Category Archives: Blog tour

Book Review: All We Have is Now by Lisa Schroeder

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I am so thrilled today to be hosting a stop on the official blog tour for ALL WE HAVE IS NOW by Lisa Schroeder. Be sure to keep reading after our review for your chance to win a copy of the book, or a Powell’s gift card!

An ultimately uplifting story about second chances and making the most of what you’ve got, All We Have is Now by Lisa Schroeder is the end-of-the-world story you didn’t know you needed.

all we have is nowWhat do you do with your last day on earth?

Just over twenty-four hours are left until an asteroid strikes North America, and for Emerson and everyone else who didn’t leave, the world will end. But Emerson’s world already ended when she ran away from home. Since then, she has lived on the streets, relying on her wits and on her friend Vince to help her find places to sleep and food to eat.

The city’s quieter now that most people are gone, and no one seems to know what to do as the end approaches. But then Emerson and Vince meet Carl, who tells them he has been granting people’s wishes — and gives them his wallet full of money.

Suddenly, this last day seems full of possibility. Emerson and Vince can grant a lot of wishes in one last day — maybe even their own.

Amazon | B&N| Goodreads

So what would YOU do if you had only 24 hours left to live? It’s a terrifying thought — and Schroeder tackles this terror head-on through her characters in All We Have is Now. The range of emotions they experience — so honest and raw — and relatable to anyone who has ever thought about the eventual end of their lives. (And don’t we all think about our mortality at some time?)

Schroeder’s approach to the end of the world is refreshingly optimistic, and her story is an ultimately hopeful and uplifting one. Even as the world devolves into chaos — and the end does NOT bring out the best in everyone — Schroeder shows ways to make the most of what you are given. Her characters seize the opportunity to make their final hours count, and try and improve the lives of those around them as best they can.

Connecting Schroeder’s story, written in traditional prose, are several beautiful passages in verse. These passages serve almost as landmarks in the story, and add an unexpected grace and beauty to the book. Some of my favorite parts of All We Have is Now are from the verse chapters. They are just so lovely.

An inspiring story about cherishing the intangible, important things in life, All We Have is Now is in stores now.

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WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING

“Thoughtful, endearing, and surprisingly fun — a reminder of what’s really important in life.”

–Suzanne Young, New York Times bestselling author of The Program

“All We Have Is Now is one of those books my teenage self needed — a thoughtfully crafted reminder that every moment is a gift and that we should be kind, especially to ourselves.”

–Julie Murphy, author of Side Effects May Vary

“Heartwarming and hopeful. I’d take this book with me to the apocalypse!”

–Amy Plum, internationally bestselling author of the Die for Me series

FROM LISA

How did the idea for ALL WE HAVE IS NOW come about?

lisa schroederWhen I was in high school, I had a leadership class where we did lots of different activities and exercises. One of the most memorable ones was when we all sat in a circle and our teacher, Mrs. Smith, said something like: “Imagine the world is going to end in 24 hours. I’d like you to share with us how you would spend those last 24 hours.” What made it so memorable was how emotional people got as they spoke of the ones they love the most, or relatives they hadn’t seen in a while and wouldn’t be able to see again. It wasn’t long before almost everyone was crying. It was strange and kind of eerie, but also wonderful, because it was such a great reminder of what matters most. Of course, the class clown, a kid named Eric, gave us all a break from our tears when it was his turn and he said something like, “I’d find a girl and we would have a fun 24 hours, and that’s all I’m gonna say.”

I’ve always been fascinated with meteors and asteroids. The one that happened over Russia in 2013 was slightly terrifying, seeming to come out of nowhere and creating a huge blast in the sky, injuring over 130 people. As I thought about writing a book that dealt with that question of – how would you spend the last 24 hours – this seemed like a unique premise to play with.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lisa Schroeder is the author of over a dozen books for kids and teens, including the YA novels I Heart You, You Haunt Me and The Bridge From Me to You. She loves tea and cookies, flowers, family hikes, books and movies that make her laugh and cry, and sunshine. Living in Oregon, she doesn’t get nearly enough sunshine, but the hikes are amazing. You can visit her online at http://www.lisaschroederbooks.com on Twitter at @lisa_schroeder.

Visit Lisa Online: Website | Facebook | Twitter

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The author will be giving away $40 Powells e-gift card (US) OR a signed copy of All We Have Is Now (INT) to the winner of the below Rafflecopter. The giveaway ends August 5th.

Fill out the Rafflecopter form HERE!

 

Book Review: The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss

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We are so excited today to be hosting one of the stops on the tour celebrating the release of Dr. Seuss’s new book!

what pet should i getThe manuscript & illustrations for What Pet Should I Get? were discovered in the home of the late author back in Fall of 2013. With today’s publication, it becomes the first original new Dr. Seuss book to be published since 1990’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go.

Featuring the brother & sister from Dr. Seuss’s One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, What Pet Should I Get? captures the excitement of a classic childhood moment, choosing a pet.

To celebrate its release, we’re joining up with 43 other bloggers to review Dr. Seuss’s first 44 books.

butter battle bookThis was such a treat for me, given what a huge role these books played in my childhood. When asked which book I wanted to review, my first pick was The Butter Battle Book. I have so many fond memories of this book, and the animated adaptation I used to watch on TV — with the catchy “Butter Side Up/Butter Side Down” song.

Reading the book years later as an adult, I was MUCH more aware of the political aspect of the book. I remembered enough of the story that I expected as much — but what I did not remember was the book being so grim! As the conflict between the Zooks and the Yooks escalates, each sides takes more dramatic — and more violent — means to win their bread buttering dispute.

It’s interesting to me that the GoodReads description for this book emphasizes that The Butter Battle Book is about teaching tolerance and acceptance, when it’s actually well-known that Dr. Seuss wrote this book as a very loosely-veiled anti-war manifesto. (It was published during the peak of the Cold War.)

Given the historical context, and reading the book as an adult, I had a VERY different experience than when I enjoyed The Butter Battle Book as a child. That said, this grim, anti-war satire is a good way to broach the difficult subject matter of war with children.

Dr. Seuss 44 Classic Book Celebratory Tour
  1. And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, 1937 – The Young Folks.com
  2. The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, 1938 – Bookish Antics
  3. The Seven Lady Godivas, 1939 – The Eater of Books
  4. The King’s Stilts, 1939 – On Starships and Dragonwings
  5. Horton Hatches the Egg, 1940 – The Book Cellar
  6. McElligot’s Pool, 1947 – Media Mikes
  7. Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose, 1948 –Mommie of 2
  8. Bartholomew and the Oobleck, 1949 – Nonperfect Parenting
  9. If I Ran the Zoo, 1950 – Live to Read
  10. Scrambled Eggs Super! 1953 – Word Spelunking
  11. Horton Hears a Who! 1954 – Bookiemoji
  12. On Beyond Zebra! 1955 – Jessabella Reads
  13. If I Ran the Circus, 1956 – Book Hounds
  14. The Cat in the Hat, 1957 – The Bookbag
  15. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! 1957 – Nightly Reading
  16. The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, 1958 – Winter Haven Books
  17. Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories, 1958 – Alice Marvels
  18. Happy Birthday to You! 1959 – Chapter by Chapter
  19. Green Eggs and Ham, 1960 – Poland Bananas
  20. One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, 1960 – Once Upon a Twilight
  21. The Sneetches and Other Stories, 1961 – The Mod Podge Bookshelf
  22. Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book, 1962 – Good Books and Good Wine
  23. Dr. Seuss’s ABC, 1963 – The Irish Banana
  24. Hop on Pop, 1963 – Mundie Moms
  25. Fox in Socks, 1965 – Page Turners
  26. I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew, 1965 – Book Rock Betty
  27. The Cat in the Hat Songbook, 1967 – Giveaway Train
  28. The Foot Book, 1968 – I Am A Reader
  29. I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today! And Other Stories, 1969 – Cuddlebuggery
  30. I Can Draw It Myself, 1970 – The Children’s Book Review
  31. Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? 1970 – Curling Up with a Good Book
  32. The Lorax, 1971 – Elizziebooks
  33. Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! 1972 – Reading with ABC
  34. Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? 1973 – Me, Myshelf, and I
  35. The Shape of Me and Other Stuff, 1973 – Paperback Princess
  36. There’s a Wocket in My Pocket! 1974 – Presenting Lenore
  37. Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! 1975 – YA Books Central
  38. The Cat’s Quizzer, 1976 – Lille Punkin’
  39. I Can Read with My Eyes Shut! 1978 – Confessions Of A Vi3tbabe
  40. Oh Say Can You Say? 1979 – Ex Libris
  41. Hunches in Bunches, 1982 – No BS Book Reviews
  42. The Butter Battle Book, 1984 – Novel Novice
  43. You’re Only Old Once! 1986 – Dad of Divas
  44. Oh, the Places You’ll Go! 1990  – Jesse the Reader

ABOUT DR. SEUSS

Dr SeussTheodor “Seuss” Geisel is one of the most beloved children’s book authors of all time. His long list of awards includes Caldecott Honors for McElligot’s Pool, If I Ran the Zoo, and Bartholomew and the Oobleck, the Pulitzer Prize, and eight honorary doctorates. Works based on his original stories have won three Oscars, three Emmys, three Grammys and a Peabody. Geisel wrote and illustrated 45 books during his lifetime, and his books have sold more than 650 million copies worldwide. Though Theodor Geisel died on September 24, 1991, Dr. Seuss lives on, inspiring generations of children of all ages to explore the joys of reading. For more information about Dr. Seuss and his works, visit Seussville.com.

ABOUT WHAT PET SHOULD I GET?

In the Fall of 2013, an original manuscript with accompanying sketches by Dr. Seuss, aka Ted Geisel, was discovered in the La Jolla, California home of the late beloved children’s author. That complete manuscript was for the picture book, WHAT PET SHOULD I GET?, and will be published by Random House Children’s Books on July 28, 2015. It is the first original new Dr. Seuss book since the publication of the last book of Dr. Seuss’s career, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! in 1990. WHAT PET SHOULD I GET? captures the excitement of a classic childhood moment—choosing a pet—and features the brother and sister characters that Dr. Seuss drew in One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.

Blog Tour Guest Post & Contest: You & Me & Him by Kris Dinnison

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Today, we are excited to share an exclusive guest post from You & Me & Him author Kris Dinnison as part of the official blog tour. AND we’ve got a chance for you to win a copy of the book, too – so be sure to keep reading all the way through today’s post for details!

guest postThe Book that Most Impacted Your Life
by Kris Dinnison

 

KrisThis has got to be one of the toughest questions for a book lover to answer. How do you pick just one? When someone asked him what his favorite book was, Charlie, the main character in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” said, “The last one I read.” And I really do feel that way sometimes.

But there are some books that I go back to again and again for various reasons. Jane Austen is a favorite of mine for her wry wit and social criticism. Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger is one of my favorite stories of family disfunction and growing up. And I am in love with the novels of E.M. Forster, which I discovered when I was a senior in high school and have re-read ever since. But when I think about impact on my life, I have to say Chris Crutcher’s novels stand out as being immensely important to the path I have taken.

You and Me and Him Cover_hres            I was first introduced to Chris’ novels as a teacher at an alternative high school in 1995. He was already more than a decade into his career writing for young adults, basically inventing the young adult novel as he wrote each book. The only other thing I remember reading at the time that even came close was Francesca Lia Block’s Weetzie Bat. Anyway, the school I was working at was using Staying Fat For Sarah Byrnes in the curriculum.

I read the story, which broke my heart, in one night. Watching this friendship between Sarah, disfigured by burns when she was three, and Moby, who was overweight and outcast growing up, was a revelation. Chris never shies away from violence and controversy, choosing instead to portray humanity at it’s best and worst through the wrenching, complex interactions of his characters. And seeing the way he allows his characters and their relationships to grow and evolve as they navigate high school and the world’s cruelty brought into stark relief for me the idea that these stories about teenagers had magnitude and sharp edges and deep heart.

The power of Chris’s writing became even more evident as I worked with students around the novel. The alternative school kids I taught saw themselves in the characters. For many of them it was the first time they had ever recognized their own lives in a story. It helped them see that there might be strength and hope in places they hadn’t considered before. And it made them want to read other stories about people like them. That was so powerful, and it made me see not only the impact but the importance of stories for young adults.

By the time I started writing my book, a decade and a half after first reading Chris Crutcher’s work, young adult literature had already taken root as a powerhouse in publishing. Chris’s books forged a trail through the publishing industry, acting as a beacon for writers like myself who wanted to find those stories that would feel true and important to teen readers and anyone else who found them. And he’s still writing and speaking truth to power in a voice that resonates with readers of all ages. I am immensely grateful for his books, and for his work as a pioneer in the world of young adult stories. Without first having read his books, I might never have written mine.

about the book“Do not ignore a call from me when you know I am feeling neurotic about a boy. That is Best Friend 101.” —Nash

Maggie and Nash are outsiders. She’s overweight. He’s out of the closet. The best of friends, they have seen each other through thick and thin, but when Tom moves to town at the start of the school year, they have something unexpected in common: feelings for the same guy. This warm, witty novel—with a clear, true voice and a clever soundtrack of musical references—sings a song of love and forgiveness.

In stores July 7th.

Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksGoodreads

about the authorKris Dinnison learned to read when she was five years old. She grew up reading books nobody else had read and listening to music nobody else had heard of and thinking she was weird, which she kind of was. She spent nearly two decades as a teacher and librarian working with students from kindergarten to graduate school. The bulk of that time she spent teaching High School English while dreaming of becoming a writer. Nowadays, when she’s not writing, she helps run her family’s retail and café businesses. She lives and writes in Spokane, Washington.

Where you can fine Kris: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Instagram | Goodreads

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3 winners will receive a finished copy of YOU AND ME AND HIM. US Only.

Enter by filling out the Rafflecopter form HERE!

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

Week One:

Week Two:

The Vanishing Island Blog Tour: Flash Questions with Barry Wolverton

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Today, we are so pleased to be hosting a stop — the FINAL stop — on the official blog tour for The Vanishing Island by Barry Wolverton.

For today’s stop, Barry stopped by with his responses to some of our favorite FLASH QUESTIONS! Check out his answers below, then keep reading to learn more about The Vanishing Island, in stores September 1st.

Barry Wolverton Author PhotoFavorite villain?

Montgomery Burns, The Simpsons

Pen or pencil?

Pen

Favorite piece of clothing?

A vintage-thrift-store-find Schott NYC leather jacket

Song you can’t get out of your head right now? Autumn Leaves (the Miles Davis recording)

Most recent vacation?

New York, in February, for my girlfriend’s birthday

5 things that are always on your desk or in your backpack?

On my desk: Paper & Clay handmade ceramics; Macbook; Peterson Field Guide to Birds of the Eastern U.S. + binoculars (my office looks out into my wooded backyard); books; Charlie, aka Mr. Grey, my cat who helpfully keeps papers and whatnot from flying off my desk by sprawling all over them.

about the bookvanishing islandDoes  the Vanishing Island really exist? And if so, what treasure—or terrible secret—was hidden by its disappearance?

It’s 1599, the Age of Discovery in Europe. But for Bren Owen, growing up in the small town of Map on the coast of Britannia has meant anything but adventure. Enticed by the tales sailors have brought through Map’s port, and inspired by the arcane maps his father creates as a cartographer for the cruel and charismatic map mogul named Rand McNally, Bren is convinced that fame and fortune await him elsewhere. That is, until his repeated attempts to run away land him a punishment worse than death—cleaning up the town vomitorium.

It is there that Bren meets a dying sailor, who gives him a strange gift that hides a hidden message. Cracking the code could lead Bren to a fabled lost treasure that could change his life forever, and that of his widowed father. But to get there he will have to tie his fate to a mysterious Dutch admiral obsessed with a Chinese legend about an island that long ago disappeared from any map.

Before long, Bren is in greater danger than he ever imagined, and will need the help of an unusual friend named Mouse to survive. Barry Wolverton’s thrilling adventure spans oceans and cultures, brings together the folklore of East and West, and proves that fortune is always a double-edged sword.

about the authorbarry wolvertonBarry Wolverton is the author of Neversink. He has more than fifteen years’ experience creating books, documentary television scripts, and website content for international networks and publishers, including National Geographic, Scholastic.com, the Library of Congress, and the Discovery Networks. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee. You can visit him online at www.barrywolverton.com.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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Be sure to visit the rest of the blog tour stops for more great content & chances to win a signed advanced copy of The Vanishing Island:

6/15/2015 Blue Stocking Thinking                  bluestockingthinking.blogspot.com
6/16/2015 The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia    hauntedorchid.blogspot.com
6/17/2015 Small Review                               smallreview.blogspot.com
6/18/2015 Maria’s Melange                         www.mariaselke.com/
6/19/2015 Unleashing Readers                    unleashingreaders.com
6/19/2015 The Hiding Spot                             ​thehidingspot.blogspot.com
6/22/2015 This Kid Reviews Books              thiskidreviewsbooks.com
6/23/2015 Mundie Kids                                http://mundiekids.blogspot.com/
6/24/2015 Page in Training                        https://pageintraining.wordpress.com
6/25/2015 Novel Novice                              novelnovice.com

Blog Tour Ten Random Things + Contest: Amber Smoke by Kristin Cast

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Today, we’re thrilled to be participating in the official blog tour for Amber Smoke by Kristin Cast. If that name sounds familiar to you, it should: Kristin is one-half of the mother-daughter author team behind the best-selling House of Night series (along with Kristin’s mom, P.C. Cast).

For today’s post, we have ten random things about Kristin, from Kristin herself:

  1. I have 4 tattoos.
  2. I’m vegan.
  3. I twirl my hair when I’m tired or daydreaming.
  4. In middle school, I thought it would be super cool to have a retainer, so I begged my mom to take me to the dentist to get one. She did not.
  5. I can’t parallel park.
  6. I love pickles, but hate cucumbers.
  7. I have a hard time falling asleep if the TV isn’t on.
  8. Matt Smith is my favorite Doctor. (It may have something to do with my love for River, Amy, and Rory.)
  9. I jump on a mini trampoline for at least 10 minutes everyday.
  10. I’m always surprised by how beautiful the sky is.

Amber smoke_approved_hi resAmber Smoke is the first book in Kristin’s new solo series, The Escaped, which was released in stores this week. Here’s more about it:

There is a world that runs parallel to our own, a world in which the souls of the damned are caged, where they are looked over by the Furies, and where they spend eternity in torment, mirroring the devastation and mayhem they created when alive.

Someone has opened the cage.

The worst of terrors has crossed the barrier that separates our world from theirs, and the Furies send a great, albeit untested warrior—their only son, Alek—to try to bring those souls back.  He is young and handsome, headstrong and impulsive, and he won’t be able to do it alone.

Eva has grown up, beautiful and beloved, but surrounded by secrets.  First, she will be hunted in an ancient feud that will threaten her life.  Then, she will become the hunter.

With the police closing in and two worlds on the verge of crumbling around them, Alek and Eva must find each other, discover the limits of their powers, and work together to save everything they hold dear, including one another.  Blending elements of mythology with the dazzling storytelling that her fans have devoured through the House of Night series, Kristin Cast weaves a spellbinding and passionate tale that starts a thrilling new series with an explosive charge.

Goodreads | Booklaunch | Pinterest | Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

PRAISE

Amber Smoke is thrilling and funny with just the right amount of magic. Brilliant job, Kristin Cast!” —Kresley Cole, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“I love Kristin Cast! In Amber Smoke, Cast’s wit, creativity and talent shine!  I turned the pages at lightning speed, ready for more! What a tasty treat!” —Gena Showalter, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kristin Cast is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who teamed with her mother to write the wildly successful House of Night series. She has editorial credits, a thriving t-shirt line, and a passion for all things paranormal. When away from her writing desk, Kristin loves relaxing with her significant other and their dogs, and discovering new hobbies. This year she’ll work on swimming, yoga, and adding to her Doctor Who collection.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | YouTube

GIVEAWAY

One winner will get: (One) signed copy of the book (print), $50 Nook gift card,  temporary tattoo metallic (book inspired object). US only.

Enter by filling out the Rafflecopter form HERE!

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Circus Mirandus Blog Tour: Q&A with Cassie Beasley

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Today, we are so pleased to be kicking off the official blog tour for Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley, a charming new middle grade book that’s described as a mix between “Big Fish, The Night Circus, and Roald Dahl.”

We’ll have more about the book later in this post, but first, here is our exclusive Q&A with author Cassie Beasley:

circus mirandusFor readers who haven’t heard about CIRCUS MIRANDUS, can you give us your 140-character “Twitter pitch” for the story?

Micah Tuttle wants to save his grandpa’s life, but first he must find Circus Mirandus and the magician who owes his grandpa a miracle.

Micah and his Grandpa Ephraim believe in magic. Do you believe in magic? Where/how do you see magic in the world?

Of course I believe in magic! Or at least I believe in a certain kind of it. :)

My favorite magic in the book is actually the magic between Micah and Jenny Mendoza because that’s something we can find (and create ourselves) in the real world. It’s a sort of magic when two people who are very different and who disagree on something so important are willing to accept each other and meet in the middle. Jenny doesn’t believe in Circus Mirandus. Micah does. But neither one of them lets that get in the way of their growing friendship.

cassie beasleyWhere did the Circus Mirandus come from? What inspired it?

The Man Who Bends Light—the magician who promised Grandpa Ephraim a miracle when he was a boy—came first, I guess, if only by a millisecond, and the circus built itself around him. I knew I wanted to write about Micah and his grandfather and this magical encounter that changed both of their lives. The circus and the Lightbender go hand in hand. When I started fleshing out the world of the circus even more, I based the setting on the various magicians who inhabit it.

Not all authors set out to write for children and young adults — but you did! What inspires you to write for younger readers?

To some extent, it’s a matter of going along with the story that chooses you. Most of the ideas that come to me when I’m daydreaming are better suited to younger audiences. I also think it’s important to write what you most love, and I happen to love YA and MG novels!

The movie rights for CIRCUS MIRANDUS sold even before the book came out – congrats! We know selling the movie rights doesn’t always mean a movie will be made — but assuming the best, what is one moment from the book you’re most anticipating seeing brought to life?

Thank you! It’s so exciting! The part I’m most looking forward to is too spoilery to share here, but the runner-up has to be the moment when the circus first appears. It’s preceded by a fierce wind, and then the younger version of Ephraim sees it for the first time. I want to see it with him. I want to hear the music calling me toward it. I don’t know what it might feel like to see the circus brought to life on screen, but I can’t imagine it being anything less than purely magical.

FLASH QUESTIONS:

Favorite villain?

Cruella de Vil (the book version)

Pen or pencil?

Pen! Preferably blue.

 

Favorite piece of clothing?

Not to brag or anything, but I have a pajama set covered in Weeping Angels and TARDISes. And if any Doctor Who fans out there know for sure how to pluralize TARDIS, that is information I need in my life.

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

 “Polaroid” by Imagine Dragons

Most recent vacation?

I went on a writing retreat with my sister to Jekyll Island, Georgia! I’m not much of a beachgoer, so I spent most of the time sitting on the porch under the live oak trees.

5 things that are always in your purse

Hand sanitizer. Cell phone. Lipstick. Ear plugs because I like to go to the movies, but the local theater keeps the volume so high that the seats vibrate. And pens of course. You can never have too many pens.

Thanks, Cassie, for stopping by. Circus Mirandus is in stores tomorrow. Here’s more about it:

Do you believe in magic?
Micah Tuttle does.

Even though his awful Great-Aunt Gertrudis doesn’t approve, Micah believes in the stories his dying Grandpa Ephraim tells him of the magical Circus Mirandus: the invisible tiger guarding the gates, the beautiful flying birdwoman, and the magician more powerful than any other—the Man Who Bends Light. Finally, Grandpa Ephraim offers proof. The Circus is real. And the Lightbender owes Ephraim a miracle. With his friend Jenny Mendoza in tow, Micah sets out to find the Circus and the man he believes will save his grandfather.

The only problem is, the Lightbender doesn’t want to keep his promise. And now it’s up to Micah to get the miracle he came for.

The Last Good Day of the Year by Jessica Warman: Blog Tour Q&A + Contest

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Today, we’re excited to be hosting the final stop on the official blog tour for The Last Good Day of the Year by Jessica Warman, a ripped-from-the-headlines style quiet thriller that’s in stores now. For today’s post, we have an exclusive Q&A with Jessica, plus your chance to win a copy of the book.

last good day of the yearTHE LAST GOOD DAY OF THE YEAR has an almost “ripped from the headlines” feel to it, since there have (sadly) been plenty of similar cases of child abduction & murder that have been highly publicized over the years. Did any real-life cases inspire the book?

I did tons of research into real-life cases throughout the whole process, and I think anyone with even a casual knowledge of the most famous kidnappings in the past thirty years or so will be able to spot those details.  There’s even a minor storyline that lines up chronologically with the date of what is probably this country’s most infamous real-life unsolved murder, although you have to really be paying close attention to spot it. It’s sort of like an Easter Egg.  It’s a creepy little detail that would be easy to miss, but I think it makes the whole story more compelling. So there wasn’t any single influence tied to reality, but it’s undeniably present.

jessica warmanWhat sort of research went into writing THE LAST GOOD DAY OF THE YEAR?

There was a commercial a few years ago where a guy is sitting at his computer and the screen reads “you have reached the end of the internet.  You have seen everything there is to see on the internet.”  I’m not sure what the advertisers were trying to accomplish, because I think most people hope to God they’ll never have to see a majority of what’s available online.  There’s some heinous stuff.  I have a point, though:  I got to a point with my research that I felt like I’d read about every major kidnapping in the past hundred years.  My entire state of mind, for a good year or so, was saturated with a constant barrage of the most heartbreaking details you can imagine.  It got to the point where I’d struggle to find new cases and information, which made me think of the commercial I mentioned earlier.  I’ve always been interested in the macabre, but it’s become much harder for me to consume any true crime-related media now.  These are real people’s lives, and it’s uncomfortable to think about being entertained by their suffering.

I think it’s interesting how the true crime writer plays such a quiet — and yet ultimately critical role in Sam’s uncovering of the truth. Do you think such books/authors — and media coverage in general — can help or hinder investigations, like the one in THE LAST GOOD DAY OF THE YEAR?

I think they can be helpful, sure.   I think most people who write true crime books, folks who maintain websites devoted to unsolved crimes, and other armchair detectives have good intentions for the most part.  The internet has made the world seem much smaller than ever before, and it has never been easier to spread information quickly.  At first it seems like a no-brainer that more information about unsolved crimes or missing people can only help to spread awareness and eventually solve those cases.  But there’s always some inevitable distortion of the facts as they’re spreading, and it can become like an enormous game of telephone; the more notorious a crime, the more garbled the facts can get.  Even if they’re not deliberately warping their version of the story, most people – well-intentioned or not – have an agenda that ends up shaping their interpretation of things.  A big part of what this book is likes to about is the idea that truth is more flexible than anyone admit.  Every one of us is constantly filtering reality through our unique perspective that makes objectivity impossible… the more you think about it (and trust me, I have spent many afternoons and late nights going down the rabbit hole of this in my own head), the more nebulous any kind of “truth” becomes.  But even in that downside, there’s an upside:  it’s kind of why the “ask the audience” lifeline on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? works most of the time.

Obviously this book covers some very difficult subject matter. Tell us about the process of writing about something so dark — and how you balanced it with lighter elements.

Oh man, I hope I managed to balance the darkness with at least a few lighter notes.  I’m proud of this book….  But there’s a reason why it took me two years to complete (which is way longer than it’s ever taken me to finish a book.  Like, way longer; my publisher had to push back the release date more than once, even though it’s my shortest novel.):  It is hella dark.  Sometimes I’d read over my work for the day and I’d end up wracking my brain for hints of a repressed childhood trauma that could have sparked my interest in such bleak stories.   It didn’t help that I moved from Pennsylvania to Texas with my husband and kids right around the time I started working on the first draft.  I didn’t know a soul, so I sort of turned inward and kept my head down as much as possible for the first few months as I tried to finish the manuscript.  There were multiple days in a row when I didn’t leave the house.  Things got a little hairy, emotional health-wise.  There’s humor in the book, but it was hard to gauge how much would make the story bearable by adding moments of breathing room, versus what might seem tone-deaf or jarring to readers.  My real-life sense of humor is sarcastic and dry, and can be unsettlingly dark on my happiest of days, so it was a constant struggle to stay on track and keep myself from spiraling down the drain.

FLASH QUESTIONS:

Favorite villain?

Hannibal Lechter

Pen or pencil?

Pen

Favorite piece of clothing? 

My Jackie Onassis pink Chanel suit with a pillbox hat.  I’ve never worn it in public (still waiting for an appropriate occasion), but sometimes I wear it while I’m puttering around my house and pretend that I’m Jackie Kennedy, folding laundry and doing dishes or whatever.

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

“The Last Good Day of the Year,” by Cousteau!  I listened to it multiple times each day while I was writing the book.

Most recent vacation?

I went to Eleuthera, Bahamas with my husband and kids over Christmas.  It’s a tiny island, less than two miles across at its widest point and about 100 miles long.  We spent the week in near-total seclusion, which is my definition of a dream vacation.  And the sand was pink!

5 things that are always in your purse

Let me take a look.  (Dumps purse onto desk):

  1. At least one book.  Currently I have two: Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankel, and The Art of Loving by Erich Fromme
  2. Dental floss.  I floss at least 2-3 times daily.  It’s starting to be kind of a problem.
  3. My wallet
  4. At least a few ponytail holders; usually a dozen or more
  5. My inhaler, for my asthma

 

contest2
Thanks to Bloomsbury, we are giving away one copy of THE LAST GOOD DAY OF THE YEAR. Contest is US only; must be 13 years or older to enter.

Fill out the Rafflecopter form HERE to get started.

about the book

A new powerful thriller from the globally-embraced author of Between.

Ten years ago, in the early hours of New Year’s Day, seven-year-old Samantha and her next door neighbor, Remy, watched as a man broke into Sam’s home and took her younger sister, Turtle, from her sleeping bag. Remy and Sam, too afraid to intervene at the time, later identified the man as Sam’s sister Gretchen’s much older ex-boyfriend, Steven, who was sent to prison for Turtle’s murder.

Now, Sam’s shattered family is returning to her childhood home in an effort to heal. As long-buried memories begin to surface, Sam wonders if she and Remy accurately registered everything they saw. The more they re-examine the events of that fateful night, the more questions they discover about what really happened to Turtle.

Master storyteller Jessica Warman keeps readers guessing in this arresting page-turner.

about the authorJESSICA WARMAN is the author of Breathless, Where the Truth Lies, Between, and Beautiful Lies, which have received seven starred reviews among them. Between was published in a total of twelve countries around the world. Jessica has an MA in creative writing and recently moved to Houston, Texas. Find her online at http://www.jessicawarman.com and on twitter @jkwarman.

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

The Good Girls by Sara Shepard: Exclusive Video & Giveaway

videos
Today, we’re thrilled to be bringing you an exclusive video (AND a contest) for the blog tour for The Good Girls by Sara Shepard, the sequel (and conlusion) to The Perfectionists. Sara is also the author of the Pretty Little Liars series (yes, the same one the TV show is based on) and The Lying Game series, among other books.

The Good Girls picks up where The Perfectionists left off, with Mackenzie, Ava, Caitlin, Julie, and Parker trying to figure out who killed Nolan Hotchkiss — as well as the other people on their hypothetical “hit list” — and why they’d want to frame the girls for the murders.

For today’s post, we have an exclusive video Q&A with Mackenzie:

Want to see interviews with the rest of the girls? Check ’em out here:

ABOUT THE BOOK:

good girls, theTHE GOOD GIRLS
The Perfectionists #2
Author: Sara Shepard
Release Date: June 2, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen

SYNOPSIS:

From Sara Shepard, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Pretty Little Liars series, comes the shocking sequel to The Perfectionists—with an ending you’ll have to read to believe!

Mackenzie, Ava, Caitlin, Julie, and Parker have done some not-so-perfect things. Even though they all talked about killing rich bully Nolan Hotchkiss, they didn’t actually go through with it. It’s just a coincidence that Nolan died in exactly the way they planned . . . right? Except Nolan wasn’t the only one they fantasized about killing. When someone else they named dies, the girls wonder if they’re being framed. Or are they about to become the killer’s next targets?

BOOK LINKS:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | IndieBound |
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

SaraShepardFor as long as she can remember, Sara Shepard has been writing. However, when she was young she also wanted to be a soap opera star, a designer for LEGO, a filmmaker, a claymation artist, a geneticist, and a fashion magazine editor when she grew up. She and her sister have been creating joint artistic and written projects for years, except they’re pretty sure they’re the only ones who find them funny.

She got her MFA at Brooklyn College and now lives outside Philadelphia, PA with her husband and dogs. Her first adult novel is called The Visibles/ All The Things We Didn’t Say.

Sara’s bestselling young adult series, Pretty Little Liars, is loosely based on her experiences growing up on Philadelphia’s Main Line…although luckily she never had any serious stalkers. The series has also inspired the ABC Family television series of the same name.

www.sarashepard.com | @sarabooks

GIVEAWAY:

One winner will get finished copies of THE PERFECTIONISTS and THE GOOD GIRLS. (Ships in US Only | Must be 13+ To Enter)

Enter by filling out the Rafflecopter form HERE.

 

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler: Mermaid Monday Exclusive Quote Graphics & Contest

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Today, we’re excited to be hosting a stop on “Mermaid Monday” –– celebrating the upcoming release on June 2nd of The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler. It’s all leading up to the reveal of the first two chapters of the book later today!

For our post, we have a fantastic contest — AND some exclusive quote graphics I created with some lovely passages from the book. Much of The Summer of Chasing Mermaids takes place on the Oregon coast — and as most of you know, I live in the Portland, Oregon area — so visiting the Oregon coast is not only easy, it’s one of my favorite things to do.

So I used some of my own photos from recent trips to the Oregon coast as the backgrounds for all three of our quote graphics. Feel free to share these on various social media websites, using the hashtag #MermaidMonday:

Chasing Mermaids_Quote1 Chasing Mermaids_Quote2 Chasing Mermaids_Quote3
summer of chasing mermaidsHere’s more about The Summer of Chasing Mermaids:

The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom—until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak.

Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend’s invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse’s home in the Caribbean isn’t: An ocean too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry—except for one.

Christian Kane is a notorious playboy—insolent, arrogant, and completely charming. He’s also the only person in Atargatis Cove who doesn’t treat Elyse like a glass statue. He challenges her to express herself, and he admires the way she treats his younger brother Sebastian, who believes Elyse is the legendary mermaid come to life.

When Christian needs a first mate for the Cove’s high-stakes Pirate Regatta, Elyse reluctantly stows her fear of the sea and climbs aboard. The ocean isn’t the only thing making waves, though—swept up in Christian’s seductive tide and entranced by the Cove’s charms, Elyse begins to wonder if a life of solitude isn’t what she needs. But changing course again means facing her past. It means finding her inner voice. And scariest of all, it means opening her heart to a boy who’s best known for breaking them . . .

contest2
under the sea earringsThanks to our friends at Simon & Schuster, we are giving away a finished copy of The Summer of Chasing Mermaids and a set of “Under the Sea” post earrings from Urban Outfitters (pictured, right).

Earn entries by sharing one or more of the above quote graphics on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #MermaidMonday. Submit your links & complete your entry by filling out the Rafflecopter form HERE.

You must share AT LEAST one graphic on either Twitter OR Instagram. But the more you share, the more chances you have to win!

Contest is open to the U.S. only. Runs through midnight (PT) on Tuesday, June 2nd.

Be sure to check out the other posts from Mermaid Monday throughout the day for more content, contests & a preview of the first two chapters of The Summer of Chasing Mermaids:

 

The Cage Contest + Blog Tour Q&A with Megan Shepherd

the cage blog tour
Today, we are thrilled to be hosting a stop on the official blog tour for The Cage by Megan Shepherd, in stores next Tuesday. We have an exclusive Q&A with Megan, plus keep reading to learn more about the book & enter for your chance to win!

Megan ShepherdFor readers unfamiliar with the premise, give us your 140-character “Twitter pitch” for THE CAGE.

Six teenagers from around the world are abducted by an all-powerful species and caged in a “human zoo”

This sounds like a major deviation from THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER trilogy. What drew you away from Gothic horror to science fiction?

I will always love Gothic horror, but when I had the idea for THE CAGE, I knew I had to pursue it. It was a challenge to write about contemporary teenagers in a more traditional science fiction setting, but it was really fun.

Each book in THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER trilogy took inspiration from a different classic novel. What inspired THE CAGE?

An author friend was telling me about her spouse’s job as a wildlife biologist at a writing retreat, and that got me thinking about zoos. I knew the “human zoo” concept had been done a little in fiction (like in the TWILIGHT ZONE and SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE), but I didn’t know of anyone who had done it yet in young adult literature.

cage, theWhere do you find the most inspiration for all of your writing, in general?

From day dreaming. It’s tough these days, since we’re all tied to our phones and computers constantly. But I look for those moments of mental silence, like walks with my dog or drives in the car with the radio off, to think.

What are some human “oddities” that you think would confuse and/or fascinate an alien race observing us in a zoo, like in THE CAGE?

I had a lot of fun with this in the book. The alien race in THE CAGE, the Kindred, are able to “cloak” their emotions in public, releasing them only in private. So they’re fascinated by humanity’s wild emotional outbursts: love, anger, but also concepts like forgiveness. They’re interested in human music and art, though they don’t quite understand it. And they think we can be satisfied with distractions like candy, toys, and games, and don’t understand that we have deeper needs.

FLASH QUESTIONS:

Favorite villain?

JARETH in LABYRINTH

Pen or pencil?

Pen

Favorite piece of clothing?

A cozy sweater I wear to write in

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

CENTURIES by Fall Out Boy

Most recent vacation?

Sailing along the Turkish coast—a lifelong dream!

5 things that are always in your purse?

Phone, book to read, CAGE bookmarks, pen & notebook in case I get inspired, laptop

contest2
1 winner will receive a signed ARC of THE CAGE with a CAGE bookmark and sticker sheet. US Only.

Enter by filling out the Rafflecopter form HERE

about the book
The Maze Runner meets Scott Westerfeld in this gripping new series about teens held captive in a human zoo by an otherworldly race. From Megan Shepherd, the acclaimed author of The Madman’s Daughter trilogy.

When Cora Mason wakes in a desert, she doesn’t know where she is or who put her there. As she explores, she finds an impossible mix of environments—tundra next to desert, farm next to jungle, and a strangely empty town cobbled together from different cultures—all watched over by eerie black windows. And she isn’t alone.

Four other teenagers have also been taken: a beautiful model, a tattooed smuggler, a secretive genius, and an army brat who seems to know too much about Cora’s past. None of them have a clue as to what happened, and all of them have secrets. As the unlikely group struggles for leadership, they slowly start to trust each other. But when their mysterious jailer—a handsome young guard called Cassian—appears, they realize that their captivity is more terrifying than they could ever imagine: Their captors aren’t from Earth. And they have taken the five teenagers for an otherworldly zoo—where the exhibits are humans.

As a forbidden attraction develops between Cora and Cassian, she realizes that her best chance of escape might be in the arms of her own jailer—though that would mean leaving the others behind. Can Cora manage to save herself and her companions? And if so . . . what world lies beyond the walls of their cage?

Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks, Goodreads

about the author
Megan Shepherd grew up in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where her family has owned and operated an independent bookstore for over 35 years. Shepherd attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she majored in international studies and went on to live and work in Costa Rica, Senegal, Scotland, Spain, and many other countries. Now, Shepherd has returned to Western North Carolina and is a full-time writer of young adult novels.

She is represented by Josh Adams of Adams Literary.

Author Photo by Kristi Hedberg Photography

Website/Twitter/Facebook/Tumblr/Goodreads

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

Week Two: