Monday, November 12, 2018

Welcome to the FFBC: Amber & Dusk by Lyra Selene-- Interview & Giveaway!!

Amber & Dusk

by Lyra Selene
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: November 27, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
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Sylvie has always known she deserves more. Out in the permanent twilight of the Dusklands, her guardians called her power to create illusions a curse. But Sylvie knows it gives her a place in Coeur d'Or, the palais of the Amber Empress and her highborn legacies. 

So Sylvie sets off toward the Amber City, a glittering jewel under a sun that never sets, to take what is hers.

But her hope for a better life is quickly dimmed. The empress invites her in only as part of a wicked wager among her powerful courtiers. Sylvie must assume a new name, Mirage, and begin to navigate secretive social circles and deadly games of intrigue in order to claim her spot. Soon it becomes apparent that nothing is as it appears and no one, including her cruel yet captivating sponsor, Sunder, will answer her questions. As Mirage strives to assume what should be her rightful place, she'll have to consider whether it is worth the price she must pay.


Hi Lyra!!  We’re so excited to have your book in our FFBC Tours, and can’t wait to ask you a couple of questions about AMBER & DUSK!!


Favorite Book? 

You realize this is the hardest question for a book lover to answer? I have so many favorites, but I Capture the Castle by Dodi Smith ranks near the top.

Favorite TV Show?

Definitely Buffy the Vampire Slayer—I’ve rewatched it so many times!

Favorite Movie?

Amelie—it’s heartfelt, whimsical, and wildly romantic!

Your Favorite Song?

Dissolve Me, by Alt-J

Favorite Food?

Ambrosia of the gods, of course! 

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

Red London (from V. E. Schwab’s Darker Shade of Magic series), Alaka (from Roshani Chokshi’s A Crown of Wishes), and of course Hogwarts!

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

I recently read The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton, and absolutely adored it!

What were your favorite books while growing up?

The Dark is Rising series, by Susan Cooper, The Song of the Lioness quartet, by Tamora Pierce, and ElfQuest, by Wendy and Richard Pini

 Favorite Quote?

"A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” —Oscar Wilde

What are your fandoms?

Harry Potter, BtVS, ToG, SPN, Jane Austen


Could you tell our Book Addicts a little bit about AMBER & DUSK?

In the sun-scorched twilight of the Amber Empire, an illusionist with a mysterious past fights for a place at the royal court of Coeur d’Or. But the palais’ mirrored hallways, winter gardens, and gilded marble may be nothing more than a mirage to hide a brutal past and deadly secrets.

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?

I daydreamed of the world first—a vast empire lit by an unmoving sun. And although it was years before the story came together, I always knew it would be the kind of book I wanted to read: courtly politics and ball gowns, treachery and sarcastic banter, flawed characters and romance!

I am constantly trying to fill the creative well with all kinds of stories. I take inspiration from so many incredible authors—Angela Carter, Roshani Chokshi, Holly Black, David Mitchell, Leigh Bardugo, Haruki Murakami, Sabaa Tahir. And I always find inspiration in TV/movies with plenty of magic and glamor, like Outlander, Reign, and Howl’s Moving Castle.

Can you tell us 3 interesting things about Sylvie?

I wrote Sylvie to be a complicated and sometimes difficult heroine. She is ambitious—she will reach too high even if it means falling too far. She cares what other people think, even though she pretends she doesn’t—she desperately wants to belong somewhere. And she is a dreamer—she dreams of a radiant, exquisite world that just might be impossible.

Tell us your favorite quote from AMBER & DUSK.

"I may not have been born in a palais, but my bones were forged in the dusk and my veins are alight with dreams. Do not ask whether I deserve a place at court. Ask whether this court deserves me.”

If you had to pick one song to be the Theme Song for AMBER & DUSK– Which one would you pick? 

Control, by Halsey

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 AMBER & DUSK.)

#dusklands #perilousdreams #impossibleworlds

Do you have favorite fantasy books/movies/tv shows?

In addition to all the ones I’ve already mentioned, I adore Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone series, LotRThe Magicians, and Legend of the Seeker!

Are there any recommendations you could give your readers to be in the “perfect mood” to read AMBER & DUSK (specific music, snacks…)? 

Dim the lights, burn a candle that smells like resin and shadows, and nibble on something luxurious and decadent, like truffles or macarons!

What’s next for you? 

I’m currently drafting a secret project that readers of A&D will hopefully be very interested to read!

Thank you so much for everything, Lyra!

Thanks for having me!

Lyra Selene was born under a full moon and has never quite managed to wipe the moonlight out of her eyes. When she isn’t dreaming up fantastical cities and brooding landscapes, Lyra enjoys hiking, rainstorms, autumn, and pretending she’s any good at painting. 

She lives in New England with her husband, in an antique farmhouse that’s probably not haunted. AMBER & DUSK is her debut novel.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday-- Backlist Central

Top Ten Tuesday is a really cool original feature/weekly meme now hosted over at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week they post a new Top Ten List that bloggers join in on answering... and today (November 6th) I'm one of them :)

Top Ten Backlist Books I Want To Read

  • Happy Election Day to everyone here in the US.  I know politics have gotten CRAZY these days, but it is the right of ANY/ALL registered voters to vote and let your voice be heard-- so go forth and throw your vote down.
  • This is one of my fave topics!!  I super love talking about backlist books.  In blogging, we get SO tied up in what's new and what's coming out, that we rarely take to time to look back at all the awesome books that have been sitting there waiting for us for a TIME.
  • Here are the backlist books I'd really like to read ASAP-- and a poll for you to make me read one of them:

1.  First & Then by Emma Mills
  • Emma Mills has become one of my FAVES of all FAVES.  I don't even like cute, romancey books that much (usually), but her books are just too good and pure for me to not fall in love with.  I must read her debut pronto!!
2.  The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
  • I don't know why this is on my TBR still.  I own it and Sarah Ockler is probably in my top 3 of all-time favorite authors.  I've been anxiously awaiting news of a new book from her, but here I sit NOT reading her most recent release???
3.  The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • This is another fave author and another reading fail.  I love Laurie's YA books.  SPEAK was what got me into reading YA to begin with.  Now that it's almost winter, this cover is kinda calling to me.
4.  In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters
  • I recently bought this at a book sale, but I've been wanting to read it for ages.  I've actually never read ANYTHING by this author yet, but I'm interested in the historical aspect of this book.
5.  What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick
  • Seriously.  This is another author that I am like "WHAT IS GOING ON WITH YOUR NEW BOOK?????" and I still haven't read this.

6.  Scarlett Epstein Hates it Here by Anna Breslaw
  • I got this for Christmas last year and it just sounds like something cute and quirky.  I remember hearing really good things about it when it came out.
7.  Delirium (#1) by Lauren Oliver
  • I am a Lauren Oliver superfan who has never read her most popular series..... I know.  It's just I was kinda scared after the 3rd book came out and everyone got mad at the series in general.  But now I'm thinking I really should read this.
8.  Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn
  • Oh how I love Stephanie Kuehn.  She writes books that scare me in a really creeped out way and I love it.

9.  Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

  • Remember when this book was everywhere??  Well, I wasn't in the mood for Dystopian then, but I'm definitely in the mood for it now.

10.  My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

  • One of my BFFs has been wanting me to read this for a LONG time.  I think it's time I do it because it does sound like a horror I would love.

So, in honor of Election Day, I have my own poll for you.  Vote for which Backlist Book I should bump to the front of my list!  Even if you haven't read the book-- vote for the cover that catches your eye, vote for the book you've heard good things about.  Vote, Vote, Vote.

Which backlist book should I read next?

First and Then by Emma Mills
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters
What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Scarlett Epstein Hates it Here by Anna Breslaw
Delirium (#1) by Lauren Oliver
Charm and Strange by Stephanie Kuehn
Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis
My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

Monday, November 5, 2018

Welcome to the FFBC: YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY by Gordon Jack-- Interview & Giveaway!!

**Tour Banner Designed by the talented Vicky Who Reads**

Your Own Worst Enemy

by Gordon Jack
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: November 13, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
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Three candidates, three platforms, and a whirlwind of social media, gaffes, and protests makes for a ridiculous and hilarious political circus in Gordon Jack’s second highly satirical novel. Perfect for fans of Andrew Smith and Frank Portman.

They say that with great power comes great responsibility. Unless you’re student body president at Lincoln High School. Then you get all the responsibility but none of the power. And the three candidates running for president know all about that.

Stacey Wynn is the front-runner, but she didn’t count on Julia Romero entering this race. Julia is challenging Stacey for the title while also putting the moves on Stacey’s campaign adviser and only friend, Brian. And then there is Tony Guo, the way outsider. Tony is usually oblivious to the school’s political campaigning, as he’s oblivious to anything that isn’t about getting high and drinking all the Space Cow chocolate milk he can stomach. But when his favorite beverage is banned at school, a freshman political “mastermind” convinces Tony to become the voice of the little guy. But what kind of voice is that, really?

If this were an ordinary high school election, the winner would be whichever candidate was the most popular. But this year, each candidate may have to sink to a new low to win an election that could change the course of...very little.


Hi Gordon!!  We’re so excited to have you in our FFBC Tours and can’t wait to ask you a couple of questions about your new book, YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY!


Favorite Book?

Harold and the Purple Crayon (based on number of times re-reading it. Actually, this may be my son’s favorite book, but I still enjoy it whenever I’m reading it to him.

Favorite TV show?

The Simpsons

Favorite movie?

All About Eve

Favorite Song? 

Happy Birthday

Favorite Food? 

Birthday cake

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

1) Any place imagined by Studio Ghibli; 

2) The Afterlife in Coco; 

3) Max’s Island from Where the Wild Things Are; 

What were your favorite books growing up? 

1) My Father’s Dragon; 

2) Life in Hell; 

3) Jaws 

Favorite Quote? 

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it; Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

What are your fandoms? 

1) My wife; 

2) My son; 

3) My dog

 What recent book would you recommend to our YA fans? 

1) The Echo Room; 

2) MunMun; 

3) We Regret to Inform You; 
4) Pride; 
5) The Poet X; 
6) Rabbit and Robot


Could you tell our Book Addicts a little bit about YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY?

YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY is about a high school election for student body president. Stacey is the front-runner because she has the most experience. But then Brian, her best friend and campaign manager, falls in love with her rival, Julia, a transfer student from Canada who may or may not be Latinx. Unbeknownst to Brian, his little brother, Kyle, is spying on both campaigns and putting his own candidate forward -Tony, a stoner who just wants to bring chocolate milk back to the cafeteria. Everything gets really crazy when a spaceship of giant squid-like creatures lands in the quad and enslaves everyone. Just kidding about that last part. I’m saving that story for the sequel.

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 YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY.)

#BringBackSpaceCow, #MocktheVote, #YOWE

What fictional character (from any tv show/movie/book) do you think would make an awesome student council president?

Stacey is inspired in part by Leslie Knope on Parks and Rec, so I will have to vote for her. She’s super hard working, ambitious and motivated purely by her love of Pawnee. She’s the politician we all want because she thinks government can make people’s lives better. Of course, it helps sometimes that her enthusiasm is tempered by someone like Ron Swanson, who keeps Leslie from stalking Joe Biden or working her colleagues to death. 

Do you have any favorite teen/high school movies?

I love the movie Election with Reese Witherspoon so much, you might call YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY a bit of fan fiction. Another favorite is Rushmore, which also focuses on an overly ambitious student. I also re-watch Mean Girls and Heathers regularly. Now that I think of it, most of my favorite high school movies are dark comedies, which is probably the best tone for high school. 

Tell us your favorite quote from YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY.

If I were helping a student write an essay on this book for an English class, I would tell her to use the line Brian says to Stacey towards the end of the novel, “Elections demand that we simplify things, even simplify people, but sometimes that’s impossible.” So much of our politics today tries to pigeonhole people into very narrow categories – by race, gender, income level, geography, etc., when we’re so much more complex than these labels. All the characters in the book live in the middle of a spectrum, which is what makes them more real and interesting to me, and makes getting their vote so much more challenging. Stacey realizes this at one point walking through the hallways of her diverse school and it overwhelms her. “How did she create a menu to please both the carnivores and the vegetarians? She needed to find the item that pleased both. French fries, she thought. She needed to run on a platform of French fries.” That’s two quotes, which I hope is OK.

Is there a specific scene that you had the most fun to write?  Or which part was the most difficult to get through?

I loved writing the cafeteria scenes where Tony slowly ascends to power with the help of Kyle. Tony was my stand in for Donald Trump and I wanted him to tap into the same anger that Trump did when he was campaigning in 2016. So I thought, who are the angriest people in high school? It’s the freshmen guys. Imagine, you’re top dog in your middle school and then within the time span of a few months you’re back on the bottom rung of the social ladder. These guys are pissed and eat lunch together every day in the cafeteria. So, that’s where Tony starts campaigning and within a few days he’s turned the place into a Lord of the Flies hellscape.

If you had to pick one song to be the Theme Song for YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY– Which one would you pick?

I have two songs that feature prominently in the story. The first is Mitski’s Your Best American Girl, which Julia uses to seduce Brian and the second is Calle 13’s Pa’l Norte, which Julia and her crew use to stage their quinceanera protest. Either of those would make a great theme song for the book, I think.

Are there any recommendations you could give your readers to be in the “perfect mood” to read YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY (specific music, snacks…)? 

YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY is a comedy, so I would wait until you’re in the mood to laugh. For some people, this is all the time, in which case, go out and buy your copy right now, along with a big bag of candy and a liter of soda. Others need to fill up on super sad love stories before they’re ready to laugh at the absurdity of life. For them, I’d say, buy your copy now and place it in your TBR stack next to the book with the dark blue cover and gothic script that spells out the word “Cursed” in the title. Then it will be ready when you need it.

What’s next for you?

I am currently finishing my trilogy of terror series centered on pivotal high school experiences. My first book, The Boomerang Effect tells the story of someone trying to bring down homecoming. Your Own Worst Enemy tells the story of someone trying to bring down a high school election. The next story is going to be about someone trying to bring down prom.  Or graduation. Or back to school night.  I love working in a high school, but I’m starting to wonder if I’m taking out some of my workplace issues in my books.   

Thanks so much for chatting with us!!  I totally agree with you-- dark comedy is the perfect time for high school!!  This interview made me laugh several times, thank you for that!!

Gordon Jack always wanted to be a writer. In third grade, he put that on his “What I want to be when I grow up” list, just behind astronaut and professional dog walker. While working towards this goal, he had jobs as an advertising copywriter, English teacher, librarian, and semi-professional dog walker. The Boomerang Effect was his first novel. He lives in San Francisco with his family.

  • 2 signed copies of YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY by Gordon Jack w/ book swag
  • US Only
  • Please read the rules in the Rafflecopter before entering
  • Visit any of the tour stops to enter