The Compulsive Reader

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Q&A with P.C. and Kristin Cast

I've got a Q&A with House of Night authors P.C. an Kristin Cast to celebrate the release of Redeemed, the final book in the House of Night series!

Q: REDEEMED, the final novel in the House of Night series just came out. How does it feel to reach the finale of the series?

PC: It’s bittersweet to come to the last HoN book. I’m excited about the new trilogy I’m working on, but I also miss Z and the Nerd Herd. I spent almost a decade with the HoN characters. I know I’m going to feel their absence as I’m at my writing desk – and at my brainstorming desk!

KC: It’s sad that the HoN series is ending. Like Mom, I’m going to miss Zoey and the Nerd Herd, but I’m going to miss our fans most of all. I hope that they’ll continue to follow us as we each begin our new projects.

Do you have a favorite book in House of Night?

PC: For a long time I loved CHOSEN because of the mistakes Zoey makes in that book and the lessons she learns. And my favorite novella is LENOBIA’S VOW. Since finishing REDEEMED, though, I have to say that I love it best!

KC: My favorite is LENOBIA’S VOW. I love the story, and that anyone can pick it up and read it without having to read any of the other books in the series.

Q: Is there a character that you feel closest to?

PC: Aphrodite is easiest to write, and I’ll always feel close to Zoey.

KC: I love me some Heath! I guess that also means that I love Aurox too!

Q: House of Night is an international phenomenon! How has the success of the series changed your life?

PC: HoN has enriched our lives on many levels. We love hearing from our fans about how they have grown up with Zoey and the group. Kristin and I get to take awesome road trips!

KC: I’ve gotten to meet so many people who have been inspired by HoN, which has made me a better person in a lot of ways.

Q: Neferet is such a tragically flawed character. Her backstory made her more sympathetic, even though her choices are horrid. How much of her actions in REDEEMED, and previous books, is a result of her trying to overcome her past?

PC: Sadly, Neferet’s life choices were a direct result of her inability to let go of her father’s brutal attack and rape. I think a big part of her reaction to his abuse was a direct result of “Emily’s” inability to forgive herself. I do understand Neferet, often too well. It saddens me that the HoN world lost what could have been such a great force for Light.

Q: Where do you see Zoey in 10 years?

PC: I see Z being a kick ass High Priestess!

Q: Does Zoey and Stark’s relationship continue?

PC: Absolutely! Stark will always be Zoey’s Warrior.

Q: Did writing the series together strengthen your relationship?

PC: Kristin and I have always been close, so that hasn’t changed. I am appreciative of her editorial eye, and love partnering with her!

KC: Mom and I have always had an amazing relationship! Working with her has made me appreciate and respect her even more.

Q: Do mothers and daughters read your books together?

PC: Yes! We hear from mothers and daughters a lot! We love that they read the HoN as a team.

KC: Hearing how our books have brought mothers and daughters closer is so amazing! I love that we’ve been able to inspire connection within so many families.

Q: How did you decide to write a series about vampires?

PC: My agent, Meredith Bernstein, asked me to write a series set at a vampyre finishing school, and my imagination took off from there.

Q: Who is your all-time favorite fictional vampire character?

PC: I love the vampire in Robin McKinley’s wonderful book, SUNSHINE.

KC: Spike! He’s totally my boyfriend.

Q: Spike or Angel?

PC: SPIKE! He’s been my boyfriend for years.

KC: No! He’s MY boyfriend, Phyllis.

Q: Some have speculated that the huge surge of interest over the past few years in the paranormal romance/vampire fiction genre won’t last. What do you think?

PC: I think it’s silly to worry about genres coming and going. A good book is a good book. Excellence in storytelling will never be out of fashion.

Q: What is on your nightstand now?

PC: The first book in Anne Bishop’s Jewel series, Neil Gaiman’s THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE, and the latest copy of bitch Magazine.

KC: Benadryl, my dehumidifier, and stress relieving essential oils. (I have a bit of an allergy problem.)

Q: What was your favorite book as a young adult?

PC: Wow, there were so many of them! When I was a young girl I read every horse and dog book I could get my hands on (LOVE Walter Farley). As I became a teenager and a young adult, I didn’t read YA. I read lots and lots and lots of fantasy, science fiction, and romance. As a teenager my favorite series was probably Anne McCaffrey’s books about Pern. I still want to ride a golden queen dragon!

KC: I was obsessed with GOSSIP GIRLS and Lynn Ewing’s DAUGHTERS OF THE MOON series.

Q: Can you tell us a little more about the philanthropic organizations that you support?

PC: I have an education foundation that helps kids through college. I’m also passionate about supporting the feminist bitch magazine and SageWoman.

PC & KC: We believe in supporting local charities like Tulsa Street Cats, the Oklahoma Equality Center, the Oklahoma Center for the Book, Philbrook and Gilcrease museums. We will also always support the Humane Society and SPCA.

Q: You are about to embark on book tour – what are you most looking forward to?

PC & KC: We haven’t toured in the US for several years (been too busy writing!), so we’re really looking forward to seeing our fans from all over the US!

Q: What has the response been like to the House of Night clothing line?

PC: I’ll let Kristin handle this one, as this is her baby, but I will say that I heart me some HoN merchandise!

KC: It’s been fantastic! It’s amazing when I see people out in public who are wearing one of the shirts, or have a bumper sticker on their car. I feel very honored and fortunate to have such support from our fans.

Q: Your fans can’t wait for the HON movies to come out! Where are you in the process right now?

PC: This summer I worked with our wonderful screenwriter, Marc Haimes, on the treatment (which is really just a long outline) of the first movie, and he has completed the first draft of the script. Yes, I do love it!

Q: What’s up next for you, PC?

PC: What’s next for me is a fantasy romance trilogy of epic proportions that I’m really excited about. I should have news for my fans in the next month or so!

Q: What’s up next for you, Kristin?

KC: Right now I’m working on the first book in a new adult paranormal suspense series. Meredith Bernstein, my fabulous agent, is finalizing the contract with my new publisher and I will have exciting news this November! You can sign up to receive info about my new series at www.KCastAuthor.com.

Redeemed is out now!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King

Glory O’Brien is graduating from high school, and unlike her classmates, she has no idea what’s next. Both Glory and her father have been in a sort of stasis, unable to move on since the suicide of Glory’s mother fourteen years earlier. Glory’s feminist beliefs tend to ostracize her at school, and her only friend, Ellie, is self-centered heading in a different direction in life. When the girls drink the mummified remains of a bat one night, they start receiving transmissions from every person they look at, seeing their pasts and their terrifying futures.

While the premise is not the weirdest thing King has come up with, Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future commands attention. The transmissions that Glory and Ellie receive are equally fascinating and chilling, and the future that Glory tells takes over the entire novel. Glory’s voice is funny, emotionally-charged, and insistent, but she’s a bit lost. Her exploration of a future where society is dismantled not by bombs or wars, but by refusing women equal rights, causes Glory to take a closer look at how she interacts with people in her life. King does a great job at showing connections between people across time and generations, a good reminder that every decision and action has a consequence that we can’t always see. King’s newest book is, as always, memorable and unique.

Cover Comments: A.S. King always wins the good cover lottery. I like the black and yellow, and I love the title font. This is a fantastic and attention-grabbing cover.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Bodies We Wear Giveaway

Jeyn Roberts is the author of Dark Inside and Rage Within, and her newest book, The Bodies We Wear, just released last month! To celebrate, I have a copy to give away to one lucky reader!

About The Bodies We Wear:

People say when you take Heam, your body momentarily dies and you catch a glimpse of heaven. Faye was only eleven when dealers forced Heam on her and her best friend, Christian. But Faye didn’t glimpse heaven—she saw hell. And Christian died.

Now Faye spends her days hiding her secret from the kids at school, and her nights training to take revenge on the men who destroyed her life and murdered her best friend. But life never goes the way we think it will. When a mysterious young man named Chael appears, Faye’s plan suddenly gets a lot more complicated. Chael seems to know everything about her, including her past. But too many secrets start tearing her world apart: trouble at school, with the police, and with the people she thought might be her friends. Even Gazer, her guardian, fears she’s become too obsessed with vengeance. Love and death. Will Faye overcome her desires, or will her quest for revenge consume her?

Roberts’s sophisticated plotting and strong authorial voice mark her as an emerging, and formidable, talent. THE BODIES WE WEAR is an action-driven revenge story that delivers on adrenaline and will hook and hold readers to the shocking end.

JEYN ROBERTS is the author of Dark Inside and Rage Within. Her first story was published in a middle-grade anthology called Let Me Tell You when she was sixteen. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in writing and psychology and received her MA from the prestigious creative-writing graduate course at Bath Spa University. Jeyn is a former singer, songwriter, actress, bicycle courier, and tree planter. Her favorite authors include Betty Smith, J. K. Rowling, Ernest Hemingway, Douglas Coupland, and Jonathan Stroud, and her five favorite books of all time are A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Girlfriend in a Coma, Memoirs of a Geisha, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, and Harry Potter. Jeyn lives in Canada. Visit her at www.jeynroberts.com or follow her on twitter at @JeynRoberts.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Win the BZRK Books by Michael Grant

Michael Grant (author of the Gone series) has a new trilogy out called BZRK. It's a futuristic, thriller of a trilogy about what happens when technology takes over the human mind, and I'm giving away all three books--BZRK, BZRK Reloaded, and BZRK Apocalypse! All you have to do it fill out the form below to win!

 About BZRK:

Love The Hunger Games? Action-adventure thrillers with a dystopian twist? BZRK (Berserk) by Michael Grant, New York Times best-selling author of the GONE series, ramps up the action and suspense to a whole new level of excitement.

Set in the near future, BZRK is the story of a war for control of the human mind. Charles and Benjamin Armstrong, conjoined twins and owners of the Armstrong Fancy Gifts Corporation, have a goal: to turn the world into their vision of utopia. No wars, no conflict, no hunger. And no free will. Opposing them is a guerrilla group of teens, code name BZRK, who are fighting to protect the right to be messed up, to be human. This is no ordinary war, though. Weapons are deployed on the nano-level. The battleground is the human brain. And there are no stalemates here: It’s victory . . . or madness.

BZRK unfolds with hurricane force around core themes of conspiracy and mystery, insanity and changing realities, engagement and empowerment, and the larger impact of personal choice. Which side would you choose? How far would you go to win?

Writing Great Books for Young Adults Excerpt + Giveaway

Regina Brooks is the founder of Serendipity Literary Agency and the author of Writing Great Book for Young Adults. I know that a number of my readers are also writers, so I'm excited to offer an excerpt from Regina's book and a chance to win a copy!

First, about the book:
"Break into the young adult market with this indispensable guide!

With an 87 percent increase in the number of young adult titles published in the last two years, the young adult market is one of the healthiest segments in the industry. Despite this fact, surprisingly little has been written to help authors hone their craft and truly connect with the young adult audience.

Writing Great Books for Young Adults gives writers all the advice they need to tap into this incredible and innovative market. Literary agent Regina L. Brooks shows writers how listening to young adults will help them create characters their audience can identify with.

Topics covered include meeting your protagonist, engaging your readers,, trying on points of view, and many more."

Chapter One

Five Rules for Engaging Readers of Young Adult Fiction

Before you even start putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard), there are some issues that need to be addressed. A lot of writers out there think writing YA fiction is easy. It’s not. Some mistakes you might make will condemn your book to languish on the slush pile forever. So before we even talk about the nitty--gritty of how to shape your book—-character, plot, setting, point of view—-we need to talk about the five key elements that can make or break you as a YA writer.

The Holden Caulfield Rule—-Don’t Be a Phony!

Imagine traveling to a planet where your survival depends on hiding out among the inhabitants, where being recognized as a phony would mean instant annihilation. In that situation, you’d want to study the locals until you knew just how to look and sound and respond like them. It is the same in YA fiction. In this case, sudden death occurs when the reader, stumbling upon a false image, loses interest. The book closes with the splintering sound of a fatal bullet.

It’s no exaggeration.

Holden Caulfield, the protagonist of J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, was always railing against the phoniness of other people, particularly adults. The enduring popularity of Catcher in the Rye demonstrates that teens today are the same way—-they despise fakes.

YA Fiction Rule #1: The life of the story depends on the writer’s ability to convince READERS that the protagonist is one of them.

The key to writing a successful YA novel means knowing kids well enough to channel their voices, thoughts, and emotions. (“Kids” is used as an operative word here. The official YA audience encompasses twelve-- to eighteen--year--olds, but it is expanding as children’s book publishers work to attract readers as young as ten and eleven, and adult publishers reach to capitalize on the growing market.) While some of your readers may be a little younger than the twelve--to--eighteen target—-children aged ten to twelve tend to read above their age—-and some may be a little older, keep in mind that you have to convince all segments of your audience that you know what it feels like to be a young person today. If you can’t convince your audience that you know how they feel about the world today and express yourself the same way, you will never reach them.

Avoid the Preach ‘n’ Teach

Whether YA readers attend elementary or secondary school isn’t an issue when it comes to the importance of YA Fiction Rule #2.

YA Fiction Rule #2: Don’t be condescending to your readers.

Young people won’t abide stories that suggest that their turmoil or idealism will pass when they “grow up.” Brent Hartinger, author of Geography Club, says, “I’m a big believer that kids are smarter than we think they are.…I think kids can handle complexity and nuances, and the advantage to writing that way is that the book appeals to both teenagers and adults.”

Many adults read fiction as an escape—-teens are no different. Imagine spending a long day in school, learning boring lessons ’cause you’re supposed to, having everyone from parents to teachers to employers telling you what to do, how to think, what to wear, then picking up a novel—-and having someone else trying to shove another lesson down your throat! I can’t imagine a bigger letdown.

Don’t deal with young people by trying to push them in one direction or another. Deal with them where they’re at now.

Soak It Up!

A word of caution: don’t emulate your favorite authors, but learn from them. You’ll want to create work that is truly your own. In the resource guide at the back of this book, along with details such as schools that offer writing degrees with a YA focus, you’ll find listings for websites that recommend great YA fiction.

YA Fiction Rule #3: Read, read, read today’s YA fiction.

The benefits to reading what’s already on the market are phenomenal. It will familiarize you with what’s selling, how kids today talk, what they wear, what issues concern them, and so on. If you don’t have easy access to a teen, reading books meant for teens is probably the next best thing to having a teen personally tell you what he or she would like to read.

Ideals First, Meals Later

Writing a successful book that aims to attract the widest possible audience should be every writer’s goal, shouldn’t it? The answer is yes and no. It helps to have a general audience age in mind, but you don’t want to be consumed with thoughts about how and whether you’ll sell your work.

YA Fiction Rule #4: Silence your worries about commercial considerations.

This allows you to concentrate on your primary objective, which is to tell your story. If a nagging inner voice surfaces or someone discourages you, rather than pulling on earphones and listening to music as a teenager might, transform the voices through the power of your imagination into “white noise.” This is the all--frequency sound emitted from machines that imparts a feeling of privacy, calming you and allowing you to focus on that world you’re creating. Keep your artistic integrity—-your ideals—-ahead of how commercially successful—-your meals—-you want your book to be. If you focus on writing the best possible book, commercial success will follow later.

As your manuscript develops while you work through the guidelines provided in the ensuing chapters, your audience will become as clear to you as if you were speaking on a stage and looking into an auditorium full of people. If you subsequently work with an agent, the two of you can determine whether the manuscript should be pitched to editors specializing in YA, adult fiction, or both. But the fate of your manuscript will still be up in the air. Editors, who are invested with the power to buy or decline a manuscript, will ultimately determine to whom the book will be marketed.
The significant rise in the success of YA novels has opened the way for a multiplicity of categories, and just to give you an idea, I’ve listed some alphabetically: adventure, chick lit, comical, fantasy, fantasy epics, futuristic, gay--themed, historical, multicultural, mystery, religious, romantic, science fiction, sports, and urban. If your story idea doesn’t fit into any of these categories, you may have to invent one. Consider it an opportunity.

The Undiscovered Country

From this point on, let your creative spirit be guided by YA Rule #5.

YA Rule #5: In your new world of YA fiction, erect no concrete barriers, wire fences, or one--way signs. Instead, forge new paths.

The YA field welcomes innovators. Encapsulating the newness of the time, YA novels are being published in nontraditional formats. Three YA authors banded together to compose a novel. Another entry is an interactive book with websites that combines reading with the world of Internet gaming. What will your contribution be? Think fresh.

Remember that young people are trendsetters—-they’re always looking to differentiate themselves from others. It’s how teens forge their own identities. Don’t be afraid to push the boat out as well. Coming up with a fresh idea will set you apart from the pack and might be the thing that sparks an editor’s interest in your work.

Okay, consider yourself warned. Now that you know what not to do, it’s time to learn how to craft the next YA bestseller. Step by step, this book will walk you through the mechanics of what makes a great YA novel.

Chapter 2 is about generating an idea, your story. It will talk about different ways to uncover stories that YA readers will want to read about. It will also help you discover new possibilities for stories within yourself that you may not have known you had.

Chapter 3 will discuss characters—-the heart of any manuscript. How to breathe life into interesting characters your reader will connect with is the main lesson of this chapter, but we’ll also discuss how to find the best characters for the story you want to tell.

Chapter 4 is all about plot, story, and how to tell the difference. Plot is like a machine that propels your manuscript forward, while story is the overall impression you want the plot to create in the reader’s mind.

Chapter 5 is about how to put together a believable plot. It’s all about action—-establishing the main conflict of your manuscript and putting it in motion. Of special concern will be integrating the events of the manuscript with the characters’ personalities, making sure that the characters react to events in believable ways.

Chapter 6 is about setting and timeline. Setting is the background of your story—-the when and where. This chapter is about understanding the atmosphere of your story and effectively manipulating the details of that atmosphere to influence your manuscript’s tone.

Chapter 7 is about point of view—-the perspective from which you tell your story. Point of view can be an extremely effective tool for connecting with character and clarifying or confusing the reader about events—-provided you use it correctly.

Chapter 8 is about the meat of your manuscript—-dialogue. Dialogue provides an opportunity for your characters to interact and opens up another way to build your characters.

Chapter 9 is about the theme of your manuscript. Theme is the overall impression you want your readers to take away. It’s a subtle but effective way for the author to express himself through the story.

Chapter 10 is about wrapping it all up, bringing your plot to a successful resolution. Endings can be very tricky, so there will be detailed discussion about what sorts of conclusions to avoid.

Chapter 11 is about how to find constructive feedback and incorporate it into your revisions. All authors need to edit and revise their manuscript, and this chapter will explain why the editing process is so necessary.

Chapter 12 is about getting published—what agents and editors do and how to get your work into their hands. This is the business chapter-—the one that details exactly how the publishing industry works.

Chapter 13 is about YA nonfiction and the emerging genre of New Adult. The YA market is constantly in flux, and this chapter will expose you to two recent developments in the market.

I hope all of these tools will be helpful to you as you begin the process of writing the next YA bestseller. Let’s begin exploring that magical new world.

Connect with Regina Brooks on Twitter at @serendipitylit, and fill out the form below for a chance to win a copy of her book!

Monday, October 6, 2014

This One Summer by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki

Rose and her family have been coming to Awago Beach "since...like...forever" but this year is a little different than the rest. Rose's mother is depressed, her father is frustrated, and Rose and her summertime best friend Windy aren't connecting quite like they used to. As the summer unfolds, Rose becomes preoccupied with the older teen drama unfolding at the local convenience store surrounding an unplanned pregnancy as a way to escape the tension at home and secrets surrounding her mom's sudden depression.

This One Summer is a dreamy, beautifully drawn graphic novel. Rose's family issues plays out alongside the drama of the local teenagers that Rose and Windy spy on and interesting parallels are drawn between the two sets of characters involving pregnancies, love, and how relationships can withstand abruptly shifting dynamics. Rose is a flawed character whose behavior is believably awful at times as she struggles to comprehend why her parents are fighting and as she takes in the very serious consequences of the local teens’ actions. She's observant and strangely apart from the action for most of the story, but her quiet observations are what allow her to ultimately stand up and speak out when it really matters. This One Summer is a powerful story about bridging the gap between childhood and adulthood, and fantasy and reality.

The art in this book is really lovely. I love the indigo and violet, which does such a great job at conveying this sense of nostalgia for childhood and the past, but yet it's really grounded in the present. I've got it shelved in the YA section, and although I'd be very careful about who I'd hand it to as it does feature some more grown-up content, I'd recommend it to readers who like Raina Telgemeier's work, or are wanting something a little more mature. However, it's not quite as mature as the Tamaki cousins' first graphic novel, Skim. This One Summer is one of those books that slips between middle grade and YA, and easily appeals to readers of all ages.

Book borrowed from a friend.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Under the Lights Cover Reveal

Today's guest post is from Dahlia Adler, author of Behind the Scenes! Her newest book, Under the Lights, will release next spring and she's slowly revealing the cover.

About Under the Lights:
Josh Chester loves being a Hollywood bad boy, coasting on his good looks, his parties, his parents' wealth, and the occasional modeling gig. But his laid-back lifestyle is about to change. To help out his best friend, Liam, he joins his hit teen TV show, Daylight Falls...opposite Vanessa Park, the one actor immune to his charms. (Not that he's trying to charm her, of course.) Meanwhile, his drama-queen mother blackmails him into a new family reality TV show, with Josh in the starring role. Now that he's in the spotlight—on everyone's terms but his own—Josh has to decide whether a life as a superstar is the one he really wants. 
Vanessa Park has always been certain about her path as an actor, despite her parents' disapproval. But with all her relationships currently in upheaval, she's painfully uncertain about everything else. When she meets her new career handler, Brianna, Van is relieved to have found someone she can rely on, now that her BFF, Ally, is at college across the country. But as feelings unexpectedly evolve beyond friendship, Van's life reaches a whole new level of confusing. And she'll have to choose between the one thing she's always loved...and the person she never imagined she could.
And here's Dahlia!

Welcome to part 3 of the UNDER THE LIGHTS cover reveal! When I saw Tirzah’s post on The Compulsive Reader about how pretty much all books featuring a romance between two girls have covers featuring “Lesbian Hands,” rather than the kind of all-over-the-map variety hetero Romances get, I knew this was a blog I needed to take part in my reveal. This was exactly the conversation I’d been having for weeks as we geared up to design this cover, and the post was the perfect confirmation that we were right to decide we absolutely needed it to feature two girls.

And so it does…which you’ll see when the full cover is revealed in one hour! For now, here’s another piece of the puzzle:

I know, I know—I’m being kind of a tease. But hopefully, this last excerpt, which, ironically enough, features some flirty handholding, will make up for it!

Excerpt from Under the Lights:

“Hey.” Her hand covers mine. “It’s okay if you’re not a hundred percent sure what you’ll be doing in five years. I mean, it has to be, right? If you’re screwed, I’m beyond screwed.”

I laugh, squeezing her fingers. “Then yes, it has to be. Because we’re both gonna be fine. We just need to make some actual plans, or something.”

“And to move out of our moms’ houses!” she adds triumphantly. “Definitely a solid goal for both of us.”

“I will if you will.”

“I will, so you will.” The confidence in her voice is unwavering, and it makes me smile. It’s infectious. More than that, it’s the first time I’ve actually felt like maybe I can make it happen, especially if I have someone trying to dig out of the same hole at the same time.

“We could do it together, even,” I say, growing excited now. “Get our own cute place. Something close to both the set and Jade’s office.”

“Could we get a shaggy purple rug? I’ve always wanted a shaggy purple rug.”

I burst out laughing. “Of all things, that’s what you want? Sure, we can get a shaggy purple rug. As long as there’s enough space on the hardwood for our yoga mats.”

“Obviously. And fish—we should get fish. One of those really cool fish tanks they have in fancy hotels and whatever.”

“I’m pretty sure those are like a billion dollars,” I tell her sadly.

“Oh.” Her face falls. “Well, maybe just a dinky little goldfish bowl then. I’ve always wanted a pet.”

“I thought you’ve always wanted a shaggy purple rug.”

“That too. Shockingly, Jade wouldn’t let me have either one.”

“I am shocked. I bet you’d make a great fish mom, too.”

“I totally would, right? I’d spoil those babies rotten.”

“I believe it,” I say sincerely. “You are a very excellent caretaker.” I realize then that her hand is still on mine, and I hook my pinky around hers. “I really am glad you came.”

She swallows hard but doesn’t respond.

For the second time in two days, I feel like a complete and total idiot, and I quickly slip my hand out from hers. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean…I’m sorry.”

“You know, you don’t flirt like a straight girl,” she murmurs, the words rolling right through my body to curl my toes.

My skin prickles with heat as a guilty flush steals over me, and I’m grateful it’s hidden in the twilight. It isn’t that I didn’t realize I was flirting, exactly, but…why am I doing it? Yeah, I like hanging out with her, and she makes me feel good about myself when no one else can, but she’s a friend. Period. Because that’s all girls are to me.

Isn’t it?

“I’m sorry,” I rasp again, and mean it. “I’ll stop.”

She’s silent. And then fingertips, soft and cool as they sweep through my hair, rest on the base of my neck. “No,” she says, softer now, her touch tingling my skin. “Please don’t.”

Oh God. The prickle of heat blazes brighter, lower, and there isn’t any ignoring what it means. I don’t understand how, or why, but I am turned-on beyond belief.

By a girl.

And I really, really don’t want to stop flirting with her.


I love the excerpt, and I'm really excited for the full cover release! I think you'll all really like it! Click over to Cuddlebuggery.com at noon today to see the full cover!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

If you missed my interview with Marie Lu about The Young Elites, click here to read it!

When Adelina was a child, she survived the blood fever that ravaged her country. She was physically marked and now a teenager she is known as a malfetto and is unwanted. Some malfettos possess special powers, making them one of the Young Elites but Adelina is not one of them…at least, that’s what she thinks until one night she runs away from home and her powers are unleashed in a horrible accident. Now on the run, Adelina is taken in by the Young Elites and trained to become one of them, if only she can control her vengeful urges.

Spun as a villain origin story, The Young Elites explores Adelina’s descent into darkness when dangerous powers awaken in her and she must navigate between those who want her dead and those who mistrust her. The fantasy world is heavily influenced by Renaissance Italy, with all of its decadence, providing an interesting context for the story. The chapters alternate between Adelina’s perspective and the points of view of other characters who are on shifting sides of the conflict between Young Elites and those who wish them dead. It’s unclear who the hero of this world will be, or if one will even emerge, but there is no shortage of interesting characters and the tension between them keeps the plot moving. The Young Elites is an interesting new addition to YA fantasy.

Cover Comments: I like the way the dagger is used in the font and I think the stormy sky is really atmospheric, although this cover isn't really all that exciting otherwise.

ARC provided by publisher. The Young Elites will be out on October 7th!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Stuff YA Readers Say

I stumbled upon this video on YouTube a few days ago and it made me laugh very hard. All true, and I feel as though I could add a few gems from what I've overheard in the YA section at the bookstore...

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry

When the headmistress and her brother keel over during supper one Sunday evening, the allure of freedom is too much for the young ladies of the school on Prickwillow Place and they make an impulsive decision to cover up the apparent murders. But the young ladies forget one thing—there is still a murderer at large, and they may be the next targets.

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place is witty and sly, full of clever twists and dramatic secrets. Berry balances the large cast of characters with varying personalities with great aplomb and unfolds the mystery in quick precision. The young ladies and their thirst for excitement keep this farce entertaining and lively, and they are fiercely independent and resourceful without seeming too anachronistic. The quick pace of the novel heightens stakes, elevates tension, and forces the characters to get quite creative in how they cover up, investigate, and solve the murder, then save themselves from scandal. Berry’s latest is a winner.

Cover Comments: I love the artwork on the cover and the interior of this book. It's appropriate for the time period, pretty, but also a bit morbid once you take a closer look.

ARC provided by publisher.