Blog Tour: By the Book

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By the Book

By Amanda Sellet
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 12th 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Synopsis:
Mary Porter-Malcolm has prepared for high school in the one way she knows how: an extensive review of classic literature to help navigate the friendships, romantic liaisons, and overall drama she has come to expect from such an “esteemed” institution. Her love of literature even inspires her to imagine herself the heroine of a nineteenth-century novel. Not the sort who makes poor life choices and ends up dying of consumption while still in her teens, but the noble, virtuous, quick-witted type.
When some new friends seem in danger of falling for the same tricks employed since the days of Austen and Tolstoy, Mary swoops in to create the Scoundrel Survival Guide, using archetypes of literature’s debonair bad boys to signal red flags. But despite her best efforts, she soon finds herself unable to listen to her own good advice and falling for a supposed cad—the same one she warned her friends away from. Without a convenient rain-swept moor to flee to, Mary is forced to admit that real life doesn’t follow the same rules as fiction and that if she wants a happy ending, she’s going to have to write it herself.
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Guest Post

Meet the Characters

BY THE BOOK: A NOVEL OF PROSE AND CONS by Amanda Sellet

Mary

Being a reader means spending a lot of time in your own head. Mary is a person who thinks and feels deeply, but can sometimes be a step behind in picking up real-world cues. When the story begins, she’s caught between two conflicting ideas of herself. The first is that she’s less interesting than her siblings, and therefore easy to ignore. At the same time, there’s a little voice inside her (which I think most of us have) that whispers about a more exciting future, when she will make her mark on the world. She’s waiting in the wings, almost ready to step onto the stage – and she’s not 100% sure she knows her part.

Arden

I have known a handful of Ardens in my life. There is a warmth and energy and openness that almost makes you take a step back, like whoa; this person is plugged into a different frequency. It’s like they didn’t get the gene that makes the rest of us grumpy and judgmental, so they go through life looking at other people like they’re all lined up in a bakery window, one delicious surprise after another. Being generally optimistic doesn’t mean Arden can’t be hurt, however.

Lydia

If the fabled Emperor showed up in his “new clothes,” and the rest of the world was fawning over his non-existent threads, Lydia would be the first to say, dude, you’re naked. She can be brusque and intimidating, but she’s also fiercely loyal, and will definitely threaten to cut anyone who goes after her friends. The tricky thing is that her toughness can make it hard to see the vulnerability underneath.

Terry

If you surveyed a group of teens, most of them would probably say that being beautiful would make their lives easier. That’s not how it works for Terry. As a person who is shy to an extreme, attention is the last thing she wants. Quiet and analytical by nature, she’s comfortable in a small group but not looking for more. Of the four friends, Terry still has the farthest to go in terms of accepting herself and having the confidence to make her own choices.

Alex

Having learned at a young age that charm is a potent weapon, Alex knows how to smile and flirt, working the blue-eyed-boy thing to his advantage. As Mary gradually learns, that doesn’t mean he’s superficial, or only wants to take the easy road through life. Alex is also a loving brother with a sneaky sense of humor who is quickly intrigued by things – or people – who surprise him.

About the Author

Debut author Amanda Sellet had a previous career in journalism, during which she wrote book reviews for The Washington Post, personal essays for NPR, and music and movie coverage for VH1. These days she lives in Kansas with her archaeologist husband and their daughter.

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Prize: Win a copy of BY THE BOOK by Amanda Sellet

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Ends: May 20th 2020

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Blog Tour: The Queen’s Assassin

Blog Tour

The Queen’s Assassin (Queen’s Secret #1)

By Melissa de la Cruz
Publisher: G. P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: February 4th 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Synopsis:
Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Red Queen, this is the first novel in a sweeping YA fantasy-romance duet about a deadly assassin, his mysterious apprentice, and the country they are sworn to protect from #1 NYT bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz.
Caledon Holt is the Kingdom of Renovia’s deadliest weapon. No one alive can best him in brawn or brains, which is why he’s the Guild’s most dangerous member and the Queen’s one and only assassin. He’s also bound to the Queen by an impossible vow–to find the missing Deian Scrolls, the fount of all magical history and knowledge, stolen years ago by a nefarious sect called the Aphrasians.
Shadow has been training all her life to follow in the footsteps of her mother and aunts–to become skilled enough to join the ranks of the Guild. Though magic has been forbidden since the Aphrasian uprising, Shadow has been learning to control her powers in secret, hoping that one day she’ll become an assassin as feared and revered as Caledon Holt.
When a surprise attack brings Shadow and Cal together, they’re forced to team up as assassin and apprentice to hunt down a new sinister threat to Renovia. But as Cal and Shadow grow closer, they’ll uncover a shocking web of lies and secrets that may destroy everything they hold dear. With war on the horizon and true love at risk, they’ll stop at nothing to protect each other and their kingdom in this stunning first novel in the Queen’s Secret series.
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About the Author
Melissa de la Cruz is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for teens including The Au Pairs series, the Blue Bloods series, the Ashleys series, the Angels on Sunset Boulevard series and the semi-autobiographical novel Fresh off the Boat.
Her books for adults include the novel Cat’s Meow, the anthology Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys and the tongue-in-chic handbooks How to Become Famous in Two Weeks or Less and The Fashionista Files: Adventures in Four-inch heels and Faux-Pas.
She has worked as a fashion and beauty editor and has written for many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Allure, The San Francisco Chronicle, McSweeney’s, Teen Vogue, CosmoGirl! and Seventeen. She has also appeared as an expert on fashion, trends and fame for CNN, E! and FoxNews.
Melissa grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from The Convent of the Sacred Heart. She majored in art history and English at Columbia University (and minored in nightclubs and shopping!).
She now divides her time between New York and Los Angeles, where she lives in the Hollywood Hills with her husband and daughter.
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Prize: Win a copy of THE QUEEN’S ASSASSIN by Melissa de la Cruz

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Ends: 18th February 2020

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Blog Tour: Storm from the East

Blog Tour

Storm from the East (Glass Alliance #2)

By: Joanna Hathaway
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: February 11th 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure, High Fantasy
Synopsis:
Battles, revolution, and romance collide in Joanna Hathaway’s stunning, World Wars-inspired sequel to Dark of the West
Part war drama, part romance, Storm from the East is the second novel in Joanna Hathaway’s immersive, upmarket YA fantasy series that will appeal to readers of Sabaa Tahir, Marie Rutkoski, and Evelyn Skye.
War has begun, and the days of Athan’s and Aurelia’s secret, summer romance feel a world away. Led by Athan’s father, the revolutionary Safire have launched a secret assault upon the last royal kingdom in the South, hoping to depose the king and seize a powerful foothold on the continent. Athan proves a star pilot among their ranks, struggling to justify the violence his family has unleashed as he fights his way to the capital—where, unbeknownst to him, Aurelia has lived since the war’s onset. Determined to save the kingdom Athan has been ordered to destroy, she partners with a local journalist to inflame anti-Safire sentiment, all while learning this conflict might be far darker and more complex than she ever imagined.
When the two reunite at last, Athan longing to shake the nightmare of combat and Aurelia reeling from the discovery of a long-buried family truth come to light, they’ll find the shadow of war stretches well beyond the battlefield. Each of them longs to rekindle the love they once shared . . . but each has a secret they’re desperate to hide.
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About the Author
JOANNA HATHAWAY was born in Montréal and is an avid storyteller who was inspired to write after reading her great-grandfather’s memoirs of the First World War. A lifelong history buff, she now has shelves filled with biographies and historical accounts, and perhaps one too many books about pilots. She can often be found reading, traveling, or riding horses.
Her debut novel DARK OF THE WEST is the first in a World Wars-infused fantasy series of forbidden love and deadly revenge. STORM FROM THE EAST will hit shelves on February 11, 2020.
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Prize: Win (1) of (3) copies of STORM FROM THE EAST by Joanna Hathaway (US Only)

Starts: February 5th 2020

Ends: February 19th 2020

 

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Blog Tour: Below

Blog Tour

Below (North #1)

By Alexandria Warwick
Publisher: Wolf Publishing
Release Date: February 4th 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Synopsis:
From the author of The Demon Race comes a YA dark fantasy series inspired by Inuit mythology.
In the heart of the frigid North, there lives a demon known as the Face Stealer. Eyes, nose, mouth—nothing and no one is safe. Once he returns to his lair, or wherever it is he dwells, no one ever sees those faces again.
When tragedy strikes, Apaay embarks on a perilous journey to find her sister’s face—yet becomes trapped in a labyrinth ruled by a sinister girl named Yuki. The girl offers Apaay a deal: find her sister’s face hidden within the labyrinth, and she will be set free. But the labyrinth, and those who inhabit it, is not as it seems. Especially Numiak: darkly beautiful, powerful, whose motives are not yet clear.
With time slipping, Apaay is determined to escape the deadly labyrinth with her sister’s face in hand. But in Yuki’s harsh world, Apaay will need all her strength to survive.
Yuki only plays the games she wins.
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Guest Post:

Inuit Mythology Facts

 

The following should not be construed as facts, but rather beliefs. There are variations of mythologies depending on the location (i.e. the Inuit who live in Greenland may have differing mythologies than those who live in Nunavut or Nunavik). Lastly, this is only information I found during my research. I’m not Inuit so please take my following research findings with a grain of salt.

 

  1. The Northern Lights are believed to be spirits of the dead. Some Inuit believe they are human spirits playing a game with a walrus skull. Others believe they could be walrus spirits playing with a human skull.
  2. The Ijiraat are shape-shifting demons that cannot disguise their red eyes.
  3. The ruler of the sea goes by a variety of names depending on region: Sedna, Nerrivik, Arnakuagsak, among others. She is the creator of all marine life.
  4. Speaking of marine life, the seals, whales, and walruses were born from Sedna’s fingers.
  5. Those known as the shadow people live in a world beyond our perception and are almost never seen.
  6. It is said a brother and sister were playing a game of kissing. The sister lit a piece of moss and ascended into the sky. The brother followed. The sister became the sun, and the brother, the moon.
  7. Some Inuit believe polar bears are more human than bear, and that they walk on their hind legs. Nanuq (“polar bear” in the Inuktitut language), they believe, is the great bear who determines how successful an Inuk will be when hunting a polar bear.
  8. Inuit myths and legends are preserved through oral traditions, as well as song and dance.
  9. There is a demon that tickles its victims to death! It is called Mahaha.
  10. Parents and elders tell these myths and stories to teach children lessons.

 

About the Author

Alexandria Warwick is the #1 fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender. She is the author of The Demon Race and the upcoming North series.

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Prize #1: Win (1) signed paperback copy of BELOW by Alexandria Warwick (US Only)

Prize #2: Win (1) e-copy of BELOW by Alexandria Warwick (INT)

Starts: 29th January 2020

Ends: 12th February 2020

 

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Blog Tour: Given

Blog Tour

Given

By Nandi Taylor
Publisher: Wattpad Books
Release Date: January 21st 2020
Genre: Fantasy

Synopsis:

A subversive fantasy-romance steeped in West-African and Caribbean traditions.
Yenni has never been this far from home. With only her wits, her strength and her sacred runelore, the fierce Yirba warrior princess is alone in the Empire of Cresh. It’s a land filled with strange magics and even stranger people—many of whom mistrust anyone who’s different. But Yenni will prove herself, and find a cure for her father’s wasting illness. She will not fail.
No one warned her about the dragons. Especially not about him.
Yes, there is something powerful and compelling about the violet-black dragon known as Weysh. In human form he’s muscular, beautiful—and completely infuriating. What kind of arrogant creature claims a stranger as his Given; as his destined mate? Yenni is no man’s—or dragon’s—plaything. But other magics must be at work here, because Weysh might just be her best hope at finding the answers she seeks.
Only now Yenni can’t tell if she’s fighting her attraction to a dragon…or fighting fate itself.

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Guest Post

Dragon Folklore from the African Continent

 

In the world of Given there is a lot of mythology around Dragons. In the empire of Cresh and the surrounding nations a certain segment of the population known as “dragonkind” have the ability to shift into dragon form. Sadly there are no dragonkind among the Island tribes, as they were targeted for extermination during the colonial war 300 years ago. But the legends of the Island dragons remain.    

 

I have a ton of rich folklore to draw on for the Island dragons. They would likely look something like the fearsome grootslang of South African mythology, partially because I love saying that word, “grootslang.” The story goes that the grootslang is a giant snake with the head of an elephant. So far so good, right? The grootslang was a bit too powerful for its own good so the gods hunted them all down and split them into two animals, the elephant and the snake. But one escaped and now lives in a cave full of diamonds.   

 

Many of the dragon-like creatures of African legends favor serpents or crocodiles. Take the ninki nanka (another great name!) The legends about this one mostly come out of West Africa, Gambia in particular. This monster lives in swamps, and there are a few different descriptions of the Ninki Nanka. Some say it has a horse’s head, a giraffe’s neck and a crocodile’s body, but I prefer the stories that describe it as a long, reptilian creature. They’re supposed to be huge, over 30 ft in length. Furthermore, if you’re (un)lucky enough to spot one you might even fall ill and die! 

 

But my favorite is the legend of Aido-Hwedo, a giant rainbow serpent referenced in folklore coming out of Benin and Haiti. How giant, you ask? Big enough to surround the entire world, keeping everything snugly in place and then coil underneath it. According to the creation stories of the Fon people of Benin, Aido-Hwedo was the ferry of the creator, carrying her from place to place as she built the world.   

 

As you can see, I have many fantastical stories to draw inspiration from, and all this is only a brief glimpse into the monstrous and magical folklore surrounding dragons on the African Continent.    

About the Author
Nandi Taylor is a Canadian writer of Caribbean descent based in Toronto. She’s a two-time Watty award winner, and her Wattpad story Given has garnered over one million reads and earned the 2018 Worldbuilders Watty award.
Nandi grew up devouring sci-fi and fantasy novels, and from a young age wrote books of her own. Her books are an expression of what she always wanted more of growing up—diverse protagonists in speculative settings. Common themes she writes about are growth, courage, and finding one’s place in the world.
Her debut novel Given will be published by Wattpad Books in January 2020.
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Blog Tour: The Hand on the Wall

Blog Tour

The Hand on the Wall (Truly Devious #3)

By Maureen Johnson
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: January 21st 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Synopsis:
New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson delivers the witty and pulse-pounding conclusion to the Truly Devious series as Stevie Bell solves the mystery that has haunted Ellingham Academy for over 75 years.
Ellingham Academy must be cursed. Three people are now dead. One, a victim of either a prank gone wrong or a murder. Another, dead by misadventure. And now, an accident in Burlington has claimed another life. All three in the wrong place at the wrong time. All at the exact moment of Stevie’s greatest triumph . . .
She knows who Truly Devious is. She’s solved it. The greatest case of the century.
At least, she thinks she has. With this latest tragedy, it’s hard to concentrate on the past. Not only has someone died in town, but David disappeared of his own free will and is up to something. Stevie is sure that somehow—somehow—all these things connect. The three deaths in the present. The deaths in the past. The missing Alice Ellingham and the missing David Eastman. Somewhere in this place of riddles and puzzles there must be answers.
Then another accident occurs as a massive storm heads toward Vermont. This is too much for the parents and administrators. Ellingham Academy is evacuated. Obviously, it’s time for Stevie to do something stupid. It’s time to stay on the mountain and face the storm—and a murderer.
In the tantalizing finale to the Truly Devious trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson expertly tangles her dual narrative threads and ignites an explosive end for all who’ve walked through Ellingham Academy.
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Guest Post:

The Art of Writing A Murder

I was on a panel recently answering a very similar question: how do you write a good murder? I went into my explanation, some of which I will give in a moment. The gist of it, though, is that a good murder mystery is a game. The man sitting next to me, who had just written his first book, was shocked and horrified that I said murder was a game and he would never treat it as such. This seemed odd to me, as he had spoken at length about his love of Sherlock Holmes—the same character who said, “The game is afoot!”

Murder is not a game. Murder is terrible and ugly and the rightful object of horror. Murder mystery novels—at least the kind I prefer—are not about any of that. I like them classic. I like a mansion, a locked room, an island, an English village, an amateur detective, and a lot of suspects. This kind of book is a game, a puzzle, and if done well, one that a reader has a chance of solving if they pay attention. The author has to play fair—this means no introducing the murderer so late in the game that the reader doesn’t have a chance to know them. You have to hide many things from the reader, while pushing others just into sight.

This is how I approach it: I start with the general kind of murder I want to write. By this, I mean a type, a setting. For the Truly Devious, I wanted the remote mansion and a cold case. Then I started with why. Why did an event occur? You actually need to know why before you can know who. From there, I build the event out, making sure I understand everything at the center of this mechanism. The murder is like the eye of the hurricane, with winds blowing all around. Those winds blow out the clues, the flotsam and jetsam that lead to the solution. The footprint. The scrap of paper in the fireplace. The broken vase. The bump in the night. We start the story on the outer edge, picking up these weird little objects, trying to make sense of them. As we get closer to the event, we get more and more. The velocity increases.

This is how I picture it anyway. It also involves a lot of charts, notes, and the occasional spreadsheet, because you have to know where everyone was, what they were doing, what they could have seen or heard or found or done. It’s a really good excuse to crack out the sticky notes and fill a wall.

 

About the Author

Maureen Johnson is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of several YA novels, including 13 Little Blue Envelopes, Suite Scarlett, The Name of the Star, and Truly Devious. She has also done collaborative works, such as Let It Snow (with John Green and Lauren Myracle), and The Bane Chronicles (with Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan). Her work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, Buzzfeed, and The Guardian, and she has also served as a scriptwriter for EA Games. She has an MFA in Writing from Columbia University and lives in New York City.

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  • Win a copy of “THE HAND ON THE WALL”
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  • Starts 21 June 2020
  • Ends 4 February 2020
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