Monday, January 30, 2017

A Careful Undressing Of Love Blog Tour: Interview + Giveaway

Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers/ Penguin Random House
Pub Date: January 31st, 2016
Buy it: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository 
The girls of Devonairre Street have always been told they’re cursed. Any boy they love is certain to die too soon. But this is Brooklyn in 2008, and the curse is less a terror and more a lifestyle accessory—something funky and quaint that makes the girls from the shortest street in Brooklyn special. They wear their hair long and keys around their necks. People give them a second look and whisper “Devonairre” to their friends. But it’s not real. It won’t affect their futures.

Then Jack—their Jack, the one boy everyone loved—dies suddenly and violently. And now the curse seems not only real, but like the only thing that matters. All their bright futures have suddenly gone dark.
The Careful Undressing of Love is a disturbing and sensual story of the power of youth and the boundless mysteries of love set against the backdrop of Haydu’s brilliantly reimagined New York City.
Corey Ann Haydu is the critically acclaimed author of several novels for young readers novels, including OCD Love Story, which earned her a Publishers Weekly Flying Start. Her books have been Junior Library Guild, Indie Next, and BCCB Blue Ribbon selections. Corey lives in Brooklyn with her dog, her fiancé, and a wide selection of cheese.
Connect with Corey: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook 

Brittany: What made you decide to write a magical realism book?

Corey: I first started experimenting with magic in my books when I wrote my first middle grade novel, RULES FOR STEALING STARS. I never thought I could write magic, but I ended up falling in love with it through what I thought was a silly experimentation and ended up being an actual novel. When I finished that book, I knew I had to keep playing with the genre. I loved how complicated it was to work with magic, I loved the challenge, and I loved how it opened up new ways to tell the stories I want to tell. The one thing I never want to be as a writer is bored. And I never want my readers to be bored. I like surprising people—even the ones who know my work really well. And adding magic into my contemporary has really helped me do that.

Brittany: Why did you pick the setting of New York City for your book?

Corey: I’ve been living in New York for over fifteen years, and this was my second book set there. I started thinking about the setting when I first moved out to Brooklyn, almost seven years ago, and I wanted to capture the neighborhood feel, the deep sense of history in this borough. I’m now married to someone born and raised here, so it’s part of my life in a profound way. I love telling stories set in New York because I know it so intimately. And for these girls, I felt they needed to be somewhere with a lot of attention on it. Some stories are better told in quieter locations, but this story needed the feeling of the eyes of the world being on their city at all times. I moved to New York about two weeks before 9/11, so that colors my experience of living here and it also colors this book. It’s the first time I’ve written with some of those feelings in mind.

Brittany: What's the weirdest thing you've had to look up for research while writing?

Corey: For this book, I spent a LOT of time reading about magical properties of food, symbolic properties of food, the alchemy of food. I am a huge food lover, so it was fascinating thinking about food from that new perspective, beyond taste. I researched the proper care of peonies and had to look up pre-9/11 airport policies. I’ve also recently spent a lot of time re-learning fifth-grade science for a book.

Brittany: If you could co-write a book with any living author, who would it be and why?

Corey: There are SO MANY I would love to co-write with, including some friends who write YA who I feel sure I could do something special with. But in the adult literary world, I love Julie Orringer. Her short story collection, HOW TO BREATHE UNDERWATER, is a real favorite of mine. I read it in college and it made me understand more deeply what kind of stories I want to write. She has such a creative mind and a unique voice. I’d be interested in what kind of story we could come up with together, and the ways she might push me as a writer.

Brittany: If you couldn't be a writer/author anymore, what would be your #1 dream profession?

Corey: I used to be an actor and I would never go back to that, but I spent time in college studying drama therapy and I LOVED that. I think I would love to be a Drama Therapist, maybe in a children’s hospital. And who knows, maybe I will follow up on that dream someday!

Brittany: If you could travel anywhere in the world for writing inspiration, where would it be?

Corey: I’ve always wanted to go to Argentina. I once spent a few years studying Eva Peron, and though I don’t think I would write a story set there necessarily, I think there’s always little inspirations that can seep into your work. Being somewhere new, in a place that ignites curiosity and reflection, is great for your work. I’d love to be somewhere new to shake my brain up, and I think that would be a really exciting place to stretch and learn.

Brittany: What authors and specific literary works have inspired you the most as a writer throughout your life?

Corey: Sylvia Plath is one of my biggest inspirations. I loved her honesty and bravery and forthrightness. I also was HUGELY inspired by Sandra Cisneros’s THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET. I read it in 9th grade and it changed my whole understanding of what a novel could look like. I loved the way she wrote about small moments, I loved the whole concept of vignettes. As a senior, I wrote my own little book of vignettes as my senior project. I haven’t yet done it as an adult, but I think I write with moments in mind. I write lots of tiny moments and they make up a book. I learned that from Cisneros. I’ve been inspired by John Irving and Pablo Neruda and Judy Blume and Joyce Carol Oates and John Patrick Shanley.

Brittany: Can you tell us anything about your upcoming projects? What are you working on now?

Corey: THE CAREFUL UNDRESSING OF LOVE was such an amazing creative experience, I’ve been trying to focus on staying in that zone—risk taking, pushing myself, making big, exciting choices, not holding back, writing from an excited, inspired place. I have another middlegrade book coming out this year in June, THE SOMEDAY SUITCASE which I like to think of as “My Girl” with magic. It’s a friendship story that I really loved writing and that has snow globes and science class and a girl named Clover who thinks she might be the only cure for her best friend’s illness.

I’ve been playing with a lot of other ideas as well—for all different ages—all of which are strange and complicated and scary to write and ultimately, as always, about girls and women who are struggling to figure out how they fit into a world that isn’t sure how it feels about girls and women.

Brittany: That sounds awesome! I can't wait to read what you have up for us next ^_^ Thank you so much for doing this interview with me and being on the blog today!

Week One:
1/30 – Brittany’s Book Rambles – Interview
1/31 – YA Book Central – Excerpt 
2/1 – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Guest Post 
2/2 – Super Space Chick – Reasons to Read 
2/3 – Page Turners – Deleted Scene

Week Two:
2/6 – The Books Buzz – Review + Mood Board
2/7 – Alexa Loves Books – Guest Post
2/8 – Lost in Literature – Guest Post
2/9 – Pop! Goes the Reader – The Writing’s On the Wall
2/10 – Novel Novice – Review

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: A Poison Dark and Drowning by Jessica Cluess

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: Random House BFYR
Pub. Date: September 19th, 2017
Pre-Order it: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository 
The magicians want her to lead.The sorcerers want her to lie.The demons want her blood.Henrietta wants to save the one she loves.But will his dark magic be her undoing?

In this seductive and explosive second book in the Kingdom on Fire series, Jessica Cluess delivers her signature mix of magic, passion, and teen warriors fighting for survival. Hand to fans of Victoria Aveyard, Sarah J. Maas, and Kiersten White.

Henrietta doesn't need a prophecy to know that she's in danger. She came to London to be named the chosen one, the first female sorcerer in centuries, the one who would defeat the Ancients. Instead, she discovered a city ruled by secrets. And the biggest secret of all: Henrietta is not the chosen one.

Still, she must play the role in order to keep herself and Rook, her best friend and childhood love, safe. But can she truly save him? The poison in Rook's system is transforming him into something monstrous as he begins to master dark powers of his own. So when Henrietta finds a clue to the Ancients past that could turn the tide of the war, she persuades Blackwood, the mysterious Earl of Sorrow-Fell, to travel up the coast to seek out strange new weapons. And Magnus, the brave, reckless flirt who wants to win back her favor, is assigned to their mission. Together, they will face monsters, meet powerful new allies, and uncover the most devastating weapon of all: the truth.

I loved A Shadow Bright and Burning, it had everything I love in fantasy books. Magic, swoony boys, amazing setting, and great writing. So you can imagine how much I want A Poison Dark and Drowning?

Plus, I need to know what happens to my precious babies Rook and Blackwood!

Also, I read a bit of the display copy that they had at ALAMW and it's sooo good! I need this book NOW!

What about you guys? Have you read A Shadow Bright and Burning? Are you excited for A Poison Dark and Drowning? Are they on your TBR? Let me know ^_^

Jessica Cluess is a writer, a graduate of Northwestern University, and an unapologetic nerd. After college, she moved to Los Angeles, where she served coffee to the rich and famous while working on her first novel. When she’s not writing books, she’s an instructor at Writopia Lab, helping kids and teens tell their own stories.
Connect with Jessica: Website | Twitter | Pinterest | Facebook | Tumblr 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

After The Fall Guest Post: Kate Hart's Journey to Publication!

Author: Kate Hart
Pub. Date: January 24, 2017
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Pages: 336
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksGoodreads

Seventeen-year-old Raychel is sleeping with two boys: her overachieving best friend Matt…and his slacker brother, Andrew. Raychel sneaks into Matt’s bed after nightmares, but nothing ever happens. He doesn’t even seem to realize she’s a girl, except when he decides she needs rescuing. But Raychel doesn't want to be his girl anyway. She just needs his support as she deals with the classmate who assaulted her, the constant threat of her family’s eviction, and the dream of college slipping quickly out of reach. Matt tries to help, but he doesn’t really get it… and he’d never understand why she’s fallen into a secret relationship with his brother. The friendships are a precarious balance, and when tragedy strikes, everything falls apart. Raychel has to decide which pieces she can pick up – and which ones are worth putting back together.

After studying Spanish and history at a small liberal arts school, Kate Hart taught young people their ABCs, wrote grants for grownups with disabilities, and now builds treehouses for people of all ages. Her debut YA novel, AFTER THE FALL, is coming January 2017 from FSG. She also contributes to YA Highway, hosts the Badass Ladies You Should Know series, and will soon sell inappropriate handicrafts at The Badasserie
Kate is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, and owns a treehouse-building business in northwest Arkansas, where she resides with her family.
Connect: Website | Twitter | Insta | Tumblr | PinterestGoodreads

My journey to becoming a published author has been long. In 2009, all my friends were raving about this book called Twilight, which I refused to read because I considered myself a reader of ~literature~. But with a family trip coming up, I decided I would give it a try as a beach read.

Like a lot of people, I tore through the book in hours and immediately had to get the rest of the series. I’d always wanted to be a writer, but had given up on it, until Twilight made me realize that young adult existed as a section of literature, and that my voice would be suited to it.

Of course my first manuscript was a paranormal that hit all the usual tropes: red-haired girl comes into her special powers at puberty; chaos ensues. I queried about 15 agents, and got a lot of the responses saying, “Great writing, but this story isn’t the one.”

So in spring 2010 I sat down and did an exercise in which I made a list of all the things I wanted to write about. From that came the first line of After the Fall, which is still the first line today. I finished the manuscript in about six weeks, revised within a few months, queried in the summer, and got seven offers within a few weeks. I was absolutely sure I was destined for a multi-house auction and a good deal.

I… was not.

Agents were enthusiastic about the book, but editors were wary. Two offered revise and resubmits, but they involved a major overhaul to the second half and I couldn’t see a way to make that work. Instead, I got to work on a rewrite of the original paranormal, adding a huge historical element that took years to research. That book finally went on sub in spring 2013.

It did not sell.

Again, I got two revise and resubmits. By this point, I was desperate to be published, and decided to combine the notes into one revision, even though they contradicted each other at key points. Unsurprisingly, the mess that I sent back that fall was roundly rejected by Christmas.

I was demoralized. At this point, I’d been in the YA community for four years, and it felt like my failure to publish was glaring. But working on the other project had helped me realize what was wrong with After the Fall, and sitting down with three years’ perspective made it much easier to turn that manuscript into something new. Finally, in the summer of 2014, one of my original R&Rs turned into a yes, and the book sold to Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

And from there? It only took three more short years until it hit the shelves.
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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: Dark Breaks the Dawn by Sara B. Larson

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!

Dark Breaks the Dawn by Sara B. Larson
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Expected Pub. Date: May 30th, 2017
Pre-order it: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
On her eighteenth birthday, Princess Evelayn of Eadrolan, the Light Kingdom, can finally access the full range of her magical powers. The light looks brighter, the air is sharper, and the energy she can draw when fighting feels almost limitless.

But while her mother, the queen, remains busy at the war front, in the Dark Kingdom of Dorjhalon, the corrupt king is plotting. King Bain wants control of both kingdoms, and his plan will fling Evelayn onto the throne much sooner than she expected.

In order to defeat Bain and his sons, Evelayn will quickly have to come into her ability to shapeshift, and rely on the alluring Lord Tanvir. But not everyone is what they seem, and the balance between the Light and Dark comes at a steep price.

I haven't read Sara B. Larson's other trilogy, but it has been on on my TBR for the longest time and maybe reading Dark Breaks the Dawn will push all of Sara's books to the top of my reading schedule!

Also, a shapeshifting female main character and an alluring Lord? 

I find the cover really striking, and it makes me think of my favorite fairy tale—The Six Swans. I'm curious if this will have any similarities to that, and I can't wait to find out! 

How about you guys? Have you heard of this one? Is it on your TBR? Let me know! :D

Sara B. Larson is the author of the acclaimed YA fantasy DEFY, and the sequels IGNITE and ENDURE. She can’t remember a time when she didn’t write books—although she now uses a computer instead of a Little Mermaid notebook. Sara lives in Utah with her husband and their three children. She writes in brief snippets throughout the day (while mourning the demise of naptime) and the quiet hours when most people are sleeping. Her husband claims she should have a degree in “the art of multitasking.” When she’s not mothering or writing, you can often find her at the gym repenting for her sugar addiction.
Connect with Sara: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Dystopian You NEED In Your Life! My Flashfall Review!

Paperback ARC
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co./Macmillan
Buy it: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository 
Orion is a Subpar, expected to mine the tunnels of Outpost Five, near the deadly flash curtain. For generations, her people have chased cirium—the only element that can shield humanity from the curtain’s radioactive particles. She and her caving partner, Dram work the most treacherous tunnel, fighting past flash bats and tunnel gulls, in hopes of mining enough cirium to earn their way into the protected city.

But when newcomers arrive at Outpost Five, Orion uncovers disturbing revelations that make her question everything she thought she knew about life on both sides of the cirium shield. As conditions at the outpost grow increasingly dangerous, it’s up to Orion to forge a way past the flashfall, beyond all boundaries, beyond the world as she knows it.

Flashfall absolutely BLEW ME AWAY. I went into this book with zero expectations, and it was so much more than I ever could have expected or imagined. Not only is Flashfall one of my favorite 2016 debuts, but it's now one of my favorite books of all time! If you're looking for a brilliant, swoony, heart-stopping dystopian, look no further—Flashfall is "the one" for you. Honestly, I could (and I have) re-read this book over and over again and never get sick of it—it's simply that wonderful. The stakes in this book are so incredibly high that it left me breathless and don't even get me started on how fantastic the main ship is because . . .

Even if you're not typically a fan of dystopian novels or you've been disappointed by many of them in the past, I highly urge you to give this one a try. If Flashfall doesn't change your mind, nothing will.

1) The main character, Orion, is far from a special snowflake. Everything that she excels at is from her own hard work, and my god, this girl is a BADASS. At the same time, she's vulnerable and passionate, and when she loves—she loves fiercely. Her story is literally an emotional roller coaster that's mostly a downward spiral, so how she was able to keep her head and stay focused, I have no idea. It boggles my mind, because if I was in Orion's position, I would just have curled up in the fetal position and waited for death. Basically, I love her so much and I'm dying to read more about her!

2) You guys know that I am all about the ships, and Flashfall has has a great one. They kind of remind me of Tris and Four from Divergent, but not dysfunctional and more adorable. Dram and Orion are definitely one of my new OTPs. They are so freaking cute—it honestly made my heart sing. My favorite thing about them is how they balance each other out. One is not specifically better, more-skilled, or more useful than the other—they are equal partners and their passion for one-another is undeniable. Just thinking about these two gives me ALL THE FEELS!

3) All of Flashfall is written from Orion's POV, but the plot itself is multi-layered with overlapping storylines for the other characters. Usually, I expect a single-POV story to be pretty limiting regarding how much of the rest of the world and other characters' storylines we get to see, but this is not the case in Flashfall. It's truly masterful how this is accomplished, so I'm incredibly impressed with Jenny Moyer's skill.

4) I have read so many dystopian novels, and too often, the stakes are . . . meh. However, there is nothing easy about this book. Time and time again, the characters struggle, are punished, and are literally put through hell—which in my opinion is the beauty of a great dystopian—and what people who enjoy dystopian novels want to read. In Flashfall, the ultimate goal of the main characters doesn't come without a cost—which they are forced to pay—and it totally crushed me. While reading, I had a constant adrenaline rush and my pulse felt like it was going rupture my veins; it was amazing!

(In a good way ;D)

1) The alternative curse words. In some cases it was okay, and in during other times, it wasn't. There is a term, glenting, that I'm still not entirely sure I know what it means. Overall, I would have just preferred regular cursing XD

Also, check out the amazing Official Full Length Trailer for Flashfall!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: The Black Witch by Laurie Forest

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 Black Witch by Laurie Forest 
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pub. Date: May 2nd, 2017
Buy it: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
A Great Winged One will soon arise and cast his fearsome shadow upon the land. And just as Night slays Day, and Day slays Night, so also shall another Black Witch rise to meet him, her powers vast beyond imagining.

So foretells the greatest prophecy of the Gardnerian mages. Carnissa Gardner, the last prophesied Black Witch, drove back the enemy forces and saved her people during the Realm War. Now a new evil is on the horizon, and her granddaughter, Elloren, is believed to be Carnissa’s heir—but while she is the absolute image of her famous grandmother, Elloren is utterly devoid of power in a society that prizes magical ability above nearly all else.

When she is granted the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an apothecary, Elloren is eager to join her brothers at the prestigious Verpax University and finally embrace a destiny of her own, free from the shadow of her grandmother’s legacy. But she soon realizes that the University, which admits all manner of peoples—including the fire-wielding, winged Icarals, the sworn enemies of her people—is an even more treacherous place for the granddaughter of the Black Witch.
I can tell that The Black Witch is going to be filled with awesome female characters. A legendary Grandmother witch and a granddaughter who's looking to make her own destiny?

And it's a fantasy book filled with multiple creatures and powers! What more could I ask for? 

How about you guys? Have you heard of this one? Is it on your TBR? Let me know ^_^

Laurie Forest lives deep in the backwoods of Vermont where she sits in front of a wood stove drinking strong tea and dreaming up tales full of dryads, dragons and wands. The Black Witch (May 2017, HarlequinTEEN) is her first novel, and Wandfasted (The Black Witchprequel, Summer 2017, HarlequinTEEN) is her first e-book novella.
Connect with Laurie: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Poison's Kiss by Breeana Shields Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway

Author: Breeana Shields
Pub. Date: January 10, 2017
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Pages: 304
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, eBook
Find it: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Goodreads
A teenage assassin kills with a single kiss until she is ordered to kill the one boy she loves. This commercial YA fantasy is romantic and addictive like — a poison kiss — and will thrill fans of Sarah J. Maas and Victoria Aveyard.

Marinda has kissed dozens of boys. They all die afterward. It s a miserable life, but being a visha kanya a poison maiden is what she was created to do. Marinda serves the Raja by dispatching his enemies with only her lips as a weapon.

Until now, the men she was ordered to kiss have been strangers, enemies of the kingdom. Then she receives orders to kiss Deven, a boy she knows too well to be convinced he needs to die. She begins to question who she s really working for. And that is a thread that, once pulled, will unravel more than she can afford to lose.

This rich, surprising, and accessible debut is based in Indian folklore and delivers a story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.
Breeana Shields graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in English.

Her debut young adult fantasy, POISON’S KISS, will be released from Random House in 2017 with a sequel to follow in 2018.

When she’s not writing about herself in the third person, Breeana loves reading, traveling, and spending time with her husband, her three children and an extremely spoiled miniature poodle.
Connect with Breeana: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads

A few years ago, I was listening to a lecture series on espionage and covert operations when the instructor mentioned a legendary figure in Indian folklore—the poison damsel, a woman fed poisons from childhood so that she gradually becomes immune but is toxic to any man she lures as her lover.

It was just one sentence in an eighteen-hour course, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. What a terrible choice to make for a child—sentencing her to a life that she’s powerless to leave. Isolating her forever from true human connection. I wondered what would happen to a girl who was turned into an assassin, but wasn’t cut out to be a killer. How would that life affect her? How would it break her?

Once I realized that the story wouldn’t leave me alone until I wrote it, I started researching the legends of the visha kanya, as well as mithridatism, which is the process of slowly becoming immune to a poison by ingesting it in ever increasing doses.

I knew I wanted to set Poison’s Kiss in a fantastical world, but it was important to me that it be a world that was based on the culture where the legend was born. India is extremely culturally diverse, so I pulled from different regions and languages as I built Sundari. I also read dozens of Indian folktales, and bits of those legends also made their way into the book, as well as many elements that were purely my own creation.

My goal in Poison’s Kiss was to create a unique world with its own history and culture, while still paying homage to the origins of the visha kanya myth. I hope readers enjoy it as much as I loved writing it.

Week One:
1/2/2017- Literary Meanderings - Interview
1/3/2017- Fiction Fare- Review
1/4/2017- It Starts at Midnight- Excerpt
1/5/2017- One Night Book StandReview
1/6/2017- Brooke- Reports- Interview

Week Two:
1/9/2017- Curling Up With A Good BookReview
1/10/2017- Brittany's Book RamblesGuest Post
1/11/2017- ParajunkeeReview
1/12/2017- Two Chicks on Books- Interview

1/13/2017- IceyBooksQuote Candy

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