Friday, March 13, 2015

Exclusive Giveaway: $15 gift card for BD and Never Trust a Happy Song plus author interview with Natalie Bina

Never Trust a Happy Song by Natalie Bina
When Cassidy Diamond is admitted to a prestigious summer program at Stanford University, she looks forward to being surrounded by people just like herself: smart, studious, and antisocial. But when Cassidy is assigned to stay with the Harper family and meets their vivacious and uninhibited daughter Grace, the two girls clash at first sight. Cassidy is determined to not let Grace distract her from her studies, while Grace wants to show Cassidy that maybe her grades aren’t all she has going for her. and that life might be about more than building the perfect resume.
Read a Sample | Amazon | Goodreads
Author Social Media Links:

Author Bio:
Natalie Bina is a writer and lover of words who finds daily life incredibly fascinating. She is endlessly intrigued by the joys and trials of adolescent life and hopes to continue expressing them in stories. When not writing, she enjoys singing, dancing, acting, and baking a wide variety of sweet treats. She is currently attending Wesleyan University.

Never Trust a Happy Song on Smashwords:

(If the post goes up before the release date):
The ebook of Never Trust a Happy Song is now available for pre-order on Smashwords! It is currently only $1.99, but that is for a limited time, as when it is released on March 14th the price will go up to $2.99. For pre-orders, it is best to purchase through Smashwords, but after the release date it will be available through other distributors like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.

--How did you get the idea for the story?
I lived in Singapore during my freshman and sophomore years of high school. The educational system there continually bombards students with exhortations to sacrifice every other aspect of life for the sake of good grades. I was overwhelmed by the pressure to succeed, and it was far worse for those who were getting the same message at home. It started to affect me in a very negative way. I find it very frustrating when fourteen and fifteen year olds are told that every little decision we make at this age will affect our future, that one ‘B’ will follow us for the rest of our lives and make it impossible even to get jobs. I don’t think this is how education should be, and I wrote Never Trust a Happy Song to highlight the negative effects that this sort of schooling can have on a teenager.

--Which character would you most/least like to have dinner with?
Cassidy, because I’d like to give her a great big hug and tell her to breathe and that everything is going to be okay. She really needs someone in her life to tell her that she is not just her resume, her grades, or what college she gets into.

--What book(s) is your book’s “cousin”? (Similar kind of read, set-up or style)
I haven’t seen very many YA books addressing the stress and anxiety caused by pressure to excel in high school. One exception is Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson, which offers a wonderful representation of this. She is beyond amazing at painting compelling pictures of psychological trauma, and reading this book really meant a lot to me.

--What are some of your favorite books? Do you still have much time to read?
I binge-read during vacations, but it gets a lot harder once classes are in session. I often stuff a book in my backpack in the hope that I’ll be able to squeeze in a chapter or two between classes. My all-time favorite YA novel is The Sky is Everywhere, by Jandy Nelson. It is one of those books that made me want to jump and start writing on my own.

--If a fairy godmother told you could be put into the world of your favorite book for 24 hours, which book would you pick and why?
Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke. I was obsessed with that book when I was younger, and used to carry around a little mp3 player so that I could listen to the audiobook version. I would love so much to live in that world and be able to bring the worlds of my favorite books to life by reading them aloud.

--Do you need anything to write (music, coffee, etc)? Are there any songs on your playlist- songs that inspired you or that were playing while you wrote?
I need a cup of tea and a nice environment. I write in certain special nooks in my home, my dorm room, and my favorite cafes. Not being able to sit in one of those places can really mess up my flow, although of course there are times that I have to adapt. For example, I’ve learned to write well on airplanes.

--If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
I’ve always wanted to be able to control the weather. When I was small, I put together my own Weather Girl costume. I’d wear it and imagine that I harnessed little fragments of every form of weather energy in my arms. I would command the sky to be full of lightening or snow, with just one forceful skywards jab of my forefinger.

--Besides writing, what do you like to do in your free time?
I love being in drama productions, particularly musical theater. I’m such a theater nerd that I know an appropriate musical theater song for every situation in life! I’m also an avid baker. Beating the eggs, whipping butter, folding the batter – it’s the perfect way to get out anger and frustration and relieve stress! The biggest challenge is not eating everything I make, because I also love sugar and chocolate.

--What is one thing you would tell your 15 year old self?                      
I would tell 15 year old me to enjoy being 15. I would tell her to go see a movie with friends on a Tuesday night, take a nap after school, and do other things on the weekend besides homework. I would tell her not to schedule her days up to the minute, because life is so much more fun when you leave room for unexpected new things to happen. I would also tell her that she will have opportunities to share her writing in ways that she wouldn’t dare dream of.

--Is there anything else you want to add or say to your readers?

Thank you so much for the support that you give me, whether you have read Never Trust a Happy Song, are thinking of reading it, or have just read this interview. As a reader myself, I am amazed by the power that we have, and how authors rely on our opinions and discussions of their novels to ensure that they’ll continue to have an audience. I am so grateful for anyone who reads my story in any form and gives Never Trust a Happy Song a rating or review. If you have read it, but haven’t shared your opinion yet, I implore you to do so!

Giveaway is for:Never Trust a Happy Song by Natalie Bina (print or ebook open Int)
and $15 gift card for the book depository (Int as long as ships to you)
If under 18, must have parent's permission.
No Purchase Necessary
Open: 3/13-3/27
The Sponsor: author
Winners will be chosen by giveaway host and notified by email. They will have 48 hours to respond.
Email addresses or physical addresses or any personal information will not be sold
Liability: Brandi Breathes Books is not responsible for lost or stolen packages
Brandi Breathes Books Giveaways are hosted in Holly Springs, NC USA
Void where prohibited by law
-If you win a review on your blog and/or amazon is appreciated but not required.

*If, for whatever reason, the Rafflecopter widget does not appear, you can click on the link where it says rafflecopter giveaway and it will show up, sorry for the inconvenience.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. thanks for the give away and lovely interview :) I love reading interviews

  2. Hi!
    I'm so glad you enjoyed reading the interview. I hope you enter the giveaway and have a chance to read Never Trust a Happy Song - and if you have any thoughts or comments about what I said in the interview or in the book, I would love to chat :)
    xx Natalie

  3. Nice interview. Sounds like a solid story - I wonder why I didn't know about it... Good post!

  4. I just actually read a review for this book and it sounds like a great read! I am someone who is throwing myself into the rat race really early (as in right now) as well, and I would love to read something like this. There seem to be a lot of people who have trouble dealing with being forced into working early and studying, or choose it. This is a subject I would love to know more about.

    My book haul:


I would love to hear from you! (I always try to visit your blog back) I love links, so feel free to link to your blog or a post you like.
Sorry, but I am award and tag free zone, I do not have the time to return. Comments are reward enough :)