My Very First Annotated ARC Giveaway!

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unnamedHey, guys! Did you know I wrote a book? I did. It’s called Behind the Scenes, and it comes out on June 24. Yay! (You can read more about here and even pre-order it and stuff. That’d be awesome. Thanks <3)

June 24 is sort of far away, though (it actually isn’t, which makes me want to hurl a little bit, but let’s not go there right now), and who wants to wait that long for anything, right? Right. Waiting is for suckers.

Thankfully, I have Advanced Readers Copies now, and I’m giving one away – whee! And, because I think annotated ARCs are basically the most awesome form of swag ever, the ARC I’m giving away here is gonna be full of notes from moi on all the fun stuff that went on – wait for it…

BEHIND THE SCENES.

Because obvious pun is obvious, and also, don’t you want to know the only thing that got cut from this book? And what part of it is ripped off my real life? And what songs go with which scenes? And SO MANY MORE THOUGHTS AND THINGS?

So, between now and midnight EST on April 23, you can enter HERE to win an ARC of Behind the Scenes full of my serial killer handwriting! Go forth and Rafflecopt! (US/Canada only, unfortunately!!)

And whether you’re entering or not, planning to read it or not – to everyone out there who’s just been fabulously supportive – thank you <3

This Year’s Success!!!!!

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Guys. GUYS. GUYYYYYYYSSSSS. Today is so monumental, you don’t even freaking know.

995754_10102110975614749_1418036855_n<–That’s me and my CP Gina, a little less than a year ago, just before she had her adorable baby. But a year before that birth, I got to meet another of Gina’s creations, the incredibly amazing contemp YA romance, LAST YEAR’S MISTAKE.

Now, to say I fell in love with it would be a total understatement. Here are three facts about LYM:

1) To this day, it’s literally the only manuscript I’ve read (not beta’d) twice

2) It’s the first manuscript I ever read where I thought “I wish I’d written that”

3) It is really, really difficult to read it and ever think of saltwater taffy the same way again afterward <3

Basically, I love this book, and its author, so, so freaking much, and if I were better at gifs and less afraid of copyright violation, this post would be flashing (mostly with pics of biceps and the hotness that is Sean Faris) like whoa. But instead I’m just going to tell you that:

You need this book.

You should be incredibly envious that I’ve already read it.

But

Thankfully, a certain publisher felt the same way and decided to spare you a lifetime of LYM-less misery:

FireShot Screen Capture #055 - 'Rights Report_ Week of March 31, 2014' - www_publishersweekly_com_pw_by-topic_childrens_childrens-book-news_article_61668-rights-report-week-of-march-31-2014_htmlLAST YEAR’S MISTAKE by Gina Ciocca is going to be published by Simon Pulse in 2015!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

To all my fellow fans of contemporary YA romance, this one is going to be your newest bookshelf staple like YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW. I cannot cannot cannot WAIT for you to meet Kelsey and David and David’s biceps and also David and see what I mean about saltwater taffy and laugh and cry and melt just completely and totally fall head over heels in love the way I did. You know that manuscript you side-eye forever because you just know it’s going to be a book someday, even though actual facts seem to be trying to tell you you’re wrong, which makes ABSOLUTELY ZERO SENSE BECAUSE IT IS LITERALLY ONE OF THE BEST THINGS YOU HAVE EVER READ? That is LAST YEAR’S MISTAKE. That is the book you’re going to hold in your hands next year. That is the book I fell in love with two years ago, and that is the book I am so, so excited to shove in everyone’s hands the second it’s humanly possible.

I will leave it to Gina to share the incredible story of how LAST YEAR’S MISTAKE came to find its perfect, perfect home with Sara Sargent and Simon Pulse, but needless to say (even though I said it a lot in this really wordy post) I could not. Freaking. Be happier.

Oh, and did I mention it’s a two-book deal? (JK, I know I didn’t. BUT IT IS.) As someone who has read three other G books since, let me tell you, whatever that second book ends up being, it will be hilarious, awesome, possibly a little dirty, and definitely have some of the greatest kissing ever. Because that’s just how she rolls.

I cannot wait for the rest of the world to see and know it too <3

So do yourself a favor, add LAST YEAR’S MISTAKE by Gina Ciocca to your TBRs, and show her some love!!!!!!

#LGBTApril

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To the shock of presumably nobody, as soon as I saw that an event had been started to promote LGBTQ YA throughout the month of April, compliments of Cayce at Fighting Dreamer and Laura at Laura Plus Books (and here I owe a maaaajor hat tip of Jim of YA Yeah Yeah), I was all aboard! (You can click on either of those links above to sign up!) They have massive amounts of stuff happening this month, which everyone should definitely check out, and meanwhile, here’s the LGBTQ YA I’ve just bought, will be buying, will be reading, and will be pimping this month:

Just bought:

Was lucky enough to attend last month’s massive Books of Wonder signing as part of Teen Author Festival, where I picked up both EVERY DAY and TWO BOYS KISSING by David Levithan and THE SUMMER I WASN’T ME by Jessica Verdi, among lots of others! (Secretly, I’ll be giving away a copy of the latter on my blog at the end of the month, so stay tuned!)

Will be buying:

I’m a sucker for buying friends’ books on release day, which is exactly what I’ll be doing with Tess Sharpe’s fabulous debut, FAR FROM YOU!

Will be reading:

I was lucky enough to score an ARC from the author of one of my most anticipated 2014 titles, LIES WE TELL OURSELVES by Robin Talley. Definitely on my reading list for this weekend!

And, because Robin is awesome, I’ll be passing that ARC along! So, if you’re A) participating in #LGBTApril, B) live in the US (sorry!), C) want to add LIES WE TELL OURSELVES to your reading list this month, and D) are willing to pass it along when you’re done, let me know in the comments – don’t forget to include a link to your #LGBTApril post!

Also on my imminent TBR is IF YOU COULD BE MINE by Sara Farizan, and depending on how far behind I am on other blog posts, I hope to finally get to two books that have been sitting on my shelf/Kindle for a while – ONE MAN GUY by Michael Barakiva and GOLDEN BOY by Abigail Tarttelin!

Will be blogging:

Check my posts all over the blogosphere for shoutouts to GREAT by Sara Benincasa (my full, somewhat incoherent review here), THE SUMMER I WASN’T ME, FAR FROM YOU, and hopefully more!

And, as always, my QUILTBAG YA/NA COMPENDIUM is open for recs, both ways!

Monthly Check-In: March (+giveaway in honor of 100K!)

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Me and Julie Murphy at Books of Wonder, where she signed my brand new copy of SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY!

Me and Julie Murphy at Books of Wonder, where she signed my brand new copy of SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY!

In even more reason to do these monthly check-ins probably no one cares about me, I’m participating in the YA Buccaneers’ spring boot camp. (Shout out to the League of Antagonists!) Which means more accountability, more people who have to berate me if I fail to progress, and just generally more being neurotic. OH THE GLORY.  And now, yet another update of my 2014 goals/resolutions! (Also, because I got to meet a lot of fun people this month, enjoy some fun March pictures!)

1. Read 5 MGs – Ummmm…still zero. But I bought another one, which should count for something! Since I wasn’t able to make it to either of Laura Marx Fitzgerald’s events celebrating the release of her MG debut, UNDER THE EGG, I nabbed myself a lovely little autographed copy from Books of Wonder at the mega-signing on March 23, and I’m excited to read it…eventually!

2. Read 20 Non-Contemp YAs – Adding two more to the list, compliments of the OneFours! Both LIV, FOREVER by Amy Talkington and THE VIOLET HOUR by Whitney Miller were hella creepy and haunting, with the former being in a more lovely, spooky, heartbreaking way and the latter being in a more active, fast-paced, gory sort of way. So, fun month for cool spec-fic! Also bought a couple more at the BoW signing (thanks, in part, to Gaby being awesome at her job) – THE WINNER’S CURSE by Marie Rutkowski and SCARLET by A.C. Gaughen.

3. Read 10 Adult Books – *continues to direct everyone to look the other way* *runs*

4. Read 115 Other Books – Steadily going! Currently up to 31 for the year. My most recent read was SOMETHING REAL by Heather Demetrios, which I adored, and presumably I’ll finish Steve Brezenoff’s GUY IN REAL LIFE by the end of the day, and highly rec that too.

5. Finish my Follow-Up to BEHIND THE SCENES – DONE DONE-ITY DONE DONE. The first draft of UNDER THE LIGHTS went to my lovely editor, Patricia Riley, on Wednesday night, March 26! Thanks to everyone who celebrated with me ;)

6. Finish drafting LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT – Now that UNDER THE LIGHTS is done, this is my next writing goal, and I’m aiming to have it completed before I go on my first vacation in I don’t even know how long, so, official target date is by April 13!

7. Finish drafting my chick lit ms – Still nope; still means I’m behaving myself. Did talk about it with my agent at dinner last week, though!

Me and my fab agent, Lana Popovic, post-dinner!

Me and my fab agent, Lana Popovic, post-dinner!

8. Write at least three posts pimping QUILTBAG (QUeer/QUestioning Intersex Lesbian Transgender Bisexual Asexual Gay) titles – Nothing new yet, as I’m waiting for some more new titles to release before I write something new for B&N, but I will point out in this one that FAR FROM YOU by Tess Sharpe and THE SUMMER I WASN’T ME by Jessica Verdi both release in April, and you should buy them!

9. Blog more about New Adult, specifically expanding upon the things I talk about here – A little roundabout, but this month I featured a couple of my favorite New Adult authors. Make sure you check out my interview with THE WICKED WE HAVE DONE author Sarah Harian (which does discuss some of that), and the cover reveal for UNTEACHABLE by Leah Raeder!

10. Interview another one of my all-time favorite YA writers – Haven’t done this, but next month I’ll have a guest post from a YA author I’m excited about! Meanwhile, I’m doing lots of other interviews with great people for my brand-new Dialogues with Dahlia series. Currently looking for publicists, librarians, and booksellers, so if you’re one of those and up for a chat, lemme know!

Also, at this point, it’d be pretty impossible for me not to hit 100K pageviews today, so THANK YOU to everyone who’s supported this blog, whether by reading it, commenting on it, being interviewed for it, sharing links, and God only knows what else. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

As a little token of my appreciation, I’m giving away a few things to celebrate:

1. An e-copy of UNTEACHABLE by Leah Raeder, because duh, if you’ve read this blog, like, ever

2. An e-copy of THE WICKED WE DONE, in honor of my recent interview with Sarah Harian

3. A paperback copy of THE DISENCHANTMENTS by Nina LaCour, because I love it and once bought an extra copy just because

4. A copy of SEKRET by Lindsay Smith, because my accountabilibuddy has to deal with a whole lot more status updates from me than just these once-monthlies, and her debut, which releases tomorrow, kicks serious ass

5. A collection of swag from a whole bunch of books, mostly because I have a ton and it’s getting wasted on me. And yes, there’ll be swag for BEHIND THE SCENES in there too :)

Ummm, I’m not big on Rafflecopter, but you should probably be following this blog or following me on Twitter or something if you’re gonna enter. And by enter, I mean leave a comment with something about your March, and/or something/anything relating to my blog/how awesome I am, and what prize(s) you’d theoretically like to be entered in for. Giveaway ends Friday, April 4, at noon EST!

Dialogues with Dahlia: Book Bloggers, Round I

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Hello there, faithful readers! Or brand-new readers who aren’t remotely faithful…yet! Welcome to the first edition of a brand-new series on my blog I have creatively called “Dialogues with Dahlia.” Basically, it’s a thing where I’ll be gathering up groups of qualified people on a particular topic, and forcing them to talk to me about said topic on pain of death. (Or for love of the industry, I guess, but that sounds so boring.)

Because I’ve got a lot of questions, I’m gonna be doing these posts in parts, and eventually they’re going to get archived up top, the same way Perpetual WIPs are now. But right now, this is the very first Dialogue, and the very first Round, and so here we are.

For the first round, I’ve got four gorgeous guinea pigs in the form of book bloggers, and they’ve graciously answered the questions I threw at them below.

Why did I particularly want to start with book bloggers? Well, for one thing, I happen to adore these four ladies, and admire the crap out of how much time and effort they – and the many other devoted book bloggers out there – put into promoting and supporting books and authors.

For another, I wanted to give a more insider look into how this all works, to help both publicists and authors understand what works and what doesn’t, what the process looks like, why not everything gets covered, why your book doesn’t necessarily get read when you think it will, and many other such things.

And so, please welcome to the blog:

Wendy Darling, from The Midnight Garden

Blythe Harris, from Finding Bliss in Books

Steph, from the Cuddlebuggery, YA Books Central, and Tor.Com

Christina, from Reader of Fictions and YA Books Central

And, because I do some book blogging, albeit mostly for Barnes & Noble, I’ll be chiming in around their responses

OK, enough housekeeping-ish stuff and on to the questions!

Where do the ARCs/books you review come from primarily?

Christina: Oh, ARCs, those tricksy little hobbitses. I’ve got various sources from which I get review copies, but they are often not especially consistent. For example, Harper Teen and Penguin Young Readers Group have sent me a fair number of ARCs in the past, but the relationship has been very up and down. Sometimes I get just about everything for a couple of months and then, in the next mailing, I get nothing. What changed? Couldn’t tell you.

My most reliable sources for review books currently are: MacKids, Orbit, Tor/Tor Teen, Harper Audio, Penguin Audio, Random House, Audio, Listening Library and YA Books Central. Being an editor for YABC gets me access to ARCs from publishers who generally won’t deal with me as a blogger. Oh, BEA/ALA have also been major sources of review books. At this point, I’ve gotten review books from pretty much every major publisher, both YA and adult groups, but the only connections reliable enough that I can count on getting what I request are the ones listed at the start of this paragraph. Oh, I also do have auto-approval for Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins’ teen books on Edelweiss and Disney on NetGalley, though Disney’s also been really great with physical ARCs lately as well.

(HUGE yes to the difference having auto-approval on Edelweiss makes. Ditto sending physical ARCs or, for me, since I can only blog about published books for B&N, finished copies.)

Almost all the most stress-free publisher relationships I have are with groups that send out a catalog from which the reviewer can choose. It’s basically the best thing, because I can put them in my calendar early and plan for them. It’s also pretty obvious at the end of the year which publishers I’ve been getting books from, because I mostly read review books (so far this year, 49 of the 66 books I’ve read were for review).

Steph: 95% of the books I read and review these days are from publishers. I do buy a few books (books that I received for review and would re-read or books that I’m just interested in checking out), but rarely do I review them. They have the lowest priority on my TBR list and, as a result, I don’t always get to them. 

Big difference here for me – I buy a huge portion of the books I review. But I’m unusual in this, and I’m also an author, so there’s a huge “fellow author support” aspect to that for me as well. Another part of being an author is that I get a lot of ARCs via the OneFourKidLit ARC tours, so it definitely does have its perks while also affecting what I read.

I know a lot of people will side-eye me when I say this, but these days, if I don’t get a book that is a physical review copy, I might not ever read it or it’ll be a year or more until I do. My review pile is so huge and I’m such a slow reader, that I don’t always have time to deviate from the review pile. I can barely read all the review copies that I have, let alone books I’ve purchased.

I feel a sense of obligation to prioritize ARCs and I’ll almost always reach for the pile first. But I don’t get to them all and sometimes I don’t review them all. As much as I want to say yes to every request and review ALL THE BOOKS, it’s unrealistic. I have to keep blogging in its “Hobby Box” and not let it take over my life. This is supposed to be something fun that I do on the side of Real Life and I don’t want it to become this huge responsibility that I regret starting in the first place. 

Sometimes it feels like some authors view bloggers as an extension of their publisher, who exist solely to promote them. Most are gracious and kind, but I’ve ran into a few that made me feel “used” and it sucks because I don’t get paid for this. 

In fact, when I think of the amount of time and money that I have donated freely to this hobby, it’s shocking. Site fees, giveaway shipping (and we do a lot of international shipping, NOT including shipping boxes to Kat who’s in Australia), BEA. Thank goodness for blog ads because I’ll be frank and say there is no way Cuddlebuggery could stay up without them.  

Andddd… I went off on a tangent there.

(But it’s a really, really good tangent. I know I get exhausted by book blogging sometimes, and feeling the need to read evvvverything, and I read far less than these bloggers do and I get paid. Bloggers working independently generally don’t. Income might come from site ads, but that’s so freaking minimal, and like Steph says, there are so many costs to book blogging, even when the sites are free. Bottom line: Book bloggers are not paid publicists. It would do everyone on all sides well to remember that!)

tl;dr version: there’s too many books and not enough time to read and review them.

(So true, and for me, it’s immeasurably irritating when people jump on you about what you didn’t cover. It’s like people think bloggers have extra hours in the day. WE DO NOT.)

Wendy: When I first started out on GoodReads, I reviewed books I purchased or got from the library. These days I’m so busy that the majority of the books I review come from publishers as well–it takes a really exceptional book to jolt me into a burning need to talk about it if I’m not required to, but it does happen from time to time, as with Leah Raeder’s Unteachable. (C’mon, I’m here at the unofficial fan page, so I had to bring it up, right?) (Bahahahahahahahaha that is the saddest and also my most favorite thing) I do try to leave quickie reactions on GoodReads even if I’m not formally reviewing something, though. I read a lot more than I review or publish officially to my GR feed.

It’s a privilege to receive ARCs (I also prefer physical copies because they’re easier to take notes in), and I’m tremendously grateful to have relationships with some fantastic publishers. There is a lot of pressure that comes with running a blog, of course–I feel obligated to do something with most of the books I receive, whether it’s a review, a giveaway, or passing it along to another blogger. The pressure doesn’t come from the publishers, interestingly enough–they know we can’t get to everything, and they know that I go bananas over stuff I really, really love. But doing “something” with all those books is a very time-consuming and expensive hobby, and at The Midnight Garden, we don’t have ads to offset our costs and therefore can’t write them off our taxes. It’s honestly a pleasure to do all this, though–I love talking to people about books, and there’s nothing better than someone telling you they’ve enjoyed a book you recommended. I don’t get ruffled over the time or expense too often, it’s mostly only when an author has a meltdown or you put a lot of effort into helping someone and they don’t appreciate it that I start questioning what I’ve invested.

Blythe: I would go out on a limb and say that at least 75% of the ARCs I read and review come digitally from Edelweiss. I’ve only just begun in the past few months to get physical ARCs from publishers on a weekly basis, but the vast majority of ARCs I receive are eARCs.

How do you choose what you’ll review, and how do you schedule your reading/reviews?

Steph: For me, I’m a mood reader and it’ll depend on what I’m hungering for at the time. But since I review at three different review sites (Cuddlebuggery, YABC and Tor.com), I alternate review piles. Sometimes I’ll have the same book on more than one pile, which is awesome because I end up killing two birds with one stone. 

I know this seems like A LOT, but my review piles for YABC and Tor.com are really small since I already get most of my books through my own blog. Also, I do a lot of cross-posting.

Christina: I actually did a BIG post on what I read and when and why, so you can check that out for a more detailed answer and pictures of my scary review calendar. The short version is that I read by publication date, though there’s some finagling necessary for finished copies. ARCs I read almost entirely strictly in order by publication date. While I do hope to get ahead enough I can read some things early, at this time, I just can’t. Besides, even if I DO read the ARC early, the common practice is not to post a review more than a month ahead of time, so if I read my furthest out ARC (currently September) now, I wouldn’t be able to post the review until August. Sometimes I do post advance reviews, but there’s no reason to hurry and do that when I still have March books. It does feel a bit silly when I have one of my most anticipated books, like We Were Liars, sitting there and not reading it, but, if I don’t, I’ll fall apart.

My calendar of publication dates is pretty intense and scary, what with all the auto-approvals. Essentially, if I don’t have time for everything, the ebooks are first to go. Auto-approval also leaves me free to download something, sample it, and pass it by if it doesn’t immediately grab me. Print review copies take priority, essentially, and I’ll give them more time before I DNF.

Since I read by publication date, I basically schedule the books by when I finish them, with ARCs generally being no more than a month ahead. It’s a bit messier than that, since I generally have a finished review copy, an ARC, and a review audiobook going at any given time. Essentially, I don’t know that there’s a perfect time to post, so I read it and schedule it for the first open slot.

Steph: (re: scheduling reviews) I don’t. My life is too sporadic and complicated for me to schedule my hobby. Reviews I write are usually written the day before or the day of posting. 

I’ve thought of trying out a schedule and getting super organized like Christina, but I don’t think it’s in the cards for me. 
 
Right now I have a Chaotic Organization Plan that allows me to get to the books I really need to, but still gives me the flexibility to read whatever I want should I choose to.

Wendy: We don’t request any titles unless there’s a good chance we’ll like it. I get a lot of unsolicited copies as well, which some bloggers don’t like, but I actually love because some of my favorite books have been ones that weren’t even on my radar!

With access to a lot of books, I review a lot more books I love than books I don’t, since I end up DNFing pretty quickly if I know a book isn’t working for me. Still, sometimes there are things I want to say about a book I disliked if I find certain elements extremely problematic, such as blatant sexist/racist depictions, etc. The books I dread reviewing are really the ones that fall somewhere in the middle, because there are only so many ways you can say “I liked it, but I didn’t love it.” But I confess I’m sitting on a couple of books I adored, because I just feel inadequate when I try to find the words to explain how much they moved me. I DON’T HAVE THE WORDS, GUYS.

One thing you didn’t ask, but I assume you mean what we cover as well as what we review: how we choose what we do promotionally. We do very few purely promo posts at TMG, and they always have some sort of interesting component to them rather than being just a jpg with a blurb. We usually only do promos for books/authors we love or publishers with whom we have a really great relationship, so the rarest thing of all for us to do is a cover reveal. I look on everything we do as an endorsement of sorts, so taking a chance on a book or author I haven’t read yet is very rare. I also flat out refuse to give away books that I wouldn’t recommend to some portion of our audience. Absolutely refuse. There’s a pile of terrible books in our spare bedroom right this minute that I don’t want to admit to ever crossed our threshold.

(Re: Scheduling): Wendy: With four of us, we have to be somewhat organized. We keep a Google planning calendar where everyone has set review days, and we pretty much just call dibs on the books we plan on reviewing. There are some exceptions, like we’ll yield to the person who reviewed the previous book in a series. In cases where one or the other of us is friendlier with an author (beyond just happy Twitter convos), I usually also prefer it if someone else handles the actual review for a book, just so we’re being as impartial as possible.

For my own reading habits, I keep ARCs in publication order on my nightstand. But as a mood reader, I go out of order more often than not. I also switch around so I’m usually not reading more than one genre at the same time, and I’ll even space out books that I think I have a good shot of loving. I mean, my heart can only take so much excitement within a short period of time.

Oh, and scheduling-wise, we try to review books within the month or so before publication if possible. With so many books releasing, that’s not always possible, but we do the best we can. I’m trying to do more mini reviews, but even that makes me feel guilty sometimes.

Blythe: I usually try to break down what I read by schedule and release date, initially. For instance, there are a bunch of April ARCs I’m currently making my way through. So, I’ve compiled a list of all the April ARCs I have, and what I’ve done is I either read what I want from that list based on mood, or break it down to my priorities and have my followers on Twitter vote. But mostly, I go by mood on what I read next. Which, more often than not, interferes with my reading schedule. 

And also as for how I schedule my reviews, I’m mostly a slacker. I’ve tried setting a schedule of books I’ll read and the days the reviews would go up, but I find that rarely ever works. I really just end up writing my reviews a day before they go up on the blog, and a week or so before they go up if I’m super productive. I’m not really organized enough to read entirely off a schedule, and then there’s the whole mood thing to mess with that. But what I’ve found helpful is that I post a pre-review for the books that didn’t follow my schedule, but I was in the mood to read. That way, I can read books not published for a while and still have a post to go up about it without cheating publishers, since they prefer reviews go up a month before release date. Also, like Wendy said, with many co-bloggers you kind of have to be pretty organized. We’re…working on that? As of right now, we’re mostly like, “Hey, is Thursday free?” “Yeah.” “Okay, this is going up.” And that’s how we schedule reviews. Really efficient, I know. 

Where do you send/post your reviews?

Christina: My reviews get posted to my blog, A Reader of Fictions, of course. If they’re from YA Books Central, I post them there first and they go up on my blog later on. For the review books which came to me personally (as opposed to as a YABC reviewer), I crosspost all of my positive reviews to YABC once the review is up on my blog. In addition, I do post a snippet and a link to the review with a rating on Goodreads and LibraryThing. Occasionally I crosspost to Amazon, though I tend to go in phases with that, for fear of trolls or random untrue accusations of spoilers. DNF reviews go only on Goodreads, appearing on my blog only in the monthly roundup, with just the briefest comment on why the book didn’t work for me.

So far as sending, I do try to remember to send out review links to publicists/to post the reviews to EW/NG. I will admit that sometimes I might forget with the negative ones, because I feel really bad about it. Publicists have actually traditionally been really cool about it, though. A couple (one at Tor and one at Penguin) were even really sweet and asked me what sorts of books DO work for me, which I thought was above and beyond the call of duty. The worst is having to email an author that I didn’t like their book, which is why I almost never accept review requests from authors anymore, unless they’re ones I’ve worked with in the past who I know won’t hate me if I don’t like their book.

Steph: The easiest answer is GR. Most of my reviews and old reviews are there. I also, have a few mini reviews of books/ARCs I read, but didn’t have motivation to write a full review. Everything else is on my blog. Sometimes I will post on Shelfari and Amazon (though, I really dislike posting on Amazon because people will down vote anything and complain about everything in your review). I post all my positive YA reviews at YABC and select reviews of books on Tor that I signed up for. 

I don’t always send my reviews to publishers. For audiobook reviews, I send those to the publisher because they specifically ask for it.  For ARCs that I review positively, I’ll @ the pub on twitter. If it’s a pub I don’t frequently work with, I’ll email the publicist that sent me the book. Otherwise, I’ll send through NetGalley or Edelweiss.

Wendy:  Always GoodReads. I don’t post full reviews there anymore after they changed their terms of service, but I do post a rating, reaction, and link to the blog review. I used to also post on Amazon, but frankly, dealing with the toxic atmosphere over there (sometimes even on positive reviews!) isn’t worth the hassle to me anymore. I almost never use NetGalley or Edelweiss, but I’ll send reviews there as well when necessary. I always post our reviews to our Facebook page, and sometimes I’ll also post to Pinterest or Tumblr if I remember. Which is not very often.

I’m terrible about sending my reviews to publishers, honestly–I’m lucky that they are lenient with me and trust that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I usually remember to send a round-up every few months, though I try to tag the publisher on Twitter if it’s a positive review. While there are some publicists that I don’t talk to as frequently, there are also others that I feel pretty connected to them as far as knowing what’s coming out and should be on my radar.

Blythe: The only platform on which I really actively post my reviews is Goodreads, honestly. I’ve tried getting into posting my reviews on Amazon, but I’ve found it’s not worth the hassle, especially with the trolls and down-voters (if the review is negative, the latter will come. It’s like Field of Dreams but for scary internet people.).

If the review is positive, I will usually mention both the author and the publisher on Twitter; this usually depends, though, because I could like a book overall but point out that the writing sucks, in which case I’d feel awkward having the author see that. I’ll also send my reviews along to the publicist who sent me them, if it’s a physical ARC, and on Edelweiss or NetGalley if it’s an eARC.

So, in case you didn’t catch that, book bloggers work really freakin’ hard ;) Got any questions for the bloggers? Learn anything new?

And make sure you tune in for Round 2 in the next couple of weeks, which will focus on the working-with-authors aspect…

Cover Reveal: the Brand Spankin’ New UNTEACHABLE by Leah Raeder!

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I pretty much never do cover reveals, but unless you’re a new follower to this blog (which many of you are! Hi! Welcome!) you’re probably aware that the obscenely beautifully written New Adult debut UNTEACHABLE by Leah Raeder was one of my favorite books of 2013. (In fact, you can read my experience of stumbling upon it in this interview I did with the author.) So you can imagine how crazy excited I was to learn that it was super well deservedly picked up by Atria Books/Simon & Schuster, along with a separate contemporary NA standalone that I would punch a lion for.

Rest In Peace, Neon Girl <3

However, the sale was bittersweet, because how could you not love that original cover (pictured at right), described by the author-designer herself as looking “like someone puked up a string of partially digested Christmas lights”? And yet here it was going to be redone? QUELLE HORREUR. As someone who has an e-book and not one but two hard copies (glossy *and* matte!), not counting the one I perhaps ill-advisedly purchased for my mother, I found it immeasurably sad to be losing Neon Girl.

Then I saw the new cover, and holy hell did that make up for it.

You wanna see what I mean, don’t you?

You can do that.

Just, ya know:

Look down.

No, not yet.

Okay, now.

9781476786414_Unteachable_cvrAre you thinking in expletive form? I know I did <3 Not only does the new cover keep the glorious neon brightness of the old one, beautifully capturing the carnival of the opening scene where main character Maise and love interest Evan meet, but it also has the most perfect, perfect, perfect depiction of Maise they could’ve possibly found. She’s a gorgeous badass, with just a touch of vulnerability, and oh God I love it so much.

Oh, and for those of you questionable souls who haven’t read it a zillion times, and don’t own a bajillion copies, here’s the blurb and where you can buy it:

An edgy, sexy USA Today bestseller about falling for the last guy you should…your high school teacher.

Maise O’Malley just turned eighteen, but she’s felt like a grown-up her entire life. The summer before senior year, she has plans: get into a great film school, convince her mom to go into rehab, and absolutely do not, under any circumstances, screw up her own future.

But life has a way of throwing her plans into freefall.

When Maise meets Evan at a carnival one night, their chemistry is immediate, intense, and short-lived. Which is exactly how she likes it: no strings. But afterward, she can’t get Evan out of her head. He’s taught her that a hookup can be something more. It can be an unexpected connection with someone who truly understands her. Someone who sees beyond her bravado to the scared but strong girl inside.

That someone turns out to be her new film class teacher, Mr. Evan Wilke.

Maise and Evan resolve to keep their hands off each other, but the attraction is too much to bear. Together, they’re real and genuine; apart, they’re just actors playing their parts for everyone else. And their masks are slipping. People start to notice. Rumors fly. When the truth comes to light in a shocking way, they may learn they were just playing parts for each other, too.

Smart, sexy, and provocative, Unteachable is about what happens when a love story goes off-script.

You can buy the e-book now at any of these fiiiiiine retailers:

Or pre-order the paperback, which goes on sale November 11, 2014

Or both, which, let’s be honest, is what I’m gonna do.

As for the cover, given that I basically stared at it for like an hour after Leah sent it, and have kind “checked in on it” every day since, I think it’s pretty safe to say that I think it makes for pretty stunning artwork. And so does Leah, which is why she is awesomely GIVING AWAY A SIGNED 20″x30″ POSTER OF IT. Want that as crazy badly as I do? Check out the giveaway on her blog!

And, of course, if that’s not enough Leah Raeder, you can always find more here:

Feel free to leave a comment about how freaking awesome and gorgeous it is, BECAUSE I NEED TO GUSH WITH PEOPLE.

Interview with NA Author Sarah Harian!!

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I am so, so excited about my guest today! Sarah Harian is the author of the newly released spec-fic New Adult (Yes, you read that correctly!) novel, THE WICKED WE HAVE DONE, which released from InterMix/Penguin this past Tuesday.

As much as I love my contemp romances, it was fabulous to read something a little different in the category…especially when that something was creepy, gory, full of moral relativism, and so compelling that I was definitely sneaking it at questionable times we shall not discuss in front of my boss. I knew then I was gonna have to beg the author to make an appearance on my blog, under the guise of celebrating her release but really more to let me publicly fangirl (something I’d been privately doing at all her thoughtful, insightful comments on #NALitChat anyway – being that it’s a Friday, I’m definitely throwing in a #FF for @sarahharian right now). And so, here she is – Sarah Harian!

THE WICKED WE HAVE DONE was pretty freaking excellent…and creepy and twisted as all hell. Nicely done! What kind of writing setting/soundtrack gets you in the mood to write something like that?

It’s funny, because music is usually such a massive part of my writing process. I write a lot of fantasy, and have a ton of movie/trailer score composers on my playlists, particularly James Newton Howard, Steve Jablonsky, and Two Steps from Hell. With Wicked, the tone of the book was completely different than my other projects and their playlists, so I ended up drafting a lot of it in silence (totally morbid, right?). The sequel, A Vault of Sins, is a little less in-your-face-gore-fest, and I listened to the score of Ender’s Game (Steve Jablonsky) for the entire drafting process of that book.

I can’t write to anything with lyrics because I am that easily distracted, but my Tumblr (chaostheoryseries.tumblr.com) has a playlist of songs that have inspired me for this series including artists The Jezebels, Brand New, Great Northern, and Florence and the Machine.

I’ve indicated very subtly on only the fewest of occasions that I’m somewhat looking forward to your next Chaos Theory publication, “Our Broken Sky,” which you’ve described as an “insanely sexy New Adult lesbian novella.” (I don’t even have a question here; I just like talking about it. Kidding! Ish. Anyway.) Obviously in addition to genre, LGBTQ is another sorely lacking aspect in NA. What would you say to encourage authors to freaking write more of it already?

Most people in this business, or at least those caught up with their research, know that books featuring LGBTQ characters across all genres and categories are lacking, particularly novels with queer female and trans characters. Lately I feel that agents and publishers have more openly requested books with these characters, and while this is a small victory, it worries me a little bit. I think that it is dangerous to view LGBTQ fiction as a ‘trend’ and only write LGBTQ fiction because industry professionals are looking for it, because many people still confuse LGBTQ fiction with novels about being gay. This industry needs more novels with queer characters where their sexuality doesn’t define them and their queerness is only one aspect of who they are. Writers—particularly straight writers—absolutely need to keep this in mind when writing LGBTQ fiction so that we don’t end up flooding the market with stigmatized and stereotyped characters.

That being said, YES. Authors need to start creating more LGBTQ characters because literature shapes the minds within our society. The more these characters are written and written well, the less we have to worry about things like stereotyped queer characters in media.

I love the “Deviant Darlings” series you did on your blog last month, celebrating some BAMF ladies in fiction, include a particular favorite of mine. What’s a girl gotta do to make the cut?

A girl just has to “lack traditional heroic qualities”. Sometimes this means that she’s extraordinarily selfish (Leah from Dirty Red), flirts with the lines of sexual morality (Maise from Unteachable), purposefully makes bad decisions without learning from them (Jule from The Waking Dark), or just likes killing people (Fancy and Kit from Slice of Cherry). A Deviant Darling must have likeable qualities about them too, though. This is what distinguishes them from being a straight-up villain.

You’ve traditionally published a spec-fic NA, which is basically unheard of. Can you sum up how that happened, and what do you think the trick is to making a non-contemporary NA work for the overwhelmingly contemp-driven market?

I mostly have to thank my agent Kathleen Rushall for that little accomplishment. To be honest, when I signed with her, I had read maybe one New Adult novel. I knew what the category was though because I remembered reading about the St. Martin’s Press contest on Absolute Write. Kathleen encouraged me to rewrite Wicked for the New Adult category because she felt like I was holding back with the potential edginess of the book,  and the YA market was also saturated with urban scifi books at the time.

We had interest in the book after only two weeks of it being on submission (in the past I’ve been on sub for periods of six months or longer, so I was shocked by how quickly everything fell into place).

I personally think the main thing that makes publishers interested in a New Adult book, regardless of it being contemporary or speculative, are the characters and their actions/decisions throughout the course of the novel. The Wicked We Have Done has speculative elements, yes. It’s based in a society that mirrors ours very much with the exception that scientists believe they’ve uncovered the formula for a moral compass, and are using their knowledge to weed out psychopaths. But this isn’t what the novel is about. The novel is about Evalyn discovering the true meanings of morality and justice and her coming of age regarding those aspects of her life. Those kinds of compelling and relatable self-discoveries are really what make a New Adult novel interesting and sellable in my opinion.

Along the same lines, where would you guess the category will go from where? Where would you want it to go?

I don’t know where this category will go because I’m horrible at predicting things (for the record, I don’t play the lottery or slot machines). But I can say that I have a ton of friends, some who are still in college, who only read YA novels because of how much they love their quick-paced style and accessibility. Sure, there are adult novels with these traits as well, but who wants to fish through the massive category that is adult fiction to find them? Having a New Adult category gives readers an opportunity to find and access books that are fast-paced and engaging like YA, but have content geared toward them, regardless of genre. And I hope it eventually becomes this versus just college-themed chick lit.

NA is still pretty new to traditional publishing, period. What advantages have you found (particularly as a digital-first author) to working with Penguin that you might not have had going at it on your own?

I’ll start off by saying that I am in no way meaning to talk badly about self-publishers. Sometimes, it’s the correct path for authors and their career. But it’s not right for me. The Wicked We Have Done saw over ten beta readers before and during the process of revising for my agent. That’s multiple sets of eyes over countless drafts. When I had to revise for my editor, Laura, she asked for sweeping revisions that ended up making my book so much stronger than it was, even after all of those reads from trusted critique partners. She caught weaknesses and plot holes that no previous reader had brought my attention to.

Yes, I am aware that self-publishers can hire (and should hire) editors to help them. But here’s the difference: my agent and my editor have stock in my novel. Their careers are directly linked to my success. It is invaluable to have these people on my team when I’m publishing—not just to sell more copies, but to create the best damn book that I’m capable of and be an influence within the category of New Adult. Writing is about so much more than the money to me.

Being a digital-first author is awesome because the period between the book selling and releasing is about ten months versus the normal 18+ months the process normally takes.  Readers don’t have to wait forever for the book to release, and neither do I. It’s a win-win.

My sources (okay, your website) tell me you used to write fanfiction. What kind, and more importantly, what kind of fanfiction would you love to see written about the Chaos Theory universe?

I can’t get over the fact that you brought this up, because fanfiction plays a rather big role in A Vault of Sins (I caught your interest now, haven’t I!?). If we’re not talking canon, then I’d love to see Evalyn/Valerie fanfiction (really, are you surprised by that answer?) because they’re both so brazen and strong-willed and I could totally see bickering leading to awesome angry-sex.

I was a Harry Potter fic writer on FictionAlley.org and a Draco/Hermione shipper. I still have my stories on a floppy disk and have no way of getting them off said floppy disk.

And, of course, because this is my blog, and I live to make people empty their wallets, I have to ask–got any great book recs for us?

None of them are out yet (which means that you need to pre-order them… duh) but Winterkill by Kate A. Boorman, 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen, Pretending to be Erica by Michelle Painchaud, and Please Don’t Tell by Laura Tims.

Bio: Sarah Harian grew up in the foothills of Yosemite and received her B.A. and M.F.A. from Fresno State University. When not writing, she is usually hiking some mountain or another in the Sierras, playing video games with her husband, or rough-housing with her dog.

So, in case you weren’t sure, other than the fact that I am insanely jealous of the fact that she’s already read Winterkill, Pretending to Be Erica, and Please Don’t Tell (I can’t get mad about 17 First Kisses – I’ve read it too, and it is indeed excellent), she’s pretty freaking awesome, isn’t she? 

Wanna buy her books? (Obviously you do.) Let me make that easy for you:

THE WICKED WE HAVE DONE – Amazon * B&N * Kobo * iTunes * GooglePlay

A VAULT OF SINS (pre-order) – Amazon * B&N

Got any questions or comments for Sarah? Leave ‘em below!

Top Ten Books On My Spring 2014 TBR List

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It’s been a little while since I’ve done a TTT, but I’m so jealous of everyone else’s that I haaaave to jump on this one, even though it’s gonna be hastily written and ridiculous. BUT WHATEVER, HERE IT IS:

EVERYTHING LEADS TO YOU by Nina LaCour (May 15) – Hollywood-centric and LGBTQ, from one of my absolute favorite authors? Um, yeah, I need this one like I need air.

GOING OVER by Beth Kephart (April 1) – I was actually lucky enough to track this one down early at the Strand, so it’s currently sitting in my bag, waiting to be read!

THE ART OF LAINEY by Paula Stokes (May 20) – Paula is awesome, and everything I hear about this book is, too, so kind of a no-brainer.

LOVE LETTERS TO THE DEAD by Ava Dellaira (April 1) – I was admittedly iffy on this one strictly because I learned it was all epistolary, which isn’t really my thing, but both Christina and Blythe have been raving about the writing, so I feel like I definitely have to give it a shot!

THE VIGILANTE POETS OF SELWYN ACADEMY by Kate Hattemer (April 8) – I hadn’t known a thing about this book until my friend Emery Lord (whose Spring book would be the freaking top of this list if I hadn’t already read it – OPEN ROAD SUMMER, releasing April 15! SO GOOD.) raaaved about it. Just received my copy yesterday, and I can’t wait to dig in!

DOROTHY MUST DIE by Danielle M. Paige (April 1) – This one was already on my radar for sounding awesome, but I’ve been reading raves about it too. It’s becoming increasingly clear that April 1 is going to be a rough day on my wallet, especially with SEKRET by Lindsay Smith (which I’ve also read, and which is epic) releasing that day, but WHATEVER. WORTH IT.

OTHERBOUND by Corinne Duyvis (June 17) – *glares at NetGalley as she waits for her approval* Even if Corinne weren’t one of my favorite people, she’d have sold me on this book when she described it as “Queer. So queer.”

THE CHAPEL WARS by Lindsay Leavitt (May 6) – This one just sounds too cute for words. I’ve already set my ARC aside for my upcoming vacation because it just sounds like the perfect read to bring to the pool. Plus, my friend Racquel raved after reading it, as if I needed any further encouragement!

DON’T LOOK BACK by Jennifer Armentrout (April 15) – I’ve read a few of JLA’s NA books, but because she doesn’t have any contemp YA, I haven’t picked up any of hers in that category. So I’m super psyched that she’s finally got a contemp YA coming out, and can’t wait to read it!

WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN by Kristin Rae (May 6) – Italy. Cute boys. Fun romance. Like, how can you not. HOW CAN YOU NOT??

And, finally, a mini-TTT – my top amazeballs 10 books that were at the top of my TBR, but which I’ve been lucky enough to have already read:

OPEN ROAD SUMMER by Emery Lord (April 15)

WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart (May 13)

POINTE by Brandy Colbert (April 10)

LIFE BY COMMITTEE by Corey Ann Haydu (May 13)

THE SUMMER I WASN’T ME by Jessica Verdi (April 15)

SEKRET by Lindsay Smith (April 1)

FAR FROM YOU by Tess Sharpe (April 8)

THE BREAK-UP ARTIST by Philip Siegel (April 29)

HEXED by Michelle Krys (June 10)

NEARLY GONE by Elle Cosimano (March 25)

My Bucket List, in Honor of the Release of SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY!

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So, as you probably know because everyone has been raving about this book forfreakingever, my wonderful friend Julie Murphy’s book, Side Effects May Vary, releases tomorrow. In honor of main character Alice, who works her way through her kinda evil bucket list only to turn she’s in remission, Julie asked people to post their own bucket lists. And so, here’s mine!

side effectsGet my driver’s license

  • Learn all the world capitals (there are still like 8 I cannot retain in my brain)
  • Visit Russia (not that I’m a huge fan right now, but I minored in Russian and Slavic Studies in college and took Russian for three years, and I must go before I die)
  • Get published (June 24th of this year, baby! FINALLY.)
  • Go to all 50 states (25 down, 25 to go)
  • Live outside of New York or Israel for a year (Not that Philly’s terribly far off, but still. Three years!)
  • Dye my hair red (Moving to another city for three years really helps you not care what you look like, ever)
  • Self-publish something (More on that soon, hopefully!)
  • Donate my hair (Four times, actually, but as my hair is growing back from the last donation at an unusually glacial pace for me, I think that was it for me!)
  • Take a long train ride up or down the east coast (I know, I know, the Amtrak thing. Eh. One way or another, I’ll make this happen. I love trains so much.)
  • Get paid for blogging (This one was on my list for a reallllly long time. Thank you, B&N, for knocking that one off!)
  • Write a short story as an adult (I’ve written three ever – one in 8th grade, one in 12th grade, and one freshman year of college – all for class. I find it immensely challenging, so it’d be cool to try my hand at it now, and for fun, no less.)
  • Go to Iceland
  • Go to Amsterdam
  • Go to Morocco (I’m really big into travel ambitions. Travel used to be a thing my husband and I were pretty good at doing. Our newest jobs kind of ruined that. Now we’re like We can maybe do a weekend in Chicago. Pathetic.)
  • 264_614832323939_4095_nGo to Istanbul (I had to put on at least one that I actually made happen, and this was the super, super top of my travel bucket list before I went!)
  • Buy a house (Which is actually a thing I find terrifying but I’m pretty sure it’s a thing I want to do. Eventually.)
  • Go to Seattle, and see both Kurt Cobain’s house and the Experience Music Project (I do not care that I am a massive cliche. Not even a little.)
  • Do a book signing (A couple of these should be coming up this year, but I’m secretly not counting either of them, because at one I will not be signing finished books, and at the other I have to bring pre-signed bookplates because I am a sad Sabbath observer. Still, you should come to both! Really!)
  • Watch the following series from start to finish (unless it turns out I don’t like them and them I’m permitted to quit): Buffy, Friday Night Lights, My So-Called Life, Scandal
  • Meet all my CPs in person (I am actually pretty far along in this! *side-eyes Erica Chapman*)proxy
  • Make perfect macarons (I have come close-ish…but still so far.)
  • Buy a relevant charm to celebrate every book I publish (Just bought my first one, as seen in picture, for Behind the Scenes; thankfully I have a little time to find ones for Under the Lights and My Name is Everett!)
  • Have an entire shelf comprised strictly of autographed books/ARCs by friends (I actually might already have this, but because I alphabetize my books, it’s hard to say. Plus, it won’t count until 2015, when I will add The Circle of Twelve by Maggie Hall to that shelf. CP books are the greatest books.)

That’s all I’ve got for now, and to finish off, here’s a little more on Julie and Side Effects May Vary!

What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you?

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, whom she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her arch nemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger and reliving some childhood memories). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission.

Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she’s said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she done irreparable damage to the people around her, and to the one person who matters most?

Julie Murphy’s SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY is a fearless and moving tour de force about love, life, and facing your own mortality.

BUY LINKS:
IndieBound: www.indiebound.org/book/9780062245359
B&N: www.barnesandnoble.com/w/side-effects-may-vary-julie-murphy/1115554719?ean=9780062245359
Amazon: www.amazon.com/Side-Effects-Vary-Julie-Murphy/dp/006224535X
Julie Murphy Author Photo

Julie lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cat who tolerates her. When she’s not writing or trying to catch stray cats, she works at an academic library. Side Effects May Vary is Julie’s debut novel. Julie can best be found on her website, tumblr, or twitter.

Interview with VINTAGE Author Susan Gloss, + ARC Giveaway!

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Why, hello there! Today on the blog I’ve got the lovely Susan Gloss, whose debut, Vintage, releases from William Morrow on March 25! It’s the rare Adult fiction I’m super psyched to read, and I’m thrilled to be giving away a copy of a coveted ARC to celebrate!

First, a little more info on the book!

VintageHC CAt Hourglass Vintage in Madison, Wisconsin, every item in the boutique has a story to tell… and so do the women who are drawn there.

Yellow Samsonite suitcase with ivory, quilted lining, 1950s…
Violet Turner had always dreamed of owning a shop like Hourglass Vintage. Though she knows the personal history behind each precious item she sells, Violet refuses to acknowledge her own past. When she is faced with the possibility of losing the store, she realizes that, as much as she wants to, she cannot save it alone.

Taffeta tea length wedding gown with scooped neckline and cap sleeves, 1952…
Eighteen-year-old April Morgan is nearly five months along in an unplanned pregnancy when her hasty engagement is broken. When she returns the perfect 1950s wedding dress, she discovers unexpected possibilities and friends who won’t let her give up on her dreams.

Orange sari made from silk dupioni with gold paisley design, 1968…
Betrayed by her husband, Amithi Singh begins selling off her old clothes, remnants of her past life. After decades of housekeeping and parenting a daughter who rejects her traditional ways, she fears she has nothing more ahead for her.

An engaging story that beautifully captures the essence of women’s friendship and love, Vintage is a charming tale of possibility, of finding renewal and hope when we least expect it.

Sigh. Sounds gorgeous, doesn’t it? And of course I had to ask Susan Gloss some questions about her own favorite vintages. So check hers out, and tell us yours in the comments!

susan glossVintage album? On Etsy, anything over 20 years old is considered vintage, so some of the first albums I ever bought now fall into that category. When I got a CD player for my 8th grade graduation, one of my first album purchases was Radiohead’s Pablo Honey in 1993. I love that the album is something I could appreciate at age 13 and can still appreciate now, but on a different level.

Vintage item from your own wardrobe? A few years ago, I bought a vintage Burberry trench coat off eBay. It has a zip-out wool liner, so I can wear it from early spring all the way into late fall. And it goes with absolutely everything. It cost me a fraction of what I would have spent on a new Burberry trench and, honestly, I think the quality is better.

Vintage non-clothing item? I have a red Samsonite carry-on bag from the 60s that I bought at a garage sale. It’s the perfect size for weekend trips, and so much more fun and stylish than a backpack.

Vintage photograph? There’s this iconic photo of Jackie O on the streets of New York in 1971, by photographer Ron Galella. She’s swinging her arms and has her sunglasses in her hand. She’s wearing jeans and ribbed sweater. It’s such a relaxed moment. So different from the buttoned-up first lady that Americans grew used to seeing in earlier years.

Vintage celebrity dress? Natalie Portman wore a 1954 Dior gown to the 2012 Oscars that I absolutely loved. It was red organza with tiny black polka dots on it.

And, since this is a novel about friendship, what’s your favorite memory with a friend? The summer after our high school graduation, some girlfriends and I went to my family’s cottage together for a weekend. It wasn’t long after Jerry Garcia died, so the radio stations we listened to were playing a lot of Grateful Dead in those days. I remember four of us girls packed in to my friend’s little Nissan, driving on a dark country road with no one else around. “Turn On Your Love Light” came on the radio and we stopped the car and got out to dance under the stars. I’m still in touch with those girls, and now all of us even have kids of our own. But I still see that moment so clearly in my mind as the pause between childhood and adulthood.

So freaking cute <3

Want to win an ARC? Of course you do! Behold, the glorious Rafflecopter – enter to win until Midnight EST on Sunday, March 9. The winner will be announced on Monday morning!

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway!

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