Jul 27, 2015

Cover Reveal: The Bitter Side of Sweet by Tara Sullivan

You might remember Sullivan from her 2013 novel GOLDEN BOY, a highly acclaimed story about an albino boy in East Africa and his more than unsupportive family. Happy to report there is a new novel due out in 2016. Check out....

The Bitter Side of Sweet by Tara Sullivan
February 23, 2016 from G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers

Fifteen-year-old Amadou counts the things that matter. For two long years, what’s mattered are cacao pods. The more Amadou can chop down in a single day, the better his chances are of keeping the bosses’ beatings at bay, keeping himself and his little brother, Seydou, alive and then maybe, just maybe, returning home to Baba and Auntie. At least he hopes so. But the bosses won’t tell him the number that matters most—the number that equals freedom.

When the boys first left their farm life in Mali, they only wanted to make some money to help their impoverished family survive the lean times. They never imagined they’d end up as forced labor on a cacao plantation in the Ivory Coast. But that’s exactly what happened, and each day that passes, they lose a little more fight, a little more hope that they’ll ever be free or see their home again.

Then one day, a girl—Khadija arrives at the camp. There’s never been a girl on the farm before and she is a wild thing; she fights every day to get away—reawakening old impulses in Amadou to run. But when the bosses finally break her, and the unthinkable happens to Seydou, Amadou understands the only choice left—the only choice they’ve ever had—is to run . . . or die without their loved ones ever knowing what happened to them. The three band together as family and try just once more for home.

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You can find Sullivan at her wesbite

Jun 12, 2015

Giveaway & Guest Post: Cast Off: The Strange Adventures of Petra de Winter and Bram Broen by Eve Yohalem

Cast Off: The Strange Adventures of Petra de Winter and Bram Broen
May 19th, 2015 from Dial Books

A tale of pirates, mutiny, and friendship on the high seas, perfect for fans of The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

It’s 1663 and there is an extra passenger on board a Dutch merchant ship setting sail for the East Indies. Twelve-year-old Petra has stowed away to escape her abusive father. But she quickly realizes that surviving for months at sea will be impossible without help. So when Bram, the half-Dutch / Half-Javanese son of the ship’s carpenter, finds her hiding spot, Petra convinces him to help her stay hidden . . .and help disguise her as a boy.

If Petra is discovered and exposed as a girl, she could be tossed overboard, or worse . . . returned to her father. And if Bram is exposed for helping her, he could lose the only home—and family—he has. As tensions rise on the ship, with pirates attacking, deadly illness, and even mutiny, Petra and Bram face impossible decisions that test their friendship and threaten their dreams of freedom.

Told in alternating voices and filled with secrets and intrigue, this richly researched novel is historical fiction at its best.

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You can find Yohalem at her website

Jun 10, 2015

Cover Reveal: The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox

The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox
March 2016 from Viking Children's Books

Something is not right at Rookskill Castle, a rundown Scottish manor shrouded in mystery. The castle is a temporary boarding school for children escaping the Blitz, but soon it’s clear there is something terribly wrong. There are clues hinting that a spy is in the house, and there are undeniable signs of a sinister magic. When the children in the castle’s temporary boarding school begin disappearing one by one, it’s a race against the clock for twelve-year-old Kat Bateson, her two younger siblings, and their new best friend.

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You can find Fox at her website

Yay, Janet Fox has a new book coming and it's her debut middle grade! Scottish castles, magic, and hopefully really cranky and sinister teachers are in store for us. I also hear that this will be available in audio as well - cheers to you, Janet!  

Jun 9, 2015

Review & Giveaway: Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu #DevotedBook

Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu
June 2nd, 2015 from Roaring Book Press

Rachel Walker is devoted to God. She prays every day, attends Calvary Christian Church with her family, helps care for her five younger siblings, dresses modestly, and prepares herself to be a wife and mother who serves the Lord with joy. But Rachel is curious about the world her family has turned away from, and increasingly finds that neither the church nor her homeschool education has the answers she craves. Rachel has always found solace in her beliefs, but now she can’t shake the feeling that her devotion might destroy her soul.

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You can find Mathieu at her website

Man, does this book have perfect timing or what? With the Duggars in the news (daily), and the public glued to news soaking in the awfulness that is that situation, it really has brought to light this way of life. I'm talking about the ultra-conservative, authoritarian, male centric, the-devil-is-everywhere, cultish sect of Christianity. I'll be honest, I read the book for two reasons. A) I love me some Texas authors and B) this is all fascinating stuff. I was raised in a strict Catholic home and there were times when family members would lay hands on my head and pray for healing - "rebuke Satan in the name of Jesus" and all. (Yes, for headaches and colds) So, I was prepared to not be so surprised when I heard things along those lines. Funny enough, the reason I enjoyed it so much and couldn't put it down was because of Mathieu's choice in Bible verses and the almost uncomfortable way they were used and thrown in Rachel's face. I was utterly fascinated and wondered if Mathieu grew up that way. I mean we're friends but I've never asked if she grew up in super strict house with Quiverfull type of upbringing. It was so real, like Mathieu chose real-life situations and made them Rachel's. Or stole someone's diary. #we'llneverknow

Apr 28, 2015

Interview & Giveaway: Tracked by Jenny Martin #tracked

Tracked by Jenny Martin
May 5th, 2015 from Dial Books

The Fast and the Furious gets a futuristic twist in this action-packed debut!

On corporately controlled Castra, rally racing is a high-stakes game that seventeen-year-old Phoebe Van Zant knows all too well. Phee’s legendary racer father disappeared mysteriously, but that hasn't stopped her from speeding headlong into trouble. When she and her best friend, Bear, attract the attention of Charles Benroyal, they are blackmailed into racing for Benroyal Corp, a company that represents everything Phee detests. Worse, Phee risks losing Bear as she falls for Cash, her charming new teammate. But when she discovers that Benroyal is controlling more than a corporation, Phee realizes she has a much bigger role in Castra’s future than she could ever have imagined. It's up to Phee to take Benroyal down. But even with the help of her team, can a street-rat destroy an empire?

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You can find Martin at her website
You can purchase at BookPeople or Indie Bound

I have been lucky to know Jenny for many years, and I am so happy TRACKED is just about here! It's a book that has been a long-time coming and watching your friend receive good news through-out the years on something that is so dear to her is a fun thing to watch! We are both so lucky to live in a literary hub - TEXAS - and I wanted you to get to know you Jenny Martin through a series of questions based on one of the best thing we have in common - TEXAS! 

Mar 31, 2015

Texas Library Association Conference & Meetup - 2015 #TXLA15

It's that wonderful time of year again...TLA!! Librarians and book lovers come to one town in Texas for the largest state-wide library conference, and of course that's TEXAS! Over 4,500 people have already registered for the event. Not a librarian and would like to attend? You can! Purchase an exhibit hall pass that let's you in all three days.

I have hosted a get-together for bloggers and librarians every time we all have a chance to get together and I'm thrilled to partner with YART and SCBWI this year! So.....The Young Adult Round TableLiterary Lonestars, and Austin SCBWI present the 5th Annual YA / Kidlit Everything Meetup! This is a come and go event with open invitation to all YA/Kidlit enthusiasts, but please RSVP with Rafflectopter below. There will be appetizers for all to enjoy on us, but please feel free to order dinner on your own. Of course, there's an open bar - silly question! Bar tab on you....hope to see you all there!!

Tuesday, April 14th, 7-10pm
Champions Sports Bar & Restaurant (all ages)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I'll be presenting with Naomi Bates, Karen Jensen, and Melissa Marr on Radical RA on Tuesday at 4pm. I'm also moderating the YA Contemporary Literature: The Next Hot Thing with Michelle Knudsen, Chris Lynch, CJ Lyongs, Julie Murphy, Jason Reynolds, and Andrew Smith on Thursday at 1pm. Lastly, I'm on the Local Arrangements Committee and helping with social media for the conference. We've been meeting monthly since last August so we're excited to see the conference finally here!

This post will fill you in on everything you need to know to attend TLA like a pro if you have any questions, ask below and I'll try to help!


April 14 - 17th, 2015
Austin Convention Center
Registration is still open and you can register on-site
No need to be a librarian to attend, although a TLA membership is super rad!

NO wheels on the exhibit floor
You can bring up to 5 items to be signed per author, per visit
Bag checks will be outside the exhibit hall on the Trinity Street side
US Post office in the Exhibit Hall during hall hours
The TXLA 15 app is only available to attendees who are registered

Parking ranges and there are two convention center garages - maps and directions HERE
Being a volunteer is cool! I'm doing it, she's doing it, we're all doing it. More info HERE

Author Info:
A list of authors who are signing can be found HERE (authors sign in author area and in exhibit booths) and the full schedule is HERE
The TXLA 15 app has the signing times for the authors (booth and author area)

Exhibit Hall:
Exhibit hall map can be found HERE
Exhibit hall pass for the week varies and info HERE
Tuesday 4/14: 5:30-7:30
Wednesday 4/15: 10:15-5:00
Thursday 4/16: 9:00-4:00
Friday 4/17: 9:00-12:00


YART (Young Adult Round Table) is hosting a Texas Tea with awesome authors on Wednesday, the 15th from 4-5:20pm. This event always sells out so get your tickets online now! More info and a list of authors HERE

Mar 30, 2015

Giveaway: The Remedy (The Program .05) by Suzanne Young #ReleasetheRemedy

The Remedy by Suzanne Young
April 21st 2015 from Simon Pulse

Can one girl take on so many identities without losing her own? Find out in this riveting companion to The Program and the New York Times bestselling The Treatment.

In a world before The Program…

Quinlan McKee is a closer. Since the age of seven, Quinn has held the responsibility of providing closure to grieving families with a special skill—she can “become” anyone.

Recommended by grief counselors, Quinn is hired by families to take on the short-term role of a deceased loved one between the ages of fifteen and twenty. She’s not an exact copy, of course, but she wears their clothes and changes her hair, studies them through pictures and videos, and soon, Quinn can act like them, smell like them, and be them for all intents and purposes. But to do her job successfully, she can’t get attached.

Now seventeen, Quinn is deft at recreating herself, sometimes confusing her own past with those of the people she’s portrayed. When she’s given her longest assignment, playing the role of Catalina Barnes, Quinn begins to bond with the deceased girl’s boyfriend. But that’s only the beginning of the complications, especially when Quinn finds out the truth about Catalina’s death. And the epidemic it could start.

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You can find Young at her website and blog
Follow Suzanne Young on Twitter and Facebook
Giveaway time! THE WORLD BEFORE THE PROGRAM prize pack includes a copy of The Remedy plus copies of Suzanne Young’s bestselling series The Program and The Treatment. Prizing & samples courtesy of Simon & Schuster. Fill out the fancyl doo-hickey below to be officially entered. Giveaway open to US addresses only, good luck!