House of Ash | Extract

House of Ash

After hearing voices among an eerie copse of trees in the woods, seventeen-year-old Curtis must confront his worst fear: that he has inherited his father’s mental illness. A desperate search for answers leads him to a cursed mansion that burned down in 1894. When he glimpses a desperate girl in his bedroom mirror, he’s sure she’s one of the fire’s victims. But, more than 100 years in the past, the girl in the mirror is fighting her own battles…

This spine-tingling novel will have you captivated from the first page: click here to read an extract.


House of Ash by Hope Cook is out this September – order your copy today.

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo | Extract

Applying for college and maintaining an image of perfection is difficult enough, and then you find out you’re immortal and your town is under siege from Hell-spawn…

Genie Lo is Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the modern day, and we couldn’t be more excited.

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo

The struggle to get into a top-tier college consumes fifteen 15-year-old Genie’s every waking thought. But when she discovers she’s an immortal who’s powerful enough to bash through the gates of Heaven with her fists, her perfectionist existence is shattered. Enter Quentin, a transfer student from China whose tone-deaf assertiveness beguiles Genie to the brink of madness. Quentin nurtures Genie’s bodacious transformation – sometimes gently, sometimes aggressively – as her sleepy Bay-area suburb in the Bay area comes under siege from Hell-spawn. This epic YA debut draws from Chinese mythology, features a larger-than-life heroine, and perfectly balances the realities of Genie’s grounded, Oakland life with the absurd supernatural world she finds herself commanding.

Click here to read an extract from The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F. C. Yee.

Tweet us @ACBYA using #GenieLo to tell us what you think!


 The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F. C. Yee is out this August – order your copy here.

A Taxonomy of Love | Extract

A Taxonomy of Love

The moment Spencer meets Hope the summer before seventh grade, it’s . . . something at first sight. He knows she’s special, possibly even magical. The pair become fast friends, climbing trees and planning world travels. After years of being outshone by his older brother and teased because of his Tourette syndrome, Spencer finally feels like he belongs. But as Hope and Spencer get older and life gets messier, the clear label of “friend” gets messier, too.

Through sibling feuds and family tragedies, new relationships and broken hearts, the two grow together and apart, and Spencer, an aspiring scientist, tries to map it all out using his trusty system of taxonomy. He wants to identify and classify their relationship, but in the end, he finds that life doesn’t always fit into easy-to-manage boxes, and it’s this messy complexity that makes life so rich and beautiful.

Click here to read an extract from this swoon-worthy YA romance.

Have you fallen head-over-heels for A Taxonomy of Love? Let us know @ACBYA using #TaxonomyOfLove


 

A Taxonomy of Love by Rachael Allen is out January 2018 – click here to pre-order your copy!

Odd & True | Extract

Odd & True

The latest from master of historical paranormal, Cat Winters, about a pair of monster-hunting sisters with a dark past. Taking inspiration from the legend of the Jersey Devil and adding in two strong female protagonists, this supernatural story won’t disappoint.

Trudchen grew up hearing Odette’s stories of a monster slaying and a magician’s curse. But now that Tru’s older, she’s starting to wonder if her older sister’s tales were just comforting lies, especially because there’s nothing fantastic about her own life – permanently injured and in constant pain from an accident.

In 1909, after a two-year absence, Od reappears with a suitcase full of weapons and a promise to rescue Tru from the monsters on their way to attack her. But it’s Od who seems haunted by something. And when the sisters’ search for their mother leads them to a face-off with the Leeds Devil, a nightmarish beast that’s wreaking havoc in the Mid-Atlantic states, Tru discovers the peculiar possibility that she and her sister – despite their dark pasts and ordinary appearances – might, indeed, have magic after all.

Click here to read an extract from Odd & True.

Tweet us @ACBYA using #OddandTrue, with your thoughts!

 

Odd & True by Cat Winters is on sale September 2017 – order your copy today.

Noteworthy | Extract

Noteworthy

It’s the start of Jordan Sun’s junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she’s an Alto 2, which – in the musical theatre world – is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: she has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody’s falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it’s no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight. But then the school gets a mass email: a spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshiped . . . revered . . . all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

Click here to read an extract from Noteworthy, Riley Redgate’s second novel!

Buy your copy here.

The Last Thing You Said | Extract

Last Thing You Said Quote

Last summer, Lucy’s and Ben’s lives changed in an instant. One moment, they were shyly flirting on a lake raft, finally about to admit their feelings to each other after years of yearning. In the next, Trixie – Lucy’s best friend and Ben’s sister – was gone, her heart giving out during a swim. And just like that, the idyllic world they knew turned upside down, and the would-be couple drifted apart, swallowed up by their grief.

Now it’s a year later in their small lake town, and as the anniversary of Trixie’s death looms, Lucy and Ben’s undeniable connection pulls them back together.

They can’t change what happened the day they lost Trixie, but the summer might finally bring them closer to healing – and to each other.

Last Thing You Said Quote

Click here to read an extract from this deeply romantic YA.

The Inconceivable Life of Quinn | Extract

The Inconceivable Life of Quinn

Quinn Cutler is sixteen and the daughter of a high-profile Brooklyn politician. She’s also pregnant, a crisis made infinitely more shocking by the fact that she has no memory of ever having sex. Before Quinn can solve this deeply troubling mystery, her story becomes public. Rumours spread, jeopardising her reputation, her relationship with a boyfriend she adores, and her father’s campaign for Congress. Religious fanatics gather at the Cutlers’ home, believing Quinn is a virgin, pregnant with the next messiah. Quinn’s desperate search for answers uncovers lies and family secrets – strange, possibly supernatural ones. Might she, in fact, be a virgin?

Click here to read an extract from The Inconceivable Life of Quinn by Marianna Baer.

Guest Blog Post | Sarah Lemon’s Inspiration for Done Dirt Cheap

Sarah Lemon has momentarily put down her motorcycle to talk to us about the journey that brought her to write her debut novel: Done Dirt Cheap.

Take it away Sarah!

Done Dirt Cheap Inspiration

Writing at times feels like a superpower, unwieldy in my hands, not something I’m fully in control of, but a power that lets me raise my fingers and pull fragments of my world together into something new and beautiful. I can point to shards of glinting glass in the whole and talk about how that piece came to be. Done Dirt Cheap came from many places in my life and history. But for today, I want to tell you how it almost never happened.

There’s an unspoken rule in Art: Don’t talk about how much you suck, your fear, or how tenuous it feels. Unless it’s in a self-deprecating show of humility as someone is handing you the Pulitzer.

It’s part of success—the sheen of it, like a rainbow slick of oil on water.

But I’m not always great with rules and clear water is better than oil.

Done Dirt Cheap only happened because of a lesson I had learned a long time ago, on the back of a monster dirt-bike, on which I couldn’t touch the ground even when I pointed my toes.

I was fourteen, living in a part of the world that was only valuable for its minerals. My landscape had been stripped, clawed at, dug under and left behind as garbage. Our groundwater was tainted. Our basements full of radiation. Our streams clogged with weird foams and slick spools of dark muck. We had dug too deep and a darkness hung over everything.

In the strip mines, I found a place I could breathe. In those raped and forgotten places I could string together forty or more miles of new life. The landscape would rise and fight with me, and together we wouldn’t be forgotten girl and forgotten land, but two things who were still alive and able to grasp at our fate. It brutalised me to make me. I was in every way, an average, bookish, fourteen-year-old girl with a fear so strong it came out as teeth. But out in the mines, I was free of that skin. I could fly. I could see a line and fight my way to the end. I could fall, pitch over the handlebars, run my bike up a tree, flip end over end and still stand, pick up the bike, and begin again. Just writing this, fifteen years later, I can still feel the pump in my arms from wrestling the dirt-bike on the thin threads of trails that wound around deep, sentient holes of green water, cone mountains of slag and silt, and grated air shafts leading into the abyss.

“Treskow” was a route we took often—named after the tiny old mining town it began in. We rode through the woods, along an old railroad bed with no tracks, before dropping down a slippery rock covered mountain into an uninhabited valley. I would drag my back brake the whole way down, my teeth chattering from the rocks. But the real challenge was at the end of the mud-holed valley. We always stopped and craned our necks at the steep switchback of the mountain ahead. It made me sick to look at it, every time. By that point, there was no way to get home and no way to give up. I wanted to be there, but hadn’t known how terrifying it was going to be. Every time.

When I started Done Dirt Cheap, that’s where I was – at the bottom of a giant switchback, too far from home and looking up at the power lines humming between transformers while everyone else sped ahead of me.

In those tenuous moments where you are balancing on the edge of failure, the natural desire is to hold back. You think “Oh I’ll go slow and easy and pick my way up.” But in slippy slag and miles of steep switchbacks, you simply will run out of power. Each switchback has to be hit hard and powered through, or you’ll never make it to the top. There is no easing through the terrain.  Manoeuvre swiftly or you’ll pitch over the edge. So, with this book, I was miles deep into publishing terrain. I had failed a lot. I had dragged my back brake down the mountain and even though, yes, I was out there, I was at the back of the crowd, wishing I was at home. Uncertain I could actually do this.

Looking ahead, I wanted nothing more than to go slow and safe. Something sure. But I had been here before. I knew what held me back was fear.  This was the moment in riding where you have to pin back that throttle and ride with your jaw tight and your stomach in your throat.

So, I did.

Lord, I did.

And just like in riding, I prayed and held on and hoped for the best. With Done Dirt Cheap, I somehow popped over the top of that switchback with the valley below me and the sky above. I’m further than I ever expected to be.

Further, but with miles to go. I know the trail still—how it winds over the ridge before dropping down again and then taking me through another technical mountain crossing. I’m leaning over the gas tank, holding the throttle back. The wind is whipping my hair and I taste elation, panic, and dust in my mouth. All I can do is hope the trail keeps up with me, and I keep up with the trail.

Ride or die. Write or die.

P.S. Please buy my book.

Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Lemon is on sale 7th March 2017. Order your copy here.

Done Dirt Cheap
Image by Kate Ormand

RoseBlood Ball | Q&A with A.G Howard

RoseBloodBall Event

On 12th January we hosted a #RoseBloodBall with A.G Howard (in digital form) and an audience of magnificent bloggers. The highlight of the evening was (google) hanging out with A.G Howard. We were able to ask all the questions we’ve been dying to pose; questions about RoseBlood, her writing style and even which character she would take to prom!

The questions were so good we couldn’t keep the answers to ourselves, so here, friends, are all the questions and answers from our gothic evening of frivolity. Plus some of our favourite snaps!

Q: As I am a huge musical fan I’d love to know if there are any other theatre shows (whether based on a book or not), she would like to adapt or take as inspiration for a future book/series?

A: I’ve considered all of these: Les Miserables, Moulin Rouge and Sweeney Todd

Did you get any Phantom of the Opera songs stuck in your head while you were writing RoseBlood?

No. But I do use music to get in the mind-set of a book. I create Spotify playlists for my books, even ones I’ve not started writing yet. You can listen to them here.

Q: What inspired you to write a Phantom of the Opera retelling?

A: I’ve always been intrigued by the anti-hero, and contemplated a Phantom retelling even before I wrote Splintered. I’d seen other adaptations of The Phantom of the Opera — a lot of them actually — and one prequel that I adored (Phantom by Susan Kay) but not many spinoffs or continuations. Like Splintered, I knew I wanted to make it modern and contemporary to set it apart, while still retaining the elements of the original (gothic in this case). All I needed was a way to explain the Phantom’s longevity…how he had survived so many years. Once I figured that out, I was ready to give Erik a modern stage on which to perform to see what horrors he might stir up.

Q: You’ve created a marvellous adaptation of Alice in Wonderland and now Phantom of the Opera, what’s next on the agenda?

A: A gothic retelling / adaptation of a fairy tale which will take me back to my fantasy roots, with strange creatures and magic in an alternate fairy tale universe. But that’s all I can say about it for now.

RoseBlood Ball

Q: What is your favourite opera?

A: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera.

Q: What is your favourite song from Phantom of the Opera?

A: My favourite song is The Music of the Night

Q: Have you watched the Phantom of the Opera in theatre?

A: In Las Vegas.

Q: Do you like to sing, and do you have any particular favourite songs you sing in the shower/kitchen/etc.?

A: I have a terrible voice! Haha. But I do like to make playlists for all my books and sometimes those songs make it into my shower performances.

Q: How do you create your characters? Do you fully plan them out at the start or let them emerge as you’re writing?

A: They’re fully planned out. For each book I write, that’s the most important preparation. It’s crucial that I intimately know the stars of the story before starting the journey, because I write organically and they’re going to be my guides.

Q: What do you love about Rune and Thorn?

A: The fact that they are both very loyal.

Q: What annoys you about them?

A: That it takes them so long to kiss the first time.

Q: What was your favourite scene to write between them and why?

A: The rooftop scene. It’s romantic, and also because it’s when they first see one another face to face and start working together to figure things out. I knew I would have this scene in the book before I started writing because this was always my favourite scene in the movie.

RoseBloodBall games

Q: Are there any other fairytales you’d be interested in reimagining?

A: Yes, many. Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel (although it would be hard to top Disney’s Tangled), just to name a few. I’m also interested in more Classical retellings, like Jekyll and Hyde, A Midsummer’s Night Dream and more. 

Q: Did you go to boarding school?

A: No, but I did go to a Christian private school where we had to wear uniforms like Rune in RoseBlood. My parents worked at the school and at weekends we had to pitch-in to help clean! My brother convinced me that there was a monster living under the stage in the cafeteria – something that has definitely impacted my writing!

Q: Will you ever come to tour the UK?

A: I would love to! If I can ever save up enough money. I have two kids in college, so it might be a while! Haha.

Pin the mask on Rune

Q: What was it like writing a reimagining of Alice in Wonderland then jumping into a reimagining of Phantom of the Opera? These are two very different stories with very different vibes to them (Alice is very surreal while Phantom is quite gothic).

A: As you pointed out, I had to adjust my mood for this book. Where my Wonderland series is based on what has often been considered a children’s story, RoseBlood is based on The Phantom of the Opera — a romantic horror/ drama about the obsession to be accepted and loved, and unrequited passion turned to madness. RoseBlood is also very character-driven, as opposed to plot-driven, which makes it a slower, more mysterious unwinding of twists and turns than the Splintered books. There aren’t any *whimsical* underpinnings in this one. Instead, it’s darkly romantic and gothic with subtle elements of horror, and the relationships involve more tortured/complex depths.

Q: Why do you think reimagines of fairy tales and well-known/loved stories are so popular now?

A: I think, for one, because dark fairy tales provide a perfect archetype for coming-of-age elements. First, there’s a young heroine (in some cases, hero, but for my answer, we’ll stick with the female lead character) – either troubled, or spoiled like a princess – who needs a quest so she can find her place in the world, become strong enough to face her troubles, and leave the diva days behind. Then there’s the hero (prince), or in some cases, anti-heroes, who will accompany/guide/confuse our heroine on her journey to self-realisation. Fairy tales often teach life lessons in subtle ways, and when drenched in darkness, the lessons become even less obvious, but leave more of a visceral imprint. And let’s not discount the adventure aspect. Fairy tales take place either in a far off land or an alternate earth – and offer an eccentric bevy of secondary characters who help or hinder along the way – which provides the temporary escapism we all need from the very real monsters of everyday life. Our generation is hyper-aware of violence and tragedy due to disturbing images of terrorism, war scenes, and random shootings, etc… touted by the media day in and day out. So it stands to reason that we’d be drawn to The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales and Hans Christian Anderson versions, which both cater to the idea that “real life isn’t always pretty, so why should fairy tales be?

RoseBloodBall attendees

Our favourite questions from Twitter:

Q: With which of your characters would you have gone to prom when you where young?

A: Morpheus, because how fun would it be to dance with someone who could fly you to the stars? (Who doesn’t love a bad boy!)

Q: What type of mask would you wear for the #RoseBloodBall? And what colour?

A.G Howard Mask

A: One like this, but in purple and red.

Q: There are some beautifully dark scenes in RoseBlood. Is it hard to get in the mindset to write those?

A: It wasn’t hard for me because I use my playlists to help me and I already have a dark imagination!

 

Thank you ‏@zarinatweets@dani_reviews@powisamy@book_throne@PewterWolf13@TinaMories,  @HellYes82@bethanycrandell and @agustinazanelli for your brilliant questions!

The Romantics by Leah Konen | Preview

The Romantics

 

this book is dedicated to all the
romantics out there, you know who you are.
never stop believing.
(the rest of us depend on your optimism.)

 

Introducing Leah Konen’s new  book; The Romantics, the perfect read for fans of Lauren Myracle and Rainbow Rowell.

Gael Brennan is about to have his heart broken when his first big relationship crumbles on the heels of his parents’ painful separation. Love intervenes with the intention of setting things right—but she doesn’t anticipate the intrusion of her dreaded nemesis: the Rebound. Love’s plans for Gael are sidetracked by Cara, Gael’s hot-sauce-wielding “dream girl.” The more Love meddles, the further Gael drifts from the one girl who can help him mend his heart. Soon Love starts breaking all her own rules—and in order to set Gael’s fate back on course, she has to make some tough decisions about what it means to truly care.

This witty, heartwarming new YA is a must for romantics, hopeless and hapless, read the first chapter today.

Click here to read an extract from The Romantics.

The Romantics by Leah Konen • Abrams Books • £11.99 • Hardcover with Jacket • 1st November 2016

The Romantics