Thursday, March 27, 2014

BOOKANISTAS: Liv, Forever

When Liv Bloom lands an art scholarship at Wickham Hall, it’s her ticket out of the foster system. Liv isn’t sure what to make of the school’s weird traditions and rituals, but she couldn’t be happier. For the first time ever, she has her own studio, her own supply of paints. Everything she could want. 

Then she meets Malcolm Astor, a legacy student, a fellow artist, and the one person who’s ever been able to melt her defenses. Liv’s only friend at Wickham, fellow scholarship kid Gabe Nichols, warns her not to get involved, but life is finally going Liv’s way, and all she wants to do is enjoy the ride. 

But Liv’s bliss is doomed. Weeks after arriving, she is viciously murdered and, in death, she discovers that she’s the latest victim of a dark conspiracy that has claimed many lives. Cursed with the ability to see the many ghosts on Wickham’s campus, Gabe is now Liv’s only link to the world of the living. To Malcolm.

Together, Liv, Gabe, and Malcolm fight to expose the terrible truth that haunts the halls of Wickham. But Liv must fight alone to come to grips with the ultimate star-crossed love.


I'm famous for not really liking my books, movies, or TV shows creepy. At all. I'm very easily creeped out, and I've been known to be unable to sleep after even the most mildly creepy story. I was a little concerned that the creep factor of this one might be too high for me, but I found myself drawn to something about it and dove in, despite my reservations. 

This book was creepy, but in the best possible way. The school is creepy, the students are creepy, and, yeah, the ghosts that haunt the grounds of the school are super creepy. But I loved it, anyway, creepiness and all. Because it wasn't scary. It smothered on the creep without keeping me up at night, and that is the kind of story I can get behind. 

Being a romance fan, I loved the relationship between Liv and Malcom. I loved how, even after Liv's death, they brought out the best in each other. It was such a compelling relationship, and I wasn't sure what I was rooting for, because there's no real way for these two to be together. But, in the end, I loved the journey these two went on and how it changed both of them. 

I also had a lot of fun with the mystery of the school. A good mystery always draws me in; I love searching for clues along with the characters and trying to figure out what is important and what might mean something. This mystery was super compelling, and I had a hard time finding a good time to put the book down and go to bed because I wanted to know what happened! I read the whole thing in almost one sitting because I just couldn't walk away from the story. 

If you like ghosts, mystery, romance, and/or creepy gothic boarding schools, then you should check this one out. It's a lot of spooky fun.


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Lenore Appelhans is riveted by THE GLASS CASKET by McCormick Templeman

Monday, March 24, 2014

PUSH GIRL ARC Giveaway Winner!

Thank you all so much for entering my giveaway for a PUSH GIRL ARC! It makes me so happy that all of you want to read our little book. I'm thrilled that you guys are so excited for it!


Alas, I only have one ARC to give away for now, so there can only be one winner. And, thanks to random.org, that winner is...

JESSICA!

(No, not me. Heh. This one!)

Yay Jessica! I'll be in touch with you soon so I can send off your ARC! Everyone else, thanks so much for entering, and I'll keep you posted on any future giveaways! (And you can always pre-order PUSH GIRL if you haven't already. *wink wink*)

Happy Monday, everyone! xoxo

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

IN REAL LIFE Book Deal News!

I know three blog posts in three days after months of almost complete radio silence is a little extreme.
BUT.
You guys, I have some news. Big news. Major news. 
YES, it's true. IN REAL LIFE, the book I have been working on and trying to get right and pouring my heart into for what seems like forever, is going to be published. 

This book has all of my favorite things in it. The internet. Romance. Road trips. Best friends. Sisters. Las Vegas. Hot musicians. Live music. Late night phone calls. Secrets. More Las Vegas. Korean girls. Boys with glasses. Girls and boys behaving badly. Oh, and kissing. Of course. I am seriously so excited I can hardly see straight. 

It's been a long, emotional road for me and this book. I wrote it and I struggled and struggled to get it just right. There were things off here and there and I worked and worked and worked to get it perfect because I truly love this book, this story, these characters.

After about a year of work, I sent it to my agent last January. And she told me it wasn't quite right.
I was at a pretty low point after that. I thought this book was perfect, so getting these comments from my agent felt like a rejection. This book was so personal, and I got it wrong. How could that be?

I was letting it sit, trying to figure out what to do and how to fix it, when I got the deal for PUSH GIRL. So I had to put fixing it on the back burner while I worked my butt off on this new story. But Hannah and Nick were never far from my heart. 


It wasn't until pretty late in the year that I was all done with PUSH GIRL and was finally able to go back to IRL. Let me tell you, having the time away from it did worlds of good for my perspective. You hear that advice a lot - put a ms away for a month, three months, six months. I always scoff at it; who has that kind of time? But when the time is forced upon you, well, the advice turns out to be right on point. Thanks to the clarity that comes with distance and some brilliant new readers, I was able to see the problems in the story...and I was able to fix them.


I'll admit...I was a little nervous about sending it back to my agent. What if I didn't fix it? What if I can't? What if I have to give up on this book that feels like it's the best of me?

But, luckily, there is a happy ending to this story. She loved it. (And she was totally right about the issues it had.) And the editor I have been working on PUSH GIRL with at St. Martin's loved it. And after two years of work on this book (with a very long break in the middle there...WE WERE ON A BREAK!), the whole thing was wrapped up in just a few weeks. 

And now it's real! And Nick and Hannah are going to be out there in the world...next year! I'm thrilled!

So, I'll leave you with this photo that has been on my Scrivner corkboard for the past two years... 


Thank you all so much for your support! I'm so excited for you to read this book!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Another Quote From PUSH GIRL (And A Countdown!)


Yes, that's right! The countdown is on! Less than three months to the release of PUSH GIRL! I'M SO EXCITED, and I have some things planned as I prepare for the book to make its way into the world. Yesterday I posted an ARC giveaway, and today I have an actual quote from the book to share with you guys!

If you follow my co-author Chelsie Hill or the official Push Girls page on facebook, you already saw the first line of the novel last week.

Today I have a different line to share with you...


"This is the test of your life, Kara. This is the adversity that is showing who you really are, deep inside."

If you're not familiar with the concept of the novel, Kara is the victim of a drunk driving accident. She suffers a spinal cord injury in the accident and becomes paralyzed from the waist down. She is no longer able to dance, her big love since she was young, and she now uses a wheelchair because she can no longer walk. This is something Kara's dad says to her as she's preparing to go back to school for the first time after her accident. She's really having a tough time, and her dad sits down and gives her a little bit of a pep talk to help her feel better about going back to her pre-accident life. Kara pretty much hates the word "inspiration," but she has to admit her dad inspires her to face school the next day, even though she really doesn't want to.

So, who has inspired you in your life? What have they said to you that helped influence or change your behavior or outlook?

Monday, March 17, 2014

I'm Giving Away a PUSH GIRL ARC and Giving You An Update

Hi, everyone! *waves*

I know it's been so long since I've had an actual post here on my blog. Oh man, I know. Remember at the new year I said my word for 2014 was BALANCE? Well, I had a ton on my plate so far this year. Teaching has been kicking my butt, my MFA semester has been a challenging one, I've had a ton of writing stuff to do, and my life has been nuts. There were some days when I actually didn't think I would get done the things I needed to get done. It was getting hairy. In a desperate attempt to establish some balance, I had to weed out some things that were taking up too much time, so blogging was the first thing that had to go.

But just this week I stopped and looked around and realized...I have no deadlines right now! The trimester just ended at school and I got grades in, my MFA semester is over and things are quiet for the time being, and all of my writing stuff has been turned over to agent and editor and I'm in a bit of a holding pattern, waiting (not so) patiently for PUSH GIRL to come out on June 3rd.

So, yeah...free time? What? I can read all the books! I can write all the blog posts! I can take all the naps! Hooray!

Since it's been a long time since I've been here, I figure it's time for an update. Here's what's been going on in the world of PUSH GIRL...

I did my first pass pages!

It was so crazy to see the words from my computer looking like an actual book instead of a Word doc. It was fun to read the whole thing through again, but, I'm not going to lie, you guys...if I don't have to read this book again, I'm totally okay with that. We spent a LOT of time together last summer. I think the break will be good for us. If you love something, set it free, and all of that.

I got my ARCs!

I really love the cover of this book, and it looks even more awesome on the ARC than it does as an image on my computer. The colors are so bright and vibrant! And, OMG, it's really a real book for real now! Insane. One year ago I had no idea that this book was even in my future, and here I am holding an advance copy of it. The world is unexpected, you guys. Roll with the surprises it throws your way.

I got swag!

Look at this awesome swag designed for me by fellow '14 debut author Kristin Rae! (Her book, WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN, is so fun and awesome, you guys! Make sure you pick it up in May, because it's the next best thing to hopping on a flight to Rome.) Back when they were letting people vote for the colors for the cover, I was totally rooting for a different color combo - I'm of the life philosophy that everything is better in hot pink. But I'm telling you, the public obviously knew better than me because I absolutely love how these colors look together. I think my postcards, bookmarks, and bookplates are SO PRETTY. I can't stop staring at them.

It's getting closer, you guys. *bites nails* The book comes out in less than three months! I'm both excited and terrified at the same time. But mostly excited. But also terrified. Oh, I don't even know how I feel anymore.

But I do know that I want to give away an ARC of PUSH GIRL to one of you, just to say thank you for hanging out with me for so long and still coming back to say hi to me on my blog even though I haven't posted in a zillion years and I think I saw a tumbleweed roll by a little bit ago.

All you have to do is leave a comment below with your email if you want to be the winner. Of course, I would love if you shared this giveaway on twitter or fb or whatever, but you don't have to. And, of course, I would love for you to review the ARC if you win, and maybe even pass it off to a friend or share it with a loved one. I'll randomly pick a winner in a week - Monday, March 24th.

Thanks for all of your support and excitement. It really means the world to me. xoxo

Thursday, March 13, 2014

BOOKANISTAS: Alienated

Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them. 

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara's classmates get swept up by anti-L'eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn't safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara's locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class. 

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she's fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.


So, you may not know this, but Melissa Landers also writes adult contemporary romance under the name Macy Beckett. (And her books are AWESOME.) So, because this woman has proven that she can write a compelling romance, you know her YA sci-fi romance debut is going to be awesome. And, yeah...it is. 

This book is sci-fi. I mean, it's about aliens. But at its heart it's a YA romance, which is what I am all about. The slow-burn relationship between Aelyx and Cara is totally sizzling, and these two go from barely able to stand each other to barely being able to be in the same room without tearing each other's clothes off, which is exactly how I like 'em. 

There's also a really great story here - one that reflects a lot of things going on in our world in this sci-fi setting. There are a lot of parallels between our world and Cara's, and this book really does make you stop and think about things in our world. I always enjoy when books give me something to think about. 

Overall, this book is just FUN. Great premise, sweet, sizzling romance, and awesome writing. Oh, and did I mention how hilarious Melissa Landers is? Yeah, this book will make you LOL. For real.

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