Author Archives: Sara | Novel Novice

The Best of Brazen by Katherine Longshore

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It’s time to wrap-up our July Book of the Month feature on Brazen by Katherine Longshore. But before we say goodbye, here’s a look back at this month’s highlights:

Historical Writing Contest

brazenChoose a moment in history — a person or time from the past — and imagine what really happened. What are some of the details that may not have survived time? That we don’t know about today?

Fill out the Historical Writing Contest Entry Form and tell us what historical figure or event you’re writing about, and then submit your 250-500 word entry. Be sure to check out the complete rules & details here!

The winner will receive a copy of Brazen by Katherine Longshore. The contest ends tomorrow, July 31st at midnight (PT).

History Meets Fiction

We went beyond the story in Brazen to bring you real-life historical information about the characters in the book, plus we offered up ways to use the books in the classroom!

More from Katherine Longshore

We featured Katherine’s other books, as well as an exclusive Q&A and a guest post:

Don’t forget to check out our review of Brazen, too! Then share your favorite moments from this month’s feature in the comments below.

New YA Releases: July 29, 2014

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

bridge from me to you, the - largeThe Bridge from Me to You by Lisa Schroeder

Lauren has a secret. Colby has a problem. But when they find each other, everything falls into place.

Lauren is the new girl in town with a dark secret. Colby is the football hero with a dream of something more. In alternating chapters, they come together, fall apart, and build something stronger than either of them thought possible–something to truly believe in.

young worldThe Young World by Chris Weitz

After a mysterious Sickness wipes out the rest of the population, the young survivors assemble into tightly run tribes. Jefferson, the reluctant leader of the Washington Square tribe, and Donna, the girl he’s secretly in love with, have carved out a precarious existence among the chaos. But when another tribe member discovers a clue that may hold the cure to the Sickness, five teens set out on a life-altering road trip to save humankind.

The tribe exchanges gunfire with enemy gangs, escapes cults and militias, braves the wilds of the subway and Central Park…and discovers truths they could never have imagined.

silver shadowsSilver Shadows by Richelle Mead

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

In The Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.

Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive.

For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him. . . .

Their worst fears now a chilling reality, Sydney and Adrian face their darkest hour in this heart-pounding fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where all bets are off.

kalona's fallKalona’s Fall by Kristin Cast & P. C. Cast

With more than 12 million books in print, rights sold in almost forty countries, and more than three years on The New York Times bestseller listreaching as high as #1the House of Night series is an international publishing sensation. Now, the excitement continues as the Cast mother-daughter duo shares the back stories of a few of the House of Night’s most importantand mysteriouscharacters.In KALONA’S FALL, the shadows in Kalonas past will finally come to light We will learn about the winged immortal’s secret history and discover how he went from being the Goddess’s Warrior and Guardian to her enemy and betrayer. Did Darkness taint Kalona as it did Neferet, or has the powerful immortal always preferred power over honor, and control over faith? This novella will be crucial to fans’ understanding of Kalona, before his role in the explosive final installment of the House of Night, REDEEMED coming in October 2014.

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

More from Brazen author Katherine Longshore

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Want more from Brazenauthor Katherine Longshore? Last week, we shared 7 more YA books about the Tudors … but even more are included below, in our look at other novels from Longshore!

giltGilt by Katherine Longshore

In the court of King Henry VIII, nothing is free — and love comes at the highest price of all.

When Kitty Tylney’s best friend, Catherine Howard, worms her way into King Henry VIII’s heart and brings Kitty to court, she’s thrust into a world filled with fabulous gowns, sparkling jewels, and elegant parties. No longer stuck in Cat’s shadow, Kitty’s now caught between two men–the object of her affection and the object of her desire. But court is also full of secrets, lies, and sordid affairs, and as Kitty witnesses Cat’s meteoric rise and fall as queen, she must figure out how to keep being a good friend when the price of telling the truth could literally be her head

tarnish katherine longshoreTarnish by Katherine Longshore

Anne Boleyn is the odd girl out. Newly arrived to the court of King Henry VIII, everything about her seems wrong, from her clothes to her manners to her witty but sharp tongue. So when the dashing poet Thomas Wyatt offers to coach her on how to shine at court—and to convince the whole court they’re lovers—she accepts. Before long, Anne’s popularity has soared, and even the charismatic and irresistible king takes notice. More than popularity, Anne wants a voice—but she also wants love. What began as a game becomes high stakes as Anne finds herself forced to make an impossible choice between her heart’s desire and the chance to make history.

manor of secretsManor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore

The year is 1911. And at The Manor, nothing is as it seems . . .

Lady Charlotte Edmonds: Beautiful, wealthy, and sheltered, Charlotte feels suffocated by the strictures of upper-crust society. She longs to see the world beyond The Manor, to seek out high adventure. And most of all, romance.

Janie Seward: Fiery, hardworking, and clever, Janie knows she can be more than just a kitchen maid. But she isn’t sure she possesses the courage — or the means — to break free and follow her passions.

Both Charlotte and Janie are ready for change. As their paths overlap in the gilded hallways and dark corridors of The Manor, rules are broken and secrets are revealed. Secrets that will alter the course of their lives. . . forever.

For the comments: Have you read any of Katherine’s books? Tell us your thoughts on them!

Contest: Win a copy of Deadly Delicious by K.L. Kincy

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As we wrap up our week-long feature on the magical middle grade novel Deadly Delicious by K.L. Kincy, we want to give some of you lucky readers a chance to win your own copy!

Deadly Delicious - ebook coverThe Prizes:

One winner (U.S. only) will receive a signed paperback of Deadly Delicious

One winner (Int’l) will receive an e-book of Deadly Delicious

(All prizes courtesy K.L. Kincy)

How to Enter:

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form here. You can gain add’l entries by following Novel Novice & K.L. Kincy on various social media, and by commenting below.

Just tell us in the comments below … what is one magical ingredient you’d add to your own baking!

The Deadline:

This contest will run through midnight (PT) on Friday, August 1st.

Questions? Leave ‘em in the comments & we’ll reply!

Beyond Brazen: The Tudors in YA Lit

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Want more Tudors in your YA lit? Here are 7 more books (besides Brazen) that make the cut. Next week, look for our list of more books by Brazen author Katherine Longshore for even more Tudor-era YA lit!

VIIIVIII by H.M. Castor

Destined for greatness; tormented by demons… VIII is the story of Hal: a young, handsome, gifted warrior, who believes he has been chosen to lead his people. But he is tormented by the ghosts of his family’s violent past and, once he rises to power, he turns to murder and rapacious cruelty. He is Henry VIII. The Tudors have always captured the popular imagination. In VIII, Henry is presented afresh for a new generation of teenage readers.

assassinAssassin by Grace Cavendish

WHEN MARGARET CAVENDISH, one of Elizabeth I’s Gentlewomen of the Bedchamber, lost her life in a bungled attempt to kill the Queen, her daughter, Lady Grace, became a protégée to the monarch, who takes Grace under her wing. Now Grace, a spunky girl who romps through the gardens with the laundry maids and court tumblers and rolls her eyes at her fellow
ladies, chronicles the court intrigues that swirl around her. . . .

It’s the spring of 1569 and 13-year-old Lady Grace, the youngest lady-in-waiting to the Queen, finds herself at a glittering ball choosing amongst three suitors. But the Queen’s generosity turns deadly as threats, dark secrets, and even murder descend on the Tudor court. And it is up to Grace to use her intelligence, stealth, and curious nature to solve the mystery that threatens the very lifeblood of England.

mary bloody maryMary, Bloody Mary by Carolyn Meyer

The story of Mary Tudor’s childhood is a classic fairy tale: A princess who is to inherit the throne of England is separated from her mother; abused by an evil stepmother who has enchanted her father; stripped of her title; and forced to care for her baby stepsister, who inherits Mary’s rights to the throne. Believe it or not, it’s all true. Told in the voice of the young Mary, this novel explores the history and intrigue of the dramatic rule of Henry VIII, his outrageous affair with and marriage to the bewitching Anne Boleyn, and the consequences of that relationship for his firstborn daughter. Carolyn Meyer has written a compassionate historical novel about love and loss, jealousy and fear – and a girl’s struggle with forces far beyond her control.

maid of secrets pbMaid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowen

Orphan Meg Fellowes makes her living picking pockets—until she steals from the wrong nobleman. Instead of rotting in prison like she expected, she’s whisked away to the court of Queen Elizabeth and pressed into royal service, where she joins four other remarkable girls in the Maids of Honor, the Queen’s secret society of protectors.

Meg’s natural abilities as a spy prove useful in this time of unrest. The Spanish Court is visiting, and with them come devious plots and hidden political motives. As threats to the kingdom begin to mount, Meg can’t deny her growing attraction to one of the dashing Spanish courtiers. But it’s hard to trust her heart in a place where royal formalities and masked balls hide the truth: Not everyone is who they appear to be. With danger lurking around every corner, can she stay alive—and protect the crown?

other countessThe Other Countess by Eve Edwards

England, 1582

Ellie—Lady Eleanor Rodriguez, Countess of San Jaime—possesses a worthless title, but her feisty spirit captivates the elite of the Queen’s court—especially the dashing new Earl of Dorset.

William Lacey, Earl of Dorset, has inherited his father’s title—and his financial ruin. Now Will must seek a wealthy bride and restore his family’s fortune. If only he hadn’t fallen for the beautiful but penniless Ellie . . .

Sparks fly whenever Ellie and Will are together, but circumstances—and the conniving interference of others—threaten to keep them apart.

king's roseThe King’s Rose by Alisa M. Libby

Life in the court of King Henry VIII is a complex game. When fifteen-year-old Catherine Howard catches the king?s eye, she quickly transforms from pawn to queen. But even luxury beyond imagination loses its luster as young Catherine finds her life?and her heart?threatened by the needs of an aging king and a family hungry for power. Will their agendas deliver Catherine to the same fate as her infamous cousin, Anne Boleyn?sacrificed at the altar of family ambition? Engaging historical fiction with a throbbing YA heartbeat, this thrilling novel will draw readers into the intrigues and dangers of the Tudor court.

Anne and Henry by Dawn Ius

Coming in 2015 from Simon Pulse

A contemporary retelling of the romance between King Henry the VIII and Anne Boleyn, in which Henry is a wealthy, popular teen destined for political greatness, and Anne is the manic pixie dream girl who ensnares him and threatens to destroy the life he’s worked so hard to build.

Though not YA, I also highly recommend Philipa Gregory’s books on the Tudor court, especially her best-selling The Other Boleyn Girl.

For the Comments: What other YA books do you know of that feature the Tudors?

Book Review: Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

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A road trip, five interconnected stories, and John Green-esque characters are what make up Adi Alsaid‘s debut novel, Let’s Get Lost.

let's get lostFive strangers. Countless adventures. One epic way to get lost.

Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most.

There’s HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love.

Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila’s own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you’re looking for is to get lost along the way.

Alsaid’s writing is breezy and approachable, and his characters engaging and charming. Each story individually is a fun, short adventure — but the thread that carries them together may, perhaps, be the book’s weakest link.

Though Leila is the one character who carries us through the entire journey, she remains for most of the book an outsider, mostly an observer. Sure, she gets involved in each new character’s life briefly – but only in a peripheral way. She’s sort of there, in many ways, just as an excuse for the reader to be there. When her story finally comes into play, it feels very anticlimactic. There’s no intensity – it just is.

And really, it’s only the first character – Hudson – who at all remains connected to the story throughout the rest of the novel, and even then he is mostly sidelined until the end. The rest of the individuals Leila encounters come and go; they have their story, and then we move on.

Ultimately, I enjoyed reading the individual stories – they were fun little adventures, albeit a bit simple – but I didn’t feel like the book, as a whole, came together. The glue meant to hold these stories together never really took hold, and the interconnectedness of the story felt very forced.

Let’s Get Lost is in stores July 29th.

Exclusive Excerpt from Deadly Delicious by K.L. Kincy

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Today we have an exclusive excerpt from Deadly Delicious by K.L. Kincy:

Deadly Delicious - ebook coverI bound up the crooked stairs and slip into the kitchen. “Mama?” I call.

No reply.

Cooling on top of Mama’s prized pink appliances, her secret-recipe DeLune DeLuxe doughnuts perfume the air with the aromas of happiness, confidence, and good luck. My head gets all whirly as I breathe in deep.

These doughnuts are pretty enough to be hanging on a Christmas tree. They’re all twinkly with sprinkles, and plump enough that I’m just itching to squeeze them. Oh, look, chocolate filling leaking from the good luck doughnut. I glance around the kitchen. The coast’s clear, so I dip my pinkie into the chocolate.

A stinging blow lands on my knuckles. Mama’s choice walnut-wood spatula.

Even though she can’t actually poof from a cloud of smoke, it still scares the bejesus out of me when she pounces like that. She’s wearing her favorite coral pink suit and pillbox hat, her hair all glossy—she must have just drove up.

“For customers only,” Mama says.

Like I don’t have any wishes of my own.

Check out more & order your copy of Deadly Delicious here!

Exclusive Q&A with Deadly Delicious author K.L. Kincy

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As part of our week-long feature on Deadly Delicious,today we bring you an exclusive Q&A with the author, K.L. Kincy!

Karen - author photo2DEADLY DELICIOUS was your first foray into middle grade. Did anything surprise you while writing MG?

Deadly Delicious was supposed to be a young adult book, actually! When I started writing it, I realized that Josephine was younger than I’d thought. Then I revised the book to make Josephine officially 12 years old. Everything started to click after that. The sweet romance, the friendship drama, and the growing pains of a witch.

I love the idea of mixing magic with cooking … I mean, a good recipe really CAN taste like magic! If you had powers like Josephine and her mom, what sort of conjure would you cook up for yourself? 

I would totally bake some DeLune DeLuxe doughnuts. Who wouldn’t want happiness, confidence, and good luck in a delicious doughnut?

The setting for DEADLY DELICIOUS is really great, and your descriptions of it are so vivid. Have you traveled to those areas? Did you research the locations? How did you bring them to life? 

My grandparents live in Sikeston, Missouri, and I know the Kincy family has lived in the area for over a hundred years. When I was a kid, I was fascinated by all the katydids, Osage oranges, stick insects, and magnolias. While writing Deadly Delicious, I also collected inspirations on a Pinterest board.

Deadly Delicious - ebook coverI adore your cover. How did you get such an awesome cover? 

My cover artist, Kirbi Fagan, did an awesome job. You can see some of the earlier drafts of the cover on her website.

What are you working on now? 

I’m writing dieselpunk romance for adults, and I’m also drafting a young adult regency that involves ladies with a tendency to transform into cats.

FLASH QUESTIONS:

Favorite decade?

I’d say the 1950s, for writing this book. ;)

Must-have writing snack?

Cherry cream cheese danishes at a local cafe, but sparingly!

Favorite Disney movie? 

Aladdin. I loved that movie when I was a kid, and watched the old VHS tape almost to death.

The beach or the mountains? 

Beach! Mountains involve climbing and panting for breath.

Song that can always get you dancing? 

“Lose Yourself to Dance” by Daft Punk, with Pharrell. Once I was getting ready to run a 5K race and the song came on, so my whole running group started skipping to the song.

Name 5 things currently on your desk (or in your writing space), and share a photo, if possible

I have my writing notebooks by my computer and a few toys. The hedgehog came from a Japanese bookstore in Seattle. The stingray came from the aquarium in Denver. I got to pet and feed real stingrays there, and they felt like wet mushrooms!

 Karen's writing stuff

Guest Post from Brazen author Katherine Longshore: Learning to Write

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Today, I’m pleased to share an exclusive guest post from Brazen author Katherine Longshore, who stops by today to tell us about an educator that made an impact on her life!

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Katherine_Longshore_1589_CL_57_WBy the time I was in high school, I knew that writing was an important part of my life. I loved that it made me look at the world differently, that the very process of trying to describe what I saw and felt in a fresh and powerful way helped me to experience things more vividly. My teachers encouraged me, I wrote copy for the yearbook and published pieces in the school literary magazine.

Most of it was non-fiction. Descriptive essays and memoir. I didn’t feel confident enough to write fiction—to invent a world, a story, characters entirely of my own imagining. I knew I could write, I just didn’t think I understood how to construct a story.

Toward the end of my junior year, we were given the assignment to write a short story for AP English. My French class had been studying Paris—watching videos, reading essays, learning about art and architecture and cuisine—and it inspired me to write a story about two students at UC Berkeley (the college I wanted to attend) who magically travel to Paris for a day. I used all the research from French class and more to describe the streets, the way the rain sounded and the bakeries smelled, the vision of the Winged Victory in the Louvre and the specially-prepared and numbered canard a l’orange at the Tour d’Argent—the paper with the number printed upon it remaining in the girl’s pocket when they found themselves back in Berkeley.

My story was returned to me with a single question scrawled across the top in red ink:

What’s the point?

I was devastated. I’d thrown my heart and soul into this story. I’d created some of the best description I’d ever written. I loved the characters—the way the girl laughed and the boy’s effortless magic realism. But I couldn’t answer my teacher’s question. I was a failure at fiction.

A few months later, entries were requested for the annual county-wide writing contest. The year before, I had won the personal essay category, but had nothing I felt was ready to enter. I looked back at my short story. I fell in love again with the setting and the characters. I began to think—maybe the point is the journey.

I submitted it for the short story category, and in the next months almost forgot about it in the rush of entering my senior year, auditioning for the school play, applying for colleges and just remembering to breathe. So I was surprised to get the call that my story had won first place.

Surprised, and elated. Validated.

For years afterwards, though, I continued to believe that I didn’t really understand how to write fiction. I studied journalism. I wrote people pieces and travel essays. I learned how to write a great lead sentence, how to distill my thoughts into sharp descriptions, how to find the essence of a piece and make it shine.

I learned how to write.

So I thank my junior English teacher. For helping me to grow a thicker skin. For giving me the guts to seek another opinion in hopes that it would justify my own. For setting me on a path to become a better writer, and a writer determined to be a good storyteller.

For teaching me that the point is the journey itself.

Book Review: Deadly Delicious by K.L. Kincy

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One spunky heroine. A dash of romance. A sprinkle of magic. And one horde of cake-craving zombies. Those are the winning ingredients to K.L. Kincy’s charming and delightful new middle grade novel, Deadly Delicious.

Deadly Delicious - ebook coverTwelve-year-old Josephine DeLune can’t take the heat this sweltering summer of 1955, and she was out of the kitchen long ago.

An awful cook, she ruins recipes left and right, and she certainly can’t compete with her family’s reputation for extraordinary food. Her daddy’s parents ran one of the best restaurants in all of Paris, but Josephine lives in Paris, Missouri. On her mama’s side, she’s up against a long tradition of sinfully delicious soul food. Rumor has it, her Creole ancestors cooked up some voodoo to make tasty even tastier. Josephine knows the secret ingredient: she comes from a long line of conjure witches with spellbinding culinary skills.

Disenchanted, Josephine works as a carhop at Carl and Earl’s Drive-In. Just plain old hamburgers, hot dogs, and curly fries, nothing magical about them. She’s got bigger fish to fry, though, when a grease fire erupts into a devilish creature who hisses her name with desire. Turns out he’s the Ravenous One, the granddaddy of all voodoo spirits, and he’s hungry for her soul. Josephine thinks he’s got the wrong girl—she’s no witch—but a gorgeous, dangerous night-skinned lady named Shaula sets her straight. Josephine is one of the most powerful witches alive, so overflowing with conjure that her out-of-control cooking simply catches fire.

Josephine would love to laugh this off, but Shaula warns her that she must learn to master her magic before the Ravenous One devours her soul. Spurred into action, Josephine breaks out her grandma’s old conjure cookbook and starts cooking. Nothing grand, just the usual recipes for undying friendship and revenge. But soon Josephine can’t escape the consequences of her conjure. When the people of Paris start turning into zombies with a strange fondness for cake, Josephine looks pretty responsible for their undead reawakening…

I was charmed right away by Kincy’s voice in Deadly Delicious – with a slow drawl inside my head as I read the narrative of young Josephine. I was transported to the South — hearing the cadence and rhythm of people’s speech, feeling the clammy heat, and soaking up the atmosphere. Every time I picked up this book to continue reading, I found myself happily whisked away to Josephine’s world.

The whimsical storyline is also equally enchanting, and it’s fun to see how Kincy has crafted this particular brand of magic — using recipes to conjure spells. A colorful cast of supporting characters add to the magic of Deadly Delicious, and really bring Josephine’s story to life.

At first, I wasn’t 100% sure the romance was necessary to the story — and it certainly takes a backseat to the main plot, and Josephine’s growth as a character. But the blossoms of first love, as Kincy has so lovingly captured them here, add a nice finishing touch — like the frosting to the cake that is the rest of the story. And while younger readers may not connect to this aspect of the story, there’s nothing that will stop them from enjoying Deadly Delicious on the whole.

Deadly Delicious is available now.