Oct 24, 2016

Blog Tour: Pushing Perfect

Top 10 fictional characters you would have over for dinner

1.            Turtle Wexler from The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (I know, she’s T.R. Wexler now, but she’d still be fun to talk to)
2.            Mrs. de Winter from Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (and maybe she’ll finally tell me her actual name!)
3.            Sula from Sula by Toni Morrison (she would definitely stir things up)
4.            Merricat Blackwood from We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (but I’d definitely have a food taster handy)
5.            Meg O’Keefe nee Wallace from A Wrinkle in Time, etc. by Madeleine L’Engle (I’d take her at any age, really)
6.            Will Stanton from The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper (I basically wanted to be him for my whole childhood)
7.            Hermione Granger from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling (I would have wanted to be her for my whole childhood, had she existed in my childhood)
8.            Sherlock Holmes (because I’m not sure you can really love mysteries and not want to meet Sherlock Holmes. But I wouldn’t mind having the Benedict Cumberbatch version at the dinner party…)
9.            Charles Kinbote from Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov (I have a lot of questions for him…)
10.          Merlyn from The Once and Future King by T.H. White (because magic. But I’d take Merriman Lyon from The Dark Is Rising too. Any version of Merlin would work)
A girl’s quest for perfection results in dangerous consequences in this layered, suspenseful YA novel by the author of Playlist for the Dead.

How far would you go to be perfect?

Kara has the perfect life. She gets perfect grades. She never messes up. Until now. Because perfection is an illusion, and Kara has been struggling to maintain it for as long as she can remember. With so much pressure to succeed, it’s hard not to do whatever it takes. 

But when Kara takes a new underground drug to help her ace the SATs, she doesn’t expect to get a text from a blocked sender, telling her to follow a set of mysterious instructions—or risk her dark secret getting out. Soon she finds herself part of a group of teens with secrets of their own, who are all under the thumb of the same anonymous texter. And if they don’t find a way to stop the blackmailer, their perfect futures will go up in flames.

This dark, emotionally resonant contemporary YA novel is perfect for fans of We Were Liars and The Secret History.

LINKS: Amazon | B&N

Michelle Falkoff's fiction and reviews have been published in ZYZZYVADoubleTake and the Harvard Review, among other places. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and currently serves as Director of Communication and Legal Reasoning at Northwestern University School of Law.

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Tour Schedule:
Week 1:

Week 2:

3 Finished Copies of PUSHING PERFECT (US Only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Oct 20, 2016

Blog Tour: Zebulon Finch, Vol. 1

And now a fun Fast 5 Q&A with author Daniel Kraus:

Last thing that made you cry:
Wow, we’re really going to start off on a tough one, huh? Well, I had to put one of my dogs to sleep pretty recently. He was old and had had a tumultuous life—he was a shelter dog, he got very seriously attacked once by another dog, and was always edgy around other living creatures. But he sure liked his people! There’s something particularly poignant about being so utterly in control of another being’s life—they’re really counting on you to do what’s right, no matter how hard it is. He was immortalized, though, in my book Scowler—he’s an actual character in the book—so I’m hoping he’s a minor celebrity in Doggie Heaven.

Last trip you took:
It was a trip up the California coast, from L.A. to San Francisco, and what was cool about this trip is that I got to follow the footsteps of Zebulon Finch in the last section of At the Edge of Empire. If you haven’t read the book yet, Zebulon gets involved with a famous actress named Bridey Valentine in 1930s-40s Hollywood. One example: Zebulon meets Bridey at the famous Hearst Castle, and I finally got to visit the castle and was hugely relieved to find out that I had gotten all of the details right—except a candlestick that Zebulon picks up as a weapon that ended up being HUGE in person. I’m not sure he’d be able to lift it in real life!

I also got to see various space craft at the California Science Center in L.A., and the legendary hippie enclave of Haight-Ashbury in San Fran… but that’s Vol. 2. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.

Favorite quote:
“A foraging wild creature, intent above all upon survival, is as strong as the grass.” –Richard Adams, Watership Down.

I’m obsessed with Watership Down. An entire wall of my house is filled with strange artwork based on the book.

Best moment as an author:
Honestly, it was finishing Vol. 2 of Zebulon Finch. It’s the one project I always wanted to finish before I was dead—I know that sounds grim, but it’s true—and for a long time I doubted it would ever actually happen. Well, it did, and there is a good amount of inner peace to be taken from that. I guess now I can start partaking in all sorts of dangerous activities now. Everest, here I come.

Favorite place in the world:
Home. I know, boring, right? But I also see it as a kind of success: it’s where I’m happiest, most hopeful, most productive, and surrounded by people and things that make me feel good. You know, all the deer antlers my dad gave me, my vintage Creepshow poster, my original Rod Serling art, my collection of obscure board games, and whatnot.

May 7, 1896. Dusk. A swaggering seventeen-year-old gangster named Zebulon Finch is gunned down on the shores of Lake Michigan. But after mere minutes in the void, he is mysteriously resurrected.

His second life will be nothing like his first.

Zebulon’s new existence begins as a sideshow attraction in a traveling medicine show. From there, he will be poked and prodded by a scientist obsessed with mastering the secrets of death. He will fight in the trenches of World War I. He will run from his nightmares—and from poverty—in Depression-era New York City. And he will become the companion of the most beautiful woman in Hollywood.

Love, hate, hope, and horror—Zebulon finds them. But will he ever find redemption?

Ambitious and heartbreaking, The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume One: At the Edge of Empire is the epic saga of what it means to be human in a world so often lacking in humanity.

LINKS: Amazon | B&N


Daniel Kraus is the acclaimed author of The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume One: At the Edge of Empire;The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume Two: Empire DecayedThe Monster VariationsRotter; and Scowler. With filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, he wrote Trollhunters. A writer, an editor, and a filmmaker, Daniel lives with his wife in Chicago. Visit him at DanielKraus.com.

Tour Schedule:

3 Finished Copies of ZEBULON FINCH, VOL. 1 (US Only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Oct 18, 2016

Blog Tour: If I Fix You by Abigail Johnson

When sixteen-year-old Jill Whitaker’s mom walks out—with a sticky note as a goodbye—only Jill knows the real reason she’s gone. But how can she tell her father? Jill can hardly believe the truth herself.

Suddenly, the girl who likes to fix things—cars, relationships, romances, people—is all broken up. Used to be, her best friend, tall, blond and hot flirt Sean Addison, could make her smile in seconds. But not anymore. They don’t even talk.

With nothing making sense, Jill tries to pick up the pieces of her life. But when a new guy moves in next door, intense, seriously cute, but with scars—on the inside and out—that he thinks don’t show, Jill finds herself trying to make things better for Daniel. But over one long, hot Arizona summer, she realizes she can’t fix anyone’s life until she fixes her own. And she knows just where to start . . .

LINKS: Amazon | B&N


Abigail was born in Pennsylvania. When she was twelve, her family traded in snow storms for year round summers, and moved to Arizona. Abigail chronicled the entire cross-country road trip (in a purple spiral bound notebook that she still has) and has been writing ever since. She became a tetraplegic after breaking her neck in a car accident when she was seventeen, but hasn’t let that stop her from bodysurfing in Mexico, writing and directing a high school production of Cinderella, and publishing her first novel.

Tour Schedule:
Week 1:

Week 2:

3 Finished Copies of IF I FIX YOU (US Only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Oct 14, 2016

Blog Tour: Illusion by Martina Boone

I can't believe it's the end of the series! But I'm so happy to welcome Martina Boone back onto the blog to talk one last time about the Heirs of Watson Island series.

1.  What have you learned in the last 3 years of publishing that you wish you could go back and tell debut author Martina Boone?

Wow. So much. I think I’d have to tell her to relax, let go of the book, and focus on writing. It’s so easy to get caught up in promotion and marketing and social media, in the novelty of having the honor of interacting with readers. Publishing a YA series has been such a mindblowingly wonderful experience, and I’m aware every single day how fortunate I am. But that in itself can be paralyzing, and my brain too easily tells me that I don’t deserve it. I would tell that naive, new me to have the courage to keep writing every day.

2. Which character has grown the most over the course of the Heirs of Watson Island?

Barrie. She has the biggest ARC because, when she first came to Watson Island with Mark’s instructions to live life to the fullest, she also had no preparation for how to do that. Thanks to the fact that her mother was a shut-in, Barrie had barely been out of the house in all her life and she’d had no real loving relationship other than Mark, her caregiver who was a mixture of Ru Paul and Whoopie Goldberg. Her minimal exposure to the outside world and her sensitivity to the hardships that Mark had experienced in his own life, she was so ready to champion any underdog and so certain that she was unbiased. In some ways, she was. In other ways, she was subject to the same biases that we all harbor without knowing it. I wanted Barrie to come to see the things she couldn’t see when she first arrived, not only the magic of Watson Island and first love and family, but also the inner journey to finding and understanding herself and her place in the world around her.

3. Which character surprised you throughout writing the series?

Honestly, they all surprised me. I wanted to ground Barrie constantly. I wanted to slap Cassie. Then I wanted to slap Seven Beaufort. I wanted to hug Eight and tell him he’d be all right. I wanted to ground Kate Beaufort and applaud her. I wanted to shove Obadiah and Mary and Daphne together and make them hug and make up already. And always, I wanted to finally give Pru Watson the respect and love and appreciation that she had never gotten in all her life.

Who surprised me the most? Eliza Watson Beaufort. In the guise of her counterpart, Eliza Lucas Pinckney who at the age of 17 ran three plantations for her father and founded the American indigo industry which became the third largest export in the colonies prior to the revolutionary war, Eliza was always the core of the series. She triggered my awareness of how many people were left out of the history I learned in school. But I never knew how to bring her into the books overtly, and I wasn’t sure she was going to end up in ILLUSION until I wrote her in one day without having planned it. Certainly until one of my critique partners nudged me into exploring her more in depth, I didn’t know she was going to become a character I truly loved.

4. Is there anything from COMPULSION or PERSUASION  you wish you could go back and change?

Oh, yes. But hindsight is always twenty-twenty. We grow as we write, and hopefully our characters grow as well. Barrie has an enormous ARC in this series, but I love her warts and all. It’s easy to see the flaws from where I’m standing now. All I can do is apply that knowledge to the next book.

5. What is your best author memory to date?

My daughter had trouble being an enthusiastic reader. Reading was difficult for her, so once I stopped reading aloud, fiction sort of fell of the grid. When she finished the first book that made her want to read late into the night, we went off to the bookstore the next day and bought an armload of books together. These included Becca Fitzpatrick’s HUSH, HUSH; Scott Westerfeld’s UGLIES, and Melissa Marr’s WICKED LOVELY. The first author event I did was a luncheon that my publisher hosted at BEA for me, Becca Fitzpatrick, Scott Westerfeld, Kresley Cole, and Christina Lauren. Melissa Marr was kind enough to do two of my launch events with me. At all the events, I kept singing the Sesame Street song in my head: “One of these things is not like the others.” But when my daughter heard about the schedule, she pulled the books we had bought from her bookshelf and told me how proud she was of me. She told me that I had proven to her that if you tried hard enough, you could accomplish anything. THAT is my favorite author memory. It’s followed closely by the first time someone told me COMPULSION was her favorite book of all time and thanked me for writing it. When I realized that COMPULSION could be the same kind of book for someone that turned my daughter into a reader.

6. Now that the series has ended, what do you have planned next?

I’ve got several books going simultaneously. The one closest to my heart is the one that’s killing me because it’s so hard to write. But essentially, it’s a fantasy with sci fi elements retelling of THE ODYSSEY.

7. Any last words for fans of the series?

Find the courage to be yourselves, my lovelies. It’s so easy for voices to be silenced, for girls or anyone who is vulnerable or not in the majority in power, to feel as though they don’t matter. As if they should put themselves second. Others feel that they have mattered so little in the past that they need to demand that they be heard. But strength comes in many forms. Beauty comes in every form and color. We all need to look for the magic and the bridges of understanding that exist around us and within us to become the best version of ourselves.

Barrie must rescue her beloved and her family from evil spirits in the masterful conclusion to the Heirs of Watson Island trilogy.

Caged by secrets all around her and haunted by mistakes that have estranged her from Eight Beaufort, Barrie Watson is desperate to break the curse that puts her family in danger—without breaking the beautiful magic that protects Watson’s Landing. To do that, she must heal the rifts that have split the families of the island apart for three hundred years, unravel the mystery of the Fire Carrier and the spirits he guards, and take control of forces so deadly and awe-inspiring they threaten to overwhelm her.

With the spirits that cursed Watson Island centuries ago awake and more dangerous than ever, she finds an unlikely ally in the haunting and enigmatic Obadiah, whose motivations and power she still can’t read—or trust. His help comes at a price, however, plunging Barrie into a deadly maze of magic and wonder, mystery and intrigue that leads through history to places she never imagined she could go.

LINKS: Amazon | B&N


Martina Boone was born in Prague and spoke several languages before learning English. Her first teacher in the U.S. made fun of her for not pronouncing the "wh" sound right, so she set out to master "all the words”—she's still working on that! In the meantime she’s writing contemporary fantasy set in the kinds of magical places she'd love to visit. 

If you like romance steeped in mystery, mayhem, Spanish moss, and a bit of magic, she hopes you'll look forward to meeting Barrie, Eight, Cassie, Pru, Seven and the other characters of Watson Island.

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Pinterest

Tour Schedule:
Week 1:

Week 2:

2 Complete Sets of the Heirs of Watson Island series (US Only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Oct 11, 2016

Blog Tour: Shutter by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Fast 5 with Laurie Faria Stolarz

Last thing that made you cry:
One of my biggest readers died a few weeks ago. She’d been sick for a long time, but had always seemed so positive and full of life; I hadn’t realized just how serious her situation was. We’d exchanged emails over the years and I’d sent her signed books and swag. Her mother told me that she had her calendar marked with SHUTTER’s release. I’ll be sending a signed copy to add to her collection.

Last trip you took:
I went to Savannah, Georgia and Hilton Head, South Carolina a couple of months ago for signings. What a beautiful part of the country.  Gorgeous!

Favorite quote:
There are so many quotes I love. Here’s one of my favorites: “When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.” – Wayne Dyer

Best moment as an author:
I did an author visit at a residential treatment facility for girls. Before I spoke, teachers and librarians warned me that a particular girl (a huge fan of my work) would not make eye contact. They told me not to be offended, that the girl would be sitting in the front row, but that she never made eye contact with anyone. I told them that was fine; I was just happy I could be there and that the girl could listen to me speak. The girl – fourteen years old, eight months pregnant, sucking her thumb, and holding a baby doll – did as they said, sitting in the front row, staring down the entire time. But, at the end of my presentation, after I was finished signing postcards for the other girls, she came up, asking me to sign her book, and for about half-a-second, she peeked at me and we made eye contact. That, to me, was huge.

Last thing you treated yourself to:
A massage.

Thanks, Laurie!

• Julian Roman, age sixteen, is an escapee from the Fairmount County Juvenile Detention Facility.
• His parents, Michael Roman and Jennifer Roman, are dead.
• Julian is wanted for murder.

• Why is Julian Roman on the run?
• Just how dangerous is he?
• And who did kill Michael and Jennifer Roman, if not Julian?

Seventeen-year-old Day Baker views life through the lens of her camera, where perspective is everything. But photographs never tell the whole story. After Day crosses paths with Julian, the world she pictures and the truths she believes-neatly captured in black and white-begin to blur.

Julian is not the "armed and dangerous" escapee the police are searching for, but his alibis don't quite add up, either. There is more to his story. This time, Day is determined to see the entire picture . . . whatever it reveals. Did he? Or didn't he?

Day digs deeper into the case while Julian remains on the run. But the longer her list of facts becomes, the longer the list of questions becomes, too. It's also getting harder to deny the chemistry she feels for him. Is it real? Or is she being manipulated?

Day is close to finding the crack in the case. She just needs time to focus before the shutter snaps shut.

LINKS: Amazon | B&N


Laurie Faria Stolarz grew up in Salem, MA, attended Merrimack College, and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston. 

Laurie Faria Stolarz is an American author of young adult fiction novels, best known for her Blue is for Nightmares series. Her works, which feature teenage protagonists, blend elements found in mystery and romance novels.

Stolarz found sales success with her first novel, Blue is for Nightmares, and followed it up with three more titles in the series, White is for Magic, Silver is for Secrets, and Red is for Remembrance, as well as a companion graphic novel, Black is for Beginnings. Stolarz is also the author of the Touch series (Deadly Little Secret, Deadly Little Lies, Deadly Little Games, Deadly Little Voices, and Deadly Little Lessons), as well as Bleed and Project 17. With more than two million books sold worldwide, Stolarz's titles have been named on various awards list.

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Tour Schedule:
Week 1:

Week 2:

3 Finished Copies of SHUTTER (US Only)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Oct 6, 2016

Blog Tour Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Welcome to the first day of the HEARTLESS blog tour! HEARTLESS is a brand new novel by Marissa Meyer, who catapulted to my favorite authors list with her Lunar Chronicles series. And, you can own it for yourself in 33 days!!!!

So let's chat about HEARTLESS, shall we?

There's a beautiful sadness you have to appreciate about HEARTLESS because it's an origins story of a universally hated character, the Queen of Hearts. No one likes the Queen; she makes poor Alice's like miserable. She's the villain. So to have the book start with such a sweet, innocent character like Cath makes it all the more bittersweet.

The writing is what makes this story. Meyer has a brilliantly beautifully brilliant way of creating a world and dimensional characters that you cheer for. I loved delving into another Marissa Meyer created world. It's absolutely never a disappointment.

I think readers of the Lunar Chronicles need to brace themselves for HEARTLESS. It's dark. You have to know by the synopsis that this isn't a happily every after. This is very much like film noir (which I happen to be a fan of). Don't go into this expecting frills and fluff. You'll be left reeling. 

I mean, HEARTLESS still left me reeling, but for completely different reasons.

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.

Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

And more of an FYI, if you want to share more general tweets about the Countdown and what we have going on, here is sample language for that!
  • Join the #HeartlessCountdown! See the 50 daily challenges from @FierceReads: http://bit.ly/2cD1D2S
  • .@FierceReads is giving away a special HEARTLESS ARC & more EVERY DAY until 11/8! Join the #HeartlessCountdown
  • 33 days until HEARTLESS! Share your excitement for @marissa_meyer’s new novel with the #HeartlessCountdown!