Wednesday, May 17, 2017

FFBC: Welcome to the club, The Best Kind of Magic by Crystal Cestari

The Best Kind of Magic
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: May 16, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy
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Synopsis:

Amber Sand is not a witch. The Sand family Wicca gene somehow leapfrogged over her. But she did get one highly specific magical talent: she can see true love. As a matchmaker, Amber's pretty far down the sorcery food chain (even birthday party magicians rank higher), but after five seconds of eye contact, she can envision anyone's soul mate.

Amber works at her mother's magic shop--Windy City Magic--in downtown Chicago, and she's confident she's seen every kind of happy ending there is: except for one--her own. (The Fates are tricky jerks that way.) So when Charlie Blitzman, the mayor's son and most-desired boy in school, comes to her for help finding his father's missing girlfriend, she's distressed to find herself falling for him. Because while she can't see her own match, she can see his--and it's not Amber. How can she, an honest peddler of true love, pursue a boy she knows full well isn't her match?

The Best Kind of Magic is set in urban Chicago and will appeal to readers who long for magic in the real world. With a sharp-witted and sassy heroine, a quirky cast of mystical beings, and a heady dose of adventure, this novel will have you laughing out loud and questioning your belief in happy endings.


Hello Crystal! We are super excited to have you in our FFBC tours. 


Favorite Book?

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It was the first book that made me want to be a writer. 


Favorite TV show?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with Veronica Mars in a very close second.



Favorite movie?

I love the Pride and Prejudice remake with Kiera Knightly. It is such a beautiful adaptation of one of my favorite stories. 


Favorite Song?

“Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson is still my karaoke jam.




Favorite Food?

Ice cream, preferably Ben and Jerry’s 


Name 3 fictional places you would move to in a heartbeat.

Hogwarts (obvs), Neverland, Stars Hollow


What were your favorite books growing up? (I was a Fear Street girl!)

I loved anything by Roald Dahl and Beverly Cleary, and read all The Babysitter’s Club books. When I got a little older, I tore through the Goosebumps series, which makes me laugh because now I can’t handle anything scary!


Favorite Quote?

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” Dr. Seuss


What are your fandoms?

Disney, Buffy, and Harry Potter are forever cemented in my fangirl heart. In the past few years I’ve gotten into comics more, and a recent obsession is Squirrel Girl.



Who is your favorite fictional boyfriend (or girlfriend)?

Peeta Mellark—that boy will keep you safe AND bake you bread. Done and done.



Could you tell our Book Addicts a little bit about THE BEST KIND OF MAGIC?


This story is about Amber Sand, whose family line dates back to Salem, but she herself is not a witch. She did get one very specific magical talent though, in that she can actually see true love. Amber is a matchmaker, but her life is not all turtle doves and happy endings. Her Cupid’s arrow gets her in trouble quite often, but no matter what, she never gives up fighting for what she believes in. 


I love books/movies/TV shows with a magical element to them. What is your favorite movie or TV show or song that has the witches and/or magic in them?


Buffy was the first show to bring out the fangirl in me, and it opened me up to the magical world in a new way. Before watching this show, it always seemed like mystical creatures could only exist in the past or in far away lands, but these were real people learning to live with supernatural consequences in their everyday lives. Willow’s journey with witchcraft and Buffy’s struggle with her slayer powers definitely shaped aspects of The Best Kind of Magic, as Amber and her best friend, Amani, both have their own conflicts with their magical abilities. 


Besides reading, writing, and blogging, I love fashion!! How would you describe Amber’s style?


Amber’s style is very low key: t-shirts, jeans, sneakers. Most of the time she’s either wearing her school uniform or something that’s work appropriate, so she doesn’t spend much time thinking about how she’s dressed. Her standout style point is her hair, which she’s dyed with peacock blue and green streaks. 


How did you come up with the story? Did you find inspiration in any other story/movie/show and how has this affected your writing?


Without a doubt, Buffy is a huge influence for me, not only for the stuff about monsters and magic, but also the group dynamic of the Scooby gang. I really wanted Amber’s mystical community to feel authentic, and to showcase the different relationships and dynamics of what it means to have a gift like no one else. Harry Potter, The Vampire Diaries, and Emma also played in here; watching a matchmaker pair up couples in an enchanting world is definitely a mash up of my love of romance and magical realism. 


Tell us your favorite quote from THE BEST KIND OF MAGIC.

“Only crazy people and Satan don’t like frosting.” – Amber J


Is there a specific scene that you had the most fun to write? Or which part was the most difficult to get through?

Any scene where Amber gets to show off her sassy personality was fun for me since I could live vicariously through her funny one-liners, but one of my favorite scenes was during a dance party at Navy Pier, where she works. Although Amber has no problem intervening on other people’s love lives, she’s very guarded with her own, so when a boy she’s having complicating feelings for asks her to dance, she isn’t quite sure what to do. I like this point of the story because she starts letting her guard down, and we begin to see a different side. 


Are there any recommendations you could give your readers to be in the “perfect mood” to read THE BEST KIND OF MAGIC (specific music, snacks…)?

Amber aspires to be a professional baker, so there are many mentions of pastries and treats throughout the book. I spent a lot of time looking up recipes and sampling different desserts while I was writing (it’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it!). Enjoying a cupcake while turning the pages would be a perfect fit!


What’s next for you?

The sequel, The Sweetest Kind of Fate, debuts February 2018, and I am always scribbling away on new story ideas. J


Thank you so much for everything, Crystal!

Thank you so much for featuring my book! It means so much to me! J - Crystal



Follow The Best Kind of Magic by Crystal Cestari Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.





With rainbows in my hair and stories in my head, I am a writer drawn to magic in the everyday world.

My debut novel, The Best Kind of Magic, arrives May 16, 2017 from Hyperion. Follow Amber Sand, a magical matchmaker who can actually see true love, as she takes off on a fun and romantic adventure toward happily ever after.





Tuesday, May 16, 2017

FFBC: Welcome to the club, The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich


The Love Interest
by Cale Dietrich
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Release Date: May 16, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQIA

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Synopsis:

There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.
Caden is a Nice: The boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: The brooding, dark-souled guy, and dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a Nice or the Bad?

Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be – whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die.

What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.


Hello Cale! We are super excited to have you in our FFBC tours.


Favorite Book?

Ahh too many to choose, but of all time, it’d probably have to be one of the Harry Potter books (probably Deathly Hallows)


Favorite TV show?

Veronica Mars.



Favorite movie?

This changes all the time! At the moment, it’s a tie between The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Brokeback Mountain.


Favorite Song?

Mr. Brightside.



Favorite Food?

Pasta!


Name 3 fictional places you would move to in a heartbeat.

Easy – Hogwarts/Wizarding World or anywhere from Pokémon. I can’t think of a third, I don’t think anything could compete with how much I want to go to those places. I wouldn’t mind visiting Middle Earth, but I wouldn’t want to live there.


What were your favorite books growing up? (I was a Fear Street girl!)

Oh that’s awesome about Fear Street! I loved Goosebumps and Harry Potter. Also when I was a little older I became very obsessed with the Cirque Du Freak books.


Favorite Quote?

This is kinda weird, but I like “Why Not Me?” by Mindy Kaling. It’s a mentality I think about a lot. It’s basically: why *shouldn’t* it be me that gets that awesome thing? It encourages me to be a go-getter and I love that about it.


What are your fandoms?

The biggest two are Harry Potter and Pokémon. I also am pretty into gaming in a general sense! And if YA in general counts, I’d say I’m a fanboy of that.


What were your 3 favorite books from the last year?

So tough to answer! I’ve read so many amazing books. It’s not a book but SAGA blew me away. HISTORY IS ALL YOU LEFT ME was so moving and beautiful, and I had so much fun with GAUNTLET by Holly Jennings. These wouldn’t be top three (I couldn’t rank, I love so many books for different reasons) but they’re stand-outs for sure! Also, I keep a Goodreads list of the books I’ve read, and I would recommend any of these.


Could you tell our Book Addicts a little bit about THE LOVE INTEREST?

Sure thing! THE LOVE INTEREST is about a guy called Caden, who has been trained his whole life to be the love interest of a special girl, named Juliet. He works for a company that dispatches spies known as Love Interests to get close to targets and steal their secrets. When the book starts, Caden, and a Bad boy called Dyl, who is also competing for Juliet, are sent in. And then Caden and Dyl start hanging out, and Caden gets a crush on him, and things get really messy from there.


What 3 hashtags would you most associate with your book? (Could be a word or phrase or anything that would instantly make you think of THE LOVE INTEREST.)

Ooh good question! I’m not great at hashtags, but how about #gay, #funny and #angst.


If you could hang out with any character from your book, who would it be? And what would you guys do?

Ahh I would love to meet all of them! And what I’d do with them would be so different depending on who it would be. With Caden I’d just like to talk. I’d like Juliet to show me her laboratory. And with Dyl, I’d like to go for a drive in his car.


How did you come up with the story? Did you find inspiration in any other sto-ry/movie/show and how has this affected your writing?

It’s so hard for me to explain this, because the idea for THE LOVE INTEREST seriously did just come to me as the thought: “how cool would it be If there was a training academy for the love interests from YA books”. That sounded super fun to write, so I just started writing it and quickly became super into it. And I found so much inspiration from other places! I think VEROINCA MARS was a big influence, as was COMMUNITY, and YA books like THE HUNGER GAMES.


Tell us your favorite quote from THE LOVE INTEREST.

Ahh my favorite quote is a huge spoiler! Near the end, Caden basically sums up the whole book in four words and it’s easily my favorite quote. But I am really proud of this joke from early on: “For a Nice, the aim of the game is lean. I need to look friendly and cute, but when I take my shirt off I need to be ripped. Just in an approachable way that doesn’t look like I work out much. Like these muscles happened accidentally, the result of playing outside with a golden Labrador or good genes or something like that.”


Is there a specific scene that you had the most fun to write? Or which part was the most difficult to get through?

I love any scene where I get Caden and Dyl together. Like, so much. And nothing about writing TLI was difficult! Caden talking about his feelings toward his sexuality was emotional, but not hard, if that makes sense. That said, I was so worried about letting people read it! It felt very personal.


If you had to pick one song to be the Theme Song for THE LOVE INTEREST – Which one would you pick?

This is a tough one, but I’d say HOLD ON by Twin Atlantic!



Are there any recommendations you could give your readers to be in the “perfect mood” to read THE LOVE INTEREST (specific music, snacks…)?

I LOVE THIS QUESTION. And I’d say a Starbucks frappuccino, for sure. It just feels like a frappuccino kind of book to me.


What’s next for you?

Nothing I can talk about yet, I’m afraid! I really hope to have more news soon! But I think it’s safe to say that it’ll be a speculative romance with a gay hero.


Thank you so much for everything, Cale!

Thanks so much for having me!


Follow The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.



Cale Dietrich is a YA devotee, lifelong gamer, and tragic pop punk enthusiast. He was born in Perth, grew up on the Gold Coast, and now lives in Brisbane, Australia. The Love Interest is his first novel.






Saturday, April 29, 2017

FFBC: Welcome to the club, How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake



How to Make a Wish
by Ashley Herring Blake
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 2nd 2017
Genre: Young Adult, GLBT, Contemporary
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Synopsis:

All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn't have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.

Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace's mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.


Hello Ashley! We are super excited to have you again in our FFBC tours. 


Favorite Book? 

That’s a tough one, I have so many! But if I had to choose one, I’d say Jandy Nelson’s The Sky is Everywhere.


Favorite TV show? 

Buffy the Vampire Slayer for life.



Favorite movie? 

Amelie



Favorite Song? 

Depends on the day. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of Kishi Bashi!


Favorite Food? 

Anything with sugar.


Name 3 fictional places you would move to in a heartbeat. 

Hogwarts, any world that Anna-Marie McLemore creates, Red London from Victoria Schwab’s Shades of Magic series.


What were your favorite books growing up? 

(I was a Fear Street girl!) Judy Blume and Babysitter’s Club.


Favorite Quote? 

Currently: “Out of the ash I rise with my red hair and I eat men like air.” Sylvia Plath. I’m feeling sassy lately.


What do you find yourself “Fangirling” over? 

Nina LaCour, Jandy Nelson.


If you could meet one author, dead or alive, who would it be? 

Charlotte Brontë.


Could you tell our Book Addicts a little bit about HOW TO MAKE A WISH? 

The book follows Grace, a seventeen year-old pianist who has been the adult in her relationship with her mother for too long. The summer she meets Eva, a grieving girl searching for her own life separate from her mother, Grace starts to believe happiness might be possible for her, but she torn between breaking away and taking care of her mother, whom she really loves. Eventually, Grace has to choose—herself or her mother. It’s a story about family, friends, grief, and first love. And, of course, kissing.


What 3 hashtags would you most associate with your book? 

(Could be a word or phrase or anything that would instantly make you think of HOW TO MAKE A WISH.) #pizzafrieds #kissinginatree #livinginalighthouse


The arts seem to play a big role in your characters’ lives. Do you have personal experience with music and/or dance? 

I do! I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember. I did musical theater in high school and choir in college. After college, I was part of a folksy duo with a friend of mine and we both played guitar and sang. We made an album and played in dive bars and I even moved to Nashville, which I ended up loving and still call home.


How did you come up with the story? Did you find inspiration in any other story/movie/show and how has this affected your writing? 

The opening scene, in which Grace finds herself returning home from a two week-long piano workshop only to discover that her mother has moved them into a new place with her new boyfriend, was actually inspired by a friend of mine. A very similar thing happened to her as a teen and I really wanted to explore the type of mother-daughter relationship would create such a dynamic. My friend knows I borrowed her story, of course, and hers was very different in many ways from Grace’s, but that initial situation was the initial spark. And, honestly, I wanted to write a story about a bi girl falling in love with another girl and Grace’s story seemed the perfect place for that.


Tell us your favorite quote from HOW TO MAKE A WISH. 

“’Did we just kiss in a tree?’ ‘K-I-S-S-I-N-G.’” Hey, I’m just being honest. ☺


Is there a specific scene that you had the most fun to write? Or which part was the most difficult to get through? 

I love any scene that involves kissing, I have to admit. And I love the ways in which Grace and Eva gravitated toward each other, so writing any emotional scene between them was really fun. The hardest scenes were ones in which Grace was really grappling with her feelings about her mother. She has a complicated relationship with her mom and, as I didn’t have a toxic relationship with my own mother, I really had to dig for those scenes, as well as listen to those I reached out to who did have these kinds of experiences. 


If you had to pick one song to be the Theme Song for HOW TO MAKE A WISH – Which one would you pick? 

“Dark Paradise” by Lana Del Rey.



Are there any recommendations you could give your readers to be in the “perfect mood” to read HOW TO MAKE A WISH (specific music, snacks…)? 

Well, pizza fries, something my friends and I sort of, maybe invented, play into the book, as well as any type of diner food! 


What’s next for you? 

I have another YA coming out in 2018 called Girl Made of Stars, which deals with a girl whose twin brother is accused of rape. Yeah, it’s pretty heavy.


Thank you so much for everything, Ashley!



Follow the How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.





Ashley Herring Blake is a reader, writer, and mom to two boisterous boys. She holds a Master’s degree in teaching and loves coffee, arranging her books by color, and watching Buffy over and over again on Netflix with her friends. She's the author of the young adult novels SUFFER LOVE and HOW TO MAKE A WISH.