Book Raid: Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook plus Giveaway

BOOK RAID is an exclusive blog feature here in Mr. Book Wonder that highlights debut or latest books by way of an author interview.

It’s the last week of January and before January officially ends, Kristin Halbrook is here for an interrogation about her debut book, Nobody But Us. I have to say she calmly answered the questions with no hesitations at all. You can read the whole transcript of the interrogation below.

Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook
NOBODY BUT US by KRISTIN HALBROOK
RELEASE DATE. January 29, 2013
PUBLISHER. HarperTeen
BUY FROM. Amazon | The Book Depository

SYNOPSIS. Bonnie and Clyde meets If I Stay in this addictively heart-wrenching story of two desperate teenagers on the run from their pasts.

They’re young. They’re in love. They’re on the run.

Zoe wants to save Will as much as Will wants to save Zoe. When Will turns eighteen, they decide to run away together. But they never expected their escape to be so fraught with danger . . . .

When the whole world is after you, sometimes it seems like you can’t run fast enough.

Nobody But Us, told in alternating perspectives from Will and Zoe, is an unflinching novel, in turns heartbreaking and hopeful, about survival, choices, and love . . . and how having love doesn't always mean that you get a happy ending. Described as beautiful, heartbreaking, and exhilarating by Kody Keplinger, author of The DUFF, Nobody But Us will prove irresistible to fans of Nina Lacour, Jenny Han, and Sara Zarr.

THE INTERROGATION WITH AUTHOR KRISTIN HALBROOK


ABOUT THE AUTHOR. Kristin Halbrook is a Seattleite who loves good coffee, good food, good music, good sports, good causes and good reads. She’s both intense and a goofball, introverted and gregarious. NOBODY BUT US is her debut novel.

Miss Kristin Halbrook, you have been suspected of hiding details of the book, NOBODY BUT US, from the readers. If you are not guilty of these suspicions, then I'll interrogate you with some questions about the book.

How different is NOBODY BUT US from other books out there?
I think it’s pretty different from other YA titles. It’s dual POV for a start, and the circumstances--two teens desperate to leave their pasts behind--are handled differently than titles with a similar premise. It’s entirely realistic contemporary, so no dying and returning to life, no paranormal creatures, no superpowers. Just two teens acting upon a desperation to find a new, happier lot in life. It’s a little bit dark, in a tragic way, and a bit romantic, in that realistic, messy way.

How much drama, emotions or romance can we expect in NOBODY BUT US?
Quite a bit! From the get-go, the reader knows the main characters are battling emotional demons and scars, and continue to do so throughout the book. The drama begins slowly, but as the road trip continues and certain choices are made, it increases quickly, leading to a can’t-go-back ending. There’s a lot of romance, too. The main characters are in the first flush of a new relationship and feelings are running rampant. Not only that, but it’s the first romantic relationship for one of them. Add that the characters feel the need to “save” each other (while also needing to save themselves) and the feels . . . they are everywhere.

What did you like writing the most: the beginning, the middle or the ending?
I liked writing the beginning best, probably. Setting up the story, bringing the characters and their back stories to life, enjoying the hope and happiness that, unfortunately, changes as the story progresses.

What was your favorite chapter or part to write?
I liked writing the scene where the characters are jumping on the bed together because it’s so childlike, innocent, fun and free. And these characters haven’t had many moments like that in their lives.

Provide us a short quote or two from NOBODY BUT US.
Here are a few sentences from the section where Will and Zoe are bouncing on the bed:

I lift my knees to my chest as I jump and Will spins around completely as he jumps and we're doing the craziest things with our arms and he hits his head on the ceiling with a cracking noise, but doesn't stop, just hollers "OW!" and laughs and we're flying, shaking the blood in our veins like a baby's abused rattle and my brain starts to hurt. But I don’t mind. It doesn't matter until Will collapses in a pile of heavy breathing on the bed and I crumple next to him. We reach for each other at the same time and kiss, gasping for air in quick spurts and still laughing because this is life. It happened to us before, terrible things, and even not-so-terrible things, but now we're going to happen to it. We're going to decide and create and play and laugh and forget how to draw air in because we're so consumed with beauty and with possibility with each other.

Thank you for your time Miss Halbrook! It is advised that you are free of all the suspicion of hiding NOBODY BUT US from the readers!

GIVEAWAY
Kristin Halbrook offered to give away a Nobody But Us swag pack to one lucky reader. To enter, follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter. Giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only. You must be 13 years old or above to enter. Winners will be notified via email. Giveaway ends February 16, 2013.


Stay tuned for another book raiding next week! You might discover your new favorite read!

Blog Tour - Book Review: The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann

SERIES. The Peculiar
RELEASE DATE. September 18, 2012
PUBLISHER. Greenwillow Books
PAGES. 384
FORMAT. Paperback
AGE GROUP. Middle Grade
GENRE/S. Fantasy, Murder Mystery, Steampunk

SYNOPSIS. Don’t get yourself noticed and you won’t get yourself hanged.

In the faery slums of Bath, Bartholomew Kettle and his sister Hettie live by these words. Bartholomew and Hettie are changelings—Peculiars—and neither faeries nor humans want anything to do with them.

One day a mysterious lady in a plum-colored dress comes gliding down Old Crow Alley. Bartholomew watches her through his window. Who is she? What does she want? And when Bartholomew witnesses the lady whisking away, in a whirling ring of feathers, the boy who lives across the alley—Bartholomew forgets the rules and gets himself noticed.

First he’s noticed by the lady in plum herself, then by something darkly magical and mysterious, by Jack Box and the Raggedy Man, by the powerful Mr. Lickerish . . . and by Arthur Jelliby, a young man trying to slip through the world unnoticed, too, and who, against all odds, offers Bartholomew friendship and a way to belong.

Part murder mystery, part gothic fantasy, part steampunk adventure, The Peculiar is Stefan Bachmann’s riveting, inventive, and unforgettable debut novel.

THOUGHTS. Amazing, breathtaking, gripping, incredible, magnificent, stupendous, wondrous . . . . There are so many good adjectives I find fitting for this book—just so many—that I can go on forever because the book deserves all of these praises.

As what its name suggests, The Peculiar isn't your usual fantasy story. Bachmann was able to carefully carve a gothic, magical world into the human world balancing it with the elements of steam-powered technology. Thus comes off fresh, ingenious and unique. Even the dark portrayal of our favorite childhood magical creatures—fairies, elves, goblins, sprites—added to my peculiar amusement.

What amuses me more is the creation of such beautiful and yet excitingly terrible world. The Peculiar world unfolds in your eyes like the most beautiful yet forbidding painting that slowly and colorfully comes alive with every brushstrokes. The world is too vivid that it's almost like I’m rooted within the borders of every gritty alleys, within the walls of every dim-lighted houses, within the buildings of the wealthy Victorian London. As it turned out, this is a world I’ll never want to get out.

Along with its beautiful, dark world, Bachmann introduced an unforgettable cast of faces of both pleasantness and monstrosity. Each of their story made a mark in me, heroes  and villains alike. Each of their antics, gestures, and voices made a mark in me. Even their silly-good names were all unforgettable: Bartholomew Kettle, Mr. Arthur Jelliby, Hettie Kettle, Jack Box, Melusine, Mr. Lickerish. They are weird but they all captivated and made a mark on me.

At a very young age, Bachmann has already championed with this one-of-a-kind debut book. He has the skill, the imagination, and the prowess that mirrors that of J. K. Rowling, Roald Dahl and other notable children's author. I couldn’t say anymore as I’m too speechless to go on. But mark my words and believe me when I say, this book will not only be every library’s best pick or a bestseller in every lists but will also capture the hearts and minds of every reader—children or adult alike. Stefan Bachmann could take it either as a compliment or a prediction. Either way, as long as he keeps writing, I’ll always be the first one lining for his books. With that said, I cannot wait for what’s next in this wonderful series.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR. Stefan Bachmann is a writer and musician. He was born in Colorado and now lives with his family in Zurich, Switzerland, where he attends the Zurich Conservatory. He began writing THE PECULIAR in 2010, when he was sixteen years old.

Book Finds: Proxy

BOOK FINDS is a regular feature that spotlights upcoming book releases that I am looking forward to read.

PROXY by ALEX LONDON
RELEASE DATE. June 18, 2013
PUBLISHER. Philomel


SYNOPSIS. Knox was born into one of the City’s wealthiest families. A Patron, he has everything a boy could possibly want—the latest tech, the coolest clothes, and a Proxy to take all his punishments. When Knox breaks a vase, Syd is beaten. When Knox plays a practical joke, Syd is forced to haul rocks. And when Knox crashes a car, killing one of his friends, Syd is branded and sentenced to death.

Syd is a Proxy. His life is not his own.

Then again, neither is Knox’s. Knox and Syd have more in common than either would guess. So when Knox and Syd realize that the only way to beat the system is to save each other, they flee. Yet Knox’s father is no ordinary Patron, and Syd is no ordinary Proxy. The ensuing cross-country chase will uncover a secret society of rebels, test both boys’ resolve, and shine a blinding light onto a world of those who owe and those who pay. Some debts, it turns out, cannot be repaid.

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 will be swept away by this story.

WHY I'M WAITING FOR PROXY? I couldn’t explain my feelings when I saw the cover! You could say that’s an understatement, but look at the cover, read the blurb, and tell me you badly want this too!

The story has the elements I really wanted in an action-packed book—dual identities, revenge plus it’s set in a dystopian world!

What are you waiting for? Share your thoughts below.

Blog Tour - Author Interview and Giveaway: The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann

Have you notice something peculiar today? You just did! Today on Mr. Book Wonder, Stefan Bachmann author of the children's book The Peculiar, is stopping by for an amazingly peculiar interview. This is in collaboration with HarperCollins, National Book Store, and Pinoy Book Tours. Before you go on and read the interview, check out a special message from Stefan Bachmann announcing the Philippines blog tour for The Peculiar. By the end of this blog tour, don't miss out a Twitter party that will be held in honor of The Peculiar!

ABOUT THE BOOK
The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann
RELEASE DATE. September 18, 2012
PUBLISHER. Greenwillow Books
PURCHASE. AMAZON | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY
Add to Goodreads
SYNOPSIS. Don’t get yourself noticed and you won’t get yourself hanged.

In the faery slums of Bath, Bartholomew Kettle and his sister Hettie live by these words. Bartholomew and Hettie are changelings—Peculiars—and neither faeries nor humans want anything to do with them.

One day a mysterious lady in a plum-colored dress comes gliding down Old Crow Alley. Bartholomew watches her through his window. Who is she? What does she want? And when Bartholomew witnesses the lady whisking away, in a whirling ring of feathers, the boy who lives across the alley—Bartholomew forgets the rules and gets himself noticed.

First he’s noticed by the lady in plum herself, then by something darkly magical and mysterious, by Jack Box and the Raggedy Man, by the powerful Mr. Lickerish . . . and by Arthur Jelliby, a young man trying to slip through the world unnoticed, too, and who, against all odds, offers Bartholomew friendship and a way to belong.

Part murder mystery, part gothic fantasy, part steampunk adventure, The Peculiar is Stefan Bachmann’s riveting, inventive, and unforgettable debut novel.

INTERVIEW WITH STEFAN BACHMANN

ABOUT THE AUTHOR. Stefan Bachmann is a writer and musician. He was born in Colorado and now lives with his family in Zurich, Switzerland, where he attends the Zurich Conservatory. He began writing THE PECULIAR in 2010, when he was sixteen years old.



Was it hard to get The Peculiar published? Can you tell us about your publishing experience?
It was mostly hard to find a literary agent. At least, it seemed hard at the time. You have to send out queries and I sent them out one at a time over the course of a year, which felt like forever. Once I had an agent, though, everything went insanely fast. We had our first offer within 24 hours, other offers throughout the week, an auction a week later, and then it had sold to the awesomeness that is Greenwillow. And that was that! It was exciting!

Do you read reviews of your book? Why or why not?
Sometimes I do. (I will read yours!) And of course I read the big newspaper ones like The New York Times review because, you know, New York Times . . . . But I don’t read Goodreads reviews or Amazon reviews or any of those. Not because I think they’re less-important, but because I don’t think it’s particularly helpful to have all those different voices and opinions floating around in my head while I write. This sounds bratty, but in the end I need to write a book that I’m happy with, and that my editor is happy with; trying to please everybody usually ends in pleasing nobody.

What are your thoughts about negative reviews?
Actually, if people take the time to write a review at all, I think that’s great. No one’s obligated to like my book. A while ago, before the book came out, another author told me, "Google any one of your favorite books EVER and look at all the negative reviews it has. That’s life." And I thought that was really helpful. Everyone’s different, everyone likes and dislikes different things, and that’s the way it should be.

What is next for Stefan Bachmann?
Revisiooonnnsss. I’m hard at work on The Whatnot, trying to get it in shape for fall 2013. It’s a bit of a different book from The Peculiar, less of a fairy tale and more of a big old adventure. Definitely larger in scope.

GIVEAWAYS
2 FINISHED COPIES OF THE PECULIAR
  • To enter, follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter.
  • Giveaway is open to Philippine residents only.
  • You must be 13 years old or above to enter.
  • Winners will be notified via email.
  • Giveaway ends January 25, 2013.



5 SIGNED COPIES OF THE PECULIAR
A SKYPE CHAT WITH STEFAN BACHMANN
  • To enter, follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter.
  • Giveaway is open to everyone except US, Canada, and UK.
  • You must be 13 years old or above to enter.
  • Winners will be notified via email.
  • Giveaway ends February 2, 2013.


The Peculiar is now available in National Book Store and Powerbooks. Shop online and buy eBooks at nationalbookstore.com. Follow National Book Store on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@nbsalert) for updates on the latest events, promos and contests.

Book Finds: The End Games

BOOK FINDS is a regular feature that spotlights upcoming book releases that I am looking forward to read.

THE END GAMES by T. MICHAEL MARTIN
RELEASE DATE. May 7, 2013
PUBLISHER. HarperCollins

SYNOPSIS. It happened on Halloween.

The world ended.

And a dangerous Game brought it back to life.

Seventeen-year-old Michael and his five-year-old brother, Patrick, have been battling monsters in The Game for weeks.

In the rural mountains of West Virginia, armed with only their rifle and their love for each other, the brothers follow Instructions from the mysterious Game Master. They spend their days searching for survivors, their nights fighting endless hordes of “Bellows”—creatures that roam the dark, roaring for flesh. And at this Game, Michael and Patrick are very good.

But The Game is changing.

The Bellows are evolving.

The Game Master is leading Michael and Patrick to other survivors—survivors who don’t play by the rules.

And the brothers will never be the same.

T. Michael Martin’s debut novel is a transcendent thriller filled with electrifying action, searing emotional insight, and unexpected romance.

What are you waiting for? Share your thoughts below.

Cover Unveil: Bewitched by Mark Jay Harris

Check out the stunning cover art for Mark Jay Harris's Bewitched coming from Inkspell Publishing. What do you think?

Bewitched by Mark Jay Harris
RELEASE DATE. March 1, 2013
PUBLISHER. Inkspell Publishing
Add to Goodreads

SYNOPSIS. Is it love or is it witchcraft? He’ll never find out if he kills her first.

The first time Darren saw Samantha, she was floating above his high school gymnasium during a basketball game, invisible to everyone but him. Next time he sees her, she’s sitting in front of him in class, wowing his friends and causing unexplainable things to happen that only he seems to notice. But things really get strange (and complicated) when his dying grandfather tells him that he is part of an ancient order, the “Pessum Ire,” whose duty is to destroy witches. What does he do now, since he’s almost positive Samantha is a witch . . . and he’s crushing on her pretty hard?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR. Mark Harris lives in Smithfield Utah, a small town located in a beautiful valley in Northern Utah. His wife, Shaundale, and he have four terrific children, two girls and two boys and a fifth one due to arrive in November of 2012. Mark has taught English and Special Education and currently works from home teaching English to people from all over the world. Writing has always been his true passion since he was a grade schooler writing about mushrooms. BEWITCHED will be his debut novel. He has two others underway and will soon start on the sequel called THE RETURN OF THE FAMILIAR. He hopes you enjoy his work because he is working on several series geared toward younger audiences.

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