Blog Tour: The Supervillain and Me

The Supervillain and Me
Danielle Banas
(Morriston Superheroes #1)
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: July 10th 2018
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Superheroes, Young Adult

As witty as it is heartpounding, this fresh take on the beloved superhero genre is all about finding your own way to shine even when it seems everyone else around you is, well… super.

Never trust a guy in spandex.

In Abby Hamilton’s world, superheroes do more than just stop crime and save cats stuck in trees―they also drink milk straight from the carton and hog the television remote. Abby’s older brother moonlights as the famous Red Comet, but without powers of her own, following in his footsteps has never crossed her mind.

That is, until the city’s newest vigilante comes bursting into her life.

After saving Abby from an attempted mugging, Morriston’s fledgling supervillain Iron Phantom convinces her that he’s not as evil as everyone says, and that their city is under a vicious new threat. As Abby follows him deeper into their city’s darkest secrets, she comes to learn that heroes can’t always be trusted, and sometimes it’s the good guys who wear black.

Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, The Supervillain and Me is a hilarious, sweet, and action-packed novel by debut author Danielle Banas that proves no one is perfect, not even superheroes.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

 

Author Bio:

Danielle Banas, a Pittsburgh native, earned a degree in communication from Robert Morris University. After years spent dreaming up characters instead of paying attention in class, Danielle joined the storytelling platform Wattpad, where her work has received millions of views online. When she isn’t writing, she can be found loudly singing show tunes, spouting off Walt Disney World trivia, and snuggling with her puppy. THE SUPERVILLAIN AND ME is her debut novel.

Follow her on Twitter or Instagram @daniellebanas

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

GIVEAWAY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

XBTBanner1

 

What inspired you to write The Supervillian and Me?

My deep, passionate, (sometimes embarrassing) love for Spider-Man definitely had a lot to do with it. The Spider-Man films are what got me hooked on superheroes, and then when I was in college I came up with my initial idea for the book. The first little piece that I thought of was just a conversation between a brother and a sister where she was making fun of his dorky spandex super suit while they were sitting at their kitchen table. I loved how goofy but also how normal it was, and I think I kept it in the back of my head for about a year before I finally did anything with it. My only goal at the time was just to write the story that I desperately wanted to read. After I fleshed out the characters and the plot, I wrote the first draft in a little under six months. That was about four years ago. Oh and fun fact: My original super suit kitchen table conversation actually ended up making it into the final draft of the book, so that makes me pretty excited.

 

How do you decide on character names?

When I was trying to figure out superhero names, I literally Googled “superhero name generator.” Most of the names it spits out are absolutely awful, but they’re a good jumping-off point. I have one character whose name is intentionally bad, but I’m confident that the others are much better and more normal – or at least as normal as superheroes can be. As for my characters’ “regular” names, I check out baby name websites and look for things that match each character’s personality. If I come across something that I like enough to use as name for a future child of mine, then I’ll put it on the short list for a character. My characters are basically my book children anyway.

 

What are you planning on writing next?

I’m actually in the midst of figuring that out at the moment. Whatever it is, I can guarantee it will have quirky characters and a healthy dose of sarcasm. My favorite part of writing is making people laugh, so I always try to pack as much humor into my stories as I can!

 

Any advice for aspiring authors?

Three things:

  1. Read a lot! Obviously you want to write a lot too, but reading is just as important. Whenever I’m in a bit of a writing slump, I turn to reading to help me feel inspired again.
  2. Don’t be afraid to suck. Seriously. If you’re stumbling through a first draft and you feel like you’re just going through the motions, that’s totally fine. Just get the words on paper. You can always make them better later.
  3. Don’t worry about writing things that are considered “trendy” or things that you think might be trendy in the future. Write what inspires you and write what you love. I promise there are people out there who will love it as much as you do.

 

What books/authors inspired you?

Two words: Harry. Potter. Those are the books that made me fall in love with reading, which eventually led to me falling in love with writing. When I was in elementary school, I would spend every summer vacation reading and rereading Harry Potter. I’ve read each one ten times because I was determined not to read one of them more than the others. I still remember my mom yelling at me because I wouldn’t go outside and play; I’d just sit on the couch with a Harry Potter book.

 

Did you always want to be an author?

No, I always wanted to be an actress. I still sometimes do, to be honest. I’m that person that will reenact entire scenes from movies repeatedly, even though I can tell people are getting sick of me. It wasn’t until my junior year of college that I decided I wanted to be an author. I took a creative writing class for an elective and then I just couldn’t stop.

 

What kind of music did you listen to while writing?

I’m weird because I can’t concentrate if I write with music on. I’ll just start singing along and absolutely no writing will get done, so I’ll go back afterward and make a playlist. The playlist for The Supervillain and Me has the Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Adele, Ed Sheeran, Fall Out Boy, Queen, half of the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack, and a bunch of Disney songs. “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from Toy Story is my personal favorite.

 

Current favorite TV show?

Probably Riverdale, followed by Property Brothers and The Flash. I’ll never say no to a Seinfeld rerun either.

 

What’s your Hogwarts house?

Oh gosh. Every quiz I take tells me something different – and yes, I’ve taken a lot of quizzes. If I could choose, I’d want to be in Gryffindor, but really I think I’m more of a Hufflepuff.

 

Other YA books you love? Give us some recs!

At the moment, I’m really gravitating toward rom-coms and geeky stories. I just read Love Scene, Take Two by Alex Evansley and I’m obsessed! I read the first draft of it over three years ago, and I loved it then and I love it even more now that it’s finally been published. I also finished Geekerella by Ashley Poston recently, and I loved that one as well. I mean, it has sci-fi, fandoms, and cons – like sign me the heck up!

 

Advertisements

Blog Tour: The Boyfriend Bracket

The Boyfriend Bracket
Kate Evangelista
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: June 19th 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

The only way to get over a hopeless crush is to find someone new…Enter: The Boyfriend Bracket!

Putting a new spin on a classic trope, Kate Evangelista explores family bonds, changing relationships, and senior year as our heroine tries to get over her brother’s best friend.

Stella has had a hopeless crush on Will, her older brother’s best friend FOREVER, but now that Cam and Will have graduated and are going off to college, this year is her chance to really strike out on her own. Without her overprotective brother and his sidekick around to distract her, she can focus on having all the typical high school experiences that she’s always dreamed of―starting with finding a boyfriend! With the help of her best friend, Franklin, she comes up with the perfect plan to have a boyfriend by Christmas: The Boyfriend Bracket.

Or it seems like the perfect plan . . . right up until Will starts showing up again. How is she supposed to find the perfect boyfriend when none of her dates measure up to the one boy she can never have?

The Boyfriend Bracket puts a new spin on a classic genre in a fun, unforgettable way.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

 

Author Bio:

When Kate Evangelista was told she had a knack for writing stories, she did the next best thing: entered medical school. After realizing she wasn’t going to be the next Doogie Howser, M.D., Kate wandered into the Literature department of her university and never looked back. Today, she is a graduate of De La Salle University – Manila with an Bachelor of Arts in Literature. She taught high school English for three years and was an essay consultant for two. Currently she writes full time and is based in the Philippines. To learn more about Kate, please visit her website at http://www.kateevangelista.com or follow her on Twitter @KateEvangelista

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

GIVEAWAY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

XBTBanner1


What inspired you to write The Boyfriend Bracket?

My editor and I were talking story ideas over the phone for my next book. When my editor suggested the brother’s best friend trope, it was like lightning hit me. The story formed in my head right away. That night I couldn’t wait to write the story that would eventually become The Boyfriend Bracket.

How do you decide on character names?

Early on in my writing career, character names needed to have meanings related to the character and the story. As I matured, I learned to wait until the character introduces himself or herself. Once I know their names, I usually start to know what their story is and how they fit into the world I’m building.

What are you planning on writing next?

I already have an idea for what the next book will be and am doing my research, but I’m keeping what it is to myself for now. I’ve also come to learn not to talk to much about what I’m working on next because the initial draft is never what the final story will be.

Any advice for aspiring authors?

Learn to love editing more than the writing. Editing is the lifeblood of a novel. Just think about the book you are currently reading and how many drafts it took for the final product to reach your hands. The editing process is usually the longest part of the process, which is why learning how to love it will help keep up your motivation when you no longer what anything to do with the story.

What books/authors inspired you?

Lisa Kleypas. Reading her work always inspires me to write. That’s why every book has an element of romance. My characters are falling in love no matter what. I can’t help myself. I love love and Kleypas delivers lots of it. She’s also awesome at creating interesting characters.

Did you always want to be an author?

No. I never thought about writing as a career. I was supposed to be a doctor. Then I because a teacher. Then an essay consultant. Only when I realized that writing was always there despite whatever job I was in. I was always happiest when writing. It took me a few years, but when I finally committed, I never looked back.

What kind of music did you listen to while writing?

Interesting fact, for this one, I didn’t listen to anything. I actually wrote The Boyfriend Bracket at night, when all was quiet. I turned down the lights and in the cocoon of darkness and silence the words flowed.

Current favorite tv show?

RuPaul’s Drag Race. I don’t know why it took me so long to watch this awesome show? I’m currently binging season 7. The queens get prettier and cattier with each new season. I totally recommend this show. I’ll even confess that I have a crush on RuPaul when he’s in drag. So gorgeous.

What’s your hogwarts house?

Gryffindor. Is it wrong that I want to be in another house? Ravenclaws are so interesting. Hufflepuffs are fun to hang out with. And Slytherins are darkly funny. Gryffindors are great too, but my heart is in another house.   

Other YA books you love? Give us some recs!

I’m currently reading Let’s Talk About Love by my Swoon sister Clair Kann. It’s definitely a recommend for me. I want to be friends with Alice and Takumi. Hanging out with them for an afternoon would be so fun. I suggest picking up this book when you grab a copy of The Boyfriend Bracket.

Book Blitz: Superhero High

Superhero High
T.H. Hernandez
Published by: Soul Mate Publishing
Publication date: July 5th 2018
Genres: Adventure, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Sixteen-year-old Annarenee Stevens is the sole member of her family without a super power. The only time she feels powerful is in the pool. With her sights set on swimming for U.C. Berkeley, she’s ready to win it all at the State championship and secure her future.

When the government unexpectedly ends the secret Genetically Enhanced Asset (GEA) program, Annarenee is uprooted from Dayton, the only home she’s ever known, and relocated to San Diego with all of the other GEA families. Queen of her public school, Annarenee is just another zero at Superhero High, a school without any sports teams.

With the end of the program, her hero older brother now needs a college education, too, meaning the only way Annarenee is getting into Berkeley is on a scholarship. Her dream is slipping through her fingers, no matter how tightly she clings to it. To make matters worse, super hot superhero, Ren Gonzalez, is paying too much attention to her. The kind of attention that has Ren’s ex-girlfriend intent on making Annarenee’s life even more miserable.

But when heroes begin disappearing, zeros and heroes will be forced to team up in order to solve the mystery. If they don’t kill each other first.https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?ui=2&ik=5c9f152ab4&view=fimg&th=164391b5525e3ff0&attid=0.7&disp=inline&safe=1&attbid=ANGjdJ9RL8uPeWLs4DPl4f6a4cS1hD5GKAmjlIuTjOMLFDh-6aKUqH0CrL6GPcq7oIO6luHwHm8ywJSBMleZvmlkRhGW9FnZ9EAbYim-SxURX-aF847DQmH2lV4nV_o&ats=1529973571718&rm=164391b5525e3ff0&zw&sz=w4248-h2418

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Smith slides in beside me and drapes his arm around me, kissing the side of my head.

Ryan glances over his shoulder before backing up. “You guys are coming tonight, right?”

“Wouldn’t miss it,” Smith answers for both of us.

The drive to my house is less than five minutes. On the way Smith leans in and whispers in my ear, “Anyone going to be home?”

I shake my head then wonder if I should have lied. Smith’s been hinting more frequently that he wants to have sex. We’ve been dating for three months, but unlike Smith, I’m not ready. Call me old-fashioned, but I want my first time to be special. I like Smith, he’s cute, popular, and funny, but I’m not in love with him. Plus, I’m pretty sure you shouldn’t keep secrets from the person you share the most intimate part of yourself with, and I’m keeping a huge secret from Smith.

We pull up in front of my house, and Smith and I hop out, grabbing our stuff from the back.

“I’ll call you later,” Ronny yells as Ryan roars off.

I wave as they turn the corner and disappear, nerves twisting in my belly as Smith takes my hand. I glance at him, my gaze drawn to his crystal blue eyes beneath messy-wild blond hair. Smith moved here last summer and rapidly became one of the most popular guys in our class. He’s always tan and his body is cut, a result of time spent in the pool or surfing in his native Florida. Every single girl in our school, and possibly even a few with boyfriends, would be thrilled to have my problem. I need to figure this out soon before he decides he’s tired of waiting.

Smith guides me up the walkway toward the porch, and I wonder how far I can let him go this time before I put on the brakes.

Our front door opens and two men dressed in black suits, white button-ups, black ties, and sunglasses exit our house. The taller of the two seems to size me up behind his dark lenses before he nods and passes. I turn and watch them get into a black Escalade parked across the street.

My brother, Noah, cruises up and parks his vintage blue Mustang convertible in the driveway. He climbs out, his eyes glued to the SUV as it pulls away from the curb.

Smith snorts. “What are the Blues Brothers doing here?”

I don’t share his humor and instead turn toward my brother, eyebrows raised in silent question.

Noah shakes his head, and inside my own head, I hear, “I don’t know, they were blocking me.”

A chill runs through me starting in the pit of my stomach. It’s not unusual to get a visit from the Men in Black, but my parents should be at work, and Noah should still be at his school for another couple of hours. Something is wrong.

Don’t panic, AR,” Noah says in my head.

I turn to Smith, “Um, I’ll call you later, okay? Pick me up at eight?”

He leans in and kisses my cheek. “Sure. Wear something sexy.” He smiles and waggles his eyebrows.

Douchebag,” Noah says only to me before heading inside.

 

Author Bio:

T.H. Hernandez is the author of young adult books. The Union, a futuristic dystopian adventure, was a finalist in the 2015 San Diego book awards in the Young Adult Fiction category.

She loves pumpkin spice lattes, Game of Thrones, Comic-Con, Star Wars, Doctor Who marathons, Bad Lip Reading videos, and all things young adult, especially the three young adults who share her home.

When not visiting the imaginary worlds inside her head, T.H. Hernandez lives in usually sunny San Diego, California with her husband and three children, a couple of cats, and a dog who thinks he’s a cat, affectionately referred to as “the puppycat.”

You can find her online at http://thhernandez.com

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

GIVEAWAY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

XBTBanner1

Superhero High by T.H. Hernandez Playlist

  • Luck by American Authors
  • Lampshades on Fire by Modest Mouse
  • Catch Me Now I’m Falling by The Kinks
  • Something Just Like This by Chainsmokers and ColdPlay
  • Hate Me by Blue October
  • So Alive by the Goo Goo Dolls
  • Waiting for Superman by Daughtry
  • Fade Into You by Mazzy Star
  • The Underdog by Spoon
  • Superhero by The Script
  • Hey Girl by Ingram Hill
  • Just Breathe by Eddie Vedder
  • Hero by Chad Kroeger

Excerpts

Excerpt #1

Smith slides in beside me and drapes his arm around me, kissing the side of my head.

Ryan glances over his shoulder before backing up. “You guys are coming tonight, right?”

“Wouldn’t miss it,” Smith answers for both of us.

The drive to my house is less than five minutes. On the way Smith leans in and whispers in my ear, “Anyone going to be home?”

I shake my head then wonder if I should have lied. Smith’s been hinting more frequently that he wants to have sex. We’ve been dating for three months, but unlike Smith, I’m not ready. Call me old-fashioned, but I want my first time to be special. I like Smith, he’s cute, popular, and funny, but I’m not in love with him. Plus, I’m pretty sure you shouldn’t keep secrets from the person you share the most intimate part of yourself with, and I’m keeping a huge secret from Smith.

We pull up in front of my house, and Smith and I hop out, grabbing our stuff from the back.

“I’ll call you later,” Ronny yells as Ryan roars off.

I wave as they turn the corner and disappear, nerves twisting in my belly as Smith takes my hand. I glance at him, my gaze drawn to his crystal blue eyes beneath messy-wild blond hair. Smith moved here last summer and rapidly became one of the most popular guys in our class. He’s always tan and his body is cut, a result of time spent in the pool or surfing in his native Florida. Every single girl in our school, and possibly even a few with boyfriends, would be thrilled to have my problem. I need to figure this out soon before he decides he’s tired of waiting.

Smith guides me up the walkway toward the porch, and I wonder how far I can let him go this time before I put on the brakes.

Our front door opens and two men dressed in black suits, white button-ups, black ties, and sunglasses exit our house. The taller of the two seems to size me up behind his dark lenses before he nods and passes. I turn and watch them get into a black Escalade parked across the street.

My brother, Noah, cruises up and parks his vintage blue Mustang convertible in the driveway. He climbs out, his eyes glued to the SUV as it pulls away from the curb.

Smith snorts. “What are the Blues Brothers doing here?”

I don’t share his humor and instead turn toward my brother, eyebrows raised in silent question.

Noah shakes his head, and inside my own head, I hear, “I don’t know, they were blocking me.”

A chill runs through me starting in the pit of my stomach. It’s not unusual to get a visit from the Men in Black, but my parents should be at work, and Noah should still be at his school for another couple of hours. Something is wrong.

“Don’t panic, AR,” Noah says in my head.

I turn to Smith, “Um, I’ll call you later, okay? Pick me up at eight?”

He leans in and kisses my cheek. “Sure. Wear something sexy.” He smiles and waggles his eyebrows.

“Douchebag,” Noah says only to me before heading inside.

Excerpt #2

“No running!” I yell at the boy who’s on his latest attempt to make cannonball history.

He slows his approach slightly before picking up speed again just before launching himself into the pool with a spectacular spray. Two girls in the splash zone scream and put their hands up to fend off the water, which is pointless considering they’re already drenched.

The kid pops up, shaking his head, water flying off the tips of his hair, further dousing the girls.

I blow my whistle and point at him, crooking my finger to let him know we need to talk.

He heads over to my chair and looks up at me with a sheepish grin that no doubt drives tween girls to fits of giggles. Not going to work on me.

“You need to sit out for ten minutes.”

“What? No!”

“Yes. I told you three times not to run.”

“But I can’t slip and fall,” he whines. “If I start to lose traction, I can levitate myself before I eat pavement.”

I roll my eyes. The Red Cross did not prepare me for lifeguarding superheroes. “There are other kids around here without that ability. If you run, they’ll think they can, too.”

He crosses his arms and mumbles a “fine” before slinking off and plunking himself down on one of the chairs.

“You should wear red more often,” says a low, sexy voice. I twist around and stare down into a pair of blue-green eyes. He’s grinning up at me, making him somehow even more attractive. “It’s definitely your color.”

Don’t smile, don’t smile, don’t smile. Oh hell, I’m smiling. “Your girlfriend doesn’t like you talking to me, you know.”

He leans his shoulder against the frame of my chair. “Here’s a little secret not too many people know—I don’t have a girlfriend.”

“I’m pretty sure the blonde I saw you with last week thinks you do.”

His grin only broadens. “She used to be my girlfriend, but she’s not anymore.”

“Interesting,” I say, because I don’t know what else to say. Is he being honest with me? It’s hard to tell. I study his face, trying to figure out if he’s only saying what he thinks I want to hear. I mean, she might’ve been a bitch to me, but she’s gorgeous. And why wouldn’t she be staking her claim on him? If he was my boyfriend, I’d be doing the same thing.

“Oh yeah? Why’s that?”

“What?” I forgot what the hell we were talking about.

“Why is that interesting?”

Oh shit. “Umm . . . I . . . uh, it was just something to say. It’s not interesting, or boring, it’s nothing.” I shrug in a way that I hope conveys how completely uninterested I am.

“Hey, Ren, quit wasting time with that zero and get over here,” says the dark-haired muscular boy that was with him the other day.

I glare at the boy, unsure how he knows who I am and whether or not I’m enhanced. A fight in the pool catches my attention and I blow my whistle, yelling at the group of boys to knock it off. When I turn back, Ren has joined his sister and the boy, although Lexie isn’t with them. Perhaps he was telling the truth.

Not that it matters anymore. Now that I’ve been outed as a zero, Ren Gonzalez won’t be wasting any more of his time on me.

Excerpt #3

Ren hands me the syllabus and we go through them together, with me highlighting some he should read and letting him choose some others. When I’m done, I hand the paper back to him and catch him staring at me, or more accurately, staring at my mouth.

Oh my God, is he . . .? No, he wouldn’t. My throat goes dry and I swallow hard. I should get up, but the thought of Ren’s lips pressed to mine keeps me from moving. My breathing escalates to the point that he must notice, and my hands curl and relax at my sides.

His gaze lifts to mine, and the vulnerability in his eyes steals my breath. I’ve never seen this side of him. Not really. He’s been unsure, or nervous, but not this. Ren searches my face for something, and I’m pretty sure all he’s going to see is pure fear. Because if I kiss this boy, nothing between us will be the same.

My tongue darts out and moistens my lips before I can acknowledge that probably wasn’t the best idea. His pupils dilate before his eyelids drift closed. He leans closer, tilting his head.

Holy crap, this is happening, and I’m not doing anything to stop it. Which means I must want this. My breath catches as my eyes close, and I wait for the soft brush of his lips. The mattress dips next to me, and the heat from his body’s proximity radiates to my arm and chest.

His warm breath, minty and clean, dances close to my lips. I part mine slightly as he gets closer, waiting, wondering for a brief second if he’s about to tell me this is all a big joke or make fun of me. The scent of sandalwood and soap fills my senses, and rough whiskers rasp against my chin. I take in a sharp breath and . . .

“Ren, I need—oh, oh, I’m so sorry. Mom said you were studying, and . . .”

Ren pulls back from me so fast, he creates a breeze that ruffles my hair. When I open my eyes, he’s standing beside the bed, his hand on top of his head. “Hey, M, what’s up?”

Mattea’s eyes dart between us. She’s clearly agitated about something, whether from what she walked in on or something else isn’t apparent. “It’s Ian. He’s missing.”

Okay, something else. Good.

“What do you mean he’s missing?” Ren asks.

“I mean he was supposed to meet me an hour ago, but he never showed. No text, no call, nothing. That’s never happened. I called his mom and she hasn’t heard from him, either. She says he’s not at home and his phone’s offline.”

Ren glances at me, then back to his sister. “I’m sure it’s nothing, Mattea. His battery’s probably dead.”

“He’s never disappeared like this without calling. Something’s wrong. I know it.”

“Okay, I get it. What do you want me to do?”

I stand and grab my bag off the floor. “I should go.”

“Wait . . .” Ren’s lips part, as if he’s going to say something more, but he doesn’t.

“I’ll see you on Thursday.” Before I can say or do something stupid, I rush from the room. “Bye, Mrs. Gonzalez,” I call as I fly out the front door, not waiting for her response.

Book Blitz: Alpha

Alpha
Jus Accardo
(The Infinity Division #3)
Published by: Entangled: Teen
Publication date: July 3rd 2018
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

“A fun YA sci-fi story with a compelling cast of characters.” —Kirkus Reviews on Infinity

Sera is the obsession of a killer chasing a ghost. G is a soldier with too much blood on his hands.

Dylan lost the only person he ever loved—and will stop at nothing to get her back.

In a whirlwind chase that takes them back to where it all started, Sera, G, and Dylan will have to confront their demons—both physical and mental—and each other, in order to win their freedom.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

EXCERPT:

The rain stopped, and the wind outside had settled, leaving an uncomfortable silence in its wake. I didn’t have a problem with the quiet. I liked it, in fact. But this was something a little different. This was uncomfortable. The kind of stillness that came from forced proximity to someone or something that made your skin itch and your stomach roil. The kind of hush that usually set in right before a devastating storm or a natural disaster.

He did this sometimes. Just sat across from me and stared. He usually wouldn’t even say anything. I didn’t think he expected me to say anything, either. He just looked. Sometimes it lasted a few minutes, just long enough to send that chill skittering up and down my spine. Other times it would go on for hours. He’d blink and breathe and fidget, but his eyes…those remained locked on me, his unhealthy mix of sadness and lust and greed and anger crushing me to the point of breathlessness.

We were at it again, and I was just about out of patience. It was one thing to have been ripped away from my home, from my life, by that madwoman, Cora Anderson. It was another to have her poke and prod and use me as a science experiment. She’d altered my mind. Made me forget most of my life before the day I woke up a prisoner on the floor of her cold, dank cell. Those things were all bad, but having been “rescued” by this bastard and forced to stay by his side at all times? That was an entirely new level of torture.

“You’re thinking about him again, aren’t you?” His tone was acidic and his jaw tight. He had a temper, this guy. I’d seen it multiple times. He’d never done anything more than scream at me, but it was only a matter of time with people like this. I wasn’t sure how I knew that, but I felt it in my bones. Maybe I’d known someone like him at home. Maybe it was just intuition.

“Yes,” was all I replied. I found that simple, one-word responses went over the best. Or, more accurately, the worst. When I said too little, he grew agitated. He wanted me to talk to him, yet the things that came out of my mouth weren’t ever what he wanted to hear. I didn’t act like he’d hoped I would, didn’t say the things he longed to hear. Some days he was determined to change me. Others, he was rabid, blaming me for not behaving like myself and demanding that I wake up.

Forget that I had no idea who I was.

“While it’s not okay, I understand.” He offered me a smile—a small, tentative twitch of his lips and gentle shrug of his shoulders. He was making an effort to be kinder today, going out of his way to speak softer and move slower.

That made me even angrier.

“You understand? Then my life is complete. All I’ve ever wanted was the understanding of a serial killer.” Even if I hadn’t been thinking about…someone else, I would have lied. The fact that I wasn’t focused on him, and him alone, drove Dylan—my savior, my captor—crazy. But the truth was, I was thinking of him. That other him. How could I not? Even if I didn’t find myself missing him every moment of every day in an almost physical way, I wouldn’t be able to put him out of my mind because he was technically sitting here across from me.

Author Bio:

JUS ACCARDO spent her childhood reading and learning to cook. Determined to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps as a chef, she applied and was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America. But at the last minute, she realized her true path lay with fiction, not food.

Jus is the bestselling author of the popular Denazen series from Entangled publishing. A native New Yorker, she lives in the middle of nowhere with her husband, three dogs, and sometimes guard bear, Oswald.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

GIVEAWAY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

XBTBanner1

 


Alpha by Jus Accardo Excerpt for Tour

 

Excerpt #1

 

The rain stopped, and the wind outside had settled, leaving an uncomfortable silence in its wake. I didn’t have a problem with the quiet. I liked it, in fact. But this was something a little different. This was uncomfortable. The kind of stillness that came from forced proximity to someone or something that made your skin itch and your stomach roil. The kind of hush that usually set in right before a devastating storm or a natural disaster.

He did this sometimes. Just sat across from me and stared. He usually wouldn’t even say anything. I didn’t think he expected me to say anything, either. He just looked. Sometimes it lasted a few minutes, just long enough to send that chill skittering up and down my spine. Other times it would go on for hours. He’d blink and breathe and fidget, but his eyes…those remained locked on me, his unhealthy mix of sadness and lust and greed and anger crushing me to the point of breathlessness.

We were at it again, and I was just about out of patience. It was one thing to have been ripped away from my home, from my life, by that madwoman, Cora Anderson. It was another to have her poke and prod and use me as a science experiment. She’d altered my mind. Made me forget most of my life before the day I woke up a prisoner on the floor of her cold, dank cell. Those things were all bad, but having been “rescued” by this bastard and forced to stay by his side at all times? That was an entirely new level of torture.

“You’re thinking about him again, aren’t you?” His tone was acidic and his jaw tight. He had a temper, this guy. I’d seen it multiple times. He’d never done anything more than scream at me, but it was only a matter of time with people like this. I wasn’t sure how I knew that, but I felt it in my bones. Maybe I’d known someone like him at home. Maybe it was just intuition.

“Yes,” was all I replied. I found that simple, one-word responses went over the best. Or, more accurately, the worst. When I said too little, he grew agitated. He wanted me to talk to him, yet the things that came out of my mouth weren’t ever what he wanted to hear. I didn’t act like he’d hoped I would, didn’t say the things he longed to hear. Some days he was determined to change me. Others, he was rabid, blaming me for not behaving like myself and demanding that I wake up.

Forget that I had no idea who I was.

“While it’s not okay, I understand.” He offered me a smile—a small, tentative twitch of his lips and gentle shrug of his shoulders. He was making an effort to be kinder today, going out of his way to speak softer and move slower.

That made me even angrier.

“You understand? Then my life is complete. All I’ve ever wanted was the understanding of a serial killer.” Even if I hadn’t been thinking about…someone else, I would have lied. The fact that I wasn’t focused on him, and him alone, drove Dylan—my savior, my captor—crazy. But the truth was, I was thinking of him. That other him. How could I not? Even if I didn’t find myself missing him every moment of every day in an almost physical way, I wouldn’t be able to put him out of my mind because he was technically sitting here across from me.

 

Excerpt #2

 

I watched it come—the subtle twitch of his left eye and the pull of his lips as he ground his teeth. Rage swirled behind his eyes and I knew… Somehow, I was sure that I’d taken this too far. This could be it. I might have finally pushed him hard enough.

I thought about the twin scars on the insides of each of my wrists. I had no recollection of how they’d gotten there, but every day I spent with Dylan was one day closer to convincing me that I’d had a death wish in my old life. One that had carried through the memory loss and was fighting its way to the surface.

He grabbed two handfuls of my shirt and hauled me away from the chair. Whipping me around as though I weighed nothing more than a feather, he flung me at the bed. I crashed into the mattress and bounced, rolling off the side and hitting the floor with enough force to jar my hip. A jolt of pain shot through me, and I winced, lifting my head to glare at him in defiance. “That’s it? All you’ve got?”

He clenched his fists and closed his eyes for a moment. When he opened them, the anger had gone. Mostly. “You’d like that, right? If I killed you? Then you’d feel justified in believing I’m a monster.”

“You don’t need to do anything to justify to me that you’re a monster.” I grabbed the edge of the bed and climbed to my feet. I’d traded one captivity for another, and I’d be damned if I let him bully me into silence. “I’ve told you repeatedly that I want to leave. That I don’t want to be here with you. The fact that you refuse to set me free, to let me find G, proves it in spades.”

“For three weeks I’ve done nothing but keep you safe.” He had a point. A small one. Cade and Noah and G weren’t the only ones chasing us. Cora’s main man, Yancy, and his crew had been nipping at our heels for weeks now. Sometimes we burned the cooldown on his chip, skipping and waiting out in the open until they found us, only to skip again. After the fourth and final skip, we hunkered down in some out of the way hole, like we were now, a brief twenty-four hours of reprieve granted while the chip reset before we had to do it all again.

That was, of course, assuming they didn’t land right on top of us when they followed. The way the chip worked, you could track someone’s frequency, but the individual landing spot was a bit random. It could put you anywhere from one foot to half a mile away from your target. We’d had a couple of close calls but had gotten lucky this last time. “If it wasn’t for me, you’d be back rotting in that cage.”

 

Second Star Book Blitz

Second Star
J.M. Sullivan
Published by: Bleeding Ink Publishing
Publication date: March 5th 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Peter Pan has never been one to follow the rules. Abandoned as a child, he was adopted by the renowned Captain Hooke to join the crew of the starship Jolly Roger. But when Peter finds out that the elegant Captain is not as upstanding as everyone believes, he has no choice but to sabotage the ship, alienating him from the crew, the fleet, and the only family he’s ever known.

Wendy Darling has worked her entire life to rise through the ranks of the prestigious Londonierre Brigade. Now as a Captain, she has everything she’s always wanted, including a ship and crew of her own. But when the Brigade receives a strange transmission from the legendary James Hooke, lost a hundred years earlier in uncharted space and presumed dead, Wendy is willing to risk it all to rescue her hero from the planet known only as Neverland.

But there is more to Neverland than meets the eye, and more to Hooke than what was written in history books. When Wendy crash lands on the ominous planet, she quickly discovers Neverland’s dark secret; a malevolent being known as The Shadow that’s looking for a host body to escape its eternal prison. To fulfill her mission, Wendy must decide whether to trust the dashing Hooke or the mysterious Fleet mechanic who goes by the name of Pan–and she has to decide quickly…

Before the darkness consumes them all.

Add to Goodreads

 

Author Bio:

An avid reader and hopeless fangirl, J.M. Sullivan shamelessly fantasized that this was, in fact, her AUROR bio, but has since determined AUTHOR bio to be the next best thing. An almost Arizona native, she was raised in Phoenix, but when asked, she will tell you her formative years were really spent in the land of make-believe, where she passed countless hours with her favorite characters in their own worlds, Wonderland included.

Eventually, society informed her that she had to grow up, so she experimented in retail, music, and business careers before realizing her passion for kids. She now works in Abu Dhabi as a middle school science teacher who fosters a love of science, literature, and learning in her students.

Although known to dabble in adulting, J.M. is a big kid at heart who still believes in true love, magic, and most of all, the power of coffee. When she isn’t busy writing or caught in a daydream, she spends her time at home with her husband, their two cats, three kids, and a whole lot of madness. And she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Website / Facebook / Twitter

 

XBTBanner1

Second Star

A Prom to Remember Blog Tour – Interview with Sandy Hall

A Prom to Remember
Sandy Hall
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: April 24th 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Love it or hate it, you’ll never forget it. In this heart-warming novel, Swoon Reads star, Sandy Hall, explores a classic high school celebration, capturing every relatable and hilarious teen milestone along the way.

Cora: Dating Perfect Boyfriend Jamie. Has NO IDEA how to break up with him…

Paisley: Anti-prom. Somehow nominated her anxiety-ridden best friend for prom king…

Henry: Hates social situations. Invited to prom by the most popular girl in school. SEND HELP!

Otis: Half of one of the cutest couples in his class. Not quite ready for a post-prom hotel room…

Lizzie: Shy. Excited to go to prom. With a boy. Whose name she doesn’t know.

Cameron: Loner. Over high school. Just wants to meet the mysterious girl who’s been leaving him notes…

Jacinta: Unnamed Nerd Girl #3. Determined to become the star of her own life, starting with prom…

Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, A Prom to Remember, from Sandy Hall (author of A Little Something Different), is a funny and cinematic look at the biggest dance of every high schooler’s life.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo


Author Bio:

I’m a teen librarian from New Jersey where I was born and raised. I have a BA in Communication and a Master of Library and Information Science from Rutgers University. When I’m not writing, or teen librarian-ing, I enjoy reading, slot machines, marathoning TV shows, and long scrolls through Tumblr. A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT is my first novel.

Website / Goodreads / Twitter


GIVEAWAY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


XBTBanner1

 


Interview with Sandy Hall

What inspired you to write A Prom to Remember?

My editor actually gave me the idea to write a book that was like Love Actually plus the Prom. I thought it was a great idea, so I ran with it!

Which of your books was the hardest/easiest to write?

Everyone always says the second book is the hardest to write and they’re not wrong. Signs Point to Yes was SUCH a struggle. I just couldn’t get it right, no matter how many drafts we went through. My first book, A Little Something Different, was definitely the easiest since there were no expectations for it and back then I was just writing for myself. 

Which of your characters is most like you?

I like to think there’s a little bit of me, or at least my experiences, in every character, but sometimes bigger stuff trickles in. For example, in PROM, Henry and Paisley are best friends. As I was reading it over for the millionth time, I realized that I had based their banter on the relationship I have with my friend Ryan. While neither of us is like Paisley or Henry, there’s definitely a vibe to the way they talk to each other that I lifted directly from my real life friendship. 

How do you decide on character names?

I use nameberry.com pretty much exclusively. Rather than just alphabetical lists of names, it has a variety of lists of names grouped together like “Vintage names” or “Flower names” or “No nickname names.” It really helps when I know the vibe of the name I want but can’t come up with the right one. 

What are you planning on writing next?

I have a book in with my editor that I can’t say too much about yet, but hopefully, if all goes well, it will be announced soon.

Any advice for aspiring authors?

Finish what you start! Don’t go back and edit until you get to the end. 

What books/authors inspired you?

Too many to count! The first book that really made me want to be a writer, and believe that I could be a writer, was Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. Up until that point my book ideas hadn’t panned out, but that book really inspired me to try harder. Most recently it’s been The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. I’ve read it at least a dozen times. There’s something about the enemies to lovers trope that just gets me every time. 

Did you always want to be an author?

Nope! As a kid I wanted to be everything from a teacher to an ophthalmologist to a pediatrician. In college, I wanted to be a speech therapist, but ended up getting a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science, so I worked as a childrens and teen librarian for a long time. It was only a few years ago that I decided to give writing a try. 

What kind of music did you listen to while writing?

I can’t listen to anything with words while I’m writing, so usually it’s classical or even just white noise for me. Though lately, I’ve needed complete silence to get anything done. 

Current favorite tv show?

Brooklyn 99 or This Is Us. Depends on whether I want to laugh or cry. 

What’s your Hogwarts house?

Hufflepuff! 

Other YA books you love? Give us some recs!

Most recently I read Let’s Talk About Love by my fellow Swoon Reads author Claire Kann. It was fantastic! Adorable and a little bit heartbreaking, pretty much everything you want from YA romance. Other favorites are definitely Alex Approximately by Jenn Bennett and The Only Thing Worst Than You is Me by Lily Anderson. Both of which feature my favorite enemies to lovers trope. 


April 23rd
The Genre Minx Book Reviews >> Excerpt
Belle’s Book Blog >> Review
Sunny Buzzy Books >> Review
Smooches and Seitn >> Review
Dani Reviews Things >> Interview

April 24th
The Candid Cover >> Guest post
books are love >> Review
My Lovely Secret >> Review

April 25th
The Book Dutchesses >> Review
Buried Under Books >> Review
Living a Hundred Lives >> Review
Reading With Wrin >> Review
The Book Maiden >> Review

April 26th
Actin’ Up with Books >> Review
A Dream Within A Dream >> Excerpt
Sincerely Karen Jo >> Review
The Avid Reader >> Guest post
Lisa Loves Literature >> Review

April 27th
Smada’s Book Smack >> Review
The Heart of a Book Blogger >> Review
RiverMoose-Reads >> Interview
Books Direct >> Review
Elley the Book Otter >> Review

Book Blitz: Owl Eyes

Owl Eyes: A Fairy Tale
Molly Lazer
Publication date: March 20th 2018
Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Young Adult

Nora knows three things: she is a servant, her parents are dead, and she lives in the kitchen house with her adoptive family. But her world is torn apart when she discovers that her birth father has always been right there, living in the house she serves.

This discovery leads Nora to more questions. Why was she thrown in an ash-covered room for asking about her father? Why is a silver-bladed knife the only inheritance from her birth mother? Why is magic forbidden in her household—and throughout the province of the Runes? The answers may not be the ones Nora hoped for, as they threaten a possible romance and her relationship with the adoptive family she loves.

With the announcement of a royal ball, Nora must decide what she is willing to give up in order to claim her stolen birthright, and whether this new life is worth losing her family—and herself.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

Excerpt #1: 1,082 words

“Nora?”

I wheeled around to face Sarah, the head maid.

“What are you doing here?”

I looked at the floor.  The grey and green grain of the marble flowed like the lines on one of Sir Alcander’s maps. I ran the tip of my shoe along one of the paths.

“I’m looking for Robert,” I said. “I need to talk to him. It’s important.”

“He’s taking dictation for Sir Alcander.” Sarah looked past me down the hall. “He’ll be done soon. Come with me.”

She put a hand on my back and ushered me in the direction from which I’d come.

“You’re not supposed to be in here,” she said.

“I know.” I tucked the cameo into my pocket. “But it’s important. Don’t tell Greta, please.”

Sarah glanced behind us. The pressure of her hand on my back became more urgent.

“It’s not Greta I’m worried about.” She opened the door to the servants’ quarters and pushed me inside. “Stay here. I’ll get Robert.”

She left the door open a crack and hurried down the hall. I sat on Robert’s bed. A long piece of straw poked out of the mattress. I pulled it out from the fabric and broke a piece off the end. By the time Robert arrived, shutting the door behind him, there was a small pile of straw on my lap. I leapt off the bed, spilling it on the floor.

“Sorry.” I bent down to sweep the straw into my hand. Robert knelt to help me.

“Nora, what are you doing here? You’re not supposed to be—”

“I need to talk to you,” I said. “It’s about my—” The word stuck on my tongue. “Um, Siobhan and Annabelle said that…” I took the cameo out of my pocket. “Who is this?”

Robert snatched it out of my hand. “What are you doing with this?” My cheeks burned. “I found it on the shelf. Is it your wife?”

The angry lines on Robert’s face softened. “No, it’s my sister. She died a long time ago. Why do you ask?”

I sat on the bed. I felt heavy enough that I might sink into the straw and never come out.

“Siobhan and Annabelle said they heard Lady Portia and Sir Alcander talking, and they said that my”—I choked out the word — “father was in the main house. I thought that you might be—”

Robert moved away, dropping the straw into a bucket next to the bed. I sank farther into the mattress. Being poked with spindles of straw was preferable to the silence in the room.

“Your father?” Robert said. “Nora, the man who was your father is long gone.”

“But you have to be,” I protested. “Your hair, it’s just like mine.”

“What, this old mess?” Robert ran a hand through his hair and sat down next to me.

My voice dropped to a whisper. “It has to be you.”

“I’m sorry, Nora. I don’t have any children. Peter’s been a good father to you, hasn’t he?”

“Yes.” I could feel each razor of straw jabbing into my skin. “I just thought—”

Wait. What did he say?

“You know who my father was!” It came out as a statement, not a question. Robert jumped up from the bed.

“No, Nora, you misunderstood. I—”

“Yes, you do!” I leapt up after him. “You said he was gone, but you know who he was. Tell me!”

Robert’s eyes darted back and forth as if he were looking for a way to escape the conversation before fixing on a point behind me. Panic tinged his voice.

“She was just bringing a message from the kitchen house.”

I turned to see Lady Portia standing on the other side of the door. I hadn’t heard it open. Waves of anger passed through her cold ocean eyes. I had only ever seen Lady Portia angry, but this was different. This was rage, and it was aimed squarely at me.

Robert put a protective arm around my shoulders.

“I’m sending her back right now.”

“Eleanor.” Lady Portia’s voice was ice cracking. “You are not permitted in here.”

“I’m sorry,” I croaked. “I’ll go back.” This was different from Sarah’s confusion at finding me in the hall or Robert’s initial anger at discovering his cameo in my hands. Different, and infinitely more dangerous.

Before I could move, Lady Portia was in the room, grabbing my arm and wrenching me from Robert’s grasp. I could feel her breath on my cheeks as she pulled me close.

“You are supposed to stay in the kitchen house,” she hissed. She jerked me out of the room and down the hall.

“Ma’am—” Robert started after us.

“Stay where you are,” Portia said without turning to look at him. “This is none of your business.”

I looked back, panicked, as I flailed in my attempt to keep up with Lady Portia’s long stride. I heard the sound of the back door being thrown open. I could only hope Robert was going to get Greta or Peter.

Lady Portia’s fingers burned on my arm as she pulled me behind her, making a series of turns through the hallways. Anytime I opened my mouth to protest, to apologize, to cry, she jerked me forwards, and my words were swallowed in a yelp of pain. She finally stopped in front of a plain, wooden door. It felt out of place next to the other doors in the hallway, which were lacquered and covered in carvings. Its austerity didn’t belong, just like I didn’t.

My wrist glowed red when Lady Portia let me go, and I rubbed my arm to quell the pain. My mouth ran ahead of me, spitting out every apology I could think of. She ignored me as she sorted through the keys on a ring she took from her dress pocket and fit a large iron key into the lock. The door creaked open. I couldn’t make out anything inside—there were no windows to let in the light. The darkness in the room felt different than when the kitchen house darkened after sunset. This darkness was hungry. I turned to run.

Portia caught my wrist and shoved me into the room. I fell on my hands and knees. Small pieces of something—dust? ash?—rose up around me, making their way into my throat. I started to cough.

“Never ask about your father again.” She slammed the door, plunging me into the dark.


Excerpt #2: 501 words

 Light spilled into the room. I opened my eyes into small slits and peeked through my fingers. I could just make out a female figure, waist tightly corseted and gown flaring out at the hips.

“Mother?”

“Don’t be daft, Eleanor,” Lady Portia said. “Get up.”

If I had the strength to move, I would have run from the room as fast as my feet would carry me. Instead, I curled into a ball on the ground. Even though I squeezed my eyes shut, I could still see the orange glow from the torches in the hall.

“I said get up.” Lady Portia grabbed my arm in the exact spot where she bruised me before. I cried out as she hauled me to my feet.

“Have you learned your lesson?” Her breath was sweet, like lavender. I wanted to retch on her shoes. I could feel the darkness reaching for me with sticky-slick fingers.

“Yes, ma’am,” I whispered as loud as my dry throat would allow.

“I can’t hear you.” She tightened her grip on my arm, and it was all I could do not to whimper as my eyes finally adjusted to the light.

“Yes, ma’am,” I repeated, louder. My head pounded. She released my arm.

Gold eyes stared at me from a mirror that hung on the opposite wall, daring me to make a move. The girl in the mirror had swallowed the darkness of the room; my shadow-self stared out from the glass. Her skin was dead black. I looked down at my arms. They were covered in ash from the floor of the room with no windows. I screamed.

Lady Portia’s hand cracked across my cheek. “Stop that,” she hissed.

I scraped my arms with hands that were just as black. I smelled ash every time I breathed in.

Siobhan and Annabelle’s laughter echoed through the hall. I had to get out of there. Lady Portia grabbed the back of my shirt as I braced to run.

“Girls!” she barked as Siobhan and Annabelle rounded the corner. “No running in the hall.”

The girls skidded to a stop in front of us.

“Ella-Della!” Annabelle said. “What happened?” She looked up, appealing to Lady Portia. “Mother, she didn’t really break my bird. It was an accident!”

“Don’t call her that name, Annabelle,” Portia said. “You sound like an imbecile.”

“An imbecile who got her own toy stuck in a tree.” Siobhan swatted Annabelle’s sleeve and cocked her head at me. “You look like an owl with those yellow eyes. You’re so dirty they’re all I can see. Are you hungry, Owl Eyes? I’ll see if I can find you a mouse for supper.”

She laughed and began to hoot. Annabelle joined in, and Portia sighed with disgust.

“Take her back to the kitchen house,” Portia said. “And get these two ready for dinner.”

I hadn’t noticed Sarah and another servant standing there. Sarah ushered Siobhan and Annabelle back down the hall.

“Bye, Owl Eyes,” Siobhan called over her shoulder.


Excerpt #3: 629 words

“Hi.”

I shot up from the bed, screaming, and scrambling backwards before falling off the mattress onto the planked wood floor. A boy crouched next to me with his elbows balanced on his knees and his chin resting against his palms. He wore an old, light blue shirt that was much too large for his small frame. A piece of hay stuck up from the mop of brown hair on his head.

“Jack!” Liana called from the kitchen. “Don’t wake Nora.”

“Too late,” the boy called back.

“Who are you?” I pressed my hand to my chest to keep my heart in place. “Why were you watching me sleep?”

“I wasn’t watching you sleep,” the boy said. “Peter and me just got back from the Market, and I got up here and found you on my mattress.”

“Your—” I sputtered. I took a deep breath and tried to inhale the motherwort from the candle. “This is my bed.”

“Well, no one said it was yours, did they? I claimed this bed when I got here, and no one made a peep.” He crossed his arms and looked at the floor. “They were probably too worried if you were okay to care about where I was sleeping. You looked pretty rotten.”

“I was sick,” I said, staking my spot on the mattress again.

“No, I mean you actually looked like you’d rotted. Your skin was all black. Are you sure you’re not a spirit who’s talking to me now?”

I grabbed his arm and pressed my palm to his. “No spirit,” I said. “I’m here.”

He grinned. I shoved him on the floor.

“I’m Jack,” he said as he picked himself up.

“Nora.”

“Are you Greta and Peter’s daughter?”

“No.” I regretted the words as soon as they came out of my mouth. They were true, but I chewed them like a lie. “I mean yes. Sort of.”

“How are you only ‘sort of’ their daughter?”

“I mean, yes, I’m their daughter. They’re just not my real parents. My real parents are dead. Or gone. Or something. My mother is dead.” I was rambling. I pulled the candle closer to the mattress, hearing Greta’s voice in my ear warning me that the flame could catch the straw on fire. I didn’t care. I lowered my face and breathed in.

“Does your ma’s spirit ever talk to you?” Jack asked.

“What?” I stared at him. “That’s stupid. How old are you that you still think that can happen?”

“I’m thirteen.” Defensiveness crept into his voice. “And I only asked because I can talk to my pa anytime I want to. Or at least I could when we lived in the Vale. His spirit lives in the river there.”

Sir Alcander had hired a crazy person to work in the kitchen house.

“No, he doesn’t.”

“He does so! I’ll show you sometime, and you’ll see.”

I flopped back down on the mattress and rolled over so I was facing away from him, pulling the candle to the other side with me. I could feel Jack watching me.

“Your ma is nice,” I said, still not facing him.

“Thanks. I think so too.” There, finally, was something we agreed on. “I’m going to bed now. You can keep your spot. I didn’t want it anyway.” I peeked over my shoulder. Jack lay down on a new mattress I hadn’t noticed next to the wall.

“Thanks,” I said. In the dim light of the candle, his eyes looked almost gold. I smiled.

“It’s all right,” he said. “I can sleep almost anywhere as long as I’ve got enough space. I don’t like feeling closed up in small places.”  The dark room pulsed behind me. “Me neither.”

Now we had two things in common.


Excerpt #4: 1,069 words

The Castle wall towered over us. I trailed my hand along its rough surface, catching my fingers in the slots that were left open at varying heights (“So we could get speared from the inside with a halberd or a sword if we were trying to invade, or if we’re caught trespassing,” Jack reasoned), being careful not to shred my skin on the thorns of the climbing roses that covered the stones.

We walked along the wall to where a number of forest paths combined into a wide road flanked by a line of white oaks. Just setting foot on that road made me feel special, like I was doing exactly what a daughter of Sir Alcander of the Runes should.

At the end of the path, a pair of large doors was set into the wall, carved with the royal insignia: a rose was emblazoned on each door, and a tall sword was split in the center. On either side of the doors, lookouts kept watch in towers.

“Nora—” Jack pointed to the tower on the left where the guard was holding a crossbow and eyeing us suspiciously. The thunder of hooves sounded behind us.

“Make way!” the guard on the right shouted. We jumped off the oak-lined road as horses galloped past. Four guards on horseback carrying halberds and dressed in mail surrounded the riders in the center.  The doors opened from inside, and the horses disappeared onto the grounds of the Castle proper. The guard with the crossbow called out to us as the doors shut, gesturing with the weapon. “Shoo!”

Before the doors closed, I got a quick view of the Castle grounds. They were enormous, much larger than the estate at the Runes proper. There was as much distance between the wall and the Castle as there was between the forest and the wall. Smaller buildings dotted the grounds, and I had the faintest glimpse of servants going about their work outdoors.

Suddenly, I realized the foolishness of this endeavor. What was I hoping for? To walk into the Castle and announce my presence to His Majesty? To blend in among the Castle servants in my Runes green skirt? I wanted to see the building before my sisters did, and I probably hadn’t even done that. With their status, they’d almost certainly been invited to the Castle before. As for me, there was still a giant stone wall and a pair of armed guards in my way. I’d need a title, a name, an invitation to actually go inside.

I yanked at my servant’s skirt—the coarse material was hot and scratchy against my skin—and walked back in the direction from which we came. Jack pivoted to follow.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “This was stupid.” Stupid to think I could have gotten here first, stupid to think that we could get onto the grounds of the Castle proper, stupid to have stopped. Imbecilic, Portia’s voice said in my head.

“It would have been a good story,” Jack said. “A tale to rival Peter’s, even if you’d been shot with a crossbow. Especially if you’d been shot with a crossbow.”

He stopped walking, attention piqued.

“What?” I said. I wanted to get back to our wagon before another guard shooed us away. Jack pressed his eye to one of the halberd holes in the wall and motioned for me to come look. I pushed a rose aside to look through a lower opening. I could just make out a path and the edge of a building.

“What?”

“Shh,” Jack whispered. “Listen.”

Snippets of conversation mingled with the sounds of horses.  The building must have been one of the royal stables.

“—can’t believe you’re so cavalier about this.” The first voice, a man’s.

“Why is everything a matter of life and death with you?” A second voice, female.

“Who is it?” I whispered. Jack shook his head and moved along the wall, peeking through the halberd holes. I followed until I had a better look at the speakers. The man paced, appearing and disappearing as flashes of brown trousers and a white shirt in my thin window. The woman stayed squarely in view, watching the man with amused detachment as she flipped her blond hair over her shoulder.

The man’s voice floated in and out with his movements. “…isn’t going to change what Father said…don’t pick a husband, he’s going to pick for you…and I have to…”

“You?” The woman laughed. “You look like you’re ready to jump out the window whenever a lady comes to court!”

“It’s Princess Callista,” Jack whispered. His voice was hoarse.

“And Prince Edward,” I whispered back.

“Let’s go before we get a halberd to the eye,” Jack said, tugging on my sleeve.

“Absolutely not.” I strained to hear more of the conversation inside. “I’d prefer defenestration to some of those girls,” Edward said. He stopped pacing and stood with his back to the wall. “Did you know that Lady Grace actually asked to try on Mother’s crown?”

“Nora,” Jack said. His eyes were beginning to water. The smell of the roses around us was overwhelming.

“Just a bit longer.” I ran along the wall, following the Prince and Princess. Now that they were a bit farther away, I could see them better. Their brown riding clothes were snug on their figures. Princess Callista walked with her hands on Edward’s shoulders, hanging on his back and laughing. A pair of guards followed them.

“Poor Edward,” Callista cooed. I ran to the next opening in the wall in time to hear, “—if you can’t find someone then, you might as well let Father pick for you.”

Edward wheeled around, shaking her off. “I don’t want a marriage of convenience! I want to be happy.” I had my first look at his face, which had changed quite a bit from how I remembered him years ago. He had grown to be tall and striking, with dark hair and handsome features. The opening in the wall wasn’t large enough for me to see him well, but from what I could make out, I could easily imagine noble girls fighting over him.

“So be happy,” Callista said. “And while you’re at it—”

Jack sneezed. One of the guards looked back at the wall.

“Uh-oh,” Jack said.

I jerked back as the point of a halberd jutted through the hole.

“Run!”


Playlist:

This is my “Chapter 14 Playlist,” which I created to set the mood while writing one of the climactic and most emotional scenes of the book. I think it reflects the mood of the chapter…and my totally random taste in music.

 

I Want You (She’s So Heavy) – Across the Universe Soundtrack

Sleepwalker – Adam Lambert

Hollow Moon – AWOLNATION

This Unthinkable Place – Bushwalla

The American and Florence/Nobody’s Side – Chess (Original Cast Recording)

Fight Sounds, Part 1 – Circlesquare

Bethlehem Steel – Delta Rae

I Will Never Die – Delta Rae

Happy Together – Filter

No Lie, No Lie – Florence and the Machine

Best of You – Foo Fighters

Midnight Radio – Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Radioactive – Imagine Dragons

Plane – Jason Mraz

My December – Josh Groban

Bleed it Out – Linkin Park

Thistle & Weeds – Mumford & Sons

Let the Monster Rise – Repo! The Genetic Opera (Cast Recording)

Shout – Tears for Fears

Heavy Dirty Soul – Twenty-One Pilots

Fairly Local – Twenty-One Pilots

Goner – Twenty-One Pilots

Car Radio – Twenty-One Pilots

Love You to Death – Type O Negative

Thousand Eyes – Of Monsters and Men


Author Bio:

Molly Lazer is a former associate editor at Marvel Comics, where she worked on books such as Fantastic Four, Captain America, New Avengers, and cult favorite comic book Spider-Girl. After returning to graduate school to receive a degree in education, she began a career as a high school reading, writing, and drama teacher. She also serves as a professional critiquer for Comics Experience, helping aspiring comic book writers finesse scripts for publication.

In 2016, Molly received a MFA in Creative Writing from Rosemont College. Her short stories have been featured in numerous literary magazines including Gone Lawn, LIT, and Silver Blade. She lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and twin sons. Owl Eyes is her first novel.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

GIVEAWAY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

XBTBanner1

 

Cover Reveal: Lucifer’s Pride

Lucifer’s Pride
G.P. Ching
(Soulkeepers Reborn, #3)
Publication date: May 29th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult

No one comes between the Devil and his pride.

To save his friends, Finn Wager opened a bridge between worlds. But the dark magic he used exacted a terrible price. Unable to remain on the Soulkeeper team, he joins a coven of magicians in New Orleans, vowing to undo the damage he’s caused. But when he tries to save the day, he ends up making everything worse.

Numbers dwindling, the Soulkeepers are more vulnerable than ever. The new Healer is reluctant to replace Hope on the team. Even if he decides to try, he’ll have to pass an initiation by the Immortals with life or death consequences. Meanwhile, the Soulkeepers are without the leader they need.

Twice, the Soulkeepers have evaded Lucifer’s clutches and injured his pride. Now it’s personal. He’ll stop at nothing to exploit their weaknesses, take back his power, and end the Soulkeepers for good. Unless through courage, loyalty, and self-sacrifice, they can find a way to become a team again.

Add to Goodreads

For more information and preorder links visit: https://gpching.com/books/lucifers-pride/

 

Author Bio:

G.P. Ching is a USA Today bestselling author of science fiction and fantasy novels for young adults and not-so-young adults. She bakes wicked cookies, is commonly believed to be raised by wolves, and thinks both the ocean and the North Woods hold magical healing powers. G.P.’s idea of the perfect day involves several cups of coffee and a heavy dose of nature. She splits her time between central Illinois and Hilton Head Island with her husband, two children, and a Brittany spaniel named Jack, who is always ready for the next adventure.

Join her VIP list to receive a free story and be eligible for specials and perks!

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bookbub

 

XBTBanner1

 

Blog Tour: Dream Me – Top Ten List

DreamMeBlitzBanner.png

Dream Me
Kathryn Berla
Published by: Amberjack Publishing
Publication date: July 11th 2017
Genres: RomanceTime-TravelYoung Adult

Goodreads B&N Amazon


DreamMe1

Summary:

Zat is a dreamer from the distant future—a time when humans no longer dream and Earth is a desolate wasteland. He dreams of the beautiful Earth of the past, and a fiery-haired beauty named Babe. Against the wisdom of his peers, Zat decides to risk everything to travel back in time and live in Babe’s dreams…

Babe is the perpetual new girl in town. Her father’s job frequently moves the family around the country, and Babe just longs for a place to call home. As she settles into the sleepy town of Sugar Dunes, Florida, Babe begins to have strange dreams of a green-eyed boy named Zat. Night after night, Babe shows Zat her world. But the dreams come at the cost of nearly crippling migraines every morning. Babe’s life outside of her dreams pales in comparison to her growing love for Zat and their time spent together.

But the more time Babe and Zat spend together in her dreams, the more Babe’s pain increases, and Zat begins to question the reality of his existence. How can he live a life with Babe, when all they have is her dreams?

Can a dream become a reality?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kathryn Berla graduated from the University of California at Berkeley as an English major. She has lived in many different countries in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. She currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Top Ten List:

If You Like These Ten Books, You’ll Like Dream Me!

Dreamology (Lucy Keating)

12 Hours in Paradise (Kathryn Berla)

Girl Against the Universe (Paula Stokes)

The Rest of Us Just Live Here (Patrick Ness)

At the Edge of the Universe (Shaun David Hutchinson)

Second Chance Summer (Morgan Matson)

Walking in Time (Angie Stanton)

Traveler (L.E. DeLano)

No Love Allowed (Kate Evangelista)

Saint Anything (Sarah Dessen)


Schedule:

July 17th
CBY Book Club >> Excerpt
Hot Off the Shelves  >> Excerpt
Full Moon Bites >> Interview

July 18th
Hauntedbybooks13 >> Guest post
Books of a Shy Girl >> Review
The Genre Minx Book Reviews >> Top 10 List

July 19th
Lisa Loves Literature >> Excerpt
Padme’s Library  >> Interview
The Unrated Bookshelf >> Review

July 20th
Book Randomness >> Excerpt
Dreams ‘N Books >> Review
Loves Great Reads >> Guest post

July 21st
Another Book Hangover >> Excerpt
RiverMoose-Reads >> Top 10 List
Mes Livres  >> Review
Creating Serenity >> Review

July 24th
Only True Magic >> Review
Fabulous and Brunette >> Top 10 List
The Cover Contessa >> Interview

July 25th
Lovely Paranormal Books >> Excerpt
A Very Bookish Girl >> Review
Haddie’s Haven >> Review

July 26th
Brooke Blogs >> Excerpt
Hooked To Books >> Interview
Jazzy Book Reviews >> Excerpt

July 27th
Bibliobibuli YA >> Guest post
Adventures in Writing >> Review
Celticlady’s Reviews >> Excerpt

July 28th
The Avid Reader  >> Review
Fanatical Paranormal Romantical >> Review
So Few Books >> Interview

Cover Reveal: Gate of Air

Gate of Air
Resa Nelson
(Dragon Gods, #1)
Publication date: July 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Frayka must find and convince the dragon gods of the Far East to appease the gods of her Northland heritage. If she fails, her own Northlander gods will destroy all the mortals who once promised to worship them.

The Far East is a mysterious place of legend to Northlanders like Frayka. Only an old map can show her how to get there. Once she arrives, all of Frayka’s sensibilities put her in danger. And every dangerous turn delays her from finding the dragon gods whose help she so desperately needs.

Although Frayka looks like a Far Easterner, she is a powerful Northlander warrior who is quick to voice her thoughts. She is trained to fight and won’t hesitate to do so.

But everything about Frayka puts her in deadly peril in the Far East, where the laws are strict and the punishment cruel.

Especially when the one being punished is a woman.

Add to Goodreads

Author Bio:

Resa Nelson is the author of the 4-book Dragonslayer series: The Dragonslayer’s Sword (nominated for the Nebula Award, finalist for the EPPIE Award), The Iron Maiden , The Stone of Darkness , and The Dragon’s Egg . Her 4-book Dragonfly series takes place after the Dragonslayer series.

Her standalone novels include the mystery/thrillers All Of Us Were Sophie and Our Lady of the Absolute .

Resa has been selling short stories professionally since 1988. She is a longtime member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America), and she is a graduate of the Clarion SF Workshop. Resa was the TV/Movie Columnist for Realms of Fantasy magazine for 13 years as well as a regular contributor to SCI FI magazine. She has sold over 200 articles to magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Website / Goodreads / Twitter

 

XBTBanner1