Waiting on Wednesday #81: Frostblood by Elly Blake

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

This week’s book:

27827203Title: Frostblood
Author: Elly Blake
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 17, 2017

Summary (from Goodreads); Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a fireblood who must hide her powers of heat and flame from the cruel frostblood ruling class that wants to destroy all that are left of her kind. So when her mother is killed for protecting her and rebel frostbloods demand her help to kill their rampaging king, she agrees. But Ruby’s powers are unpredictable, and she’s not sure she’s willing to let the rebels and an infuriating (yet irresistible) young man called Arcus use her as their weapon.

All she wants is revenge, but before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to take part in the king’s tournaments that pit fireblood prisoners against frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her and from the icy young man she has come to love.

Fast-paced and compelling, Frostblood is the first in a page-turning new young adult three-book series about a world where flame and ice are mortal enemies—but together create a power that could change everything.

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon | iBooks

Thoughts:

Frostblood seems kind of like a cross between The Hunger Games and Red Queen, two books that I loved. I am very intrigued by the idea of flame vs ice and king’s tournaments. I can’t wait until January when I can finally be introduced to the firebloods and the frostbloods!

Teaser Tuesdays #72: The Movie Version by Emma Wunsch

Teaser

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books and a Beat. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Today’s Teaser Tuesday:

S26796210ummary (from Goodreads): A whip-smart, heart-wrenching debut YA novel about first love, first loss, and filmmaking that will delight fans of Jandy Nelson and Jennifer Niven

In the movie version of Amelia’s life, the roles have always been clear. Her older brother, Toby: definitely the Star. As popular with the stoners as he is with the cheerleaders, Toby is someone you’d pay ten bucks to watch sweep Battle of the Bands and build a “beach party” in the bathroom. As for Amelia? She’s Toby Anderson’s Younger Sister. She’s perfectly happy to watch Toby’s hijinks from the sidelines, when she’s not engrossed in one of her elaborately themed Netflix movie marathons.

But recently Toby’s been acting in a very non-movie-version way. He’s stopped hanging out with his horde of friends and started obsessively journaling and disappearing for days at a time. Amelia doesn’t know what’s happened to her awesome older brother, or who this strange actor is that’s taken his place. And there’s someone else pulling at her attention: a smart, cute new boyfriend who wants to know the real Amelia—not Toby’s Sidekick. Amelia feels adrift without her star, but to best help Toby—and herself—it might be time to cast a new role: Amelia Anderson, leading lady.

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon

I have not yet started this one, but I plan to very soon. I am so intrigued by the filmmaking aspects! I am super excited to get into the book and see what Amelia’s brother’s big secret is.

Here is the teaser:

“Before I met Epstein, if my life were a movie it would’ve been something in the vein of Elizabethtown or The Family Stone: good actors, terrible plot. On paper, my family might seem like a great reality TV show: hardworking restaurateur parents, a newly-in-love grandma who lives downstairs, the perfunctory long twin boys, the handsome older brother and his high-school hijinks.”

ARC Review: Replica by Lauren Oliver

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I received an ARC from HCC Frenzy’s Frenzy Presents event.

Title: Replica
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
Stars: 4.5/5

Summary (from Goodreads): Gemma has been in and out of hospitals since she was born. ‘A sickly child’, her lonely life to date has revolved around her home, school and one best friend, Alice. But when she discovers her father’s connection to the top secret Haven research facility, currently hitting the headlines and under siege by religious fanatics, Gemma decides to leave the sanctuary she’s always known to find the institute and determine what is going on there and why her father’s name seems inextricably linked to it.

Amidst the frenzy outside the institute’s walls, Lyra – or number 24 as she is known as at Haven – and a fellow experimental subject known only as 72, manage to escape. Encountering a world they never knew existed outside the walls of their secluded upbringing , they meet Gemma and, as they try to understand Haven’s purpose together, they uncover some earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls forever…

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon | iBooks

When I first heard about this new Lauren Oliver book, I knew it would be nothing short of amazing. This is the story of a clone and a human, both connected to a disturbing human cloning institute. I would say that the way that this book is written is one of the best parts, since there are so many options. Replica is sure to blow your mind.

Replica is a story all about clones, human replicas. The story is told in two perspectives, a clone’s and a human’s. Basically, the institution where the clones are made is blown up, causing the girls’ paths to cross. There is so much suspense as they try and uncover the true motive of the Haven Institute, and there are many plot twists. I found Replica to be kind of like Orphan Black, so if you are a fan of the show, you will love this book.

I really enjoyed the setting of Replica. Part of the story takes place in an institute full of clones. As if the hospital and the cloning wasn’t eerie enough, the Haven Institute is located on an island and surrounded by armed guards. I found this to be perfect for Halloween and the fall season. All the secrecy really drew me in, and I found it hard to tear my eyes off the page.

What I really loved about Replica is the way it’s written. The layout of the book is so original, since there are three ways to read: Lyra’s side first, Gemma’s side first, or alternating between the two. I started with Lyra’s side for no particular reason other than it being on the front cover. I was totally expecting to read the same story twice, but I was pleasantly surprised to see two completely different sides. Somehow, Lauren Oliver has woven two girls from opposite backgrounds together in a way that makes perfect sense. Both sides have these massive plot twists that I never saw coming. You can never go wrong with a good old Lauren Oliver book.

Replica is a clone book featuring two very different girls. The story revolves around a creepy cloning institution, which is actually perfect for fall. I loved the way this book was written and would definitely recommend it, especially to fans of Orphan Black.

Book Blitz & Giveaway: The Surrendered by Case Maynard

The Surrendered
Case Maynard
Published by: Blaze Publishing
Publication date: September 20th 2016
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult

After a financial collapse devastates the United States, the new government imposes a tax on the nation’s most valuable resource—the children.

Surrendered at age ten—after her parents could no longer afford her exorbitant fees—Vee Delancourt has spent six hard years at the Mills, alongside her twin, Oliver. With just a year to freedom, they do what they can to stay off the Master’s radar. But when Vee discovers unspeakable things happening to the younger girls in service, she has no choice but to take a stand—a decision that lands her on the run and outside the fence for the first time since the System robbed her of her liberty.

Vee knows the Master will stop at nothing to prove he holds ultimate authority over the Surrendered. But when he makes a threat that goes beyond what even she considers possible, she accepts the aid of an unlikely group of allies. Problem is, with opposing factions gunning for the one thing that might save them all, Vee must find a way to turn oppression and desperation into hope and determination—or risk failing all the children and the brother she left behind.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

EXCERPT:

A sinking feeling washes over me. “We’re going to Meadowood.”

He responds without opening his eyes, “I want answers.”

I start to argue that this will be a fool’s errand, but in truth, I want the same answers he does. “Do you think the man who rescued Oliver was with the Southies?”

“I don’t know who else it could’ve been.” He sits up and stretches. “It must’ve been them, and I want to know why they changed the plan without informing us. The Master and his Regulators got to the rooftop very quickly after I fired that shot. I have to wonder if someone told them we were there.”

“You think the Southies took Oliver to get the combination and then set the Regulators on us? Why would they do that?”

He rubs his face. “It doesn’t make any sense. But something’s not adding up.”

I ponder this, thinking about my brother’s strange plea. “I know you think I’m insane, but I can’t help but feel like Oliver knew someone was going to take him; I swear it felt like he was speaking to me when he said not to interfere. But that doesn’t make any sense, either. He’s been behind the fence for years.”

Cason yawns and tries to shake off the effects of the Papaver. “I don’t think you’re crazy; his message did seem odd for someone who was about to hang for a crime he didn’t commit. I don’t know, but hopefully he’ll be at Meadowood and you can ask him yourself.”

My mood elevates as I realize I may only be hours away from a reunion with my brother. The pain in my arm forgotten, I try to concentrate only on this knowledge, confident we’ll have our answers soon enough. “I didn’t get a chance to thank you for earlier. You could’ve just turned me over to the Master and walked away, but you didn’t. I’m grateful for that.”

I feel a little embarrassed as soon as the words leave my mouth. Normally I’m not one to share my feelings, but the Papaver Flower makes me breathless and lightheaded and loosens my tongue.

He reaches for me, careful not to jostle my splinted wrist, and pulls my face to his. “I’m probably going to ruin that sentiment by telling you the Master would never have let me go anyway, but know this—” he runs the pad of his thumb along my lower lip and meets my eyes “—if everyone else in the entire world leaves you to fend for yourself, if your father, your mother, your brother disappoint you, if God himself decides you aren’t worthy . . . you’ll still be able to count on me. I’ve got your back, Vera.”

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Author Bio:

With over 20 years’ experience in the legal and medical fields, Case Maynard decided to trade in her briefs and reports to write the stories that have been floating around in her head since childhood. She lives with her two teenagers and husband in South Georgia, while maintaining a long-distance liaison with her oldest daughter and partner in crime in Alaska. When not writing, she enjoys reading as often as possible, binge watching anything good on Netflix, and all things NCAA football (Go Noles!). You can learn more about Case and her stories on her website.

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Cover Reveal: My Junior Year of Loathing by Jennifer DiGiovanni with Giveaway

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Welcome to the Cover Reveal for My Junior Year of Loathing
by Jennifer DiGiovanni! Be on the look out for this upcoming release from
Swoon Romance! Don’t forget to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

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Junior year is supposed to be tough. Exams, term papers, homework, college tours, and participation in extra-curricular activities can all add up to non-stop stress. But Melinda Banner has goals to achieve and dreams to make real. This year, she’ll be unstoppable. But even over achievers need a break.

While walking in the woods to take a break from the stress of it all, Melinda meets a boy named Connor. After a few more run-ins, the two settle into an uneasy friendship, if you can even call it that.

But Connor’s closed and mysterious. Whenever Melinda asks too many questions, he suddenly has to go or is no longer interested in talking. When they’re together, she’s torn between wanting him to open up and running away as fast as she can. Still she can’t seem to shake her budding interest in him.

Connor has his own way of looking at the world, and his views often conflict with Melinda’s practical nature. Can you like someone and loathe them at the same time? Is he even worth the emotional tug on her heartstrings or distraction from all things Junior year?

And, as if she needs another project right now, Melinda starts to obsess over the abandoned estate she passes on the way to school each day. Between Connor and the old estate, Melinda’s beginning to think she’s taking on too much.

But Melinda’s smart. She finds a way to indulge her interest in the estate and fulfill her obligations. She will uncover the truth behind the aging edifice for an epic article in the school newspaper.

But when her investigation reveals a connection between Connor and a tragedy long-since forgotten, Melinda has a choice: put off her junior year achievements to save a local landmark and a boy who constantly pushes her away or put them both out of her mind for good and focus on making the grade.

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My Junior Year of Loathing
by Jennifer DiGiovanni
Publication Date:  October 25, 2016
Publisher:  Swoon Romance

Available for Pre-order:
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Jennifer DiGiovanni

Jennifer DiGiovanni is the author of the School Dayz Series. When she’s not writing or reading, she likes to try new sports and activities from archery to ballroom dancing, with varying degrees of success.

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Waiting on Wednesday #80: The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

This week’s book:

22296822Title: The Edge of Everything
Author: Jeff Giles
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication Date: January 31, 2017

Summary (from Goodreads): It’s been a shattering year for seventeen-year-old Zoe, who’s still reeling from her father’s shockingly sudden death in a caving accident and her neighbors’ mysterious disappearance from their own home. Then on a terrifying sub-zero, blizzardy night in Montana, she and her brother are brutally attacked in a cabin in the woods–only to be rescued by a mysterious bounty hunter they call X.

X is no ordinary bounty hunter. He is from a hell called the Lowlands, sent to claim the soul of Zoe’s evil attacker and others like him. Forbidden to reveal himself to anyone other than his victims, X casts aside the Lowlands’ rules for Zoe. As X and Zoe learn more about their different worlds, they begin to question the past, their fate, and their future. But escaping the Lowlands and the ties that bind X might mean the ultimate sacrifice for both of them.

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon | iBooks

Thoughts:

This sounds like such a dark yet interesting book! I am really interested in the idea of someone claiming people’s souls. I haven’t read too many paranormal/supernatural books, and I’m hoping that this will get me back into the genre. I wish January wasn’t so far away!

Teaser Tuesdays #70: Replica by Lauren Oliver

Teaser

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books and a Beat. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Today’s Teaser Tuesday:

28448287Summary (from Goodreads): Gemma has been in and out of hospitals since she was born. ‘A sickly child’, her lonely life to date has revolved around her home, school and one best friend, Alice. But when she discovers her father’s connection to the top secret Haven research facility, currently hitting the headlines and under siege by religious fanatics, Gemma decides to leave the sanctuary she’s always known to find the institute and determine what is going on there and why her father’s name seems inextricably linked to it.

Amidst the frenzy outside the institute’s walls, Lyra – or number 24 as she is known as at Haven – and a fellow experimental subject known only as 72, manage to escape. Encountering a world they never knew existed outside the walls of their secluded upbringing , they meet Gemma and, as they try to understand Haven’s purpose together, they uncover some earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls forever…

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon | iBooks

I am LOVING this book so far! Of course, it’s Lauren Oliver, so I expect nothing less. It is so interesting how the book is split into two different stories. I am so excited to keep reading and discover these earth-shattering secrets!

Here is the teaser:

“But she nodded anyway. Lyra had a plan, and the plan required her to be good, at least for a little while.”

 

Blog Tour, Interview & ARC Review: Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter

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I am so thrilled to be a part of the Vassa in the Night blog tour, hosted by Raincoast Books. I had the opportunity to ask Sarah Porter a question as well as review the book. Before all that, here is some more information on the book:

22065080Title: Vassa in the Night
Author: Sarah Porter
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: September 20, 2016

Summary (from Goodreads): In the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn, the fashionable people put on cute shoes, go to parties in warehouses, drink on rooftops at sunset, and tell themselves they’ve arrived. A whole lot of Brooklyn is like that now—but not Vassa’s working-class neighborhood.

In Vassa’s neighborhood, where she lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters, one might stumble onto magic, but stumbling out again could become an issue. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission.

But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and a ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighborhood. But Babs won’t be playing fair. . . .

Inspired by the Russian folktale Vassilissa the Beautiful and Sarah Porter’s years of experience teaching creative writing to New York City students.

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon | iBooks

REVIEW:

Vassa in the Night really surprised me. This is a magical realism story, but also a retelling of a Russian fairytale. The characters are very likeable (especially the talking doll) and the setting is so vividly described. I really enjoyed this one, even with no knowledge of Vassilissa the Beautiful.

I am a big fan of magical realism novels, which is probably why I enjoyed Vassa in the Night so much. In this book, there is a creepy convenience store that is actually on legs and surrounded by severed heads. Vassa is sent to the convenience store only to be accused of stealing and sentenced to work three nights at the store. There are so many magical aspects that were also pretty creepy in the book, such as two hands that wander around the store. I found all this to be really intriguing, and I loved being introduced to all the characters and the new concepts.

I loved Vassa and Erg’s characters. Vassa is a brave girl who is full of determination and hope as she is stuck working in the creepy convenience store. Vassals best friend is someone who is not quite human, Erg. Erg is a wooden doll who is human-like. She is very good at sneaking around and has a good sense of humour. The fact that she is a doll is very original and I really enjoyed reading about her.

The setting of Vassa in the Night really interested me. At the beginning of the book, the story takes place in Brooklyn, a very fancy setting which I always enjoy. I was so ready for glamour and parties, but the story takes a very dark turn when Vassa arrives at the convenience store. I actually liked this setting even better, since it is so new. There are so many little details about the shop that really make it come to life. The way everything is described is so vivid and, although I wouldn’t want to visit the store anytime soon, I could definitely picture it clearly.

Vassa in the Night is a magical realism story based on a Russian fairytale. I loved the cast of characters and the unique setting. I would recommend this book as it is so different from anything I’ve read before and the perfect book for the fall!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

sarah-porter-author-photoI write stories that seem to me to be quite true enough for all practical purposes. Among them are VASSA IN THE NIGHT, THE LOST VOICES TRILOGY, and the forthcoming WHEN I CAST YOUR SHADOW and TENTACLE AND WING. Realism makes little sense to me and I experience more truth in the fantastic. I always have new novels underway, both Young Adult and Grownup/ Literary/ Speculative. When not writing my own weird stuff, I can often be found leading creative writing workshops with amazing young NYC public-school writers via Teachers & Writers Collaborative. Or I might be drawing, or gardening, or wandering wraithlike through the streets. I live in Brooklyn, land of mystery, with my awesome husband Todd and our two cats, Jub Jub and Delphine.

INTERVIEW:

Q: I stumbled across this statement on your website: “Realism makes little sense to me and I experience more truth in the fantastic.” I was so blown away by this that I really had to stop and think for a few minutes. What fantasy books do you enjoy? Was there one in particular that inspired you to become an author?

A: Hi Olivia! I read far more fantasy, in the larger sense of the term, than realistic
fiction. I have too many favorites to list, but I adore Jeff VanderMeer’s AREA X
trilogy; Catherynne Valente’s RADIANCE; George R. R. Martin, of course; Neal
Stephenson’s THE DIAMOND AGE (It’s about girls saved by books! How could I possibly
resist?) and Hilary Mantel’s BEYOND BLACK, to name a few. I’m reading N. K.
Jemisin’s THE FIFTH SEASON right now, and loving it. But the book that was most
formative for me was Tolkien’s HOBBIT; it made an impact on me, when I was eight, which
would be hard to overstate. It sort of felt as if a secret chamber in the world had just
opened, and I was watching stars spill out of the door. There was no going back after
that!

Thank you, Sarah!

Be sure to check out the rest of the stops on the Vassa in the Night blog tour!

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Book Blitz & Giveaway: Dragonfly Nightmare by Erin Richards

Dragonfly Nightmare
Erin Richards
(Once Upon A Secret, #1)
Publication date: September 12th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Suspense, Young Adult

To be a normal teenage girl.

To forget about the past.

To fall in love for the first time.

Is that too much to ask?

Sixteen-year-old Allie Bailey just wants a break—a break from her overly-protected life. And Dragonfly Meadows summer camp is the answer. A summer away from her parents in the California Sierras with her best friend is exactly what she needs.

But once at camp, Allie notices that things are a little off. Paid excursions are cancelled and staff is replaced with shady new people. When the camp’s founder goes “missing,” Allie starts to worry. Unable to let it rest due to her past, she starts to investigate, enlisting the help of Logan Montgomery, her best friend’s older and adorably geeky brother.

When hauntingly familiar flowers appear in Allie’s cabin, she’s not sure what to think—has her past caught up to her? Yet, after Allie stumbles across a murder conspiracy and chases down the truth, she becomes a target. Pushing through her paranoia and fear to find strength, it’s up to Allie to save herself and the campers from a deranged killer before it’s too late.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / ARe

Are you a book reviewer?

You can request a review copy of Dragonfly Nightmare here!

EXCERPT:

My life turned a corner today to a kickass summer. A glorious day sliding past go and collecting $200 on the highway to my freedom, two days after the ultimate Independence Day. I wanted to shout my bliss to the world, but I refrained from killing my mother’s eardrums any further. Nerd, much?

For the first time in my short sixteen years, I was headed to summer camp. How stupid exciting was that? For others it was no big deal, or even lame. For me, camp meant paradise, considering I’d begged my parents to let me go for the last four summers and got the big, fat no every flipping time. It wasn’t even about money. Just major overprotectiveness due to The Incident That Shall Not Be Cloned.

Although I was joining the Teen Leadership Program as a Cabin Leader, I was coming apart at the seams to revel in the whole camp experience. Not all would be work, though. My best friend slash partner in crime, Laurel Montgomery, and I had dibs on fun. Escaping the house for two weeks was a major step toward more freedom in my life. I just wished my parents held my same excitement. The thought deflated my insane joy.

My gaze bounced to Mom’s white-knuckled grip on the steering wheel. I brushed my fingers over her thigh. “It’ll be okay. You have to let me go sometime.” The four black beads rolled on my leather cuff as I withdrew my hand from her leg. I spun the beads around the band, ignoring their significance for a change.

“I know, Allie. I’m just—”

I curbed the urge to pull more of my hair out before baldness set in. “We’ve hashed this out. You’ve checked out the camp a zillion times. Carla Amadori’s family has owned the joint forever. Laurel and Logan love her, and you spoke to all the other parents.” Overkill if you ask me. “And you know Laurel and Logan will kill anyone who even looks at me wrong.” Even though I kidded, I mentally kicked myself for dredging up that bit of paranoia.

Four years ago on my twelfth birthday, a psycho abducted me and held me at gunpoint for twenty-four hours. My father’s investment brokerage had fired the freak and he flipped. I knew the man from attending various company events. I was lucky he didn’t lay his grubby paws on me or physically harm me. The mental damage was bad enough. Now everyone looked suspicious, and I couldn’t go anywhere without spying one person who looked like a deranged kidnapper. After counseling, I’d learned ways to cope with the trauma, but I still watched my back whenever I left the house. Seriously, I had developed eyes in the back of my head.

The Incident shaped my teenage existence in so many ways. Worst of all, it royally curtailed my freedom. Four smothering years later, because Laurel and her seventeen-year-old brother, Logan, my appointed watchdogs, talked my parents into letting me go, promising they’d stay with me 24/7, I was on my way. Without Laurel’s nagging, I’d be stuck at home this summer with the swimming pool, my cat, and the housekeeper eagle-eyeing my every move.

For the most part, I had buried the memories of the abduction. When I dwelled on them, I made myself believe The Incident was a fictional movie about a girl named Alex. Now, I just wanted to appease my mother before she changed her mind and locked me up at Casa Bailey for the summer. The gates to my prison had opened. By the skin of my dead body, I wasn’t going back inside.

“Happened a long time ago, Mom.” I fingered the bangles on her right wrist. “You have to let it go.” You have to let me go. “Everything will be fine.”

“I know. I know.” Mom’s fingers loosened on the steering wheel. “You have your phone?”

Groaning, I knocked my head on the headrest. “For the millionth time, you know we aren’t allowed to bring them.” The camp was electronic-free, back to nature, home to crappy cell reception. I had no problems living off the grid for two weeks. I wasn’t big on social media or texting anyone except Laurel anyway. The parentals also forbade me to engage on social media, so my phone was simply a phone.

“Right.” Eyes on the road ahead, Mom dug through her purse and withdrew a new smartphone. “Take this.” She stuck it in my hand. “Keep it with you at all times.” A charger landed on my lap.

“Are you kidding me? Mom!” I held the phone as if dog crap coated it. My nose wrinkled. “Paranoid, much?”

“No, I’m not kidding. Don’t tell anyone you have it. Not even Laurel or Logan.”

“You planning to call me every flipping day?” I stuffed the phone in my hobo purse and clutched the bag to my chest, my irritation fading as we neared the school.

“Watch your tongue.” She wheeled the car into the parking lot.

We passed through the familiar scrolled wrought-iron gates of my private school. The campground had a deal with the San Francisco school to use their bus to cart local kids to the camp. Otherwise, you wouldn’t catch me dead or alive on school grounds during the summer.

Vehicles jammed the small parking lot, ignoring the white parking lines. Logan stood by the Montgomery’s silver van. He’d morphed into a taller, sinewy geek with pale skin sorely needing a tan. Maybe he’d buy one at camp, far, far away from me.

Ugh. Why’d he agree to come this summer? Seeing him set off a tumble of thoughts inside my head and an odd crick in my heart I wanted to avoid. I’d once had a tiny crush on the gangly, too-tall-for-his-body loner. Into mixed martial arts, he had a black belt which made him king of the geek squad. Laurel, Logan, and I used to hang like birds on a wire at their home when my parents worked, which was all the time. Then the abduction happened. Next thing, I had the plague as far as he was concerned. He’d disappeared without a word to boarding school in Arizona, and then abruptly returned home this past December for his final semester of junior year. My crush evaporated along with many emotions and feelings that year. We’d avoided one another since his return, both of us burying our heads in the sand. Logan had much ado about the kidnapping, and neither of us had confronted each other about that gruesome event. Talk about lame times ten. Blame, resentment, guilt, sorrow, it all boiled up into a mixed stew when I thought about him. Confusion skewered me most of all. I repeat, ugh.

 

Author Bio:

Erin Richards lives in sunny Northern California. She writes young adult fiction and adult romance, where you’ll typically find her characters in peril, whether based in reality or a contemporary fantasy setting. Magic, murder and mayhem are all in a days’ work! In her spare time, she enjoys reading, photography, and re-landscaping her backyard, even though she hates digging holes…unless she’s burying fictional bodies! Erin also confesses to a fascination with American muscle cars…and reality TV shows. Keep up with Erin’s latest news, exclusive content, and giveaways and subscribe to her Newsletter.

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: A Mortal Song by Megan Crewe

A Mortal Song
Megan Crewe
Publication date: September 13th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Sora’s life was full of magic—until she discovered it was all a lie.

Heir to Mt. Fuji’s spirit kingdom, Sora yearns to finally take on the sacred kami duties. But just as she confronts her parents to make a plea, a ghostly army invades the mountain. Barely escaping with her life, Sora follows her mother’s last instructions to a heart-wrenching discovery: she is a human changeling, raised as a decoy while her parents’ true daughter remained safe but unaware in modern-day Tokyo. Her powers were only borrowed, never her own. Now, with the world’s natural cycles falling into chaos and the ghosts plotting an even more deadly assault, it falls on her to train the unprepared kami princess.

As Sora struggles with her emerging human weaknesses and the draw of an unanticipated ally with secrets of his own, she vows to keep fighting for her loved ones and the world they once protected. But for one mortal girl to make a difference in this desperate war between the spirits, she may have to give up the only home she’s ever known.

“Megan Crewe’s A Mortal Song is engrossing from the first chapter. The world of the kami is beautifully fantastic and delicately drawn, and the switched-at-birth scenario made me instantly feel for both of these resilient, brave girls. A Mortal Song has lots of magic, lots of heart, and lots to love.” -Kendare Blake, author of Three Dark Crowns

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Excerpt:

“So what other supernatural creatures do we have to watch out for?” Keiji asked. “Shape-shifting foxes? Slimy kappa? Two-tailed giant cats?”

“Probably all of them.” The thought made my skin crawl. But Keiji glanced around eagerly as if he hoped to spot one. “You didn’t know those things really existed until two days ago,” I said. “Why did you bother learning so much about them?”

“I might not have known, but I believed it was possible,” he said. The path narrowed as it cut through the forest along a particularly steep section of slope. The ground below us fell away amid the knobby roots of the trees and stalks of bamboo. “And also, ah, it totally annoyed my aunt and uncle—they didn’t think I should be reading anything except my school books until I was getting top marks. When I was little, there was a while when I’d decided they had to be evil spirits and if I just found a way to prove it, my brother and I would get to go live someplace else. Ha. After that it just sort of stuck. It’s kind of reassuring to imagine there’s more to life than grades and getting some upscale office job and working until you die, you know. Ogres or not, I’d rather be out here than back there.”

He swung his arm toward the vista beyond the trees.

“This sage we’re looking for,” Keiji added, “she’s the one who had the vision? What exactly did she see?”

“She didn’t tell us a lot,” I admitted. “There was something about darkness coming over the mountain, and then Chiyo takes up the three treasures and drives it away.”

“So she saw a vision of a girl with purple ponytails and puffy socks? I guess that helped narrow it down.”

The corner of my mouth twitched up. “I don’t think so,” I said. “It was more… metaphorical, but we know it’s Chiyo because—”

A black shape shot out of the underbrush near Keiji’s feet. He flinched away with a yelp and tripped over a root. I caught his wrist as his arms flailed, but he was falling so fast he pulled me off balance too. We toppled over the edge of the path together.

We slid several feet down the slope, Keiji on his back and me on my side, before my hand caught a bamboo stalk. My elbow twinged as we jerked to a halt. Midori, who had leapt from my hair as we fell, hovered above us.

A large black rabbit hopped across the trail of broken ground left in our wake and darted off through the bushes. Keiji watched it go and started to laugh.

“I thought—” he said. “I thought—” He was gasping too hard to finish the sentence. I looked down at the two of us, dirt-smeared and breathless for fear of a rabbit, and all the tension I’d been holding in broke with a giggle.

Keiji shook his head, moving as if to squirm upright, and his shoulder bumped mine. He froze. I turned to find his face only inches away, his bright eyes fixed on mine. The air he exhaled grazed my cheek.

It was the perfect time for him to make one of his jokes. I braced myself for it. But he just looked at me as if I were as magical as the creatures he’d spent his whole life wishing to meet.

My heart started to pound. Gazing back at him, I could almost believe it myself. I wanted to fall into that look in his eyes.

Before I quite knew what I intended to do, my head dipped. I caught myself. And in that moment’s hesitation, Keiji seemed to wake up beside me. He shifted the short distance upward and brushed his mouth against mine.

 

Author Bio:

Like many authors, Megan Crewe finds writing about herself much more difficult than making things up. A few definite facts: she lives with her husband, son, and three cats in Toronto, Canada (and does on occasion say “eh”), she tutors children and teens with special needs, and she can’t look at the night sky without speculating about who else might be out there.

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