Posts Categorized: macmillan

ARC Review: Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

20 Jan, 2014 by in alyssa b sheinmel, ARC, Farrar Straus Giroux, macmillan, peter pan, reimagining, summer 2 comments

I received this book for free from Farrar Straus Giroux in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Review: Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Second Star

by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Published by Farrar Straus Giroux on May 13th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 256
Format: ARC
Source: Farrar Straus Giroux
Buy the BookGoodreads
A twisty story about love, loss, and lies, this contemporary oceanside adventure is tinged with a touch of dark magic as it follows seventeen-year-old Wendy Darling on a search for her missing surfer brothers. Wendy’s journey leads her to a mysterious hidden cove inhabited by a tribe of young renegade surfers, most of them runaways like her brothers. Wendy is instantly drawn to the cove’s charismatic leader, Pete, but her search also points her toward Pete's nemesis, the drug-dealing Jas. Enigmatic, dangerous, and handsome, Jas pulls Wendy in even as she's falling hard for Pete. A radical reinvention of a classic, Second Star is an irresistible summer romance about two young men who have yet to grow up--and the troubled beauty trapped between them.

Wow. Where to even begin with this book?!! I sat down to read it, and never got up. Read straight past my bed time, into the night, until turning the very last page. For me, the writing was absolutely enchanting and dreamlike–a fairy tale shimmering to life in a modern day retelling by the beach. By far, the most magical book I’ve read in a very long time.

Wendy Darling’s world is shattered when her twin brothers go missing after going surfing and then never come back. Her parents are shells of themselves, merely passing through the motions of life. Wendy, in the mean time, is convinced her brothers are still out there somewhere.

She’s a straight A student– Stanford bound in fact,  but Wendy feels the tug of the ocean, the whispers of her brothers.

A chance meeting with a beautiful boy named Pete leads her to Kensington. Once the home of millionaires, now an abandoned neighborhood clinging dangerously close to the edge of a cliff backed up to the ocean. Wendy is sure her brothers could have known this very spot where the perfect waves crash in and the tide washes away the path that leads back home. She is inexplicably drawn to the salty air and fire-lit nights.

Second Star brought me back to my senior year in California and the summers in between. Taking weekends at lazy beach towns, finding warm sand between my toes and then shaking it all out again to head back to school, the sunny days and carefree atmosphere.

Pete is perfect. He’s exactly what you would imagine a modern day Peter Pan to be. Belle, his moody, angry girlfriend has secrets of her own. The other lost boys,  Hughie and Matt come together to form their own makeshift family. But, there is a very real threat living on the other side of the beach.


He can hook you with his lies, his dust and his enigmatic pull. The love triangle all happens so fast you won’t know what hit.

Wendy finds herself doing things she would never normally do, and second guessing her mind as she chases the second star in search of the truth. Lines between reality and dream becomes blurred (as often happens with trauma, love and loss),  so much so that even the reader is not sure what is fact and what is imagining.

I’m guessing this is a standalone, because of the ending. I don’t want to spoil anything for readers. But suffice it to say, Second Star is a twisty, turvy ride that will suck you in, pull you under and spit you back out wanting another wave. It takes everything you think you know and shakes it up– but for me it was perfect.

Highly recommend Second Star. If you are looking for it to stick to your pre-conceived notions about the well known childhood story of Peter Pan, you may be disappointed– but if you want  amazing writing, here you’ll find fast paced story spinning at its best. Thanks so much to Ksenia at MacMillan Teen Books for sending me this treasure!

My advice… head over to NetGalley and request it. Preorder and add Second Star to your wishlist NOW.

Content: Due to this being such an early review I  won’t list specifics yet. There are several elements of mature content but not in so much detail that it was bothersome to me, will release the parental warnings after the book is published.



Sitting as far from Jas as possible, my body pressed against the passenger- side door, I close my eyes and let a memory wash over me–a memory, I’m certain this time, not a dream: Pete’s chin resting on the small of my back as we paddle out to take a wave. The board sticky with wax beneath me as I pull myself to stand. The ocean dropping out below us as the board slides into place beneath the crest of the wave. And  the sensation that I’m flying, weightless and carefree,with no one on the planet except Pete and me, no one else know exactly what this feels like.

Author Bioalyssa_b_sheinmel

I was born in Stanford, California, and even though I moved across the country to New York when I was six years old, I still think of myself as a California girl.

When I was little, I pretended that I didn’t like to read, because my sister loved to read, and I wanted to be different. (I also pretended that I didn’t like pizza, because it was her favorite food, I still get sad when I think of all the delicious pizza dinners I missed out on.) By the time I was eight, it was too hard to pretend I didn’t like to read, because the truth was that reading was my favorite thing in the world. I loved it so much that when there was nothing to read, I wrote my own stories just to give myself something to read. And when there was no pen and paper to be had, I made up stories and acted them out by myself. I played all the parts, and I was never bored.

When I was eleven years old, I began going to a school in Manhattan called Spence. The teachers there were very supportive of my reading and writing. One teacher there encouraged me to read F. Scott Fitzgerald, and another introduced me to magical realism, and another tried to convince me that there was more to Ernest Hemingway than lessons in fly fishing. (She was right, of course.) And still another let me write a sequel to one of my favorite novels and call it a school project, even though I would have done in my spare time just for the fun of it.

After Spence, I went across town to Barnard College. Once again, I had some of the best teachers in the world encouraging me to write, and introducing me to new authors. One of my very favorite teachers told me to read Joan Didion (and I didn’t thank him enough for that), and my other favorite insisted that there was nothing more to Ernest Hemingway than lessons in fly fishing (and I argued with her a lot about that).

After college, I got a job working in an office where I wore high heels and blazers and even the occasional stiff-collared blouse. I thought I would write on the side, but after a while,I stopped writing altogether – for over a year, I didn’t write a word except in my journal, a very strange thing for a girl who wrote stories from pretty much the time that she learned how to hold a pen.

But then, when I was 24, I began working at a new job, and the people there introduced me to great new writers, just like the teachers I’d had in school. I began to miss writing. It was boring when I wasn’t making up stories to keep myself entertained. And so – slowly, just for the fun of it – I began writing again, and in a couple years I had written the story that would become The Beautiful Between.

I still don’t write every day; sometimes I get caught up in other things, and sometimes I’d just rather park myself in front of the TV and watch reruns of The West Wing. But I always find my way back to my computer; I always remember just how much fun writing really is. And the great thing about writing – at least in my experience – is that it comes out best when you’re doing it for the very, very fun of it.

Find Alyssa on her website*twitter*


Mac Teen Books To Launch Swoon Reads Monday

27 Sep, 2013 by in macmillan Leave a comment

Mac Teen and Feiwel and Friends are launching a brand new community on Monday September 30th called Swoon Reads!

“Swoon Reads is a new YA romance community for writers and readers, but even more exciting is that it is a revolutionary new crowd sourced romance imprint that is dedicated to publishing books that capture the intensity and excitement of teen love.
So what does that mean?
Are you a writer and working on a YA romance novel? You can submit your manuscript to Swoon Reads. We accept from any genre: historical, adventure, paranormal, contemporary, etc.
As a reader, you can become intimately involved with the publishing process by reading, rating, and commenting on submissions. The manuscripts achieving the highest ratings by readers and the Swoon Reads editorial team will be published in both print and e-book formats. Some manuscripts have already been submitted and are generating great discussion!
Swoon Reads wants to give you the opportunity to see what goes on behind the publishing process and you get to decide what we publish!
Their motto is “Fall in Love with Falling in Love” and we hope you get a chance to explore the site, read some manuscripts, read the blog, and maybe even submit that YA romance manuscript that you’ve been working on ever so diligently.”

You are welcome to head on over there now and visit the comunity in Beta!

Visit Swoon Reads:
Read the Swoon Reads Blog:
Follow Swoon Reads on Twitter:
Become a fan on Facebook!

Monument 14 Blog Tour Guest Post and Giveaway

07 Jun, 2012 by in macmillan, monument 14 9 comments

Fire and Ice is thrilled to be today’s stop on the official Monument 14 blog tour. We have a guest post from the author Emmy Laybourne as well as a giveaway!
But first here’s more about the book…

Monument 14

by Emmy Laybourne
Hardcover, 294 pages
Published June 5th 2012
by Feiwel & Friends
ISBN 0312569033
Your mother hollers that you’re going to miss the bus. She can see it coming down the street. You don’t stop and hug her and tell her you love her. You don’t thank her for being a good, kind, patient mother. Of course not—you launch yourself down the stairs and make a run for the corner.

Only, if it’s the last time you’ll ever see your mother, you sort of start to wish you’d stopped and did those things. Maybe even missed the bus.

But the bus was barreling down our street, so I ran.

Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong.

In Emmy Laybourne’s action-packed debut novel, six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids trapped together in a chain superstore build a refuge for themselves inside. While outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world—as they know it—apart.
Guest Post from Emmy Laybourne:
Hello friends!
I’m so delighted to be guest blogging here at Fire and Ice. Since my blog tour coincides with the Fierce Reads author tour – Heather and I thought it would be cool if I used this blog spot as a report from the field. Here is a day by day report on the tour so far!
Tuesday, June 4th – I LEAVE HOME
I was picked up at 6:30 by Carmel – a trusty NY car service company that has a catchy phone number – 212 + all sixes. This probably makes the devil very happy.
I had planned to have my husband, Greg, take a photograph of me and the driver in our driveway before I set out. However, after kissing my two beautiful, sleeping children goodbye (8 and 5 years old) I burst into tears. They were so sleepy and warm and I felt, somehow, that my being away for two weeks would change them and somehow I’d return to find them more grown up. Also, I am a crybaby in general, so it was somewhat par for the course.
Anyway it didn’t seem like the right time to take a photo. Instead my husband gave me a good hug and assured me that they’d all be fine and I let my driver, Osama, load my suitcase into the trunk of the towncar. I spent the ride to the airport blotting makeup off my cheeks, chin and décolleté.
By the time we arrived at Newark, I had sufficiently recovered enough to ask a passerby to take a photo of the driver and I. To my surprise, Osama asked me to email him a copy of the photo. I have no idea why he would want a photo with me, especially one with me looking so bedraggled. But here it is. Cheers, Osama!
I spent the flight reading M14 and marking up places where I might read at tonight’s book party/improv show. Instead of doing the usual book reading and signing in a store, I decided to do something really new and strange.
I assembled a group of improvisers and tonight we would do a show at a great little LA theater called Improv Olympic West. The show follows an improv format called The Armando. The way it usually works is that an actor or celebrity tells a story from their life and then the improvisers interrupt it to do scenes loosely based on the monologue. But for my show, I would read from Monument 14 and improvisers would work based on what I read.
I took the time on the plane to re-read M14 and select passages I thought might work well in the show. I was happy to discover I still liked the book!
It was great to see all my friends at the Book launch show. I couldn’t believe how many people came out to celebrate the release of Monument 14. Afterwards, I got to sign books for my friends. That, let me tell you, is fun!
My brother, Sam and his beautiful wife Herran were there in full support mode. Sam even brought a bunch of writer friends from his recent gig at Cougartown. That’s the kind of guy he is and it’s just one of the reasons why I dedicated Monument 14 to him.
The show was solidly good, but I think I threw the improvisers too many curveballs with my readings from the text. They would have been better serves if I had just read the first chapter of the book – allowing them to interrupt me with scenes.
Oh well, live and learn! The next time I assemble a LA cast to do an Armando on my post-apocalyptic YA debut, I’ll know!
Now, I should take a moment to say that until I pulled into the hotel, I had NO IDEA what “kind” of tour I was on. Would we be staying at Motel 6’s and eating at McDonalds? Would we be living the high life at fancy hotels with pools and spas and manservants named Sasha?
Guess what – it’s the latter. Sort of. Everything except for Sasha. Our first hotel is the Sheraton Suites Fairplex in La Verne. Now, the Four Seasons it aint, but I have a suite with a King bed and it’s a sweeeeet suite! It turns out all the hotels we’ll be in will be this nice. I know because I asked Kate Lied, our Macmillan rep, “Will all the hotels be this nice?” and she said, “Yes.” yahooo!
I checked in to the room, pinched myself several times and prepared to meet the other authors.
It was funny, meeting these authors that I know I’ll be spending the next two weeks with! They are all very nice, as it to be expected. What I did not expect was that they’d all also be so funny! Anna Banks, in particular, has a dry wit that totally took me by surprise. She sort of sneaks up on you and then zings you so bad you can’t recover. I like her. A lot.
We all had dinner and during dinner I learned that Leigh Bardugo is a crybaby, just like me; Jen Bosworth has a deep dark secret that WILL come out during the tour; Kate Lied (our lovely Macmillan rep) does not like chocolate; Jessica Brody gives great advice; and Anna wants to write a YA Sasquatch romance.
You know, I trained as a comedy improviser and was a professional actor for 10 years — I was confident that I could be funny and personable at the event. What I was not prepared for was how emotional I would feel looking out at the readers and fans who gathered at Mrs. Nelson’s Bookshop. Here’s a photo I took of them.
I love books and I love writing. And I felt, looking out at the friendly, smiling faces, like I had somehow come home. Like sitting and talking about fiction with other book lovers was what I was meant to do.
I knew I loved the writing part of this job, but I didn’t know about these other parts of the job – meeting readers, talking about my work, and connecting with fans. What can I say, I feel extraordinarily lucky and blessed to get to do this.
So there was all of that – all of that magic and thankfulness and emotion. And then I got back to my room and found this:
That’s my first tour report! I’m so glad that Heather encouraged me to report in from the field. I’ll be making another report on the Author tour on Monday, June 11 at: Tune in to see if I am still quite so euphoric!
And hey – if you’re in San Francisco, please come join us tonight along with Not Your Mother’s Bookclub at Books, Inc. (the Opera plaza location.) I promise I won’t cry on you!


About the Author: Emmy Laybourne’s first novel, Monument 14, will be published by Feiwel and Friends, a division of Macmillan, in June 2012. The sequel, Monument 14: Sky On Fire, is expected to be released in the summer of 2013.
Emmy began her writing career as a playwright. The first play she wrote and performed was called, The Miss Alphabet City Beauty Pageant and Spelling Bee. The New York Post said it, “restores faith in our country’s comedic future.” The Daily News called it, “hilariously clever.”
Her next play, Smorgas-Bourne, landed Emmy a starring role in the Paramount feature film, Superstar, opposite Will Ferrel and Molly Shannon.
As an actress, Emmy went on to have featured roles in the films “Nancy Drew,” “The In-Laws,” and “Lucky Numbers.” She was a season regular on the NBC sitcom “DAG,” and performed original comedy on Comedy Central, MTV, and VH1. She has improvised with the Upright Citizens Brigade, Chicago City Limits and the Heartless Floozies.
Emmy has performed original comedy material throughout LA and New York, including the song she sang with her brother, Sam, “We Can’t Make Love Because We’re Related.”
In addition to writing YA novels, Emmy is currently a Lyricist in the prestigious BMI Musical Theater
Writer’s Advanced Workshop, writing a musical called “The Midnight Princess” with composer Paul Libman.
Learn more about the blog tour and visit all the stops here. 


The Giveaway: Feiwel and Friends has generously donated one copy of Monument 14 to our readers with a US or Canada mailing address. To enter fill out this form.  Good luck!