Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Cover Reveal: Shattered Pack by Aileen Erin!


Shattered Pack
by Aileen Erin
(Alpha Girl, #6)
Published by: Ink Monster LLC
Publication date: November 29th 2016
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
    Meredith Molloney never thought she’d find a mate, let alone someone like Donovan Murry—one of the most powerful Alphas alive. Now that she’s no longer cursed and the evil Luciana Alvarez has been taken care of, she thinks life will finally settle down.      Boy, has she never been so wrong
     In the middle of the night, Donovan gets a call telling him that his pack has gone to pieces. The news that his second in command has been found brutally murdered has Donovan packing his bags for Ireland, but the last thing Meredith wants to do is leave Texas. She’s heard about how the Celtic Pack are with outsiders. And Donovan has more than a few exes in the pack that will be less than friendly.
      Meredith’s never let a few angry wolves stop her, and she’s not about to start now. She’s faced down much worse the past few months. But when she gets there, she finds that it’s not just a few exes who stand in the way between her and her Full Moon Ceremony with Donovan
Meredith is thrust in to a deadly game of pack politics, one the fey have happily joined in on. When the dust settles, she knows she’ll either have everything that she wants or lose it all.
alphashattered_


Author Bio:
    Aileen Erin is half-Irish, half-Mexican, and 100% nerd--from Star Wars (prequels don't count) to Star Trek (TNG FTW), she reads Quenya and some Sindarin, and has a severe fascination with the supernatural. Aileen has a BS in Radio-TV-Film from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She lives with her husband in Los Angeles, and spends her days doing her favorite things: reading books, creating worlds, and kicking ass.

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Monday, 30 May 2016

Cover Reveal: Under A Million Stars by Rita Branches!

Under A Million Stars
by Rita Branches
Publication date: August 8th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
    Can a beating heart bleed from the shattered pieces?
    Her heart cracked when her best friend walked away; it completely shattered when she lost her family in a tragic accident.
    Now orphaned at seventeen, Charlotte Peterson is forced to live with her former best friend, Jacob Parker. Charlie, a talented pianist, desperately wants their loving friendship back, but something is holding Jake back. The more she spirals into the darkness of depression, the more she needs him.
     Jacob vowed to stay away from her—no matter how much he still loved her. Armed with secrets that would have destroyed both of their families, he chose to end their friendship and walk away, which nearly killed him. As he watches the girl he once knew begin to fade away, however, he realizes that their relationship is more important than the truth he’s hiding.
      Now it’s up to Jacob to put the pieces of Charlie’s broken heart back together—even if it means revealing the secrets he so desperately wants to protect her from.
Will Jacob find a way to bring back the carefree, talented girl he once knew, or is it too late for both of them?


Author Bio:
Rita Branches is an independent YA (young adult) author who enjoys spending every free moment (when she´s not reading) writing emotional stories. Visit: http://ritabranches.wordpress.com/


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Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Book Blitz: Shining Sea by Mimi Cross!

Shining Sea
by Mimi Cross
Published by: Skyscape
Publication date: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult
Blurb:
    Seventeen-year-old Arion Rush has always played the obedient sidekick to her older sister’s flashy femme fatale—until a mysterious boating accident leaves Lilah a silent, traumatized stranger. As her sister awaits medical treatment with their mother, Arion and their father head to his hometown in Maine to prepare a new life for them all. Surrounded by the vast Atlantic, songwriting is Arion’s only solace, her solid ground.
    Unexpectedly, Arion blossoms in the tiny coastal town. Friends flock to her, and Logan Delaine, a volatile heartthrob, seems downright smitten. But it’s Bo Summers—a solitary surfer, as alluring as he is aloof—that Arion can’t shake. Meanwhile, Lilah’s worsening condition, a string of local fatalities, and Arion’s own recent brushes with death seem ominously linked…to Bo’s otherworldly family. As Arion’s feelings for Bo intensify and his affections turn possessive, she must make a choice. How will Arion learn to listen to her own voice when Bo’s siren song won’t stop ringing in her ears?

EXCERPT:
    GOODBYE
    Tuneless humming is coming from the bedroom next to mine. I’ve always been the better singer, no secret. Even before I could talk, I sang. To me, singing feels like . . . flying.
As a little kid I sang in the church choir, later on in the choruses at school, and about six months ago I started writing songs—not that I’d call myself a songwriter yet. My first gig was last week, down in the Mission District. Standing on the spotlit stage of the black box performance space, I played one long set—twelve tunes total—while hipsters watched with crossed arms.
Performing in front of an audience is a good way to tell if your songs are finished.
    Or not.
    The song I’m trying to capture now definitely falls into the not category.
I give the guitar a soft strum—a ghost of a chord slips out. Playing the haunting notes a little louder, I listen for the melody. It’ll come, eventually, but we’re leaving any minute.
    Not just leaving . . . moving.
    “Do you know,” I whisper sing, “where lost things go?”
    In the next room Lilah falls silent. The lyrics tangle in my throat.
    My fingers fumble, then jerk—playing a rhythmic pattern atop a single minor chord: one and two, one and two. Words tumble out of me. “Saint Anthony, can you come around? There’s something lost, and it can’t be found.”
    Saint Anthony—is he the one?
    A quick Google search on the laptop perched at the end of my bed tells me he is. Saint Anthony is invoked as the finder of lost things. Pulling my guitar closer, I play the line over and over.
    “Arion? You up there?”
    Dad. After shoving the laptop into my backpack, I shut the guitar in its case and head into the hall. Hands full, I stand in my sister’s doorway.
    She doesn’t see me.
    Even as thin as she is, even with the ever-present dark shadows beneath her eyes, Lilah is beautiful. Her features are regular and in proportion. Mine . . . are slightly exaggerated. Nose longer, lips fuller. Now, without music to distract me, the tears I’d vowed not to cry fill my eyes. Brown eyes. On a good day, they’re hazel. Maybe.
     There’s no mistaking the color of my sister’s eyes. Bright blue. Her hair is black and shiny, cut straight across her forehead and blunt at her shoulders in a way that has always made me think of Cleopatra, but especially since the accident, when she became a mystery to me. Lilah no longer tells me her every thought. She can’t.
     My sister blinks her bellflower eyes now, and for a split second— seems to focus on me.
     But the illusion vanishes just as quickly. I swallow around the lump in my throat, wondering for the millionth time if she has any idea what’s going on.
     Her bed is up against the window. In the distance—over a nearly invisible San Francisco Bay—the Golden Gate Bridge hovers in fog. Sitting down beside her on the bed, I lay a hand on one of her legs—feel bones, atrophied muscles. A raw feeling spreads through me, like a dull blade is scraping the underside of my skin.
    “So . . . guess it’s time for goodbye.” I take a deep breath in, let it out slowly—which doesn’t help at all. “I’ll see you in Rock Hook Harbor. Dad’s one-horse hometown . . . Sounds happening, huh?” My attempt at lightheartedness fails completely. The words drop like bricks.
     Leaning in, I kiss her cheek.
     She turns away, as if looking toward the ghostly water. Or, is she looking at the water? Or just staring blankly?
     I so want it to be the former. The doctors say it’s the latter.
     In my chest, a hairline fissure I’ve fused together with lyrics and chords pops open.
     “I love you,” I choke out.
     She doesn’t answer. Of course she doesn’t.
     Biting down hard on my lip, I stand up, trying not to feel like I’m leaving my best friend stranded.      But I am. She is. Stranded. She’s been stranded, for a year.
     Swiping at my eyes, I take a few steps down the hall—then turn suddenly into my parents’ room, which is mostly Mom’s room now. Dad spends the nights he’s here on the living room couch, where, after dinner—usually something complicated he’s cooked up involving lots of pots and pans—he falls asleep with the TV on. Blue screen to white noise; maybe the sound helps him. Music works better for me. Or, it used to. I used to lie in bed at night and sing. Lately, all I want to do is sleep.
Like the rest of the house, my parents’ bedroom is crowded with canvases. Filled with slashes of color and geometric shapes, each paint- ing has the name “Cici” scrawled in large letters down in the right-hand corner. Mom’s pictures pulse with unfamiliar energy, and my nostrils flare at the scent of paint fumes as I move a half-finished piece—an abstract portrait of a girl, I think—that’s leaning up against the glass door. Slipping out onto the balcony, I clutch the cold railing and eye a moldering stack of Psychology Today magazines. Therapy is Mom’s religion.
     A pair of paint-splattered jeans hangs off a chair. A handful of paintbrushes soak in a bucket. There’s no sign of Dad.
    My parents are like a couple of unmoored boats. Drifting. One of the few things they agreed on this past year? The accident was Dad’s fault. A pretty stupid conclusion, really, considering he hadn’t even been on the boat. But he’s a ship’s captain. Lilah and I inherited our love of the water from him.
Water. I hate it now. Because of the water, I’m on this balcony almost every day, drawn out here as if for a long-standing appointment, some prearranged meeting between me and my broken heart. I cry here; sometimes I yell. Sometimes I write, and one day, I nearly threw my guitar over the railing.
Splintered wood, snapped strings, I’m interested in broken things. The circling song lyrics fade at the sound of Mom’s strained voice. “Arion, have you finished saying goodbye to Delilah? Your dad’s ready to go.”
    I stay another second, then scoop up a stray guitar pick from the terracotta tiles and head inside, not paying any attention to the paint- ings now, just intent on leaving before I get any more upset.
But then I’m passing Lilah’s room—and I see it.
    The slim black notebook I’ve searched for probably a hundred times over the past year.
Oh, I’ve seen the palm-size Moleskine with its curled cover, seen it clutched in Lilah’s fist, watched as she whisked the small black book beneath her quilt, or shoved it between her sheets. I just haven’t been able to get my hands on it, and I’ve wanted to, desperately.
    So many times I’ve seen her slip the notebook between the over- size pages of the art books that Mom insists on bringing home from the library. She’ll hug the book close then—her treasure safe inside— but she’ll never actually look at the glossy pages. Not like she looks at that notebook. She looks at that black book like it’s the only thing she recognizes.
    It’s definitely some kind of diary. Not that I ever see her writing in it, not since before. But she’s always got it on her.
    Only, she doesn’t have it on her now.
    Now, there it is, on the floor next to her bed. And Lilah, there she is, still looking but not looking out the window. Transfixed, it would seem, by the gray bay. As I watch, she lifts one hand, bringing her fingertips to the glass—as if there’s something out there she wants to touch.
    It’s kind of amazing how I do it, how I steal her most precious pos- session without breaking my stride. How I silently sweep into the room and, bending low, snatch it up—then keep on walking like nothing’s happened. Like I’m ten-year-old Lilah herself, that time at the rock and gem shop down near the beach, trying on one sterling silver ring, then another. I’ll never forget it, how she smiled at the shopkeeper—maybe even said thank you—then practically skipped out the door, still wear- ing at least one of the rings. Once outside, she tossed a half-dozen more rings onto the pebbles that served as the shop’s front yard, so that she could retrieve them that night when the gem shop was closed, so that we could retrieve them.
    Eight-year-old me, I’d held the flashlight for her. She’d given me one of the rings as my reward, but only one.
    I feel bad taking the book; if I could read it and leave it, I would. But there’s no time. Through the hall window I can see Dad standing down in the driveway by the old green Jeep Cherokee, the car that will be mine once we get to Maine.
    So I slide the notebook into the pocket of my backpack where it burns a hole so big I think it will surely fall out—pages fluttering like fiery wings—and slap the floor with a sound so sharp, Lilah will shud- der to life. She’ll spring up and shout at me, her old self at last.
But nothing like this happens.
     Leaving Lilah. Taking the notebook. My skin ripples with guilt. But we have to go on ahead. School’s starting in a few weeks, plus Dad’s new job—they won’t hold it any longer.
     And really, I have to take the book. I need to know what happened.
     Out in the driveway, I crane my neck, trying to see if Lilah’s still at the window.
     “Hold on,” Mom shouts from the house, “I almost forgot!”
     Time seems suspended as Dad and I wait by the car, the limbo of the long ride already upon us . . .
     Mom reappears holding a square box wrapped in gold paper and a purple ribbon. Balanced on top is a fat cupcake with pink frosting.
     “Happy birthday, Arion.” Her flinty blue eyes soften. She hands me the awkward duo and gives me an equally awkward hug. “From both of us.”
     Dad smiles, shakes his head. “Seventeen.” He’s always been a man of few words.
     “Thanks, Mom. Dad.” Swallowing hard, I climb into the car with the gifts on my lap. Mom pecks Dad on the cheek, and he gets behind the wheel. As we pull away, she blows me a kiss.
Twisting in my seat, I wave—then look up at the second story. No Lilah.
    My chest hurts so much—I actually glance down. But there’s nothing except a smear of pink icing on my shirt, where I’d leaned into the cupcake.
    We’ll fly back close to Thanksgiving, when Lilah is scheduled for the operation that my parents have finally decided is her best bet: a surgical procedure to implant a device in her brain.
It’s not as sci-fi as it sounds. The battery-operated device is kind of like a pacemaker, only for your brain instead of your heart. This kind of surgery is used to treat a variety of disabling neurological symptoms, although I think whoever came up with DBS—deep brain stimulation—was thinking of people with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, not, well, whatever’s wrong with Lilah. Her case is—entirely different. I’m not going to pretend: I’m scared. But the plan is, we’ll all be together in Maine by Christmas, so that’s what I’m trying to focus on. I’ll miss Lilah. Mom too. But I’m glad to be leaving San Francisco.
    My life here . . . is on hold—except for my music. The rest is a waiting game.
    We’ve all been waiting for Lilah to find what she lost. As if she can look for it.


Author Bio:
    Mimi Cross was born in Toronto, Canada. She received a master's degree from New York University and a bachelor's degree in music from Ithaca College. She has been a performer, a music educator, and a yoga instructor. During the course of her musical career, she's shared the bill with artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, and Sting. She resides in New Jersey.


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Book Blitz: Shining Sea by Mimi Cross!

Shining Sea
by Mimi Cross
Published by: Skyscape
Publication date: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult
Blurb:
    Seventeen-year-old Arion Rush has always played the obedient sidekick to her older sister’s flashy femme fatale—until a mysterious boating accident leaves Lilah a silent, traumatized stranger. As her sister awaits medical treatment with their mother, Arion and their father head to his hometown in Maine to prepare a new life for them all. Surrounded by the vast Atlantic, songwriting is Arion’s only solace, her solid ground.
    Unexpectedly, Arion blossoms in the tiny coastal town. Friends flock to her, and Logan Delaine, a volatile heartthrob, seems downright smitten. But it’s Bo Summers—a solitary surfer, as alluring as he is aloof—that Arion can’t shake. Meanwhile, Lilah’s worsening condition, a string of local fatalities, and Arion’s own recent brushes with death seem ominously linked…to Bo’s otherworldly family. As Arion’s feelings for Bo intensify and his affections turn possessive, she must make a choice. How will Arion learn to listen to her own voice when Bo’s siren song won’t stop ringing in her ears?

EXCERPT:
    GOODBYE
    Tuneless humming is coming from the bedroom next to mine. I’ve always been the better singer, no secret. Even before I could talk, I sang. To me, singing feels like . . . flying.
As a little kid I sang in the church choir, later on in the choruses at school, and about six months ago I started writing songs—not that I’d call myself a songwriter yet. My first gig was last week, down in the Mission District. Standing on the spotlit stage of the black box performance space, I played one long set—twelve tunes total—while hipsters watched with crossed arms.
Performing in front of an audience is a good way to tell if your songs are finished.
    Or not.
    The song I’m trying to capture now definitely falls into the not category.
I give the guitar a soft strum—a ghost of a chord slips out. Playing the haunting notes a little louder, I listen for the melody. It’ll come, eventually, but we’re leaving any minute.
    Not just leaving . . . moving.
    “Do you know,” I whisper sing, “where lost things go?”
    In the next room Lilah falls silent. The lyrics tangle in my throat.
    My fingers fumble, then jerk—playing a rhythmic pattern atop a single minor chord: one and two, one and two. Words tumble out of me. “Saint Anthony, can you come around? There’s something lost, and it can’t be found.”
    Saint Anthony—is he the one?
    A quick Google search on the laptop perched at the end of my bed tells me he is. Saint Anthony is invoked as the finder of lost things. Pulling my guitar closer, I play the line over and over.
    “Arion? You up there?”
    Dad. After shoving the laptop into my backpack, I shut the guitar in its case and head into the hall. Hands full, I stand in my sister’s doorway.
    She doesn’t see me.
    Even as thin as she is, even with the ever-present dark shadows beneath her eyes, Lilah is beautiful. Her features are regular and in proportion. Mine . . . are slightly exaggerated. Nose longer, lips fuller. Now, without music to distract me, the tears I’d vowed not to cry fill my eyes. Brown eyes. On a good day, they’re hazel. Maybe.
     There’s no mistaking the color of my sister’s eyes. Bright blue. Her hair is black and shiny, cut straight across her forehead and blunt at her shoulders in a way that has always made me think of Cleopatra, but especially since the accident, when she became a mystery to me. Lilah no longer tells me her every thought. She can’t.
     My sister blinks her bellflower eyes now, and for a split second— seems to focus on me.
     But the illusion vanishes just as quickly. I swallow around the lump in my throat, wondering for the millionth time if she has any idea what’s going on.
     Her bed is up against the window. In the distance—over a nearly invisible San Francisco Bay—the Golden Gate Bridge hovers in fog. Sitting down beside her on the bed, I lay a hand on one of her legs—feel bones, atrophied muscles. A raw feeling spreads through me, like a dull blade is scraping the underside of my skin.
    “So . . . guess it’s time for goodbye.” I take a deep breath in, let it out slowly—which doesn’t help at all. “I’ll see you in Rock Hook Harbor. Dad’s one-horse hometown . . . Sounds happening, huh?” My attempt at lightheartedness fails completely. The words drop like bricks.
     Leaning in, I kiss her cheek.
     She turns away, as if looking toward the ghostly water. Or, is she looking at the water? Or just staring blankly?
     I so want it to be the former. The doctors say it’s the latter.
     In my chest, a hairline fissure I’ve fused together with lyrics and chords pops open.
     “I love you,” I choke out.
     She doesn’t answer. Of course she doesn’t.
     Biting down hard on my lip, I stand up, trying not to feel like I’m leaving my best friend stranded.      But I am. She is. Stranded. She’s been stranded, for a year.
     Swiping at my eyes, I take a few steps down the hall—then turn suddenly into my parents’ room, which is mostly Mom’s room now. Dad spends the nights he’s here on the living room couch, where, after dinner—usually something complicated he’s cooked up involving lots of pots and pans—he falls asleep with the TV on. Blue screen to white noise; maybe the sound helps him. Music works better for me. Or, it used to. I used to lie in bed at night and sing. Lately, all I want to do is sleep.
Like the rest of the house, my parents’ bedroom is crowded with canvases. Filled with slashes of color and geometric shapes, each paint- ing has the name “Cici” scrawled in large letters down in the right-hand corner. Mom’s pictures pulse with unfamiliar energy, and my nostrils flare at the scent of paint fumes as I move a half-finished piece—an abstract portrait of a girl, I think—that’s leaning up against the glass door. Slipping out onto the balcony, I clutch the cold railing and eye a moldering stack of Psychology Today magazines. Therapy is Mom’s religion.
     A pair of paint-splattered jeans hangs off a chair. A handful of paintbrushes soak in a bucket. There’s no sign of Dad.
    My parents are like a couple of unmoored boats. Drifting. One of the few things they agreed on this past year? The accident was Dad’s fault. A pretty stupid conclusion, really, considering he hadn’t even been on the boat. But he’s a ship’s captain. Lilah and I inherited our love of the water from him.
Water. I hate it now. Because of the water, I’m on this balcony almost every day, drawn out here as if for a long-standing appointment, some prearranged meeting between me and my broken heart. I cry here; sometimes I yell. Sometimes I write, and one day, I nearly threw my guitar over the railing.
Splintered wood, snapped strings, I’m interested in broken things. The circling song lyrics fade at the sound of Mom’s strained voice. “Arion, have you finished saying goodbye to Delilah? Your dad’s ready to go.”
    I stay another second, then scoop up a stray guitar pick from the terracotta tiles and head inside, not paying any attention to the paint- ings now, just intent on leaving before I get any more upset.
But then I’m passing Lilah’s room—and I see it.
    The slim black notebook I’ve searched for probably a hundred times over the past year.
Oh, I’ve seen the palm-size Moleskine with its curled cover, seen it clutched in Lilah’s fist, watched as she whisked the small black book beneath her quilt, or shoved it between her sheets. I just haven’t been able to get my hands on it, and I’ve wanted to, desperately.
    So many times I’ve seen her slip the notebook between the over- size pages of the art books that Mom insists on bringing home from the library. She’ll hug the book close then—her treasure safe inside— but she’ll never actually look at the glossy pages. Not like she looks at that notebook. She looks at that black book like it’s the only thing she recognizes.
    It’s definitely some kind of diary. Not that I ever see her writing in it, not since before. But she’s always got it on her.
    Only, she doesn’t have it on her now.
    Now, there it is, on the floor next to her bed. And Lilah, there she is, still looking but not looking out the window. Transfixed, it would seem, by the gray bay. As I watch, she lifts one hand, bringing her fingertips to the glass—as if there’s something out there she wants to touch.
    It’s kind of amazing how I do it, how I steal her most precious pos- session without breaking my stride. How I silently sweep into the room and, bending low, snatch it up—then keep on walking like nothing’s happened. Like I’m ten-year-old Lilah herself, that time at the rock and gem shop down near the beach, trying on one sterling silver ring, then another. I’ll never forget it, how she smiled at the shopkeeper—maybe even said thank you—then practically skipped out the door, still wear- ing at least one of the rings. Once outside, she tossed a half-dozen more rings onto the pebbles that served as the shop’s front yard, so that she could retrieve them that night when the gem shop was closed, so that we could retrieve them.
    Eight-year-old me, I’d held the flashlight for her. She’d given me one of the rings as my reward, but only one.
    I feel bad taking the book; if I could read it and leave it, I would. But there’s no time. Through the hall window I can see Dad standing down in the driveway by the old green Jeep Cherokee, the car that will be mine once we get to Maine.
    So I slide the notebook into the pocket of my backpack where it burns a hole so big I think it will surely fall out—pages fluttering like fiery wings—and slap the floor with a sound so sharp, Lilah will shud- der to life. She’ll spring up and shout at me, her old self at last.
But nothing like this happens.
     Leaving Lilah. Taking the notebook. My skin ripples with guilt. But we have to go on ahead. School’s starting in a few weeks, plus Dad’s new job—they won’t hold it any longer.
     And really, I have to take the book. I need to know what happened.
     Out in the driveway, I crane my neck, trying to see if Lilah’s still at the window.
     “Hold on,” Mom shouts from the house, “I almost forgot!”
     Time seems suspended as Dad and I wait by the car, the limbo of the long ride already upon us . . .
     Mom reappears holding a square box wrapped in gold paper and a purple ribbon. Balanced on top is a fat cupcake with pink frosting.
     “Happy birthday, Arion.” Her flinty blue eyes soften. She hands me the awkward duo and gives me an equally awkward hug. “From both of us.”
     Dad smiles, shakes his head. “Seventeen.” He’s always been a man of few words.
     “Thanks, Mom. Dad.” Swallowing hard, I climb into the car with the gifts on my lap. Mom pecks Dad on the cheek, and he gets behind the wheel. As we pull away, she blows me a kiss.
Twisting in my seat, I wave—then look up at the second story. No Lilah.
    My chest hurts so much—I actually glance down. But there’s nothing except a smear of pink icing on my shirt, where I’d leaned into the cupcake.
    We’ll fly back close to Thanksgiving, when Lilah is scheduled for the operation that my parents have finally decided is her best bet: a surgical procedure to implant a device in her brain.
It’s not as sci-fi as it sounds. The battery-operated device is kind of like a pacemaker, only for your brain instead of your heart. This kind of surgery is used to treat a variety of disabling neurological symptoms, although I think whoever came up with DBS—deep brain stimulation—was thinking of people with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, not, well, whatever’s wrong with Lilah. Her case is—entirely different. I’m not going to pretend: I’m scared. But the plan is, we’ll all be together in Maine by Christmas, so that’s what I’m trying to focus on. I’ll miss Lilah. Mom too. But I’m glad to be leaving San Francisco.
    My life here . . . is on hold—except for my music. The rest is a waiting game.
    We’ve all been waiting for Lilah to find what she lost. As if she can look for it.


Author Bio:
    Mimi Cross was born in Toronto, Canada. She received a master's degree from New York University and a bachelor's degree in music from Ithaca College. She has been a performer, a music educator, and a yoga instructor. During the course of her musical career, she's shared the bill with artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, and Sting. She resides in New Jersey.


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Book Blitz: Shining Sea by Mimi Cross!

Shining Sea
by Mimi Cross
Published by: Skyscape
Publication date: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult
Blurb:
    Seventeen-year-old Arion Rush has always played the obedient sidekick to her older sister’s flashy femme fatale—until a mysterious boating accident leaves Lilah a silent, traumatized stranger. As her sister awaits medical treatment with their mother, Arion and their father head to his hometown in Maine to prepare a new life for them all. Surrounded by the vast Atlantic, songwriting is Arion’s only solace, her solid ground.
    Unexpectedly, Arion blossoms in the tiny coastal town. Friends flock to her, and Logan Delaine, a volatile heartthrob, seems downright smitten. But it’s Bo Summers—a solitary surfer, as alluring as he is aloof—that Arion can’t shake. Meanwhile, Lilah’s worsening condition, a string of local fatalities, and Arion’s own recent brushes with death seem ominously linked…to Bo’s otherworldly family. As Arion’s feelings for Bo intensify and his affections turn possessive, she must make a choice. How will Arion learn to listen to her own voice when Bo’s siren song won’t stop ringing in her ears?

EXCERPT:
    GOODBYE
    Tuneless humming is coming from the bedroom next to mine. I’ve always been the better singer, no secret. Even before I could talk, I sang. To me, singing feels like . . . flying.
As a little kid I sang in the church choir, later on in the choruses at school, and about six months ago I started writing songs—not that I’d call myself a songwriter yet. My first gig was last week, down in the Mission District. Standing on the spotlit stage of the black box performance space, I played one long set—twelve tunes total—while hipsters watched with crossed arms.
Performing in front of an audience is a good way to tell if your songs are finished.
    Or not.
    The song I’m trying to capture now definitely falls into the not category.
I give the guitar a soft strum—a ghost of a chord slips out. Playing the haunting notes a little louder, I listen for the melody. It’ll come, eventually, but we’re leaving any minute.
    Not just leaving . . . moving.
    “Do you know,” I whisper sing, “where lost things go?”
    In the next room Lilah falls silent. The lyrics tangle in my throat.
    My fingers fumble, then jerk—playing a rhythmic pattern atop a single minor chord: one and two, one and two. Words tumble out of me. “Saint Anthony, can you come around? There’s something lost, and it can’t be found.”
    Saint Anthony—is he the one?
    A quick Google search on the laptop perched at the end of my bed tells me he is. Saint Anthony is invoked as the finder of lost things. Pulling my guitar closer, I play the line over and over.
    “Arion? You up there?”
    Dad. After shoving the laptop into my backpack, I shut the guitar in its case and head into the hall. Hands full, I stand in my sister’s doorway.
    She doesn’t see me.
    Even as thin as she is, even with the ever-present dark shadows beneath her eyes, Lilah is beautiful. Her features are regular and in proportion. Mine . . . are slightly exaggerated. Nose longer, lips fuller. Now, without music to distract me, the tears I’d vowed not to cry fill my eyes. Brown eyes. On a good day, they’re hazel. Maybe.
     There’s no mistaking the color of my sister’s eyes. Bright blue. Her hair is black and shiny, cut straight across her forehead and blunt at her shoulders in a way that has always made me think of Cleopatra, but especially since the accident, when she became a mystery to me. Lilah no longer tells me her every thought. She can’t.
     My sister blinks her bellflower eyes now, and for a split second— seems to focus on me.
     But the illusion vanishes just as quickly. I swallow around the lump in my throat, wondering for the millionth time if she has any idea what’s going on.
     Her bed is up against the window. In the distance—over a nearly invisible San Francisco Bay—the Golden Gate Bridge hovers in fog. Sitting down beside her on the bed, I lay a hand on one of her legs—feel bones, atrophied muscles. A raw feeling spreads through me, like a dull blade is scraping the underside of my skin.
    “So . . . guess it’s time for goodbye.” I take a deep breath in, let it out slowly—which doesn’t help at all. “I’ll see you in Rock Hook Harbor. Dad’s one-horse hometown . . . Sounds happening, huh?” My attempt at lightheartedness fails completely. The words drop like bricks.
     Leaning in, I kiss her cheek.
     She turns away, as if looking toward the ghostly water. Or, is she looking at the water? Or just staring blankly?
     I so want it to be the former. The doctors say it’s the latter.
     In my chest, a hairline fissure I’ve fused together with lyrics and chords pops open.
     “I love you,” I choke out.
     She doesn’t answer. Of course she doesn’t.
     Biting down hard on my lip, I stand up, trying not to feel like I’m leaving my best friend stranded.      But I am. She is. Stranded. She’s been stranded, for a year.
     Swiping at my eyes, I take a few steps down the hall—then turn suddenly into my parents’ room, which is mostly Mom’s room now. Dad spends the nights he’s here on the living room couch, where, after dinner—usually something complicated he’s cooked up involving lots of pots and pans—he falls asleep with the TV on. Blue screen to white noise; maybe the sound helps him. Music works better for me. Or, it used to. I used to lie in bed at night and sing. Lately, all I want to do is sleep.
Like the rest of the house, my parents’ bedroom is crowded with canvases. Filled with slashes of color and geometric shapes, each paint- ing has the name “Cici” scrawled in large letters down in the right-hand corner. Mom’s pictures pulse with unfamiliar energy, and my nostrils flare at the scent of paint fumes as I move a half-finished piece—an abstract portrait of a girl, I think—that’s leaning up against the glass door. Slipping out onto the balcony, I clutch the cold railing and eye a moldering stack of Psychology Today magazines. Therapy is Mom’s religion.
     A pair of paint-splattered jeans hangs off a chair. A handful of paintbrushes soak in a bucket. There’s no sign of Dad.
    My parents are like a couple of unmoored boats. Drifting. One of the few things they agreed on this past year? The accident was Dad’s fault. A pretty stupid conclusion, really, considering he hadn’t even been on the boat. But he’s a ship’s captain. Lilah and I inherited our love of the water from him.
Water. I hate it now. Because of the water, I’m on this balcony almost every day, drawn out here as if for a long-standing appointment, some prearranged meeting between me and my broken heart. I cry here; sometimes I yell. Sometimes I write, and one day, I nearly threw my guitar over the railing.
Splintered wood, snapped strings, I’m interested in broken things. The circling song lyrics fade at the sound of Mom’s strained voice. “Arion, have you finished saying goodbye to Delilah? Your dad’s ready to go.”
    I stay another second, then scoop up a stray guitar pick from the terracotta tiles and head inside, not paying any attention to the paint- ings now, just intent on leaving before I get any more upset.
But then I’m passing Lilah’s room—and I see it.
    The slim black notebook I’ve searched for probably a hundred times over the past year.
Oh, I’ve seen the palm-size Moleskine with its curled cover, seen it clutched in Lilah’s fist, watched as she whisked the small black book beneath her quilt, or shoved it between her sheets. I just haven’t been able to get my hands on it, and I’ve wanted to, desperately.
    So many times I’ve seen her slip the notebook between the over- size pages of the art books that Mom insists on bringing home from the library. She’ll hug the book close then—her treasure safe inside— but she’ll never actually look at the glossy pages. Not like she looks at that notebook. She looks at that black book like it’s the only thing she recognizes.
    It’s definitely some kind of diary. Not that I ever see her writing in it, not since before. But she’s always got it on her.
    Only, she doesn’t have it on her now.
    Now, there it is, on the floor next to her bed. And Lilah, there she is, still looking but not looking out the window. Transfixed, it would seem, by the gray bay. As I watch, she lifts one hand, bringing her fingertips to the glass—as if there’s something out there she wants to touch.
    It’s kind of amazing how I do it, how I steal her most precious pos- session without breaking my stride. How I silently sweep into the room and, bending low, snatch it up—then keep on walking like nothing’s happened. Like I’m ten-year-old Lilah herself, that time at the rock and gem shop down near the beach, trying on one sterling silver ring, then another. I’ll never forget it, how she smiled at the shopkeeper—maybe even said thank you—then practically skipped out the door, still wear- ing at least one of the rings. Once outside, she tossed a half-dozen more rings onto the pebbles that served as the shop’s front yard, so that she could retrieve them that night when the gem shop was closed, so that we could retrieve them.
    Eight-year-old me, I’d held the flashlight for her. She’d given me one of the rings as my reward, but only one.
    I feel bad taking the book; if I could read it and leave it, I would. But there’s no time. Through the hall window I can see Dad standing down in the driveway by the old green Jeep Cherokee, the car that will be mine once we get to Maine.
    So I slide the notebook into the pocket of my backpack where it burns a hole so big I think it will surely fall out—pages fluttering like fiery wings—and slap the floor with a sound so sharp, Lilah will shud- der to life. She’ll spring up and shout at me, her old self at last.
But nothing like this happens.
     Leaving Lilah. Taking the notebook. My skin ripples with guilt. But we have to go on ahead. School’s starting in a few weeks, plus Dad’s new job—they won’t hold it any longer.
     And really, I have to take the book. I need to know what happened.
     Out in the driveway, I crane my neck, trying to see if Lilah’s still at the window.
     “Hold on,” Mom shouts from the house, “I almost forgot!”
     Time seems suspended as Dad and I wait by the car, the limbo of the long ride already upon us . . .
     Mom reappears holding a square box wrapped in gold paper and a purple ribbon. Balanced on top is a fat cupcake with pink frosting.
     “Happy birthday, Arion.” Her flinty blue eyes soften. She hands me the awkward duo and gives me an equally awkward hug. “From both of us.”
     Dad smiles, shakes his head. “Seventeen.” He’s always been a man of few words.
     “Thanks, Mom. Dad.” Swallowing hard, I climb into the car with the gifts on my lap. Mom pecks Dad on the cheek, and he gets behind the wheel. As we pull away, she blows me a kiss.
Twisting in my seat, I wave—then look up at the second story. No Lilah.
    My chest hurts so much—I actually glance down. But there’s nothing except a smear of pink icing on my shirt, where I’d leaned into the cupcake.
    We’ll fly back close to Thanksgiving, when Lilah is scheduled for the operation that my parents have finally decided is her best bet: a surgical procedure to implant a device in her brain.
It’s not as sci-fi as it sounds. The battery-operated device is kind of like a pacemaker, only for your brain instead of your heart. This kind of surgery is used to treat a variety of disabling neurological symptoms, although I think whoever came up with DBS—deep brain stimulation—was thinking of people with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, not, well, whatever’s wrong with Lilah. Her case is—entirely different. I’m not going to pretend: I’m scared. But the plan is, we’ll all be together in Maine by Christmas, so that’s what I’m trying to focus on. I’ll miss Lilah. Mom too. But I’m glad to be leaving San Francisco.
    My life here . . . is on hold—except for my music. The rest is a waiting game.
    We’ve all been waiting for Lilah to find what she lost. As if she can look for it.


Author Bio:
    Mimi Cross was born in Toronto, Canada. She received a master's degree from New York University and a bachelor's degree in music from Ithaca College. She has been a performer, a music educator, and a yoga instructor. During the course of her musical career, she's shared the bill with artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, and Sting. She resides in New Jersey.


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Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Book Blitz: Fighter Girl by Kathryn James!

Fighter Girl
by Kathryn James
Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: May 17th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
“It began three days ago with a fight. Seems that for me, everything begins with a fight…”
Sammy Jo may be strong, fast and tough, even in heels, but she gets into trouble when she fights some local thugs to save a rich boy named Gregory.
Now bad guy McCloud is after her – and he’s even more dangerous than her forbidden love for Gregory.
Fighter Girl was published in the United Kingdom under the title GYPSY GIRL.

EXCERPT:
The wedding is over.
My beautiful bridesmaid dress is soaked in blood. Bright crimson patterning the white. The hem ragged and torn. The tulle skirt missing and the strapless bodice ripped. My tiara is long gone. My hair stiffened with dried blood, not mousse. My legs are crumpled beneath, unable to move. I’m like a ragdoll.
I’m lying here in this circle of trees by the black water. They call it a beauty spot. I can’t see any beauty today. Only death. The magpies warned us.
Gregory is beside me, his sun-streaked, fair hair red with blood, his face white as a ghost. Shocked and injured again. It’s my fault. I want to hug him, hold him close, tell him I didn’t mean to let this happen to him. But I can’t move. Anyway, he probably hates me.
Is it over? Don’t ask me.
In the distance, I can hear emergency sirens. Has everyone found out? Has my daddy? His name is Samson Smith. He comes from a long line of champion fighters.
My name is Sammy-Jo Smith. I’m the only girl to have inherited the Smith fighting skills. Sometimes I love it, but now I hate it. I’m too fast, too strong, even in my Jimmy Choo heels. It’s brought me here, to this place of death.
It began three days ago with a fight. Seems that for me everything always begins with a fight …

Author Bio:
   Kathryn lives in Leicester with her family, writing full time (and loves that!) Kathryn always wanted to become an author and wrote her first story at age eight. But it took quite a while and lots of different jobs before she got published.
   She's worked with gypsy and traveller children, working from a converted bus with a rainbow on the side, doing video and photography projects, and documenting travelling lives.
   Mist draws on and is influenced by her work with this community.
   She's also written scripts for a local video production company, many of them for children and teenagers.
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Book Blitz: Fighter Girl by Kathryn James!

Fighter Girl
by Kathryn James
Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: May 17th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
“It began three days ago with a fight. Seems that for me, everything begins with a fight…”
Sammy Jo may be strong, fast and tough, even in heels, but she gets into trouble when she fights some local thugs to save a rich boy named Gregory.
Now bad guy McCloud is after her – and he’s even more dangerous than her forbidden love for Gregory.
Fighter Girl was published in the United Kingdom under the title GYPSY GIRL.

EXCERPT:
The wedding is over.
My beautiful bridesmaid dress is soaked in blood. Bright crimson patterning the white. The hem ragged and torn. The tulle skirt missing and the strapless bodice ripped. My tiara is long gone. My hair stiffened with dried blood, not mousse. My legs are crumpled beneath, unable to move. I’m like a ragdoll.
I’m lying here in this circle of trees by the black water. They call it a beauty spot. I can’t see any beauty today. Only death. The magpies warned us.
Gregory is beside me, his sun-streaked, fair hair red with blood, his face white as a ghost. Shocked and injured again. It’s my fault. I want to hug him, hold him close, tell him I didn’t mean to let this happen to him. But I can’t move. Anyway, he probably hates me.
Is it over? Don’t ask me.
In the distance, I can hear emergency sirens. Has everyone found out? Has my daddy? His name is Samson Smith. He comes from a long line of champion fighters.
My name is Sammy-Jo Smith. I’m the only girl to have inherited the Smith fighting skills. Sometimes I love it, but now I hate it. I’m too fast, too strong, even in my Jimmy Choo heels. It’s brought me here, to this place of death.
It began three days ago with a fight. Seems that for me everything always begins with a fight …

Author Bio:
   Kathryn lives in Leicester with her family, writing full time (and loves that!) Kathryn always wanted to become an author and wrote her first story at age eight. But it took quite a while and lots of different jobs before she got published.
   She's worked with gypsy and traveller children, working from a converted bus with a rainbow on the side, doing video and photography projects, and documenting travelling lives.
   Mist draws on and is influenced by her work with this community.
   She's also written scripts for a local video production company, many of them for children and teenagers.
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Friday, 13 May 2016

Blog Tour: Hatred Day by T. S. Pettibone!

Hatred Day 
by T.S. Pettibone 
(Hatred Day, #1)
Publication date: January 29th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Synopsis:
    In the year 2052, it’s not love but hate that unites the world. Humanity is unified against the Inborns, an extraterrestrial species with godlike intelligence and abilities whose arrival on earth caused an environmental and biological crisis.
Enslaved and despised even by her own Inbornkind, 18-year-old Snofrid reawakens to the world after having her memories stolen and is certain of only one thing: she will do anything to ensure her freedom. But her resolution is soon tested when the son of a high-ranking human official is murdered and her home city becomes the center of the interspecies war, one that might see the Inborns purged. Desperate to find a way out of the city for herself and her family, Snofrid risks making a deal with the manipulative Inborn Commander, Hadrian, and his brutal cadre of soldiers. Her task is simple: take part in a historic hunt that will bring wealth and fame to all who survive. Unfortunately, Snofrid’s role is one in which survival is rarely seen—the bait.

Purchase:

TOP 15 FAVORITE CHARACTERS
     For our guest post, we thought it would be interesting to put together a top-fifteen list of our favorite characters. Unfortunately, by the time we had finished writing down names, we realized that we had nearly fifty favorite characters (who doesn’t?). It was a difficult cutting process, but we finally managed to whittle down the list. We chose the characters based off of their complexity, uniqueness, authenticity, and most importantly, how deeply they impacted us. With that said, here are a few of our favorite characters of all time:
1. Niki Lauda from Rush (2013). Played by Daniel Brühl.
2. Don Vito Corleone from The Godfather Part 1 & 2 (1972-1974). Played by Marlon Brando/Robert De Niro. 
3. Forrest Bondurant from Lawless (2012). Played by Tom Hardy. 
4. Scarlett O’Hara from Gone with the Wind (1939). Played by Vivien Leigh.
5. Darth Vader from Star Wars (1977-1983). Played by David Prowse & Voiced by James Earl Jones.
6. Indiana Jones from Indiana Jones (1981-1989). Played by Harrison Ford.
7. Yuri Boyka from Undisputed 2, 3 & 4 (2006-2016). Played by Scott Adkins.
8. The Driver from Drive (2011). Played by Ryan Gosling. 
9. Ray from In Bruges (2008). Played by Colin Farrell.
10. L from Death Note (2006-2007). Voiced by Kappei Yamaguchi. 
11. Frank Castle “The Punisher” from Daredevil (2015-2016). Played by Jon Bernthal.
12. Vesper Lynd from Casino Royale (2006). Played by Eva Green.
13. Thomas Anderson “Neo” from The Matrix (1999-2003). Played by Keanu Reeves. 
14. Ladd Russo from Baccano! (2007-2008). Voiced by Keiji Fujiwara.
15. Bridget Jones from Bridget Jones Diary (2001-2016). Played by Renée Zellweger.

AUTHOR BIO:
    T.S. Pettibone are the authors of The Hatred Day Series. Expected publication for book two, Verdict Day, is 2017. T.S. Pettibone is the pen name of identical twins, Brittany and Nicole Pettibone. They were born in California, grew up in Kansas, and these days, live and write in California. On the rare occasion that they break from writing, they enjoy taking their dog on night walks, reading books by long deceased authors, drinking too much coffee and tea, traveling the world, making friends out of strangers and trying new things.
Author links:
http://tspettibone.com/
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14907899.T_S_Pettibone
https://www.facebook.com/tspettibone/
https://twitter.com/tspettibone

Blog Tour: Hatred Day by T. S. Pettibone!

Hatred Day 
by T.S. Pettibone 
(Hatred Day, #1)
Publication date: January 29th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Synopsis:
    In the year 2052, it’s not love but hate that unites the world. Humanity is unified against the Inborns, an extraterrestrial species with godlike intelligence and abilities whose arrival on earth caused an environmental and biological crisis.
Enslaved and despised even by her own Inbornkind, 18-year-old Snofrid reawakens to the world after having her memories stolen and is certain of only one thing: she will do anything to ensure her freedom. But her resolution is soon tested when the son of a high-ranking human official is murdered and her home city becomes the center of the interspecies war, one that might see the Inborns purged. Desperate to find a way out of the city for herself and her family, Snofrid risks making a deal with the manipulative Inborn Commander, Hadrian, and his brutal cadre of soldiers. Her task is simple: take part in a historic hunt that will bring wealth and fame to all who survive. Unfortunately, Snofrid’s role is one in which survival is rarely seen—the bait.

Purchase:

TOP 15 FAVORITE CHARACTERS
     For our guest post, we thought it would be interesting to put together a top-fifteen list of our favorite characters. Unfortunately, by the time we had finished writing down names, we realized that we had nearly fifty favorite characters (who doesn’t?). It was a difficult cutting process, but we finally managed to whittle down the list. We chose the characters based off of their complexity, uniqueness, authenticity, and most importantly, how deeply they impacted us. With that said, here are a few of our favorite characters of all time:
1. Niki Lauda from Rush (2013). Played by Daniel Brühl.
2. Don Vito Corleone from The Godfather Part 1 & 2 (1972-1974). Played by Marlon Brando/Robert De Niro. 
3. Forrest Bondurant from Lawless (2012). Played by Tom Hardy. 
4. Scarlett O’Hara from Gone with the Wind (1939). Played by Vivien Leigh.
5. Darth Vader from Star Wars (1977-1983). Played by David Prowse & Voiced by James Earl Jones.
6. Indiana Jones from Indiana Jones (1981-1989). Played by Harrison Ford.
7. Yuri Boyka from Undisputed 2, 3 & 4 (2006-2016). Played by Scott Adkins.
8. The Driver from Drive (2011). Played by Ryan Gosling. 
9. Ray from In Bruges (2008). Played by Colin Farrell.
10. L from Death Note (2006-2007). Voiced by Kappei Yamaguchi. 
11. Frank Castle “The Punisher” from Daredevil (2015-2016). Played by Jon Bernthal.
12. Vesper Lynd from Casino Royale (2006). Played by Eva Green.
13. Thomas Anderson “Neo” from The Matrix (1999-2003). Played by Keanu Reeves. 
14. Ladd Russo from Baccano! (2007-2008). Voiced by Keiji Fujiwara.
15. Bridget Jones from Bridget Jones Diary (2001-2016). Played by Renée Zellweger.

AUTHOR BIO:
    T.S. Pettibone are the authors of The Hatred Day Series. Expected publication for book two, Verdict Day, is 2017. T.S. Pettibone is the pen name of identical twins, Brittany and Nicole Pettibone. They were born in California, grew up in Kansas, and these days, live and write in California. On the rare occasion that they break from writing, they enjoy taking their dog on night walks, reading books by long deceased authors, drinking too much coffee and tea, traveling the world, making friends out of strangers and trying new things.
Author links:
http://tspettibone.com/
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14907899.T_S_Pettibone
https://www.facebook.com/tspettibone/
https://twitter.com/tspettibone

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Book Blitz: The Midnight Sea by Kat Ross!

The Midnight Sea
by Kat Ross
(Fourth Element #1)
Publication date: May 10th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
   They are the light against the darkness.
The steel against the necromancy of the Druj.
And they use demons to hunt demons….
Nazafareen lives for revenge. A girl of the isolated Four-Legs Clan, all she knows about the King’s elite Water Dogs is that they bind wicked creatures called daevas to protect the empire from the Undead. But when scouts arrive to recruit young people with the gift, she leaps at the chance to join their ranks. To hunt the monsters that killed her sister.
Scarred by grief, she’s willing to pay any price, even if it requires linking with a daeva named Darius. Human in body, he’s possessed of a terrifying power, one that Nazafareen controls. But the golden cuffs that join them have an unwanted side effect. Each experiences the other’s emotions, and human and daeva start to grow dangerously close.
As they pursue a deadly foe across the arid waste of the Great Salt Plain to the glittering capital of Persepolae, unearthing the secrets of Darius’s past along the way, Nazafareen is forced to question his slavery—and her own loyalty to the empire. But with an ancient evil stirring in the north, and a young conqueror sweeping in from the west, the fate of an entire civilization may be at stake…

EXCERPT:
My eyes flew open at the crack of dawn. I groaned and rubbed my forehead. My scalp tingled, an icy, unpleasant sensation. I knew right away where Darius was and what he was doing. It was another side effect of the bond, I’d discovered. I could feel his heart beating. I knew that one of his boots was too tight. I could shut my eyes and tell you exactly where he was, even if he was hundreds of leagues away.
Why had no one told me what it would be like? I supposed Tijah did, but this was much worse than I’d expected. Much, much worse.
I threw on my new scarlet tunic and marched down to the river. Tendrils of mist swirled through the dead reeds at the edge. It was late autumn and the air had a dank chill that promised snow.
My daēva stood there, stripped to the waist, pouring water over his head with his right hand. He wore a gold faravahar on a chain around his neck, its eagle wings spread wide. His left arm lay at his side, grey and dead. I stared at his shoulder, at the juncture where smooth skin met rough. His Druj curse.
It slowed me for a moment, seeing that pathetic arm, but I wasn’t yet ready to forgive him for waking me. That was my excuse, anyway. Of course, what really angered me was the terrible realization that I was burdened with a sorrow not my own, but that bled me nonetheless. What really angered me was him—everything about him.
He was calmer this morning, but I wasn’t. I stopped about twenty feet away. He didn’t turn around although he knew I was there.
“It’s nice that you’re so pious,” I said. “But don’t you think it’s a little early to be down here performing the morning rites?”
He paused, then dumped the last of the water from the bowl. I felt the cold trickle down my spine and my lips tightened.
“I was taught by the magi to come at first light,” Darius said. “Did you expect to sleep in? I’m afraid that’s not the way it works for Water Dogs.” He smiled, and we both knew it was fake. “I’m sorry if I’ve offended you in some way.”
I stared at him, at the dark hair plastered across his forehead, his stubborn mouth. He looked so human. And yet there was something in the way Darius held himself, perfectly at ease in his own skin. Still but coiled, like the wolves I’d seen in the mountains.
“You haven’t offended me in the least,” I said. “I suppose you need the blessing more than I do.”
I spun on my heel and walked away, knowing I had wounded him. A small stab to my own heart. And I felt slightly ashamed. But that wasn’t the end of it. Then I felt his satisfaction at my shame. And my own anger that he knew and was glad.
And then his amusement at my anger!
I stalked off, determined to think nothing, to feel nothing, ever again.
If only it were that easy.

Author Bio:
    Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She lives in Westchester with her kid and a few sleepy cats. Kat is also the author of the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day (Skyscape, 2014), about a world where the sea levels have risen sixty meters. She loves magic, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Preferably with mutants.

Links: 
Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter



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Book Blitz: Everafter by M. Lathan!


Everafter
by M. Lathan
(The Immortals of Westchester Prep, #1)
Publication date: May 15th 2016
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Blurb:
   After years of battling leukemia, seventeen-year-old Sydney Long has made peace with her impending death. She expected pain, she expected tearful goodbyes, but she never expected to be turned into an immortal monster who can, with the slightest touch, control life and death.      Now, flowers are stirring when she walks by, she’s oddly drawn to death and the dying, and she must wear gloves to keep her living parents safe. 
    While her family toils with this supernatural nightmare and finding a way out of it, Sydney falls for magic and an equally as enticing boy who she can’t seem to stay away from.
    But nothing comes without a price. When Sydney is targeted for her illegal magic, she’ll learn a whole new meaning of fighting for her life.

EXCERPT:
Dying hurt as much as I’d thought it would.
My burning lungs begged for relief as air hissed into my nose through a plastic tube. The shallow breaths wheezing out of my mouth somehow tasted like medicine and sweat.
They tasted like my life.
Instead of violins and the somber music that played on movies in moments like this, I was dying to the soundtrack of beeping monitors and the soft shuffling of my parents’ feet. They moved around our suite quietly, like ghosts, as they waited for me to become one and finally lose to leukemia.
I’d spent the last three weeks at an upscale ski resort in Lake Placid, just watching my health fade and my time on Earth dwindle to nothing. The view of the constant snow and the towering mountains in the distance usually distracted me from the pain. I needed that view more than ever tonight. Everything hurt, but in my mind, if I didn’t mention it, if I didn’t break, I would beat cancer in my own way.
We couldn’t afford to stay in this snowy paradise, but my parents didn’t want me to die in a sterile hospital. We’d moved to Lake Placid five months ago to chase another faint glimmer of hope, but the clinical trial had ended like all of the others—with me getting sicker. This time, we weren’t doing anything about it. After five years of giving cancer all we had, my parents had decided that we’d fought too much, cried too much, and hoped too much to do it again.
And that was okay. It had to be.
My final days were passing in a blur of tearful calls from my grandparents, long stares from my mom and dad, and smiles from my strangely exuberant hospice nurse. Sarah, with her endless energy and joy, was easily my favorite person on the planet. She supplied medicine that stopped me from feeling and long stories that kept me thinking, which made me feel alive.
Tonight, she was so busy gabbing about her ballerina days that she’d forgotten a dose of painkillers. I didn’t mention it. As she adjusted my oxygen tube, I stared at her beautiful, pixie-like face and the bright red hair framing it. Her tiny features and permanent smile made her a living fairy to me. My personal Tinkerbelle.
“It’s going to happen tonight, isn’t it?” She didn’t answer me. She draped another blanket over my legs without making eye contact. “They gave me a week to live … a week ago.”
“Sydney, I don’t want you to be concerned about death. Ever. Only focus on life and the living. Remember that, sweet girl.”
What a weird thing to say to an almost-corpse. I didn’t need to remember anything anymore. I laughed at her, and that disturbed my failing lungs. One cough turned into two, and soon Sarah had to hold me as my chest heaved relentlessly. The awful sound summoned my parents to my room.
They crept in with red eyes and rivers flowing down their cheeks, wearing yesterday’s clothes.
Nothing said that I was dying more than my dad being home. No matter where we moved, he worked, thanks to his special talent of finding a job within a day. He’d emigrated from China with his parents as a kid, and his entire family worked like one day off would mean certain death. So that was what he did—he spent his days toiling at dead-end jobs to barely keep us afloat. Except for today.
He squeezed my mom’s hand as they approached my bed. Her long dreads were down and wild tonight, and she looked beautiful despite her swollen face and runny nose. My mom had four piercings in each ear, an effortlessly cool hippy style, and a thick Trinidadian accent. Once, I’d wanted to be just like her, but now, I didn’t know what being like her meant other than crying a lot and receiving bad news.
“Mr. and Mrs. Long,” Sarah said, “I was just about to give Sydney her medicine. She’ll be asleep soon, and you don’t look like you’ve gotten much rest. I can watch her tonight.”
“Sarah,” I whispered, as my chest finally calmed. “Go home. Your shift is over.”
She pressed her warm hand to my cheek. I could’ve sworn, for a moment, I felt completely okay.


Author Bio:
M. Lathan lives in San Antonio with her husband and mini-schnauzer. She enjoys writing and has a B.S. in Psych and a Masters in Counseling. Her passion is a blend of her two interests - creating new worlds and stocking them with crazy people. She enjoys reading anything with interesting characters and writing in front of a window while asking rhetorical questions ... like her idol Carrie Bradshaw.

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