marilyn Johnson and it's filled with stories about obituaries and the people who love them. It's fantastic, quirky little book and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in this subject.

Did you encounter problems while writing the first book, The Good Byline? What are these and why?
Oh I think there are always "problems." Like every other writer on the planet, I have those days where I am certain everything I've written is complete crap and I should just give up and go live in a cave. I also wrote THE GOOD BYLINE before I had an agent or a publisher, so I had no idea if anyone would ever read it, like it, buy it, etc. But those things are all par for the course. I think it's part of the process, albeit not such a fun part, it's also what helps make it so fun when you fight through all of that and make it to the other side.

What is your favorite line from the book? Why did you choose this?
"It was the kind of night that made everything sparkle with possibility... even me." I chose this line because I think this is when we see a glimmer of Riley's emotional growth begin peek through. She's pretty hard on herself and has been in something of a slump when the book opens, so here when we get to see her open herself up to the idea that maybe, just maybe, it's all going to be okay - well, I like that!


Thank you, Jill!

Photo credit: Stephanie Atkinson Photography
About the Author:

Jill Orr lives in Columbia, Missouri, with her husband and two children. She writes humor essays about parenting on her blog, An Exercise in Narcissism. The Good Byline is her first novel in the Riley Ellison mysteries series and was released in April 2017 from Prospect Park Books. Book two (title TBD) will be out Spring 2018!

Find Jill: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


Book Description:

Paperback, 280 pages
Published April 11th 2017 by Prospect Park Books

"Who knew obituaries could be this much fun?"
— Gretchen Archer, USA TODAY–bestselling author of the Davis Way Crime Capers

Meet Riley Ellison, a quirky young library assistant who has become known in her hometown of Tuttle Corner, Virginia, as Riley Bless-Her-Heart. Riley’s odd habit of living vicariously through people she reads about in the obituary pages hits a little too close to home when she is asked to write one for her childhood best friend, Jordan James. Jordan's unexpected suicide has left Riley desperate to understand why a young woman with so much to live for would suddenly opt out, so she steps out of her comfort zone and into the role of obituary writer.

Things get messy, however, when Jordan’s co-worker, a paranoid reporter with a penchant for conspiracy theories, convinces Riley that Jordan’s death was no suicide. He leads her down a dangerous path toward organized crime, secret lovers, and suspicious taco trucks. Eventually, Riley’s serpentine hunt for the truth leads to a discovery that puts everything she holds dear—her job, the people she loves, and even her life—in danger. Will writing this obituary be the death of her?

Giveaway

Thanks to Jill for sponsoring this giveaway!
Copy of The Good Byline
Scope: US and CA
*If you have a mailing address in US and CA, you may join.


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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: The Beast is An Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale (Author Interview + Giveaway)


Hello everyone! Today we're featuring one of the early releases of 2017 - The Beast is an Animal. The book was released and published early on this year. Some of you might have already read it. Initially, upon seeing the word 'beast' in the title, I thought that it might be related to Beauty and the Beast. However, it is not like that. The story itself is not based on a single classic fairytale. I interviewed Peternelle to find out more info about the Beast is an Animal. Stick around for a special giveaway at the end!

In reviews that I have read, it was mentioned that your story has a fairytale vibe. By any chance, is there a fairytale that inspired you to write The Beast is an Animal?
No single fairytale inspired the novel, but I was inspired generally by all the classic fairy tales I read when I was growing up, particularly those by the Brothers Grimm. In those fairy tales the characters often behave very badly, and rarely is anyone allowed to be completely innocent. If you think of “Hansel and Gretel,” for example, Gretel is forced to kill in order to save herself and her brother. At the end, they return home to their father, which is supposed to be a happy conclusion to the story, but he’s also the one who led them out into the forest to starve in the first place. So the idea of no one being purely good was very interesting to me.

What kind of research did you delve into for this novel?
Since my novel is entirely a fantasy, including the setting, I didn’t have to do a lot of research. The landscape was roughly inspired by Wales, so I did a little research into sheep herding there and a few other practical things such as clothing, but not a lot—which is a good thing, because for me a little research goes a long way.

How different was the original version of the story from the last version? What changed?
Very different. In fact I originally wrote the prologue for a different novel—a contemporary fantasy. Then my agent asked me if I could write an entire novel in the style of the prologue, which I was delighted to do, because I realized while writing it that dark fairy tales were my first love for a reason. Still, the novel evolved and evolved over time. At one point I began the action later in my protagonist’s life, but then I went back and started the story much earlier. And there were many other changes along the way.

What is your favorite line from the book? Why?
Hm, I hadn’t thought about that. I love the nursery rhymes that I wrote for the novel. So perhaps my favorite line is from the first nursery rhyme that I wrote: The Beast is an animal, It has a pointy chin, It eats you while you sleep at night, leaves nothing but your skin...

Can you give us a background about the cover art? What is the concept behind it? Does it refer to a specific scene?
I entirely credit my publisher, Margaret K. McElderry Books, and the cover designer, Sonia Chaghatzbanian, and the photographer Sarah Ann Loreth, for that gorgeous cover. They didn’t ask me in advance what I wanted, and I’m glad they didn’t, because I never could have suggested something so perfect for the novel. I don’t want to give anything away about the novel, but the sense of “is that a tree, or a woman, or both?” is very appropriate. I love the way the two blend together and you’re not quite sure what you’re seeing.

Can you tell us something about your next book, which is a dark fairytale?
I really don’t want to give much away about it at this stage, but I will say that I love the prologue, and I think it will appeal to those who love THE BEAST IS AN ANIMAL. It also has a strong yet conflicted female protagonist, because that’s always important to me, as well as a very powerful sibling relationship, which was fun for me to write.


Thank you, Peternelle!

About the Author:



Peternelle van Arsdale is a book editor who never thought she’d write a book, until one day she had a glimmer of an idea that became The Beast Is an Animal. She lives in New York City, where she is at work on her second novel.

Find Peternelle: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram




Book Description:

Hardcover, 352 pages
Published February 28th 2017 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

Alys was seven the first time she saw the soul eaters. Twin sisters, they radiated an energy that excited Alys. Through them she felt the wildness of the forest, and The Beast within it. Too late, she learned of their power to destroy.

By the time she is fifteen, Alys knows too much about both the lure and the danger of the soul eaters. She lives in a world of adults who are terrified of their power, and who cower behind high walls and grim rules. Fear of the soul eaters—and of The Beast—rules their lives. Even more, they fear the ways in which The Beast may lurk among them—and within a girl like Alys.

For Alys has a connection to the soul eaters, and The Beast. And she hides a truth about herself that she can reveal to no one, for fear she will be called a witch. As the threat posed by the soul eaters grows, Alys must undertake a journey through the wild danger of the fforest. But the greatest danger is not outside her. Alys’s secret about who—and what—she is terrifies her most of all. And in order to save her world, she must also risk losing herself.

Giveaway

Thanks to Peternelle and Simon & Schuster for sponsoring this giveaway!
What's up for grabs: Finished Copy of The Beast is an Animal
Scope: US


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