The Best Of 2012 – Books by Debut Authors

Hello gentle reader,

I hope you had a lovely Christmas!

As the end of the year draws near, I am looking back at 2012… I already mentioned a few TV shows I watched this year in this post. And today I’d like to give you a list of my favourite 2012 debut authors. I have interviewed a few of them on my blog and you can click on their names to read those interviews.


The Gathering Dark (aka Shadow and Bone) by Leigh Bardugo (YA High Fantasy)


Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard (YA Steampunk/Horror)

Throne of Glass- UK cover

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (YA High Fantasy)


Skylark by Meagan Spooner (YA Dystopia)


Hollow Pike by James Dawson (YA Paranormal)


The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse (YA Dystopia)


Struck by Jennifer Bosworth (YA Paranormal)


The Cavendish Home For Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand (MG Gothic Fantasy)

Black City-Elizabeth Richards

Black City by Elizabeth Richards (YA Dystopia)

What did you read in 2012? Which debut author did you discover? Feel free to leave me a comment below!

Waiting On Wednesday – 18

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly event, hosted by book blogger Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

This week I’m waiting on THE ASSASSIN’S CURSE by Cassandra Rose Clarke (expected publication: October 2nd 2012 by Strange Chemistry). This is a YA High Fantasy novel and a 2012 debut.

From Goodreads:

Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an allying pirate clan: she wants to captain her own boat, not serve as second-in-command to her handsome yet clueless fiance. But her escape has dire consequences when she learns the scorned clan has sent an assassin after her. 

And when the assassin, Naji, finally catches up with her, things get even worse. Ananna inadvertently triggers a nasty curse — with a life-altering result. Now Ananna and Naji are forced to become uneasy allies as they work together to break the curse and return their lives back to normal. Or at least as normal as the lives of a pirate and an assassin can be.

I already have way too many books on my TBR list, but I couldn’t resist adding this one to it. The cover is gorgeous and the blurb really intrigues me.

What do you think? Is this book on your TBR list?

And what are you waiting on this week?

Book of the Week – 12

This week I’m reading Hollow Pike by British author James Dawson (published in February 2012 by Orion Children’s Books). It is a 2012 debut and a YA Paranormal novel. I don’t usually read books about witches, but this one has an interesting blurb and a gorgeous cover that I couldn’t resist…

From Goodreads:

“Something wicked this way comes…

She thought she’d be safe in the country, but you can’t escape your own nightmares, and Lis London dreams repeatedly that someone is trying to kill her. Lis thinks she’s being paranoid – after all who would want to murder her? She doesn’t believe in the local legends of witchcraft. She doesn’t believe that anything bad will really happen to her. You never do, do you? Not until you’re alone in the woods, after dark – and a twig snaps…

Welcome to Hollow Pike – where witchcraft never sleeps.”

Visit the Hollow Pike website here. Watch the book trailer here.

What are you reading this week?

A Writer in the Spotlight – Susan Dennard

Something Strange and Deadly, a YA historical novel with zombies and a steampunk vibe, is out TODAY! And I have the pleasure to interview debut author Susan Dennard about the release and her writing process. As a reminder, the idea behind the “Writer in the Spotlight” feature is that published authors are the best source of advice for us, would-be-published writers.

Author : Susan Dennard

Genre : Young Adult, Fantasy

Location: Germany


Official Book Trailer:



Books : Something Strange and Deadly series: Something Strange and Deadly (2012), A Darkness Strange and Lovely (2013) from Harper Teen.

My interview (22/07/2012):

On writing

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

I can’t say that I ALWAYS knew. I didn’t start putting my daydreams onto paper until I was around 13 or so. After that, all my dreams of a becoming a marine biologist vanished in my obsession with writing (though I was a TERRIBLE writer). Of course, I was such a snotty teen, though, that I refused to be taught–I didn’t want to learn to write since I thought I was already amazing. Ha! Then, when I went off to school to major in creative writing, I got side-tracked by marine biology. Funny how those things work!

I still love science and the marine world. College and graduate school were amazing experiences. In fact, the only reason I returned to writing was because my husband and I would have to live apart if I pursued my PhD. So–rather than separate–I moved with him to Germany, started writing (and studying the craft of writing) full-time, and the rest is history! 😉

When and where do you write?

I write in my office everyday. Or…I do something writing-related everyday. I’m very strict about this. My rule is that if my husband is working, I ought to be too! So either I’m BICHOK-ing (butt-in-chair, hands-on-keyboard), revising, or working on “administrative stuff” (emails, blogging, self-promotion, etc.).

What do you say to people who want to be writers?

Do it! Sit down and write. That’s the only way to achieve your dreams–but make sure you dream big too! I think success is three-part: aiming high, working hard, and not giving up. It’s so EASY to let dreams slide away when things take a while or don’t work out as you’d hoped. But you CAN’T give up. My mantra before I was published and to this day is: “It’s not a race. You know what you want, Sooz, so just keep on plugging away until you get there.”

I want to share my stories with as many people as possible, and so that’s what I’m trying to do!

On Something Strange and Deadly

To write this book, where did you get your inspiration from? (How did you come up with a historical novel with zombies?!)

Well, the initial premise came from a dream. My brother was missing; I knew I’d do anything to save him; and the only people who could help  mewere a ragtag team of outcasts. I took that idea and fleshed it out. I knew I wanted a paranormal/creepy element, and I settled on ghosts and corpses after rummaging through what scared me most! It sounds so silly, but honestly, I scanned my shelves trying to pick out which books made my skin crawl. If I was scared, then surely I could transfer that fear onto the page–and nothing creeps me out more than ghouls and zombies!

The historical aspect–specifically 1876–came about because I knew I wanted a steampunk vibe (but not 100% steampunk). I adore 19th century literature and history, and after some preliminary research, I discovered the Centennial Exhibition (the first American World’s Fair). I thought, “Whoa! What a great place for walking corpses! What if…what if my team of outcasts are actually zombie-fighters brought in to protect the Exhibition?”

And that, my friends, is how Something Strange and Deadly came to be.

Why did you choose to write for young adults?

I’m not sure I ever consciously set out to write YA…I just knew I wanted to write a book that I would love. And of all the books I’ve read, the ones that stay with me the most are the books I enjoyed growing up and during my teen years. I knew I wanted to write THAT sort of book, and so…I did! 🙂

 What are you working on now?

Right now, I’m writing the third book in the Something Strange and Deadly series (so weird to work on it when book 1 isn’t even out yet!) as well as a novella set before the events in the trilogy. I’m also working on some other projects–Screechers, an epic fantasy in a desert world; an untitled space opera with author Sarah Maas (Throne of Glass, Bloomsbury 2012); and a fluffy, fun contemporary.

You can buy Something Strange and Deadly on Amazon here. And you can enter the Something Strange and Deadly Outbreak giveaway here.

A Writer in the Spotlight – Lisa M. Stasse

This week again I was lucky enough to have a YA author give me an exclusive interview! The idea behind the “Writer in the Spotlight” feature is that published (and bestselling) authors are the best source of advice for us, would-be-published writers. Today’s interview is with debut author Lisa M. Stasse. Her Dystopian novel,  The Forsaken, is already available in the US and it will be out in the UK on August 2d, 2012.


Author : Lisa M. Stasse

Genre : Young Adult, Dystopian


Official Book Trailer:




Books : The Forsaken (2012)

My interview (22/07/2012):

On writing:

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

Yep, ever since I was in high school. Either a writer or a photographer.

When and where do you write?

I usually write on my laptop in the early hours of the morning (or late at night, depending on how one looks at it!)

Do you ever experience writer’s block?

It hasn’t hit me yet. I hope it never does! I figure it might one day, but hopefully that will be many years and many books from now. 🙂

What do you say to people who want to be writers?

I tell them to read as many books as possible (which is some good advice I got from writers I admired when I asked them) and to write a little bit every single day. I read 3-5 books/week–a mix of YA and adult fiction, with a little bit of nonfiction in there too (I love travel books).

Is it better to outline and plot your novel or “go with the flow”?

I plot everything out because I’m crazy obsessive, but at the same time, I leave some wiggle room to come up with cool scenes and surprises along the way. If everything is too well-planned, then writing scenes can get boring and then the story can lose some energy.

Do you set goals for yourself as you write?

Definitely! I usually try to write a certain number of pages per day (depending on the day and the project) and I often reward myself with coffee or chocolate if I reach my goal. Of course, I often drink coffee and eat chocolate even when I don’t reach my goal, so I’m not sure how well my incentive plan is working out for me! 🙂


On “The Forsaken”:

To write this book, where did you get your inspiration from? Were you aware of the coming dystopian trend when you wrote it?

When I was writing The Forsaken, a few dystopian books were a big deal (The Hunger Games, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, The Maze Runner) but there wasn’t a huge onslaught like there is now. I pretty much wrapped up most of my book in 2010/early 2011. Books just take a while to come out. Having said that, I kind of love the giant wave of dystopian lit. It means people have a lot of choice in what they decide to read.

How did you come up with your characters? What made you choose teenagers as main characters?

Maybe I’m still a teenager at heart! And I think that that age is so great for writing complex characters–I remember when I was 16, I was a total conflicted mixture of extreme optimism and extreme pessimism. I also think teens make great characters as protagonists in a dystopian novel. Dystopians can deal with really serious and intense issues.

What type of music did you listen to when you wrote this book?

My musical tastes are all over the map, from indie rock (The Dirty Projectors, Ryan Adams, Cornershop, Long Winters) to dubstep (Deadmau5, Skrillex) and dance (La Roux), to old school classic rock (Beatles, Neil Young) and to really weird stuff as well (Salem). I also love Florence and the Machine, as well as a lot of singer-songwriters (Cat Power and Feist).

What are you working on now?

I’m finishing up copyedits on Book 2 of THE FORSAKEN trilogy.


Reading advice:

Which authors inspire you now?

Margaret Atwood, Suzanne Collins, James Dashner, JK Rowling, Orson Scott Card, Stephen King, Carrie Ryan, Tahereh Mafi, Jeanette Winterson, Leigh Bardugo, Veronica Rossi, and Veronica Roth.

Any YA books you would recommend?

Divergent, Looking for Alaska, Shadow and Bone, The Hunger Games (obviously!), Paper Towns, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Shatter Me, Ender’s Game, The Maze Runner (and there’s probably a hundred more but those are the one off the top of my head!).

Thanks for the interview Lisa!

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME!!! I really appreciate it–it was fun!!! 🙂

The Forsaken will be out in the UK on August 2d, 2012. Buy it on Amazon here.

Waiting on Wednesday – 14

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly event, hosted by book blogger Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

This week I’m waiting on Defiance by C.J. Redwine (expected publication: August 28th 2012 by Balzer + Bray). It is a YA Fantasy novel and a 2012 debut. I have been dying to read this book for a while now and August 28th is finally approaching…! Plus how gorgeous is this cover?!

 From Goodreads:

“Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city’s brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father’s apprentice, Logan–the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same one who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but a fierce belief in her father’s survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.

At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city’s top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor’s impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can’t be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.”

Visit C. J. Redwine’s blog here.

Book of the Week – 9

This week I am reading ReVamped by debut author Ada Adams. I don’t usually read self-published books but since this one has been published in February 2012, I have only read enthusiastic reviews about it. And since it’s a vampire book, I had to check it out…

From Goodreads:

“A simple mission turned deadly.

Nineteen-year-old vampire Dawn has led a sheltered life within the confines of her father’s presidential headquarters. Upon being sent on a mission to revamp four goofy misfits into guardians of a peaceful little town of Angel Creek, Dawn believes that all her dreams have finally come true. What starts off as a simple task, turns into something unexpected, changing Dawn’s life forever and leading the action-loving, thrill-seeking vampire teen on a path of mystery, danger and intrigue.

When a human girl is kidnapped by a group of rogue vamps, Dawn discovers that there is more going on in Angel Creek than meets the eye. And it all connects to Ethan, the cute newcomer who seems too perfect to be true, Sebastian, the mysterious vampire with a turbulent past, and even Dawn herself. Dawn must not only succeed in revamping the troubled recruits, but must also prevent the vampire race from being overtaken by a malevolent villain who has a strange and obsessive fascination with her. As threat escalates, romance blooms, and ghosts from her past begin to surface, Dawn is sure of only one thing: her life will never be the same.”

Visit Ada’s website here.

What are you reading this week?

Waiting On Wednesday – 11

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly event, hosted by book blogger Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

This week I’m waiting for Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (expected publication: August 7th 2012 by Bloomsbury USA Children’s). This is a YA High Fantasy novel and a 2012 debut.

From Goodreads:

“After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men—thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the kings council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.”

Does this sound great or what?

What are you waiting on this week?

A Writer in the Spotlight – Jennifer Bosworth

This week again I was lucky enough to have a YA author give me an exclusive interview! The idea behind the “Writer in the Spotlight” feature is that published (and bestselling) authors are the best source of advice for us, would-be-published writers. Today’s interview is with the amazingly nice Jennifer Bosworth.

Author : Jennifer Bosworth

Genre : Young Adult, Science Fiction & Fantasy

Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA

Website :

Twitter: @JennBosworth

Books : Struck (2012)

My interview (29/05/2012):

On writing:

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

I did. In fact, I consider it my first memory, just knowing that I wanted to be a writer, because I don’t remember a time when I didn’t want this.

When and where do you write?

I write at home, and I make sure that wherever my husband and I live, I always have at least a nook of my own, if not an entire room in which to write. I occasionally write at coffee shops, but I don’t do my best work in them.

I’m definitely a morning writer unless I’m drinking wine or whiskey. I know I shouldn’t say this, but I do my best writing while drinking, but only ONE drink. I don’t want to become a Hemingway.

Do you ever experience writer’s block?

I always have something to say, but I go through periods when I don’t know how to say it. At those times, I usually just start writing and feel my way through. I don’t believe in writer’s block for myself, because I know the only thing that’s standing in my way is me.

What do you say to people who want to be writers? How difficult is it to get published?

Write for the love of writing, and no matter how artistic you are, don’t forget to at least attempt to find a hook for your story, and don’t neglect plot. “Stuff” needs to happen in a book. Pretty writing will only get you so far. There’s a lot of competition out there, so if your work isn’t exciting enough––which doesn’t mean car crashes and explosions, it means conflict, conflict, conflict, interpersonal, personal, man vs. nature, whatever as long as it’s conflict––you’re going to have a much harder time selling a book.

Also, keep in mind that writing is a business, and if editors have no idea how to place your book, you’ll have a hard time selling said book. If they know exactly how to position your book in the marketplace, you’re golden. This sounds depressing, I know, and I have a lot of unmarketable books in me so I understand the difficulty writers have accepting this idea. But if you want to sell, not just write, you have to meet the publishers halfway.

Is it better to outline and plot your novel or “go with the flow”?

Depends on the writer, but I prefer to write wildly and revise later. Is that the smart, economical thing to do? Not really. It’s much more practical to outline. But the most creative scenes in any book or screenplay I’ve written have always been off the cuff.

A good rule of thumb: know where you’re going, but discover the path as you travel.

Do you set goals for yourself as you write?

I live and die by mini-goals. When I’m working on a first draft, I need to write at least 1000 words a day. I used to do 2000, but I found that after 1000 I wrote complete crap. I also like to give myself holidays as deadlines for finishing an entire manuscript. I don’t know why, it just feels right.

On “Struck”:

To write this book, where did you get your inspiration from? Were you aware of the coming dystopian trend in YA literature when you wrote it?

Haha! I hate trends, so if I’d known one was coming I probably would have written a different book. To set a trend sounds great, but I don’t want my book to be an “if you liked this, you’ll love this” sort of book.

The inspiration for STRUCK literally struck when I learned a few strange but true facts about lightning and about human lightning rods. I like to base everything I write, no matter how fantastical, in reality. The fact that real human lightning rods exist was jet fuel for my imagination. And I’d always loved post-apocalyptic novels like Stephen King’s The Stand, and wanted to write one myself. A human lightning rod standing between salvation or the utter annihilation of mankind? I couldn’t resist writing that book! I guess I would have written it even if I’d known the dystopian trend was looming.

Mia: How did you come up with this character and her power?

Again, I try to ground my fantasy in reality, and the human body has a complex electrical system. It stands to reason that we can learn to utilize it in small ways. But what if a human were charged with a LOT more energy than was normal? What could they do then?

I regards to Mia’s personality, I consider her my alter ego. I grew up in an extremely religious community, and as a kid I didn’t feel like I was encouraged to think for myself. It seemed like adults were always telling me what I believed as opposed to asking me to decide for myself. Part of the reason I created Mia is because I love the idea of pitting a cynical teenager who doesn’t believe in much of anything against two doomsday cults who are trying to force their beliefs on her. Mia’s dilemma gave me a way to act out my personal angst.

 What type of music did you listen to when you wrote this book?

Oh, torture. I love music, but I can’t listen to music with lyrics when I’m writing, unless it’s Tom Waits, because his lyrics are more like growling and grumbling than singing. I listened to movie soundtracks a lot, particularly the one for a movie called “The Gift.” It has a lot of creepy fiddle moments. For some reason fiddles inspire me.

What are you working on now?

A couple of novels are competing for my attention. The first is a psychological YA horror called THE HIVE, which takes place in a claustrophobic, small-town religious community, but involves supernatural terrors. I’d say it’s a cross between “Big Love” and “The Ring.” The other book is a post-apocalyptic, fantasy western. Think “Firefly,” but with magic instead of science. I’m also working on several horror screenplays, which my husband and I hope to produce.

Reading advice:

Which authors inspire you now?

Gillian Flynn, who writes extremely dark, literary mysteries, has been my biggest inspiration of the last ten years. Reading her books makes me a better writer. Adam Nevill, an up and coming horror author (and a UK boy!), and Joe Hill, Stephen King’s son, are another couple of writers whose books I wish had been written by me. They give me a new standard by which to measure myself, and they make me want to strive every day to be better.

Which YA books would recommend?

My top 3 YA novels of 2012 are Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo; The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater; and Harbinger, by Sara Wilson Etienne. Each of these authors gave me something the likes of which I’d never read before. I like being surprised. I’m not one of those people who reads the same kind of book over and over again. I need variety, and I love it when authors take risks.

But my all-time favorite YA novel, which I think everyone needs to read, is Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow. That one was a game changer for me. It redefined YA literature in a way no other YA novel had done before, and it changed the way I thought about issues like terrorism, privacy, and dissent. 


Struck is out now and you can buy it on Amazon. If you’re still not convinced, you can watch the AWESOME book trailer here.

Waiting On Wednesday – 10

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly event, hosted by book blogger Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

This week I’m waiting for Skylark by Meagan Spooner (Expected publication: October 1st 2012 by Carolrhoda Lab). It is a YA Dystopian novel with a magic twist. It is also a 2012 debut. It sounds great and I love the cover… Can’t wait for that one!

From Goodreads:

“Sixteen year-old Lark Ainsley has never seen the sky.

Her world ends at the edge of the vast domed barrier of energy enclosing all that’s left of humanity. For two hundred years the city has sustained this barrier by harvesting its children’s innate magical energy when they reach adolescence. When it’s Lark’s turn to be harvested, she finds herself trapped in a nightmarish web of experiments and learns she is something out of legend itself: a Renewable, able to regenerate her own power after it’s been stripped.

Forced to flee the only home she knows to avoid life as a human battery, Lark must fight her way through the terrible wilderness beyond the edge of the world. With the city’s clockwork creations close on her heels and a strange wild boy stalking her in the countryside, she must move quickly if she is to have any hope of survival. She’s heard the stories that somewhere to the west are others like her, hidden in secret – but can she stay alive long enough to find them?”

Visit Meagan Spooner’s website here.

What are you waiting on this week?