Category: Books

Are you addicted to porn and/or social media? New book teaches how to break free.

One of the problems with our always-connected lives is that many of us are becoming addicted to stuff on the  internet. Porn is easier to access than ever before, and even small kids can come across content which was once unavailable to anyone under 18 years of age. Even for those who stay away from porn, social media presents a different, but just as addictive trap which people cannot stay away from (hello Snapchat streaks).

Author A.N. Turner shares his story of digital dependence and how he broke free in his new book, Breaking the Feedback Loop: How I Liberated Myself from Internet Addiction and How You Can Too. The “digital diet” Turner talks about can be put into practice by anyone who is suffering from their social media or porn habits. The goal is to create healthier habits and help people reconnect with family, friends, school and other parts of “real life.”

We got the chance to interview the author about his experiences with porn and internet addiction. Read on for some fascinating insights into how companies get us addicted on purpose, plus a real person’s struggle and recovery.

Before we get into your book, please tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

I went to the University of Pennsylvania and played varsity squash. I interned at a partner of Facebook working on advertising technology, then did similar work at Overstock, and soon will be starting again at an advertising technology company in New York. I researched and wrote the book during my junior and senior year at University, and I also worked on it while working in tech. I took a semester off my senior year to focus full time on it. I wrote it while I was correcting my own behavior and relationships with my devices.

Thanks. You worked on software used by some of the largest companies in the world in order to convince people to buy stuff. Could you explain in layman’s terms how this technology works, and what are the potential pitfalls for the end user?

Facebook offers software called Power Editor that any individual or business can use to run ads on Facebook (look it up!). However, some of the largest companies have needs that warrant their own software. For example, because they run many ads across Facebook and it’s other platforms, they look for tools that streamline the creation of ads. That said, Facebook’s out of the box software has been catching up with features offered by its partners and is increasingly better and better able to be used by large companies.

The software allows companies to quickly create, manage, and measure advertising campaigns on Facebook and it’s platforms. In no other advertising system is there the reach, the precise reach, that Facebook has. It lets you precisely target a large number of people who have characteristics relevant to your product or service. Those characteristics are determined through the data that you share as you use the service as well as the data that, at least in the past, has been acquired from third party data brokers. These data brokers are people that sell data on you, to Facebook, that you didn’t give to Facebook when using it, but that helps advertisers target people more effectively. The idea is to optimize the exchange of information between businesses and individuals.

This has tremendous economic value. But it has a cost in that, rather than with a monthly subscription model, with an advertising business model there is every incentive to hook users. This lets more ads be sold, and lets more data to be collected to make the ads more valuable.

What is your book Breaking The Feedback Loop about and why did you write it?

My book helps people understand the costs of things like social media, how those costs are connected to the business model, and how they can change their relationships with technology to improve their lives. There are a lot of economic resources dedicated to hooking people, and so it’s difficult to free yourself and warrants understanding in order to break free. This is told through the first person: through my journey realizing I was hooked, realizing that social media and digital entertainment has every reason to hook you, and realizing that my life would be better if I withdrew from that.

I made changes to my life that I share. The results were amazing, and I highly suggest people wake up and do the same. However, it’s not just about withdrawing from digital abuse. It’s important to improve the quality of your real life. For me that involved spending more time with other people, spending more time on work I enjoyed, and spending more time in nature, among else.

While in the short term you get a burst of pleasure from this digital entertainment, there are underlying costs like subconscious peer comparison and paranoia of surveillance and meaningless and fleeting external validation that NEED to be considered and factored into the time spent. Most people don’t factor in the costs, because they are not aware. I have tried to make people more aware of the costs. There are 100 citations in the book alongside the personal story.

What is the biggest takeaway you would like teenagers to have from the book?

What’s scarce is attention span and confidence. This is the currency of the future. Digital entertainment wears these down. It’s worth spending energy resisting these temptations in order to have the greater benefit of being free from them. It’s important to be able to focus on singular things for sustained periods of time.

And instead of turning to social media and porn and video games when lonely, relationships need to be nurtured. This is what’s going to be best in the long run.

Unfortunately sexual disability is not uncommon among young adults due to the “environmental” influence of porn. The research suggests it wears down dopamine receptor sensitivity, which screws up your ability to have meaningful sexual relationships. This is why drugs like Cialis have become very popular among young adults. The stats make it even more clear. The emergence of free porn tubing sites were easily abused by young adults and have changed the numbers of erectile dysfunction cases drastically.

The greatest competitive advantage you can have is to understand and control these things. Be confident that the energy spent is worth it, because it is. It is really hard as a teenager to do that. Almost impossible. Which is why I think schools and parents need to be involved in regulation. You will be the stars. Find other more productive outlets like real relationships, self reflection, and interests.

Teens are literally addicted to their devices. They go everywhere and check them constantly. What are some of the effects of this addiction?

The effect is reduced life satisfaction, reduced mental health, and reduced physical health. This was suggested recently in a paper related to social media use. However this likely extends to other use cases as well. That said, social media is particularly bad. It gets people hooked on the fleeting high from an artificial external validation of likes and hearts. And there’s the subconscious peer comparison underlying the dopamine hit from seeing information from your friends on the news feed. It’s so concentrated, it gives you a rush. But the concentrated peer comparison is harmful. You now want more external validation, or you want to buy some clothes from ads you see on the side.

Attention spans have reduced, and many young adults turn to drugs to combat that. Many academics believe this is a product of environmental change. Meaning, now our environment — what we interact with — is digital. It’s constantly updating, constantly distracting us, in a powerful, and completely unpredictable way, like the slot machines.

Again, your attention span is everything. It’s what’s going to let you do great things, and have great conversations. This is what’s important for the rest of your life. Don’t sacrifice it with this stuff. The medication is a temporary fix, and will leave you irritable and anxious and also addicted. What are the consequences going to be for these young adults using it so often? Time will tell.

How do companies manipulate us to get us addicted to social media?

Social media companies want you to be hooked. They make more money that way, and the shareholders want them to make more money, so they literally have somewhat of a fiduciary responsibility to do so. They do this through the cycle I reveal in the book, which has never been identified before.

The cycle is streamlined peer comparison on the news feed, which leads to insecurity, which leads to the desire to upload content for validation, or the desire to purchase products in the ads. The validation from the likes and hearts is meaningless and fleeting, and often leaves you more empty than before. So now you’re seeking that next hit, or trying to escape reality through the dopamine from the news feed, which only leads to more peer comparison.

You are not connected. You are alone. What you need to do is see people in the real world and as minimalist a life as possible on social media. Sorry, I said it.

What do you think the danger is from watching porn online?

The danger is really large. You can get a massive dopamine spike from the novelty you can browse through. You can watch multiple videos in one sitting. You can fast forward and rewind. You can toggle between videos in different tabs at once. This is not natural. But this is easy to do, and hard to avoid. So then your receptivity to sexual stimulation reduces and you become more apathetic.

Your consumption of novelty may escalate to support the constant dopamine highs you are expecting. All of a sudden now you are watching content you may have previously found disgusting and this is really tough for people. The difficulty is it’s easy to escalate, difficult to resist, and thus needs to be completely resisted.

I think it also messes up your relationship with your computer, a source of productivity. Don’t excessively deplete your energy. Save it for what’s important and keep the ability to have real relationships. You may not be able to have an erection or ejaculate as a young adult if you continue to use it.

If you had the power to regulate the Internet to prevent some of the bad effects you talk about, what would you suggest?

I think education is important. To be prepared for life as a young person you need to understand these issues. Integration in curriculum would be helpful. At a certain point, people will always have opiates and similar versions of opiates, and the important thing is to be able to moderate them if you think it’s worth it for your life to do so. My belief having reviewed the research is that it is for the vast majority of people.

How did you break free personally?

I broke free by gradually reducing the digital stimulation in my life while making my real life more meaningful. So, gradually reducing use of social media and porn, among else, while also having more relationships, going out more, and spending more time on interests. It has been invaluable.

Now I use social media moderately, in complete control. And I haven’t watched porn in over two years. One of the things that helped most with social media, and sorry I haven’t mentioned this yet, is stopping checking notifications. No more notifications. They are random, unpredictable reward, which leads to obsession. You reduce anxiety over who interacted with your profile. The benefit isn’t worth getting hooked.

Make your profile more private by changing your settings so you have less obsession about this. Have less photos and friends. Only real friends.

Where can people find out more or get help for their own social media or porn habits?

Your Brain on Porn by Gary Wilson is a great resource. He reviewed my book after publishing and he is quoted multiple times.

There is not much else on social media. Reading Hooked by Nir Eyal can help you understand why you feel addicted, which can help you escape. Mary Anne Layden at UPenn has done great research on this topic. The forum NoFap on Reddit has 300K+ subscribers posting about the topic of porn specifically. Your parents may not understand these issues, and your friends may not talk about them, but you are not alone.

What do you have coming up next?

I’m promoting this work so that people who need it will see it. I soon start working again and will no doubt get new perspectives. I pursue my interests and focus on being social to offset these addictions.

Could we please get a selfie so our readers can get a better feel for the real you? : )

Spring Book Roundup and Giveaway! YA books and more

Attention book lovers! We’ve got a bunch of titles to bring to your attention in our Spring Book Roundup, plus a giveaway! Check out our book reviews, and scroll down to the giveaway.

The following contains affiliate links. We receive a small percentage from Amazon with every purchase. If you buy anything, thank you for supporting us and the authors below!

The Sacrifice of Sunshine Girl
Paige McKenzie
Hachette Books
Softcover, 336 pages

YouTube sensation Paige McKenzie wraps up her New York Times Bestselling “Sunshine Girl” trilogy with her latest novel, The Sacrifice of Sunshine Girl. In this installment, teenager Sunshine Griffith returns from her training to wage war against the evil demon Dubu. She is accompanied by her family and friends, including her boyfriend Nolan and fellow luiseach (guardian angel-like protector of humans) Lucio.

Our hero really “shines” (ahem) in this climactic novel, which is action packed from the start. Lovers of action and all things wizardly will delight that the very first battle occurs within the first dozen pages or so. As the book progresses, she discovers more about the race of guardians she belongs to, her powers, and also learns some extremely suprising news about her birth mother (who happens to have wanted to kill her when she was a baby). As the world heads towards a demonic apocalypse, and she faces a terrible betrayal, Sunshine has to make a life or death decision…not only for herself but possibly the entire world. Good stuff.

The book is very well written and draws you in quickly. Its a fast, fun read, and it’s even funner if you have watched a few of the Haunted Sunshine episodes on YouTube, as McKenzie has sprinkled in a few Easter eggs here and there which die-hards will no doubt spot and appreciate. Highly recommended.

Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to the Dark Side of the Moon
Bill Kopp
Rowman & Littlefield
Hardcover, 260 pages

Most teens know Pink Floyd from playing Rock Band or from checking their parents’ old record collections. For those for whom Pink Floyd appreciation means more than wearing a trendy Dark Side of the Moon t-shirt, this new book by Bill Kopp is a treat. Its full of rather technical musical jargon, but still presents insights into the band that are found nowhere else.

While the book covers a bit of the Syd Barrett era, it doesn’t rehash all of the drama of that early period which has been well-documented elsewhere. Instead, it concentrates specifically on the period from Barrett’s departure up until the creation of the rock masterpiece the band is best known for (the aforementioned Moon). That time was difficult for the band, as the departure of their leader meant having to define their musical identity — and this was not an easy journey. The author does an excellent job highlighting the trauma and travails, including the numerous failures and dead-ends the band encountered while creating its new musical style.

Pink Floyd fans, and musicians inspired by their sound, should definitely appreciate this book.

The Tombs
Deborah Schaumberg
Harper Teen
Hardcover, 448 pages

The first thing that strikes you as when you take hold of The Tombs is its beautiful cover and the deckle (frayed) edges which evoke the story’s setting of late 19th century New York. Its a nice touch which perfectly sets you up for the world you will enter when you crack the book open.

The Tombs is told from the point of view of Avery Kohl, a sixteen year old girl with the ability to see auras. She embarks on a mission to rescue her mother, who was placed in the Tombs asylum (Temple of Mind Balance Studies) due to her extrasensory perceptions. Held captive by an evil scientist and his crow-masked cronies, her fate seems destined for Avery as well — unless the teenager learns to wield her power and thwart the scientist’s evil plot.

The book is easy to read and enjoyable, albeit a bit slow in some parts. The author creates a rich world with some steampunk-ish elements, aided no doubt by her background in architecture. She makes the obligatory nods towards diversity by including African and Romany companions, but it doesn’t seem forced because, well, New York always HAS been very diverse. She also throws in a love triangle which doesn’t really have too much bearing on anything, but I guess you have to have that in any YA book these days.

Overall, the book is an impressive debut, and sets up the story for a sequel — which will be a welcome read as well!

Becoming the Dragon (The Dragon Inside Book 1)
Alex Sapegin
Litworld, Ltd
Paperback, 178 pages

Becoming the Dragon is the first in a series of four books comprising The Dragon Inside tetralogy. It starts with, interestingly enough, a list of characters, which comes in handy when trying to figure out who is who as the plot gets going. Our protagonist is Andy, a teenager who develops the ability to freak out electronics after being hit by lightning. As if that weren’t enough, he later stumbles across an experiment in time travel and gets transported to a magical realm full of dragons, elves, orcs and the whole nine yards. Afer a few misadventures, he dies. That’s not a huge spoiler, as if he doesn’t die then there is no rest of the series because he, get this, becomes reincarnated as a bad-ass dragon! Becoming the dragon, get it?

Anyway, as a dragon, he of course becomes embroiled in war, as dragons are apt to do. Without spoiling too much (did I mention Andy dies and becomes a dragon?), much of the action is PG13 and the author does a good job with world-building and with his characters. Fantasy buffs will enjoy this series. the main issue I have is with some of the dialogue and the writing itself. The book was written by Russian Alex Sapegin, and was translated to English. Because of this, some of the language just seems a bit off. Also, the human characters have typical Russian names, such as Olga, Sergey, and Irina, which threw me off at first because those are very foreign-sounding to American ears. As I kep reading, these factors no longer mattered, however, and I simply enjoyed the story.

Things We Haven’t Said: Sexual Violence Survivors Speak Out
Edited by Erin Moulton
Zest Books
Paperback, 224 Pages

This book is very timely, what with the #metoo and #timesup movements at the forefront of society’s conversations these days. Its an anthology written by adult survivors of sexual abuse and violence during their childhood and teen years. Following each story or poem, there is a brief interview with the victim discussing their recovery. Any reader who has similar experiences will no doubt find this very valuable.

But let me be blunt…it is a very, very hard read. These are real stories, and what these now-adults endured when they were young was horrible. Innocence taken. Years of guilt and shame. Your blood will boil reading some of the stories, especially as you realize that this is still happening in our world right now.

However, I would also say that in some cases, the issue of rape or sexual abuse is not so clear when viewed from a lens different from the one we look at life through today. Is a self-loathing girl who angrily has sex with a loser druggie a rape victim, just because the experience disgusted her? Or what about a sexual encounter among teens, where there is no voiced dissent, but there is disappointment afterwards? Slippery slopes, and they show just how difficult sexual relations are becoming due to shifting norms and even definitions. Where are the lines drawn? I will leave it up to the reader to decide.

 

Food Sanity: How to eat in a world of fads and fiction
Dr. David Friedman
Turner Publishing
Paperback, 352 pages

Knowing what to eat and what to avoid as can be confusing. A lot of what we consider common sense has been contradicted by health experts…none of whom seem to agree with one another. One book might help clarify that and start you on a lifetime of sensible eating which doesn’t require giving up everything you like. Its jam-packed with practical information you can use!

Lifetime television’s morning show health expert and syndicated radio host, Dr. David Friedman (as seen on ABC, CBS, NBC, E!, Discovery Health, FOX, FitTV, The Food Network, Discovery Channel and more) has spent the last 15 years interviewing hundreds of health advocates, scientists, doctors and New York Times bestselling authors. Unfortunately, a lot of the nutrition advice given by some experts would invariably be contradicted by others, making knowing the truth difficult.

Dr. Friedman created a common science meets common sense approach that “finally puts an end to all the culinary conundrum.”

Some of the topics covered include (from official synopsis):

* Meats vs. Beets – Dr. Friedman weighs the paleo and vegetarian diets’ pros and cons and reveals forensic fossil evidence divulging what exactly our ancestors really ate.

* Seeing “all natural”, “hormone-free” and “organic” on the label isn’t synonymous with healthy. Dr. Friedman explains how to read labels for accuracy. Also, how do we buy safe and healthy fish, chicken, pork and eggs?

* Does your product contain GMOs? The 5- digit numbers on the stickers you find on produce indicate how the product was grown. If it begins with an 8 that means it’s a genetically modified food.

* Weight Loss – We have more weight loss plans than any time in history yet the obesity epidemic is getting worse. From Atkins, Paleo, Zone, Keto, Nutrisystem and Weight Watchers, Dr. Friedman discusses the two crucial missing elements to achieving permanent weight loss.

It’s Not What You’re Eating, It’s What’s Eating You: A Teenager’s Guide to Preventing Eating Disorders―and Loving Yourself
Shari Brady
Skyhorse Publishing
Paperback, 192 pages

Continuing the theme of healthy eating (wow, what a problem this has become!) is the last book in our roundup. The author used to suffer from anorexia nervosa, a psychological condition that leads sufferers to starve themselves. Now a licensed clinical therapist, she has put together a valuable guide for teenagers who might not have the healthiest relationship with food or their self-image.

The book is very easy to read and full of real-life case studies, so anyone suffering from eating disorders can relate. She includes exercises to help teens uncover their feelings and learn to deal with them in positive ways. Readers will discover a lot about themselves as a whole, not just learn to adopt better eating habits. There is also sound advice about dealing with society’s insistence on thinness, and the effects of social media. This book is recommended for anyone struggling with self-image and eating disorders — teens and beyond.

Lang’s Labyrinth: Forests of the Fae Book Three
K. Kibbee
Incorgnito Publishing Press
Paperpack, 294 pages

Thirteen-year-old Anne has quite a lot on her hands for such a young girl. She has discovered that Fae creatures, so lovingly represented by Disney and others, are actually bloodthirsty creatures hell-bent on taking over the human race. Entire cities have been emptied of children by Fae depredations over the course of decades, and the evil threatens to spread — putting Anne, her family and friends in danger. She embarks on a quest to find twelve original Fae books in order to untangle a magical spell and save humanity.

First of all, having never read the first two books, I appreciate the inclusion of complete summaries of the first two books in the front pages. That quickly brought me up to speed on the world created by Kibbee, the main characters, and the plot which leads up to this final volume. The book starts off a bit slow, with Anne seeking the twelve original Fae books, which had a cast spell on them by their author, Lang, which can defeat the fairies forever. She is accompanied by her friend Grace, who has taken over the body of her brother’s pet raven, and an old bookstore owner. While the pace picks up a bit as Anne gets closer to tracking down all the books, and she meets a mysterious loner on the way to the Fae forests, the book never really delivers on the action I expected. The world-building and description of the evil fairies could have been amplified…I left feeling like I knew little to nothing about the, their history, and their motivations beyond being jealous of the human experience. The ending has a good payoff, however, and I did like that our heroine is just a normal girl rather than some “chosen one.”

Through the Barbed Wire (Wild at Heart Mystery)
Isabella Allen
Brown Books Kids
Paperback, 224 pages

Through the Barbed Wire is the debut novel by teen author Isabella Allen. It tells the story of Isla, an 11-year-old girl who lives a very carefree life on her family’s 10 acre property despite suffering from dyslexia and a speech impediment. Isla has a special bond with nature due to her staying out all day and exploring the property. She plays with deer, squirrels, and even has a respectful bond with a rattlesnake.

One day, things begin to change. A compact disc wth construction plans mysteriously shows up on the property. Strange markings on trees. And then…destruction. How are these connected? Will they change Isla’s life? Read the book to find out!

The book is very easy to read, and is more suited for tweens and early teens. Older teens might find it too slow paced. I like the perspective of the protagonist, who reminds the reader that there are just as many entertaining things to explore in nature as on smartphones or TV.

Giveaway!

We are giving away a set of the following four books:

To enter:

  1. Follow us on Instagram
  2. Mention a friend who likes to read in the comments of our “#teenbookgiveaway” post (it has a picture of the four books).
  3. For each friend mentioned, you get one entry into our drawing.
  4. We will pick and DM a random winner on Tuesday, May 1st, 2018!
  5. We will only ship to US addresses, no international entries please.

 

“Now is Everything” by Amy Giles Book Review

Amy Giles’ debut YA novel “Now is Everything” tackles the issue of parental abuse from a viewpoint many teens might relate to — alternating between wanting to speak out but being afraid to do so.

The protagonist, Hadley McCauley, is the eldest daughter in the richest family in town. Her mother drinks too much wine in an effort to dull the emotional and physical trauma inflicted by her controlling husband, a successful and ultra-competitive A-type personality. Her father expects the absolute best from Hadley, and flips his lid and beats her when he doesn’t get it. He over-reacts at the slightest provocation, leaving Hadley walking on eggshells all the time. She is willing to put up with the abuse, as long as her 10-year-old sister Lila remains untargeted. But once Hadley hooks up with her first boyfriend, Charlie Simmons, the carefully crafted facade she presents to the outside world begins to crack, leaving Lila in her father’s crosshairs. This forces Hadley to come up with a desperate plan to save Lila — one which will end up changing everyone’s lives forever.

The book does an adequate job buidling up the suspense of Hadley’s plan and its outcome and is an enjoyable read. The only problem I have with the book is that the characters are too shallow for me to really care about. Lila, precocious and energetic, is the best-developed character. But I feel like I know too little about Hadley and what really makes her tick. She doesn’t want to play LaCrosse or attend an Ivy League school as her father wishes…but I never get a sense of what she aspires to do or be instead. Granted, she’s a teen, and isn’t expected to really have her life figured out yet…but I would have loved for the author to reveal more about her protagonist’s dreams and ambitions besides hanging out with her boyfriend and two best friends.

The mother and father are also a bit one-dimensional. The mom is a typical upper-middle class, pretentious lush who will maintain the status quo to protect her privilege as a kept woman The father is just a tremendous jerk, with little redeeming qualities. People are not like this in real life. Most abusers also have decent qualities which gain their victims’ affection, at least until they explode. This is why victims give them so many chances. In this case, I would think Hadley would have reported him long ago, because there is not a lot of affinity between them whatsoever — especially knowing what’s in store for little Lila.

I also didn’t get a sense that the mental abuse was horrific. The physical abuse as described certainly crosses the line between discipline and criminality, but the mental aspect, for anyone growing up with tough parents, doesn’t seem to cross too far into the abuse category. Like I said earlier, the father is a completely aggressive jerk, but not sure his yelling and intimidation counts as child abuse as clearly as the physical abuse does.

Regardless, any teen with overbearing parents will relate (isn’t that all of you?), and hopefully any who read this novel that are experiencing actual physical harm will gain the courage to tell someone before things spiral as badly as they do in Hadley’s world.

Recommended.

“Now is Everything” was released on November 7th by Harper Teen. (AMAZON AFFILIATE LINK)

Visit Amy at: http://www.amygiles.net and follow her on Twitter: @AmySGiles; Instagram: @amysgiles; and Facebook: @amygilesauthor.

 

Disney’s A Frozen Heart FAIRY TALE 2.0 Giveaway

082714_WorldofWeirTour_Phase1Disney-Hyperion has released three new titles as part of their Fairy Tale 2.0 campaign, each with a unique twist on popular stories: A Whole New World, Red’s Untold Tale, and A Frozen Heart.

To enter to win our Fairy Tale 2.0 Prize Pack, scroll down. But first, let’s check out the new titles!

A FROZEN HEART 

by Elizabeth Rudnick

Available now!

AFrozenHeartjpg

ABOUT THE BOOK

Told in alternating chapters from both Anna’s and Hans’ perspectives, A Frozen Heart takes a sophisticated look at events of Frozen, exploring the couple’s backstories, motivations, and doomed relationship.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Elizabeth Rudnick has written over thirty books, including the original novel Tweet Heart and tie-ins such as Frankenweenie: A Novel; Oz: The Great and Powerful; and the best-selling junior novel based on Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. She lives on Cape Cod with her husband and two lovable mutts, Jack and Ginger.

LizRudnick_FrozenHeart

 

A WHOLE NEW WORLD

by Liz Braswell

In stores now!

AWholeNewWorld 

About the Book

What if Aladdin had never found the lamp? This first book in the A Twisted Tale line will explore a dark and daring version of Disney’s Aladdin. When Jafar steals the Genie’s lamp, he uses his first two wishes to become sultan and the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Agrabah lives in fear, waiting for his third and final wish. To stop the power-mad ruler, Aladdin and the deposed princess Jasmine must unite the people of Agrabah in rebellion. But soon their fight for freedom threatens to tear the kingdom apart in a costly civil war. What happens next? A Street Rat becomes a leader. A princess becomes a revolutionary. And readers will never look at the story of Aladdin in the same way again.

ONCE UPON A TIME: RED’S UNTOLD TALE

by Wendy Toliver

In stores now!

 

ONCE

 

About the Book

Red is 16 and lives with Granny in a cottage in the village, where boarding up the house and hiding during Wolfstime is a means of survival. Red help’s Granny with Granny’s baked good business, catering as well as door-to-door sales. Red has a constant internal battle between her wild side and her strict, overprotective upbringing, and the issue of “control” as she discovers she has a hot temper when the “mean girls” push her too far. (“When we learn to control it, we needn’t fear it,” Rumpelstiltskin says in the series.) She has flashbacks to her 13th year when she received her cloak and the nickname “Red.” She is plagued by nightmares that she doesn’t understand, but the Once Upon a Time fans will recognize them as her wolf side coming out. Red balances the difficult times with Granny at home and the girls at school with an emerging and satisfying romance with Peter.

LEARN MORE

Learn more on Disney Books

Follow Disney on Twitter and Instagram

Follow the #FairyTale2pt0 hashtag to find other giveaways across the web!

GIVEAWAY!!!

win this

FTPrize-AFrozenHeartFAIRY TALE 2.0 PRIZING

One (1) winner receives:

  • Copy of A Frozen Heart
  • plus FAIRY TALE 2.0 tank, notepad, cosmetic pouch & pillow.

Giveaway open to US addresses only.

Prizing and samples provided by Disney-Hyperion.

How to enter:

1. Follow @teenswannaknow on Instagram

2. Look out for and “Like” our “Like this post to enter!” photo(s), to be posted between now and 10/30. We may post more than one photo.

3. We will pick a random winner on 10/31. Winner will be DM’d and must respond within 72 hours or a new winner will be chosen.

4. Winners must reside in the United States.

 

“Forever for a Year” Giveaway with $25 Sephora Gift Card and More!

Forever for a Year is a new book (released July 7th) for the more mature teens out there, one which will resonate with many who have already experienced the clumsiness of freshman year and the awkwardness of their first love. It is the debut novel from playwright & filmmaker B.T. Gottfred, an up-close-and-personal, first-love story told in alternating perspectives.Here is a synopsis of the book, and scroll down to enter our GIVEAWAY of the book PLUS a $25 Sephora gift card, nail polish, and a compact mirror!

“When Carolina and Trevor meet on their first day of school, something draws them to each other. They gradually share first kisses, first touches, first sexual experiences. When they’re together, nothing else matters. But one of them will make a choice, and the other a mistake, that will break what they thought was unbreakable. Both will wish that they could fall in love again for the first time . . . but first love, by definition, can’t happen twice.

“Told in Carolina and Trevor’s alternating voices, this is an up-close-and-personal story of two teenagers falling in love for the first time, and discovering it might not last forever.”

forever for a year

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

B.T. Gottfred is an author, playwright, and director. Some stuff he has done to feign sanity includes writing, directing & producing feature film The Movie Hero; writing the Off-Broadway play Mary, F**ck, or Kill and web series “Sex and Love Conspire to Destroy the World”, and writing & directing the playWomen Are Crazy Because Men Are Assholes, which has played over four years in Los Angeles and Chicago and is set to make its Off-Broadway premiere this year. Forever for a Year is his first novel. Sort of.

LEARN MORE

Learn more on B.T. Gottfred’s Tumblr

Follow the author on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

#ForeverforaYear

 

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GIVEAWAY!

DATE NIGHT prize pack

Be date night ready thanks to Forever for a Year!

One (1) winner receives:

  • A copy of Forever for a year;
  • plus a $25 Sephora gift card, nail polish, and compact mirror.

How to enter:

A) Follow @teenswannaknow on Instagram.

B) Post a pic that represents your first love and mention @teenswannaknow and the hashtag #TWKGiveaway in the description or comments.

We will follow everyone who enters back, and pick a random winner on 8/14/15!!!

OTHER RULES:

1. A random winner will be picked from all eligible entrants: giveaway open to U.S. residents only.

2. Children under the age of 18 years old must ask permission from a parent or guardian prior to entering this giveaway.

3. Winner will receive an email notifying them that they won and asking for a mailing address in order to deliver prize. If this email is not responded to within 72 hours, another winner will be chosen at random.

UPDATE: CONGRATS TO OUR WINNER EMILY SMITH FROM EUGENE, OREGON!

 

 

 

BIG Summer Book Giveaway!

Summer is here and school’s out for most teens…but that doesn’t mean you have to give up the books!

In order to keep your mind sharp, we recommend reading at least one book a month during vacation. To help you out, we are giving away a whopping TEN titles right now in a variety of genres, including graphic novels, gaming, martial arts and even graphic arts.

Without any further ado, let’s check out the selection (note: some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning we might receive a small commission if you buy any of the books through Amazon):

Invasion of the Overworld by Mark Cheverton

Gameknight999 loved Minecraft, but above all else, he loved to grief—to intentionally ruin the gaming experience for other users.

When one of his father’s inventions teleports him into the game, Gameknight is forced to live out a real-life adventure inside a digital world. What will happen if he’s killed? Will he respawn? Die in real life? Stuck in the game, Gameknight discovers Minecraft’s best-kept secret, something not even the game’s programmers realize: the creatures within the game are alive! He will have to stay one step ahead of the sharp claws of zombies and pointed fangs of spiders, but he’ll also have to learn to make friends and work as a team if he has any chance of surviving the Minecraft war his arrival has started.

This action-packed tribute to the worldwide computer game phenomenon is a runaway publishing smash and the perfect companion for Minecraft fans of all ages.

Author Mark Cheverton majored in physics and math as an undergraduate in college and went on to teach in public schools for 15 years. He later went on to work for GE’s Global Research Center, where he researched laser welding , 3D printing, machine vision, process monitoring and machine control. He began writing his Minecraft series to help explain difficult lessons to his son, now 11. Those lessons include taking risks, a willingness to try something difficult and how to be brave. The books also address the sensitive topic of bullying.

From Bullied to Black Belt by Simon Morell

Since a very early age, Simon Morrell was the victim of merciless bullying. His torment continued into his adulthood when the taunting became violent assault. At one point, an attempted stabbing was made on him by a vicious youth hell bent on causing damage. After more beatings, Simon eventually succumbed to agoraphobia and panic attacks. He seemed destined to live the life of the meek, a man afraid to leave his house and not daring to expand past his small comfort zone.

Something within him refused to accept defeat. With the help of his wife, the mild mannered man embarked upon a journey in martial arts. His original goal was to find confidence, but he surprised all around him by excelling. Simon became one of the U.K.’s leading Fight Masters obtaining 6th Dan Black Belt and being entered into the Hall of Fame – twice.

From Bullied to Black Belt, whilst written by a Martial Artist, is so much more than a book about martial arts. It is a story of a man finding himself when all seemed lost, it is a love story that may break your heart, it is a story that will leave you inspired.

The Her Campus Guide to College Life by Stephanie Kaplan Lewis, Annie Chandler Wang, Windsor Hanger Western, and the Writers & Editors of Her Campus

From dating to internships–everything you need to know about college

Get ready for the best years of your life! Written by the experts behind Her Campus, this college guide is bursting with insider tips to help you navigate classes, relationships, and all your extracurriculars–including parties and Greek life. Whether you’re a seasoned upperclassman or are starting freshman year in just a few months, you’ll learn how to:

  • Bond with your roommate and set ground rules for your new space
  • Beat the Freshman 15 without having to give up dessert
  • Snag a date with the cutie from your Lit class
  • Cope with stress and anxiety–even during finals week!
  • Score jobs and internships that will help you transition into post-collegiette life

You’ll also get the lowdown on campus safety so you can enjoy all that college has to offer while avoiding the unfortunate scary parts that sometimes come with it. Complete with fun checklists and worksheets to help you carry out HC’s essential advice, The Her Campus Guide to College Life shows you how to make the most out of your experience–in and outside the classroom.

Let’s Go Letter Hunting by Friends of Type

Letter hunting, type spotting, font finding—whatever you want to call it—designers, typographers, and handletterers have long taken to the streets for inspiration in the bountiful and amazing examples of type that surround us. Whether hunting for forgotten vintage signage, a perfect piece of street art, or colorful handpainted ephemera, this lightly guided notebook from the popular design collective Friends of Type (authors of the Keep Fresh, Stay Rad Postcard Box) provides ample space to record, sketch, and riff off all the letters in the world that are fit to hunt.

So what do you do with it if you are a teen and not necessarily into designing fonts?

This is simply a great book to jot down ideas, sketch, brainstorm, and or use as a diary or journal.

It is beautifully bound and just feels great in the hand..you’ll love it!

 

Collection of Six Zenith Press Graphic History Books by Various Authors





 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This collection of graphic novels (don’t call them comics!) is a great way to learn history without going to sleep after 5 minutes, like you probably did in school. All of them are illustrated in full color, and draw you into the action of some of US history’s most important battles:

  • The Battle of the Bulge
  • Gettysburg
  • Normandy (D-Day)
  • The Red Baron
  • Grant vs Lee
  • Bombing Nazi Germany

 GET ALL OF THE ABOVE IF YOU ARE OUR LUCKY WINNER!

 (these are actual books you will get if you win)

books

 

1. A random winner will be picked from all eligible entrants: giveaway open to U.S. residents only who possess a valid email address.
2. Children under the age of 18 years old must ask permission from a parent or guardian prior to entering this giveaway.
3. Winner will receive an email notifying them that they won and asking for a mailing address in order to deliver prize. If this email is not responded to within 72 hours, another winner will be chosen at random.
4. Entrants will also be subscribed to Teens Wanna Know’s mailing list, and can opt-out of that list at any time.

 

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Disney’s “‘The Descendants” Isle of the Lost Premiere Party Pack Giveaway!

THE ISLE OF THE LOST is the prequel to “Descendants,” the upcoming live-action adventure comedy film premiering on Disney Channel this summer. Its a new novel, released May 5th, about the little known teenage children of Disney’s most infamous villains from bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz.

Evil tree. Bad Apple?

Twenty years ago, all the evil villains were banished from the kingdom of Auradon to the Isle of the Lost–a dark and dreary place protected by a force field that makes it impossible for them to leave. Stripped of their magical powers, the villains now live in total isolation, forgotten by the world.

Mal learns from her mother, Maleficent, that the key to true darkness, the Dragon’s Eye, is located inside her scepter in the forbidden fortress on the far side of the island. The eye is cursed, and whoever retrieves it will be knocked into a deep sleep for a thousand years. But Mal has a plan to capture it. She’ll just need a little help from her “friends.” In their quest for the Dragon’s Eye, these four kids begin to realize that just because you come from an evil family tree, being good ain’t so bad.

Isle of the Lost is the spell-binding prequel to Disney Descendants, A Disney Channel Original Movie Event this summer!

IsleoftheLostCover

WATCH THE TRAILER

AUTHOR BIO

Melissa de la Cruz is the author of many best-selling novels, including all the books in the Blue Bloods series: Blue Bloods, Masquerade, Revelations, The Van Alen Legacy, Keys to the Repository, Misguided Angel, Bloody Valentine, Lost in Time, and Gates of Paradise. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband and daughter.

MelissadelaCruz

HOST A DESCENDANTS PREMIERE PARTY prize pack

Get ready to host your own Premiere Party for the Disney Channel Original Movie, but first read up on the characters in The Isle of the lost!

One lucky winner will get the following:

  • 5 copies of The Isle of the Lost for you and your guests;
  • plus temporary tattoos and two sets of hair chalk to look the part for your premiere party!

PremierePartyPack

 

Giveaway open to US addresses only.

Prizing provided by Disney Publishing.

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OFFICIAL LINKS

Learn more at the DisneyDescendants.com

Visit Melissa de La Cruz at her Official Site

#DisneyDescendants

 

‘Every Last Word’ Prize Pack Giveaway from Disney Publishing

To win this great prize pack, courtesy of Disney Hyperion, keep reading!giveawayPoetsCorner

EVERY LAST WORD

By Tamara Ireland Stone

In stores June 16th

About the Book:

If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling.

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand:  Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

 


giveawayEveryLastWord

 

About the Author:

Tamara Ireland Stone (www.TamaraIrelandStone.com) is the author of Time After Time and Time Between Us, which Melissa Marr praised as a “beautifully written, unique love story,” and has been published in over twenty countries. A former Silicon Valley marketing executive, Tamara  enjoys skiing, hiking, and spending time with her husband and two children. She lives just outside of San Francisco.

giveawayAuthorTamaraIrelandStone

READ AN EXCERPT

http://un-requiredreading.com/books/every-last-word

LEARN MORE

Learn more on Un-Required Reading

Follow Disney-Hyperion on Twitter and Tumblr

Follow Tamara Ireland Stone on Twitter and Tumblr

#EveryLastWord

GIVEAWAY!

WELCOME TO POET’S CORNER prize pack

One (1) winner receives:

  • A journal, pen, and magnetic fridge poetry kit;
  • plus a copy of Every Last Word to inspire the poet in you!

giveawayPoetsCorner

Giveaway open to US addresses only.

Prizing provided by Disney Hyperion.

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Textastrophe, Bullied Kids, & More: Spring Book and DVD Giveaway for Teens!

Now that winter is past in most of the country, it is time to celebrate one of our favorite seasons – spring!

And what better way to do that than with a giveaway?

Here we have several titles that we are going to give away to one lucky winner; let’s take a look at what’s in the prize pack (some of the links below are affiliate links):

Warning: some of these prizes contain MATURE LANGUAGE (profanity), so don’t enter to win unless you talk to your parents or guardians and they are okay with this sort of material in your home.

Textastrophe by Matt Andrews

Imagine what its like for those poor souls that have to sit in those fancy mall kiosks all day just to try and sell people that walk by a cell phone. Its boring work, and a lot of the time there is nothing to do when the mall is slow.

Matt Andrews was one of these employees, and he came up with a rather epic way to keep himself entertained. He started responding to Craiglist ads for all sorts of things in hilarious ways, using the many phones he had at his disposal in order to remain anonymous. Needless to say his trolling generated plenty of funny exchanges between him and the people who thought they had a serious buyer or seller on the other end of the line.

Some of the conversations include:

  • Offering to barter two sub-sandwiches for a used motorcycle
  • Texting a mysterious man off Craigslist to build a man cave in the basement
  • Telling the manager of a chain restaurant about his dissatisfaction with actually having to pay for a meal

Bullied Kids Speak Out – We Survived — How You Can Too by Jodee Blanco

Bullied Kids Speak Out features 17 stories from real teenagers who each tells the story of how he/she was bullied and finally handled the situation.

The stories contained within this book are heartbreaking, and anyone who has been bullied or otherwise victimized by classmates and so-called friends can relate. But each also offers hope, and since it is real teens talking here, also connect better with teen readers who might be having troubles of their own.

The book also drives home that there is no single cause for bullying, as the teens in the book are all from different circumstances. One had her BFF turn her friends against her. A boy was humiliated by fellow online gamers. A teen with Asperger’s was taunted by cruel jokes. Another girl was tricked into going to a home where a few schoolmates punched and stomped on her, recording it and putting it on Youtube for all to see.

For any teens who are experiencing bullying (and we know there are quite a few of you out there), this book will let you know you are not alone — and to have hope.

Elements for Girls: a Fun & Engaging Self-Discovery Project by Sandra McDonnell

This one is intended more for tween and early teen girls, so if you are a guy and you win the prize pack you can give it to a sister or friend (or go ahead and fill it out yourself for that matter!)

Its a self-discovery book which comes with a charm bracelet and features lots of activities which explore subjects such as self-acceptance, body image, stress management, goals, and problem-solving.

What’s good about the book is that the activities are fun and simple, and encourage girls to think positively rather than let themselves be dragged down into sadness or depression when they experiences challenges with themselves or other people.

All Lovely Things: A Field Journal for the Objects That Define Us by Lea Redmond

From the book’s publicist:

“Spring cleaning is right around the corner. This is the time of year we start being bombarded with messages to discard what’s weighing us down, to move forward, to be out with the old, in with the new. But what if we took a moment before throwing out those objects for spring cleaning to think about what they have done for us? What if the “stuff” in our lives could help us better understand ourselves – and the people we love? What if our clutter could help lead us to higher creativity?”

The book is perfect for young people who like to illustrate, and is labeled as a “Pinterest for the inner soul.” Readers are asked to fill in the spaces of the book by examining what the items in our lives say about who we are: from old clothing attached to early memories, to favorite kitchen utensils, to old toys. Great for spending some quality time with yourself!

Skating to New York DVD

If you are into skating or ice hockey, you are probably going to enjoy this movie.

Five teenage boys leave their small Canadian town behind and risk skating across Lake Ontario to New York on the coldest day of the year.  The story of home and friendship, leadership and facing up to danger, about growing up and never giving up stars Connor Jessup (“Falling Skies”), Gage Munroe (Immortals), Wesley Morgan (Kick Ass 2), Matthew Knight (The Grudge 2), Dylan Everett (“Degrassi”), Michelle Nolden (“Nikita”) and Jason Gedrick (The Heavenly Kid) under direction from veteran cinematographer and first time director Charles Minsky.

Rated PG-13

 

WIN ALL THE ABOVE IN OUR GIVEAWAY! (Scroll down for entry form). 

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GIVEAWAY IS OVER, THANKS FOR ENTERING!

Brandon Sanderson’s Firefight Prize Pack Giveaway Incl. Mophie Portable Charger!

Fans of Brandon Sanderson’s The Reckoners Series who had been anxiously awaiting the release of the Book 2 were no doubt thrilled that Firefight hit the market a couple of weeks ago. And Teens Wanna Know is teaming up with Random House to give away a free copy of Firefight PLUS Book One, Steelheart and a MOPHIE PORTABLE CHARGER! Scroll down to find out how to enter, but first, here is the scoop on Firefight.

FIREFIGHT cover

ABOUT THE BOOK

Brandon Sanderson is back with a vengeance in the follow up to the #1 New York Times bestselling Steelheart. In the book that Kirkus Reviews is calling a “rare middle volume that keeps the throttle open,” Sanderson takes readers on another a thrill ride and “presents a Marvel Comics-style mix of violently destructive battles, fabulous feats and ongoing inner wrestling over morality and identity.”

David Charleston still can’t believe it. Steelheart is dead, and he died by David’s own hand. Even the Reckoners had never killed a High Epic, but the invincible has fallen and now Newcago is free. Despite attaining revenge for the murder of his father and living his dream as a team member of the most elite Reckoners cell, David finds he has more questions than ever before, and he won’t find the answers in his home city.

Babylon Restored, the city formerly known as Manhattan, could hold the key. Ruled by the mysterious and ambivalent High Epic Regalia, Babylon Restored is a place flooded with water and painted in neon, where the inhabitants spend most of their days lounging and nights partying. David can’t seem to understand the complacency of the city and its residents, but what he does understand is that being positioned here, risky as it may be, could lead him to the answers he so desperately seeks. Because there is an emptiness in him, one left behind after killing Steelheart, that was filled unexpectedly by Firefight, who is just plain Megan to him. And David will stop at nothing to find a way to understand Epics and bring her back to him. Hopefully for good this time.

The second book in the Reckoners series and follow up to the highly acclaimed Steelheart, which Publishers Weekly called “an absolute page-turner,” FIREFIGHT is filled with spine-tingling adventure and heart-racing action that promises to satisfy fans both new and old.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brandon Sanderson, bw 2014, credit Isaac Stewart
Brandon Sanderson in 2014. Photo credit: Isaac Stewart

BRANDON SANDERSON is the author of the internationally bestselling Mistborn trilogy. In 2007, he was chosen to complete Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series following the author’s death.  The concluding book in that series, A Memory of Light, was released on January 8, 2013, and debuted at #1 on the New York Times Hardcover Fiction List., just as his two previous Wheel of Time books had done.  His work has been published in over 25 languages and his books have sold millions of copies worldwide. He lives and writes in Utah.

Learn More at his Official Website

Follow Brandon Sanderson on Twitter

EXCERPT

http://www.bighonchomedia.com/assets/RandomHouse/Firefight_ChapSamp_WEB.pdf

PRAISE & ACCOLADES FOR STEELHEART

  • #1 New York Times Bestseller
  • IRA Young Adults
  • ALA-YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults
  • ALA-YALSA Teens Top Ten
  • Amazon Best Book of the Year

“Sanderson has written a riveting dystopian adventure novel . . . Snappy dialogue, bizarre plot twists, high intensity action, and a touch of mystery and romance; it’s a formula that sucks readers into the prologue, slings them through on tension-filled encounter after the other, and then . . . leaves them panting for the sequel.” —Booklist, starred

“Sanderson’s whiz-bang imaginings, and a fully realized sense of danger (the brutal opening scene alone will hook many) make this an absolute page-turner.” —Publishers Weekly

“Perfect for genre fans who love exciting adventure stories with surprising plot twists. Readers will be rooting for David.” —School Library Journal

“Unfortunately for my ego, Steelheart is another win for Sanderson, proving that he’s not a brilliant writer of epic fantasy, he’s simply a brilliant writer. Period.”  —Patrick Rothfuss, author of the New York Times bestseller The Name of the Wind

“Fantastic! The suspense is relentless and the climax explosive, with a resolution that I’ll be thinking about for a long time.” —James Dashner, New York Times bestselling author of the Maze Runner series

“A tense, fast-paced adventure. Brandon Sanderson is one of the best fantasy sci-fi writers working today.” —Christopher Paolini, author of the New York Times and USA Today bestseller Eragon

Steelheart Mophie Pack

 

Winner receives:

  • A copy of Steelheart
  • A copy of Firefight
  • and a mophie brand portable charger

Prizing courtesy of Random House. Giveaway open to US addresses only

HOW TO ENTER:

Simply follow @teenswannaknow on Twitter and tweet the following line from your account by 1/30/15:

I’ve entered to win the #FIREFIGHT / #STEELHEART / MOPHIE prize pack from @teenswannaknow at http://bit.ly/15zXjLW #ForgetNothing

Contest is open to U.S. addresses only. We will pick one (1) random winner on 2/1/15, who will receive the prizes listed above. Winner will be notified by DM on Twitter, so must be following @teenswannaknow in order to be eligible to win. Prizes will be shipped directly from the publisher to winner’s U.S. address.