Saturday, October 29, 2016

We Are Still Tornadoes Blog Tour: Interview!

We Are Still Tornadoes by Michael Kun & Susan Mullen
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pub. Date: Nov. 1st, 2016
Buy it: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
Growing up across the street from each other, Scott and Cath have been best friends their entire lives. Cath would help Scott with his English homework, he would make her mix tapes (it's the 80's after all), and any fight they had would be forgotten over TV and cookies. But now they've graduated high school and Cath is off to college while Scott is at home pursuing his musical dreams.

During their first year apart, Scott and Cath's letters help them understand heartache, annoying roommates, family drama and the pressure to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives. And through it all, they realize that the only person they want to turn to is each other. But does that mean they should be more than friends? The only thing that's clear is that change is an inescapable part of growing up. And the friends who help us navigate it share an unshakable bond.

This funny yet deeply moving book--set to an awesome 80's soundtrack--captures all the beautiful confusion and emotional intensity we find on the verge of adulthood...and first love.
Read an excerpt of We Are Tornadoes!

MICHAEL KUN lives in Los Angeles, California, with his wife Amy and their daughter Paige. He is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University and the University Of Virginia School Of Law. He is a partner in Epstein Becker & Green, P.C., specializing in labor and employment law. He is the author of The Locklear Letters and You Poor Monster, among other works of fiction and non-fiction.

We Are Still Tornadoes is SUSAN MULLEN’S first novel and first collaboration with Michael. She is a graduate of Duke University, where she studied English literature, and the University Of Virginia School Of Law. She practices law and lives in Northern Virginia. Sue has been married to her law school classmate Kevin Mullen for 25 years, and they have two daughters

Brittany: When and how did you guys decide to work on this book together? What inspired We Are Still Tornadoes?

Michael: Well, I’ve written a couple epistolary novels over the years – The Locklear Letters and Everybody Says Hello. In both of them, the readers only saw one side of the correspondence and had to use their own imaginations to fill in the other side, which I hope was fun for them. I had the idea of writing an epistolary novel where the reader would see both correspondents’ letters, and specifically the idea of having two friends write to each other when one goes off to high school and the other stays home. I wanted one of the friends to be a boy and one to be a girl, but I was worried about the authenticity of the girl’s letters. I’ve read a few novels by male writers where they have tried to write in a woman’s voice, and they didn’t ring true to me. So I just kept that in the back of my mind while I worked on other projects.

Susan: Mike called me a few years back and we ended up talking about writing and potential projects.  Mike mentioned his idea about the high school friends exchanging letters, and he asked me to write this book with him.  Given that Mike already had 8 or 9 books published, I thought he was a bit crazy to take such a big risk on me. We agreed to give it a shot and if it wasn’t going well, we’d be honest with each other and go our separate ways.  Luckily, it went very well.

Michael: The book is made up entirely of the exchange of correspondence between two high school friends in the early 1980s when one goes off to college while the other stays home. So, for me, the inspiration came from my own experience writing letters to friends and family when I went to college. 

Susan: The same here. I also wrote letters to friends and family when I went off to college.  My inspiration came from many different friendships and relationships throughout my life, from memories of my high school and college friends to thoughts of my husband and my daughters.  It was really an emotional hodge podge for me. 

Michael: What’s interesting to me is how different that world might seem to younger readers today. There were no cellphones. There were no emails. There were no text messages, Twitter or Snapchat. So if you wanted to communicate with someone, you did it through letters or through horrifyingly expensive long-distance telephone calls. I didn’t even have a telephone my first year of college. There was just the pay phone out in the hallway.

Susan: It’s funny to think that some young readers might not even know what a pay phone is.

Michael: True. If you didn’t want to stand in the hallway having a very personal conversation that anyone could hear, using a telephone receiver that had been used by God knows how many people before you, there was really only one other option.

Susan:  Letters.

Michael:  Exactly.  

Brittany: We Are Still Tornadoes is written in letters between the two main characters, could you share what it was like writing these letters as co-authors and how did you guys go about it? Did you guys take on the role of each of the characters?

Susan: It was great writing this book together. We got along very well. We would talk through where we were going, what the major plot points were, then I would write Cath’s letters and Mike would write Scott’s. We would swap them back and forth, commenting on them, making proposed revisions. It was collaborative in that we could give each other immediate feedback on the most recent letter, but usually we liked what the other had written and we’d just say “I loved that!” and then move on to the next letter.

Michael: I would agree that it was a great experience, but an unusual one. When I write on my own, it’s not uncommon for me to write 5 or 10 pages in a sitting without even getting up from my chair. Here, the most I could do would be to write one of Scott’s letters, then wait for Susan to send me back the draft of Cath’s response. So there might be days or even weeks when I didn’t write a word because I was waiting for Susan’s contribution. And there were days or weeks when she was waiting for mine. 

Susan: Yeah, I forget about that sometimes. I’d sometimes worry that if I didn’t hear back from Michael right away, that meant he must have hated something I’d written. There were times when one of us felt strongly about something the other had written. As a first time writer, I appreciated getting feedback on what I was writing, and I’ve known Michael long enough to respect his opinion and trust it. But at the same time, we did have a few conversations about things that one of us really didn’t like.

Michael: Absolutely, and we worked through them.  I do recall there was one of Scott’s letters that Susan felt had painted her in a corner such that it was difficult for Cath to even respond. I reworked it to give her the room she needed. And there were a few things in some of the letters that I thought made Cath less sympathetic than we needed her to be. I suggested revisions to a couple of them as we worked through the book, and we worked on a complete edit of the book at the end.

Brittany: Did you plot out the book before writing it, or did you discover the plot as you wrote it?

Susan:  Both. We mapped out where we wanted the book to go at the beginning, and were open to changing things as the book progressed.

Michael:  One of the nice things about setting the book during the year that the two characters were separated was that there were certain points in time when we knew it would be natural to bring the two characters back together, even if briefly, and we could use them to set the plot – Thanksgiving, Christmas, spring break.

Susan: Some subplots we developed along the way. And the ending was very different than we had originally mapped out.

Michael: That’s a bit of an understatement. It’s impossible to discuss what the original ending was supposed to be without giving away the ending of the book, so there’s nothing more we can really say on that.

Susan: Are you going to answer if someone emails you after they’ve read the book to ask you what the original ending was supposed to be?

Michael: Nope. It wouldn’t help anyone’s enjoyment of the book to know that.

Susan: Agreed.

Brittany: What is your favorite 80s movie? (If you want to cheat and list a few, I won't hold it against you xD)

Susan: The Breakfast Club and Bull Durham.  Perhaps I just revealed my own coming-of-age story right there.

Michael: I wish I’d answered first because it’s going to look like I’m copying you, but it’s Bull Durham by a country mile. I will never get tired of it.

Brittany: Did you both know that you wanted to be authors? How long have you been writing? 

Susan:  I enjoy writing but I previously lacked the confidence to undertake a project of this magnitude.  I owe Mike quite a debt of gratitude for asking me to write this book with him, and for creating a format which only required me to write one letter at a time.  It worked extremely well for a first time writer, and for a working mom, as well.

Michael: I can’t say I even thought about being a writer until college, when I started studying writing with Stephen Dixon. He’s a great writer and a better person. I had been writing a humor column for our college newspaper, and he tracked me down and invited me to take some of his classes. I owe him quite a debt. Actually, though, I stopped writing when I went to law school.  I’d tried to get some of my stories published after college and had failed, so I decided to give up. Fortunately, I made a friend in law school who read my short stories, liked them, and persuaded me to start writing again. Shortly after that, I got on a hot streak and sold a few short stories, then was offered a contract to write my first novel.

Susan: I’m curious, who was that friend?

Michael: You know it was you, Susan.

Susan: Yeah, I just wanted to make you say it.

Michael: I tell everyone how much I owe my writing career to you and to Stephen Dixon. Thanks.

Susan: You’re welcome.  And thank you for asking me to work on this with you.

Michael: You’re welcome.  

Susan: Do you think that came across as cheesy?

Michael:  Probably.  Do you care?

Susan: Nope.

Brittany: What authors would you say have influenced each of your writing styles the most? 

Susan:  Honestly, I didn’t have any particular author’s style in mind while I was writing.  I tried to make Cath an authentic character, and for me it was more about trying to create Cath’s voice.

Michael: I’m not sure you would necessarily see it in this book, but I suspect I’ve been influenced most by Kurt Vonnegut and Truman Capote. How’s that for a mismatched pair of authors?

Brittany: What's next for both of you? 

Susan: I’m headed off to my very first book signing!  My youngest daughter goes to Bucknell University, and this weekend is Homecoming Weekend.  I’m doing a signing at the campus bookstore in Lewisburg, PA. Then I have a few signings coming up in Northern Virginia, Atlanta, and Chicago, and I’m doing a signing with Michael in Baltimore, his hometown.

Michael: Have a great time at Bucknell. I hope I’m not mixing them up, but that’s the daughter who recommended that we remove something very small from one of the most important letters in the book, isn’t it?

Susan: Yes, it is.

Michael: Well, please tell her that she was absolutely right, and thank her for me.

Susan: Will do. You are so sweet to remember that. You haven’t said what you’re working on.

Michael: I’m pretty far along in a new novel called The Allergic Boy Versus The Left-Handed Girl. I know that sounds like a book about superheroes with questionable powers, but it’s the story of a man who is trying to prove to the world that another writer stole a book he’d written and published it to great acclaim. And the only way he can prove it is to track down a girl he’d known when he was younger, who seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth, and may never have existed in the first place.

Brittany: Thank you both so much for being on my blog today! You both are amazing ^_^ 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith Blog Tour: Interview

Hey guys, I have the pleasure of having Lindsay Smith on the blog today for the blog tour for her new novel, A Darkly Beating Heart! I hope you guys enjoy our interview, and be sure to check out the other tour stops and giveaway below!

A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2016
Buy it: Amazon | B&N
A troubled girl confronts her personal demons in this time-travel thriller alternating between present day and 19th century Japan.

No one knows how to handle Reiko. She is full of hatred; all she can think about is how to best hurt herself and those people closest to her. After a failed suicide attempt at her home in Seattle, Reiko's parents send her to spend the summer with family in Japan, hoping she will learn to control her emotions. But while visiting Kuramagi, a historic village preserved to reflect the nineteenth-century Edo period, Reiko finds herself slipping backward in time into the nineteenth-century life of Miyu, a young woman even more vengeful than Reiko herself. Reiko loves escaping into Miyu's life . . . until she discovers Kuramagi's dark secret and must face down Miyu's demons as well as her own.

Lindsay Smith is the author of Cold War-era espionage novels Sekret and Skandal, as well as the fantasy novel Dreamstrider. She writes on foreign affairs and lives in Washington, DC.
Connect with Lindsay: Website | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram

Brittany: How long have you been interested in Japanese culture and why did you decide that Edo Japan was the best setting for A Darkly Beating Heart?

Lindsay: I’ve always been interested in Japanese culture, particularly the pre-Meiji periods, but it wasn’t until I visited a historically preserved village on my 2014 trip to Japan that I got the idea for A Darkly Beating Heart. The exteriors of the town of Tsumago in Kifu prefecture has been kept more or less exactly as it appeared in the 1860s. No external electric lights or cables, just low two- or three-story wooden structures with clay tile roofs, all winding their way up the hillside, lit by paper lanterns. It was such a spooky place to walk around at night, when fog came up from the valley, and it really got me thinking about what secrets could hide in the darkness, especially during such a tumultuous period at the end of the Tokugawa shogunate.

Brittany: As I already said, A Darkly Beating Heart is set in Edo Japan and your duology Sekret is set in Russia. What other countries would you like to use as setting in future books?

Lindsay: I’m honestly not sure! There are plenty of other stories in Russian history that I’d love to tell, but I really enjoyed branching out of what I know best and learning more about Japanese history for this book. It would be awesome to do that for another setting. Colonial India, maybe, or WWII Great Britain, or Romania during Tito’s rule. I am a writer for Serial Box’s The Witch Who Came In From the Cold, which is set in USSR-occupied Prague during the 1970s, and I’ve greatly enjoyed working on that as well.

Brittany: What is your favorite thing about writing Historical Fiction?

Lindsay: It feels a lot like writing fantasy, honestly, except the worldbuilding is already done for me. ;) I love getting to immerse myself in another time and place and tease out all the tiny details that bring it to life.

Brittany: What is the creepiest or scariest thing you have ever done for fun?

Lindsay: Oh man, if you ever need a ghosthunting buddy, let me know! I’m all about exploring spooky abandoned places. In high school, I went to one of the “crybaby bridge”s of urban legend with a group of friends, parked on the bridge, and told scary stories while we took photographs and scared ourselves silly with the creepy sounds in the woods.

Brittany: What are your favorite and least favorite scenes to write?

Lindsay: ANGST. I love writing angst. More generally, I love torturing characters, and feeding on all their delicious tears!

My least favorite scenes are pretty much all of those “connective tissue” bits—crucial to keep the story moving logically, but very hard to keep interesting. I always challenge myself to dig deeper in them and find something to make them stand out rather than just look like the scaffolding that they are.

Brittany: What fictional character that is not your own do you identify with the most? Could be from a book, TV show, or a movie. 

Lindsay: I identify with all the poor Slytherins at Hogwarts who WEREN’T evil as hell! Man, they sure got a bad rap. There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious and relentless!

Brittany: Who was your first OTP?

Lindsay: Han and Leia, definitely—the dorky scoundrel and the tiny spitfire diplomat. I think their dynamic in the original trilogy describes my husband and me pretty well, too. ;) My OTPs right now, though, are Steve/Bucky (Cold War parallels?! Compare/contrast in free will and compulsion?!, epic love story that transcends the chains of time against all odds?!), and Putin/Ridiculous Photo Ops.

Brittany: Could share with us what your writing process is like? Do you draft? Do you have a certain schedule for yourself? Things you specifically must have with you when writing, etc?

Lindsay: It’s always evolving, but lately I’ve become an outlining evangelist. I used to keep my outline in my head, then inevitably left huge gaping logic holes that I’d have to tie myself up in knots to fix. Or rewrite the book. About a dozen times. Now I try to tackle all those knots ahead of the time in the outlining stage.

I can write pretty much anywhere, but the worse the internet connection, the more success I’ll have. Oops. Right now I get a lot of writing done on my train commute, to the point where sometimes I have trouble stockpiling enough outlines/projects to fill the time.

Brittany: Could you tell us anything about what you’re currently working on?

Lindsay: I’m currently rewriting an older fantasy novel draft, and giving the side-eye to a couple of potential cyberpunk-ish plots. Nothing concrete, though! Also, the first season of The Witch Who Came In From the Cold will be out next spring in an omnibus from Saga Press, and then Season 2 will launch!

Brittany: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Lindsay: There isn’t any one correct way to write, so find what feels right to you—outlining, making it up as you go, writing every day or only when you feel like you have a clear enough head. That being said, the surest way to get better is to keep writing, and that inevitably will mean getting some bad writing out of your system first. Don’t be afraid to put something less than perfect on the page.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: The Crown's Fate by Evelyn Skye

My TBR list is always growing and I thought it would be fun to share my anticipation for those books with all of you. This is not my own original meme; it belongs to Breaking the Spine. It specifically spotlights upcoming releases. As it implies in the title, I'll be posting this meme on Wednesdays. Please feel free to comment and let me know what books you guys are waiting on as well!

The Crown's Fate by Evelyn Skye
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: May 16th, 2017
Pre-Order: Amazon | B&NKepler's

Perfect for fans of Shadow and Bone and Red Queen, The Crown’s Fate is the thrilling sequel to the New York Times bestselling The Crown’s Game, an atmospheric historical fantasy set in Imperial Russia.

Russia is on the brink of great change. Pasha’s coronation approaches, and Vika is now the Imperial Enchanter, but the role she once coveted may be more difficult—and dangerous—than she ever expected.

Pasha is grappling with his own problems—his legitimacy is in doubt, the girl he loves loathes him, and he believes his best friend is dead. When a challenger to the throne emerges—and with the magic in Russia growing rapidly—Pasha must do whatever it takes to keep his position and protect his kingdom.

For Nikolai, the ending of the Crown’s Game stung deeply. Although he just managed to escape death, Nikolai remains alone, a shadow hidden in a not-quite-real world of his own creation. But when he’s given a second chance at life—tied to a dark price—Nikolai must decide just how far he’s willing to go to return to the world.

With revolution on the rise, dangerous new magic rearing up, and a tsardom up for the taking, Vika, Nikolai, and Pasha must fight—or face the destruction of not only their world but also themselves.

I have had this post ready to go since last year when I read The Crown's Game, I have just been waiting for the cover reveal and description to be released. But I didn't need either of these things to be freaking excited for this book.

The wait for this book is going to kill me. I need to know what happens to my precious Nikolai, Vika, and even Pasha (who I'm still a little mad at).

What about you guys? Have you read The Crown's Game? Did you love it? Are you excited for this one? Let me know ^_^

Evelyn Skye is the NEW YORK TIMES Bestselling author of THE CROWN'S GAME and its sequel, THE CROWN'S FATE. Evelyn was once offered a job by the C.I.A., she not-so-secretly wishes she was on "So You Think You Can Dance," and if you challenge her to a pizza-eating contest, she guarantees she will win. When she isn't writing, Evelyn can be found chasing her daughter on the playground or sitting on the couch, immersed in a good book and eating way too many cookies. She can be found online at and on Twitter @EvelynSkyeYA
Connect with Evelyn: Website | Twitter | FB | Instagram | Tumblr

Did you guys know that you can still sign up to be a member of the Tsar's Guard? Sign up HERE!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Glitter by Aprilynne Pike Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway

Hey guys, today I have the pleasure of having the awesome Aprilynne Pike on the blog today sharing with you, her guest post and giveaway. I hope you guys enjoy it! ^_^

by Aprilynne Pike

        Maybe I should call it a nigh-fi. You know, like “near-future sci-fi.” Or should we go with faux-historical corporate intrigue? Too stuffy? Well, YA cyberpunk seems a tad gritty, what about corsetpunk? Pompadourpunk? Pannierpunk?

        In my first proposal, GLITTER took place on a space station—an asteroid-mining operation like you’d see in TV shows like Cowboy Bebop or Firefly. But instead of the wild American west, the past revived looked more like the court of the Sun King. I’d never written science fiction before, but I love space westerns. The pairing of romantic historical settings with the innovations of science fiction appeals to me—and, clearly, not just me. From the BBC’s Doctor Who and Neal Stephenson’s Diamond Age, to HBO’s new take on Westworld, tech-laden faux-history has a marvelous pedigree.

        When the space station idea evolved into a “smart house” Palace of Versailles, the main character’s isolation transformed from literal to figurative and I found that my biggest challenge with GLITTER wasn’t writing it, but describing it. This was terrifying precisely because I knew I was breaking one of the cardinal rules of the publishing world: pick a genre. I teach this in my classes! If a bookstore doesn’t know where to shelve your book, they might not shelve it at all!  With clear comparisons to popular shows ranging from Breaking Bad to Versailles to Mr. Robot, I found myself struggling to craft those pithy pitches we authors so adore—“hot show meets other, totally different hot show!” And while there’s much to be said for art, selling books is how I feed my family. How could I persuade my readers to give this quirky text a try?

         If the shoe fits, they say, wear it. But what if all the shoes fit?

         That, I suppose, is why I wanted to write GLITTER in the first place. There are many shoes that fit Danica’s feet, and by the end of the story she gets to wear them all—often, dance in them, too.  She wants to be a coder; her mother wants her to be Queen.  Who among us hasn’t been there, at times, longing so deeply to be so many things, knowing on some level that becoming a wealthy, famous, vampire-hunting unicorn surgeon princess ballerina governor just isn’t in the cards? How many of us, in our desperation to be too many things to ourselves and too many other people, have made… you know… mistakes?

         The Gods of Marketing tell me that GLITTER is “science fiction,” and, as labels go, it’s not a bad one. The story has self-driving cars and robotic servants and a touch of augmented reality; if it also has castles and ballgowns and deadly court intrigue, so much the better. But if you catch me in private sometime and twist my arm a little and demand to know what GLITTER is really about, here’s what I’ll probably tell you:

         GLITTER is about one amazing young woman who, in a fit of desperation, makes a lot of really, really terrible mistakes.

         GLITTER is the story of an anti-heroine.

         Whether or not it’s the story of an anti-heroine’s redemption, well—that, I suppose, is an exercise for the reader.

Aprilynne Pike is a critically acclaimed, #1 New York Times best-selling author of young adult fiction. At the age of twenty she received her BA in Creative Writing from Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho. When not writing, Aprilynne can usually be found running; she also enjoys singing, acting, reading, and working with pregnant moms as a childbirth educator and doula. Aprilynne lives in Arizona with her husband and their four children.
Connect with Aprilynne: Website | Wattpad | FB | Twitter | GR

Pub. Date: October 25, 2016
Publisher: Random House BFYR
Pages: 384
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Buy it: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | GR
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Aprilynne Pike comes a truly original new novel—Breaking Bad meets Marie Antoinette in a near-future world where the residents of Versailles live like it’s the eighteenth century and an almost-queen turns to drug dealing to save her own life.

Outside the palace of Versailles, it’s modern day. Inside, the people dress, eat, and act like it’s the eighteenth century—with the added bonus of technology to make court life lavish, privileged, and frivolous. The palace has every indulgence, but for one pretty young thing, it’s about to become a very beautiful prison.

When Danica witnesses an act of murder by the young king, her mother makes a cruel power play . . . blackmailing the king into making Dani his queen. When she turns eighteen, Dani will marry the most ruthless and dangerous man of the court. She has six months to escape her terrifying destiny. Six months to raise enough money to disappear into the real world beyond the palace gates.

Her ticket out? Glitter. A drug so powerful that a tiny pinch mixed into a pot of rouge or lip gloss can make the wearer hopelessly addicted. Addicted to a drug Dani can sell for more money than she ever dreamed.

But in Versailles, secrets are impossible to keep. And the most dangerous secret—falling for a drug dealer outside the palace walls—is one risk she has to take.

Week One:
10/17/2016- Tales of the Ravenous ReaderInterview
10/18/2016- Lisa Loves LiteratureReview
10/19/2016- Pandora's BooksExcerpt
10/20/2016- BookHounds YAReview
10/21/2016- Two Chicks on Books- Interview

Week Two:
10/24/2016- Brooke- ReportsReview
10/25/2016- Brittany's Book RamblesGuest Post
10/26/2016- Seeing Double In NeverlandReview
10/27/2016- A Glass Of Wine BlogInterview
10/28/2016- Mundie MomsReview

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

I'm Not Your Pixie Manic Dream Girl Blog Tour: Excerpt + Giveaway

Hey guys, today I'm lucky enough to share with you an excerpt from I'm Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl by Gretchen McNeil plus a great giveaway below! I hope you guys enjoy it ^__^

I'm Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl by Gretchen McNeil
Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins
Pub Date: October 18, 2016
Buy it: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository 
From acclaimed author Gretchen McNeil comes her first realistic contemporary romance—perfect for fans of Kody Keplinger’s The Duff and Morgan Matson’s Since You've Been Gone.

Beatrice Maria Estrella Giovannini has life all figured out. She's starting senior year at the top of her class, she’s a shoo-in for a scholarship to M.I.T., and she’s got a new boyfriend she’s crazy about. The only problem: All through high school Bea and her best friends Spencer and Gabe have been the targets of horrific bullying.

So Bea uses her math skills to come up with The Formula, a 100% mathematically guaranteed path to social happiness in high school. Now Gabe is on his way to becoming Student Body President, and Spencer is finally getting his art noticed. But when her boyfriend Jesse dumps her for Toile, the quirky new girl at school, Bea realizes it's time to use The Formula for herself. She'll be reinvented as the eccentric and lovable Trixie—a quintessential manic pixie dream girl—in order to win Jesse back and beat new-girl Toile at her own game.

Unfortunately, being a manic pixie dream girl isn't all it's cracked up to be, and “Trixie” is causing unexpected consequences for her friends. As The Formula begins to break down, can Bea find a way to reclaim her true identity and fix everything she's messed up? Or will the casualties of her manic pixie experiment go far deeper than she could possibly imagine.

“ We should probably get going. Don’t want to be late on the first day, right?”

“ Don’t we?” Gabe slouched back against the sofa, all thoughts of Jesse and me forgotten. “ I mean, I’m not exactly in a hurry to get my ass kicked.”

Spencer snorted. “ If you could just remember to not mouth off in front of the football team or get their beloved coach fired, you’d be golden. Now me, on the other hand . . .” He drew his thumb across his throat and lolled his head to the side, tongue hanging out of his mouth. “ I’m a dead man.”

“ Maybe it’ll be different this year,” Jesse said. “ I mean, you’re seniors now. Won’t those guys have freshmen to pick on?”

Jesse had only been at Fullerton Hills a semester, but that had been long enough to know exactly where Gabe, Spencer, and I fell in the social hierarchy at school—i.e., the bottom—so I really had to appreciate his optimism.

Gabe propped his feet up on the coffee table. “ Dude, even the freshmen pick on us.”

" Maybe if you toned it down a little bit?” Jesse suggested. “ Blended in?”

I winced. As much as I would love for us to fit in, the last thing I’d want would be for my friends to change who they were.

“ How exactly should I blend in?”  Spencer asked, his eyes cold. “ Do you think if I pretended I were actually gay they’d stop calling me a fag in the halls?” He nodded at Gabe. “ No offense.”

“ None taken,” Gabe said. “ But, you know, if you were really a flaming queer, they’d probably leave you alone. They wouldn’t want to be anywhere near that stereotypical homosexual bullshit for fear it might rub off on them.” He pursed his lips and drew his hand up to his chin, posing like a cover model. “ Thad, your cheekbones are fabulous. Has anyone ever told you that? I just want to run my tongue up and down them.” Then he roared like a tiger.

Spencer laughed. “ I’d pay to see the look on Thad’s face.”

“ Right before his fist connected with your nose,” Gabe said, then turned to me. “ And I don’t know what Bea could do to shake her nickname.”

“ If she’d just agree to do their algebra homework,” Spencer said, naming the one thing I absolutely refused to do, “ she’d probably be able to hang out with Cassilyn and her crew whenever she wanted.”

Jesse grabbed my hand. “ Maybe that could be your thing? You could be a math tutor.”

I jutted out my chin. “ I’d rather cut off my arm than help those half-wits figure out the value of x. It’s insulting to the memories of Diophantus and Brahmagupta.”

Jesse blinked. “ Huh?”

Gabe waved him off. “ Math stuff. Don’t ask or you’ll get a lecture.”

I took a deep breath. “ Jesse’s right.” Sort of. Though I disagreed with his suggestion that we tone down our personalities, my boyfriend did have a point. “ We’re seniors now. Definitely not the freaks and weirdos we were freshman year. This is our school, and our last year at it, and we’re not going to let a bunch of roided-up assholes take that away from us. We have to act like we’re not afraid of them.”

“ Exactly,” Jesse said. “ Just act like you’re cool and everything will be fine.”

I smiled at him. I wasn’t sure it would work, but I was willing to give it a try.

Excerpted from I'M NOT YOUR MANIC PIXIE DREAM GIRL © Copyright 2016 by Gretchen McNeil. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Gretchen McNeil is an opera singer, a writer, and a clown. She is also the author of Get Even as well as Ten, which was a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, a Romantic Times Top Pick, and an ALA Booklist Top Ten Horror Fiction for Youth and was nominated for Best Young Adult Contemporary Novel of 2012 by Romantic Times. Gretchen blogs with the Enchanted Inkpot and is a founding member of the vlog group the YARebels.
Connect with Gretchen: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Youtube | Instagram

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Hunted by Meagan Spooner

My TBR list is always growing and I thought it would be fun to share my anticipation for those books with all of you. This is not my own original meme; it belongs to Breaking the Spine. It specifically spotlights upcoming releases. As it implies in the title, I'll be posting this meme on Wednesdays. Please feel free to comment and let me know what books you guys are waiting on as well!

Publisher: HarperTeen
Pub Date: March 14, 2017
Pre-Order: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

I love fairy tale retellings, I'm always curious to see how the authors will put their own spin on the original story. What makes me so excited is the fact that Beauty is a hunter! For some reason, I automatically started picturing Katniss as Beauty, or in this case, Yeva ^_^ 

What do you guys think of this one? Is it already on your TBR? Are you adding it now? Let me know!

New York Times bestselling author Meagan Spooner grew up reading and writing every spare moment of the day, while dreaming about life as an archaeologist, a marine biologist, an astronaut. She graduated from Hamilton College in New York with a degree in playwriting, and has spent several years since then living in Australia. She's traveled with her family all over the world to places like Egypt, South Africa, the Arctic, Greece, Antarctica, and the Galapagos, and there's a bit of every trip in every story she writes.

She currently lives and writes in Asheville, North Carolina, but the siren call of travel is hard to resist, and there's no telling how long she'll stay there. She's the author of the award-winning Starbound trilogy (These Broken Stars, This Shattered World, Their Fractured Light) and the Skylark Trilogy (Skylark, Shadowlark, Lark Ascending) as well as the upcoming Beauty and the Beast retelling Hunted.

 In her spare time she plays guitar, plays video games, plays with her cat, and reads.
Connect with Meagan: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Pinterest

Monday, October 10, 2016

Words on Bathroom Walls Cover Reveal + Interview with Julia Walton!

Words on Bathroom Walls by Julia Walton
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: July 4th, 2017
Pre-Order: Amazon
Fans of More Happy Than Not, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and It’s Kind of a Funny Story will cheer for Adam as he struggles with schizophrenia in this brilliantly honest and unexpectedly funny debut.

Adam has just been diagnosed with schizophrenia. He sees and hears people who aren’t there: Rebecca, a beautiful girl who understands him; the Mob Boss, who harasses him; and Jason, the naked guy who’s unfailingly polite. It should be easy to separate the real from the not real, but Adam can't.

Still, there’s hope. As Adam starts fresh at a new school, he begins a drug trial that helps him ignore his visions. Suddenly everything seems possible, even love. When he meets Maya, a fiercely intelligent girl, he desperately wants to be the great guy that she thinks he is. But then the miracle drug begins to fail, and Adam will do anything to keep Maya from discovering his secret.

Guys, isn't the cover amazing?!

Be sure to add this fantastic book to your TBRs, and pre-order it now! And of course, check out the interview below! ;D

What inspired you to write Words on Bathroom Walls?

I'm not sure it was an actual event or idea that inspired me to write Words on Bathroom Walls.  I just knew I wanted to tell the kind of story I would have wanted to read when I went to Catholic school. The idea of a schizophrenic teenager who has visual and auditory hallucinations fit beautifully with the backdrop of celebrated saints and angelic figures in the Catholic Church.

Adam appeared in my mind as a regular, kind-hearted person with heavy problems and a snarky attitude about them. I want readers who are struggling with problems of their own to read Adam's story and maybe feel a little less alone.

What are 5 unique facts about yourself?

1. I can't read a map to save my life so I can basically get lost anywhere. ANYWHERE.
2. I line up my French fries by size and eat them in groups of three. Always with ketchup.
3. I have secret stashes of candy (mostly Swedish Fish and Haribo Gummy bears) in my kitchen that my husband politely pretends not to know about
4. I sometimes slip into a British accent when dealing with customer service people.
5. I once asked Santa for a magic wand and still think this is a perfectly reasonable request.

Who was your first OTP?

My first One True Pairing? I think it would have to have been Mr. and Mrs. Beaver from The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. Those two really seemed to have it together… #MarriageGoals
But seriously… I think my favorite OTP in literature will always be Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester.  As dark and alluring as he was, she stayed true to herself when she discovered that he’d been lying to her and well, everyone. It also doesn’t hurt that Michael Fassbender brought Rochester to life so perfectly in the film.

What are your favorite and least favorite scenes to write?

I’m not sure I have least favorite scenes, but the ones that are the most challenging to write involve a lot of dialogue. I usually end up cutting and reworking at least half my dialogue.

As for favorite scenes, I love writing the parts where the bad guy gets annihilated by karma. I wish that happened more in real life.

What fictional character (not your own) do you most identify with, and why?

This is going to be boring but…Hermione Granger. I’ve always been bookish and I’ve always loved school, and there is something special about the way Hermione used her brilliance to help her friends. She made me proud to be a nerd.

If you could collaborate with any author on a new book, who would it be and why?

Oh man that thought is terrifying! I’d be immediately plagued with self doubt and a huge inferiority complex!

But…Becky Albertalli.  I loved Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda and based on her writing style and general loveliness as a person (as gleaned from her Twitter posts and interviews) I would love to work with her.

What is the weirdest thing you have ever had to Google for research?

“ When does a dead body start to smell?”

Answer: We do not stay fresh for very long…

If you could bring one fictional character into the real world as your love interest, who would you pick and why?

This answer varies on a daily basis. But at the moment, Matthew Clairmont from Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy.

Because vampires. <3

Thank you again, Julia! Your answers are awesomely hilarious, and your book is wonderful!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh

My TBR list is always growing and I thought it would be fun to share my anticipation for those books with all of you. This is not my own original meme; it belongs to Breaking the Spine. It specifically spotlights upcoming releases. As it implies in the title, I'll be posting this meme on Wednesdays. Please feel free to comment and let me know what books you guys are waiting on as well!

The Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Publication Date: May 2nd, 2017
Pre-Order: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Wrath and the Dawn, comes a sweeping, action-packed YA adventure set against the backdrop of Feudal Japan where Mulan meets Tamora Pierce.

The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor's favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family's standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she's quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she's ever known.
First of all, can we talk about that gorgeous cover?! It's fierce and elegant at the same time!

Second, Mulan is my favorite Disney princess and I'm so excited to be reading a Mulan inspired story.

And to top it all off, it's written by one of my auto-buy authors! What more could I possible ask for?

What do you guys think? Is this on your TBR? Have you read Renée Ahdieh's The Wrath and The Dawn duology? Let me know!

I live in North Carolina (Go Heels!) with my husband Victor and our dog Mushu. My YA fantasy novel, THE WRATH AND THE DAWN, is available wherever books are sold. Its sequel, THE ROSE AND THE DAGGER, will be published on April 26, 2016. In my spare time, I like to cook, dance salsa, and wreak havoc on the lives of my characters.
Connect with Renée: Website | Twitter | Instagram | FB | Pinterest