Exclusive Cover Reveal & Interview: The Killing Jar by Jennifer Bosworth

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Today, I’m excited to be hosting the exclusive cover reveal for The Killing Jar by Jennifer Bosworth, plus we’ve got a Q&A with Jenn to talk about her highly anticipated new book! But first, here’s more about The Killing Jar:

“I try not to think about it, what I did to that boy.”

Seventeen-year-old Kenna Marsden has a secret.

She’s haunted by a violent tragedy she can’t explain. Kenna’s past has kept people—even her own mother—at a distance for years. Just when she finds a friend who loves her and life begins to improve, she’s plunged into a new nightmare. Her mom and twin sister are attacked, and the dark powers Kenna has struggled to suppress awaken with a vengeance.

On the heels of the assault, Kenna is exiled to a nearby commune, know as Eclipse, to live with a relative she never knew she had. There, she discovers an extraordinary new way of life as she learns who she really is, and the wonders she’s capable of. For the first time, she starts to feel like she belongs somewhere. That her terrible secret makes her beautiful and strong, not dangerous. But the longer she stays at Eclipse, the more she senses there is something malign lurking underneath it all. And she begins to suspect that her new family has sinister plans for her…

Sounds amazing right? Well, wait until you see the GORGEOUS cover:

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Stunning, isn’t it? And wait until you hear the VERY cool story behind it — so keep reading for our exclusive Q&A with Jenn:

Jenn BosworthWhy don’t you start by telling us a bit about THE KILLING JAR. What can readers expect?

Hippie horror, a mysterious commune, monstrous moths, and, well, a good bit of killing. There’s a reason it’s called THE KILLING JAR, after all.

The idea for TKJ didn’t come to me as an “idea” the way my stories usually do. I just sat down one day and started writing about a girl named Kenna Marsden, who sneaks in after curfew and finds that her mom and younger sister have been attacked and mortally wounded, and the man who tried to kill them is still in the house.

What does that story opening have to do with communes and hippies and moths that feed on blood? I guess you’ll have to read it and find out!

What was the original “spark” that got you started writing THE KILLING JAR?

It was a collision of two disparate elements: my love of a good horror story, and my infatuation with hippie communes. The idea of them, anyway.

THE KILLING JAR takes place on a mysterious hippie commune in Oregon. I wanted to write a book with an element of wish fulfillment, and I’ve always wanted to form my own commune. I have this idyllic version of it in my head. It would be like a Free People ad come to life, all flowing dresses and gypsy jewelry and adorable goats. I don’t know if I’ll ever start my own commune, but I’m impatient so I decided to write about one. I did visit a commune in Oregon when I was doing research for TKJ. Alas, it was quite creepy. All of the people on it looked a little too Deliverance for my taste. But the goats were cute!

Your cover is gorgeous! It’s unusual for authors to have much of a say in their cover design — but you have a pretty unique story with THE KILLING JAR. Tell us about it!

I always ask my husband, Ryan, to design a temporary book cover for whatever I’m working on, just so it feels more real when I’m in the muck. He came up with something really beautiful and eerie, which I’ve had up on Goodreads as a temp cover for a while now. The cover designer at FSG loved what he did, and so she went in and improved on it and made it even better! This doesn’t happen often, so I feel fortunate to have gotten a hand in the design.

What do you hope the cover conveys to readers?

The thing about this book is that it’s a horror novel, but it’s not what people typically think of when they think of horror, so I don’t want it to look like it belongs firmly in any one genre. I’ll be honest. It’s a weird book, and I have no idea how people will react to it. But I do hope the cover design gives people a sense of menace and dark beauty to prime their mood for what lies beyond the book jacket.

struckFor fans of your first book, STRUCK, what do you think will appeal to them in THE KILLING JAR?

I felt like I shot myself in the foot a bit with STRUCK, which dealt with apocalyptic stakes. For my follow-up, I was paralyzed by the conundrum I’d created for myself: how do you top the end of the world? The answer is, you don’t. Or I couldn’t. So, for TKJ, I decided to scale way back, but still deal with some of the same themes I dealt with in STRUCK: fanatical belief and brainwashing, balancing one’s personal capacity for darkness and light, and the way addiction helps us hide from aspects of ourselves we don’t want to deal with.

Speaking of your first book … any word on a sequel? (Goodreads is teasing us with a “2016 placeholder” release date.)

Well . . . I hate to break it to STRUCK fans, but there is actually no sequel in the works. Some hopeful person posted about a sequel on Goodreads, and then I fanned the flames a little bit by giving it a title, since STRUCK 2 wasn’t very interesting. But a lot of people have added AFTERSHOCK to their to-read lists, so now I’m considering writing a prequel novella. I’ll have to get permission from the powers that be first. Stay tuned!

And finally … some flash questions!

Favorite villain?

Randall Flagg from Stephen King’s The Stand (aka Walter o’Dim, the Walkin’ Dude, the Dark Man, the Hardcase, the Man in Black, etc . . .) He has many names and many faces, all of them delightfully bad!

Pen or pencil?

Pen! I have no problem with commitment.

Favorite piece of clothing?

Black, rock n’ roll bell bottoms. I’m not sure they fit me anymore, but I can’t bring myself to get rid of them.

Song you can’t get out of your head right now?

“I Love You, Honeybear” by Father John Misty. The whole album is stuck in my head.

Most recent vacation?

New Zealand. But that was a year ago, so I guess it’s time for another vacation, right?

5 things that are always in your purse?

Aside from my wallet and phone: A cyborg pen, my emergency asthma inhaler, rings that I’ve taken off so I can type, rum balls chapstick, and hard candy, preferably butterscotch flavored.

Look for The Killing Jar in stores in January 2016. Here’s a little bit more about Jenn & how you can connect with her online:

Jennifer Bosworth grew up in a small town where there was nothing to do but read and get into trouble. She did plenty of both, which led her to a career writing about people who get into trouble. Jennifer and her husband recently escaped from Los Angeles and are now hiding out in Portland, Oregon with a couple of long-legged dogs. In her spare time she can be found watching horror movies and dreaming of starting her own hippie commune, where there will be many goats. Learn more about her on her website or just Google her and see what happens.

Connect with Jenn: Facebook | Twitter

Book Review: The Start of Me & You by Emery Lord

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A sweet, romantic story about second chances and starting over, The Start of Me & You by Emery Lord will leave readers swooning.

start of me and youBrimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it’s never too late for second chances.

It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?

The Start of Me & You is a charming love story with two protagonists that readers will be rooting for through every up and down. Though the ultimate outcome is a wee bit predictable, the road getting there is not — and that’s what makes this such a fun book to read. You want to see how Paige and Max will come together, overcome the odds, and make things work.

Besides two charming protagonists, Lord has populated The Start of Me & You with a collection of realistic and relatable supporting characters that help bring Paige’s world to life.

More than just overcoming a romantic hurdle, The Start of Me & You is also about one young woman moving past a tragedy, overcoming her own fears and insecurities, and discovering who she really wants to be — something quintessential for every human being who is going through or has gone through adolescence.

The Start of Me & You is in stores March 31st.

Exclusive Blog Tour Q&A + Contest: The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer

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Today, we are delighted to be hosting a stop on the official blog tour for The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer, the author’s FIRST standalone novel. We’ve got an exclusive Q&A with Heather about the book, plus your chance to win a copy — so be sure to keep reading for all the details!

cemetery boysFor readers unfamiliar with THE CEMETERY BOYS, give us your 140-character “Twitter pitch” for the book.

I wanted to write a book that would scare me – what better subject than going home again to small town Michigan, where I’m from?

How did you come up with the myth of the Winged Ones? Were you inspired by anything?

I’ve always been fascinated by myths and monsters, by the power of belief, by what people in groups are willing to accept as reality. A painting hangs in my bedroom – “Heaven in Her Arms” by Alex Cherry (who can be found on DeviantArt & also did the cover of the book). It gave me a lot of inspiration.

Heather_BrewerStephen experiences a lot of frustration and anger moving to Spencer. Have you ever lived in such a small town? What inspired Spencer? 

Spencer is, down to the layout of the streets, based on the small town that I am originally from. His frustration was born from my frustration growing up there. All I wanted to do was escape – something Stephen can definitely relate to. Honestly, I feel like any teen will be able to relate to that feeling.

This is your first time writing a stand-alone novel! What were some of the unexpected challenges? What were some of the pleasant surprises? 

The biggest challenge for me was letting go at the end. Saying goodbye to my new friends and accepting that we had had our time together, and it was time to move on. On the other side of the coin, writing a stand-alone enabled me to move quickly into the next book and now I’m dealing with a new set of problems, a new group of people, and loving it. That book (the title is still a secret) will be out in 2016.

“The Twilight Zone” is mentioned both in the book and in your author’s note. Did any episodes of “The Twilight Zone” inspire this book, or any of your others? 

The Twilight Zone has always been a seed within me, sprouting into weird and scary things. I would not be who I am without the influence of two men: Rod Serling and Stephen King. Though this book wasn’t inspired directly by any specific episode of The Twilight Zone, I’m proud to say that Mr. Serling was walking the streets of Spencer with me every step of the way.

What’s you favorite “Twilight Zone” episode? (Mine is still “Talking Tina.”) 

Ahh, “The Living Doll” – great episode! I actually own a Talking Tina doll. She creeps my daughter out. I think it’s funny. But I’m weird like that.

I have SEVERAL favorites, for a variety of reasons, but for time purposes, I’ll just pick two: “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” and “A Stop at Willoughby”.

FLASH QUESTIONS: 

Favorite villain? 

The Joker – I love a bad guy that can kill with a smile.

Pen or pencil? 

Pen. Specifically a Pilot G-2.

Favorite piece of clothing? 

At the moment? My skull-crushing boots (aka my stompy boots). Knee-high boots that look very punk-military.

Song you can’t get out of your head right now? 

I’ve really been grooving on “The Ghost of You” by My Chemical Romance lately.

Most recent vacation?

Most recently, I went on a Disney cruise to the Caribbean with my family. You might not guess it by looking at me, but I am a HUGE Disney nerd.

5 things that are always in your purse? 

I never carry a purse. I do on occasion carry Gargy, my gargoyle companion, on my back. When he’s with me, I always have my phone, my ID/debit card, a Sharpie, and earbuds. Oh, and the souls of children. (Kidding! Kinda…)

Thanks for stopping by, Heather!

about the book

When Stephen is forced to move back to the nowhere town where his father grew up, he’s already sure he’s not going to like it. Spencer, Michigan, is like a town straight out of a Hitchcock movie, with old-fashioned people who see things only in black-and-white. But things start looking up when Stephen meets the mysterious twins Cara and Devon. They’re total punks–hardly the kind of people Stephen’s dad wants him hanging out with–but they’re a breath of fresh air in this backward town. The only problem is, Cara and Devon don’t always get along, and as Stephen forms a friendship with the charismatic Devon and something more with the troubled Cara, he starts to feel like he’s getting caught in the middle of a conflict he doesn’t fully understand. And as Devon’s group of friends, who hang out in a cemetery they call The Playground, get up to increasingly reckless activities to pass the summer days, Stephen worries he may be in over his head.

Stephen’s fears prove well-founded when he learns of Spencer’s dark past. It seems the poor factory town has a history of “bad times,” and many of the town’s oldest residents attribute the bad times to creatures right out of an urban legend. The legend goes that the only way the town will prosper again is if someone makes a sacrifice to these nightmarish creatures. And while Stephen isn’t one to believe in old stories, it seems Devon and his gang might put a lot of faith in them. Maybe even enough to kill for them.

Now, Stephen has to decide what he believes, where his allegiances lie, and who will really be his friend in the end.

about the authorHeather Brewer grew up on a diet of Twilight Zone and books by Stephen King. She chased them down with every drop of horror she could find—in books, movie theaters, on television. The most delicious parts of her banquet, however, she found lurking in the shadowed corners of her dark imagination. When she’s not writing books, she’s skittering down your wall and lurking underneath your bed. Heather doesn’t believe in happy endings . . . unless they involve blood. She lives in Missouri with her husband and two children.

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Enter to win a copy of The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer. You can earn more chances to win by visiting EVERY stop on the blog tour!

Enter by filling out the Rafflecopter form here!

More Middle Grade from My Secret Guide to Paris author Lisa Schroeder

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Looking for more great middle grade books from My Secret Guide to Paris author Lisa Schroeder? Look no further! Here are her other middle grade titles:

charmed life1Caitlin’s Lucky Charm

Four best friends, one lucky bracelet, and an utterly charming new middle-grade series!

Caitlin would stay at summer camp forever if she could. Her new best friends in the world, Hannah, Mia, and Libby are there. And at home? Everything’s different: Her dad is worried he might be losing his job; her mom is repainting the whole house and making the kids volunteer at a soup kitchen; and Caitlin is starting sixth grade at a new school, where none of the girls are as fun or friendly as her Cabin 7 BFFs. But Caitlin has a good-luck charm — or a good-luck charm bracelet anyway. The Cabin 7 girls bought it together, and Caitlin is taking the first turn wearing it. She’s sure it will help turn her luck around . . . but when?

charmed life2Mia’s Golden Bird

Four best friends, one lucky bracelet, and an utterly charming new middle-grade series!

Mia loves two things: surfing and photography. When she breaks her foot, she tries to stay busy, making scrapbooks, but she’s still bored. Then one day Mia’s scrapbooks catch someone’s eye: the famous actress Lacy Bell! Lacy likes to go birdwatching with her grandma. She offers to pay Mia to be their photographer. It’s perfect — until the kids at school start gossiping. Mia’s glad she has her BFF’s charm bracelet — she’s going to need it!

charmed life3Libby’s Sweet Surprise

Four best friends, one lucky bracelet, and an utterly charming new middle-grade series!

When she’s not hanging out at her family’s sweetshop, Libby loves walking her dog around London. She always meets the most interesting people — like Cedric, who’s her age and also has a dog. They become fast friends, until Libby finds out his family are the new owners of a competing store! Libby tries to keep her parents’ business a secret, because she really likes Cedric and wants to be his friend. But the secrets start adding up, and Libby needs the charm bracelet she shares with her besties to bring her some luck . . . right now!

charmed life4Hannah’s Bright Star

Four best friends, one lucky bracelet, and an utterly charming new middle-grade series!

It’s finally Hannah’s turn to wear the lucky charm bracelet–and not a moment too soon!

Hannah’s parents have a surprise for her, and she’s sure it’s her dream come true: a horse of her own. Instead, they’ve gotten her a mule!

Everyone says she can still ride the mule, even in the 4-H parade, but how silly will that look? Hannah is so embarrassed, and she needs the luck from her Cabin 7 BFFs’ charm bracelet more than ever!

it's raining cupcakesIt’s Raining Cupcakes

Twelve-year-old Isabel is dying to get out of her small town of Willow, Oregon, and travel like her best friend, Sophie. But when Isabel’s mother decides to open up a cupcake shop across town, Isabel is once again stuck in Willow for the summer…until she learns of a baking contest where the finalists get an all-expenses paid trip to New York City to compete in the final bake-off. But Sophie is also entering the contest, and Isabel’s mother has reservations. Can Isabel finally realize her dreams of leaving Willow without hurting two of the most important people in her life?

SprinklesandSecrets_cvrSprinkles & Secrets

In this companion novel to It’s Raining Cupcakes, twelve-year-old Sophie has a dream come true when she’s offered a TV commercial spot. She’s not just happy about the opportunity, she’s over the moon happy!

But then she finds out what exactly she’ll be advertising: the delectable, ever-popular brownies from Beatrice’s Brownies, which just so happens to be the number one competitor to It’s Raining Cupcakes, a cupcake shop owned by her best friend, Isabel’s, family.

Sophie has a tough choice to make: Follow her dreams or crush her best friend. What’s a girl to do?

frosting and friendshipFrosting & Friendship

Has Lily bitten off more than she can bake? A sweet treat from the author of It’s Raining Cupcakes and Sprinkles and Secrets.

On a scale of one to ten, twelve-year-old Lily Hubbard is a zero when it comes to baking. Her cookies turn out salty, her cakes tend to lean, and things are always overcooked.

When Lily is invited to be a part of a mother-daughter book club called The Baking Bookworms, she is excited—and terrified. It seems like she’s the only one who didn’t inherit the baking gene.

But she does have the music gene, which is why she’s forming a band that will audition for their school’s annual Spring Fling. If, that is, Lily can balance her priorities. Because Isabel, one of the Baking Bookworms, has asked Lily to help plan a surprise party for their mutual friend Sophie. And the task is…creating a showstopping, mouthwatering, thirteenth-birthday-party-worthy dessert. Uh. Oh.

Soon, Lily finds herself knee-deep in sugar and sheet music as she tries to juggle her responsibility to her bandmates AND give her friend the best party ever.

The Wicked Will Rise NYC Release Party

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NYC-area fans can celebrate a Wicked release party for The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Page, the second book in the Dorothy Must Die series. Here’s the deets from the HarperTeen team:

wicked will riseTHE WICKED WILL RISE is coming out a week from today, 3/31/15, and we are going all out to celebrate! We will be holding the festivities at the 92nd Street Y in New York City at 7:00PM, featuring a panel called “New Twists on Old Fairytales” with Danielle Paige, Sara Benincasa (GREAT), Soman Chainani (THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL), and Christopher Healy (THE HERO’S GUIDE TO SAVING YOUR KINGDOM). Anyone under the age of 35 can get a special price ticket of $15!

BUT THERE’S MORE!

Immediately after the panel, we will be teaming up with Coolhaus to celebrate with some wickedly good desserts you will not want to miss.

Sounds fun AND yummy!

New YA Releases: March 24, 2015

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Here’s a look at today’s new YA releases:

we all looked upWe All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

Four high school seniors put their hopes, hearts, and humanity on the line as an asteroid hurtles toward Earth in this contemporary novel.

They always say that high school is the best time of your life.

Peter, the star basketball player at his school, is worried “they” might actually be right. Meanwhile Eliza can’t wait to escape Seattle—and her reputation—and perfect-on-paper Anita wonders if admission to Princeton is worth the price of abandoning her real dreams. Andy, for his part, doesn’t understand all the fuss about college and career—the future can wait.

Or can it? Because it turns out the future is hurtling through space with the potential to wipe out life on Earth. As these four seniors—along with the rest of the planet—wait to see what damage an asteroid will cause, they must abandon all thoughts of the future and decide how they’re going to spend what remains of the present.

catalyst_lydiaCatalyst by Lydia Kang

In the past year Zel lost her father, the boy she loves, her safety, and any future she might have imagined for herself. Now she, her sister, and the band of genetic outcasts they’ve come to call their family are forced on the run when their safe house is attacked by men with neural guns. But on the way to a rumored haven in Chicago, Zel hears something–a whisper from Cy, the boy who traded himself for her sister’s safety. And when she veers off plan in order to search for him, what she finds is not what she expected. There’s more to their genetic mutations than they ever imagined…aspects that make them wonder if they might be accepted by the outside world after all.

tight rope walkersThe Tightrope Walkers by David Almond

A gentle visionary coming of age in the shadow of the shipyards of northern England, Dominic Hall is torn between extremes. On the one hand, he craves the freedom he feels when he steals away with the eccentric girl artist next door, Holly Stroud—his first and abiding love—to balance above the earth on a makeshift tightrope. With Holly, Dom dreams of a life different in every way from his shipbuilder dad’s, a life fashioned of words and images and story. On the other hand, he finds himself irresistibly drawn to the brutal charms of Vincent McAlinden, a complex bully who awakens something wild and reckless and killing in Dom. In a raw and beautifully crafted bildungsroman, David Almond reveals the rich inner world of a boy teetering on the edge of manhood, a boy so curious and open to impulse that we fear for him and question his balance—and ultimately exult in his triumphs.

in the time of dragon moonIn the Time of Dragon Moon by Janet Lee Carey

On the southernmost tip of Wilde Island–far from the Dragonswood sanctuary and the Pendragon Castle–live the native Euit people. Uma, who is half Euit and half English, and not fully accepted by her tribe, wants to become a healer like her Euit father. But the mad English queen in the north, desperate for another child, kidnaps Uma and her father and demands that he cure her barrenness. After her father dies, Uma must ensure that the queen is with child by the time of the Dragon Moon, or be burned at the stake.
Terrified and alone, Uma reaches out to her only possible ally: the king’s nephew Jackrun, a fiery dragonrider with dragon, fairy, and human blood. Together, they must navigate through a sea of untold secrets, unveil a dark plot spawned long ago in Dragonswood, and find a way to accept all the elements–Euit, English, dragon, and fairy–that make them who they are.

Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being YouMe Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You by Todd Hasak-Lowy

A heartfelt, humorous story of a teen boy’s impulsive road trip after the shock of his lifetime—told entirely in lists!

Darren hasn’t had an easy year.

There was his parents’ divorce, which just so happened to come at the same time his older brother Nate left for college and his longtime best friend moved away. And of course there’s the whole not having a girlfriend thing.

Then one Thursday morning Darren’s dad shows up at his house at 6 a.m. with a glazed chocolate doughnut and a revelation that turns Darren’s world inside out. In full freakout mode, Darren, in a totally un-Darren move, ditches school to go visit Nate. Barely twenty-four hours at Nate’s school makes everything much better or much worse—Darren has no idea. It might somehow be both. All he knows for sure is that in addition to trying to figure out why none of his family members are who they used to be, he’s now obsessed with a strangely amazing girl who showed up out of nowhere but then totally disappeared.

Told entirely in lists, Todd Hasak-Lowy’s debut YA novel perfectly captures why having anything to do with anyone, including yourself, is:

1. painful
2. unavoidable
3. ridiculously complicated
4. possibly, hopefully the right thing after all.

walls around usThe Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

“Ori’s dead because of what happened out behind the theater, in the tunnel made out of trees. She’s dead because she got sent to that place upstate, locked up with those monsters. And she got sent there because of me.”

The Walls Around Us is a ghostly story of suspense told in two voices—one still living and one long dead. On the outside, there’s Violet, an eighteen-year-old dancer days away from the life of her dreams when something threatens to expose the shocking truth of her achievement. On the inside, within the walls of a girls’ juvenile detention center, there’s Amber, locked up for so long she can’t imagine freedom. Tying these two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls’ darkest mysteries.

We hear Amber’s story and Violet’s, and through them Orianna’s, first from one angle, then from another, until gradually we begin to get the whole picture—which is not necessarily the one that either Amber or Violet wants us to see.

Nova Ren Suma tells a supernatural tale of guilt and innocence, and what happens when one is mistaken for the other.

liars incLiars, Inc. by Paula Stokes

Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of the truth, so when the opportunity arises to sell forged permission slips and cover stories to his classmates, it sounds like a good way to make a little money and liven up a boring senior year. With the help of his friends Preston and Parvati, Max starts Liars, Inc. Suddenly everybody needs something and the cash starts pouring in. Who knew lying could be so lucrative?

When Preston wants his own cover story to go visit a girl he met online, Max doesn’t think twice about hooking him up. Until Preston never comes home. Then the evidence starts to pile up—terrifying clues that lead the cops to Preston’s body. Terrifying clues that point to Max as the murderer.

Can Max find the real killer before he goes to prison for a crime he didn’t commit? In a story that Kirkus Reviews called “Captivating to the very end,” Paula Stokes starts with one single white lie and weaves a twisted tale that will have readers guessing until the explosive final chapters.

boys don't knitBoys Don’t Knit by T. S. Easton

Knitting is a man’s game.

After an incident regarding a crossing guard and a bottle of Martini & Rossi (and his bonehead friends), 17-year-old worrier Ben Fletcher must develop his sense of social alignment, take up a hobby, and do some community service to avoid any further probation.

He takes a knitting class (it was that or his father’s mechanic class) under the impression that it’s taught by the hot teacher all the boys like. Turns out, it’s not. Perfect.

Regardless, he sticks with it and comes to find that he’s a natural knitter, maybe even great. It even helps ease his anxiety and worrying. The only challenge now is to keep it hidden from his friends, his crush, and his soccer-obsessed father. What a tangled web Ben has weaved . . . or knitted.

half wildHalf Wild by Sally Green

In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, seventeen-year-old Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world’s most powerful and violent witch. Nathan is hunted from all sides: nowhere is safe and no one can be trusted. Now, Nathan has come into his own unique magical Gift, and he’s on the run–but the Hunters are close behind, and they will stop at nothing until they have captured Nathan and destroyed his father.

guardiansGuardians by Laurence Klavan & Susan Kim

The Emmy Award-nominated and Edgar Award-winning duo of Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan deliver a heart-pounding finale to the postapocalyptic teen world of the Wasteland, filled with dramatic twists and turns. Bestselling author of Criminal, Karin Slaughter, called Wasteland “a Lord of the Flies for future generations. An irresistible page-turner.”

No one dares to leave the District—the towering structure of glass and steel that is their protection against the unruly bands of Outsiders that roam Mundreel and the deadly rain that carries the disease that kills all over the age of nineteen.

This skyscraper stands amid the urban devastation, the city rumored to have once been called “Montreal.” Esther and her allies have created a haven on the rooftop, a garden that flourishes, and a home for her new baby, hidden from all but the very few who know her secret. But as Gideon’s power grows and factions form, the ultimate darkness is born from greed, and Esther must find a way to save the citizens from themselves.

finding mr brightsideFinding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark

Abram and Juliette know each other. They’ve lived down the street from each other their whole lives. But they don’t really know each other—at least, not until Juliette’s mom and Abram’s dad have a torrid affair that culminates in a deadly car crash. Sharing the same subdivision is uncomfortable, to say the least. They don’t speak.

Fast-forward to the neighborhood pharmacy, a few months later. Abram decides to say hello. Then he decides to invite her to Taco Bell. To her surprise as well as his, she agrees. And the real love story begins.

door in the moonThe Door in the Moon by Catherine Fisher

This New York Times bestselling author once again shows us that she is a master of world-building and surprising plot-twists. The vast, intricate world, fascinating revelations, and unexpected turns in the final book of the Obsidian Mirror trilogy will appeal to readers of Cassandra Claire, and will satisfy existing fans fully.

For the comments: Which of today’s new releases are you most excited about?

My Secret Guide to Paris Author Lisa Schroeder Guest Blogs: “When I Go to Paris”

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Today we have a wonderful guest blog from My Secret Guide to Paris author Lisa Schroeder. Thanks for stopping by, Lisa!

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When I Go to Paris
by Lisa Schroeder

lisa schroederIt will probably surprise some people I’ve never actually been to Paris. I did a lot of research for MY SECRET GUIDE TO PARIS, and while I wish I could have done a research trip, it just wasn’t in the cards. The nice thing was that my editor had traveled there, so she was able to point out anything that didn’t sound quite right.

But I really do hope to go someday. So what do I dream of doing while I’m there? Here’s my list:

  • Visit the famous book shop Shakespeare and Company
  • Take a boat ride down the Siene River
  • See the famous Dodo carousel, which is made up of all extinct animals
  • Go to a flea market
  • ile-saint-louisVisit as many of the gardens as I can, but I really hope to make it to Parc Monceau, which is sited as “one of Paris’s most romantic parks.”
  • Musee de l”Orangerie, where Monet’s Water Lilies can be seen
  • Visit Notre Dame
  • See a view of the city from the Pantheon (even though I’m terrified of heights)
  • Visit Ile Saint-Louis, also known as the “little island” – it looks so cute!
  • Visit the Marche aux Fleurs – the flower market, and also the bird market that is there every Sunday, I believe
  • Of course there would be a bakery visit just about every day. One of my friends went there in August and she said every morning they had fresh croissants from the bakery near the home where they were staying, and it was glorious.
  • Visit the Louvre

I’m sure I’m missing some things, but I still have time to add to my list. Every year I say, maybe this is the year. I bought a travel guide with a big map for research, so I’m truly ready to go anytime. Someday it will be so, and it will be amazing, I just know it!

Blog Tour Book Review + Contest: Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark

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Today’s book review is part of the official blog tour for Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark. Be sure to keep reading for your chance to win a copy!

A sweet romance about overcoming unlikely obstacles, and moving forward after heartbreak and loss. Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark is an easily readable love story filled with humor and charm.

Finding Mr. BrightsideAbram and Juliette know each other. They’ve lived down the street from each other their whole lives. But they don’t really know each other—at least, not until Juliette’s mom and Abram’s dad have a torrid affair that culminates in a deadly car crash. Sharing the same subdivision is uncomfortable, to say the least. They don’t speak.

Fast-forward to the neighborhood pharmacy, a year later. Abram decides to say hello. Then he decides to invite Juliette to Taco Bell.

To her surprise as well as his, she agrees. And the real love story begins.

I adored Clark’s first novel, The Edumacation of Jay Baker, and the same witty prose that I adored there shines through again in Finding Mr. Brightside. His writing is fresh, funny, and clever; it draws readers in and keeps them engaged as the story unfolds.

His characters are instantly likable — they are brutally honest, funny despite their faults, and realistically flawed. As Abram and Juliette come together, we see their personalities unfold and the beautiful way they fill each other out despite the unique (and uniquely challenging) aspects of their relationship.

The romance is sweet and charming, and it’s one you will root for throughout every up and down. A fast read and easily engaging, Finding Mr. Brightside is in stores March 24th.

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We’re giving away one copy of Finding Mr. Brightside courtesy of Macmillan Teen Books. Just tell us in the comments why you want to read Finding Mr. Brightside, and then fill out the Rafflecopter form HERE.

U.S. only. Contest runs through midnight (PT) on Friday, March 27th.

jay clark author photoAbout the Author:

Jay Clark is the author of The Edumacation of Jay Baker, which was named a Bank Street College Best Book. He’s also a random blogger. Surprisingly popular entries like “How to stop hating people in 21 minutes” and “8 tips for posting your best selfie yet!” can be found on his website: jayclarkbooks.com. He lives in Columbus, Ohio.

Blog Tour Author Interview: Blue Birds author Caroline Starr Rose

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Today, we’re hosting a stop on the official blog tour for Blue Birds by Caroline Starr Rose, a novel in verse about the unlikely friendship between a young girl in the Roanoke tribe and an English girl, freshly arrived to settle the New World in 1587. We’re delighted to have Caroline here to chat with us about the book. Thanks for stopping by, Caroline!

blue birdsCommunication is an important part of BLUE BIRDS. In many ways, communication has changed drastically over the years — especially with today’s technology — but in a lot of ways, it has stayed the same. What are some of the common threads between communication now and in 1587?

I think face-to-face communication will always been the most effective and perhaps the most meaningful. Tone and expression are a huge part of the communication process. While tone can be read on paper and sometimes the screen (“sometimes” because email and texts are so quick  we can miss or leave out context), facial expressions are only part of face-to-face encounters.

In BLUE BIRDS, Alis and Kimi speak different languages, so body language is a very important part of their communication.

caroline starr roseBLUE BIRDS is written in verse. What made you decide to go in this direction, rather than with traditional prose? How do you think it enhances the story?

As strange as it sounds, verse has become my default. I find it a really in-the-moment way to write historical fiction. It’s immediate, spare, and lets us into a character’s inner life very quickly.

For this book in particular, verse also became a wonderful way to tell a story in two voices. Readers move quickly from Kimi to Alis and back again. And when the girls share a poem, I was able through line and stanza placement to “speak” their story visually, adding one more layer of communication. Verse is magical that way!

Despite their many differences, what are some things that Alis and Kimi have in common? What do you think strengthens their bond?

Both girls are curious and lonely. Both have lost family members and have uncles they are missing in some way. Kimi satisfies Alis’s need to understand her surroundings. Alis brings back the joy Kimi’s lost since her sister died.

In your research for BLUE BIRDS, were you surprised by anything you learned? How did that influence the final book?

So much surprised me. The things that happened those five summer weeks in 1587 and later when Governor John White returned to Roanoke in 1590, they seem impossible, like some sort of Greek tragedy. It was important the confusion, fear, heartache, and downright strangeness feel present in the story. I hope I’ve accomplished that.

As a history teacher and an author, do you have a favorite period of time to read about and study?

I love anything that feels personal, where I can learn about individual lives. I just finished WOLF HALL, a novel about Henry VIII. After watching the recent “Marco Polo” Netflix series, I’m dying to finally crack open a gorgeous copy of THE BOOK OF MARCO POLO, THE VENETIAN that once belonged to my grandmother.

FLASH QUESTIONS:

Favorite villain? 

I don’t know. Prince Humperdinck?

Pen or pencil?

A pencil for drafting picture books. A pen for crosswords. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter.

Favorite piece of clothing?

My red coat.

Song you can’t get out of your head right now?

Blondie’s “The Tide is High”

Most recent vacation?

A summer road trip to Texas and Louisiana.

5 things that are always in your purse

Chapstick, driver’s license, credit card, spare key. That’s pretty much it.

Here’s more about Blue Birds (in stores now):

 It’s 1587 and twelve-year-old Alis has made the long journey with her parents from England to help settle the New World, the land christened Virginia in honor of the Queen. And Alis couldn’t be happier. While the streets of London were crowded and dirty, this new land, with its trees and birds and sky, calls to Alis. Here she feels free. But the land, the island Roanoke, is also inhabited by the Roanoke tribe and tensions between them and the English are running high, soon turning deadly.

Amid the strife, Alis meets and befriends Kimi, a Roanoke girl about her age. Though the two don’t even speak the same language, these girls form a special bond as close as sisters, willing to risk everything for the other. Finally, Alis must make an impossible choice when her family resolves to leave the island and bloodshed behind.

A beautiful, tender story of friendship and the meaning of family, Caroline Starr Rose delivers another historical gem.

Exclusive Q&A with My Secret Guide to Paris author Lisa Schroeder: Part 3

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Today, we conclude our exclusive three-part Q&A with My Secret Guide to Paris author Lisa Schroeder. If you missed it, catch part 1 here and part 2 here.

lisa schroeder2Favorite villain?

Wicked Witch of the East in the Wizard of Oz

Pen or pencil?

Pen

Favorite piece of clothing?

My Anthropologie cardigans that tie in the back. So cute and comfy, I wish I had 20 of them.

Song you can’t get out of your head right now?

“Bright” by Echosmith

Most recent vacation?

Disney World!

5 things that are always in your purse?

Notebook, pen, chapstick, lipstick, library card

Thanks, Lisa!