Blog Tour: You Before Anyone Else by Julie Cross & Mark Perini

Today I am excited to be working with Tasty Book Tours to participate in the Blog Tour for You Before Anyone Else by Julie Cross & Mark Perini. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the post to enter a giveaway for a $25 B&N Gift Card and a signed copy of You Before Anyone Else as well as a contest hosted by Julie, Mark and Tasty Book Tours.

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SYNOPSIS

Bestselling author Julie Cross teams up with international model Mark Perini to create You Before Anyone Else, a poignant and authentic contemporary YA novel and companion to Halfway Perfect

The supportive friend, the reliable daughter, the doting big sister: Finley is used to being the glue that holds everyone together. But while her sweet demeanor makes her the perfect confidant, her wholesome look isn’t landing her the high-paying modeling jobs, which are what Finley needs if she is going to reopen her mother’s dance studio.

Enter Eddie. He’s intense and driven, not to mention the life of every party, and he completely charms Finley. The last thing she wants is another commitment to stand in the way of her dreams, but when she’s with Eddie, their chemistry takes over and she can let go of her responsibilities and just be. After all, what’s so wrong about putting herself first once in a while?

Except Eddie is hiding a secret. A big secret. And when it surfaces, he and Finley are going to have to choose between their love for each other and everything else…

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

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Julie Cross is a NYT and USA Today bestselling author of New Adult and Young Adult fiction, including the Tempest series, a young adult science fiction trilogy which includes Tempest, Vortex, Timestorm (St. Martin’s Press).

She’s also the author of Letters to Nowhere series, Whatever Life Throws at You, Third Degree, Halfway Perfect, and many more to come!

Julie lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three children. She’s a former gymnast, longtime gymnastics fan, coach, and former Gymnastics Program Director with the YMCA.

She’s a lover of books, devouring several novels a week, especially in the young adult and new adult genres.

Outside of her reading and writing credibility’s, Julie Cross is a committed–but not talented–long distance runner, creator of imaginary beach vacations, Midwest bipolar weather survivor, expired CPR certification card holder, as well as a ponytail and gym shoe addict.

Be Sure To Follow Julie:

 Website 

Facebook 

Twitter 

GoodReads

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Mark Perini is a New York City based author debuting his first YA novel, Halfway Perfect. Additionally, Mark is a featured author in the NA anthology, Fifty First Times.

Mark began his career as an international fashion model when he was 18 years old, while simultaneously obtaining a business degree from Seton Hall University. He has a passion for traveling the world, and he’s made a blood pact with friends to see all seven ancient wonders of the world before he’s thirty. Four down three to go.

Be Sure To Follow Mark:

Website 

Facebook 

Twitter 

Goodreads

excerpt-banner

FINLEY

“What are you so afraid of?” Summer asks.

I take a sip of the beer Dima brought me a few minutes ago. “Oh, I don’t know, addiction, overdose, puking on some innocent victim’s shoes, random drug testing by the agency…”

Summer laughs. “Drug testing on models? Yeah, that’ll be the day.”

Okay, so maybe I just don’t want to do it. Even if I should be in my so-called experimental phase.

I wouldn’t exactly label myself a rule follower, but I guess I’m just cautious. I haven’t always been this way. Not that I’ve done drugs, but before high school, I was all about ballet. Let’s just say I had a rep for being the sassy troublemaker. My mom being my ballet teacher may have had something to do with my behavior. My fingers immediately move to the cross dangling from my neck—I’ve only removed it a couple times over the last four years. Somehow, it’s always warmer than my hands.

I debate texting my dad to ask him if he’s done coke or molly. He’d probably tell me. But I wouldn’t want to freak him out. Seems like a conversation better reserved for a weekend visit instead of late on a Friday night when I could be too far gone to help, for all he knows.

I glance around the room and finally spot someone I know: my friend Alex and his girlfriend Eve. Alex and I did a big Calvin Klein shoot last year, and Eve was the photographer’s assistant. Actually, Eve used to be a model too, another preteen/teen phenom like Elana, who headlined that CK shoot along with Alex. My part had been fairly small, and still, that was my biggest job ever.

“Have you met Alex?”

Summer shrugs, grabs two more shots of vodka, and hands me one. “Like I would remember.”

I down the shot quickly and prepare to talk to Alex and Eve. Maybe they’ve done drugs and can advise me. But my buzzing phone distracts me. I pull it out of my purse and glance at the new text.

JASON: Yeah, it’s so weird to be home again. But I missed it.

My stomach flip-flops. He replied to my text. Hours later, but still…this could mean—

“Oh lord, you’re pathetic.” Summer is leaned toward me, reading over my shoulder. “That’s probably enough for you to live off of for another six months or so, right?”

I glare at her and shove the phone back into my purse.

“No comeback? Wonder why…” She pretends to be in deep thought. “He said he missed it. Not you. Cut the fucking cord already. It’s not healthy.”

If only it were that easy. When you’re in a relationship with someone for four years, you get so comfortable with that person. It’s daunting to start all over again.

I make my way across the room to see Alex and Eve, who are leaning against the back of the couch, more absorbed in each other than anything else.

“I heard Elana’s back from France?” Alex asks me, keeping his voice low.

“Yep, her and her mom. I think her mom is driving her crazy, but that’s to be expected. French Mama is driving me crazy too.”

They both laugh at the mention of French Mama, but I can’t take credit for that title. Summer made it up.

“I can’t believe her parents let her come back to New York,” Eve says.

Alex smiles at her. “You’re just upset that they’re here and not in France where we can hit them up for lodging.”

My gaze travels back and forth between the two of them. “You guys are going to France? Are you going for Fashion Week?”

Eve shakes her head. “Nope. I did the Prada shoot, and I’m done for good. Got tuition for next year covered.”

Even though Eve had supposedly quit modeling a few years ago, she pulled a one-last-job stunt last spring to cover her tuition at Columbia. She’s a photography student with a lot of experience under her belt.

“We’re doing the cheap travel, backpacking in Europe but without actual backpacks thing,” Alex explains.

Across the room, another beer pong player is being requested. This could possibly be the most adventurous thing I’m willing to do here. I turn to Alex and Eve again. “Well, good luck in Europe. I’m gonna go play beer pong.”

“Hey.” I grab Dima’s shirt sleeve. “You need another player?”

He looks me over, deliberating. “Sure. Be the new guy’s partner.”

“The new guy?” I glance around. What does that even mean? New to the party, like he just walked in? I’ve been here fifteen minutes.

“He’s new to the agency,” Dima says. “First casting, and he books some big job.”

“So we hate him then, right?” I joke. I turn around to head toward the game table and run right into a guy about my age with wild, dark curly hair and designer jeans.

“This guy,” Dima says to me and then turns to the new guy. “Got you a partner. Finley. She lives in the agency apartment downstairs.”

They exchange a look that says I’ve been mentioned before. I’m not liking that too much, but usually, I don’t come to these parties. Instead, I bang on the door at two in the morning to tell them to

stop thumping around like elephants. Maybe I got a bad rep.

While we wait for Dima to find a partner, I snatch two beers from a nearby cooler and offer one up to New Guy. “So, Dima said you’re new, but he didn’t say where you’re from.”

“Uh…the Midwest.”

“The Midwest.” Okay. Someone doesn’t want to get personal. “Like Wisconsin or like Chicago?”

“Chicago…well, not in Chicago, but around it, you know?” he says.

“Right.” I pop open my can and take a drink. “What’s your name? I’m sorry, I don’t think Dima said…”

“Eddie.” He lifts his gaze again. “Eddie Wells. And you’re Finley Belton, the girl who lives downstairs.”

Summer breezes past me but stops when she spots me holding the beer pong ball. “Beer pong? Oh, you wild animal…grrrr.” She holds up her tiger paws and growls at me.

I give her the finger and then turn back to Eddie. “I’m one of the girls who live downstairs.”

“One is too bitchy, one is too underage, and one is nice,” he recites, most likely quoting Dima.

This is exactly what I’m trying to escape tonight. “Dima called me the baby bear?” I’m secretly hoping he catches my reference to Goldilocks.

“No,” Eddie says. “He called you Finley Belton, but I added the nice part, because you brought me a beer. And it is just right, not to mention you’re talking to me instead of staring and whispering to other people about me.”

Points for his fairy tale knowledge, and I’m sure the whispering is the result of whatever big job he’s landed. Too many models at this party.

Eve tries to be Dima’s partner, but he refuses and tells Alex to play with him. Eve opens her mouth to protest, but Dima holds up a hand. “Don’t even. I know your type. You’ll engineer some fancy trick shots. No Ivy League players showing me up. I got a rep to protect.”

“Fine,” Eve snaps. “I’ll just stand here and look pretty. And I’m definitely rooting for Fin and…” She gestures toward the new guy.

“Eddie,” I fill in for her. “Eddie from Chicago.”

“Eddie from Chicago,” Eve repeats. “Good luck.”

Summer returns and stands beside Eve, both leaning against the back of the love seat.

“Fin makes a great partner,” Summer says to Eddie. “She knits. Lots of finger dexterity.”

I shoot her a glare and will my face not to heat up. So not cool.

GIVEAWAY

Enter the giveaway to win a $25 B&N Gift Card and a signed copy of You Before Anyone Else

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ADDITIONAL CONTEST

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Julie Cross and Mark Perini, along with Tasty Book Tours, are celebrating those who have taken the steps to Break the Mold on society’s expectations, like Finley, the heroine from YOU BEFORE ANYONE ELSE!  We are looking for anyone who would like to share their story and be entered to win a 2017 Erin Condren Life Planner!

Head over to fb.me/TastyBookTours and leave a comment with your story.  Feel free to share picture of your journey and use #breakingthemold at the end of your comment!

Entries must be in by 11:59pm, Aug 15th, 2016.  No purchase necessary to enter.  If under 12 years old, you must have approval by a guardian to enter.

Ontario Teen Book Fest Blog Tour: Mary McCoy

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This year I am excited to be participating in the Ontario Teen Book Fest Blog Tour. I am especially excited to be spotlighting YA author Mary McCoy. Her debut novel, Dead to Me was one of my favorite books that I read last year.

The Ontario Teen Book Fest is an amazing event and I am so happy to be participating in the blog tour for it. I attended last year and had an absolute blast. It is a FREE UNTICKETED event featuring multiple bestselling Young Adult authors.

Scroll down for my Spotlight and Interview with Mary as well as a giveaway for a poster signed by all of the attending authors.

When: Saturday March 12th, 9 am to 5pm

Where: Colony High School 3850 E. Riverside Drive, Ontario, CA 91761

The Ontario Teen Book Fest Website: http://www.ontariotbf.org/

The event is sponsored by Once Upon A Time. They will have books available for purchase at the event. There will also be t-shirts and posters available for purchase as well.

Their website: http://www.mrsnelsons.com/

*Blog Tour Schedule*

February 22nd – Spotlight on Andrew Smith – What A Nerd Girl Says

February 23rd – Spotlight on Alexandra Monir – The Consummate Reader

February 24th – Spotlight on April Tucholke – Adventures of a Book Junkie

February 25th – Spotlight on Alexis Bass – A Traveling Book

February 26th – Spotlight on Marissa Meyer – Read Now Sleep Later

February 27th – Spotlight on Sara Elizabeth Santana – Movies, Shows and Books

February 28th – Spotlight on Robin Reul – Recently Acquired Obsessions

February 29th – Spotlight on Katherine Kottaras – iFandoms Collide

March 1st – Spotlight on Stephanie Diaz – My Fangirl Chronicles

March 2nd – Spotlight on Virginia Boecker – The Reader’s Antidote

March 3rd – Spotlight on Mary McCoy – Book You Very Much

March 4th – Spotlight on Brad Gottfred – Seeking Bazinga

March 5th – Spotlight on Michelle Levy – My Fangirl Chronicles

March 6th – Spotlight on Elana K Arnold – Read Now Sleep Later

March 7th – Spotlight on Kristin Halbrook – What A Nerd Girl Says

March 8th – Spotlight on Jessica Brody – The Windy Pages

March 9th – Spotlight on Nicole Maggi – Nite Lite Book Reviews

March 10th – Spotlight on Jay Asher – A Bookish Escape

*Spotlight on Mary McCoy*

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Mary McCoy is a writer and a librarian at the Los Angeles Public Library. She has also been a contributor to On Bunker Hill and the 1947project, where she wrote stories about Los Angeles’s notorious past. She grew up in western Pennsylvania and studied at Rhodes College and the University of Wisconsin. Mary now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and son. Her debut novel, Dead to Me, is a YA mystery set in the glamorous, treacherous world of 1940s Hollywood.

For more information visit Mary’s website here

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LA Confidential for the YA audience. This alluring noir YA mystery with a Golden Age Hollywood backdrop will keep you guessing until the last page.

“Don’t believe anything they say.”
Those were the last words that Annie spoke to Alice before turning her back on their family and vanishing without a trace. Alice spent four years waiting and wondering when the impossibly glamorous sister she idolized would return to her–and what their Hollywood-insider parents had done to drive her away.
When Annie does turn up, the blond, broken stranger lying in a coma has no answers for her. But Alice isn’t a kid anymore, and this time she won’t let anything stand between her and the truth, no matter how ugly. The search for those who beat Annie and left her for dead leads Alice into a treacherous world of tough-talking private eyes, psychopathic movie stars, and troubled starlets–and onto the trail of a young runaway who is the sole witness to an unspeakable crime. What this girl knows could shut down a criminal syndicate and put Annie’s attacker behind bars–if Alice can find her first. And she isn’t the only one looking
Evoking classic film noir, debut novelist Mary McCoy brings the dangerous glamour of Hollywood’s Golden Age to life, where the most decadent parties can be the deadliest, and no drive into the sunset can erase the crimes of past.

*INTERVIEW*

Q: What was the inspiration for your debut novel Dead to Me?

When I moved to LA ten years ago, I got really into film noir and old detective novels. I really wanted to pay an homage to those kinds of stories, but I also wanted to write something where the female characters were up front and center, instead of being relegated to femme fatales and victims.

Q: You have been a contributor to One Bunker Hill and 1947project where you have written about “Los Angeles’s notorious past”. What is it about LA in the 1940s that made you want to write about it?

Murder and mayhem and corruption, oh my! My book is set in 1948, which is the year after the Black Dahlia murder. It’s also set around the time of a few other notorious LA crimes that I’ve done a lot of reading and writing about: the Lila Leeds drug bust, the disappearance of Jean Spangler, Brenda Allen’s prostitution ring and the corrupt LAPD vice squad. The list goes on and on.

Q: Are there any other time periods/places you would like to write about?

I’ll never say never, but so far, I haven’t gotten a bee in my bonnet to write another historical novel. My next project is set at a summer camp!

Q: What was your research process for Dead to Me like? Did you visit any of the places you talked about in the book?

I’m a librarian, so of course, I was obsessed with getting every last fact right. I even found a public transit map of Los Angeles from the 1940s and made sure that Alice’s adventures around town on the Red Car were accurate.

I visited almost every spot I wrote about for the book, and most of the characters’ homes are based on actual places. Of course, my favorite place to do “research” was the time I went to Musso & Frank Grill for steak and a stake-out of the kitchen.

Q: What is your writing process like?

A mixture of diligent slogging and fevered wind sprints. The most important thing for me is sitting down as often as possible to write, whether I’m feeling inspired or not and simply doing the work.

Q: What were some of your favorite writers growing up?

I loved Roald Dahl, Lois Lowry, Ellen Raskin, and Louise Fitzhugh. Sophie, Anastasia Krupnik, Turtle Wexler, and Harriet M. Welsh were my role models and heroes when I was growing up, and it’s probably because I loved them so much that I decided to write books myself.

Q: For anyone who liked Dead to Me what are some places in Los Angeles that you think they would like to visit?

Okay, here’s an LA history nerd itinerary for you:

Start off by admiring the architecture at Union Station and the Terminal Annex Post Office, then take the Red Line to the Pershing Square stop. Hop off, grab a burrito at Grand Central Market and check out the Bradbury Building which is, for my money, the most beautiful sight in Los Angeles, then follow it up by skulking around the halls at the Biltmore Hotel and check out the zodiac chandelier in the 2nd floor Rotunda at the Central Library.

Some of my other favorite historical places are The Last Bookstore, Musso & Frank Grill, the HMS Bounty, the Egyptian Theater, the El Rey, Canter’s Deli, Langer’s Deli, and the Silent Movie Theater.

I think there are at least five places you can get pastrami on my LA history nerd itinerary.

Q: Can you tell us what you are working on now?

My next book is called CAMP SO AND SO, and it will be published by Carolrhoda Lab in spring 2017. It’s set at a summer camp where each cabin of characters finds themselves trapped into acting out a warped version of a classic camp story. In order to make it out in one piece, they have to figure out who’s pulling the strings and how to take control of their own stories again.
It’s fun and weird and metafictional, and I can’t wait for people to read it!

*Giveaway*

Enter for a chance to win a poster signed by all the authors attending OTBF. The contest is NOT International (US only) and will run from February 22-March 13th.

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Pasadena Loves YA Blog Tour + Q&A with Ava Dellaria + Giveaway

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This year I was honored to be asked to participate in the Pasadena Loves YA Blog Tour and to host a Q&A with Ava Dellaria, author of Love Letters To The Dead. Be sure to check out the full interview with Ava by scrolling down.
Along with the Q&A there is also a giveaway of three books from any Pasadena Loves YA 2015 authors. For more information and to enter the giveaway just scroll down to the end of the post.

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For those who haven’t attended this event before here are some of the important details…
When: Friday May 23, 2015 at 12 noon-4pm
Where: Pasadena Public Library, Central Branch, 285 East Walnut Street, Pasadena, CA 91101
What: Meet 20 YA authors / Panels & Book Signings / Giveaways and Refreshments / Free tote bags for the first 150 guests!

Cost: FREE

Authors: Keynote speaker Mary McCoy (author of Dead to Me) with Katie Alender, Victoria Aveyard, Alexis Bass, Julie Berry, Livia Blackburne, Virginia Boecker, Jessica Brody, Stephen Chbosky, Brandy Colbert, Ava Dellaira, Kody Keplinger, Liz Maccie, Morgan Matson, Lauren Miller, Alexandra Monir, Jennifer Niven, Romina Russell, Sarah Tomp, & Kiersten White

For more info, visit www.pasadenateenbookfestival.com

Please Note: Book sales by Vroman’s Bookstore will begin at 11am. Co-sponsored by Bridge to Books. No registration required, but we would appreciate it if you would post, share, tweet, and tell everyone you know about the upcoming event! Please use the hashtag #PLYA2015.

Q&A with Ava Dellaria

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Q: Tell us about your writing process?

For me, first drafts are a process of discovery. When I started out writing Love Letters, I began with the concept and a few key story points, and I thought of the early stages of writing as spending time with the characters and getting to know them, learning to listening to what they wanted to tell me.

After I had finished a draft of the book, I began the process of shaping the story. On my next draft I focused on structure and narrative arch. I drew on the feedback of friends and family and rewrote the book many times before I began working with my agent and my editor—what I presented as a first draft had actually been rewritten countless times!

Q: What writers would you say influenced your writing the most?

I feel like I’ve been influenced, in some way, by every book I’ve fallen in love with. I have a background in poetry and it’s had a big influence on my prose. (I often start out a day of writing by reading some poetry—it’s a great reminder, always, of the possibilities of language.)

Stephen Chbosky, who was a mentor to me, was a big influence on my writing. At the time I was writing my first draft of Love Letters, I was reading This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz and Welcome to the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. They are both marvelous masters with language, and helped to inspire me.

When I began working on Love Letters, I hadn’t setting out to write a YA book necessarily—to be honest I knew little about the genre at the time—but after I’d talked to my agent about it, he told me he thought the book should be published as YA, and I started educating myself in the genre. I read some of the classic titles likeSpeak by Laurie Halse Anderson and Looking for Alaska by John Green. Those books were real inspirations for me, and helped me a lot in writing my second (and third and fourth and fifth!) drafts of the book.

Q: In your book Love Letters to the Dead the main character, Laurel, writes letters to famous dead people as an English assignment. How did you decide which people Laurel would write to?

I started out with some celebrities that I myself loved and began researching others who I thought might be a good fit. As I worked on the book and got to know Laurel, I found that her character and the choices of people to whom she would write mutually informed each other. For example, when Laurel began writing to River Phoenix, I saw the evening that she and her sister, May, had first watchedStand By Me together, and the way that his particular innocence spoke to them, as they felt the first danger of their own slipping away.

I had originally started out with a wider selection of letter recipients, but in subsequent drafts of the book those who were no longer relevant to the plot fell away. The book traces the evolving connections that Laurel makes between her own life and the lives of the people to whom she writes, so as Laurel’s character and journey became clarified, so did the decisions about the people to include in the book.

Q: If you had been given the same English assignment as Laurel when you were in high school who would you have written to?

I’ve been asked this question a lot, but never with the “in high school” caveat, which is a great addition! I’d likely have written to Kurt Cobain, like Laurel does. I could also see myself having written to Janis Joplin, or John Lennon, or a number of authors I loved, like Kate Chopin or F Scott Fitzgerald.

Q: Fox 2000 has optioned Love Letters to the Dead. What would be your dream casting?

Yes! I feel very lucky to have gotten the opportunity to write the screenplay. I have had a wonderful time working with Fox 2000 and the producers at Temple Hill, and it was a really great to get to spend new time with the characters and to figure out how to tell Laurel’s story in a different medium. As for casting, I have faith in my producers! I thought they did an amazing job with casting for Fault in Our Stars, Twilight, and Maze Runner, and I’m really excited to see who they’d chose forLove Letters.

The Giveaway

Enter to win any 3 books from the 2015 Pasadena Loves YA authors, US only, ends 5/20/2015.

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