GUEST POST: The Way Back from Broken by Amber J. Keyser + Giveaway!! #QuietYA

The Way Back from Broken
Amber J. Keyser
Published July 7th 2015 by HarperTeen
YA > Contemporary | Fiction

Purchase links:



From Publisher Weekly
The novel follows two adolescents, one 15 and one 10, who are both older siblings of infants who died. When the two kids are taken into the Canadian wilderness by one of their mothers, they find disaster, “in addition to the fragile hope and terrible beauty that mark the way back from broken.”






You Do Not Have to Save the World


Tonight before bed, I asked my eleven-year-old daughter what she thought a “quiet” book was. A thoughtful expression furled her brow. “It’s hard to explain,” she said, “but I think it is a book that you need a quiet place to read and understand.” 
Long after I kissed her goodnight, I thought about her definition of quiet books, and I thought about myself as a young reader. Back then I gravitated to high fantasy and science fiction. I wanted to devour big stories where brave girls tamed dragons or fought orcs or completed quests. I loved the way these stories send adrenaline coursing through my veins and made my heart gallop in my chest. 
At the same time, I wondered if I could ever be that brave, that smart, that fearless. I worried that the dragon would eat me, the orc would disarm me, and the quest would go unconquered.
Because I was ordinary.
Absolutely ordinary.
I had crushes on ordinary boys. I had ordinary problems with friends. The biggest quest I ever faced was a lost cat. Ordinary life. Ordinary me. I did not read quiet books because I did not want my quiet life. I wanted to save the world.
I have walked a few miles since then. Some of them excruciatingly painful, heart-breaking miles. Along the way, I have redefined hero. I have redefined brave. I have learned that living an ordinary life as an ordinary person requires the most extraordinary fortitude.
My reading has also changed. I tend to read realistic fiction more than anything else. I want, desperately sometimes, to know that others have faced the challenges I face and that they have met those ordinary challenges not with raised swords and magic spells but with the everyday courage of being kind, being genuine, and being willing to keep going.
My debut novel, THE WAY BACK FROM BROKEN, is about how we grieve and how we survive and how we learn to live, and even thrive, after we have been broken into a million jagged pieces. It is a quiet book, a slow book, a real book. It is a story poured straight from heart to yours.
I think that my daughter was right when she said that a “quiet” book is one that needs a “quiet” place to be understood. That quiet place nestles right in the very core of our beings—the quiet place in which we know that we do not have to slay the dragon or save the world. We have to love and be loved, to live a good and true life, and to remember that this is heroic in its own quiet way.
You are the story, and it is a good one.






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AMBER J. KEYSER is a former ballerina and evolutionary biologist with a master’s degree in zoology and a doctorate in genetics. She writes both fiction and nonfiction for young adult readers. Kirkus Reviews said that THE WAY BACK FROM BROKEN is “a quiet and memorable story of how paddling in the wilderness forces two unlikely friends to face their grief and embrace their power.” Find out more at and on Twitter @amberjkeyser.







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For you, what is #QuietYA?

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams + Giveaway!!

Carolyn Lee Adams
Expected publication: June 16th 2015 by Simon Pulse
YA > Thriller
256pages (kindle edition)
arc via publisher



Purchase links:
Amazon | BN | TBDKobo




Iteen struggles to retain hope—and her sanity—while on the run from a cunning and determined killer.
Ruth Carver has always competed like her life depends on it. Ambitious. Tough. Maybe even mean. It’s no wonder people call her Ruthless.
When she wakes up with a concussion in the bed of a moving pickup trick, she realizes she has been entered into a contest she can’t afford to lose.
At a remote, rotting cabin deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Ruth’s blindfold comes off and she comes face-to-face with her captor. A man who believes his mission is to punish bad girls like Ruth. A man who has done this six times before.
The other girls were never heard from again, but Ruth won’t go down easy. She escapes into the wilderness, but her hunter is close at her heels. That’s when the real battle begins. That’s when Ruth must decides just how far she’ll go in order to survive.
Back home, they called her Ruthless. They had no idea just how right they were.


[tour schedule]




  1. Hi Carolyn! Thanks for stopping by on the blog!! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 🙂 — Thank you so much for having me here, Paula! Outside the obvious I am a stand-up comedian and like to call myself the Queen of the Hobos. I travel a lot for comedy and love driving across this beautiful country of ours, whilst getting into various shenanigans. I am a big fan of shenanigans, also tom foolery.
  2. Ruthless is your debut novel, is this the genre you really want to write? Why? — I was literally born to write horror and thrillers. I was born on Halloween. My mother read Edgar Allan Poe to me when I was little, as well as a collection of other dark poems (e.g. “Richard Cory” by Edwin Arlington Robinson). To top it off, I grew up near the dumping grounds of Gary Ridgway, aka the Green River Killer, the most prolific serial killer in US history. By the time I was in the 6th grade I was reading Stephen King and my future was set.
  3. Describe your main character, Ruth, in 5-7 words for us. — Ruthless. Repressed. Brave. Sadistic. Admirable. Selfless. Selfish.
  4. Your book cover is really spine chilling, but will you change it if you could? — Ha! I did change it! The initial version of Ruthless featured a far less fierce Ruth and the title was in gray. I prided myself on being chill throughout this process—I had three editors and didn’t bat an eye—but when I saw that cover I freaked out. The cover was, without a doubt, classy and beautiful. But in my opinion it was too classy and beautiful. I thought it looked like a Noxzema ad. More importantly, how would people see that monochrome cover in a bookstore? I asked for the title to be put in yellow and for Ruth to be made ruthless. I wanted it to look like a gritty warning sign. Once those changes were made I fell in love with the cover. The headlights at night, the forest, the bloody scratches — all of these things came together in a wonderfully evocative way.
  5. Who is your favorite character to write? and the not-so-favorite one? Can you share us why? — Truly, this is a two-person play. Ruth and the Wolfman. In my first draft, Wolfman was nothing but a shell of a character. I received notes from an editor friend of mine telling me what I already knew – that the first draft didn’t tell you anything about Wolfman. I went back and wrote his backstory. His backstory only constitutes 5,000 words but they were the most difficult 5,000 words I’ve ever written. Every day I paced around my living room, sick to my stomach. I’d write a paragraph or two, then pace some more. I did this for a month. I wrote solidly for a month’s time, nauseous every day, pacing in circles. Although the Wolfman is the villain, I feel for him deeply. His character arc is the aspect of Ruthless I am most proud of. So in that way, he is my favorite. Ruth, by contrast, evokes far less sympathy in me, in part because we are very similar creatures. I don’t have so much sympathy for myself, and therefore not so much for Ruth. My challenge in writing Ruth was to find a soft spot in my heart for her, to have mercy on her, to forgive her for her failings and in so doing forgive myself for my own.
  6. Is there something weird, funny or even a scary thing that happened while writing Ruthless? — When it comes to weird, some might find it weird that Ruthless started out as a dream. I dreamt the first three chapters, woke up, wrote them, and then just kept going. As far as scary goes, my husband of ten years left me when I was halfway done with the first draft. We’d been together since I was eighteen. I’d never lived alone. I’d never been a real adult. He had taken care of paperwork and bills and such. And that is absolutely terrifying – to find yourself alone, jobless, and on your own with zero prospects for a traditional career. My response to this was to become a stand-up comedian and finish a novel while working as a receptionist at my parents’ accounting firm. Ruth makes some very high-risk decisions in her struggle to survive, and as I said, we are very similar creatures. At the end of the day, I believe following your bliss will be rewarded. Writing and performing is my bliss. I followed it. And I was extremely fortunate it all worked out.
  7. What will readers expect from the romance aspect in this book? — Hmmm…they can expect to find Ruth at her most unlikable? Unfortunately, when it comes to romance Ruth has her toughest lessons to learn.
  8. Are you working on something new already? Do you have a WIP that you can tell us about? 🙂 — Oh goodness, I wish it were new. The novel I completed before Ruthless is called THE BOOK OF EZRA. Whereas Ruthless is a lean, fast little novel, Ezra was once longer than The Goblet of Fire. (I’ve since cut it down significantly.) I’m still working on Ezra and I believe it’s the best thing I’ve ever written. Set in 1894 in an Upstate New York Poor House and Insane Asylum, Ezra is the story of a teenaged boy abandoned by his wealthy parents because they are ashamed of his incurable condition. Upon arrival, a handful of insane inmates turn up dead, supposedly due to neglect. Ezra, however, has his suspicions that something else, something not quite human, is behind the horrors of the asylum. It is a horror/thriller and speaks straight to the heart of everything I believe most deeply.
  9. Lastly, is did you watch or read anything to inspire you while writing ruthless? — I learned a lot from watching I Survived on the Bio Channel. That show remains my favorite reality show of all time. The beautiful simplicity of it, the survivors telling their stories, the lone cello over a flat landscape – it is haunting in the best way possible. Prior to watching that show I did not realize how often bystanders fail to assist those in desperate need. I was horrified by this recurring theme in the show and it made a deep mark on my psyche. I can’t imagine not taking action in such a situation.





author pic 1

Website | Twitter | Facebook 

Carolyn Lee Adams is originally from the Seattle area, breeding ground of serial killers and those who write about them. She attended USC Film School and graduated with a BFA in screenwriting. RUTHLESS (Simon Pulse, Summer 2015) is her first novel. When she isn’t exploring the dark side of human nature in her writing, you’ll find her on stage as a stand-up comedian. Because those things go together.














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FFBC Book Tours

AUTHOR TAKEOVER #009: Sarah McGuire, author of: ‘Valiant’ + Giveaway!!



Author Takeover is a new feature here in HBT where we let our current favorite authors took over the blog. Expect Guest Posts, Interviews, LOTS of Playlists, giveaways and of course, a bunch load of FUN!

Retelling has been everywhere in the blogosphere and I think VALIANT deserves to be on your list! Check out my Interview with the wonderful Sarah. 


The Book..




Published April 28th 2015 by EgmontUSA
YA > Fantasy | Retelling

Purchase it: amazon | bn | indigo



About the book..


Reggen still sings about the champion, the brave tailor. This is the story that is true.

Saville despises the velvets and silks that her father prizes more than he’s ever loved her. Yet when he’s struck ill she’ll do anything to survive–even dressing as a boy and begging a commission to sew for the king.

But piecing together a fine coat is far simpler than unknotting court gossip about an army of giants, led by a man who cannot be defeated, marching toward Reggen to seize the throne. Saville knows giants are just stories, and no man is immortal.

Then she meets them, two scouts as tall as trees. After she tricks them into leaving, tales of the daring tailor’s triumph quickly spin into impossible feats of giant-slaying. And stories won’t deter the Duke and his larger-than-life army.

Now only a courageous and clever tailor girl can see beyond the rumors to save the kingdom again.


The author..



connect: twitter | website | goodreads page | blog



Sarah McGuire loves fairy tales and considers them the best way to step outside of everyday life. They’re the easiest way, at least: her attempt at seven to reach Narnia through her parents’ closet failed. She lives within sight of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, where she teaches high school creative writing and math classes with very interesting word problems. Valiant is her first novel.


The Interview..


Hi Sarah!! Thanks for stopping by on the blog!! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 🙂
I am a high school math teacher who loves fairy tales. I drink way too much coffee and couldn’t get everything done if I didn’t take afternoon naps— long ones.


Valiant is your debut novel, is writing a retelling novel your original plan? If no, what’s the genre you really like to write? If yes, can you tell us why and how you gotinto writing Valiant.
I have always loved fairy tales, and had written a retelling that I put away. So I knew the next book I wrote would be a retelling.


 Describe your book in 5-7 words for us
Clever girl verses an army of giants.


How did you decide your novel’s book cover? If you’ve given the chance to change it, will you? (It looks really pretty!! :D)
I didn’t decide on Valiant’s cover— it was shown to me, fully formed. (Much like Athena springing from Zeus’ forehead.) The wonderful artist, Shobhna Patel, created the papercut work for the cover after reading Valiant. It’s such a lovely, unique look.
There is one situation where I’d change the cover. If Valiant stayed in print for quite a few years, the cover might then need an update. (A girl can dream her book would be in stores that long, right?) Then, perhaps, Valiant would have a new cover.


How will you introduce Saville to us?
People and reviewers have portrayed Saville as strong. And she is. But I’d like to think that strength comes from something other than generally kick-assery. She does what she does because she cares deeply for the people in her life. She has a bone-deep drive to protect those she loves.


Can you share something weird, funny or even a scary thing that happened while writing Valiant?
Oh this is horribly mundane, but I dented my sofa cushion— there was that much butt-in-chair time. I was part of a whole novel workshop and only had a few months to write the first draft of Valiant. So once the school year was over, I wrote. One day, I got up to go to the kitchen for a snack, and when I looked back at the sofa, I realized I’d dent the sofa cushion. It’s still a bit less plush than the other.


Are you working on something new already? Do you have a WIP that you can tell us about?
I’m playing with another retelling, but am still working on it. I hope I can tell you about it soon!


Can you share three retelling books that you also enjoyed?
I’m a huge fan of Shannon Hale. I love Goose Girl and Book of a Thousand Days.



Thanks again, Sarah for the Q&A! We’re excited to hear about your inspiration when it comes to Valiant’s setting!


I tried to think of pictures that I could attach about the story’s inspiration. Most of Valiant came from my own imagination, but as I was writing it, I read about Predjamski: a castle in Slovenia that was built at the entrance of a cave system. Although I imagined the castle in Valiant as looking VERY different, I thought perhaps you’d like these links. There wouldn’t have been caves in Valiant if I hadn’t read about Predjamski. 🙂




The Giveaway..



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What do you guys think of VALIANT? Will you be reading it? Am I the only one who think that this has one of the most unique premise EVER?! Share your thoughts!


ARC REVIEW: Don’t Ever Change by M. Beth Bloom + Giveaway!!

Don’t Ever Change
M. Beth Bloom
Published July 7th 2015 by HarperTeen
YA > Contemporary | Romance


3 ★★★1/2

Purchase links:
Amazon | TBD | BN | Kobo | iTunes


Eva has always wanted to write a modern classic—one that actually appeals to her generation. The only problem is that she has realized she can’t “write what she knows” because she hasn’t yet begun to live. So before heading off to college, Eva is determined to get a life worth writing about.
Soon Eva’s life encounters a few unexpected plot twists. She becomes a counselor at a nearby summer camp—a job she is completely unqualified for. She starts growing apart from her best friends before they’ve even left for school. And most surprising of all, she begins to fall for the last guy she would have ever imagined. But no matter the roadblocks, or writer’s blocks, it is all up to Eva to figure out how she wants this chapter in her story to end.
Perfect for fans of E. Lockhart, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell,Don’t Ever Change is a witty, snarky, and thought-provoking coming-of-age young adult novel about a teen who sets out to write better fiction and, ultimately, discovers the truth about herself.
[tour schedule]






‘This is all I know: that I’m young and I’m about to finish high school and I write. But what else, what else.’

I didn’t know what to expect when I first saw the cover of Don’t Ever Change. I even thought it was non fiction and almost dismissed it. (See, this is what happens when you don’t read blurbs) But it turns out, Don’t Ever Change will be one of the most character driven book I’ll read this year. Its filled with very simple yet realistic set of characters.

If you ask me what Don’t Ever Change is about, I’ll just tell you that its like a memoir. A short, funny and poignant memoir of a girl who wants to achieve her dreams and goals. And she won’t take no for an answer. Giving up in never an option either. But change is.

Eva is a writer, not published or anything and she just graduated from highschool. I know that some readers may have a problem with Eva’s ‘tude because she can be so…. uptight or judgemental but I actually really, REALLY liked her. The girl is ambitious and I don’t see anything wrong with that. It was actually fun to see her learn the consequences from her mistakes. And by the end, she grew up a lot. I also adored the humorous banter of Eva and her sister which I admit that sometimes, doesn’t make sense to me.

The romance wasn’t highlighted that much but I really wish it was mainly because the guy is so so adorable! So adorable I just wanna pinch his cheeks and hug him to death. I was a bit sad towards the end because I feel the good part of their romance is just starting then BAM!! It ends.

Overall, Don’t Ever Change depicts a very accurate coming of age story of a girl who thinks she got everything mapped out. The book’s message is something worth reading even though you’re not a writer like the main character. The characters are realistically done and Eva’s meaningful summer is something you’ll not forget soon.






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M. Beth Bloom is a novelist and a screenwriter. Her fiction has appeared in StoryQuarterly and Dave Eggers’s Best American Nonrequired Reading series. She is also the author of Drain You. M. Beth lives in Los Angeles.










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FFBC Tours

SNEAK-A-PEEK: Fractured by Lisa Amowitz + Giveaway!!

Fractured: Book 1.2 of the Vision Series
Lisa Amowitz
Published June 9th 2015 by Spencer Hill Press
YA > Contemporary | Thriller
arc via publisher


Purchase links:
Amazon | BN 





Bobby’s a hick who sees visions. Jeremy’s a smartass who sees dead people. Together, they have a weekend to stop a murderer…if they don’t kill each other first. Sparks fly when the worlds of Lisa Amowitz’s BREAKING GLASS and VISION collide.





“Hey. You were the kid that played with that amazing redhead. Not bad, man. Not bad.”

“Um, thanks.”

“Not from around here, are you?”

“No. I mean, I’m not, really.”

The guy smiled and extended a hand. “Sorry. Just a little cranky tonight. I came in this morning on an epic bus ride from Duke just to see my girlfriend and she’s stuck in a study group with a bunch of other assholes. Oh. I’m Jeremy Glass.” He lowered himself on the bench next to me and massaged his leg. “Too much walking today. Damn.”

I tried to keep my eyes from going wide as the guy lifted the cuff of his black jeans. Instead of an actual leg there was only a hydraulic metal pole.

Jeremy Glass looked at me and smiled. “Veronica’s been sticking a little lately. I think I’ll have to bring her back to the shop. What’s your name?”

I glanced from his face to the metal leg. “Bobby. Bobby Pendell,” I choked out. It wasn’t the leg. It was just hard to breathe around him, like he was sucking up my share of the oxygen.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to know how Jeremy Glass had lost that leg, though I was pretty sure he’d be happy to tell me. I thought about bolting back inside the club, but that would be rude.

Instead, Glass said breezily, “You were awesome, dude. Where’d you learn to play guitar and sing like that? Man, all I can do is run.”

I bit back on the obvious response. How could a guy with a fake leg run?

Glass laughed. “Ha! Most people are too polite to ask, but I’m not shy about it. I was a sprinter. Fastest in my school. Until—well, until the accident. But now I’ve got a Teflon blade and I’m the fastest on the team. Technology is awesome, huh?”

I cleared my throat. Something about this guy was making my skin crawl. Maybe it was his fast talking. Or the way his eyes twinkled but looked steely and cunning all at the same time. I felt like he was silently laughing at me. Like his brain worked two and a half times faster than mine did. He eyed me with one eyebrow raised, as if he didn’t actually expect a response. 

“Um, it was nice to meet you. But I really should be getting back inside,” I said, and finally got up to leave.

Glass stared calmly back at me. “Who’s your friend, then?”

A shiver rolled up my spine. I had to get away. Ever since my last brush with Agent Maura Reston on the Scratch Lake dock, I’d had the distinct feeling I was being watched. Maybe I was just being paranoid, but this guy seemed to be probing me for something.

“What friend?”

His gaze shifted over my left shoulder. “That guy.”

The blood froze in my veins. I pivoted and saw a brief white flicker, a disruption, then empty air.

Glass laughed. “Yeah. You’ve got to learn to ignore them. They’re everywhere.”

“I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.”

Glass’s smile vanished. “I don’t like it any more than you do. But I can always tell when I meet someone like me.”

“Like you?” I backed away toward the club entrance, cold sweat trickling from my scalp down the back of my neck.

“You can see them, too. Things no one else can.”

He pressed a card into my hand. My mouth went dry. The sidewalk tilted. I pressed my palm to the glass of the club window to steady myself.

I didn’t have to look down to know what it said. 

He’d seen the thing that I’d seen. He was like me.

He was working with Agent Reston and her paranormal goon squad.




Author photo

Website | Twitter | Facebook


Lisa Amowitz was born in Queens and raised in the wilds of Long Island, New York where she climbed trees, thought small creatures lived under rocks and studied ant hills. And drew. A lot. She is a professor of Graphic Design at her beloved Bronx Community College where she has been tormenting and cajoling students for nearly twenty years. She started writing eleven years ago because she wanted something to illustrate, but somehow, instead ended up writing YA. Probably because her mind is too dark and twisted for small children. Lisa is represented by Shannon Hassan of Marsal-Lyon Literary Agency.








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