20 Dec 2014

2015 YADN: Temple of Doubt by Anne Boles Levy

Expected Publication: Spring 2015 by Sky Pony Press
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
It's been two six-days since a falling star crashed into the marshes beyond Port Sapphire, putting the wilds off-limits to fifteen-year-old Hadara, a loss she feels deeply. She's eager to join her mother beyond the city limits to gather illegal herbs and throw off the yoke of her tedious religious schooling. Medicines of any sort are heresy to the people of Port Sapphire, who must rely on magic provided by the god, Nihil, for aid. And if people die from that magic, their own lack of faith is surely to blame. At least, that's what Hadara’s been taught—and has so far refused to believe.
Hadara and her mother have ignored the priests’ many warnings about their herb gathering, secure in knowing their tropical island is far from Nihil’s critical gaze. Then two powerful high priests arrive from Nihil’s home city to investigate the fallen star, insisting it harbors an unseen demon. This sets off speculation that an evil force is already at work in Port Sapphire and brings one of the holy men to Hadara’s doorstep. When he chooses Hadara as a guide into the wilds, she sets off a chain of events that will upend everything she’s been taught about the sacred and the profane.
It's time for fan-tu-see guys! I am so thrilled with Hadara's chain of events. I'd like Temple of Doubt to be my first 2015 fantasy read. Let's then sneak a peak of the book with its exclusive excerpt from Anne!

EXCERPT: The days leading up to this official visit had made everyone fretful and stupid. The adults had scurried around fixing things that looked just fine to me, until I wondered if I'd also get a coat of whitewashing if I stood in one spot too long. All eyes were on the harbor, even mine, as if those crimson sails would appear between one footstep and the next. The worries were a contagion that nothing in Mami's bag of physics would cure.
At last, the day had come and two fine schooners closed in on our deep blue bay. I couldn’t see what difference the preparations had made. The pier was a jumble of bodies as people pressed and jostled for a better view. It was all as delightfully messy and chaotic as ever, maybe moreso. The god we worshipped might be coming here. We were no longer beneath his notice. Even so, I struggled to feel excited. If Nihil was anything like the priests or the schoolmistress, it promised to be a long visit, full of things I couldn’t and shouldn’t do or say or even think.
The lookouts began signaling the rest of the city, and Babba translated for Amaniel and me. Neither ship sailed Nihil's flag. Instead, the vessels flew the banners of two mighty mages, called Azwans, a word meaning navigator in an ancient tongue. People around us argued whether that meant good news or bad, whether we were too far or too barbaric or too bothersome for a godly visit.
But why should that be bad? I tried to recall what I could of the day’s painful lessons. Perhaps there’d be no human sacrifice after all, if Nihil wasn’t coming. My sigh was a crisp, loud burst of air that instantly unraveled entire knots of emotion. I caught myself and glanced around. The milling of the crowds below had swallowed up the sound, and I wouldn’t have to explain why I felt so relieved.
Others, Amaniel among them, whispered that the Azwans came to spare us a terrible war between Nihil and his enemy.
I didn't understand, and said so. A falling star wasn't a living thing, was it? How could it be Nihil's enemy? Besides, two of the Temple of Doubt's greatest magic users came, people who could wipe out evil before it gained a foothold on our world. If, in fact, evil had landed in our midst. “Isn’t that honor enough?” I asked.
"It's not our honor that's at stake, Hadara." Babba didn’t take his eyes from those crimson sails. "Nihil is god, he can make anything happen ... except one thing."
“Oh, I know this,” I mumbled before Amaniel could cut in, pleased I knew a little something, at least. “Kuldor is his prison and our planet. He can't leave here. Am I right?”
The men closest to us chuckled. One said, “It’s medicines she knows, I suppose.”

Share us more about Hadara and how your main character is connected to you!
I tried so hard to make Hadara different from me. I didn’t want her to be what’s called a “Mary Sue,” which is basically an avatar for the author. She couldn’t be a stand in for myself, but I kept slipping into that territory anyway and making her have my personality traits. Physically, I made her as different as I could: she’s tall and willowy, I’m average height and padded.

Her personality has changed so much since I started this book. At first, she was simply a good kid who always wanted to please her parents, even when what they were asking would go against her instincts. They want her to be religious, but Hadara senses there is something wrong about the god of their world and the terrible cruelties he inflicts on followers. That part is much like me – suspecting that something is not quite right in my life, but not knowing what to say or do, and wanting at all times to make others happy and not rock the boat.

Over time, I had to let Hadara change to become more proactive and quick on her feet. She needed to be strong enough to sustain a whole novel, and maybe a whole series! I just had to learn that not all strength is the sword-wielding, battle-hardened strength, like the soldier she eventually comes to love. True strength comes from within.

Considering The Temple of Doubt from the first word you write to the moment you see it on a bookstore shelf, what’s your favorite part of the process?
I loved the world-building part so much, I’m still doing it! I first thought up the idea back in 2000, and I spent at least three months doing nothing but researching ancient Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cultures and architecture, even weaponry. I bought a book on early Greek and Roman warfare, I downloaded advice from writing websites on how to make fantasy maps and plan fantasy armies, and how many soldiers you’d need per population (roughly 1%, if you’re interested), and found gorgeous illustrations for clothing and costumes from several eras and ethnicities.

I wrote long, thoughtful poems, and a new “bible” that ran about 50 pages, single-spaced, for the god of Hadara’s world. I made star charts and vocabulary lists and rules for naming people and even a guide to the plants and animals on planet Kuldor. I filled an entire floppy disk with world-building notes.

I put it all away many years after it didn’t sell, and I had two babies to keep me busy. Then one day in 2009, I dug it all out of a box in the garage – the notes, the floppy disks, the rough drafts – and started over. When I’m stuck for a plot twist or I’m trying to remember something about a character, I go back to those early notes, update them, and feel inspired all over again.

What’s your least favorite?
The long, long, long process of finding an agent, then finding a publisher, and getting it published. Anytime something is out of my hands like that and I have no control, I get very sad and frustrated. I think most people feel that way, which is why so many skip right to self-publishing. It’s tempting, isn’t it? Just cut out the middleman and the wait.

What’s your strangest writing quirk or habit? Something that would make all of us go, “huh?”
I am so weird. I have to have absolute silence to write. I don’t have any special place or spot or ritual to write – I’ve moved so many times, and furniture is therefore an iffy thing for me. I write in bed, I write on the sofa, the floor, the counters, my classroom lectern – anyplace. But it has to be as quiet as a graveyard. No background music for me. My hubby can’t even be in the room, or he starts to chat and I get all annoyed with him. He tells me I’m a tyrant when I’m writing.

"True strength comes from within." I did not expect that answer at all. It made me throb a bit but in a good way. I guess 'Temple of Doubt' would bring us readers to its deep fanciful world and garb us with its moral. Thank you so much Miss Anne for your howling book and chic answers.

Follow Anne Levy on her social sites and
don't forget to add Temple of Doubt on Goodreads!

Website:          http://anneboleslevy.com/
Twitter:           @zaftigbabe
Instagram:       @templeofdoubt
Facebook:       www.facebook.com/anneboleslevyauthor
Amazon:         http://amzn.to/1pfY4mT

This is it! The last YA debut that I am featuring on my blog's event. This is a sad part but no worries, we still have time to get more entries on the giveaways! That is the reason why I posted the 2015 YADN posts with two-three days intervals. Readers could still get back to the posts and read it or listen to the playlists.

I hope you all did have fun on the YA debuts I featured. I am thinking too to do it again next year with more cool features and treats! Thank you very very very much to everyone that participated (those who commented, who shared this event, viewed my posts, checked out my blog, took time to read the posts, etc.) and a more huge THANK YOU to Stacey Lee, David Arnold, Maggie Hall, Lee Kelly, Kelly Loy Gilbert, Moriah McStay and Anne Boles Levy (Who were patient and accessible at any time not to mention the time zone dilemmas)!! This is not all possible without you guys. Thank you for your support. Happy holidays! *Warm hugs.*

Here's one of the most gorgeous man in the world sending my thank yous to all of you. :)

18 Dec 2014

The Light in the Wound by Christine Brae

Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Published: October 25th 2013 by Smashwords Edition
Affected by her parents’ highly publicized divorce, Isabel grows up isolated and alone, with a resolve to never fall in love and repeat their mistakes.
When Jesse Cain enters her life, she falls hopelessly in love with him, and every sadness she’s ever felt is washed away by his intensity and passion. But people change as they grow up. Things can never stay the same forever.
Jesse and Isabel fight to stay together, determined to hold on to what they once had. Isabel wonders if a second love can ever be enough to make her forget her first.
Add it on Goodreads

Hi everyone! Thank you for participating on my blog event: 2015 YADN. I can't thank you enough! I do hope you enjoy the authors and books and their treats. For now, I am supporting a Filipina writer for her book's blog tour. I was suprised for I expected different but turns out to be more than what I expected. I am tapping myself at the back now for I gave it a try.

Source: Author · I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Light in the Wound filled me with uncontrollable emotion. It deserves to be known worldwide for its quality to arouse emotions on every chapter.

Isabel Amarra, the main character, who narrated herself in the book from her happy childhood, to her family issues and other dealts, to her first love, to losing her virginity, to her pains and angst, to the loss of her first love, to having a friend who love her the most, to her marriage, and to her never ending affectional breakdowns and ups. She was never a gradual decline to her family. She is loved much by her grandparents that no one can imagine, spoiled in short. But Issy is self-aware as always. She is so vulnerable that she don't want to be like her mother Claudia, but adore her so much inspite of her mom's undependable character.

All through the book, I cried. It was the same tears that run down when I read Fifty Shades of Gray. Speaking of sexual scenes, Brae was good at writing it. I did not expect this to be a New Adult not until I have read those bed scenes (But not all are in bed. Hahaha!) and the e-mail for this blog tour. I really thought that it was YA because of its cover. Sorry about that.

First chapter and it was a blast! The writing of Christine Brae is ceaseless. I can't stop reading it. I want more and more and more as I tap on its next pages. The Light in the Wound is remarkable and endearing. I implore everyone to read The Light in the Wound. Because just like its protagonist, it is exquisite. Beautiful.
"I learned from my own experience that no one’s words of wisdom are as good as your own. Burning your hand once is the only way you’ll ever remember never to touch an open fire." 

There are 3 signed copies of The Light in the Wound up for grabs for Filipino readers!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Christine Brae is a full time career woman who thought she could write a book about her life and then run away as far as possible from it. She never imagined that her words would touch the hearts of so many women with the same story to tell. She is currently working on her third book which she hopes to release in June, 2014.
When not listening to the voices in her head or spending late nights at the office, Christine can be seen shopping for shoes and purses, running a half marathon or spending time with her husband and three children in Chicago.
Links: Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook / Instagram

17 Dec 2014

2015 YADN: Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay

Expected Publication: March 17th 2015 by Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult; Contemporary; Fiction
One girl. Two stories. Meet Fiona Doyle. The thick ridges of scar tissue on her face are from an accident twelve years ago. Fiona has notebooks full of songs she’s written about her frustrations, her dreams, and about her massive crush on beautiful uber-jock Trent McKinnon. If she can’t even find the courage to look Trent straight in his beautiful blue eyes, she sure isn’t brave enough to play or sing any of her songs in public. But something’s changing in Fiona. She can’t be defined by her scars anymore.
And what if there hadn’t been an accident? Meet Fi Doyle. Fi is the top-rated female high school lacrosse player in the state, heading straight to Northwestern on a full ride. She’s got more important things to deal with than her best friend Trent McKinnon, who’s been different ever since the kiss. When her luck goes south, even lacrosse can’t define her anymore. When you’ve always been the best at something, one dumb move can screw everything up. Can Fi fight back?
Hasn’t everyone wondered what if? In this daring debut novel, Moriah McStay gives us the rare opportunity to see what might have happened if things were different. Maybe luck determines our paths. But maybe it’s who we are that determines our luck.

“Maybe luck determines our paths. But maybe it’s who we are that determines our luck.” When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer? Have you had other jobs along the way?
Oh, I’ve had SO many jobs! I’ve worked in finance, state government, at a school. I’ve done fundraising and worked for non-profits. I ran a program for Memphis’s homeless persons. But I wanted to be a writer since I was a teenager. I went to college (Northwestern University) with a declared Creative Writing major. I still can’t explain how I graduated with a degree in Economics. In retrospect, it was a crazy thing to do. I do NOT have a math brain. I plugged along though—even went to grad school. It took me a long time before I remembered I wanted to write.

My story has a familiar arc with ETMY, doesn’t it? I think all of us have those moments in our lives—decisions or events that change our trajectory. While I wish I’d figured out about writing earlier, I don’t regret all the other choices. I met my husband at that first econ-related job—an investment firm. We’ve got three great kids, so I’ll never look back on all my meandering and wish I’d done it differently.

Everything That Makes You has a good writing POV. How did you come up with Fiona and Fi? Do you see yourself as Fiona or Fi?
I’m glad you liked the POV! I came up with this idea AGES ago. When I was little, I got into an accident that left me blind in one eye. While it wasn’t a major hardship, it definitely impacted how I viewed myself. It made me self-conscious about my looks—but strong in personality. I always wondered, what if that never happened? What hang-ups would I have then? Would I like that girl more or less?

When I remembered I wanted to be a writer, I came back to this idea. At first, I definitely identified more with Fiona. But after lots of revisions and character development, she turned into her own person. She and I don’t have much in common in anymore. (For example, I don’t have stage fright or a guilty brother or a mother who wanted to turn me into a southern priss!) Now I love them both, but not because they’re me. They’re these cool, awesome girls who struggle and love and try to be the best people they can, just like the rest of us!

More from Moriah!
I just finished my yoga certification, so now I’m a yoga teacher (yet another job!) I have an aerial yoga sling in my office. Whenever I’m overwhelmed with revisions, I hang upside down like a bat!

I had a few go-to playlists for ETMY. I imagine Fiona would like female alternative artists like Cat Powers, Amy LaVere and Neko Case, so I listened to a lot of them. Landon Pigg's “Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop” is perfect. The Mynabird’s “We Made a Mountain” feels like a song Fi and Fiona would share with each other, if they could.
I don’t want to give anything away, but there’s a scene I love that ends with this line: Be who you are. That’s the basic message of ETMY, I think. We all go through bumps and detours and unexpected things. We get diverted or find ourselves in a place we never planned. As long as you like who you are, it’s all good!
Like her on Facebook: Moriah McStay / Follow Moriah on Twitter: @moriahmcstay
Subscribe through her bloghttp://moriahmcstay.com/ / Follow M on Goodreads: Moriah McStay

What else can we say? This book has a great cover! I cannot wait to have a copy of Everything That Makes You. Thank you so much Miss Moriah for providing us a read to grab soon!

This giveaway is open for US only. You must be 13 years old and above. Use the Rafflecopter below to gain entries. The contest will end on December 30, 2014. Winner will be notified through e-mail. Winner will also be announced on this post via update. If winner has not responded within 48 hours, we will choose another. Enjoy!

Winner Update

Congratulations Amanda Machonis!
You WON the Everything That Makes You (US Only) ARC Giveaway.
Please e-mail me your complete name and mailing address at eeliahgem@gmail(dot)com.
Thank you!

Thank you for everyone that participated! Until next time. <3

14 Dec 2014

2015 YADN: Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert

Expected publication: May 19th 2015 by Disney-Hyperion
Genre: Young Adult; Contemporary
"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."
Ten years ago, God gave Braden a sign, a promise that his family wouldn’t fall apart the way he feared.
But Braden got it wrong: his older brother, Trey, has been estranged from the family for almost as long, and his father, the only parent Braden has ever known, has been accused of murder. The arrest of Braden’s father, a well-known Christian radio host, has sparked national media attention. His fate lies in his son’s hands; Braden is the key witness in the upcoming trial.
Braden has always measured himself through baseball. He is the star pitcher in his small town of Ornette, and his ninety-four-mile-per-hour pitch al- ready has minor league scouts buzzing in his junior year. Now the rules of the sport that has always been Braden’s saving grace are blurred in ways he never realized, and the prospect of playing against Alex Reyes, the nephew of the police officer his father is accused of killing, is haunting his every pitch.
Braden faces an impossible choice, one that will define him for the rest of his life, in this brutally honest debut novel about family, faith, and the ultimate test of conviction.

Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel came first, and was originally titled CITY ON A HILL.  After a lot of back and forth, my editors, agent and I finally landed on a title that we felt more poignantly reflected the heart of the story (since it's a book about strongly-held beliefs and about an impossible moral crisis).

Like Braden, have you encountered an impossible choice? On writing or beyond author world?
I think this is something familiar to most teens, and most humans--when something you've always needed to believe is true turns out not to have been true, you're left in a world that suddenly feels uncertain.  Sometimes it happens with beliefs, or with people you thought you knew, but it can be shattering.

Did God gave you a sign on writing Conviction?
I did work through aspects of faith that are important to me--forgiveness, doubt, loving people who are difficult and painful to love--as I was writing the book.

The song Sunshine Blues by Bahamas, perfectly captures the main character, Braden: subtle, aching and restrained.

I’m a fiction writer who believes deeply in the power of stories to illuminate a shared humanity and give voice to complex, broken people. I am passionate about social justice, the San Francisco Giants, and organizing things by color. I studied writing at the University of California—San Diego and at San Francisco State, and enjoy serving on the NaNoWriMo Associate Board and leading creative writing workshops for teens. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area with my family in an apartment teeming with books. Add me on Goodreads: Kelly Gilbert / Follow me on Twitter: @KellyLoyGilbert

I think this book is for me. I really feel alone even though I have friends around everyday. Thank you so much Miss Kelly for your lovely share! We hope to ask more about your book when it's around. :)

Don't forget to add Conviction on Goodreads. Kelly would love to see you there!
By the way, how is your December so far? I hope you all are having fun with my blog event because I am psyched!

11 Dec 2014

2015 YADN: City of Savages by Lee Kelly

Expected Publication: February 3rd 2015 by Simon & Schuster (Saga Press)
Genre: Young Adult; Science Fiction; Dystopia
It’s been nearly two decades since the Red Allies first attacked New York, and Manhattan is now a prisoner-of-war camp, ruled by Warden Rolladin and her brutal, impulsive warlords. For 17-year-old Skyler Miller, Manhattan is a cage that keeps her from the world beyond the city’s borders. But for Sky’s 16-year-old sister, Phee, the P.O.W. camp is a dangerous playground of possibility, and the only home she’d ever want.
When Sky and Phee discover their mom’s hidden journal from the outbreak of the war, they both realize there’s more to Manhattan—and their mother—than either of them had ever imagined. And after a group of strangers arrives at the annual P.O.W. census, the girls begin to uncover the island’s long-kept secrets. The strangers hail from England, a country supposedly destroyed by the Red Allies, and Rolladin’s lies about Manhattan’s captivity begin to unravel.
Hungry for the truth, the sisters set a series of events in motion that ends in the death of one of Rolladin’s guards. Now they’re outlaws, forced to join the strange Englishmen on an escape mission through Manhattan. Their flight takes them into subways haunted by cannibals, into the arms of a sadistic cult in the city’s Meatpacking District, and, through the pages of their mom’s old journal, into the island’s dark and shocking past. Sky and Phee are dependent on each other, and their ragged posse, for survival, but as their feelings grow toward the handsome English boy Ryder, love and jealousy threaten to break them apart.
While primarily a thriller, City of Savages is also a story about the many meanings of sisterhood, told across two generations of New York women—those who survived a terrible tragedy, and those who were raised to live in its aftermath. 
Isn't that cover adorable? I love it! Today, we are having the author of City of Savages to share more of her debut! Let's welcome Miss Lee Kelly with our warmest hugs!

City of Savages is a great title. Who came up with it?
Thanks!  And it's funny you ask, as the original title for the book was actually different (it was previously called MANHATTAN SAVAGES).  But after editorial revisions, the story had a more universal feel to it, and my editor Navah Wolfe and I wanted to capture that spirit in the title.  After some brainstorming and discussions, we came up with CITY OF SAVAGES.  I have to say I like it so much better!

Dictionary tells me that Savage (noun) means A member of an uncivilized people; A cruelly rapacious person, did you ever thought you are one? Or did it occur to some part of your life?

Ha, I hope I am not one!  But I think the "savages" in this book aren't completely rapacious or cruel -- some of them are just doing what they think they need to do to survive, to give themselves a second chance in their fallen city.  And I think that's the most interesting kind of savage, actually -- the cruel person that you can somehow still understand, and maybe even empathize with.

In terms of my own life, some of the inspiration for this book did come from my days working in New York, with long hours and tight deadlines and demanding bosses.  Sometimes it felt quite grueling and savage haha, and some of the places and events and characters in my everyday work life I found myself weaving into the beginnings of this novel.

Would you write a journal like Sky and Phee’s mother too for your daughters in the future?
Man I hope I am never EVER in a situation like Sarah in my life (her journal quite literally documents the end of her world), but I do think there's something to be said for keeping a journal and sharing it with your children in non-post-apocalyptic times :).  A journal can do so much more than a photo can -- it lets you share your voice, thoughts and impressions of your world, and who you were in a certain moment in time.  The power of the past is such a powerful thing, and I think sharing your journal with your children lets them share in your story. Short answer:  yes, I hope to share my journal musings with my own children one day!

Tell us more about Ryder! English boys are way too aplomb.
Ryder is this witty but introspective boy who has seen terrible things happen to his world, and he's looking to rebuild his sense of self and create a family -- something to call his own -- in the aftermath.  He's also a bit of a chameleon, a survivor, and both of the main characters, Sky and Phee, see something different in him and end up falling for him (which obviously doesn't end well).

My sister made this trailer for me right when I finished the novel (it still has the old title!):

Mom stays there for a while, looking out to an empty street through dusty glass.  I know what she’s doing.  She’s centering herself, closing herself off before we can figure out another way inside her. 
“We’re running out of time.”  Mom turns towards the bedroom, her eyes on the matted carpet.  “Let’s not forget why we’re here.  Phee’s birthday present, remember?”
“So that’s it?” I call after her.  “End of conversation?”
No answer.
Sky and I exchange a look.  This is how Mom is.  A closed book.  It’s useless to try and open her.
“This gift better be good, is all I’m saying,” I finally whisper to Sky, and we follow Mom into her old bedroom. 
Mom’s sandwiched herself in between the nearby wall and a bed that nearly devours the room.  She takes a blurry black-and-white photo off the wall to reveal a small steel door. 
“What is that?” Sky asks.
“A safe.  Your dad installed it when we moved here.”  Mom takes her time, twisting a knob on the safe’s face round and round.  Right, left, right, and the safe door clicks open.
“What’s it for?”
“It does what it says.  Keeps important things safe.”
“Like what?” I try to peer around her but she blocks me.
“Like… our passports, Sky’s birth certificate—”
“A birth certificate?” I say.  Some things from Before are just so dumb.  “A certificate that says you were born?  Isn’t the fact that you’re here proof enough?”
Mom gives a little laugh, continues fishing through a pile of things I can’t see.  God, I really, really hope my gift is not some lame piece of paper. 
Finally she pulls something shiny and silver from the safe, and my heart skips.  It’s—
A gun.  

Don't forget to click those social icons and follow Lee Kelly for she have shared us her cool debut! And, and, and she is giving us a copy of City of Savages! Enter below!

One pre-order of a copy of CITY OF SAVAGES
It will arrive on the winner's doorstep on release day!

This giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY. You must be 13 years old and above. Use the Rafflecopter below to gain entries. The contest will end on December 30, 2014. Winner will be notified through e-mail. Winner will also be announced on this post via update. If winner has not responded within 48 hours, we will choose another. Enjoy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winner Update

Congratulations Rachel!
You WON the City of  Savages Pre-Ordered Copy Giveaway.
Please e-mail me your complete name and mailing address at eeliahgem@gmail(dot)com.
Thank you!

Thank you for everyone that participated! Until next time. <3

8 Dec 2014

2015 YADN: Conspiracy Of Us by Maggie Hall

Expected Publication: January 13th 2015 by Putnam Juvenile
Genre: Young Adult; Mystery; Contemporary
To fight her destiny as the missing heir to a powerful and dangerous secret society, sixteen-year-old Avery West must solve an ancient puzzle in a deadly race across Europe. Forbidden love and code-breaking, masked balls and explosions, destiny and dark secrets collide in this romantic thriller, in the vein of a YA DaVinci Code.
Avery West's newfound family can shut down Prada at the Champs-Elysees when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war.
They are part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle of Twelve, and Avery is their missing heir. If they discover who she is, some of them will want to use her as a pawn. Some will want her dead.
To thwart their plans, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the landmarks of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul and through a web of ancient legends and lies. And unless she can stay one step ahead of beautiful, volatile Stellan, who knows she’s more than she seems, and can decide whether to trust mysterious, magnetic Jack, she may be doomed after all.

The Conspiracy of Us by maggieh on Grooveshark

What kind of research did you have to do to bring this story to life on the page?
Since the story is set in Europe, I did quite a bit of research on the settings in the book. Many of the scenes take place at major landmarks, so it was fun to think about the characters experiencing those places in a different way than a typical tourist. And while I was writing, I was doing a lot of traveling as well, so I got to visit some of the book’s settings and picture the story happening! In Paris, for instance, I went to each place Avery visits, and saw what she’d see and thought about how best to use the setting!

I also did a lot of historical research. I don’t want to give away too much, but the Circle of Twelve’s lore goes back centuries, and there were a lot of puzzle pieces to put together to make it all work, which was a lot of fun!

What ancient legends and lies do you love or hate most in your book? Share to us why!
The group Avery’s family belongs to in the book, the Circle of Twelve, is based partially in a popular conspiracy theory that there is a small group of people who actually run the world. I’ve always thought conspiracy theories were so interesting, because there’s so often a grain of truth in them. Again, I can’t say too much without being spoilery, but I took this one and connected it to history and myth and legend surrounding certain historical figures and events, and I love that the line between truth and fiction is so blurry here!

What can we expect from Avery since it is the YA DaVinci Code?
Like the characters in The DaVinci Code, Avery and her friends follow clues across Europe to discover something important that’s been lost—or hidden—for centuries. They have to stay a step ahead of bad guys, and aren’t sure who to trust! Avery is new to this world, and she’s learning a lot about her own past as she tries to stay alive and do what she has to do to keep the people she loves safe. 
Unlike The DaVinci Code, there’s a lot of romance, too! :)

Maggie Hall indulges her obsession with distant lands and far-flung adventures as often as she can. She has played with baby tigers in Thailand, learned to make homemade pasta in Italy, and taken thousands of miles of trains through the vibrant countryside of India. In her past life, she was a bookstore events coordinator and marketing manager, and when she's not on the other side of the world, she lives with her husband and their cats in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she watches USC football, dabbles in graphic design, and blogs about young adult literature for YA Misfits.Visit more at www.maggiehall.com for more of Miss Maggie design services and awesomeness!

Thank you so much pretty Maggie for sharing more of Conspiracy of Us with us! We hope to read your book on its release! Mysteries are damn irresistible to read!

This giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY. You must be 13 years old and above. Use the Rafflecopter below to gain entries. The contest will end on December 30, 2014. Winner will be notified through e-mail. Winner will also be announced on this post via update. If winner has not responded within 48 hours, we will choose another. Enjoy!

Winner Update

Congratulations Rachel!
You WON the Conspiracy Of Us Swags Giveaway with 80 entries
Please e-mail me your complete name and mailing address at eeliahgem@gmail(dot)com .
Thank you!

Thank you for everyone that participated! Until next time. <3

5 Dec 2014

2015 YADN: Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

Expected publication: March 17th 2015 by Putnam Juvenile
Genre: Young Adult; Historical Fiction
A powerful story of friendship and sacrifice, for fans of Code Name Verity 
Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician—not an easy thing if you’re a girl, and harder still if you’re Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life. With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier. But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush. Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past, and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. But when they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the light-hearted troupe turn out to be unexpected allies. With the law closing in on them and new setbacks coming each day, the girls quickly learn that there are not many places to hide on the open trail.
This beautifully written debut is an exciting adventure and heart-wrenching survival tale. But above all else, it’s a story about perseverance and trust that will restore your faith in the power of friendship.
                THEY SAY DEATH AIMS ONLY ONCE AND NEVER misses, but I doubt Ty Yorkshire thought it would strike with a scrubbing brush. Now his face wears the mask of surprise that sometimes accompanies death: his eyes bulge, carp-like, and his mouth curves around a profanity.
                Does killing a man who tried to rape me count as murder? For me, it probably does. The law in Missouri in this year of our Lord 1849 does not sympathize with a Chinaman’s daughter.
                I shake out my hand but can’t let go of the scrubbing brush. Not until I see the blood speckling my arm. Gasping, I drop the brush. It clatters on the cold, wet tile beside the dead man’s head. An owl cries outside, and a clock chimes nine times.
                My mind wheels back to twelve hours ago, before the world turned on its head . . .

I surprisingly listened to a lot of country music.  I was never a fan of country music until my husband and I celebrated an anniversary on the island of Kauai, where the only radio station on the island is country.  I was in the middle of a major revision at the time, and so the songs were the perfect backdrop for the story, which takes place in the western frontier and features cowboys. 

Take A Back Road, Rodney Atkins 
Crazy Girl, Eli Young Band
Barefoot Blue Jean Night, Jake Owen
Remind Me, Brad Paisley
Let it Rain, David Nail

White Liar, Miranda Lambert

         I like the idea of your book when Annamae and Samantha disguised themselves as boys! Can you dare to do this too in a book signing soon?
Disguise myself as a boy?  Honestly, some days I look down at what I'm wearing and I can't tell if I'm a man or a woman. . . basic sweats, T-shirt.  I will try to put a little more effort into my book signings though.  :)

        What exciting adventure and heart-wrenching survival tale can you share with us? 
Publication process.  It's a bloody war field out there, all the slashed pages, the ripped out words, the tedium of copyedits. . . and yet several thousands have gone before me so I knew it would turn out alright in the end.

Know more about Stacey at http://www.staceyhlee.com/about-me/ and
click here to subscribe!

Thank you so much Miss Stacey for sharing time with us! It would really turn out good in the end for your book is a five-star highlighter on Goodreads by now.

This giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY. You must be 13 years old and above. Use the Rafflecopter below to gain entries. The contest will end on December 30, 2014. Winner will be notified through e-mail. Winner will also be announced on this post via update. If winner has not responded within 48 hours, we will choose another. Enjoy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winner Update

Congratulations Michelle Lee!
You WON the Under A Painted Sky ARC Giveaway.
Please e-mail me your complete name and mailing address at eeliahgem@gmail(dot)com.
Thank you!

Thank you for everyone that participated! Until next time. <3
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