Giveaway & Interview With Katherine Longshore (You need this book!)

So if you caught my post on Monday it was a review of Brazen by Katherine Longshore. OH MY GOODNESS. Please tell me it’s on your TBR. If you like fun historical novels or the show Reign…get on this. And if you are not NORMALLY into historical fiction…I vote giving this one a chance. Given my love for history and this book, you can imagine how excited I am for this interview with Katherine Longshore ALL about Brazen, her research and more!

Brazen by Katherine Longshore

1. Describe Brazen in 6 words or less.

I think the tagline does it well in three: Duty. Loss. Rebellion. Though I’d have to add two more: Love and Friendship.

2. In Gilt and Tarnish you wrote about a bit more well known figures in King Henry VIII’s court, what drew you to Mary Howard to write from her POV in Brazen?

One of the first things that drew me to Mary was that she never remarried. This was something almost unheard of in the Tudor court, and definitely frowned upon by the men in her family who were looking to capitalize on her gender, looks and status in any way possible. I wanted to know why. I could only figure that out for myself by getting inside her head for a while.

But probably the most compelling thing that inspired me to write about Mary was the Devonshire Manuscript. I came across a reference to it when I was researching Anne Boleyn and Thomas Wyatt’s relationship, and found the idea utterly compelling. It is a real leatherbound volume in which many different people (including Thomas Wyatt, and some say, Anne Boleyn) wrote poetry, comments and cryptic notes. It was apparently passed around the court for several years. Two of the most consistent hands were those of Madge Shelton and Margaret Douglas, and the initials stamped on the cover were M.F.—Mary (Howard) FitzRoy. I latched onto the idea of this literary brat pack roaming the galleries of Hampton Court and Henry’s other palaces, and took off from there.

3. How do you balance the historical facts and the fictional liberties when writing? How do you choose what remains completely accurate and what doesn’t?

I have always felt that when it comes to the Tudor court, truth is stranger than fiction. The raw material (the tyrannical king, the manipulative advisors, the six very different wives) is irresistible. Because of this, I try to be as accurate as I possibly can with the facts: who, what, where, when. If my characters birthdays were noted, I cannot make them older or younger. If there wasn’t solid evidence that Henry VIII had an affair with someone, I don’t include it. If Anne Boleyn was at Hampton Court on such and such a date, that’s where I keep her—even if it might suit my story better to have her somewhere else. Thus the long stretches in BRAZEN when Mary and Fitz are separated—he wasn’t at court. Period.

It’s the how and why that I get to play with, and this is where the fictional liberties come in. Why did Mary never remarry? How did she and Fitz feel, being married at fourteen and not allowed to consummate? I also get to do my inventing around the gaps in the historical record. There aren’t any complete lists of the ladies at the court during Anne Boleyn’s time as queen. There is no record of Mary Howard being at court, but then again there is no record of her being anywhere else. It suited the purpose of my story to have her be close to Anne, and there is mention of it in the historical record, so I followed my instincts to the (possibly) fictional conclusion.

My biggest departure from known facts again revolves around the Devonshire Manuscript. I wanted the book to be the touchstone I imagined it to be, but couldn’t find enough evidence in the book itself to suit my needs. So I invented extra pages where the three girls (Mary, Madge and Margaret) wrote lists of attributes of the men they might fall in love with. These lists don’t exist, but it made the story so much richer to include them.

4. It’s obvious from reading Brazen how much research you did…what was the most interesting or mind-blowing things that you came across in your research about King Henry VIII’s reign or life in general then?

One of my favorites is something I came across very early on, when I was just reading history out of interest rather than researching for a book. The Tudors drank wine and beer almost exclusively—never water. They thought water was poisonous to humans and, of course, at the time, it was because the rivers were both garbage dumps and sewers. The boiling and fermenting process in brewing beer killed the bacteria, making it potable. In their defense, however, the Tudors didn’t spend their entire lives inebriated, as they often drank what they called “small beer”, which contained very little alcohol. However, unappetizingly, it sometimes had the consistency of porridge.

5. There were so many compelling figures that were just brought to life in Brazen. Mary Howard aside, who was your favorite to research and to write?

I’m fascinated by Margaret Douglas. She is such an enigma. Daughter of the dowager Queen of Scotland and the Earl of Angus, niece to the King of England, royal and yet she had little political power. She was raised in part with Mary Tudor, who became Mary I, and I can’t help thinking that some of Margaret’s opinions and feelings would have been colored by that association. Margaret appeared on the outside to be the perfect courtier, and the obedient niece to Henry VIII, except for these (excuse the pun) royally imprudent love affairs that got her thrown in prison more than once. She spent her later years in and out of court (and sometimes as a thorn in the side of her cousin, Queen Elizabeth), finagling to get herself and her progeny closer to the throne—and succeeded when her grandson became James I. How’s that for tenacious?

6. If you were transported back into the reign of King Henry VIII, what 3 attributes do you think you’d have to survive King Henry’s court?

Discretion—I know when to keep my mouth shut.
Education—If I got transported back with all my faculties intact, I’d have the heads up on things like reading and writing, as well as basic hygiene. Not to mention the foreknowledge of what happens next and to whom.
Imagination—I’ve had some experience telling stories and making them seem absolutely true.

7. Kiss, Marry, Kill Brazen style — Henry Fitzroy, Thomas Wyatt, Henry Howard?

I’d kiss Thomas Wyatt (I imagine he’s pretty good at it!), marry Henry FitzRoy (hello! Son of the king) and regrettably I’d have to kill Henry Howard (who historically made things difficult for himself—Henry VIII agreed with me and had him executed in 1547).

 

Thanks for such thoughtful answers, Katherine! After reading and loving Brazen, your answers were SOOO interesting to me! Especially the fact that the notebook passed around was real!!

 

GIVEAWAY TIME!

So, I’m really jealous of what Penguin Teen is offering up for giveaway for you guys because I WANT IT FOR MYSELF. I am dying to read Gilt and Tarnish after reading Brazen (two other books set in King Henry VIII’s court — seriously a young Anne Boleyn is the MC is one!!) and Courted is the paperback bind-up of those two. I’m also going to personally throw in Brazen (which will be fulfilled by myself) because I LOVED it so much and want you to read it!

Brazen by Katherine Longshore9780147513687_large_Courted

So what you will win:
* A copy of Courted (bind-up of Gilt & Tarnish) —-> prize fulfilled by Penguin Teen
* A hardcover of Brazen —–> prize fulfilled by me!

US Only.
Ends 7/17 11:59pm

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About The Author

Katherine_Longshore_1589_CL_57_W

Katherine Longshore (www.katherinelongshore.com) is the author of Gilt, Tarnish, and Brazen. She lives in California with her husband, two children and a sun-worshipping dog. Follow her on Twitter!

Check out COURTED (paperback compilation of Gilt and Tarnish) // Check out BRAZEN

 

 

Be sure to follow along with the rest of the blog tour to find out more about Katherine Longshore, her books, and some of her favorite historical hotties!

Midsummer Romance Blog Tour Schedule:

Tuesday, July 8 – Good Books & Good Wine

Thursday, July 10Perpetual Page Turner

Tuesday, July 15Alice Marvels

Thursday, July 17 I am a Reader

Tuesday, July 22 Novel Sounds

Thursday, July 24 Starry-Eyed Revue

Tuesday, July 29 The Midnight Garden

Thursday, July 31 Novel Thoughts

End Times Blog Tour + Giveaway

Hi guys! I’m really excited to be able to have Anna Schumacher, author of End Times, on the blog today and to be able to offer up the opportunity for one of YOU to win a copy! It’s a book I’m really excited about so I hope you guys will be too!

Before we get to the giveaway, let’s get to know Anna a little bit!

 

Seeing that End Times deals with a coming apocalypse or the “End Times”, what’s your favorite apocalypse story?


I eat dystopian lit like popcorn, so it changes a lot depending on what I’m into. But for the past few months, I’ve been a rabid advocate of the amazing YA novel STRUCK by Jennifer Bosworth. It has everything: a devastated LA trying to recover from an earthquake; a creepy prophet and his legions of white-clad followers; a mom with PTSD; a cool underground party called The Rove; a completely badass villainess who walks around with a tarot deck; mind-reading; mind-bending; a sexy love interest; and, best of all, a really compelling protagonist with an addiction to getting struck by lightning! I know it sounds like a lot to cram into one little novel, but Bosworth does it so well. It was a big influence on END TIMES!

Huh I’ve never heard of that one! Sounds intriguing and I’m adding it to my TBR! Has anyone read Struck?

So, want to know more about END TIMES?

9781595147486_large_End_Times

When life gets too tough to bear in Detroit, Daphne flees to her Uncle Floyd’s home, where she believes she’ll find solace in the silent hills of her childhood summers. But Daphne’s Greyhound bus pulls over in downtown Carbon County and it’s not silence that welcomes her. It’s the sound of trumpets.

 Daphne’s desire to start again in simple country comfort is instantly dashed as the townsfolk declare that the End Times are here. And incredible occurrences soon support their belief. Daphne does all she can to keep her head down and ignore the signs. She works a job at the local oil rig, helps around the house, hangs out with her pregnant cousin Janie and gets to know Owen, a mysterious motocross racer and fellow roustabout at the rig. But soon a startling discovery shatters her resolve and calls into question all her doubts and fears.

About The Author

Anna Schumacher author photo

Anna Schumacher received an MFA in fiction writing from The New School. Born and raised in the tiny town of Guilford, VT (no traffic lights, no post office, one store), she now lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and two cats. END TIMES is her first novel.

Things to do while you wait to see if you are the lucky winner:

Add End Times to your Goodreads TBR
Follow Anna on Twitter
Check out Anna’s Tumblr
Check out Anna’s author page on Goodreads

The Giveaway

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The deets:
* Giveaway ends 7/5 at 11:59 pm EST.
* US only — prize will be fulfilled by Penguin Teen.
* You must be 13 years or older to enter or have a parent/guardian/someone older do it for you.

Holy Mortal Instruments Giveaway!

Hi y’all! I have an exciting giveaway for you guys today. Mortal Instruments fans and people who have been curious about this series, get excited!! And even if you aren’t a fan, what a great giveaway to try and win for your library or classroom or a friend!

In honor of the releases of City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare, one absolutely LUCKY winner is going to receive the COMPLETE SET of The Mortal Instruments book series and a Mortal Instruments hoodie!!

TMIPrizePack

 

I honestly want to win this prize for myself because I need to finish this series! I read book 1 and you all know I stink at finishing series so I haven’t continued on yet. I will, though, I will. I flew through book 1!

So let’s get to the giveaway:

Rules & info:

Prizing & samples courtesy of Simon & Schuster.
Giveaway open to US addresses only.
You must be 13 years of age or older to enter.
Giveaway ends June 5 11:59 EST

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While you are waiting to see if you are the lucky winner you can:

· Visit the official website

· Follow The Mortal Instruments on Facebook

· Follow Cassandra Clare on Twitter & Facebook

· Watch the trailer:

ABOUT THE BOOK

CityofHeavenlyFireCity of Heavenly Fire is the final book in the #1 Bestselling The Mortal Instruments series.

Shadowhunters and demons square off for the final showdown in the epic conclusion to the #1 New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

Darkness has descended on the Shadowhunter world. Chaos and destruction overwhelm the Nephilim as Clary, Jace, Simon, and their friends band together to fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in this world can defeat Sebastian—but if they journey to the realm of demons, they just might have a chance…

Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world will change. Who will survive the explosive sixth and final installment of the Mortal Instruments series?

 

Cassandra Clare photo


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cassandra Clare is the author of the #1 New York Times, USA TODAY, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly bestselling Mortal Instruments series, the Infernal Devices trilogy, and the Bane Chronicles. Her books have more than 24 million copies in print worldwide and have been translated into more than thirty-five languages. Cassandra lives in western Massachusetts.

 

 

 

Good luck to everyone who enters!!

What’s More Fun Than Giving Away Books By A Favorite Author??

Okay, so you know recently I already gave away an extra ARC I had of Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson (one of my all time favorite authors!!) because I loved it so much but, thanks to Simon Teen, I have another awesome giveaway related to Since You’ve Been Gone to offer you guys…which makes me very excited and I don’t even know how Oprah never exploded from the FEELS when it comes to giving away things you love!!

 

oprah-free-car

What You Can Win:

- 1 Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Camera (color will vary)  <— OMG JEALOUS OF WHO WINS!

- 1 copy of  ALL of Morgan’s books (Since You’ve Been GoneAmy & Roger’s Epic Detour, & Second Chance Summer — all books I have personally LOVED and recommend!!)

- a pair of heart sunglasses — like the ones I’m sporting below!

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You should also check out morgansbffchallenge.com for an excerpt of the book (if you aren’t sold on it yet from all my raving) & more info about the #bffchallenge with even MORE chances to win!!

Now for the giveaway! Good luck!!

Rules: US Only. You must be 13 years or older to enter. Giveaway ends May 14 at 11:59pm EST.

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SPRING CLEANING GIVEAWAY!

Hi there! Will and I have been getting down to business with doing some Spring cleaning — which basically means I pretend to clean things while singing into my hairbrush and dancing all about while Will does a lot of the cleaning. BUT I must do the Spring cleaning of the books piling up because if it were up to Will…I have a feeling any book that didn’t have a home on a proper shelf would be MYSTERIOUSLY GONE. (This is why I need to buy these to have more shelves).

I’m taking the majority of my books to a librarian friend but I wanted to share with you guys also! Because that’s what friends do…even when they don’t have the monies to do the epic Spring cleaning giveaway that they so WANT to do. Seriously, if I could right now, I would have like 6 winners with huge boxes!! But sigh…one day. SOON HOPEFULLY!

So this is how I’m going to do this. I’ve got book giveaways set up all around the Interwebs (including the one that will be on HERE below):

1. Instagram giveaway — an ARC of a contemporary release I loved recently that comes out this month!
2. Facebook giveaway — Stack of 5 hardcovers
3. Youtube giveaway — a hardcover book + a bookish mousepad (I want to keep it for myself!!)
4. Twitter giveaway — giveaway for an ARC of an upcoming contemporary release!

 

So let’s get to this giveaway shall we??

 

So I’ve done this before for a beach bag giveaway and it worked well but I’m going to tease you for what is in the box. You are guaranteed these books in the box PLUS some surprise books that will fit in the box — the surprises will all be books that came out in 2014 or are coming out! When the winner emails me, I will ask for their genre preference with the surprises and if you have a goodreads I will stalk that to see if I can make it a good package for you because I have quite a few extras that I can interchange in here!

 

book giveaway

Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae
Vivian Divine Is Dead by Lauren Sabel
Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
We Are The Goldens by Dana Reinhardt

Rules-y type things: //US Only — promise you guys when I get a job I will do an international giveaway that will blow your socks right off. Shipping is just ACK. // You must be 13 years or older to enter // This giveaway ends May 9th at 5pm// No purchase necessary or anything like that.

 

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Good luck lovelies!! Have you started spring cleaning yet?? If so, I’m probably just adding to your mess with this giveaway, huh?? NO REGRETS.

Giveaway: The Ring & The Crown by Melissa de la Cruz

Wowweee. I feel like in this past month I’ve had more giveaways (3 I think?) than I had in 6 months last year. Lots of book love! Anyways, I’m really excited to be able to offer this prize pack to my readers thanks to Disney publishing & Big Honcho Media! I’m pretty stoked to read this one soon myself!

You’ve probably heard of Melissa de la Cruz before I’m sure — author of Blue Bloods, the Au Pair series and the Witches of East End (which is now a show on Lifetime that I NEED to carve out time for!). Now she’s releasing a new series that sounds SUPER compelling and seems to be a blend of fantasy and an alternate history.

 

Check out the synopsis:

 

The Ring & the Crown by Melissa de la CruzMagic is power, and power is magic…

Once they were inseparable, just two little girls playing games in a mighty castle. Now Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the mightiest empire in the world, and Aelwyn Myrddyn, a bastard mage, face vastly different futures.

Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second. With the help of her Merlin, Eleanor has maintained a stranglehold on the world’s only source of magic. While the enchanters faithfully serve the crown, the sun will never set on the Franco-British Empire.
As the annual London Season begins, the great and noble families across the globe flaunt their wealth and magic at parties, teas, and, of course, the lavish Bal du Drap d’Or, the Ball of the Gold Cloth. But the talk of the season is Ronan Astor, a social-climbing American with only her dazzling beauty to recommend her. Ronan is determined to make a good match to save her family’s position. But when she falls for a handsome rogue on the voyage over, her lofty plans are imperiled by her desires. Meanwhile, Isabelle of Orleans, daughter of the displaced French royal family, finds herself cast aside by Leopold, heir to the Prussian crown, in favor of a political marriage to Marie-Victoria. Isabelle arrives in the city bent on reclaiming what is hers. But Marie doesn’t even want Leopold-she has lost her heart to a boy the future queen would never be allowed to marry. When Marie comes to Aelwyn, desperate to escape a life without love, the girls form a perilous plan that endangers not only the entire kingdom but the fate of the monarchy.

If you want more of a visual, this trailer is pretty good and uses one of my favorite songs ever so YAY!

 Visit the official website for The Ring & The Crown.

 

 

So what is one lucky winner going to get?

“Heir to the Lily Throne” Prize Pack — One winner receives the Royal Reading Room collection: The Ring and the Crown, Blue Bloods, and Masquerade by Melissa de la Cruz.

*US only, prize will be fulfilled by Disney Publishing.
* You must be 13 years old to enter. If not, find a parent or older sibling to enter for you!

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About The Author:

 

MelissadelaCruz

 

Melissa de la Cruz (www.melissa-delacruz.com) is the author of many best-selling novels, including all the books in the Blue Bloods series: Blue Bloods, Masquerade, Revelations, The Van Alen Legacy, Keys to the Repository, Misguided Angel, Bloody Valentine, Lost in Time, and Gates of Paradise. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband and daughter.

Follow Melissa de la Cruz on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr

 

 

 

Many thanks to Disney publishing for providing me with this prize pack to share with you! You can follow their awesome teen division on Twitter and Tumblr .

My Fave BFF-ships + A Giveaway For Morgan Matson’s New Book (AHHH!)

So I found myself with a second copy of Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson — who is one of my favorite contemporary YA authors (seriously go read Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour and Second Chance Summer) — and I figured, “why not share the love for one of my 2014 most anticipated novels with my readers???” Seriously guys. If you are not on the Morgan Matson train at this point…come aboard please! Her books are amazing and just so full of life and beauty and raw human emotions. GAH. I can’t even explain what her books do to me. And out of ALLLLL my favorite authors, I’ve seriously met most of my faves, she is the ONE I have NOT yet met and it kills me because I want to hug her for writing these books that just ME kind of books that really impact me.

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How cute are the sunglasses they put in with the package?? You should check out the #bffchallenge Simon Teen & Morgan Matson are doing on Instagram each month!

I started reading it yesterday and it is FABULOUS already. Since it largely revolves around friendship + a list Emily’s bff, who has mysteriously disappeared, leaves her to help her be brave and get out of her shell, I figured I’d talk about a few of my favorite bffs in literature and tv before we get to the giveaway.

 

In Books:

 

 

Queenie & Maddie from Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein: GAHHHH. Kiss Me Hardy. Seriously, this friendship is one of my tops.

Aria & Roar from the Under The Never Sky series by Veronica Rossi: I’d also throw Perry & Roar in here but I just really loved Aria and Roar’s friendship throughout the whole series. Plus, I always wish for more platonic female/male friendships and this one is PERFECT.

Liesel & Rudy from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: This is one of my favorite books and GOD this friendship is just one of my favorites ever. The wonderfulness of a young friendship and it was so sweet and beautiful amidst the awfulness going on in the story.

Parker and Kat from Golden by Jessi Kirby: If anything, their friendship reminds me a little of the one going on here in Since You’ve Been Gone! Kat is the more outgoing and free spirited one and Parker is the one who could use some nudging to take chance and be wild and free!  I thought they were solid and I loved them! Also, that book….GORGEOUS.

Elise & Vicky from This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales: I LOVED THEM. I want Vicky to be my friend. I loved that Vicky helped Elise become who she wanted to be but not in a “you need to change” kind of way.

Cath & Reagan from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: I always kind of love bff stories that start out maybe with not-so instaBFF vibes and I loved watching these two become friends.

 

From TV:

Christina and Meredith from Grey’s Anatomy: TWISTED SISTERS FOR LIFE. I love the way they are together and how truly they GET each other and love each other — flaws, messiness and all! I love that they are each other’s person and it’s truly been one of the most touching friendships I’ve ever watched because they so strangely fit together and I just want a bff like that.

Wallace & Veronica from Veronica Mars: I just always loved these two from the moment V saved him from the flagpole. They did an awful lot of saving each other’s asses, sleuthing but also being really good friends to each other and opening up. Some of my favorite vulnerable V moments happened with Wallace.

I also have two GROUPS of friends I loved:

1. Golden Girls — my mom and I used to watch this all the time together and when I’m an old lady I want to have friends as bitchin as them.

2. Friends — oh the Friends gang. They are just my favorite to watch ever.

Giveaway

 

So let’s get down to the giveaway!

US & Canada ONLY — sorry guys. Still no full time job so no can do. I promise an excellent international giveaway when the job fairy sees fit.

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Synopsis for Since You’ve Been Gone:

Emily is about to take some risks and have the most unexpected summer ever in this new novel from the bestselling author of Second Chance Summer and Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour.Before Sloane, Emily didn’t go to parties, she barely talked to guys, and she didn’t do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—someone who yanks you out of your shell. But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list with thirteen bizarre tasks that Emily would never try. But what if they can lead her to Sloane? Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough. Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not? Kiss a stranger? Wait…what? Getting through Sloane’s list will mean a lot of firsts, and with a whole summer ahead of her—and with the unexpected help of the handsome Frank Porter—who knows what she’ll find. Go Skinny Dipping? Um…

Follow Morgan Matson on Twitter!
Check out her books!

 

Who are some of your fave BFFs in books and tv?? I’m always looking for great friendship stories or dynamics within a story!

Storycrush Recap + Giveaway

Out of all the tours out there, the Storycrush tour is a tour after my own heart — all about contemporary YA. I love me other genres of course but you know this is my one true love. So when I heard that Storycrush was coming to the Philly burbs I wrangled book club and we made a date of it. And I mean…the author lineup was fantastic with a mix of newer debut authors and established authors.

Who was there you may ask? Lauren Oliver, Courtney C. Stevens, Melissa Kantor, Katie Cotugno and Robyn Schneider.

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If you don’t know who they are/what their books are about, I got the chance to hang out with them for a while (wasn’t able to get there in time to do an interview with them!) and asked them to give you a synopsis of their book in 6 words or less.

 

Storycrush Books in 6 Words Or Less (Aren’t They All Adorable?)

The event:

The event took place at a Barnes and Noble that I’ve been to quite a lot because I used to live in that area during college and they host some great events there. When book club and I arrived it was already busy busy busy! I had the honor of being the official Storycrush live blogger — basically I live tweet the event until my fingers fall off. Very frantically because they have so much good stuff to say. I got to meet them before the event and I seriously loved every single one of them — so sweet and charming and fun! I knew it was going to be an energetic panel.

And an energetic panel it was — lots of laughs, really genuine conversations about their writing process and certain aspects of their books, great advice and wonderful questions from the audience. It was the kind of panel where I was DYING to get to the books I hadn’t read yet based on their answers and the non-spoilery discussion of their books and it gave new life and dimensions to the books I had read already. It was so apparent even from just talking to book club that we were all excited about various books now because of the panel. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED, tour! It was one of my favorite panels of authors ever!

photo 2Book club with Lauren Oliver

Most LOL-worthy Moment

Either when Alison (publicist & moderator) called Ezra an “old grumpy man” when asking Robyn Schneider a question and Robyn said, “ummm well he’s kind of autobiographical.” (Seriously we were all dying). Or when an audience member started having a coughing/choking fit and got up (she took it all in stride!) and Lauren Oliver had just started speaking and she’s like, “Did I scare you off already??”

Best Writing Advice Given:

They all had a lot of great things to say — know there are ups and downs, don’t try to write how everyone else does/how you think you should, don’t take rejection letters as an “I hate this” but know it could mean many more things, etc. But my favorite piece of advice was from Courtney C. Stevens when she said, “Wear a cone of shame (you know those things dogs wear) — don’t look to the left or to the right trying to see what everyone else has.” I think that’s a good life lesson to in comparison and trying to make your own path. Your path is your own and isn’t the same as others.

Most Interesting Fact I Learned:

I totally didn’t know that Lauren Oliver started out for many years, before she wrote Before I Fall, writing a lot of adult books that she described as books talking about nothing for a zillion pages and pretty boring. The panel members all joked, “Pretty much what adult fiction IS!” Got a good laugh out of that!

Also, Courtney C. Stevens accent is adorable.

Most Exciting Moment:

Well besides meeting them I would say getting a postcard for Lauren Oliver’s new book (an adult fiction book!):

photo 1gffds

Question I Loved The Most:
What Was Your Favorite Scene to Write?

Lauren Oliver (Panic): A tiger scene!

Robyn Schneider (The Beginning Of Everything): A silent disco flashmob scene. (Also, a sex scene with an interrupting poodle? hahah)

Katie Cotugno (How To Love): A kissing scene that happens because it was a very high, wonderful moment for the character and then it is followed by a low low. (OMG I started How To Love after the tour and THAT SCENE. Devastating.)

Melissa Kantor (Maybe One Day): A scene where Zoe and Olivia talk about what happens when you die. (That scene!!)

Courtney C. Stevens (Faking Normal): A tent scene where Alexi really lets go and opens up.

Something I Learned About Each Book/Author That Made Me Want To Read It/Gave New Depth To What I Read:

1. Panic: I loved learning about Panic and I was interested to hear that Lauren Oliver thought as a high schooler she would have totally have played the game of Panic because was reckless and didn’t care about life back then. It sounds exciting and crazy and I can’t wait to read it!

2. Faking Normal: I think Courtney C. Stevens is one of the most wonderful and inspiring human beings ever. A lot of what she talked about added more to my reading experience but her and I had an interesting chat about how so often discussions of faith and God happen in YA in a way that isn’t preaching. I really appreciated that about her book because as a YA I felt like I was constantly questioning life and if God existed and why God lets bad things happen, etc. It was a wonderful side convo with her and I really enjoyed getting to know her!

3. Maybe One Day: I loved hearing how Melissa came to all of her ballet details in the book. Melissa had a friend’s daughter who had been in that competitive world and had the same kind of thing happen to her with getting cut from the program and so she talked to her a lot and drew upon her research! Love well researched details like that!

4. The Beginning Of Everything: It was so nice to see Robyn again. She is so delightful. I totally didn’t even KNOW that there was a huge Gatsby thread in her book and I’m so intrigued now. She was talking about how in high school people said they hated reading but suddenly everyone’s favorite book was the Great Gatsby on Facebook. She also said it’s a book that she thinks gets so misread in ways but a lot of people connect with and she wanted to explore that. I am intrigued about Ezra and his connection to Great Gatsby.

5. How To Love: I had to read this book immediately after this tour and finished it in a day and a half. I loved that Katie was inspired by the fact that she went to Catholic school growing up and every year there would always be a couple girls who would just disappear from school and then be back like 9 months later. She wanted to explore their story because she was always so curious.

Giveaway

Thanks to HarperTeen 1 very lucky winner will get a copy of the following:

- Panic by Lauren Oliver
- How To Love by Katie Cotugno
- Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stephens
- Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor
- The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

Rules:

- US Only.
- You must be 13 years or older to enter. Please have a parent or someone older do it for you if you are not.
- Giveaway winner will be contacted via email. You have 72 hours to respond or a new winner will be picked.

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My Favorite People in Publishing Share Their 2013 Faves + A Giveaway

Meeting other readers and bloggers is something I love about this whole blogging experience. In addition to to all the awesome readers who I connect with, I’ve been so lucky to be able to work with some crazy awesome people in publishing because of this blog. I mean, these people are super passionate readers who get to work with books EVERY DAY. In the past 3.5 years I’ve been able to really get to know these dedicated pushers of books and I trust their opinions so much. They are all fabulous people and I’m so, so thankful for all they do for the book world and how awesome they are to work with!

I’ve gathered a few of my favorite people in publishing that I’ve had the privilege of getting to know and work with and asked them about THEIR favorite books of the year and they were so kind to share the love and put together this AWESOME giveaway for one lucky winner!

Epic Reads

You can find Margot here: Twitter | The Real Fauxtographer

What can I say about Margot? From the moment I met her at BEA, during her first few weeks on board the HarperTeen team to launch Epic Reads, I knew she was going to be awesome. Her vision for EpicReads was phenomenal and she was super cool! This gal works so hard to keep the most kickass bookish community, Epic Reads, running and I’m constantly impressed by her creativity and the way Epic Reads has just grown in the short time it has been around. Plus she is a kickass YA fauxtographer — did you see this picture she took of me as Anna? She’s also my book soulmate because her faves are 3 of MY faves this year as well!

Margot’s Favorite

Favorite 2013 Release

Not A Drop To Drink by Mindy McGinnis

Not A Drop To Drink by Mindy McGinnis

Favorite 2013 Release You Think Slipped Under The Radar

Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith

Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith

Favorite 2013 Release From Another Publishing House

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

This Song Will Save Your Life Leila Sales

erica-bloomsbury

Follow Erica on Twitter!

Erica is actually the one I’ve known the longest. I met her early on in the first few months of this blog when she was working over at another publisher! Somewhere there is a picture of us at the Brooklyn Book Fest looking like drowned rats! Erica is one of the smartest marketing gals I know and she makes me VERY excited about books she knows I’ll like!

Erica’s Favorites

Favorite 2013 Release

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Where The Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

I won’t rest until everyone I know reads this book. It’s not just that it’s amazing (though it is SO amazing), it’s that Trish somehow managed to see inside my heart and write a character who so perfectly captures everything I felt at 17 and 18 and beyond. I wasn’t kidnapped as a kid like Callie was (thank god), but I went through that same struggle to discover who in my life was really on my side and who I should let in. I love it so, so much.

Favorite 2013 Release You Think Slipped Under The Radar

Hostage Three by Nick Lake

Hostage Three Nick Lake

This one hasn’t slipped under the radar entirely, as it’s gotten some great reviews, but I haven’t seen as many bloggers reading it as I KNOW would enjoy it. Hostage Three is Nick Lake’s second book, after his Printz-winning In Darkness, and it’s everything that book was and more. What’s so impressive about Nick is the way he can marry a really compelling thriller with so many insights into other cultures and the way we relate to them.

Favorite 2013 Release From Another Publishing House

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

This Song Will Save Your Life Leila Sales

There was a point while I was reading this on the subway and I actually felt sick to my stomach because I was so worried for the main character. I wanted to reach into the book so badly and tell her it would be okay. Any time a book makes you have such a physical reaction, you know you’re in love.

lauren-rh

Follow Lauren on Twitter!

Lauren is one of my new favorite people ever! I’d been working with her for a little while and finally got to meet her at BEA this year. Let me tell you..this girl can man a BEA booth like nobody’s business. We got to chat for a little bit before the swarm descended upon her and she makes it looks so effortless. She’s an awesome person and she KNOWS what I love. You can blame her for the fact I can’t stop talking about We Were Liars.

Lauren’s Favorites

Favorite 2013 Release

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I was so happy to see all the love for Matt De La Peña’s THE LIVING this fall! This is Matt’s fifth YA book and it’s definitely making a splash (LOLZ, requisite cruise-ship-disaster pun). I hope everyone read his amazing essay for NPR’s Code Switch—and if that doesn’t convince you that this guy can write, I don’t know what will.

Favorite 2013 Release You Think Slipped Under The Radar

Gated by Amy Christine Parker

If you haven’t read Amy Christine Parker’s GATED, I recommend you get on that ASAP before the sequel comes out next year. Can you imagine if the reality you grew up with was completely fabricated? I like to think of this world as “Dystop— JK! You’re just in a cult!” This is a contemporary thriller that will stress you out in the best possible way. (Plus it’s getting a fab new cover for the paperback and I might bug Jamie to premiere it here!)

Favorite 2013 Release From Another Publishing House

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A week ago, I would have said The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer, and I still put that as a close second. But I just finished BEAUTIFUL RUINS by Jess Walter and I’m so sad that it’s over. You know when you start a book and realize that you’ve heard good things but actually have no idea what it’s about? That happened to me here, and I almost prefer it that way. After the fact, I read the description they have online and it’s pretty vague (sorry Harper!)—definitely doesn’t do this expansive yet intimate story justice.

 

 

 

ksenia-macmillan

You can follow Ksenia here!

Ksenia is a dream publicist to work with! If you ever get an email from her it’s like CHRISTMAS. She makes everything so easy as a blogger and I always appreciate how hard she works. ALSO at BEA this year she totally introduced me to RL FREAKING STINE! Best. moment. ever. And he told me to call him BOB. Thanks Ksenia!! Also, she has fab taste in books and is always getting me outside of my comfort zone and finding me awesome books — cough Cinder cough Shadow and Bone.

Ksenia’s Favorites

Favorite 2013 Release

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

This Song Will Save Your Life Leila Sales

Contemporary can be a huge hit or miss with me but This Song Will Save Your Life hit all the right chords for me (pun intended!).

Favorite 2013 Release You Think Slipped Under The Radar

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Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff (from our graphic novel imprint First Second Books)

This is such a fun romp! For anyone who loves adventure with a very clever heroine, this is for you. Even if you don’t like graphic novels, give this one a try, preferably with a cup of tea!

Favorite 2013 Release From Another Publishing House

11861815 17167166

The is actually a tie for me: Winger by Andrew Smith and Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

In regards to Winger, if Andrew Smith writes it, I will read it. As for Crown of Midnight, it had everything I wanted in a fantasy and so much more! I was surprised by how much I loved this follow-up to Throne of Glass. Can’t wait for the next book in the series!

 

alison-harperteen

Follow Ali on Twitter!

I’m pretty sure Ali has clones! I don’t know how she does all the things she does otherwise. Girl works so hard whether she’s on a Dark Days tour or sending out books to bloggers or setting up blog tours! ALSO, let me tell you this 1) she is super fun to hang out with and 2) you will meet nobody in publishing who dresses as fab as her. My clothes and shoes always want to go cry in a corner when I’m in her presence!

Alison’s Favorites

Favorite 2013 Release

Harper-2013-best

I could probably name 80% of our catalog, but I’ll try to cut it down. I was so excited for the end of Cynthia Hand’s UNEARTHLY trilogy. BOUNDLESS published in January, and it did not disappoint. In fact, it did the exact opposite. I’m also the biggest fan of SEPTEMBER GIRLS by Bennett Madison. And PIVOT POINT by Kasie West! And NOT A DROP TO DRINK by Mindy McGinnis! And— sorry! one more!— I have to throw in THE FALL OF FIVE. I’m such a sucker for all of the I AM NUMBER FOUR books. My only complaint is they don’t come out fast enough, even when you work at Harper.

Favorite 2013 Release You Think Slipped Under The Radar

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I don’t have enough friends who have read UNRAVELING and UNBREAKABLE by Liz Norris (the latter published this year) or the INSIGNIA series by S.J. Kincaid (VORTEX came out in July). If you have friends with better taste, I’ll trade you.

Favorite 2013 Release From Another Publishing House

This Song Will Save Your Life Leila Sales

Okay, this question isn’t really fair since there are so many books on my to read list that I haven’t had a chance to read yet. For instance, I’m a huge fan of DOLL BONES by Holly Black, but I’ve yet to snag a copy of THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN. Funny how difficult it is to obtain books when they aren’t readily available to you via your office intranet! I will say that I recently read THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE by Leila Sales and thought it was aces.

eric-quirk

Find Eric here: Twitter | His website

Here’s a funny thing about Eric and I. I live in the Philly area and he is does also as that’s where Quirk is located. HOWEVER, the only time we’ve ever seen each other is at the past 2 BEA’s in New York. One of these days we will meet up in our city! Eric is not only the marketing and social media manager rockstar at Quirk but he’s also an author of The Geek’s Guide To Dating and he just let the cat out of the bag about his debut into the YA world with Bloomsbury Spark called Inked. I for one can’t wait to read it!! He’s a very talent and awesome dude!

Eric’s Favorites

 

Favorite 2013 Release

This is a hard one, because seriously, I love all our books so much!

countdown_final_72_0

I think I’ll pick Countdown City by Ben H. Winters for this one though, because not only did I love every single page, but it was also my most anticipated. It’s a sequel in Ben’s The Last Policeman trilogy, and when you work in publishing, you get to read advance copies and manuscripts really early. It felt like forever, the wait between the manuscript of the first book to getting my hands on the second!

If you’re unfamiliar with the novel, it’s a police procedural that takes place before the end of the world. An asteroid is set to hit the Earth, and the novel focuses on Hank Palace, a detective who keeps doing his job despite the end approaching. It’s a riveting, awesome series, and I’m anxiously awaiting the third book due out next year.

Favorite 2013 Release You Think Slipped Under The Radar

SuburbanLegends_final_72dpi

Hm. Maybe Suburban Legends? It was an eBook exclusive re-release, and it’s a fun read full of scary tales from the suburbs.

Favorite 2013 Release From Another Publishing House

AH! This feels so unfair. I read so many great books this year!

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

I think I’ll have to go with Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. It’s a St. Martins Press book, and Rainbow totally gets my demographic. The geeks. She constantly makes me laugh and cry, telling stories about people that feel like they would have been in my circle of friends back in high school. I tell everyone I can about her books, whenever the opportunity arises. Such as now. Go read her stuff!

Giveaway

So we have a great prize pack for one lucky winner thanks to these super generous ladies and gent:

Not A Drop To Drink by Mindy McGinnis
The Living by Matt de la Pena (signed!!)
The Last Policeman & Countdown City by Ben H. Winters
Where The Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
Hostage Three by Nick Lake
This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
Pivot Point by Kasie West

If you know me, 4 of these are some of my FAVE reads this year so this is a great prize pack especially because now I’m eager to read the couple I missed!

US Only (sorry friends!). Giveaway ends December 31!

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So moral of the story: these people are all amazing and you want to know them, they have great taste in books because quite a few of these were personal faves AND you should all probably go read This Song Will Save Your Life because so many of them, plus me, picked it as a fave of 2013!!

A Candid Interview With An Author I Love + Giveaway

Today I’m excited to host an author I love so much on the blog. You may know her as Diana Peterfreund (remember how much I raved about For Darkness Shows The Stars) but she’s making her debut into the New Adult world as Viv Daniels. Now, if you haven’t found any New Adult out there that’s for you so far like me, you might want to read this as One & Only has definitely gone beyond the cliches that turned away a lot of us from New Adult and she has some valuable insight to share!

 

viv-small

 

1. Describe One & Only in 6 words or less.

Long Secrets, Tough Choices, First Loves. (That was really hard!)

2. I know you’ve personally written NA in the past, before it was labeled as such, with your Secret Society Girl novels. What do you think of the New Adult label and how it has emerged so quickly? Do you think it’s hard to define what is NA and what isn’t? (i.e. especially when it comes to where bookstores should shelve so the right readers find the books).

 

I think the difficulty of defining new adult stems from the fact that it was a label that got self-applied to a particular type of self published novel, and it wasn’t exactly what the inventor of the term meant when he coined it. So you’ve got different crowds defining it different ways, i.e., one group that wants to call it any novel about an early twenty something (as if those have never existed before!), and a readership that only knows “New Adult” as a specific type of contemporary women’s fiction or romance. I didn’t call SSG “new adult” when I published it, though the inventor of the term held it up as a prime example, and I don’t know if it really fits what’s actually being published, which is a very specific, very intense, very intimate type of coming-of-age love story. (Also, I find it very telling that the guy who invented the term never published any.)
As for shelving, I think that’s the main reason why NA is taking off in ebooks and in self-publishing, because they don’t need to worry about shelves in a bookstore. There is no “place” for NA, and there are plenty of genres that have happily and will continue happily publishing books about early 20 somethings (historical fiction, sci-fi, etc.) without jumping on this buzzword. As for romance/contemporary women’s fiction, however, there was a HUGE hole there. Publishers were not publishing books about 20 year olds in love. And that’s why I think it’s romance where NA-as-NA has really taken off.
If you look at the NA out there, they tend to mirror all the subgenres of romance but with 20 year old heroines. There’s the “glitz” romance where the heroine falls for the billionaire/rock star/etc.; there’s the romantic thriller where she’s being stalked/harrassed or has some other kind of shady past and must be saved by the hero, there’s the sexual awakening book, there’s the sweet, small-town romance (that’s more of what I’m going for with my series, where family and community are big players in the story)… these are all storylines present in the romance genre at large. And even the outliers, the “historical” NA or the “paranormal” NA — well, it’s paranormal romance, and historical romance, just with younger characters.

 

And I think that’s fine. I think that’s GREAT — college romance was completely being ignored by romance publishers before NA (which is something my friend and romance writer Julie Leto actually blogged about the other day: http://www.plotmonkeys.com/2013/11/13/first-time-love/ ). I don’t think NA has to be all things to be worthwhile, and a definitely disagree with the retro-fitting some really overeager NA writers are wanting to do (All Greek myths are NA, Star Wars is NA, etc.)

3. What are some misconceptions you think that are out there right now about NA?

That it’s “sexed up YA.” I disagree with this assessment entirely. First, most NA books I’ve read aren’t about teenagers at all. Second, I’ve read plenty of YA with sex in it (Stiefvater, Marr, Black, Elkeles, Hopkins, the list goes on and on), so the idea that the difference is the presence of sex is laughable. Third, YA books occur in every category, and NA books, were they YA, would primarily be categorized as romances, romantic thrillers, and “issue” books. I mean, literally the only time I can think of that stereotype fitting is with those “hot for teacher” New Adult novels. As YAs, books about teens who have affairs with their teachers are published as issue novels, warning stories about predatory teachers (See: Rob Thomas’s Rat Saw God or R.A. Nelson’s Teach Me). As NA, they are published as love stories where you are rooting for them to stay together. I’ve yet to see a book like that published as a YA novel and if it were, I bet it would be extremely controversial!

4. When I was in college I SO wish there had been more books out there set in college, like One & Only, with characters I could relate to. It was perhaps the years with the most change and figuring out who I was. Why do you think it’s been largely ignored as a setting in contemporary novels?

 

Very few college kids read for fun, or at least, that’s been the perception in publishing for years. They’ve got so much assigned reading to do! I read very few “fun novels” in college. Maybe on spring break. I know almost all of my readers of my former college set series were either high schoolers looking forward to college or recent graduates feeling nostalgic.
Even now, my understanding is that the majority of NA novels are not being bought by college students, but rather, by recent graduates who are nostalgic for the past (especially in this tough economy where their “lives” may not be starting as quickly as they’d like), by older readers generally nostalgic for college, and by readers who are college-aged but not actually in college, on an “aspirational” basis. I think maybe the “aspirational” element to a lot of the NA accounts for the popularity of the “Fifty Shades” style books where the college kid becomes the unexpected object of affection for the billionaire/rock star/sports hero). I think that may be why although a lot of these books are nominally set in college, you don’t see the kids in class or doing other collegiate activities a lot. That was one thing I wanted to address in my book.

 

4. If adult Viv met up with college Viv for coffee, what advice would she give her about romance?

See, that’s tough to say, because I did meet my husband in college, and I really don’t know that much about dating in the “real” world. Maybe that’s why I’m more comfortable writing college romances. I do think if I’d met college Viv before she’d met my husband, I’d tell her to hang in there, and that all the romantic drama she was going through would come out all right in the end. I had a really bad breakup in college and I let it get to me too much! More fish in the sea, Viv!

 

5. Did anything from your own college experience get written in to Tess’s college experience?

Little things. Like Dylan’s high school science project is based loosely on my college thesis for my Geology major, and the big atrium and central staircase in the bioengineering lab is modeled a bit after my department’s main building. Also the fact that I did make them science majors, like I was.

 

6. From what I’ve seen so far in NA there seems to be A LOT of the same type of cliched damaged bad boy types. You’ve written more of a good boy type who rises above these cliches (thank you!!). Most people who are scared off by the NA label are for that reason so I’d love for you to tell us maybe 3 well known fictional boys you see him as most like.

I’m glad you like him! I’m not usually into bad boys myself (Logan Echols excepted), so I find myself writing the kind of guys I can fall in love with, and sweet, charming Dylan is definitely that! There is definitely room for the bad boy in fiction, but I don’t want readers to think that that’s the only choice they get when it comes to NA novels. Go read Cora Carmack. She also likes guys who are –shock– actually NICE to the girls they are falling for.
As for Dylan’s literary twins, I feel like he’s maybe one part Etienne St Clair from Stephanie Perkins’s ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS (he’s got the charm and gregariousness), one part Cricket Bell from Stephanie Perkins’s LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR (geeky science boys For the Win! Also, I’m clearly obsessed with Perkins…), and one part Ben (Adam Scott) from PARKS & RECREATION (really admires the woman he loves for who she is, and wants to fight for her). I really wanted to show that a character could be strong and assertive and sexy without being deeply damaged or mean.

 

7. Is One & Only part of a series or a companion series of romance novels? Can we expect to see Tess and Dylan again?

It is! It’s the first novel in the Canton series, which is currently set to be three interconnected books about different characters at Canton. But each book is a separate story — no cliffhangers. Tess and Dylan are the first story. The next book, Sweet & Wild, is out next spring, and that one will be about Hannah, who is Tess’s half-sister and a major player in One & Only. The third story is about another couple, but I don’t want to spoil who they are, yet. Tess and Dylan will make appearances in all the books.

 

Thank you for asking such fantastic questions! They really gave me a lot to think about.

 

 

About One And Only

 

One & Only Viv DanielsOne night they can’t forget…

Tess McMann lives her life according to the secrets she’s sworn to keep: the father who won’t acknowledge her, the sister who doesn’t know she exists, and the mother who’s content playing mistress to a prominent businessman. When she meets the distractingly cute Dylan Kingsley at a prestigious summer program and falls in love, Tess allows herself to imagine a life beyond these secrets. But when summer ends, so does their relationship — Dylan heads off to Canton College while Tess enrolls at the state university.

One love they can’t ignore…

Two years later, a scholarship brings Tess to Canton and back into Dylan’s life. Their attraction is as strong as ever, but Dylan has a girlfriend…who also happens to be Tess’s legitimate half-sister. Tess refuses to follow in her mother’s footsteps, which leaves her only one choice: break the rules she’s always followed, or allow Dylan to slip away for a second time.

…And only one chance to get things right.

 

Buy Now:

Check Viv out on:

Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter |

Giveaway Time!!

 

Viv has graciously offered up a great swag pack for one lucky reader — a One & Only bookmark, an assortment of gifts and books from her and other new adult authors, and a One & Only charm. PLUS there’s a blog tour wide giveaway happening as well!

Giveaway #1
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Giveaway #2

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Have you read One & Only by Viv Daniels? Planning to add it to your TBR? What are YOUR thoughts to some of the questions about New Adult that I asked Viv!  Tell me some of  YOUR favorite new adult books!

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