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Thursday, August 6, 2020

Blog Tour- AFTER THE WORST THING HAPPENS by @yourbuffalo With An Excerpt & #Giveaway! @HolidayHouseBks, & @RockstarBkTours 



I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the AFTER THE WORST THING HAPPENS by Audrey Vernick Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!

About the Book:

Title: AFTER THE WORST THING HAPPENS
Author: Audrey Vernick
Pub. Date: July 7, 2020
Publisher: Margaret Ferguson Books
Formats:  Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 224

Left reeling after her thoughtless mistake causes a terrible accident, 12-year-old Army Morand channels her grief to help someone in need.

Army Morand feels like her life has been blown to bits when the worst thing imaginable happens--her beloved dog dies. It was an accident, but it was also Army's fault. She can't seem to stop hiding from everything and everybody including her best friend JennaLouise.

But then Army sees Madison, the little girl who moved in across the way, climbing a tree and walking down the street unsupervised. Her family is not neglectful, just overwhelmed. Army finds herself overcome with the need to help Madison's family to make sure another worst thing doesn't happen--which becomes even more challenging when a big storm threatens her town.

"The subjects are heavy, but Army’s young voice infuses them with humor and warmth, even when her path forward seems uncertain. 'Just go with it and make things happen before you totally understand how to do all of it,' Army suggests, a hard-won lesson that young readers will take to heart." —Booklist

"this is fundamentally the story of small moments of growth and insight. Army’s first-person narration feels particularly authentic as she navigates her intense feelings"—The Horn Book

"In short chapters told from Army’s earnest first-person perspective, she finds new ways to negotiate with her caring but emotionally reserved parents and steps out of her own comfort zone; this exploration of family dynamics is where the novel shines."Kirkus Reviews

"With moments of humor, Vernick (Two Naomis) weaves together a well-paced story that explores grief in all its raw pain, as well as the power of friends, family, and community to help heal." —Publishers Weekly

Interview:


About Audrey:

Audrey grew up in Whitestone, New York, where she lived with her parents and two sisters and a not very bright small white dog. She has a freaky memory about the names of the kids in her class at P.S. 184Q, and even remembers where most of them stood in size order. 

She always loved to read and still rereads Harriet the Spy on a regular basis.  She was not one of those children who always knew she wanted to be a writer; she didn't love to write until college. She's been writing ever since. 

In addition to writing for children, Audrey has published more than a dozen short stories for adults in magazines and literary journals. She received an mfa from Sarah Lawrence College.

Audrey divides her time between writing (which is mostly spent revising) and visiting elementary schools to talk about writing and publishing. (For school visit info, click here.) She also speaks at conferences around the country. 

She lives near the ocean in New Jersey with her family. and one fairly intelligent medium-sized black dog.

Audrey Vernick received a 2019 Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.


Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a finished copy of AFTER THE WORST THING HAPPENS, US Only.



Tour Schedule:
Week One:
8/3/2020
Review
8/3/2020
Instagram Stop
8/4/2020
Interview
8/4/2020
Review
8/4/2020
Excerpt
8/5/2020
Review
8/5/2020
Instagram Stop
8/5/2020
Excerpt
8/6/2020
Review/Instagram Stop
8/6/2020
Review
8/6/2020
Interview
8/7/2020
Excerpt
8/7/2020
Instagram Stop
8/7/2020
Review
8/7/2020
Instagram Stop
8/7/2020
Instagram Stop

Week Two:
8/10/2020
Review
8/10/2020
Instagram Stop
8/11/2020
Excerpt
8/11/2020
Excerpt
8/11/2020
Instagram Stop
8/12/2020
Excerpt
8/12/2020
Instagram Stop
8/13/2020
Review
8/13/2020
Review
8/14/2020
Review/Instagram Stop
8/14/2020
Review
8/14/2020
Instagram Stop

Blog Tour- QUINTESSENCE by @Jess__Red With An Interview & #Giveaway! @MacKidsBooks & @RockstarBkTours 



I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the QUINTESSENCE by Jess Redman Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!


About the Book:

Title: QUINTESSENCE
Author: Jess Redman
Pub. Date: July 28, 2020
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Audiobook
Pages: 384

Three months ago, twelve-year-old Alma moved to the town of Four Points. Her panic attacks started a week later, and they haven’t stopped—even though she told her parents that they did. Every day she feels less and less like herself.

Then Alma meets the ShopKeeper in the town's junk shop, The Fifth Point. The ShopKeeper gives her a telescope and this message:
Find the Elements.
Grow the Light.
Save the Starling.
That night, Alma watches as a star—a star that looks like a child—falls from the sky and into her backyard. Alma knows what it’s like to be lost and afraid, to long for home, and with the help of some unlikely new friends from the Astronomy Club, she sets out on a quest that will take a little bit of astronomy, a little bit of alchemy, and her whole self.

QUINTESSENCE is a stunning story of friendship, self-discovery, interconnectedness, and the inexplicable elements that make you you.

Book Trailer:




Interview:
Hey Jess!! First I want to say welcome to Two Chicks on Books I’m glad you could stop by for a chat! QUINTESSENCE sounds AWESOME and I can’t wait for everyone to read it!

Thank you so much for having me! I’m so excited to be here.

For the readers: can you tell us a little bit about the QUINTESSENCE and the characters?

QUINTESSENCE is the story of twelve-year-old Alma Lucas and her quest to save a fallen star.

Alma and her family have just moved to the town of Four Points. Alma is homesick and lonely and, worst of all, she’s been having panic attacks.

Then one afternoon, Alma enters an abandoned curiosity shop where the mysterious ShopKeeper gives her quintescope (a sort of magical telescope) and this message: Find the Elements. Grow the Light. Save the Starling.

That night, through the lens of the quintescope, Alma watches as a star—a star that looks like a golden child—falls into her backyard. Alma knows what it’s like to be lost and afraid, to long for home, and she knows that it’s up to her to save the star.

But she’ll need the help of the ShopKeeper and three new friends from Astronomy Club to do it. Together, they’ll have to gather the four classical elements—Earth, Wind, Water, Fire—and use them to create the fifth element, Quintessence. It’s a quest that will take a little bit of science, a little bit of magic, and their whole selves.

This story centers around the four kids—Alma, Hugo, Shirin, and Dustin. Each one has to find one of the elements, and all four have to work together to make the fifth element. If you want to find out which Element you would be “sorted” into, you can check out the character quiz on my website!

What are you working on now?

Right now, I’m doing copy edits on my third middle-grade contemporary fantasy. This one is called THE ADVENTURE IS NOW. It’s the story of video game-loving Milton P. Greene who has had the rottenest year of all time. Then it gets even rottener when his parents send him to stay with his environmentalist uncle on the electricity-free Lone Island for the summer. But on the island, Milton finds a field guide full of fantastical creatures, clues to a hidden treasure, and a definitely unrotten real-life adventure. I had so much fun writing this action-packed, quirky story.

Were any of the characters in the book inspired by people from your real life?

Like Alma, I moved across the country when I was twelve, and like Alma, I struggled with anxiety and panic attacks from a young age. Alma is not me—I was a lot more vocal about my feelings!—but she is a piece of my heart.

I want kids to see themselves, in all their complexity, in the pages of my stories. And I know reading about an anxious girl who goes on fantastical adventures would have meant so much to me when I was young.

Also, I’ve been focused on writing and mom-ing lately, but I’m a former therapist. Anxiety disorders are the most commonly diagnosed mental health illness, for both adults and children, and 
I’ve worked with lots of young people with this issue.

Who was your favorite character to write? What about your least favorite?

While Alma is so special to me, the ShopKeeper was the most fun to write. The ShopKeeper runs the Fifth Point, a curiosity shop located at the exact center of the town of Four Points. In the beginning of the story, he is waiting for someone to arrive at the Fifth Point, but we don’t know who. He’s a whimsical, enigmatic figure, and his true identity and future are one of the mysteries of the story.

I didn’t dislike writing any of my characters—I’m a big fan of redemption arcs in middle-grade, and there are no villains in this story—but Dustin was probably the hardest to write at times. I wanted to give him several serious talkings to about the way he was treating the others. Alma, Shirin, and Hugo had it covered though.

What is your favorite passages/scenes in QUINTESSENCE?

My favorite scenes are always the climactic moments. I love stories that build to big, intense, fast-paced endings, and that’s what happens in QUINTESSENCE. I don’t want to give away all the ins and outs of the scene, but there is a storm and a flying star and a near-death plummet off of something very high and Alma shouting, “I am Alma of the Growing Light, and I am here for Fire!”
A reader on Instagram told me their kid came running into their room one night saying, “You’ve got to read this! It’s like a song!” about this section. Which, to me, is the highest and most wonderful of compliments.

What kind of research did you have to do for the story?

Alchemy and astronomy!

In QUINTESSENCE, four kids have to find the four classical elements—earth, wind, water, and fire. I was inspired by the mysterious fifth element in medieval alchemy, which is called aether or quintessence. Stars were said to be made of quintessence, which led me to astronomy.

I live near the ocean, and I love going to the beach to watch meteor showers. I started wondering what might happen if one of those quintessence-made stars fell to Earth. What would happen to it? How would it get back to the sky?

I read texts from philosophers and alchemists who mention the elements, like Aristotle and Paracelsus (who features in the story…sort of). I researched supernovas, runaway stars, the amount of time it might take for the Sun to crash into the Earth, all sorts of fun things. I loved weaving all these different strands of science and magic together along with a contemporary story about fitting in and finding your place in the universe

What inspired you to write MG?

When I was middle-grade age, I read ALL THE TIME. Like walk-into-walls and always-carry-three-back-up-books kind of all the time. And I wrote too, filling up marble-cover notebooks with stories.

As I got older, I was sure I would be an author someday—but for adults. I wanted to write literary works, and I took myself very seriously.

Then, shortly before I had my first child, I started jotting down notes for a middle-grade fantasy, and it was the most connected I’d ever felt to a story. The words flowed, I fell in love with the characters, and I realized that middle-grade is where my heart is.

The truth is that it’s the books from my childhood that are imprinted on my mind and my heart. I can picture their covers, quote first lines, remember where I was when I read them and how they made me feel and what they taught me about myself and the world. I’ve loved lots of books as an adult but not in the same way.


Lightning Round Questions

What are you reading right now? Or what do you have on your TBR that you’re dying to read?

I just got my copy of SOMETHING TO SAY by Lisa Moore Ramee, and I’m loving it! My TBR is massive though and often neglected because I have a hard time reading while I’m writing. It’s a serious problem.

Instagram, Twitter or Facebook?

Once I would have said Twitter, but I’ve been getting pulled into Instagram more and more! It’s just so pretty there. I’m on both at @Jess__Red!

Favorite Superhero?

I feel like Matilda is a super hero because she can move things with her mind. So I’m going with Matilda!

Favorite TV show?

Truth be told, I don’t watch a lot of TV. I usually write at night when my kids are asleep which cuts into entertainment time. My kids and I love Sarah & Duck though. And, on the more grown-up side, I did recently love Never Have I Ever, and I’m a fan of Stranger Things!

Sweet or Salty?

Both together! My nightly snack combo includes something sweet, something salty, and a fruit to round things off.

Any Phobias?

Cockroaches. If one’s in my house, I’m crying, guaranteed.

Song you can’t get enough of right now?

Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of soothing, heart-stirring indie-folk-type music like Sufjan Stevens, Phoebe Bridgers, Gregory Alan Isakov, and Iron & Wine, some of it old and some of it new.

2020 Movie you’re most looking forward to?

Hmm…I am out of the loop on this. But there are lots of middle-grade books that have been optioned for movies that I wish would hurry up and get made already like NEVERMOOR, A SNICKER OF MAGIC, and THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON!


Thanks so much Jess for answering my questions! I can’t wait for everyone to read QUINTESSENCE!

About Jess:

Jess Redman is a therapist and author of books for young readers with FSG/Macmillan. Her first book, THE MIRACULOUS, was a Bank Street Best Children's Book of 2019, an Amazon Best Book of 2019, and was called "layered, engaging, and emotionally true" in a Kirkus starred review. Her second book, QUINTESSENCE, releases on July 28th.  The book was featured in OwlCrate Jr.’s subscription box and was described as “a fanciful adventure with a rich emotional core and a fairy tale” by Publishers Weekly. Her third book, THE ADVENTURE IS NOW, is scheduled for publication in May 2021. Redman currently lives in Florida with her husband, two young children, an old cat named SoulPie, and a fish named Annie.


Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a finished copy of QUINTESSENCE, US Only.




Tour Schedule:
Week One:
7/27/2020
Review
7/27/2020
Interview
7/28/2020
Review
7/28/2020
Review
7/29/2020
Review
7/29/2020
Review
7/30/2020
Review
7/30/2020
Review
7/31/2020
Review
7/31/2020
Review

Week Two:
8/3/2020
Review
8/3/2020
Review
8/4/2020
Review
8/4/2020
Excerpt
8/5/2020
Review
8/5/2020
Review
8/6/2020
Review
8/6/2020
Interview
8/7/2020
Review
8/7/2020
Excerpt

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