Wednesday, November 30, 2016

2017 Most Anticipated - HarperCollins Canada

Today I have the lovely Suman and Kaiti from HarperCollins Canada stopping by the blog sharing their own most anticipated list. These are all titles that should be on your radar next year. Each of them sound pretty amazing and there is a wide variety of choices so I am pretty sure something will catch your eye.

A huge thank you to them both for taking the time to write up this post! You both are the greatest!

Suman and Kaiti’s Most Anticipated Books of 2017

We publish a lot of books every year so it’s always a bit difficult to select just a few that we’re excited for, but, hey, we tried!

SS = Suman (it rhymes with Susan) Seewat
KV = Kaitlyn Vincent

We Were On a Break by Lindsey Kelk – January 3, 2017

Lindsey Kelk’s new standalone novel pays homage to one of my favourite TV shows. It is also classic Kelk – funny, relatable, infuriating and heartwarming. Adam and Liv are like two of your best friends who refuse to listen to anything you say, no matter how hard you try to shake some sense into them.

And, for the record, they may have been on a break but Ross was still in the wrong. –KV

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth – January 17, 2017

Veronica Roth. Space. Divergent. Star Wars. There are so many things I could say about Carve the Mark but all I can really put down on paper is:  !!!!!!!!


The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill – February 7, 2017

Kathy is very familiar with how much I love Heather O’Neill’s work, but for those of you who aren’t, I LOVE HER BOOKS. A LOT. I’m not alone – her debut novel, Lullabies for Little Criminals, won Canada Reads in 2007. Her following works were consecutively shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller prize: The Girl Who Was Saturday Night in 2014 and Daydreams of Angels in 2015. In The Lonely Hearts Hotel, Heather is at her darkest and most magical, sharing a spellbinding story of two orphans whose unusual magnetism and talent leads them towards a future they only dreamed about. –KV

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – February 28, 2017

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, The Hate U Give is easily my most-anticipated YA read this year. It follows sixteen-year-old Starr Carter after she witnesses the fatal shooting of her best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. I read this book in one sitting on my phone on a Saturday night. I couldn’t stop reading it. It’s an important story written by an immensely talented writer that I hope everyone reads. –SS

A Simple Favour by Darcey Bell – March 21, 2017

For fans of Gone Girl, A Simple Favour is a chilling debut thriller that focuses on three characters: a popular blogger, her best friend who disappears suddenly, and the latter’s husband. It’s full of twists, betrayals and “Whaaaaaaaat just happened?!?!” moments. This is a great vacation or weekend read! –SS

Miss You by Kate Eberon – April 4, 2017

Miss You by Kate Eberlen is a cure for any reader who hasn’t fallen in love with a book since the first time they read One Day (and let’s be honest, there are some of us who have read it over and over and over). In Miss You, Gus and Tess meet briefly as teenagers, and readers watch their lives continue across decades and continents before they find each other again.  –KV

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli – April 11, 2017

Simon Vs. The Homo-Sapiens Agenda is 200% one of my favourite YA books ever. Like, ever, ever. I didn’t think it’d be possible to love a character as much Simon, but Becky Albertalli is actual magic and has created another unforgettable protagonist in Molly. Read The Upside of Unrequited. It’s funny and heart-warming and feels so real. You will love every second of it. –SS

Fireworks by Katie Cotugno – April 11, 2017

New from the author of How To Love and 99 Days!!!! Fireworks is all about boy bands, girl bands, best friends and first love. If you’re a fan of Stephanie Perkins, Sarah Dessen, and Morgan Matson you should to read this book. If you’re a fan of the Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls and/or NSYNC you should to read this book. Basically, everyone should read this book. –SS

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy – May 9, 2017

Oh, hey, it’s a new book by Julie Murphy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! –SS

Party Girls Die in Pearls by Plum Sykes – May 9, 2017

This super-charming, super-fun mystery is set at Oxford in the 80’s and follows two students, Ursula Flowerbutton and Nancy Feingold, as they try to solve the murder of one of their super-wealthy, super-popular classmates. I REALLY LIKED THIS BOOK. It’s a blend of Sophie Kinsella’s books and Pretty Little Liars, with a dash of Veronica Mars. –SS

Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau – June 6, 2017

Are you a fan of Red Queen?? And Game of Thrones?? Did you read Three Dark Crowns and think, Oh. Thats dark and also cool and also I love this book?? Well, let me introduce you to Dividing Eden, a new fantasy about two royal siblings who are forced to compete for the crown. ALSO. Lets all just take a moment to flail over that cover.

Hunger by Roxane Gay – June 13, 2017

Journalist, professor and New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay is back with Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body. I started following Roxane’s writing after reading Bad Feminist, her accessible introduction to intersectional feminism. Though I haven’t had a chance to read Hunger in its entirety, I’ve read a few excerpts and can’t wait to read more of this honest memoir about self-image and self-care. –KV

Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny – July 18th, 2017

The women in Katherine Heiny’s debut short story collection Single, Carefree, Mellow were neither single, nor carefree, nor mellow.  They were, however, funny, flawed, and felt so familiar. Reading that collection, I was so impressed with Katherine Heiny’s ability to write honest characters in relatable circumstances. Her debut novel, Standard Deviation, is no exception. I cannot recommend this book enough. –KV

What books are you all excited to read in 2017??? Let us know! You can find Suman on Twitter at @suman_says and @HCCFrenzy, and Kaitlyn at @ktvncnt and @HarperCollinsCa

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

2017 Most Anticipated - The Love Interest

Next up on my 2017 Most Anticipated list is story in which a girl meets boy. Girl also meets another boy. The boys, to nobody's surprise, end up competing for her affections. You're probably thinking this sounds pretty similar to a lot of other young adult novels out there. Well....

Buffy pun for the win, but in all honesty you would be mistaken in believing that because Cale Dietrich's The Love Interest twists those familiar tropes into something that sounds entirely unique.

Here is the  Goodreads synopsis which shows that there definitely more than meets the eye to this story (in more ways than one).
There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.

Caden is a Nice: The boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: The brooding, dark-souled guy, and dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a Nice or the Bad?

Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be – whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die.

What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.
A spy school?! Where love interests are trained? Not at all what you thought, right? You have to be kind of freaking out a bit because I for sure am. And, if you read between the lines of that synopsis, it definitely hints that there are other surprises that take this story in an even more intriguing direction.

I got Cale to dish on all things The Love Interest. He shares a lot of fun secrets, and also proves he is beyond awesome. I mean, he used a Kristen Bell gif. Automatic cool points.

1 What gif do you feel represents The Love Interest?

First of all, I just want to say this is my first interview and this is like the perfect first question to be asked! I’ve thought about it a lot, and I think it’s this one:

2 If someone were to make a signature drink in honour of your book, what might be included?

Tough one! I think maybe coffee – because in the book, Caden gets a job at Starbucks, mainly because the girl he must woo is obsessed with coffee. She totally got this trait from me, I think coffee is the best thing ever. Plus, on top of that, I drank a lot of it while writing TLI. So if it was a cocktail it’d probably be something with Kahlua. If it was non –alcoholic it’d be a Frappuccino.

3 The entire premise of The Love Interest sounds incredibly unique. What was the spark that triggered you coming up with this amazing sounding premise?

Ahh thanks, that’s really nice of you to say! The idea that sparked it was basically “how cool would it be if there was a training academy that the dreamy love interests of YA books were all sent to”. I had that thought and remember thinking it was really weird and interesting so I just started writing it. It was one of those ideas that kept opening up interesting story threads, like the idea that the boys would be rivals, and that there would be specific classes (boy next door or bad boy) etc. It was really fun, and I just kept building on the idea and it very quickly became The Love Interest.

4 Name a song you listed to for inspiration while writing this novel

Music is a massive part of my writing process, and I generally spend a lot of time during the early drafts making a playlist so that I can listen to specific songs during specific scenes. So The Love Interest has an official playlist, one that sort of charts out the plot of the book. As for a particular song, I’m going to cheat a little and pick three, because I can’t choose between them.

Hold On by Twin Atlantic was the one I listened to most while drafting, and then Youth by Troye Sivan was the song I listened to nonstop while revising. Recently, during the final few rounds of edits, I’ve been listening to Hypnotic by Zella Day – I think it fits really well with the spy angle of the cover.

5 If you could travel to anywhere, in any time period, when and where would you want travel?

I’d probably choose like two hundred years in the future just to see what the future is like and to drive a flying car and all that. Or, you know, I’d choose to just go to Harry Potter land right now, because I spend about 99 percent of my time wanting to be at Harry Potter land.

6 What 2017 release are you most anticipating?

SO MANY! One of the best things about being in a debut group (The Swanky Seventeens) has been that I’ve been able to read a bunch of 2017 debuts early and so far, they’ve all been amazing. I have a Goodreads list ( shelf=swanky-17s) of the ones I’ve read, and I think they’re totally all worth checking out. As for ones I haven’t read yet, there’s again, so many, but three I’m particularly hyped for are:

Caraval by Stephanie Garber: This sounds magical and epic and I’ve been so hyped for it for so long, so I can’t wait to get a copy.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon: This is a romantic comedy, and I’m a total sucker for romcoms. Plus it’s diverse and ownvoices, which I really like. So this is absolutely one of the books I’m looking forward to most next year.

The Temptation of Adam by Dave Connis: This one is comp’d with THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER, and I have been obsessed with that book since high school. So I need to read this one.

7 If not too spoilery, can you share the first line of The Love Interest?

It’s not spoilery at all, so I sure can! It’s: All four walls of my cell are mirrors.

I am honoured to have been your first interview, Cale. I completely agree, visiting the Harry Potter section of Universal Studios actually sounds like a fantastic idea!  This entire interview has made me even more desperate to get my hands on this novel. I have a feeling I am not alone in that need either.

The Love Interest releases May 16, 2017 so I recommend preordering to help with the wait for this one. It can be preordered from your favourite retailer.

You can also follow Cale on Twitter, and visit the publisher website for more details about The Love Interest as the release date grows closer.

Are you as intrigued by this novel's premise as I am? Do you love books that take what you think will happen and twist it into something else completely? Let me know in the comments. 

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to find out the next book that made this year's list!

Monday, November 28, 2016

2017 Most Anticipated - How To Break A Boy

The next book on my 2017 Most Anticipated list has been compared to both Courtney Summers and Mean Girls. If that alone doesn't make you want to read it, hopefully this post will.

Laurie Devore's debut is filled with female characters who are complex and flawed. They make questionable decisions. They are the type of characters that get branded unlikeable (among other things). They are, for lack of a better term, the quintessential 'mean girls' and I could not be more excited to meet them.

Here is the  Goodreads synopsis so you can get a tease of all the delicious drama waiting to unfold
Keep your enemies close, but your friends closer.

Olivia Clayton has mastered the art of tearing others down to stay on top. She and her best friend, Adrienne, rule their small southern town like all good mean girls do--through intimidation and manipulation.

After Olivia suffers a family tragedy and catches Adrienne sleeping with her boyfriend, Olivia is over it. She decides to make a change--but it's impossible to resist taking Adrienne down one last time. Up to her old tricks, Olivia convinces golden boy Whit DuRant to be her SAT tutor and her fake boyfriend. But when it starts to feel real, Whit gets caught up in Olivia and Adrienne's war.

Olivia may ruin everything she touches, but this time she won't go down without a fight--not if it means losing Whit.

And definitely not if it means losing what's left of herself. 
Laurie took the time to answer a few questions for me. She used a Gossip Girl gif, and spilled the entire first paragraph of her story so basically she's the coolest.

1 What gif do you feel represents How To Break A Boy

I always struggle between the soapy and more emotional side of the book but I really love this one for just capturing the general attitude:

2 If someone were to make a signature ice cream in honour of your book, what might be included?

Hmm, maybe one scoop of honeysuckle, one scoop of pink bubblegum, sprinkles to make it a bit more appealing, and a hint of deceit (chocolate syrup should do).

3 It sounds like your main character is going to be complex. Did you find writing a character like her difficult?

Honestly, I can’t imagine writing any other type of character. I like my girls a little rough around the edges, challenging. I think it’s who I’ve always been – growing up, I was most drawn to the darker characters, the seriously flawed girls who made questionable decisions and often spent time cleaning up after themselves. I always find myself wanting to dig into those girls and get to their core since they don’t give their secrets up too easy. Half the fun is getting them to spill.

4 Name a song you listed to for inspiration while writing this novel

Even though my title is a great Fiona Apple shout out my editor spotted (and listen to “Criminal” in relation to this book – it’s undeniable), the original song I’d always thought was perfect for this book is Rilo Kiley’s “Portions for Foxes.” I mean:

It's just bad news, bad news, bad news
‘Cause you're just damage control
For a walking corpse like me

It’s definitely Olivia’s song.

5 If you could travel to anywhere, in any time period, when and where would you want travel?

Time traveling is not my strong suit due to my deep, abiding love of the internet and technology. Honestly, anywhere at any time period? Probably a beach in Europe right now ;)

6 What 2017 release are you most anticipating?

I could not be more excited for Kate Hart’s After the Fall. It promises to feature more of those complex female characters I love – and it’s set in the south too!  And for a looking-even-further-ahead bonus pick, keep your eyes out for Somaiya Daud’s Mirage, a Moroccan-inspired sci fi out next fall.

7 If not too spoilery, can you share the first line of How To Break A Boy?

How about the first paragraph :)

If you’re riding up from Columbia on I-20, get off at Exit 98 and drive northeast for about forty-five minutes, past a bunch of cows and historic battlefields and bullshit, and you’ll hit Buckley, South Carolina. It’s a blink-and- you-miss- it town, minus there being anything to miss. When you see a sign declaring the Buckley High Golf Team State Champs and a water tower with some faded spray paint, you’re there. If you hit the Gas-n- Go, you’ve gone too far.

There is something about the innocence and child like quality to the bubble gum on the cover when contrasted with the synopsis. I like it and I think this novel is going to be both a soapy treat, and a really look at those girls who are brushed aside as 'unlikeable' simply for making mistakes.

How To Break A Boy releases January 31, 2017 so the wait is going to be next to nothing! Add it to your after holiday shopping spree when spending all those gift cards you were gifted.

You can also follow Laurie on Twitter, visit her website, and visit the publisher website for more information about How To Break A Boy.

If you're a contemporary fan like myself, do you like the more gritty side? Or do you prefer the lighter side to these types of stories? Are you a fan of stories with flawed characters who are allowed to be flawed and still worthy? Let me know the comments.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to find out the next book that made this year's list!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Weekly Obsessions

The awesome Kelly at KellyVision started posting a weekly post highlighting whatever she happened to be obsessed with that week. I LOVE this idea, so much in fact that I will be doing it myself every Saturday.

Lots of Beauty and the Beast goodness this week!


Beauty and the Beast trailer

This trailer is EVERYTHING. I love how it recreates the trailer for the animated version. I love how magical it feels. I love how perfect Emma Watson is as Belle.

I have watched this video too many times to count and will basically have it on repeat until March when I finally get to see this movie.

Hufflepuff Pride Video 

I was sorted into Hufflepuff when I took the Pottermore quiz, and because of that fact I can deeply relate to the below video.

I left Fantastic Beats And Where To Find Them a proud Hufflepuff. Proud that Newt was brave, but did the right thing. He was kind and that was the entire point. Newt has made me want to scream my Hufflepuff pride and I thank JK Rowling for his character. The above video is just hilarious and adorkably Eddie Redmayne.


Beauty and the Beast Funkos

My Funko obsession is well documented at this point, so it should not be a surprise that I was very excited when I saw these Funkos were being released.

How adorable is Beast? I NEED HIM! Gaston is perfect (that chin though) and the Hot Topic exclusive Belle is my preferred one of the two. These will be released in early 2017 and I intend on pre-ordering ASAP.

What are you obsessed with this week?

Friday, November 25, 2016

2017 Most Anticipated - Roar

The next book on my 2017 Most Anticipated list is a bit of a departure from what this author is usually known for. Her romance and new adult novels are well known but this book had me excited because it is a fantasy novel! Not only is it a fantasy novel but it's one that involves storms and people who can control them! Amazing, right?

Cora Carmack's newest is the start of a young adult series that hopefully contains a romance just as steamy as the ones found in her romance novels, and a wonderfully created magical world. I am a huge fantasy fan and I have high hopes for this one.

Here is the  Goodreads synopsis so that you can join me in needing to read this immediately.
In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.
Cora and I did a fun Q and A and I got her to spill a few secrets about Roar, and if it was hard going from romance to fantasy.

 1 Twitter pitch Roar (140 characters or less)

In a land plagued by violent magical storms, a princess with no magic must face a tempest and steal its heart to protect her crown.

2 If someone were to make a signature ice cream in honour of your book, what might be included?

Oooh. It would probably be a dairy queen blizzard because storm puns, FTW. With lots of goodies all swirled around inside it like a tornado. :) There would definitely be lots of chocolate to add sweetness because this book is unapologetically a romance. When I set out to write this book, my main goal was to write a book with a compelling world and plot, but also just a really amazing romance. I’m a huge fantasy reader, and I find that often books tip one way or the other— a fantastic premise, but a lackluster romance (or none at all) or an amazing romance with a humdrum plot. All my favorite fantasy novels are ones that manage to do both. To that end, I think my ROAR ice cream would definitely be a mix of two flavors— one sweet, one a little bit funky (perhaps…. chunky monkey?).

3 This is your first fantasy novel. What were the challenges or differences from writing the contemporary/romance you're typically known for?

It is my first fantasy, yes. All of my currently published books are romance— either contemporary, new adult, or paranormal. But I honestly just kind of felling into writing romance on accident. My first love was YA. And I wrote and pursued publication in YA for about five years before on a whim I wrote a romance just for fun. That book ended up hitting the New York Times list and launching a romance career I never expected. I was really excited to get back to YA and to try my hand at high fantasy (something I read insatiably, but had never done more than dabble in writing wise). I was very lucky in that my editor at Tor Teen, who has followed my career since my first book, was willing to take a chance on a YA fantasy from me, essentially sight unseen. She and Tor Teen bought a three book series from me based on twenty pages of a fantasy I’d written for a workshop while in a master’s program. Those twenty pages were not from Roar. In fact, I didn’t have the idea for Roar until after we’d already agreed to the deal, but I went to my editor and told her how excited I was about this idea with magical storms and storm hunters and black markets, and she told me to run with it. Fast forward a few months to when I was drafting the book, and I found myself freaking out to an author friend wondering why in the world Tor Teen let me do this. I had never written a full fantasy world from scratch, and when I got to the middle of the book, I felt like I was drowning in all the world building and magic. I was never much of a planner for my romance books. I usually had a premise and the characters, and then I just sort of went wherever the characters took me. But with fantasy, I couldn’t just go with my gut. The rules of the world and the magic had to line up, I had to establish a solid foundation for future books. Suddenly I found myself spending days drawing up my own world maps, including one color-coded according to biomes (and their common storms) that my high school biology teacher would have been so proud of. It took me much longer to write than any of my previous books, and even editing the book took much longer than I was used to. Between the first round of edits and the last, I added and cut so much that I had a word document of cuts that was nearly novel length by itself. There were definitely times that I doubted myself and my ability, but a dear friend reminded me that the thing I love more than anything else is characters— building them and letting them take on a life of their own. So while I might have been lost in worlds of my own creation, my character was not. So I opened my laptop, put my head down, and did my best to follow her until the story was done.

4 Tell us something that inspired the world or characters found in Roar.

Oh so many things. I first had the idea for the book while I was doing a phone interview for one of my adult romances. The interviewer asked if there was any story idea I wanted to write, but hadn’t yet for whatever reason. I said that I’d always wanted to write a book about storm chasers, but was on too quick a writing schedule to fit in all the research that would be required to do it effectively. Then I thought in my head, I suppose I could write a fantasy book about magic storms, and then I wouldn’t need to know all the science of it. Immediately, my brain started filling with ideas and images, and I couldn’t wait for the interview to be over so I could write it all down. Of course, I would soon find that magic storms required just as a much research and far more world-building. But it was worth it. I also spent some time in Australia while I was drafting the book. I loved the deep red sand of the outback and borrowed it for the Sangsorra desert in the book. And for the Hamilton fans out there, a line from the song Hurricane became central to development of one character. I won’t tell you which character, but the line was: “I couldn’t seem to die.”

5 If you could travel to anywhere, in any time period, when and where would you want travel?

Before I was a book nerd, I was a theatre nerd. So I had an early fascination with time periods that were instrumental in theatre’s history. So I’d say either the Greek Golden Age or Elizabethan England. Though both would certainly have their drawbacks. I would not enjoy the smell of Elizabethan England— what with the open sewers and their paranoid fear of baths.

6 What 2017 release are you most anticipating?

Ah. I can’t choose just one. Let’s say Caraval by Stephanie Garber. All the new Sarah J. Maas books. The Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh. And so many more.

7 If not too spoilery, can you share the first line of Roar.

Absolutely. The first line is…

You are lightning made flesh.

Anyone else super excited that it sounds like some badass ladies might be in this book? The girl on the cover also reminds me a little of Daenerys Targaryen.  I am very excited to meet her.

Roar releases June 13, 2017 so the wait is going to be excruciating. However, in the meantime, you can preorder from the retailer of your choice.

You can also follow Cora on Twitter, visit her website, and visit the publisher website for more details about Roar as the release date approaches.

Do you devour fantasy novels like I do? Are you as excited as I am for one that sounds like it'll be a perfect mix of romance, and fantasy elements? Let me know in the comments. 

Be sure to stop by Monday to find out the next book that made this year's list!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

2017 Most Anticipated - Flower

The next pick for my 2017 Most Anticipated Event has been teased as a very steamy read. We're talking blush worthy reading if reports are to be believed.

A story who told herself that she was going to stay focused and get into college. She was not going to let boys be a distraction. Until Tate comes along and messes that plan right up. I am super excited because I've heard good things about this one!

Here is the  Goodreads synopsis that just hints at what this story is about.
These are the things that I've always wanted:

To get the top grades in my class.

To make my grandmother proud.

And most of all, proof that I could succeed where the rest of my family had not: a Stanford acceptance letter, early admission.

My mother and my sister were obsessed with boys and love and sex. So obsessed that they lost sight of their futures, of what they wanted. And in the end, they lost everything.

I'll never let a boy distract me. I promised my grandmother that.

But that was before Tate.

Before the biggest pop star on the planet took an interest in me.

Before private planes and secret dates and lyrics meant for me alone.

There's so much I don't know. Like why he left music. Where he goes when we're not together. What dark past he's hiding. But when we kiss, the future feels far away. And now…I'm not sure what I want.
I am pretty sure there is something more going on under the surface of this novel that the synopsis is not revealing. It makes me excited to discover what those secrets are.

Shea Olsen was kind enough to answer a few questions about her book, but I didn't get her to reveal too many of the book's secrets.

1 Twitter pitch Flower (140 characters or less)

Charlotte never wanted to fall in love. Until she met Tate Collins. Now she can’t remember ever wanting anything else but him.

2 If someone were to make a signature drink in honour of your book, what might be included?

Sweet vermouth and champagne. The vermouth adds a hint of bitterness, because things aren’t always so perfect in Charlotte’s world. But the bubbles of the champagne make you feel heady and euphoric—just like how Charlotte feels when she’s with Tate. A dangerous but irresistible concoction.

3 The book's synopsis seems to hint at much more going on underneath. Can you let us in on one secret about your book (it could be about its setting, characters, or anything else). 

Initially, Tate comes across as the bad boy in the story, but he isn’t inherently a bad person. As the story progresses, we learn why he behaves the way he does and why he needs control. There is one singular moment in his life that alters everything, and forces him away from his music career. This moment is the catalyst for everything that comes after. But you’ll have to read it to learn what it is!

4 Name a song you listed to for inspiration while writing this novel (if you didn't listen to music let me know and I can quickly send another question)

I don’t listen to music while I write, but I do listen when I’m brainstorming or feeling stuck on a scene. One song that became the anthem for this book, and I must have listened to a hundred times when I needed inspiration, was Selena Gomez’s THE HEART WANTS WHAT IT WANTS. This song sums up everything my main character, Charlotte, thinks and feels throughout the story.

5 If you could travel to anywhere, in any time period, when and where would you want travel?

I love the 1920’s, also known as the roaring twenties. Woman really embraced a new sense of empowerment. They wore flapper dresses, bobbed their hair short, wore makeup, drove cars, partied… and generally did what was not necessarily acceptable for the time period. It was such a vibrant and fascinating time that I would love to go back and experience it.

6 What 2017 release are you most anticipating?

Stephanie Garber’s CARAVAL looks absolutely fabulous! I love anythingwith some magic and whimsy.

My next book coming out with Simon Pulse in 2018 is a YA magical realism novel, and I’m incredibly thrilled about it. It will publish under the name Shea Ernshaw, so keep an eye out for that!

7 If not too spoilery, can you share the first line of Flower

I was twelve years old when I made the promise to myself.

I will gladly head to the 1920s with you, Shea! I am very curious to discover Tate's secrets and all this talk of him liking to be in control is reminding me of 50 Shades of Grey (which I heard this novel compared to once).

Either way, I cannot wait to read Charlotte and Tate's story.

Flower releases January 3, 2017 so there is barely any wait at all. If all this has piqued your curiosity it'll be out right in time to spend those holiday gift cards.

You can preorder now from the retailer of your choice.

You can also follow Shea  on Twitter, visit her website, and visit the publisher website for more details. Her co-author, Elizabeth Craft, can also be found on Twitter.

Are you a fan of contemporary romance novels?  Let me know in the comments!

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to find out the next book that made this year's list!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

2017 Most Anticipated - Sea Witch

The next pick for my 2017 Most Anticipated Event should surprise nobody. It's no secret that I love fairytale retellings, and villain origin stories in particular.

When someone mentions the sea witch who grants the curious little mermaid legs most of us think of the amazing Disney  version.

Ursula is great. She's iconic for a reason. However, the Hans Christian Anderson version of the sea witch is extremely different. The next book included in my feature, Sea Witch by Sarah Henning, will offer an origin story for the Hans Christian Anderson version of this villainess.

While not much is known about this novel (as it doesn't come out until Fall 2017) this brief Goodreads teaser is enough to make me want to read this ASAP!
Pitched as the never-before-told origin story of the sea witch from Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid" told in the vein of Wicked – from the villainess's point of view
I am in love with this trend of turning a fairytale on its head by offering it as a prequel from the villain's point of view. I am sure this one is going to be a worthy addition to the collection and I cannot wait to learn more about it. I, fortunately,  got to ask Sarah a few questions about Sea Witch and she spilled a few secrets.

1 Describe Sea Witch using three words.

Friendship. Sacrifice. Magic.

2 If someone were to make a signature ice cream in honour of your book, what might be included?

I'd say "pickled herring" but that isn’t exactly appetizing even if it is in Sea Witch often. Let’s go with another food that appears a ton: blackberries—sweet, a bit sour, juicy and dark enough to leave a stain.

3 This is the origin story of the sea witch from The Little Mermaid tale. What about her inspired you to write this story?

Honestly, I devoured Gregory Maguire’s Wicked books a few years ago and completely admire what he was able to achieve with that storyline. It was a fresh way to look at the idea that a villain is the hero of his or her own story. That said, I actually don’t think my sea witch is a villain—but maybe that’s why she and I get along so well.

4 Is your character inspired more by Disney's version or the one in the classic Hans Christian Andersen tale?

My sea witch is most definitely from the original Hans Christian Andersen tale—she’s not Ursula. Ursula is a fabulous character whom I LOVE (who doesn’t?), but what I wanted to explore with this story was the character Andersen devised. In his version, the witch is much more neutral. Her role is really to question the mermaid’s motives—are you sure you want to leave your family and friends for a boy? I wanted to explore what sort of background could create Andersen’s sea witch and cause her to help the mermaid despite deep reservations.

5 Name a song you listened to for inspiration while writing this novel.

I don’t listen to music while writing but I do create playlists in honor of my manuscripts and listen to them around my writing time. At first, the two songs that characterized Sea Witch were Annie Lennox’s “Walking on Broken Glass” for the dramatics and Of Monsters and Men’s “Little Talks” for its Nordic flare. But during revision I became aware of Troye Sivan’s “Youth” and it absolutely became the song for Sea Witch. I love the theme of it—that we give our youth to those with whom we choose to spend it. At its heart, Sea Witch is a friendship book about what you’ll sacrifice for those you love—even in your youth.

6 If you could travel to anywhere, in any time period, when and where would you want travel?

Holy wow. Um, let’s see. I’ve always been slightly obsessed with the ancient Mayans and I would love to see their cities at their peak. I find Mayan culture beautiful, terrifying and fascinating.

7 What 2017 release are you most anticipating?

Oh, geez. What a painful question! I can’t wait to continue the series from Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir, and to start a new series from Renee Ahdieh. That said if we’re talking a 2017 debut, I’m going to have to go with the crowd and say Stephanie Garber’s Caraval. I mean…AMAZING.

8 If not too spoilery, can you share the first line of Sea Witch.

Of course! It’s probably my favorite line in the whole book.

The sea is a fickle witch.  

I am in awe that Sarah did that entire interview without spilling the name of her sea witch. I kind of love that. I, also,  love that friendship seems to be a major theme for this one. I am not kidding myself that this is going to be a happily ever after kind of novel because we know what becomes of her story, but I think that is why I am drawn to novels like this.

I don't know if we'll meet a certain mermaid who trades her voice for legs, but I anticipate we might get a glimpse of her. I hope so anyways. Not enough to overshadow the sea witch, but a nod to where fate is bringing both of them would be wonderful.

Sea Witch releases sometime in Fall 2017 so it'll be an agonizing wait for this one, but one that I predict will be worth it.

Sadly, pre-order links are not available just yet. Be sure to add it to your Goodreads which will have them as they come available.
You can also follow Sarah on Twitter to keep up to date on all things Sea Witch, visit her website, and keep an eye on the publisher website for more information to come.

Are you a fan of fairytale retellings? In particular, those that offer up a look at the villain before they became the villain we love to hate? Let me know in the comments!

I cannot be the only one still hoping for a hot prince

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to find out the next book that made this year's list!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

2017 Most Anticipated - Who's That Girl

The next book I've selected as part of my 2017 Most Anticipated Event is one that offers up a little wish fulfillment fantasy. I mean, who at some point in their life hasn't wanted to have a song written about them? The reality, however, would probably be greatly different than the day dream. I couldn't imagine if the song became popular and that was ALL THAT WAS ON THE RADIO.

There are PLENTY of popular songs known to be written about someone in particular. There are plenty of others who the person in question is a much debated mystery. Either way we love the drama of it and that is exactly why this next book caught my eye.

Check out this Goodreads synopsis and tell me you don't immediately want to read this (and create a playlist of all the songs speculated to be written about someone in particular).
Junior Nattie McCullough is totally OK with her place in life: Latin whiz. Member of the school’s gay-straight alliance. Joni Mitchell superfan. Seventeen-year-old who has never been kissed. So when last summer’s crush and her former classmate—Young Lungs lead singer Sebastian Delacroix—comes back to town with his new hit single “Natalie,” she can’t bring herself to believe it could possibly be about her…could it?

As Nattie sorts through the evidence (the lyrics, Sebastian’s elusive text messages, and their brief romantic encounter last year), the song’s popularity skyrockets, and everyone starts speculating about “Natalie’s” identity. If that wasn’t mortifying enough, Nattie runs into another problem: her confusing, flirtation-packed feelings for her good friend Zach. With her once-average life upended, Nattie is determined to figure out once and for all if her short-lived past with Sebastian was something love songs are made of—or just a one-hit wonder.
How great is the name Sebastian Delacroix? Total book boyfriend name. Combine that with the potential for some romance drama and I am entirely sold on this cute sounding contemporary.

Blair kindly agreed to answer a few questions about her book and has ensured I want to read this immediately.

1 What gif do you feel represents Who's That Girl?

2 If someone were to make a signature ice cream in honour of your book, what might be included?

Definitely not strawberries! In honor of Zach the Anarchist's baking skills, I'd say pumpkin chocolate chip.

3 Your main character is dealing with the fact that a very popular song might have been written about her. Would you want a song written about you?

Oh gosh, it's sort of hard to say no, right? But unless there's a way to get rockin' lyrics out of things like "being very tall" and "going to the library a lot" I don't think I'd make a very good subject. Plus, considering all the stuff poor Nattie goes's probably not worth it!

4 What is your favourite song that is knowingly to be about someone the author of the song knew?

I probably have to say a Joni Mitchell song here, right? I love "Carey" from her Blue album, which isn't really a love song, but is very upbeat and fun, and supposedly based on an eccentric chef that Joni met one summer in Greece (although some people claim it's about James Taylor...drama!)

5 Name a song you listed to for inspiration while writing this novel (if you didn't listen to music let me know and I can quickly send another question)

Well, I definitely listened to a lot of Joni :) But I also grooved on "Maureen" by Fountains of Wayne, which is just super catchy, and has a woman's name in the title. It definitely got me into the groove of the book, although it's probably a little too poppy to sound like the Young Lungs.

6 If you could travel to anywhere, in any time period, when and where would you want travel?

This is the hardest question I have ever been asked, and I will probably change my mind as soon as I answer! But right now I would have to say London in the late 16th century, so I could see a Shakespeare play performed with the original actors and hopefully not catch plague or anything.

7 What 2017 release are you most anticipating?

So many! I am really looking forward to Angie Thomas's The Hate U Give, Whitney Gardner's You're Welcome, Universe, and Karuna Riazi's The Gauntlet.

8 If not too spoilery, can you share the first line of Who's That Girl?

"Everything weird started the day my dad brought home the yurt."

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip ice cream sounds amazing! Is anyone else humming 'You're So Vain' right now, or is that just me? This interview only has me more excited to see what happens when Nattie's world get turned upside down thanks to a song.

Who's That Girl releases July 11, 2017 and can be pre-ordered right now from any retailer.

You can also follow Blair on Twitter, visit her website, and find out more about her books on the publisher website.

Are you a fan of contemporary novels? Would you want a song to be written about you? Has a song been written about you? Let me know in the comments!

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to find out the next book that made this year's list!

Monday, November 21, 2016

2017 Most Anticipated - Becoming Bonnie (GIVEAWAY)

It's already time for me to begin showcasing my 2017 Most Anticipated titles. I love this annual event because it not only allows me to talk about books I am super excited about but it lets me feature some pretty awesome authors. I have a bunch of amazing sounding books to share over the next couple weeks so I hope you are prepared for your 'to be read' pile to grow.

The first book is technically an adult novel but one with tons of  YA crossover appeal.  It introduces us to the young lady who would become half of one of the most recognizable crime duos in history.

Its 1920s setting and real life inspiration of Bonnie and Clyde ensured that this one would be on my list this year. Their story has always fascinated me, particularly Bonnie.

If that was not enticing enough, check out this Goodreads synopsis! I appreciate that this is going to focus on Bonnelyn before she meets Clyde. I also love that the cover showcases that it is HER story.
​From debut historical novelist Jenni L. Walsh comes the untold story of how wholesome Bonnelyn Parker became half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo.

​The summer of 1927 might be the height of the Roaring Twenties, but Bonnelyn Parker is more likely to belt out a church hymn than sling drinks at an illicit juice joint. She’s a sharp girl with plans to overcome her family's poverty, provide for herself, and maybe someday marry her boyfriend, Roy Thornton. But when Roy springs a proposal on her and financial woes jeopardize her ambitions, Bonnelyn finds salvation in an unlikely place: Dallas's newest speakeasy, Doc's.

Living the life of a moll at night, Bonnie remains a wholesome girl by day, engaged to Roy, attending school and working toward a steady future. When Roy discovers her secret life, and embraces it—perhaps too much, especially when it comes to booze and gambling—Bonnie tries to make the pieces fit. Maybe she can have it all: the American Dream, the husband, and the intoxicating allure of jazz music. What she doesn't know is that her life—like her country—is headed for a crash.

She’s about to meet Clyde Barrow.

Few details are known about Bonnie's life prior to meeting her infamous partner. In Becoming Bonnie, Jenni L. Walsh shows a young woman promised the American dream and given the Great Depression, and offers a compelling account of why she fell so hard for a convicted felon—and turned to crime herself.
A novel that puts Bonnie at the forefront is a welcome change and I cannot wait to meet Jenni L Walsh's Bonnie Parker. It sounds like a lot of research went into this book and that only makes me more excited to read it.

Jenni and I did a little Q and A which I hope will entice you to check out this book and add it to your own 'to be read' list for 2017.

1 Twitter pitch Becoming Bonnie (140 characters or less)

The untold story of how seventeen-year-old Bonnelyn Parker becomes half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo during the Roaring Twenties.

2 If someone were to make a signature drink in honour of your book, what might be included?

Love this question. Just so happens Becoming Bonnie is set in a speakeasy, where the drinks flow freely, and this scene makes for a fitting answer, from Bonnie’s point of view.

On edge, I keep my head down, focus on the work.
That is, ‘til a boy steps up to the bar—the boy from the other night with the lopsided grin who looked like he had so much to say.
“Gin Rickey, please,” he says now, ignoring Blanche, his eyes narrowing in on me.
Gin, lime, sugar, soda.
Loudly, I set them out for Blanche to do the mixing, annoyed with myself when my hand shakes from the intensity of his gaze
“No,” he says to me with a cocky smirk. “I’d like you to fix my drink.”
If Blanche wasn’t so amused, I think she’d be mad at his brush-off. But no, she pushes the small of my back ‘til my stomach bumps the bar. “Go on,” she whispers into my ear.
I know how to make the drink, been watching Blanche do it all night, but I’m only seeing black spots where Pour gin and lime juice over ice, top with club soda should be.

3 What about Bonnie and Clyde's story resonated with you enough that you wanted to write your own take on their story?

At some point during my adolescent years, I saw the Bonnie and Clyde film from the 60s. The violence didn’t stick with me, but, all these years later, their loyalty (and love and passion) toward one another did. It made me wonder who they were besides outlaws. And I thought, I need to write that book.

4 What was the most surprising thing you discovered about Bonnie and Clyde while researching this novel?

They’re both musically inclined. Clyde played the saxophone and the guitar, while Bonnie had a healthy set of lungs. Bonnie also loved the written word and penned a lot of poetry. I sort of mashed these interests together to create an element of Becoming Bonnie that was so much fun to write: an original song. As Bonnie and Clyde face each new obstacle of the book, they write a new verse.

5 Name a song you listed to for inspiration while writing this novel?

I don’t typically listen to music while I’m writing, but songs influence me greatly while I’m brainstorming. I’ll often go to a run to rejuvenate my mind, and one song that kept coming onto Pandora was The Big Big Bang by Rock Mafia. The energy and vibe of the song had me itching to get back to my computer.

6 If you could travel to anywhere, in any time period, when and where would you want travel?

I’m from Philly, and I think it’d be insanely interesting to walk the streets, explore the buildings, and navigate the city as it was, compared to how it is now. Here is Independence Hall in 1770s, when Philadelphia was the capital of the United States, compared to present day.

7 What 2017 release are you most anticipating?

I’m part of The Debutante Ball, so I’d be remiss not to mention the other amazing authors in the group. I’ve read their books and they are phenom.

Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel
Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
Caged Eyes by Lynn K. Hall
Feast of Sorrow by Crystal King

8. If not too spoilery, can you share the first line of Becoming Bonnie?

But I, being poor, have only my dreams.

Anyone else swooning over what I assume is a scene where Bonnie and Clyde meet? That smirk. The whole 'I'd like you to fix my drink' thing and how flummoxed Bonnie appears. I am pretty sure this book is going to have its share of swoon worthy moments and I cannot wait. Also, how fitting is it that a Gin Rickey would be this novel's signature drink?

Becoming Bonnie releases May 9, 2017 and can be pre-ordered right now from any retailer.

You can also follow Jenni on Twitter, visit her website, and find out more about her books on the publisher website.

Jenni has kindly offered up an ARC of Becoming Bonnie (when available) and a set of Bonnie and Clyde keychains. They are amazing and I kind of want to keep them for myself.

Just enter using the below Rafflecopter. It's open INTERNATIONALLY and will run the entire length of the event.

a Rafflecopter giveaway Are you a fan of historical novels? Does the Bonnie and Clyde story hold the same allure for you as it does for me?  Let me know what you think in the comments.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to find out the next book that made this year's list!

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