Fresh Batch (February 26th-March 4th)
16 hours ago
My rating: 4 out of 5 starsMeet Brooke: Popular, powerful and hating every minute of it, she’s the “It” girl at Douglas High in Lake Champion, Minnesota. Her real ambition? Using her operatic mezzo as a ticket back to NYC, where her family lived before her dad ran off with an up and coming male movie star.
Now meet Kathryn: An overachieving soprano with an underachieving savings account, she’s been a leper ever since Brooke punched her at a party junior year. For Kath, music is the key to a much-needed college scholarship.
The stage is set for a high-stakes duet between the two seniors as they prepare for the prestigious Blackmore competition. Brooke and Kathryn work toward the Blackmore with eyes not just on first prize but on one another, each still stinging from a past that started with friendship and ended in betrayal. With competition day nearing, Brooke dreams of escaping the in-crowd for life as a professional singer, but her scheming BFF Chloe has other plans. And when Kathryn gets an unlikely invitation to Homecoming, she suspects Brooke of trying to sabotage her with one last public humiliation.
As pressures mount, Brooke starts to sense that the person she hates most might just be the best friend she ever had. But Kathryn has a decision to make. Can she forgive? Or are some rivalries for life?
Eighteen-year-old Arcadia wants adventure. Living in a tiny Florida town with her dad and four-year-old brother, Cadie spends most of her time working, going to school, and taking care of her family. So when she meets two handsome cousins at a campfire party, she finally has a chance for fun. They invite her and friend to join them on a road trip, and it's just the risk she's been craving-the opportunity to escape. But what starts out as a fun, sexy journey quickly becomes dangerous when she discovers that one of them is not at all who he claims to be. One of them has deadly intentions.
The members of Don’t Get Mad aren’t just mad anymore . . . they’re afraid. And with Margot in a coma and Bree stuck in juvie, it’s up to Olivia and Kitty to try to catch their deadly tormentor. But just as the girls are about to go on the offensive, Ed the Head reveals a shocking secret that turns all their theories upside down. The killer could be anyone, and this time he—or she—is out for more than just revenge.
The girls desperately try to discover the killer’s identity as their personal lives are falling apart: Donté is pulling away from Kitty and seems to be hiding a secret of his own, Bree is under house arrest, and Olivia’s mother is on an emotional downward spiral. The killer is closing in, the threats are becoming more personal, and when the police refuse to listen, the girls have no choice but to confront their anonymous friend . . . or die trying.
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah OcklerEvie is living on borrowed time. She was diagnosed with terminal cancer several months ago and told that by now she'd be dead. Evie is grateful for every extra day she gets, but she knows that soon this disease will kill her. Until, miraculously, she may have a second chance to live.
All Evie had wanted was her life back, but now that she has it, she feels like there's no place for her in it--at least, not for the girl she is now. Her friends and her parents still see her as Cancer Girl, and her boyfriend's constant, doting attention is suddenly nothing short of suffocating.
Then Evie meets Marcus. She knows that he's trouble, but she can't help falling for him. Being near him makes her feel truly, fully alive. It's better than a drug. His kiss makes her feel invincible--but she may be at the beginning of the biggest free fall of her life.
The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse D’Abreau was destined for stardom—until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak.
Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend’s invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse’s home in the Caribbean isn’t: an ocean too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry—except for one.
Christian Kane is a notorious playboy—insolent, arrogant, and completely charming. He’s also the only person in Atargatis Cove who doesn’t treat Elyse like a glass statue. He challenges her to express herself, and he admires the way she treats his younger brother, Sebastian, who believes Elyse is the legendary mermaid come to life.
When Christian needs a first mate for the Cove’s high-stakes Pirate Regatta, Elyse reluctantly stows her fear of the sea and climbs aboard. The ocean isn’t the only thing making waves, though—swept up in Christian’s seductive tide and entranced by the Cove’s charms, Elyse begins to wonder if a life of solitude isn’t what she needs. But changing course again means facing her past. It means finding her inner voice. And scariest of all, it means opening her heart to a boy who’s best known for breaking them…
Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can't turn off.
Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn't help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she'd be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam's weekly visits to her psychiatrist.
Caroline introduces Sam to the Poet's Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more "normal" than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.
The Leteo Institute's revolutionary memory-relief procedure seems too good to be true to Aaron Soto -- miracle cure-alls don't tend to pop up in the Bronx projects. But Aaron can't forget how he's grown up poor or how his friends aren't always there for him. Like after his father committed suicide in their one bedroom apartment. Aaron has the support of his patient girlfriend, if not necessarily his distant brother and overworked mother, but it's not enough.
Then Thomas shows up. He has a sweet movie-watching setup on his roof, and he doesn't mind Aaron's obsession with a popular fantasy series. There are nicknames, inside jokes. Most importantly, Thomas doesn't mind talking about Aaron's past. But Aaron's newfound happiness isn't welcome on his block. Since he's can't stay away from Thomas or suddenly stop being gay, Aaron must turn to Leteo to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he is.
My rating: 3 out of 5 starsA teenage boy tries to understand his best friend's suicide by listening to the playlist of songs he left behind in this smart, voice-driven debut novel.
Here's what Sam knows: There was a party. There was a fight. The next morning, his best friend, Hayden, was dead. And all he left Sam was a playlist of songs, and a suicide note: For Sam—listen and you'll understand.
As he listens to song after song, Sam tries to face up to what happened the night Hayden killed himself. But it's only by taking out his earbuds and opening his eyes to the people around him that he will finally be able to piece together his best friend’s story. And maybe have a chance to change his own.
Thank you so much for your kind words about Six Months Later! Yes, Gone Too Far definitely shares that creepy what-is-going-on vibe!! I think I write thrillers and mind-benders because I love to read them. Great books come in all shapes and sizes, but there is something that gets me about a good thriller, one that keeps me up way too late, turning pages to find out what the heck is going to happen.
Oh, I could write a blog, a book, an epic ten-volume series on how these processes were different. But I’ll try to condense it here, so your poor readers don’t get bored. ;-) Writing Six Months Later had its challenges, but Gone Too Far just about killed me. My critique partner, Romily Bernard, and I talk about it like Voldemort—the-book-that-shall-not-be-named. In essence, this is because every single thread in Gone Too Far is braided into something else. It was a very tightly woven plot and pulling at any one thing in editing, snagged the whole book. It took tremendous time and effort, but I’m really happy with how it turned out. This book required very serious focus and work and it was worth it.
Oh, man. Um. The whole chapter at the basketball game – near the end. And that’s really all I can say, because it would spoil everything, but I wrote that chapter practically vibrating with energy and excitement. It had been SUCH a long ride to get there and it was such an intense scene to get out. Awesome and terrifying and thrilling all at once.
Fantastic question!! Piper would without a single question be incredibly good friends with Wick from Romily Bernard’s Find Me series. They both have a raw honesty to them, and a fierce commitment to the people they love. So, yeah. I’m thinking Wick.
Dialogue, dialogue, dialogue. If you read my rough drafts, my characters are essentially floating around in outer space talking to each other and feeling things. I always get caught up in the suspense and relational stuff, so setting is something I always have to remember to edit back in.
Oh, wow, I wish I had the cool answer for this—you know, that every one of my characters has an important meaning to their name and some sort of reason that it had to be that. Really, I use nameberry.com like it’s my personal naming guru (and it is) and I go completely on feel. I’ll just keep saying names out loud until I’m like—yeah, that’s it.
I will say there’s usually one name per book that completely sticks for me. Piper was that name in Gone Too Far. She was Piper. Renaming her would have been brutally hard.
Read, read, read. Write, write, write. Never, ever, ever, EVER give up. I know that seems basic. I know it might feel like a cop-out answer, but to this day, this is what I go back to when I’m struggling or unsure. I always need to read more. I always need to write more. And I can’t give up. Not ever. ;-)
Lots of writers have said similar things, but in On Writing, Stephen King said something like “Talent is a dime a dozen, it’s hard work that will get you everywhere.” I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the thing I live by.
Thank you so much for having me!! It’s great to be here and I’m thrilled that you’re featuring Gone Too Far on your blog!
Piper Woods can't wait for the purgatory of senior year to end. She skirts the fringes of high school like a pro until the morning she finds a notebook with mutilated photographs and a list of student sins. She's sure the book is too gruesome to be true, until pretty, popular Stella dies after a sex-tape goes viral. Everyone's sure it's suicide, but Piper remembers Stella's name from the book and begins to suspect something much worse.
Drowning in secrets she doesn't want to keep, Piper's fears are confirmed when she receives an anonymous text message daring her to make things right. All she needs to do is choose a name, the name of someone who deserves to be punished...
Danny's mother lost her five-year battle with cancer three weeks before his graduation-the one day that she was hanging on to see.My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Now Danny is left alone, with only his memories, his dog, and his heart-breaking ex-girlfriend for company. He doesn't know how to figure out what to do with her estate, what to say for his Valedictorian speech, let alone how to live or be happy anymore.
When he gets a letter from his mom's property manager in Tokyo, where she had been going for treatment, it shows a side of a side of his mother he never knew. So, with no other sense of direction, Danny travels to Tokyo to connect with his mother's memory and make sense of her final months, which seemed filled with more joy than Danny ever knew. There, among the cherry blossoms, temples, and crowds, and with the help of an almost-but-definitely-not Harajuku girl, he begins to see how it may not have been ancient magic or mystical treatment that kept his mother going. Perhaps, the secret of how to live lies in how she died.