Friday, April 29, 2016

Book Talk & Giveaway: DOWN WITH THE SHINE by Kate Karyus Quinn & Giveaway!

My book talks are coming at you from a librarian, not a reviewer. You won't find me talking about style or craft, why I think this could've been better or what worked or didn't work. I only do book talks on books I liked and want other people to know about. So if it's here I probably think it won't injure your brain if you read it.

Lennie has always been the kind of girl to attract trouble, so when her best friend Dylan is murdered she knows their connection had something to do with her death. But six months pass without anything worse than muttered whispered from her classmates, and dark looks from the townspeople. Graduation means leaving it all behind, and Lennie means to do exactly that - but first she'd like to clear the air. She knows taking some of her uncles' top-notch moonshine to the coolest party will earn her points- so she does exactly that.

The shine grants her entry, and her family's odd toast - required before any and all shots go down - draws attention, until Lennie has shared the love across the whole party, not knowing she just damned everyone. Lennie's family makes moonshine that grants wishes when drunk alongside the odd toast she's heard her whole life - and she just delivered wish fulfillment to a whole house full of blasted teenagers.

The guy that wanted balls of steel is getting a lesson in literalism. The kid that wanted to be able to fly has wings, and nobody can leave the party because their host said she wanted their night to never end. But Lennie has to set things straight - because her own wish to have her friend Dylan back safe in her own bed could have been fulfilled... and since all the other wishes have gone horribly wrong, she can't imagine what magic has done with hers.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

DOWN WITH THE SHINE Author Kate Karyus Quinn On Swag That Works & Giveaway!

Most authors will agree that the creative part of the job is where we excel, the business and marketing side, slightly less. It’s lovely when the two can meet in the form of SWAG – Shit We All Generate. I’ve invited some published authors to share with us their secret to swag… little freebies that can sell a book longer after the author is no longer standing in front of a prospective reader. In order to create great swag, you have to be crafty – in more ways than one.

Today's guest for the SWAG is Kate Karyus Quinn, an avid reader and menthol chapstick addict. She has lived in California and Tennessee, but recently made the move back to her hometown of Buffalo, New York, with her husband and two children in tow. She promised them wonderful people, amazing food, and weather that would... build character. She is also the author of ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE and (DON'T YOU) FORGET ABOUT ME both from HarperTeen.

Finding something that represents your book and hasn’t been played out by a million authors before is difficult. What’s your swag?

Hahahaha. I have done so much swag. DOWN WITH THE SHINE (available today!) is my third book (well I'm also part of the AMONG THE SHADOWS anthology so technically DWTS is my fourth) and I've tried a variety of things with all of them

I was definitely most enthusiastic with my debut, ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE. I started with the classic bookmark... and then kind of built from there. Listerine breath strips play a part in that book so I bought those and printed out teeny tiny stickers with my book cover on them to attach to the back. I also made stickers that I stuck onto little notebooks. Postcards, sell sheets, and bookplates were other easy printables. (pic: ALP postcard front final,  sell sheet, book plate).



I DIY'd all of that stuff too. Because I am cheap. Also because I am not always good at planning ahead, so I'll realize I need something and instead of finding someone to do it and waiting for whatever their turnaround time is, I just sit down at my computer and do it. Myself. I do not have a graphic design background, so there was a steep learning curve. I also do not have Photoshop, nor do I have any interest in learning how to use Photoshop. So instead (to this day!) I make due with a program I bought called Serif PagePlus X5. It's really meant for making newsletters, but so far it's done okay for my purposes.

The last thing I did for ALP was buy some iron-ons (they sell them at Office Max) and put them on t-shirts and canvas bags.


With my second book, (DON'T YOU) FORGET ABOUT ME, I calmed down a little. I made more bookmarks (of course) - ones that featured ALP on one side and DYFAM on the other. I also made a mixtape, which was kind of silly and fun and really a very very limited edition type of swag.


My big buy though were buttons, which again I designed myself and then had made by PureButtons.com The buttons were a really popular item at all the events I brought them to, but I quickly found out that A. They were heavy to travel with and B. They were also a bit pricey.



And that brings us to DOWN WITH THE SHINE. Again I began with bookmarks.


After those were taken care of I wanted something special to celebrate the cover reveal. Since a mason jar full of moonshine is at the front and center of my cover, I thought it would be fun to do something with that. After an afternoon spent wandering around JoAnn Fabrics, I finally decided to etch my title onto a glass mason jar mug. Wow. Of all my crackheaded DIY projects, this one was definitely the most crackheaded of all. Etching glass is no joke, because the stuff you use to do it can burn through your skin. So I had to buy gloves and painters tape and stickers (to make the title) and honestly the whole thing turned out to be a lot more work than I'd first anticipated. Also, shipping heavy glass mugs is pricey. On the bright side they did turn out well. Regardless, despite still having a nearly full jar of etching cream, I doubt this is a project I'll be doing again.


I decided to return to simpler, cheaper swag and so for my next piece of DWTS swag I made collectible stickers. I made them using apps on my phone (These apps were free when I downloaded them but are probably not free now. Every week there is a free app of the week at the Apple store and I always make sure to check it out and usually download it to give it a try. They vary from games to productivity apps to photo editing apps. If you are cheap like me definitely make checking the Apple store a weekly appointment.) The apps I used were WordSwag and then Brushstroke to put a sorta fuzzy just painted filter over them. I bought the stickers through Moo.com since they allow you to print multiple designs through one order (I also used them for my business cards and they make really nice ones of those too). I am really happy with how the stickers turned out, but I haven't yet brought them to an event so I'm not yet sure how popular they'll be.


My most recent adventures in swag was putting together a big box of swag to send to RT (which sadly I was not able to also attend) for an event called: You're Never Too Old For YA. I wanted to do something fun so I bundled together a DWTS bookmark, sticker, and then disposable straws (that I bought on Amazon) along with a tag on them (made by ordering cheap business cards through VistaPrint, cutting them in half, and then cutting slits in them to put them over the straws... which at 200 pieces was actually quite a tedious bit of work) that read: Take a Sip. Make a Wish.


How much money per piece did your swag cost out of pocket?

I have no idea. By DIY'ing everything I haven't had to pay for design but printing materials can still add up. The buttons were probably my priciest item per piece (I had to pay not just for the actual buttons but also the artwork I used to make the buttons which I found on Shutterstock.com), which is why I haven't done them again.

Of course, the time I spend designing or ironing things on or etching glasses while trying to keep my skin from being burned away by corrosive chemicals is time that I'm not spending writing... or with my family. So there's a cost there too even if it's not in $$$.

Do you find that swag helps you stand out at an event? 

Umm... yes and no. It kinda gives me something to do when someone comes to my table at an event. I can be like, "Hey, take a bookmark/sticker/button." It almost works like an icebreaker, which if you're an introvert sitting at a table trying to sell books to strangers then that can be a really good tool to have in your arsenal. It also makes me feel like I'm being a good table hostess. And all people like free stuff so it can be a draw - I definitely saw that the most with the buttons... but it's nothing like the sample stampede you'll see at Costco on an average Saturday afternoon.

What do you think of big item swag pieces versus cheaper, yet more easily discarded swag like bookmarks?

Eh, everything is easily discarded. I've tossed free t-shirts - or only used them for car washing day. Even nicer, pricier items can be seen as junk by someone who doesn't want/need them. I try to find the balance between swag that is relatively cheap but also kinda fun and original. With the buttons I wanted something that was more than just the book cover - something you might want to pin on your purse or jean jacket. Same with the DWTS stickers - I wanted them to be something you might stick to your notebook or locker... instead of the trash can. In the end, though, I think a lot of swag - no matter how nice - gets tossed.

What’s the most clever / best swag by another author?

Well I thought it was clever when Mindy McGinnis put stickers on bottled water for NOT A DROP TO DRINK. I think collectibles are really cool too and that seems to be a thing that's becoming more popular among authors.

And the biggest question – do you think swag helps sell books?

Oh, hmmm... I'd say, no, not really. But also yes. I mean, I'd be pretty dumb to have spent time and money on all this swag if I didn't believe it was doing something. But I don't think swag directly leads to sales. I do, however, think it helps raise awareness. It puts your book title or cover in front of eyeballs that might not have seen it otherwise and eventually that person might be craving something new to read and they'll remember your book... all because you handed them a free bookmark one time.

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Monday, April 25, 2016

DOWN WITH THE SHINE Safe Wishing PSA & Signed Giveaway! (Plus FEMALE OF THE SPECIES ARC Giveaway & A Bag of Cheetos)

Tomorrow Kate Karyus Quinn's new book with HarperTeen, DOWN WITH THE SHINE releases. Kate is a friend of mine, but she's also one of my favorite authors, and I also got to read an early copy of her newest. Here's a quick summary of what it's about:


There's a reason they say "be careful what you wish for." Just ask the girl who wished to be thinner and ended up smaller than Thumbelina, or the boy who asked for "balls of steel" and got them-literally. And never wish for your party to go on forever. Not unless you want your guests to be struck down by debilitating pain if they try to leave.

These are things Lennie only learns when it's too late-after she brings some of her uncles' moonshine to a party and toasts to dozens of wishes, including a big wish of her own: to bring back her best friend, Dylan, who was abducted and murdered six months ago.

Lennie didn't mean to cause so much chaos. She always thought her uncles' moonshine toast was just a tradition. And when they talked about carrying on their "important family legacy," she thought they meant good old-fashioned bootlegging.

As it turns out, they meant granting wishes. And Lennie has just granted more in one night than her uncles would grant in a year.

Now she has to find a way to undo the damage. But once granted, a wish can't be unmade... 

Because this book is about wishes and the many many many ways in which they can go wrong, I wanted to put together some helpful public service announcements - or PSA's - to help other people out there make sure they're wishing safely. Today, I'm revealing all three of them. 

The first one is here on my blog, the other two can be found on Brenda Drake's blog and Kate Karyus Quinn's blog. With each reveal is a separate giveaway to go with each trailer where you can win books and fun swag. 

And so without further ado, here it is - PSA #3



And here is giveaway #3 to go with PSA #3. Don't forget to visit both Brenda's and Kate's blog to see the other PSA's and enter the other giveaways!

Enter below to win a signed hardcover of DOWN WITH THE SHINE from Kate, a signed ARC of THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES from Mindy -- and Kate is throwing in a bag of Cheetos too.

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Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Saturday Slash

Meet my Hatchet of Death (or, some other colorful description RC Lewis and I come up with at any given moment). This is how I edit myself, it is how I edit others. If you think you want to play with me and my hatchet, shoot us an email.

We all know the first line of a query is your "hook." I call the last line the "sinker." You want it to punch them in the face, in a nice, friendly kind of way that makes them unable to forget you after having read the 300 other queries in their inbox.

If you're looking for query advice, but are slightly intimidated by my claws, blade, or just my rolling googly-eyes, check out the query critique boards over at AgentQueryConnect. This is where I got my start, with advice from people smarter than me. Don't be afraid to ask for help with the most critical first step of your writing journey - the query. My comments appear in green.

Wolf, a teenage soldier of Māori descent, struggles with his asexual identity as he fights to protect the Empire from the Rebels. Their forces are growing stronger, fuelled by every wrongful death at the hands of the Emperor. They have to be stopped, before everything Wolf has ever known is destroyed. A few things - this sounds like high fantasy or sci-fi, but you have a descendant of a real-life tribe mentioned here. I'm not sure that's the best approach. Also, while the asexual identity is a good character trait to mention in the query, it has nothing to do with anything else going on in this hook.

Once a scamp on the streets, and now a star soldier in the Army, Wolf is still as alone as ever. Loyalty to the Empire is crucial, and so he must stand by as all troublemakers are executed, despite his growing misgivings about the Empire's methods. Questioning orders is not an option. This would almost make a better hook - your intro paragraph is rather generic. It could be the lead in to just about any "rise against the power" SF/F tale. Consider blending this with Rebel mentions in first para to create your hook, and leave LGBT mentions for title, word count para at the end.

After discovering a traitor amongst his fellow soldiers, kill the comma here and watching his friend die in a Rebel ambush, Wolf can't tell who to trust. One by one, lies, secrets, and betrayals are unveiled. He starts to suspect Pablo, a Training Instructor, of working with the Rebels, but when Wolf reports his suspicions, attention is drawn to him and his sympathy for the scamps. As even his own mind turns against him what does this mean?, Wolf struggles to cope with the responsibility the Emperor has given him.

The Emperor has a plan to defeat the Rebels. Wolf is forced to make a decision between listening to his conscience and losing everything he's worked for, or agreeing to set a trap for the Rebels, using his own people as bait. This could be their one chance to win the war. But Wolf is no longer sure about what he's fighting for. Again, I'm not seeing the asexuality coming into play at any point in the plot. Don't just use it in the hook as an attempt to draw in an agent unless it's truly important to the plot.

THE EMPIRE is a young adult dystopian novel of 85,000 words featuring a diverse LGBT+ cast. It's a stand-alone book with series potential. The mention here of LBGT is great - I would stick with this as your mention of character traits because it puts it out there without making it seem like a focus, which makes me think is a better representation of the book itself. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Book Talk & Giveaway: AWAKE by Natasha Preston

My book talks are coming at you from a librarian, not a reviewer. You won't find me talking about style or craft, why I think this could've been better or what worked or didn't work. I only do book talks on books I liked and want other people to know about. So if it's here I probably think it won't injure your brain if you read it.

Scarlett can't remember anything from before she was four years old and her family lost their home in a fire. She's put her lost memories behind her, until a car accident forces them to the surface, along with a name of a little girl that she knows is a real person - not a memory of her favorite doll, as her parents keep telling her. Determined to discover the truth with the support of her new boyfriend, Noah, Scarlett starts seeing a hypnotist.

Noah doesn't like the outside world. Leaving behind the commune to help bring Scarlett back into the fold so that she can fulfill her destiny isn't easy for him. But as he starts to actually fall for her instead of just pretending to, he has to question the commune's goal - which will end in her death.

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Monday, April 18, 2016

Where I'll Be This Week, Spotted in Shanghai, And 5 Reasons To Read Not A Drop To Drink

This week I will be at the Upper Arlington Public Library on Thursday, April 21 from 7-8:30 PM along with other featured authors who will be at the Ohioana Book Festival.


Followed by the Ohioana Book Festival which is on Saturday, April 23 at the Sheraton Columbus Hotel. For a list of participating authors who will be at the event, click here.


I also want to share with you this photo that fellow Ohio author Margaret Peterson Haddix sent to me from China! She is currently in Shanghai on a book tour and spotted students from the Shanghai America School reading NOT A DROP TO DRINK! So exciting to see my book in the hands of students overseas.


Lastly, I must share this fantastic BookTuber video from Trina of Between Chapters, who is one of my biggest fans. She put together a great video of 5 Reasons to Read Not A Drop To Drink.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Saturday Slash

Meet my Hatchet of Death (or, some other colorful description RC Lewis and I come up with at any given moment). This is how I edit myself, it is how I edit others. If you think you want to play with me and my hatchet, shoot us an email.

We all know the first line of a query is your "hook." I call the last line the "sinker." You want it to punch them in the face, in a nice, friendly kind of way that makes them unable to forget you after having read the 300 other queries in their inbox.

If you're looking for query advice, but are slightly intimidated by my claws, blade, or just my rolling googly-eyes, check out the query critique boards over at AgentQueryConnect. This is where I got my start, with advice from people smarter than me. Don't be afraid to ask for help with the most critical first step of your writing journey - the query. My comments appear in green.

Twelve-year-old Amanda is a vibrant spot in a boring town, thanks to her vivid imagination and adventuresome spirit. Even her neon-green crocs I like the voice here but I'm not are about using a brand name in a query. Also, I think Crocs might be out and bright-yellow denim cutoffs can be seen from outer space. Too bad the only thing remotely interesting—and kind of creepy—about her town is the never-before-seen bacterium that broke out a month ago. The mysterious disease only infects kids, giving them cold-like symptoms along with a ring of purple sores on their foreheads. Even more disturbing, none of the infected has (have - assuming the infected are plural) recovered. This is reading great, but maybe a touch more here on what you mean by recovered. Are they home in bed? In the hospital? Dying, or just inconvenienced and scared?

But after an inspiring Social Studies lesson on famous explorers, Amanda investigates the woods by her house, yanking her friend Sam along for the mission. Much to their surprise, they discover what appears to be a giant spaceship in the forest’s clearing. They then spaz out as they witness every grownup in town, including their parents, fly out of the ship Superman-style. Completing the frightening scene is the school nurse carrying the bacterium’s latest unconscious victim into the ship.

Amanda and Sam put two and two together—aliens must have replaced all the adults in town and are testing the bacterium on the kids before using it for global domination. Amanda and Sam race to alert the authorities in the next town, but the aliens are one step ahead. And now that Amanda and Sam have started start exhibiting signs of the debilitating bacterial infection themselves, they’re running out of time not just to save themselves, but all of mankind.

Read it to yourself out loud to double check your tenses, but overall this is in good shape and just needs that final polish before you start querying!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Book Talk & ARC Giveaway: RUINED by Amy Tintera

My book talks are coming at you from a librarian, not a reviewer. You won't find me talking about style or craft, why I think this could've been better or what worked or didn't work. I only do book talks on books I liked and want other people to know about. So if it's here I probably think it won't injure your brain if you read it.

Emalina is one of the last royalty of her people, the Ruined. Once powerful, yet feared for their magic and cruelty of their ruling family, they were destroyed by the neighboring kingdom of Lera. Em saw her parents murdered, and her younger sister Olivia kidnapped. Though Em is the older sister, she did inherit magical abilities, and Olivia is now the rightful Queen. And Em is determined to save her at all costs.

Em ambushes the Leran Prince's fiancee's carriage on its way to their marriage - and what would have been their first meeting. She takes the girl's place, posing as the Princess Mary and following through with a marriage to one of the worst enemies of her people - the royal family of Lera. Though she expects to hate her new husband, she'll suffer anything - even her wedding night - to learn where the Lerans are holding her sister.

But Prince Casimir is kind and nothing like his father, who would see all Ruined hunted down and executed. When one of Em's conspirators and best friends is captured in the woods, Cas even listens to his wife when she raises questions about the treatment of the Ruined, and the Leran policy of killing them on sight.

Em finds herself dangerously close to falling in love with her husband - the man she will need to kill when she and the other Ruined spring their trap, and release her sister.

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Monday, April 11, 2016

What I'm Up To This Week

First of all, a huge thanks to everyone that helped make the Kindle Daily Deal for NOT A DROP TO DRINK such a huge success over the weekend. It makes a farm girl from Ohio feel good to see her book hanging with the bigwigs.


And if you'd like to hang out with me this week the place to do that would be the Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library in Stow, Ohio at 7PM on Wednesday the 13th. I'll be talking about the inspiration behind NOT A DROP TO DRINK, my publishing journey, as well as selling and signing books.


Sunday, April 10, 2016

NOT A DROP TO DRINK Is The Kindle Deal of the Day! $1.99



NOT A DROP TO DRINK is the Kindle Deal of the Day, $1.99 for today only!

From Amazon:

Fans of classic frontier survival stories, as well as readers of dystopian literature, will enjoy this futuristic story where water is worth more than gold. New York Times bestselling author Michael Grant says Not a Drop to Drink is a debut "not to be missed." With evocative, spare language and incredible drama, danger, and romance, Mindy McGinnis depicts one girl's journey in a frontierlike world not so different from our own.

Teenage Lynn has been taught to defend her pond against every threat: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and most important, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty—or doesn't leave at all. Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. But when strangers appear, the mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won't stop until they get it. . . .

For more in this gritty world, join Lynn on an epic journey to find home in the companion novel, In a Handful of Dust.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Book Talk & ARC Giveaway: THE BLOOD BETWEEN US by Zac Brewer

My book talks are coming at you from a librarian, not a reviewer. You won't find me talking about style or craft, why I think this could've been better or what worked or didn't work. I only do book talks on books I liked and want other people to know about. So if it's here I probably think it won't injure your brain if you read it.

Adrien has never liked or trusted his sister Grace. Even though he was adopted into their family, they're too alike for comfort, always competing against each other as their intellects clash. When their parents die in a lab explosion, Adrien seeks solace by escaping to a California boarding school.

Three years away from Grace should be enough to allow old wounds to heal, but when a family friend's illness brings Adrien back home for his senior year, he discovers that the two of them are at each other's throats more than ever. To make matters worse, Grace has spent his absence spreading stories about Adrien in the boarding school they now share. He's returned home to find no new bonds with his sister, and old ones severed by her lies.

When he receives anonymous texts claiming that Grace had something to do with their parent's death, Adrian ignores them. Until he remembers a mysterious journal of his father's with missing pages that Grace has in her possession. With few friends and less people to believe him, Adrien fears that Grace's secrets might be dangerous to more people than just their dead parents.

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Monday, April 4, 2016

Research As Writing Inspiration & The Cure For Writer's Block

One of the most common questions I get when I do school and library visits is how I deal with writer's block. My answer is not a popular one, but it remains the same.

I don't necessarily think writer's block exists. If it does I haven't experienced it yet, so if / when I do I will come back to this post and eat some crow. For now I call it procrastination, something all writers are familiar with, and I think procrastination itself is a symptom of fear.

I always have ideas, I just don't necessarily know how to execute them. Typically if I've hit a scene that is dragging or I simply don't know what happens next, it's because I don't know enough about my topic to deliver. For example I was recently writing a scene that took place in the back of an ambulance. I had no idea what the medics were wearing, what machines they had back there, what kind of language they would use to communicate with each other. It took three days and the exchange of over 25 emails with an EMT friend in order to finish that scene - which is only two pages long.

That's a snail's pace, and incredibly frustrating. But diving into the research for the particular disease that afflicts my main character was enlightening in more ways than just medical terms. I'd reached the halfway point on the manuscript and was wading into waters that went over my head. I vaguely knew what I wanted to have happen in my plot, but knew I needed a juicy subplot in order to avoid a saggy middle.

Some research provided me with exactly what I needed. Just a few lines out of a medical journal provided a simple fact - candidates for heart transplants wear pagers to be alerted when a heart that matches them is available  - and suddenly I had a supporting character, a subplot, and an entire backstory for her that would could nicely draw out a few of my main character's less-lovely characteristics.

One line of research provided me with enough material to fill at least a quarter of the gaping back half of my book. Being a pantser isn't for everyone, and I know that if I were a planner I could have avoided this particular gaping hole of almost-writer's-block that stared me down last week. But I stared back, did some research, emailed some friends, and it flinched first.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Saturday Slash

Meet my Hatchet of Death (or, some other colorful description RC Lewis and I come up with at any given moment). This is how I edit myself, it is how I edit others. If you think you want to play with me and my hatchet, shoot us an email.

We all know the first line of a query is your "hook." I call the last line the "sinker." You want it to punch them in the face, in a nice, friendly kind of way that makes them unable to forget you after having read the 300 other queries in their inbox.

If you're looking for query advice, but are slightly intimidated by my claws, blade, or just my rolling googly-eyes, check out the query critique boards over at AgentQueryConnect. This is where I got my start, with advice from people smarter than me. Don't be afraid to ask for help with the most critical first step of your writing journey - the query. My comments appear in green.

Eloise Assad doesn’t think anyone would make the mistake of calling her lucky. Lucky people have families, living bodies, and souls. Eloise sleeps in a grave and works for her sworn enemies: the mages who stake the undead. Unless luck plays a real part in the plot or theme of the book, I wouldn't use it in a hook. Also why would she be working for her enemies?

The mages know Eloise is a vampire, but to almost everyone else, she uses glamour to pose as a witch. So that's better in this society? Her secret keeps her alive in southwest Colorado, where climate change refugees have overwhelmed the town of Senna. With thousands of people on the move, there’s no shortage of evil magicians and monsters swarming to Senna to take advantage of them: vampires, sorcerers, shapeshifting mavens, doppelgangers, wraiths and ghouls. Eloise and the mages protect the defenseless from harm. So it's post-apocalyptic and fantasy? It sounds here like all of these supernatural creatures are part of daily life now. It might take some explaining within the query. Did they just show up along with the climate change to terrorize people? Or is this like an alternate earth where the creatures were always there in the first place?   

But a terrible enemy Human? Supernatural? has infiltrated headquarters, and discovered Eloise and her secrets – including the fact that Eloise is in love with a mage. A love that’s forbidden within the strict laws of magic. She doesn’t realize her unrequited feelings are a perfect tool to destroy her as well as the man she loves. Still not understanding the dynamic of Eloise working for her sworn enemies in the first place. I assumed it was a slave / forced indenture sort of thing but it's not reading that way.

Eloise is now the target of a powerful sorceress, an ancient priestess in control of a coven of vampires. They’ve found a way to annihilate all the mages, starting with everyone in Senna.

As Eloise and her teammates fight for their lives, Eloise must confront nightmares and secrets, terror and lies, her forbidden love and her greatest fear, as she tries to outwit an enemy who is always three steps ahead—only to find herself caught in one final trap. In a vampire temple full of snakes and human bones, Eloise has to face the hard truth that she will never save the people she loves unless the most ruthless vampire in the room is herself. So is that a problem for her? Does she hate what she is?    

We need to know a lot more about our MC's feelings - not just the romance. Does she hate being a vampire? Why is she working for the mages? What does "working for them" entail? Do the mages only go after vampires? If she's using her glamour to pretend to be a witch, then being a witch must be okay... but being any number of other things isn't? The world building needs a better explanation within the query in order for this to come together.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Book Talk: DON'T GET CAUGHT by Kurt Dinan, Trailer & Giveaway!

My book talks are coming at you from a librarian, not a reviewer. You won't find me talking about style or craft, why I think this could've been better or what worked or didn't work. I only do book talks on books I liked and want other people to know about. So if it's here I probably think it won't injure your brain if you read it.

The Chaos Club has reigned at Max's small Ohio high school forever. No one knows who is in it, only that the members are replaced every year, inducted into a long history of pulling daredevil pranks that - sometimes - cross the line. From putting cows on the roof of the school to stuffing lockers with rising bread dough, the Chaos Club is legendary.

Max never expected an invitation to join - and should have known better. Instead of being inducted into the group, he's framed for defacing the water tower. Alongside the four other students affected by the latest Chaos Club stunt - their best lacrosse player, an angry art student, the preacher's daughter, and the resident slacker - Max decides they need to strike back.

The Water Tower Five is formed, executing pranks that even the Chaos Club wouldn't attempt. Everything from a pep rally turned puke fest to re-arranging the aerial shot of the senior class into something less than acceptable, is all done in the name of the Chaos Club... even though the Water Tower Five are responsible.

With the school - and law enforcement - going to all lengths to catch the infamous (and innocent) Chaos Club, the Water Tower Five have to watch their backs, protecting themselves from prosecution, revenge - and possibly each other.



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