Celebrating Debutantes 2017: The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli (Author Interview + Giveaway)

Today I’m super thrilled to welcome new author Kristen Ciccarelli on the blog as part of Celebrating Debutantes 2017 blog event. Kristen answered few questions for me about her upcoming debut fantasy novel, The Last Namsara. The book is the first installment of the planned series, Iskari, which features a strong heroine, dragons, dragons slayers and a lot more.

The Last Namsara will release in October but you can pre-order your copies now. There are signed copies available from Words Worth Books. So placed your order before copies runs out!

Following the author interview is Kristen Ciccarelli’s author bio along with places where to find her online. Then there’s also the book description and where to pre-order copies of The Last Namsara. And if you would like the chance to win a signed advance readers copy of The Last Namsara, Kristen is giving away one below. Just enter the rafflecopter form a bit further down in this post. I hope you guys enjoy the interview.

Interview with Kristen Ciccarelli

What’s your journey to writerhood been like?
I’ve been writing stories since I could first string sentences together. It was my favourite thing to do as a kid/teen, but then I stopped was when I went away to school. I had this idea that my stories were childish and silly and worthless, and therefore I needed to leave them behind in order to “grow up”. I stopped writing for 5 years … and was completely miserable. It was only when I found myself crying at my desk everyday that I realized something was really wrong and let myself start to write again.

That was eight years ago now and since then I’ve definitely seen my share of publishing failure (I had an agent previously, got really close to selling a different book, went back to the query trenches when my former agent left publishing, etc). I rewrote my debut fantasy, The Last Namsara, three times from scratch over the course of a decade and I actually almost gave up on it just 5 months before it sold to HarperCollins in a 3-book deal. (Moral of the story: don’t give up!)

What was the biggest change you made to the book before it reached an agent/editor/publisher?
I rewrote this book several times, and each time it changed pretty drastically. But the biggest change I made just before I started getting offers on it was probably fleshing out the old stories and pulling them out of the narrative, making them stand on their own in between chapters. Also, a significant character who died off the page previously now dies on the page (my editor sobbed when she read it). So consider yourself warned!

What inspired The Last Namsara?
A lot of things! 1. My love of dragons, badass girls, and romance. 2. My belief in the power and complexity of stories. 3. A desire to write a book that, at its heart, is about reclaiming yourself.

Please give us an insight into your main character, Asha. Aside from being a dragon slayer, what makes her special for you to tell her story?
I gave a lot of my own wounds to Asha. In particular, my shame. Asha is deeply ashamed of the old stories–which are the things she uses to lure dragons to her–because she told one as a child and it summoned a dragon named Kozu, who nearly destroyed her city and left her with a scar. So she hunts dragons to make amends for what she did, but she’s deeply ashamed of how she hunts them (telling these forbidden, deadly stories).

The Last Namsara is the first book in a planned series. Did you know this was going to be a series when you first wrote the story? Do you already have longer story arcs outlined?
I knew I wanted The Last Namsara to stand alone, but I also knew I wasn’t finished with the characters or the world. So when my agent offered, I told her I would really, really love to sell it as a 3-book series, with all three books being told from the perspective of different characters (Asha, Roa, and Safire). I had pitches for the 2nd and 3rd books ready to go when The Last Namsara went out on submission and, because my agent is fierce and amazing, that’s exactly how she sold it.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?
It would be a dream to be able to keep writing the books I love and have those books find readers who love them too. That’s all I want.

If you could pick one fantasy world to live in, which would it be and why?
Either the world of Philip Pullman’s Dark Materials (because hello daemons! And armoured bears! And Dust!) or the world of Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom (I want to use charter magic and fly in a paper wing and be one of the many girls carrying weapons like it’s totally no big deal).

And lastly before we end this interview, can you please share a snippet/teaser from The Last Namsara to intrigue and tantalize us before the book hit the shelves in few weeks.
Of course! Here’s an excerpt from the scene where Asha comes face to face with the dragon who burned her eight years previous:

A shadow fell across her. She looked up to see a dragon circling. Black as ink. Black as a still pool on a moonless night. Black as Asha’s eyes.
She drew the axe at her hip.
Kozu landed with a thud. The earth trembled beneath him. His shadow shot over her, cloaking her in darkness. His scales gleamed and his slitted yellow eye drank her in. Asha’s eyes did the same, fixing on his scar. A mirror image of hers, it ran down his serpentine face, cutting through his eye, marring those inky scales. Two horns twisted out of his head, perfect for goring prey; and on each foot were five talons, sharp as knives. As wide as a courtyard, his wings remained outspread—a show of just how large he was, how easily he could crush her.


Kristen Ciccarelli hails from Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula where she grew up on her grandfather’s grape farm. She’s made her living as a baker, a bookseller, and a potter, but now writes books about bloodthirsty dragons, girls wielding really cool weapons, and the transformative power of stories. You can learn more at http://www.kristenciccarelli.com.

Find Kristen

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Book Details:

Title: The Last Namsara
Series: Iskari
Author: Kristen Ciccarelli
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: October 03, 2017
Pages: 432
Format: Hardcover, eBook, Audio

Kristen Ciccarelli’s debut fantasy explores an intricately woven world of deception, inner darkness, and dragons that fantasy fans won’t be able to resist.

In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be dark—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death bringer.

These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up hearing in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.

Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her.

Book Links

Amazon | B&N | BAM | Book Depository | Goodreads | Indigo |  IndieBound | Publisher | Waterstones| Words Worth Books (signed preorders)


What’s up for Grab?

  • Signed ARC of The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

The Rules:

  • Open International
  • There will be one (1) winner
  • Winner will be chosen and announced by rafflecopter
  • Winner will be contacted thru email & should response within 48 hours
  • Ends September 12th, 2017
  • Prize will be sent by the author

To enter fill out the rafflecopter form

Good Luck!!!

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2017 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each feature post or check out twitter and facebook using #CelebratingDebutantes2017.

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: Just Friends by Tiffany Pitcock (Author Interview and Giveaway)

Welcome to another feature of Celebrating Debutantes 2017 event. Today I’m featuring new author Tiffany Pitcock and her contemporary novel, Just Friends. The book releases tomorrow, August 1st, 2017, so don’t forget to grab your copies.

But before that, Tiffany answers few questions for me about the book and writing. Then following the interview is Tiffany’s bio, along with places where to find her online, as well as the book‘s description and where to get copies of Just Friends. And if you are in the US or Canada and you’d like the chance to win a copy of the book and other fab items, just enter in the Rafflecopter at the end of this post.

Interview with Tiffany Pitcock

What was your first introduction to YA literature, the one that made you choose the genre to write? What inspired your debut novel Just Friends?

My first introduction to YA was Meg Cabot’s All-American Girl which led to my first love, her Princess Diaries series. It was the first time I encountered a heroine who reminded me so much of myself. Not the secret-princess part, obviously, but a heroine who overthinks and stresses. Who wears her emotions on her sleeve, and shamelessly loves pop culture. Her books made me so happy, and I wanted to do that for other people. I wanted to write something and have someone see themselves in it. I wanted to give back the gift those books had given me.

I came up with the idea of Just Friends when I was sixteen, after a disastrous relationship with my “best friend”. I wanted to explore and subvert the friends-to-lovers trope I found in teen movies. I wanted to explore the dangers of crossing that line. What if the friendship it was built on wasn’t real? What if it was all a lie? Could something still blossom there?

Just Friends is out tomorrow and I’m sure you are more than excited. How was the experience writing the novel and going to publication process?

I started JF when I was sixteen, wrote three chapters, then dropped it for three years. The original concept was not a romance. Like, I’m talking Jenny and Chance sleep together once and don’t speak for ten years and Chance has a kid. Like what even? It never saw the light of day. I finished the first draft for my Sophomore creative writing final, and it was still a completely different book than the one coming out tomorrow. I stayed up all night and finished it in a month. It was such an emotional thing for me. I got to the halfway point of my draft and just stopped to cry because I never thought I’d get that far. It was a year later when Swoon Reads contacted me.

I had to rewrite the entire novel for them, and honestly? That was a really good call. The rewrite of JF was the easiest thing I’ve ever written, it flowed so naturally. Also, no tears this time! It took about a year to transform Just Friends into what it is today, and it was worth it.

Jenny and Chance relationship basically started with a lie. What’s the one question you always answer with a lie?

When people come up and ask me if I went to high school with them I always lie and say I went somewhere else.

Okay, I don’t do that, but sometimes I really want to.

What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?

I met Kevin Bacon at Comic-Con a few years back. So, my gift to everyone I meet is that they’re now one degree from Kevin Bacon.

If Jenny and Chance could say one thing to you about the direction of their story, what would they say?

Probably “Why can’t we just talk to each other?”. Or, maybe, “Thank you for letting us develop a friendship first.”

What’s next for you after the release of Just Friends? Are you working or planning to work on any project right now?

I can’t talk much about it (mostly because I don’t want to jinx anything), but I’m working on a few new projects that I’m super excited about.


Tiffany Pitcock is a young writer from Benton, Ar. She studied English at Henderson State University, but has been writing stories for as long as she can remember. Besides reading, she is a fan of cats, staying indoors, and tv dramas.

Find Tiffany

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Book Details:

Title: Just Friends
Author: Tiffany Pitcock
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: August 01, 2017
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback, eBook

A new spin on the classic smart-girl-and-bad-boy setup, this witty contemporary romance shows how easily a friendship – even one built on an elaborate lie – can become so much more.

Jenny meets Chance for the very first time when she is assigned as his partner in their Junior Oral Communications class. But after they rescue a doomed assignment with one clever lie, the whole school is suddenly convinced that Little-Miss-Really-Likes-Having-A’s and the most scandalous heartbreaker in school have been best friends forever. It’s amazing how quickly a lie can grow―especially when you really, really want it to be the truth.

With Jenny, Chance can live the normal life he’s always kind of wanted. And with Chance, Jenny can have the exciting teen experiences that TV shows and movies have always promised. Through it all, they hold on to the fact that they are “just friends.” But that might be the biggest lie of all.

Debut author Tiffany Pitcock delivers a spot-on depiction of first love and the high school rumor mill in Just Friends, chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads.

Book Links

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What’s up for Grab?

  • signed finished copy of Just Friends By Tiffany Pitcock
  • bookmark, sticker, and various other goodies

The Rules:

  • Open to US/CA
  • There will be one (1) winner
  • Winner will be chosen and announced by rafflecopter
  • Winner will be contacted thru email & should response within 48 hours
  • Ends August 21st, 2017
  • Prize will be sent via book depository

To enter fill out the form

Good Luck!!!

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2017 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each feature post or check out twitter and facebook using #CelebratingDebutantes2017.

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: The Wood by Chelsea Bobulski (Author Interview and Giveaway)

Welcome to another feature of Celebrating Debutantes 2017 event. Today I’m thrilled to feature new author Chelsea Bobulski and her debut fantasy/mystery novel, The Wood. The book will hit the shelves in three (3) days, and I can’t wait for everyone to get the chance to read this riveting book.  If you haven’t pre-ordered your copy yet you still have time to place your order from your favorite book store.

If you’d like to know more about the book, check out the book’s description. If you’d like to catch up with Author Chelsea Bobulski online, her social links and author bio follow the interview. And if you would like the chance to win a copy of the book, just enter the rafflecopter form a bit further down in this post to be enter on the giveaway which is open international.

A huge thank you to Chelsea for taking the time to answer all my questions, I hope you guys enjoy!

Interview with Chelsea Bobulski

Can you tell us a little bit about your journey as a new author?

My journey has honestly been a dream come true. It took me five years and five books to get my first book deal after deciding I wanted to pursue traditional publishing (before that, I only wrote for my own amusement, never daring to dream that I could someday walk into a bookstore and see one of my books on the shelves). My full publishing journey up until getting that first book deal was a very long process, with a lot of twists and turns that would take waaaay too long to detail here, but if you would like to read more about it, you can check out my blog post, My Journey to Publication. Post-book deal, my journey has been everything I could have ever hoped it would be. My editor and my entire publishing team have been so supportive. THE WOOD would not be the book it is now, the book I intended for it to be all along, if it weren’t for their expert guidance.

The Wood has an intriguing premise – enchanted woods, time travel, portals, and guardians. Where did you get the inspiration for the story?

I would definitely say the main inspiration came from two of my favorite things (the history nerd in me that hopes for the possibility of time-travel, and a lifelong connection to the woods that I can only describe as a primordial and ancient urge to return to nature whenever I can—Side Note: I’m a big hiker, but not a big camper, to which my husband will attest. I enjoy the woods so much more if I can go home, or to a nice hotel with a shower, at the end of the day). Both of these pieces of me must have come together subconsciously in my brain, crafting this story and my main character, Winter, while I was off doing and writing other things. I have no other way to explain how Winter’s voice came to me fully-formed one day while I was free-writing for fun. It was like she’d been there all along, waiting for me to tell her story. I free-wrote the first fifty pages of THE WOOD just listening to Winter’s voice, letting her guide the story (pages that have not changed much at all from first draft to final product, other than the inclusion of a new scene). It was at fifty pages that I stopped and realized I should probably plot out the story my main character was trying to tell me before I totally lost track of it. But at its heart, THE WOOD is a mixture of all my favorite things, blended with a very deep and urgent need to escape to the woods from time to time and bask in its beauty.

How did you maintain the atmosphere of mystery throughout the story?

Maintaining the atmosphere of mystery throughout the story was very easy for me because I didn’t even know what was going on half the time. It was as if Winter and I were discovering the mystery together. Of course, I knew the most important things, but there was a lot I didn’t know. Both of my main characters, Winter and Henry, were very sneaky, only showing me their secrets on a need-to-know basis. I remember getting really frustrated one time and shouting at my computer, “Just tell me what you’re hiding!!” (Really glad no one was around to see that). There were plenty of times when they would reveal something important to me mid-drafting that I didn’t see coming, as if they were throwing a bone to the poor writer trying to tell their story. This isn’t typical of how I write—usually I plot out quite a bit of the story, leaving just enough wiggle room for unexpected surprises (because if I plot out the entire book point by point beforehand, there’s no more discovery inherent in the process and I lose all of the excitement and passion for writing it)—but THE WOOD was not a typical book for me from the moment I wrote the first page. It definitely took on a life of its own, which may also be why there is such an atmosphere of mystery surrounding it!

Do you have a method for creating your characters, and what do you think makes them believable?

Character is the most important part of a book to me, both as a reader and as a writer. As a reader, I need to connect with the main character on a deeply personal level in order to enjoy their story. It’s the same for me while writing. I have plenty of plot ideas for future books swimming around in my head, but until their characters step forward and really show me why their story is important, I can’t begin to write them. I need to be able to get under the skin of my characters. I need to analyze them and figure out their deepest desires and fears, their goals, their motivations, the past hurts that define their internal conflict, the situation they find themselves in that defines their external conflict—I think it’s just so important to know your character inside and out as much as possible before you start writing, because it’s amazing how discovering things about your character can really affect the plot, and vice versa. If you’re like me, there are things you will continue to discover about your character as you’re drafting, but it’s so important to understand why they’re doing what they’re doing and how they feel about it. I tend to find that it’s only when you understand your characters on this deeper level that they reveal even more of themselves to you. This is also what makes a character believable, what makes them feel fully-formed in the reader’s mind. The other extremely important thing that makes a character believable is giving them flaws. No one wants to read about a perfect person doing perfect things, never failing, never growing, never changing. It just doesn’t make for an interesting story. Even if a character is a perfectionist obsessed with doing everything perfect, digging deeper may reveal the dark past that has inspired these tendencies, the stains that continue to bleed into her current life—that’s where the story is. Not the perfect things the character tries to do, but why she’s doing them, and why she won’t be able to keep up the façade for much longer.

Love the cover art of The Wood. It looks dark and sinister. Did you have any say in the cover and title of your book? How important do you think they are?

As much as we try to not judge a book by its cover, I do think it’s very important that a cover convey everything the reader will find in your book in an eye-catching way—that is, after all, what’s going to make a reader curious enough to read the description of your book and/or the first page. I was so, so fortunate to get the cover of my dreams right off the bat. My editor sent me the concept, and the second I saw my cover, it took my breath away. Rich Deas, Feiwel and Friends’ creative director, came up with the perfect cover to convey the tone and atmosphere of THE WOOD in that single leaf, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that. Seeing this story become an actual book and flourish under such an amazing team has just been a total dream come true.

If you could go back in time and tell young Chelsea one thing, what would it be?

“I know things aren’t easy right now, little one. I know there are days when you feel like your whole world is crashing down around you. Like you’re alone in a limitless ocean, barely treading water. Hold on, keep breathing, because all of those dreams you’re praying for, the life you someday hope to live, it’s all going to come true. You are going to be blessed beyond your wildest dreams. You are going to be a published author, and you are going to be blessed with an amazing husband and a beautiful daughter. You are going to be living your best life, and it is going to be amazing.”

And this is definitely what I would tell anyone going through difficulties, especially as a teen or as an adolescent, since that can be such a hard time when you don’t have any control over your situation, whatever it may be, and when you can feel very lost or alone, especially as you are trying to discover who you are vs. who other people expect you to be. Just know that it does get better, and that if you work hard for it, you will be living your best, most amazing life. So keep your chin up, chase your dreams, and don’t look back. You’ve got this.

Where do you see your work going after the release of The Wood? Any other project we should look forward to?

I have a few secret projects I’m working on right now. One is a YA in a similar vein as THE WOOD, and the others are fun, new age groups and genres for me that I’m really excited to be working on. No news I can share yet, but I hope to be able to soon! 🙂

Thanks for having me!!


Chelsea Bobulski was born in Columbus, Ohio, and raised on Disney movies, Broadway musicals, and Buckeye pride. She graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in history, and promptly married her high school sweetheart. As a writer, she has a soft spot for characters with broken pasts, strange talents, and obstacles they must overcome for a brighter future. She now lives in Northwest Ohio with her husband, her daughter, and one very emotive German Shepherd/Lab mix. Her debut young adult novel, THE WOOD, will be published by Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan on August 1, 2017.

Find Chelsea

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads


Book Details:

Title: The Wood
Author: Chelsea Bobulski
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: August 01, 2017
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook

After her father goes missing in the woods that they protect, Winter tries to seek the truth in what happened, why the wood is changing, and what it all has to do with the arrival of a mysterious stranger in this thrilling YA debut.

When Winter’s dad goes missing during his nightly patrol of the wood, it falls to her to patrol the time portals and protect the travelers who slip through them. Winter can’t help but think there’s more to her dad’s disappearance than she’s being told.

She soon finds a young man traveling in the wood named Henry who knows more than he should. He believes if they can work together to find his missing parents, they could discover the truth about Winter’s dad.

The wood is poisoned, changing into something sinister—torturing travelers lost in it. Winter must put her trust in Henry in order to find the truth and those they’ve lost.

Bobulski’s eerie debut is filled with friendship, family, and the responsibilities we choose and those we do not.

Book Links

Amazon | B&N | BAM | Book DepositoryIndieBound | Goodreads | Publisher


What’s up for Grab?

  • Copy of The Wood by Chelsea Bobulski

The Rules:

  • Open to International where Book Depository Ships
  • There will be one (1) winner
  • Winner will be chosen and announced by rafflecopter
  • Winner will be contacted thru email & should response within 48 hours
  • Ends August 19th, 2017
  • Prize will be sent by the author

To enter fill out the form

Good Luck!!!

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2017 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each feature post or check out twitter and facebook using #CelebratingDebutantes2017.

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak (Author Interview and Giveaway)

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Today I’m joined on the blog by new author Carlie Sorosiak for a short interview about her debut contemporary novel, If Birds Fly Back. This fun novel introduced adorable characters, Linny and the nerdy boy Sebastian. As well as offers unique reading experience by adding snippets, quotations and excerpts from Sebastian’s favourite physics book.

Following the interview with Carlie is her author bio along with places where to find her online. Then there’s also the book description and where to buy copies of If Birds Fly Back. And if you are in the United States and you’d like the chance to win a hardcover copy of the book and bookmark, enter the rafflecopter form a bit further down in this post for a chance to win.

Here’s my interview with Carlie. Enjoy reading!

Interview with Carlie Sorosiak

Congratulations on your debut novel, If Birds Fly Back! My first question is about the extra clippings you add in the story. There are journal excerpts, screenplay excerpts and even quotations from a physics book in If Birds Fly Back. Had you always planned to write the book with those? Is there anything you wanted to accomplish by adding them?

Thank you so much! And actually, no—I hadn’t always planned to write a book that included those excerpts. They didn’t exist in earlier drafts of If Birds Fly Back, and funnily enough, weren’t included until the first round of edits with my publishers! The goal was to give the reader a better sense of the way Linny and Sebastian’s minds work, and I also had a lot of fun writing them.

If Birds Fly Back is written in dual perspectives of both male and female protagonists, giving readers a much-appreciated peek into both narratives. What was your approach to each character? Which was easier to write, Linny or Sebastian? Why?

Linny came first, way before Sebastian. I originally envisioned the story from completely her point of view, but as the narrative progressed, I fell more and more in love with Sebastian’s personality. Linny was much more quietly pensive, while Sebastian thought of everything in Technicolor. In a way, Linny is much more like me, so she was quite natural to write; but overall, I think Sebastian was easier: I wrote his sections so quickly. He seemed to have a mind of his own!

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in writing If Birds Fly Back?

I learned so much about astrophysics while writing my book, and I loved that! The research greatly expanded my understanding of the universe, and my place within it. I was most surprised to learn about the idea of the fourth dimension—and I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it!

Do you have any advice for writers hoping to get their books published?

Take advice from people you trust, and everyone else’s advice with a bucket of salt. Trusted beta readers are crucial!

If one of your characters could turn the tables on you and write a story based on your teenage years, what would the title of that book be? What would be the first line?

That’s such a difficult question—mostly because it takes me months to come up with a good title! It would probably be called Egghead, and the first line might read: “Sometimes being smart really sucks.”

Are you working on any project right now? What can we expect from you in the near future?

Yes! I just finished line edits for my second YA standalone novel, out in summer 2018. You can expect: more love, more family, and a little bit of magic.

Thanks so much Carlie!


Carlie Sorosiak grew up in North Carolina and holds two master’s degrees: one in English from Oxford University and another in creative writing and publishing from City University London. Her life goals include traveling to all seven continents and fostering many polydactyl cats. She currently splits her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, hoping to gain an accent like Madonna’s. Visit her online at www.carliesorosiak.com.

Find Carlie

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads


Book Details:

Title: If Birds Fly
Author: Carlie Sorosiak
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Pages: 448
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook

A sparkling debut about love, family, and the mysteries of the universe.

Linny has been fascinated by disappearances, ever since her sister Grace ran away in the middle of the night without saying goodbye.

Sebastian can tell you how many galaxies there are, and knows how much plutonium weighs. But the one thing he can’t figure out is the identity of his birth father.

They’ve never met, but Linny and Sebastian have one thing in common: an obsession with famous novelist and filmmaker Alvaro Herrera, who went missing three years ago and has just reappeared. As they learn more about the mystery of Alvaro, Linny and Sebastian uncover the answers they’ve been searching for.

With humor and heart, debut author Carlie Sorosiak weaves a story of finding people who leave and loving those who stay, perfect for fans of Jandy Nelson and Emery Lord.

Book Links

Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Goodreads | Publisher


What’s up for Grab?

    • Hardcover copy of If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak
    • If Birds Fly Back Bookmark

The Rules:

  • Open to US residents
  • There will be one (1) winner
  • Winner will be chosen and announced through rafflecopter
  • Winner will be contacted thru email & should response within 48 hours
  • Ends July 26th, 2017
  • Prizes will be sent by the author

To enter fill out the rafflecopter form

Good Luck!!!

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2017 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each feature post or check out twitter and facebook using #CelebratingDebutantes2017.

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: Soulmated by Shaila Patel (Author Interview and Giveaway)

Welcome to another feature for Celebrating Debutantes 2017. Today I’m joined on the blog by new author Shaila Patel to answer few questions about her debut novel, Soulmated. This book introduce a diverse cast of characters and a refreshing plot about people called empath who can sense and manipulate emotions.

Following the interview with Shaila is her bio along with places where to find her online. Then there’s also the book description and where to buy copies of Soulmated.

Also, don’t forget to check the giveaway at the bottom and enter the rafflecopter form for a chance to win fabulous a copy of Soulmated from Shaila.

Here’s my interview with Shaila. Enjoy reading!

Interview with Shaila Patel

Where did the idea for Soulmated come from? What are some ways the story has changed since you first came up with it?

I’d been thinking of how emotionally perceptive my mom was one day and thought that if there were such a thing as an EQ test (where the E stood for emotional and/or empathic intelligence), my mom would score through the roof. She’s always had this uncanny ability to read my feelings—and as a teenager, it had been highly annoying!
Naturally, my writer-mind imagined what it would be like if empaths (people who read emotions) really existed and what that must be like for two young people falling in love.
When I’d first come up with the idea, my focus had been on Liam and his mom (both empaths), but when Laxshmi, his non-empath love interest, came into play, I realized that my focus had been slightly off. Dating at that age is hard enough because as teenagers, we’re just learning how to read and understand body language in that context. So imagine being an empath and knowing how your date is feeling, but not knowing why. It would be quite frustrating not to know why your date felt awkward, embarrassed, hurt, or whatever. You’d be second guessing everything while you tried to fix it—if you didn’t have the courage to just come right out and ask, that is. Realizing this, it changed a lot of how I dealt with my two main characters in their scenes together. I just couldn’t pass up the goldmine of tension this created and made quite a few revisions. The story really became about them after that.

I love books that promotes diversity, and Soulmated has cross-cultural one. Could you tell us more about the Indian and Irish culture in Soulmated? What prompt you to write characters with different backgrounds?

Writing characters with different backgrounds wasn’t really a conscious decision. I’m Indian-American, so writing my heroine, Laxshmi, who looked like me and dealt with some of the same issues I dealt with while growing up seemed like a no-brainer. I still wanted to challenge myself and offer something different to readers. Making Liam Irish gave me a chance to stretch my writing skills and create an unexpected character.
Being born and raised in America, my brain pretty much splits cultural differences between East and West, and that’s where I decided to draw the line between how I portrayed my cultural aspects of the story. So as an example, most of my friends and I weren’t allowed to date, but for most teens who are American or Irish, dating is a pretty common thing. It changes how you talk about the subject with your parents, how you view relationships between boys and girls, and even how you interact with the opposite sex. For Laxshmi, balancing between the two cultures is a constant juggling act. For Liam, those difficulties don’t exactly exist. Since Liam and his parents are only in America to search for his empath soul mate, I chose to play off the differences between them by contrasting “typical” Western culture against hers. Much of the portrayal of his Irish-empath culture will be in later books when they visit Ireland. I’d touched a bit upon the Whelan’s cultural history in Book 1 and hope to delve deeper in subsequent books.

What kind of research went into crafting the Soulmated world? Did your background in medicine helps in your writing?

The largest bulk of the research went into learning Irish-English—its syntax, grammar, and slang. I went to Ireland twice for research for the series and location-scouting for Book 3, and I hope to go again someday soon! I tried to make Liam’s voice as authentic as possible, and even with the help of an Irish editor, I suspect it might not be enough for some readers and too much for others. It was a risk I had to take to be true to the story.
For Soulmated, my medical background doesn’t really factor in, but I can say that Liam’s mum Moira, a psychologist, may have benefited from it. She approaches most things very scientifically, and you could say that my background in the sciences helped me with that. I’m excited because Moira plays a greater role in that regard in Book 2!

If you can sense and manipulate another person’s emotions like Liam. Who would you manipulate and why?

My day job is at a pediatric office. If there were a way I could manipulate a child’s emotions and make them not so miserable when they’re sick, I’d certainly try! And while I’m making a list, I’d love to manipulate those haters in any long line who refuse to wait patiently and then take it out on the poor employee who couldn’t do anything about it. (That irritates me to no end!) I’m sure my list could grow longer the more I think about it. Lol!

For readers who are on the fence about reading Soulmated, what can you tell them about it that might help them decide?

For starters, I’d be honored if someone were considering buying my book, and as a reader myself, I know that certain sub-genres are immediately attractive while others may not be. As a story, Soulmated has to be categorized in order to be sold, and sometimes those categories don’t quite fit the book. If someone needed specifics to help them make a decision, I’d say Soulmated was a character-driven young-adult romance with paranormal elements that include empaths and psychics. It’s a (planned) four book series that will delve deeper into the empath culture as that becomes a bigger part of the plot. The series will also take place in three different countries: the United States, Ireland, and India. Hope that helps!

You’re working on the second book, but what else do you see yourself working on? Do you think you’ll stick with urban fantasy or branch out into something else?

Yes, I am working on book 2, but I’m also working on a contemporary adult romance using my pharmacy background. In that series, I tackle prescription drug abuse, criminal distribution, corruption amongst prescribers, and unethical pharmaceutical industry behavior. I’m quite excited about it, and I see myself working on that alongside with the rest of the Soulmated series for the foreseeable future.
As for future YA projects, an idea for a science-fiction romance/thriller is marinating in my head at the moment. Who knows where my imagination will take that!

Thanks so much Shaila!


  As an unabashed lover of all things happily-ever-after, Shaila Patel’s younger self would finish reading her copy of Cinderella and fling it across the room because it didn’t mention what happened next. Now she writes from her home in the Carolinas and dreams up all sorts of stories with epilogues. A member of the Romance Writers of America, she’s a pharmacist by training, a medical office manager by day, and a writer by night. Soulmated is her debut novel and the winner of the 2015 Chanticleer Book Reviews Paranormal Awards for Young Adult. She loves books, craft beer, tea, and cozy window seats—but she’ll read anywhere. You might find her sneaking in a few paragraphs at a red light or online gushing about her favorite books.

Find Shaila

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Book Details:

Title: Soulmated
Author: Shaila Patel
Publisher: Month 9 Books
Publication Date: January 24, 2017
Pages: 340
Format: Paperback, eBook

All eighteen-year-old Liam Whelan—an Irish royal empath—wants to do is stop the frustrating search for the elusive girl destined to be his soul mate. The rare union will cement his family’s standing in empath politics and give the couple legendary powers, painting a bullseye on Liam’s back—and hers.

All Indian-American Laxshmi Kapadia wants is to free herself from her traditional mother’s ultimatum: graduate from high school early and go to medical school, or have her marriage arranged. Neither allow her to pursue her dreams of a career in dancing or of falling in love.

When Liam moves in next door to Laxshmi—a non-empath, he’s immediately drawn to the purity of her emotions, and she sees in this charming Irish boy a future with the freedom to follow her heart. But Liam’s father will never consent if she’s not The One. And Laxshmi’s mom won’t even let her talk to their handsome new neighbor. But hiding their relationship can’t keep them from becoming targets of dark and ancient group determined to destroy the soulmated.

What will these two risk to choose their own fate?

Book Links

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Share Your Shelf – Kayla of The Bookish Owl

Share Your Shelf

Share Your Shelf feature is back on the blog and today we have Kayla of The Bookish Owl to share her bookshelves with her collections of books and to answer bookshelves related questions.

For those who haven’t met Kayla yet she is the lovely owner of The Bookish Owl Blog. She used to host her blog under the free wordpress.com but now she got her own domain, thebookishowl.net, which I recommend for everyone to visit. She got this clean and sleek design that I like because it is so easy to navigate. Very user friendly. And her reviews are a must read.

I first met Kayla during the Pinoy Book Tour’s Christmas Party last year. I don’t really get the chance to chat much with her that day since I’m busy as one of the organizer. Then recently I got the chance to chat with her at NBS Bloggers’ Forum with Becca Fitzpatrick. Kayla is really nice, bubbly and very enthusiastic. There’s no dull moment with her. Add her own unique get-up every time I see her, she’ll surely leave a mark. I’m not good with names but when Dianne first introduced her during our Christmas Party I easily remember her. There’s something vibrant about her. Anyway, before I rant so much, I’ll just let Kayla sway you away with her own words as she answer all bookshelves related questions below.

1. How do you organized your books? Do you have a shelving obsession? Like arranging them in alphabetical order of author/titles, or by genre, height, or using a color coded system.

I used to have an organization method for my books but then I ran out of shelf space. As of this moment, I buy books and I pile them up on either my bookshelf or my nightstand. It’s not the best shelving method as there’s always a possibility that the books will fall on your feet, but it creates that neat disorganized look so I’m alright with that. To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of very neat shipshape shelves.

2.  If you can pick just one book from your shelves to stay with you, what book are you going to keep? why?

Oh my goodness, this is so hard! I’ll probably pick The Book Thief by Markus Zusak because it had a huge impact on me when I first read it. The Book Thief is a brilliant piece of work because every time I reread it (3 times so far) I come away with a new piece of meaning or another message. It doesn’t feel as if you’re rereading a book because with the beautiful writing and the fantastic story, you wouldn’t get tired of it. I know I haven’t.
The Book Thief is beautiful and I love it to pieces.

3. What was the first book you ever bought with your own money and does it reside on your shelves now?

I honestly can’t remember. I always use either my ATM or my credit card whenever I’m purchasing books so it feels as if it’s my money but in reality, it’s my mom’s.

4. Do you have any quirks in buying, shelving or stacking your books? (I know someone who actually buy two copies of books, one for reading and one for collection purposes.)

My books need to be stacked in the order of which I bought them. For example, all the books I bought on Tuesday are piled together, the books from Wednesday’s spree are in another stack and so on and so forth.
Ever since I started book blogging, I’ve been very picky about covers, especially with classics. I hate the Signet and Enriched classics editions as the covers are very blah and dull. Even if they’re expensive, I will always buy the new Penguin covers.

5. Do you have different bookshelves for different books (for example, I have all my signed books on one shelf, my favorite titles on a different shelves, and more shelves for my TBR pile) or systems of separating them/spreading them out?

Not really a shelf but sections on my shelf since my bookshelf has dividers on it. All my classics share two sections, all my review copies are in the bottom section and all my non-fiction books are in the middle section. I used to have my TBR pile on my nightstand but as I stated earlier, I ran out of shelf space so I now utilize my bedside table as another bookshelf.

Kayla's Bookshelves

6. Do you keep book(s) on your shelf that you don’t have plan on reading? Like maybe keeping them for the sole purpose of impressing others?

Nope. I loathe the idea of using my love of reading as a way to impress others. It’s pretentious, pompous and I just hate it. I’m not judging others if they do this but I don’t think I will ever do it.

7. Are there any guilty pleasures on your bookshelves you would be embarrassed people might see, or do you have a hidden shelf for those somewhere else?

No. I think I’m very immature when it comes to books because I can’t read NA or Erotica. Sex scenes are alright with me but when it turns graphic and detailed, I find myself cringing. It’s weird because violence is fine with me (one of my favorite books is A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess) but vivid sex is another story. I guess it’s due to the fact that I come from a very religious family and have been studying in a Catholic school all my life.
Environment really does play a major part in a person’s reading habits.

8. What was the last book that you added to your bookshelves?

*Books. I received for review World War I by Robert Freeman and The French Revolution by the same author. Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen. My last purchase included Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier, The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe and Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers.
My 10th StS will be out soon!

9. Are there any books that you wish you had on your bookshelves but don’t have it now?

All my Geronimo Stilton and The Amazing Days of Abby Hayes are now in the attic because of the lack of shelf space.

10. If someone will peruse your bookshelves, what do you think they would think of your reading taste, or what would you like them to think?

Mostly they’d find YA, Historical Fiction, Classics and Middle-grade. A few adult fiction and fantasy and a good amount of non-fiction. Perhaps they’d think that I have a weird taste in books, haha. 

Thanks for having me on your blog! I enjoyed answering your questions! It really made me reevaluate my shelving methods, lol.

Kayla's Bookshelves1

Find Kayla

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Thank you so much Kayla for sharing to all of us your bookshelves and for taking time answering all the questions above. Seems you got a nice collections of classic on your shelves! I wish every reader I know still read them like you do. It’s nice that between middle-grade and YA books you got to mixed some classics on your reading list. I hope you like Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, it’s one of the best book I’ve read. As for The Book Thief, I couldn’t agree more with what you said about the book. I think I need to do a reread soon.

Thanks again Kayla for letting us see your bookshelves and books!