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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

WIN an autographed ARC of The Syndicate by Shelena Shorts

Guys -- I'm so excited to be hosting a contest of an autographed ARC of Shelena Shorts's latest novel, The Syndicate.  It doesn't release until July 9th, but you can win an autographed ARC right now!

For centuries, the Petrescu family has been protecting society from a danger that moves among the population undetected. Eighteen-year-old Vasi Petrescu has never had a problem carrying out his duty, but, when ordered to eliminate an eighteen-year-old girl, he is immediately taken out of his comfort zone.

The Syndicate has never targeted a female before, yet somehow this one has ended up on more than one hit list. Vasi would like to find out why, but there may not be time.

Now, he'll have to decide whether or not to keep her alive even if it means going against his own family.

The action, mystery, and conspiracy in The Syndicate will take readers on an immersing journey in which decisions are not only life changing, but irreversible.

Shelena happens to be one of the coolest authors around and I loved her series, The Pace.  The Syndicate is a very different novel, told from a male POV, and has a serving of love story with an extra helping of adventure on the side.  It was a novel that kept me up turning the pages, eagerly waiting to find out what would happen next.  Trust me when I tell you that you want this novel.

Shelena has even graciously agreed to make the contest open Internationally.  (See, I told you she was awesome.)  So use the Rafflecopter box below and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Happy Debut YA Book Birthday

Debut YA titles releasing this week include... vampires, angels, and dystopic thrillers.

Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore
Once you've seen, you can't unsee. Everything changes when you've looked at the world through . . . Angel Eyes

Brielle's a ballerina who went to the city to chase her dreams and found tragedy instead. She's come home to shabby little Stratus, Oregon, to live with her grief and her guilt . . . and the incredible, numbing cold she can't seem to shake. 
Jake's the new guy at school. The boy next door with burning hands and an unbelievable gift that targets him for corruption.
Something more than fate has brought them together. An evil bigger than both of them lurks in the shadows nearby, hiding in plain sight. Two angels stand guard, unsure what's going to happen. And a beauty brighter than either Brielle or Jake has ever seen is calling them to join the battle in a realm where all human choices start.
A realm that only angels and demons-and Brielle-can perceive.

Darkness Before Dawn by J.A. London

Only sunlight can save us.

We built the wall to keep them out, to keep us safe. But it also makes us prisoners, trapped in what's left of our ravaged city, fearing nightfall.
After the death of my parents, it's up to me—as the newest delegate for humanity—to bargain with our vampire overlord. I thought I was ready. I thought I knew everything there was to know about the monsters. Then again, nothing could have prepared me for Lord Valentine . . . or his son. Maybe not all vampires are killers. Maybe it's safe to let one in.

Only one thing is certain: Even the wall is not enough. A war is coming and we cannot hide forever.

The Weepers: The Other Life by Susanne Winnaker
Sherry has lived with her family in a bunker for more than three years. Her grandfather's body has been in the freezer for the last six months, her parents are at each other's throats and two minutes ago, they ran out of food. Sherry and her father must leave the safety of the bunker. What they find is an empty Los Angeles, destroyed by bombs and haunted by Weepers - savage humans infected with a rabies virus. While searching for food, Sherry's father disappears and Sherry is saved by Joshua, a hunter. He takes her to Safe-haven, a vineyard where a handful of survivors are picking up the pieces of their other lives, before the virus changed everything. Sherry must find a way to help her family, stay alive, and decide whether Joshua is their savior or greatest danger as his desire for vengeance threatens them all. This debut novel is a page-turner that is not easy to forget.

No Safety in Numbers by Dayna Lorentz (her YA debut)
Life As We Knew It meets Lord of the Flies in a mall that looks just like yours

A biological bomb has just been discovered in the air ducts of a busy suburban mall. At first nobody knows if it's even life threatening, but then the entire complex is quarantined, people start getting sick, supplies start running low, and there's no way out. Among the hundreds of trapped shoppers are four teens.

These four different narrators, each with their own stories, must cope in unique, surprising styles, changing in ways they wouldn't have predicted, trying to find solace, safety, and escape at a time when the adults are behaving badly.

This is a gripping look at people and how they can--and must--change under the most dire of circumstances.

And not always for the better.

Whatcha think?  Any of these going on your TBR list?

Monday, May 28, 2012

DRIVEN by Lisa Nowak ~ Blog Tour

The last thing on 16-year-old Jess DeLand’s wish list is a boyfriend. She’'d have to be crazy to think any guy would look twice at her. Besides, there are more important things to hope for, like a job working on cars and an end to her mom'’s drinking. Foster care is a constant threat, and Jess is willing to sacrifice anything to stay out of the system. When luck hands her the chance to work on a race car, she finds herself rushing full throttle into a world of opportunities, —including a boy who doesn’'t mind the grease under her fingernails. The question is, can a girl who keeps herself locked up tighter than Richard Petty'’s racing secrets open up enough to risk friendship and her first romance?
“The first romance is captured beautifully, —just the right combination of natural and awkward, of eager and scared.”
~ Bob Martin, writing professor, Pacific Northwest College of Art
In addition to being a YA author, Lisa Nowak is a retired amateur stock car racer, an accomplished cat whisperer, and a professional smartass. She writes coming-of-age books about kids in hard luck situations who learn to appreciate their own value after finding mentors who love them for who they are. She enjoys dark chocolate and stout beer and constantly works toward employing wei wu wei in her life, all the while realizing that the struggle itself is an oxymoron. Lisa has no spare time, but if she did she’d use it to tend to her expansive perennial garden, watch medical dramas, take long walks after dark, and teach her cats to play poker. For those of you who might be wondering, she is not, and has never been, a diaper-wearing astronaut. She lives in Milwaukie, Oregon, with her husband, four feline companions, and two giant sequoias.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Announcing the release of Closed Hearts, the sequel to Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn.
Book Two of the Mindjack Trilogy
When you control minds, only your heart can be used against you.
Eight months ago, Kira Moore revealed to the mindreading world that mindjackers like herself were hidden in their midst. Now she wonders if telling the truth was the right choice after all. As wild rumors spread, a powerful anti-jacker politician capitalizes on mindreaders' fears and strips jackers of their rights. While some jackers flee to Jackertown-a slum rife with jackworkers who trade mind control favors for cash-Kira and her family hide from the readers who fear her and jackers who hate her. But when a jacker Clan member makes Kira's boyfriend Raf collapse in her arms, Kira is forced to save the people she loves by facing the thing she fears most: FBI agent Kestrel and his experimental torture chamber for jackers.  

Read a sample

Now available! $2.99 Ebook at Amazon (and Am azon UK) and Barnes and Noble Request a Kindlegraph Paper copies available at Amazon or get signed copies from the author

Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the bestselling YA novel Open Minds,  Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy, available on AmazonBarnes and Noble, and iTunes. Susan's business card says "Author and Rocket Scientist," but she mostly plays on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest.

CLICK HERE to join the Virtual Party for Closed Hearts
(including bonus content for the Mindjack Trilogy and writerly guest posts) 
ENTER TO WIN prizes below
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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Happy Debut YA Book Birthday

It's debut YA book birthday time again.  Here are this week's birthday girls!

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks
Galen, a Syrena prince, searches land for a girl he's heard can communicate with fish. It’s while Emma is on vacation at the beach that she meets Galen. Although their connection is immediate and powerful, Galen's not fully convinced that Emma's the one he's been looking for. That is, until a deadly encounter with a shark proves  that Emma and her Gift may be the only thing that can save his kingdom. He needs her help--no matter what the risk.

Shift by Em Bailey
Olive Corbett is not crazy. Not anymore. 
She obediently takes her meds and stays under the radar at school. After “the incident,” Olive just wants to avoid any more trouble, so she knows the smartest thing is to stay clear of the new girl who is rumored to have quite the creepy past. 
But there’s no avoiding Miranda Vaile. As mousy Miranda edges her way into the popular group, right up to the side of queen bee Katie – and pushes the others right out – only Olive seems to notice that something strange is going on. Something almost . . . parasitic. Either Olive is losing her grip on reality, or Miranda Vaile is stealing Katie’s life. 
But who would ever believe crazy Olive, the girl who has a habit of letting her imagination run away with her? And what if Olive is the next target?
A chilling psychological thriller that tears through themes of identity, loss, and toxic friendship, Shift will leave readers guessing until the final pages.

37 Things I Love (in No Particular Order) by Kekla Magoon (her YA debut)

Ellis only has four days of her sophomore year left, and summer is so close that she can almost taste it. But even with vacation just within reach, Ellis isn’t exactly relaxed. Her father has been in a coma for years, the result of a construction accident, and her already-fragile relationship with her mother is strained over whether or not to remove him from life support. Her best friend fails even to notice that anything is wrong and Ellis feels like her world is falling apart. But when all seems bleak, Ellis finds comfort in the most unexpected places. 
Life goes on, but in those four fleeting days friends are lost and found, promises are made, and Ellis realizes that nothing will ever quite be the same.

Talisman of El by Alecia Stone (born May 20th)

One Planet.

Two Worlds.

Population: Human ... 7 billion.
Others ... unknown.

When 14-year-old Char­lie Blake wakes up sweat­ing and gasp­ing for air in the mid­dle of the night, he knows it is hap­pen­ing again. This time he wit­nesses a bru­tal mur­der. He's afraid to tell any­one. No one would believe him ... because it was a dream. Just like the one he had four years ago - the day before his dad died.

Char­lie doesn't know why this is hap­pen­ing. He would give any­thing to have an ordi­nary life. The prob­lem: he doesn't belong in the world he knows as home.

He belongs with the others.

So what do you think about this week's debuts?

Monday, May 21, 2012

COVER RE-REVEAL - My Super Sweet 16th Century

Blurb: On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore.

Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?

  Never-Before-Seen Excerpt from MY SUPER SWEET SIXTEENTH CENTURY:

“I thought I’d teach you a dance from where I come from,” I tell him. “One that’s much easier than that multi-step mess inside.”
  I place my left hand on Lorenzo’s shoulder and slip my right one into his. I pause to listen to the music floating over the tinkling voices and bubbling fountain, and begin counting the three-beat tempo. “One, two, three. One, two, three.”
  I stand still, only my head moving, slowly nodding with my words so he can hear the rhythm.
  When his head begins subtly bobbing with mine, I show him how to add his feet. He takes a tentative step forward with his left while I step back with my right, then we side step, close, and repeat the steps with our other feet, all while I lightly whisper the beat count.
  The breeze picks up, blowing my skirt and skimming my veil across the back of my neck. Chills run down my spine, but the warmth coursing through my veins from being in his arms provides a delicious contradiction.
  Lorenzo continues nervously darting his eyes to our feet, but he is dancing. As he relaxes into the movement, his shoulders rising and falling with the steps, the confidence he always seems to exude creeps back on his face, and he tightens the hold around me. Our faces are kissably close, our lips a hairs breadth away from touching. I stare into the chocolate depths of his eyes and the rest of the ball fades away. The only music guiding our steps is my light whisper and the erratic rhythm of our breathing. Time slows. Lorenzo grins.
  “I think you got it,” I say breathlessly, running my hand along the soft fabric of his shoulder, feeling the rock-hard muscles underneath.
  My body curls inward, pressing against his. The proper form for the waltz is a straight spine and shoulders back, but if there was ever a time to break the rules, this is it.

About the Author (in her own words):
As a teen, I threw raging parties that shook my parents’ walls and created embarrassing fodder for future YA novels.

As an adult, I read and write obsessively, rehash said embarrassing fodder, and dream up characters who become my imaginary friends.

When I'm not typing furiously or flipping pages in an enthralling romance, you can find me homeschooling my two beautiful princesses, hanging out with my amazing husband, or taking a hot bubble bath…next to a pile of chocolate.

MY SUPER SWEET SIXTEENTH CENTURY is my first novel. I did have my own fantabulous Sweet Sixteen in high school. Sadly, it wasn’t televised.

Rachel is hosting a give away on YA Bound for a backpack fully of book swag.  You can enter here using the Rafflecopter form.

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Colors Like Memories (excerpt & contest!) by Meradith Houston

Please welcome Meradith Houston, author of COLORS LIKE MEMORIES, to the blog today.  She's a sweet author who's dropping in to share an excerpt from her novel.

But first, a word about the novel ~

Julia has a secret: she killed the guy she loved. It was an accident—sort of. 

Julia is a Sary, the soul of a child who died before taking her first breath. Without this 'breath of life' she and others like her must help those on the verge of suicide. It's a job Julia used to enjoy, until the accident that claimed her boyfriend’s life—an accident she knows was her fault. If living with the guilt weren't enough, she's now assigned to help a girl dealing with the loss of her mother, something Julia's not exactly the best role model for. If she can't figure out a way to help her, Julia's going to lose her position in the Sary, something she swore to her boyfriend would never happen.

The novel released on May 11th and with a stunning cover like that, it's bound to get some notice.  Want to read more?  I know you do. Ok, here's the excerpt:

The morning was cold, and I’d worked up a sweat racing back from the cemetery. Rubbing my hands against my bare arms, I cursed myself for forgetting my sweater again. Shoes would have been smart, too. I hadn’t been thinking about my wardrobe before I changed my form, and I was stuck in what I’d been wearing beforehand. Picking my way around snail shells and sharp stones I made it to the street.
A light in a window here and there was the only indication anyone was stirring in the pre-fab neighborhood Marcy lived in. Soon the men who commuted into the city would be leaving. I needed to be finished and gone before that happened. 
Every crack in the sidewalk was familiar as I raced toward Marcy’s, keeping to the shadows and out of the direct line of sight from windows. 
Marcy’s house was the only one on the block where the Christmas lights were already up. That was how she described it, at least. She didn’t take them down last year. Or the year before. Last Christmas, I’d helped her replace the busted bulbs so the strands would work over the holidays, but neither of us was up to the job of removing them. Neither was her father.
The front of her house looked just like the one across the street. The faded sign on the door, proclaiming a cheerful welcome to all who entered, was the only thing that distinguished it. Marcy left the sign up, even though it had obviously seen better days, because her mother put it there two days before she was killed.

You can get your copy on Amazon or through the Muse It Up website.
Meradeath also has a contest running for her blog tour—all commenters are entered into a drawing for two copies of my book, and one person will win a $25 giftcard to Amazon or Barnes & Noble. There are more details on my home blog, if you want to check it out!
A bit about Meradeth Houston:

Meradeth’s never been a big fan of talking about herself, but if you really want to know, here are some random tidbits about her:
She’s a Northern California girl. This generally means she talks too fast and use "like" a lot.
When she’s not writing, she’s sequencing dead people’s DNA. For fun!
She’s been writing since she was 11 years old. It's her hobby, her passion, and she’s so happy to get to share her work!
If she could have a super-power, it would totally be flying. Which is a little strange, because she’s terrified of heights.

And for more ways to stalk, er, keep with with Meradith, check out these links:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

COVER & EXCERPT - Like Clockwork by Elle Strauss

Like Clockwork, a companion novel to the Clockwise series, is here!!

Adeline doesn't feel she belongs in her own time, but can bad boys from the past be trusted?

 Adeline Savoy had hoped that the move west from Cambridge to Hollywood with her single dad would mean they’d finally bond like a real family, but all she got was a father too busy with his new female friends and his passion for acting to really see her.

 Instead she finds herself getting attached to Faye, the divorcee hair dresser she befriends when she travels back in time to 1955. Plus Faye has a hottie, James Dean-esque, bad-boy brother who has Adeline’s heart all aflutter. But bad boys from the past can be dangerous. Is it possible that Adeline really does belong in her own time and that maybe the right boy lives as close as next door?

LIKE CLOCKWORK is available now at Amazon and Smashwords and soon for B&N, ibooks and other e-book retailers.

 Read on to sample the first chapter:

Chapter One
Adeline Savoy

My dad still thought I was ten. That was how old I was when my mother died, and how old I was when my father crawled into his “cave,” also known as his office on the 26th floor of the John Hancock tower. Six years later, like a bear coming out of hibernation, Dad decided his days of hiding behind a desk were over. I thought he was going through a mid-life crisis, which was why we now lived in Hollywood instead of Cambridge. And why when I spotted his reflection in a mirror at the cosmetic counter in the Shop & Save store, I almost dropped the Scarlet Passion lipstick tester I'd just smeared on my lips.

Even though I was sixteen, I wasn't allowed to wear make-up. True. With my left hand I used a tissue to wipe the evidence off my mouth, all the while watching my dad’s familiar profile move in and out of range in the mirror.

He was laughing. I crouched down and turned, my vision just missing the counter top, and watched. His hair had grown out since the “decision.” He used to always keep it so short, that I didn’t even know it was wavy before, and the lines on his face never used to turn upward in a smile.
I had to see who was causing this cosmic reaction in my father. The clerk who sold cheap jewelry, a pretty-in-a-fake way brunette, tilted her head and giggled back.

My jaw dropped and something really strange started happening in my stomach. I felt a little sick because I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing. My dad was flirting!

Who was this man dressed in khakis, flip-flops and an un-tucked pseudo Hawaiian shirt? My real dad only wore pinstriped suits with starchy white shirts and a blue tie. Always. Even to bed, I was certain.

“Miss? Are you all right?” The cosmetic clerk was armed with a spray nozzle cleaner in one hand and a paper towel in the other.

I mimed as best I could, “ssh”, but apparently dad was the only one with acting skills in my family, since she wouldn’t leave me alone.

“Miss? You don’t look too good. Should I call for medical?”

The fake pretty lady stopped chatting when she heard her colleague talking so loudly. Obviously, that meant my dad’s little flirtation episode was over. And of course, my blonde ponytail was a giveaway. 

“Adeline?” he said.

“Dad!” I jumped up, feigning surprise.

“What are you doing here?” he asked.

What are you doing here? I thought. “Um nothing, just looking. Thought I might buy some gum.”

Dad glanced back at the fake and I did a quick switcheroo, replacing the tester and grabbing a sealed golden tube. It tucked nicely in my fist as I crossed my arms over my chest.

“Adeline, come here,” Dad said. “I want you to meet someone.”

My legs moved toward dad and the fake without my permission.

“Adeline, this is my friend from acting class, Spring. Spring, this is my daughter, Adeline.”

Spring extended her hand. Unfortunately, the contraband lipstick was in my right hand. I wasn’t a magician. Dad would notice if I tried to switch. I opted for the awkward offering of my left hand.

“It’s so nice to meet you,” Spring gushed.

“Same,” I said, not meaning it at all. “Not that I don’t want to stay and chat,” I added quickly, before Dad could draw us into more forced intimacies, “but I’ve got to go.”

“I’ll walk with you,” Dad said. But he wasn’t looking at me; he was smiling at the fake.

“It’s okay, Dad. I’ll meet you at home.” I strutted across the floor to the cashier. He glanced back at me as I stood in line at the register. I waved the pack of gum in the air. I paid for it and the lipstick while Dad and the fake went back to making googly eyes.

I snapped the gum in my mouth while caressing the lipstick tube in my hand. It was encased in a plastic protective seal, a perforated strip running the length of it like a zipper. My thumb picked at the rim. All I had to do was rip it open and it would no longer be returnable.

But I really should return it. I’d promised myself I’d give up the greasy lip habit when we moved. It was a chance to start over, do everything new, and be a proper daughter with a proper father.

Hrumph. Like that was turning out. Dad wasn't exactly holding up his end of the bargain.

My breaths came out short and rapid, like a panting dog. I didn’t realize how fast I’d been walking. I’d hardly taken in the tall palm trees that lined the road or the sweet smell of tropical flowers I didn’t know the names of.

No signs of autumn in sight. In Cambridge the leaves would be showing signs of turning color, bright reds and yellows. A little twist in my stomach. I was homesick.

And angry.

He was supposed to change, but not like that. He was supposed to notice me, spend time with me, not some flake called Spring. What kind of name was that anyway? It sounded like a made up actress name. Her last name was probably Storm or Wind. My thumb picked the plastic a bit more.

“Hi, there.”

I turned my head. Some guy riding a pink bike with a sparkly white banana seat and matching tassels that hung off tall, wide handle bars slowed down to keep pace with me.

“Hi,” he said again. This time there was no mistaking he was talking to me.

“Hi?” I said, not slowing down at all to do so. I may be entering my junior year, but I still didn’t talk to strangers. Janice, my babysitter/pseudo mom in Cambridge, had drilled that lesson into me good.

“My name's Marco. I live next door to you.”

Okay. I slowed a little. “Why are you riding a girl’s bike?” Did he steal it? Why didn’t he care about how stupid it made him look?

“It’s my sister’s. I sold mine to buy something else, but riding this is better than walking.”

“I’m walking and you’re not making any better time than me.” I was annoyed. Why didn’t he just keep going? I preferred to sulk alone.

“You’re new, so I thought with school starting tomorrow, you’d like someone to ride the bus with.”

Good point. Who knew what kinds of Hollywood weirdos would be on the bus? I looked Marco up and down. He was average height, shaggy hair, and wore a graphic t-shirt and surfer shorts with fat, loosely tied skate shoes on his feet. No socks. He had nice, tanned skin and warm brown eyes that squinted to almost close when he smiled. He wasn’t hard to look at.

And he looked trustworthy enough, I guessed. Plus, he was right. I didn’t really want to go to Hollywood High alone.

I stopped and turned to him. “I’m Adeline Savoy.” I wiped the sweat on my right hand off on my skirt—sky blue, slightly flared and to my knees—and offered it wanting to start my new friendship off on the right foot.

“Cool,” Marco said as we shook. “You like to make things official. I like that.”

The sun must’ve glinted off the gold tube in my other hand because Marco nodded toward it. “What’ya got there?”

“Oh, it’s just lipstick. I bought it, but now I’m not sure. I might take it back.”

“I don’t know why girls wear that vile stuff,” he said. I was surprised by the strength of his statement.

“It makes us feel good. Pretty. What’s wrong with that?”

“For one thing, you’re already pretty without it.”

He thought I was pretty?

“Besides,” he continued, “it’s made out of horse urine.”

“It is not! That’s so gross.”

“It is. That’s why it has that sticky consistency. Have you ever seen dried urine around a toilet?”

“You’re disgusting! How would you know about lipstick, anyway?”

“I have three sisters, though one is only six years old and hasn’t discovered the evils of make-up and this culture’s drive to sexualize young girls. It’s too late for my older sisters, but you can still be saved.”

Who was this guy? And how did he get off talking to me like that? He didn’t even know me. I felt my lips settle into a tight line and my pace picked up.

“Hey, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you.”

How long was he going to walk with me? “Where did you say you lived?”

“Right next door to you.”

“Right next door?” This annoying person, who happened to be my only friend, lived right next door?

“Yeah, the two storey. My bedroom window faces yours.”

“You see in my window!”

“No. I don’t…” His face flushed red.

“You do, you do look in. You peeping Tom!”

“Adeline, I didn’t see anything. I just heard your music.”

“Huh?” I stopped and spun to face him.

A grin tugged at the corners of his mouth. “And your singing.”

“What?” I was mortified. He probably heard me singing along to  Feist, or even worse, he saw me doing my Michael Jackson impersonation. I bet he saw me doing the Thriller dance the other night. Ugh!

“Everyone can hear you. You have your window open.”

“You know what? Don’t talk to me.”

Marco seemed truly taken aback, and yet he didn’t get the hint. Not even one as direct as that. He was not only a peeper, but he was dense, too.

“I live in a house full of women. Three sisters and a mother. I get what’s going on here. It’s PMS, isn’t it?”

Was he kidding me? As if I would talk about something like that with him! I stopped and stared hard into his eyes. I produced my new tube of lipstick and slowly peeled the perforated strip, letting the plastic wrapper drop to the ground. I dramatically popped off the lid and twisted the base until the bright red dried horse urine was in full view.

Then I put it on my lips, slowly, purposefully, first the top and then the bottom, smacking them in Marco’s direction when I was done.

Take that, Mr. I Know Women.

Marco bent down, picked up the plastic wrapper and pushed it in his pocket. He straddled the bike and pushed off, turning back long enough to say, “I’ll pick you up at 8:10 tomorrow morning for school.”


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Debut YA Book Birthdays

This week will see the birth of these two fabulous-sounding debut YA novels that both have leading characters named "Kat/Cat"~

Gilt by Katherine Longshore
In the court of King Henry VIII, nothing is free--
and love comes at the highest price of all.

When Kitty Tylney's best friend, Catherine Howard, worms her way into King Henry VIII's heart and brings Kitty to court, she's thrust into a world filled with fabulous gowns, sparkling jewels, and elegant parties. No longer stuck in Cat's shadow, Kitty's now caught between two men--the object of her affection and the object of her desire. But court is also full of secrets, lies, and sordid affairs, and as Kitty witnesses Cat's meteoric rise and fall as queen, she must figure out how to keep being a good friend when the price of telling the truth could literally be her head.

Kiss the Morning Star by Elissa Janine Hoole
When Anna sets out on a post high school road trip toward an unknown destination with best friend Kat, she thinks she's prepared for everything. Clipboard in hand, she checks off her lists: Set up tent. Study maps. Avoid bears. Feelings are not on any list. For the past year - ever since her mother's sudden death - Anna has shut down her emotions and shut out the people who love her most.

Kat is a different story. Clutching a well-worn copy of Jack Kerouac's The Dharma Bums, she radiates enthusiasm. Maybe, she thinks, this road trip will shake Anna back to life. Zigzaging across the Northwest, the girls encounter fellow travelers of all kinds. But throughout their journey, one question haunts Anna. It begins like a gentle rain and then becomes a raging storm: What place does Kat have in my life? Are we good friends? Or something more.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Children's Book Week

Did you know that it's Children's Book Week?  I am undoubtedly living under a rock, since this came as news to me.  What is it, you may ask.

Established in 1919, Children's Book Week is the longest-running literacy initiative in the country. Each year, books for young people and the joy of reading are feted for a full week with author and illustrator appearances, storytelling, parties, and other book-related events at schools, libraries, bookstores, museums, and homes from coast to coast!

Cool, right?  And now that I know, I hunted around and found some great events and offers going on this week and I thought I'd share them with you.

1.  Sylvan Dell Publishing is making all of their ebooks available for free on its website this week.  I know my girls are going to LOVE this, since the majority of stories seem to involve animals.

2.  There is a massive giveaway hop going on with over 100 blogs participating.  Check out the linky list here.

3.  There are loads of official and unofficial events going on this week and into next all across the country.  Libraries, schools and book stores are hosting authors, putting on plays, or having massive sales.  Check out the CBW website or Facebook page for details.

4.  The Children's Choice Book Awards were presented Monday night in NYC.  Kids vote for their favorite stories - not industry executives.  For a full list of the winners, check here.  Some of the highlights include:

Teen Book of the Year ~ Clockwork Prince: The Infernal Devices, Book 2 by Cassandra Clare 
Author of the Year ~ Jeff Kinney - Diary of a Wimpy Kid 6: Cabin Fever

5.  In general, you should peruse the  Children's Book Council website.  This place was new to me, but it features new releases in children's books and also has interesting news articles, like the fact that Target is phasing out Kindles in favor of Apple products, or that Scholastic predicts that within the next 3 years 30% of its sales will be for e-books.

6.  Last, if you have children of your own or know someone who does, here are some ideas to help them celebrate the joy of reading this week:
     *  make a bookmark with a pretty charm on it
     *  clean off your shelves and donate out-grown books to those less fortunate
     *  dress up like your favorite storybook characters (bonus points for acting out the book)
     *  have a no-TV afternoon
     *  do some inventive cooking based on stories -- like Green Eggs and Ham

What's on your radar for Children's Book Week?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Debut YA Book Birthdays!

Big CONGRATS to these debut artists, whose YA babies are being born into the world today.

The Princesses of Iowa by M. Molly Backes
What does it mean to do wrong, when no one punishes you? A smart and unflinching look at friendship, the nature of entitlement, and growing up in the heartland.

Paige Sheridan has the perfect life. She's pretty, rich, and popular, and her spot on the homecoming court is practically guaranteed. But when a night of partying ends in an it-could-have-been-so-much worse crash, everything changes. Her best friends start ignoring her, her boyfriend grows cold and distant, and her once-adoring younger sister now views her with contempt. The only bright spot is her creative writing class, led by a charismatic new teacher who encourages students to be true to themselves. But who is Paige, if not the homecoming princess everyone expects her to be? In this arresting and witty debut, a girl who was once high-school royalty must face a truth that money and status can't fix, and choose between living the privileged life of a princess, or owning up to her mistakes and giving up everything she once held dear.

Pretty Amy by Lisa Burnstein

Amy is fine living in the shadows of beautiful Lila and uber-cool Cassie, because at least she's somewhat beautiful and uber-cool by association. But when their dates stand them up for prom, and the girls take matters into their own hands--earning them a night in jail outfitted in satin, stilettos, and Spanx--Amy discovers even a prom spent in handcuffs might be better than the humiliating"rehabilitation techniques" now filling up her summer. Worse, with Lila and Cassie parentally banned, Amy feels like she has nothing--like she is nothing.
Navigating unlikely alliances with her new coworker, two very different boys, and possibly even her parents, Amy struggles to decide if it's worth being a best friend when it makes you a public enemy. Bringing readers along on an often hilarious and heartwarming journey, Amy finds that maybe getting a life only happens once you think your life is over.

Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink by Stephanie Kate Strohm
Libby Kelting had always felt herself born out of time. No wonder the historical romance-reading, Jane Austen-adaptation-watching, all-around history nerd jumped at the chance to intern at Camden Harbor, Maine’s Oldest Living History Museum. But at Camden Harbor Libby’s just plain out of place, no matter how cute she looks in a corset. Her cat-loving coworker wants her dead, the too-smart-for-his-own-good local reporter keeps pushing her buttons, her gorgeous sailor may be more shipwreck than dreamboat — plus Camden Harbor’s haunted. Over the course of one unforgettable summer, Libby learns that boys, like ghosts, aren’t always what they seem.

Struck by Jennifer Bosworth

Mia Price is a lightning addict. She’s survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her.
Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction. But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.
Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn’t who he claims to be. In the end, the passion and power that brought them together could be their downfall. When the final disaster strikes, Mia must risk unleashing the full horror of her strength to save the people she loves, or lose everything.

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis (her YA debut)
It isn’t easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.
When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.
The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past—and hers?

Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock
Mackenzie and Amy were best friends. Until Amy was brutally murdered.
Since then, Mac's life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac's hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy's killer: 
A white werewolf. 
Lupine syndrome--also known as the werewolf virus--is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control. 
Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy's murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy's boy-friend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk. 
Kathleen Peacock's thrilling novel is the first in the Hemlock trilogy, a spell-binding urban fantasy series filled with provocative questions about prejudice, trust, lies, and love.

Wuftoom by Mary G. Thompson
Everyone thinks Evan is sick ... Everyone thinks science will find a cure. But Evan knows he is not sick, he is transforming. Evan's metamorphosis has him confined to his bed, constantly terrified, and completely alone. Alone, except for his visits from the Wuftoom, a wormlike creature that tells him he is becoming one of them. 
Clinging to his humanity and desperate to help his overworked single mother, Evan makes a bargain with the Vitflies, the sworn enemies of the Wuftoom. But when the bargain becomes blackmail and the Vitflies prepare for war, whom can Evan trust? Is saving his humanity worth destroying an entire species, and the only family he has left?

May 10th ~ Beauty by Lisa Daily (her YA debut)
What's it like to be the most beautiful girl in the world?

Molly desperately wants to be beautiful. And that's what she tells Dharma, the mysterious portrait artist who sketches her face at the town fair just minutes after she's humiliated in front of Hudson, the guy of her dreams. When Molly wakes up the following morning, she's the most beautiful girl in Miracle, Ohio. Babies coo in her arms, her house fills with flowers from dozens of drooling boys, and she's chosen to be a model for the hottest store in town. Best of all, Hudson finally falls for her.

But Molly soon discovers that beauty--and her wish--comes with a price. She's faced with an impossible choice: Will reclaiming her true identity mean letting go of Hudson for good?

One for the Murphys by Linda Mullaly Hunt
A moving debut novel about a foster child learning to open her heart to a family's love

Carley uses humor and street smarts to keep her emotional walls high and thick. But the day she becomes a foster child, and moves in with the Murphys, she's blindsided. This loving, bustling family shows Carley the stable family life she never thought existed, and she feels like an alien in their cookie-cutter-perfect household. Despite her resistance, the Murphys eventually show her what it feels like to belong--until her mother wants her back and Carley has to decide where and how to live. She's not really a Murphy, but the gifts they've given her have opened up a new future.

Good gracious!! That's a lot of debuts this week. I think the publishers are trying to make sure we're all stocked up for summer!