Second Chance Challenge

http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2015/04/secondchancechallenge/One Friday night a few weeks ago, I was out with Karen of Teen Librarian Toolbox and her wonderful children. This, actually, is quite a common occurrence. Our usual MO is to meet for dinner (preferably Italian food from Tony's because FIVE DOLLOR CALZONES) and then drive together to the flagship Half Price Books where all four of us wander the aisles to find bookish goodies. This particular night, the Tween was delighted to see a display of Maggie Stiefvater's The Dream Thieves which has been present since Maggie's visit during the book tour in 2013. I remarked that I'd never finished reading The Raven Boys, and boy, the look of betrayal on Tween's face! Tween and I get along swimmingly, but she couldn't believe that a book that meant so much to her was one I had become bored with after 70 pages and put down.
Karen and I discussed the incident on Twitter, and I remarked that I did one day want to attempt The Raven Boys again because so many of my friends dearly love the series. Thus: the Second Chance Challenge was created.
What we are exploring is the way a story you either didn't like or that simply didn't resonate with you at one point in your life might become a story you like or even love after some time has passed. I'm giving The Raven Boys another shot, and while I don't know which book Karen is reading, I know her TLT cohorts are Half-Blood Prince, Feed, and Looking for Alaska a chance to wow them the second time around.
Sound like a cool idea? Here's how you can join: write a blog post or share your story on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/Youtube/Tumblr/Goodreads/etc about a book you'd like to give a second chance to. Between May 1-9, make some time for your SCC book and track your progress. Be sure to tag everything with #SecondChanceChallenge so we can cheer you on!
Ready...set...read!

Special Rusk University announcement from Cora Carmack

Fans of Cora Carmack’s Rusk University, we have a SUPER exciting announcement:

ALL CLOSED OFF, Book 4 in the Rusk University Series, is coming!!!

Check out this message from Cora!

*WARNING: This letter contains spoilers for All Broke Down. If you haven't yet read that book, read at your own peril. SECOND WARNING: this letter talks about fictional characters as if they are real people. Sorry I'm not sorry. THIRD WARNING: The letter below broaches a serious topic that could be a trigger for some people*

Hello beloved readers! 

The first person who read one of my Rusk University books was my older sister. I gave her All Lined Up when I finished, and her first question was "Are Ryan and Stella going to be together?" 

At the time, I told her no. I had plans for both of them that included their own storylines. I thought they were too much alike. They'd make great friends. They might even hook-up, but in the end... I couldn't envision anything serious for them. So I actually rewrote some of their scenes trying to make that aspect of their connection more obvious. And still, when All Lined Up released, amidst the chatter about sweet Carson and sassy Dallas, I had people asking if Stella and Ryan were next. I denied it again (and again and again). 

But sometimes in writing, the stars align and a character will become bigger and more real than you could have possibly imagined. It's a wonderful experience, but in Stella's case it was also incredibly heartbreaking. While I was writing All Broke Down, the news was inundated with information about the Steubenville rape trial and other tragedies and injustices like it. Tragedies where women have been violated first by an attacker, then by judgmental and hateful people, and finally by a justice system that repeatedly fails survivors of sexual assault. Having grown up in Texas, where too often football stars are treated like gods and can get away with just about anything, it hit particularly close to home. And since All Broke Down featured a passionate activist heroine, I felt compelled to reference this chronic dark underbelly of elite sports. 

I can remember vividly sitting on my couch, brainstorming how I would incorporate such an event into the book. I had thought the assault would happen to an unknown character, and maybe I would focus on the way it divided the team and the school and the town. But like I said... Sometimes a character will become bigger and more human than I anticipated. And it sounds crazy, but in my mind, I felt Stella push her way forward and say, "Mine. This is my story." I immediately began to cry. Sob, really. Because I loved her as a character. She was hilarious and strong and didn't take crap from anyone. She was everything I always hope to be. And I didn't want her to go through that. Even as I cried, my brain began to tell me that it made sense. Stella was vibrant and enjoyed a wild party. She was not afraid of her sexuality, and she had no problem with casual sex. She was the kind of girl that probably had a reputation. The kind of girl who could be heinously and violently taken advantage of, and people would STILL blame her. Because she was in the wrong place, wearing the wrong clothes, behaving in the wrong way. But just because it COULD happen to her, didn't mean I wanted it to. But once again, Stella was there in my head saying, "Someone needs to tell this story. And I'm strong enough to do it. Let me." And when Stella chose her story, she also chose the man I'd been adamant wasn't right for her. Because as it turns out... Those two characters who I thought were too alike aren't so alike anymore. And Stella needs Ryan to help her hold on to that vibrant and strong girl she was before. 

So I let go of all the plans I had for her, and allowed her to tell me her story, which is about more than just sexual assault. It's about the aftermath. Depression. Shame. Guilt. Anger. Injustice. Victim-blaming. Slut-shaming. It's about the way that kind of event can change everything-- how you relate to people, how you think, how you dream, how you love. It's about the way the rest of the world moves on to the next big tragedy, and you're still left holding the broken pieces of who you used to be, with no idea how to put them together again or even if you want to. It will be the most difficult story I ever tell. And the most important. Because it’s a story that belongs not just to Stella, but to millions of people around the world. It’s a story that belongs to a new person every 107 seconds*. And that’s just in the United States. Think about that for a moment. 107 seconds. Stella’s story won’t be any easier to read than it will be to write. But I hope you’ll help me drag this story into the light. 

So now I’ll step off my soapbox and just tell you about the book… 

ALL CLOSED OFF
Stella Santos is fine. 



Maybe something terrible happened to her that she can’t even remember. And maybe it drives her crazy when her friends treat her like she’s on the verge of breaking because of it. Maybe it feels even worse when they do what she asks and pretend that it never happened at all. And maybe she’s been getting harassing emails and messages for months from people who don’t even know her, but hate her all the same. 



But none of that matters because she’s just fine. 



For Ryan Blake, Stella was always that girl. Vibrant and hilarious and beautiful. He wanted her as his best friend. His more than friends. His everything and anything that she would give him. Which these days is a whole lot of nothing. She gets angry when he’s there. Angry when he’s not there. Angry when he tries to talk and when he doesn’t.  



When Stella devises an unconventional art project for one of her classes all about exploring intimacy—between both friends and strangers—Ryan finds himself stepping in as guinea pig after one of her subjects bails. What was supposed to be an objective and artistic look at emotion and secrets and sex suddenly becomes much more personal. When he hits it off with another girl from the project, Stella will have to decide if she’s willing to do more than make art about intimacy. To keep him, she’ll have to open up and let herself be the one thing she swore she’d never be again. 



Vulnerable. 

***** 




ALL CLOSED OFF will be releasing sometime in early 2016. I don't have a date yet for several reasons. The first and most important, is that I want to do this story justice. And as such, I have no intentions of rushing the process. Secondly, I'll be returning to indie publishing for the remainder of the Rusk series. As you can probably tell, this story means a great deal to me. And by having the ultimate control over everything from timing to editing to price, I'll be able to ensure that I'm able to create exactly the story I envision. Unfortunately, that means you won't be seeing the paperback of ALL CLOSED OFF on the shelves in most stores. Nor is it currently available for pre-order. But I hope you'll add the book on goodreads, follow me on social media, and/or join my newsletter. I promise to shout it all over the place when I have a set release date or pre-order links. 

Thank you for listening as I told you the evolution of Stella's story. When it's finished, I hope you will feel as passionately about it as I do. 

All my best, 

Cora Carmack 

*Statistic from RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network)

And an opportunity to add your voice to Stella’s…



Stella’s experience is only one story of many. She was with someone she trusted when it happened, and the only memories she has are pieced together from her own blurred recollections and the things people have told her.  Not everyone’s experience with sexual assault is the same. Each person reacts, copes, and overcomes differently. And while this book is about one specific character’s journey, I would like to tell as many sides of this story as possible. As Stella grapples with her thoughts and emotions she’ll be searching for advice, for comfort, for a place where people understand her and can identify with what she’s experiencing. There will be room for truth within the fiction, and if you’d like that truth to be yours, this is your chance.

If you have a story like Stella’s, and you want your voice to be heard….

If there’s something you wish more people understood about what you’ve gone through….

If there’s something you’d like to tell people struggling with a story like yours…

I’d like to give you the opportunity to add your voice to Stella’s. Use the hashtag #WhenItHappened and let your voice be heard on your own by posting on your own social media, or if you’d rather I share your words fill out this google document and tell me your story. You can fill out this form anonymously or not. I’d like to begin this discussion now because April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. But my hope is to include as many stories as possible within the book itself.

So many have stories of #WhenItHappened. Your voice and your story deserve to be heard. I’m listening.

#WhenItHappened Google Form: http://goo.gl/forms/4VRjWgZYSW


About the Author:
Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She's done a multitude of things in her life-- boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. She is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Losing It series.

Author Links:
  

Ember in the Ashes release day blitz

Today I'm really excited to participate in the release blitz for one of my favorite novels of 2015: Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir! Not only is Ember an incredibly compelling and unique fantasy novel, but Sabaa is absolutely delightful and super talented too! Give this book a shot, and you'll be dying for a second book just like the rest of us! Be sure to keep reading for a special note for Sabaa AND a blitz-only giveaway for signed copies of the book and amazing sword letter openers that come courtesy of Sabaa, Penguin Teen, and Rockstar Book Tours!

http://rockstarbooktours.com/


Author: Sabaa Tahir
Release Date: April 28, 2015
Publisher: Razorbill
Genre: young adult fantasy
Status: HOPEFULLY book 1 of a series! *crosses fingers*

Summary:  Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told.

Laia is a slave.
Elias is a soldier.
Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.



Available from:
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A letter from Sabaa Tahir:

Dear Readers,

Today, my “baby” AN EMBER IN THE ASHES is finally out in the world! From inception to pub date, this journey took eight years. And what a journey it was: writing, rewriting, revising, editing, querying, submitting; Meeting other debuts, bloggers, booksellers and librarians, and hearing their thoughts on EMBER. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe the radness.

And now, the book is here! I am so excited to see it in the hands of readers. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. To celebrate release day, I’m giving away two signed, first-edition hardcovers of the book. Details below!

All my best,
Sabaa

Book Trailer:




About the Author:
Sabaa Tahir grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s 18-room motel. There, she spent her time devouring fantasy novels, raiding her brother’s comic book stash and playing guitar badly. She began writing An Ember in the Ashes while working nights as a newspaper editor. She likes thunderous indie rock, garish socks and all things nerd. Sabaa currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.

Author Links:
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Giveaway:
2 winners will receive a signed hardcover of AN EMBER IN THE ASHES. US only. 3 winners will receive a hardcover of AN EMBER IN THE ASHES and a Sword Letter Opener! US only. Ends on May 9th at Midnight EST!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Trailer Reveal: Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry

I'm so excited to help with Ink Slinger PR's trailer reveal for the first book in Katie McGarry's upcoming Thunder Road series: Nowhere But Here! Prepare for major swoonage!



Pub Date: May 26, 2015
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: young adult contemporary romance
Status: Book 1 of the Thunder Road series
Summary: Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They're…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member—is in town, he's gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

 

Preorder Links:
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Nowhere But Here preoder banner

Katie and Harlequin are currently running a preorder campaign for Nowhere But Here: fans who register their preorder HERE will AUTOMATICALLY receive Chasing Impossible, the sixth book in Katie's acclaimed Pushing the Limits series, FOR FREE. FYI, Chasing Impossible is ABBY and LOGAN'S book! YAAAAAAY! PS you'll also be automatically registered for a $500 Visa gift card! What are you waiting for?!

Also, I'm currently running a giveaway for a copy of both books! Enter here!


Trailer:


About the Author: 
Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, and reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan. Katie is the author of full length YA novels, Pushing the Limits, Dare You To, Crash Into You, Take Me On, Breaking the Limits, and Nowhere But Here and the e-novellas "Crossing the Line" and "Red at Night." Her debut YA novel Pushing the Limits was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, an RT Magazine's 2012 Reviewer's Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. Dare You To was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013.


Author Links:
   


http://www.inkslingerpr.com/

Cover Reveal: Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Today I'm so excited to share with you the cover for Every Last Breath, the final book in the Dark Elements trilogy, Jennifer Armentrout's best-selling paranormal romance from Harlequin Teen!


Every Last Breath
The Dark Elements #3
by Jennifer L. Armentrout
October 28, 2014
Harlequin Teen

 

Summary:
Some loves will last 'til your dying breath...

Every choice has consequences—but seventeen-year-old Layla faces tougher choices than most. Light or darkness. Wickedly sexy demon prince Roth, or Zayne, the gorgeous, protective Warden she never thought could be hers. Hardest of all, Layla has to decide which side of herself to trust. Layla has a new problem, too. A Lilin—the deadliest of demons—has been unleashed, wreaking havoc on those around her…including her best friend. To keep Sam from a fate much, much worse than death, Layla must strike a deal with the enemy while saving her city—and her race—from destruction. Torn between two worlds and two different boys, Layla has no certainties, least of all survival, especially when an old bargain comes back to haunt them all. But sometimes, when secrets are everywhere and the truth seems unknowable, you have to listen to your heart, pick a side—and then fight like hell…
“Armentrout is a major talent…I just can’t stop reading!”–New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter

Pre-Order Links:
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PLUS we have a really cool surprise for you: the redesigned covers of White Hot Kiss, Stone Cold Touch, and the e-novella prequel "Bitter Sweet Love!"Also, if you are sad about the cover change, don't be! You can download printable covers for your copies of WHK and SCT HERE!

For best results when downloading new covers:
•Print on 8.5x14" (legal size)
•Use landscape/horizontal setting (8.5" tall x 14" wide)
•Print at 100% scale or "actual size"
•Print with the image centered on the page
•Fold & trim to fit


Pub Date: February 25, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: young adult paranormal (gargoyles & demons!) romance
Summary: One kiss could be the last.

Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she's anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses.

Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she's crushed on since forever.

Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she's not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn't an issue, considering Roth has no soul.

But when Layla discovers she's the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne…it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.


“Armentrout works her magic with swoon-worthy guys and a twist you never see coming.”–#1 New York Times bestselling author Abbi Glines on White Hot Kiss


Available from:
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Pub Date: October 28, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: young adult paranormal (gargoyles & demons!) romance
Summary: Every touch has its price.


Layla Shaw is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life—no easy task for a seventeen-year-old who’s pretty sure things can’t get worse. Her impossibly gorgeous best friend, Zayne, is forever off-limits thanks to the mysterious powers of her soul-stealing kiss. The Warden clan that has always protected her is suddenly keeping dangerous secrets. And she can barely think about Roth, the wickedly hot demon prince who understood her in ways no one else could.


But sometimes rock bottom is only the beginning. Because suddenly Layla’s powers begin to evolve, and she’s offered a tantalizing taste of what has always been forbidden.  Then, when she least expects it, Roth returns, bringing news that could change her world forever. She’s finally getting what she always wanted, but with hell literally breaking loose and the body count adding up, the price may be higher than Layla is willing to pay…

"Constantly entertaining...the narrative sizzles with as much tension as romance."–Kirkus Reviews on White Hot Kiss


Available from:
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Check out the sizzling prequel featuring Jasmine & Dez!
Pub Date: December 1, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: young adult paranormal (gargoyles & demons!) romance
Summary: Dez wasn't just Jasmine's crush. A gargoyle Warden like Jas, he helped her come to terms with her destiny—fending off demons and maintaining balance between good and evil. He was her everything...right until the moment he disappeared without a trace. It didn't help that Jas's father had just announced that she and Dez would one day be mated. Hard not to take that personally.

And now he's back, three years older, ten times hotter, ready to pick up exactly where they left off. But Jas isn't taking that risk again. Dez has seven days to meet all her conditions and earn back her trust. Seven days filled with terrifying danger and sweet temptation. Seven days to win her heart—or shatter it all over again...

"With her signature flare for combining humor, romance and action, Armentrout weaves a fast-paced read that will have readers' hearts racing in more ways than one. Like Armentrout's previous heroines, Jasmine is fun and full of attitude, while Dez is as snarky as he is sexy. This is a must read for new and old fans alike!" RT Book Reviews


Available from:
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Check out my 5 star review of Bitter Sweet Love here!

About the Author
# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV.

She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

Author Links:
  

Cover reveal organized by:
http://www.inkslingerpr.com/