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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cover Reveals (That Made Me Swoon) Part X

The Tenderness of Thieves by Donna Freitas
A summer romance filled with danger and lies

Jane is ready for a fantastic summer. In fact, she’s pretty sure the universe owes her one.

This past winter, Jane was held at knifepoint during an armed robbery and the specter of that night still haunts her. A summer romance with one of the town bad boys -- sexy Handel Davies, who takes her breath away and makes her feel like a bolder version of herself -- seems like the universe’s way of paying her back.

But bad boys always have secrets, and Handel’s secret just might shatter Jane completely.

This suspense novel marries psychological thriller with summer romance and is perfect for teen fans of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl.
Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn

When nearly killing a classmate gets seventeen-year-old Sadie Su kicked out of her third boarding school in four years, she returns to her family’s California vineyard estate. Here, she’s meant to stay out of trouble. Here, she’s meant to do a lot of things. But it’s hard. She’s bored. And when Sadie’s bored, the only thing she likes is trouble.

Emerson Tate’s a poor boy living in a rich town, with his widowed mother and strange, haunted little brother. All he wants his senior year is to play basketball and make something happen with the girl of his dreams. That’s why Emerson’s not happy Sadie’s back. An old childhood friend, she knows his worst secrets. The things he longs to forget. The things she won’t ever let him.

Haunted is a good word for fifteen-year-old Miles Tate. Miles can see the future, after all. And he knows his vision of tragic violence at his school will come true, because his visions always do. That’s what he tells the new girl in town. The one who listens to him. The one who recognizes the darkness in his past.

But can Miles stop the violence? Or has the future already been written? Maybe tragedy is his destiny. Maybe it’s all of theirs.
The Blind Wish by Amber Lough
Two sisters. A war. And the wish to end regret. . . . The magical, evocative follow-up to The Fire Wish.

The war: The lies that started the conflict are in the open now, but the war between the humans and the jinn is as bitter as ever—and becoming far more treacherous.
The sisters: Najwa and Zayele have just learned they’re half-jinni, half-human twins. Najwa is now the jinni representative at the human palace, working to bring peace. But her new role comes at a price—she’s no longer allowed alone with her cherished Prince Kamal. And as Zayele adjusts to life among the jinn, she discovers that she’s a magus, one of the most powerful jinn in the Cavern. Suddenly, she’s thrown into special training, and the strongest young men in the army are competing to be paired up with her.
The wish: Once again, Zayele makes a wish. A wish that she doesn’t think can possibly go wrong. A wish that neither sister could imagine would change the outcome of the war.

Disappear Home by Laura Hurwitz
In 1970, as the hippie movement is losing its innocence, Shoshanna and her six-year-old sister, Mara, escape from Sweet Earth Farm, a declining commune, run by their tyrannical and abusive father, Adam. Their mother, Ella, takes them to San Francisco, where they meet one of her old friends, Judy, and the four of them decide to head off and try to make a life together. Finding a safe haven at the farm of kind, elderly Avery Elliot, the four of them find some measure of peace and stability. Then their mother's crippling depression returns. Confused and paranoid, Ella is convinced that she and the girls must leave before Adam finds them and extracts revenge. The girls don't wish to leave the only stable home they've ever had. But as Ella grows worse and worse, events conspire to leave them to face a choice they never could have imagined. Shoshanna has always watched over her sister and once again she has to watch over her ailing mother. Will she ever live a "normal" life?
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
This innovative, heartfelt debut novel tells the story of a girl who's literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she's ever known. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more.

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I'm allergic to the world.I don't leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He's tall, lean and wearing all black--black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can't predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It's almost certainly going to be a disaster.
Shackled by Tom Leveen
Sixteen-year-old Pelly has a master plan. After years of therapy, medication, and even a stint in a mental hospital, she's finally ready to re-enter the world of the living. Pelly has been suffering from severe panic attacks ever since her best friend, Tara, disappeared from a mall six years ago.

And her plan seems to be working, until an unkempt girl accompanied by an older man walks into the coffee shop where she works. Pelly thinks she's seen a ghost, until the girl mouths help meon the way out, and Pelly knows she's just seen Tara.

Too shocked to do anything, Pelly helplessly watches Tara slip away again as she steels herself against a renewed spiral of crippling anxiety. But rather than being overcome by anxiety, Pelly feels more energized than she has in years. Determined to track down enough evidence to force the police to reopen Tara's file, Pelly's master plan takes a turn for the dangerous.

Pelly decides she cannot be shackled by her past and the anxiety, fear, and grief that comes with it any longer if she wants to save Tara. But in seeking answers through whatever means necessary, she'll come face-to-face with true evil. And not all the shackles are in her head.
Which new covers are your favorite?  Let me know in the comments!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Review: Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

Goodreads / Buy It
Title: Princess of Thorns
Author: Stacey Jay
Publisher: Random House
Pub. Date: December 9, 2014
Genre: Young Adult
Rec. Age Level: 14+
Pages: 400
More by this author: Of Beast and Beauty, Juliet Immortal, Romeo Redeemed


Game of Thrones meets the Grimm's fairy tales in this twisted, fast-paced romantic fantasy-adventure about Sleeping Beauty's daughter, a warrior princess who must fight to reclaim her throne.

Though she looks like a mere mortal, Princess Aurora is a fairy blessed with enhanced strength, bravery, and mercy yet cursed to destroy the free will of any male who kisses her. Disguised as a boy, she enlists the help of the handsome but also cursed Prince Niklaas to fight legions of evil and free her brother from the ogre queen who stole Aurora's throne ten years ago.

Will Aurora triumph over evil and reach her brother before it's too late? Can Aurora and Niklaas break the curses that will otherwise forever keep them from finding their one true love?

I feel like I've been binging on good fantasy lately - especially retellings! Princess of Thorns is a mashup of a few different fairy tales; it's difficult to tell which elements belong to which classic, which actually works out quite well because it allows Jay's novel to be familiar yet fresh.

Some people might be bothered by the fact that despite her name, the MC, Aurora, isn't the Sleeping Beauty character. This didn't bother me in the slightest. I didn't approach the Princess of Thorns with an expectations and I liked the that Jay mixed things up. It made things way less predictable. 

Sometimes the whole 'female character disguised as a boy' doesn't work, but I thought Jay pulled it off here. I had to employ some suspension of disbelief occasionally, but reminding myself that people often see only what they expect helped too. 

I've read a quite a few of Jay's early books (the zombie ones), but I'm really glad I read this one. From what I can tell, she's been doing retellings for a bit now and, if they're as good as this one, I'm considering them all must reads.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Interview with Amy K. Nichols, author of Now That You're Here

Today I welcome writer Amy K. Nichols to The Hiding Spot to talk a bit about her debut novel, Now That You're Here!!

Now That You’re Here is part of a duology; what about a duology appealed to you, rather than a trilogy or standalone novel?

The idea of a duology actually came from my editor, Katherine Harrison, at Knopf. I’d originally written the book as a standalone. Then, after going through revisions with my agent, we went on submission, pitching the books as a trilogy with all three books set in the same world. Katherine loved the manuscript and wanted to acquire it, but presented the idea of instead having two books that mirror each other, taking place in the two parallel worlds, and working in such a way that reading the second book changes your understanding of the first. It was such a brilliant idea that, as soon as I heard it, I knew it was the right way to go.

Tell me a little bit about your writing process: Do you outline? Start at the beginning? The middle? The end?

Stories typically begin with a single scene played out like a movie in my mind. That scene works a bit like a seed. You know how they say an oak seed has the makings of the whole tree inside it? Well, for me, that scene comes complete with the feelings and tone of the whole story. It usually brings with it a sense of the overall arc as well. Once I’m convinced that scene is something I need to write, I create a rough outline using notecards. Then I tackle the first draft, usually writing in sequence from the beginning to the end. I tend to write the first draft pretty quickly, knowing I can clean it all up later. Sometimes alater scene will scream to be written out of order, so I’ll tend to that one before going back to where I was. This is why I find notecards useful; they help me keep track of where I am in the story. I try not to be rigid about any of it, but instead stay sensitive to what the story wants to do and become. It’s when I try to force it in a direction it doesn’t want to go that I run into trouble. Also, without fail, I end up rewriting the opening chapter again and again and again after the whole draft is done. Richard Peck is right when he says the beginning is the end and the end is the beginning. It’s only when I’ve reached the end of the story that I know how the whole thing should start.

What jobs did you have on your way to becoming a published author? Is there a certain work experience that has shaped your writing or provided inspiration?

Oh man, where do I start? Despite wanting to be an author for as long as I can remember, I put it off for years because I was too afraid to show anyone my writing and face possible rejection. Instead, I worked as a tech writer for corporations, an executive assistant to a county supervisor, a special assistant in the Arizona legislature, a GUI designer at a software development firm, an independent contractor doing graphic and web design. Then I took on the most challenging and rewarding job of all: full-time mom. I think one of the best things a writer can do is live life. All of those experiences we acquire shape who we become and what stories we write. One thing, and probably the best thing, wearing all of those different hats made me realize is that I’m happiest when I’m being creative.

If you had to pick a favorite word, what would it be and why?

I’ve always liked the word ‘bludgeoned’. I like the way it feels when I say it. People always look at mestrange, though, when you tell them it’s my favorite word.

My blog is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Who, what, or where can be credited as your personal escape from reality?

I love working with my hands. Painting, drawing, sculpting, welding. When I need a break from it all, or if I’m stuck on a project, I’ll pull out my art supplies and immerse myself in creating something new. I find it very freeing, probably because there are no expectations attached to it. Just joy.

What can readers look forward to next?

Up next is part two of the duology, While You Were Gone. In the second book, we find out what happens to the other Danny and the other Eevee over the course of the same timeline as book one. It was a really interesting book to write. I hope readers find it thought provoking, especially in how it impacts the events of Now That You’re Here.

 Amy K. Nichols has been crafting stories for as long as she can remember. She is the author of YA science fiction novel Now That You’re Here, to be published by Knopf December 9, 2014. The follow-up, While You Were Gone, will be published in 2015. She is mentored by award-winning crime novelist James Sallis and lives on the edge of the Sonoran desert with her husband and children. Amy is a member of SCBWI and SFWA, as well as the Class of 2K14 debut authors. Visit her online at