Saturday, August 30, 2014

Feral Blog Tour {Guest Post and Giveaway}


I'm so thrilled to have the Feral Blog Tour stopping by today with a fun Guest Post by author Holly Schindler and an awesome Giveaway...
Feral
by Holly Schindler
August 26, 2014
Harper Teen

The Lovely Bones meets Black Swan in this haunting psychological thriller with twists and turns that will make you question everything you think you know.
It’s too late for you. You’re dead. Those words continue to haunt Claire Cain months after she barely survived a brutal beating in Chicago. So when her father is offered a job in another state, Claire is hopeful that getting out will offer her a way to start anew.
But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire feels an overwhelming sense of danger, and her fears are confirmed when she discovers the body of a popular high school student in the icy woods behind the school, surrounded by the town’s feral cats. While everyone is quick to say it was an accident, Claire knows there’s more to it, and vows to learn the truth about what happened. 
But the closer she gets to uncovering the mystery, the closer she also gets to realizing a frightening reality about herself and the damage she truly sustained in that Chicago alley….
Holly Schindler’s gripping story is filled with heart-stopping twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until the very last page.

WATCH THE FERAL BOOK TRAILER


I asked Holly to answer this very important question: If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by FERAL, what would it look and taste like and what would you call it?
The opening quote from FERAL comes from PARADISE LOST:
“The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n.”

FERAL is a classic psychological thriller—with a heavy focus on the mind.  While the book features mystery, horror, and paranormal elements, the emphasis is definitely on the “psychological” aspects, rather than thriller / action.  The novel features a Hitchcockian pace and focus on character development (here, we’re exploring the inner workings of the main character, Claire Cain).  Essentially, every aspect of FERAL is used to explore Claire’s inner workings—that even includes the wintry Ozarks setting.  The water metaphor is employed frequently in psychological thrillers to represent the subconscious or unconscious mind, and here is incorporated in the form of a brutal ice storm (that represents Claire’s “frozen” inner state).  The attempt to untangle what is real from what is unreal (another frequently-used aspect of the psychological thriller) also begins to highlight the extent to which Claire was hurt in that Chicago alley.  Even the explanation of the odd occurrences in the town of Peculiar offers an exploration into and portrait of Claire’s psyche.  Ultimately, FERAL is a book about recovering from violence—that’s not just a lengthy or hard process; it’s a terrifying process, too.  The classic psychological thriller allowed me to explore that frightening process in detail.  
Because there’s so much attention to the mind in FERAL, to the psychology and inner workings of the main character, Claire, I’d have to say that the cupcake I would create inspired by the book would have to be a tea party style cupcake.  The imaginary cupcakes you once created as a girl to go along with imaginary tea in your delicate little miniature china teacups.  The cupcakes would taste different for each person at the tea party: they could be richly chocolate, or Pixy Stix sweet, or jawbreaker sour—depending on her (or his) own state of mind.  
That’s another important aspect of FERAL: we all see the same world, but we attach different meaning to it, depending on what our own personal experience has been in the past.  For example, in the novel, a Peculiar High student can look at the woods near the school and see a hideout, an escape (the woods offers students a shortcut and place to hide to smoke).  Claire Cain, who has just come to town and has endured, only months before, a brutal gang beating back in her hometown of Chicago, can look at the woods and see nothing but danger.
So that’s what I’d have to create—imaginary cupcakes that live only in the mind, that taste as we expect them to, depending on our past experiences.


Holly Schindler is the author of the critically acclaimed A BLUE SO DARK (Booklist starred review, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year silver medal recipient, IPPY Awards gold medal recipient) as well as PLAYING HURT (both YAs).  
Her debut MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, also released in ’14, and became a favorite of teachers and librarians, who used the book as a read-aloud.  Kirkus Reviews called THE JUNCTION “...a heartwarming and uplifting story...[that] shines...with vibrant themes of community, self-empowerment and artistic vision delivered with a satisfying verve.”  
FERAL is Schindler’s third YA and first psychological thriller.  Publishers Weekly gave FERAL a starred review, stating, “Opening with back-to-back scenes of exquisitely imagined yet very real horror, Schindler’s third YA novel hearkens to the uncompromising demands of her debut, A BLUE SO DARK…This time, the focus is on women’s voices and the consequences they suffer for speaking…This is a story about reclaiming and healing, a process that is scary, imperfect, and carries no guarantees.”
Schindler encourages readers to get in touch.  Booksellers, teen librarians, and teachers can also contact her directly regarding Skype visits.  She can be reached at hollyschindlerbooks (at) gmail (dot) com, and can also be found at hollyschindler.com, hollyschindler.blogspot.com, @holly_schindler, Facebook.com/HollySchindlerAuthor, and hollyschindler.tumblr.com.  

Giveaway runs from 8/26 - 9/2

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Interview and Giveaway: Deborah Dunlevy, author of The Book of Sight


I'm excited to have author Deborah Dunlevy stopping by today to chat about her middle-grade book, The Book of Sight! Plus, you can win a copy of your own...

The Book of Sight
(#1)
by Deborah Dunlevy
3/22/13
Madison House Publishing

A book can be a wonderful gift.
When Alex received an unexpected package, she never dreamed the book it contained would change her life forever. After all, the words inside were gibberish. She had no idea the places that book would take her, the friends that book would help her make or the wonders that book would reveal. She had no clue the trouble that book would bring, either.
A book can be a dangerous gift.


What three words best describe The Book of Sight?
Wonder
Adventure
Friendship

Can you give us your best one sentence pitch to convince readers, especially reluctant readers, to give The Book of Sight a try?
Everyone and everything in The Book of Sight has personality and life, so the whole experience is more like making new friends than just reading a story.

Grab a copy of The Book of Sight and answer the following:
favorite chapter? Chapter 18 “A Brother’s Hand”

favorite page?  Page 185

favorite place/setting? The Gylf Forest

flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentence teaser:
“Practically crying with relief, Adam and Dominic both pulled on the rope and slowly, hand over hand, dragged Logan toward them.  They couldn’t see him, but they heard his oof of surprise when he hit the bank.”

What inspired The Book of Sight? How did the story come to be?  
When my oldest daughter was just a baby, the idea for this series came to me.  It started with the thought that it would be so amazing to discover a magical land that wasn’t some place you had to travel to but rather something that was already around you, only you needed your eyes opened to see it.  Once I started imagining such a world, all the rest came flowing quickly after.

Can you tell us a bit about your heroine Alex? What makes her special?
Alex is not modeled after a specific person, but she is similar in personality to my husband and my best friend, which means that I really, really like her.  The most remarkable thing about her is that she is deeply intuitive, so she has a way of sensing what’s important in any situation.  That’s something that will come in handy in the adventures she and her friends will have.

Can you give us any tidbits about what’s to come in future books in this series?
In this first book, the five friends meet and experience a whole new world with the Book of Sight.  They are still left with lots of questions at the end, though.  The Broken Circle (Book 2) focuses on their learning to trust each other and introduces an enemy who wants to break them apart.  The Secret Source (Book 3) brings along some creatures who can answer many of their questions, but they will have to get rid of the network of stones that runs under their town, which their enemy is using to spy on them.

If you could switch places with any literary character for one day, who would you choose and what would you do in their life?
There are so many that it’s almost impossible to choose!  Strange to say, I think in the end I would have to go with being a member of the Swiss Family Robinson, on the first day of their arrival on the island after the shipwreck.  I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of trying to survive in an unfamiliar environment, and I’d like to try my skills at problem solving with so much at stake.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of being an author?
Having an excuse to spend hours in my own imaginary world!  

Fill in the blanks:
I’m really awesome at sleeping.  I can do it any time and any place.

I’m really embarrassed to admit that even though I taught high school English, I’ve never actually read Julius Caesar. (I’m more of a Midsummer Night’s Dream kind of girl.).

The last great book I read was A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz.

If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by The Book of Sight, what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it?
Let’s see…a vanilla cupcake, because those are plain, with a surprise glob of chocolate cream in the center (something wonderful you didn’t know was there).  I would frost it to look like grass on top, with little purple flowers.  You’ll have to read the books to find out why!  I actually do love to make cupcakes, so I think maybe I’ll try this one out now.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Deborah!


Deborah Dunlevy was born in Indiana and grew up everywhere else. Even moving every year or two couldn't satisfy her desire for adventure, so she learned how to read and started taking trips into other people's lives. Eventually she grew up and went to college and got a respectable job as a teacher. Then she ditched that to go live on the other side of the world, where she had a few kids and learned what adventure was really about.
Deborah now lives in Indianapolis with her husband, Nate, her three kids, and an Argentine hound dog. She spends her time making up stories and sometimes writing them down on her blog tellmeastorymommy.com.

Win a copy of The Book of Sight!
Deborah has generously offered up 2 copies of her book for two winners in their choice of paperback or ebook.
DETAILS
-US/CAN only
-ends 9/6
-there will be two winners who will each win 1 copy
-must be 13+ to enter
-winners will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is NOT responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen prizes
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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Review: yolo (Internet Girls #4) by Lauren Myracle

You can read my review of books 1-3 in this series here.

yolo
(Internet Girls #4)
by Lauren Myracle
8/26/14
Amulet Books

Through texts and messages, the mega-bestselling, beloved Internet Girls series followed the ups and downs of school for three very different, very close friends. Now it’s freshman year of college for the winsome threesome, and *everything* is different. For one, the best friends are facing their first semester apart. Way, way apart. Maddie’s in California, Zoe’s in Ohio, and Angela’s back in Georgia. And it’s not just the girls who are separated. Zoe’s worried that Doug wants to break up now that they’re at different schools, and Maddie’s boyfriend, Ian, is on the other side of the country.In the face of change and diverging paths, Maddie’s got a plan to keep the friends close, and it involves embracing the present, making memories, and . . . roller derby! Using of-the-moment technology, Lauren Myracle brings her groundbreaking series into the brave new virtual world of texting and tweets.



I was so uber excited when I learned Lauren Myracle was returning to her Internet Girl series with the fourth book, yolo. I gobbled up the updated, reissued first three books in this series, then I devoured yolo in one sitting...and y’all, when it comes to the series, Lauren Myracle has still got it!

In yolo we find the winsome threesome beginning their exciting, yet totally scary college journey. College is awesome, but being separated is not so awesome. In Georgia, Angela traverses the treacherous and very blonde world of sorority life. In Ohio, Zoe is loving her classes, but hating the emotional distance between her and Doug. And fearless, wild-child Maddie is in California Living. It. Up...at least that’s what she’s telling people. Romantic woes, identity crises, weird roommates, homeless buds, and holes in the feet...all this and so much more await our three fave BFFs in yolo.

Returning to this series was like returning to the beach house you used to vacation at as a child, but haven’t been to in forever...it felt like coming back to a comfortable, yet exciting friend! Like all of Myracle’s books, yolo is bursting with humor, heart, compelling characters, and sparkling writing.

There’s something so fresh, hip, yet effortless, and innovative about the texts and messages format this series is written in. This format, along with Myracle’s ability to craft one helluva pitch-perfect voice, creates such a fun, expressive story. Myracle does a fabby fab job of mixing the funny with the serious and the poignant. And the funnies in this book are the crazy-laugh-out-loud kind! From Maddie’s snarktastic wit to Angela’s silliness and Zoe’s laughable seriousness, this book had me cracking up from beginning to end. This story isn’t all laughs though. Myracle touches on some very relevant topics (rape, hazing, depression, etc) and does so with refreshing honesty, intelligent analysis, and palpable emotions.

The winsome threesome all face unexpected challenges, startling revelations, and immense personal growth throughout yolo, but they still remain the same quirky, lovable, smart, engaging girls I fell in love with many years ago. I loved getting to see a whole new side of each girl (Maddie’s vulnerability, Zoe’s confidence, Angela’s maturity). And I love how genuine and real the friendship between these girls feels! Through all the heartache, crushing blows, self-doubt, confusing life moments, triumphs, and epic fails, these three girls never stop being there for each other and they never stop mattering to each other. And that, is a very bee-oo-tiful thang!

My Final Thoughts: I am so unbelievably happy that Lauren Myracle decided to follow the winsome threesom to college and give readers another giggle-snort inducing, heart-squeezing, utterly magical reading experience. If you loved books 1-3 in this series, then you’ll adore yolo. And if you haven’t started this series, then ya best get on that dudes and dudettes!

MY RATING


Lauren Myracle is the author of many books for teens and young people, including theNew York Times bestselling Internet Girls series, ShineRhymes with WitchesBlissThe Infinite Moment of Us, and the Flower Power series. She lives with her family in Fort Collins, Colorado. Visit her online at laurenmyracle.com.