Friday, December 8, 2017

2017 Debut Authors Bash-- Amy Brashear Q&A + Giveaway!!

Amy Brashear

Amy Brashear was born in Arkansas but spent her elementary school years in Garden City, Kansas, just six miles from Holcomb. Amy heard about the Clutter family murders from a childhood friend, though it wasn’t until she read In Cold Blood that she finally understood its significance. No Saints in Kansas is her debut novel.

1.  What were your favorite books growing up?

My favorite books growing up were the Baby-Sitters Club books, the Little House on the Prairie series, R.L. Stein’s Goosebumps books, and Mary Higgins Clark books. When I moved from Texas back to Kansas I had a friend that suggested I read Where Are the Children. I devoured all the books by Mary Higgins Clark in the school library in the seventh grade. I’ve always loved to read about crime. I grew up reading it with my mom and watching all the crime shows on TV. Even today I can’t miss an episode of Murder, She Wrote.

2.  Name 3 books you’ve read in the last year that you would recommend to other YA fans.

Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson, The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee, and Landscape with Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson.

3.  If you could go back and tell your YA self one thing, what would it be?

Keep writing and try not to worry all the time, even though it is easier said than done.

4.  I love True Crime— I went through a whole phase where I read so many of the books and was hooked on CourtTV and Nancy Grace.  What drew you to this particular crime and are there any others that you would love to see reimagined from a teenagers POV?

I lived in Garden City, Kansas during elementary school. Garden City is just six miles from Holcomb. When my family moved there I heard about the Clutter family murders from a childhood friend. I knew about the Clutter family, heard stories about the family, but I didn’t really understand until I read In Cold Blood in the sixth grade. Then I understood what the Clutter family truly meant to that tiny community in Southwest Kansas. The story has always been with me. I watched In Cold Blood, the black and white one and the made for TV one, and then Capote and Infamous there was something about the Clutter murders that stayed with me. Having lived “Out There” there’s something about wanting to tell a story from the point of view of what living there might have been like for the citizens in Finney County in November, 1959.

As for what other crimes I would like to see reimagined from a teenagers POV would be the West Memphis 3 case. I could totally see that from a teenagers POV. Also The Boys on the Tracks, which is another Arkansas case. The murder of Don Henry and Kevin Ives. And the Austin Yogurt Shop Murders. Four teenage girls were murdered after work in 1991. All the crimes I suggested are unsolved but maybe one day there will be justice for the families.

5.  Carly Fleming is an outsider in this small Kansas town.  What advice would you give to other teens who feel like they don’t quite belong?

I moved around a lot as a kid. I was the new kid in school. I always had to make new friends. It was hard. I often felt like I didn’t belong. And it’s okay to feel that way. And I know that I’m saying that after many years removed from being in High School. High School can be cruel. Not everyone has a great high school experience. It’s four years—and those four years will not define you. Life gives you many, many chances to reinvent yourself and become the person you want to be.

6.  What books/authors most made an impact on you/inspired you to write?

Anything by Agatha Christie. She taught me, well, still teaches me, how to write suspense. Of course Mary Higgins Clark. I read Flight to Canada by Ishmael Reed in a college and I swear it has become one of my favorite books ever.

No Saints in Kansas

Pub Date- 11/14/2017

A gripping reimagining of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood and the brutal murders that inspired it

November is usually quiet in Holcomb, Kansas, but in 1959, the town is shattered by the quadruple murder of the Clutter family. Suspicion falls on Nancy Clutter’s boyfriend, Bobby Rupp, the last one to see them alive.

New Yorker Carly Fleming, new to the small Midwestern town, is an outsider. She tutored Nancy, and (in private, at least) they were close. Carly and Bobby were the only ones who saw that Nancy was always performing, and that she was cracking under the pressure of being Holcomb’s golden girl. The secret connected Carly and Bobby. Now that Bobby is an outsider, too, they’re bound closer than ever.

Determined to clear Bobby’s name, Carly dives into the murder investigation and ends up in trouble with the local authorities. But that’s nothing compared to the wrath she faces from Holcomb once the real perpetrators are caught. When her father is appointed to defend the killers of the Clutter family, the entire town labels the Flemings as traitors. Now Carly must fight for what she knows is right.

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Bad Girls with Perfect Faces by Lynn Weingarten-- I never wanted this book to end

Bad Girls with Perfect Faces

Sasha and her best friend Xavier have a unique relationship-- they just "get" each other on a level that's rare and special.  But Xavier doesn't know that Sasha wishes it was something more.

Sasha isn't the type to catch feelings.  She doesn't want to "date" anybody, she just doesn't get the point.  BUT somewhere along the way, she fell for Xavier and doesn't know how to tell him.

The night that Sasha feels it's all coming together for them, Ivy (Xavier's volatile ex) shows up and wants to get back together.  Sasha sees red.  She decides it's on her to prove that Ivy is still the same manipulative, cheating, lying girlfriend that she was before.  She makes a fake Insta name to catch Ivy at her own game, and everything falls into place-- until it takes a dark turn....

I cannot wait to talk about this book.    I've been a Lynn Weingarten fan for a while, but I think I've graduated into SUPER-FANDOM.  This might be the most "me" book that I've read in the last 2 years.

It starts off with Sasha, who is this girl with a hard heart but a soft spot for Xavier.  She wants to tell him her feelings, but Ivy gets in the way.  First by breaking his heart and sending him into a downward spiral, and then by whisking in and wanting him back at the worst possible moment.

Ivy is a memorable character because she's so obviously damaged and puts Xavier through hell.  Ivy is the kind of girl who does what she wants and doesn't worry about the people she's hurting.  She's confident that people will let her off the hook because she's good at manipulating them.  Typical sociopath.  I spent so much of the book wishing that Xavier would wake up and tell her to FUCK OFF-- until I realized that really isn't what the book is about at all.

What is the book about??  Well, I try to be spoiler-free around here, so I'm not going to tell you.  But I will say that it's about a WHOLE LOT MORE than crushes and cat-fishing damaged girls.  It's the best dark romance that I've read in a long time, and I can't wait to read more from this author.

My Fave Part: Underneath all the lying and drinking and pain, there was a legit beautiful friendship there.  I couldn't help but feel a little jealous over how Sasha and Xavier just "got" each other.  The sense of humor they had with each other was something only people who genuinely love each other could cultivate.  I would reread this book just to jump back into the glimpses of their relationship that didn't revolve around Ivy.

This is the type of YA that I LIVE for-- the type that is raw and full of characters that have a bite to them.  I couldn't put this book down, did not want to stop reading.  The thrilling lead-up to the reveal had me turning pages like a madwoman.  My emotions are still reeling a little bit after finishing this dark, twisty book.  I SO recommend to people that love the darkness.

OVERALL: 1,00000 times YES!!  I love nothing more than the dark YA books that are full of messed up characters.  I recommend to my fellow YA Thriller lovers-- people who liked The Female of the Species-- who want to read a book that is twisty and leaves you feeling a little bit lost.

Date Published: 10/31/2017
How I got this book: Thanks to Simon & Schuster for providing me with an advanced copy to read and honestly review
Publisher: Simon Pulse

My Rating: 5/5

Character: Sasha
Book: The Ghosts of Ashbury High by Jaclyn Moriarty

  • Sasha would like these quirky books about characters that have characters that you won't meet in your typical YA book.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Welcome to the FFBC: THE TRUTH BENEATH THE LIES by Amanda Searcy-- Interview + GIVEAWAY

The Truth Beneath the Lies

by Amanda Searcy
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: December 12, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller


Fight or Flight. 

All Kayla Asher wants to do is run. Run from the government housing complex she calls home. Run from her unstable mother. Run from a desperate job at No Limit Foods. Run to a better, cleaner, safer life. Every day is one day closer to leaving. 

All Betsy Hopewell wants to do is survive. Survive the burner phone hidden under her bed. Survive her new rules. Survive a new school with new classmates. Survive being watched. Every minute grants her another moment of life. 

But when fate brings Kayla and Betsy together, only one girl will live.

Hello Amanda! We are super excited to have you in our FFBC tours. 


Favorite Book?

Too hard! I have so many favorite books—sometimes one for every day of the week. So…I’ll go with my very favorite book from my early childhood: The Plant Sitter by Gene Zion, illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham.

Favorite TV show?

Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, Breaking Bad

Favorite movie?

Independence Day

Your Favorite Song?

Kite by U2

Favorite Food?

Pizza with onions, mushrooms, and green chile.

Name 3 fictional places you would move to in a heartbeat.

The Starship Enterprise from Star Trek the Next Generation (I’ve wanted to live there since I was 9.)

The Paris of Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (which is basically just Paris with cute boys)

The upper floors of the tower in The Thousandth Floor and The Dazzling Heights by Katharine McGee

What were your favorite books while growing up?

I read a lot of historical fiction and a lot of survival stories. My very favorites were My Side of the Mountain by Jean Criaghead George, Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell, and Calico Captive by Elizabeth George Speare.

Favorite Quote?

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree today.” – (attributed to) Martin Luther

What do you find yourself “Fangirling” over?

Hamilton and Game of Thrones

Name a recent book you’ve read that you would recommend to our YA readers.

So many! 
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee


Could you tell our Book Addicts a little bit about THE TRUTH BENEATH THE LIES and Kayla and Betsy?

The Truth Beneath the Lies is the story of two girls: Betsy and Kayla.

Kayla lives with her mom in a public housing complex in a drug infested, violent neighborhood in Clairmont—a cold, wet city with swaths of dense woods. Kayla’s mom is a recovering heroin addict who just regained custody of Kayla. She’s so afraid of relapsing and losing Kayla again that she’s become agoraphobic and can’t leave the apartment. Kayla, having lived a much safer and more stable life with her foster mother, is extremely driven to get out of Clairmont. But, there’s a killer targeting girls in her neighborhood. Kayla is terrified she’s going to be next.

Betsy has just moved to San Justo, TX—a hot, dusty desert town on the US-Mexico border. She’s trying to recover from a trauma in her past, but she can’t. There’s a black burner phone under her bed. Whenever she gets a call on it, she has twenty-four hours to respond, or the man on the other end will come and kill her. Betsy tries to heal from her past and make friends, but the phone and the man are always there. Waiting for her to mess up.

In the end, Kayla and Betsy’s stories will come crashing together and only one girl will live.

How did you come up with the story? Did you find inspiration in any other story/movie/show and how has this affected your writing?

Most of my inspiration came from bits and pieces of real life. I’ve always watched the news every night and this book comes from so many unanswered questions that I have about people and why they do what they do. What leads someone to commit a crime? What twists of fate and circumstance make someone a victim of one?  How does a person move on with their life after having committed a crime? After being the victim?

I try not to watch or read anything that is too similar to what I’m working on. My subconscious is super lazy, and if I’m not careful, it will suck up other people’s ideas and incorporate them into my story without me realizing it.

Tell us your favorite quote from THE TRUTH BENEATH THE LIES.

One of my favorite quotes is actually the one on the book jacket:

“My mom never sees me. She sees her sixteen-year-old self. Bright girl with a bright future. Waist-length brown hair. Fell in love with a boy named Finn. Nice boy, nice family. She and Finn went to a party at the rotting flophouse of a friend of a friend. And never came out again.”

Is there a specific scene that you had the most fun to write?

In Kayla’s story, there’s a man attacking girls. The police have a suspect and they set up an undercover operation to arrest him. I wrote that chapter and then showed it to an actual police officer. His response was “No. Absolutely not. It would never happen like that.”  His explanation as to why was perfect and made that chapter fit so much better into the overall theme of the book. I love that scene. (I still took A LOT of liberties with it).

If you had to pick one song to be the Theme Song for THE TRUTH BENEATH THE LIES – Which one would you pick?

I’m going to cheat and pick one song for each girl.

For Kayla it would be Fight Song by Rachel Platten. I could see Kayla humming this to herself on her dark walk home from work.

Betsy’s theme song is definitely Praying by Kesha.

What 3 hashtags would you most associate with your book? (Could be a word or phrase or anything that would instantly make you think of THE TRUTH BENEATH THE LIES.)


I love Mystery/Thrillers!!  Do you have any twisty Mystery/Thriller TV shows or movies that you love?

The Killing (the first three seasons), Homeland, Hostages—the original Israeli version (It’s on Netflix and super addictive).

Are there any recommendations you could give your readers to be in the “perfect mood” to read THE TRUTH BENEATH THE LIES (specific music, snacks…)? 

Find a comfy chair and rip open a bag of M&Ms. 

What’s next for you? 

I have another standalone YA thriller coming out late-2018-ish!

Thank you so much for everything, Amanda!

I am totally with you on The Thousandth Floor!!  I would LOVE to see that view!!  And now I need to look up Hostages ASAP!!!  Thanks!

Amanda Searcy has a BA from New Mexico State University and an MA in human rights from the University of Essex in England. She works in collection development for a public library system and loves chocolate, cats, and curling up with a good book. She lives in New Mexico. 

Visit her online at and follow her on Twitter at @aesearcy.

  • Copy of THE TRUTH BENEATH THE LIES by Amanda Searcy
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Sunday, December 3, 2017

2017 Debut Authors Bash-- Corrie Wang Q&A + Giveaway

Corrie Wang

Corrie Wang is passionate about libraries, road trips, and eating all the food, everywhere. Corrie grew up in Buffalo but spent her formative years in Brooklyn, where one of her last paying gigs was managing a three-story nightclub on the Lower East Side.
She currently lives in Charleston, where she and her husband Shuai Wang own and operate Short Grain food truck— named one of Bon Appetit magazine’s Top 50 Best New Restaurants 2016 and a 2017 semi-finalist for a James Beard Award. The Takedown is Corrie’s debut novel.
And fyi it's pronounced Wong y'all.

1.     What were your favorite books growing up?
Growing up, reading was my everything. I lost myself in C.S. Lewis’s Narnia books and A Wrinkle in Time (along with the rest of the books in that series) more times than I can count. Where the Red Fern Grows was the first book that ever made me ugly cry. I also read anything creepy I could get my hands on, which meant lots of Stephen King and Dean Koontz.

2.     Besides reading, writing, and blogging, I love fashion!  What would be a typical outfit that Kyla would wear on weekends?
Since Kyla lives in Brooklyn she has great access to so many amazing consignment stores. So she’d definitely be wearing a “find” she was proud of aka something she could never afford to buy new by a young designer that – since the book is set a few years in the future – is now just cutting her teeth at design school. I see Kyla doing lots of playful mixes of patterns, pairing casual items with dressy items. Her fashion touchstones would be along the lines of Tavi Gevinson and Yara Shahidi. But Kyla also likes her comfort. If she and Mac were bumming around the neighborhood, she’d for sure be in sweats and a tee.

3.     What 3 hashtags would you most associate with The Takedown? (Could be a word or phrase or anything that would remind you of The Takedown)
#fckthemsmallbetches (my favorite line from the book)
#thefutureisfemale (as my characters all exemplify)
#resist (what Kyla does the entire novel)

4.     I love books that show the power and dangers of social media (mostly because SCARY!!)— can you name a favorite book, movie, or TV show that would have turned out much differently if Twitter or Instagram or Facebook was involved?
It might not have screwed up the plot line any, but The Goonies wouldn’t have been the same with the kids snapping selfies the entire time.

5.  What recent/upcoming books have you read that you would recommend to YA fans?
Tons! Still one of my favorite books this year was The Call by Peadar O’Guilin. It’s this weird, creepy story about kids in Ireland that are randomly sucked into a faerie world and forced to fight for their lives. (Spoiler: most don’t make it). I loved Renee Watson’s contemporary Piecing Me Together about a girl trying to figure out how to be her best self. I thought fellow debut Emily Baine Murphy’s The Disappearances was so creative, lovely, and atmospheric. How Dare the Sun Rise, a memoir by Sonia Uwiringiyimana, is essential reading about her experiences coming to the States as a refugee. As for upcoming, my favorite is by fellow Disney FreeForm-er and Riverdale writer Britta Lundin. Her debut, SHIP IT, about a girl trying to make her two favorite stars ship IRL while travelling around various comic cons is SO smart, honest, and laugh out loud hysterical. The only problem is you have to wait until May to get your hands on it. But in the meantime, Dhonielle Clayton’s The Belles comes out in February and is absolutely yummy. The perfect curl-up-with-it winter read.

5.     What’s next for you?
The Takedown television rights were purchased by a bad ass, all female production company. My fingers are crossed for that project. Meanwhile, my second novel comes out with Disney FreeForm Fall 2019. We’re keeping that project under close wraps for now, but it’s going to be a action-packed wild ride with some of the most adorable characters I’ve ever written. You know, if I do say so myself.

The Takedown

Pub Date- April 11, 2017

It would have been funny, if it just wasn’t.

Kyla Cheng doesn’t expect you to like her. For the record, she doesn’t need you to. On track to be valedictorian, she’s president of her community club and a debate team champ, plus the yummy Mackenzie Rodriguez has firmly attached himself to her hip. She and her three high-powered best friends don’t just own their senior year at their exclusive Park Slope, Brooklyn high school, they practically define the hated species Popular. Kyla’s even managed to make it through high school completely unscathed.

Until someone takes issue with this arrangement.

A week before college applications are due, a video of Kyla “doing it” with her crush-worthy English teacher is uploaded to her school’s website. It instantly goes viral, but here’s the thing: it’s not Kyla in the video. With time running out, Kyla delves into a world of hackers, haters and creepy stalkers in an attempt to do the impossible—take something off the internet—all while dealing with the fallout from her own karmic footprint.

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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Am I a Robot Now?? Wondering Why Books Don't Make Me Sad Anymore

I was getting started on my BEST OF 2017 List, looking through all the books I've read this year when a thought occurred to me: I haven't cried while reading a book in a long, long time.  Like since January.

This is weird for me because I usually read a lot of emotional books, and I tend to think I feel things deeply-- but for whatever reason, I haven't been feeling the feels lately.

I went to my "Read List" on Goodreads to see if maybe my reading habits had changed and I read all happy books in 2017, but I soon realized that was not the case.

I read We Now Return to Regular Life by Martin Wilson, This is How it Happened by Paula Stokes, Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert, After the Fall by Kate Hart... and nothing.

So am I a robot??

This whole inner debate really started when I read If I Stay by Gayle Forman a few years ago-- and nothing.  It was a REALLY devastatingly sad book, but my eyes remained dry.  Since then I think it's been harder and harder for me to tap that SUPER emotional place inside myself while reading.  The books that have made me cry were books that I personally related to in some way.  Books that made me feel less alone in the world, or books that held a mirror up to behaviors and/or things about myself that I don't particularly like.

Ick, I sound so self-centered.  I should really be able to do a good empathy cry.

Here are the books that have made me cry in the last few years:

Not a super impressively long list.

Let's Talk:
I think I'm in need of a good therapeutic cry and I need your recs.  What's the most recent book that broke your feelings??