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Thursday, November 22, 2018

The Most Valuable Thing to do When You Start Writing

by Christine Lynn Herman

When I first started writing, it was something I did entirely on my own. I was a teenager who spent countless hours immersed in the fictional worlds I’d created, falling for characters that only existed in my head. It was incredibly fun.

It was also incredibly lonely.

When I tried to talk to my friends about my writing, they were happy I liked doing it, but they didn’t really understand it. I could talk for hours about my ideas, my characters, the plot points I was wrangling with or that fun banter scene I’d just written. But it felt like I had no one who would listen--like there would always be a part of me that nobody else understood.

I wrote many terrible first drafts of YA books. I spent countless hours working on my craft and doing industry research, reading every author or agent’s blog I could find. And one day, in 2015, I realized it wasn’t enough. I needed to show my work to other people if I ever wanted to be ready to send it to agents.

So I mustered up all my bravery and posted about my book in a critique partner forum hosted by one of my favorite authors. Eventually, I got an email from a girl who I wound up having a ton in common with. She became my first writer friend and critique partner, and she introduced me to her friends, too. None of us were traditionally published or agented--but we all wanted to be.

This incredible group of women taught me more in six months than I’d learned in the five years I’d been seriously writing on my own. Their feedback, guidance, industry knowledge, and friendship were the foundation that put me on the path to publication. Before I had an editor or an agent, they taught me how to handle critique and meet deadlines. They helped me learn how to truly revise for the first time. And through Skype calls and long, intense group chats, I learned that while writing may be something we do alone, writers truly need each other--to talk through brainstorming and revisions, to commiserate, to cheer.

It’s been almost four years since I met my first critique partners, and many of us are agented, published, or debuting now. Some of us work in the publishing industry. All of us have grown immensely in the time we’ve been friends, and I feel so lucky to have them in my life. Their feedback and guidance helped me turn THE DEVOURING GRAY, my debut novel, from a scrappy first draft into a book I’m truly proud to put out into the world.

I may have started the journey towards publication alone, but I wouldn’t be a debut author without the many people who have helped me on this road. The support and love that I have found with other writers has made me so confident in a part of myself that I thought no one else would ever understand. They are brilliant plot problem-solvers and late night phone call champions; their talent and generosity is unmatched.

They have shown me that I have stories inside of me worth telling. And so when people ask me what the most valuable thing you can do is when you start writing, I only have one answer: find your community. Because my writer friends have changed my life.

Christine Lynn Herman is the author of THE DEVOURING GRAY, on sale 4/19 from Disney Hyperion.

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion (April 2, 2019)
Language: English
After the death of her sister, Violet Saunders finds herself dragged to Four Paths, New York. Violet may be a newcomer, but she learns her mother isn’t: they belong to one of the revered founding families of the town. Yet the secret to controlling her family’s magic is lost, and without it, she will not survive the Gray.

Justin Hawthorne’s bloodline has protected Four Paths for generations from the Gray. After Justin fails to inherit his family’s powers, his mother is determined to keep this humiliation a secret. But Justin can’t let go of the future he was promised and the town he swore to protect.

Ever since Harper Carlisle lost her hand to an accident that left her stranded in the Gray for days, she has vowed revenge on the person who abandoned her: Justin Hawthorne. There are ripples of dissent in Four Paths, and Harper seizes an opportunity to take down the Hawthornes and change her destiny—to what extent, even she doesn’t yet know.

“Fans of The Raven Boys and Stranger Things rejoice: This is your new obsession.”
Claire Legrand, New York Times best-selling author of Furyborn

“Full of witchy atmosphere; lush, detailed writing; and a trope-breaking, endearing group cast,
this book will ensnare you and leave you deliciously haunted. A stunning debut.”
—Amanda Foody, author of Ace of Shades and Daughter of the Burning City

“The only thing better than a chosen one is four chosen ones, and the only thing better than
four chosen ones is four chosen ones who don't like each other very much.”
—E. K. Johnston, #1 New York Times best-selling author of Star Wars: Ahsoka

Monday, October 29, 2018

Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes // How to Be a Debutante for BA Beginners

by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: Debutantes
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Freeform (November 6, 2018)
Buy The Book:
Eighteen-year-old auto mechanic Sawyer Taft did not expect her estranged grandmother to show up at her apartment door and offer her a six-figure contract to participate in debutante season. And she definitely never imagined she would accept. But when she realizes that immersing herself in her grandmother's "society" might mean discovering the answer to the biggest mystery of her life-her father's identity-she signs on the dotted line and braces herself for a year of makeovers, big dresses, bigger egos, and a whole lot of bless your heart. The one thing she doesn't expect to find is friendship, but as she's drawn into a group of debutantes with scandalous, dangerous secrets of their own, Sawyer quickly discovers that her family isn't the only mainstay of high society with skeletons in their closet. There are people in her grandmother's glittering world who are not what they appear, and no one wants Sawyer poking her nose into the past. As she navigates the twisted relationships between her new friends and their powerful parents, Sawyer's search for the truth about her own origins is just the beginning.

Really weirdly, this book reminded me of Gilmore Girls. The main character is a girl whose father isn't in the picture (even though Rory knows Christopher is her dad), and doesn't know her grandparents (but they end up being rich and in her life), and is close with her mom. But that's where the similarities end. Where Gilmore Girls branches off into humor, and relationships, Little White Lies goes into mystery and a game of 'Which of you stuck up snobs is my father?'

Before almost every chapter, there are scenes from the very end of the book. So while reading the book you're kind of like:

Which I actually enjoy, because it really makes you think, instead of just handing over the answers. Plus THERE ARE SO MANY PLOT TWISTS. Like, every time you think you've got it figured out and you're like 'there's so much of the book left like ?????' and then get a MASSIVE curve ball. 

But don't come over here looking for romance, because Sawyer Taft doesn't need a mans (though I do, so if you're hot call me ;) I'M JUST KIDDING STOP CRYING MOM). At first it kind of annoyed me because, ummm Sawyer look at all these hot mans around you ARE YOU BLIND!? But then I actually got to know her character and I was like, yeah makes sense. She has priorities, and those come first, and if the opportunitiy arises after the smoke clears then maybe. She has this set of rules pertaining to guys, and I love it, because she never compromises them. She is smart, and has learned how to take care of herself. So Sawyer, I forgive you for not being a romantic. 

This book has more WHICH IS GREAT because while questions are answered IT ISN'T RESOLVED SO YEAH PLEASE GIVE ME MORE PLEASE AND THANK YOU! Au revoir readers!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Giveaway! // Win a Spooky Reads Prize Pack from Disney Books!

Do you have a middle grade reader in your life? You need to have this book, THE MORTIFICATION OF FOVEA MUNSON by Mary Winn Heider. Disney Book Group sent me a copy to check out and is partnering with me for a giveaway. Read the spooktacular description here, and enter the giveaway below!

What's your favorite Halloween read?

The Mortification of Fovea Munson
By Mary Hinn Heider
In Stores Now! Released June 5, 2018
Recommended for ages 8 -12
Published by Disney-Hyperion

Goodreads | Amazon
Fovea Munson is nobody's Igor.

True, her parents own a cadaver lab where they perform surgeries on dead bodies. And yes, that makes her gross by association, at least according to everyone in seventh grade. And sure, Fovea's stuck working at the lab now that her summer camp plans have fallen through. But she is by no means Dr. Frankenstein's snuffling assistant! That is, until three disembodied heads, left to thaw in the wet lab, start talking. To her. Out loud. What seems like a nightmare, or bizarre hallucination, is not. Fovea is somebody's Igor, all right. Three somebodies, actually. And they need a favor.

With a madcap sense of humor and a lot of heart (not to mention other body parts), this is a story about finding oneself, finding one's friends, and embracing the moment.

Spooky Reads!

A prize pack so good, it’s scary!

One (1) winner receives
  • The Mortification of Fovea Munson
  • Three other Halloween reads from Disney Books.
*Giveaway open to US addresses only.
*Prizing and samples provided by Disney Book Group.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

ARCHENEMIES by Marissa Meyer // How to chose between Heroes and Villains? Hint: You Can't

Renegades #2
By Marissa Meyer
Print Length: 496 pages
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (November 6, 2018)
Publication Date: November 6, 2018
Sold by: Macmillan
Buy the Book:
The Renegades Trilogy continues, in this fiercely awaited second installment after the New York Times-bestselling Renegades by Marissa Meyer, author of the Lunar Chronicles.
Time is running out.
Together, they can save the world.
But they each other's worst nightmare.
In Renegades, Nova and Adrian (aka Insomnia and Sketch) fought the battle of their lives against the Anarchist known as the Detonator. It was a short-lived victory.
The Anarchists still have a secret weapon, one that Nova believes will protect her. The Renegades also have a strategy for overpowering the Anarchists, but both Nova and Adrian understand that it could mean the end of Gatlon City - and the world - as they know it.

Okay Marissa Meyer needs to stop making these books because let me tell you ladies and gents, I'm DEAD BECAUSE I HAVE TO NOW SIT HERE IN A PUDDLE OF TEARS WAITING FOR BOOK THREE.

Now you might be saying to yourself, 'Well Reagan, you say you cry a lot, how can we tell if this book is actually good, or if you're just an emotional mess?' and I'm here to tell you that I am an emotional mess but that this book is worth EVERY LAST MINUTE OF EMOTIONAL TRAUMA.

Cinder and her gang live in my heart for all eternity (we're not going to talk about Heartless, you thought I'm overreacting before? Hahahaha you've seen nothing yet, I was depressed for a week straight and couldn't do anything other than stare at the ceiling wondering what I had done to deserve this emotional abuse). So when I say that I loved Renegades and Archenemies just as much as the Lunar Chronicles, you should rush on over to your local bookstore and pick yourself up one of these (or both while you're at it).

What I think I loved the most about this book is that it's fantasy based on reality. What I mean by that is, the characters act like how people would act if we found out people had superpowers. This book explores not only the blossoming romances of teenagers, but also shows the political side of this world. It shows how having superheros has affected the world around them, positively and negatively. It is SO well thought out, and it honestly amazes me.

Nova is one of my all time favorite main characters. She is strong willed, and so sure of herself without being cocky. She is classified as a villain in her society, but she has a strong moral compass that tells her the way society is being run isn't good enough. She believes that her uncle is the way to fix that and so she stands by him. She wants revenge, but she also wants justice. It's a careful balance in her mind and heart that Meyer explores so well. Her hard edges, and quick wits are the perfect balance to Adrian's softness and golden heart so they're literally perfect for each other. Besides the whole, villain vs. hero thing or course.

Adrian in question is so CUTEEEEE. I know guys don't like being called cute, but let me tell you, he's so cute. He's so unsure of himself and he wants to impress Nova so badlyyyyy and it's adorabllleeeee and makes me so happppyyyyy. You can tell how happy I am by the amount of unnecessary letters I put in my words. I love his ability, it is so creative and cool. It doesn't seem to have that many limitations so it's really cool and fun to watch Adrian explore his powers (the exploration is generally him finding a new way to try to impress Nova). I love that their relationship is kind of reversed from the usual YA relationships. He's the creative, insecure, nerdy one that can't shoot a gun to save his life, while she's a the one with the past, the evil family, the hard edges, the mysteriousness, and she is the one who can teach him how to use a gun because she is amazing.

Also, I (hate) love the way that they both have secret identities. Lol that's a real(ly frustrating and makes me cry on the inside to think about) hoot. Nova is all like, 'I hate the Sentinel he's so full of himself' and Adrian is like 'ahahahahaha yea me too.... (pls don't kill me I really like you)' and then Adrian is like 'Nightmare is my nemesis I must find her' and Nova is like 'Mmmm yeah okay you do that. Have fun trying tho'. It gives me a great (misery) laugh.

OkAy I think I've gushed enough, I'm going back to my corner that's soaked in tears and wait for the next emotionally traumatic book that I will love. Au revoir readers! Scroll down for some quality throw back of me meeting Marissa Meyer.

Yes I still have the sweatshirt.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Giveaway / Review / Character Interview: THE DEVIL'S THIEF by Lisa Maxwell (WE LOVE THIS SERIES)

Guys, we are so genuinely excited for this blog tour. Reagan and I (Andye) both fell in love with THE LAST MAGICIAN by Lisa Maxwell, and desperately want everyone else to read it and fall in love as well. And book two, THE DEVIL'S THIEF, is coming out soon, so now is the time! Check out Reagan's review for TDT, and don't miss her interview with one of the most swoon-worthy book boys ever! And, of course, you'll want to enter the giveaway at the end.

The Last Magician #2
by Lisa Maxwell
Print Length: 704 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse (October 9, 2018)
Publication Date: October 9, 2018
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
Buy the Book:
Esta’s parents were murdered. Her life was stolen. And everything she knew about magic was a lie. She thought the Book of Mysteries held the key to freeing the Mageus from the Order’s grasp, but the danger within its pages was greater than she ever imagined. Now the Book’s furious power lives inside Harte. If he can’t control it, it will rip apart the world to get its revenge, and it will use Esta to do it. To bind the power, Esta and Harte must track down four elemental stones scattered across the continent. But the world outside the city is like nothing they expected. There are Mageus beyond the Brink not willing to live in the shadows—and the Order isn’t alone in its mission to crush them. In St. Louis, the extravagant World’s Fair hides the first stone, but an old enemy is out for revenge and a new enemy is emerging. And back in New York, Viola and Jianyu must defeat a traitor in a city on the verge of chaos.

If you ever just are in the mood to throttle someone, but can't find the passion or drive, just read this book and you will be good to go. Literally the entire book is just TENSION and like as soon as some of that tension starts to be released IT JUST SNAPS RIGHT BACK. If you want to hold on to your hopes and dreams that were started in the first book, you might want to wait for book three.

I might not be a sobbing mess on the floor, but this is almost WoRsE. Don't get me wrong, the book was good as hell (get it? DEVIL'S thief? No? Okay. I'll be in my corner), BUT I'M TENSE JUST THINKING ABOUT IT! Esta, amazing I love her. Harte, I'm still swooning. Viola, still woman goals. Jianyu, still super loyal and cool. Jack, still a douche. Nibsy, still extremely rude (to put it mildly). BUT BACK TO THE POINT:

But the writing in the book is absolutely AMAZING. It gives these great descriptions of characters and settings with out being so wordy that the reader loses interest. The way Maxwell plays with time travel is amazing and I LOVE IT. It's so hard to find a GOOD book with time travel in it. Plus I like that it's magical time travel so I don't have to try and pretend I know anything about science.

Overall I did adore this book, you just have to be willing to stick it out until book three where HOPEFULLY I can relax and not have a mental break down (Please and thank you Lisa Maxwell). So if you haven't read The Last Magician, you actually need to because it is so fantastic and The Devil's Thief is coming to your local bookstore soon (but not nearly soon enough if you ask me) and you need to be mentally prepared for it. 

Au revoir readers!

Want to know more about Harte? (Spoiler: You do) Here's an interview Reagan did with him.

1. If you could, would you want to visit 2018?
  • Visit? Or stay? Because from what I’ve gleaned, it’s a hell of a lot cleaner there. 
2. If you had to trade powers with someone, who would it be and why?

  • I wouldn’t trade with anyone, except for maybe a Sundren. I wouldn’t want anyone else’s burden, but giving it up…I could see myself doing that. No power, and the Brink wouldn’t have any hold on me at all.
3. What’s your desert island food?

  • An orange. They taste like sunshine, and I imagine whatever freedom feels like.
4. What’s one thing in your life you couldn’t live without?

  • I could—and have—lived without a great many things, but I couldn’t live without my integrity. And to be clear, I’m pretty much a bastard in every way you can be one, but there are certain lines even I can’t cross. Oh… you meant an actual thing? That would be indoor plumbing.
5. Out of everyone, who would you kiss, who would you marry, and who would you kill?

  • Can I just pick Esta for all 3?
6. Is there anything you want us to know that hasn’t been asked yet?

  • I’d say the less you know about me the better.


Grand Prize for the Tour Participants:
  • Signed copy of The Devil's Thief
  • pavĂ© snake bracelet
  • character art
  • signed swag

Runners Up (2)
  • Character art
  • signed swag pack

The Devil's Thief Blog Tour

Tour contest terms/conditions: