Category: Blog Tour

Guest Post: Ally Condie talks about sisters in Atlantia

atlantia headerI am so stoked to be part of the Atlantia blog tour with Penguin. I have loved Ally Condie since I first read Matched all those years ago so I am happy to be part of the launch of her next series! As part of the blog tour, Ally wrote a fantastic post about sisters and the importance of that relationship in Atlantia. Check it out below!

If I were to describe ATLANTIA as just one thing, I would say that it is a book about sisters. I thought about my own sisters quite a lot as I wrote Rio and Bay’s story. I have two sisters, one twenty-one months younger than me and one thirteen years younger than me. I’ve written a bit about my close-in-age sister (I even dedicated a book to her!) so I thought a post about my youngest sister, Hope, was past due.

When people find out that ATLANTIA is a story about twins, they often ask if there are any twins in my family. And there are. My sister, Hope, has a twin, but her twin passed away before they were born.

I was thirteen when my mom told me she was expecting twin girls. We were thrilled. Things became complicated and we were all heartbroken when she lost one of the twins at five months. My mom spent the next two months in the hospital on bedrest. When Hope was born at 32 weeks, tiny and perfect, we were all over the moon and everyone has been in love with her ever since.
Though the age difference between Hope and me is much greater than between Rio and Bay, we are very close. There’s something about a sister, someone who has grown up in the same home and knows the same family intimately, that means a deep underlying understanding. That doesn’t mean it’s a perfect understanding—Rio and Bay show that even the closest of sisters can keep secrets from one another—but it is there, sometimes whether you want it to be or not. ;)
Hope came to visit this weekend and brought her usual gentle sunshine. She played games (indoor and outdoor) with my four children. She brought clay for them to sculpt with and cookies for them to eat. She insisted that my husband and I go on a date and so we went to Ikea for a bookshelf without the kids (really nice and SUPER romantic). Hope and I jumped on the trampoline and watched Season 3 of Sherlock so that she is all caught up (she loves it too). And she told us stories of her summer in the Alaskan tundra.

She’s such a sweet person, kinder than anyone I know, and she is a rare combination of heart of gold and spine of steel. She does really hard things with a smile on her face, has a taste for adventure and at the same time is utterly grounded. I admire her because she is so different from me. And I am quite certain there is a little of her in both Rio and Bay.

About Atlantia:

Can you hear Atlantia breathing?
For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamt of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all her plans for the future are thwarted when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected decision, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long hidden—she has nothing left to lose.
Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the complex system constructed to govern the divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths.

About the author:

Ally Condie is the author of the MATCHED Trilogy, a #1 New York Times and international bestseller. MATCHED was chosen as one of YALSA’s 2011 Teens’ Top Ten and named as one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Children’s Books of 2010. The sequels, CROSSED and REACHED, were also critically acclaimed and received starred reviews, and all three books are available in 30+ languages. Disney has optioned the film rights for the series.

A former English teacher, she lives with her husband and four children outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. She loves reading, writing, running, and listening to her husband play guitar.
You can find Ally via her Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook
To keep up with the rest of the tour, and support Team Below, check out the rest of the tour from our team members below:
September 28 – Katie (Mundie Moms) – Long Q&A
September 30 – Jen (I Read Banned Books) – Guest post
October 2 – Katie (Katie’s Book Blog) – Short Q&A
October 4 – Lea (YA Book Queen) – Review
October 6 – Taschima (Bloody Bookaholic) – Fancasting
October 8 – Jeremy (Novel Thoughts Blog) – Guest post
October 10 – Erin/ Flo (Fangirlish) – Review
October 12 – Nancy (Ravenous Reader) – Review
October 14 – Sara (Novel Novice) – Playlist
October 16 – Jess (Gone with the Words) – Short Q&A
October 18 – Rachel (Paper Cuts) – Guest post
October 20 – Georgia (Eve’s Fan Garden) – Playlist
October 22 – Gabby (Queen Ella Bee Reads) – Long Q&A
October 24 – Andrea (Reading Lark) – Review

Teaser + Giveaway: Summerfall by Claire Legrand

If you haven’t heard of WINTERSPELL by Claire Legrand, then I don’t know what rock you’ve been living under, but it probably doesn’t have an internet connection.

Claire has knocked it out of the park with the creepy and the spooky in her previous two books, The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls and The Year of Shadows. And now, with WINTERSPELL, she takes on retelling a tale as old as time, The Nutcracker. Yes, The Nutcracker.

But even though you can’t sink your teeth into WINTERSPELL  until September 30th, there’s still a way you can start to get to know the story. Claire has released a nice little enovella, titled SUMMERFALL, to get your toes wet in this world of love and war.

Stick around until the end of the post to see an exclusive teaser from SUMMERFALL and to enter a giveaway for some awesome WINTERSPELL swag!

Until then, I’ll leave you with some sneak peeks of this soon-to-be-huge series!

Title: Summerfall (A Winterspell Novella)
Author: Claire Legrand
Release Date: August 26th, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | iBookstore

Rinka is a faery, passionate and powerful, determined to maintain the tenuous peace between faeries and humans.

Alban Somerhart is a human, a reluctant king trapped in an arranged marriage, desperate to prevent war.

Their love could save the kingdom of Cane… or shatter it forever.

In this captivating novella, prequel to the upcoming Winterspell, Claire Legrand weaves a story of magic, political intrigue, and forbidden love that sets the stage for the rise of a wicked queen and the journey of a human girl named Clara…

Title: Winterspell
Author: Claire Legrand
Release Date: September 30th, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Books of Wonder (For Signed Copies!)
The clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince… but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums.

New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor’s ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother’s murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.

Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.

Her home is destroyed, her father abducted–by beings distinctly nothuman. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they’re to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets–and a need she can’t define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won’t leave Cane unscathed–if she leaves at all.

Inspired by The Nutcracker, Winterspell is a dark, timeless fairy tale about love and war, longing and loneliness, and a girl who must learn to live without fear.

Are you reader for that teaser now?? I bet you are! Well, here it is!

SUMMERFALL teaser 16

Chilling and beautiful.

Now how about we talk prizes.
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I know that was a lot to take in, but I trust you’re much better off now. Especially if you download SUMMERFALL to your ereader! You won’t regret it.


Claire Legrand is the author of books for children and teens, including The Cavendish Home for Boys and GirlsThe Year of Shadows, the upcoming Winterspell, and its prequel,Summerfall. She is also one of the four authors of The Cabinet of Curiosities.

When not writing books, she can be found obsessing over DVD commentaries, going on long walks (or trying to go on long runs), and speaking with a poor English accent to random passersby. She thinks musicians and librarians are the loveliest of folks (having been each of those herself) and, while she loves living in central New Jersey, she dearly misses her big, brash, beautiful home state of Texas.

Site | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

Review: Amity by Micol Ostow + Giveaway

For fans of Stephen King and American Horror Story, a gruesome thriller suggested by the events of the Amityville Horror.

Connor’s family moves to Amity to escape shady business deals. Ten years later, Gwen’s family moves to Amity for a fresh start after she’s recovered from a psychotic break.

But something is not right about this secluded house. Connor’s nights are plagued with gore-filled dreams of demons and destruction. Dreams he kind of likes. Gwen has lurid visions of corpses that aren’t there and bleeding blisters that disappear in the blink of an eye. She knows Amity is evil and she must get her family out, but who would ever believe her?

Amity isn’t just a house. She is a living force, bent on manipulating her inhabitants to her twisted will. She will use Connor and Gwen to bring about a bloody end as she’s done before. As she’ll do again.

Alternating between parallel narratives, Amity is a tense and terrifying tale suggested by true-crime events that will satisfy even the most demanding horror fan.

If you’re one of those readers who is a bit on edge about the idea of jumping into horror, let this book be a sign. Horror is back. The past few years have seen a new surge of frightfully terrifying horror novels and this one can be counted among the best of them. And I hope that we’ll be seeing plenty more in the mainstream soon!

Amity may be a new take on the true events of the Amityville Horror most know about but believe me, this book (and house) has a story of their own and they’re ready to tell it. Relive the horror like never before. You will feel this house in your bones before you finish this book and it may haunt you.

One of the most interesting things I found about this book was the perspective in which it’s told in. Now, I don’t want to give anything away so I won’t because that’s the magic of it. But the POV tells two different stories within the house that are ten years apart. Two different characters experiencing nearly the same horrors weaving them together though they’ve never met themselves. It was a seamless transition from past to present every few chapters and one that I think the reader will find extremely unique and powerful.

If you’re looking for a light read to cap off the summer, I don’t suggest this book to you. But if you’re looking for a killer novel that will scare the pants off of you (you can handle it), then this is one book that you absolutely cannot miss.

Amity will be available in stores everywhere August 26, 2014.

micolostowAbout the author:

Micol Ostow has written dozens of books for children, tweens, and teens, but Amity is her first foray into horror. I turns out, writing a ghost story is almost more terrifying than reading one. (In a good way.) Her novel family was called a “Favorite Book of 2011” by Liz Burns at School Library Journal, and her illustrated novel, So Punk Rock (and Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother), was a Sydney Taylor Notable Book for Teens. In her spare time, Ostow blogs with the National Book Award-winning literacy initiative She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband, her (utterly fearless) daughter, and a finicky French bulldog named Bridget Jones. Visit her online at or follow her on Twitter.

The next stop on the blog tour is Good Books and Good Wine with a guest post and giveaway.
To keep up with the rest of the tour, click here.


Enter the form below for a chance to win a finished copy of Amity! The giveaway is for US/Canada only.

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Blog Tour: Interview with Katherine Longshore

9780670014019_large_BrazenMary Howard has always lived in the shadow of her powerful family. But when she’s married off to Henry Fitzroy, King Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, she rockets into the Tudor court’s inner circle. Mary and “Fitz” join a tight clique of rebels who test the boundaries of court’s strict rules with their games, dares, and flirtations. The more Mary gets to know Fitz, the harder she falls for him, but is forbidden from seeing him alone. The rules of court were made to be pushed…but pushing them too far means certain death. Is true love worth dying for?

1. Gilt, Tarnish, and Brazen are all set during King Henry VIII’s reign in the Tudor period, what is it that drew you to that specific time period and cast of characters?

There is so much raw material to work with! Fascinating characters—not just kings and queens, but strong, opinionated women and men with dodgy pasts and poetic hearts. Situations that verge on the fantastical—secret marriages, half-planned coups, executions based on trumped-up charges. Beautiful clothes, rich fabrics, thriving arts and sciences, chivalry, jousting, falcons, dancing…

I love the characters because there are so many that we think we already know—Henry VIII with his jowls and his vicious temper, Anne Boleyn with her machinations. I love being able to explore alternate possibilities and ask the big what ifs?

2. If you had to write in a historical time period, other than Tudor, what would it be and why?

I would love to find out more about the English Civil Wars. They are partly responsible for the founding fathers’ exodus to America and they mirror America’s Civil War, but we know so little about them. Again, there are some fascinating characters involved—Charles I’s consort, Queen Henrietta Maria comes immediately to mind, as does the diabolical Oliver Cromwell—and situations that rival even the most active imaginations.

3. A lot of your characters come from actual history. Can you talk about fictionalizing their stories and writing their love interests?

Most of what we know about history is “just the facts” or the opinions of those who were around at the time. We all know that what my friend says about me is going to be very different from what my enemy says, and neither one may be completely accurate, so how can we trust the bulk of those accounts? What I love about fictionalizing these characters is being able to take the essence of these accounts and trying to spin it in a way that seems believable. Anne Boleyn was described as mouthy and shrill, but what if she just wanted the opportunity to speak her mind? I also find it fascinating to look at “just the facts” and try to figure out the motivations behind them. It’s like being author, psychiatrist and police detective all at once.

4. If you had to pick a favorite British monarchy, which would you choose?

I’m quite fond of the Windsors, actually.  They showed great courage and solidarity during the bombings of London in World War II, great humanity and humility during the abdication of Edward VIII, struggled visibly with the divorces of the 80s and Diana’s death in 1997 and have embraced modernity through Harry, William and Kate.  They’re part of the great, lingering appeal of England—not just the history, but the continuation of tradition.

5. Out of all of Henry VIII’s wives, which do you think had the most interesting backstory/ tragic tale?

Poor Catherine of Aragon! A Spanish princess, raised during her parents’ (Ferdinand and Isabella—the very same who sent Columbus to discover America) turbulent reign, she left her homeland to marry Prince Arthur (Henry’s older brother) and moved to this dreary and insular little island. But her husband died young and her father and her father-in-law argued incessantly over her dowry, so she had to wait years before her fate was decided by Henry upon his father’s death. Then, after twenty years of marriage, Henry threw her over for a much younger maid-in-waiting. I have a lot of respect for Catherine—she was intelligent, passionate, steadfast and devout—and I think Henry (and his father) treated her abominably.

6. Now that you’ve completed this trilogy, do you find that you favor one of the romantic couples over the others? And if you have to pick one of the love interests for yourself, which would you choose?

I love Fitz and Mary. In BRAZEN, they have the time and the opportunity to discover love the way I hope we all do—patiently and truly and passionately. And I enjoyed writing them and their relationship because for them, everything was new and wonderful.

But if I were to pick one love interest for myself, I’d choose Thomas Wyatt. He can be a bit selfish and arrogant, but he’s so amorous. And the poetry just makes me swoon.

7. If you could be transported back to any time period (Tudor or otherwise), which era would it be?

I’d have to be assured that I could come back to the modern day, because I can think of no historical era I’d want to stay in forever! I’d love to visit the 1920s, because I adore the fashions. Dropped waists, skirts cut on the bias, lots of fringe and movement and fun. I also love it because it was a time that women were just beginning to come into their own. Most had the vote, they were shedding their corsets, asserting their rights, believing that there was more to life than kitchens and babies and that they were smart enough and good enough for anything. How exciting is that?

Be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour for more interviews and to learn about Katherine Longshore’s favorite historical hotties!

Midsummer Romance Blog Tour Schedule:

Tuesday, July 8 – Good Books & Good Wine
Thursday, July 10 –Perpetual Page Turner
Tuesday, July 15 –Alice Marvels
Thursday, July 17 – Confessions of a Book Addict
Tuesday, July 22 – Novel Sounds
Thursday, July 24 – Starry-Eyed Revue
Tuesday, July 29 – The Midnight Garden
Thursday, July 31 – Novel Thoughts

Katherine Longshore ( is the author of Gilt, Tarnish, and Brazen. She lives in California with her husband, two children and a sun-worshipping dog.

Buy COURTED (paperback compilation of Gilt and Tarnish)


Blog Tour: #FridayReads, The Books that Got Me Into Shakespeare

SWheaderIt is true. The Jedi Doth Return. In a series that has broken all kinds of barriers since the first book released, William Shakespeare’s Star Wars is one of those literary phenomenons that cannot be missed. With the third book in the series releasing in just a few days on July 1st, Quirk Books asked if we’d like to have the author, Ian Doescher, on the blog to talk about Shakespeare himself.

I’m so thrilled to not only be a part of this blog tour for such a fantastic series but to also live in a time where these books actually exist. Stick around after the post and you can enter for a chance to win the first book in the series! Take it away, Ian!


When I was in eighth grade, my brother Erik (then a senior in high school) was studying Hamlet in his English class.  Like most younger brothers, I thought my older brother was pretty cool—though I never would have told him—so I bought a copy of Hamlet at a used bookstore on a family trip to the Oregon coast (shown here).  I think I found the “To be or not to be” speech and pretty quickly put the book aside.  But from that point forward I called myself a Shakespeare fan.

The next year, as a freshman, I read my first Shakespeare play when we studied Othello.  I did a lot of theater back then, and here was a play—meant to be performed!—that we were reading in English class.  When we had to memorize Othello’s “It is the cause” soliloquy from Act V, I was excited about the assignment and was the first to raise my hand to perform it in front of the class (yes, I was that guy).

My interest in Shakespeare snowballed from there.  Sophomore year we studied Julius Caesar, and I adapted it with the idea of performing it with some friends (it never happened).  That summer, Kenneth Branagh’s film version of Much Ado About Nothing came out, which I saw in the theater with my mom about ten times.  This tells you something about my interest in Shakespeare and my social life at the time.  Junior and senior years my interest in Shakespeare continued—I started seeing Shakespeare performed live in Portland, memorized some soliloquies just for fun, and started building my Shakespearean library.  After that first copy of Hamlet, the first three Shakespearean books I owned were The Friendly Shakespeare: A Thoroughly Painless Guide to the Best of the Bard by Norrie Epstein (still a personal favorite), Shakespeare A to Z: The Essential Reference to His Plays, His Poems, His Life and Times by Charles Boyce, and The Complete Works of Shakespeare.   (The summer after my junior year of high school, the movie Mr. Holland’s Opus was filmed at my high school, and I stalked Richard Dreyfuss to get him to sign my complete works.)  As a budding Shakespeare devotee, Kenneth Branagh’s book Beginning was significant—it’s not a book about Shakespeare, but about how he became an actor and, ultimately, how he made his debut with the Royal Shakespeare Company and his first film, Henry V.

In college, I would discover The Riverside Shakespeare—still the best complete works available—and the Arden Shakespeare series, which are the best individual versions of the plays.  (I’m proud to have Sir Patrick Stewart’s autograph on my copy of The Riverside Shakespeare.)  It was also while I was in college that Looking for Richard came out, Al Pacino’s performance of Richard III/documentary on the difficulties of the play itself.

Those were the books and films that led me to Shakespeare.  Today, I would add into that list Shakespeare: The Biography by Peter Ackroyd, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human by Harold Bloom and Shakespeare: The World as Stage by Bill Bryson.  How about you?  What are your favorite editions of Shakespeare or books about the Bard?


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To keep up with the rest of the blog tour, CLICK HERE!


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