Monday, July 28, 2014

Exclusive Q&A with Stephanie Diaz, Author of EXTRACTION

Hey lovelies! For the last July debut author spotlight, we have Stephanie Diaz whose sci-fi/dystopian novel, Extraction, came out on July 22nd! Find out more about the imaginative world of Extraction and Stephanie Diaz in the interview below.

Extraction (Extraction, #1)
Congratulations on your debut, Stephanie! We love the concept of Extraction and we're sure it took a lot of effort and envisioning to set up the kind of world-building that it demands. What prompted you to write this story and what preparations did you make in order to create it?

Thanks so much! The story all started with a question I asked myself one day: "What would the world be like if the moon were toxic?" From there, I developed the idea of a moon that bleeds deadly acid and constructed a planet for the moon to orbit. I'm more of a pantster than a plotter, so a lot of the world-building happened as I wrote the novel and revised it. But before I wrote the first chapter, I'd developed a basic layout for the world.

Can you introduce us to the world of Extraction? Of the life on Surface and Core?

Extraction takes place on a planet, Kiel, where scientists worked with the government leaders to develop cities underground, all the way into the core of the planet (which is easier to manipulate than the core of Earth). Underground has been turned into something similar to the Death Star. Below the Surface, there are four sectors: Crust, Mantle, Lower, and Core. The Core houses the government leaders and the upper-class citizens. The Surface and the other sectors house the lower-class citizens, who live and die in work camps, fighting for a rare chance of escape when they take the Extraction test at age sixteen. Only the ten strongest, intelligent, and obedient girls and boys are Extracted from each sector every year, and given a shot at a better life in the Core.

How long did it take you to write Extraction?

The first draft took about a month and a half. Revisions happened over the course of the next year and a half, first on my own, then with my agent, then with my editor.

Clementine sounds like a determined and independent heroine. Can you tell us a bit about her character? How did you develop her? 

I wanted the heroine of Extraction to be clever, strong, and fearless, but also flawed and human, in the same vein as Hermione, Katniss, and other kick-ass heroines. Clementine is incredibly brave and she'll fight for those she cares about until the end. But she can also be stubborn, untrusting, and reckless in certain situations. She has to learn how to accept help from others, and also how to care more for her own safety.

Rebellion, the second book in the trilogy, releases next year. Are you still writing or editing it at the moment? Can you share a little bit about it?

I am largely finished with Rebellion, as it has moved onto the copy-editing stage. But I will get another couple chances to re-read it and make small changes.

JJ Abrams. Photo by David Shankbone
We learned that you were a film major and now a writer. What's your favorite film based on a book? And who are your dream cast and director for Extraction?

Recently, I was quite pleased with the film adaptation of Catching Fire. If Extraction were made into a movie, I would love for J.J. Abrams to take the helm as director. I'd cast Annalise Basso as Clementine, Brenton Thwaites as Logan, Colton Haynes as Beechy, Dane Dehaan as Sam, Elle Fanning as Ariadne, Asa Butterfield as Oliver, Rooney Mara as Sandy, and Bill Nighy as Commander Charlie.

What are the most surprising things about publishing and being an author since your first book deal?

Honestly, the most surprising thing was something that should've been pretty obvious from the start: getting a book deal doesn't solve all your problems. (It doesn't make you stop being awkward around boys, for example.) It definitely doesn't make writing any easier -- in fact it makes it harder. You suddenly feel like you're in the spotlight every time you sit down to write, instead of in a special place all by yourself. Landing a book deal is the start of a journey filled with struggles, not a perfect ending. But seeing your book on a shelf and hearing from readers who loved it? That makes everything worth it. :-)

Who and what are your literary inspirations? Did any of them influence the way you wrote your debut?

J.K. Rowling has been a huge inspiration, since I grew up with Harry Potter. She inspired me to persevere when it came to publishing. John Green is another inspiration, since he's an awesome person as well as a writer. As far as directly inspiring the way I wrote Extraction, the only real literary inspiration was Suzanne Collins, since reading Hunger Games is what made me re-fall in love with the sci-fi/dystopian genre (The Giver first opened that door).

What's the best piece of advice can you give to aspiring authors?

Read broadly and write books like you need to do it to keep breathing.

What books are on top of your TBR at the moment?

I'm in the middle of This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner. I have Starglass by Phoebe North and Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher waiting for me at the library, so those will be next.

Love Letters to the Dead
What do you do when you're not writing or reading?

I'm a bit of a TV show and movie-holic, so I spend a lot of time watching Netflix. I also go on spontaneous adventures with friends.

Can you share some random things about you that people may be surprised to know?

I enjoy singing, songwriting, and playing guitar. I actually recorded and produced a CD of original music back in high school. A couple of the tracks are on the internet. Maybe. :-)

Extraction (Extraction, #1)
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: July 22nd 2014
"Welcome to Extraction testing."

Clementine has spent her whole life preparing for her sixteenth birthday, when she’ll be tested for Extraction in the hopes of being sent from the planet Kiel’s toxic Surface to the much safer Core, where people live without fear or starvation. When she proves promising enough to be “Extracted,” she must leave without Logan, the boy she loves. Torn apart from her only sense of family, Clem promises to come back and save him from brutal Surface life.

What she finds initially in the Core is a utopia compared to the Surface—it’s free of hard labor, gun-wielding officials, and the moon's lethal acid. But life is anything but safe, and Clementine learns that the planet's leaders are planning to exterminate Surface dwellers—and that means Logan, too. 

Trapped by the steel walls of the underground and the lies that keep her safe, Clementine must find a way to escape and rescue Logan and the rest of the planet. But the planet leaders don't want her running—they want her subdued.

With intense action scenes and a cast of unforgettable characters,Extraction is a page-turning, gripping read, sure to entertain lovers ofHunger Games and Ender's Game and leave them breathless for more.

You can purchase Extraction at the following Retailers:


About the Author 
Twenty-one-year-old Stephanie Diaz wrote her debut novel, Extraction, when she should've been making short films and listening to class lectures at San Diego State University. When she isn't lost in books, she can be found singing, marveling at the night sky, or fan-girling over TV shows.

Follow her on these sites


Friday, July 25, 2014

Review: Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

Breathe, Annie, Breathe
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: July 15th 2014
Purchase: The Book Depository | B&NAmazon 
Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.

But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.

"Breathe, Annie, Breathe is an emotional, heartfelt, and beautiful story about finding yourself after loss and learning to love. It gave me so many feels. Her best book yet." — Jennifer Armentrout, New York Times bestselling author of Wait for You 

This is only my second Miranda Kenneally book after reading Catching Jordan a few years ago and I'm berating myself for taking too long to follow it up. I adored her debut and promised to keep track of her new releases, but school happened and I'm a forgetful person. But better late than never, right? Going into Breathe, Annie, Breathe, I have a slight idea of what I can expect from it but I'm also hoping to be taken by surprise. In the end, this book delivered everything I loved in this genre and will go down as my favorite Miranda Kenneally book by far.

And what a poignant yet uplifting contemporary this was! It was the type of story I needed: something to fully lose myself in and that in the end, will make me feel light and happy. While Breathe, Annie, Breathe satisfied those expectations, it is also not quite what I expected because there's more to this book than fluff and feel-good; it's can also be a little dark, very emotional and beautiful.

I absolutely loved how driven and determined Annie is. I first admired her character for stepping out of her comfort zone by committing to join the Music City Marathon. The book opened with her at the early stages of marathon training. It's not a secret that she's doing it on behalf of her deceased boyfriend, Kyle, who had always dreamed of running a marathon. What people around her doesn't know is that it is also to distract herself from thinking about him. To be honest, I was more conflicted and impatient at first with the mystery that surrounds Kyle's death but I soon realized that it's one of the things that made this book stand out. Kyle became a fleshed-out character through Annie's memory and we see a glimpse of their relationship throughout the book. It was so easy to feel for Annie's hurt and love for him. I can only imagine the heartbreak she was going through while harboring guilt over his death, and my respect for her grows with every step she took to honor him. The story progressed with Annie running the distances required to train for a marathon and I was hit with another dose of hard reality as I witnessed how grueling and physically taxing training could be.

And the romance? One of the most convincing I've read in quite a while! I love Jeremy and his growth arc with Annie. He has easily won me over with his charm and distinct personality. He's a complex and imperfect character; into extreme sports and an adrenaline junkie. That said, I understand where he's coming from and the reason why he's always chasing the next thrill.
"If you don't put yourself out there, if you don't take risks, you can't truly feel. 
And I'm ready to feel again"
I enjoyed the sweet, slow-burn romance between him and Annie that only deepened with time. It ultimately became a part of Annie's emotional healing and acceptance, and of her letting another person in. I can't think of anything I didn't like about this book. How can I when I was so completely immersed from the first page? I adored the characters, the fast-paced writing, and the story that is heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time.

P.S. I think it's time to binge on Miranda Kennelly's other books in Hundred Oaks series!


About the Author
Growing up in Tennessee, Miranda Kenneally dreamed of becoming an Atlanta Brave, a country singer (cliché!), or a UN interpreter. Instead she writes, and works for the State Department in Washington, D.C., where George W. Bush once used her shoulder as an armrest. Miranda loves Twitter, Star Trek and her husband.

Follow her on these sites

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Guest Post: Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid + Giveaway

One of the YA Contemporary release this 2014 is Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid. Since I saw this book in Goodreads and read its synopsis, it became my "one of the most awaited-and to read book" for 2014. Five strangers on a road trip? YEAH *more of because of the road trip ;)*! Below is Adi's choice of Top 5 Things to Pack and Travel-Themed Reads/Books to Read on the Road and don't forget to join the giveaway!

           5. Books 

4. Notebook/pen

3. My “I wish I could fly” penguin t-shirt for airplane days.

2. If it’s a road trip, snacks.

1.  Not much else. I prefer to keep it light.

      With Friends like These by Danny Wallace- A very funny man—the author of Yes Man—decides to revisit long lost friends across the globe. A touching and entertaining read about the things worth traveling for.

     Timbuktu by Paul Auster- A canine protagonist will teach you more about loneliness and how to be okay with it than any other book I’ve read. A great companion to the inevitable lonesome lulls while traveling. Plus it’s nice and light, so easy to carry with you.

    101 Summertime Knock-Knock Jokes- Just kidding.

    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams- To vicariously go where no man has before, and to find the answer to the universe.

     Best American Travel Series­- I usually go for the Best Shorts collections, but I picked up one of the travel collections once and it immediately made me want to hit the road. The pieces range from touching to insightful to just plain entertaining. With contributors like Anthony Bourdain and Gary Shteyngart, there’s something in it to please everyone, and plenty of ideas for not just where to go next, but how.

       Tales from Nowhere edited by Don George- Another collection of short pieces, all sent from different nowheres. From the back copy: “Nowhere is a setting, a situation and a state of mind. It's not on any map, but you know it when you're there.” A great non-fiction companion to Let’s Get Lost.    

Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid
Release date: July 29, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Tenn
Five strangers. Countless adventures. One epic way to get lost.

Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most.

There's HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love.

Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila's own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you're looking for is to get lost along the way.

Early Praise:
“Reminiscent of John Green’s Paper Towns and road trip novels that feature a teen paving the way to adulthood, Alsaid’s debut is a gem among contemporary YA novels.” – School Library Journal

“Five love stories, beautifully woven together by a special girl in search of adventure, hope, and full appreciation of life’s simple pleasures. A do-not-miss.  ” – Justine Magazine

“Moving and poignant.”  - Glitter Magazine

“An entertaining and romantic road-trip debut.” – Kirkus

"Leila's quest to find the Northern Lights takes readers on a captivating cross-country journey, where four strangers' adventures collide into one riveting tale of finding yourself."

“This will likely be a popular summer hit, especially for older teen about to embark on their own journeys of self-discovery.” –Booklist

Pre-Order Today!
Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Indie Bound *

Adi Alsaid was born and raised in Mexico City, then studied at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. While in class, he mostly read fiction and continuously failed to fill out crossword puzzles, so it's no surprise that after graduating, he did not go into business world but rather packed up his apartment into his car and escaped to the California coastline to become a writer.

 He's now back in his hometown, where he writes, coaches high school and elementary basketball, and has perfected the art of making every dish he eats or cooks as spicy as possible. In addition to Mexico, he's lived in Tel Aviv, Las Vegas, and Monterey, California. A tingly feeling in his feet tells him more places will eventually be added to the list. Let's Get Lost is his YA debut.  
Author Links:
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1 signed hard cover copy of Let’s Get Lost
1 Let’s Get Lost luggage tag
1 Harlequin TEEN notebook
1 Let’s Get Lost sachel
1 Harlequin TEEN tote bag

Book Blitz Organized by:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Interview: This Summer by Katlyn Duncan + Giveaway

Today I've had a chance to interview Ms. Duncan for her recent YA Contemporary book This Summer. Scroll down to read the interview and join the giveaway below. Have fun!
How did you come up with the concept in "This Summer"?

This Summer stemmed from reminiscing about my summers working for the local Parks Department.

Can you tell us about your protagonist, Hadley and Will?

Hadley and Will were next-door neighbors until he skipped town two years prior to the start of the book.  They had barely bridged the gap between their friendship toward something more when he left. When Will returns, it’s a challenge for them both to be around each other with their past on their shoulders.

Do you have any strange writing habits (like writing in the shower or standing in the head)?

I do think I get my best ideas when walking, and when I come up to a block I like to take my dog out, but I always have my phone ready to jot down any plot ideas!

What makes This Summer different from other books in the New Adult Contemporary genre?

The story is different than any other NA title I’ve read. It still holds onto the age group and problems that “new adults” face but it comes from the younger range where Hadley’s adult life is just beginning and the challenges that she will face are on the horizon.

Is there a message in your novel that you want your readers to grasp?

Not a message specifically, but I would love my readers to grasp onto the memory of their final childhood summer and all the possibilities within.

Have you ever had a writer's block?

Oh yes. And it can be quite unforgiving!

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I hope you enjoy reading This Summer as much as I enjoyed writing it!


This Summer by Katlyn Duncan
Release date: July 9, 2014
Publisher: Carina UK
Genre: New Adult Contemporary
ISBN: 9781472096449
Before college, before responsibilities, Hadley Beauman and best friend Lily are determined to have a summer to remember. There will be all the usual dramas - ex-boyfriends who don't seem to know what 'ex' means, pesky younger brothers with unrequited crushes, but what Hadley didn't anticipate was the out-of-the-blue return of the seriously hot boy-next-door, Will Carson. The boy who broke her heart when he skipped town two years ago.

Will may have shot up a foot and filled out (oh yes), but inside he carries the weight of guilt - for leaving, for coming back... Now he's just passing through to tie up loose ends but it's clear the old chemistry still crackles between him and Hadley. Trouble is, it's built on two years of lies...

This summer might just be the best time of their lives, but is Hadley ready for everything to change - again?

Find it at…

Purchase This Summer:

Coming soon… iBooks, Nook UK, Kobo, Google Play, & Sony Store.

Katlyn Duncan was born and raised in a small town in western Massachusetts. Her overactive imagination involved invisible friends, wanting to be a Disney Princess and making up her own stories. Her bibliophile mom always encouraged her love of reading and that stayed with her since. Even though she works full time in the medical field Katlyn has always made time for books, whether she is reading or writing them.

Katlyn now lives in southern Connecticut with her husband and adorable Wheaten Terrier and she is thrilled to finally share her stories with the world.
Follow her on these sites

The author is offering up for giveaway a $50 Amazon US or UK gift card.

Week One

July 14th – Fire and Ice – Guest Post
July 14th – Spiced Latte Reads – Review
July 15th – Ramblings From This Chick – Review
July 15th – The Cover Contessa – Interview
July 16th – Book Briefs – Review
July 16th – Swoony Boys Podcast – Interview
July 17th – Falling for YA – Guest Post
July 17th – Ginger-Read Reviews – Review
July 18th – A Book and a Latte – Interview
July 18th – Mary Had a Little Book Blog – Review

Week Two

July 21st – Seeing Night Reviews – Review
July 21st – Ticket to Anywhere – Guest Post
July 21st – A Bottomless Book Bag - Review
July 22nd – Library of a Book Witch – Review
July 22nd – Simplistic Reviews – Guest Post
July 23rd – Teen Readers’ Diary – Interview
July 23rd – Rampant Readers – Review
July 24th – Once Upon a Twilight – Review
July 24th – Fiction Dreams - Interview
July 25th – Burning Impossibly Bright – Guest Post

July 25th – Fiktshun – Guest Post + Review

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