Donate to the El Reno Tornado Victims Fund and WIN!

It is with a heavy heart that I share with you the devastating news that my hometown of El Reno, Oklahoma was hit by an EF-2 tornado last night, leveling a budget motel and destroying a good portion of a mobile home park directly behind it. At present, two people are confirmed dead, and another 29+ people are injured. (Read the NY Times Article Here).

 

 

For those of you who aren’t aware, my first novel, THE EDGE OF NOWHERE, was set in El Reno and tells the story of the resilience of the people in that community during the one-two punch of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. Originally released in 2016, this title is set for re-release as a 2nd Edition with extensive edits and a new Author Q&A on June 1st.

In addition to THE EDGE OF NOWHERE, author Brandon Hobson—another El Reno Native–has also released a novel set in the El Reno area, this one a National Book Award Finalist titled WHERE THE DEAD SIT TALKING. This highly acclaimed 2018 novel has found itself on multiple bestseller lists and is currently slated for its paperback release on June 4th.

Why do I tell you all of this?

The community bonds of El Reno are strong, and the resilience of its people are unyielding. Though Brandon and I have long-since moved from El Reno to pursue our careers, the ties that bind us remain forever. Sadly, it was only six years ago this weekend when this same small town was hit by the largest tornado in American history, and now they’re set the task of rebuilding once again. With El Reno and its people holding a special place in both of our hearts, Brandon and I want to help! And YOU can help US!

Here’s how…

A GoFundMe Page has been set up to assist the community, and we’d like to invite you to help us lend El Reno a hand up. For every donation to the Official City of El Reno Tornado Relief Fund, your name will be entered in a drawing to receive ONE SET OF THREE signed paperback copies of BOTH…

 

 

 

WHERE THE DEAD SIT TALKING
by Brandon Hobson

AND

 

 

 

 

THE EDGE OF NOWHERE
by C.H. Armstrong


There are 2 Ways to Enter

OPTION ONE:

  1. Use this link to go to the GoFundMe Account.
  2. Make a donation in any amount.
  3. In the COMMENT FIELD on the DONATION PAGE, leave the words “I AM EL RENO STRONG IN (name of your state).”Example: I AM EL RENO STRONG IN MINNESOTA

OPTION TWO:

  1. Share THIS LINK on your favorite social media site AND TAG C.H. Armstrong so that we can find your post.
  2. Each unique share equals one entry.

Facebook: @charmstrongbooks
Twitter: @c_h_armstrong
Instagram: @c_h_armstrong_author

*If you have any trouble tagging C.H. Armstrong on social media, please feel free to send a screen shot of your social media post to cathie@charmstrongbooks.com. Contest ends on June 2nd, so donate today!

*Note: If you’ve already donated or prefer to remain anonymous for purposes of the donation, please send a copy of your donation receipt to cathie@charmstrongbooks.com.


 

To learn more about Bradon Hobson, visit his website at www.brandonhobson.com.

To learn more about C.H. Armstrong, visit her website at www.charmstrongbooks.com.

 

 

 

 

ROAM: “Be Kind and Have Courage.”

Hello again, Friends! The last two weeks have been crazy-busy, as I’ve been out on the Minnesota leg of my book tour for ROAM. It’s been exhausting, exhilarating and so much fun! A huge thank you to everyone who has braved the hazardous roads that have plagued every single one of my book signings to date! I can’t thank y’all enough! Also thank you to everyone who has purchased a copy of ROAM, or recommended it to a friend, or shared links on so social media or emails! I can’t thank y’all enough for your kindness!

Two things I’d like to talk about today: Book Reviews and what I’m doing in my Presentations.

BOOK REVIEWS

Thank you to everyone who has read ROAM. I am especially grateful for the reviews so many of you have left on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads and other review platforms. I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate your leaving feedback behind. To those who haven’t yet, please let me assure you that I’m thrilled with every review — even if your response to ROAM was luke-warm and the review reflects that. You see, it’s feedback from readers that allows me to grow as a writer and perfect my craft. So even bad reviews are helpful, even if they do sting. The negative reviews I’ve received so far (and yes, there are a few) have helped me make immediate changes from the advance copies to the final print copies for issues I didn’t realize I had, as well as make me aware that my intent doesn’t always t translate to the reader. So please — if you’ve read ROAM, consider leaving a review.

PRESENTATIONS

I wanted to talk for a minute about the presentations I’ve been giving at schools and libraries. You see, ROAM is very personal to me because it was inspired by a woman whose work I admired, and who is no longer with us anymore. She was a woman dedicated to leaving behind a better world and, now with her gone, part of my goal is to help pick up some of those pieces for her since she no longer can.

BeKindAndHaveCourageThese last two weeks have been a hectic schedule of school presentations, sometimes as many as five or six per day. In each presentation, I talk about the inspiration for ROAM — the “soup kitchen” I visited that inspired the characters — and the woman (Mrs. Linda Curtis) who worked so hard to make those in the most destitute of situations feel respected and worthy.

When I met Mrs. Curtis, she said something very profound to me. It was,”Brokenness comes from being separated or isolated from society.” Through the Saturday Noon Meals, which she coordinated every week for more than twenty years, Mrs. Curtis attempted to begin healing some of the brokenness in our community that often leads to homelessness. You see, we all can make a difference in our daily lives, and it’s not the grand gestures that matter, but those tiny micro-connections we make on a daily basis that can change the lives of others.

How did Mrs. Curtis do this? By treating each of her guests — regardless of circumstances — with respect and kindness. Greeting them each week with a smile and a meal served restaurant-style on real table cloths with real dishes, silverware, glassware and even a flower arrangement in the center of every table, it was her goal to give her guests a couple of hours once a week of feeling “normal.”

It’s those who are isolated the most that need to feel “normal,” and this is something we can each achieve every day in even the tiniest contacts with those around us. How? Through kindness.

Hold the door open for the person behind you.

Smile when you make eye contact with a stranger.

Offer a simple helping hand when you see someone struggle. 

These are all things we can do every single day to make a connection with those around us and pass along kindness. You see, how we treat others determines (1) how they feel about themselves, (2) how they expect to be treated, (3) how they treat others, and (4) how they treat the world around them.

We’ve all heard of the “self-fulfilling prophecy,” right? For those unfamiliar, it’s where a person behaves in the manner he/she believes he’s expected to behave. If you treat someone as though he’s scum of the earth, then that person will behave like that…because that’s all that’s expected of him/her. But if you treat every person with kindness, you will inspire a feeling of confidence and worthiness. And that person will pass it along to the next person until it becomes a domino effect.

No, you don’t always see the difference immediately. That person may not return your kindness in the way you feel he should, but enough repeated kindnesses — especially by different people — becomes contagious.

One of the many times I visited Mrs. Curtis’s soup kitchen, I met a family who were regular guests. One week, I brought with my new blankets and warm hats donated by my Mother-in-Law. Mrs. Curtis asked me to take this family back to her storage area to select hats and blankets for themselves. The youngest of the family was a boy, about age 8. Holding 2 hats in his hands, he just couldn’t decided between them. I suggested he might take both of them, but was immediately mortified when his father spoke up and told him no. Turning to me he explained, “We only take what we need. Because, for as hard as we have it, someone else has it worse.”

Whether he realized it or not, he was passing on the kindness he received each week from Mrs. Curtis and her volunteers. She had welcome his family warmly and treated them with respect he’d likely been denied for some time, so the only way he could give back was by returning that respect — by not being a “jerk” and taking more than they needed. That moment was life-altering for me and it was the final catalyst that made me sit down and tell the story you find in ROAM.

Maya Angelou brilliantly said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

None of us is perfect, and I’ve absolutely left damage in my wake for words and actions I didn’t realize were harmful at the time. And to those people, I would give anything to retract those thoughtless words or actions and give my most profound apologies. But sometimes you can’t do that, either because you can’t find that person or because that person isn’t in a place in their lives to accept an apology no matter how sincere. But what you can do is move forward and try to make a positive impact on the next person. And that’s what I hope readers will get out of ROAM; the importance of empathy and forgiveness. The importance of understanding the world through the lens of another person, and allowing ourselves to forgive others for the harm they’ve done us.

Last night I watched (and rewatched again this morning) the 2015 Disney Adaptation of Cinderella, and — though I’ve been saying that ROAM was like a cross between The Pursuit of Happyness and Cinderella — I didn’t realize how spot-on that comparison actually was. You see, Cinderella’s mother tells her before her death, “Be kind and have courage.” Such profound advice, and it goes hand-in-hand with the advice I give all of my students during my presentations, and would give to all of those who read ROAM.

“Be kind and have courage, and all will be well.”


Are you a teacher or know one who might be interested in a classroom or school-wide presentation?


Please
use this link for more information.


NOW AVAILABLE!

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Seventeen-year-old Abby Lunde and her family are living on the streets. They had a normal life back in Omaha but, thanks to her mother’s awful mistake, they had to leave behind what little they had for a new start in Rochester. Abby tries to be an average teenager-fitting in at school, dreaming of a boyfriend, college and a career in music. But Minnesota winters are unforgiving, and so are many teenagers.

Her stepdad promises to put a roof over their heads, but times are tough for everyone and Abby is doing everything she can to keep her shameful secret from her new friends. The divide between rich and poor in high school is painfully obvious, and the stress of never knowing where they’re sleeping or where they’ll find their next meal is taking its toll on the whole family.

As secrets are exposed and the hope for a home fades, Abby knows she must trust those around her to help. But will her new friends let her down like the ones back home, or will they rise to the challenge to help them find a normal life?

SEE THE BOOK TRAILER NOW!

READ THE REVIEWS:
Click Here!

PURCHASE LINKS:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million |
IndieBound | The Book Depository |
Target | Walmart

EVENTS
Click Here to See Cathie’s Book Tour Dates/Locations

CONTACT CATHIE FOR AN EVENT/SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT
Cathie@charmstrongbooks.com

 

Thank You!

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The last 48 hours have been a whirlwind and have swept by so fast I’ve barely had time to breathe. Only last night did I catch up with my social media mentions from Tuesday! To say I am humbled and overwhelmed by the many people who have supported the release of ROAM is an understatement. So, for today’s post, let me start with a huge THANK YOU to all who wished me a “Happy Book Birthday” for ROAM. Your kindness is beyond my wildest imagination!

My Deepest Gratitude To:

Thank you to the Writing Community on Social Media for being so kind to give ROAM a shout-out on Tuesday, before and since. I have NEVER had so many mentions on Twitter and Instagram, and I’m beyond words. There were literally a hundred or more for each of the two sites! And that doesn’t include Facebook!

Thank you to the many bloggers who took time to not only read ROAM, but write reviews. For those who made a point of holding your reviews to run on release day, WOW! Y’all are truly the best. I’m overwhelmed by your kindness!

Thank you to my social media friends and followers , as well as my real world friends, who reached out to not only send congratulations, but to share posts on social media! I’m so grateful! You will never know how much you mean to me!

Thank you to my publisher, Michelle Halket at Central Avenue Publishing. I could not be more blessed than to be one of Michelle’s projects! Every author should have the opportunity to work with a publisher as amazing as Michelle!

Thank you to Mayo High School and Pattie Ekman for allowing me to present to your English Classes on Monday. I had more fun meeting the students, and they were all so gracious! They made me feel welcome, and their excitement over our “Kindness Raffle” was really fun! (More about the Kindness Raffle in another post).

Thank you to St. Louis Park Middle School and Lisa Lillie for inviting me to present at your school on Tuesday. OH MY GOSH — your kids are the reason why we write! Their excitement was palpable, and I can’t thank them enough for their welcome!

Thank you to Jenna, Jamie and Ann at Barnes & Noble Galleria in Edina, Minn., for hosting my first book signing. This was so much fun! I thought we were going to be snowed out! The roads were so bad I would’ve cancelled if not for the slight possibility that even one person might’ve shown up and been disappointment. To my complete shock, about a dozen students made their parents hazard the awful roads to come to my signing. And we had so much fun! I think we were probably the only people in the store aside from the stray shopper and staff, but we had a wonderful time! I loved our questions, and I loved the stories you shared. Yes, Henry…as the oldest, your younger siblings will always get away with way more than you ever did! That’s the “bonus” of being the oldest child. We moms put 100% of our energies into our first children and, when the next ones come along, we’re tired! We love them just as much, but we realize they’ll turn out just fine if we stop hovering. Haha!

And finally, my biggest and most humble thank you of all goes out to the OTHER debut young adult and middle grade authors who took time out of their own release days to congratulate me on mine! My only regret of the day is that I didn’t think ahead to plan social media posts to automatically post my congratulations to each of you on Tuesday. But I am deeply grateful, so at the end of this post is a shout-out to those authors who also had Book Birthdays on Tuesday! I hope y’all will take a minute to look at their amazing titles!

So…What was my day like on Tuesday?

Well, in all honesty, my “day” started on Monday with a presentation to four English classes at Mayo High School. This was a special series of presentations to me because the high school is special to me. It’s where my daughter graduated in 2014 and, since I was writing ROAM during that period of time, much of the story takes place within its walls — by a different name (Rochester South). But anyone from the area knows “Rochester South” of the book is Mayo. After all, how many completely round schools are there?

I went home exhausted, yet exhilarated, on Monday; then woke up at 5:30 on Tuesday morning to leave for St. Louis Park (a 90 minute drive without traffic) to present to five  classes. These kids were so fantastic, and I was shocked to learn how many students have already worked in some capacity with their homeless communities. Y’all are just fantastic! While there, I had the opportunity to meet the office staff, the school principal, and even the Superintendent of Schools. I’m just so grateful for  the welcome I received, and am excited to go back…because I’ve been invited back to present to other classes! Thank you, Lisa Lillie for setting these up! I had a great day!

 

At the end of my presentations at St. Louis Park Middle School, I was supposed to present to an after school assembly for those who were unable to attend during the day. Sadly, due to weather, all after school activities were cancelled. So I bundled up and drove the roughly 15 miles to my hotel in Edina, in preparation for my night signing at B&N. Well, the roads were AWFUL! It took me (and I’m NOT kidding) more than 2.5 hours to drive those 15 or fewer  miles! When I finally got to the hotel, I had about an hour to relax and have dinner before heading out again. Thank goodness for Jimmy Johns delivery!

At 7:00, I showed up for my signing at the Barnes & Noble in Edina at the Galleria Mall. Y’all, if you’ve never been to this Barnes & Noble, you really MUST visit them! Truly, they have the nicest, friendliest, most helpful staff of any Barnes & Noble I’ve ever visited. I first visited this store back in June, and I knew immediately I wanted to do my launch at this store. And I was right. They  made the experience so fun, even though the roads were awful and — aside from those who hazarded the roads to attend my signing — the store was virtually empty.

BN Edina Signing

Returning back to the hotel at around 9:30, I’d really hoped to sleep in until at least 11:00 the next morning. But, alas, I was still riding high on adrenaline and not only had difficulty falling asleep, but was awake by 5:30 a.m. with excitement for the day and my drive back home.

So What’s Next on My Calendar?

Today is a “rest day” for me (which really means I have to clean  my house since I’ve been ignoring it).

Tomorrow, I head to Lanesboro Schools for a day full of presentations to their middle and high schools.

barnes-noble-75Saturday, February 9th, I’ll be kicking off my local book tour at the Barnes & Noble Apache Mall in Rochester, Minn.  I’ll be reading and signing books from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. I really hope y’all will join me. You can find the Facebook event invitation with more information at this link.

1544456650778Sunday, February 10th, I’ll be at Pasquale’s Neighborhood Pizzeria in Rochester, Minn., where I’ll be signing books from 1:00 to 3:00 p .m. This one ought to be a HUGELY fun signing, as I’ll not only be offering up free copies of ROAM to five random winners, but you seriously can’t beat the pizza at Pasquale’s. For more information on this event, use this link to view the Facebook event invite.

Monday, February 11th, I’ll be at Stewartville Public Library in Stewartville, Minn., from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. THIS is the library I consider to be my own library. Though I live in the neighboring town, I love going to Stewartville’s library because it reminds me of the library I grew up in. It’s small and friendly, yet they have everything you could ever need…or will get it for you if they don’t have it. To view the Facebook event invite, use this link.

I think I’ll stop with Monday, or this post will go on for pages. If you’d like to figure out where I am to come to a signing, you can use this link.

And Don’t Forget…

Check out these debut Young Adult and Middle Grade novels that also released on Tuesday with ROAM. You seriously won’t be sorry!

 

The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf
Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway
Enchanteé by Gita  Trelease
Ruby in the Sky by Jeanne Zulick Ferruol


NOW AVAILABLE!

RoamCover

SEE THE BOOK TRAILER NOW!

READ THE REVIEWS:
Click Here!

PURCHASE LINKS:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million |
IndieBound | The Book Depository |
Target | Walmart

EVENTS
Click Here to See Cathie’s Book Tour Dates/Locations

CONTACT CATHIE FOR AN EVENT/SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT
Cathie@charmstrongbooks.com

 

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY TO ROAM!

 

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I’m so excited to share with you the release of ROAM! Set in Rochester, Minnesota, ROAM is the story of 17 year old Abby Lunde, whose family moves to town after a series of unexpected events leave her parents unemployed and homeless. Now living in the family’s van in the Walmart parking lot, Abby is desperate to keep her embarrassing secret from her new friends. But the nights are getting colder and, as Abby knows well, Minnesota winters aren’t the only thing unforgiving—so are many teens.

As secrets are exposed and the hope for a home fades, Abby knows she must trust those around her to help. But will her new friends let her down like the ones back home, or will they rise to the challenge to help the family find a normal life?

PURCHASE LINKS:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million |
IndieBound | The Book Depository |
Target | Walmart

Join me TONIGHT as We Celebrate
the Release of ROAM!

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Can’t Make it Tonight? No Worries!
Come to Another Reading or Signing this Month!

Tuesday, Feb 5th

Don’t Forget: If you Purchase Your Copy by February 12th, You Can Win! Click Image Below for Details!

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Purchase your copy of ROAM and Win a Prize Pack!

Hello Friends! I can’t believe its just 7 days until the release of ROAM! I’m so excited I can barely stand myself! In celebration of this countdown, I’m having a GIVEAWAY! If you need a nudge to go ahead and pre-order your copy of ROAM (as if the discounted pre-order price isn’t enough!), here’s another one!

If you pre-order or purchase your copy of ROAM by February 12th, you’ll be entered to win a FREE ROAM PRIZE PACK! Check it out:

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HOW TO ENTER:

  • Take a photo of your receipt (or a photo of you with a physical copy) of the novel, ROAM, by C.H. Armstrong.
  • E-mail the photocopy of your receipt or you with your copy of ROAM to contests4chabooks@gmail.com by by 11:59 PM Pacific Time on February 12, 2019.
  • All entries received by the Feb. 12 deadline will be entered to win BOTH Prizes: (1) ROAM T-shirt (size XL only) and (1) ROAM Coffee Mug (Both prizes shown in image above).

    PLUS

All entries received by 11:59 PM Pacific Time on
FEBRUARY 5th will receive a 2nd entry!

Please note: This contest is open to US and APO Mailing Addresses, only. 

EASY PURCHASE LINKS


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million |
IndieBound | The Book Depository |
Target | Walmart

Happy Book Birthday: Just for Clicks

5d7678_6f6b61624266417bb314d86375f2b515~mv2_d_1500_1700_s_2Welcome to another Tuesday and another edition of Happy Book Birthday Tuesday! Today I’m super excited to share with you the first of the Twitter #Novel19s books I read, JUST FOR CLICKS by Kara McDowell.

This was an awesome book and I’m sending out a huge “GET THIS BOOK” flag to everyone who enjoys young adult novels. It’s not anything like I expected, yet so much more!

So what’s this book about? Twin sister, Claire and Poppy are internet famous. Beginning even before their birth, their mom brought their lives into the public spotlight by highlighting their every stage of development for her online blog. One thing led to another and eventually the two girls launched their own YouTube channel, complete with sponsors and the perks of couture freebies that come with that sponsorship. But for Claire, internet fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and there’s nothing more she wants than to just graduate high school and get out. But how can she do that without ruining her sister’s “career,” since sponsors see the two girls as a package deal?

While the bulk of this story centers on the girls, their differences, and their struggles and joys of internet fame, the book also includes secrets that are threatened by that very fame. Secrets that, if discovered, could crash their world around them. And THAT is where this book took a right turn to become “so much more” than I expected!

To find out the details, you’ll have to pick up a copy. But trust me when I tell you this: you won’t be sorry!

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SYNOPSIS

(From the author’s website)

Mommy blogs are great . . . unless the blog happens to belong to your mom.

Twin sisters Claire & Poppy are accidental social media stars thanks to Mom going viral when they were babies. Now, as teens, they’re expected to contribute by building their own brand. Attending a NY fashion week and receiving fan mail is a blast. Fending off internet trolls and would-be kidnappers? Not so much. Poppy embraces it. Claire hates it. Will anybody accept her as “just Claire”? And what should Claire do about Mom’s old journals? The handwritten entries definitely don’t sound like Mom’s perfect blog persona. Worse, one of them divulges a secret that leaves Claire wondering what else in her life might be nothing but a sham . . .

For more information on Kara McDowell, or for purchase links for this book, use this link.

WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT!

winner!

Congratulations to my Goodreads Follower, Nicole Anderson! She is the winner of the “Follow Me on Goodreads” Contest! Nicole has won an ARC of ROAM, due for release in just 13 days!

 


 

COMING
FEB. 5, 2019

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READ THE FIRST CHAPTER FREE!
CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW TO READ NOW!

first chapter free!

 

SEE THE BOOK TRAILER NOW!

NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER!

READ WHAT EARLY READERS ARE SAYING:
Click Here!

PURCHASE LINKS:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million |
IndieBound | The Book Depository |
Target | Walmart

EVENTS
Click Here to See Cathie’s Book Tour Dates/Locations

CONTACT CATHIE FOR AN EVENT/SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT
Cathie@charmstrongbooks.com

 

Happy (Late) Book Birthday: WHEN THE TRUTH UNRAVELS

9781510733572I’m a bit late to the party, but I want to wish a belated Happy Book Birthday to RuthAnne Snow on her debut young adult novel, WHEN THE TRUTH UNRAVELS. I’ve finally had some free time to sit down and read it, and all I can say is this: It is Incredible!!

I’ve been blessed to read many of 2019’s debut young adult and middle grade novels and, while I’ve really enjoyed all of them, WHEN THE TRUTH UNRAVELS is at the very top of my list. It was page turning and heartbreaking and uplifting, all wrapped together in one.

The story follows four best friends who really have nothing at all in common except for their deep and abiding love and loyalty to each other. They’re all keeping their own secrets, at the same time they’re trying to keep each other’s secrets.

I don’t want to ruin the plot for you, so I don’t want to tell you any more. Just suffice it to say that this is a 2019 young adult novel that you need to read! It had me laughing and crying, and sometimes laughing through tears–my favorite kind of book. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

SYNOPSIS

(Copied from Author’s Website)

Last month, Elin tried to kill herself.

She knows she’s lucky that her parents found her in time. Lucky to be going to prom with her three best friends, like any other teen. Like it never happened. And if she has anything to say about it, no one but her best friends will ever know it did.

Jenna, Rosie, and Ket will do anything to keep Elin’s secret―and to make sure it never happens again. That’s why they’re determined to make prom night feel just like it would have if this past spring hadn’t been as eventful. This could be the night that convinces Elin that life can go back to what it was.

Except, at prom, Elin goes missing.

Now it’s up to her friends to find her. But each of the girls has her own demons to face. Ket is being blackmailed by an ex. Rosie is falling in love for the first time. And Jenna . . .

Jenna is falling apart.

And no one, not even her best friends, knows why.

Heart-wrenching and utterly impossible to put down, When the Truth Unravels follows four friends as they confront their greatest hopes and darkest secrets during one life-changing night.

PURCHASE LINKS

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | INDIEBOUND

Honoring Black Authors on MKL Jr. Day!

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., I wanted to take a moment to spotlight some of the best young adult fiction by Black authors I’ve read in the last year. I’m thrilled to say that — unlike during my childhood — there are so many to choose from that there’s no way I can list them all here, so I’ll just start with a few of my favorites.

 

TIFFANY SLY LIVES HERE NOW

imageAt the top of my list is TIFFANY SLY LIVES HERE NOW by Dana L. Davis. This lovely book follows a young woman whose mother succumbs to cancer and she is sent to live with the father she’s never met. As if the transition isn’t hard enough, another man steps into her life and insists that he’s her father! Well, that’s awkward! Yes…but it’s soooo good!

This was a book I couldn’t put down. I loved the family relationships that were built in this story, most especially the love between Tiffany and her stepmother. Nobody can take the place of your mom, but Tiffany’s stepmom was exactly what I’d hope my kids would experience should I die prematurely and my husband remarry.

Filled with wonderful characters, I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys young adult fiction.

 

DEAR MARTIN

imageWritten by Nic Stone, DEAR MARTIN is a heartbreaking and thought-provoking novel about an African American teen who, struggling to understand the world around him, sits down and pours out his thoughts in a letter to Martin Luther King, Jr.

DEAR MARTIN was a novel I actually listened to on audio rather than reading, and I think listening to the narration made the stronger even more moving. It examines the questions of “white privilege” and — without “preaching” — causes the reader to really examine himself. What is white privilege? Do I have it? Is it a real thing? I have to admit that, as a privileged white woman, there were many cringe-worthy moments for me as I examined myself and wondered how often I’d completely missed the point.

Maybe one of the best books I read in 2018, I would strongly recommend it to teens everywhere, but there’s a lot to be learned through this novel for adults, too. Definitely worthy of adding to your bookshelves!

 

THE HATE YOU GIVE

imageYou’ve seen the  movie and you likely know the story by now, but that’s no reason to skip the book. Beautifully written by Angie Thomas, THE HATE YOU GIVE comes in the wake of the Black Lives Matters movement and forces the reader to walk around in the shoes of a young African American teen who witnesses the unprovoked murder of friend by a police officer.

I’m not going to lie. THE HATE YOU GIVE can be a very hard read because — like DEAR MARTIN — it forces the reader to examine the face of prejudice and ask ourselves whether we inadvertently harbor preconceived notions of people different from ourselves. This is a book that will likely stay with us for many years to come, and will and should certainly pave the way for others like it. Keep an eye on Angie Thomas: she’s going to do great things.

 

COMING IN 2019

Three titles I haven’t read yet but am crazy-excited about are from my fellow Novel19s authors on Twitter, and you must check them out!

imageFirst is FOR BLACK GIRLS LIKE ME by Mariama J. Lockington (coming in July 2019) about a black girl adopted by a white family and the many feelings of “differentness” that can come with not looking like the other members of your family.

Maybe my favorite explanation of what this book is all about comes from the publisher’s synopsis, which reads:

For Black Girls Like Me is for anyone who has ever asked themselves: How do you figure out where you are going if you don’t know where you came from?

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Next on my list is from a sister-duo writing team, Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite, DEAR HAITI, LOVE ALAINE. First of all, the cover is absolutely stunning! I’d pick this book up to read based only on the cover and knowing nothing about that book itself. That’s the cool thing about a great cover! From the synopsis, it looks like the story of a young girl from Miami who gets suspended from school and promptly shipped off to live in her family’s homeland of Haiti for the first time. In the process, she uncovers long-held family secrets. If that’s not enough information to pull you in, then you need to examine your sense of adventure! Haha! This title will release on September 3rd, and I already have it on my “to order” list! You should, too!


imageFinally, I always like to save the best for last. The title I’m most excited about is Justin A. Reynolds’s OPPOSITE OF ALWAYS. Releasing in March, this book is sitting right beside me begging to be read…which is driving me nuts because I’m dying to read it but have to finish some other projects first! UGH!

Author Angie Thomas calls OPPOSITE OF ALWAYS “One of the best love stories I’ve ever read.” From the synopsis, it’s the story about a young couple who meet and fall in love…but their happily ever after comes to an abrupt halt when one of them dies. But, when that should end their story entirely, it looks like it’s all just beginning. I can’t tell if this book involves time travel, or just a tiptoe through time in the memory of the main character; but I can tell you that I’m dying to read it! And I will soon…so watch this space for  my review coming in time for the book’s release!

ROAM: COMING FEB 5–READ THE ENTIRE FIRST CHAPTER FREE!

Hey everybody! There’s so much going on these days that I thought I’d bring you up to date.

FREE FIRST CHAPTER PREVIEW!

first chapter free!For a limited time only, you can READ THE ENTIRE FIRST CHAPTER OF ROAM FOR FREE! That’s right! Not just a snippet, but the full first chapter. I’m so excited to give you this sneak peak! At the end of the chapter are easy links to learn more about ROAM, as well as purchase links to help you find your favorite online retailer. If you enjoy it, please feel free to share with your friends!

free roam button

TOMORROW NIGHT ON TWITTER!

Tomorrow night is the monthly Novel Nineteens Twitter Chat! If you don’t know what this is, it’s a chat on Twitter where middle grade and young adult authors with 2019 debut titles answer your questions! It’s a really fun opportunity to find out what’s coming out in 2019, win prizes, and get to know the authors on a more personal level. So join me tomorrow night at 8:00 PM (EST). If you mention you heard about it through my website or my social media, I’ll enter you into a raffle to WIN A FREE ADVANCE READER’S COPY OF ROAM! So stop by and say hi, respond to one of my #Novel19s tweets in the chat, and let me know you heard about it from me to enter!

novel19chat
Click this image for an easy link to the Twitter #Novel19s chat.

LAST CHANCE TO FOLLOW AND WIN!

If you’re not following me on Goodreads, now is the time to do it! On Monday, January 21st, I’ll be drawing a winner from among my Goodreads Followers to win a FREE ADVANCE READER’S COPY OF ROAM! If you’re already following me on Goodreads, you’re good to go–you’re already entered. If not, make sure to do it before Monday for your chance to win!

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Click on the image above to enter for your chance to win by following me on Goodreads! Good luck!

 

BOOK TOUR DATES!

With the February 5 release of ROAM, my book tour schedule is filling quickly! For a comprehensive list of where I’ll be and when, you can use this link. If you’re interested in having me visit your school, please note that I’m currently scheduling on-site and Skype School Visits at no cost. You can use this link to learn more.

 

AND FINALLY…

Did you get my newsletter that went out yesterday? If not, you missed a lot of really great information! To view it, click the image below.

our newsletter

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