Mar 25

“Waiting On” Wednesday: The Selection by Kiera Cass

Waiting On Wednesday Phone 1

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly anticipating.

My pick for this week is:

The One by Kiera CassTHE ONE: A SELECTION NOVEL by Kiera Cass
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pub. Date: 5/6/14
Pages: 363
Formats: Hardcover, Electronic, Audio

Buy On: B&N | Amazon | iBooks

Goodreads Summary:The Selection changed the lives of thirty-five girls forever. And now, the time has come for one winner to be chosen.

America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the competition approaches its end and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants.

From the very first page of The Selection, this #1 New York Times bestselling series has captured readers’ hearts and swept them away on a captivating journey… Now, in The One, Kiera Cass delivers a satisfying and unforgettable conclusion that will keep readers sighing over this electrifying fairy-tale long after the final page is turned.



Why am I looking forward to it? I love this series and think it’s sooo addicting! I’ve read it for “That’s Swell!” (Well, at least the first book.) However, I’ve reviewed The Selection and The Elite for Common Sense Media. They are fun books with enough romance, conflict and mystery to keep the series going. The characters — America, Maxion, and Aspen — are interesting (including the secondary ones). The concept is also interesting. I’ve been meaning to read the mini-books, too. Like many of “The Selection” fans, I was rather disappointed the books were never made into a TV series for the CW. What are you eagerly anticipating?

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Dec 01

Book Lover’s Holiday Giveaway Hop: Win a Copy of Everneath, Under the Never Sky and Cute Bookmark!

I love the Holidays — from Thanksgiving to New Year’s!

I decided to mix my two favorite things together…books and the holidays!

I’m participating in the Book Lover’s Holiday Giveaway Hop hosted by Kit Lit Frenzy & I Am A Reader, Not A Writer.

The Hop runs from Dec 2nd-6th till Midnight EST.

Rules: I recently participated in the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop. I had tons and tons of entries. It was insane! I’m keeping it simple this time. To enter all you have to do is leave your e-mail address in the comment section of this post, plus why you want to read these books! You do NOT have to be a follower (blog, Twitter, GR) but it’s nice if you are or want to be! I appreciate all my old and new followers!

The contest is open to US and Canadian residents only.

You MUST be 13 years or older to enter.

Winner will be selected by and contacted via e-mail.


One winner will receive…

2 ARC’s courtesy of HarperCollins:

UNDER THE NEVER SKY by Veronica Rossi

EVERNEATH by Brodi Ashton

and courtesy of me…

1 Hand-stamped “Once Upon a Time” Bookmark from Mrs. Kwitty’s Cottage on Etsy!

The bookmark is made of blue, brown, and green cardstock and stamped with a sweet bird on a branch with the sentiment “Once Upon a Time” and topped with a cute vintage seam lace.


Make sure to visit I AM A READER, NOT A WRITER to check out the other Book Lover’s Holiday Hop giveaways!

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Nov 14

Publisher Interview: Tribute Books

I participate in blog tours through Tribute Books – an independent publisher. When I heard they were venturing into YA land in 2012, I wanted to spread the word to my fellow YA loving bloggers, readers and writers.

If you’re looking for a great read or blog tour, they feature adult literary, mystery and inspirational books and authors! But I’m very excited to see what they have in store for the YA genre!

I’d like to thank Nicole Langan, owner of Tribute Books, for the interview!

Follow TRIBUTE BOOKS on: Twitter | Website | Tribute Books Reviews | Tribute Books Mama

About: Tribute Books began in 2004 and we’ve published over 30 titles since that time. Some of our books have gone on to win awards such as the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year and the Mom’s Choice Award while others were endorsed by PBS and The Thoreau Society. We’ve covered a wide range of genres from children’s picture books to history to sports under both traditional and subsidy contracts. In 2012, Tribute Books will transition into a royalty-paying ebook publisher of young adult titles.

Personally, I’ve spent roughly the last 12 years in the publishing world. I have a B.A. summa cum laude in English and Communications. From 1999-2004, I went from being an intern to an editorial assistant to an associate editor of a regional magazine. In 2004, I started Tribute Books. Since then, I’ve worked with dozens of authors, illustrators, photographers and editors in publishing our titles.

Nicole Langan
Owner, Tribute Books

1. Why did Tribute Books decide to publish YA books?

Overall, our transition is based on three factors. On a business level, the young adult genre sells especially if it is well written and has a paranormal romance theme. On a marketing level, the devotion of the young adult fan base is unparalleled. On a personal level, I thoroughly enjoy a good young adult novel and review many on my blog at I’m a believer in doing what you love and working with like-minded people, when it’s at all possible.

2. Why are you going the ebook route for this particular market?

Over the course of 2011, we’ve watched our ebook sales outpace our print sales by 2 to 1 due to the explosion in popularity of e-readers such as the Kindle, Nook and iPad. The under $5 price point of most of our e-titles and the ease of purchase and delivery surely facilitated this rapid change. No one age group integrates technology into their daily lifestyles like teenagers. They are constantly plugged in and connected 24/7 either by smart phone, electronic tablet, laptop, etc. They “get” ebooks.

3. As far as submitting manuscripts, what type of YA stories are you looking for?

Our preference is for damn good writing, the particular topic is secondary in importance. However, books written with a series in mind or those that delve into the paranormal will have a slight edge.

4. What are you not interested in?

We’re looking for submissions that are not explicit or erotic in nature. In keeping with the young adult age range, manuscripts should be appropriate for a PG-13 audience.

5. What is your submission process?

Manuscripts that have already been professionally edited will receive greater consideration. Our preference is to work with authors who have already been published through a royalty-paying press and who know the ins and outs of book promotion. An established social media platform is a must, and we will not consider writers who do not have a well-followed blog, Facebook page or Twitter account.

Interested authors can submit their manuscripts via email to There will be no charge for the authors we select to work with, and they will receive 50% of the net profits of their ebook sales in quarterly royalty payments. We’re looking for Microsoft Word documents with a maximum of 350 pages of text with no photos, charts, illustrations, graphs, etc.

6. As a publishing company, what is your biggest pet peeve?

Two of my biggest pet peeves are authors who do not promote their work and the submission of poorly written manuscripts.

7. Can you tell me some of your recent YA sales?

The focus of Tribute Books to the YA genre will primarily take place in 2012. However, we have published two YA titles in the past. “Call Me Kate: Meeting the Molly Maguires” by Molly Roe was the recipient of the Mom’s Choice Award. It is a historical fiction set in a Pennsylvania coal mining town during the Civil War era. “The Evolution of an Identity” was written by Diya Das while she was in high school. It is about the assimilation of Indian immigrants into the broader scheme of American culture. Since then, this talented young lady has gone on to attend Princeton University.

8. What are your thoughts on social media for writers?

I am a big believer in the power of social media. I even conduct monthly blog tours for outside publishers and authors in order to help them increase the online presence of a book. Book bloggers are a powerful force in the book industry. With more and more book stores closing and book review columns being cut from major newspapers, readers are depending on bloggers to help them find the books they want to read. They are turning to the internet as a reference point to fill this information gap.

In my opinion, social networking is the bread and butter of any author’s promotional efforts. Without it, it’s like trying to paddle upstream without a canoe. Readers want to connect with the person who wrote the book. They crave interaction with an author. Nothing beats getting a writer to comment on a blogger’s book review post or getting a personalized thank you tweet from your favorite author. The days of authors being isolated from their fans is over. They’re now able to build an online following and receive instant feedback for their work. They have the opportunity to take part in creating their own literary community.

We try to keep an active online presence with our web site (, Facebook (, Twitter ( and blog ( We’d love to have anyone who loves young adult literature to join us for the ride.

9. What YA authors and book have caught your eye?

I’d have to say I’ve been pretty taken with Lauren Oliver’s work – Before I Fall and Delirium. Her ability to translate such an intensity of emotion onto the page really impressed me. Even though her books are marketed to a young adult audience, the quality of her writing is strong enough to stand on its own in comparison to any genre.

Bonus: Do have any further advice for authors?

Develop a well-written, well-crafted story. Establish an eager fan base for your work. Have your manuscript professionally edited before submitting it to a publisher. Learn the ins and outs of book promotion before seeking publication. Build a social media platform by devoting the time and energy necessary to run a well-followed blog, Facebook page and Twitter account.

Thanks, Nicole!


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Oct 18

The {Teen} Book Scene: Mini Book Review of Variant by Robison Wells

I’m debuting a new feature on “That’s Swell!” — the Mini Book Review!

By: Robison Wells
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pub. Date: October 2011
Formats: Hardcover and Electronic
Pages: 356
Genre: Teen Sci-Fi
Age Group: Young Adults +
Source: The Teen Book Scene
Follow Robison Wells  on: Twitter | Website | goodreads
Purchase VARIANT on: Amazon | B&N | TBD | IB

Publisher’s Synopsis: Benson Fisher thought that a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life. He was wrong.

Now he’s trapped in a school that’s surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive.

Where breaking the rules equals death.

But when Benson stumbles upon the school’s real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape—his only real hope for survival—may be impossible.


PLOT: I would first like to thank The {Teen} Book Scene for having me be a part of the tour and HarperTeen for sending me a copy of the book via TTBS in exchange for a fair and honest review.

VARIANT is a gripping story of survival set in a modern world, but in the confines of a secluded dystopian-like academy. The story has overtones of Lord of the Flies, only it is a much creepier story. Benson Fisher, 17, has grown up within the foster care system. When he’s given the chance to live at Maxfield Academy in New Mexico, Benson takes the chance. But what he doesn’t realize is the school is run totally by kids, not adults. The kids are divided up into clique-like gangs who watch out for each other: Society, Havoc and the Variants.

Benson is definitely the new kid on the block and everyone wants a piece of him. And cameras are everywhere. The school is surrounded by a brick wall, barbed wire fencing and forests. There’s no escaping. The Variants ask Benson to join up with them. They don’t want to conform to Maxfield’s strict rules and peeping eyes, but if they play the game, they are rewarded with points. And so are the others. Benson soon feels like he’s fitting in with the misfits until he discovers a horrible secret. The basic plot is definitely not something new to YA fiction, but Wells spin makes it fresh and exciting.

CHARACTERS & SETTING: The descriptions and characterization is very intense and had me quickly turning the pages to get to the end. Benson is cool under fire and doesn’t let the pressures of the gangs get to him, but he desperately wants to leave Maxfield and he will do anything to escape. He would much rather be making it on his own than in the wilds of the prison-like atmosphere of Maxfield. He finds friends, allies, a love interest and, of course enemies.

FINAL THOUGHTS: When I arrived at the end, I was extremely shocked and surprised. It was quite the twist and I NEVER saw what is revealed coming. I actually said out loud, “no way!” I CAN”T WAIT to read the next book after finishing it. My heart pounded along with Benson’s as he makes his way through the never-ending maze of Maxfield and its scary secrets. This is a very different dystopian because it combines a contemporary setting but a futuristic mind-set. If you’re looking for something to read that has you on the edge of your seat, then I highly recommend picking up a copy of VARIANT because you won’t be disappointed!

I’m giving VARIANT 5 “Mini Books” for being a thrilling thriller!




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