Monday, August 17, 2015

THE HEARTBREAKERS Spotlight Tour + Giveaway

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Title: The Heartbreakers
Author: Ali Novak
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Publishers: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult


Stella will do anything for her sick sister, Cara—even stand in line for an autographed Heartbreakers CD…for four hours. She’s totally winning best birthday gift this year. At least she met a cute boy with soft brown hair and gorgeous blue eyes while getting her caffeine fix. Too bad she’ll never see him again.

Except, Stella’s life has suddenly turned into a cheesy love song. Because Starbucks Boy is Oliver Perry – lead singer for the Heartbreakers. And even after she calls his music crap, Oliver still gives Stella his phone number. And whispers quotes from her favorite Disney movie in her ear. OMG, what is her life?

But how can Stella even think about being with Oliver – dating and laughing and pulling pranks with the band – when her sister could be dying of cancer?


Do you ever miss it?I asked, trying to distract myself again. My breathing hitched, and I hoped he hadn’t noticed.

Miss what?

I don’t know, like, before everything?

You mean my anonymity? Sure.Something in Olivers voice sounded off, and I craned my neck to look up at him. He was staring past me, deep in thought, and then a scowl crossed his face. But I would never go back. Ever, he added fiercely.

The skin covering his knuckles turned white as he tightened his fist, and I bit my lip, not sure what to say. I didn’t think he was mad at me, but something had upset him.

“Sorry,” I told him. I didn’t mean to pry.

No worries, he said, sounding much softer than before.

But Oliver seemed to be done talking, because he turned his attention back to the movie, and without our conversation, my nerves crept back up. I realized I was holding my breath when he started moving his thumb in small circles on my arm. For some reason I found the sensation calming, and bit by bit, my breathing returned to normal and I nestled down into his side. Just as I finally relaxed and turned my attention to the movie, Oliver chuckled and I felt him shake beneath me. Tilting my head back a few inches, I looked up at him through my lashes. There was a dusting of pink on his cheeks, and his eyes shinned as he laughed.

He must have felt my gaze, because his eyes snapped down and found mine. His lips slowly parted as he stared down at me, and my whole body flooded with warmth. Someone was shouting something crazy onscreen, but I was too preoccupied with Oliver to turn toward the TV. The way he was looking at me made me want to press my body further up against him, and the thought made me blush. Embarrassed by my own thoughts, I suddenly had the need to look away, to focus on anything but him, but as I turned, Oliver gently grabbed my chin. He held my head in place until I made eye contact, and then, once he knew I was watching, he dipped his head and brushed his lips against mine.


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Displaying AliNovak.jpgAuthor Biography

Ali Novak writes contemporary young adult romance and is a recent graduate of the University of Madison Wisconsin's creative writing program. She wrote her first full length novel, My Life with the Walter Boys, at the age of fifteen. Since posting the story online, it has received more than 33 million reads and is now published by Sourcebooks Fire.

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Spotlight: Don't Vote For Me

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Don’t Vote For Me
Krista Van Dolzer
August 4, 2015; ISBN 9781492609414
Book Information:
Title: Don’t Vote For Me
Author: Krista Van Dolzer
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Veronica rules the school
David’s starting a revolution.
It’s class president election time and no one is surprised when Veronica Pritchard-Pratt is the only name on the list. She’s the most popular girl in school, a social giant who rules the campaign every single year. David, for one, is sick of the tyranny- which he says. Out loud. When Veronica hears about this, she issues a public challenge to David. With his pride on the line, David accepts his fate and enters the race.
But as the campaign wages on, and David and Veronica are also paired up for a spring music recital, David learns this Goliath is more than just a social giant- and maybe deserves to win more than he does…

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Displaying Krista Van Dolzer_headshot_2Feb15_Julie Kirby cred.jpg
 Krista Van Dolzer is a stay-at-home mom by day and a children's author by bedtime. Though she's short like David, she plays the piano like Veronica and lives in Mesquite, Nevada. She is also the author of THE SOUND OF LIFE AND EVERYTHING. Visit her at
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Excerpt from Don’t Vote For Me:
Spencer opened his mouth to answer, but before he could get a word out, his attention shifted to something—-or someone—-over my shoulder. Grudgingly, I turned around. Veronica was climbing onto the populars’ table, giving everyone a look at her signature All Stars. They were in such good condition that they looked brand-new, but I’d been shopping secondhand since Radcliff, one of my brothers, had introduced me to the art nearly six years earlier. Those skinnier toe caps meant that that pair of All Stars was thirty years old (at least). If Radcliff had been here, he probably would have offered her his whole PEZ collection—-not to mention his firstborn child—-for those vintage shoes.
I tried to tell myself that her plans had nothing to do with me, but I still wanted to dash. Except I couldn’t move. Not even the lunch ladies were immune to Veronica’s powers. One of them tried to intervene, but one look from Veronica froze the woman in her tracks.
Veronica surveyed the lunchroom like a queen surveying her kingdom. “It has come to my attention that a certain unnamed someone thinks I don’t have the perspective to speak for this class. Now, I’ll remind this someone that I’ve won the last two elections without breaking a sweat, but in case you think I won because no one ran against me, let me set the record straight. I’m perfectly willing to campaign against anyone—-and I mean, anyone—-who thinks he or she can beat me.” She scanned the crowd with frosty eyes—-until those eyes landed on me. “So by all means, join the race. And may the best candidate win.”
She held my gaze for one more second, then tossed her hair over her shoulder and hopped down from the table. Brady extended his hand, but she paid it no heed. After disposing of her bagel, she swept out of the lunchroom with her nose in the air.
While her friends raced to catch up, I just sat there, stunned. I’d already lost my appetite, but now I was afraid that I might lose my lunch. I wrapped an arm around my stomach and hunkered down behind my lunch box. Maybe if I asked him nicely, the Tick would fight my battles for me.
Riley shivered from head to toes. “What are you going to do?” he whispered.
“What do you think?” I asked. “I’m gonna hightail it to Panama and open up a taco shop.”
“You can’t make tacos,” he said. “And I don’t think they eat them there, anyway.”
“And,” Spencer replied, “you don’t have a passport. I’d let you borrow mine, but you’re pastier than I am.”
Spencer was the only kid in SV who had an actual passport, which he used to travel between SV and Hong Kong. He was born in New Hampshire (or maybe New Jersey), but his parents were Hong Kongans (or whatever you called them).
I knotted my arms across my chest. “Then I’ll just do nothing,” I said.
Spencer rolled his eyes. “You can’t do nothing,” he replied. “That’s what we’ve been trying to tell you.”
“Of course I can,” I replied, coating each word with confidence. “I’m really good at doing nothing. It’s one of my better skills.”
Riley snorted, then sighed.
“This will all blow over in a few days,” I said. “You just wait and see.”
Spencer inhaled another wad of French fries. “You don’t believe that for a second.”
Of course I don’t, I almost said, but for once, I kept my mouth shut.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

AWAKE Spotlght + Giveaway

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Title: Awake
Author: Natasha Preston
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller


Don't miss the latest gripping, high-stakes thriller from Wattpad sensation Natasha Preston, author of the runaway hit The Cellar.

Scarlett Garner doesn't remember anything before the age of four-until a car accident changes everything. She starts to remember pieces of a past that frighten her. A past her parents hid from her...and a secret that could get her killed.
Excerpt from Awake

Once everything was ready it was time to get dressed for the ceremony. I was taken back to the house, and I was instructed to have a bath and get ready in the dress set out on my bed.

I did as I was told because there was little else I could do right now. After soaking in a bubble bath, using most of it up as my own little screw you, I got out, dried and went back to my room.

Unsurprisingly the dress I was to wear was full-length and white. It was pretty and thankfully not a slim fit so I would be able to run properly in it. I held it up—this is what I’m supposed to die in. Not many people knew what their last outfit would be. I instantly hated it.

I pulled it over my head. It fit me perfectly. It had long, loose fitting sleeves, a modest neckline, and waves of material on the skirt. I pulled it and was satisfied when I could stretch both arms out to the sides.

There were no shoes, and I was afraid I’d have to run through the forest barefoot but there wasn’t a lot I could do about that. I couldn’t ask for shoes and have them question why I’d need them if I was getting in a lake. Besides, I’d run barefoot over a bed of nails or hot coal to get away.

I looked in the mirror and took deep breaths to calm my nerves. I could do this. I was strong.

“Scarlett, are you ready?” he called.

Time to fight for my life.


Two things entered my mind as every member of Eternal Light stared at me from the meadow. One, no matter how hot it was outside it never warmed the water enough for it to not be cold. And two, if this didn’t go to plan I would be dead in forty minutes.

Since they’d stood up and opened their eyes they hadn’t stopped staring at me.

I pretended to look around, turning my body so I could take a few unnoticed steps back towards the other side. Running in water wasn’t easy and I would be slow to get out, giving them plenty of time to make it around the lake. I had to give myself as much time as I could. At least they would be further away as they called upon nature to accept and cleanse me for the final time.


Soon I had to run for my life in a cold, wet dress. I had no idea how long it would be before I could change. Or how cold it was going to get in the forest at night.

In the distance I could just about see their lips moving but I had to strain. Some of them had their eyes closed again. Why couldn’t they all do that? My heart started to pound. How long would they chant for, and why hadn’t Noah called me yet? Had someone realised that he’d slipped away? He said they’d be so focused on what they had to do to that he didn’t see a problem with getting away. I couldn’t be so confident—this was my life on the line.

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Displaying NatashaPreston.jpgAuthor Biography

UK native Natasha Preston grew up in small villages and towns. She discovered her love of writing when she shared a story online—and hasn’t looked back since. She enjoys writing romance, thrillers, gritty YA, and the occasional serial killer.


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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Dear Opl- Guest Post

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Dear Opl
Shelley Sackier
August 4, 2015; ISBN 9781492608592

Title: Dear Opl
Author: Shelley Sackier
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

There are three things Opl never expected to do during the eighth grade:
● Start a vendetta against celebrity check Alfie Adams, the “Nude Food Dude”
● Take yoga classes with her grandpa
● Become a famous blogger
But after a year of shrinking down her personality to compensate for the fact that her body’s getting bigger, Opl thinks it’s about time to start speaking up again. What she doesn’t expect is that everyone actually starts to listen…

Buy Links:
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Excerpt from Dear Opl:
First blog entry:

My name is Opl, I’m thirteen years old, and this is my blog. My mom wants it to be a food journal. A log of chow. But I can’t see that being a good idea at all. Then it would just be a catalogue of crimes. My grandfather says I should use it to write about things that make me angry. He says it’ll be more interesting than listing everything I eat. It’s true. Anything would be more interesting than that. And because I know my mom will never read this, I might as well unbolt the floodgates.
Number one. No more Tylenol syrup. It’s now pills. That sucks.
Number two. Kids who don’t wash their hands after they go to the bathroom. I see it all the time and it’s disgusting. Everything you touch in school has already been touched by somebody else who didn’t wash their hands. It is the world’s most super-gross thing. Except for seeing grown-ups kiss. That’s grosser.
Number three. Getting in trouble for falling asleep in my boring history class. Pinching doesn’t work. Wiggling gets me snapped at. And you can’t listen to our teacher’s voice. It’s a soft, buzzy drone. Within thirty seconds, it feels like my brain is being sucked out of my skull. My eyes spin around to the back of my head just before my chin slides off my hand. Last week I had to walk around looking only to the left for two days because I wrenched a neck muscle.
Finally, I’d like to complain about our school’s new lunch menu rule as of today. Last year my lunch was perfect. Monday through Friday at exactly 11:50, my grade went to the cafeteria. My plate held a double cheeseburger with ketchup, mustard, and extra mayo—­pickle on the side. I also had cheese fries with extra cheese—except on Fridays, it was chili fries. And finally, I adored my jug of chocolate milk. I loved that lunch. I needed that lunch. And now someone has taken away the chocolate milk and replaced it with plain.
I asked one of the lunch ladies if there was more in the back, but she just shook her white-­netted hair at me.
“Well, where’s the strawberry milk?”
She pressed her lips together.
“Did the milkman run out? Why are we short?” I wanted to bang my tray on the counter. This needed fixing. And fast.
Another woman leaned over the cash register and barked, “New state policy. No. Flavored. Milks.”
“What?” I actually thought my shoulders were going to fall down to where my elbows hung. I was that disappointed. I’d been hearing the annoying buzz about some schools around us making changes like this. But not my school. My school was fine the way it was.
Tomorrow I’ll bring in a container of Hershey’s syrup and store it in my locker until lunchtime. “Never mind,” I told the lunch ladies. “Today I’ll have a blue Gatorade.”
I can think of a bunch of other stuff I’m all huffy about these days, but it’s getting late. I’m not sure how I feel about this bloggy thing, mostly because Mom has high hopes pinned on its big ole donkey butt. It’s no different than the rest of my silly diaries. Except now my bellyaching is electronic.
Later gator,

Guest Post

This is your first book, but you have experience writing for your blog. How did the experience of writing a novel differ from blogging?  Did your experience as a blogger your writing of Opl’s blog?

Firstly, many thanks Karen for the opportunity to be here on your incredibly colorful and absorbing site. I found myself wholly lost for much more time than I allotted in my work day. Books. Yum.

Now, to answer the blogging versus novel question. It’s a good one. Because the two are so vastly different from one another. I began writing novels years before I created a blog. Writing fiction was a pursuit that encompassed the need to learn a whole craft. Years of work went into the slow creep of discovery toward identifying what worked and what did not. Writing the blog came as a decision to help develop a skill. I wanted to master the ability to sit down every week, demand my muse show up and churn out 1000 words for a weekly essay. The essay I wanted was slated to be humorous, relatable and raw. Press publish and poof. No time to really go back and tweak, rewrite or perfect.

And yes, Opl’s mistakes were sometimes my mistakes. We shared the same ‘learn as you go’ experience. Discovering through the joyful and scary act of hunt and peck. And delighting in finding that people were reading and engaging in our work. It’s been hugely rewarding. Blogging has been a great electronic teacher for me. And I think it served Opl in a surprisingly similar way.

About the Author:

Displaying Shelley Sackier author photo.jpgShelley Sackier is an author and blogger who writes about the everyday ordinary grand slams and gruesome snafus in completing the Herculean task of raising two healthy human beings. Ultimately she hopes to impart the necessary knowledge of how to balance their checkbooks and pay their taxes. Here greatest hope is to discover that parallel universes are a reality, and that somewhere she is living a life where her children have agreed to occasionally make eye contact with her. They live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

You can read more of her work, illustrated by Robin Gott, at

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Monday, August 10, 2015

Spotlight: Girl World: How to Ditch The Drama and Find Your Inner Amazing

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Girl World: How to Ditch The Drama and Find Your Inner Amazing
By Patricia Ottaviano
August 4, 2015; ISBN9781492609124

Book Information:
Title: Girl World: How to Ditch The Drama and Find Your Inner Amazing
Author: Patricia Ottaviano
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
The guide every girl needs to survive the pitfalls of teen-dom
Mean stares. Hurtful whispers. The cold shoulder. Being a girl is harder than it looks. In a world where gossip, drama, and rumors seem to be never ending, it’s not easy to navigate the halls of middle school or high school without earning a few battle scars.
But what if you could change all that? With practical advice for how to fearlessly stand your ground, hold your own, and dictate your own happiness, Girl World will help you move beyond the bad attitudes and transform your insecurities into strengths. From friendship conflicts to the ugly side to social media, learn how to ditch the drama and kick your inner critic to the curb so you can truly start appreciating yourself.
Every day is a new day. Embrace it!
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About the Author:
Patricia Ottaviano is the 23-year-old founder of Sister Soldier—Stand up for Each Other, a nonprofit dedicated to stopping girl-on-girl bullying in all of its forms through school assemblies and outreach. A graduate of Michigan University, she is currently pursuing a doctorate in Clinical Child Psychology at Yeshiva University. Learn more at

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Excerpt from Girl World:
Dear Girls,
Being a girl is harder than it looks. On one hand, we have our best friends by our sides to boost our happiness, give us a sense of belonging, lift us up on a bad day, and make us laugh until our stomachs hurt. Let’s be real for a sec…it isn’t always that pretty. Who hasn’t experienced how downright mean girls can be? Who hasn’t witnessed the judgment and negativity that can consume female conversation?
In a world where gossip, drama, and rumors seem to be never ending, of course there are going to be times when you doubt your friends, doubt yourself, and seriously start thinking that moving to a foreign country doesn’t sound half bad.
What happens when you don’t know who your friends are anymore? Or when you don’t know who to trust? Have you ever felt like insecurities, nerves, and uncertainties were ruling your world? Ever feel like everyone seems to have the missing piece to the puzzle but you? What about being the center of a hurtful rumor…has that happened to you? Or how about experiencing some major FOMO (fear of missing out)? How do you pick yourself up after feeling torn down, left out, or straight-up rejected by girls you thought were your friends?
What if I told you that I’ve created a handbook, specially crafted for you, with lots of love, to navigate all of these circumstances and more?
Well, this is that book! It will guide you through Girl World, one sticky situation at a time, while pausing for advice breaks, some killer action steps, and perhaps an occasional dance party.
In this groovy guidebook you’ll learn…
•    How to transform insecurities into strengths when feeling like you don’t fit in or are the odd girl out.
•    What to do if you feel nervous and intimidated by certain girls or when you don’t trust your friends.
•    Step-by-step ways to keep drama to a minimum when confrontations, conflicts, or arguments arise.
•    How to handle the ugly side of social networking sites.
•    How to fearlessly stand your ground, hold your own, and not allow others to dictate your mood.
•    How to kick your inner critic to the curb and start appreciating yourself.
…and the list goes on.
Oh, and did I mention that you will love yourself a whole lot more by the end?
So you’re probably wondering, “Who is this Trish chick, and how is she going to help me?”
First, I’ve been there. I’m just a few years older than you, so I totally know what’s up. Second, I’m constantly traveling from state to state, getting the lowdown from middle school and high school girls about what is bothering them in their friendships. You see, I’m the founder of the nonprofit organization Sister-Soldier—Stand Up for Each Other, a school assembly and empowerment program for girls. Our mission is to alleviate the pain caused by the often mean and hurtful ways that girls treat one another and also treat themselves. Pretty rad goal, right?
One of my favorite parts of an assembly is afterward, when I get to hang out with you girls and talk more in depth about your specific situations. There is never enough time to cover all of the important topics. This book can. It has specific advice about what to do in a number of different—yet common—situations, and it offers solutions, action steps that will make you feel way better about yourself and the junk that’s bringing you down.
This is your book, your way out of the craziness and into the awesomeness that is Girl World. Cherish it like you would your phone, your celebrity crush, or those sweet new shoes you’ve been saving up for. It contains all the answers you will need. You’ll feel more confident and secure. You’ll develop strong, fulfilling friendships that lift you up rather than tear you down. And you’ll discover a renewed sense of self-love.
All right, my friend. I invite you to hop aboard the love bus, because your ride is about to get wayyy better.
Peace, Love, & Some Serious Upgrades,
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