Celebrating Debutantes 2017: A Psalm for Lost Girls by Katie Bayerl (Playlist and Giveaway)

Happy Tuesday!

Today I am featuring a new set of Playlist of another debut novel for Celebrating Debutantes 2017.

New author Katie Bayerl put together a set of songs for her debut contemporary novel A Psalm for Lost Girls. She also explained each songs with how they are related to scenes from the book and how the songs put her in the mood into writing them into the story.

Next to the playlist are more details about the book A Psalm for Lost Girls and the author, Katie Bayerl. Also, don’t forget to check the giveaway at the bottom for a chance to win either a signed hardcover copy or audiobook of A Psalm for Lost Girls.

Here’s Katie with the playlist. I hope you enjoy!

A Psalm for Lost Girls Playlist

I listen to a lot of music when I write. Sometimes, I use music to get in the right headspace before writing a new scene. Sometimes, I listen to the same song on repeat for hours. I have a playlist for every project, and even subplaylists for certain characters or subplots. (It’s a little nuts.) Some songs I listen to so much that they seep into the sentences of the story.

This Spotify playlist includes the main songs I used to get in the groove for A Psalm for Lost Girls.

[Fun fact: A Psalm for Lost Girls was not the original title. As I hunted around for a title that would stick, I wanted to evoke a song or prayer because the whole book had taken on a musical quality in my mind and, at the same time, felt like a prayer Callie might send to her sister. A psalm is both of those things—a prayer, often sung—so hurrah! Title: nailed.]

Happy listening!

1. Chica Difîcil by Aterciopelados
“I am a difficult girl/but I’m worth the trouble.” The vocalist, Andrea Echeverri, is my favorite 90s rock en español vocalist. Sometimes she is raw and angry; this tune is more salty, earthy, real. Both sides of her voice remind me of Callie da Costa, Psalm’s protagonist.

2. Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys
Callie is stubborn. When she sets her mind to avenging her sister’s memory, she puts “both feet on the ground/… /and is not backing down.” Also, fire. I’m not going to give away spoilers, but those burning candles on the cover? Relevant.

3. O Gente de Minha Terra by Mariza
Fado is the traditional music of Portugal, and Mariza is its modern queen. Her songs express the not-quite-translatable feeling of saudade—something like bittersweet longing. This particular song swells up my heart like the fictional city of New Avon: “oh, people of my land/now I see/this sadness I carry/I received from you.”

4. Wonder by Natalie Merchant
You get it? “They say I must be one of the wonders/God’s own creation/And as far as they see they can offer/no explanation.” This is exactly what Tess da Costa feels once the word gets out that she hears a strange voice and her community decides it must be the voice of God.

5. Eres Tú by Carla Morrison
These lyrics get a little bit sexy—speaking to the romance that runs through Psalm—but also? if you pretend it’s about sisterly love, this could be Callie speaking to her dead sister, telling Tess how she carries her mind and in her veins, how wherever she goes, it’s you, always you.

6. 1977 by Ana Tijoux
Ignore the lyrics. This is the sound of Callie on a warpath, seeking justice for the abducted child, Ana Langone. The energy of this song also reminds me of Callie’s best friend Karen Pérez, my favorite character to write. Basically, it’s 100% kickass girl.

7. So Sorry by Feist
This song is a piercer, getting right to the core of regret. It’s Callie remembering her final days with Tess—so many things left unsaid and the last words she wishes she could erase.

8. Fado de Pessao by Ana Moura
In this one, there’s a boat, a voice, a figure of speech… and I don’t actually know what any of it means, but the emotion!!! This is the feeling of Callie walking the streets, dreaming of Tess. And when Ana Moura wears her hair curly, she’s the spitting image of Callie and Tess’s mom.

9. When You’re Gone by the Cranberries
I’m probably not supposed to admit that I still love the Cranberries—but I do, I do! Maybe it’s the Irish in me, but Dolores O’Riordan’s voice just… slays me. She does salty-sweet-longing-rage like no one else, and that is pretty much my favorite flavor.

10. Siempre Me Quedará by Bebe
I don’t know. I just like this one. It’s got a soulful vibe with a bit of flamenco/gitano/don’t-eff-with-me flare. If you strip away the romantic bits, it’s a song about heartbreak and saying I’m still here, I won’t forget and I won’t give up. Which, well, when you meet Callie and Tess, you’ll understand…

A cultural note: You’ll notice quickly that a lot of these songs are in Spanish and Portuguese. That’s because I listen to a ton of music in both languages. But, to be clear: This playlist isn’t a match to the many cultures represented (directly and more subtly) in A Psalm for Lost Girls. (If I made a list like that, you’d definitely see some Puerto Rican, Dominican, Cape Verdean, Italian, and Lebanese representation—and, God, I love the music from those cultures too!) The songs here are more of an emotional match—like, the themes and energy I was feeling as I got into my protagonists’ skin.


Katie fell in love with books before she can remember and with teaching when she was just a teen. The writing books for teens part came a bit later. She jumped right in and hasn’t looked back.

These days, when she isn’t penning her own stories, Katie coaches teens and nonprofits to tell theirs. She has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts and has taught writing to teens in a range of settings, including at GrubStreet in Boston. A Psalm for Lost Girls is her first novel.

Find Katie

Website | Facebook | Twitter | InstagramGoodreads


Book Details:

Title: A Psalm for Lost Girls
Author: Katie Bayerl
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 14, 2017
Pages: 368
Format: Hardcover, eBook, Audio

I’ll Give You the Sun meets True Detective in this brilliant YA debut about saints, sisters, and learning to let go.

Tess da Costa is a saint—a hand-to-god, miracle-producing saint. At least that’s what the people in her hometown of New Avon, Massachusetts, seem to believe. And when Tess suddenly and tragically passes away, her small city begins feverishly petitioning the Pope to make Tess’s sainthood official. Tess’s mother is ecstatic over the fervor, while her sister Callie, the one who knew Tess best, is disgusted—overcome with the feeling that her sister is being stolen from her all over again.

The fervor for Tess’s sainthood only grows when Ana Langone, a local girl who’s been missing for six months, is found alive at the foot of one of Tess’s shrines. It’s the final straw for Callie. With the help of Tess’s secret boyfriend Danny, Callie’s determined to prove that Tess was something far more important than a saint; she was her sister, her best friend and a girl in love with a boy. But Callie’s investigation uncovers much more than she bargained for—a hidden diary, old family secrets, and even the disturbing truth behind Ana’s kidnapping. Told in alternating perspectives, A Psalm for Lost Girls is at once funny, creepy and soulful—an impressive debut from a rising literary star.

Book Links:

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


What’s up for Grab?

  • either a signed hardcover copy or audiobook of A Psalm for Lost Girls

The Rules:

  • Open International
  • 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 4th, 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 2016: After the Woods by Kim Savage (Character Interview with Alice + Giveaway)

Celebrating Debutantes 2016

So, I got the chance to corner Alice Mincus of After the Woods for a short interview today with permission of course from her talented creator Kim Savage. For those who haven’t met Alice, she is Julia’s next-door neighbor. She’s also the friend who didn’t make the middle-school cut, who was eclipsed by Liv’s magnetism somewhere around 6th grade and eventually dropped, about which Julia feels a lingering guilt. But Alice is Teflon: nothing sticks. She still considers them close friends, and sees herself as Julia’s strongest ally. She’s also recently discovered Jesus, and has WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) Sharpie’d on her inner arm. It’s meant to remind her what to do when faced with questionable choices. And when Julia turns to Alice for help, she ends up pushing up that sleeve—a lot.

I hope you all enjoy the interview. Also, don’t forget to check the bottom of the post for the giveaway!

Character Interview with Alice of After the Woods

You told Julia you prayed for her every hour that she was gone. But Julia isn’t religious. At all. Do you think that still means something to her?

“We’re all works in progress. That’s what my mother says. Julia’s figuring out what means anything to her.”

How do you really feel about Liv Lapin?

(shoves sleep up to elbow and stares hard). “Next question.”

You once called Paula Papademetriou, the journalist who is reporting on the anniversary for the Shiverton Abduction, Julia’s ‘avenging angel.’ Care to elaborate?

I’ll tell you exactly what I told Julia: Paula wins all kinds of awards, and she’s gorgeous, and she’s powerful, and maybe if the local police and these guys in the state government did something wrong that put Donald Jessup out on the street, they should pay. I guess I want something good to come. Maybe that makes me naive. Or annoying. I think the laws ought to be toughened or something, so that nothing like this ever happens again. Paula is doing what Jesus would do…I think.

“Julia thinks you have a kind of immunity to evil, to the black thing in her belly, for example, and to the Donald Jessups of the world. Do you think that’s true?

(Cocks head, headbands slips over eyes, jams it back up again) I think there are advantages to keeping things simple, black and white. Julia’s always talks about gradations of black. Maybe by recognizing evil so easily, I stay safe from it. Yeah, I like that idea.”

Last question: Nick Jonas or Kellan MacDougall?

(blushes) Kellan is crazy about Julia, so that would be wrong. Nick Jonas, hands down. (fiddles with Promise Ring). Wait, is this going to be published?

Thanks so much Alice for dropping by here today.


Author Kim Savage

KIM SAVAGE is a former reporter who received her Master’s degree in Journalism from Northeastern University. She worked as a business journalist, pitching story ideas along the lines of “When Murder Kills Property Values.” You get the idea. Today, Kim lives in a town north of Boston, Massachusetts, near the real Middlesex Fells Reservation of After the Woods. Born directionally challenged, the fear of getting lost in that lovely, dark forest lives close to her skin. She and her husband have three children, each of whom beg to appear in her books. They shouldn’t.

Find Kim

Website | Instagram | Goodreads | Pinterest | Twitter | Tumblr


After the WoodsBook Details:

Title: After The Woods
Author: Kim Savage
Publisher: FSG/Macmillan
Publication Date: February 23, 2016
Pages: 304
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Would you risk your life to save your best friend?

Julia knows she beat the odds. She escaped the kidnapper who hunted her in the woods for two terrifying nights that she can’t seem to fully remember. Now it’s one year later, and as Julia settles into her junior year, a dead girl turns up in those same woods. The terrible memories resurface, leaving the whip-smart Julia in a stupor at awkward moments—in front of gorgeous Kellan MacDougall, for example. Julia copes by recording facts: collecting statistics about abductions, drawing diagrams of the players, and making lists.

Her best friend, Liv, was also abducted by the same man, but she escaped while Julia was left behind. Is Liv’s guilt over leaving Julia in the woods the reason she’s starving herself? Is hooking up with Shane Cuthbert, an addict with a volatile temper, Liv’s way of punishing herself for not having Julia’s back? As Julia struggles to make sense of her friend’s self-destructive behavior, she realizes the one person she thinks she knows best—Liv—is the person she knows least of all.

Book Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | Book Depository | IndieBound | Goodreads


Kirkus calls After the Woods, “a riveting exploration of what it’s like when the enemy is much closer than you suspect.” (starred)



What’s up for Grabs?

  • One Hardcover copy of After The Woods

After the Woods Giveaway Prize

The Rules:

  • Open to US addresses only
  • There will be one (1) winner only
  • Winner will be chosen by rafflecopter
  • Winner will be contacted thru email & should response within 48 hours
  • Ends March 13, 2016
  • Prize will be sent by the author

To enter fill out the rafflecopter form

Good Luck!!!

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2016 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each feature post!

celebrating debutantes 2016 collage


Ask Me by Kimberly Pauley

Ask Me

“The problem with prophecy is that someone has to actually ask the right question at the right time for me to produce the answer to it.”

Ask Aria Morse anything, and she must answer with the truth. Yet she rarely understands the cryptic words she‘s compelled to utter. Blessed—or cursed—with the power of an Oracle who cannot decipher her own predictions, she does her best to avoid anyone and everyone.

But Aria can no longer hide when Jade, one of the few girls at school who ever showed her any kindness, disappears. Any time Aria overhears a question about Jade, she inadvertently reveals something new, a clue or hint as to why Jade vanished. But like stray pieces from different puzzles, her words never present a clear picture.

Then there’s Alex, damaged and dangerous, but the first person other than Jade to stand up for her. And Will, who offers a bond that seems impossible for a girl who’s always been alone. Both were involved with Jade. Aria may be the only one who can find out what happened, but the closer she gets to solving the crime, the more she becomes a target. Not everyone wants the truth to come out.

Ask Me Blog Tour Banner

Book Links: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads

Personal Thoughts:

Aria Morse inherited a gift/curse of prophecy. Ask her anything, and she will answer with the truth. Most of the times her answer comes in form of riddles and rhymes which even to her is a puzzle. She got an answer in every questions, even those not directed to her which makes her  look like a weird. She tried her best to avoid questions by wearing head phones and listening to music, and if she she hear questions indirectly she try to whisper or mumble the answers. But when Jade Price, one of the girls in her school disappears, Aria suddenly find her self in a world full of questions. Everyone around her is asking, and as one with the answers she may be the only one who can find out what really happened to Jade. But the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she become to being the next target. Can she solve the murder before she become the next victim?

Aria is a complex and strong character. It so easy to sympathize with her for being an oracle. As much as it is cool to have her ability, it is also not easy to have all the answer in every questions. The struggle she is facing is well done that it so easy to believe that she is in the contemporary world in-spite the ability she possess. I like how the author slowly make Aria’s character grow, from the aloof and lonely person that she is to the one who is pushing her way to solve bigger mysteries.

I also like Aria’s grandparents,especially her grandpa who I always picture smiling/laughing for some reason. He seems a cool grandparent to have and even hilarious at times. As for her grandmother, who had been a Sybil once, is an additional help to Aria in learning her history and embracing her unique ability.

As for the mystery, well it’s pretty obvious for me who the killer is, I guess it way ahead before the revelation. However, knowing the murderer doesn’t take away my interest to know more about the story. Aria’s ability and the mythology around it are just few of the things that push me to read more. Add the right pacing and well written dialogues this book is abosorbing from start to end.

Though the narration is written in Aria’s point of view, readers will have a chance to get occasional glimpses into the mind of the killer, which I think add more thrill to the story as it push Aria in more danger.

Overall, Ask Me is a unique, surprising, and well written novel that perfectly balance contemporary and paranormal genre. With suspense, mystery and romance Kimberly Pauley successfully weaved a gripping and powerful story that YA readers will surely enjoy.

My First Reading Challenge

I’m signing up for Whodunit Reading Challenge at Gathering Books. The challenge is to read and review suspense, crime or mystery books from January until June 30, 2011.  There are four levels of participation:

  • Novice Profiler: 1-2 books
  • Crime Detective: 3-5 books
  • Mythic Crime Buster: 6-8 books
  • Criminal Genius/Mastermind: 9 books and above

This is the first reading challenge I’m joining so I don’t want to push myself too much. I’m signing up for Crime Detective level first but hopefully read more than five books. I already got few books from my to-be-read list that will perfectly fit under these categories. To find out more about the challenge and sign up read the blog entry at Gathering Books.