Thursday, June 30, 2016

Release Day: GRANTED by Michelle Merrill

Michelle Merrill, author of CHANGING FATE, a YA novel about battling cystic fibrosis, is releasing her second book today! This new one is about genies, which is amusing because Michelle and I are critique partners and a few years ago we both wrote genie novels without knowing the other was doing it. And now we’re releasing them just one week apart (my YA, BOTTLED, releases next week on July 7!). Let's help Michelle celebrate the book birthday of GRANTED!!

The existence of genies may be the best kept secret in the history of the world.

After being trapped in the Sahara Desert her whole life, sixteen-year-old genie Brielle finally gets her first assignment in Tri-Cities, Washington. She eagerly heads out into the human world to grant her first wish so she can gain her magic. Unfortunately, her assigned human, Addie, gave up believing in wishes years ago and would much rather everyone just leave her alone.

Complicating everything is Rock, Brielle’s childhood friend turned enemy. Brielle doesn’t need him ruining her first trip out into the human world. Too bad she can’t keep her mind--or her eyes--off him and his annoyingly cute dimples.

To make matters worse, genies in the Tri-Cities area are suspiciously dying. One broken lamp could be an accident, but after three, Brielle suspects someone has uncovered the genies’ secret and is slowly killing them off one by one. With the Genie Council ignoring the threat, Brielle desperately needs to gain her magic so she can stop the murderer before she—or Rock—is the next genie to die.

Michelle Merrill loves kissing her hubby, snuggling her kids, eating candy, reading books, and writing first drafts. She names her computers after favorite fictional characters and fictional characters after favorite names. To learn more about her, visit her website HERE.

Granted will be available for only $2.99 from June 30th – July 7th! That's discounted from $4.99! So nab your copy on Amazon: HERE.    

Also, you can enter to win a signed copy on the Future House Publishing blog HERE, and they’re giving away physical copies on Goodreads starting July 1: HERE.

To add to your to-read list: Goodreads.

What do you think of Michelle’s cover for GRANTED?
I think I’ve read about 4 or 5 genie novels; how many have you read? Here’s a list one blogger created: 11 YA Books about Jinn/Djinn/Genies   

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Body Positivity! THE SOUND OF US

As many of you know, in September 2015 I published my debut YA, The Body Institute. I explored body image and identity in a near-future society. Our bodies are the first thing people see about us, and often before we even open our mouths, others make snap judgments or assumptions about us based on our appearance. This includes assessments based on our height, race, gender, hair color/style, clothing, weight, etc. When people value some appearances over others, it can cause doubts in a person whether he or she is “beautiful,” or—worse yet—if he/she even has worth as a human being. 

As my character Morgan Dey says, “Am I less of a person because I weigh more?”

Morgan, in The Body Institute, gets a job helping other people lose weight in a society where people are taxed for not being slim and fit. She’s downloaded into their bodies to make them look a certain, “acceptable” way. 

Can people who do NOT have a slim, trim, Hollywood-beautiful appearance get featured in YA books? Can they ever be not slender and beautiful at the same time?
Are they ever main characters? Is their weight or appearance always the main plot, or can they just “be” and have other goals? YA books I’ve read or seen: 

ARTICHOKE’S HEART by Suzanne Supplee
KEEPING THE MOON by Sarah Dessen

Aaaaand here’s another book about body image that releases today! 

Kiki Nichols might not survive music camp.

She’s put her TV-loving, nerdy self aside for one summer to prove she’s got what it takes: she can be cool enough to make friends, she can earn that music scholarship, and she can get into Krause University’s music program.

Except camp has rigid conduct rules—which means her thrilling late-night jam session with the hot drummer can’t happen again, even though they love all the same TV shows, and fifteen minutes making music with him meant more than every aria she’s ever sung. 

But when someone starts snitching on rule breakers and getting them kicked out, music camp turns into survival of the fittest. If Kiki’s going to get that scholarship, her chance to make true friends—and her chance with the drummer guy—might cost her the future she wants more than anything.

Purchase links:   

Julie Hammerle is the author of The Sound of Us, which will be published by Entangled Teen on June 7, 2016. Before settling down to write "for real," she studied opera, taught Latin, and held her real estate license for one hot minute. Currently, she writes about TV on her blog Hammervision, ropes people into conversations about Game of Thrones, and makes excuses to avoid the gym. Her favorite YA-centric TV shows include 90210 (original spice), Felicity, and Freaks and Geeks. Her music playlist reads like a 1997 Lilith Fair set list.

She lives in Chicago with her husband, two kids, and a dog. They named the dog Indiana.

Help Celebrate! ENTER THE GIVEAWAY for a $25 Amazon gift card: LINK 

Can you think of any other books that help promote body positivity?
Can you think of any books that feature main characters who are atypical of Hollywood ideals of beauty?