Dear Unpublished Me - Danielle Paige

This weeks unpublished me post comes to you from one of my favourite authors... drum roll please... Danielle Paige! 
Danielle lives in NY. Before turning to YA, she worked in television & was nominated for several Daytime Emmy's. Dorothy Must Die was her first novel and since then there have been so many more than have captured the hearts of the YA reader.
Dear Younger Me,

First of all you should know that you have yet to get your own national holiday. But you are still young (ish.)

You know that we do not believe in kismet. But your “Grandmother’s story.” The one that you and your mom and your sister tune into after school, the one that you once upon a time wrote not one but two fan letters to. Yes , that one, Guiding light. One day you will write for it.  And you know, MTV, that channel that right now is all music. One day you will write a script for it, too. It won’t actually get produced but still it is a really big deal for you and it helped on the door to you writing your very first book.

And speaking of which, you know the Wizard of Oz, that movie that you have watched so many times that your mother actually gives you that look that says “again” even though she loves it too, one day you will write a retelling of it and kids that were your age when you were watching the movie over and over again will read it.

I think the thing that I need to tell you, even though you are a really ambitious little thing, is that the future looks different than the one you are meticulously planning for yourself, but you are planting the seeds and learning the things that you will need when you are out in the world.

The biggest thing that we(I) learn is that you are not one TV script or one book, that you are a writer and that you can always, always write something else. So when the soap world starts to shrink you can try the larger TV world, and you can also try the YA world and you can find a home there. But you should always be thinking and writing new things. Challenging yourself to try writing outside your comfort zone. Stretching yourself as a person and a writer.

And when things get tough, which they do, remember that you are doing exactly what you have dreamed of doing since you are a kid. And that one setback doesn’t negate all the handwork and successes that you have had before. Allow yourself to revel in the big moments. Getting your first script, writing your first book, meeting your first reader.

The Yellow Brick Road is long and windy and you are in it for the long haul. Keep going, you will find magic and friends and a home. 
by Danielle Paige

Pages: 384
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens  
Publication Date: 6th October 2016
ISBN: 9781408872932

Seventeen-year-old Snow lives within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she doesn't belong there, but she has no memory of life outside, except for the strangest dreams. And then a mysterious, handsome man, an orderly in the hospital, opens a door – and Snow knows that she has to leave … She finds herself in icy Algid, her true home, with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she's destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change everything. Heroine or villain, queen or broken girl, frozen heart or true love, Snow must choose her fate …

Dear Unpublished Me - Keris Stainton

This weeks Unpublished Me post comes to you from the lovely Keris Stainton, author of novels such as One Italian Summer & The Hearts books!! This is an extra special Dear Unpublished Me as it doesn't just have Keris' beautiful letter but also the COVER REVEAL of her newest book. 

This letter is penned to a Keris before she decided to be a writer and the fact I get to share not just this but also all the details about her 2018 release feels very fitting. This post will take you from the start of her publishing journey right up to the present day. 
Dear Me 

You've just realised you should write a book. In fact, you didn't even realise, did you? Your husband suggested it in response to your descriptions of your, um, eccentric work colleagues. But it was, as Oprah would say, an 'Aha! Moment!' 

Of course you should write a book! Didn't you used to write all the time? Didn't you used to take fanfic (before it was called fanfic) requests from your friends? Haven't you been desperately trying to work out what you should do with your life? Well, guess what? This is it. It really is! 

But. It's going to take a while. It'll be seven years before you actually finish a first draft. And it'll be much too short (but it'll have a beginning, middle and end, so you're totally going to count it). And then it'll be another couple of years before you finish one that you think is good enough to send out to an agent. (It'll be Young Adult. You probably don't know what that is right now, but you're gonna love it, I promise.) 

You'll get a lovely agent. And then it'll take another year before a publisher is interested. But a publisher will be interested. And you'll go down to London for a meeting and the people you meet will be lovely and they'll want to buy your book and you'll get the train home grinning and giggling to yourself (and people will stare, but you won't care). And then your publisher will ask you to write a different book instead. I know. But it's fine. It's going to be fine. 

So eventually you'll finish a book, and your publisher will love it, and publish it (but it'll get put back a year - you should probably just accept now that everything in publishing takes much much longer than you expect), and people will like it (not, like, loads of people, but enough). And then you'll write a couple more (you'll get to go to LA to research one of them and it will be the best trip ever). And then you'll move to a different publisher. And then you'll get a different (lovely) agent. And another different publisher. And another. You get the gist. 

It won't be as straightforward as you hope. And I'm sorry to have to tell you that you're not going to be super rich (at least not yet, it could still happen!). But what I can tell you is you're going to have a lot of fun. You're going to make amazing friends. You're going to be on the cover of a magazine (no really). You're going to be on TV (it will be a disaster, but still). You're going to interview Judy Blume! And best of all, you're going to get emails from readers who've read your books over and over and who say they never really loved books at all until they discovered one of yours. 

And you'll never really believe it - one day you'll sit down to write a letter to your unpublished self and you'll end up crying because it's all just so overwhelming - but it's true. Lucky you. 




You'll have noticed with all the Dear Unpublished Me posts I have included a book feature but as I mentioned above, today we have something extra special. 
I can exclusively reveal the cover of Keris' next book My Heart Goes Bang is hitting shelves June 28th 2018 and it is absolutely stunning!!!! 

Gemma, Lou, Issey, Liane and Paige are determined to make the most of this second year at uni. They want to have fun, but they want to focus on work. There's no time for relationships. Except with each other. And even that's not guaranteed. Gemma and Lou have always been close, but there's tension between Issey and Liane, and none of them even knows Paige all that well. 
But when Gemma finds a magazine article with a list of men they should date before they're 21 (someone who's been on TV? Check; someone with tattoos? Check;) they vow to complete the list before finishing university and set about it with a lot more enthusiasm than they do their studies ... but will any of them end up with a full house? And when a secret from their first year comes out, it looks as if some of them might not be completing university, never mind the list ... 

MY HEART GOES BANG is about lectures, essays, hangovers, and flatmates; it's about found families, finding yourself, and falling in love with people you never expected to fall in love with. 





by M. A. Bennett

Pages: 290
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: August 1st 2017
Received From: Hot Key Books

Nine students. Three bloodsports. One deadly weekend.
It is the autumn term and Greer MacDonald is struggling to settle into the sixth form at the exclusive St. Aidan the Great boarding school, known to its privileged pupils as S.T.A.G.S.
To her surprise Greer receives a mysterious invitation with three words embossed upon on it: huntin' shootin' fishin' - an invitation to spend the half term weekend at the country manor of Henry de Warlencourt, the most popular and wealthy boy at S.T.A.G.S.
Greer joins the other chosen students at the ancient and sprawling Longcross Hall, and soon realises that they are at the mercy of their capricious host. Over the next three days, as the three bloodsports - hunting, shooting and fishing - become increasingly dark and twisted, Greer comes to the horrifying reality that those being hunted are not wild game, but the very misfits Henry has brought with him from school...

This is one of those books that has been all over social media and has had other bloggers raving about it for months... And now, FINALLY, I understand why! S.T.A.G.S. is an amazing new addition to the hall of YA fame as it has everything you could possibly want from a young adult novel. It is fast paced, exhilarating, unapologetic and jaw droppingly amazing. From the very first chapter I just knew I was going to love this book and I wasn't wrong.

S.T.A.G.S. is the story of Greer MacDonald and how her new life among the privileged went from uncomfortable at best to outright dangerous. One Justitium Weekend - also know as autumn break to you and I muggles - Greer is invited to Longcross Hall by the popular kids at St. Aidan the Great's boarding school. Thinking the invitation is the key to making it at her new school Greer is more than excited to accept and take her place among the Medieval's (popular kids to us common folk) but it soon becomes clear nothing is as it seems. From the second Greer arrives at Longcross things take a turn for the unexpected and as the blood sports begin there is only one question worth asking... Who will be going back to S.T.A.G.S alive?

This book takes the ideas of an out of date class system and the stereotypes of social hierarchy and pushes them to their absolute limit, creating a dark and sinister plot that will have you holding your breath until the very last page.  There is something about the way in which this story is told that had me on tender hooks - pun completely intended- and the world in which M.A. Bennett creates is unapologetically twisted. Personally I adored the characters and the very harsh differences between the popular kids and the ones that didn't quite fit in. S.T.A.G.S. is a book that champions the outsider and tries to enforce that no matter what, you should always just be you!

Overall, Greer and her unlikely new friends drag the reader into the mysterious, archaic world of the Medival's and their dangerous games.  S.T.A.G.S. is a hauntingly eery tale that shows what a need for control can do to a person and when it comes to the Medieval's, they will do anything to preserve a way of life that died out decades ago. This is one of those books that took me by surprise and had me re-reading the last chapter over and over to make sure I wasn't mistaken. If you haven't read this yet I don't know what you are waiting for! It is everything you could want from a YA and it will leave you gagging for more. 

Dear Unpublished Me - Ashley Poston

This weeks Unpublished Me post comes to you from the author of one of my all time favourite books Geekerella, Ashley Poston! Ashely loves dread pirates, moving castles and starry night skies. She graduated from the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in How to Kick Butt Without Even Trying (aka English), and fell in love with the Romantics. When not proclaiming her love for Lord Byron (in that #problematicfavs sort of way), she's in search for her next great adventure. She lives in South Carolina with her bossy cat, and they are  firm believers that we're all a bunch of weirdos looking at other weirdos, asking for their usernames.

Dear Ash of 2015,
You’re bent over a manuscript, editing by the kitchen light in your small Brooklyn apartment. There is snow on the sill of your kitchen window, and outside you can see the neighbor across the way putting up his Christmas tree in the living room. Don’t look at the clock, you’ll just be reminded of how long you’ve stared at page 294 (and that you still have work in the morning).
Your chest is tight from anxiety—or is it heart burn from the day-old pizza? Or are you having a heart attack? Oh god, you hope you aren’t having a heart attack. You can’t—you have to turn in this R&R to the editor who might buy this book and change your life. Nothing will stop you. Nothing can stop you.
You are the living, breathing embodiment of absolute stubbornness.
You can’t even remember the last time you bathed okay, so it was this morning because otherwise you’re a shambling zombie with exciting hair), or the last time you ate (five seconds ago, because you stress-eat peanut butter like PacMan noms dots). All you know is that this story—this book—has been your lifeblood for so long, you have Dragon Ball Z Fusion’d yourself with it to create a superior Ashley Poston—
Ultimate Super Author Ashley Poston!
Your stubbornness only grows when you remember all the people who told you that being an author is a nice dream—but when are you going to get a real job? You’re haunted by the memory of an empty college classroom the day you were to read your short story, your classmates having skipped yours because you wrote YA. You remember the fifty-six agent rejections you pinned to your wall, and you remember the feeling of finally—finally—getting an offer of representation. For this story, no less! For these characters! This world! This idea!
So you’re fueled by so many things, and they all keep you ravenous for more.
This is your shot, you tell yourself.
Be like Hamilton and don’t waste it.
But really, you don’t look very Ultimate Super Author. You just look tired. You’re missing a December snowfall you’ve never gotten a chance to see before. You haven’t yet gone to Rockerfeller to stare in awe at the gigantic tree. You haven’t gotten presents for your family—you barely remember your work’s holiday party. The month has gone by in a blur of computer pages, and unbeknownst to you, you will never live in a New York City December again.
Take a breath, Ash. Skype your cat, who you miss dearly. Go outside and feel the bite of cold against your nose and inhale the city air fresh with snowfall. See the tree, take a picture or two, make jokes about what big balls it has (ornaments, they were tree ornaments).
That passage your stressing over won’t even be in the final draft. The character you’re thinking of cutting? Tomorrow you’ll realize that you need to add his POV.
While you’re lost in a world you created, don’t forget that the world outside is passing you by. Be in it, enjoy the moment—and don’t be afraid of setting this story aside for the evening. Because what you don’t realize yet is that you will never leave the world in your head, you’ll carry it with you wherever you go.
Meet new friends, go to book events, stare up at the impossibly tall buildings and revel in the moment because you are in New York City. You just signed a work-for-hire for this little publisher called Quirk Books, and you don’t know it yet, but that little story of Cinderella at a Comic-Con will take you places you never thought possible.
So don’t worry about this R&R—one story will never define you, because you will write multitudes of stories, and each one of them will build your castle.
Because in March? You’ll get the call. And you’ll cry at your work desk, not because of the news itself, but because you realize that after all these years of writing a story about a girl searching for home, she finally found one.
Three years later, on February 27th, 2018, you will share Heart of Iron with the world. And still you won’t feel like Ultimate Super Author Ashley Poston, because there’s another deadline, and another edit, and another book.
And so you build your castle.

Forever with Love,

(PS – Please wear your wrist guards.)

Pages: 480 
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: 27th February 2018
ISBN13: 9780062652850

Seventeen-year-old Ana is a scoundrel by nurture and an outlaw by nature. Found as a child drifting through space with a sentient android called D09, Ana was saved by a fearsome space captain and the grizzled crew she now calls family. But D09—one of the last remaining illegal Metals—has been glitching, and Ana will stop at nothing to find a way to fix him.
Ana’s desperate effort to save D09 leads her on a quest to steal the coordinates to a lost ship that could offer all the answers. But at the last moment, a spoiled Ironblood boy beats Ana to her prize. He has his own reasons for taking the coordinates, and he doesn’t care what he’ll sacrifice to keep them.
When everything goes wrong, she and the Ironblood end up as fugitives on the run. Now their entire kingdom is after them—and the coordinates—and not everyone wants them captured alive.
What they find in a lost corner of the universe will change all their lives—and unearth dangerous secrets. But when a darkness from Ana’s past returns, she must face an impossible choice: does she protect a kingdom that wants her dead or save the Metal boy she loves?

REVIEW: I Am Traitor

by Sif Sigmarsdóttir

Pages: 393
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Publication Date: September 7th 2017
Received From: Hodder Children's Books

At the end of the world, who can you trust? The story of one teenager's fight against an extra-terrestrial invasion. For fans of Michael Grant, Suzanne Collins and Robert Muchamore

London has been targeted by extra-terrestrial life; large pipes fall from the sky, sucking teenagers up into a world that is entirely unimaginable.

Amy Sullivan surrenders in a quest to save the teenage population. But nobody can prepare her for what's on the other side of the pipes; a grim and gruelling dystopian world run a specialised government. In order to save the human race, she must literally fight the other species. 

Then Amy meets Caesar, a boy who doesn't seem entirely normal. 

Amy must decide what's more important - saving planet Earth, or following her heart - wherever it might lead. 

If I am completely honest I didn't think I would like this book. It was the moment it was compared to War of the Worlds - serious tom cruise flashbacks and not in a good way - I kinda lost all interest in it. However, a few weeks ago I was struggling to find something I wanted to read when I Am Traitor sort of just fell into my lap again and this time I decided to give it a read and OH MY GOD its so good! Like, I can't quite put into words - although I'll obviously try, book review and all - just how amazing this story is. From the very first chapter it had me hooked, I mean you knew there were aliens coming but you are kept in suspense and become a part of this new world right along side our awesome protagonist - Amy. 

I Am Traitor is the story of Amy Sullivan, a teenager living in London when the unimaginable happens - Aliens invade Earth. It doesn't happen all at once, in fact to start with it's just little things like unscheduled TV appearance from the Prime Minister and nation wide curfews (trust me in comparison to what happens those things are little) but as time goes on the "people' aboard the ships start to make their way into the city. Teens start getting grabbed from their homes by long mechanical arms and when it seems all is lost it falls on Amy's shoulders to try and save her planet. Filled with unpredictable twist and turns, I Am Traitor takes you on Amy's journey as she is forced to decide what is right and what is wrong. She is forced to make the hardest decision of all, to save the ones she loves or to save the whole world but before she does she is going to try her hardest to do both!

I'm trying really hard to stay objective with this review but you know when you're just in love with a book and you literally can't find any holes in it? This is one of those books!! To the point where the only negative I found was the fact maybe Amy could have done with being 1 or 2 years older... literally thats all!! And even that is subjective. 

The characters in this book are well thought through, beautifully written and so easy to connect with. You'll love some and loath others but the point is there isn't a character in this book that you wont feel something towards. When it comes to the story itself, I was hooked from the very first page but it was when they got onto the ship that, for me, I was able to completely immerse myself in the plot. I didn't know what was going to come next and the battle scenes where full on Star Wars level of epicness - minus the lightsabers. The ending broke my heart and I've got everything crossed there is a book two on its way at some point... seriously tell me there is more!!  

Overall this book was out of this world - pun totally intended! There is something so alluring about the way in which it is written it doesn't take much to imagine you are right along side Amy as she goes on the biggest adventure of her life. The story is beautiful, exciting and heartbreaking at times - there were tears. If for whatever reason you are second guessing whether or not to give this book a read like I did, don't! Yes, I would definitely say there is a War of the Worlds feel to it but its a War of the Worlds for a Divergent generation - no Tom Cruse flashbacks I swear! It has all the romance you could ask for, tough life or death decisions and so much more. It is everything I could have wanted from a book like this and I'm so glad I gave it a chance.