Friday, September 30, 2016

Blog Tour: Points of Departure by Emily O'Beirne with Giveaway


Points of Departure


by Emily O'Beirne


Genre: YA Contemporary (LGBT)


Release Date: June 16th 2016


Ylva Publishing


Summary from Goodreads:


In this young adult novel, to be released June 2016, best friends Kit and Liza have been looking forward to this trip forever.
Five girls, five tickets overseas. It’s exactly what they all need after the final slog of high school. But when Kit’s suddenly forced to drop out, Liza’s left with three girls she barely knows.
There’s Mai, committed only to partying. There’s Tam, who already has her doubts about leaving her sick father behind. And there’s Olivia, so miserable about screwing up exams she’s not even sure she wants to get out of bed, let alone on a plane. Meanwhile Kit’s stuck working double shifts to pay off a debt, wondering if she’ll ever get it together.
All Liza wants from this trip is to discover a new version of herself. She just hadn’t planned on doing it without Kit by her side.
And they’re all learning that travel isn’t just about the places you go, but who you’re with at the time.

Buy Links: Amazon | Ylva

EXCERPT

Liza finishes sorting her washing, climbs onto the bed, and kicks her legs over Kit’s.
Kit runs her hands along Liza’s sharp, brown shinbones, feeling that familiar bubbling of envy at her friend’s ridiculously great legs. Why can’t she have a body like that, instead of this short, scrawny one?
“You have to help me pack,” Liza says. “Promise?”
“Of course.” Kit pouts. “And you have to promise you won’t have too much fun without me.”
“Highly doubtful.” Liza inspects the ends of her hair, pulling the wiry coils straight.
“And you won’t find a new best friend?”
Liza just looks at her. “I’ll be gone four weeks, Kit. Four weeks. I’m just hoping I can manage a conversation with these girls, let alone to make friends with them.”
“You’ll be fine,” Kit tells her for the thousandth time. “Mai’s fun. Tam’s a sweetheart, even if she seems tough. And Olivia’s awesome.”
Kit frowns as she thinks of Olivia yesterday. Kit’s never seen her friend so miserable. Olivia’s usually so assured and self-sufficient. But she’s so messed up over her exams and Will. Poor thing. She wants to tell Liza to look out for her while they’re away, but Olivia begged Kit not to tell anyone about exams. So instead, she just says, “Hey, Olivia might seem kind of, I don’t know, distant or whatever, but she’s going through some stuff, that’s all. Give her a chance. You’ll like her.”
Liza shrugs, like she’s only half listening, and continues to inspect her split ends.
Kit taps her fingers on Liza’s leg. “Anyway, who knows? Maybe you’ll meet someone on this trip. Have an exotic one-night stand with some Mediterranean hottie.”
“Maybe.” She stares out the window, her eyes closing against the sunlight streaming through the window. “Doubt it.”
Kit watches the pink staining her best friend’s cheeks fade slowly.
Liza’s cheeks were even pinker the night of the end-of-school party, when she dragged Kit out to sit on the kerb, an uncharacteristic bottle clutched in her hand, and told her about this Alika girl.
The fact that her best friend was telling her that she had spent the last couple of months in some fraught, unspoken thing with a girl didn’t surprise her, exactly. But that Liza was finally saying anything to her about it did.
The fact that Liza might be gay had crossed Kit’s mind a couple of times over the years. It would explain why she’s so damn shy around guys. And it would explain why, at eighteen, she’s never had a boyfriend despite some of the incredible talent Kit has spotted at those athletics comps.
But even though she’d thought about it, Kit never said anything—in case it hadn’t actually occurred to Liza yet. And Kit had known that her best friend would tell her if and when she had anything to tell her.
And that turned out to be the night of their final classes. Liza was so drunk and fevered with her need to tell Kit about this mess she had gotten herself in, she skated right past the liking-girls news. Instead, she went straight to the part where she had started some clandestine thing with a girl in her training squad, an impossibly withdrawn, beautiful nineteen-year-old who was apparently barely willing to admit she was a lesbian to herself, let alone to someone else.
Kit kept her arm wrapped tightly around her Liza’s waist as she told Kit about this girl. Liza swiped tears from her eyes, telling her how the only time this girl seemed to acknowledge Liza was when she was jumping her in the car after competitions or climbing into her bed at night at the training institute. Not that Liza didn’t want to be doing that, she said. She just didn’t want it like that. And Kit just held on and let her cry it out. And when the tears were done, Kit wiped the tears from her friends face and told her to dump her.
It wasn’t until a few weeks later that they even broached the topic of Liza being gay in general, when Liza admitted how nervous she was about coming out to her parents, and about dropping two big revelations on them at once. But by then her coming out to Kit just didn’t seem like a thing. So why make it one? At that point, the fact that Liza had stopped talking to this girl who kept treating her like crap seemed way more important than workshopping her sexuality. That kind of seemed like a done deal at this point.
“Hey, does Alika know you’re leaving next week?” she asks
Liza shrugs. “Don’t know, don’t care.”
“Good,” Kit tells her, even if she doesn’t one hundred per cent believe her.
She looks over at her friend. She’s gazing out the window, a small frown on her face. Kit hopes Liza does meet someone. Someone who likes her out loud and who makes her feel like the awesome, beautiful person she is. She deserves it. Maybe even needs it a little. She’s the sweetest, most quietly funny and wickedly insightful person Kit has ever met in her life. And she thought that about Liza when they were eight. Now Liza and the rest of the world need to know it.
“I wish you were coming with us,” Liza suddenly moans.
“So do I.” Who wouldn’t choose four weeks of travelling in Europe over four weeks of working double shifts all week to pay off one party? Not even a good party. A party where she found Liam lying in the bath fully dressed with that stupidly hot Rachel perched on the end with her perfect pixie hair and MAC red lips.
Liza shifts across the bed so she’s lying next to Kit. She wraps her hands around Kit’s arm and squeezes it. “You were, like, the social glue.”
“I know,” she says again, resting her head against her friend’s shoulder. Kit’s already keenly aware Liza’s terrified she won’t get along with the others. What she doesn’t know is that everyone feels like that. Her cousin was furious when Kit broke the news. Olivia was even more depressed, and Mai told her outright that she was a stupid, freaking idiot.
She sighs. She will get her shit together this summer. She will. She grabs her friend’s hand and shakes it. “I’m so sorry, Lize,” she says for the zillionth time.
“It’s okay,” Liza says softly.
They lie there in a shaft of muted late afternoon sun. Kit listens to Liza breathe slowly next to her. She’s going to miss her so much.
“I’ll miss you,” Liza whispers, as if she’s heard her thoughts.
Kit snuggles up to her friend and smiles. “I’ll miss you, too.”

About the Author

Thirteen-year-old Emily woke up one morning with a sudden itch to write her first novel. All day, she sat through her classes, feverishly scribbling away (her rare silence probably a cherished respite for her teachers). And by the time the last bell rang, she had penned fifteen handwritten pages of angsty drivel, replete with blood-red sunsets, moody saxophone music playing somewhere far off in the night, and abandoned whiskey bottles rolling across tables. Needless to say, that singular literary accomplishment is buried in a box somewhere, ready for her later amusement.
From Melbourne, Australia, Emily was recently granted her PhD. She works part-time in academia, where she hates marking papers but loves working with her students. She also loves where she lives but travels as much as possible and tends to harbour crushes on cities more than on people.
Living in an apartment, Emily sadly does not possess her dream writing room overlooking an idyllic garden of her creation. Instead, she spends a lot of her time staring over the screen of her laptop and out the window at the somewhat less pretty (but highly entertaining) combined kebab stand/carwash across the road. (from the publisher’s website) 

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Blog Tour: Shadow of a Girl by Shannon Greenland with Giveaway



Shadow of a Girl

by Shannon Greenland


Publication Date: September 19, 2016


Publisher: Entangled Teen



Use cash and keep moving.

After I ran away from home, these were the two rules that dictated my life. Scoring a job as a roadie fit perfectly for what I needed. Traveling, cash, and life out of the spotlight. But when my path collides with West, the lead singer of Bus Stop, I can’t seem to stay out of his spotlight—especially since we’ll be touring together for an entire year.

West is determined to break down my walls. He won’t give up. And little by little they come crumbling. But if he knew what lurked behind them, he wouldn’t be so eager to get rid of them.
The more time we spend together, the more the lines of our friendship become blurred. He makes me dream of things I never thought possible. But while our friendship has been evolving into a romance, my secrets have been closing in. And just when I’ve decided to reveal my past to West, I’m confronted by it. The cost of my freedom could ruin the life of the guy I love…





EXCERPT

My lifeline, is gone. It’s all me now. The rest of
this is up to me. I look at myself in the mirror. I look scared,
yes, but elated, too. And it’s the elated that bolsters me for
the rest. Taking the scissors, I hold out a long clump of my
hair…
Your hair’s so pretty. So long. Never cut it.
Clenching my jaw, I put the scissors all the way at my
chin and whack it right off. With it, a harsh laugh escapes me.
I hold the long blond chunk out in front of me, and a tiny
smile creases my lips. If this is what rebelliousness feels like,
no wonder Gideon is so afraid of it.
I cut the rest of my hair all the way up to my chin and
tear into the red dye. I stay in the handicap stall for thirty
minutes. Someone comes in to use the one beside me, and
then leaves. I spend my time staying as still as possible, like
even if I move somehow Gideon will know it. Finally it’s time
to rinse the dye out, and as I do I hear the announcement for
my bus to Boston.
I shove everything in the garbage, and I wedge a baseball
hat over my wet head, grab my duffel and guitar, and hurry
across the brightly lit station and out into the loading bay.
I don’t think I breathe the whole time. And I don’t lift my
head, but from under my cap my eyes flick back and forth
across the area. Scanning. Scanning.
“I.D. and ticket,” the driver says.
With clammy, shaky fingers I hold out both, and he
takes them. If he notices my unsteady hands, he doesn’t
mention them. Then he’s waving me on, and I’m boarding.
I’m boarding!
I find a seat half way and tuck in, lowering my cap even
farther and surreptitiously staring out the windows. One-by-one
people continue to board and I don’t make eye contact
with any of them. An elderly gentleman sits down beside me
and proceeds to fall asleep.
Eventually, boarding is done. The driver takes his seat.
And slowly, we pull away. As we do, I take what feels like
the first breath I’ve had.
My new name is Eve, and as of this
moment, I’m officially a runaway.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Shannon Greenland is the award winning author of the teen spy series, The Specialists, and the YA romance, The Summer My Life Began. She also writes thrillers under S. E. Green. Shannon grew up in Tennessee where she dreaded all things reading and writing. She didn’t even read her first book for enjoyment until she was twenty-five. After that she was hooked! When she’s not writing, she works as an adjunct math professor and lives on the coast in Florida with her very grouchy dog. Find her online everywhere @segreenauthor.


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You can also read my review of Killer Instinct by S.E. Green (an alias for Shannon Greenland) here 

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Blog Tour: Here's the Thing by Emily O'Beirne with Giveaway


Here's the Thing


by Emily O'Beirne


Genre: YA Contemporary (LGBT)


Release Date: October 19th 2016


Ylva Publishing


Summary from Goodreads:


It’s only for a year. That’s what sixteen-year-old Zel keeps telling herself after moving to Sydney for her dad’s work. She’ll just wait it out until she gets back to New York and Prim, her epic crush/best friend, and the unfinished subway project. Even if Prim hasn’t spoken to her since that day on Coney Island.

But Zel soon finds life in Sydney won’t let her hide. There’s her art teacher, who keeps forcing her to dig deeper. There’s the band of sweet, strange misfits her cousin has forced her to join for a Drama project. And then there’s the curiosity that is the always-late Stella.

As she waits for Prim to explain her radio silence and she begins to forge new friendships, Zel feels strung between two worlds. Finally, she must figure out how to move on while leaving no one behind.


Pre-Order Link: Ylva

Guest Post: Why the LGBT Label Still Matters by Emily O'Beirne


I was asked a couple of questions as a prompt for this guest post.

The first was: Is LGBT a genre?

The answer to this is simple: no, it’s not.

I’m just going to pop on my teacher hat on here. The term genre, which translates from the French to ‘kind’, is used in popular culture to define a set of conventions and expectations of a type of story.  For example, when I’m teaching my media students about genre, I start by asking them questions like what they expect to see when they are about watch a new TV sitcom. They’ll inevitably spout a bunch of conventions like canned laughter, lots of one-liners, the short length, limited sets, the lack of narrative continuity etc. And when I ask them what they’ll expect from a fantasy, someone will inevitably call out “dragons!”

The ‘LGBT’ label describes a demographic, not a genre—in the same way the ‘Young Adult’ label does. By using it, we know who the book is about, and, to some extent, who it is for. And like YA, a vast range of genres exist under this label, too.  There’s Malinda Lo writing LGBT fantasy with Ash. There’s Robin Talley dabbling in horror with her Macbeth re-render, As I Descended. There’s Molly Beth Griffin writing historical romance with Silhouette of a Sparrow. There is no set of rules or expectations of the label ‘LGBT’ as such. Except, you know, the presence of LGBT folk.

The second question I was asked was: do we still need this kind label for books?

The answer here is an unequivocal, emphatic yes.

Because it doesn’t matter that LGBT is not a genre. That’s not what’s important. What’s important about labelling a book LGBT is that it offers an indicator both for readers that here is a story about them. And given there are still not enough of these stories, for some readers this is a crucial identification point.

I had a teenage reader write to me earlier this year who was saved by a literal LGBT label.  She wrote to me asking how she could get a copy of my first book, an YA book about a lesbian relationship, A Story of Now. We wrote back and forth a few times, and in her emails she told that no one outside her online life knows she is gay. Not her parents, not her teachers, and not her friends. And this is because her mother and father are religious and vocally intolerant of homosexuality. She doesn’t dare come out—even to her friends— in case it gets back to her parents. She doesn’t dare buy LGBT books online or in a shop in case her parents find records of her purchases. In fact, until she learned how to hide her browsing history, she was nervous about just looking at anything related to being gay online.

What had saved this girl until this point was physical books. A few years ago she was visiting a public library with her mother when she discovered that some helpful librarian had put a rainbow sticker on the spine of every LGBT book in the YA section. This sweet, colourful identification point told her that queer people lived inside the pages of each and every one of those books. The next chance she got, she came back to the library alone and has been reading her way through all of them ever since. Inside them she found characters she could identify with and stories that made her feel possible. Now she hunts online for LGBT YA wherever she can find the category.

The LGBT label is vital for people like her, who need to find themselves in books. They are also important for building a community of writers in an area of under-representation so we can support and promote each other. And sure, I guess I like to think that one day in the future there might be a time when there is no need to label a book LGBT, but I don’t kid myself it’s close yet. Not when I’m still hearing stories like this. This is why we need to keep putting rainbow labels on the spines of our novels—literally or figuratively. Because that’s how they get to those who need them.


About the Author


Thirteen-year-old Emily woke up one morning with a sudden itch to write her first novel. All day, she sat through her classes, feverishly scribbling away (her rare silence probably a cherished respite for her teachers). And by the time the last bell rang, she had penned fifteen handwritten pages of angsty drivel, replete with blood-red sunsets, moody saxophone music playing somewhere far off in the night, and abandoned whiskey bottles rolling across tables. Needless to say, that singular literary accomplishment is buried in a box somewhere, ready for her later amusement.
From Melbourne, Australia, Emily was recently granted her PhD. She works part-time in academia, where she hates marking papers but loves working with her students. She also loves where she lives but travels as much as possible and tends to harbour crushes on cities more than on people.
Living in an apartment, Emily sadly does not possess her dream writing room overlooking an idyllic garden of her creation. Instead, she spends a lot of her time staring over the screen of her laptop and out the window at the somewhat less pretty (but highly entertaining) combined kebab stand/carwash across the road. (from the publisher’s website) 

Author Links:


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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Blog Tour: The Storybook Knight by Helen Docherty & Thomas Docherty #storybookknight

Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway



The Storybook Knight

by Helen Docherty & Thomas Docherty


Even dragons can’t resist a good story…

Even though Leo would rather sit at home and read, his parents send him out into the world in the hopes that Leo will become a famous knight. But when Leo comes up against the land’s most fearsome beasts, he soon discovers that scary monsters enjoy a good book as much as anyone…

















REVIEW:

The Storybook Knight was an absolutely adorable children's book. I loved how it rhymed, and I loved the story. The rhymes would make this book an excellent candidate for using to teach your kids to read! I think it was great how the Docherty's made the monsters so likable and human, i.e. the troll, the dragon and the Griffin. 
The illustrations are beautiful, and the cheerful story will lull your child to sleep, but this would also be a good book to read anytime in the day.

Children: I believe this book will be loved by both little girls and boys. The book recommends ages 4 and up, but you could start to read this to your child as soon as you wanted, the more reading the better! You could even get your older children to read it to your younger children. The Storybook Knight is a great story about family.
Parents: I think parents will also love this story, as it is sweet and likable. If the parents have to read this story over and over, I don't think they will get tired of reading it to their children. 
I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars! 
Thank you to Helen Docherty, Thomas Docherty, Sourcebooks and JabberwockyKids for a copy of this book for my honest review and for this blog tour!
Thank you to Sourcebooks also for this adorable The Storybook Knight mobile. Sorry, the photo isn't that great!




About the Authors:



Helen Docherty has spent most of her career as a language teacher and most recently as a Spanish lecturer at the University of the West of England.

Helen Docherty: www.helendocherty.com


Twitter: @docherty_helen

Thomas Docherty studied metalwork and sculpture at college in England before becoming an illustrator of children's books. Helen and Thomas collaborated on the #1 Indie Next Pick, The Snatchabook. They live in Wales with their two daughters.

Thomas Docherty: www.thomasdocherty.co.uk

Twitter: @TDIllustration









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