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?

Book Review: Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst

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There’s no fedora, no whip, no irrational fear of snakes (why’d it have to be snakes?!), and no trumpeting theme song, but Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst is still basically an Indiana Jones-style adventure, featuring teens and their supernatural abilities.

chasing powerLies, 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.

There are layers upon layers of mysteries within the pages of Chasing Power, and Durst deftly reveals each one at precisely the right moment. But that’s just the icing on the cake — as her book is already compelling, with its magically-gifted characters and Indiana Jones-style adventure, full of archaeology, ancient antiquities, and exotic locales. (Perhaps the only thing missing is someone to repeatedly declare, “That belongs in a museum!”)

I am a huge fan of Durst’s work, and something I love about ALL her books — and which holds especially true with Chasing Power – is how lovingly she creates each character, her thoughtful plotting and pacing, and the unique magical spin she gives to each story. Each book she writes is so different and unique, but oh so good and enchanting to read. Chasing Power is no exception.

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. Look for it in stores October 14th.

Beyond Unmarked by Kami Garcia: Illuminati & Freemasons

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Two mysterious groups of people from history become key players in Kami Garcia’s Unmarked: the Freemasons, and the Illuminati. Today, we’re sharing a little bit more about each real-life group.

The Freemasons

freemasonsA fraternal organization dating back to the 14th century, traditionally the Freemasons are considered a “fraternity” of sorts for stonemasons. The groups would meet regularly in their Masonic Lodge, and conduct business under several guiding principles, including that members have “a belief in a supreme being,” that only men are allowed, and that — despite lodges being asked to display scripture — there should be no discussion of politics or religion.

However — due, most likely, to the groups use of ceremonial regalia and other archaic rituals — the Freemasons have long been associated, at least in rumor, with the occult. In particular, many religions object to Freemasonry on conspiracies that the organization is involved in mysticism, occultism, and Satanism.

The Freemasons rarely respond to such claims, having stated only that : “Freemasonry is not a religion, nor a substitute for religion. There is no separate ‘Masonic deity,’ and there is no separate proper name for a deity in Freemasonry.” (Source.)

 

The Illuminati

Minerval_insigniaThe Bavarian Illuminati is a real-life secret society dating back to the 1700s. Granted, much of what we do know about the Illuminati is questionable — and the group has become the source of many conspiracy theories. According to Wikipedia:

Historically the name refers to the Bavarian Illuminati, an Enlightenment-era secret society founded on May 1, 1776 to oppose superstition, prejudice, religious influence over public life, abuses of state power, and to support women’s education and gender equality. The Illuminati were outlawed along with other secret societies by the Bavarian government leadership with the encouragement of the Roman Catholic Church, and permanently disbanded in 1785.[1] In the several years following, the group was vilified by conservative and religious critics who claimed they had regrouped and were responsible for the French Revolution.

In subsequent use, “Illuminati” refers to various organizations claiming or purported to have unsubstantiated links to the original Bavarian Illuminati or similar secret societies …

Some famous members of the real-life Bavarian Illuminati have included Ferdinand of Brunswick, diplomat Xavier von ZwackJohann Wolfgang von Goethe, and Johann Gottfried Herder.

You can read more scholarly information about the Illuminati here.

Help Light the Night in Honor of My Dad

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I’ll never forget the day my parents told me my dad had cancer. I was 11 years old, and terrified of what it meant. Would I get sick too? Was my dad going to die? What would happen to him?

IMG_1558editedHe was diagnosed with a rare form of skin cancer called Mycosis Fungoides — a non-Hodgkin lymphoma. My dad was lucky. 20 years later, he is alive and healthy and here to be a big part of my life. In the past 20 years, he has helped me complete high school and graduate college; he helped my purchase my first home. He helped me start a new career – twice – and now I work with him on a daily basis, and will one day take over the company he founded. He walked me down the aisle. He even helped me brainstorm this very website. That’s right. Novel Novice owes a LOT to my dad.

I am so lucky and grateful that he’s around; that he survived. And it’s thanks, at least in part, to the work of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) and their researchers

100That’s why, on October 25th, I will be participating in the Light the Night Walk, supporting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). My husband and my parents will also be walking, as we celebrate 20 years since my dad’s diagnosis. It’s weird to think you’d celebrate something as somber as a cancer diagnosis — but when the patient is still alive and kicking 20 years later, heck YES you celebrate!

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is on the brink of incredible breakthroughs that have already begun to change the lives of thousands of patients like my dad; treatments that can manage a person’s condition with a daily pill, therapies that seek out cancer cells and kill them, and the use of a patient’s own immune system to eradicate cancer not someday, but today.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light The Night Walk funds those treatments. Please consider donating to my walk and help us support the continued fight against these lesser-known cancers.

September 2014 Contest Winners

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We announced some of our September contest winners a couple weeks ago, but we have three more contests that need announcing. So here we go!

In the Afterlight – Yellow Psi Contest

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One winner will receive a Yellow Psi prize pack. That winner is: Viki Sloboda

Firebug Blog Tour Contest

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One winner will receive a finished copy of Firebug. That winner is: Ashley Jowens

Salt & Storm Seaside Writing Contest

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For this contest, we asked you to write a 250-500 word short story that took place at the seaside. One winner will get a copy of Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper. The winner is: Alyssa Sooklal, and here is her winning entry:

Where the Ocean Bleeds
by Alyssa Sooklal

Find me where the ocean bleeds.

Adelaide stared at the short missive, then flipped it over. Nothing more, just that one short, puzzling line of text. What an odd message – perhaps Patrick’s idea of easing her anxiety over the inevitable events of the day. He knew how badly she wished to skirt her duties as the earl of Pembroke’s only child.

Indeed, Patrick, she thought, a wry smile turning up her lips. I shall play your game.

***

Adelaide took each stair of the grand staircase with extra care, hoping to avoid her overbearing mother. She hurried to the garden door, and flung it open. Lifting her skirts, she fled down the path, towards the familiar smell of salt and seaweed. The sun was blinding, as if it never wanted her to see another day after this one.

Find me where the ocean bleeds. Where would the ocean bleed? Perhaps a patch of red coral, or submerged plants? Adelaide did not know if such things existed, but she would not let Patrick get the better of her. Not today, when she needed him. Patrick, her best friend. Patrick, the man she loved. Patrick, whom she would always want, but could never marry.

Marriage to Lord Sumner could not be so terrible, could it? Seven years her senior, he was handsome and titled. While she could never marry the eccentric scientist’s son, her prospects could be far worse – what if her only suitor was that ghastly Mr. Andrews! The man was old enough to be her father, and he had no shame in staring at her bosom when she was speaking. But no matter – she would be in Lord Sumner’s care, after today.

Meandering down the beaten, sandy path, Adelaide steered her thoughts away from duty, and thought of Patrick. Every time she closed her eyes, his face was there. When she went into town, he was there, chattering excitedly about his latest invention. When she stole away from dinner parties, she could hear him laughing at her descriptions of Lady Marlowe’s outrageous fashions. When she went to bed at night, she could feel his hands caressing her body, igniting a slow burn in her blood.

Find me where the ocean bleeds. Was he speaking in metaphors? Perhaps he simply wanted her to enjoy the seaside, before she was to be bargained away. She loved walking by the shores, feeling the crisp wind on her face, the sand beneath her shoes, the sun warming her skin. The waters were restless today, but not a cloud marred the clear blue sky. Adelaide gazed longingly at the shore.

A crunch of sand jolted her from her musings. Adelaide whirled around, Patrick’s name on her lips. But it was not Patrick.

“Mr. Andrews?”

Standing behind her, he lifted a revolver, aiming directly at her head. She could hear the chambers turning. She could hear the ocean roaring. She could hear the winds gusting. She could hear Patrick whispering her name.

A single shot rang out.

The sand stained crimson, trickling down the path to the ocean.

Congrats to all our winners! Be sure to check out our current on-going contests here for more chances to win!

VOTE: 2015 Desktop Wallpaper Calendars

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It’s time to start planning the 2015 Desktop Wallpaper Calendar — and I want YOUR input. I’ve been brainstorming which YA franchises & books I think would be a good fit for the 2015 calendar (see the 2014 calendar HERE) — but as always, I want your opinions, too.

So using the poll below, give me your top 12 picks for desktop wallpaper calendars — and feel free to chime in using the comments below for any not mentioned in the poll. I will also be creating a handful of year-long wallpapers featuring some of the most popular franchises (as I’ve done the past few years), so let me know in the comments which ones you’d love to see as a full-year wallpaper calendar.

Please note, that I cannot fulfill ALL requests, but I’ll do my best!

Enter to win Sublime by Christina Lauren

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To wrap-up our week-long feature on Sublime by Christina Lauren, we’re giving you a chance to win a copy of your very own. But first, don’t miss any of sublimethis week’s posts:

Here’s all the ways you can enter to win Sublime:

  • Comment below & tell us why you want to read it!
  • Follow Christina Lauren on Twitter
  • Follow Novel Novice on Twitter
  • Tweet about the contest

Fill out the Rafflecopter form HERE to start earning entries!

Contest is open to the U.S. only, and ends at midnight (PT) on Friday, October 17th.

Highlights from Kami Garcia’s Unmarked Pinterest Board

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Something really cool that author Kami Garcia does, is create Pinterest boards for her books. The images found there can be inspiration for her writing, cool things she’s found created by fans, or just images or sayings that remind her of her books and her characters.

I’m in love with her Pinterest board for The Legion Series — so today, I’m sharing some of my favorite highlights — but be sure to check out the board for all of Kami’s great posts!

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