Category Archives: Blog tour

Book Review: The Remedy by Suzanne Young + Blog Tour Contest

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Today’s book review is part of the official blog tour for The Remedy by Suzanne Young. Be sure to keep reading after our review for more about the book & your chance to win a copy!

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A startling premise has chilling consequences in this pulse-pounding prequel to The Program series. Suzanne Young’s The Remedy will keep readers on their toes as the circumstances that lead to The Program unfold.

The Remedy_FinalBookCover_hiresCan one girl take on so many identities without losing her own? Find out in this riveting companion to The Program and the New York Times bestselling The Treatment.

In a world before The Program.

Quinlan McKee is a closer. Since the age of seven, Quinn has held the responsibility of providing closure to grieving families with a special skill she can become anyone.

Recommended by grief counselors, Quinn is hired by families to take on the short-term role of a deceased loved one between the ages of fifteen and twenty. She’s not an exact copy, of course, but she wears their clothes and changes her hair, studies them through pictures and videos, and soon, Quinn can act like them, smell like them, and be them for all intents and purposes. But to do her job successfully, she can’t get attached.

Now seventeen, Quinn is deft at recreating herself, sometimes confusing her own past with those of the people she’s portrayed. When she’s given her longest assignment, playing the role of Catalina Barnes, Quinn begins to bond with the deceased girl’s boyfriend. But that’s only the beginning of the complications, especially when Quinn finds out the truth about Catalina’s death. And the epidemic it could start.

The Remedy is a fast-paced, sexy, and deeply thought-provoking novel — filled with richly imagined characters and intense emotions. Suzanne’s writing is engaging, as always, and the disturbing premise of “Closers” is a tantalizing beginning for this story, which offers an unsettling look at the circumstances that created The Program.

Though it’s possible to read this book without having read The Program and The Treatment, the breadcrumbs Suzanne offers for readers of the duology are deeply satisfying. It’s easy to see how The Program came to be, given the events of The Remedy. In this prequel, you see the disturbing world Suzanne imagined come full circle — and it’s fantastic to see the different pieces come together.

The Remedy is in stores now. Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks, Goodreads

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2 winners – US only

1 winner will receive a signed set of The Program, The Treatment, and The Remedy.

1 winner will receive a signed ARC of Hotel Ruby.

Enter by filling out the Rafflecopter form HERE!

about the authorSuzanne Young2Suzanne Young is the New York Times bestselling author of The Program series. Originally from Utica, New York, Suzanne moved to Arizona to pursue her dream of not freezing to death. She is a novelist and an English teacher, but not always in that order.

Suzanne is the author of THE PROGRAM, THE TREATMENT, THE REMEDY, and HOTEL RUBY. She was also on an episode of House Hunters where she talked about her love of grass and trees (while living in the desert).

Friend her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @suzanne_young.
Website | Facebook  | Twitter  | Pinterest Goodreads | Instagram

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:

Week One:

Week Two:

Zeroboxer by Fonda Lee: Posters + Desktop Wallpapers Revealed!

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Today, I’m so happy to be hosting a stop on the official blog tour for Zeroboxer by Fonda Lee — a really fun sci fi boxing romp that I just loved. For today’s post, we have a very cool poster to reveal — but first, a few words from Fonda:

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ZeroboxerIt’s been quite a crazy past couple of weeks watching Zeroboxer hit the shelves and get into the hands of readers. If you want to catch up on all guest posts, bonus content, interviews, and giveaways that have happened so far, you can find them all listed here on my website.

I’m stoked to be on Novel Novice today offering something for zeroboxing fans: fight poster wallpaper! Yeah, how could I not make epic fight posters for the big matches in Zeroboxer?

I had Dar Albert at Wicked Smart Designs help me design the logos for the two big promotion companies, the Zero Gravity Fighting Association, and the Weightless Combat Championship. Then we created posters to reflect two of the pivotal events in the book: Carr Luka’s championship fight for the lowmass title, and the Terran-Martian tournament War of the Worlds.

You can download either of these as desktop wallpaper AND you can enter the giveaway for a signed copy of the book plus both of the 13X19 inch posters. I printed these out in very limited quantity so here’s you chance to snag them.

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And now, here are the posters:

ZGFA-WCC-poster-web-copy ZGFA-web-copy
about the book

A Sci-Fi Thrill Ride Set in the Action-Packed Sports Arena of the Future

A rising star in the weightless combat sport of zeroboxing, Carr “the Raptor” Luka dreams of winning the championship title. Recognizing his talent, the Zero Gravity Fighting Association assigns Risha, an ambitious and beautiful Martian colonist, to be his brandhelm––a personal marketing strategist. It isn’t long before she’s made Carr into a popular celebrity and stolen his heart along the way.

As his fame grows, Carr becomes an inspirational hero on Earth, a once-great planet that’s fallen into the shadow of its more prosperous colonies. But when Carr discovers a far-reaching criminal scheme, he becomes the keeper of a devastating secret. Not only will his choices place everything he cares about in jeopardy, but they may also spill the violence from the sports arena into the solar system.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Powell’s

 AUTHOR BIO:

Fonda Lee writes science fiction and fantasy for teens and adults. Zeroboxer (from Flux/Llewellyn) is her debut novel. Fonda is a recovering corporate strategist, an avid martial artist, a fan of smart action movies, and an Eggs Benedict enthusiast. You can find Fonda at http://www.fondalee.com and on Twitter @fondajlee.

 Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Goodreads

Add Zeroboxer to Goodreads

For more Zeroboxer excitement, check out the other online and live launch events including readings, blog posts, interviews, giveaways, and special features.

CLICK HERE to enter to win a copy of both posters (printed copies), plus a copy of Zeroboxer!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FLASH QUESTIONS: 

Favorite villain? 

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

Pen or pencil? 

Pen. Specifically a Pilot G-2.

Favorite piece of clothing? 

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

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

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

Most recent vacation?

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

5 things that are always in your purse? 

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

Thanks for stopping by, Heather!

about the book

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

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

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

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

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

Enter by filling out the Rafflecopter form here!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

jay clark author photoAbout the Author:

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

Blog Tour Author Interview: Blue Birds author Caroline Starr Rose

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FLASH QUESTIONS:

Favorite villain? 

I don’t know. Prince Humperdinck?

Pen or pencil?

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

Favorite piece of clothing?

My red coat.

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

Blondie’s “The Tide is High”

Most recent vacation?

A summer road trip to Texas and Louisiana.

5 things that are always in your purse

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

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

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

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

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

What’s your “Winner’s Curse”? Blog Tour & Contest

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I absolutely adore Marie Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Curse and the new sequel The Winner’s Crime. These books are so seductive and entertaining (see our review of The Winner’s Crime, now in stores, here), and I am among those of you eagerly awaiting the third installment (hopefully due out next year).

So today, I am very pleased to be participating in the official blog tour for The Winner’s Crime. After today’s post, be sure to keep reading for your chance to win a copy of the book.

For this blog tour, we were asked to address the following question:

The ‘Winner’s Curse’ is an economics term that means
you’ve gotten what you wanted – but at too high a price.
What would you pay too much for?

I’m a firm believer in the ideology that you get what you pay for, so I’m usually okay paying a little more to get something that’s a better quality product. But I’m also on a budget, so I’m always looking for a good sale, winner's crimea coupon, or some kind of deal to stretch my dollar. And I’m also wary of over-priced goods … like I said, I don’t mind paying a little more for better quality, but I also don’t believe in paying too much for something if I can get it for less without sacrificing quality.

So what WOULD I pay too much for? Well, to be honest, it’s the intangible idea of longevity and health. Not just for me, but for my loved ones. Allow me to get a little personal with you: I was 11 when my dad was diagnosed with cancer. He’s okay — 20+ years later, he’s still around, and I am eternally grateful for it. But there’s also a good chance he’ll be diagnosed with another form of cancer someday, and the type of cancer he was diagnosed with all those years ago isn’t really gone. The doctors say he probably won’t die from it … but he’ll probably die with it.

So if I could guarantee that my dad wouldn’t get sick again; that he and my mom and my husband and I could stay healthy and live, if not forever, for a good long time, then I’d take that chance. I’d pay too much to make that happen. I am sometimes kept up late at night, paralyzed with an overwhelming fear about what will happen when I have to say goodbye to my parents or my husband. It leaves me a sobbing mess — and I hate it. To not have to face that again? Priceless.

Visit the other stops on The Winner’s Crime blog tour here.

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Want to win a copy of The Winner’s Crime? Just comment below & tell us what YOU’D pay too much for, then fill out the Rafflecopter form here.

U.S. only. Contest runs through midnight (PT) on Saturday, March 21st.

about the bookBook two of the dazzling Winner’s Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement…if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.

Exclusive Excerpt: The Tragic Age by Stephen Metcalfe

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Today, we are thrilled to be hosting the final stop on the pre-publication blog tour for The Tragic Age by Stephen Metcalfe, a thought-provoking new contemporary coming-of-age story in the vein of The Catcher in the Rye and King Dork.

tragic ageAs part of the blog tour, we’re excited to bring you an exclusive excerpt from the book — but first, catch up on all of the previous excerpts released so-far:

And now, here is the final excerpt from The Tragic Age:

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11

It’s twenty minutes later and I’m moving down the hall- way past the school office when I glance through the open door and see that Willard Twomey is sitting on a bench.

It’s postbell but I’m in no real rush. After lunch it’s fourth period calculus and I always take some time get- ting there because I know the teacher, Mr. Thurmond, is still in the faculty lounge sucking down his umpteenth cancer stick of the day.

Mr. Thurmond, who is heavy and sad faced, is an aspiring stand-up comedian who puts flyers of his open-mike nights on the classroom bulletin board, never realizing none of us are old enough to get in. He also uses the class to try out his material, which means he tries to make calculus funny. Calculus, which studies the limits, functions, derivatives, and integrals of numbers, is about as funny as an abscessed tooth and so is Mr. Thurmond.

“What did the zero say to the eight?” he’ll say. “Nice belt!”

“What is the first derivative of a cow?” he’ll says. “Prime rib.”

No one laughs.

Which confuses and disappoints Mr. Thurmond. And makes him anxious. Which makes him want a cigarette. Which makes him excuse himself and run down the hall to the teacher’s lounge. The class is pretty much Mr. Thurmond’s only good joke.

I stop and look around to see if anyone is coming, and when I see that no one is, I turn back and go into the school office. Except for Willard Twomey and some secretary, there’s nobody else there. I clear my throat. The secretary looks up from whatever it is she’s doing. Unprepared for the port-wine hemangioma on my face, she flinches.

“Shouldn’t you be in class?” she says. No hello, no may I help you.

“I need to see the nurse,” I say.

“For what?” she says. She seems alarmed. Like maybe a birthmark is possibly contagious.

“For a brain tumor,” I say.

Actually, I don’t say that.

“My stomach hurts,” I say. “I think I ate something at lunch.” Which is true. It was something.

The secretary sighs as if she’s besieged on a daily basis by disfigured people who have gotten sick from eating something at lunch and it’s exhausted her.

“Have a seat,” the secretary says. “I’ll see if she’s in.” She gets up and she leaves, probably down the hall to join Mr. Thurmond and the school nurse in the faculty lounge for a quick smoke.

Willard Twomey is still sitting on the long wooden bench, acting as if I’m not even there. I go over and sit down next to him, leaving room between us. Now both of us are acting as if the other isn’t there. I realize I can hear Mr. Esposito, the principal, talking on the phone in the inner office. He has a surprisingly strong, authoritative voice.

“Yes, I understand . . . No, but I do want to know who’s responsible for him . . .”

Obviously he’s talking about Willard Twomey.

“Very impressive,” I say, not looking at Willard Twomey. Willard Twomey doesn’t say anything.

“What you did in the cafeteria today.” Willard Twomey doesn’t so much as blink. “Montebello’s an idiot.”

“What are you?” says Willard Twomey. He stares straight ahead. I notice that on the back of his right hand Willard Twomey has another tattoo.

Chaos.

And on the back of his left hand yet another.

Change.

“. . . yes, well, I think we should have been informed that the young man has a juvenile record and a history of physical assault,” says Principal Esposito in his surprisingly strong voice.

“Who’s he talking to?” I say.

I don’t think Willard Twomey is going to answer. But then he does.

“My grandmother. Like she’s going to do anything but make herself another drink.” Willard Twomey sounds disgusted.

“I understand. Yes, I’m sure it is difficult for you,” says Principal Esposito’s voice, full of authority.

I don’t remember the last time I’ve done this. Maybe I never have. But I do now. I stick out my right hand.

Fact.

A handshake is a ritual in which two people grasp one another’s hands. It is thought by some to have originated as a way of saying, There is no weapon in my hand. I’m not going to cut your head off. This, of course, is unless it’s the left hand, which in many parts of the world is a way of saying, I’m going to use your head to wipe my ass.

“Billy Kinsey,” I say.

Willard Twomey looks at my outstretched right hand. And now he looks at me. At me. Willard Twomey doesn’t flinch, he doesn’t waver. He studies my face. It is rude and disconcerting to the point of panic inducing and I have to force myself not to look away. His eyes trace the periphery of my right cheek and all of a sudden that side of my face begins to burn.

Point of reference.

Dorie used to say that my birthmark lightened or darkened, ebbed and flowed in shade and intensity, according to my emotions, and that a person could tell what I was feeling just by looking at it. Which is just another reason why I always try to feel nothing at all.

Sidebar.

Dorie thought my port-wine hemangioma was beautiful.

Willard Twomey reaches out and lightly taps my open hand with a closed fist. “Twom,” he whispers. He repeats himself, says it louder. “Twom Twomey.”

“Not Willard?” I say. I make sure I sort of smile as I say it.

“Not unless you want a tray in your head.” He’s sort of smiling too. The tap with the fist, I decide, is an original way of saying, I’m not going to kill you yet.

“I look forward to meeting you as well,” we hear Esposito’s voice say. It sounds like he’s wrapping things up which means it’s time to get out of there. I stand.

“See you around,” I say.

“I thought you were sick,” says Twom Twomey.

“Miraculously cured,” I say.

I beat it out of the office into the hall. When I look back I can see Esposito standing over Twom Twomey, lecturing. Twom Twomey, looking bored to stone, is staring at Mr. Esposito’s navel. Esposito might as well be talking to the wall.

Twom. Twom as in “tomb.” A mausoleum. A place for the dead. Dad thinks I should have a new friend. I wonder what he’ll think about one who’s now baptized my open palm with the right hand of chaos.

The Tragic Age is in stores March 3rd. Here is the official synopsis:

This is the story of Billy Kinsey, heir to a lottery fortune, part genius, part philosopher and social critic, full time insomniac and closeted rock drummer. Billy has decided that the best way to deal with an absurd world is to stay away from it. Do not volunteer. Do not join in. Billy will be the first to tell you it doesn’t always work— not when your twin sister, Dorie, has died, not when your unhappy parents are at war with one another, not when frazzled soccer moms in two ton SUVs are more dangerous than atom bombs, and not when your guidance counselor keeps asking why you haven’t applied to college.

Billy’s life changes when two people enter his life. Twom Twomey is a charismatic renegade who believes that truly living means going a little outlaw. Twom and Billy become one another’s mutual benefactor and friend. At the same time, Billy is reintroduced to Gretchen Quinn, an old and adored friend of Dorie’s. It is Gretchen who suggests to Billy that the world can be transformed by creative acts of the soul.

With Twom, Billy visits the dark side. And with Gretchen, Billy experiences possibilities.Billy knows that one path is leading him toward disaster and the other toward happiness. The problem is—Billy doesn’t trust happiness. It’s the age he’s at.  The tragic age.

Stephen Metcalfe’s brilliant, debut coming-of-age novel, The Tragic Age, will teach you to learn to love, trust and truly be alive in an absurd world.

My Best Everything by Sarah Tomp Blog Tour: Guest Post & Contest

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Today, we are excited to be hosting a stop on the official blog tour for My Best Everything by Sarah Tomp. We’ve got a guest post from Sarah about the first time she saw her book’s cover, plus more about her book & your chance to win a copy! So keep reading for all of these goodies …

guest postI love my cover!

MyBestEverything_HCFrom the start of the process, I knew I was in good hands. My editor, Bethany Strout, had shared some stunning covers created by Tracy Shaw, the designer for my book. They’d also mentioned that the talented Joel Holland was working on the art and lettering. I had faith in their talents, and yet had no idea what to expect.

Early on, I received a couple of cover comps that were lovely in their own ways, but not quite right for my book. We all thought the moonshine element should be part of it, but we didn’t want to be too obvious either. The use of a mason jar was one option.

Mason jars are attractive and evocative, but I felt like I had seen them used quite a bit on covers—and really well. I wasn’t sure how we could make mine feel unique to My Best Everything.

Another image used in those initial comps was one of a truck. A lot of the story happens in, and because of, Mason’s truck. He fixes it for Lulu, teaches her to drive, and they use it to sell their moonshine. It causes trouble with his cousin, Seth. His truck is crucial! And yet, it hadn’t occurred to me that it might be included in the cover.

I received the news on the new cover design in a backward fashion. As I was leaving work one day I saw an email from my agent, Catherine Drayton, saying “My reaction is gorgeous! What about you?” before I read the email from my editor. I was too nervous to open it then, so I drove straight home, a little too fast, but not quite bootlegger style.

They were right! It was gorgeous. And perfect for my story.

It’s a simple design that looks hand-crafted and rustic—elements that would appeal to Lulu and Mason. The title, in its big loopy pink letters, is bursting with hope—and is a nod to Lulu’s best friend, Roni, who I adore.

The woods in the background are shadowed and look simultaneously ominous and romantic. And then, in the sky, that glorious gorgeous moon looms over everything, all bright and shining. And the two figures—Lulu and Mason—sitting close together on the truck, are lit up in the moonshine too.

It’s all about the moonshine, but in the most subtle of ways.

Thanks so much for helping me to celebrate on your blog!

about the bookYou say it was all meant to be. You and me. The way we met. Our secrets in the woods. Even the way it all exploded. It was simply a matter of fate.

Maybe if you were here to tell me again, to explain it one more time, then maybe I wouldn’t feel so uncertain. But I’m going back to the beginning on my own. To see what happened and why.

Luisa “Lulu” Mendez has just finished her final year of high school in a small Virginia town, determined to move on and leave her job at the local junkyard behind. So when her father loses her college tuition money, Lulu needs a new ticket out.

Desperate for funds, she cooks up the (definitely illegal) plan to make and sell moonshine with her friends, Roni and Bucky. Quickly realizing they’re out of their depth, Lulu turns to Mason: a local boy who’s always seemed like a dead end. As Mason guides Lulu through the secret world of moonshine, it looks like her plan might actually work. But can she leave town before she loses everything – including her heart?

The summer walks the line between toxic and intoxicating. My Best Everything is Lulu’s letter to Mason – though is it an apology, a good-bye, or a love letter?

In stores March 3rd
Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads

about the author

Photo by Roxyanne Young

Photo by Roxyanne Young

Sarah Tomp has a MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

My Best Everything, a novel for young adults, will be published March 2015 byLittle, Brown Books.

She is also the author of a picture book; Red, White, and Blue Good-bye   (Walker Books for Young Readers).

Sarah teaches creative writing for University of California San Diego Extension. She reviews books for Bookbrowse.com and co-authors the blog, Writing on the Sidewalk.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

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Enter to win one of 10 Finished Copies of MY BEST EVERYTHING – US Only

Enter using the Rafflecopter form HERE!

Blog Tour Schedule

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Blog Tour Interview & Contest: The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

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Today, we’re pleased to be hosting a stop on the official blog tour for The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury. Be sure to read all the way through for a great contest — but first we’ve got an exclusive Q&A with Melinda!

DaughterFrom the description, it sounds like THE SIN-EATER’S DAUGHTER has a lot of excellent fairy tale-like qualities. Where there any fairy tales or stories that inspired the book? How did the story evolve?

Yes! Little Red Riding hood, Sleeping Beauty and the Pied Piper of Hamelin particularly influenced The Sin Eater’s Daughter. I love fairy tales, I’ve always been drawn to them – especially the oldest, darkest ones. Initially I saw The Sin Eater’s Daughter as a kind of re-telling of Little Red Riding Hood, with the castle replacing the forest, and the queen replacing the wolf. But as the world expanded, that motif started to be lost in favour of my own inventions, like the religion and the Telling. The other aspects came because I realized I wanted my world to have its own fairytales – stories are the way people make sense of the world around them, the basis for morals and beliefs, and so I thought about my favourites and what the core messages in them were After a lot of playing around, I pulled out the parts I thought were creepiest and began to build my own stories around those. I find it fascinating that pretty much every culture in the world has their own fairytales and that they are surprisingly similar, despite the geographical distance. To me that shows how fundamental the fears and hopes of humans are, and I wanted to bring that out in my world.

With fantasy, you get to create your own world and your own settings. What inspired the setting for THE SIN-EATER’S DAUGHTER?

A lot of the ideas came from my two big loves, medieval history and travel. I knew it would be set in a pseudo-medieval time because I love that era, everything about it appeals to me, the hold religion had over the people, the way a ruler’s word was absolute law, the injustice, the customs, the beliefs, the food. I couldn’t explain why, but that time period has such an allure, and I wanted very much for that to be the base of The Sin Eater’s Daughter. Other elements were pulled in from my travels, particularly to Eastern Europe. There’s such a density of superstition and mythology and folklore, still in parts there today, and as I said above, fairytales have always called to me. So really it was a case of me creating a story I wanted to read!

The UK and US covers for THE SIN-EATER’S DAUGHTER are very similar, but they do have some differences. Do you prefer one over the other? What do you like about the two covers?

I cried like a child when I saw my UK one because I never ever thought I’d get that lucky. I thought I’d used all of my luck up getting an agent and then signing with Scholastic, so seeing the amazing, powerful cover Jamie Gregory had created sent me over the edge. It was largely the same reaction to the US one. I love them both, I couldn’t pick a favourite – it would be like trying to pick a favourite child. I just think it’s the most incredible thing that I have two covers!

Twylla is cursed with a deadly power that leaves her very isolated. What “super power” do you think she’d rather possess?

I think she’d want flight. For her, the concept of being free seems so far away, so unlikely that I think if she was given the chance to change it, she would. I think she’d love to be able to fly, and just takes to the skies when things got too much.

For readers unsure whether they want to read THE SIN-EATER’S DAUGHTER, give us your 140-character “Twitter” pitch!

Twylla is, and has always been, an agent of death. Both feted and hated, she’s painfully lonely. Until her new guard tries to befriend her…

In the kingdom of Lormere Twylla is, and always has been, an agent of death.

FLASH QUESTIONS:

Favorite decade?

1482-1485

Must-have writing snack?

Cadbury Twirl

Favorite Disney movie?

Mulan

The beach or the mountains?

Beach

Song that can always get you dancing?

“500 Miles (I Would Walk)”

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

Pillows, quilt, red furry throw, computer, me.

about the book

Seventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, Twylla isn’t exactly a member of the court.

She’s the executioner.

As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla’s fatal touch, avoids her company.

But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Yet Twylla’s been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen.

However, a treasonous secret is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?

Available February 24th. Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads

about the author

MelindaMelinda Salisbury lives by the sea, somewhere in the south of England. As a child she genuinely thought Roald Dahl’s Matilda was her biography, in part helped by her grandfather often mistakenly calling her Matilda, and the local library having a pretty cavalier attitude to the books she borrowed. Sadly she never manifested telekinetic powers. She likes to travel, and have adventures. She also likes medieval castles, non-medieval aquariums, Richard III, and all things Scandinavian. The Sin Eater’s Daughter is her first novel, and will be published by Scholastic in 2015. She is represented by the amazing Claire Wilson at Rogers, Coleridge and White.

She tweets. A lot.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Tumblr | Instagram | Pinterest

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Enter to win one of 5 finished copies of THE SIN EATER’S DAUGHTER. US Only.

Fill out the Rafflecopter form HERE to get started.

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:

Week One:

Week Two:

Blog Tour Book Review & Contest: The Third Twin by C.J. Omololu

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Today, I am so thrilled & so honored to be part of the official blog tour for The Third Twin by C.J. Omololu.

You may have heard CJ’s story. She’s an amazing author with amazing friends who are supporting her as she battles Stage 4 colon cancer that has spread to her brain, hips, spinal cord, and several organs. Until recently we weren’t sure if CJ would make it to the release date of The Third Twin, but with the help of some modern medicine, and a whole lot of good thoughts and prayers – it looks like things are good to go for the big day.

That’s why I’m so pleased today to be able to do just a small part to help support this book and the amazing, strong woman who wrote it. Cancer sucks. CJ ROCKS!

Be sure to check out our review, then keep reading for your chance to win one of several AMAZING prize packs!!!

BOOK REVIEWOmol_9780385744522_jkt_all_r1.inddAn edge of your seat thriller awaits readers within the pages of The Third Twin by C.J. Omololu, which follows sisters Lexi and Ava, as they face the terrifying consequences of a childhood prank taken too far. As kids, they blamed a fake “third twin” – Alicia – for any trouble they got into. As teens, they use “Alicia” to date boys they’re not serious about. But when one of those boys turns up dead, the sisters begin to suspect each other … or wonder whether “Alicia” is actually real.

Omololu builds a realistic mystery, that is gripping and engaging. Readers will race through the pages, as eager as Lexi is to solve the puzzle of “Alicia” and the murder. And though she places clues throughout the book, the ultimate twist is a good one and not easy to guess (I didn’t). Readers will have their suspicions, but it’s not until all is finally revealed that the full picture becomes clear.

Suspense and intrigue keep the pages turning, but it’s the relationship between the sisters that gives the story heart. An engaging and thoughtful read, The Third Twin is in stores February 24th.

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PRE-ORDER a SIGNED copy of THE THIRD TWIN from A Great Good Place for Books
By calling: (510) 339-8210 or e-mailing them at: books@ggpbooks.com

about the bookIdentical twins. Identical DNA. Identical suspects. It’s Pretty Little Liarsmeets Revenge in this edge-of-your-seat thriller with a shocking twist.

When they were little, Lexi and her identical twin, Ava, made up a third sister, Alicia. If something broke? Alicia did it. Cookies got eaten? Alicia’s guilty. Alicia was always to blame for everything. The game is all grown up now that the girls are seniors. They use Alicia as their cover to go out with boys who are hot but not exactly dating material. Boys they’d never, ever be with in real life.

Now one of the guys Alicia went out with has turned up dead, and Lexi wants to stop the game for good. As coincidences start piling up, Ava insists that if they follow the rules for being Alicia, everything will be fine. But when another boy is killed, the DNA evidence and surveillance photos point to only one suspect: Alicia. The girl who doesn’t exist. As she runs from the cops, Lexi has to find the truth before another boy is murdered. Because either Ava is a killer…or Alicia is real.

Amazon |B&N | Kobo | Goodreads

about the authorcynthia Photo Robin Mellom 2-24-11CJ OMOLOLU is the author of the ALA-YALSA Quick Pick Dirty Little Secrets and several other YA novels. She loved to read but never thought to write until she discovered that the voices in her head often have interesting things to say. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and their two sons. Visit her online at www.cjomololu.com and follow her on Twitter @cjomololu.

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25 Prizes. 16 Winners. One Huge Giveaway filled with signed books, gift cards + more!

Must be 13 + To Enter. Shipping restrictions are listed after each prize in the form, All open to US, some open INTL. | One entry per person, per household.

Fill out the Rafflecopter form HERE to enter.