SACRED by Elana K. Arnold


Geoff Herbach


Sandy King Carpenter


Colleen Houck


Jennifer Morrison


Chandler Baker


Marshall Ryan Maresca


Sheryl Scarborough


Leslye Walton


Tessa Gratton


Friday, March 16, 2018

Guest Post with X. Culletto

Photo Content from X. Culletto

Xela Culletto loves all genres, but especially loves to geek out to sci-fi and fantasy. She currently lives in Utah with her husband and three children.

Print Length: 205 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1973108321
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publication Date: November 4, 2017
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B0776FPK25


Without a doubt, the protagonist, Rhyan. As I was writing, it didn’t feel like I was creating her, but rather that she was telling me her story. I was surprised at how much spunk she had--right from the start.

There is a scene near the opening of the story where she comes across another post-apocalyptic survivor who grudgingly helps her. One of my beta readers insisted that Rhyan needed to be grateful for the help, rather than sarcastic and hostile, but I ended up keeping the scene as it was, because that is who Rhyan is. She has an edge that may put some readers off, but that edge is what allows her to survive for so long in such a dangerous world.

Another thing I like about Rhyan is that she doesn’t get distracted by the opposite sex. Though there are interested parties, she doesn’t let the idea of romance cloud her head. She’s a lot like Katniss in that way.

In many ways, Rhyan embodies a lot of what I lack, which is the great thing about writing--I get to create characters who have strengths where I am weak, and live vicariously through them. Maybe my next series will be about a space-travelling billionaire….


Here’s a short excerpt from Chapter 5. I hope you find it intriguing.

It was dark, but there was noise.

Was someone banging pots and pans around?

Zach shifted restlessly in the cramped space, hands clenched around a baseball bat. An especially loud bang made him jump. It had to be pots and pans. But who would be in the kitchen?

His breath came quick and heavy; his muscles were taut.

Suddenly, a loud shout.

Zach burst from the bedroom closet to find Dad—he needed help!

But he never made it out of his room.

I woke with a lurch, heart pounding. Darkness surrounded me. I gasped for breaths and tried to orient myself.

I was in a bear den. I was alone. I wasn’t in the cave because.… They killed Meg!

After that nightmare, I wouldn’t have thought there would be room for any more anguish, but somehow another morsel wormed its way in. I didn’t even try to fight it. Misery was my life.

My throat felt like it had been scraped down with sandpaper. Aliens or no, I needed water.

I got up, noting that my muscles weren’t even stiff. I must’ve only been asleep for a moment. Edging out of the den, I underestimated the height of the entrance and dirt clods fell into my hair.

Once free, I filled my lungs deeply, enjoying the clean air, then tried to shake the dirt off. Knife at the ready, I prowled through the night.

The creek was closer than I’d remembered. The sound of rushing water deepened my thirst, and unconsciously I began jogging. When it came into view I threw myself onto the bank and slurped without even an attempt at civility.

It took a good while, but finally my body was satisfied. I sat back, covered from shirt to boots in mud, and looked around. Nothing was out of the ordinary. The stars were sparkling and the forest was keeping its secrets hidden.

I didn’t want to go back to the den. There was no way I would be able to sleep now and even if I could have, the nightmares would be back.

And then I would be reliving it all. Again.

Remembering how I had come home, carrying in stolen milk.

Seeing Dad on the kitchen floor.

Finding Zach in the bedroom.

Imagining how it must have happened.

I couldn’t bear it.

Our city had been one of the first invaded. We’d had no warning. Most people had no warning. Finding Dad and Zach had put me on my guard pretty quick. That’s when I began keeping knives—the first, our kitchen butcher knife. It had saved me more than once.

Of course, there’d been the uninterrupted news coverage when the scientists had first discovered the approaching ships. The constant attempts at communication. The echo of silence.

Then, the world had gone mad.

Religions declared the end of the world; atheists began praying; people walked around openly armed—as young as gradeschool kids; then came the looting, the pillaging, the eye-for-an-eye ideology; world leaders pleaded for order, then disappeared; the police lasted longer, but not by much; schools closed; stores closed; gas stations closed; the only thing open was the churches, which became flooded with people; some went into hiding, many committed suicide; most hunkered down with their families.

Which was what we’d done. There were still times—lots of times, truthfully—that I wished I hadn’t left for milk that day. That I’d shared in their fate.

But when I’d seen that first alien—face to face, only hours later that same day—reflex kicked in and I’d attacked without even considering otherwise. The butcher knife proved itself.

I outlasted so many.

Outlasted only to end up here, sitting on a mudbank, too afraid to sleep.


● 75% of the plot for Girl Vs was developed in one night as I was falling asleep.

● The cover was developed before the novel was finished. The artist put Rhyan on a motorcycle, so I had to add in a scene including it.

● I toyed with the idea of using real cities, but in the end decided to keep to keep the places fictional.

● My beta readers urged me to change the coyote attack scene to a wolf attack scene because they thought coyotes was too unrealistic, but coyotes have actually been known to attack in groups. I thought wolves was too cliche. Plus, wolves generally live in wooded areas, not plains.

● When introducing new characters, I never spend much time deciding on their names. Generally I go with the first one that pops into my head.

● The character of Claire was created after the first couple of drafts to give Rhyan someone other than herself to care for and fight for.

● The only reason I know what a kama knife is is because my son recently started TaeKwonDo. They’re wicked-looking knives that I thought would go perfectly in this world.

● Liam, the nosy nurse, is a lot more like me than I care to admit.

● The design for the aliens came to me when I visited the local zoo that was putting on a display of giant animated bugs. They had a huge, 8-foot-tall praying mantis that looked so alien-like I had to use it.

● This is a planned duology, and the plot for the sequel is so thrilling I can’t wait to release it! So many good ideas have been coming that I think it’s going to be my best book yet.

Before the Vela invasion, Rhyan's biggest concern was getting through a day of school. But when she is thrust into the madness of a kill-or-be-killed world, her true strength emerges and a deadly warrior is unleashed. Stumbling through the new morals of a post-apocalyptic world, she learns to depend only on herself. As she gets closer to discovering what the aliens actually want, her lethality becomes unmatched, and she soon learns the extent she'll go to in order to survive.
You can purchase Girl Vs at the following Retailers:


Thursday, March 15, 2018

HOOPER by Geoff Herbach

ISBN: 9780062453136
ISBN 10: 0062453130
Imprint: Katherine Tegen Books
On Sale: 02/20/2018
Pages: 336
List Price: 8.99 USD

Praise for HOOPER

“Lessons on small-town politics and what it means to be a good friend abound in this well-plotted work.” 

“Herbach’s ability to expand the narrative from solid game play to confronting racial injustice is remarkable. No one here is perfect, and their failures make readers cringe yet root for success. Hoops and so much more.” Kirkus Reviews

“There’s much to love in this sports tale. Fast-paced play-by-plays vividly depict the speed and beauty of the game. Adam’s backstory is heartrending and with immigrant mistrust and nonviolent protests in the national spotlight, this is a timely and realistic teen drama and swish—nothin’ but net.” School Library Journal

“This sports/school/domestic drama checks all the boxes. What could be another boilerplate basketball novel benefits from a tight cast of well developed secondary characters who surpass their expected stereotypes.” Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Fresh, funny, thoughtful, subversive, and totally absorbing. Book of the year!” Robert Lipsyte, Margaret A. Edwards award-winning author of The Contender

“Funny, gut-wrenching, and spilling over with heart, Hooper is an uplifting breath of joy, and gives us all cause to be hopeful. I loved it!” Andrew Smith, Michael L. Printz Honor and New York Times Bestselling author of Winger and Grasshopper Jungle

“Hooper is a slam dunk! A sports novel with incredible action and tons of heart. I challenge you not to fall in love with these terrific, flawed characters, and just try to put this one down once you start. Impossible.” Bill Konigsberg, Award-Winning Author of Honestly Ben

“Raw, funny, and deeply honest, Geoff Herbach gifts us a story about the messiness of life and the importance of talking about it—ultimately showing us how to not only trudge through it, but to soar.” Gae Polisner, author of In Sight of Stars and The Memory of Things

“Author Geoff Herbach has a remarkable ability to create characters who make us laugh and think, sometimes within the same sentence. Read Hooper and let your self be changed.” John Coy, author of Gap Life 

From Geoff Herbach, the critically acclaimed author of the Stupid Fast series, comes a compelling new YA novel about basketball, prejudice, privilege, and family, perfect for fans of Jordan Sonnenblick, Andrew Smith, and Matt de la Peña.

For Adam Reed, basketball is a passport. Adam’s basketball skills have taken him from an orphanage in Poland to a loving adoptive mother in Minnesota. When he’s tapped to play on a select AAU team along with some of the best players in the state, it just confirms that basketball is his ticket to the good life: to new friendships, to the girl of his dreams, to a better future.

But life is more complicated off the court. When an incident with the police threatens to break apart the bonds Adam’s finally formed after a lifetime of struggle, he must make an impossible choice between his new family and the sport that’s given him everything.

You can purchase HOOPER at the following Retailers:

Book Nerd Spotlight
Photo Credit: Katherine Warde

Geoff Herbach is the author of the award winning Stupid Fast YA series as well as Fat Boy vs the Cheerleaders. His books have been given the 2011 Cybils Award for best YA novel, the Minnesota Book Award, selected for the Junior Library Guild, listed among the year’s best by the American Library Association, the American Booksellers Association and many state library associations. In the past, he wrote the literary novel, The Miracle Letters of T. Rimberg, produced radio comedy shows and toured rock clubs telling weird stories. Geoff teaches creative writing at Minnesota State, Mankato. He lives in a log cabin with a tall wife.

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Illustrator - Brianna Garcia Interview

Photo Credit: JeanBookNerd

Born in San Diego, CA I've been drawing my entire life and it's the only thing I've ever wanted to do for a career. From 2004-2008 I attended the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, where I graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Animation and Visual Development. I've worked under such names as Warner Bros Animation, Disney Imagineering, RHETROACTIVE, as well as several other companies.

This portfolio showcases my illustration work. Storyboard revision samples are available upon request.

Illustration by  Brianna Garcia
Illustration by  Brianna Garcia


Video/Audio/Edit: James Vallesteros (@jamesvallesteros)
The Art of Brianna Garcia
Illustrator | Color Stylist | Storyboard Revisionist

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Diana Rodriguez Wallach Author Interview

Photo Content from Diana Rodriguez Wallach

Diana Rodriguez Wallach is the author of the Anastasia Phoenix Series, three young adult spy thrillers (Entangled Publishing, 2017, ’18, ‘19). The first book in the trilogy, Proof of Lies, was named by Paste Magazine as one of the “Top 10 Best Young Adult Books for March 2017.” Bustle also listed her as one of the “Top Nine Latinx Authors to Read for Women’s History Month 2017.” Additionally, she is the author of three award-winning young adult novels: Amor and Summer Secrets, Amigas and School Scandals, and Adios to All The Drama (Kensington Books); as well as a YA short-story collection entitled Mirror, Mirror (Buzz Books, 2013).

She is an advisory board member for the Philly Spells Writing Center, a school-based Workshop Instructor for Mighty Writers in Philadelphia, and has been a Writing Instructor for Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth since 2015. She holds a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University, and currently lives in Philadelphia.


Series: Anastasia Phoenix (Book 2)
Paperback 322 pages
Publisher: Entangled: Teen (March 6, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1633759024
ISBN-13: 978-1633759022


5 stars: "This was such an epic sequel to Proof of Lies and I would recommend it to fans of mystery, thrillers, The Godfather, and romance. This story is also about placing your feet back on the ground even though it feels like it's been ripped out from underneath you." ―Bethany, YA Books Central
4 stars: "The story is also about discovering who you are and not accepting defeat! What are you waiting for go out and buy both of these books right now! You will not be disappointed!!!!" ―Bran Pendergrass, One Last Chapter

5 stars: "I am in love with this book and I highly recommend checking it out!" ―Madison, Stylish Brunette

4 stars: "This book is great for anyone who likes spy/espionage mixed into young adult." ―Kristi, Confessions of a YA Reader


“Mom and Dad are either dead or they abandoned us. I’m not sure which is worse,” I said bluntly. “But if they are alive, we don’t know how many people, how many lunatics, think we’re walking maps to their doorsteps. They’ll use us, and they’ll hurt us. Again.”

“Then we’ll stop looking for them.” Keira shrugged like it was easy. “Why do we need to go anywhere to do that?”

“Because everyone on that terrace is somehow connected to Department D, Marcus and Antonio especially!” I stared at the gray sky, aggravated. Did she think I wanted to do this? I was about to walk away from a guy I cared about because of our parents, because of things that they did. They committed crimes, they had an affair, and they put us in danger. All we could do now was survive. “As long as we’re linked to them, we’re not safe. Especially if Mom and Dad are alive. We have to go off the grid.”

What do you do when you learn your entire childhood was a lie?

Reeling from the truths uncovered while searching for her sister in Italy, Anastasia Phoenix is ready to call it quits with spies. The only way to stop being a pawn in their game is to remove herself from the board. But before she can leave her parents’ crimes behind her, tragedy strikes. No one is safe, not while Department D still exists.

Now, with help from her friends, Anastasia embarks on a dangerous plan to bring down an entire criminal empire. From a fire-filled festival in England to a lavish wedding in Rio de Janeiro, Anastasia is determined to confront the enemies who want to destroy her family. But even Marcus, the handsome bad boy who’s been there for her at every step, is connected to the deadly spy network. And the more she learns about Department D, the more she realizes the true danger might be coming from someone closer than she expects…

You can purchase Lies That Bind at the following Retailers:

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Lucky Leprechaun Hop

BLucky Leprechaum Giveaway Hop
Hosted by BookHounds

Praise for OBSIDIO

"Kaufman and Kristoff draw their trilogy to a satisfying end with an out-of-this-world finale" —Booklist, starred review

Praise for ILLUMINAE

"Prepare yourselves for Illuminae." ―

"One look at a hard copy of Illuminae and you know you're not in for an ordinary novel experience. . . . Illuminae is a wholly ambitious work that never sacrifices emotion or story for its unique form." ―

"A truly interactive experience for the reader. . . . A fantastically fun ride." ―

"Hints of romance and references to Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey interweave with the text, itself an arresting visual experience that weds form with expression and content." ―Booklist, starred review

"Stunningly creative. Smart, funny, and romantic. This is the book I've been waiting for." ―Veronica Rossi, bestselling author of Under the Never Sky

"...a stylistically mesmerizing tale, where story and art are interchangeable, and words act as pictures." ―Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Nervy chicks, cute fighter pilots, lots of heart, lots of heartbreak, a mentally unstable battleship, and even pink hair! This book is xxxxing awesome." ―Laini Taylor, bestselling author of Daughter of Smoke and Bone

"The characters are immediately real and with harrowing accounts, unexpected twists, and gut-wrenching selflessness, they become even more endearing over the course of the book. While reminiscent of the works of Isaac Asimov and Orson Scott Card, this work is a distinct piece that stands alone." ―School Library Journal

"This is one of those rare books that will truly keep your heart pounding and the pages turning as you peel back the layers--and you hope that the characters you love survive." ―Beth Revis, bestselling author of Across the Universe

"Brace yourself. You're about to be immersed in a mindscape that you'll never want to leave." ―Marie Lu, bestselling author of the Legend trilogy

"An edge of your seat thrill ride that left me breathless. Genre: Undefinable. Novel: Unforgettable." ―Kami Garcia, bestselling coauthor of Beautiful Creatures & author of Unbreakable

"Alternately humorous, charming, horrifying and electrifying, ILLUMINAE is unforgettable and a game-changer for its genre." ―Shelf Awareness, starred review

"You'll cheer, you'll gasp, you'll hang on for all 600 pages." Romantic Times, Top Pick Gold

"Not only is ILLUMINAE a twisting, heart-pounding story moving at the speed of light, but it is a truly beautiful novel that redefines the form. I have never read anything like it. And it certainly filled the BATTLESTAR GALACTICA shaped hole in my heart." ―Victoria Aveyard, bestselling author of Red Queen

"An exuberant mix of space opera, romance, zombies, hackers, and political thrills, told with eccentric aplomb. ILLUMINAE is both the weirdest and most heartfelt thing you'll read this year." ―Scott Westerfeld, bestselling author of Uglies and Zeroes

Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they'll find seven months after the invasion?

Meanwhile, Kady's cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza's ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha's past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict.

With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heroes will fall, and hearts will be broken.

You can purchase Obsidio at the following Retailers:

1 Winner will receive a copy of Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.
Obsidio will be purchased through Book Depository.

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