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Celebrating Debutantes 2017: Wait for Me by Caroline Leech (Author Interview and Giveaway)

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Today I’m joined on the blog by new author Caroline Leech to answer few questions about her debut historical romance novel, Wait for Me. This novel is set during World War II and shows how war affects lives and humanity.

Following the interview with Caroline 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 Wait for Me. And for a chance to own a personalized signed copy of the book, don’t forget to check the bottom of the post and enter the rafflecopter form for the special giveaway.

Here’s my interview with Caroline. Enjoy reading!

Interview with Caroline Leech

The road to publication for a first-time author is not necessarily a straightforward one – did you have to face rejection before securing a publishing deal? What other frustrations did you have to overcome in writing and publishing Wait For Me?
I was actually very lucky. I’m not one of those authors who received dozens of rejections before they were published, but that was only because I was simply too scared to send my story out to any agents or editors. Instead, I submitted it for critique at Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) conferences, and I entered it into a couple of Romance Writers of America contests. I won the YA categories of both of those, and was so fortunate that one of the contest judges loved my first 20 pages enough to ask for the full manuscript. Once I sent her the full, it moved very fast. She took it to her acquisitions board two weeks later and had sent me a deal offer for two books by the end of that day. It was completely surreal, and still is at times. My editor is fantastic, and we are already most of the way through my second book’s editing process.
Of course, getting my deal through a contest meant that I didn’t have an agent to help me decipher all the complicated figures and jargon in the deal offer. But some kind author friends recommended me to their agents, and they both offered me representation. It was a hard decision between them, but I am still thrilled that I chose to sign with New Leaf Literary and Media in New York. After all, my agent, Joanna Volpe, also looks after amazing authors like Veronica Roth, Leigh Bardugo and Holly Black.
That all might sound easy and quick, but I should say that the deal came almost five years after I first wrote that manuscript, and more than seven years after I first started writing fiction. So it wasn’t exactly an overnight success.

Wait For Me is classified as historical young adult fiction. What drew you to that genre?
Would “I have three teenage children” be a good enough answer? Probably not, but that’s certainly where it began. When my older daughter started in middle school, they were given reading time each day in English class, so I started reading the teen novels that she was borrowing from her teacher’s shelves or the school library. I think SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELLING PANTS was the first one. And then I discovered TWILIGHT. When I read Stephanie Meyer’s story of how she wrote that first book while she watched her kid’s swim lessons, I thought, “I could do that”. So, I tried to carve out a little time each week away from the family to write something, anything. And when I decided to take an online creative writing course, it felt natural that it was one which would teach me how to write for children and young adults. Since then, I’ve read YA almost exclusively. I do read adult fiction if someone recommends a great book to me, but I’m quite happy where I am. Young adult fiction can be about doing something for the very first time, about shunning childhood while still being fearful of becoming an adult. It’s a thrilling balance beam to walk along.

Why 1945? And what kind of research you’ve done for the story and characters to be more authentic on the period?
The main reason I wanted to write a story set in World War Two is that I’ve grown up with stories about the war told to me by my parents, aunts and uncles who lived through it. My mother was a child evacuee from London, sent with her younger sister to a farm in the countryside on the day that war broke out. My father was also an evacuee from Edinburgh, but in 1944, he was old enough to join the army at age 18, and he served during the last year of the war and for several years after. His four older brothers had already gone off to fight. Two went to North Africa and fought in the desert campaign, and two went over in the D-Day invasion of northern France. Of course, there have been hundreds of books written about WW2, about the military strategy, the major battles, and of course the horrendous events of the Holocaust, but those stories feel like they’re not mine to tell. Being Scottish, I was drawn to find and share voices from my own country, from individuals—and particularly young women—far from the battlefields, who were still dealing with how the war was changing their lives, their loves, their education and their families.
And why 1945 particularly? I was fascinated by the idea that while we know now that the war was almost over by February of that year, the people alive at the time had no way of knowing that. As far as they were concerned, the war might still have years left to run, so they had to carry on making do with what they had. So, I decided to focus on a small story, something happening within a tiny village, but where the effects of the war were still profound.
For authenticity and background, as well as facts, authors like me researching modern historical periods are very fortunate not only to have books, but also to have such a wealth of memories available on the internet. For example, the BBC did a project a few years ago, called WW2 People’s War, where anyone could get in touch with their local BBC station and share their memories, whether they were serving in the military or on the home front. It all makes fascinating and distracting reading, even if many of the stories I read had nothing directly to do with the subject of the book I was supposed to be researching.

What do you hope readers will come away with from Wait For Me?
I hope they will come away with a smile, but also, with some sort of understanding that it is very easy to judge and hate another person because of their nationality, their race or their religion, especially when you are told by your country’s government that they are your enemy. But once you get to know them as individuals, perhaps they might not be very different from you. This story might be about the Second World War, but keeping hold of this understanding is just as important for us right now as it was then.

If Lorna 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?
Oh, I don’t think Lorna would be the slightest bit interested in writing about my life. She’d probably think I was very boring, and also very spoiled. Any child of a farmer grows up with a list of chores to do around the farm each day, even before going to school. But I was brought up a city girl, and I only had to be awake enough to eat breakfast and get into my school uniform, not feed the chickens, milk the cows, and make the porridge as she would have had to do. I also didn’t have to deal with the rationing of food, clothing and fuel, and I didn’t ever jump when the postman knocked, in case he carried a much-dreaded telegram with news of a soldier brother. I grew up with a very easy life in comparison.

Where do you see your writing will go after Wait For Me? Do you think you’ll stick with this type of genre or branch out into something else?
I have a second book coming out next year with Harper Teen. It’s another World War Two book, also set in Scotland, though it’s not a sequel to WAIT FOR ME. It’s about another girl trying to work out how to make her own contribution to the war effort. I’ll be announcing more details of the title and the storyline quite soon in my newsletter, so I’d love your readers to visit my website at and sign up to receive all the news as soon as it’s announced!

Thanks so much Caroline!


Caroline Leech is a Scottish writer now living in Texas. She writes YA historical fiction, and her first novel, WAIT FOR ME, won SCBWI’s Joan Lowery Nixon Award in 2014, as well as the YA categories of both the RWA Emily and Lone Star contests, and was published by Harper Teen in early 2017. Her second novel will be published in May 2018. During Caroline’s previous career in performing arts public relations in the UK, she edited a glossy photographic book, Welsh National Opera – the first sixty years. Caroline lives in in Houston with her husband and three teenage children. You can find her online at

Find Caroline

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Book Details:

Title: Wait for Me
Author: Caroline Leech
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Audio

The perfect blend of sweet romance and historical flavor, Wait for Me, from debut author Caroline Leech, brings a fresh new voice to a much-loved genre.

It’s 1945, and Lorna Anderson’s life on her father’s farm in Scotland consists of endless chores and rationing, knitting Red Cross scarves, and praying for an Allied victory. So when Paul Vogel, a German prisoner of war, is assigned as the new farmhand, Lorna is appalled. How can she possibly work alongside the enemy when her own brothers are risking their lives for their country?

But as Lorna reluctantly spends time with Paul, she feels herself changing. The more she learns about him—from his time in the war to his life back home in Germany—the more she sees the boy behind the soldier. Soon Lorna is battling her own warring heart. Loving Paul could mean losing her family and the life she’s always known. With tensions rising all around them, Lorna must decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice before the end of the war determines their fate.

Book Links

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What’s up for Grab?

    • Personalized US hardback edition of Wait for Me by Caroline Leech

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 18th, 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.

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Celebrating Debutantes 2017: The Takedown by Corrie Wang (Author Interview and Giveaway)

Happy Friday everyone!

Today I am interviewing new author Corrie Wang on the blog as part of Celebrating Debuntantes 2017 blog event. Corrie answers few questions about her debut novel, The Takedown, and about social medias and Internet.

Following the interview with Corrie 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 The Takedown. And for a chance to own a signed copy of the book and other fabulous swags, check the bottom of the post for the special giveaway and enter the rafflecopter form.

Here’s my interview with Corrie. Enjoy reading!

Interview with Corrie Wang

Congratulations on The Takedown! What has been the most surreal thing about seeing The Takedown as published story? What’s the best part and the oddest?

Thank you! Everything about seeing The Takedown published has been surreal!! But right at the top was the first time I signed copies for two younger readers. It was such a magical experience. Granted, I signed on the wrong page and wrote inappropriately long inscriptions, but we were giggling and high fiving and I could have lived in those five minutes forever.

And the best and oddest parts are one and the same.

When I lived in NYC and was a writer but not yet an author, I attended lots of YA panel discussions and book events. After the panels were over all the authors would go off into this little room and I wanted into that room SO bad. What were they talking about? What writerly gossip were they hearing that I couldn’t? Were there snacks?

The first time I stepped into the green room at YALL WEST this past April, it just felt so tingly and incredible and like holy cow, I made it here. And look! That’s an author I love… drinking coffee. I’m pretty sure I’ll never get used to it. That I’ll always be at author events or parties thinking A. This is so frickin’ cool. And B. Who let me in?

PS there are snacks. And they’re baller.

The Takedown deals with some sensitive themes such as slut shaming, and bad effect of Internet or social media. As a writer, do you feel a sense of responsibility in putting this into the story? If so, how do you deal with this?

I think slut shaming and dealing with unwanted male attention is such a common issue for teens, and women in general, that it should naturally be showing up in more stories. I didn’t go into The Takedown wanting to write an “issue book” – where characters encounter or deal with * blank * issue and then need to persevere. I just wanted to write a page turning thriller with realistic characters.

I used to manage this massive nightclub on the Lower East Side in NYC. One weekend we hosted an after-prom party, and monitoring it as a GM, YA author, and mama bear was life changing. I write upper YA so this was exactly my audience, and my first thought was that we as authors were getting it SO wrong. The level of sexual, tech, and logistical savviness emanating from those kids was light years more advanced than what YA fiction (at that time) gave them credit for. My second thought was that for a party without alcohol there was SO MUCH VOMIT.

I love that Kyle talks about diva cups, and not wanting to be married until she’s at least 38, and using home electrolysis to get the hair off her toes. The conversations I have with my girlfriends about sex/life/career are so different than most of what I see reflected in standard media that this is the responsibility I feel. I want to write us out of these boy-centric, we’re either cast as nerds or skanks, good girls or mean girls, pigeonholes that we’ve been crammed into.

The Takedown shows how Internet can easily ruin’s someone’s life. As an author, what is your stand on this?

Ahh the internet. I use it. I Google the crap out of everything. I also wish it didn’t exist so I could go back to not clutching and swiping at this device that rarely leaves my hand throughout the day. Do I see how it is wonderful and begets important social movements not to mention connects us with peeps round the world we might otherwise not know?


Do I see how it equally makes us armchair activists who no longer see their friends in real life?


Do I think we can be crushed by one poorly worded or ignorant tweet?

One hundred percent.

Do I also think at some point someone will do a major hack and we’ll all be forced to survive without our timewasting crutches?

Any day now.

What were some of the pleasant surprises you experienced from using social media as an author?

Early on, unbeknownst to me, my editor gave Sara Shepard an ARC of the book and she tweeted at me that she was reading and loving it. It was totally out of the blue and launched a fantastic friendship. I still sometimes fangirl when we’re email back and forth thinking: I’m writing to m*therf*cking SARA SHEPARD!! (And now I’ve made that weird).

And honestly, even more than social media, EMAIL has been the biggest treat of my debut year. Before the book launched a few authors wrote to tell me how much they liked the novel and I’ve struck up some really wonderful friendships. Britta Lundin’s Ship It is coming out with Disney FreeForm in 2018 and she will be a FFFL (Fast Friend For Life, y’all). Follow this girl now, ’cause there will be a line around the block to connect with her once Ship It hits shelves.

And on a not name dropping note, I love, love, LOVE the bookstagram shots that readers have been posting. I own a food truck in Charleston, SC. A typical day involves sweating my butt off in a tiny trailer slinging rice bowls. But then ding! Someone in Pennsylvania tags me with a gorgeous shot of my novel. I adore it that my little book is having its own wild life while I’m, like, washing rice.

Do you have a favourite scene to write in The Takedown? What scene are you most proud of, and why?

I’ve read The Takedown countless times by now, and the final scene with Kyle and her mom still makes me tear up. I’m very close with my mama, so mother daughter relationships get me, period. But family is TRICKY. Kyle and her mom used to be very close, but as she’s grown up they’ve sorta stopped liking as much. So I loved writing that penultimate chapter where they let the years of grudges and slights slip away for a few minutes, and Kyle’s mama reaffirms that even though she might not always like Kyle, she loves her more than anything and always, always will. It was important to me that the book wrapped there for Kyle. Not with the boy. Not with the friends. But with her mom. Of all Kyle’s relationships, that’s the one that will develop and change, strengthen and become more complex, and also carry through for the rest of her life.

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?

Mac would probably write it, and the title would be Flakita en un gran mundo.

First sentence, Once there was, like, a girl who thought she could change the world by writing op eds to her local newspaper.

Or Sharma would write it and the title would be: Corrie

First sentence: Girl went to high school, #graduated, #thankgoodnessthatsover.

Where do you see your writing will go after The Takedown? Do you think you’ll stick writing for young adult or branch out into something else?

Oh I definitely have more YA stories to tell. I’m currently polishing up a draft that’s a little further forward in time than The Takedown and explores gender and relationships but with lots of bad assery. It’s gonna be the bomb! (FYI people don’t say that anymore, Corrie). But it will be. After that, I have a middle grade that I’ve been fast and furiously jotting down between revisions and drafts and early food truck mornings. I CANNOT WAIT for y’all to get your hands on it. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had writing. So yes, lots, lots more to come.

Thanks so much Corrie!


Corrie Wang is passionate about libraries, road trips, and eating all the food, everywhere. Corrie grew up in Buffalo but spent her formative years in Brooklyn, where one of her last paying gigs was managing a three-story nightclub on the Lower East Side. ​

She currently lives in Charleston, where she and her husband Shuai Wang own and operate Short Grain food truck— named one of Bon Appetit magazine’s Top 50 Best New Restaurants 2016 and a 2017 semi-finalist for a James Beard Award. The Takedown is Corrie’s debut novel.​

And fyi it’s pronounced Wong y’all.”

Find Corrie

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads


Book Details:

Title: The Takedown
Author: Corrie Wang
Publisher: Freeform
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover

Kyla Cheng doesn’t expect you to like her. For the record, she doesn’t need you to. On track to be valedictorian, she’s president of her community club and a debate team champ, plus the yummy Mackenzie Rodriguez has firmly attached himself to her hip. She and her three high-powered best friends don’t just own their senior year at their exclusive Park Slope, Brooklyn high school, they practically define the hated species Popular. Kyla’s even managed to make it through high school completely unscathed.

Until someone takes issue with this arrangement.

A week before college applications are due, a video of Kyla “doing it” with her crush-worthy English teacher is uploaded to her school’s website. It instantly goes viral, but here’s the thing: it’s not Kyla in the video. With time running out, Kyla delves into a world of hackers, haters and creepy stalkers in an attempt to do the impossible—take something off the internet—all while dealing with the fallout from her own karmic footprint.

Book Links

Amazon | B&N | BAM | BookDepo | IndieBound | Goodreads | Publisher


What’s up for Grab?

  • Copy of The Takedown by Corrie Wang
  • Temporary tattoos and
  • a few “fck them small betches” Takedown bracelets

The Rules:

  • Open US
  • 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 14th, 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: Under Locker and Key by Allison K. Hymas (Author Interview and Giveaway)

Welcome to another feature for Celebrating Debutantes 2017. Today I’m joined on the blog by new author Allison K. Hymas to answer few questions about her debut middle grade novel, Under Locker and Key. This book is like mission impossible for middle grade readers.  It’s fun, clever and captivating story for everyone to enjoy.

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

Also, don’t forget to check the giveaway at the bottom and enter the rafflecopter form for a chance to win fabulous prizes from Allison.

Here’s my interview with Allison. Enjoy reading!

Interview with Allison Hymas

Can you tell us a bit about your journey with Under Locker and Key? Did you know right away that this was your story, or did you discover it as you write? And how was the publication process goes for you?

Under Locker and Key had a strange process for me, since it was a book that I didn’t take seriously for a long time. I first started it as part of an assignment for a college class on writing for children and adolescents. I had to develop a middle grade character, and that’s when I first met Jeremy. I liked him so much I wrote a short story about him, and I liked that story so much (and other people did too) that I turned that short story into a novel.

I worked on Under Locker and Key in my spare time as a backburner project when my other writing projects got too hard or I just needed a break. It was fun and easy for me to write; it fit my voice and style well. But I didn’t think it would go anywhere. Then, one of my teachers encouraged me to workshop it in his class, and that’s when I started to think that maybe I could publish this silly, fun story I’d just worked on for fun.

So I entered the book into a state-wide writing contest. I lost. In response, I queried agents like crazy out of determination and a little bit of spite. A couple agents responded, I chose the one I liked best, and she helped me find a publisher. It’s still strange, but not unwelcome, that the silly book I wrote but didn’t expect to publish ended up becoming my debut novel.

Why middle-grade? Do you think it is easier to write for younger audience than YA and adults?

Under Locker and Key was the first MG novel I’ve even drafted. As for why middle grade, I’m still not sure why I enjoy writing it so much. I suppose I like the fun I can have with this age group. Middle schoolers are at the beginning of a transition; they’re not yet teens, but they’re not elementary school children either. They’re losing their childhood identity and gaining a new one, which means that some, like Jeremy, can try to invent themselves as whatever they want. That means I can write adventures with heroes and villains as the kids try to decide who they’re going to be but don’t yet have the self-consciousness of teens about how that’s all going to work for them.

I don’t know if it’s easier to write for a younger audience, but I know it works well for me. I like humor and adventure, and Jeremy’s, a middle grade voice, comes easily to me.

What was one of the most surprising things you’ve learned in writing Under Locker and Key? Are there any fun things you discover during your research?

I’ve learned a lot about how to break the law while writing about Jeremy’s adventures. I have not picked a real lock (yet) or cracked the combination on a locker (yet), but I know how to do all these things in theory. I learned is that it’s not much like the movies. Picking locks takes a long time, and figuring out a locker combination takes quite a bit of patience and luck. You can climb through an air duct but they’re cramped, dark, and dirty. I’ve also been learning a lot about real-life hacking for later books.

However, my favorite thing that I’ve learned is how to lie convincingly and how to recognize a liar. Too much eye contact or not enough eye contact, touching the nose and near the mouth…clues like those. I can actually use this research in my life!

Do you have a favourite scene to write? And what scene are you most proud of, and why?

My favorite scene to write was the climax. I won’t give spoilers here, but I loved the way the story came together at the end in a nice, dare-I-say-clever solution.

But the scene I’m proudest of is the scene in the band room, when Jeremy is hiding from Becca. Some writers have to push their characters into trouble. Not me—Jeremy gets himself in trouble and I go crazy trying to figure out how to haul him out of the fire yet again. This scene gave me so much grief because I couldn’t figure out how to realistically resolve it for the longest time, but in the end, it worked out and because it was tricky, it turned out better than I expected with more suspense.

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

Oh, my. That’s a scary thought. I was pretty energetic and got into some trouble as a young child, but by the time I was Jeremy’s age I had mellowed out and was the shy, quiet girl in class who liked to read and write. I suppose the title would be something like Born to Be Mild and the first line would be, “See that girl reading over there? She has some stories to tell, some of them true.”

Are you working on other stories as of the moment? Could you tell us about it?

I’m working on a couple other stories. One is a sequel to Under Locker and Key, and the other is a YA science fiction about a boy who goes into other people’s dreams and learns that a girl in his town is in danger.

Thank you!

Thanks so much Allison!


As a middle schooler, Allison K. Hymas was a law-abiding citizen (except for the occasional offense of reading under her desk when she should have been listening). She now holds an MFA from Brigham Young University and currently lives in Utah. Under Locker and Key is her first novel. Allison is hard at work writing Jeremy Wilderson’s further adventures.

Find Allison

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads


Book Details:

Title: Under Locker and Key
Author: Allison K. Hymas
Publisher: Alladin
Publication Date: April 18, 2017
Pages: 256
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook

Eleven-year-old Jeremy Wilderson teams up with his rival crime fighter to stop the stealing spree that’s wreaking havoc on Scottsville Middle School.

Jeremy Wilderson is not a thief. In fact, he is his middle school’s one and only retrieval specialist. Confiscated cell phones, stolen lunch money—he’ll discretely retrieve it before the last bell rings. Business is good, and if it weren’t for the meddling of preteen private investigator Becca Mills, he’d be happier than a gym teacher on dodgeball day.

But a new job shatters his comfortable lifestyle. Now, thanks to Jeremy, the master key to the schools’ lockers is in the hands of an aspiring crime kingpin who doesn’t exactly have Jeremy’s strong moral character. Soon not even combination locks can protect the students’ textbooks and jackets. Retrieving the key is too big a job for one crime fighter, and only one person wants the key returned as much as Jeremy does: Becca Mills.

Lockers are being robbed, the teachers are looking for the culprit, and the only person Jeremy can turn to is the girl who most wants to see him in the principal’s office. Will Jeremy be able to trust Becca enough to get the key back in the right hands? Or could he end up in detention until the end of high school instead?

Book Links

Book Page | Amazon | B&N | BAM | IndieBound | Goodreads


What’s up for Grab?

  • Signed copy of Under Locker and Key by Allison K. Hymas
  • Under Locker and Key Bookmark
  • Retrieval Specialist” pair of sunglasses 

The Rules:

  • Open International
  • 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 12th, 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: It Started With Goodbye by Christina June (Movie Cast + Giveaway)

Happy Monday everyone!

I am thrilled to have new author Christina June here on the blog today as part of Celebrating Debutantes 2017 event. Christina will be sharing to us her casting pick for her debut contemporary novel, It Started with Goodbye. This book is a meaningful story that explores the complexities of different kind of relationships, from family, friends and love. And if you are the one who like Cinderella plot line this book is definitely for you.

To know more about Christina and It Started with Goodbye. Check the author’s bio and book’s description that follows after the guest post. There are also links where you can catch up with the author or where to buy copies of the book.

Also, don’t forget to check the giveaway at the bottom of this post and enter the rafflecopter form for a chance to win a copy of the It Started with Goodbye. Open to everyone.

It Started with Goodbye Movie Cast

Tatum – Bailee Madison


Tatum – Hailee Steinfeld

Belén – Eva Longoria

Blanche – Rita Moreno

Ashlyn – Peyton List

Tilly – Isabela Moner

Abby – Katherine Langford

Ken – Anderson Cooper


Christina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become—whether it’s her students or her characters. Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, eats too many cupcakes, and hopes to one day be bicoastal—the east coast of the U.S. and the east coast of Scotland. She lives just outside Washington, D.C. with her husband and daughter. Christina’s debut, IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE, releases May 9, 2017. A companion novel, EVERYWHERE YOU WANT TO BE, will be published in 2018.

Find Christina

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads


Book Details:

Title: It Started with Goodbye
Author: Christina June
Publisher: Blink/HarperCollins
Publication Date: May 09, 2017
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback, eBook

Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night (which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client). When Tatum discovers she’s not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela-slash-fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way.

A modern play on the Cinderella story arc, Christina June’s IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE shows us that sometimes going after what you want means breaking the rules.

Book Links

Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Goodreads


What’s up for Grab?

  • Copy of It Started with Goodbye by Christina June

The Rules:

  • Open to everyone where Book Depository ships
  • There will be one (1) lucky winner
  • Winner will be chosen and announced by rafflecopter
  • Winner will be contacted thru email & should response within 48 hours
  • Ends July 10th, 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: Zenn Diagram by Wendy Brant (Playlist + Giveaway)

Happy weekend everyone!

I’m thrilled to have wonderful author Wendy Brant today on the blog as part of Celebrating Debutantes 2017 event. She will be sharing a playlist that she made for her debut contemporary novel Zenn Diagram. I’ve read the book few weeks ago and it was so much fun. I finished it in one sitting. Something to pick up if you want a light read or just want to swoon.

Following the playlist are some information about the author, Wendy Brant along with places where to find her online, as well as the book‘s description and where to get copies of Zenn Diagram. So don’t forget to order a copy of this fun and unique book.

Also, there’s a giveaway at the bottom of the post for a chance to win a copy of  the book and a lot of swags such as bookmark and sticker from the author. Just enter the rafflecopter form below to be enter.

Here’s Wendy with Zenn Diagram Playlist. Happy listening!

Zenn Diagram Playlist

While I don’t normally listen to music while I write (I generally like things pretty quiet), I am still inspired by music. I like to imagine certain songs playing during certain scenes in the book, like a soundtrack to a movie. So… here are some songs that I can imagine being in the movie version of Zenn Diagram.

Heavy in your Arms by Florence and the Machine
The lyrics of this song talk about love being “heavy” – maybe because of mental illness or emotional baggage – perhaps too heavy for some people to carry. Eva’s “gift” often feels like more of a curse weighing her down. How heavily she feels everyone’s pain can make her a “heavy” person to love. And Zenn’s baggage makes him a bit heavy as well.

Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked by Cage the Elephant
I picture this being the song playing on homecoming night while Zenn paints Eva’s van. The lyrics talk about the burden of not having enough money, which Zenn deals with every day:

There ain’t no rest for the wicked
Money don’t grow on trees
I got bills to pay, I got mouths to feed
There ain’t nothing in this world for free

I Want to Hold Your Hand (The Beatles), cover by Allison Brustofski
This one is a bit obvious, but all Eva wants to do is just be close to someone, to hold someone’s hand. Sometimes even the most simple, innocent gestures can be the most intimate.

Unsteady by X Ambassadors
When I first heard this song I thought it was about a romantic relationship, but it’s actually about a relationship with parents. Zenn’s relationship with his parents is strained at best, but he knows that they both are dealing with their own history and struggles.

Mother, I know
That you’re tired of being alone
Dad I know you’re trying
To fight when you feel like flying

Plus, the whole repetition of “Hold, hold on to me” speaks to Eva’s inability to touch, and how it makes her yearn for it, and her relationship with Zenn makes them both feel steadier. I picture this one playing when they have their first date at the park, when Zenn tells Eva more about his childhood.

Roll Away Your Stone by Mumford & Sons
I was inspired to write Zenn Diagram when I watched teenagers struggle to be vulnerable and reveal their true selves to their peers … and to themselves. Being vulnerable is difficult, even for adults, but I think it’s the only way to ever really know and understand another person.

Roll away your stone I will roll away mine
Together we can see what we will find
Don’t leave me alone at this time
For I am afraid of what I will discover inside

Beautiful Thing by Grace VanderWaal
I know this song is technically about a sister-sister relationship, but I just love the idea that people can bring out the best in each other, making the “weight of the world feel like a feather”.

Mess is Mine by Vance Joy
In a relationship, people often take on a bit of the other person’s mess. Both Eva and Zenn certainly do. But sharing someone’s burdens can be a beautiful thing.

Hold on, darling
This body is yours, this body is yours and mine
Well hold on, my darling
This mess was yours, now your mess is mine

Hello My Old Heart by The Oh Hellos
I picture this song playing the first time Eva and Zenn “have tea”.

Until meeting Zenn, Eva has made the conscious choice to isolate herself from others, physically and emotionally, indefinitely:

Hello my old heart, How have you been?
How is it, being locked away?
Well don’t you worry, In there, you’re safe
And it’s true, you’ll never beat
But you’ll never break

They’ve both been guarding their hearts for a long time:

And every day I add another stone
To the walls I built around you
To keep you safe

But in the end, both Eva and Zenn learn to risk their “old hearts”

Nothing lasts forever
Some things aren’t meant to be
But you’ll never find the answer
Until you set your old heart free

Your Body is a Wonderland by John Mayer
This might be one of the sexiest songs ever. I think about how freeing it must be for Eva to be able to touch and explore the “wonderland” of Zenn, without fractals getting in the way.

Stubborn Love by The Lumineers
By the end of the story, Eva realizes that learning about other people’s burdens is a privilege, not a curse, something to be embraced, not avoided. I love the Lumineers, and this line of the song is everything:

It’s better to feel pain, than nothing at all
The opposite of love’s indifference
So pay attention now

Happy listening!



At age ten, Wendy Brant got her first taste of writing success when she won her school’s Young Authors contest. She went on to study journalism at Northwestern University, completed the Publishing Institute program at the University of Denver, and continued to write adult fiction (albeit unpublished) for 25 years while working and being a mom. But when she started reading the same books as her kids, her attention and passion shifted to Young Adult fiction. Now she likes to write about isolated teenagers who somehow find a way to connect with others, and she’s also a sucker for a little romance.

Wendy lives in ​West Dundee, the best neighborhood in America (as crowned by Good Morning America in 2010) with her husband​, two kids, and ​a couple of guinea pigs​.

Find Wendy

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads


Book Details:

Title: Zenn Diagram
Author: Wendy Brannt
Publisher: KCP Loft/Kids Can Press
Publication Date: April 04, 2017
Pages: 328
Format: Hardcover, eBook

Eva Walker is a seventeen-year-old math genius. And if that doesn’t do wonders for her popularity, there s another thing that makes it even worse: when she touches another person or anything that belongs to them from clothes to textbooks to cell phones she sees a vision of their emotions. She can read a person’s fears and anxieties, their secrets and loves … and what they have yet to learn about calculus. This is helpful for her work as a math tutor, but it means she can never get close to people. Eva avoids touching anyone and everyone. People think it’s because she s a clean freak with the emphasis on freak but it s all she can do to protect herself from other people’s issues.

Then one day a new student walks into Eva’s life. His jacket gives off so much emotional trauma that she falls to the floor. Eva is instantly drawn to Zenn, a handsome and soulful artist who also has a troubled home life, and her feelings only grow when she realizes that she can touch Zenn’s skin without having visions. But when she discovers the history that links them, the truth threatens to tear the two apart.

Zenn Diagram, Wendy Brant’s sparkling debut novel, offers an irresistible combination of math and romance, with just a hint of the paranormal. Readers will swoon over Zenn and connect instantly with Eva, the most fully drawn prodigy in teen fiction today.

Book Links:

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


What’s up for Grab?

  • Copy of Zenn Diagram by Wendy Brant
  • Bookmark and sticker & surprise swags

The Rules:

  • Open to all
  • There will be one (1) lucky winner
  • Winner will be chosen and announced by rafflecopter
  • Winner will be contacted thru email & should response within 48 hours
  • Ends July 7th, 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: The Someday Birds by Sally J. Pla (Author Interview and Giveaway)

Welcome to another feature for Celebrating Debutantes 2017. Today I’m joined on the blog by author Sally Pla to answer few questions about her debut middle grade contemporary novel, The Someday Birds. This especial book will give readers not only memorable characters but also beautiful story that is heartwarming, hopeful and fun.

Following the interview with Sally is her bio along with places where to find her online. Then there’s also the book description and where to buy copies of The Someday Birds. And for a chance to own a signed copy of the book and some bird related swags, check the bottom of the post and enter the rafflecopter form.

Here’s my interview with Sally. Enjoy reading!

Interview with Sally Pla

Can you tell us a bit about your journey with The Someday Birds? When did you first come up with the idea and what were the timescales involved between the first draft and the novel being accepted for publication?

​When my three sons were young, we took them on many summer-vacation road trips across the country. From our home in Wisconsin, we went west to Yellowstone one summer, and east to Colonial Williamsburg the next. These trips weren’t very easy on my middle son, who’s autistic. He likes the comfort of his home, and doesn’t like change. When we traveled, he subsisted mainly on chicken nuggets, to the point his big brother said something that struck me deeply one day. He jokingly said, “Nate, with all the chicken you’ve eaten on our trips, you should write a travel journal and call it ‘Chicken Nuggets Across America.'”

The idea stuck in my head — a journal of surviving change.

It was years before I actually sat down to write, but that was the seed. I thought it would be a humorous, lighthearted tale, based on our family experiences. But as I wrote, the story got deeper and richer. It turned into a true tale of my heart.

Regarding the timescale: It took me nine or ten months to finish the first-draft manuscript. I started Feb-March 2014, finished and found an agent in November, went on submission in March 2015, struck a book deal in May 2015. The book was published a year and half later in Jan 2017. I think that’s a fairly standard publishing time frame.

The Someday Birds is both charming and heartwarming story that is full of hope and ha​s​ a strong focus on family. How much of this does reflect on your own life?

​My family, like Charlie’s, is eccentric, humorous and quirky — but in different ways. Getting through tough times with humor and pragmatism, and facing challenges with honesty: this is important to me in real as well as fictional family life! ​

Charlie is such a charming and sweet character. How did you go about putting yourself in his mindset especially with his condition? What are the challenges you encounter in writing his story?

Interestingly, Charlie’s voice came to me, one day, clear as a bell. I didn’t have to do a thing to put myself in his mindset. I started out thinking I was writing to honor my autistic son’s life experience. But I think I was honoring my own. As a result of writing The Someday Birds, I reflected back deeply on my own childhood. ​

What is your favorite part about writing your debut novel, The Someday Birds?

​I love the process of writing, the sense of immersion and flow. Now that the book is finished, I love ​
​getting fan letters from young readers. and talking to them during school visits. There is nothing like meeting students who are so excited to talk about their own stories.

What is the message that you want readers to pick up from The Someday Birds?

​That the important movement of “We Need Diverse Books”​
​includes a need for “NEURO-Diverse Books”​ as well. I just met with 250 6th graders today. I asked, “Who here knows or knows of someone with autism?” Every single hand was raised. We don’t have enough books written from neuro-diverse perspectives, and I hope many more writers join me in trying to rectify this.

Also, the message that living life fully entails risk — and is worth the risk. That we live in confusing and stressful times, but when you get out in the world, there is so much kindness and caring to be found, even in the most unexpected strangers.

You’re currently working on your second novel, JOHN LOCKDOWN IS IN THE BUILDING. How’s it coming along? Do you think you’ll stick writing middle-grade contemporary or branch out into something else?

JOHN LOCKDOWN IS IN THE BUILDING is due out with HarperCollins in Feb 2018, and I am so excited about it. The hero, Stanley, is sharply funny, highly anxious, and afraid of EVERYTHING. He’s also a comics trivia fanatic, and there’s a wild treasure hunt in the book that challenges Stanley to the max. Comics are also interspersed throughout the story.

I have a young children’s picture book coming out with Lee & Low in 2018 as well — BENNY, THE BAD DAY, AND ME. It’s about two little brothers, one with autism, during a very grumpy day.

And I’m working on a YA novel, currently. I’d love to try my hand at adult literary fiction some day… Many plans!

The one thing I think my work will always include, in one way or another, large or small, is the notion of neurodiversity.

Because it’s a big, varied, unusual world out there. And fiction of diversity helps us make our embrace of it wider — and better.

Thanks so much Sally and congratulations for getting many books deals. I’m looking forward for those in the future.


Sally J. Pla is the author of The Someday Birds (HarperCollins 2017), a Junior Library Guild Selection and starred Publishers Weekly review. Kirkus called it “hopeful, authentic, and oddly endearing. Booklist called it “a delight from beginning to end.” A second middle grade novel, John Lockdown Is In the Building, as well as a children’s picture book, will publish in 2018. Sally lives near lots of lemon trees in Southern California, where she’s hard at work on the next story.

Find Sally

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads


Book Details:

Title: The Someday Birds
Author: Sally J Pla
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: January 24, 2017
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook

Charlie wishes his life could be as predictable and simple as chicken nuggets.

And it usually is. He has his clean room, his carefully organized bird books and art supplies, his favorite foods, and comfortable routines.

But life has been unraveling since his war journalist father was injured in Afghanistan. And when Dad gets sent across country for medical treatment, Charlie must reluctantly travel to meet him. With his boy-crazy sister, unruly twin brothers, and a mysterious new family friend at the wheel, the journey looks anything but smooth.

So Charlie decides to try and spot all the birds that he and his dad had been hoping to see together in the wild. If he can complete the Someday Birds list for Dad, then maybe, just maybe, things will turn out okay…

Equal parts madcap road trip, coming-of-age story for an unusual boy, and portrait of a family overcoming a crisis.

Book Links:

Amazon | B&N | BookDepo | IndieBoundGoodreads | Publisher


What’s up for Grab?

  • signed copy of The Someday Birds + some bird-related swag

The Rules:

  • Open US/CA
  • 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 6th, 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.