Jan 20, 2017

Snowbirds by Crissa Jean Chappell

And now for some Q&A fun with Crissa!

Last book you read:

The graphic novel adaptation of The Stranger by Albert Camus (illustrated by Jacques Ferrandez and translated by Sandra Smith).

Last thing that made you cry:

A box of old family Polaroids that my sister gave me for Christmas.

Last trip you took:

Train from New York City to Pennsylvania. I love to stare out the window at the “montage” of trees and graffiti-stained walls and the secrets hidden near the tracks.

Last thing that made you smile:

Waking up to rainsong.

Favorite quote:

I taped this quote above my desk: “If you're going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don't even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery--isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you'll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you're going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It's the only good fight there is.”  Charles Bukowsi, Factotum

Favorite memory:

My earliest memory = walking to the boat docks at Biscayne Bay with my dad…scooping up seashells and hermit crabs (I’d hide in my pocket to take home).

Favorite bookish moment:

In my childhood favorite--My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George—the main character, Sam, carves his home out of a tree. I dreamed about running away to the woods with a pet hawk.

Best moment as an author:

When a mysterious cardboard box appears on your doorstep. And you rip it open and there’s a big stack of books. At last…author copies! The first thing I do = sniff the pages. Then it feels real.

Last thing you treated yourself to:

A pamplemousse cocktail of grapefruit and champagne (on my birthday trip to Pennsylvania). Also: I really love the word pamplemousse.

Last person you hugged:

My boyfriend. <3 span="">

Favorite place in the world:

Home in Brooklyn.

Last emoticon you used:

This Florida girl loves the alligator, of course!

Every year, Lucy waits eagerly for the arrival of the "snowbirds," the Old Order Amish who come trundling into Florida on buses from the north, bringing Lucy's best friend Alice, with whom she's spent every winter she can remember. This winter is different. At sixteen, Alice is in the middle of "Rumspringa," a season in which Amish teens try out forbidden temptations, in order to get them out of their system. Lucy is part of a different sect, in which teens aren't allowed such bold experimentation, and she's fighting to keep up as Alice races from one wild party to the next. Then, one night after just such a party, Alice vanishes. Wracked by guilt, Lucy knows that she should have been watching out for Alice, but instead, she was kissing Faron, an Older Order boy shunned by his society. Now, Lucy plunges into a search for her best friend--while also hiding her own secret, which could put her in even more danger.

LINKS: Amazon | B&N

CRISSA-JEAN CHAPPELL (crissajeanchappell.com) was born in Miami and now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Her debut young adult novel,Total Constant Order, is a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age and a VOYA Perfect Ten. Chappell’s second novel, Narc, is currently optioned for film. More Than Good Enough is her most recent novel, which Kirkus calls “compelling and emotionally nuanced.” Chappell holds a PhD and MFA from the University of Miami. She has taught creative writing and cinema studies for more than ten years.

Tour Schedule:

1 Finished Copies of SNOWBIRDS with Crissa's notes & Doodles (US Only)

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Jan 2, 2017

Review: Aftermath by Clara Kensie

Oh, Clara Kensie, the way you break my heart. AFTERMATH is an unflinching look into the worst nightmare of every family. Brilliantly written, Kensie has written a story that is one heck of an emotional roller coaster that left me thankful I got on the ride.

Watching the evolution of Charlotte as a character was amazing. From beginning to end, her growth and depth never ceased to amaze me. What this girl endures is unthinkable, but she's a survivor. Her moxy and courage are the driving force behind this book. I vacillated between standing up to cheer her on and wanting to just hug her and protect her myself.

I think what drew me most to this story is the way Kensie doesn't balk at talking about something as dark as child abduction. While she definitely doesn't glamorize or go into gory details, you know the heartache Charlotte and her family have endured. Not only does Kensie nail the emotions of a devastated family, but she also managed to infuse moments of humor to lighten some of the tension.

Overall, this is an emotionally draining but overwhelmingly satisfying book to read. Kensie is a wonderful writer that I've loved for years, and this book just further cemented that feeling.

Charlotte survived four long years as a prisoner in the attic of her kidnapper, sustained only by dreams of her loving family. The chance to escape suddenly arrives, and Charlotte fights her way to freedom. But an answered prayer turns into heartbreak. Losing her has torn her family apart. Her parents have divorced: Dad's a glutton for fame, Mom drinks too much, and Charlotte's twin is a zoned-out druggie. Her father wants Charlotte write a book and go on a lecture tour, and her mom wants to keep her safe, a virtual prisoner in her own home. But Charlotte is obsessed with the other girl who was kidnapped, who never got a second chance at life--the girl who nobody but Charlotte believes really existed. Until she can get justice for that girl, even if she has to do it on her own, whatever the danger, Charlotte will never be free.


Clara Kensie grew up near Chicago, reading every book she could find and using her diary to write stories about a girl with psychic powers who solved mysteries. She purposely did not hide her diary, hoping someone would read it and assume she was writing about herself. Since then, she’s swapped her diary for a computer and admits her characters are fictional, but otherwise she hasn’t changed one bit.

Today Clara is a RITA© Award-winning author of dark fiction for young adults. Her super-romantic psychic thriller series, Run To You, was named an RT Magazine Editors Pick for Best Books of 2014, and Run to You Book One: Deception So Deadly, is the winner of the prestigious 2015 RITA© Award for Best First Book.

Clara’s latest release is Aftermath, a dark, ripped-from-the-headlines YA contemporary in the tradition of Room and The Lovely BonesAftermath is on Goodreads’ list of Most Popular Books Published in November 2016, and Young Adult Books Central declared it a Top Ten Book of 2016.

Clara’s favorite foods are guacamole and cookie dough. But not together. That would be gross.

Find Clara online:

Tour Schedule:

1: A "Do It Double" Aftermath tote bag from Blu Bear Bazaar. Inspired by Aftermath's message to "Do it double, because some can't do it at all," Blu Bear Bazaar designed beautiful artwork for it and printed it on tote bags and throw pillows. Blu Bear Bazaar is generously donating a portion of all Aftermath product proceeds to RAINN and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Click here for more information.

2: Choice of TWO books from Clara's collection of YA novels. Clara will give the winner a list of the YA novels in her collection, and the winner can pick two. Some of the books are signed by the author.

*US/CAN for the above prizes. If the winner is international, the prize will be substituted by a book from Book Depository up to $18.00, winner's choice.

Good luck, and happy reading!!!

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