Books Children

True Colors by Krysten Lyndsay Hager



True Colors by Krysten Lindsay Hager

A little competition can really bring out people’s true colors


Being a young teen isn’t easy. It’s hard to know who your friends are and who is trustworthy.   While my middle school days are long over, my pumpkin’s days of middle school happened fairly recently.  I remember the arguments, the lip gloss, the boys, trips to the mall, and the general confusion of trying to figure out your place in society. Our main character, Landry, has similar issues. On top of all of the hassles of being in middle school, she’s beginning a modeling career!

Landry Albright just wants to be one of the interesting girls at school who always have exciting things going on in their lives. She wants to stand out, but also wants to fit in, so she gives in when her two best friends, Ericka and Tori, push her into trying out for a teen reality show modeling competition with them. Landry goes in nervous, but impresses the judges enough to make it to the next round. However, Ericka and Tori get cut and basically “unfriend” her on Monday at school. Landry tries to make new friends, but gets caught up between wanting to be herself and conforming to who her new friends want her to be. Along the way she learns that modeling is nowhere as glamorous as it seems, how to deal with frenemies, a new crush, and that true friends see you for who you really are and like you because of it.


Life’s not too difficult  for Landry, but most of the problems she encounters are of her own doing. All you need is one good friend, right?

Want more? Here’s an excerpt from the book:

The competition was for girls between the ages of thirteen and seventeen, but it felt like Ericka, Tori, and I were the youngest ones there. I only saw a couple of girls from school, and the lineup looked more like something you’d see on a music video set. All the girls were gorgeous, and they had these curvy womanly bodies. I looked like a skinny little kid next to them. The first girl walked out, and I heard the judges say she “owned the runway,” and, “walked like a gazelle.” I was starting to feel ill. I wasn’t sure which way it was going to come, but I knew I had to find a bathroom — fast. I started to get out of line when Ericka grabbed my wrist.

“It’s almost time,” she said. A tiny bit of spit flew out of her mouth and hit my cheek.

I wasn’t sure why she was so intent on me going through with it, but she had a death grip on my arm, so I didn’t have much of a choice. Her number was called and she walked out to the stage. One of the other girls said she walked like a kid with sand bucket stilts on her feet, but she came back with a smirk on her face like she knew she’d get chosen.

“They said they had never seen such long legs,” she said.

Tori was next.

“She walks like a gorilla at feeding time,” said the girl behind me. I went next, and I tried to focus on not tripping over my feet. My mom’s pumps had a rubber sole on the bottom, which probably wasn’t the brightest idea seeing as my shoes were making squeaking noises as I walked. I was so nervous I couldn’t stop smiling as I walked. I looked like the plastic clown who blows up balloons with its mouth at the Pizza Palace. When I got to the end of the runway, I tried to cross my feet to turn like the other girls had, but I over rotated and ended up doing a full spin which made my kilt fan out and gave the mall walkers a view of my blue underpants. I tried to act like it was intentional and did an extra turn. One of the judges put her hand up to stop me, and I held my breath as she started to speak.

I had a plaid kilt when I was a teen. Oh the good old days! Thanks for a fun read Krysten!

About the Author: Krysten Lindsay Hager is an author and book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and also writes middle grade, YA, humor essays, and adult fiction. TRUE COLORS is her bestselling debut novel from Astraea Press. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and currently resides in Southern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing. She received her master’s in American Culture from the University of Michigan-Flint.







Book Trailer:


Amazon author profile:

Young Adult

I’m on the Guardian Blog Tour!

GUARDIAN (Proxy, #2) by Alex London
Release Date: May 29, 2014
Hardcover, 352 pages
Publisher: Philomel
Genre: YA / Dystopian / LGBT

The pulse-pounding sequel to Proxy! Inspired by The Whipping Boy and Feed, this adrenaline-fueled thriller will appeal to fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent.

In the new world led by the Rebooters, former Proxy Syd is the figurehead of the Revolution, beloved by some and hated by others. Liam, a seventeen-year-old Rebooter, is Syd’s bodyguard and must protect him with his life. But armed Machinists aren’t the only danger.

People are falling ill—their veins show through their skin, they find it hard to speak, and sores erupt all over their bodies. Guardians, the violent enforcers of the old system, are hit first, and the government does nothing to help. The old elites fall next, and in the face of an indifferent government, Syd decides it’s up to him to find a cure . . . and what he discovers leaves him stunned.

This heart-stopping thriller is packed with action, adventure, and heroics. Guardian will leave you breathless until the final page.

A fast-paced, thrill-ride of novel full of non-stop action, heart-hammering suspense and true friendship—just as moving as it is exhilarating. Fans of Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider series, James Dashner’s Maze Runner, Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking series, and Marie Lu’s Legend trilogy will be swept away by this story.


Amazon | B&N | IndieBound | Goodreads


Chapter One – GUARDIAN by Alex London

At night, they disposed of the bodies. There was no ceremony, no ritual, no remembrance.

“They’re human,” some argued.

“They were human,” said others. “Now they’re meat.”

“We have to study the infection,” said the doctor.

“We have to contain it,” said the counselor and gave her orders. “Burn the bodies.”

A work detail was tasked with the burning. One by one, in the dead of night, green uniforms with white masks hauled corpses to the pile. The corpses were webbed with black veins, their entire network of blood vessels visible through the pale skin. Dried blood obscured their faces and each had a single hole in the temple by the eyes, where the killing bolt went in. They were put down like livestock, burned like sacrifices.

As the bodies crackled, the doctor watched the flames, her face half in shadow, half dancing in firelight. “I believe there is a cure for this,” she said.

The counselor, standing beside her, nodded, but did not turn to look her way. “Your cure is worse than the disease.”

“You believe that?”

“It’s the truth. Your way is treason.”

“You’re in denial,” the doctor said. “This is going to get worse if we don’t stop it.”

“It’s a new world, Doctor,” the counselor replied. “We can’t turn back the clock.”

“Even to save people’s lives?”

“These”—the counselor gestured at the bodies—“are not people.”

“If it spreads?”

“Is it spreading?”

The doctor watched the young members of the work detail tossing the bodies on the pyre. They moved with the assurance of youth, the kind of attitude that
allowed them to stare infection and death in the face and believe it would never touch them. “I don’t know.”

“It is your job to know.”

“I can hardly understand it. The blood turns against the body. Itching, burning. Then, expulsion. Half of them bleed out.”

“And the other half?”

The doctor clenched her jaw. “They haven’t bled out yet.”

“They are in pain?”

“They can’t communicate, but we have to restrain them to keep them from scratching their skin off with their fingernails.” The doctor sighed. “So, yes, they are in pain.”

“Put them out of their misery,” the counselor ordered.

“But, we can still learn—”

“Those are the orders.” The counselor walked away, two green uniforms trailing her into the jungle. The doctor took off her white smock, pulled the blue gloves from her hands with a loud synthetic snap, and stood before the flames. She watched her latest failed experiments turn to smoke and ash in the bonfire, every bit of blood boiled away, with all the information it might have contained.

She had ideas, dangerous to share; but if she didn’t find a way, she feared, this sickness would go further than any of them could imagine. She would record a message in case she failed. She hoped that someone would still be alive to receive it.






Read the Exclusive 3 Chapters from London’s new release, GUARDIAN here: 

You can read the short story PUNISHMENT, the PROXY prequel on Wattpad for free right now! Meet Syd, Knox, and Liam (from Guardian) at 15…

C. Alexander London grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. He’s an author of nonfiction for grown-ups (under a slightly different not very secret name), books for teens (as Alex London…see above), and, younger readers. He once won a 12-gauge skeet-shooting tournament because no one else had signed up in his age group. He’s a Master SCUBA diver who hasn’t been diving in way too long, and, most excitingly, a fully licensed librarian. He used to know the Dewey Decimal System from memory.


He doesn’t anymore.

While traveling as a journalist, he watched television in 23 countries (Burmese soap operas were the most confusing; Cuban news reports were the most dull), survived an erupting volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a hurricane on small island in the Caribbean, 4 civil wars (one of them was over by the time he got there, thankfully), and a mysterious bite on his little toe in the jungles of Thailand. The bite got infected and swollen and gross and gave him a deep mistrust of lizards, even though it probably wasn’t a lizard that bit him.

Although he has had many adventures, he really does prefer curling up on the couch and watching some good television or reading a book. He enjoys danger and intrigue far more when it’s happening to somebody else.

He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

August 7thBook Chic Club – Review/Interview
August 8thCheryl Rainfield ~ Guest Post
August 9thBookish – Spotlight
August 9thI Read It & Wept ~ Review (Proxy/Guardian)/GP
August 9thLike A Bump On A Blog – Spotlight
August 10thBook Escape – Top 10/ Spotlight
August 11th – A Leisure Moment ~ Review (Proxy/Guardian)
August 11th – Reads All The Books – Review (Proxy/Guardian)
August 12th – Debbie Bookish – Review (Proxy/Guardian)
August 13th – Unconventional Librarian – Review
August 14th – Word Spelunking ~ Review (Guardian)
August 14th – Kate Tilton’s Blog – GIF Interview
August 15thFangirlish – Review (Proxy/Guardian)
August 15thWhat A Nerd Girl Says – Review (Guardian)
August 16thBooks To Remember – Review (Guardian)
August 16thA Bookshelf Full of Sunshine – Review (Guardian)
August 16thThe Reading Date ~ Review (Guardian)
August 16thReading Fictional ~ Review (Proxy/Guardian)
September – Bookish Tiffany – Review (Proxy/Guardian)
September – Bookish ~ Review (Proxy/Guardian)

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Children Young Adult

It’s Time to Think about Summer Reading: Plan Now, Read Later

It’s difficult to believe, but summer reading time is just around the corner! Before you know it, the kiddos will be out of school and bored out of their brains, or trying to plug into their Xboxes (or whatever is au courant) 24/7.  You know about summer slide and you don’t want that to happen right? The answer to that is to keep them reading!

To be sure, many schools require kids to read during the summer. Some schools post required reading lists and some don’t. If there’s required reading list, then like it or not, that’s what you hafta read, kids, sorry.  I feel your pain, though, cuz when I was a kid I had read Beowulf. In Old English. So, yah. Animal Farm doesn’t seem that bad, now, does it?

Regardless of your summer reading situation, I have a solution.  I will be

\compiling my first ever No Summer Slide Reading List.


I’ll suggest lists of books for kids of all ages: preschool, middle grade (tweens), and teens. These are books that I think will make for GREAT Summer reads. So, Plan Now, Read Later!

If you’\re an author or a publisher and you’d like to get your title on my No Summer Slide Reading List, send me an email at [email protected]

If you’re a reader, stay tuned to see what great lists I come up with!\\\\

Books Young Adult

Am I Divergent?

I just finished reading Divergent and I LOVED IT!


If you don’t know anything about this wildly popular series, here’s a blurb from

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Sounds great, right?  Based on the faction descriptions, I’m probably an Erudite.  What about you?  After meeting them during the book, I’m not sure that I’d actually want to be an Erudite because they seem kinda sick and twisted in a way that I don’t wan to be associated with. So maybe I AM Divergent?

Having finished the first audio book I’m now in a difficult predicament: do I continue with the series or do I stop and wait?  To be sure, I’m interested in moving forward.  It’s the holiday season so I’m sure there is someone SOMEWHERE who wants to gift me the audio version (which I will swoon if I receive). But that’s not the point.  I’m kind of burned out on series.  After binge reading (listening)  all five Mortal Instruments books, I’m tired.  I’m not sure that I have the emotional energy right now to spare, ya know? While anxiously waiting for Catching Fire to begin I saw the previews for the Divergent movie which doesn’t come out until after the new year.  Perhaps I can wait until then to pick up where I left off.

Meanwhile, I have time to squeeze in a few more books for pleasure.  I’m thinking Code Name Verity…

What do you think of Divergent?  Did you love it? Tell me!



The Girl Next Door by Selene Castrovilla

The Girl Next Door Tour


eBook Publication Date: May 24, 2013

Two teens are forced to make some very grown-up decisions when one of them is diagnosed with terminal cancer, twisting them into an unpredictable nightmare. Best friends since toddlerhood, Samantha and Jesse grapple with the realization that they are actually in love. What now? Beautifully written while handling a very heavy topic, Castrovilla addresses the universal question: In a world where the worst can strike at any time, how can we ever feel safe?

The Girl Next Door: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes

Selene is pleased to team with the Anthony V. Mannino Foundation helping young adults in their fight against cancer. She will donate $1 for each book ordered during THE GIRL NEXT DOOR’s Blog Tour!
Selene will send a free autographed copy of THE GIRL NEXT DOOR to anyone who donates $25 or more to the foundation (click here to donate!). For your purchase to count and/or to show proof of donation, just send a screenshot or receipt of your order or donation, along with your shipping address if necessary, through “Drop me a line” in the “Latest News” section of her website,
The AVM Foundation Mission:
The Mission of The Anthony V. Mannino Foundation is to financially assist young adults in the age group of 18-28 while they are undergoing their cancer treatment.  We also want to help development support programs to aid this unique age group, with their special needs, as they battle cancer. 
We found that Anthony’s age group of 18 plus, doesn’t have the emotional or financial support that other age groups do. We are also aware of the unique situations that this age group faces and want to help those adolescents and their families. 
Grand prize is a  Kindle Fire + THE GIRL NEXT DOOR ebook (US only), and 10 second prize winners will receive an ebook copy of THE GIRL NEXT DOOR (International).

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The Long-term Effects of Writing

 I’m not sure people realize just how much writers are affected by what they write.

I wrote this line in a piece about controversial topics in YA literature, and I decided it merited its own discussion.

First, I must say that I don’t choose my topics “willingly.” They find me, and they won’t leave me alone until I address them. This is true of all my work, fiction and nonfiction.

Recently I wrote this post on Facebook: What does it take to be a writer? Guts, sacrifice, tears. Devotion to truth on the page at      the expense of a life. You can’t live effectively in two worlds at once, so when you’re in the midst of your work that IS your life.

 The sacrifice is two-fold:

1.You don’t get to go out and play like everyone else (on occasions when you try, you squirm around uncomfortably all night because your characters are bursting with things for you to write down.)

2. The truth hurts.

Number two is the bigger burden. Because the truth you’re sharing on the page won’t conveniently slip away when you’ve finished the novel. No, it will haunt you always.

Writing a novel changes you. It presents ramifications you have to live with.

Specifically, let’s take THE GIRL NEXT DOOR. A sad book, for sure. One I never saw coming – I went to sleep, and the next day there it was. The questions raised in the story run deep:

How do you deal with death at such a young age?

How can you enjoy yourself at all when you or someone you love is dying?

How can you walk around when at any moment something bad might happen?

How do you handle grief?

Does love transcend death?

These are some heavy issues. I don’t claim to know the answers. I just follow the characters as they try to find their personal solutions. Then it’s up to the readers to think about everything, and form their own conclusions.

But what about the writer? Writers carry all these things in our hearts. It isn’t horrible – it’s necessary to lead us to the next story. Our journey is in our stories. And because of that, there really is no conclusion.

I’m not the same person I was before I wrote THE GIRL NEXT DOOR. This isn’t good or bad, it just is.

Are you a creator, or a messenger? At times you feel like both. But in the end what matters is that you are honest, evolving and writing.

 Don’t mistake this for complaint. I’m pleased that I’m on this journey, that I can make a contribution to this world. I’m so grateful that I provide solace, and fodder for thought. The greatest gift a writer can give is contemplation. Sometimes I want to shut my mind off, so I can stop thinking about all the implications. But I’m afraid if I do, I won’t be able to start again. And then, how will I write? So I leave it be.

At best¸ I can push the thoughts to the corner like childhood memories. I do this when I’m on vacation with my kids, and when I’m reading someone else’s work. But they’re always there, pacing. Waiting.

This is what it’s like to be a writer.


Selene Castrovilla


Selene Castrovilla is an award-winning teen and children’s author who believes that through all trends, humanity remains at the core of literature. She is the author of Saved By the Music and The Girl Next Door, teen novels originally published by WestSide Books and now available digitally through ASD Publishing. Her third children’s book with Calkins Creek Books, Revolutionary Friends, was released in April. She is also a contributing author to UncommonYA.  Selene holds an MFA in creative writing from New School University and a BA in English from New York University. She lives on Long Island with her two sons. Visit her website for book excerpts and more information!

Author links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads

Young Adult

Green River BOOK BLAST: A Lady Readers Bookstuff Blog Tour

Aidan watched the girls cower on the bed as their father, in a drunken rage, beat on the bedroom door.

Drawn to the girls by some unknown power, he was irrevocably intertwined in their lives against both his tribe and his parents’ admonitions to “leave them to their own”, but Aidan knew his mission was to safeguard Charlotte and Missy from the darkness that stalked them.

 In her new Shifter series, author Elizabeth Loraine draws you to the seamy underside of Seattle and to the lush forests of the Pacific Northwest as Characters Aidan, Charlotte and Missy explore their complex bond, the mysteries surrounding their separate cultures and a common enemy. 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads 

I grew up in a small northern Minnesotan town married my high school sweetheart, had two beautiful children and as soon as we could we moved to a warmer climate. I have worked with my husband building and decorating custom homes for years.

After loving every kind of vampire book, movie and series since I was a child, I decided that I wanted to know more. I can write a book I thought, how hard can that be? Well….it wasn’t as easy as I thought, but I stuck to it, and finished my first book Royal Blood Chronicles Book One in August 2009. I now have six books in the series and am about to release book two of my new series Phantom Lives.  

My parents always told me that I could do anything that I wanted, work hard, and do it right. I believe that, and live that every day.

I started writing this new vampire series for teens and their moms because I wanted something different to read. I was tired of all the modern versions of vampire books, there had to be more to these long lived beings. Where had they been, what had they seen? I wanted, no I NEEDED to know more, so Royal Blood Chronicles was born!  As in Royal Blood Chronicles, Phantom Lives features strong female characters and action and adventure mixed with romance, friendship and a historical backdrop. I hope you enjoy them.

Website |  Goodreads |  Facebook | Twitter 

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Young Adult

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? From Picture Books to YA!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? From Picture Books to YA!

Here’s a meme that has us written all over it, doesn’t it?  I love Sheila’s It’s Monday! What are you Reading? But this one features kids lit and is a little bit more streamlined for us, yay!


Here I go!

This Monday I am reading: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy.  I’m sure you’ve seen my pic with him; I’ve sent it to anyone who has eyeballs.

photo court.
photo court.

I won’t bore you with the pic of Rick and me.  Anyway…What happens if the aliens invade and you’re one of the only survivors?

I mean, really?

I guess I better stock up on



Challenges Young Adult

Wake by Amanda Hocking Super Quick GIVEAWAY

Amanda Hocking, author of




OMG you guys I am so excited about this next bit of news I can hardly keep it to myself.

I have a signed copy of  Amanda Hocking’s new book


to giveaway.



How do I know Amanda Hocking??

None of your business MandMand (my nickname for her) and I are besties and she’s coming to the Philadelphia area to visit me Towne Book Center & Cafe, Monday August 13th 2012 at 7 pm, which just happens to be where I’ll be. at. Neat, huh?

Here’s all ya gotta do:

Tweet this phrase: [email protected] I gotta get my hands on Amanda Hocking’s Wake @Townebookcenter


Can’t wait to read Amanda Hocking’s latest book Wake @Townebookcenter @Pamlovesbooks

As many times as you can without getting put (or putting someone)  in Twitter jail.

The person with the most entries WINS!

GIVEAWAY STARTS MIDNIGHT 8/9/2012 and is open to US and Canada only (apologies to any followers in Andorra or Iceland) and ENDS SUNDAY 8/12/2012 AT MIDNIGHT.

That’s a super fast turnaround folks so get going!!

Good luck and I hope you win!!


Here’s What I’m Reading, #BEA12 edition

So you may have heard by now I’m at Book Expo America (BEA). 

Hopefully you’ve been enjoying revisiting some of my old posts you may have missed.

I also wanted to let you know what I’m reading, cuz, yes I’m still reading!

I’ve brought two books WITH me to BEA which are

looking for alaska by john green


the girl who circumnavigated fairyland in a ship of her own making by Catherynne Valente

These are two authors I HOPE to catch up with while at BEA.

wish me luck!