Blog Tour + Author Interview + Excerpt: Weregirl by C.D. Bell

Welcome to our tour stop for Weregirl by C.D. Bell. Make sure you read to the end to read an exclusive excerpt and our author interview! 
Title: Weregirl
Author: C.D. Bell
Publishing Date: November 1, 2016
Publisher: Chooseco LLC
Pages: 400
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Thriller/Paranormal

Nessa Kurland is running for her life. C.D. Bell's WEREGIRL is a fast-paced teen thriller set in Tether, Michigan, a town on the brink of a shutdown since it was stripped of its resources by corporate polluter Dutch Chemical. High school junior, Nessa Kurland, is a cross-country runner with her eyes set on one thing: a college scholarship as her one-way ticket out of Tether. Talented teammate Cynthia Sinise invites Nessa on a nighttime run through Tether's overgrown forest trails. But she speeds ahead, leaving Nessa alone to discover a trapped wolf. Nessa tries to free the animal but is badly bitten, seemingly ruining her hopes for a strong fall season with the cross-country team. Instead, Nessa's freakishly quick recovery is followed by improved running times. All her senses are heightened. Nessa has transformed. She has become a werewolf. In her new state, Nessa learns there are things about Tether that powerful people want to keep hidden. Why does a Nobel Laureate work at the small-town medical clinic? Are top college athletic scouts really interested in her emerging talent? Can she trust Chayton, the motorcycle-riding guide her friends have faith in? WEREGIRL's Nessa must navigate her junior year and true human darkness, while making peace with her new, wild nature. 

Bree picked up Nessa and Nate after the school bus dropped Nate at home. As Nessa got into the passenger seat and stowed her crutches, Bree said, “You’re wearing that?” looking pointedly at Nessa’s track pants, slides, and bright blue hoodie.

“Cassian will have to deal,” Nessa said, rolling down her window of the enormous clunker of an old Buick that Bree called the Monster.
“The crutches are good,” Bree said. “Conversation starter?”

Nessa laughed. It felt good to be back riding in the Monster.

Bree hit the gas, and the car’s ancient V8 engine sent them flying out of the lot. Nessa loved this car.

The familiar (if loud) churn of the engine made it hard to talk, especially with the windows open (the air-conditioning didn’t work), but the day was warm and they blasted the music and sang along. Nessa loved singing at full volume. She couldn’t carry a tune, but with Bree it didn’t matter. For a few moments she forgot all about the bite and running and scholarships and Cassian.

When she's not biking the streets of Brooklyn, NY, you can find C.D. Bell writing in a decrepit RV clinging to the side of a hill in upstate New York, trying to teach herself to watercolor, or inventing her own recipes. She is a voracious reader of anything and everything fantasy, supernatural, or romance. And she swears that the monsters she often writes about are not real -- at least she hopes not. 

1. The “About the Author” section states that this book was created by a team of writers. Does this mean this book was written collaboratively? And if so, what was that process like?

The writing process for “Weregirl" was modeled on a television show's writer's room. Weregirl was conceived by a team of five women from Chooseco, the publisher of the Choose Your Own Adventure series. They brought me in after most of the characters were established and the opening of the book was conceived. Together we developed the back half of the story in outline form. I wrote a draft which Chooseco edited. Then they added a bunch of new material to the third act. The process reminded me of cooking in a group. You chat and chop and stir a few things, then all sit down to a delicious meal that feels like it made itself.

2. In the story, Nessa’s younger brother suffers from Asperger Syndrome. Can you tell me a little bit about making this choice?
“Weregirl" never actually confirms that Nate has Asperger's. At one point, Mr. Porter, the guidance counselor says about Nate, "He's got Asperger's?" and Nessa shrugs, then muses, "Her brother was autistic and the name of the condition didn't much matter anyway. Nate was just Nate.”

Having Nate exhibit some symptoms of autism was a decision made by the Chooseco team before I became involved in the project, but I was glad to write a character who is different in the way Nate is. As a mom and a creative writing teacher, I've seen the behaviors Nate exhibits in lots of kids I know. My aim was to depict Nate's being on the autism spectrum without making his character all about autism. To me, his personality has as much to do with being the only boy in a family of three women and the youngest member of the family as his autism behaviors.

3. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in writing Weregirl?

We all spent a great deal of time researching wolf behavior as well as werewolf mythology. We were all surprised and fascinated by how pervasive stories of wolf shapeshifting are. Starting with the Big Bad Wolf of fairy tales, we're taught to be afraid of wolves, but because of the human-dog connection, we also have ways of identifying with them. In reality, these supposedly vicious animals are loathe to attack humans, prey or even each other.

4. These days, fantasies in the young adult fiction world seems to be all the rage, coming off the heels of the dystopian craze. Are you ever worried about writing a book that doesn’t align with the “hot” publishing trend of the moment?

I don't see “Weregirl" so much as a book designed to fit into a niche as a story about a very real-feeling teen character who is faced with a challenge and must decide how to overcome it. Like many other classics, (to name a few) series like The Chronicles of Narnia, His Dark Materials (“The Golden Compass”), and the Time Quintet (“A Wrinkle In Time”), as well as standalone titles like “Matilda," “Weregirl" strives to withstand the test of time and be more than just “popular genre fiction." That said, there are aspects of “Weregirl" that are very fantastical… ahem, Nessa turns into a werewolf.

5. What was the hardest scene in Weregirl to write?

I had a hard time matching up the moon phases with the plotting of the story and had to go back and keep checking the calendar and the possibilities for transformation.

6. Does writing energize you or exhaust you?

That depends on the day. On a day where I've been working hard, my brain is usually reduced to jelly and I have trouble reading the directions on the pasta box at night. So: exhausting. But also energizing: I'll wake up the next morning filled with ideas and ready to go.

7. Do you outline the story before you begin writing the story? And if so, is it very detailed or just skeletal?

For “Weregirl," an outline was essential, and used "beats," which are a series of paragraphs describing sections of story. A beat can describe a scene or a series of scenes. It can be wide-ranging or focused on details. Sometimes a line of dialog will be specified or a visual image or a sound. Sometimes a beat will specify in a few words a scene or series of scenes that result in pages and pages of writing.

8. What kind of research do you do and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? Or, do you research while you write?

For “Weregirl," we researched before writing. Our research topics included werewolf legends, the look and feel of northern Michigan, werewolf stories, wolf behavior, shamanism, Native American tribes located in Michigan, medical examiner and coroner procedures in Michigan, stem cell experimentation, and, of course, the sport of cross country. We researched them all at the outset by reading and talking to everyone we knew who was connected to these topics in any way. Then, as questions came up during the writing, we went back to our sources to fill in the gaps.

9. Can you name, specifically, books you’ve read throughout your lifetime that directly influenced the shapeshifting aspect of Weregirl?
There are so many great stories that feature animals and shapeshifters. When I sat down with the team at Chooseco to talk about all of our inspirations, we came up with a list that included Harry Potter, Dracula, and Karen Russell’s "Vampires in the Lemon Grove," which is a more contemporary take on shapeshifting. We also talked about the long history of metamorphosis in literature—some of the earliest stories like “Gilgamesh," the “Iliad," and Greek mythology have involved magic and transformation.

10. Goodreads says that you’re in the middle of writing the second Weregirl installment. Is there anything you can tell readers on what to expect?

Look for more of Luc and other significant men in Nessa's life.


Waiting on Wednesday: Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.
This week pick is:

Ever the Hunted

Ever the Hunted

Author:  Erin Summerill
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Expected Release: December 26th 2016

Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.

However, it’s not so simple.

The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.

Book Review: Twisted Palace (The Royals #3) by Erin Watt

Twisted Palace (The Royals, #3)
Title: Twisted Palace
Series: (The Royals #3)
Author: Erin Watt
Publication Date: October 17, 2016
Publisher: Everafter Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance


These Royals will ruin you…
From mortal enemies to unexpected allies, two teenagers try to protect everything that matters most.
Ella Harper has met every challenge that life has thrown her way. She’s tough, resilient, and willing to do whatever it takes to defend the people she loves, but the challenge of a long-lost father and a boyfriend whose life is on the line might be too much for even Ella to overcome.
Reed Royal has a quick temper and even faster fists. But his tendency to meet every obstacle with violence has finally caught up with him. If he wants to save himself and the girl he loves, he’ll need to rise above his tortured past and tarnished reputation.
No one believes Ella can survive the Royals. Everyone is sure Reed will destroy them all.
They may be right.
With everything and everyone conspiring to keep them apart, Ella and Reed must find a way to beat the law, save their families, and unravel all the secrets in their Twisted Palace.

I first want to thank the amazing, Nina and of course Erin Watt for allowing me to read an ARC of Twisted Palace.  I remember when I first received an email from Nina, asking me if I wanted to give this new book, Paper Princess, a shot.  After I read the synopsis, it reminded me so much of Gossip Girl, I knew I just had to read it.  That was the beginning of this year, and I can not tell you how happy I am that I said yes.  That was the beginning of my love for The Royals.  The first book, Paper Princess was epic! Well, let me just warn you, the first 2 books have huuuuuge cliffhangers that will kill you and rip your heart out. So consider yourself lucky to have all three books available now and to be able to read them all back-to-back. Check out my review for Paper Princess HERE and Broken Prince HERE. 

(If you haven't read the first two books yet, this review will be spoilerish, so consider yourself warned. )

Twisted Palace picks up right where Broken Prince left off, which I am so thankful for because that ending was cray cray! Reed is being blamed for Brooke's death and all the evidence is pointing to him.  Elle knows he didn't do it, but when there is so much evidence saying otherwise, it's hard to overlook it.  Back in school everyone is saying talking about Reed and wondering whether or not he actually killed his soon to be "step mom." Obviously this starts to get to Elle and Reed and they want to be able to spend as much time together as possible because even though they know that Reed is innocent, all the evidence is pointing to Reed being the killer.  Only problem with them being together, is Elle's resurrected father.  He is the god father of Reed and all his brothers, but that doesn't mean that he doesn't know how they all sleep around, and he just doesn't want that for his daughter.

There are a lot of other things that go on in here, but I don't want to get to it because I want it all to surprise you like it did me.  All I am going to say, MAJOR PLOT TWIST!!

I know that this is the last book of the series, but I really hope that Erin Watt decides to do a spin off because I REALLY want to know about the rest of The Royals! I just can't get enough of them!

Bravo Erin Watt, you have created an amazing series that will forever be one of my favorites.If you haven't started this series, I strongly suggest you do.  It is sooooooo good! NOW GO READ IT!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Halloween- and Fall-Inspired Things

Top Ten Tuesdays (TTT) is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's TTT is: scary books, favorite horror novels, non-scary books to get you in the Halloween/fall mood, bookish Halloween costumes, scariest covers), scary books on my TBR, etc.

Hocus Pocus
Favorite "Get me in the Halloween Mood" Movie: Seriously, I definitely cannot think about Halloween without thinking about this classic favorite! I'm old enough that I'm pretty sure I saw it premiere on the Disney Channel. Since I've lived in Florida practically my entire life, I never really got to experience the fall like the one shown in the movie. I always wished for colorful leaves falling on the ground, having to wear cool-weather clothing, and getting to trick-or-treat in amazing Victorian-looking neighborhoods. And I might have had a slight crush on Max Dennison. And who can forget Dani, who was the coolest kids with awesome lines like "Max likes your yabbos. In fact, he loves them" and the classic "a virgin lit the candle."

The Surprise Party (Fear Street, #2)The Midnight ClubThe Initiation (The Secret Circle, #1)

Favorite Scary/Horror/Dark Books: Kicking it old school, yet again! These books, in my opinion, will never go out of style. They were just really well written, with short and right-to-the-point plots, and fun characters with a precise mixture of both mystery/suspense and romance. After going back to re-read some of these, I noticed how YA has definitely changed because their page counts don't even go past the 200 mark. If you haven't read a lot of these older books (published in the 80's and 90's), please do yourself a favor and get them! You can find cheap used ones on Amazon or at any local independent bookstores.

Favorite Halloween Costume: This isn't quite a bookish Halloween costume because I'm definitely a visual person, so I'm going to cheat a little but my favorite Halloween costume of all time is the shower that Daniel LaRusso wore to his school's dance in The Karate Kid. If you recall, he did it on purpose because he was hiding out from Johnny and the rest of the Cobra Kai gang. I still want to be this for Halloween someday and lucky for me, I found out that they actually sell this thing! I invite you to google it.

The Dead House

Scariest Book on my TBRAna, Owl and founder of this blog, highly recommended this read to me and I've since put it on my TBR list. We actually met Dawn Kurtagich at the American Library Association (ALA) conference this summer and she was so lovely, it's hard to imagine that this one was written by her. So here's a little synopsis,

Two decades have passed since an inferno swept through Elmbridge High, claiming the lives of three teenagers and causing one student, Carly Johnson, to disappear. The main suspect: Kaitlyn, "the girl of nowhere."

Kaitlyn's diary, discovered in the ruins of Elmbridge High, reveals the thoughts of a disturbed mind. Its charred pages tell a sinister version of events that took place that tragic night, and the girl of nowhere is caught in the center of it all. But many claim Kaitlyn doesn't exist, and in a way, she doesn't - because she is the alter ego of Carly Johnson.

Carly gets the day. Kaitlyn has the night. It's during the night that a mystery surrounding the Dead House unravels and a dark, twisted magic ruins the lives of each student that dares touch it.

Debut author Dawn Kurtagich masterfully weaves together a thrilling and terrifying story using psychiatric reports, witness testimonials, video footage, and the discovered diary - and as the mystery grows, the horrifying truth about what happened that night unfolds.

Hedgehug's HalloweenThe Sweetest Witch Around

Top Picks for Illustrated Halloween Books: If any of you out there have small children, these would be my top choices. They look absolutely adorable and the illustrations are so perfect.

Mischief Night (Saranormal Book #3)
Top Pick for Middle Grade Halloween Book: This looks like such an interesting book for the 8-12 age range and would definitely be my top pick for this year. Here is the synopsis:

Halloween is just around the corner, and Stellamar is buzzing with even more ghostly activity than usual! The fun begins when Sara and Lily unwittingly release the ghost of a young boy who was locked away in a closet a long time ago. The little ghost is full of mischief, but for some reason Sara is completely powerless over him. What makes this ghost so special?

And Sara’s not the only one with ghosts on her mind....Jayden Mendes, her crush from school, shows up at her house for a reading with Lady Azura. When the reading reveals secrets about the ghostly presence by Jayden’s side, Sara realizes she might be in over her head with Jayden…. 

Meanwhile, Lady Azura has been urging Sara to learn to put up boundaries between herself and these spirits. But Sara’s boundaries are put to the ultimate test on Halloween Eve during a huge party at her house, where ghostly visitors and real-life classmates collide!

Felt-o-ween: 40 Scary-Cute Projects to Celebrate Halloween

Top Arts and Crafts Book for Halloween: I don't know about y'all but every year I love picking up one or two arts and crafts book for the holidays. Okay, I know, we have pinterest and a million other websites out there but it's nice to hold a physical book in your hand and be able to take it to your friends house and crowd around the instructions and diagrams. Felt-o-ween by Kathy Sheldon and Amanda Carestio is my top pick for Halloween this year.

Favorite Horror Novel: This seems like such an obvious choice but there's definitely a reason why Stephen King has been hailed as the #1 author when it comes to horror. This book is so creepy and so fantastic! The art of Stephen King's writing comes from the narrative and slow-burning details. This one is definitely a re-read for me just like The Stand (my favorite of all time).

After the Game (Field Party Book 3)Under the Lights (The Field Party, #2)Until Friday Night (The Field Party, #1)
Top Book Picks to get me in the Mood for Fall: With fall comes football season and with football season, I can't help but want to dive into Abbi Glines's The Field Party series. If you haven't read these, I highly suggest you do and aren't these covers absolutely gorgeous?! The third book of the series, After the Game, is set to publish on August 22, 2017. Books #1 and #2 are already out for you to enjoy.

How to Hang a Witch
Last Halloween-Themed Book I Want to Read: The story behind this book is extremely interesting. Turns out the author shares the same last name with the protagonist of this book -- as both are direct descendants of Cotton Mather, who is a historical figure associated with the Salem witch trials, along with very notable accomplishments. Adriana Mather is also a debut author and I love spotlighting debuts as they need a little bit more TLC in order to get the word out. It seems like the perfect read to pick up during the month of October if you're looking for a witchy read.

Release Day Blitz + Book Review: A Place in the Sun by R.S. Grey

Title: A Place in the Sun
Author: R.S. Grey
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: October 24, 2016
Pages: 274
Source: Author
Format: eARC
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance

When her mother’s incessant matchmaking hits an all-time high, Georgie Archibald does what any sensible woman would do: she flees the country. Seeking refuge in the picturesque seaside village of Vernazza, Italy, Georgie’s only plan is to lie low, gorge herself on gelato, and let the wine and waves wash her troubles away...that is until she wakes up in a bed that belongs to the most romantic-looking man she’s ever seen. Gianluca. After going out of his way to rescue her, the former London financier turned mysterious recluse makes it clear that despite acting as her white knight, he has no plans to co-star in her fairytale.
But Georgie isn’t asking for his heart—she’s merely intrigued.
WOW! This book blew me away in the best way possible. I've been a fan of R.S. Grey back when she was just starting out and published With This Heart and Scoring Wilder (my favorite). After that I was hooked and I've been a fan ever since. Plus, she's an indie author and I love supporting independently-published authors and appreciate all the work they put into marketing and basically controlling all aspects of their "brand." There's something so special about that.

But let's also focus on her writing chops! Because damn, she seems to get better and better with every book and this one tops the cake. I might even venture to say that its my new favorite amongst her oeuvre (learned-a-new-word alert: this is a fancy word to refer to an author's collective works). Because I just couldn't get enough of all the characters and the setting. I'm pretty sure it doesn't get better than the glorious landscapes of the Cinque Terre. I mean, COME ON:

Image result for cinque terre
And location is everything! Georgie Archibald is trying to get away from her over-bearing, matchmaking mother. So she spins a globe and decides to go to the first place she lands...well, the second, because the first just happens to be a hostile country. But she decides to go to Vernazza to look for a husband. It sounds like an outlandish premise but the way it is handled made it so real and so sweet. Soon enough, Georgie begins to immerse herself in the Italian culture and I swear it feels like you are there and can smell the salt in the air and taste the wine they are drinking.

As soon as she arrives, Georgie and Gianluca find themselves meeting under interesting circumstances. But Gianluca is closed off, even though he seems to be the most eligible bachelor this side of the Mediterranean. And Georgie also finds herself fawning for him, that is, until she finds out that so does every other woman who comes anywhere near him. So she changes her tactics and there begins one of the cutest enemies-to-lovers tropes I have ever read. Because GianLuca and Georgie begin to know each other and get past the stereotype each represents. And there is an insidious development of love and affection for each other that makes their attraction even more sexy. There are some sexy-time scenes that were just hot!

One of the most brilliant things that R.S. Grey does is writing well-drawn out secondary characters. They were so distinct and added so much color to the main characters, that I found myself wondering about their own lives. Which really also goes back to one of the other topics of this book which is friendship. And how does one build a home? Is it where our family hails from or is it where we feel we truly belong?

I love, love, love this book, and was immediately transported to the middle of those chill, summer vibes. If you are looking for a very funny book and an international summertime romance that happens to be well written, this one is definitely for you. It debuts today so do yourself a favor and try this author out if you haven't already because I promise you, you won't be sorry.

I am a lover of books, chocolate, reality TV, black labs, and cold weather. Seriously, if I had it my way I would be curled up on the couch with all of those things... everyday.

I live in Texas where I spend my free time writing and reading. My favorite authors are Mindy Kaling & Jonathan Safran Foer. I'm a comedy geek and love all things "funny". Women like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Mindy Kaling are definitely the biggest inspirations for my writing, though I think my work tends to skew a bit smuttier than theirs.

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