Thursday, August 27, 2015

Book Blitz: Breakout by Ann Aguirre

BREAKOUT - RWB -banner

We are absolutely thrilled to bring you the Release Week Blitz for Ann Aguirre's BREAKOUT! BREAKOUT is an Adult Romantic Science Fiction novel set in the Jax Universe and is a part of Ann Aguirre’s Dred Chronicles, published through Ace. Grab your copy of BREAKOUT today!


Synopsis:

All hell is breaking loose in the edge-of-your-seat follow-up to Havoc and Perdition from New York Times bestselling author Ann Aguirre…

The prison ship Perdition has become a post-battle charnel house with only a handful of Dred’s soldiers still standing and now being hunted by Silence’s trained tongueless assassins. Forging an uneasy alliance with mercenary commander Vost—who is their only chance at escape—the Dread Queen will do whatever it takes to end her life sentence on Perdition and keep the survivors alive long enough to cobble together a transport capable of getting them off station.

If Dred and her crew can win the deadly game of cat and mouse, the payoff is not only life but freedom—a prize sweeter than their wildest dreams. Yet the sadistic Silence would rather destroy Perdition than let a single soul slip from her grasp…

Praise for the Dred Chronicles: "There's so much action, so much adventure, and more than that, it's great writing."—USA Today "SiranthaJax fans may be intrigued to see what befell Jael after his ill-considered actions there, and new lead Dred is a strong linchpin for a promising new series."—Publishers Weekly "Spectacularly and spell-bindingly perfect with high octane action that keeps you on the edge of your seat and a romance that is surprisingly sweet and tender in a harsh and unforiving setting...This is honestly one of the best SF romance series I have read." —Book Pushers

Excerpt:

They didn’t speak until they had put a fair amount of distance behind them, then Dred signaled her desire to pause by tapping his ankle. He couldn’t turn fully because the ducts had narrowed, but he glanced over his shoulder.

“You all right?”

“Just . . . spooked.” The somber tone told him he hadn’t been alone in what he felt, watching those crazy, tongue-less bastards.

“It’s different now,” he said.

“With what she did to Queensland . . . she seems larger than life. I’ve been afraid before, but . . . not quite like this.”

The words were barely a whisper, and they roused an answering prickle of gooseflesh on his arms.

“I know. There’s run-of-the-mill evil, like Priest and Mungo. And then there’s Silence.”

“It’s like she can do worse than kill me. Rationally, I know that’s not true—”

“But it’s uncanny the way she’s last one still standing, moving through the carnage.” He didn’t say it out loud, but he thought, Like Death itself.

Dred nodded. “I’m still here, too, but I’m not the Dread Queen anymore.”

“If it’s any consolation, I don’t miss her.”

“Me either,” she whispered.

There was no space to touch her as he wanted to, and it wasn’t the time anyway, so Jael continued on. They slid out of the ducts near the closet, but when he opened it, there were no droids plugged in. He choked out a curse. It was impossible to predict when a bot would come back, and it was dangerous to wait out in the open. They desperately needed some intel about how many men Silence had left, how often they patrolled, and where, but with manpower as scarce as it had become on their end, recon had to wait.

“Back up?” Dred whispered.

He nodded. This time, they found a way in that gave them vantage over their target, so they’d know when a bot returned. He’d just finished fitting the vent panel in place behind them when he heard the familiar, shuffling sound of Silence’s men. From her expression, Dred registered it, too, and she practically stopped breathing. The fact that her killers were roving freely must signify that she believed herself the undisputed ruler of Perdition.

When they rounded the corner and came into sight, he stifled a surprised sound. This group was huge, compared to the usual numbers, ten this time, and horror jolted through him like lightning when he realized they were carried a human-sized bundle. They’d wrapped their captive in dark fabric, so he couldn’t tell anything about the person, but the worst part was, he or she was still moving, thrashing against his bonds.

Who is that? And why the hell would Silence want someone taken alive?

And don’t miss the previous books in the Dred Chronicles!

Perdition1

PERDITION
HAVOC
HAVOC

Author Bio:

Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author and RITA winner with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. Ann likes books, emo music, action movies, and she writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens, published with Harlequin, Macmillan, and Penguin, among others.
You Can Find Her at:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
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Goodreads
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Giveaway:

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   InkSlinger Blogger Final

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Three Year Blogoversary Day One!!!!! Featuring Christina Benjamin!


It's that time of year again! This totally snuck up on me! I can't believe I've been blogging for THREE whole years. It's amazing!

I wouldn't have started this blog if it weren't for my dad. He knows how much I love to read, and so one day, in mid-August, he helped me set up a blog. I had a basic theme and some crappy reviews, but I was off. When I started, I had no idea where I'd be now. For one, I didn't know what ARCs were when I started.

Now, I'm reviewing books months before they come out (though I am pretty slow about it). I get to join awesome Street Teams and blog tours. Heck, I've gotten to meet SO MANY authors. I've gone to three book conferences (LeakyCon, GeekyCon, and UtopYA Con). I've met a ton of awesome bloggers (Nori, Sheriden, Nova, and Nikki to name a few). I've gotten involved with multiple local indies, starting book clubs, joining book clubs, and attending events! I've run giveaways, gotten swag, and so much more. This experience really is amazing.

But you don't want to hear me ramble. So, for you today, I have an interview with Christina Benjamin, author of The Geneva Project! I actually met Christina at UtopYA Con and can attest to the fact that she is amazing.

Once you've read the interview and description, and are thoroughly intrigued, you can go here and download the first eight chapters!

Interview:

1. What helped to inspire the Geneva Project series?

I loved reading YA fantasy and was totally addicted to Harry Potter, Twilight and Hunger Games. It happened that I finished all the books in those series during the same year and I was thoroughly depressed without the characters and worlds I’d spent so much time in, so that’s what drove me to write my own series. I thought that way the characters and worlds would belong to me and wouldn’t have to end. I had no idea that I was going to share the book I wrote with the world. It really just started as something fun for me to do.

2. Would you like to go to a tropical island like Hullabee (without the crazy people of course) or stay at home with a book? 

Yes! Absolutely. To me, Hullabee Island is a mix of Santorini, Greece and Hawaii. Somewhere with white sand beaches, cliffs, rainforests and volcanoes. I love that the island is full of mythical creatures and legends too. It’s fun to let your imagination run while when you explore new places. Check out my pinterest page where I’ve pinned photos of places that inspired scenery for Hullabee Island. https://www.pinterest.com/AuthorCBenjamin/

3. Any advice to young and aspiring writers?

Start now and never give up. Also, don’t be too critical of your work. The important thing is to get the words down. And write what you love. Don’t write what you think others want to hear. I find the words flow better when the inspiration comes from your heart. (or your crazy dreams, lol) Or both in my case.

4. For fans of the book, what are some similar books that you'd recommend?

Harry Potter – because of the magic, friendship and coming-of-age
Percy Jackson – for the Myths & Legends
Hunger Games & Divergent – for the female heroine/dystopian fantasy

5. Are any of the characters inspired by people in your life?

The animal characters are! I have a dog named Vin that inspired the marmouse Niv. And two cats named Hank and Ari that inspired the tarcats, Khan and Ria. I love using anagrams when naming things that have special meaning to me. My animals are so sweet and always sit with my while I write so I thought I should give them some love by writing them into the books.

Synopsis:

Trapped on a flood-ravaged island full of orphans, natives and wealthy citizens of the prosperous city Lux, a young girl named Geneva finds herself enslaved at an orphanage with no future and a past she can’t remember. That all changes when she meets someone who promises her that there’s more in store for her than she ever could have imagined. Her once dull life rapidly spirals out of control as she starts to acquire new magical powers that may be the key to unlocking an ancient legend along with her true identity. But first she must master these powers, all while trying to keep them secret from her friends and the evil head mistress at the orphanage. Before she knows it, Geneva is in over her head and has inadvertently wrapped her friends into her web of magic and lies. Now all of their lives will be in jeopardy once the head mistress of the orphanage finds out Geneva’s plan to prove that the legend of Lux may not be a legend at all!

Who will Geneva trust and how far will she go to save her friends and discover her true identity?

You Can Find it At:

Author Bio:

Young adult book author Christina Benjamin grew up in the small town of La Plume, Pennsylvania, where at an early age her playful imagination led her to love the art of storytelling. She started writing short stories in grade school and continued practicing her craft all the way through college, attending the University of Central Florida to complete her Bachelor of Arts degree in Technical Writing.

After spending some time writing for blogs and websites, she was inspired to get back to her true love of telling stories, and dove headfirst into The Geneva Project, her first novel.

Christina now lives in Central Florida with her husband, son, dog and cats and spends her free time writing the second book of The Geneva Project series.

You Can Find Her At:

But wait, there's more! I have multiple giveaways for you (and might add another soon, so check back!)

Giveaway:

First, we have the UtopYA Con prize pack! All of these prizes will go to one lucky, US winner! And an eBook of The Geneva Project: Truth by Christina Benjamin will go to another winner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contemporary Giveaway! Here, you can choose one contemporary book out of this selection, and will also get a ton of swag! I couldn't find a Twitter account for Leslie Connor, sorry!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I'm only gonna do these for now, but check back in tomorrow/later this week, I might add in more giveaways!

Thank you so much for stopping by my little corner of the internet! You have no idea how much this means to me that you take time out of your day to read my posts, etc. Keep an eye out for a survey soon as well! You might even win a prize! *tackle hugs everyone*

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Sunday Street Team: What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi

Title: What You Left Behind
Author: Jessica Verdi
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release: August 4, 2015
ISBN: 9781492614401
Review: 4 Stars

Synopsis:

Jessica Verdi, the author of My Life After Now and The Summer I Wasn’t Me, returns with a heartbreaking and poignant novel of grief and guilt that reads like Nicholas Sparks for teens.

It’s all Ryden’s fault. If he hadn’t gotten Meg pregnant, she would have never stopped her chemo treatments and would still be alive. Instead he’s failing fatherhood one dirty diaper at a time. And it’s not like he’s had time to grieve while struggling to care for their infant daughter, start his senior year, and earn the soccer scholarship he needs to go to college.

The one person who makes Ryden feel like his old self is Joni. She’s fun and energetic—and doesn’t know he has a baby. But the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes to keep his two worlds separate. Finding one of Meg’s journals only stirs up old emotions. Ryden’s convinced Meg left other notebooks for him to find, some message to help his new life make sense. But how is he going to have a future if he can’t let go of the past?

“Ryden’s story is a moving illustration of how sometimes you have to let go of the life you planned to embrace the life you’ve been given. A strong, character-driven story that teen readers will love.”—Carrie Arcos, National Book Award Finalist for Out of Reach

You Can Find it At:
Amazon

First Impressions

When I saw the description of What You Left Behind, I knew I wanted to read it! It looked different form other stuff I'd read, and like it would be good. So, when I got an eARC of the book, I devoured. In only twenty-four hours or so.

Characters

The characters were insanely complex. Reading the novel, you really feel like you're reading about real people, not just characters. I especially loved Junie. She's a character that I feel I would be friends with in real life. Ryden was a bit whiny, but his situation did warrant it. Also, a thumbs up for an awesome mother!

Writing

The best kind of writing is the kind that you don't realize you're reading. This is that kind of writing. Instead of seeing words on a page, a movie played out in my head. And while that does happen a lot for me, it rarely happens with eBooks.

World-Building

There wasn't too much world-building to be done, as it takes place in the real world. But still, it does take effort to realistically develop small-town-America. You can see the town in your head. There's the grocery store, the school, various houses, etc. This isn't something where characters suddenly drive to a place that was never mentioned before. Instead, they have specific locations that they tend to return to.

Author Bio:

Jessica Verdi lives in Brooklyn, NY and received her MFA in Writing for Children from The New School. Her favorite pastimes include singing show tunes at the top of her lungs (much to her husband’s chagrin), watching cheesy TV, and scoring awesome non-leather shoes in a size 5. She’s still trying to figure out a way to put her uncanny ability to remember both song lyrics and the intricacies of vampire lore to good use.

You Can Find Her At:
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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Blog Tour: What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi

I read What You Left Behind back in July. Despite the fact that I dislike reading eBooks, I devoured it in a day. That's how good this is. It will leave you with emotions more confused than ever, but it will be so worth it.

Warning, bad language in the excerpt below.

Title: What You Left Behind
Author: Jessica Verdi
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release: August 4, 2015
ISBN: 9781492614401
Review: 4 Stars

Synopsis:

Jessica Verdi, the author of My Life After Now and The Summer I Wasn’t Me, returns with a heartbreaking and poignant novel of grief and guilt that reads like Nicholas Sparks for teens.

It’s all Ryden’s fault. If he hadn’t gotten Meg pregnant, she would have never stopped her chemo treatments and would still be alive. Instead he’s failing fatherhood one dirty diaper at a time. And it’s not like he’s had time to grieve while struggling to care for their infant daughter, start his senior year, and earn the soccer scholarship he needs to go to college.

The one person who makes Ryden feel like his old self is Joni. She’s fun and energetic—and doesn’t know he has a baby. But the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes to keep his two worlds separate. Finding one of Meg’s journals only stirs up old emotions. Ryden’s convinced Meg left other notebooks for him to find, some message to help his new life make sense. But how is he going to have a future if he can’t let go of the past?

You Can Find it At:
Amazon

Review:

On Sunday, I will be posting a review of What You Left Behind as part of the Sunday Street Team. After posted, it will be added here!

Author Bio:

Jessica Verdi lives in Brooklyn, NY and received her MFA in Writing for Children from The New School. Her favorite pastimes include singing show tunes at the top of her lungs (much to her husband’s chagrin), watching cheesy TV, and scoring awesome non-leather shoes in a size 5. She’s still trying to figure out a way to put her uncanny ability to remember both song lyrics and the intricacies of vampire lore to good use.

You Can Find Her At:
Website
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads

Praise:

“A powerful indictment of reparative therapy--a sweet love story--and an unforgettable main character!” --Nancy Garden, author of Annie on My Mind

“Ryden’s story is a moving illustration of how sometimes you have to let go of the life you planned to embrace the life you’ve been given. A strong, character-driven story that teen readers will love.”

--Carrie Arcos, National Book Award Finalist for Out of Reach

Praise for The Summer I Wasn’t Me:

“Verdi has written a book that I wish I wrote.” --Sara Farizan, author of If You Could Be Mine

“His [Ryden’s] candid voice is endearing, and although his present-tense narration at first seems like every other teen novel on the shelf, the granulated iteration of baby details helps to illuminate the crushing burden he feels. Other characters are also well-drawn, and the plot moves along tidily to a satisfying conclusion. Verdi balances her plot elements deftly.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Verdi holds nothing back, shedding a realistic light on Ryden's situation, his decisions, and their very real consequences. His voice is spot-on and doesn't sugarcoat the harsh realities that he faces. It isn’t often that a book nails the male teen voice as well as Verdi does in this work. An excellent addition to YA collections.” — School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“Teens will be hooked by the premise but will stick with Ryden and his friends in this all-too-real portrait of a modern family.” — Booklist

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

If there’s a more brain-piercing sound than a teething baby crying, I can’t tell you what it is.

I fall back on my bed, drop Meg’s journal, and rake my hands through my hair. It’s kinda funny—in an ironic way, not an LOL way—that I even notice how greasy my hair is with the wailing filling my room and ringing in my head. But I do. It’s gross. When was the last time I washed it? Three days ago? Four? I haven’t had time for anything more than a quick soap and rinse in days.

And here I used to purposely go a day or two without washing it. Girls have always liked my chin-length hair that falls in my face when I’m hunched over a test in school and that I have to pull back with a rubber band during soccer practice. But now it’s gone past sexy-straggly and straight into flat-out dirty.

God, I would kill for a long, hot, silent shower. I would lather, rinse, repeat like it was my fucking job.

Tears squeeze between Hope’s closed eyelids and her little chubby feet wiggle every which way. Her pink, gummy mouth is open wide, and you can just begin to see specks of white where her teeth are coming in.

Her crib is littered with evidence of my attempts to get her to please stop crying—a discarded teething ring, a mostly-full bottle, and this freakish, neon green, stuffed monster with huge eyes that my mom swore Hope liked when she first gave it to her, though I have no idea how she could tell that.

I pick up Hope and try massaging her gums with a damp washcloth like they say to do on all the baby websites. I bounce her on my hip and walk her around my room, trying to murmur soothing, shhhh-ing sounds. I even rub her head, as gently as my clunky, goal-blocking hands can manage. But nothing works. The screams work their way inside me, rattling my blood cells.

Yes, I changed her diaper. I even brought her to the doctor last week to make sure nothing’s actually wrong with her, some leftover sickness from Meg or something. There’s not.

Ever since Hope was born six months ago, I’ve been learning on the fly, getting used to the diapers and bottles and sleeping when she sleeps. I spend all of my free time reading mommy-ing websites, finding out which stores have the right kind of wipes, and shopping at the secondhand store for baby clothes, because they’re basically just as good as new and Hope grows out of everything so fast anyway.

Hope’s never fully warmed to me. She always cries more when I hold her than when my mom does—but it’s never been this bad. This teething stuff is no joke. According to the Internet, anyway. It’s not like Hope’s giving me a dissertation on what she’s feeling. Whenever I get anywhere near her, she screams her head off. Which means no matter how hard I try or how many books I read or websites I scour, I’m still doing something wrong. But what else is new?

Lately I’ve had this idea that I can’t seem to shake.

What if I’m missing some crucial dad-gene because I never had one of my own? What if I’m literally incapable of being a father to this baby because I have zero concept of what a father really is? Like beyond a definition or what you see of your friends’ families and on TV.

I have no idea what that relationship’s supposed to be like. I’ve never lived it.

And inevitably that thought leads to this one:

Maybe finding my dad, Michael, is the key to all of this making some sense. Maybe if I tracked him down, I’d finally be clued in to what I’ve been missing. The real stuff. How you’re supposed to talk to each other. What the, I don’t know, energy is like between a father and a son. Not that I’m into cosmic energy bullshit or anything.

If I could be the son in that interaction, even once, for a single conversation, that could jumpstart my being a father. Right? At least I’d have some frame of reference, some experience.

But that would require getting more info about Michael from my mom. And I’ve already thrown enough curveballs her way to last a lifetime.

The music blasting from Mom’s home office shuts off. Five o’clock exactly, like always nowadays. She loves her job making custom, handmade wedding invitations for rich people. Before Hope, Mom would work all hours of the day and night. But it turns out babies costa shitload of money, and despite how well Mom’s business is doing, it’s not enough. So the new arrangement is that during the day Mom gets to turn her music on and her grandma duties off while I take care of Hope. Then Mom takes over when I leave for work at 5:30.

In a few days that schedule’s going to change, and I don’t know what the hell we’re going to do. That’s another topic I haven’t brought up with Mom. She keeps saying we need to talk about our plan for “when school starts up again,” like she’s forgotten that soccer practice starts sooner than that. Like it doesn’t matter anymore or something.

But I can’t not play. Soccer is the one thing I kick ass at. It’s the whole reason I’m going back to school this fall instead of sticking with homeschooling, which I did for the last few months of last year after Hope was born. Fall is soccer season. I need to go to school in order to play on the team. And I need to play on the team because I’m going to UCLA on an athletic scholarship next year. It’s pretty much a done deal. I’ve even spoken to their head coach a few times this summer. He called me on July first, the first day he was allowed to contact me according to NCAA rules. He’s seen my game film, tracked my stats, and is sending a recruiter to watch one of my games in person. He wants me on his team. This is what I’ve been working toward my whole life. So Mom’s delusional if she thinks I’m giving it up.

I wipe the tears from Hope’s face and the drool from around her mouth. Her soft, unruly, dark hair tickles my hand as I set her down in her crib. She’s still crying. She grasps onto my finger, holding on extra tight, like she’s saying, “Do something, man. This shit is painful!”

“I’m trying,” I mumble.

I meet Mom in her office, where she’s sitting on the floor, attempting to organize her materials. Stacks of paper and calligraphy pens are scattered among plastic bags filled with real leaves from the trees in our yard. Three hot glue guns are plugged into the wall, and photos of the Happy Couple glide across Mom’s laptop screen.

“Hippie wedding in California?” I guess, nodding at the leaves. The people who hire Mom to make one-of-a-kind invitations always want a design that relates who they are. Mom and I started this game years ago. She tells me what materials she’s using, and I try to guess what kind of people the Happy Couple are. I’m usually pretty good.

Mom shakes her head. “Hikers in Boulder.”

Or I was pretty good. Now everything is so turned around that I can barely think.

“That was my next guess,” I say.

Mom smiles. She’s been so great about everything. She’s not even pissed about me making her a thirty-five-year-old grandmother. She says that she, better than anyone, gets how these things happen. But this is not your typical “oops, got pregnant in high school, what do we do now?” scenario, like what happened to her. This is the much more rare “oops, I killed the love of my life by getting her pregnant in high school, and ruined my life and the lives of all her family and friends in the process” situation.

And deep down, I know Mom knows that. Mom’s green eyes used to sparkle. They don’t anymore. It’s not because of the baby—she loves that kid to an almost ridiculous level. It’s because of me. She’s sad for me. Even though the name “Meg” is strictly off-limits in our house, I can almost see the M and E and G floating around in my mom’s eyes like alphabet soup, like she’s been bottling up everything she’s wanted to say for the past six months and it is about to overflow. I need to get out of here.

“So, I’m out,” I say quickly, clipping my Whole Foods nametag to my hoodie. “Be home at ten-fifteen.”

Mom sighs. “Okay, Ry. Have fun. Love you.”

“Love you too,” I call back as I head to the front door.

She always says that when I leave to go somewhere. Have fun. She’s been saying it for years. Doesn’t matter if I’m going to school or work or soccer practice or a freaking pediatrician’s appointment with Hope. Have fun. Like having fun is the most important thing you can do. Like you can possibly have fun when you’re such a fucking mess.

*

I’m restocking the organic taco shells in the Mexican and Asian Foods aisle, trying to block out the Celine Dion song that’s playing over the PA system, when I notice a kid, no older than six or seven, climbing the shelves at the opposite end of the aisle. His feet are two levels off the ground, and he’s holding onto a shelf above him, trying to raise himself up another level.

“Hey,” I call down the aisle. “Don’t do that.”

“It’s okay. I do it all the time,” he says, successfully pulling himself up another foot. He lets go with one hand and stretches toward something on the top shelf.

“Wait.” I start to move toward him. “I’ll get whatever you need. Just get down.”

But there’s a determined set to his jaw and he keeps reaching higher, the tips of his fingers brushing a bag of tortilla chips. I keep walking toward him, but I slow down a little. He really wants to do this on his own, you can tell. I’m a few feet away, and he’s almost got a grab on the bag, when his one-handed grip on the shelf slips and his Crocs lose their foothold. Suddenly he’s falling backward, nothing but air between the back of his head and the hard tile floor. I move faster than I would have thought possible, given how tired I am. I shoot my arms under his armpits and catch the boy just before he hits the ground.

The kid rights himself, plants his feet safely on the floor, and looks at me. My heart is beating way too fast, but I tell it to chill the fuck out. The kid is fine. Crisis averted.

“Thanks,” he mumbles.

“No problem.”

He ducks his head and starts to walk away.

“Hey,” I call out.

He stops.

I grab a bag of chips off the top shelf—funny how easy it is for me to reach; sometimes I still feel like a little kid who the world is too big for—and hand it to him.

He takes it, no thank you this time, and disappears around the corner.

I’m dragging my feet back to the taco shells, back to the monotony, when there’s a voice behind me.

“Why, Ryden Brooks, as I live and breathe.”

My spine stiffens. I haven’t heard that voice since before I left school in February. I turn and find myself face to face with Shoshanna Harvey. Her soft, Southern Belle accent comes complete with a delicate hand to the chest and a batting of long, thick lashes. I fell for that whole act once. Before I found out about a little thing called real life.

Apparently today is weird-shit-happening at Whole Foods day. I saw her in the store once about a month ago, but ducked down a different aisle before she saw me. This time, I’m not so lucky. “You do know we live in New Hampshire, not Mississippi, right?”

Shoshanna just purses her lips and studies me. “How are things, Ryden?”

“Things are great, Shoshanna. Really, just super.”

“Really?” Her eyes are bright. Clearly, she’s never heard of sarcasm. “That’s so great to hear. We’ve been worried about you, you know.”

“We? Who’s we?” You never know with Shoshanna—she could be talking about her family or she could be talking about the whole damn school.

Just then another familiar voice carries down the aisle. “Hey, Sho, how do you know when a cantaloupe is ripe?” It’s Dave. His hands are placed dramatically on his hips and he’s got three melons under his shirt—two representing boobs and one that I’m pretty sure is supposed to be a pregnant woman’s belly. A flash of rage burns through me but I smother it deep inside me where all my unwelcome emotions reside. It’s getting pretty crowded in there.

“Dave,” Shoshanna hisses, her eyes growing as-wide-as-possible in that thing people do when they’re trying to get someone to take a hint without saying the actual words.

He follows Shoshanna’s nod toward me and drops the doofy grin. “Oh. Hey, Ryden.” He relaxes his stance and the cantaloupes fall to the floor.

I look back and forth between Shoshanna and Dave, and it all clicks. They’re the “we.” My ex-girlfriend and my former best friend are together. That kind of thing used to require at least a “Hey, man. Cool with you if I ask out Shoshanna?” text, but I guess we left the bro code behind right around the time my girlfriend up and died and I became a seventeen-year-old single father. Yeah, Dave and I don’t exactly have much in common anymore.

“You work here?” Dave asks.

“Nah, I just like helping restock supermarket shelves in my free time.”

“Oh. I thought…” Dave looks at my Whole Foods nametag, confused.

“He was kidding, Dave,” Shoshanna whispers.

Ah, look at that. Sarcasm isn’t completely lost on her after all.

“Oh. Right. We’re, uh, just getting some food for the senior picnic tomorrow down at the lake. You coming?”

I stare in Dave’s general direction, unthinking, unseeing. I forgot all about the picnic, even though it’s been a Downey High School tradition for pretty much ever.

Dave keeps talking. “Coach said you’re coming back to school in September. You are, right? We really need you on the te—”

“Hey, Ryden, can you help me with a cleanup in dairy?” a female voice asks, cutting him off. “Some asshole kids decided to play hacky sack with a carton of eggs.”

I blink a few times, push the picnic out of my mind, and look down to find what used to be a box of blue corn taco shells crumpled in my hands. Oops.

The source of the voice is a girl with short, medium brown hair that is juuust long enough to fall in her eyes, skin just a shade or two lighter than her hair, earrings stuck in weird places in her ears, and tie-dyed overalls over a black tank top. She looks like she works in a Whole Foods. Definitely a lesbian.

“Uh, yeah. Sure,” I say. I turn back to Shoshanna and Dave, glad to have an excuse to bail on this happy little reunion. “Gotta go.”

“Bye, Ryden!” Shoshanna’s voice travels down the aisle after me.

“Yeah, see ya tomorrow, Ry.”

I shake my head to myself as I follow tie-dye girl to dairy. Good thing that wasn’t awkward or anything.

Once we’re out of sight of the Mexican and Asian aisle, tie-dye girl stops walking and spins on her heel. “Right, so…” she says as I screech to a halt behind her. “There’s no cleanup in dairy.”

“Huh?” That’s all I got. I’m so tired.

“Sorry, it just looked like you were having a moment there. Thought you might need a little help with your getaway.”

I lean back against a display of recycled paper towels. They’re soft. I could totally curl up right here on the floor and use one of the rolls as a pillow.

“Thanks,” I say. “How did you know my name?”

She points to my nametag.

“Right” I say. “Where’s yours? Or do you not even work here?”

She pulls the top of her overalls to the side to reveal a nametag pinned to her tank top. Joni. “I’m new. Started the day before yesterday and already blew my first week’s paycheck on ungodly amounts of pomegranate-flavored soda. That stuff is like crack.”

I smile for the first time in centuries. “Nice to meet you, Joni,” I say.

“I saw you catch that kid,” she says.

“Oh.”

“That was cool.”

I shrug. “I guess.” There’s an awkward pause, like she’s waiting for me to say something else. “Well, see ya,” I mumble and book it out of there as fast as I can.

“Nice to meet you too, Ryden,” Joni calls after me.

Giveaway:

3 signed copies of What You Left Behind & 3 signed bookmarks

Open 08/04 - 08/18

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Book Blitz: Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout


The Epic Finale in Jennifer L. Armentrout’s
Dark Elements Series...Who Will She Choose?

Every choice has consequences—but seventeen-year-old Layla faces tougher choices than most. Light or darkness. Wickedly sexy demon prince Roth, or Zayne, the gorgeous, protective Warden she never thought could be hers. Hardest of all, Layla has to decide which side of herself to trust.
Don't miss the conclusion to this stunning Young Adult Paranormal series filled with danger and romance published by HarlequinTEEN.

Trailer:


Synopsis:

9780373211142_prd_proof_FCSome loves will last ‘til your dying breath.

Every choice has consequences—but seventeen-year-old Layla faces tougher choices than most. Light or darkness. Wickedly sexy demon prince Roth, or Zayne, the gorgeous, protective Warden she never thought could be hers. Hardest of all, Layla has to decide which side of herself to trust.

Layla has a new problem, too. A Lilin—the deadliest of demons—has been unleashed, wreaking havoc on those around her…including her best friend. To keep Sam from a fate much, much worse than death, Layla must strike a deal with the enemy while saving her city—and her race—from destruction.

Torn between two worlds and two different boys, Layla has no certainties, least of all survival, especially when an old bargain comes back to haunt them all. But sometimes, when secrets are everywhere and the truth seems unknowable, you have to listen to your heart, pick a side—and then fight like hell…

You Can Find it At:
Amazon
BAM
Goodreads

Praise:

“Armentrout is a major talent…I just can’t stop reading!”
--New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter

“Armentrout works her magic with swoon-worthy guys and a twist you never see coming.”
--#1 New York Times bestselling author Abbi Glines on White Hot Kiss

Excerpt:

Roth cleared his throat. “Shortie, look…look at your hand.”

Look at my hand? Why in the world would he be asking me to do that in the midst of all the cray?

“Do it,” he said quietly and too gently.

The dread exploded in my gut like buckshot, and my gaze dropped to my left hand. I expected to see the weird marbling of black and gray, a mixture of the demon and Warden that existed inside of me and a combination I’d become almost familiar with by now. My nails had lengthened and sharpened, and I could tell they were hard enough to cut through steel, as hard as my skin, but my skin…it was still pink. Really pink.

“What the…?” My gaze traveled to my other hand. It was the same. Just pink. My wings twitched, reminding me that I had shifted.

Zayne swallowed. “Your…your wings…”

“What about my wings?” I almost screeched, reaching be‑ hind me. “Are they broken? Did they not come out—” The tips of my fingers came into contact with something as soft as silk. My hand jerked back. “What…”

Stacey’s watery eyes had doubled in size. “Um, Layla, there’s a mirror above the fireplace. I think you need to look in it.”

I met Roth’s gaze for a second before I spun around and all but ran to the fireplace I was sure Stacey’s mom had never used. Clutching the white mantel, I stared at my reflection.

I looked normal, like I did before I shifted…like I was going to class or something. My eyes were the palest shade of gray, a watered-down blue. My hair was so blond it was almost white, and a mess of waves that went in every direction like usual. I looked like a colorless china doll, which was nothing new, except for the two fangs jutting out of my mouth. I wouldn’t show them off at school, but that wasn’t what caught my attention and held it.

It was my wings.

They were large, not as massive as Zayne’s or Roth’s, and normally they were almost leathery in texture, but now they were black…black and feathered. Like legit feathered. That soft, silky thing I’d felt? It had been tiny feathers.

Feathers.

“Oh my God,” I whispered at my reflection. “I have feathers.”

“Those are definitely feathered wings,” Roth commented.

I whipped around, knocking over a lamp with my feathered right wing. “I have feathers on my wings!”

Roth cocked his head to the side. “Yeah, you do.”

He was absolutely no help, so I turned to Zayne. “Why do I have feathers on my wings?”

Zayne shook his head slowly. “I don’t know, Layla. I’ve never seen anything like this.”

“Liar,” hissed Roth, shooting him a dark look. “You’ve seen that before. So have I.”


And don’t miss the first titles in the Dark Elements Series!

BITTER SWEET LOVE
Amazon
WHITE HOT KISS
Amazon
STONE COLD TOUCH
Amazon
BAM

Author Bio:

JLA_Author-photo# 1 New York Times and # 1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA. She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.
You Can Find Her At:
Website

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