The Perfectionists by Sara Shepherd: Read-Along, Chapters 19-27

PerfectionistsReadALong1
Today, our read-along for The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard continues, with a look at Chapters 19-27.

perfectionistsRead our thoughts below, then share YOUR thoughts in the comments for a chance to win an amazing prize pack, including a THE PERFECTIONISTS tote bag & goodies, plus a surprise ARC of an upcoming Harper Teen release. Just comment below, then fill-out the Rafflecopter form here. You can comment on every read-along post for even more chances to win!

The Perfectionists is in stores now. Here is the read-along schedule for you to follow along:

Remember, EVERYONE who comments & fills out the Rafflecopter form HERE will be entered to win the amazing prize pack. Get more chances to win by sharing your comments on the read-along at the other participating blogs:

Our Thoughts on Chapters 19-27

It’s nice to see the girls finally trying to take charge of their lives, and finding some small victories … even if they are short-lived. These chapters had some big surprise twists, including a REALLY nasty betrayal at the end of Chapter 27.

Meanwhile, even as the girls hone in on Mr. Granger as their prime suspect, there are plenty of other suspicious people in their lives who seem to have it out for them — whether or not they were involved in Nolan’s murder. A lot of really creepy, sinister stuff unfolds — and of COURSE, yes, I’m still questioning why the girls aren’t going to the cops with the full story yet. But the book must go on, right?

Even as the evidence against Mr. Granger builds, these chapters seem to indicate some other suspicious folks who may also have been involved in the murder. Makes you wonder if there isn’t something more going on, no? I can also see in these chapters the appeal this book will have for fans of Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars series. They’re different, but thematically they have a lot of similarities.

MORE ABOUT THE PERFECTIONISTS:

In Beacon Heights, Washington, five girls—Ava, Caitlin, Mackenzie, Julie, and Parker—know that you don’t have to be good to be perfect. At first the girls think they have nothing in common, until they realize that they all hate Nolan Hotchkiss, who’s done terrible things to each of them. They come up with the perfect way to kill him—a hypothetical murder, of course. It’s just a joke…until Nolan turns up dead, in exactly the way they planned. Only, they didn’t do it. And unless they find the real killer, their perfect lives will come crashing down around them.

From Sara Shepard, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Pretty Little Liars series, comes another story of dark secrets, shocking twists, and what happens when five beautiful girls will do anything to hide the ugly truth.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

TWITTER CHAT:

Be sure to join us on the morning of November 6th (time & hashtag TBA soon!) in a Twitter chat with Sara Shepard herself, where we’ll discuss everything we thought about The Perfectionists.

For the comments: What are YOUR thoughts on chapters 19-27 of The Perfectionists? Be sure to tweet using the hashtag #PerfectRead. Sound off below & then fill out the Rafflecopter form HERE for your chance to win an awesome prize pack!

New YA Releases: October 21, 2014

new releases2 banner
Here’s a look at today’s new YA releases:

blue lily lily blueBlue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

beware the wildBeware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker

It’s an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp — the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn’t return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed.

Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp’s done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance — and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her.

This debut novel is full of atmosphere, twists and turns, and a swoon-worthy romance.

famous in loveFamous in Love by Rebecca Serle

The romantic story of a girl who gets plucked from obscurity to star in the next major feature film franchise based on a book and the ensuing love triangles she gets entangled in on—-and off screen.

Meet Paige Townsen, Rainer Devon, and Jordan Wilder…

When Paige Townsen, a young unknown, gets cast in the movie adaptation of a blockbuster book series, her life changes practically overnight. Within a month, Paige has traded the quiet streets of her hometown for a crowded movie set on the shores of Maui, and is spending quality time with her co-star Rainer Devon, one of People’s Sexiest Men Alive. But when troubled star Jordan Wilder lands the role of the other point in the movie’s famous love triangle, Paige’s crazy new life gets even crazier.

In this coming-of-age romance inspired by the kind of celeb hookups that get clever nicknames and a million page views, Paige must figure out who she is – and who she wants – while the whole world watches.

loop karen akinsLoop by Karen Akins

At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.

ice dragonThe Ice Dragon by George R. R. Martin

The Ice Dragon is an enchanting tale of courage and sacrifice for young readers and adults by the wildly popular author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Song of Ice and Fire series, George R.R. Martin. Lavish illustrations by acclaimed artist Luis Royo enrich this captivating and heartwarming story of a young girl and her dragon.

In the world of A Song of Ice and Fire the ice dragon was a creature of legend and fear, for no man had ever tamed one. When it flew overhead, it left in its wake desolate cold and frozen land. But Adara was not afraid. For Adara was a winter child, born during the worst freeze that anyone, even the Old Ones, could remember.

Adara could not remember the first time she had seen the ice dragon. It seemed that it had always been in her life, glimpsed from afar as she played in the frigid snow long after the other children had fled the cold. In her fourth year she touched it, and in her fifth year she rode upon its broad, chilled back for the first time. Then, in her seventh year, on a calm summer day, fiery dragons from the North swooped down upon the peaceful farm that was Adara’s home. And only a winter child—and the ice dragon who loved her—could save her world from utter destruction.

This new edition of The Ice Dragon is sure to become a collector’s item for fans of HBO’s megahit Game of Thrones.

snake biteSnake Bite by Andrew Lane

Kidnapped and taken to China, young Sherlock Holmes enjoys adventure on the high seas before encountering a puzzling case of three men bitten by the same poisonous snake in different parts of Shanghai. Includes historical notes.

how it went downHow It Went Down by Kekla Magoon

When sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson dies from two gunshot wounds, his community is thrown into an uproar. Tariq was black. The shooter, Jack Franklin, is white.

In the aftermath of Tariq’s death, everyone has something to say, but no two accounts of the events line up. Day by day, new twists further obscure the truth.

Tariq’s friends, family, and community struggle to make sense of the tragedy, and to cope with the hole left behind when a life is cut short. In their own words, they grapple for a way to say with certainty: This is how it went down.

time's edgeTime’s Edge by Rysa Walker

To stop her sadistic grandfather, Saul, and his band of time travelers from rewriting history, Kate must race to retrieve the CHRONOS keys before they fall into the Cyrists’ hands. If she jumps back in time and pulls the wrong key–one that might tip off the Cyrists to her strategy–her whole plan could come crashing down, jeopardizing the future of millions of innocent people. Kate’s only ally is Kiernan, who also carries the time-traveling gene. But their growing bond threatens everything Kate is trying to rebuild with Trey, her boyfriend who can’t remember the relationship she can’t forget.

As evidence of Saul’s twisted mind builds, Kate’s missions become more complex, blurring the line between good and evil. Which of the people Saul plans to sacrifice in the past can she and Kiernan save without risking their ultimate goal–or their own lives?

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

Some Thoughts on The Incident

novel novice generic banner
This weekend, I was mostly unplugged from the Internet, since I was busy doing things in the bright shiny real world. Sunday evening, a friend told me about The Incident that had the book blogging & YA world up in arms.

Summary of The Incident: Kathleen Hale, author of No One Else Can Have You, published an article on The Guardian about how she stalked a blogger who posted a negative review of her book.

This morning, I finally read the article & then read countless responses from other authors and bloggers.

I have a few thoughts of my own, and they’re a little disorganized, but I’ll try and sort them out as best I can for you here. They start with these three things:

  • First rule of the Internet: Do not engage the trolls.
  • First rule of being a published author: Do not respond to negative reviews.
  • First rule of being a book blogger: Do not bait authors with your negative reviews.

1) Let me start by saying this: stalking is not okay, ever. Unmasking someone’s chosen online pseudonym is not okay. People are entitled to their privacy, especially on the Internet. Using a made up persona for blogging is understandable (now more than ever, in light of this debacle). Going the extra mile to post fake/stolen photos as your own, and making up an entire fake life for yourself through social media platforms strikes me as odd and a little suspicious – but there’s really nothing wrong with it, so long as you’re not doing it for personal gain or to the detriment of others.

2) Posting a negative review of an author’s book is totally acceptable. Baiting the author to see your review and respond is not. It’s unclear if this actually happened, since the evidence listed in Hale’s article does not actually exist anymore (if it ever did). If it did happen, shame on the reviewer.* I’ve long frowned on bloggers or reviewers who call an author’s attention to their negative review. I have my own reasons for not posting negative reviews, though not all of my reviews are glowing – but I won’t even @ mention an author on twitter if my review is anything less than stellar. It’s just rude to call an author’s attention to your review of their book if it’s negative. There’s just no need to let them personally know that you hated their book. You’re entitled to not like it, and to post a review saying so – but there’s no need to make sure the author sees it.

*To be clear, this does not justify Hale’s actions.

3) While I can understand an author’s desire to defend their book against negative reviews (we ALL want to defend ourselves against criticism; it’s a natural response), it’s frowned upon for a reason: it’s just tacky. It’s in bad taste. And everyone is entitled to their opinion. Part of being an author is knowing that your book is going out into the world and that people are going to have their own feelings about it: positive, negative, and everywhere in between. You have to embrace your inner Elsa and “let it go.” Read the positive ones, ignore the rest. Carrie Mesrobian writes brilliantly about her process for responding to negative reviews here, in light of The Incident.

Part of the reason I’ve long abstained from reviewing self-published books (with rare exceptions) is because those are most often the cases where I’ve been confronted by an author defending their book, and arguing with my review. To hear this happening with a traditionally published author is shocking to me, and it makes me wonder about her future career. I can only imagine what the folks at HarperTeen are thinking right now … especially since Hale has another book due out in a few months!

4) There is a part of me that can appreciate Hale’s desire to respond and defend her book, especially if she was being baited to engage the negative reviewer. But that just does not make her behavior acceptable. It is not okay to track down a reviewer’s address, go to their home, call them at their place of business, and then post about it for the world to see. And I can understand why The Guardian would publish the piece – we’re all talking about it, aren’t we? — but I can’t understand why they would do so without investigating the other side of the story. That’s just lazy journalism. (Also lazy & potentially unethical? The Guardian editors’ lack of fact-checking and use of reliable sources in the published article. Hale’s account is more opinion than factual reporting, and there are a lot of holes in her story. And that’s my opinion as someone who worked in the news industry for a decade. The Guardian has a responsibility to get the other side of the story.)

5) While I am not justifying Hale’s behavior, I do want to say that I don’t think it’s okay for bloggers to be rude in their negative reviews. The Internet has created this chasm that makes people feel like it’s okay to be mean and rude; to act like bullies. The act of typing things on the screen creates some kind of mental block, with the writer forgetting there are actual human beings with actual feelings and emotions on the other side. Write your negative review, but don’t be a dick about it. The same goes for engaging in discussions in comment threads. Remember that you’re conversing with a real person, and don’t be a jerk.

6) Though there is no actual evidence to support it, if true, what Hale alleges the blogger did is NOT OKAY.

7) What Hale did in response, is really NOT OKAY.

8) After all of that … I’m also left with a weird feeling about my own review of Hale’s book. I actually liked it quite a bit. Sort of a Fargo vibe, and really lovely writing. Some of Hale’s other online essays were pretty rad, too – including her snark-fest response to that awful Slate article. But her piece in The Guardian? Shoddy journalism and lazy half-assed excuses for unacceptable, borderline (actual?) illegal behavior.

*           *           *

I debated posting these thoughts or not on the blog, as I tend to avoid drama. But after encouragement from some fellow bloggers, decided to add my voice to the conversation. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! (Just don’t be a dick about it!)

Meanwhile, here are some other responses I found particularly good:

 

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray: Exclusive Chapter Reveal & Giveaway

AThousandPiecesofYou copy
Today, we are THRILLED to be kicking off the official chapter reveal for Claudia Gray’s A Thousand Pieces of You, a stunning new science fiction story packed with action and romance. (It’s also going to be our November Book of the Month!)

Today, we have your exclusive first look at Chapter 1 of A Thousand Pieces of You – and below, you’ll find out where you can read Chapters 2-4 later this week. Plus, of course, there’s a great contest in store.

Check out the excerpt here, then keep reading for more about the book & your chance to win a signed copy of the book & a poster!

Chapter 1

My hand shakes as I brace myself against the brick wall. Rain falls cold and sharp against my skin, from a sky I’ve never seen before. It’s hard to catch my breath, to get any sense of where I am. All I know is that the Firebird worked. It hangs around my neck, still glowing with the heat of the journey.

There’s no time. I don’t know whether I have minutes, or seconds, or even less. Desperately I tug at these unfamiliar clothes—the short dress and shiny jacket I wear have no pockets, but there’s a small bag dangling from my shoulder. When I fish inside, I can’t find a pen, but there’s a lipstick. Fingers trembling, I unscrew it and scrawl on a tattered poster on the wall of the alley. This is the message I must pass on, the one goal I have to remember after everything else I am is gone.

KILL PAUL MARKOV.

Then I can only wait to die.

Die isn’t the right word. This body will continue to breathe. The heart will continue to beat. But I won’t be the Marguerite Caine living in it anymore.

Instead, this body will return to its rightful owner, the Marguerite who actually belongs in this dimension. The dimension I leaped into, using the Firebird. Her memories will take over again, any second, any moment, and while I know I’ll awaken again in time, it’s terrifying to think about . . . passing out. Getting lost. Being trapped inside her. Whatever it is that happens to people traveling from another dimension.

It hits me then. The Firebird really works. Travel between alternate dimensions is possible. I just proved it. Within my grief and fear, one small ember of pride glows, and it feels like the only heat or hope in the world. Mom’s theories are true. My parents’ work is vindicated. If only Dad could have known.

Theo. He’s not here. It was unrealistic of me to hope he would be, but I hoped anyway.

Please let Theo be all right, I think. It would be a prayer if I still believed in anything, but my faith in God died last night too.

I lean against the brick wall, hands spread, like a suspect’s on a police car right before the cuffs go on. My heart hammers in my chest. Nobody has ever done this before—which means nobody knows what’s about to happen to me. What if the Firebird can’t bring me back to my own dimension?

What if this is how I die?

This time yesterday, my dad probably asked himself that same question.

I close my eyes tightly, and the cold rain on my face mingles with hot tears. Although I try not to picture how Dad died, the images force their way into my mind over and over: his car filling with water; brownish river lapping over the windshield; Dad probably dazed from the wreck but scrambling to get the door open, and failing. Gasping for the last inches of air in the car, thinking of me and Mom and Josie—

He must have been so scared.

Dizziness tilts the ground beneath my feet, weakens my limbs. This is it. I’m going under.
So I force my eyes open to stare at the message again. That’s the first thing I want the other Marguerite to see. I want that message to stay with her, no matter what. If she sees that, if she keeps running over those words in her mind, that will awaken me within her as surely as the Firebird could. My hate is stronger than the dimensions, stronger than memory, stronger than time. My hate is now the truest part of who I am.

The dizziness builds, and the world turns fuzzy and gray, blackening the words KILL PAUL MARKOV—

—and then my vision clears. The word KILL sharpens back into focus.

Confused, I step back from the brick wall. I feel wide awake. More so than before, actually.

And as I stand there, staring down at my high heels in a puddle, I realize that I’m not going anywhere.

Finally, as I begin to trust my luck, I step farther into the alley. The rain beats down harder on my face as I look up into the storm-drenched sky. A hovercraft looms low over the city like yet another thundercloud. Apparently it’s there to fly holographic billboards across the city skyline. Astonished, I gaze at the hovercraft as it soars through this strange new dimension, 3-D advertisements flickering through their motions in the sky around it: Nokia. BMW. Coca-Cola.
This is so like my world, and yet not my world at all.

Is Theo as overwhelmed by the journey as I am? He must be. His grief is nearly as deep as mine, even though Dad was only his adviser; more than that, this is what Theo and my parents worked for these past few years. Has he kept his memory as well? If so, we’ll be in control throughout the trip, our minds piloting the selves born in this alternate dimension. That means Mom was wrong about one thing—which is kind of staggering, given that every other theory she’s ever had has just been proved true. But I’m grateful for it, at least for the moment before my gratitude disintegrates in the hot blaze of anger.

Nothing can stop me now. If Theo made it too and he can find me—and I want so desperately for him to find me—then we’ll be able to do this. We can get to Paul. We can take back the Firebird prototype he stole. And we can take our revenge for what he did to my father.

I don’t know if I’m the kind of person who can kill a man in cold blood. But I’m going to find out.

Want more? Yeah, you do! Here’s where you’ll find more chapter reveals this week:

contest in post banner

Fill out the Rafflecopter form HERE for your chance to win a signed copy of the book & a poster.

*          *          *

AThousandPieces_hc_cHere’s more about A Thousand Pieces of You, in stores November 4th:

Every Day meets Cloud Atlas in this heart-racing, space- and time-bending, epic new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray.

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.

Goodreads/Amazon/Barnes & Noble

About Claudia Gray:

Claudia GrayClaudia Gray is a pseudonym. I would like to say that I chose another name so that no one would ever learn the links between my shadowy, dramatic past and the explosive secrets revealed through my characters. This would be a lie. In truth, I took a pseudonym simply because I thought it would be fun to choose my own name. (And it is.)

I write novels full-time, absolutely love it, and hope to be able to do this forever. My home is in New Orleans, is more than 100 years old, and is painted purple. In my free time I read, travel, hike, cook and listen to music. You can keep up with my latest releases, thoughts on writing and various pop-culture musings via TwitterTumblrPinterestGoodreads or (of course) my own home page.

If you want to contact me, you can email me, but your best bet is probably to Tweet me. I don’t do follows on Twitter, but I follow everyone back on Tumblr, Pinterest and Goodreads.

Website | Twitter |Tumblr | Pinterest | Goodreads | Wattpad

Exclusive Q&A with Unmarked author Kami Garcia: Part 1

unmarked botm banner
Today, we kick off part 1 of our three-part exclusive Q&A with Unmarked author Kami Garcia. We know Kami is SUPER busy these days, so we really appreciate her taking the time to chat with us. Tune in for part 2 on Wednesday and part 3 on Friday!

kami garciaI know you’re a very superstitious person. Did any of your own superstitions influence parts of UNMARKED?

My superstitions influence everything I write, and they definitely found their way into Unbreakable and Unmarked. I have lots of superstitions about the evil eye and the power of a person’s eyes in general. Without giving anything away, I played with those superstitions in UNMARKED. Alara, a member of the Legion, is also incredibly superstitious, so her superstitions play into the story as well.

unmarkedUNBREAKABLE was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award. What does that sort of recognition mean to you?

The Bram Stoker Award is the highest honor for horror and dark fantasy writing. As a girl who grew up reading Stephen King and Ray Bradbury, I was floored when UNBREAKABLE was put up for consideration in the Young Adult category. I never imagined the book would make it through another round of voting to become a nominee. Even though we weren’t nominated in the same category, it was a huge thrill to see my name on the same ballot with Stephen King’s. I’m also excited to be a guest of honor at the World Horror Convention in 2015 alongside Charlaine Harris.

One of the interesting questions that comes up in UNMARKED is family. How does your family influence your writing?

My mom’s family is from a small town in the South, which had a huge influence on my part in writing the Beautiful Creatures Novels. Both Margie and I borrowed stories and characters from our own families. The Sisters were based on my three great-great-great-aunts, and my mom actually rescued and raised baby squirrels. My family also influenced the Legion Series. I grew up in Maryland, outside of Washington, DC, and I attended middle school not far from Georgetown, where Kennedy lives with her mom in UNBREAKABLE. Though I love bringing my family into my stories, the one thing I’ll never do is name a character after someone in my family if I know that I’m going to kill them eventually (the character, not my family member).

Blogging Recap: Interviews, Contests & More

novel novice generic banner

It has been INSANELY busy here on the blog for the past two weeks. October has seen a lot of new YA books coming out, and that crazy publishing schedule has translated to a pretty crazy blogging schedule over here. We’ve had a TON of content posted over the last couple of weeks, so we wanted to recap everything here in case you missed something — since, frankly, we’re pretty excited about all of it!

So take a peek below, and be sure to click through the links for anything you may have missed and want to check out further!

Contests

The Dungeoneers Cover Reveal Contest

Check out the cover reveal for John David Anderson’s newest middle grade adventure, and enter to win two of his previous books.

Dungeoneers c

Worst Witch Halloween Giveaway

Enter to win a complete set of all 6 Worst Witch books featuring brand-new covers.

worst witch1 worst witch2 worst witch3

#AtlantiaBelow Contest

Check out our playlist from author Ally Condie for one of the characters in her new book Atlantia, and enter to win a necklace inspired by the book.

AtlantiaNecklace2

Exquisite Captive Giveaway

Enter to win one of 23 copies of Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios.

DemetriosGiveaway

Forbidden Pre-Order Giveaway

Enter to win some amazing prize packs just by pre-ordering Forbidden by Kimberly Griffiths Little.

d7230-photo

Unmarked Ghost-Hunting Writing Contest

Submit your short story for a chance to win Unmarked by Kami Garcia.

unmarked

Interviews & Guest Posts

 Sarah Beth Durst discusses Chasing Power

Check out our Q&A with Durst, as we talk about her latest YA novel and what she’s working on next.

chasing power sarah beth durst

Christina Lauren discuss Sublime

Check out our three-part Q&A with the two ladies behind one pen name, and their first YA novel:

sublime

Teresa Flavin on Spooky Reads

The Shadow Lantern author Teresa Flavin guest posts about what makes a spooky read, and why we like them.

shadow lantern Photo by Ian Marshall

Reviews

Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst

Chasing Power offers readers the thrill-a-minute adventure they’d expect from Indiana Jones, combined with the powerful storytelling Durst is best known for.

chasing power

Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot

In the tradition of The Great Gatsby comes a new classic about the tragedy and excesses of the wealthy, though Chelsey Philpot’s Even in Paradise is far more hopeful than any green light at the end of the dock.

even in paradise

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

There’s a reason Ann M. Martin is in a class to herself when it comes to writing some of the best middle grade fiction of the last few decades. It’s because she is simply that good, and nowhere is that more clear than in her newest book, Rain Reign.

rain reign

Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle

Serle brilliantly captures the essence of Hollywood today, and all the gossip that goes along with the latest and greatest YA book to movie adaptations. Echoing of entertainment headlines we’ve seen over the last several years, Serle examines the story from an insider’s perspective.

famous in love

Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios

Exquisite Captive is fascinating, multi-layered story — with a sinister undertone to each new facet, and a mystery that continues to grow — even as new information comes to light. It’s an enticing mix that makes for a compelling, hard-to-put-down book.

Exquisite Captive

Unmarked by Kami Garcia

Kami Garcia has masterfully continued her Legion series with a second book that stands up to – perhaps even surpasses – the first book, with Unmarked. The stakes are higher, the dangers increased, and emotions more intense then ever.

unmarked

The Fall by Bethany Griffin

The Fall by Bethany Griffin is a chilling re-imagining of an Edgar Allan Poe classic, “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Chronicling the isolated life of Madeline Usher, The Fall shows her unavoidable spiral into madness — haunted as she is by the eerie presence within her family home. The same presence that has haunted the Usher family for generations.

fall, the

Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick

A seductive thriller packed with unexpected twists, engaging characters, and a deadly but beautiful landscape — that’s what you’ll find within the pages of Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick.

black ice

Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez

Kiss Kill Vanish captured my imagination from the beginning — starting with the intriguing premise described in the flap copy, to the first page, wherein our heroine has already made her escape. Her characters pulled me in, and wondering where the story would go next — and how things would be resolved — kept me eagerly reading page after page.

kiss kill vanish

Features

The Perfectionists Read-Along: Chapters 1-9 + Chapters 10-18

Join the discussion as we read Sara Shepard’s The Perfectionists, and be entered to win a fabulous prize pack!

perfectionists

Beyond Unmarked: Grimoires + Illuminati & Freemasons

Learn about certain elements featured throughout Kami Garcia’s Unmarked. Then check out highlights from Kami’s Pinterest board for the Legion series.

unmarked grimoire2

Favorite Halloween Picture Books

Check out some of our picks for Halloween reads for kids, and share your picks in the comments.

click clack boo scary stories berenstein bears trick or treat

31 Spooky YA & MG Halloween Reads

We’ve compiled a list of the 31 spookiest YA and MG books to read for Halloween. What would you add to the list?

Dark Eden this dark endeavor_paperback Dark Between, The official

Vote: 2015 Desktop Wallpaper Calendar

Let us know which books & series you want to see featured in the 2015 desktop wallpaper calendar.

Exclusive Cover Reveal & Contest: The Dungeoneers by John David Anderson

cover stories banner
Today, we are pleased to be sharing the exclusive cover reveal for The Dungeoneers by John David Anderson (the author of Sidekicked) — a really fun, unique new middle grade book coming from Walden Pond Press in 2015. We also have a great chance for you to win some of John’s other fabulous books by sharing the new cover — so be sure to keep reading for details!

First, here’s a bit about The Dungeoneers:

Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day.
Teach him to fish, and he will eat for a lifetime.
Teach him to steal, though, and he won’t have to eat fish every day for the rest of his life.

The world is not a fair place, and Colm Candorly knows it. While his parents and eight sisters seem content living on a lowly cobbler’s earnings, Colm can’t help but feel that everyone has the right to a more comfortable life. It’s just a question of how far you’re willing to go to get it.

In an effort to help make ends meet, Colm uses his natural gift for pickpocketing to pilfer a pile of gold from the richer residents of town. But his actions place him at the mercy of a mysterious man named Finn Argos, a gilded-toothed, smooth-tongued rogue who gives Colm a choice. He can be punished for his thievery, or can learn to put his new-found talents to even better use—to become a member of Thwodin’s Legions, a guild of dungeoneers who take what they want and live as they will. Colm soon finds himself part of a family of warriors, mages, and hunters, learning to work together in their quest for endless treasure.

But not all families are perfect, and even as Colm hones his skills with his fellow recruits, it becomes more and more clear that something from outside threatens the Dungeoneers—and perhaps something from inside as well.

And now, here is the FABULOUS cover for The Dungeoneers (illustrated by the fabulous Dan Santat):

Dungeoneers c

Isn’t that wonderful??? There’s so much going on in this illustration. I love all the action!

contest in post banner
CONTEST TIME!!!

We want you to spread the word about the gorgeous cover for The Dungeoneers, and as thanks, one of you lucky readers will win finished copies of John’s books, Minion and Sidekicked. Here’s some of the ways you can earn entries:

  • Share The Dungeoneers cover on your blog, website, Tumblr, etc. and send us the link
  • Tweet about the cover reveal & link back here
  • Comment below & tell us what you think of the contest
  • Follow Novel Novice & John David Anderson on Twitter

Fill out the Rafflecopter form HERE to get started!

Contest is open to the U.S. only, and ends at midnight (PT) on Friday, October 24th.

Dave Anderson - Photo2 - ResizeAnd here’s a little bit about John David Anderson in his own words:

John David Anderson writes novels for young people and then, occasionally, gets them published. He is the author of Sidekicked, Minion, and Standard Hero Behavior. He lives with his patient wife and brilliant twins in Indianapolis, Indiana, right next to a State park and a Walmart. He enjoys hiking, reading, chocolate, spending time with his family, playing the piano, chocolate, making board games, chocolate, not putting away his laundry, watching movies, and chocolate.

For the comments: Tell us what you think of The Dungeoneers cover!

Beyond Unmarked by Kami Garcia: Real-Life Ghost Hunters

unmarked botm banner
There’s plenty of ghost-hunting in Unmarked by Kami Garcia — but it’s not just for fiction. There are some real-life ghost-hunters out there, fighting spiritual foes & skeptics alike. Here are a few groups you may have heard of:

 SyFy’s “Ghost Hunters” & TAPS

ghost huntersThese guys have been a popular TV show staple on the SyFy channel for years (dating back to when it was still the SciFi Channel). From the show’s official synopsis:

Jason Hawes, founder of The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) and his team have made it their life’s mission to help those experiencing persistent and frightening paranormal activity, as well as unsettled souls in the afterlife who may still reside there. TAPS travels across the country to investigate and solve mysteries at locations ranging from personal homes, hotels, and historic sites to schools, asylums, and battleships.

TAPS pre-dates the TV show, having been formed in 1990.

Ghost Hunters of the South

A “family” organization of TAPS, these guys are based in Mobile, Alabama. According to their website:

We believe in the use of scientific methods, systematic processes, skepticism and logical thinking for data collection and analysis. It is our hope that with our data we can make strong correlations of paranormal/ghostly events and behaviors and begin to help build a better understanding of alleged ghosts and hauntings.

Society for Psychical Research

The Spiritualist movement of the 19th century gave us this organization, which sought to understand and investigate purportedly paranormal occurrences. The group features prominently in another fabulous YA novel, Sonia Gensler’s The Dark Between.

ghostbustersThe Ghostbusters

Despite my lifelong wishes, the Ghostbusters remain a fictional organization from the movies Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters 2, starring Dan Akroyd, Billy Murray, and Harold Ramis. You can thank these guys for coining the phrase, “Who ya gonna call?” The answer: “GHOSTBUSTERS!” Cue theme song:

Book Review: Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle

book reviews banner2
Imagine being plucked from obscurity, and cast in the hottest book adaptation. Imagine being cast alongside two of Hollywood’s hottest young male actors. Imagine filming in Hawaii. Imagine falling for both guys. Can you picture it? Because that’s what happens to Paige, the main character and narrator in Rebecca Serle’s new novel, Famous in Love.

famous in loveThe romantic story of a girl who gets plucked from obscurity to star in the next major feature film franchise based on a book and the ensuing love triangles she gets entangled in on—-and off screen.

Meet Paige Townsen, Rainer Devon, and Jordan Wilder…

When Paige Townsen, a young unknown, gets cast in the movie adaptation of a blockbuster book series, her life changes practically overnight. Within a month, Paige has traded the quiet streets of her hometown for a crowded movie set on the shores of Maui, and is spending quality time with her co-star Rainer Devon, one of People’s Sexiest Men Alive. But when troubled star Jordan Wilder lands the role of the other point in the movie’s famous love triangle, Paige’s crazy new life gets even crazier.

In this coming-of-age romance inspired by the kind of celeb hookups that get clever nicknames and a million page views, Paige must figure out who she is – and who she wants – while the whole world watches.

Serle brilliantly captures the essence of Hollywood today, and all the gossip that goes along with the latest and greatest YA book to movie adaptations. Echoing of entertainment headlines we’ve seen over the last several years, Serle examines the story from an insider’s perspective. Through Paige, the reader is able to put themselves in her shoes — because despite the character’s unique situation, she starts out in a very common place in the world, that readers can relate to easily.

As Paige moves from small-town nobody to Hollywood’s hottest new It Girl, readers can follow in her footsteps and imagine what they would do in her situation. That makes the reading experience all the more enticing. And speaking of enticing, let’s talk about Paige’s costars — Rainer and Jordan, who add a lot of spice and tension to Paige’s precarious journey.

What Serle does so brilliantly with Famous in Love is focus on MORE than the love story; more than the love triangle. The book is a love story, so those elements are important — but a good deal of the book also examines Paige’s experience, going from small town life to a Hollywood movie set. We see how this affects her friendships and her family and her plans for the future. We see her struggle to learn the ropes of a movie set, and stretch her acting skills.

It’s because Serle balances the romance and the romantic tension with these other key elements that Famous in Love is so successful. It’s a balanced, well-rounded story that is deep — and goes beyond the surface of the tabloid stories that may have inspired it. Readers will feel for Paige and ache for the tough choices she is forced to make. I, for one, can’t wait to see where the story goes next. (Yes, there is a sequel in the works!)

Famous in Love is an epic love story meets coming of age, all wrapped up in a glamorous Hollywood package. Look for it in stores October 21st.

Worst Witch Series Halloween Giveaway

halloween reads
We have a wonderful Halloween giveaway for you today, celebrating the BRAND NEW covers for the beloved Worst Witch middle grade book series by Jill Murphy. I grew up reading these books, and simply ADORED them. That’s why I’m so excited to see them packaged with shiny new covers, that still harken back to the editions I read, while having a fresh look for new readers.

worst witch1 worst witch2 worst witch3 worst witch4 worst witch5 worst witch6

To celebrate the new covers, we’ve teamed up with Candlewick Press to offer one of you lucky readers a chance to win all 6 books in the Worst Witch series, featuring the new covers!

We’re giving away one set of all six books to one winner, with a mailing address in the U.S. or Canada. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form here & tell us below why you want to win the new Worst Witch books for your chance to win! The contest runs through midnight (PT) on Wednesday, October 22nd.

And if you just can’t wait, here are the titles & order of all six books in this beloved series:

  • The Worst Witch #1
    ISBN: 9780763672607
  • The Worst Witch Strikes Again #2
    ISBN: 9780763672577
  • A Bad Spell for Worst Witch #3
    ISBN: 9780763672522
  • The Worst Witch at Sea #4
    ISBN: 9780763672539
  • The Worst Witch Saves the Day #5
    ISBN: 9780763672553
  • The Worst Witch to the Rescue #6
    ISBN: 9780763669997

About The Worst Witch:

Mildred Hubble is a trainee witch at Miss Cackle’s Academy, and she’s making an awful mess of it. She’s always getting her spells wrong and she can’t even ride a broomstick without crashing it. Will she ever make a real witch?

For the comments: Did you read the Worst Witch series growing up? Who would you share these books with now?