Recent Releases: Books to Buy Right Now

Several awesome books have come out in the last few days, and you should buy all of them. Check out the latest and greatest in YA:

 

PERFECTLY GOOD WHITE BOY by Carrie Mesrobian released Oct 1st to much critical acclaim, and promises to be just as stunning as her debut.  18588767

Sean Norwhalt can read between the lines.

“You never know where we’ll end up. There’s so much possibility in life, you know?” Hallie said.

He knows she just dumped him. He was a perfectly good summer boyfriend, but now she’s off to college, and he’s still got another year to go. Her pep talk about futures and “possibilities” isn’t exactly comforting. Sean’s pretty sure he’s seen his future and its “possibilities” and they all look disposable.

Like the crappy rental his family moved into when his dad left.
Like all the unwanted filthy old clothes he stuffs into the rag baler at his thrift store job.
Like everything good he’s ever known.

The only hopeful possibilities in Sean’s life are the Marine Corps, where no one expected he’d go, and Neecie Albertson, whom he never expected to care about.

“We’re something else. Some other thing. I don’t know what you’d call it. Maybe there’s a word, though. Maybe I’ll think of it tomorrow, when it won’t matter,” Neecie said.

Buy PERFECTLY GOOD WHITE BOY or add it on Goodreads.

 

OF SCARS AND STARDUST by Andrea Hannah releases today, and I love a chilling sister story, so go buy this one 18584569right now.

After her little sister mysteriously vanishes, seventeen-year-old Claire Graham has a choice to make: stay snug in her little corner of Manhattan with her dropout boyfriend, or go back to Ohio to face the hometown tragedy she’s been dying to leave behind.

But the memories of that night still haunt her in the city, and as hard as she tries to forget what her psychiatrist calls her “delusions,” Claire can’t seem to escape the wolf’s eyes or the blood-speckled snow. Delusion or reality, Claire knows she has to hold true to the most important promise she’s ever made: to keep Ella safe. She must return to her sleepy hometown in order to find Ella and keep her hallucinations at bay before they strike again. But time is quickly running out, and as Ella’s trail grows fainter, the wolves are becoming startlingly real.

Now Claire must deal with her attraction to Grant, the soft-spoken boy from her past that may hold the secret to solving her sister’s disappearance, while following the clues that Ella left for only her to find. Through a series of cryptic diary entries, Claire must unlock the keys to Ella’s past—and her own—in order to stop another tragedy in the making, while realizing that not all things that are lost are meant to be found.

Buy OF SCARS AND STARDUST or add it on Goodreads.

 

KISS KILL VANISH by Jessica Martinez released yesterday to glowing reviews.

Valentina Cruz no longer exists.

One moment, she was wrapped in Emilio’s arms, melting into his kiss. The next, she was witnessing the unthinkable: a murder in cold blood, ordered by her father and carried out by her boyfriend. When Emilio pulled the trigger, Valentina disappeared. She made a split-second decision to shed her identity and flee her life of privilege, leaving the glittering parties and sultry nightlife of Miami far behind.

She doesn’t know how to explain to herself what she saw. All she knows now is that nothing she believed about her family, her heart, or Emilio’s love, was real.

She can change her name and deny her past, but Valentina can’t run from the truth. The lines between right and wrong, and trust and betrayal, will be blurred beyond recognition as she untangles the deceptions of the two men she once loved and races to find her own truth.

Buy KISS KILL VANISH or add it on Goodreads.

 

Happy book birthday to the authors!

#YALaunch- Get Ready, and Save the Date!

Dear friends,

I’m so happy to be writing this post, and I’m even happier to be inviting you to my launch party. It’s a bit unusual, and a lot wonderful, and comes from a pretty awesome chain of events.

Back in 2012, Nikki Urang and I were both querying our first manuscripts and had shared work, and decided to become critique partners. We didn’t have agents, didn’t have any publishing credentials, and were terrified that no agent was going to want us and not entirely sure we could do this publishing thing. We queried, and revised, and

Welcome to The Hit List: a game of sexual conquest. We won't judge you, but your girlfriend might.  Spencer Hill Press, Nov. 11 2014

Welcome to The Hit List: a game of sexual conquest. We won’t judge you, but your girlfriend might.

shared chapters of a new book we were each writing, and kept at it. We both shelved the manuscripts we were querying, and finished the books we were working on. We drew up lists of questions to ask agents if “the call” ever happened. We analyzed feedback in those coveted personal responses to queries. In March of 2013, a few months into me querying my new novel, Nikki signed with her agent, Nicole Resciniti. I was thrilled for her, because she’d worked hard and THE HIT LIST was awesome. We celebrated, and Nikki encouraged me to keep going. I kept querying, got a bunch of requests from agents, and started working on an R&R through the summer. Nikki’s book deal with Spencer Hill Press for THE HIT LIST was announced, and I signed with my agent, Carlie Webber.

This whole time, we went back and forth with panic attacks, worries, and all the nerves. All of them. But it was crazy fun, too, working through all this with someone who was going through it, too. I went on submission with my agent in January, and Nikki whipped me back into shape during several melt-downs. Nikki got her release date, and we celebrated again, because a fall release date is a wonderful thing. In March of 2014, my agent told me I had an offer. I panicked. Nikki helped me research, weigh the pros and cons, and supported me when I decided Merit Press was exactly what I wanted. The deal was announced, I was told it would be a fall release date, and we celebrated again. I dove right into edits since it would be a fast timeline, and then I was told my firm release date.

Both THE HIT LIST and HOW WE FALL are releasing on the same day. November 11, Nikki and I become published authors, and we are thrilled to have been able to go through all the rejections and questions and celebrations of querying and our debut year together. She’s been a huge support and encouragement for me, and I’ve tried my best for her. Our first signings were even on the same day, May 30 in New York City, at Book Expo America.

Because of all this, we’ve decided we want to have our launch parties together, and you are invited! There’s nothing quite like the writer friendships you make along the way to publication, and we want you there. Watching our families and friends all over the U.S. and even all over the world come through for us with support and

He kissed her on a dare.  She told him to do it again. Their secret could tear their family apart.

He kissed her on a dare.
She told him to do it again.
Their secret might tear the family apart.

encouragement and pre-orders and all those things every one of you has done has meant the world to us, and so we want you, there, too. We know many of you can’t travel to the Midwest for our launch party, but since this day is important to us, and you being there is important to us, we have created the most wickedly awesome launch party.

November 8-11, our critique partners and closest writing friends are getting together for a writing retreat in Omaha. Writers write, right? We’re taking a break from the hectic before-release-day demands and writing all weekend with wine, chocolate, and friends. You’ll see us tweeting about it, doing word sprints online, and having fun on the #YAlaunch hashtag, and updating the event’s Facebook page with fun news. The last night of the retreat is our launch party.

Jesse, my husband and a professional videographer, is going to film and live-stream the event. All you’ll have to do is click a link to join the party. We have games to play (Book Title Scramble, Name That Cover, a make-a-bad title/bad cover competition, and more) with you on Facebook and Twitter, Q&As, and through all of it we’ll be interacting with you live. Of course, launch parties have wine and chocolate, and we’re giving that away, too!

We’re also giving away over 100 books. Yes. 100. One hundred. You’ll want to come even if you’ve never heard of us just to win awesome books! We’re giving away prize packs of our critique partners’ books, books written by our agency/publishing house friends, books that inspired our writing, and books we would just love you to read. We’re going to be releasing a list of the books we’re giving away, so keep checking in to see!

If that wasn’t enough to convince you, we’re also going to be introducing you to the awesome authors who will be on the retreat with us, and you can ask them questions and get to hear about their work! Aside from Nikki and myself, we’re thrilled to be welcoming:

Critically acclaimed Atria author Nicole Baart (THE BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS, SLEEPING IN EDEN, & more)

Quirk Books editor and author Blair Thornburgh

YA author multipublished in poetry/literary journals, Alex Yuschik

Faith writer and blogger Kelly Youngblood

YA author Delia Moran,

Entangled author Tonya Kuper (ANOMALY),

MG and YA author Kiersi Burkhart,

YA author, Month9Books editor, and sports writer Bethany Robison,

and

New York Times bestseller, Tosca Lee (THE LEGEND OF SHEBA & more from Howard Books, & the Books of Mortals series with Ted Dekker).

We’re so thrilled to have such a wonderful group of authors with us for the launch party, and we’re so grateful to all of them for their support and time and effort in coming to help us celebrate. You’ll definitely want to hear them talk about their work and get the chance to interact and have a great evening with them.

So when and how do you attend?

When: Monday, November 10, from 6-10pm central time.

Why: books, wine, chocolate, celebrating with Kate and Nikki

Where: Join the Facebook event here and watch the Twitter hashtag #YAlaunch to interact, and watch the live-stream (link to be announced).

Nikki and I would love to see you there! Our friends, families, and fellow writers have kept us going, and we would be thrilled to celebrate with you. We want this to be as much a giant book party as our launch party, so even if you don’t know us, please feel free to come and meet awesome authors and win amazing books.

Please do tell your friends, share this post, and invite others to come! The event is open to the public and we’d love your help supporting awesome authors, fantastic books, and the writing community.

See you soon!

Much love,

Kate Brauning and Nikki Urang

Tweet: Want to win 100 books? Join @KateBrauning and @NikkiUrang’s #YAlaunch party! http://ctt.ec/d3p9a+

Tweet: Want to hang out with YA authors, win books, wine, & chocolate? Join @KateBrauning & @NikkiUrang’s #YAlaunch party! http://ctt.ec/91XNf+

Tweet: Excited for YA contemps HOW WE FALL & THE HIT LIST? Join @KateBrauning & @NikkiUrang’s #YAlaunch party! http://ctt.ec/RJd9n+

Binge-Reading and 6 Vacation Reads

Because it is FRIDAY and because I am now back from vacation, you guys get a book post today!

I just returned from 10 days in the Dominican Republic for my sister-in-law’s wedding. My husband grew up there and his family still lives there, so once a year or so we get to go to a Ten gorgeous country and hang out on fabulous beaches for a while.

While on vacation, I definitely took advantage of the beach, poolside bars, and family game nights, but I also did an oh-my-word-so-wonderful amount of reading. Here’s what I read:

 

TEN by Gretchen McNeil

 

Taken (Taken, #1)

 

TAKEN by Erin Bowman

 

 

 

 

We Were Liars

 

WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart

 

 

 

 

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UNDER THE NEVER SKY by Veronica Rossi

 

 

 

 

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1)

 

DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor

 

 

 

 

No One Needs to Know

NO ONE NEEDS TO KNOW by Amanda Grace (Mandy Hubbard)

 

 

 

 

 

I’m in the middle of both GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST and SIEGE AND STORM, so hopefully I’ll finish those this weekend.

Overall thoughts:

Would I read more by this author?

Lockhart, Bowman, Rossi, Grace/Hubbard, and Taylor: YES. Very solid reads.

McNeil: Probably not. I loved the concept but wasn’t wildly impressed with the writing.

Favorites:

We Were Liars, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Under the Never Sky. They’re each so rich and thought-provoking. I also can’t wait for the sequels to Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Under the Never Sky— I’m totally hooked!

I’m also really enjoying Siege and Storm. It’s been a while since I read Shadow and Bone, and I’d forgotten how much I loved the world.

Observations:

I can’t recommend binge-reading nearly enough. I didn’t write much on vacation– 2,000 words, maybe– but packing my mind full of incredible writing and wonderful stories does more for refueling my creativity and challenging my own writing than anything else does, ever. Reading a book a day for a week or two is more effective for me than reading one a week, slowly, somewhat like learning a language through immersion. Plunging right into it and letting it be a huge percentage of what your mind works over during those days is unbelievably helpful.

Have you read any of these? What were your thoughts? And do you binge-read?

Review: The Avery Shaw Experiment

Review by Kimberly Wheaton

The Avery Shaw Experiment

by Kelly Oram

YA contemporary romance

available in ebookORAM_AVERY_COVER (2)

From Goodreads:

When Avery Shaw’s heart is shattered by her life-long best friend, she chooses to deal with it the only way she knows how—scientifically.

The state science fair is coming up and Avery decides to use her broken heart as the topic of her experiment. She’s going to find the cure. By forcing herself to experience the seven stages of grief through a series of social tests, she believes she will be able to get over Aiden Kennedy and make herself ready to love again. But she can’t do this experiment alone, and her partner (ex partner!) is the one who broke her heart.

Avery finds the solution to her troubles in the form of Aiden’s older brother Grayson. The gorgeous womanizer is about to be kicked off the school basketball team for failing physics. He’s in need of a good tutor and some serious extra credit. But when Avery recruits the lovable Grayson to be her “objective outside observer,” she gets a whole lot more than she bargained for, because Grayson has a theory of his own: Avery doesn’t need to grieve. She needs to live. And if there’s one thing Grayson Kennedy is good at, it’s living life to the fullest.

I read The Avery Shaw Experiment in several sittings, only because I was forced to stop at times due to family activities. Seldom do I run into a book that I just don’t want to put down. Though desperate for sleep (I was visiting the in-laws sans husband), I stayed up until 2am to finish reading this novel.

The book is written in first person, alternating points of view between Avery Shaw and Grayson Kennedy. The two character voices are very distinctive. Even without the author labeling the chapter with the POV character, there’d be no doubt as to whose POV we’re in. It makes the book that much more interesting to see the thoughts of the two very different main characters.

I love the entire premise of the book. Stuck without a science project and partner for the state science fair because your best friend broke your heart? Why not use your messed up love life starring you as the guinea pig? Oh, and don’t forget to have a sweet, sexy guy agree to be your partner.

As the experiment progresses, it’s interesting to watch how Avery copes with the different stages of grief. Avery is a very likeable character making it easy for the reader to rally behind her during her heartbreak recovery. Some of the grieving process is sad and I admit I shed a few tears for the crap Avery was dealt.

Aiden Kennedy will make you want to use his face as target practice. Frankly I’m impressed that Avery handled the complete betrayal by such a dear friend so well. Had it been me, Aiden would be sporting cafeteria mystery meat plastered all over his face (each and every day).

Grayson Kennedy is as lovable as they come, a perfect foil for his idiotic younger brother, Aiden. The most articulate word I can come up with to describe Grayson is yummy; tall, blond haired, blue-eyed, athletic, sweet, charismatic yummy goodness.

The peripheral characters are loads of fun. Some of the best scenes in the book center around Grayson and the Science Club denizens. The interactions between Avery’s best friend Libby and Grayson’s best friend Owen are utterly hilarious. Libby would definitely win best supporting character if there was an award for that.

There have been few books that I enjoyed quite as much as The Avery Shaw Experiment. It’s light hearted, sad at times, funny enough to make you laugh out loud, and witty without being pretentious. If you’re looking for a fun read that will take you to a happy place for a few hours, look no further.

 

Kimberly Wheaton

www.cymberle.com

http://onceuponayabook.blogspot.com