2017 Debut Book Love – One Shadow on the Wall

Fellow Class of 2k17 Books member Leah Henderson’s gorgeous MG debut, ONE SHADOW ON THE WALL, released last week. This is a middle grade book you want on your shelves.

2017 Debut Book Love | One Shadow on the Wall by Leah Henderson | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comAn orphaned boy in contemporary Senegal must decide between doing what is right and what is easy as he struggles to keep a promise he made to his dying father in this captivating debut novel laced with magical realism.

Eleven-year-old Mor was used to hearing his father’s voice, even if no one else could since his father’s death. It was comforting. It was also a reminder that Mor had made a promise to his father before he passed: keep your sisters safe. Keep the family together. But almost as soon as they are orphaned, that promise seems impossible to keep. With an aunt from the big city ready to separate him and his sisters as soon as she arrives, and a gang of boys from a nearby village wanting everything he has—including his spirit—Mor is tested in ways he never imagined.

With only the hot summer months to prove himself, Mor must face a choice. Does he listen to his father and keep his heart true, but risk breaking his promise through failure? Or is it easier to just join the Danka Boys, whom in all their maliciousness are at least loyal to their own?


One Shadow on the Wall is about love and loss, family and friendship, and creating your own future—even if it’s hard to do.

ONE SHADOW ON THE WALL is simply gorgeous in every way. I cannot wait to share it with everyone I know.

One Shadow on the WallOne Shadow on the Wall by Leah Henderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of the best books I’ve read this year. Leah Henderson’s debut novel is simply captivating. A beautifully written tale of a young boy in Senegal who is determined to keep his family together – despite the very real dangers that come his way. Young Mor is faced with one tough decision after another, but with the help of his neighbors, his friends, and his family, Mor finds the will to not only survive, but to thrive. A gorgeous debut that is a must for every school and library collection.

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For readers

  • A relateable hero.
  • Wonderful sibling and community relationships.
  • An action-packed story.

For teachers

  • A beautifully drawn setting.
  • Vivid details of everyday life that are compelling.
  • Discussion about doing what’s right even in the face of danger.

ONE SHADOW ON THE WALL is available now. You can pick up a copy at your local bookstore or online at:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Powells

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Author Spotlight: Alexandra Ott Talks About Rules for Thieves

Author Spotlight | Alexandra Ott Talks About Rules for Thieves | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

Today I’m shining the Author Spotlight on fellow Class of 2k17 member Alexandra Ott and her debut novel RULES FOR THIEVES.

Title: Rules for Thieves
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: MG
Launch Date: June 6, 2017!

 

Please tell us a little bit about your book?

Rules for Thieves is about a 12-year-old orphan who tries to join a legendary band of thieves in order to get the cure for the curse that’s killing her.

What inspired you to write this story and/or these characters?

I’ve loved heist novels and books about thieves ever since I was younger, and I always knew I wanted to write one of my own. Parts of the book are even inspired by thief stories I invented when I was a kid. But it wasn’t until Alli Rosco’s voice popped into my head one day, full of sarcasm and stubbornness, that all of the pieces fell into place. I knew right away that she was the perfect character to tell this story.

Everyone says writing is a process. Could you share a little about your writing and/or research process?

So far, the process has been a little different for each book. But what generally happens is that I get pieces of an idea—a character or a premise or a spark of something that interests me—and I spend some time developing it. I research things that may be important, jot down a few notes about the characters, and put together a very loose outline of major plot points. But I leave lots of room to explore during the first draft, letting the characters and the story take me in unexpected directions. Once the first draft is down, I do more research. Then I revise again and again and again until the manuscript finally becomes a book.


We know no writer is created in a vacuum. Could you tell the readers about a teacher or a librarian who had an effect on your writing life?

In the acknowledgments of Rules for Thieves, I thank three teachers. One taught me in middle school, one taught me in high school, and one was my creative writing professor in college. Each of them gave me valuable advice about writing craft and, more importantly, encouraged me to pursue my dream of becoming an author. Their support was so important to me as a young writer, and I’m very grateful for it.           

What makes your book  a good pick for use in a classroom? Is there any particular way you’d like to see teachers use it with young readers/teens?

I want Rules for Thieves to be a book that’s fun and engaging for young readers in the same way that my favorite books were for me at that age. I hope it’s accessible enough to young readers that teachers (and librarians) can pass it on to their reluctant readers or those who haven’t yet been introduced to fantasy books. I hope it’s a book that instills a love of reading in young students.         

I’m a little dog obsessed here at www.patriciabaileyauthor.com. Would you tell the readers about  your favorite dog (real or imaginary)?

My favorite dog is, of course, my own:  an eight-year-old Lhasa Apso named Penny. She’s described as my tiny canine overlord in my author bio because she completely rules my house. She’s a very small dog with a very big personality. 🙂

 

Author Spotlight; Alexandra Ott Talks About Rules for Thieves penny-20161

 

Alexandra Ott Talks About Rules for Thieves
Alexandra Ott holds a B.A. in English from the University of Tulsa. She currently lives in Oklahoma with her tiny canine overlord. Rules for Thieves is her debut novel. Visit her online at alexandraott.com and on Twitter @Alexandra_Ott.

 

 

Thanks so much, Alexandra!

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Author Spotlight: Joanne O’Sullivan Talks About Between Two Skies

Author Spotlight Interview | Joanne O'Sullivan talks Between Two Skies | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comToday I’m shining the Author Spotlight on fellow Class of 2k17 member Joanne O’Sullivan and her debut novel BETWEEN TWO SKIES.

Title: 
BETWEEN TWO SKIES

Genre:  YA

Age Range:  12-16

Launch Date:  April 25, 2017

 

Please tell us a little bit about your book?

Most kids her age can’t wait to get out of tiny Bayou Perdu, a fishing town way, way down in Louisiana. But for sixteen-year-old Evangeline Riley it’s home. She has her best friends, Kendra and Danielle; her wise, beloved Mamere; and back-to-back titles in the under-sixteen fishing rodeo and above all peace that only comes when she takes her skiff out to where there is nothing but sky and air and water and wings. Then Hurricane Katrina comes, and everything changes. Exiled to Atlanta, she longs for home. But when she meets—and falls for—fellow “refugee” and budding bluesman Tru, she has to decide if home is a person or a place.

What inspired you to write this story and/or these characters?

I went to college at Loyola University in New Orleans and that area holds a special place in my heart. After Hurricane Katrina hit, I really wanted to do something to help. However, I was expecting my son, so I wasn’t able to volunteer for rebuilding. Instead, I read a lot about what was happening: a lot of first-person narratives. I was struck by the teens whose lives were interrupted by the storm. School had either just started or was about to start for many. The year that they though they would have—and for some the life they thought they would have—never happened.

I first read Wordsworth’s “Evangeline” when I was in college in New Orleans. This sweeping, melancholy love poem tells the story of a girl in Acadia (now Atlantic Canada) separated from her true love Gabriel on the eve of their wedding as the British forced French speakers out of Canada and they resettle in Louisiana. She relentlessly searches the frontier of the US for him, only to find him when it’s too late. The heroine of this story, Evangeline, is legendary in Louisiana.

When I read about the many people displaced by Katrina, I couldn’t help but connect the Acadians—exiled hundreds of years before—to this new catastrophe, this new exodus for some of their descendants. A new Evangeline and a new Gabriel took shape in my mind: Evangeline Riley, whose family’s fortunes are so entwined with the land and sea, and Tru Nguyen, whose family has endured exile before as war pushed them out of Vietnam. Like characters in the story that inspired them, they are caught up in circumstances beyond their control and driven out of the diverse and soulful place that is Southern Louisiana. Their lives are broken and bent into new shapes. The way they respond to this upheaval will determine their futures.

Everyone says writing is a process. Could you share a little about your writing and/or research process?

I typically start with a certain character or scene that’s intriguing to me and build out from there. I am a journalist as well, so I love research; so much so that I need to stop myself at some point so that I don’t lean to far into non-fiction! Once I’ve got some scenes written and the characters have introduced themselves to me I start to think about plot- where are we going with this? This may not be the most efficient way to write a novel, but that’s the way it happens for me!

We know no writer is created in a vacuum. Could you tell the readers about a teacher or a librarian who had an effect on your writing life?

My elementary school librarian Mrs. Johnson was a big influence in my life! At my school, being athletic was much more the norm than being bookish. Mrs. Johnson always welcomed me and found new books that she knew I would like, so the library felt more like home to me than any other part of the school. My second grade teacher Mrs. Hale also encouraged me to write and her encouragement stayed with me for a long time!

What makes your book a good pick for use in a classroom? Is there any particular way you’d like to see teachers use it with young readers/teens?

BETWEEN TWO SKIES helps to show the more human side of one of the biggest natural disasters in American history, Hurricane Katrina. While reading nonfiction and historical accounts helps us understand it on one level, fiction helps readers to understand it on the emotional level. I would love it if teachers used BETWEEN TWO SKIES to show how historical events can be brought to life in fiction. But it’s also an all-around coming-of-age, family and love story!

I’m a little dog obsessed here at www.patriciabaileyauthor.com. Would you tell the readers about your favorite dog (real or imaginary)?

I’m a little dog obsessed, too! My favorite real dog is, of course, my family dog Biscuit. He adopted us one weekend when we were visiting a friend’s weekend house. He arrived on the driveway and basically never left us again. We tried to find an owner, but no one came forward so he became our pup. He’s a bit shy with strangers, but he’s such a loving guy with us. He’s not the smartest dog in the world, but we think he’s the sweetest!

Author Spotlight Interview | Joanne O'Sullivan talks Between Two Skies | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

 

Author Spotlight Interview | Joanne OSullivan talks Between Two Skies | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comJoanne O’Sullivan introduces fascinating people and places to readers through books, articles and blog posts. Her award-winning science, sustainability and travel books for kids include “Migration Nation” (Charlesbridge, 2015) and the 101 Before You’re 12 series. She has lived in a sixteenth-century Italian palazzo and a modern Korean high-rise, but now calls beautiful Asheville, North Carolina home. When she and her environmental activist husband and artistic kids aren’t out in the woods, she’s usually planning her next big trip to faraway places. Visit her at www.joanneosullivan.com or on Twitter and Instagram at jkosullian1.

Thanks so much, Joanne!

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2017 Debut Book Love – The Shadows We Know By Heart

the shadows we know by heartFellow Class of 2k17 Books member Jennifer Park’s incredible YA debut, THE SHADOWS WE KNOW BY HEART, releases today and it is quite simply the book you did not know you have been waiting for all of your life.

Leah Roberts’s life has never been the same since her brother died ten years ago. Her mother won’t stop drinking, her father can’t let go of his bitter anger, and Leah herself has a secret she’s told no one: Sasquatch are real, and she’s been watching a trio of them in the woods behind her house for years.

Everything changes when Leah discovers that among the Sasquatch lives a teenager. This alluring, enigmatic boy has no memory of his past and can barely speak, but Leah can’t shake his magnetic pull. Gradually, Leah’s life entwines with his, providing her the escape from reality she never knew she needed.

But when Leah’s two worlds suddenly collide in a deadly showdown, she uncovers a shocking truth as big and extraordinary as the legends themselves, one that could change her life forever.

Jennifer handles this Tarzan retelling perfectly. She tells this story about love and loss beautifully – with just the right blend of heart and mystery.

THE SHADOWS WE KNOW BY HEART is one of my favorite all-time YA reads. I cannot wait to share it with everyone I know.

The Shadows We Know by HeartThe Shadows We Know by Heart by Jennifer Park
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved every word of Jennifer Parks’s debut novel. The story is captivating from page one. Park plunges you into the East Texas woods until you feel like you’re part of the story and never want to leave. Great characters, a great setting, gorgeous writing and exactly the right amount of action/tension to keep you turning the pages. A haunting look at love, hope, and the lies we tell, this is a book I can’t wait to read again.

View all my reviews

For readers

  • An original love story.
  • A great, true-to-life sibling relationship.
  • A compelling mystery

For teachers

  • A beautifully drawn setting.
  • A unique retelling of a classic.
  • Flawed and likeable main characters.

THE SHADOWS WE KNOW BY HEART is on sale today. You can pick up a copy at your local bookstore or online at:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Powells

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Happy Book Birthday – ALLEGEDLY

Happy Book Birthday | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

Happy book birthday to fellow Class of 2k17 member Tiffany Jackson!

Her YA debut, ALLEGEDLY, launches today!

Publisher’s Weekly called ALLEGEDLY “…intensely relevant, addressing race, age, and mental illness within the criminal justice system. Well conceived and executed, this is an absorbing and exceptional first novel.”

Kirkus described it as “Searing and true.”

 

I found it simply amazing.


allegedlyhc-003-285x430Nine-year-old Mary B. Addison killed a baby. Allegedly.

She didn’t say much during the trial but the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A three-month-old white baby had died under the care of a church going black mother and her daughter.
After spending six years in prison for the unthinkable crime, sixteen year old Mary discovers she is pregnant. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past while surviving life in a Brooklyn group home. But her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her mother.

Check out Tiffany at her website – and be sure to sign up for her Newsletter of Dopeness.

Then head over to you local bookstore or to one of these online vendors to pick up a copy.

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Powells

Congratulations, Tiffany!

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Author Spotlight: Breeana Shields Talks about POISON’S KISS

author-spotlight

Today I’m shining the Author Spotlight on fellow Class of 2k17 member
Breeana Shields and her debut novel POISON’S KISS.

Title: POISON’S KISS

Genre: YA fantasy

Age Range: 12 and up

Launch Date: January 10th, 2017

 

 

poisons-kiss-cover-small -

Please tell us a little bit about your book?

Poison’s Kiss is about a girl who can kill with a single kiss. Since childhood, she’s served the Raja as one of his most lethal assassins. But when she receives orders to kiss a boy she knows—a boy she’s sure doesn’t deserve to die—she starts to question who she’s really working for. And that thread, once pulled, will unravel more than she can afford to lose.

 

What inspired you to write this story and/or these characters?

I often get ideas for books when I’m learning about something totally unrelated. It’s one of the reasons I love museums, classes, and documentaries. In this case, I was listening to a lecture on espionage and the professor mentioned something in passing—a legendary figure in Indian folklore called the poison damsel—that sent my imagination on a lengthy tangent. I didn’t hear the rest of the lecture, but I did walk away with a new book idea.

 

Everyone says writing is a process. Could you share a little about your writing and/or research process?

I usually start a new project with a basic premise, a few major turning points, and rough idea of the ending. From there, I just dive in, start writing, and let the story unfold organically. Often it turns out very differently than the version I had in my head when I first started. Once I have a draft, I can edit to make sure that the final product is a satisfying story.

 

We know no writer is created in a vacuum. Could you tell the readers about a teacher or a librarian who had an effect on your writing life?

My writing teacher in high school, Mr. Beck, had a huge influence on me as both a writer and a person. He started out as my sophomore honors English teacher, but he also taught journalism and encouraged me to join the newspaper staff. Once I did, I was completely hooked. I had always loved writing, but getting to write every day, to decide on topics and layouts, and most of all, to have readers was more satisfying than anything else I’d experienced up to that point.

Some of my happiest memories of high school are being in the newspaper lab late at night with my friends, all of us rushing to get the next issue out on time. I loved printing out an article, feeding it into the wax machine and pasting it up at the light table only to immediately savage it with a blue editing pencil and decide I needed to start all over.

Mr. Beck demanded the best of his students and he didn’t tolerate anything less. Other teachers gave me a lot of praise for my writing—and they were instrumental in building my confidence—but Mr. Beck wasn’t so easily impressed. He challenged every weakly-written sentence, called out every bit of lazy writing, and always pushed me to do better. I still remember how thrilling it was to get an assignment back with the words, “solid writing” at the top of the page. From him that was high praise. I probably would have found my way into a writing career even without Mr. Beck—I think it’s in my blood—but it would have taken a lot longer to hone the skills I needed to succeed.

 

What makes your book  a good pick for use in a classroom? Is there any particular way you’d like to see teachers use it with young readers/teens?

I think Poison’s Kiss could be used in the classroom in a number of ways—as a jumping off point for discussing mythology, as an exploration of medicine and the different ways toxins affect the body, or as a character study in what people do when placed in morally complex situations. I’m also a huge fan of literature circles, where small groups of students who all read the same novel and then gather in class to discuss together. I’ve had the opportunity to volunteer to lead a few lit circles, and it was a complete joy. I love listening to students read something they chose themselves and hear their smart observations and spirited debates.

 

I’m a little dog obsessed here at www.patriciabaileyauthor.com. Would you tell the readers about your favorite dog (real or imaginary)?

I have an adorable miniature poodle named Molly. I call her my Velcro dog because she sticks to my side, following me from room to room throughout the day. She’s also really smart—she can dance on command and walk across the entire length of a room on her hind legs (as long as there’s peanut butter waiting at the other end.). And she has an uncanny sense of my schedule. As soon as my kids leave for school, she curls up under my desk ready to start our writing day.

molly

 

breeana-shields-small - Author Poison's KissBreeana Shields has a BA in English from Brigham Young University and is an active member of SCBWI. When she’s not writing, Breeana loves reading, traveling, and spending time with her husband, her three children, and an extremely spoiled miniature poodle. Visit her online at breeanashields.com or follow her on Twitter at @BreeanaShields.

 

You can read my review of POISON’S KISS here, and you can buy Breeana’s book anywhere good books are sold, or online at:

Powells

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Thanks so much, Breena!

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Class of 2k17 Book Love: Allegedly

Class of 2k17 Books | PatriciaBaileyAuthor.comIt’s hard to believe that Class of 2k17 member Tiffany Jackson is a debut author and that ALLEGEDLY is a debut novel.

It’s just so good.

Which is why I was thrilled when Tiffany’s e-ARC ended up in my inbox. Just one of the many perks of being part of the super terrific debut group, Class of 2k17. Have I mentioned how lucky I am?

I read ALLEGEDLY over the course of a week – trying to make it last. It’s simply amazing. Dark and twisty and totally mind-bending. Thriller fans are going to eat this novel up – and people who don’t usually read thrillers are going to love the complex and heartbreaking character of Mary and the girls in her group home.


Allegedly
Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A stunning debut. Dark. Heartbreaking. Powerful. Mary is a wonderfully complex character. Her story will catch you by the throat and not let you go until you’ve read the entire novel – and she’ll stay with you long after you’ve finished. The author, Tiffany Jackson, paints a unflinching portrait of our juvenile justice system while telling a compelling story – drawing you into Mary’s world, and making you question right, wrong, and everything in between.

A true thriller from the start.

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For readers:

  • Page turning suspense.
  • A complex and compelling character.
  • A thrilling read that will keep you second guessing what you know.

For teachers

  • A great example of building suspense and maintaining it.
  • An examination of complex narrators.
  • A rich jumping off place for discussion about juvenile justice, good, evil, and all the places in between.

Lucky for all of us, we won’t have to wait long to get this book in our hands. ALLEGEDLY’S launch date is January 24, 2017, and it’s available for pre-order now.

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Class of 2k17 Book Love: Poison’s Kiss

Class of 2k17 Books | PatriciaBaileyAuthor.comI was lucky enough to get another ARC in my mail this week. I never knew getting a sneak peek at soon-to-be-published books would be this fun. It’s like a whole year of Coming Attractions! I have to admit, after reading fellow Class of 2k17 member Whitney Gardner’s awesome YOU’RE WELCOME UNIVERSE last week and Breeana Shields’ amazing POISON’S KISS this week, I am truly humbled that my little book is getting to hang out with these guys. I feel like the weird kid who ended up sitting at the cool kids’ table my mistake. Part of me is scared to death while another part kinda wants to jump up and down and scream like the fangirl I am. Neither reaction is very professional, I know, but right now, that’s all I got – and I’m okay with it.

And I totally fangirled Breeana as I read this book. I tweeted her regular updates, letting her know just how amazing this story is. Amazing and unique and freaking spell-binding.

She may have made me a fantasy junkie with this debut and I’m not even sorry. It’s that good!

Poison's Kiss (Untitled, #1)Poison’s Kiss by Breeana Shields
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beautiful writing, riveting plot, engaging characters – Breeana Shields manages to combine all three in her engaging debut. Shields captures your attention from page one – with gorgeous description and an empathetic character. She carries it through the twists and turns of this page-turner, as Marinda struggles with her duty, her self, and her fate. A story of deceit, betrayal, friendship, and ultimately love, Poison’s Kiss will stay with you long after you finish the book and leave you longing for the sequel.

View all my reviews

For readers:

  • Fast paced adventure.
  • A touching sibling relationship.
  • Complicated friendships and loyalties, and a sweet romance.

For teachers

  • Beautiful, descriptive language.
  • A great example of world building – using mythology and lore to enhance a story.
  • A compelling character who is easy to empathize with.

If this is Breeana’s debut, I can’t even imagine what she’s got up her sleeve for the next book. Lucky for you, it’s available for pre-order right now. And you can always add it to your Goodreads list to remind you of the amazing book that’s coming for you in 2017.

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My First ARC: Pre-reading MG and YA Books

Class of 2k17 Books | PatriciaBaileyAuthor.comOne of the coolest things about being a debut author is that you get to meet other debut authors.

And one of the best things about meeting other debut authors – other than their incredible kindness, generosity, and downright Swankiness – is that you get to read advanced copies of their upcoming MG and YA books.

That’s right. You get a sneak peek at next year’s best MG and YA books. How cool is that? For this bookworm, it’s a little like my visions of heaven. Books just arriving at your doorstep like magic, waiting for you to read them.

My very first Advanced Reader Copy showed up in the mailbox right before the Fourth of July weekend. And if that’s not cool enough, it was fellow Oregonian and Class of 2k17 member Whitney Gardner’s amazing debut, YOU’RE WELCOME UNIVERSE.

And it was awesome!

So awesome, I read it in two days. So awesome, I rushed over to Goodreads to write a review. So awesome, I tweeted about it, then tweeted again. (And Intagrammed, and Facebooked…and, well, you get the picture).

MG and YA books - You're Welcome, UniverseYou’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There is so much to love about Whitney Gardner’s debut. It’s heartfelt – full of anger and hurt, hope and beauty. Set against the backdrop of a graffiti war, YOU’RE WELCOME UNIVERSE challenges our assumptions about art, belonging, and friendship in new and interesting ways. The characters are compelling, the art work is captivating, and the twists and turns make this an impossible book to put down.

View all my reviews

For readers:.

  • A friendship story that’s not all sunshine and happiness.
  • A real character  – complex and diverse – that’s not easy to pigeon-hole. .
  • The art work!

For teachers

  • A complex and diverse character – who doesn’t always make the best choices.
  • Discussion about art and vandalism – expression and destruction.
  • Excellent world building from the character’s point of view in a contemporary setting.

The world is going to saying THANK YOU, WHITNEY when it gets its hands on this book next year. In the meantime, the lucky few who get a pre-read will just have to urge you to add it to your To Read lists.

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