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Monday, January 15, 2018

A Scythe / Thunderhead / Swatch Watch Giveaway from Neal Shusterman!


*Thanks to S&S for sending us a copy of Thunderhead and for providing this giveaway for one of you luckies!*

Dark, twisted, unique, intense, amazing: these are the words that readers are using to describe SCYTHE by Neal Shusterman. Honestly, everything Shusterman writes is just so original and fascinating, he's an auto-buy author for us. Kit read SCYTHE and loved it, and immediately gave it to me.

I didn't tell her Simon & Schuster had sent us a copy of THUNDERHEAD, and wrapped it up and gave it to her for Christmas! haha She may have squealed.

*  *  *

The act of killing in the Arc of a Scythe series is called “gleaning”. Take a play on the kiss-marry-kill game, and share your kiss-marry-glean picks in the comments using YA characters! And don't miss the giveaway below!


Age Range: 12 and up
Grade Level: 7 - 9
Series: Arc of a Scythe (Book 1)
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (November 22, 2016)
Goodreads | Amazon
Two teens must learn the “art of killing” in this Printz Honor–winning book, the first in a chilling new series from Neal Shusterman, author of the New York Times bestselling Unwind dystology.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery: humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now Scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

Scythe is the first novel of a thrilling new series by National Book Award–winning author Neal Shusterman in which Citra and Rowan learn that a perfect world comes only with a heavy price.

THUNDERHEAD
Series: Arc of a Scythe (Book 2)
Hardcover: 512 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (January 9, 2018)
Language: English
Goodreads | Amazon

Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, in the chilling sequel to the Printz Honor Book Scythe from New York Times bestseller Neal Shusterman, author of the Unwind dystology.

The Thunderhead cannot interfere in the affairs of the Scythedom. All it can do is observe—it does not like what it sees.

A year has passed since Rowan had gone off grid. Since then, he has become an urban legend, a vigilante snuffing out corrupt scythes in a trial by fire. His story is told in whispers across the continent. As Scythe Anastasia, Citra gleans with compassion and openly challenges the ideals of the “new order.” But when her life is threatened and her methods questioned, it becomes clear that not everyone is open to the change.

Will the Thunderhead intervene? Or will it simply watch as this perfect world begins to unravel?

Giveaway

The Age of Mortality
The Scythes are immortal, but here time ticks away!
Read all you can while you can. 

One (1) winner receives:


*Giveaway open to US addresses only.
*Prizing and samples provided by Simon & Schuster.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Neal Shusterman is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty award-winning books for children, teens, and adults, including The Unwind Dystology, The Skinjacker trilogy, Downsiders, and Challenger Deep, which won the National Book Award. Scythe, the first book in his newest series Arc of a Scythe, is a Michael L. Printz Honor Book. He also writes screenplays for motion pictures and television shows. The father of four children, Neal lives in California. Visit him at Storyman.com and Facebook.com/NealShusterman.

Join the Conversation!

#Scythe #Thunderhead
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Saturday, January 6, 2018

BAD CALL by Stephen Wallenfels // Blog Tour Interview

BAD CALL
by Stephen Wallenfels
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion (December 19, 2017)

Goodreads | Amazon
Four high schol seniors and an epic overnight hiking trip in Yosemite Valley sounds like the adventure of a lifetime. But even the best of plans can snowball out of control. BAD CALL by Stephen Wallenfels (Hyperion; On Sale: December 19, 2017) is an intense YA thriller that follows the four teens as conditions atop the summit they’re hiking become fatally terrifying. Supplies running out and one of the hikers gone missing, they’ll need to hone their survival skills and pull together against extreme conditions in order to make it out of the wilderness alive.

BAD CALL is a chilling, twisty thriller that reveals how one wrong turn can have dire consequences.

With a bear and a potential killer on the loose, readers will be hooked from start to finish—and find themselves questioning their own survival skill along the way. Kirkus Reviews raves “a gripping, well-paced thriller that strikes a menacing tone, [BAD CALL] will appeal to those looking for a good scare.”
Thanks to Disney Hyperion for sending a copy of BAD CALL for consideration. And thanks to Stephen Wallenfels, author of BAD CALL, for chatting with us today!

Hi Stephen! The big question we have right off the bat is could you survive if you were stranded in the wilderness?

Yes.  But the question is for how long?  The number one priority is to find shelter to say warm.  You need to conserve energy while you rest and wait to be found—or hike out if and only if, you know where you need to go. I know how to make emergency shelters, how to make a fire even with wet wood, and most of the native foods like berries to eat.  I’ve never eaten worms but am sure I could do it if I had to. As a rule I stay away from mushrooms, even on pizza.  I love winter camping because it is more challenging and less crowded, less room for error.  I like fishing through the ice and sleeping in a snow cave or igloo.

 Do you enjoy the outdoors? Wildlife?

I love the outdoors.  I backpacked and rock climbed a lot but not as much these days while I recover from a knee injury.  I’m not a hunter, but I have seen my share of moose, deer, mountain goats and big horn sheep, marmots (not a fan of marmots), and the occasional bear.  My brother and I were 1 day in on a 3 day backpacking trip in Yosemite around Clouds Rest and a bear took all our food, even though we had hung it on the highest branch around.  As the saying goes, if a bear wants your food, it will get it.  Period.

What’s the most intriguing unsolved mystery you’ve heard of? 

The Lunning Formation in the Berlin-Icthyosaur State Park in Nevada, absolutely blows my mind.  A set of fossilized remains have puzzled paleontologists since the site was first excavated in the 1950s.  Cervical discs from the predatory ichthyosaurs, Shonisaurus popularis (50 feet long and weighing 40 tons) were found arranged in a symmetrical pattern of two nesting parallel rows.  This pattern is repeated in juxtaposition at the site nine times.  Theories range from death by toxic algae bloom, to water currents—but all are essentially dismissed as improbable due to the near perfect repetition of the pattern, great water depth, and the fact that the only bones in the pattern are cervical discs.  The most recent explanation I’ve heard of is that it was done by a giant squid (kraken).  Ha!  That sounds pretty out there to me.  So I came up with a different theory and have turned it into a plot for a book.


What was your writing experience like?

I didn’t start out wanting to be a novelist, but I’m happy to be one now.  I started writing short stories in college, went on to write freelance for a fitness trade magazine (CBI).  But I was intrigued by novels, loved to read them, and decided to give it a go.  I wrote POD, which was published in 2009, and is now in seven languages.  Next up was BAD CALL, to be followed next year with DEADFALL.  I’m usually in my office at home writing between 3am and 3:30.  I write until 6am every day.  I drink lots and lots and lots of tea!

Why write for/about teens?

I believe in the power of the written word.  I believe in expanding the imagination, challenging yourself to think and be creative.  Teens are the generation that will have to fix what we break. So I write books that I would have liked to read as a teen, and hopefully challenge them to think about different world views.

What are you an evangelist for?

I am an evangelist for the environment.  I believe climate change is the biggest challenge we face.  My first book, POD, had an environmental theme.  The book I’m writing now, has a very strong theme centering around climate change.  Remember, the basic rule in survival is shelter first.  The earth is our only home.  We need to get our act together and save the planet.  And teens—you are the generation that will need to make it happen!

Thanks so much for chatting with us, Stephen! 


Readers, you can grab your copy of BAD CALL now at your favorite bookstore!

About the author:


Stephen Wallenfels lives in Washington state with his wife. His day job is the creative director and IT manager at a large health club, but he has held the following jobs in no specific order: apple picker, onion topper, omelette chef, grill cook, legal gofer, ESL teacher, school custodian, freelance journalist, tennis instructor, soccer coach, graphic designer, and his favorite of all, novelist. Stephen has lived in igloos, lean-to's, slept under bushes and in trees. His passions are family, hiking, cooking, reading, movies, climate change, and especially writing. "I love to share my passion for the written word, especially with kids. Reading is the key to everything. Give me a room full of book lovers eager to learn about the craft of writing, and I'm in heaven.

Friday, January 5, 2018

A Black Sheep Review of THE CRUEL PRINCE by Holly Black


THE CRUEL PRINCE
by Holly Black
Series: The Folk of the Air (Book 1)
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (January 2, 2018)
Language: English
Goodreads | Amazon
Of course I want to be like them. They're beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him--and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.
I've been putting off reviewing this book for a long time because I just don't have a lot to say about it. I don't know if it's the fact that it was SO HYPED, or maybe I'm just not a huge fan of HBs faeries, but I thought The Cruel Prince was . . . fine. It was ok. I was mildly entertained. But I just didn't feel the LOVE that so many others described. I wasn't compelled to pick up the book at every possible moment. I absolutely adore her Curseworkers series, and The Coldest Girl in Coldtown was freaking awesome! But I didn't even finish The Darkest Part of the Forest, and her Tithe series is decent, but I didn't find it amazing.

The Cruel Prince is still definitely good, and worth the read, for sure, but maybe just don't go into it with ALL THE EXPECTATIONS. Of course, given all the other reviews, maybe you'll be fine.

I really enjoyed Jude's character. I liked how strong-willed she is, and how hard she works to master her life that has turned upside down. The contrast between her and her sister is great, and I found myself so frustrated by the way basically everyone behaved. But what can you expect in Faerie? Cardan will be a very difficult love interest (if that's where it goes) to get on board with because I'm SUPER picky when it comes to toxic relationships, and this has poison written all over it. But stranger things have happened. The story line was a little slow, in my opinion. Not much happens throughout most of the book, until the end, which is, admittedly, pretty awesome. This world is brutal, and the characters are cruel, but that's to be expected when faeries are involved. I love that Jude learns how to use her human-ness to her advantage, while also using tricks she's learned being raised in this harsh world.

I'm excited to see where this story goes. I hope with book 2 I can join the hordes of flailing fans across the book world. Until then . . . we wait.






Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Why Are People So Obsessed With THE BACHELOR? // Prince in Disguise Blog Tour

Why is The Bachelor Such a Popular Show?
by Stephanie Kate Strohm author of PRINCE IN DISGUISE

“Why?”
I guarantee you that everyone who watches The Bachelor has been asked that question at some point. “Why would you watch this stupid show? Isn’t it demeaning to women? Is any of it even real? WHY ARE YOU WATCHING THIS?! WHY?! TELL ME! WHY?!”

My first Bachelor Nation experience came midway through Deanna Pappas’ season of The Bachelorette in 2008. I was living in New York right after graduation, and my friend Rachel Ann was desperate to watch The Bachelorette but didn’t have a TV. My apartment may have been the size of a large suitcase, but it did have a TV, and we watched the last couple episodes together, but I didn’t really get invested until we watched the next season of The Bachelor, starring single dad Jason Mesnick.

Jason Mesnick is known for two things. One: collapsing on the balcony in tears. This balcony-crying-maneuver would go on to be called “Pulling a Mesnick.” Two: Although Jason proposed to Melissa Rycroft on the last episode, he then dumped Melissa on After the Final Rose (kind of like a Where Are They Now? wrap-up special) and told runner-up Molly Malaney that he wanted a second chance. Unbelievably, Malaney took him back, and they’re now married with kids! As host Chris Harrison likes to say, it really was the most dramatic season ever.

I’m sure a lot of people watch for those “I can’t believe that just happened!” moments, whether it’s something as dramatic as a Bachelor choosing no one at the final rose ceremony (that’s right, Brad Womack) or as harmlessly bonkers as a guy rolling up on the first night dressed like a cupcake (that’s right, guy-whose-name-I-forgot-because-everyone-just-called-him-Cupcake.)

Personally, I love the over-the-top dates, even though helicopters make me nauseous and I roll my eyes anyone says something like “Bungee jumping off this building is just like falling in love!” I love being able to vicariously travel all over the world and see all of these beautiful locations – who knows if I’ll ever get to cuddle puppies in Finland?

I’ve read articles suggesting that we love The Bachelor because it’s a sociological barometer for how Americans view love and sex, because it lets us feel superior, because it makes love seem simple, or it makes real love seem simpler than “reality” love. But that’s not why I’ve kept watching for almost a decade. Nope, it’s because there is part of me that truly believes, even despite the show’s absolutely abysmal track record, that love can be found in the most unlikely of places.

Even on reality TV.


PRINCE IN DISGUISE
by Stephanie Kate Strohm
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion (December 19, 2017)
Language: English
Goodreads | Amazon

Someday I want to live in a place where I never hear "You're Dusty's sister?" ever again.

Life is real enough for Dylan-especially as the ordinary younger sister of Dusty, former Miss Mississippi and the most perfect, popular girl in Tupelo. But when Dusty wins the hand of the handsome Scottish laird-to-be Ronan on the TRC television network's crown jewel, Prince in Disguise, Dylan has to face a different kind of reality: reality TV.

As the camera crew whisks them off to Scotland to film the lead-up to the wedding, camera-shy Dylan is front and center as Dusty's maid of honor. The producers are full of surprises-including old family secrets, long-lost relatives, and a hostile future mother-in-law who thinks Dusty and Dylan's family isn't good enough for her only son. At least there's Jamie, an adorably bookish groomsman who might just be the perfect antidote to all Dylan's stress . . . if she just can keep TRC from turning her into the next reality show sensation.

STEPHANIE KATE STROHM is also the author of Pilgrims Don’t Wear Pink, Confederates Don’t Wear Couture, The Taming of the Drew, and It's Not Me, It's You. 

She works as an actress and teacher in Chicago. 

Visit her website at www.stephaniekatestrohm.com and on Twitter @stephkatestrohm.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

BookTubers on SCYTHE by Neal Shusterman



Dark, twisted, unique, intense, amazing: these are the words that readers are using to describe SCYTHE by Neal Shusterman. Honestly, everything Shusterman writes is just so original and fascinating, he's an auto-buy author for us. Kit read SCYTHE and loved it, and immediately gave it to me. So excited for book two!

If you're looking for something to give the reader in your family, look no further! Read it now before THUNDERHEAD comes out in January.

Here's what the booktube community has to say about SCYTHE.




Age Range: 12 and up
Grade Level: 7 - 9
Series: Arc of a Scythe (Book 1)
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (November 22, 2016)
Goodreads | Amazon
Two teens must learn the “art of killing” in this Printz Honor–winning book, the first in a chilling new series from Neal Shusterman, author of the New York Times bestselling Unwind dystology.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery: humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now Scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

Scythe is the first novel of a thrilling new series by National Book Award–winning author Neal Shusterman in which Citra and Rowan learn that a perfect world comes only with a heavy price.

THUNDERHEAD
Series: Arc of a Scythe (Book 2)
Hardcover: 512 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (January 9, 2018)
Language: English
Goodreads | Amazon

Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, in the chilling sequel to the Printz Honor Book Scythe from New York Times bestseller Neal Shusterman, author of the Unwind dystology.

The Thunderhead cannot interfere in the affairs of the Scythedom. All it can do is observe—it does not like what it sees.

A year has passed since Rowan had gone off grid. Since then, he has become an urban legend, a vigilante snuffing out corrupt scythes in a trial by fire. His story is told in whispers across the continent. As Scythe Anastasia, Citra gleans with compassion and openly challenges the ideals of the “new order.” But when her life is threatened and her methods questioned, it becomes clear that not everyone is open to the change.

Will the Thunderhead intervene? Or will it simply watch as this perfect world begins to unravel?

Neal Shusterman is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty award-winning books for children, teens, and adults, including The Unwind Dystology, The Skinjacker trilogy, Downsiders, and Challenger Deep, which won the National Book Award. Scythe, the first book in his newest series Arc of a Scythe, is a Michael L. Printz Honor Book. He also writes screenplays for motion pictures and television shows. The father of four children, Neal lives in California. Visit him at Storyman.com and Facebook.com/NealShusterman.

Join the Conversation!

#Scythe #Thunderhead
Follow @SimonTeen on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook