Cover Reveal: Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies by Lindsay Ribar + Giveaway!


So, you guys know how I’m totally obsessed with The Art of Wishing and The Fourth Wish by Lindsay Ribar, right? Those paranormal YA romances I found so utterly unputdownable I literally got into a fight with my husband about my refusal to put the first one down when I was making us late for lunch? The sequel I found so utterly brilliant in its discussions of gender identity and fluidity and consent? (And if you don’t know my love for these books, do you even really know me? Please think about what you’ve done. And also go buy those books.)

ANYWAY, the fabulous Lindsay Ribar’s third book is coming out on June 7, 2016, and there’s pretty much no information available about it…until now. Here to reveal the perfect cover, talk a little about it, finally share the cover copy, and give away an ARC (!!!) is the lovely Lindsay!


Hello, loyal readers of Dahlia’s excellent blog! I’m really excited to share with you the cover of my third YA book, Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies, which comes out next June from Kathy Dawson Books / Penguin. This book is a bit of a departure from my Art of Wishing duology, in that it’s a lot darker, and the narrator is a hell of a lot more morally ambiguous.

Rocks Fall began its life as a myth retelling, and quickly morphed into a story about a town full of people tied together by one family’s very secret, and very intrusive, hereditary magic. As amazing editor Kathy Dawson guided me deeper into the story, themes of power, privilege, addiction, and toxic masculinity began to emerge as well—and the result is a book that I very hope will resonate with readers who like a little bit of darkness in their characters.

When I gave this book to my editor, I honestly had no idea what the cover should look like. I mean, let’s be honest; it’s a really strange book. It’s quite paranormal, but there aren’t any vampires or witches (or genies) in it. It’s about some serious stuff, but there are parts that I still think, after years of writing and rewriting, are pretty damn funny. It’s got a bunch of kissing, but it’s not really a love story. How to capture all that in a single book cover? Frankly, I think the team at Penguin did a really excellent job. So, without further ado…

RocksFallEveryoneDies coverTwin Peaks meets Stars Hollow in this paranormal suspense novel about a boy who can reach inside people and steal their innermost things—fears, memories, scars, even love—and his family’s secret ritual that for centuries has kept the cliff above their small town from collapsing.

Aspen Quick has never really worried about how he’s affecting people when he steals from them. But this summer he’ll discover just how strong the Quick family magic is—and how far they’ll go to keep their secrets safe.

With a smart, arrogant protagonist, a sinister family tradition, and an ending you won’t see coming, this is a fast-paced, twisty story about power, addiction, and deciding what kind of person you want to be, in a family that has the ability to control everything you are.

I mean…!!! Like, how can you not. HOW CAN YOU NOT. And since you obviously can’t not, here are some links to help with that whole TBR/preorder thing!

Goodreads * Amazon * Penguin

Enter to win an ARC here!!

Lindsay Ribar is a literary agent by day, a YA writer by night, and a fan of concerts, fanfiction, cat pictures, and Dahlia Adler. She lives in New York and occasionally wishes she were Canadian.

Find her on Twitter and Tumblr @LindsayRibar

So?? What do you guys think of that cover??

Dahlia’s Book Club: October 2015

Hi! I have decided to try a new thing, wherein I rec four books in each of five categories every month and hope that you read them. If you do, and you leave a link to a review for at least one of them in the comments, you’ll be entered to win one of three prizes every month – one entry per book. If you read and review* one in each and every category, you automatically win. The last weekday of the month is your last day to submit a review, and the length of the review does not matter, but it must be posted to Goodreads and Amazon or to be eligible for a prize. Simple enough, right?

If a title’s in blue, it means I haven’t read it yet either – let’s do it together, shall we?

If you’re loving something you’re reading from the list, please share on hashtag #DahlBC!

*To enter to win a prize, your review must be new. To be eligible for the Five Reviews Insta-prize, up to two of your reviews can be old, as long as they’re on Amazon. (If the book hasn’t yet been published, your blog/Goodreads is fine.)

Cool. Let’s do this.

YA Published Before This Year

YA Published This Year

Out This Month+

+Anything in this category is still due by end of month for that month’s prize, but these books will continue to make you eligible for an entry for the next month

*Sequel to Trust Me, I’m Lying; reading/reviewing that will count as well

2015 Debut


As for the prizes:

  1. The signed copy of your choice of any of my published books**
  2. A signed copy of Last Year’s Mistake by Gina Ciocca***
  3. The book of your choice from this list****

**If international, this will be ebook+authorgraph
***US only
****Must be available via The Book Depository if international

Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR!


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Happy Top Ten Tuesday, courtesy of the Broke and the Bookish! Today’s topic is the top ten books on my fall TBR, and I’m particularly excited for my fall reading because I’m planning on a mix of some awesome looking fall titles, a few 2016 ARCs that look amazing, and some backlist that’s been calling my name. So, here’s what’s on my fall TBR!

  1. Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky – I hear such great things about this 2016 debut and I’ve had the ARC crying my name from my shelf forever, so I am excited to finally get to it!
  2. Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake – ditto!
  3. Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff – One of the ARCs I’ve been holding onto from the beginning of the year that I’m most dying to get to, no pun intended
  4. Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty – This was a fall release I was super excited for and preordered, so I can’t wait to get to read it!
  5. The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich – ditto!
  6. Future Perfect by Jen Larsen – an actual fall ARC I’m going to read on time! I don’t usually read books revolving around a character’s weight, but I trust Jen Larsen to do this right, and I’m always up for books with good queer representation.
  7. Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson – also a fall ARC, though I’ll be a little late for this release. Better late than never, though!
  8. The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow – I hear from a trusted source I must read this, and so I will read this!
  9. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – This is the number one backlist title I am dying to read, and this fall, I am finally making time for it, because I want to read the hell out of that trilogy and then jump on board Six of Crows with everyone else!
  10. Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee – I started this one the other day just to see a certain detail before I had to start reading a few different things for blogging purposes, and ended up getting way more sucked in than expected, considering how far from my usual genre it is, so I’ll definitely be returning to it as soon as I can!

Some More Great Things on the Internet


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Every now and again I find the urge to share things I have loved on the Internet. So, here are some recent-ish things I have loved on the Internet that you may not have seen:

BookRiot is celebrating a BlackOut with a full day of content by black authors, about black issues, including this post on Moving Past Octavia Butler by local BAMF Justina Ireland.

Birthday by Birthday, a Starter Library for Young Feminists, by Melissa Albert for B&N Teen Blog

Reproductive Rights Don’t Start and End with Abortion, by Meagan Rivers

5 Reasons I love Writing Lesbian Romance, by Rebekah Weatherspoon (her first post for AfterEllen)

Author Alisha Rai Storified a great bunch of helpful tweets with diverse Romance recommendations (obviously Second Position by Katherine Locke is a personal fave, and I can tell you from hearing Sonali Dev read aloud at an event we both did that A Bollywood Affair is a must-buy, but I’m excited for the rest!)

Where Our Magic Lives: a Queer Latina on Magical Realism, by Anna-Marie McLemore for Diversity in YA. This is a gorgeous post on the importance of the cultural origins of magical realism as rooted in oppression, by the author of the incredible new magical realism YA, The Weight of Feathers.

5 Tips on Book Blogging, by an Author-Blogger


As many of you know, it’s been a really crappy week for me, and I keep needing things to distract me, and I remembered seeing that someone had tweeted me asking for book blogging tips right before all this stuff happened, and it gave me an idea for a Thing to Do to Distract Myself (other than playing games on my phone, which has been stellar for the past few days, lemme tell you).

Now, to be honest, I have zero recollection of who asked me this. I’m pretty sure it’s someone I didn’t know. It happened after I talked about ARCs, I think, and specified wanting tips on how to get them, I’m reasonably sure. Let’s just say that was it, because lord knows that’s what plenty of people who want to get into book blogging want to know. I’m gonna start from there. So let’s assume these tips are in response to, “Hey, can you give me tips on how to grow my blog to get ARCs?”


1. Don’t. By which I mean, don’t get into blogging for ARCs. First of all, ARC-grabbers are transparent as hell, and there’s no incentive to work with someone who’s in it strictly for free stuff – their reviews aren’t compelling, they’re annoying on social media, they don’t do anything of note…basically, every positive thing a blogger could provide is dead in the water. And the irony is how often these bloggers complain about others’ “bragging” by showing book hauls. PSA: that is the #2 sign you’re an ARC-grabber. (#1 being that your Twitter feed is entirely a giveaway-entering account. You know we don’t have to give away to the person whose name pops up, right? I don’t pick you when I give things away. Really.) The people posting those pictures are helping to publicize the book, and the fact that you don’t see it that way means you’re viewing ARCs and your role in the process in the completely wrong way. ARCs aren’t rewards for talking about books, or status symbols; they’re marketing tools. Until you get that, you are never going to be useful at marketing.

(A couple of examples of bloggers who do Genuine Book Love all over the place super right: Jamie, The Perpetual Page-Turner; Ginger, GReads!)

2. Mix up your reads with big books and smaller ones. I read BEA Buzz Books, NYT Bestsellers, and lead titles. I’ve loved them, I’ve raved about them, I’ve blogged about them. But so has everyone else, so it doesn’t make me particularly useful, interesting, or credible if my entire contribution can be gleaned from the margins of Entertainment Weekly. People aren’t interested in my recommendations because I dazzled them with the news that Anna and the French Kiss is pretty great or Gayle Forman’s written some compelling stuff; they’re interested because I’m how they “discovered” OCD Love Story or Dangerous Girls or Pointe or Because You’ll Never Meet Me or Not Otherwise Specified or Swimming to Tokyo. Want to know how to stand out? Be how people find amazing books they wouldn’t find otherwise.

(Examples of bloggers who’ve definitely introduced me to books I didn’t know: Christina, Reader of Fictions; Kelly, Stacked)

And to do that, you need to go beyond ARCs of the Big Books. How? A few options:

  • Create accounts on Netgalley and Edelweiss, and actually provide reviews.
  • Like NA? Join a review request group and sign up.
  • Enter the billions of giveaways going on at any given time – just don’t let that be all you use social media for.
  • Find a discount retailer like BookOutlet, buy a bunch of books that sound interesting, and cover them. If you like NA, even better – just buy the actual books; most of them are rarely over four bucks.

The latter point brings me to:

3. Cover books after publication. I know advance copies/getting to read stuff early seems cool, but upcoming books aren’t the only ones that matter; authors want and need backlist coverage too. You think because I absolutely loved All the Rage, I’m done talking about Courtney Summers’ other books? Never. And readers don’t only want to know about upcoming books, either; many want to be able to buy a book as soon as they read a great review.

4. Don’t start and end with your site – connecting on social media matters too. Twitter isn’t only how most readers find me, but it’s also how I find authors who look interesting. It’s another place for me to promote authors and books I love, and all of that works together. I’d venture to say that Twitter’s made me a bigger blogging name than actual blogging has. And authors want to work with bloggers who actively support them. We don’t all search to see which bloggers are talking about us on their sites, if you’re spreading the gospel about our books on social media? We’ll probably see that, and be more inclined to want to send you an ARC of our next one. I know as a blogger, I’ve received plenty of ARCs that way.

Networking genuinely is a huge part of being in publishing. There’s more to blogging than just “get ARCs; write review.” To give you an idea of where my ARCs have come from:

  • Publishers auto-sending
  • Publishers sending upon request from an author after I’ve been loud about my excitement over an upcoming title
  • Publishers sending for specific coverage/interviews
  • Author friends
  • Co-bloggers
  • Giveaways (online, from an event at an indie)
  • ARC tours
  • book exchanges
  • Agents
  • Netgalley
  • Edelweiss
  • Coworkers who receive books as part of Young to Pub

Cultivate relationships. Care about the people behind the books, which doesn’t just mean authors. It goes a long way.

(Examples of bloggers rocking other social media – @Cuddlebuggery on Twitter; @BookBaristas on Instagram and hosting the #NewAdultIRL chat on Twitter)

5. Be interesting. Know what bloggers authors love to be interviewed by? Ones who’ve clearly read the book and ask good questions about it. If Paper Riot had two followers, I’d still do another interview with Ellis in a heartbeat, because I loved the questions she asked me about Under the Lights so much.

Know who authors actually want to write guest posts for, even though we hate doing them 99% of the time? Bloggers who do wonderful creative series, like Jen on Pop Goes the Reader.

Know who’s fun to follow? Bloggers who do cool features that encourage thoughtful reading, like Pretty Deadly Blog’s Bookish Bingo, or the Diversity Dive by Rather Be Reading and Reading Wishes. Bloggers who sometimes go beyond books and provide windows to cool stuff, like Alexa and Rachel do with their Mabuhay celebrations.

Separate yourself from the pack, and it’ll go a long way.

And if this sounds like too much work, remember: you can always buy or borrow the book when it comes out. Like magic!

Dahlia’s Guide to Bookish Twitter

It’s been a long time since I’ve been a member of a new community. I’ve been at my job for three years, I’ve been at my publisher for more than two, I’m not in school anymore…but every now and again I remember what it is like to be new to a community, or even want to be but don’t know how to get there, and there are just no answers.

So, here’s my attempt at an answer: Dahlia’s Guide to Bookish Twitter, a guide to help you figure out who to follow, based on the issues you’re most interested in seeing discussed. Obviously, this is extremely biased based on who I like and find helpful and interesting; that’s why my name is on the guide. Your mileage may vary. To be clear, this isn’t a list of my favorite authors, agents, and bloggers on Twitter, or even a list of everyone I consider knowledgeable or a good writer on these subjects; it’s a list of people who talk about these issues frequently and in a manner I find intelligent, thought provoking, interesting, and engaging. Most importantly, these are the ones frequently starting the conversations. 

Also, a quick note on acronyms. Acronyms are huge on Twitter, because of the 140-character limit. It can feel really isolating and daunting to try to enter a community that speaks a language you only half understand. To that end, a few of the most common ones are listed at the bottom of this post, but you should check out my Abridged Glossary of Pub Speak.

OK, onward! Here are my recommendations for who to follow if you’re particularly interested in (and in case you were sent here by someone else, but don’t know me, hi, I’m on there too, as @MissDahlELama):

Earlier stages of publishing, such as querying, submission, and writing tips:

  • @Ava_Jae (author and blogger Ava Jae)
  • @KateBrauning (author and editor Kate Brauning)
  • @Literaticat (agent and bookseller Jenn Laughran)
  • @carlywatters (agent Carly Watters)
  • @SarahLaPolla (agent Sarah LaPolla)
  • @SaraMegibow (agent Sara Megibow)
  • @notjustanyboggs (agent Amy Boggs)
  • To be aware of upcoming contests: @BrendaDrake (author Brenda Drake)
  • Publishing law: @SusanSpann (author and lawyer Susan Spann)

Upcoming/Notable Books and/or Well-Curated Booklists*:

  • @catagator (librarian and blogger Kelly Jensen)
  • @BNTeens (the Barnes & Noble Teen Blog)
  • @Mimi_Albert (B&N Teen Blog editor Melissa Albert)
  • @BookRiot (the Book Riot blog)
  • @ericsmithrocks (blogger and author Eric Smith)
  • @TLT16 (librarian and blogger Karen Jensen)
  • @CiteSomething (librarian and blogger Amanda MacGregor)
  • @thehidingspot (bookseller Sara Grochowski)

Anxiety and Depression:

  • @coreyannhaydu (author Corey Ann Haydu)
  • @jessica_shea (author Jessica Spotswood)
  • @emerylord (author Emery Lord)


  • @mariekeyn (author Marieke Nijkamp)
  • @corinneduyvis (author Corinne Duyvis)
  • @anneursu (author Anne Ursu)


  • @DisabilityInLit (the Disability in Kidlit blog)
  • @Kody_Keplinger (author Kody Keplinger)
  • @mariekeyn (author Marieke Nijkamp)
  • @PunkinOnWheels (writer/blogger Kayla Whaley – especially recommended for intersection of disability and queerness)



  • @haleshannon (author Shannon Hale)
  • @gildedspine (blogger Kaye)
  • @emerylord (author Emery Lord)
  • @catagator (librarian and blogger Kelly Jensen)
  • @tessagratton (author Tessa Gratton)
  • @ashleyhblake (author Ashley Herring Blake)
  • @feministyachat (chat moderator account womanned by @tehawesomersace)
  • @mgnwrites (writer/blogger Meagan Rivers, esp. re: reproductive rights)



  • @bibliogato (author Katherine Locke)
  • @valentin_india (author India Valentin)
  • @kkhendin (author KK Hendin)
  • @sarataylorwoods (author Sara Taylor Woods)


  • @bibliogato (author Katherine Locke)
  • @theGayYA (the Gay YA blog)
  • @robin_talley (author Robin Talley)
  • @diversifYA (the DiversifYA blog)
  • @dreamofgorgon (agent Connor Goldsmith)
  • Bisexuality: @TristinaWright (author Tristina Wright)
  • Asexuality: @JulieSondra (author Julie Sondra Decker)
  • Asexuality: @byericacameron (author Erica Cameron)
  • Intersexuality: @IWGregorio (author Ilene Gregorio)
  • The gender spectrum: @SWritesBooks, @lxgino, @LeahRaeder, @Jessie_Devine

Racial Diversity in MG/YA:

Honestly, I keep reworking this whole list, but the truth is, 95% of the time, the best conversations are happening around @tehawesomersace (author Justina Ireland). Start with her. (And I’ve found many of my best conversations by also following @brandycolbert, @brownbookworm, @zlikeinzorro, and @gildedspine.)

  • @diversebooks (the We Need Diverse Books organization, which is headed by @elloecho)
  • @diversityinya (the Diversity in YA blog, headed by @malindalo and @cindypon)
  • @diversifYA (the DiversifYA blog, headed by @mariekeyn and @swritesbooks)
  • @leonicka
  • Latina@ Representation: @latinosinkidlit
  • Native-American Representation: @debreese

Racial Diversity in Romance:

  • @rebekahwsm (author Rebekah Weatherspoon)
  • @SuleikahSnyder (author Suleikha Snyder)
  • @AlyssaColeLit (author Alyssa Cole)
  • @AlishaRai (author Alisha Rai)
  • @CourtneyMilan (author Courtney Milan)

Rape Culture:

  • @ChristaDesir (author Christa Desir)
  • @ashleyhblake (author Ashley Herring Blake)


  • @mgnwrites (writer/blogger Meagan Rivers)

*I could go on forever re: great book bloggers, and if you want a list of ones I love, here’s the one I made on Twitter.

And, as promised, some commonly used acronyms (for explanations of the terms, Google is your friend):

  • MC: Main Character
  • LI: Love Interest
  • CP: Critique Partner
  • WIP: Work-in-Progress
  • ms: manuscript/mss: manuscripts
  • OTP: One True Pairing/OT3: One True Threesome
  • PoC: Person of Color/WoC: Woman of Color/AoC: Author of Color
  • SFF: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
  • QUILTBAG: Queer/Questioning Intersex Lesbian Transgender Bisexual Asexual Gay
  • ARC: Advance Reader Copy/eARC: electronic Advance Reader Copy
  • RT: Retweet or the Romantic Times conference
  • BEA: Book Expo America
  • HEA: Happily Ever After
  • PM: Publishers Marketplace/PW: Publishers Weekly
  • SLJ: School Library Journal
  • NA: New Adult
  • HC: Hardcover/PB: Paperback or Picture Book
  • m/m: male-male romance
  • f/f: female-female romance
  • FWIW: For What It’s Worth
  • YMMV: Your Mileage May Vary
  • ICYMI: In Case You Missed It
  • ikr: I know, right?

Top Ten (Okay, Thirteen) Auto-Buy Authors


Happy Top Ten Tuesday, courtesy of the Broke and the Bookish! To be perfectly honest, the whole “Auto-Buy” thing gets trickier when you’re an author yourself, because there are friends I’m literally always gonna support with my wallet no matter WTF they publish and whether I have any interest in reading it. Truth be told, writerly friendships most often happen because you love their work, so, it’s not like that doesn’t count, but for the purposes of this post, I’m going to use the standard of “Published Authors I Have Never Met or Talked to On the Phone.”

(A few examples of authors this nixes: Corey Ann Haydu, Stephanie Kuehn, Jessica Verdi, Lindsay Smith, Gina Ciocca, Maggie Hall, Robin Talley, Katherine Locke, Julie Murphy, Jandy Nelson, Leah Raeder, Nova Ren Suma, Lindsay Ribar, Miranda Kenneally, Rachael Allen, Emery Lord, Becky Albertalli, Megan Erickson, Riley Edgewood, Elizabeth Briggs, Sarina Bowen, Christa Desir, Heather Demetrios, Abigail Haas…see why this was necessary? Exactly.) OKAY THEN.

Courtney Summers – shock and awe, I know. Because it’s not like I mention her in literally every blog post of my faves.

Melina Marchetta – See “Courtney Summers.” Then buy all her books.

Nina LaCour – See “Courtney Summers.” Then buy all her books.

Laura Wiess – I haven’t even read all of her books, but I keep buying them, and know I’ll read them eventually. I love that I don’t know exactly what to expect from them, but I know they’ll be dark, and thoughtful, and have heroines who screw up, and that’s enough for me.

Amy Reed – See “Laura Wiess.”

Lauren Strasnick – See “Laura Wiess.”

Sarah Ockler – I have not had a 100% Love or even Like rate with her books, but I will always, always try them. For one thing, I like her writing style. For another, she’s one of the two biggest authors I can think of in contemp YA romance who writes non-white characters. The other being…

Jennifer Echols – …who also writes majorly sex-positive books, as does…

Trish Doller – …(which is the reason I asked them to blurb Behind the Scenes.)

Sara Farizan – Two for two with f/f romances featuring intersectional diversity, which is kind of my crack, so.

Brandy Colbert – You know when you read just one book by an author but everything about it tells you that you’re gonna like everything she does in the future? That was me and Pointe. And by this logic…

Tess Sharpe because Far From You and

Alexis Bass because Love and Other Theories

Top Thirteen Tuesday still counts as a TTT, yes? Yes. Now tell me, dear bloggers, who are your instabuys?

Exclusive Cover Reveal: Katherine Stark’s BODY CHECKED!


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New NA author alert! Today I’m helping welcome a friend into the wild world of NA, and simultaneously revealing the cover and blurb for her debut, Body Checked! The book is the first in the Capital Ice series, a brand-new NA hockey trilogy, so strap on your face masks, get your sticks ready, and yeah okay I’ll work on my hockey metaphors; the hot cover speaks for itself anyway.


SERGEI DRAKONOV. The newest left wing for the Washington Eagles hockey team is a triple threat: muscle, roughed-up good looks, and a dangerous tabloid reputation. Not the kind of guy who fits into Jael Pereira’s five-year plan. Jael doesn’t have time for a relationship, between her challenging senior-year course load and her stiflingly dull internship at the FBI. But for one steamy night, she gives in to Sergei and his smooth-talking ways.

Sergei wants more than just another one-night stand. But his brother—a high-ranking member of the Russian mob—wants him to help the family business. He can use Sergei as an easy way to launder money, or to smuggle drugs on the Eagles team plane. And if Sergei doesn’t agree, he can kiss his skating career goodbye.

The FBI’s been watching Sergei. When they learn about Jael’s fling, they want her to persuade him to inform on his brother. But the more Jael sees the real Sergei, beyond the role he plays on the ice and in front of the cameras, the more she wants him in her life. How can she win his trust, though, when she’s playing a role of her own? And how can she protect him from his mobster brother when she can’t even protect her own heart?

But wait! There’s more! Exclusive teaser to come right…NOW.

“Hey. Brazil.”

I glance toward the corridor’s entrance. Sergei ducks through the red velvet curtains and lopes toward me, his eyes glittering in the darkened corridor.

“My name’s Jael.” Shit. Why did I tell him that? But it doesn’t matter. He won’t remember anyway. Just like any of his other countless conquests in the tabloids.

“Jael.” He says it slowly, teasing, testing out the way it shapes on his tongue. I know this because I’m staring at his mouth as he says it, that ripe, boyish mouth, his lips just a little pink from drinking. His tongue grazes along the edge of his teeth as he speaks. And then I’m imagining how that tongue might feel on my earlobe and running between my legs and—oh, god. I have got to stop.

“I promise you,” he says in Russian, “I’m not what you think.” Sergei props one hand against the wall behind me and leans in close. He’s got half a foot on me, and at least a hundred pounds of muscle, but he’s left me an escape if I want.


I tilt my head up toward him and keep the scowl firmly fixed on my face. “And how do you know what I think?”

“It’s what everyone with half a brain thinks about me. That I’m some overly talented, privileged asshole with no discipline and no concern for anyone but myself. That I’ll screw over my teammates, cheat on my partners, and burn through all my money.”

His voice is so low. It hums inside of me, steady as a drumbeat, igniting my every nerve ending.

“They think I’m just skating through on raw talent alone, and sooner or later, all my mistakes and all my callousness are going to catch up with me.” He sighs. His breath is warm against my throat. “Is that what you think?”

“You really think I care enough about you to think all of that?” I ask. “That anyone does?”

Sergei’s hand curls into a fist and he closes his eyes. “I didn’t mean it like that.”

Welp! *fans self* For more on Katherine, to be added to her mailing list and to add Body Checked to your TBR, see below!

You can also find Katherine in our Summer Love party on August 24 at 8 p.m. EST, with a whole bunch of fabulous authors! Hope to see you there!

IF ONLY Bonus Story Blog Tour: RED GIRL, BLUE BOY by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Hi, all! Today I’m revealing a bonus story from Lauren Baratz-Logsted’s Red Girl, Blue Boy, a politically themed YA about the daughter of a Republican candidate and son of a Democratic candidate who fall in love. As part of this tour, Bloomsbury is providing a full set of IF ONLY books for one lucky winner, so check out the link to the Rafflecopter at the bottom for a chance to win Just Like the Movies by Kelly Fiore, Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae, and more!



Sixteen-year-old Katie and Drew really shouldn’t get along. After all, her father is the Republican nominee for President of the United States while his mother is at the top of the Democratic ticket. But when Katie and Drew are thrown together in a joint interview on a morning talk show, they can’t ignore the chemistry between them. With an entire nation tuned into and taking sides in your parents’ fight, and the knowledge that–ultimately–someone has to lose, how can you fall in love with the one person you’re supposed to hate?

This title in the If Only line is a frank and funny romance that shows how sparks fly when opposites attract.

Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound | Goodreads

Lauren Baratz-LogstedAUTHOR BIO

Lauren Baratz-Logsted is the author of more than twenty books for adults, teens, and young readers, including Little Women & Me, The Twin’s Daughter, Crazy Beautiful, and the Sisters 8 series, which she co-writes with her husband and daughter.

Twitter | Website | Goodreads

Of Cookies & Kisses

by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

A bonus scene to Lauren Baratz-Logsted’s novel, Red Girl, Blue Boy

part of the IF ONLY romance line of books about wanting

what you can’t have!

Drew and Katie are keeping their attraction a secret. The reason: Drew’s mother is the Democratic nominee for President of the United States, running against a Republican rival who happens to be Katie’s father. The two sides don’t mix; in fact, they’re supposed to hate each other. In this bonus scene to Red Boy, Blue Girl, a surprise encounter with Drew’s twin younger brothers leads to moments that are hilarious and romantic.



Katie and I are in my garage. We tell each other that we’re working on my Corvair, but what we really do in the garage is talk and kiss. As much as I enjoy this small world we’ve created here, I really wish we could take this show out on the road—you know, talk and kiss in other settings, even in public. But if this is all we can have, because we’ve agreed that our parents’ individual campaigns for the highest office in the land would shine too bright a light on our budding relationship, I’ll take it.

We’ve dispensed with the talking portion of this particular meeting, at least for the moment, and I’m moving in for my kiss. I’m feeling all the usual sensations—heart pounding faster, head feeling a little dizzy like I could spin off the planet, and the amazing combination of peace and excitement I feel inside when I can see from the hungry look in her eyes that she wants to kiss me just as much as I want to kiss her. But then the sound of kids screaming penetrates my brain, and when that is immediately followed by the sound of someone beginning to raise the garage door, I have just enough presence of mind to step away from the girl. In fact, we jump far away from one another so quickly, it’s as though each regards the other as a hot stove.

It is, of course, the six-year-old twins, Max and Matt, still in their school uniforms, ties perfectly tightened at their necks, everything all crisp like they’re just starting their day even though it’s well into afternoon.

Immediately, I grab the first tool my hand touches, a wrench, and pretend to do something with it.

“Yo, what’s up?” I say, trying to adopt a nonchalant tone.

Out of the corner of my eye, I note that when Katie and I did the hot-stove/leaping-apart thing, she made it to the other side of the garage, where she’s now standing stiff against the wall from which hang garden tools, like she’s playing Statues among the rakes.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from having twin brothers, it’s that little kids can be hopelessly unobservant; so busy and all-consumed with whatever is in their minds, they don’t notice anything else.

So, maybe they won’t notice Katie standing there? Although, it certainly would’ve been better if I’d had the time to slide her under the car—like I did the last time they surprised us with a visit.

Yo?” Matt says. “Who says yo?

Not me, not usually, and may I add, you’ve never been properly dissed until you’ve been dissed by a six-year-old. Oh, the indignities.

“Nanny Stella has a migraine,” Max says. “She had to go lie down.”

“That’s too bad,” I say.

“And you’re supposed to keep us entertained,” Matt says. “Nanny Stella says so.”

So far, they don’t seem to have noticed Katie. Like I said, they’re little kids; they focus on what’s in front of them, which, at the moment, is me.

My goal for the moment? Get them out of the garage as quickly as I can. And after that, get at least one good, deep kiss in before Katie has to call her chauffeur to come collect her earlier than originally planned.

“Oh, yeah?” I say, still doing the nonchalant thing, although, frankly, this wrench isn’t helping any. I’ve been comfortable around tools all my life, but in this moment, hyperaware of Katie across the room, I can barely remember what a wrench is for, much less what to do with this one.

Then I seize on a brilliant idea.

“Video games!” I practically shout.

“Excuse me?” Matt says.

“You know,” I say, wiggling my thumbs like I’m some old fogy unfamiliar with modern technology. “Your devices. Why don’t you go play whatever games you’re into these days on your devices.”

“We can’t,” Max says.

“We’ve already reached the extent of our screen time for the day,” Matt says.

“No more until tomorrow,” Max says glumly.

“Which technically starts at midnight,” Matt adds.

I don’t believe these guys. Are they like the only two kids in the world who are honest about screen time?

“And we’re done with our homework,” Max says.

“So you have to entertain us,” Matt says. “Besides, Nanny Stella says we can’t be without supervision.”

I wrack my brain, trying to remember what I did at their age, those few times in which technology wasn’t involved one way or another.

Then I have a memory of my mom and me, in our tiny kitchen, back in the old place, before life got crazy.

“You want to make chocolate chip cookies?” I suggest.

“Define ‘make,’” Max says suspiciously.

“You know, from scratch,” I say. “You gather all the ingredients and then you make the cookies yourself.”

“Really?” Matt says skeptically. “People do this?”

“Come on,” I say. I put down my useless wrench. “It’ll be fun.”

Then I place one hand on each twin’s shoulder and turn them toward safety, which in this instance would be anywhere but the garage.

“OK,” Matt says. And I think, yes! “Only, there’s just one thing?”

“Hmm?” Lame, I know, but it’s all I’ve got.

Matt stops moving. Then he shoots an accusing forefinger to the side, gesturing toward the garden tools.

“What’s the enemy doing hanging out with the rakes?” he says.

So much for little kids only focusing on their own stuff.

“She’s not the enemy,” I say.

“Mom and Dad wouldn’t agree.” Max gives a sad shake of his head.

“She’s a Republican,” Matt says, as though once he’s said that, he’s said it all.

“Yeah?” I say. “Well, Republicans are people too.”

Matt rolls his eyes at me.

“Well, they are!” I insist. “They just think about certain things differently.”

Again with the eye roll.

“Look, I’ll show you,” I say. “Katie?”

She emerges slowly from among the rakes.

“Katie,” I say again more firmly, “I’d like you to meet my brothers, Max and Matt. Max and Matt? This is Katie.”

Give the kids credit. For all their rudeness with “the enemy” and “Republican” talk, their well-trained politeness kicks in and they offer their hands for a firm shake.

“I’m pleased to meet you,” Katie says. “I’ve heard so much about you.”

“You have?” Max says.

“Which begs the question yet again,” Matt says, reverting to form. “What’s she doing here?”

“She’s my friend,” I say simply. And as soon as the words are out of my mouth, I realize just how true they are. Sure, she’s the girl I kiss in the garage, the girl who in so many ways is coming to mean more than I ever imagined. But, at core, she is my friend. It’s a pretty amazing thing.

“Your friend?” Matt snorts.

I ignore that snort. I’d really like to reprimand him for it, but it occurs to me that I need him on my side.

“Guys,” I say, “I need to ask you a favor.”

Matt crosses his arms tight against that perfectly tied tie and Max follows suit.

I ignore their rigidity and plow on.

“I need you to not tell Mom and Dad that Katie was here today,” I say. “They wouldn’t understand.”

“You want us to lie?” Matt says.

It’s hopeless. What was I thinking? These are the kids who are honest about screen-time usage, for crying out loud.

Then I seize on an idea.

“Not lie.” I squirm a bit. “After all, it’s not like anyone’s going to come home and say, ‘Oh, by the way, did the enemy stop by today?’; in which case, if you answered ‘No,’ that would be a lie. But what about simply not offering the information?”

I wait for what feels like the longest time for a response.

Finally, Matt says, “You sound just like a politician.”

I’m about to object when a big smile breaks across his little face.

“I like it,” he says with an approving nod. I think this may be the first time he’s ever been impressed by me.

Katie clears her throat and we all look at her.

“Could I come bake cookies too?” she says.

“Seriously?” I say.

She shrugs, embarrassed. “I’ve never done it before. It sounds like fun.”

For the first time, the twins smile at her. Apparently, they’re bonding over a shared lack of experience in the cookie-making department.

I think, wondering if it’s possible, wondering if this could possibly work. What did my dad say was on the day’s schedule for him and my mom? Oh, right. My mom’s campaigning in the Pacific Northwest, while my dad is doing events for her in Connecticut until at least after dinnertime. Normally, a presidential candidate can depend on his or her own state to come through at the polls. But when both candidates are from the same state, it’s a whole different horse race.

Thank you, complicated election. And thank you, nanny with a migraine. Not that I want Stella to be in pain; or have my mom going through a tougher time than she needs getting votes in her own state.

But come on. I’m finally going to do something with my girl outside of this garage.

We’re going to make cookies together.

* * *

As the twins and I lead Katie through the first floor of the house, I half expect her to make some kind of snooty comment like she did when we first met—you know, something along the lines of, “Wow, everything is so nouveau, are you sure it qualifies as riche?” But all she says is that it’s nice and the look in her eyes says that she means it.

In fact, the only tense moment comes when Matt notices Katie’s feet; specifically, the light-gray Converse High-Tops she’s wearing on them.

“I’ve seen footwear like those before,” Matt says thoughtfully.

The last time the twins saw those shoes they were sticking out of the bottom of my Corvair and I’d told the twins they belonged to my best friend Sandy, he of the supposedly tiny feet.

“Huh,” Matt says. But then he shrugs it away as he tells Katie, “You’ve got the same taste in footwear as Drew’s best friend. No offense, though, your feet look bigger.”

Phew. I guess it wouldn’t have been catastrophic if he’d made the connection, but then if he realized Katie’s been here more often than just today, he might further realize she’s more than a simple friend.

Can’t have that.

Don’t want that.

Once we’re in the monster-sized kitchen, I begin going through cabinets, assembling ingredients. Since the campaign started, every meal around here is takeout this, delivered that, and catered the other. Despite it all, the larder is nothing if not well stocked.

Soon, I’ve covered the counter with flour, baking soda, salt, butter, two kinds of sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and chocolate chips, a baking sheet, bowls, measuring cups and spoons.

“You know how to do all this by heart?” Matt says.

I shrug. “I did it enough times when I was younger.”

For the first time Matt and Max both give me a wistful look.

Poor little guys. They’ve had everything in life it seems sometimes, but they’ve never had this.

“Hey!” I clap my hands together. “Why don’t you guys go change out of your school clothes so we can get started?”

I’m thinking, kill two birds with one stone, right? The kids don’t get their school clothes dirty, and I finally get to kiss my girl today.

But apparently, I am to be thwarted at every turn.

“Not necessary,” Matt says. Then he removes his blazer, carefully drapes it over a chair; unbuttons his cuffs and rolls up his sleeves; and finally flips the ends of his tie over one shoulder.

Max mirrors everything Matt does.

These guys. They’re like two candidates at a clambake or a barbecue. They could be politicians themselves.

And, you know, I don’t get to steal my kiss.

I clap my hands together again, not quite as enthusiastically as before.

“OK, let’s get started,” I say.

After showing them how to preheat the oven to 375, I’m about to show them how to do everything else, when I remember something I learned from baking cookies with my mom: kids have the most fun when they get to do everything themselves.

Plus, if I get them busily occupied enough, maybe I can sneak Katie out of the room for a few minutes.

I verbally direct Max and Matt on how to beat the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract together. Once they’re doing that, I hold out my hand to Katie.

But she just looks wistfully at the twins. “Is there anything for me to do?” she asks in a small voice I’m unaccustomed to hearing from her.

“I don’t know,” I say. It’s against my own interests, but as much as I’m dying to kiss her right now, I want even more to give her whatever she wants. “Guys? Is it OK if Katie does something?”

They’re having so much fun creaming the butter into everything else, they don’t even look up.

“Sure.” Max shrugs.

“Just not this part,” Matt says. “We like doing this part.”

So I direct Katie on taking a big bowl and then measuring out the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt.

She’s very intent on getting everything right, the ingredients measured perfectly, she’s not even aware that she’s got flour on her nose.

But I am.

And OK, maybe it’s a cliché—I mean, come on, flour on her nose?—but I find it incredibly sexy.

Wait. Does this make me a sexist? Does it mean I want to keep my girl in the kitchen?

No. It’s just so great to be finally out of the garage, finally doing normal things.

I want to do normal things with her forever.

You know what really makes someone want to kiss another person? Not being able to kiss that person. Of course, being able to kiss them only makes you want to kiss them more. But this? This is some kind of torture.

I can’t help it, though, thinking about Katie.

I love how she’s soft where I’m not. I love how she’s smaller than me. Would I feel the same way if she was as tall? Taller? Yes and yes. Because she’d still be her. But I love how, when we’re alone together, and I put my arm around her shoulders, she fits just so at my side; how, when I put my arms around her and she’s facing me, and I pull her close, her head fits perfectly, just under my chin, against my chest.

Aargh! Did I really just use the word love, like, how many times?

I close my eyes tight, trying to push the thoughts and images away. Because, you know, we’re supposed to be making cookies.

But the thoughts, the images—they just keep coming. They are relentless.

I keep my eyes shut against them, yet all the while, all I can do is picture myself, putting my palms on the sides of Katie’s waist—right at that sweet spot where her waist joins the swell of her hips. I picture myself pulling her in close so her body is right next to mine, with nothing to separate us, feeling that softness against me, lowering my face to hers, and then kissing her until we’re both too weak to do anything else.

And when I finally do open my eyes? Because someone is calling my name, no doubt wanting to know what to do next?

The picture is still there, an afterimage I can’t escape, even with Katie and the twins standing right before me, waiting expectantly. That afterimage? Not only can’t I escape it, I realize I don’t want to. Oh, am I ever in trouble.

Hot damn.

We haven’t even gotten to the eggs yet.


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Ten Books That Celebrate Intersectional Diversity


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Happy Top Ten Tuesday, courtesy of the Broke and the Bookish! Today’s topic asks bloggers to focus on an area of diverse representation and pick our faves, so I picked my favorite characters who showcase intersectional diversity.

For those unfamiliar with the term, “Intersectional diversity” is when characters belong to more than one marginalized group, and relates to how those different identities intersect with each other. (For example, in my last book, Under the Lights, Vanessa is both Korean-American and gay, and those things largely play into her decision making regarding career moves, as well as her relationship with her parents.) It’s something we don’t see a lot of in YA or NA, but here are 10 great examples of when we do:

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera – main character is Puerto Rican, gay, and growing up poor in the Bronx. (Also definitely check out Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz for another book featuring great gay Latino boys!)

Pointe by Brandy Colbert – main character is a black ballerina with an eating disorder struggling with a harmful past relationship, and both the fact that there is tremendous extra pressure on her in a massively white industry and that black girls are often highly sexualized from a young age are hugely relevant.

If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan – main character and love interest are both Iranian girls, and highlights both the attitude toward homosexuality in that country and the unexpectedly differing attitude toward being transgender there.

The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell – main character is a Japanese boy with ALS making end-of-life decisions, partially inspired by the poetry of samurai, who consider suicide to be an honorific end.

Vanished by E.E. Cooper – Kalah is Indian-American, has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and is in love with her (missing) best friend, Beth, a fact she accepts with really welcome confidence.

Far From You by Tess Sharpe – main character is bisexual and suffers from chronic pain after an accident, and her dependence on painkillers is not helped by the death of her best friend/the love of her life.

Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz – Etta is black, gloriously proudly bisexual, and in recovery from an eating disorder.

Lies We tell Ourselves by Robin Talley – not only are Sarah and Linda falling in love across racial lines in 1959, but they’re hooking up during a time when being out and queer pretty much did not happen, ever.

Cam Girl by Leah Raeder – Vada is Puerto Rican and bisexual, which leads into issues of how she accepts her own identity as a result of her family’s beliefs, and disabled,  which makes the art she used to live for impossible. All of this feeds into her interactions, relationships, and the choices she makes.

Pinned by Sharon G. Flake – this is such an interesting read with really strong alternating voices, both of which belong to black characters: a genius boy in a wheelchair and an athlete girl with a learning disability. While I had more complicated feelings about the relationship between them than I’ll go into here, from an intersectional diversity standpoint, I thought this book was a great read, especially in the scenes with the very-present parents that give you an eye into the backgrounds the kids are coming from.


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