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Monday, 28 July 2014

Blog Tour: Before You by Amber Hart + guest post + giveaway

Title: Before You (Before & After #1)
Author: Amber Hart
Genre: Contemporary YA Romance


Some say love is deadly. Some say love is beautiful. I say it is both.

Faith Watters spent her junior year traveling the world, studying in exquisite places, before returning to Oviedo High School. From the outside her life is picture-perfect. Captain of the dance team. Popular. Happy. Too bad it’s all a lie.

It will haunt me. It will claim me. It will shatter me. And I don't care.

Eighteen-year-old Diego Alvarez hates his new life in the States, but staying in Cuba is not an option. Covered in tattoos and scars, Diego doesn't stand a chance of fitting in. Nor does he want to. His only concern is staying hidden from his past—a past, which if it were to surface, would cost him everything. Including his life.

At Oviedo High School, it seems that Faith Watters and Diego Alvarez do not belong together. But fate is as tricky as it is lovely. Freedom with no restraint is what they long for. What they get is something different entirely.

Love—it will ruin you and save you, both.

Purchase Links

Guest Post
Amber Hart 

We Need Diverse Books

You know those books that pull you under flash-flood fast? Out of nowhere you’re submerged, and truth be told, you’re not even trying to come up for air. We all love books like that. Hook. Line. Sinker. One page turns into two pages turns into a novel that’s been devoured with a hungry heart because these books are MAGIC. 
Part of the magic is due to the fact that we can see ourselves there. No matter the genre, the book grabs hold with a vise grip and there is no escaping the way it changes your life.

Now what if those books disappeared?

Would you be crushed? Lost? Dazed and confused? I know I would be. Or better yet, what if those books—the ones you love with all your soul, the ones you relate to on a personal level—weren’t available to you? Or what if they never existed? Just what if you were a part of the minority who isn’t a white lead character (and maybe you are), what then? I cannot imagine not seeing myself in books, not being able to relate to the characters, not feeling the powerful hold as I dive head first into a world of words.  

But it happens every day.

How many books feature white American MC’s? While that’s great in some cases, I can’t help but ask:What about all the other people of the world?

            Where is the diversity?

Figurative classroom. Roll call time. Who here is white American? Who here is not? If you look closely, you’ll see that many people fit the “not” category. Where are their books? Where is their culture/background/ethnicity/skin tone/customs? I fear that the people who don’t see themselves in books will become the people who don’t read books. And it’s not just them. What about the white Americans who want to broaden their world knowledge? Or what about the people who want to read combined cultures?

Fact: I like to read different things. Makes it fun. Keeps it interesting. I get bored easily, so this is a must. I don’t always want to read about Americans like me. I would like to read about someone like my son, who is mixed race, or my husband, who is not American. I am not the only one who feels like this. Do you feel it too? The itch in your fingertips to turn pages that weave layers of diversity. I want to read more diverse characters like Allison Sekemoto, an Asian vampire in Julie Kagawa’s Blood of Eden series, or Shy Espinoza, a Mexican-American in Matt de la Peña’s The Living, or Park, an Asian-American in Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park, to name a few. But that’s just it. There are only a few books like this in Young Adult literature.

We need diverse books, people.

As a writer, and as a mother of a mixed-race child, and as a wife of a non-American, and as a human being, I feel a calling to shine my flashlight on the need for diverse books. But I’m only one person. Won’t you join me?

How you can make a difference:

Buy diverse books. Hashtag #WeNeedDiverseBooks in a campaign to call more diverse novels to light. Help kick-start a movement. Because that guy with a different skin tone than yours deserves to feel like a hero, too. So does the girl with an accent, and the child who is growing up in a world where they want to feel a sense of belonging. Or maybe even for the reader who wants to see something different than the norm. As a matter of fact, diversity should BE the norm. What a beautifully colorful literary concept.  

I want people who see themselves in books to become people who write books and share books and spread the love of literature around the world. We can do it. And by we, I mean me. And by we, I mean you.

Post by 
Amber Hart, author of diverse books. 

You can read more about her Before & After (Latino-American) young adult series, and her Until You Find Me (African-American) new adult series below.

Before You (book 1): edgy contemporary YA romance set in Central Florida, about the forbidden love between a "good girl" with a secret past, and a Cuban boy on the run from his own demons.

Until You Find Me (book 1): new adult romantic thriller in which a young woman travels to the exotic rainforest of Cameroon, Africa, following the death of her father, a gorilla activist, and falls for a mysterious young man who turns out to be the heir to a poaching empire.

Full Synopsis
Until You Find Me by Amber Hart

“Amber Hart pushes contemporary romance to its wildest limits in this heart-pounding novel, the story of a girl who travels to Africa to protect the legacy of one man . . . and stays for the love of another.”

Raven Moore, a twenty-year-old college student from Michigan, feels out of place in the beautiful, treacherous jungles of Cameroon, staying in the habitat where her father gave his life to help protect endangered gorillas. He left home years ago; now Raven refuses to return home until she unravels the truth about his last days.

Raven certainly doesn’t count on crossing paths with a handsome young African hunter—especially one as charismatic and intense as Jospin Tondjii. Instantly, she’s hooked. But Jospin is hiding a dark truth: He is the heir to a powerful poaching empire, part of a ruthless black market that is responsible for the dwindling gorilla population.

Their fathers may have been enemies, but Raven and Jospin forge a bond that goes beyond blood, a relationship that is tested as Raven draws closer to the source of her father’s death. Can she and Jospin bear the weight of the secrets of the wild—and the secrets of their pasts? Or will the rain forest destroy them both?

About the Author 

Amber Hart grew up in Orlando, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia. She now resides on the Florida coastline with family. When unable to find a book, she can be found writing, daydreaming, or with her toes in the sand. She's the author of BEFORE YOU, AFTER US, UNTIL YOU FIND ME, and sequel to UNTIL YOU FIND ME (untitled as of yet). Represented by Beth Miller of Writers House. 


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