Blogging Recap: Interviews, Contests & More

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

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

Contests

The Dungeoneers Cover Reveal Contest

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

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Worst Witch Halloween Giveaway

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

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#AtlantiaBelow Contest

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

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Exquisite Captive Giveaway

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

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Forbidden Pre-Order Giveaway

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

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Unmarked Ghost-Hunting Writing Contest

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

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Interviews & Guest Posts

 Sarah Beth Durst discusses Chasing Power

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

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Christina Lauren discuss Sublime

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

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Teresa Flavin on Spooky Reads

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

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Reviews

Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst

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

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Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot

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

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Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

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

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Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle

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

famous in love

Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios

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

Exquisite Captive

Unmarked by Kami Garcia

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

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The Fall by Bethany Griffin

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

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Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick

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

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Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez

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

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Features

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

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

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Beyond Unmarked: Grimoires + Illuminati & Freemasons

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

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Favorite Halloween Picture Books

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

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31 Spooky YA & MG Halloween Reads

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

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Vote: 2015 Desktop Wallpaper Calendar

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

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

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

First, here’s a bit about The Dungeoneers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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CONTEST TIME!!!

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

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

Fill out the Rafflecopter form HERE to get started!

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

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

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

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

Beyond Unmarked by Kami Garcia: Real-Life Ghost Hunters

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

 SyFy’s “Ghost Hunters” & TAPS

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

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

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

Ghost Hunters of the South

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

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

Society for Psychical Research

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

ghostbustersThe Ghostbusters

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

Book Review: Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle

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

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

Meet Paige Townsen, Rainer Devon, and Jordan Wilder…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Worst Witch Series Halloween Giveaway

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

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

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

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

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

About The Worst Witch:

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

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

Beyond Unmarked by Kami Garcia: Grimoires

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Grimoires — or books of magic — become an important part of the story in Unmarked by Kami Garcia. Here’s a few fun facts about these mystical texts:

Grimoire-2What is a Grimoire?

A grimoire is defined as “a textbook of magic.” According to Wikipedia:

Such books typically include instructions on how to create magical objects like talismans and amulets, how to perform magical spells, charms and divination and also how to summon or invoke supernatural entities such as angels, spirits, and demons.

Many cultures also believe that the books themselves have magical powers.

grimoire2What’s in a Name?

The word “grimoire” is believed to come from the old French word grammaire, which originally referred only to books written in Latin. By the 18th century, the word was used throughout Europe to refer to a book of magic.

Despite its European roots, the word “grimoire” has since been used to refer to similar books of magic found across the world, including parts of Asia, Sumatra, and Jamaica.

grimoire3In Print

Some of the earliest books to go to press during the advent of printing in Europe were magical texts. Printed grimoires were most common in countries NOT under the influence of the Catholic Church, such as Switzerland and Germany.

Despite the advances in printing, handwritten grimoires remained more highly valued because it was believed they contained magical powers within them.

Pop Culture Grimoires

Here are a few places where you might have heard about grimoires:

  • “The Vampire Diaries” TV Show
  • “Charmed” TV Show
  • “Witches of East End” TV Show
  • Necronomicon, created by H.P. Lovecraft
  • Wicked by Gregory Maguire (& other books in his series) – book of spells is referred to as a “Grimmerie”

 

 

Exclusive Q&A with Chasing Power author Sarah Beth Durst

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Today, I am so excited to share an exclusive interview with on of my all-time favorite authors — Sarah Beth Durst. Here latest YA novel, Chasing Power, is in stores TODAY and it’s pretty amazing. Like an Indiana Jones-style adventure, featuring teens with incredible supernatural powers. (See our review HERE!)

Thanks, Sarah, for stopping by today!

chasing powerEach of your books has such a unique premise, and they are all so different. You usually have a wonderful origin story for how each idea was born. What sparked the idea for CHASING POWER?

Thanks! And I love the word “sparked,” because that’s exactly how I think of ideas, as sparks that blaze together to make a full story. You don’t have to have a lightning-strike moment to write a novel. It can be a tiny spark first, before it burns bright.

When I was in elementary school, I found a book in the Scholastic Book Fair (a.k.a. the best day of the year) called THE GIRL WITH SILVER EYES by Willo Davis Roberts. Ever since that moment, I’ve loved the idea of telekinesis. And that love gave birth to the spark that became CHASING POWER.

In other words, I wrote this book because I wanted to write about a girl with telekinesis.

But I didn’t want my girl to have Jean-Grey-like powers, able to throw planes and cars around with her mind. I wanted Kayla’s power to be limited — she can only move things as heavy as a credit card — but she’s clever. What could a clever character do with a minor power?

And that was what made CHASING POWER so much fun to write — Kayla was fun because her power was limited… but her imagination wasn’t.

sarah beth durstCHASING POWER takes readers all over the globe. Did you research any of the places your characters travel to?

Yes, I love research! In CHASING POWER, Kayla meets Daniel, a boy who can teleport, and together they travel the world. I specifically chose places that captured my imagination. Several were actually inspired by National Geographic articles that stuck with me, thus justifying my hoarding of several years’ worth of issues.

There are many kinds of magic and magical powers mentioned in CHASING POWER. What magical skill do you wish you possessed?

I wish I had the magical skill to stop pain. Stopping death would be problematic, I get that, but it would be nice to eliminate pain. Except for the ouch-don’t-touch-that-hot-stove kind of pain. But unnecessary pain and overwhelming grief — I’d like to be able to ease that.

indiana jonesCHASING POWER has a very distinct Indiana Jones-style flair to its adventure. What do you think the world’s favorite archeologist would do if he ever met Kayla and Daniel?

He’d recruit them. Daniel is the most useful getaway vehicle ever, and Kayla (with her loose grasp on the concept of personal property) would be a fabulous sidekick for a treasure hunter.

Despite their many differences, what do you think is one thing ALL of your books have in common?

Magic. All my books have something impossible at their heart. I believe that one of the most wonderful things that a book can do is let you touch something beyond reality. Each also has adventure, romance, and humor — just mixed in different amounts.

FLASH QUESTIONS:

Favorite Halloween candy?

Three Musketeers. Lifelong favorite.

Starbucks beverage of choice?

Actually really love their breakfast sandwiches, specifically the one with Gouda and bacon.

French fries or tater tots?

French fries.

Skill you wish you possessed?

I wish I could remember everything I ever learned. Instead, I suspect that a whole bunch of useful knowledge was displaced by 80s song lyrics.

Can’t miss TV show?

So You Think You Can Dance.

Favorite member of the Avengers?

Probably Iron Man, because Robert Downey Jr. plays him so perfectly in the movies. Also he’s the most useful character in the Lego Marvel Super Heroes video game, especially if you pick Mark 42 or Heartbreaker. (I love all the Lego video games.)

Ahh, my husband loves the Lego Marvel Super Heroes video game! (It was my birthday present to him this year.) Thanks again for stopping by, Sarah.

And remember – Chasing Power is in stores now! Here’s more about the book:

Lies, secrets, and magic — three things that define Kayla’s life.

Sixteen-year-old Kayla plans to spend her summer hanging out on the beach in Santa Barbara and stealing whatever she wants, whenever she wants it. Born with the ability to move things with her mind — things like credit cards, diamond rings, and buttons on cash registers — she has become a master shoplifter. She steals to build up a safety net, enough money for her and her mom to be able to flee if her dad finds them again. Well, that, and the thrill of using her secret talents.

But her summer plans change when she’s caught stealing by a boy named Daniel — a boy who needs her help and is willing to blackmail her to get it. Daniel has a talent of his own. He can teleport, appearing anywhere in the world in an instant, but he lies as easily as he travels. Together, they embark on a quest to find and steal an ancient incantation, written on three indestructible stones and hidden millennia ago, all to rescue Daniel’s kidnapped mother. But Kayla has no idea that this rescue mission will lead back to her own family — and to betrayals that she may not be able to forgive… or survive.

Atlantia by Ally Condie: True Playlist & #AtlantiaBelow Contest

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Today we bring you an exclusive stop on the official blog tour for Atlantia by Ally Condie, and we are representing #AtlantiaBelow (as in … below the surface of the ocean!)

As part of the blog tour, we’re giving away a beautiful Atlantia-inspired necklace – so check out the contest details below for that. Meanwhile, here is Ally’s playlist for the character True in Atlantia:

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atlantiaThe character True was one of my favorites to write in ATLANTIA—he is a bit like the character Xander from MATCHED in that he is a very good person—but True is also very different. He has been keeping a secret all his life, like Rio, and he recognizes in her someone strong and interesting, someone with whom he is able to feel true empathy. If you want to know how I imagine True looking, just Google the Olympic swimmer Nathan Adrian, and you’ll have an idea. J

  1. Be the Song by Foy Vance

I feel like this is a great introduction to True as a character, and to how he feels about Rio. The part that is especially perfect is “I’ll take the weight,/but I won’t speak/I will refrain and be the song, just be the song.”

  1. Read All About It, Pt. III by Emeli Sande’
Photo credit: Erin Summerill

Photo credit: Erin Summerill

A beautiful song that I know True would love for Rio. The first stanza could be about Rio word-for-word: “You’ve got the words to change a nation/But you’re biting your tongue/You’ve spent a lifetime stuck in silence/Afraid you’ll say something wrong/If no one ever hears it how we gonna learn your song?”

  1. Suburban War by Arcade Fire

This is one of those pieces of music that just FEELS absolutely right for the story, and for True’s part in it. I love the build in this song—it starts out beautiful, and then breaks your heart in this gorgeous, epic manner at the end.

  1. Runaway by The Melodic

I think this one has a lot to do with True and Rio, and how they both have to turn their backs on what they know in order to do what is next. I love the beat of this song as well—truly a great song for running away.

  1. Shadowplay by The Killers

In this song, we hear about the ocean, about the center of the city at night, and I can picture this for True as he waits for Rio. I also like the urgent feel of the music—it’s perfect for the book.

  1. Manchester by Kishi Bashi

“I haven’t felt this alive in a long time.” This line and the music behind it are what I picture playing in the background during a certain scene between Rio and True in the book. And that’s all I can really say about that. ;)

  1. When You Come Back Down by Nickel Creek

Don’t confuse this band (Nickel Creek) with Nickelback. ;) The lead singer has a beautiful voice that I just love, and, again without saying too much, this song matches almost exactly with the end of ATLANTIA.

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Now it’s your chance to win one of these amazing Atlantia-inspired necklaces! There are LOTS of ways you can win: commenting below, sharing on social media, etc. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form HERE to get started.

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Contest is open to the U.S. only. Contest ends at midnight (PT) on Sunday, October 26th.

Be sure to visit the other stops on the #AtlantiaBelow Blog Tour for more goodies & chances to win:

September 28 – Katie (Mundie Moms) – Long Q&A
September 30 – Jen (I Read Banned Books) – Guest post
October 2 – Katie (Katie’s Book Blog) – Short Q&A
October 4 – Lea (YA Book Queen) – Review
October 6 – Taschima (Bloody Bookaholic) – Fancasting
October 8 – Jeremy (Novel Thoughts Blog) – Guest post
October 10 – Erin/ Flo (Fangirlish) – Review
October 12 – Nancy (Ravenous Reader) – Review
October 14 – Sara (Novel Novice) – Playlist
October 16 – Jess (Gone with the Words) – Short Q&A
October 18 – Rachel (Paper Cuts) – Guest post
October 20 – Georgia (Eve’s Fan Garden) – Playlist
October 22 – Gabby (Queen Ella Bee Reads) – Long Q&A
October 24 – Andrea (Reading Lark) – Review
October 26 – Tirzah (The Compulsive Reader) – Playlist

 

The Perfectionists by Sara Shepherd: Read-Along, Chapters 10-18

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Today, our read-along for The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard continues, with a look at Chapters 10-18.

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

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

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

Our Thoughts on Chapters 10-18

The biggest shocker of these chapters is what happens when Ava goes to Mr. Granger’s house. Whether he’s guilty or not of Nolan’s murder, he’s definitely a total skeez-ball! Super creepy and gross. What shocked me was that the girls (a) didn’t tell the police the whole story of what happened between him and Ava and that (b) the cops basically brushed them off. Yes, they have a murder to investigate — but the allegations against Mr. Granger are extremely serious. The way the detective brushes off these accusations makes the cops seem either suspicious or just plain incompetent.

And again, I was frustrated by the fact that the girls STILL won’t just be honest about what happened. It seems to me that the simplest solution to clearing their names and getting to the bottom of what happened is to just tell the police what really happened. I know they’re worried that telling the truth will just implicate them further — but if they really didn’t do anything wrong, shouldn’t they trust the police to find the true killer? Wouldn’t their information help in the investigation?

I think a lot of their concerns come back to this idea of them all wanting to be “perfect” — living up the expectations of their perfectionist community. It also makes you think about the pressures teens do face today, to be “perfect” — perfect athletes, perfect students, perfect musicians, etc. To get into the perfect college. To have the perfect boyfriend. To have perfect appearances. It’s pressure that both society and their peers enforce, this idea of perfection and unrealistic expectations.

MORE ABOUT THE PERFECTIONISTS:

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

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

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

TWITTER CHAT:

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

If you tweet about the read-along, be sure to use the hashtag #PerfectRead

For the comments: What are YOUR thoughts on chapters 10-18 of The Perfectionists? Sound off below & then fill out the Rafflecopter form HERE for your chance to win an awesome prize pack!

New YA Releases: October 14, 2014

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

they all fall downThey All Fall Down by Roxanne St. Claire

Pretty Little Liars meets Final Destination in this YA psychological thriller that will have readers’ hearts racing right till the very end!

Every year, the lives of ten girls at Vienna High are transformed.

All because of the list.

Kenzie Summerall can’t imagine how she’s been voted onto a list of the hottest girls in school, but when she lands at number five, her average life becomes dazzling. Doors open to the best parties, new friends surround her, the cutest jock in school is after her.

This is the power of the list. If you’re on it, your life changes.

If you’re on it this year? Your life ends.

trust me i'm lyingTrust Me, I’m Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer

Fans of Ally Carter, especially her Heist Society readers, will love this teen mystery/thriller with sarcastic wit, a hint of romance, and Ocean’s Eleven–inspired action.

Julep Dupree tells lies. A lot of them. She’s a con artist, a master of disguise, and a sophomore at Chicago’s swanky St. Agatha High, where her father, an old-school grifter with a weakness for the ponies, sends her to so she can learn to mingle with the upper crust. For extra spending money Julep doesn’t rely on her dad—she runs petty scams for her classmates while dodging the dean of students and maintaining an A+ (okay, A-) average.

But when she comes home one day to a ransacked apartment and her father gone, Julep’s carefully laid plans for an expenses-paid golden ticket to Yale start to unravel. Even with help from St. Agatha’s resident Prince Charming, Tyler Richland, and her loyal hacker sidekick, Sam, Julep struggles to trace her dad’s trail of clues through a maze of creepy stalkers, hit attempts, family secrets, and worse, the threat of foster care. With everything she has at stake, Julep’s in way over her head . . . but that’s not going to stop her from using every trick in the book to find her dad before his mark finds her. Because that would be criminal.

very bad thingsVery Bad Things by Susan McBride

Katie never thought she’d be the girl with the popular boyfriend. She also never thought he would cheat on her-but the proof is in the photo that people at their boarding school can’t stop talking about. Mark swears he doesn’t remember anything. But Rose, the girl in the photo, is missing, and Mark is in big trouble. Because it looks like Rose isn’t just gone…she’s dead.

Maybe Mark was stupid, but that doesn’t mean he’s a killer.

Katie needs to find out what really happened, and her digging turns up more than she bargained for, not just about Mark but about someone she loves like a sister: Tessa, her best friend. At Whitney Prep, it’s easy to keep secrets…especially the cold-blooded kind.

stitching snowStitching Snow by R.C. Lewis

Princess Snow is missing.

Her home planet is filled with violence and corruption at the hands of King Matthias and his wife as they attempt to punish her captors. The king will stop at nothing to get his beloved daughter back—but that’s assuming she wants to return at all.

Essie has grown used to being cold. Temperatures on the planet Thanda are always sub-zero, and she fills her days with coding and repairs for the seven loyal drones that run the local mines.

When a mysterious young man named Dane crash-lands near her home, Essie agrees to help the pilot repair his ship. But soon she realizes that Dane’s arrival was far from accidental, and she’s pulled into the heart of a war she’s risked everything to avoid. With the galaxy’s future—and her own—in jeopardy, Essie must choose who to trust in a fiery fight for survival.

clarielClariel by Garth Nix

Sixteen-year-old Clariel is not adjusting well to her new life in the city of Belisaere, the capital of the Old Kingdom. She misses roaming freely within the forests of Estwael, and she feels trapped within the stone city walls. And in Belisaere she is forced to follow the plans, plots and demands of everyone, from her parents to her maid, to the sinister Guildmaster Kilip. Clariel can see her freedom slipping away. It seems too that the city itself is descending into chaos, as the ancient rules binding Abhorsen, King and Clayr appear to be disintegrating.

With the discovery of a dangerous Free Magic creature loose in the city, Clariel is given the chance both to prove her worth and make her escape. But events spin rapidly out of control. Clariel finds herself more trapped than ever, until help comes from an unlikely source. But the help comes at a terrible cost. Clariel must question the motivations and secret hearts of everyone around her – and it is herself she must question most of all.

snow like ashesSnow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

even in paradiseEven in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot

When Julia Buchanan enrolls at St. Anne’s at the beginning of junior year, Charlotte Ryder already knows all about the former senator’s daughter. Most people do… or think they do.

Charlotte certainly never expects she’ll be Julia’s friend. But almost immediately, she is drawn into the larger than-life-new girl’s world—a world of midnight rendezvous, dazzling parties, palatial vacation homes, and fizzy champagne cocktails. And then Charlotte meets, and begins falling for, Julia’s handsome older brother, Sebastian.

But behind her self-assured smiles and toasts to the future, Charlotte soon realizes that Julia is still suffering from a tragedy. A tragedy that the Buchanan family has kept hidden … until now.

damagedDamaged by Amy Reed

Two teens must come to terms with their friend’s death—and her afterlife—in this gritty and realistic novel from the author of Beautiful, Clean, Crazy, and Over You.

When Kinsey’s best friend Camille dies in a car accident while she was behind the wheel, she shuts down completely, deciding that numbness is far better than mourning. She wants to be left alone during the last few weeks of high school, but Camille’s mysterious boyfriend Hunter, who was also in the car that night, has a different idea.

Despite all of Kinsey’s efforts, she can’t shake Camille, who begins haunting her in dreams. Sleep deprived and on the verge of losing it, she agrees to run away with Hunter to San Francisco. As the pair tries to escape both the ghost of Camille and their own deep fears, Kinsey questions how real her perception of her friendship with Camille was, and whether her former friend’s ghost is actually now haunting her. Hunter, meanwhile, falls into a spiral of alcoholism, anger, and self-loathing.

Ultimately, Kinsey and Hunter must come to terms with what they’ve lost and accept that they can’t outrun pain.

undividedUnDivided by Neal Shusterman

Teens control the fate of America in the fourth and final book in the New York Times bestselling Unwind dystology by Neal Shusterman.

Proactive Citizenry, the company that created Cam from the parts of unwound teens, has a plan: to mass produce rewound teens like Cam for military purposes. And below the surface of that horror lies another shocking level of intrigue: Proactive Citizenry has been suppressing technology that could make unwinding completely unnecessary. As Conner, Risa, and Lev uncover these startling secrets, enraged teens begin to march on Washington to demand justice and a better future.

But more trouble is brewing. Starkey’s group of storked teens is growing more powerful and militant with each new recruit. And if they have their way, they’ll burn the harvest camps to the ground and put every adult in them before a firing squad—which could destroy any chance America has for a peaceful future.

sublimeSublime by Christina Lauren

True love may mean certain death in a ghostly affair of risk and passion from New York Times bestselling duo Christina Lauren, authors of Beautiful Bastard. Tahereh Mafi, New York Times bestselling author of Shatter Me calls Sublime “a beautiful, haunting read”.

When Lucy walks out of a frozen forest, wearing only a silk dress and sandals, she isn’t sure how she got there. But when she sees Colin, she knows for sure that she’s here for him.

Colin has never been captivated by a girl the way he is by Lucy. With each passing day their lives intertwine, and even as Lucy begins to remember more of her life—and her death—neither of them is willing to give up what they have, no matter how impossible it is. And when Colin finds a way to physically be with Lucy, taking himself to the brink of death where his reality and Lucy’s overlap, the joy of being together for those brief stolen moments drowns out everything in the outside world. But some lines weren’t meant to be crossed…

glory o'brien's history of the worldGlory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King

WOULD YOU TRY TO CHANGE THE WORLD
IF YOU THOUGHT YOU HAD NO FUTURE?

Graduating from high school is a time of limitless possibilities—but not for Glory, who has no plan for what’s next. Her mother committed suicide when Glory was only four years old, and she’s never stopped wondering if she will eventually go the same way…until a transformative night when she begins to experience an astonishing new power to see a person’s infinite past and future. From ancient ancestors to many generations forward, Glory is bombarded with visions—and what she sees ahead of her is terrifying.

A tyrannical new leader raises an army. Women’s rights disappear. A violent second civil war breaks out. And young girls vanish daily, sold off or interned in camps. Glory makes it her mission to record everything she sees, hoping her notes will somehow make a difference. She may not see a future for herself, but she’ll do everything in her power to make sure this one doesn’t come to pass.

In this masterpiece about freedom, feminism, and destiny, Printz Honor author A.S. King tells the epic story of a girl coping with devastating loss at long last—a girl who has no idea that the future needs her, and that the present needs her even more.

bzrk apocalypseBZRK Apocalypse by Michael Grant

The Matrix meets Inner Space in this third book in the BZRK trilogy from New York Times best-selling author Michael Grant.

The staggering conclusion to the BZRK trilogy, from the author of GONE. The members of BZRK are preparing for their final stand, in the world’s capitals and in the nano. Expect the unexpected in this novel packed with the author’s trademark jaw-dropping action, violence, and pace.

redeemedRedeemed by Kristin Cast & P. C. Cast

In the final electrifying novel in the HoN series, Neferet has finally made herself known to mortals. A Dark Goddess is loose on Tulsa and the world. No single vampyre is strong enough to vanquish her – unless that creature has the power to summon the elements as well as the ability to wield Old Magick. Only Zoey Redbird is heir to such power…but because of the consequences of using Old Magick, she is unable to help. Find out who will win and who will lose in this epic battle of Light versus Darkness.

my true love gave to meMy True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories ed. by Stephanie Perkins

If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME: TWELVE HOLIDAY STORIES by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins.

terminals, theThe Terminals by Royce Scott Buckingham

The riveting story of a covert team of young, terminally ill teens who spend their last year alive running dangerous missions as super-spies for an organization that may not be all it seems.

When 19 year-old Cam Cody is diagnosed with a terminal illness, he expects to spend the rest of his shortened life in an adjustable bed. Then one night, a mysterious man offers Cam one chance to join a covert unit of young “terminals.” They are like him, only they spend the last year of their lives executing exciting and dangerous missions to make the world a better place.

With nothing to lose, Cam is in.

A helicopter flies Cam to a secret tropical location, where he’s tossed out with a parachute and an instruction manual. After a rough landing, he meets his nine teammates. The other terminals don’t seem sick; Zara is beautiful, Donnie is an amazing athlete, and Calliope sings like a bird. He soon learns that they’re enhanced with an experimental super steroid TS-8, which suppresses their illnesses’ symptoms and heightens their physical and mental abilities. It’s also fatal if taken for more than a year.

Cam joins this extreme spy team, and they begin pulling dangerous operations in multiple countries. As his teammates fall around him, he starts to receive cryptic messages from a haggard survivor of last year’s class hiding in the forest. She reveals that the program isn’t what it seems, leading Cam to question whether any of them are really sick at all.

accidental highwayman, theThe Accidental Highwayman: Being the Tale of Kit Bristol, His Horse Midnight, a Mysterious Princess, and Sundry Magical Persons Besides by Ben Tripp

The Accidental Highwayman is the first swashbuckling adventure for young adults by talented author and illustrator, Ben Tripp. This thrilling tale of dark magic and true love is the perfect story for fans of William Goldman’s The Princess Bride.

In eighteenth-century England, young Christopher “Kit” Bristol is the unwitting servant of notorious highwayman Whistling Jack. One dark night, Kit finds his master bleeding from a mortal wound, dons the man’s riding cloak to seek help, and changes the course of his life forever. Mistaken for Whistling Jack and on the run from redcoats, Kit is catapulted into a world of magic and wonders he thought the stuff of fairy tales.

Bound by magical law, Kit takes up his master’s quest to rescue a rebellious fairy princess from an arranged marriage to King George III of England. But his task is not an easy one, for Kit must contend with the feisty Princess Morgana, gobling attacks, and a magical map that portends his destiny: as a hanged man upon the gallows….

Fans of classic fairy-tale fantasies such as Stardust by Neil Gaiman and will find much to love in this irresistible YA debut by Ben Tripp, the son of one of America’s most beloved illustrators, Wallace Tripp (Amelia Bedelia). Following in his father’s footsteps, Ben has woven illustrations throughout the story.

mortal godsMortal Gods by Kendare Blake

Ares, God of War, is leading the other dying gods into battle. Which is just fine with Athena. She’s ready to wage a war of her own, and she’s never liked him anyway. If Athena is lucky, the winning gods will have their immortality restored. If not, at least she’ll have killed the bloody lot of them, and she and Hermes can die in peace.

Cassandra Weaver is a weapon of fate. The girl who kills gods. But all she wants is for the god she loved and lost to return to life. If she can’t have that, then the other gods will burn, starting with his murderer, Aphrodite.

The alliance between Cassandra and Athena is fragile. Cassandra suspects Athena lacks the will to truly kill her own family. And Athena fears that Cassandra’s hate will get them ALL killed.

The war takes them across the globe, searching for lost gods, old enemies, and Achilles, the greatest warrior the world has ever seen. As the struggle escalates, Athena and Cassandra must find a way to work together. Because if they can’t, fates far worse than death await.

fire artist, theThe Fire Artist by Daisy Whitney

Aria is an elemental artist—she creates fire from her hands. But her power is not natural. She steals it from lightning. It’s dangerous and illegal in her world. When she’s recruited to perform, she seizes the chance to get away from her family. But her power is fading too fast to keep stealing from the sky. She has no choice but to turn to a Granter—a modern day genie. She gets one wish at an extremely high price. Aria’s willing to take a chance, but then she falls in love with the Granter . . . and he wants his freedom. Aria must decide what she’s willing to bargain and how much her own heart, body, and soul are worth.

In a world where the sport of elemental powers is the most popular form of entertainment, readers will be swept away by a romance with stakes higher than life and death.

chasing powerChasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst

Lies, secrets, and magic — three things that define Kayla’s life.

Sixteen-year-old Kayla plans to spend her summer hanging out on the beach in Santa Barbara and stealing whatever she wants, whenever she wants it. Born with the ability to move things with her mind — things like credit cards, diamond rings, and buttons on cash registers — she has become a master shoplifter. She steals to build up a safety net, enough money for her and her mom to be able to flee if her dad finds them again. Well, that, and the thrill of using her secret talents.

But her summer plans change when she’s caught stealing by a boy named Daniel — a boy who needs her help and is willing to blackmail her to get it. Daniel has a talent of his own. He can teleport, appearing anywhere in the world in an instant, but he lies as easily as he travels. Together, they embark on a quest to find and steal an ancient incantation, written on three indestructible stones and hidden millennia ago, all to rescue Daniel’s kidnapped mother. But Kayla has no idea that this rescue mission will lead back to her own family — and to betrayals that she may not be able to forgive… or survive.

playing for the commondantPlaying for the Commandant by Suzy Zail

A young Jewish pianist at Auschwitz, desperate to save her family, is chosen to play at the camp commandant’s house. How could she know she would fall in love with the wrong boy?

These are Hanna’s father’s parting words to her and her sister when their family is separated at the gates of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Her father’s words — and a black C-sharp piano key hidden away in the folds of her dress — are all that she has left to remind her of life before. Before, Hanna was going to be a famous concert pianist. She was going to wear her yellow dress to a dance. And she was going to dance with a boy. But then the Nazis came. Now it is up to Hanna to do all she can to keep her mother and sister alive, even if that means playing piano for the commandant and his guests. Staying alive isn’t supposed to include falling in love with the commandant’s son. But Karl Jager is beautiful, and his aloofness belies a secret. And war makes you do dangerous things.

cure for dreamingThe Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters

Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud. These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she’s drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women. Winters breathes new life into history once again with an atmospheric, vividly real story, including archival photos and art from the period throughout.

oh yeah audreyOh Yeah, Audrey! by Tucker Shaw

It’s 5:00 a.m. on Fifth Avenue, and 16-year-old Gemma Beasley is standing in front of Tiffany & Co. wearing the perfect black dress with her coffee in hand—just like Holly Golightly. As the cofounder of a successful Tumblr blog—Oh Yeah Audrey!—devoted to all things Audrey Hepburn, Gemma has traveled to New York in order to meet up with her fellow bloggers for the first time. She has meticulously planned out a 24-hour adventure in homage to Breakfast at Tiffany’s; however, her plans are derailed when a glamorous boy sweeps in and offers her the New York experience she’s always dreamed of. Gemma soon learns who her true friends are and that, sometimes, no matter where you go, you just end up finding yourself.Filled with hip and sparkling prose, Oh Yeah, Audrey! is as much a story of friendship as it is a love letter to New York, Audrey Hepburn, and the character she made famous: Holly Golightly.

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