All posts in the ‘YA’ Category

Quote Roundup: Fight for Power by Eric Walters

Fight for Power by Eric Walters came out on 1/20/15! Are you planning on picking up a copy? We’re certain the words from the book will convince you to read it.











Share these quotes on social media with #FightForPower, get Fight for Power today, and let us know which quotes are your favorite!

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Building the Diotech Compound, An Author Blog Post by Jessica Brody


We are so exited to kick off the Unchanged blog tour with this fascinating post from author Jessica Brody about the creation of the Diotech Compound map! Without further ado, here’s Jessica:

Maps are cool, right? I fell head-over-heels in love with the map featured in the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo and of course, the map featured at the beginning of each episode of Game of Thrones. I’ve always wanted to write a book that warranted its very own map. I wanted to create a world so rich and unique that readers would revel in seeing it laid out in front of them in visual form.

So when I started writing Unchanged, the final book in the Unremembered trilogy, in which Seraphina finally returns to the top-secret research compound in the desert where she was created, I thought, um, yes. MAP TIME!

Little did I know what a challenging process it would turn out to be.

Step 1) Create the world that the map is based on. DUH!

Okay, so this part seems a little obvious, but it was hands down the hardest part of the process. Because Seraphina doesn’t actually return to the Diotech compound until the third book, I didn’t really have to figure out all the ins and outs of the compound layout until I set out to write the third book. And let me tell you, it was harder than I expected. I needed the layout of the compound to fit the story but I also needed the layout of the compound to make sense as a freestanding compound. I wanted the reader to be able to imagine it and say, “Yeah, I could see that being a real place.” And since I rewrote the first 1/3 of the book (the part where the majority of the compound scenes take place), you could say I gave myself a bit of a headache.

That’s when I decided I needed to do a sketch for myself. And this is when I reveal to you how very limited my sketching abilities are. I built this crude layout of the compound in Adobe Fireworks (similar to Photoshop) using simple boxes, rectangles, and circles, just so I could have a visual reference point to look back on as I was writing. And the little dotted lines are paths that Seraphina takes during various portions of the book. I plotted those out so I could make sure that any reference to her surroundings as she walked around the compound made sense. Also, so I could assure myself that she really was taking routes to places that made sense. i.e. She wouldn’t cut through the Engineering Sector on her way from the Restricted Sector to the Owner’s Estate.

Diotech Compound Map rough sketch

Step 2) Hire map designer

Where does one go to hire a science-fiction map designer? This was a more difficult question than I realized. It’s not like this is a category on Craigslist! I ended up placing an ad on, a great website that connects you with freelancers from all over the world. I got a tons of bids on my project from some amazing graphic artists from everywhere from the US to India! I eventually decided to hire a very talented designer named Mike (from Canada) because of his impressive portfolio and his background in illustrated maps. He’s created several wonderful fantasy maps that I simply swooned over.

Step 3) Familiarize map designer with your world

Oh poor Mike. You should have seen the document I sent him. It was 10 pages long and included everything from backstory about Diotech as a corporation, notes about the general layout of the compound, a list of all the sectors and buildings mentioned in the book, and then, I actually copied and pasted text from the manuscript of every time the compound is referenced in the story. So he could get a sense of how I described it in the book.

Desert-y looking compound

Desert-y looking compound

cool futuristic buildings

cool futuristic buildings

The kind of futuristic compound you don’t want your children stumbling across.

The kind of futuristic compound you don’t want your children stumbling across.

The world’s most sterile (yet awesome!) landscaping.

owner's estate

The inspiration for Dr. Alixter’s Owner’s Estate, which is supposed to look totally out of place within the compound.

I also sent Mike my crude sketch of the compound (with my sincere apologies for how awful it was!) and several “inspirational” photos like the ones below. These were pictures of things I had on my secret Pinterest board as I was writing the book.

Step 4) Receive initial sketches of the map

Mike did a fabulous job. He absorbed all the information I gave him (I’m sure he was thinking, I should have charged more!) and condensed into a single sketch. It looked like this:

Design by Mike Swallow

Design by Mike Swallow

My first reaction was, “OMG! HOW COOL! MY WORLD IS REAL! AND IT HAS A REAL MAP!” Then I drank some chamomile tea and calmed the freak down and looked at the map objectively. There was something about it that was “off,” yet I couldn’t figure out what that was. I just knew in my gut there was something missing.

But I ignored my gut. I convinced myself I was just an amateur in this process and couldn’t see the map for what it really was. Mike asked if he could keep going and color in the map to finalize it. I said, “YES!” confident that the color would make all the difference and ease my doubt.

Step 5) Receive final map design! (HOORAH?)

The final design arrived a few days later. And my heart sunk. It wasn’t right. And the color didn’t help, it just exaggerated whatever I couldn’t put my finger on in the sketch. Although Mike’s work was, beyond a doubt, amazing, I knew instantly that it wasn’t the map. It wasn’t the compound that I had built in my mind.

The final design looked like this:

Design by Mike Swallow

Design by Mike Swallow

I always assumed this moment—opening up the file of my very first book map—would be the most amazing, fulfilling experience, but it wasn’t. And I felt horrible. I felt like it was my fault. I felt like maybe I hadn’t given Mike enough direction. Maybe I hadn’t built a cool enough world to warrant a really cool map! I also felt guilty for leading Mike on and having him do all that work when I knew it wasn’t going in the right direction. But the good news was, I finally knew what was wrong with the map.

It was in the wrong medium.

The only book maps I had ever seen were fantasy maps and those are usually hand drawn. But fantasy and sci-fi are very different and ultimately I felt that the hand-drawn map of a sci-fi compound made the compound look almost too cartoonish. Not the intimidating, sterile, futuristic place that I had in my head.

Step 6) Back to the drawing board

My husband and I spent hours trying to figure out a new direction. Should we just make it black and white? Would that help? Did the sectors need to be less square? Would that do the trick? He eventually came up with the idea that saved my map.

“What if it’s not an after-the-fact map of the compound? What if it’s, instead, a blueprint of the design? Like the architect’s plans for the compound?”

Brilliant, genius hubby strikes again!

We got to work searching for cool futuristic blueprints online. I found this one of Washington D.C. and my mind was set:

washington dc blueprint

Step 7) Repeat steps 2-5

Of course, I paid Mike for his work. But I placed another ad on Elance. This time specifying that I wanted a blueprint map for my fictional futuristic research compound.

That’s when I found the amazing Paul Sargent (in the UK!) who specializes in science fiction graphic design work. Seriously, check out his portfolio, it’s mind-boggingly good.

I sent Paul the same massive document and inspiration photos that I’d sent Mike (this time including the blueprint map of DC that I’d found) and he immediately got to work building the blueprints for the Diotech compound.

He first sent me a sketch that he made by hand. You’ll notice he sketched it RIGHT over my original crude map! When I saw this, I immediately knew that we were heading in the right direction.


I gave him the go-ahead to keep going! Next, Paul designed the map in Illustrator on top of his hand sketch. Here are some of Paul’s work-in-progress screen shots:


wip1   wip2

wip4   wip6


I was curious about Paul’s experience with all of this so I asked him what it was like to design the map from his side of things and if he would contribute a few words to this post. Here’s what he had to say about the process (pretty fascinating stuff!):

Paul: At first I was a little intimidated by the sheer scale of this place that I had been tasked with creating and solidifying by Brody from a selection of descriptions of a few individual areas.I had to really try and get into the mindset of Diotech Corp. in creating a place that represented the forward-thinking relentless march of progress while still keeping the separate areas identifiable from a purely graphical viewpoint. For the energy sector I took influence from chemical engineering plants as well as a close look at micro circuitry.
I imagined them capable of using any and all energy sources so needed to use symbology that would describe believable structures as well as those processes.

I found myself walking through a sparsely populated mindscape sketched out by Brody, creating towering imposing buildings, sleek research centres and intricate lab sectors just by putting down a few simple geometric vector shapes.

I had to remember this is also a living population centre, housing a thousand people and families, the human-oriented areas must be friendly and easy to navigate so often I found myself imagining the viewpoint from an entrance to a structure and designing the landscaped pathways from a crowd-flow and safety viewpoint, whereas with the more tech-focused areas I used harsher lines and geometry with less consideration for the human workers showing that the science itself takes precedence.

All the while I was immersing myself into Diotech headquaters I had to keep in sight a consistent level of intricacy and detail as fitting to the final product of the A3 poster.


And here is the FINAL blueprint map in all its glory!


I love how Paul worked his design credit in as though he were the chief architect! You’ll also notice some fun language he included at the bottom. That was all Paul! He took the creative initiative to add some flavor to the project and it totally fit within the world of the Unremembered trilogy. That was a huge sign that Paul really “got” what I was trying to do with this map.

It was a bit rough getting there, but now I couldn’t be happier with the final product.

Step 8) Get the map into the hands of readers!

Now comes the fun part. Getting you all a copy of this map so you can follow along as you read the conclusion of Seraphina’s story!

I had the map printed on the back of these awesome new Unremembered trilogy posters. And everyone who orders UNCHANGED (in hardcover or ebook) by March 1, 2015 gets an autographed poster!


Visit: for all the details!

So there you have it. The process of creating a fictional world and the map that will guide you through it. I hope you all enjoy Unchanged and I look forward to sending you a copy of Paul’s amazing blueprint map!

Unchanged by Jessica Brody is on sale now! Buy your copy today!



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Blog Tour: Unchanged by Jessica Brody


In this mesmerizing conclusion to the Unremembered trilogy, Sera will fight those who have broken her. To learn more about Unchanged, check out the blog tour, where there will be reviews, giveaways, guest posts, and more!

Tuesday, February 24
MacTeenBooks Blog

Wednesday, February 25
Carina’s Books

Thursday, February 26
A Book and a Latte

Friday, February 27
Tales of a Ravenous Reader

Saturday, February 28
Step into Fiction

Sunday, March 1
Bumbles and Fairy Tales

Monday, March 2
Bewitched Bookworms

Tuesday, March 3
The Book Addict’s Guide

Wednesday, March 4
Alice Marvels

Unchanged by Jessica Brody is on sale 2/24/15! Pre-order your copy today!



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Awesomely Bad Book Ideas for Finding Mr. Brightside, An Author Blog Post by Jay Clark

FindingMrBrightside BlogTourBanner

We’ve got author Jay Clark on the blog today to kick off the Finding Mr. Brightside blog tour!

By no means am I complaining, but getting people to care about your upcoming book release is haaaaaard, oh my God, it’s so hard. Especially if the below awesomely bad book publicity ideas are any indication. Nevertheless, please join me as I pound the desperate pavement of my brain and mull them over. It’ll be more fun than it sounds, promise.

Rest assured, my quest to crash Finding Mr. Brightside onto the best-seller’s list ain’t over till the guy-in-the-big-fat-foam-book-costume sings (see idea 2).

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 5.56.16 PM

Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark is on sale 2/24/15. Pre-order your copy today!

Finding Mr. Brightside

Abram and Juliette know each other. They’ve lived down the street from each other their whole lives. But they don’t really know each other—at least, not until Juliette’s mom and Abram’s dad have a torrid affair that culminates in a deadly car crash. Sharing the same subdivision is uncomfortable, to say the least. They don’t speak.

Fast-forward to the neighborhood pharmacy, a year later. Abram decides to say hello. Then he decides to invite Juliette to Taco Bell.

To her surprise as well as his, she agrees. And the real love story begins.

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Read an Exclusive Excerpt from Leigh Bardugo’s New Book

Last week, we revealed the cover of Six of Crows, a new book in the world of the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. But that’s not all! We also released an exclusive excerpt from the book! Join the six and read the excerpt here, and learn more about Six of Crows below:

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price–and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is available on 10/6/15! Pre-order your copy today!


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Blog Tour: Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark

FindingMrBrightside BlogTourBanner

In Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay clark, Two funny, smart, but hopelessly lost teens find love at CVS. To learn more about Finding Mr. Brightside, check out the blog tour, where there will be reviews, giveaways, guest posts, and more!

Friday, February 20

Monday, February 23
Bewitched Bookworms

Wednesday, February 25
Swoony Boys Podcast

Friday, February 27
Shae Has Left the Room

Friday, February 27
Curling Up with a Good Book

Tuesday, March 3
YA Interrobang

Wednesday, March 4
Falling for YA

Thursday, March 5
Adventures of a Book Junkie

Friday, March 6
Dana Square

Monday, March 9

Tuesday, March 10
Xpresso Reads

Wednesday, March 11
Paper Riot

Thursday, March 12
Love is Not a Triangle

Friday, March 13
No BS Book Reviews

Monday, March 16
Fiction Fare

Tuesday, March 17
Ex Libris

Thursday, March 19
My Book Muse

Friday, March 20
Novel Novice

Monday, March 23
The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club

Tuesday, March 24
The Compulsive Reader

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Blog Tour: The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

WinnersCrime BlogTour

Meet Marie Rutkoski, the author of The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime, as she embarks on an blog tour of interviews.  She’ll reveal her writing habits, her favorite font . . . and some behind-the-scenes details in the life of Kestrel and Arin!

Wednesday, February 25

Thursday, February 26
Fiction Fare

Friday, February 27
YA Books Central

Saturday, February 28
That Artsy Reader Girl

Sunday, March 1
Heise Reads

Monday, March 2
YA Book Queen

Tuesday, March 3
Consumed by Books

Wednesday, March 4
Love is Not a Triangle

Thursday, March 5
My Friends Are Fiction

Friday, March 6
Tales of a Ravenous Reader

The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski is available on 3/3/15. Pre-order your copy today!


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Tweet with Marie Rutkoski during the #TheWinnersCrime Twitter Chat!

The Winner’s Crime might not come out until March 3, 2015, but we’re spending this week getting ready for the sequel to The Winner’s Curse by releasing a map of the world of the Winner’s Trilogy. You might have seen the first piece of the map on our social media channels yesterday, and be sure to watch out to an additional piece at 12PM EST / 9AM PST every day this week.
But that’s not all! When we release the last piece of and full version of the map on Friday, we’ll be hosting a Twitter Chat with Marie Rutkoski!
Join our Twitter Chat with Marie on Friday, February 20 at 12PM EST / 9AM PST with #TheWinnersCrime.
As always, there will be swag for participants. This time around, we’re offering up signed paperback copies of The Winner’s Curse and advanced copies of The Winner’s Crime! So mark your calendars and get your questions for Marissa ready!

The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski is available on 3/3/15. Pre-order your copy today!


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Spend Valentine’s Day with These Swoonworthy Reads

Happy Valentine’s Day! Whether you’re planning a romantic evening with your significant other, a girls’ night out, or a movie marathon in your pajamas, these books are bound to make your Valentine’s Day even better!

alittlesomethingdifferent3dA Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out.

But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at the local Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship.

theboynextdoor3dThe Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark

Maddy Spier’s been in love with the boy next door forever. As his figure skating partner she spends time in his arms every day. But she’s also seen his arms around other girls—lots of other girls. How can she make him realize that they can be partners off the ice as well?

Gabe’s relationship with Maddy is vital. He can’t imagine skating with anyone else, and together they have a real chance at gold–maybe even making it to the Olympics! So he’s decided to think of her as a sister. After all, family is forever, but he’s never dated anyone for more than two weeks.

Then their coach assigns a new romantic skating program, and everything changes. Will this be the big break that Maddy’s been hoping for or the big break-up that Gabe has always feared?

SaveMe3dSave Me by Jenny Elliott

Something strange is going on in the tiny coastal town of Liberty, Oregon. Cara has never seen a whale swim close enough for her to touch it—let alone knock her into the freezing water. Fortunately, cute newcomer David is there to save her, and the rescue leads to a bond deeper than Cara ever imagined.

So when she learns David’s interning as a teacher at her school, Cara is devastated. She turns to her best friend for support, but Rachel has changed. She’s suddenly into witchcraft & is becoming dangerously obsessed with her new boyfriend.

Cara has lost her best friend, discovered her soul mate is off limits, and has attracted the attention of a stalker. But she’s not completely alone. Her mysterious, gorgeous new friend Garren is there to support her. But is Garren possibly too perfect?

illmeetyouthere3dI’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.

Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be.

What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.

One Man GuyOne Man Guy by Michael Barakiva

Alek Khederian should have guessed something was wrong when his parents took him to a restaurant. Everyone knows that Armenians never eat out. Why bother, when their home cooking is far superior to anything “these Americans” could come up with? Between bouts of interrogating the waitress and criticizing the menu, Alek’s parents announce that he’ll be attending summer school in order to bring up his grades. Alek is sure this experience will be the perfect hellish end to his hellish freshmen year of high school. He never could’ve predicted that he’d meet someone like Ethan.
Ethan is everything Alek wishes he were: confident, free-spirited, and irreverent. When Ethan gets Alek to cut school and go to a Rufus Wainwright concert in New York City’s Central Park, Alek embarks on his first adventure outside the confines of his suburban New Jersey existence. He can’t believe a guy this cool wants to be his friend. And before long, it seems like Ethan wants to be more than friends. Alek has never thought about having a boyfriend—he’s barely ever had a girlfriend—but maybe it’s time to think again.
Michael Barakiva’s One Man Guy is a romantic, moving, laugh-out-loud-funny story about what happens when one person cracks open your world and helps you see everything—and, most of all, yourself–like you never have before.

thekissofdeception3dThe Kiss of Deception
by Mary E. Pearson

In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.

On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.

The Kiss of Deception is the first book in Mary E. Pearson’s Remnant Chronicles.

ofneptune3dOf Neptune by Anna Banks

Emma, who is half human and half Syrena, and her Syrena love, Galen, need time together. Alone. Away from the kingdoms of Poseidon and Triton. Emma’s grandfather, the Poseidon king, suggests the two visit a small town called Neptune.

Neptune is home to both Syrena and Half Breeds alike. But Emma and Galen didn’t sign up to be peacemakers between the ocean and land-dwelling, freshwater Syrena. They didn’t bargain for meeting a charming Half Breed named Reed, who can barely disguise his feelings for Emma. And they especially didn’t expect to find themselves in the middle of a power struggle that threatens not only their love but their ocean kingdoms.

In this stunning conclusion to her bestselling Syrena Legacy, Anna Banks thrills fans with more action and romance than ever.

velvet3dVelvet by Temple West

Bonus! Velvet won’t be out until May, but we heard that the author might just be running an advanced copy giveaway on her Twitter account later today. Follow her here.

After losing both her parents before age 17, aspiring designer Caitlin Holte doesn’t feel like moving, starting a new school, staying with her estranged aunt, or…living at all really. But after a terrifying encounter with a supernatural force, she learns that the world is a lot more complicated than she thought. Also, her hot bad-boy neighbor, Adrian (who might have just saved her life) is actually a half-demon vampire.

Suddenly Caitlin is stuck with a vampire bodyguard determined to protect her. And Adrian has decided the best way to do that is for the two of them to pretend to be dating. Trouble is, Caitlin is starting to fall in love for real, while Adrian can never love a human. And then there’s the supernatural threat that flung them together in the first place—Adrian’s demonic dad!

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Blog Tour: Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula

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Who can resist Count Spatula, the vampire and royal chef—who has lost his incisors because of cavity problems resulting from his perpetual sweet tooth?

In this blog tour, the co-protagonist of Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula by Andi Watson will provide you with advice (sometimes in comics form!) on the sweet and sour of running your own magical kitchen.  Read on for recipes, jello, and other kitchen perils.

Monday, February 16

Tuesday, February 17
Bumbles & Fairy Tales

Wednesday, February 18
Love is Not a Triangle

Thursday, February 19
Alice Marvels

Friday, February 20
Haunted Orchid

Monday, February 23
Supernatural Snark

Tuesday, February 24

Wednesday, February 25
The Book Rat

Thursday, February 26
The Midnight Garden

Friday, February 27
The Book Smugglers

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