Author Archives: Sara | Novel Novice

Blog Tour Guest Post + Contest: Compulsion by Martina Boone

Today, we have the pleasure of hosting an official stop on the blog tour for Compulsion by Martina Boone. Martina is stopping by with a guest post today – thanks, Martina!

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Leah Cypess, today’s Compulsion for Magic tour stop guest author, knows a little something about characters with limited magic. Her main character in Death Sworn—who Booklist called a “a heroine at the intersection of Tamora Pierce’s Alanna and George R.R. Martin’s Arya Stark”—is losing her magic at the same time that she’s supposed to be teaching magic to a group of deadly assassins. The more she uses her magic, the less she has, and the less she has, the more danger she is in. Since she is one of the authors who said generous things about Compulsion, she’s here today to share Ileni’s thoughts on “small magic.”

But what about you? For a chance to win the HUGE tour mega prize of books and the $100 gift card, tell us about the magical gift you’d like to have or one you wouldn’t wish on yourself.

Here’s what Leah had to say . . .

If you could have any “everyday” magical gift, like finding lost things or knowing what people want, what gift would you want and why?

I’d settle for being able to recognize peoples’ faces and names when I meet them! My 7-year-old daughter has this gift, and I’ve trained her to whisper people’s names into my ear, since I have terrible facial recognition skills. But to go for something a little more magical – I would want the ability to do things super-fast, so I could actually get to the end of my to-do list before 3 a.m.

What everyday magic would your characters wish they had and why?

I don’t know if Ileni of DEATH SWORN would settle for everyday magic — she used to be a powerful sorceress, and nothing but true magic would satisfy her. That said, I think she would like the ability to tell when people are about to try to kill her. That would be immensely useful in the Assassins’ Caves.

Eight, Barrie’s love interest in Compulsion, has inherited his family’s gift of knowing what people want and feeling compelled to give it to them. What’s one gift you’re glad you don’t have? Or your characters would be glad they didn’t have?

I don’t think Ileni would want the gift of being able to tell what people think of her — useful though it would be, it would also be incredibly depressing, since most of the people around her don’t think much of her. For someone used to being honored and admired, that would plunge her into a depression that even a hot assassin guy might not be able to pull her out of.

Barrie is tied to her family’s plantation, Watson’s Landing, in a magical way, and the whole landscape becomes magical for her. What’s the one place in your book that you wish you could bring to life?

Most of the caverns described in DEATH SWORN are actually based on real caves — so they already exist! I do wish I could visit the ones I haven’t made it to yet, especially Lechuguilla Cave in New Mexico.

If you were going to a Halloween party and you had to dress as a character from a Southern Gothic or a Gothic romance, what would your costume look like?

Like my pajamas, because I would probably make an excuse to stay home and work on copyedits or something. (Sorry to shatter any illusions about authors’ exciting lives….)

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Hah! I think most writers can relate—if not to the pajamas then at least to yoga pants. The glamorous life indeed . . .

Now your turn! Tell us about your magic.

 And/Or . . .

Bonus option: If you’ve already left a comment on another tour stop about what kind of magic you’d like or you just want to do something different for extra entry points, show us your magical, gothic, or Southern gothic costume! How would you do a character like Ileni from Death Sworn or a character a gothic romance like Jane Eyre or Rebecca du Maurier’s Rebecca? How would you do Scarlet from Gone with the Wind? Or show us an“everyday magic” as part of a Halloween costume! Post a comment with the URL to your photo and we’ll share it. Use tag #CompulsionMagic.

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Here’s more about Compulsion, in stores October 28th:

compulsionThree plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.

All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead–a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family’s twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.

Pre-Order Compulsion:

IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Book Depository (free worldwide shipping)

Signed copies are available for pre-order from One More Page Books. You can also pre-order with the special I have a Compulsion for readingbookplate from Eight Cousins. Pre-Order Incentives Going on here.

Early Praise for Compulsion:

“Darkly romantic and steeped in Southern Gothic charm, you’ll be compelled to get lost in the Heirs of Watson Island series.”

— #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Jennifer L. Armentrout

“A fresh twist on the Southern Gothic — haunting, atmospheric, and absorbing.”

— Claudia Gray, New York Times bestselling author of A Thousand Pieces of You and the Evernight and Spellcaster series

“Compulsion is a stunningly magical debut with a delicious slow burn to be savored. I want to live in this story world!”

— Wendy Higgins, USA Today and NYT bestselling author of the Sweet Evil trilogy from HarperTeen

About Martina Boone:

Martina Boone was born in Prague and spoke several languages before learning English. She fell in love with words and never stopped delighting in them.

She’s the founder of, a Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers site, and, a site devoted to encouraging literacy and all things YA Series.

From her home in Virginia, where she lives with her husband, children, and Auggie the wonder dog, she enjoys writing contemporary fantasy set in the kinds of magical places she’d love to visit. When she isn’t writing, she’s addicted to travel, horses, skiing, chocolate flavored tea, and anything with Nutella on it.

Website | Blog | Tumblr | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Twitter



Do you have a Compulsion for Reading? Then you don’t want to miss what Martina Boone is giving away! 5 lucky winners will each win the following:

Grand Prize Winner – will win EVERYTHING pictured above! That’s the right! That entire bag of books will go to 1 reader!! *US residents only

Next Winner – will win a $100 gift card to the book store of their choice! *open internationally

3 Additional winners will each win a Compulsion prize pack which features a signed copy of Compulsion, a Compulsion necklace and bookmarks. *open internationally

To enter to win, please fill out the Rafflecopter form here!

Exclusive Q&A with Unmarked author Kami Garcia: Part 3

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Today, we continue our three-part exclusive Q&A with Unmarked author Kami Garcia. Check out part 1 here and part 2 here if you missed it. Today, it’s time for FLASH QUESTIONS!

kami garciaFavorite decade?


Must-have writing snack? 

Baskin Robbins Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream & Diet Coke

Favorite Disney movie? 

The Rescuers 

The beach or the mountains? 


Song that can always get you dancing? 

September by Earth, Wind & Fire

Name 5 things currently on your desk (or in your writing space)

Noise-canceling headphones, MacBook Air, Diet Coke with lots of ice, my photo inspiration wall & my Magneto helmet

Thanks again, Kami!

Exclusive Cover Reveal: The Game of Love & Death by Martha Brockenbrough

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Today, I am SO excited to be sharing the exclusive cover reveal for The Game of Love & Death by Martha Brockenbrough. Martha is an amazing author, and a fabulous lady — and I am so excited about her new book. And you should be, too. Below, you’ll find all the important stuff — synopsis, on sale date, pre-order links. But for now, get ready for some gorgeous.

Are you ready?

No, really. Get ready. This cover. So gorgeous.


Here we go …

Game of Love and Death
Isn’t it so beautiful? The artist is Chris Silas Neal. I’m SO excited for this book, and this cover is one of my favorites.

Here’s more about The Game of Love & Death:

Antony and Cleopatra. Helen of Troy and Paris. Romeo and Juliet. And now . . . Henry and Flora.

For centuries Love and Death have chosen their players. They have set the rules, rolled the dice, and kept close, ready to influence, angling for supremacy. And Death has always won. Always.

Could there ever be one time, one place, one pair whose love would truly tip the balance?

Meet Flora Saudade, an African-American girl who dreams of becoming the next Amelia Earhart by day and sings in the smoky jazz clubs of Seattle by night. Meet Henry Bishop, born a few blocks and a million worlds away, a white boy with his future assured — a wealthy adoptive family in the midst of the Great Depression, a college scholarship, and all the opportunities in the world seemingly available to him.

The players have been chosen. The dice have been rolled. But when human beings make moves of their own, what happens next is anyone’s guess.

Achingly romantic and brilliantly imagined, The Game of Love and Death is a love story you will never forget.

The publisher, Scholastic, has compared The Game of Love & Death to these amazing books: The Book Thief, The Diviners, What I Saw and How I Lied, and Code Name Verity.

The Game of Love & Death comes out April 28, 2015. Pre-order it at Barnes & Noble or Amazon now.

Martha BrockenbroughAbout Martha Brockenbrough:

Martha Brockenbrough grew up in Seattle, where she played the viola in string quartets and symphonies. She has worked as a newspaper reporter, teacher, and entertainment journalist. A lover of games, she also wrote questions for Cranium and Trivial Pursuit. She founded National Grammar Day, volunteers with, and lives in Seattle with her family of musicians and their two tone-deaf dogs.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr

For the comments: What do you think of the cover? Tell us below!


Book Review: The Penguin Book of Witches and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow & Other Stores from Penguin Classics

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Penguin Classics has released two new bind-ups of some classic literature perfect for both the classroom, and the Halloween season. The Penguin Book of Witches edited by Katherine Howe features a collection of historical accounts and documentation of (alleged) witches in early America. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow & Other Stories features some of the finest work by American author Washington Irving, including his beloved Halloween tale about Ichabod Crane.

legend of sleepy hollowEach book would be perfectly suited to a school classroom — but offers readers plenty to enjoy on their own, as well. Anyone with an appreciation for macabre writing and imaginative stories will find plenty to feast their senses on in the bind-up of Irving’s stories.

For those familiar only with popular culture’s adaptations of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, it’s well worth the time to read Irving’s original story. Though it has few similarities to the FOX TV show “Sleepy Hollow” or the Johnny Depp movie of the same name, there are elements of the story that have survived in various modern-day adaptations. (Perhaps one of the most surprisingly faithful adaptations is the Disney short film found in The Adventures of Ichabod & Mr. Toad, with narration sung by Bing Crosby.)

Perhaps one of the story’s most iconic images — the shattered pumpkin found next to the bridge where Ichabod was last seen — comes straight from Irving’s text:

In one part of the road leading to the church, was found the saddle trampled in the dirt; the tracks of horses’ hoofs deeply dented in the road, and evidently at furious speed, were traced to the bridge, beyond which, on the bank of a broad part of the brook, where the water ran deep and black, was found the hate of the unfortunate Ichabod, and close beside it was a shattered pumpkin.

penguin book of witchesMeanwhile, the historical accounts compiled in The Penguin Book of Witches offer a chilling but factual account of alleged cases of witchcraft in the early United States, starting in the pre-Colonial 16th century and running through the early 19th century — with plenty of pages dedicated to the infamous Salem witch trials and associated cases.

Edited by Howe, the compilation does a good job of “translating” (per se) the older texts for ease of comprehension for modern readers, such as updating vocabulary and punctuation. It’s a kindness I wish had been paid to the text of such similar manuscripts that I studied when I was in school!

Check out both books now for some excellent classics perfect for Halloween — or any time of year you’re ready for some historical spookiness! They are both available now.

Morganville Vampires Web Series Trailer Debut

The trailer for the web series adaptation of Rachel Caine’s The Morganville Vampires has hit the web, and it looks pretty fang-tastic. (Yeah, I went there. Not sorry.)

morganville web seriesIf you’re not familiar with The Morganville Vampires, the series follows teen Claire Danvers, as she moves to the isolated West Texas town to attend the university. After she’s antagonized by some very mean girls, she moves off-campus — where her three housemates let her in on Morganville’s big secret: the town is run by vampires, and now they own her.

The web series for The Morganville Vampires debuts on October 27th, and is thanks to the support backers on Kickstarter. Check out the trailer now:

I love the look and feel of this trailer. It reminds me, in some ways, of old “Buffy” episodes – mixing campy with scary. (Or maybe that was the appearance of “Buffy” alum Tara Benson?) Either way, I’ll definitely be tuning in!

And if you haven’t read the books yet, now is the perfect time to get “sucked” in. (Yes, I know. I’m horrible. I can’t help it. I love vampire puns!)

For the comments: What do you think of the trailer? Will you be watching?

Exclusive Q&A with Unmarked author Kami Garcia: Part 2

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Today, we continue our three-part exclusive Q&A with Unmarked author Kami Garcia. Check out part 1 here if you missed it.

unmarkedWhat do you think would happen if Kennedy and the members of the Legion ever found themselves in the world of Gatlin?

I think the Legion members would be relieved to have Amma around for guidance. Alara’s protective wards can’t hold a candle to Amma’s. Can anyone’s? Priest could help Link pass biology and lots of his other classes, and Kennedy and Lena would definitely get along. On the other hand, I think sparks would fly between three strong personalities Ridley, Alara, and Elle.

kami garciaThere were so many delicious foods described in the BEAUTIFUL CREATURES books, and I remember in Novel Novice’s early days, you even shared a recipe for the Coca Cola Cake. Any tasty treats going to come out of the LEGION series?

Kennedy, Lukas, Jared, Alara, and Priest are on the run for most of UNBREAKABLE, so there isn’t a lot of time for cooking—though Lukas loves strawberry milkshakes, and 100 Grand is Kennedy’s favorite candy bar. I’d love to report that they spend more time cooking in UNMARKED, but the Legion series is heavier on music references than recipes.

So we know there’s one more book in the LEGION series ahead, and more in the DANGEROUS CREATURES series. What else are you working on? Can you tell us anything about your next solo project?

Right now, I’m working on proposals and sample chapters for two different ideas. It’s too soon to tell which one will become my next project. My agent, Jodi Reamer, will help me figure that part out. I’m also working on a short story for an anthology of original X-Files stories edited by Jonathan Maberry for IDW.

I am SO excited about Kami’s X-Files story, you guys!!! I was a HUGE X-Files fan in high school. Love that show!!!

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

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.


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


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

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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

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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.

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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

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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.


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.

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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.

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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.

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