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Featured Review: The Q (Amy Tintera)

December 2nd, 2022 by

 

About This Book:

In this action-packed adventure from a New York Times bestselling author, two teenagers from opposite worlds must fight their way through a vast walled quarantine zone in a dystopian America toward their only chance for survival.
Seventeen-year-old Maisie Rojas has spent her entire life in the Q—a post-pandemic quarantine zone that was once Austin, Texas. Born and raised behind the high security walls that sealed their fate, she’s now a trusted lieutenant for one of the territory’s controlling families.

Lennon Pierce, the charismatic son of a US presidential candidate, has just been kidnapped by his father’s enemies and dropped out of a plane into the Q with nothing but a parachute strapped to his back. Lennon is given a temporary antidote to the disease and crucial intel for his father, but Maisie must get him out of the zone within forty-eight hours–or he will be permanently infected and forced to remain.

With unrest brewing both inside and outside the Q, reaching the exit is a daunting and dangerous task. But if Maisie and Lennon fail, it could mean disaster for the entire quarantine zone and its inhabitants—and could cost Lennon his life.

Strap in for breakneck action and compelling characters in this timely, nonstop thriller.

 

 

*Review Contributed by Olivia Farr, Staff Reviewer*

THE Q is a highly engaging YA dystopian/sci-fi. In this world, a new deadly virus arose, beginning in Austin, Texas. To contain it, they placed everyone who had the virus in the city and eventually walled it off. This trapped not only people who had been infected but also those who were too poor to leave. The virus continued to mutate and reinfect the people who lived within, and before long, there was no plan for allowing those people out of the quarantine zone or The Q. It has now been about 20 years.

Maisie was born inside The Q, one of the first generation. She lives in the South, controlled by Dr. Lopez (and formerly her father), while the North is controlled by the Spencers. They are engaged in a perpetual turf war with a bit of peace constructed by mutual fear. Lennon, the son of a presidential candidate, is kidnapped and airdropped into The Q, landing in the Neutral Zone. Lopez detects it and sends Maisie to get him before unsavory characters can, and he gives her an injection to give him, which should provide him with about 4 days of immunity from the virus.

Lennon wants out and back to his old life. The things he has heard about The Q are rather frightening, and he knows that public opinion is turning on even allowing it to continue to exist. The CDC gives him 3 days to get to the north gate and allow him to exit, assuming he has not been infected. However, with conflicts escalating inside The Q and a long path to get there, his safety seems anything but assured.

What I loved: This was such an entertaining and engaging read. While it certainly has parallels to viruses now, this presents a speculative scenario taken to extremes. There were some thought-provoking themes around politics, public opinion, morality, conflict/war, gender inequality, medical care, and poverty that really made this quite an intriguing story. The broader context of The Q and the people who have lived inside it were really provocative and ask some interesting questions about how medical care and societal engagement are impacted by wealth and public perception.

The book is told from the perspectives of Maisie and Lennon, and this balance really propelled the story. While there is a small amount of romance between them, they were each compelling characters individually. Maisie loves her friends, who have become her family, and she fiercely believes in doing what is right, even if that means she has to punch some people. Lennon has not always been the perfect son to his political parents, but he is finding his own purpose as he learns more about The Q and its residents. He also has his own moral code, which he is figuring out as he navigates this dangerous landscape with Maisie.

Other secondary characters were really intriguing as well, particularly Val, Queso, and Hadley, who each have survived their own way. The new generation of The Q is beginning to see their own desires and drive for changes they want – it could irrevocably change the future of what The Q is and how they all relate to each other (if they can move past their parents’ choices).

The plot was fast, and this is definitely an action-packed read with quite the adventure in their three-day travel from the South to the North. It was really hard to put down with so many twists and turns along the way. I am definitely interested to see what will happen next, and I definitely hope this will get a sequel. While major plotlines are wrapped up, there are definitely some threads I would be interested to follow in the future.

Final verdict: A thrilling and action-packed YA dystopian/sci-fi, THE Q takes the reader on a speculative ride with compelling characters and thought-provoking themes. Highly recommend checking this one out!

 

 

*Find More Info & Buy This Book HERE!*

YABC: Festival of Lights GIVEAWAY DAY 2 ~US ONLY

December 2nd, 2022 by

Welcome to YABC’s 8th Annual Holiday Giveaway! We’re featuring books perfect for the book lover on your holiday list!–with exciting prize packs every day for the first five days of December.  Giveaways are US only due to publishers’ rights restrictions in other territories. 

Today’s Theme for our Second Day of The Festival of Lights Giveaway is Christmas brought to you by Candlewick, Publisher’s Spotlight, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, Blue Slip Media, and MMpublicity!

Thank you for following YABC throughout 2022! It’s been a great year!

Good luck to everyone that enters the giveaways!

 

 

Title: Santa’s Secret Society 

Author: Amber Stewart 

Illustrator: Sònia Albert 

Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment 

Release Date: 12/6/2022 

Less than a week before Christmas, Herbert Henry’s father has lost his job, and worse, his Christmas cheer. Herbert needs the kind of help only Santa can provide. But as he journeys north to hand-deliver his letter to Santa, Herbert discovers that his power to help others―from busy Elves to a stranded Snow Bear―could be the key to everyone’s merry Christmas.

The delight and drama of the journey is nothing compared to the surprise awaiting Herbert Henry upon reaching the House of Claus. Chaos abounds, Christmas is in jeopardy, and it is down
to one industrious little boy, and only slightly helpful dog and the cast of characters Herbert has helped and befriended on the way to save Christmas . . . but can Herbert also save his father and
his home?

Buy Now 

TWITTER

 

 

 

Title: Evie’s Christmas Wishes 

Author: Siobhán Parkinson 

Illustrator: Shannon Bergin 

Publisher: Little Island Books 

Release Date: 10/11/2022 

Christmas is coming and Evie is wishing, wishing …

Evie can hardly wait for Christmas to arrive. There is lots of festive fun to be had, from rehearsing for the school play, to decorating the tree, to wrapping presents. As she prepares for the big day with her parents and classmates, she is wishing, wishing, wishing. Suddenly, her wishes begin to come true! Just not in the way she expects. A wish for a reindeer results in a reindeer decoration being found in the attic, a wish for a singing part in her school play sees the whole class (Evie included) all singing along together, and her wish for a white Christmas sees a brief sprinkle of snowfall on Christmas Eve. Her biggest wish of all is fora baby siste, which also partially comes true, in a very surprising way.

Buy Now 

FACEBOOK TWITTER * INSTAGRAM

 

 

 

Title: THE MAGIC OF A SMALL TOWN CHRISTMAS

Author: Megan Alexander

Publisher: Aladdin

Release Date:10/18/22

From Inside Edition’s national correspondent Megan Alexander comes a sweet picture book celebrating the joys, wonders, and traditions of a small-town Christmas in the spirit of her show, Small Town Christmas.

In the town of Heartbeat Falls, where skies are crystal clear, the magic of Christmas is celebrated in many different ways: from picking the perfect tree to decorating it with glittering ornaments; from ice skating to eating yummy gingerbread cookies; from hanging handmade stockings to sharing a homecooked meal. Here, the residents know the beauty of a small town doesn’t come from its size, but from the love shared by its people, shining brightly in their eyes.

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FACEBOOK* TWITTER *  INSTAGRAM

 

 

 

Title: WHEN SANTA CAME TO STAY

Author Billy Sharff

Illustrator: Eda Kaban

Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers

Release Date: October 18. 2022

The Grinch meets Snowmen at Christmas in this rollicking, rhyming picture book that answers the question, Why can’t Christmas last all year?

What happens when your Christmas cookies are too good? Santa comes . . . to stay! At first, it’s fantastic: treats and toys and reindeer flights every day. Then Mrs. Claus arrives. And Baby Claus. And before long, the Easter Bunny and her babies Chuck and Puck and Luck and Duck and . . . you get the picture. By the time the Fourth of July rolls around, everyone’s had a bit too much eggnog in their cereal and confetti in their hair. As one family discovers, maybe the true meaning of Christmas is about more than presents and sweets. And maybe there’s a reason it comes but once a year.

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 Twitter * Author Instagram * Illustrator Instagram 

 

 

Title: A PARTRIDGE IN THE WE TREE

Author: Ashley Belote

Release Date: October 11, 2022

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

ABOUT A PARTRIDGE IN THE WE TREE

From author-illustrator Ashley Belote comes a hilarious and holiday-themed companion to The Me Tree, the tale of a bear who learned to happily share his space. In this festive follow-up, Christmas visitors quickly put Bear’s patience and hospitality to the test.
Designed to engage early readers, this story combines charming characters with simple text, lively illustrations, and laugh-out-loud humor to help boost kids’ confidence and create lifelong readers!

Bear is back and this time his home, “The We Tree,” is full of holiday cheer… for everyone but Bear. With guests like four flocking birds, three French squirrels, two spruced-up cats, and a partridge in the We Tree, will Bear finally find the holiday spirit?
With full-color illustrations on every page, this humorous story is perfect for kids just beginning to read on their own. The early vocabulary and amusing illustrations make reading easy and fun! Exciting, easy-to-read books are the stepping stone a young reader needs to bridge the gap between being a beginner and being fluent.

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Title: Dasher

Author: Matt Tavares

Illustrator: Matt Tavares

Publisher: Candlewick

Publication Date: 9/10/2019

From the celebrated creator of Red and Lulu comes the story of a brave little doe who meets Santa and changes Christmas forever.

Dasher is an adventurous young reindeer with a wish in her heart. She spends her days with her family under the hot sun in a traveling circus, but she longs for a different life — one where there is snow beneath her hooves and the North Star above her head. One day, when the opportunity arises, Dasher seizes her destiny and takes off in pursuit of the life she wants to live. It’s not long before she meets a nice man in a red suit with a horse-drawn sleigh — a man named Santa. And soon, with the help of a powerful Christmas wish, nothing will be the same.

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Title: A Very Mercy Christmas

Author: Kate DiCamillo

Illustrator: Chris Van Dusen

Publisher: Candlewick

Publication Date: 9/27/2022

For fans of Mercy Watson, old and new, comes a joyful crescendo of favorite characters in a picture-book celebration of the quiet miracles the holidays bring. Mercy ornament included!

Stella Endicott felt joyful. She felt like something miraculous might happen. She wanted to sing.

When Stella gets the sudden idea to go caroling, she has a little trouble getting someone to join her. Her brother, Frank, is not good at spontaneity. The Watsons are very involved in a precarious fruitcake attempt (but happy to send their pig, Mercy, out for the occasion). Eugenia Lincoln declines, a bit rudely, to accompany on her accordion, and Horace Broom is too busy studying planetary movement. Will Stella need to sing by herself–with enthusiastic contributions from the pig, the cat, and the horse she picks up on the way? Or does the evening hold a miracle Stella hadn’t expected? With tender affection for Mercy Watson and all her Deckawoo Drive friends, Kate DiCamillo and Chris Van Dusen offer a picture-book homage to the season that is perfectly suited for family sharing–perhaps with some cups of hot cocoa and a stack of well-buttered toast.

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Title: Christmas is Joy

Author: Emma Dodd

Illustrator: Emma Dodd

Publisher: Templar

Publication Date: 9/6/2022

An enchanting celebration of the true meaning of Christmas, featuring two adorable reindeer

Christmas is love that lasts all year.
It’s all of us, together, here.

Christmas is peace, stars twinkling above,
a night of sweet dreams and a heart full of love.

Emma Dodd’s joyful celebration of this wonderful time of year, as seen through the eyes of two reindeer, is a pure delight.

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Title: Best Gift For Bear

Author: Jennifer A. Bell

Publisher: Two Lions

Publication Date: September 27, 2022

Just right for the holidays, this charming story about finding a perfect present introduces an endearing hedgehog and bear―and includes a gingerbread-cookie recipe.

Hedgehog has been busy making gifts for all of her friends. But what could possibly be grand enough for her dear friend Bear? Bear had shown Hedgehog the wonders of butterflies and taught her to ice-skate, after all. When Hedgehog finally finds her inspiration and delivers the gift, it doesn’t quite turn out as she expected…

Buy Now

 

 

 

Title: Weird But True!  Christmas
Author: National Geographic Kids
Publisher: National Geographic Kids Books
Release Date: 9/12/17
Even Christmas can be weird — it’s true! Get ready to celebrate the holiday season with wacky facts, stats, tidbits, and traditions about the most wonderful time of the year. Did you know that Santa’s reindeer are probably all female? Or that artificial snow can be made from seaweed? Or that “Jingle Bells” was the first Christmas carol sung in space? Every kid will ho ho ho when they unwrap this fun and festive little gift book, perfect for stocking stuffers or under the tree.

*Giveaway* 

 

       One winner will receive a copy of each book featured in DAY 2 of the Festival of Lights Giveaway! ~ (US Only) ~

 

*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Chat with Maureen Johnson (NINE LIARS), Plus Excerpt & Giveaway – US Only

December 2nd, 2022 by

Today we are very excited to share an interview with author Maureen Johnson (NINE LIARS)!

Read on to learn more about her, her book, and a giveaway!

 

 

 

Meet the Author: Maureen Johnson

Maureen Johnson is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than a dozen young adult novels, including the Truly Devious series, the Shades of London series, Suite Scarlett, and 13 Little Blue Envelopes. Her collaborative books include Ghosts of the Shadow Market (with Cassandra Clare), as well as Let It Snow (with John Green and Lauren Myracle), which was also a hit feature film on Netflix.

Her books have sold more than three million copies worldwide and have been published in more than thirty countries.

The bestselling author is also active in social justice issues and politics both online and IRL. She initiated and organized an open letter in support of trans and nonbinary communities that was signed by more than 2000 North American writers, including Margaret Atwood, Stephen King, Roxane Gay, and Neil Gaiman, as well as publishers and other members of the literary world. She co-hosts the podcast, Says Who? with Punk Planet creator Dan Sinker and edited the collection How I Resist, the entire advance of which was donated to the ACLU.

She has written for publications such as The New York Times, Buzzfeed, The Guardian and CrimeReads. Her CrimeReads essay, “Your Guide to Not Getting Murdered in a Quaint English Village” has garnered upwards of 450,000 views since its publication.

Maureen Johnson grew up in Philadelphia, graduated from the University of Delaware and has an MFA in Writing from Columbia University.  She lives in New York City with her husband and dog.

Website * Twitter * Instagram * Facebook

 

 

 

About the Book: Nine Liars

Stevie Bell solved the case of Truly Devious, and now she’s taking her detecting skills abroad when she becomes embroiled in a mystery from 1990s England. Another pulse-pounding and laugh-out-loud stand-alone mystery from New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson.

Senior year at Ellingham Academy for Stevie Bell isn’t going well. Her boyfriend, David, is studying in London. Her friends are obsessed with college applications. With the cold case of the century solved, Stevie is adrift. There is nothing to distract her from the questions pinging around her brain—questions about college, love, and life in general.

Relief comes when David invites Stevie and her friends to join him for study abroad, and his new friend Izzy introduces her to a double-murder cold case. In 1995, nine friends from Cambridge University went to a country house and played a drunken game of hide-and-seek. Two were found in the woodshed the next day, murdered with an ax.

The case was assumed to be a burglary gone wrong, but one of the remaining seven saw something she can’t explain. This was no break-in. Someone’s lying about what happened in the woodshed.

Seven suspects. Two murders. One killer still playing a deadly game.

 

 

 

~Excerpt~

Dear Miss Bell,

I have been reading about your recent success in solving cold cases, like the ones at Ellingham Academy and at Camp Sunny Pines. There is something going on in my town and I need your help getting to the bottom of it. My neighbor has been killing people in an industrial dryer and putting their remains in our community garden. I have tried to dig up the garden myself but I am not permitted inside due to a legal matter, and it is very hard to do with a small shovel. Can you come here and help me to…

Stevie Bell stopped reading.

It was a quiet October night in Minerva House. At the farmhouse table in its cozy common room, she sat with her friends. Janelle Franklin and Vi Harper-Tomo were side by side working on their laptops.

“You finished your Stanford essay, right?” Janelle asked Vi.

“Almost,” Vi replied.

“Are you using that same one for Tufts?

Vi looked up. They had gotten a new pair of white glasses over the summer and had cropped their hair and bleached it to almost the same shade, with a fade of blue down the back of their head. They were wearing a massive blue-and-silver fuzzy sweater that sort of matched their hair. Janelle had embraced the fall palate in an orange sweater and a vibrant kente cloth head wrap in gold, red, and green.

“No,” Vi said. “I’m writing one in Japanese for Tufts, and I’m not done with that one either.”

“Let me know when you’re finished so I can input it into the spreadsheet.”

Janelle and Vi had become a couple from the moment they’d met at the start of last year. They had decided that they didn’t want to go to the same school, probably, but they wanted to go to schools that were close to each other. In true crime talk, they had done a geographical profile of the unsub—worked out exactly what they wanted from their schools, and targeted the regions, then the programs. Every night, Janelle updated the spreadsheet that tracked where they were in their mutual application process.

Next to this, Nate Fisher was also typing away furiously, his face a scowl of concentration. Nate was one of Stevie’s closest friends—lanky, the kind of pale the Victorians would have classified as consumptive, with his never cool T-shirts and his wrong-sized pants hiding an athletic build. A fringe of overgrown brown hair half-shaded his eyes as he bent over his computer. He was usually her companion in avoiding things, but tonight he was letting her down. His fingers hadn’t stopped moving all night.

Stevie was supposed to be working. She had six articles to read tonight for Modern American Political History.  When your class only had five people in it, you couldn’t get away with not doing the reading. You can only vamp so long about the media in general until your teacher raises a practiced eyebrow and puts the imaginary cone of shame on your head.

She looked at the article on her screen: “Defining Bias: How We Interpret What We Read.”

The sound of Nate’s typing echoed in her ears. He had headphones on and his fingers were flying. She had never seen him work this hard. Nate was a writer—he had gotten into Ellingham on the strength of a novel he wrote and published in his early teens. Since that time, he had been running from deadlines and the concept of writing in general like it was an angry bear on an electric bike. Where had he found all this focus?

Maybe from the fact that it was October. Senior year. How had she gotten here?

Well, time does that. The clock ticks steadily on.

Time was ticking right now. She had to read. This was the shortest of the six articles. She knew that because for the last hour, she had scrolled through all six, looking at how long they were and figuring out what to read first. Then she would go to the little kitchen off to the side of the common room and get some more water, or a hot chocolate, or she went to pee, or she walked to her room to get a hoodie, or she walked to her room to get her slippers, or she just stared at the moose head with the holiday lights on it that was mounted above the fireplace.

The rest of her time she looked at her phone, which was how she’d found this new message about the shovel and the industrial dryer.

Time to work. Okay. She would do it this time. She would read. Her sightless gaze dribbled down the first paragraph….

She tapped Nate under the table with her foot.

“What?” Nate said, pulling off his headphones.

“Do you want to go for a walk?” Stevie said. “Go over to the dining hall and get some cake?”

Nate glanced at his screen, looked back at his friend, and sighed.

“Fine,” he said. “But only because I love cake.”

Stevie sagged with relief when he agreed. She had been dangerously close to almost reading three entire sentences.

© 2022 Maureen Johnson

 

 

 

~Author Chat~

 

YABC:  What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

As a kid, I was a lover of detective mysteries. When I say lover, I mean an obsessive fan. I set out to make a detective—one that could then appear in various mysteries, working on different cases. I have dreamed of fictional detectives all my life! That’s how Stevie Bell was born. In Nine Liars, I’m taking her to England, to solve a murder in an English manor house.

The manor house murder is a classic puzzle from the golden age of mystery for a reason—you have a set cast of suspects and a contained staging area for the puzzle to play out. Country houses are small enough in the grand scope of things to give the problem limits, but big enough and weird enough to have lots of hidey-holes and passages and things like that. There’s also an air of unreality to them. It feels like a backdrop, not a place people would really live. That’s part of the appeal of this kind of mystery novel; it’s not meant to feel like a real crime, like people are being hurt. It’s Clue. It’s a revolving cast of professors and butlers and strange relatives who want to know about the will. In Nine Liars, I wanted to play with that a little—it’s a group of actors, it’s a game, it’s a murder in the woodshed. But then the story continues to the present. The clues are still scattered around. The events in the woodshed had a real impact. And to solve it, Stevie must go back to the stage where this all went down.

 

YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?

I love them all. And there are two casts of friends in this book—the present day cast with Stevie, and the group of friends from Cambridge in 1995. This is a full-on murder mystery, but so much of this book is about friendship, about being in a group.

 

YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?

The novel, but the title is organic. The story is about a theater group of nine people who called themselves The Nine. It also signifies the closed cast, the suspects. And they’re all faking, putting on a front in some way—they’re acting, they’re covering up secrets. They’re all lying. But why? And what about? That’s for you to find out!

 

YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?

I worked very hard to get everything that happened at Merryweather right. I plotted out the house and the grounds—I spent a week or so sketching out the floorplan of the house, right down to the location of every door—and laid out the grounds carefully. This meant I did a lot of research into manors and gardens. So much work on gardens. So all of those scenes in 1995—I did a lot of fine embroidery to build the place, present a group of people, and build a puzzle.

 

 YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?

I think the design is amazing. I’ve loved all of the Stevie Bell covers, but this one is particularly gorgeous. It has a lot of details. The more you look at it, the more you can see the twisted banister in the falling leaves.

YABC:   Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?

Without spoiling anything—there is a character who comes out in this book. It’s been a long time coming, with the seeds planted in all the other Stevie books. I spent a lot of time thinking about when and how they wanted to do that.

 

YABC:    Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?

David is always a bit hard to handle.

 

YABC:   What do you do when you procrastinate?

Cook. Or clean. If I suddenly make four types of soup and a cake and I’ve decided to bleach a ceiling, it means I need to write.

YABC:   What’s up next for you?

Right now, I am working on a separate mystery called Death at Morning House. But I am also working on Stevie Bell mysteries six and seven!

 

Title: NINE LIARS

Author: MAUREEN JOHNSON

Release Date: December 27, 2022

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Genre: Young Adult

Age Range: 14-17; grades 9-12

 

 

 

~ Giveaway Details ~

One (1) winner will receive a copy of Nine Liars (Maureen Johnson) ~US ONLY

 

*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*

 

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Rockstar Tours: ARMADAS IN THE MIST (Christian Klaver), Guest Post & Giveaway! ~US ONLY

December 2nd, 2022 by

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the ARMADAS IN THE MIST by Christian Klaver Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out
my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!

 

About The Book:

Title: ARMADAS IN THE MIST (The Empire of the
House of Thorns #3)

Author: Christian Klaver

Pub. Date: December 6, 2022

Publisher: CamCat Books

Formats: Hardcover, paperback, eBook, Audiobook

Pages: 332

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, Kindle, B&NiBooks, KoboTBD, Bookshop.org

The Black Shuck’s forces gather just
beyond the mist . . .

Captain Justice Kasric knows how
complicated family can be. The escalating Human-Faerie war has scattered and
wounded her siblings and transformed her parents beyond recognition. After
narrowly escaping yet another dangerous clash, fifteen-year-old Justice has had
enough. She’s determined to defeat the Black Shuck, the mysterious leader
controlling the Faerie invasion of London, but if Justice hopes to stand a
chance at victory, she’ll have to do the impossible: reunite her family and
lead them against the looming Faerie Armada.

With her mother and brother at the
helm of the enemy fleet, and the prophesized Seven Virtues slipping out of
reach, Justice more than has her work cut out for her. Even if she can save
England, the cost may be higher than she’s willing to pay.

 

 

Grab the first 2 books in the Empire of the House of
Thorns series now!

 

 

Guest Post:

Top 6 Influences that went into Shadows Over London:

 

Emma Bull – War for the Oaks – There’s a very visible through-line from Faerie trickster Phouka to Avonstoke and also from her flavor of sinister and dangerous Faerie to mine. This influence outweighs the other influences all put together. It’s a great read fun and emotional and I challenge you to come up with a better, more lovable group of misfits to root for than these folks.

 

Roger Zelazny – Chronicles of Amber – when you think about families with intricate politics, steeped in alliances and betrayals, Amber takes the cake. It is strongly enmeshed in the male POV, but it’s still one of the more compelling first-person points-of-view in fantasy for me. Pure gold.

 

Philip Pullman – Golden Compass – Confession Time: I actually listened to the audio version of this (a full cast) and the woman reading for Lyra just blew me away. So much fun and sass and compassion. Rebel on a wonderful scale and for all the right reasons. A lot of Lyra’s traits found their way into Justice.

 

S. Lewis – Chronicles of Narnia – Just for a sense of pure childlike wonder, these are old, but classics for a reason. The very first chapter with the crunch of snow and emerald light slanting through the woods are all facets of how it felt for me, as a child, when I first read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

 

Tanith Lee – Book of the Beast – Lee was a brilliant writer, with more poetic and lyrical imagery packed into every paragraph than most authors get in an entire book. Any time the Faerie, and their magic, turned dark and sinister, it made me think of Lee. Foreboding stained glass windows and monstrous trees that overtake London in subtle, unseen ways all harken back to the gothic feel of Lee, for me.

 

S. Forester – Horatio Hornblower Series – A lot of the fascinating little nautical details from Hornblower found their way into this series just as a reflection of my pure love for Hornblower. He would probably cringe at ‘Flugelstan’ as a nautical term, but I stand by it!

 

 

About Christian Klaver:

Christian
Klaver has been writing for over twenty years, with a number of magazine
publications, including Escape PodDark Wisdom Anthology,
and Anti-Matter. He’s the author of The Supernatural Case Files of
Sherlock Holmes series, but has written over a dozen novels, both fantasy and
sci-fi, often with a Noir bent. He’s worked as book-seller, bartender and a
martial-arts instructor before settling into a career in internet security. He
lives just outside the sprawling decay of Detroit, Michigan, with his wife,
Kimberly, his daughter, Kathryn, and a group of animals he refers to as The
Menagerie. He’s also a part of the Untitled Writer’s Group based in Ann Arbor
for the past decade or so with a bunch of equally starry-eyed dreamers and social
misanthropes.

Website | Twitter |
Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub

 

Giveaway Details:

2 winners will receive a finished copy of ARMADAS IN THE MIST, US Only.

Ends December 20th, midnight EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

11/21/2022

Mythical
Books

Guest Post/IG Post

11/22/2022

Jazzy Book
Reviews

Excerpt/IG Post

11/23/2022

Books
and Kats

Excerpt

11/24/2022

Living in
a Bookworld

Excerpt

11/25/2022

Two Chicks on
Books

Excerpt

11/26/2022

@jaimerockstarbooktours

IG Post

Week Two:

11/27/2022

A Dream Within
A Dream

Excerpt

11/28/2022

Lady Hawkeye

Excerpt/IG Post

11/29/2022

@froggyreadteach

IG Review

11/30/2022

OneMoreExclamation

Review/IG Post

12/1/2022

Locks, Hooks
and Books

Review

12/2/2022

YA
Books Central

Guest Post/IG Post

12/3/2022

Sadie’s Spotlight

Excerpt/IG Post

Week Three:

12/4/2022

Books
a Plenty Book Reviews

Review

12/5/2022

The Momma Spot

Review

12/6/2022

Fire and Ice

Review

12/7/2022

Rajiv’s Reviews

Review/IG Post

12/8/2022

Brandi
Danielle Davis

IG Review/TikTok Post

12/9/2022

Lifestyle of
Me

Review

12/10/2022

A Court of
Coffee and Books

Review/IG Post

Week Four:

12/11/2022

Emily Ashlyn

IG & Facebook Review

12/12/2022

popthebutterfly

Review/IG Post

12/13/2022

The Real World
According To Sam

Review/IG Post

12/14/2022

History
from a Woman’s Perspective

Review

12/15/2022

A
Blue Box Full of Books

IG Review/LFL Drop Pic

12/16/2022

@ReadsReaders

YouTube Review/IG Post

 

Featured Review: Tossed by the Waves (Erin Reilly)

December 1st, 2022 by

 

About This Book:

The ocean carries everything that it sees: the aftermath of a date gone haywire, an epic noodle debate, countless late-night bonfires, love at first sight. It holds memories, experiences, picturesque sunsets. For Elliana and Nell, it holds answers.

Elliana is a perfectionist. She attends St. Jane’s, a private high school on the coast of North Carolina, where straightened hair and ironed uniforms are the norm. Though she has a knack for basketball, she prefers to remain on the sidelines, a habit that—as her best friend often points out—has made its way into her everyday life.

Nell, on the other hand, has just returned home from her sophomore year of college only to be thrust into her responsibilities as the maid of honor in her brother’s wedding. She’s bent on making sure that everything runs smoothly, though her plans to reunite with an old friend might get in her way.

Elliana often feels nothing, while Nell is certain that she feels far too much. Though they seem like complete opposites, the two of them have one thing in common: they’ve both come to the ocean in search of the same person, but only one can find her.

 

 

*Review Contributed by Elisha Jachetti, Staff Reviewer*

TOSSED BY THE WAVES by Erin Reilly is a coming-of-age novel about a close-knit friend group as they grapple with going away to college, life’s hardships, romance, and how they want to show up in the world. Though it’s a feel-good contemporary story, the way it’s structured makes it suspenseful and mysterious, and at the same time, deeply wistful and melancholic. It’s the perfect read for someone who really wants to sit in their feelings, and in many ways, it’s the literary counterpoint to Taylor Swift’s music. It evokes the same kind of tone as albums such as Evermore and Folklore.

Major plot twist aside, what I really love about this book are the characters. They may be idealized humans, but they’re people readers will easily want to be friends with, each with a unique personality and reason for being in the story. I often found myself longing for the sense of community and belonging the characters have with each other. It’s certainly a beautiful example of how special and rare it is when you find people you mutually connect with, and is a fantastic example of what found family can mean.

Along those lines, the book in many ways made me nostalgic for experiences I’ve never had, as well as places I’ve never been. That being said, beach towns all share a similar spirit, and I so enjoyed the ocean as a backdrop for the characters’ experiences. I can relate to needing to sit in the sand and listen to the waves in order to process life as it happens. I also always wanted to live right on the beach, so in that aspect, as well as others, I was living vicariously through the characters.

TOSSED BY THE WAVES is a summer bonfire of a read, set at the ocean, surrounded by warmth and loved ones. The message of the book is simple: the best person you can be is yourself.

 

 

*Find More Info & Buy This Book HERE!*

YABC: Festival of Lights GIVEAWAY DAY 1 ~US ONLY

December 1st, 2022 by

Welcome to YABC’s 8th Annual Holiday Giveaway! We’re featuring books perfect for the book lover on your holiday list!–with exciting prize packs every day for the first five days of December.  Giveaways are US only due to publishers’ rights restrictions in other territories. 

Today’s Theme for our First Day of The Festival of Lights Giveaway is Celebrations brought to you by Candlewick and Publisher’s Spotlight!

Thank you for following YABC throughout 2022! It’s been a great year!

Good luck to everyone that enters the giveaways!

 

Title: We All Celebrate

Author: Chitra Soundar

Illustrator: Jenny Bloomfield

Publisher: Tiny Owl Publishing

Release Date: 11/22/2022

A Collection of celebrations from around the world

Buy Now

FACEBOOK * TWITTER  * INSTAGRAM 

 

 

Title: Museum of Hidden Beings: A Guide to Icelandic Creatures of Myth and Legend (Wool of Bat)

Author: Arngrimur Sigurðsson

Publisher: Eye of Newt

Release Date: 7/19/2022

Now available in English so that the creatures of Icelandic legend might knock on new doors…

Iceland, a country of striking and sometimes surreal beauty, is matched by its rich and extensive folklore. Since time immemorial, Icelanders have told tales of strange encounters and experiences they have had while on their travels. From the extraordinary Finngálkn, a crossbreed of man and beast to the Kráki, a giant octopus that preys on trawlers and oil rigs, Icelandic folklore is riddled with fantastic tales that expound natural phenomenon and circumstance with peculiar supernatural creatures from myth and legend.

Take these tales, passed down from generation to generation throughout the centuries, make with them what you will and share them again.

First published in Iceland as DuldýrasafniðThe Museum of Hidden Beings is now available in English, worldwide, so that the creatures of Icelandic legend might knock on new doors.

Part of the Wool of Bat series focused on the preservation and promotion of folklore and oral history from around the world.

Buy Now

  TWITTER *  INSTAGRAM 

 

 

Title: An Illustrated Collection of Nordic Animals 

Author: Prikko-Liisa Surojegin 

Publisher: Floris Books 

Release Date: 10/4/2022 

Travel to the snowy forests of Lapland in this warm and witty storybook with beautiful illustrations – perfect for sharing and reading aloud.

Classic characters of Nordic folklore – cunning Fox, gullible Wolf, clever Hare and powerful Bear – star in these lively stories of mischief and fun. Readers will discover why Bear is ruler of the northern forests, how Fox outwitted Wolf, and what Hare did to earn her fluffy white tail.

In this stunning storybook, renowned Finnish author-illustrator Pirkko-Liisa Surojegin retells twenty-six of her favorite traditional animal tales, illustrated with intricate and characterful artwork. An ideal gift book, An Illustrated Collection of Nordic Animal Tales features foil details, luxury paper and a ribbon marker. Readers of all ages will find themselves drawn into the warm and funny stories which are sprinkled with the magic of Nordic culture.

Buy Now

FACEBOOK  * TWITTER  * INSTAGRAM 

 

 

Title: Frindleswylde
Author and Illustrator: Natalia O’Hara; Lauren O”Hara
Publisher: Candlewick
Publication Date: 11/8/2022

Hauntingly told and sumptuously illustrated, this wintry modern fairy tale is perfect for holiday sharing.

 

When Frindleswylde is near, the wind trembles, the sun pales, and the wild things hide. When he enters Cora and Granny’s house in the woods, Frindleswylde steals the light from their lantern, so Granny can’t find her way home after work in the dark. And when a determined Cora chases the mysterious boy down a hole in the fishpond to his frozen kingdom, he sets her three Impossible Tasks. If she completes them, she can take her light and go, or so he says. But can Cora resist the urge to forget? As fresh and sparkling as sunlight on ice, this beautifully illustrated tale of enchantment–reminiscent of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen”–celebrates the transformative power of love in the darkest of times, the unbreakable bond between grandparent and child, and the bright promise of springtime.
Buy Now

 

 

*Giveaway* 

 

       One winner will receive a copy of each book featured in DAY 1 of the Festival of Lights Giveaway! ~ (US Only) ~

 

*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*

 

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Waiting on Wednesday ~ November 30, 2022

November 30th, 2022 by

Waiting on Wednesday

 

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

 

 

*Connie’s Choice*

(YABC Site Manager)

Rebel, Brave and Brutal (Winter, White and Wicked #2)

Author: Shannon Dittemore

Expected Publication Date: Jan 10, 2023

The gripping sequel to Winter, White and Wicked that boasts the thrills of Mad Max: Fury Road and the icy magic of Frozen

Sylvi Quine, the best rig driver on Layce, has braved the dangers of the Shiv Road to save her friend and learned the truth of her power over Winter. Now, she’s joined the rebels working to take down the Majority. Her magic could change the course of their fight, and she agrees to meet the king of Paradyia to offer an exchange: the healing powers of the Pool of Begynd for his army.

The journey won’t be easy. To get there, Sylvi will have to navigate the Kol Sea, crossing through Winter’s storms and swarms of her Abaki––all while outrunning the Majority, who have sent their best Kol Master to track her down and bring her in, dead or alive.

But she isn’t traveling alone. Mars Dresden knows Sylvi is the key to freeing Layce, and demands she train like it. Kyn, the boy with stone flesh and a soft heart, is bound to Sylvi in more ways than one, a connection that both hurts and heals. And Lenore, Sylvi’s best friend, insists the Majority pay for what they’ve done to her parents. Even though her crew believes in her, Sylvi’s still learning to use her power, and Winter’s whispers are constant . . .

Will she be able to control Winter when it matters most? Or will this be the end of the rebellion?

 

 

*Jan’s Choice*

(YABC Staff Reviewer)

Midnight Strikes

Author: Zeba Shahnaz

Expected Publication Date: march 13, 2023

Seventeen-year-old Anaïs just wants tonight to end. As an outsider at the kingdom’s glittering anniversary ball, she has no desire to rub shoulders with the nation’s most eligible (and pompous) bachelors—especially not the notoriously roguish Prince Leo. But at the stroke of midnight, an explosion rips through the palace, killing everyone in its path. Including her.

The last thing Anaïs sees is fire, smoke, chaos . . . and then she wakes up in her bedroom, hours before the ball. No one else remembers the deadly attack or believes her warnings of disaster.

Not even when it happens again. And again. And again.

If she’s going to escape this nightmarish time loop, Anaïs must take control of her own fate and stop the attack before it happens. But the court’s gilded surface belies a rotten core, full of restless nobles grabbing at power, discontented commoners itching for revolution, and even royals who secretly dream of taking the throne. It’s up to Anaïs to untangle these knots of deadly deceptions . . . if she can survive past midnight.

 

What book are you looking forward to in 2022?

Comment the name of the book below!

 

Featured Review: The Restless Dark (Erica Waters)

November 30th, 2022 by

 

About This Book:

Enter Cloudkiss Canyon at your own risk.

Sadie meets Wilder Girls in this unnerving tale about the struggle for survival, the twisted satisfaction of revenge, and the darkness hiding in all of us. From Erica Waters, the acclaimed author of Ghost Wood Song and The River Has Teeth,this mystery will haunt you to the end.

The Cloudkiss Killer is dead. Now a true-crime podcast is hosting a contest to find his bones.

Lucy was almost the serial killer’s final victim. Carolina is a true-crime fan who fears her own rage. Maggie is a psychology student with a little too much to hide.

All of them are looking for answers, for a new identity, for a place to bury their secrets.

But there are more than bones hiding in the shadows…sometimes the darkness inside is more frightening than anything the dead leave behind.

 

 

*Review Contributed by Stephanie Augustine, Staff Reviewer*

The Restless Dark is definitely a plot driven books. A podcast hosting an event on finding the Cloudkiss Killer’s bones for a prize, what better PR for them? It brings in a slew of contestants including the “final girl” Lucy. The pacing of the book is fantastic and I flew through the book. While I figured out what was happening really early in the book, the setting and atmosphere was perfect. It brings delusions and paranoia to the contestants being in the constant fog. I really did enjoy the way the story unfolded and thought that was the most interesting part.

The story is told through two points of views, Lucy and Carolina. Both of the narrators are unreliable which really helps build the plot of what’s going on. I love Carolina. Honestly, I would have been happy if the whole story was from her point of view. She comes to this event to see if she is evil as her father made her believe. Lucy was alright. I didn’t like her as much but her story is very important to this book. The final person in the trio is Maggie, who has an instant attraction to Lucy and tries to help Lucy get over her fear. Honestly, I think I would have been happier if there was no romance in this book. It was just so fast and felt like it was just needed for the story.

Overall, The Restless Dark was an interesting book but with a more solid plot than characters. I really enjoyed the unfolding of the book. It was predictable but I still flew through the book itself. The only character I really liked was Carolina but they are all unreliable narrators due to their own trauma. I didn’t buy the “romance” in this book but I pushed past it since I really didn’t care for the characters as well. But with a great atmosphere, the plot is set up for a great story where paranoia is everywhere and who will surrender to it.

 

 

*Find More Info & Buy This Book HERE!*

Author Chat With Ryan Calejo (Charlie Hernández & the Golden Dooms), Plus Giveaway! ~ US Only!

November 30th, 2022 by

Today we are very excited to share an interview with author Ryan Calejo (Charlie Hernández & the Golden Dooms)!

Read on to learn more about him, his book, and a giveaway!

 

 

 

Meet the Author: Ryan Calejo

Ryan Calejo is the award-winning author of the Charlie Hernández series and the ChupaCarter series, which he co-authored with George Lopez. His books have been featured in half a dozen state reading lists and he is a two-time gold medal winner of the Florida Book Awards. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @RyanCalejo.

Website * Twitter * Instagram

 

 

 

About the Book: Charlie Hernández & the Golden Dooms

Inspired by Hispanic folklore, legends, and myths from the Iberian Peninsula and Central and South America, this third book in the Charlie Hernández series follows Charlie as he fights against an army of the dead.

After hitchhiking across Central and South America to rescue the Witch Queen and face off against La Mano Peluda, Charlie Hernández is pretty much grounded for life. But after all he’s been through, some quiet time at home with his parents might be nice. Though it would be better if he didn’t have to share his room with his obnoxiously perfect cousin Raúl, who’s staying with them.

But quiet is hard to come by when you’re the fifth and final morphling, and it’s not long before death walks back into Charlie’s life. Or at least, the dead do, starting with a mysterious young calaca who corners him at school, dropping cryptic hints about trouble brewing in the 305. With the League of Shadows focused on repairing fractured alliances and tracking gathering armies, this one’s up to Charlie to solve.

Following the clues only leads to more questions, and not even teenage investigative journalist extraordinaire Violet Rey can figure out how a sudden rooster infestation, earthquakes, missing persons, and a pet-napping gang of lizard-men—whom Charlie doesn’t recognize from any legend—are all connected. Most concerning of all is when they learn a map has been stolen that reveals the locations of the Golden Dooms, the twelve ancient calaca watchmen who form the magical barrier between the realms.

To stop the impending invasion, Charlie and Violet must outwit an ancient evil and unravel the most sinister of schemes. That is, unless they’d rather watch the Land of the Living get overrun by the dead.

Amazon * B&N * IndieBound

 

 

 

~Author Chat~

 

YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

My inspiration came from my grandmothers. See, growing up, I wasn’t exactly the best-behaved kid on the planet (I’m being generous here). So in order to keep me from running around everywhere and jumping off things, my abuelitas would entertain me by telling me stories—the same folktales and legends they’d heard growing up, and the ones I ended up writing about in the books. If it wasn’t for my abuelitas this series wouldn’t exist, and I’m very thankful to them for all the inspiration they’ve given me over the years.

 

YABC: How do you know when a book is finished?

The truth is I never do. My editors usually have to pry it from my fingers!

 

YABC: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Probably all the way back in elementary school. In 5th grade one of my teachers gave me my all-time favorite homework assignment. She told the class that we could write about anything we wanted; the only rule was that it had to be exactly one page long. Something about that level of creative freedom really appealed to me, and I’ve been writing ever since!

 

YABC: What type of scene do you love to write the most?

Action scenes! Those were always my favorite to read growing up, and I still love the feeling of getting swept up in a thrilling action sequence!

 

YABC: What word do you have trouble overusing?

Probably the word probably. I probably use it a lot more than I probably should. (See what I mean?) Thankfully my editors cut most of them before the final copy.

 

YABC: What is your favorite writing space?

I love writing at the beach! I just feel so relaxed when I’m around the ocean. I love the sound of it, the smell. Plus, I love building sandcastles!

 

YABC: What hobbies do you enjoy?

Oh, there are so many! But if I had to pick my top five, I’d say swimming, chess, basketball, dancing, and mango tastings. Though, now that I think about it, mango tastings are probably my favorite.

 

YABC: How do you plan to celebrate the launch of your book?

With a mango tasting, of course! Did I mention how much I love mangos?

 

YABC: What do you do when you procrastinate?

I tell one of my editors about it and she’ll usually remind me of my deadline and that’s always enough to panic me into writing. Works every time!

 

YABC: What’s up next for you? 

Thanks for asking! I’m currently working on the fourth book of the Charlie Hernández series, which I’m super duper excited about! I’m also working on the second book of a heartfelt and hilarious series that I’m co-authoring with the one and only George Lopez. The first book is titled ChupaCarter and it follows the adventures of a spunky 12-year-old boy named Jorge who discovers a chupacabra living on his grandparent’s farm. For sneak peeks, cover reveals, and all that kind of fun stuff you can follow me on Twitter or Instagram @RyanCalejo.

 

 

Title: Charlie Hernández & the Golden Dooms

Author: Ryan Calejo

Release Date: September 13, 2022

Publisher: Aladdin (Simon & Schuster)

ISBN-10: 1534484213

ISBN-13: 978-1534484214

Genre: Fantasy

Age Range: 10 – 14

 

 

 

~ Giveaway Details ~

Two (2) winners will receive a copy of the first three books in the Charlie Hernández series (Ryan Calejo) ~US ONLY

 

*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*

 

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Featured Review: We Deserve Monuments (Jas Hammonds)

November 29th, 2022 by

 

About This Book:

What’s more important: Knowing the truth or keeping the peace?
Seventeen-year-old Avery Anderson is convinced her senior year is ruined when she’s uprooted from her life in DC and forced into the hostile home of her terminally ill grandmother, Mama Letty. The tension between Avery’s mom and Mama Letty makes for a frosty arrival and unearths past drama they refuse to talk about. Every time Avery tries to look deeper, she’s turned away, leaving her desperate to learn the secrets that split her family in two.

While tempers flare in her avoidant family, Avery finds friendship in unexpected places: in Simone Cole, her captivating next-door neighbor, and Jade Oliver, daughter of the town’s most prominent family―whose mother’s murder remains unsolved.

As the three girls grow closer―Avery and Simone’s friendship blossoming into romance―the sharp-edged opinions of their small southern town begin to hint at something insidious underneath. The racist history of Bardell, Georgia is rooted in Avery’s family in ways she can’t even imagine. With Mama Letty’s health dwindling every day, Avery must decide if digging for the truth is worth toppling the delicate relationships she’s built in Bardell―or if some things are better left buried.

 

 

*Review Contributed by Kim Baccellia, Staff Reviewer*

What worked: Powerful, poignant coming-of-age story. Seventeen-year-old Avery moves from DC to a small town in Georgia to help her dying grandmother. There are many secrets that include intergenerational trauma. One of those secrets involves a tragedy with Avery’s family and anger that continues to haunt the family.

I really loved this novel. Avery is biracial and when she is around her dying grandmother Letty she’s slowly able to piece together what happened one fateful day in Georgia to the grandfather she never knew.

Avery hooks up with Jade, a girl whose family lives in a Southern Plantation and has their own secrets, and next-door neighbor Simone. The romance between Avery and Simone is a slow burn that has some similarities to their own mother’s friendship years ago.

Readers follow Avery as she navigates such issues as homophobia, racism, and family trauma in a small Georgia town. Great pacing throughout with hope resonating at the end.

Amazing, gripping tale of trauma that is felt for generations. A total must-read.
Good Points
1. Amazing, poignant story of intergenerational trauma set in Georgia
2. Queer love story

 

 

*Find More Info & Buy Thus Book HERE!*

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