Check out this lovely cover for the upcoming A French Voice in New York (The French Girl #5) by Anna Adams!

A French Voice in New York
Anna Adams
(The French Girl #5)
Publication date: November 17th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Maude Laurent is certain she’ll be recruited as a composer for a new Broadway musical, until she realizes she’s up against Julia Tanand, another French singer-songwriter who wants to beat her at any cost. Luckily, she receives her boyfriend Matt’s full support and together they’re determined to dazzle the producer.

But when someone from Matt’s past comes back into their lives, Maude will have a tough decision to make, at the risk of losing him for good.

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BOOK TRAILER:

 

Author Bio:

Born in France, raised partly in the United States and in France, I grew up loving stories in French and English. I currently live in Paris where I pursue my studies as a Law Student.

I’m the author of the French Girl series. When I’m not writing, I enjoy traveling in Europe and dream of going to Asia and Africa.

I love to hear from readers at

annaadams333@gmail.com.

You can also find more information about my books on my website http://www.annaadamsauthor.com/

and join my newsletter for exclusive news about my books.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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New Release! 5 Star review of Daring the Bad Boy by Monica Murphy

daring

Daring the Bad Boy

Author:  Monica Murphy

Publication Date:  August 22, 2016

Genre:  Young Adult, Romance

Synopsis:  

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains references to drinking, sexual situations, adult language, and an intense bad boy hero who will melt your heart.

Annie McFarland is sick of being a shy nobody. A session at summer camp seems like the perfect opportunity to reinvent herself—gain some confidence, kiss a boy, be whoever she wants to be. A few days in, she’s already set her sights on über-hottie Kyle. Too bad her fear of water keeps her away from the lake, where Kyle is always hanging out.

Jacob Fazio is at Camp Pine Ridge after one too many screw-ups. Junior counseling seems like punishment enough, but the rigid no-fraternizing-with-campers rules harsh his chill. When a night of Truth or Dare gets him roped into teaching Annie how to swim, she begs him to also teach her how to snag Kyle.

Late-night swim sessions turn into late-night kissing sessions…but there’s more on the line than just their hearts. If they get caught, Jake’s headed straight to juvie, but Annie’s more than ready to dare him to reveal the truth.

My Review:

5/5 Stars!

Daring the Bad Boy is everything a YA romance should be–sweet, funny, romantic and a little angsty.  A fabulous YA read!

Annie is shy and a little awkward.  Jacob is a bad boy.  They are total opposites.  So, when they cross paths at summer camp, Jacob as a counselor and Annie as a camper, forbidden sparks fly.  The camp has a strict rule about campers and counselors getting involved.  It’s especially important that Jake tow the line since his uncle owns the camp and if he screws up, his uncle will tell his dad and Jake will head straight to juvie, don’t pass go, don’t collect $200 dollars.  But is the risk worth the reward?

I loved Jacob!  He is the penultimate teenage bad boy with a heart.  Annie brings out the best in him and him in her.

I haven’t read a YA book in a while, but some of my favorite books are from the YA genre.  This sweet, funny romance just rocketed its way up into my top 10 YA books of all time.  Monica Murphy solidifies herself in yet another genre.

Do NOT pass this one up!

Where to Buy:

Amazon     \/     Barnes & Noble     \/     Kobo

About the Author:

monica murphy

Biography

Monica Murphy is the New York Times, USA Today and #1 international bestselling author of the One Week Girlfriend series, the Billionaire Bachelors and The Rules series. Her books have been translated in almost a dozen languages and has sold over one million copies worldwide. She is both self-published and published by Random House/Bantam and Harper Collins/Avon. She writes new adult, young adult and contemporary romance.

She is a wife and a mother of three who lives in central California on fourteen acres in the middle of nowhere along with their one dog and too many cats. A self-confessed workaholic, when she’s not writing, she’s reading or hanging out with her husband and kids. She’s a firm believer in happy endings, though she will admit to putting her characters through angst-filled moments before they finally get that hard won HEA.

Visit her website at http://monicamurphyauthor.com for more information or sign up for her newsletter (copy and paste the link into your browser): http://bit.ly/IW5U0y

Monica is also known as USA Today bestselling romance author Karen Erickson (http://karenerickson.com).

New Release & giveaway: Beneath the Void by Elisa Dane

Beneath the Void
Elisa Dane
(Fighting Chance #2)
Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: August 9th 2016
Genres: Romance, Young Adult

Sadie Reynolds is drowning.

Months have passed since Ian Daniels and Newton Daily opened fire at Atwood High school, killing dozens of students before turning the guns on themselves.

Determined to pay tribute to her fallen classmates and teachers, Sadie’s thrown herself into the memorial project at the newly rebuilt school. But it’s not enough. Horrific dreams of the shooting intertwined with memories of the night her mother was murdered keep her up at night and haunt her during the day.

The constant stream of hate raining down on her from faceless social media trolls only make matters worse. Her boyfriend, Hayden brings the only source of relief when he sneaks in to sleep next to her on nights her dad is at work.

Desperate for normalcy, Sadie fills every waking moment of her day with anything to take her mind off her pain. If she’s exhausted, she’ll be too tired to acknowledge the new threat gunning for her.

BENEATH the VOID is book 2 in Elisa Dane’s Fighting Chance series, a hard-hitting and unapologetically raw look at teen violence in schools and the aftermath of learning to pick up the pieces and heal.

Goodreads / Amazon

Sequel to:

28471919

EXCERPT:

“It’s a damn shame what happened to that girl. A damn shame what happened to all of you.”

I bit down on the inside of my lip and lifted my tray off the counter. If I didn’t get away from Moe before he started in, things would get awkward fast. “Heading out,” I called over my shoulder as I rounded the counter. The last thing I wanted to do was talk about the shooting. I’d lived, breathed, ate, and drank nothing but the shooting for months on end. I had funeral music burned into my brain and had cried myself into a stupor more times than I could count. I was done crying. It didn’t help. It didn’t change what had happened, and it didn’t make anything better. Moving forward and staying busy were the only things that made life bearable. Well, that and spending quality time with Hayden. The memorial project I was heading up at Atwood High was the only shooting related activity I involved myself in anymore. It was positive. It had meaning. It was my way of paying respect to poor Tara Chung.

And everyone else.

A loud boom sounded in the not too far distance.

My body reacted on instinct. My heart leaped inside my chest. The tray full of drinks I’d been carrying crashed against the black and white checkered tile. My knees buckled, and with a frightened scream, I dropped like a stone to the floor and covered my head with my arms. Not again. Not again. This can’t be happening again.

The people in the booths next to me weren’t moving. Were they insane? There was a shooter in the building! I rose up onto my knees and lurched sideways, grabbing onto the jean-clad knee of the older man sitting at the edge of the booth. “Get down! Quick!”

The man gaped at me like I was insane.

A hand clamped down onto my shoulder, and I shot up off the floor with a shriek.

“Sadie!” Moe’s voice sounded above the pounding of my heart, and I zeroed in on his calm face as I struggled to catch my breath.

He stepped forward and placed his hands on my shoulders. “Honey, it’s okay. Everyone in the diner is fine. A car backfired out in the lot. That’s what you heard.”

My mouth felt dry and pasty and the room swayed beneath my feet. I opened my mouth to speak and glanced over my shoulder toward the front window when words failed me. I glanced back at Moe. “A-a car?”

Moe’s expression was gentle, but filled with pity and my stomach immediately soured. “Everyone’s fine, sweetheart,” he said with a nod. He motioned toward the back of the diner. “Why don’t you take your break now and … ”

He continued to watch me with concern as his words trailed off and I nodded, more than happy to get the hell away from everyone and everything. I knew what he couldn’t bring himself to say: Take your break, girl, and hide your crazy away before you drive away my business.

Too embarrassed to look back, I left my fallen tray and drinks where they lay shattered and spilled on the floor and sprinted out the back door of the diner.

 

Author Bio:

ELISA DANE is a self-proclaimed book junkie. A lover of handbags, chocolate, and reality television, she’s a proud mother to three All- Star cheerleaders. Writing is her absolute passion, and it’s her mission to create stories that will not only take you on a romantic journey that will warm your heart, but help you find a new respect and interest in the sport of All-Star cheerleading.

Elisa is no stranger to the publishing world. She writes steamy paranormal romance under her real name, Lisa Sanchez. Her adult works include the Hanford Park series (Eve Of Samhain, Pleasures Untold, and Faythe Reclaimed), Obsessed (an erotic suspense), and a paranormal novella, Cursing Athena. Elisa lives in Northern California with her husband, three daughters, and a feisty Chihuahua who stubbornly believes she’s human.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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Cover Reveal! Just Friends by Monica Murphy!

Just-Friends-PRINT-FOR-WEB

Check out the cover for Monica Murphy’s upcoming release Just Friends!  Isn’t is awesome!  This will release on September 13, 2016.  It is a sexy, mature YA romance!  I know I can’t wait!!

Just Friends AMAZON

Please note you can get a jump start on this series by reading the FREE story that starts before Just Friends, called One Night on Wattpad! https://www.wattpad.com/story/79420939-one-night

New Release & Giveaway: This Is What Goodbye Looks Like by Olivia Rivers

This is What Goodbye Looks Like
Olivia Rivers
Publication date: June 17th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Lea Holder watched a boy die in the same DUI accident that ruined Lea’s legs and threw her little sister into a coma. As the only eye-witness to the accident, if she tells the truth in court, the drunk driver will go to prison and the dead boy’s family will have justice.

But Lea lies.

If she had told the truth, Lea would have put her own mom in prison for causing the accident. With the trial over and her mom set free, Lea attempts to rebuild her shattered life as she waits for her little sister to wake from her coma.

When Lea transfers schools, she finds herself in the same senior class as Seth Ashbury, the brother of the boy her mom killed. As Lea gets to know the person buried underneath Seth’s grief, she quickly falls for his quick wit and passionate soul. But Seth remains completely oblivious that Lea is the same girl who robbed his family of justice.

As their relationship deepens, Lea finally gets a taste of the love that’s been missing from her life since the accident. But soon she’s faced with a choice: she can continue her lies and accept the comfort it gives them both. Or she can tell Seth the truth about everything, and risk destroying both her family and her newfound love.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Every reasonable thought in my head disappears at the sound of his voice. It’s slightly different now—deep and strong, instead of choked with grief and dread. But the smooth tone is mostly the same as I remember it, and my gut twists painfully as a new set of footsteps approaches.

A sharp noise breaks through the sudden quiet, and I flinch, thinking for a split second that it’s the sound of tearing metal. But then I realize it’s the bark of a dog, and I squeeze my eyes shut.

I can’t do this. I have to do this, but I can’t do this.

“Seth!” Brie calls out. “Dude, you’re totally late. Again.”

He makes a low, disbelieving noise, something between a scoff and a chuckle. Now he sounds even closer. I take a deep breath and clench my hand tighter around my cane. If I don’t turn around and greet him, it’ll be obvious that I have an issue with him, but I can’t get my body to move.

“I’m fashionably late,” Seth tells Brie. “There’s a difference.”

“Yeah, there is,” Hannah says. “One is on time, and one isn’t. And only one is annoying, too.”

“Agreed,” he says. “You punctual people get so irritating.”

Hannah tosses a curse at him, but laughs to soften the impact. Then the footsteps stop, and something cold and wet nudges my wrist, right where my mitten ends. At first, I think someone’s pressing snow there, but then I feel a warm tongue lick the same spot.

I jerk back just as I hear Seth say, “Koda! You know I can hear that, you bad girl. No licking.” Then he says to the others, “Who’s she licking? She never does that to you guys.”

“That’s Lea,” Brie says. “She’s the new senior we got. Lea, this is Seth Ashbury. Seth, this is Lea Holder.”

My heart pounds a million beats per minute, and the adrenaline makes me strong enough to peel my eyes open. Looking down, I find myself staring right at Seth’s seeing eye dog. She looks just like she did at the trial, a regal German Shepherd mix with a glossy coat and wagging tail.

The dog nudges at me again with her nose, clearly expecting me to pet her. But instead I focus on the light-weight vest strapped to her back, letting my eyes follow the slim handle attached to it until I find myself staring at the guy gripping it.

Seth Ashbury stands right there, right in front of me. He also looks the same as he did during the trial—tall with lithe muscle, shaggy blond hair, and tan skin. He’s the spitting image of his older brother, right down to the sharp jawline and the way one side of his mouth lifts slightly higher than the other as he smiles.

A slim pair of sunglasses hides his blind eyes, but I’m betting they’re the same color as his brother’s. Parker’s eyes were shockingly blue, like a tropical sea, and their bright color contrasted sickeningly against the blood that dripped down his forehead after the accident.

I’m frozen. Maddie and Hannah giggle, probably thinking I’ve been stunned by Seth’s good looks. I’m sure any normal girl would consider him gorgeous, but I haven’t been normal in months, and nothing about Seth is beautiful to me. He’s just a reminder of crunching metal and squealing tires and my sister’s scream, her scream that seemed to echo and never, never, never end…

“Hey,” Seth says, holding out a hand in my general direction. “Nice to meet you.”

This is the part where I need to slap on a smile, recover from my brief awkwardness, and let myself go into robot mode. Shut down my emotions, boot up automatic functions. I reach my hand forward a little, and for a single moment, I think I’m going to pull this off.

But then I notice the slim chain around his neck, the one that has a small, silver medallion dangling from the end. The same medallion his brother was wearing when he died just feet away from me.

My gut twists, and my hand falls away, and I vomit all over his shoes.

 

Author Bio:

Olivia Rivers is a hybrid author of Young Adult fiction. Her works include the independently published novels “This is What Goodbye Looks Like” and “In the Hope of Memories,” along with the traditionally published novel “Tone Deaf” (Skyhorse 2016.) As a certified geek, she enjoys experimenting with new publishing technologies, and her online serials have received over 1,000,000 hits on Wattpad.com. When Olivia isn’t working as a writer, she’s a typical teen attending college in Northern California. Olivia is represented by Laurie McLean of Fuse Literary, and nothing thrills her more than hearing from readers.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Newsletter / Tumblr

 

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Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: Race Girl by Leigh Hutton

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Race Girl by Leigh Hutton 
(The Go Girls Chronicles #3) 
Publication date: April 3rd 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Synopsis:

Fresh on the heels of Michelle Payne’s historic Melbourne Cup win, comes a blockbuster Australian story about a Queensland girl and the ‘race that stops a nation’ . . .

Tully Athens has always dreamed of following in the footsteps of her hero Michelle Payne. Of living up to the Athens name and becoming the third generation of women from her family to rule the track. But Tully’s never been sure she’s got the nerve, and when her mother is killed in a racing accident, her whole world is shattered.

Six months later, in the heat of a Queensland summer, sixteen-year-old Tully is ready to face her fears. But getting back in the saddle leads to a whole lot more than she bargained for, with an out of control crush on the boy from their rival thoroughbred farm – the gorgeous but cocky larrikin Brandon Weston – and a forgotten filly with stardom in her eyes . . .

When faced with the most difficult decision of her life, will Tully choose to train and race her new filly in Melbourne? Or will she sacrifice it all to fight for love on the land that feeds her soul?

It’s only when tragedy rips everything from her that Tully finds a strength and courage she never knew she had, in this action-packed novel of passion, adventure and determination.

RACE GIRL is the highly anticipated third book in The Go Girls Chronicles – bestselling stories of gutsy girls in action sports, by Leigh Hutton!

*A PORTION OF EVERY #RaceGirl book sold goes to the Make-A-Wish Foundation to help grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions, and to horse-welfare charity, Equine Action Qld*

 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29539144-race-girl?from_new_nav=true&ac=1&from_search=true

My Review:

My Rating: Four stars

Race Girl is a sweet, coming-of-age tale about Tully Athens.  She wants to rule the track like her idol, Michelle Payne, and her own mother.  However, she doesn’t quite have the nerve to do it.  When an accident on the track kills her mother, she loses all confidence in herself.  With the help of her new filly and a gorgeous boy, Tully regains her confidence and finds herself again.

Race Girl was a sweet, heartfelt book about a lost and broken girl needing to find herself again.  The characters are well-written, the plot is good and there is just the right amount of conflict to keep it just on this side of angsty.

I have to admit it was a bit slow in the beginning, but it does pick up about a third of the way through and is worth it to stick with the book.  I have seen some reviewers who had difficulty with the differences in language.  Just remember, this author is from Australia, so there will be differences.  I found the Kindle app with the dictionary feature to be helpful for this.

All-in-all, I enjoyed the book.  I think you all with, too.

Purchase:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Race-Girl-Go-Girls-Chronicles/dp/0992495687

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/race-girl-leigh-hutton/1123609565?ean=9780992495688

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/race-girl/id1099017067?mt=11

 

AUTHOR BIO:

Leigh

Leigh Hutton is a former Courier-Mail journalist, dirt bike racer and horse show jumper. Leigh was born in Canada and lives on rural property in southeast Queensland, Australia, with her husband and three young children. When she isn’t writing, managing the relocation and restoration of historic ‘Queenslander’ homes, wrangling the kids or swilling coffee, she loves to read, watch smart TV and movies, ride her motorbike and daydream about gorgeous horses. Her family spell racehorses at their property and making friends with each one is also a favourite pastime of Leigh and her children. Leigh is especially passionate about promoting the growing number of girls and women in all action and equestrian sports, and is thrilled to be drawing on her experiences to bring you the exciting novels of The Go Girls Chronicles . . .

Book one, REV GIRL, OUT NOW!

Book two, JUMP GIRL, OUT NOW!

Book three, RACE GIRL, out April 3rd, 2016!

Author links:

http://www.leighhuttonbooks.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8184151.Leigh_Hutton#

https://www.facebook.com/revgirlbook

https://twitter.com/LeighHutton

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New Release & Giveaway: Shining Sea by Mimi Cross

Shining Sea
Mimi Cross
Published by: Skyscape
Publication date: May 24th, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

Seventeen-year-old Arion Rush has always played the obedient sidekick to her older sister’s flashy femme fatale—until a mysterious boating accident leaves Lilah a silent, traumatized stranger. As her sister awaits medical treatment with their mother, Arion and their father head to his hometown in Maine to prepare a new life for them all. Surrounded by the vast Atlantic, songwriting is Arion’s only solace, her solid ground.

Unexpectedly, Arion blossoms in the tiny coastal town. Friends flock to her, and Logan Delaine, a volatile heartthrob, seems downright smitten. But it’s Bo Summers—a solitary surfer, as alluring as he is aloof—that Arion can’t shake. Meanwhile, Lilah’s worsening condition, a string of local fatalities, and Arion’s own recent brushes with death seem ominously linked…to Bo’s otherworldly family. As Arion’s feelings for Bo intensify and his affections turn possessive, she must make a choice. How will Arion learn to listen to her own voice when Bo’s siren song won’t stop ringing in her ears?

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

GOODBYE

Tuneless humming is coming from the bedroom next to mine. I’ve always been the better singer, no secret. Even before I could talk, I sang. To me, singing feels like . . . flying.

As a little kid I sang in the church choir, later on in the choruses at school, and about six months ago I started writing songs—not that I’d call myself a songwriter yet. My first gig was last week, down in the Mission District. Standing on the spotlit stage of the black box performance space, I played one long set—twelve tunes total—while hipsters watched with crossed arms.

Performing in front of an audience is a good way to tell if your songs are finished.

Or not.

The song I’m trying to capture now definitely falls into the not category.

I give the guitar a soft strum—a ghost of a chord slips out. Playing the haunting notes a little louder, I listen for the melody. It’ll come, eventually, but we’re leaving any minute.

Not just leaving . . . moving.

“Do you know,” I whisper sing, “where lost things go?”

In the next room Lilah falls silent. The lyrics tangle in my throat.

My fingers fumble, then jerk—playing a rhythmic pattern atop a single minor chord: one and two, one and two. Words tumble out of me. “Saint Anthony, can you come around? There’s something lost, and it can’t be found.”

Saint Anthony—is he the one?

A quick Google search on the laptop perched at the end of my bed tells me he is. Saint Anthony is invoked as the finder of lost things. Pulling my guitar closer, I play the line over and over.

“Arion? You up there?”

Dad. After shoving the laptop into my backpack, I shut the guitar in its case and head into the hall. Hands full, I stand in my sister’s doorway.

She doesn’t see me.

Even as thin as she is, even with the ever-present dark shadows beneath her eyes, Lilah is beautiful. Her features are regular and in proportion. Mine . . . are slightly exaggerated. Nose longer, lips fuller. Now, without music to distract me, the tears I’d vowed not to cry fill my eyes. Brown eyes. On a good day, they’re hazel. Maybe.

There’s no mistaking the color of my sister’s eyes. Bright blue. Her hair is black and shiny, cut straight across her forehead and blunt at her shoulders in a way that has always made me think of Cleopatra, but especially since the accident, when she became a mystery to me. Lilah no longer tells me her every thought. She can’t.

My sister blinks her bellflower eyes now, and for a split second— seems to focus on me.

But the illusion vanishes just as quickly. I swallow around the lump in my throat, wondering for the millionth time if she has any idea what’s going on.

Her bed is up against the window. In the distance—over a nearly invisible San Francisco Bay—the Golden Gate Bridge hovers in fog. Sitting down beside her on the bed, I lay a hand on one of her legs—feel bones, atrophied muscles. A raw feeling spreads through me, like a dull blade is scraping the underside of my skin.

“So . . . guess it’s time for goodbye.” I take a deep breath in, let it out slowly—which doesn’t help at all. “I’ll see you in Rock Hook Harbor. Dad’s one-horse hometown . . . Sounds happening, huh?” My attempt at lightheartedness fails completely. The words drop like bricks.

Leaning in, I kiss her cheek.

She turns away, as if looking toward the ghostly water. Or, is she looking at the water? Or just staring blankly?

I so want it to be the former. The doctors say it’s the latter.

In my chest, a hairline fissure I’ve fused together with lyrics and chords pops open.

“I love you,” I choke out.

She doesn’t answer. Of course she doesn’t.

Biting down hard on my lip, I stand up, trying not to feel like I’m leaving my best friend stranded. But I am. She is. Stranded. She’s been stranded, for a year.

Swiping at my eyes, I take a few steps down the hall—then turn suddenly into my parents’ room, which is mostly Mom’s room now. Dad spends the nights he’s here on the living room couch, where, after dinner—usually something complicated he’s cooked up involving lots of pots and pans—he falls asleep with the TV on. Blue screen to white noise; maybe the sound helps him. Music works better for me. Or, it used to. I used to lie in bed at night and sing. Lately, all I want to do is sleep.

Like the rest of the house, my parents’ bedroom is crowded with canvases. Filled with slashes of color and geometric shapes, each paint- ing has the name “Cici” scrawled in large letters down in the right-hand corner. Mom’s pictures pulse with unfamiliar energy, and my nostrils flare at the scent of paint fumes as I move a half-finished piece—an abstract portrait of a girl, I think—that’s leaning up against the glass door. Slipping out onto the balcony, I clutch the cold railing and eye a moldering stack of Psychology Today magazines. Therapy is Mom’s religion.

A pair of paint-splattered jeans hangs off a chair. A handful of paintbrushes soak in a bucket. There’s no sign of Dad.

My parents are like a couple of unmoored boats. Drifting. One of the few things they agreed on this past year? The accident was Dad’s fault. A pretty stupid conclusion, really, considering he hadn’t even been on the boat. But he’s a ship’s captain. Lilah and I inherited our love of the water from him.

Water. I hate it now. Because of the water, I’m on this balcony almost every day, drawn out here as if for a long-standing appointment, some prearranged meeting between me and my broken heart. I cry here; sometimes I yell. Sometimes I write, and one day, I nearly threw my guitar over the railing.

Splintered wood, snapped strings, I’m interested in broken things. The circling song lyrics fade at the sound of Mom’s strained voice. “Arion, have you finished saying goodbye to Delilah? Your dad’s ready to go.”

I stay another second, then scoop up a stray guitar pick from the terracotta tiles and head inside, not paying any attention to the paint- ings now, just intent on leaving before I get any more upset.

But then I’m passing Lilah’s room—and I see it.

The slim black notebook I’ve searched for probably a hundred times over the past year.

Oh, I’ve seen the palm-size Moleskine with its curled cover, seen it clutched in Lilah’s fist, watched as she whisked the small black book beneath her quilt, or shoved it between her sheets. I just haven’t been able to get my hands on it, and I’ve wanted to, desperately.

So many times I’ve seen her slip the notebook between the over- size pages of the art books that Mom insists on bringing home from the library. She’ll hug the book close then—her treasure safe inside— but she’ll never actually look at the glossy pages. Not like she looks at that notebook. She looks at that black book like it’s the only thing she recognizes.

It’s definitely some kind of diary. Not that I ever see her writing in it, not since before. But she’s always got it on her.

Only, she doesn’t have it on her now.

Now, there it is, on the floor next to her bed. And Lilah, there she is, still looking but not looking out the window. Transfixed, it would seem, by the gray bay. As I watch, she lifts one hand, bringing her fingertips to the glass—as if there’s something out there she wants to touch.

It’s kind of amazing how I do it, how I steal her most precious pos- session without breaking my stride. How I silently sweep into the room and, bending low, snatch it up—then keep on walking like nothing’s happened. Like I’m ten-year-old Lilah herself, that time at the rock and gem shop down near the beach, trying on one sterling silver ring, then another. I’ll never forget it, how she smiled at the shopkeeper—maybe even said thank you—then practically skipped out the door, still wear- ing at least one of the rings. Once outside, she tossed a half-dozen more rings onto the pebbles that served as the shop’s front yard, so that she could retrieve them that night when the gem shop was closed, so that we could retrieve them.

Eight-year-old me, I’d held the flashlight for her. She’d given me one of the rings as my reward, but only one.

I feel bad taking the book; if I could read it and leave it, I would. But there’s no time. Through the hall window I can see Dad standing down in the driveway by the old green Jeep Cherokee, the car that will be mine once we get to Maine.

So I slide the notebook into the pocket of my backpack where it burns a hole so big I think it will surely fall out—pages fluttering like fiery wings—and slap the floor with a sound so sharp, Lilah will shud- der to life. She’ll spring up and shout at me, her old self at last.

But nothing like this happens.

Leaving Lilah. Taking the notebook. My skin ripples with guilt. But we have to go on ahead. School’s starting in a few weeks, plus Dad’s new job—they won’t hold it any longer.

And really, I have to take the book. I need to know what happened.

Out in the driveway, I crane my neck, trying to see if Lilah’s still at the window.

“Hold on,” Mom shouts from the house, “I almost forgot!”

Time seems suspended as Dad and I wait by the car, the limbo of the long ride already upon us . . .

Mom reappears holding a square box wrapped in gold paper and a purple ribbon. Balanced on top is a fat cupcake with pink frosting.

“Happy birthday, Arion.” Her flinty blue eyes soften. She hands me the awkward duo and gives me an equally awkward hug. “From both of us.”

Dad smiles, shakes his head. “Seventeen.” He’s always been a man of few words.

“Thanks, Mom. Dad.” Swallowing hard, I climb into the car with the gifts on my lap. Mom pecks Dad on the cheek, and he gets behind the wheel. As we pull away, she blows me a kiss.

Twisting in my seat, I wave—then look up at the second story. No Lilah.

My chest hurts so much—I actually glance down. But there’s nothing except a smear of pink icing on my shirt, where I’d leaned into the cupcake.

We’ll fly back close to Thanksgiving, when Lilah is scheduled for the operation that my parents have finally decided is her best bet: a surgical procedure to implant a device in her brain.

It’s not as sci-fi as it sounds. The battery-operated device is kind of like a pacemaker, only for your brain instead of your heart. This kind of surgery is used to treat a variety of disabling neurological symptoms, although I think whoever came up with DBS—deep brain stimulation—was thinking of people with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, not, well, whatever’s wrong with Lilah. Her case is—entirely different. I’m not going to pretend: I’m scared. But the plan is, we’ll all be together in Maine by Christmas, so that’s what I’m trying to focus on. I’ll miss Lilah. Mom too. But I’m glad to be leaving San Francisco.

My life here . . . is on hold—except for my music. The rest is a waiting game.

We’ve all been waiting for Lilah to find what she lost. As if she can look for it.

 

Author Bio:

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

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Book Blitz & Giveaway: 12 Hours In Paradise by Kathryn Berla

12 Hours in Paradise
Kathryn Berla
Published by: Limitless Publishing
Publication date: April 19th 2016
Genres: Romance, Young Adult

Twelve hours, thirty-six questions, and a chance to fall in love…

It’s the last day of Dorothy Patmont’s family vacation. Soon, she must head back to Reno, where all that waits for her is the cold and the snow. To top it all off, her brother, Chester, acted like a little jerk and ate one too many cookies from the sample jar in the cookie store. But his antics have an unexpected benefit—attracting the attention of an intriguing boy who could change her life forever.

Treats can be sweet, but love is sweeter still…

Arash Atkinson, fluent in four languages and an adventurous soul, is in Waikiki for a high school band competition. When he meets Dorothy, he realizes their time together is limited. “Come out and play,” he texts her. A night of romantic adventure ensues, and Arash discovers an app that claims it can make people fall in love after answering thirty-six questions in each other’s presence.

With each question asked, their stories and feelings continue to unfold. But with every hour that passes they’re more at risk of being found out—Dorothy, by her parents; Arash by his school chaperone. And then Arash gets the dreaded phone call—he has been discovered missing from his room, and must return immediately. Can they finish the questions before facing their consequences?

When time is running out, true love cannot wait. What Arash and Dorothy have is beyond special, something that comes along once in a lifetime, and begins with Twelve Hours In Paradise…but can it survive the trials of the real world?

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EXCERPT:

We stepped into the open-air lobby, where tables had been set out with bowls of the usual happy-hour snacks. A light breeze ruffled my hair, and scarlet-headed birds darted from table to table, looking for crumbs. Pigeons strutted purposefully under the tables, scurrying away whenever a human foot got too close.

Chester made a beeline to the bar, where he ordered a virgin strawberry daiquiri. Arash and I followed him, each of us ordering guava juice. I really was going to miss Hawaii. I never got to drink guava juice in Reno. I never got to feel air this soft against my bare skin. The surf pounded in the distance. I’d miss that sound too. A constant. The heartbeat of this island.

We sat down at an open table while Chester brought back bowl after bowl of chips, popcorn, pretzels, and everything else he could get his hands on.

“So is that why you talk funny?” he asked when he finally sat down. “Because your mom is Persian?”

“I grew up in six different countries,” Arash said. “I speak four languages. So my accent is a mixture of all the places I’ve ever lived. A mongrel accent.”

“A mongrel,” Chester said. “Like Genghis Khan?”

“Oh my God.” I shook my head. “Genghis Khan was a Mongol, not a mongrel.” I turned to Arash and rolled my eyes. “Sorry about my brother.”

But he just laughed. “Mongrel. Like a mutt. A mixture of many things.”

And then we talked about Reno and what it was like to live there.

And about the town outside of San Francisco where Arash lived.

And about how he was in Hawaii for a high school band competition.

And at some point Chester got bored and went up to our room to watch TV while my parents finished packing.

And at some point Arash asked if we could trade contact info just in case.

Just in case he ever came to Reno.

Just in case I ever went to San Francisco.

And at some point I realized Arash was not like any other guy I’d ever known. But in a good way.

And at some point after that, he left and I went up to the room I shared with Granny and finished packing my own stuff.

 

Author Bio:

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

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Release Blitz & Giveaway: Competing With the Star by Krysten Lindsay Hager

Competing with the Star
Krysten Lindsay Hager
(The Star Series, #2)
Published by: Limitless Publishing
Publication date: March 22nd 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Hadley Daniels’s life seems perfect…

Before the beginning of sophomore year of high school, Hadley and her family move to a beautiful beach town, where she makes amazing new friends and lands the boyfriend of her dreams-Nick Jenkins. He’s the kind of guy every girl swoons over, and it isn’t long until Hadley discovers some are still swooning.

A famous ex-girlfriend makes matters more complicated…

After some time dating, Hadley and Nick form a deep bond. But insecurity sets in when Hadley discovers her boyfriend once had a huge crush on her friend-who just happens to be the beautiful former teen TV star, Simone Hendrickson.

The past is the past-or so they say…

Hadley confronts Nick, who confesses about his history with Simone. Though he claims to only have eyes for Hadley now, it’s hard to believe-especially when she’s blindsided with the news that Nick and Simone kissed after school.

Now Hadley must determine who is telling the truth. Love, betrayal, friendship…who needs soap opera drama when you’re busy competing with a star?

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EXCERPT:

Then the most beautiful sound in the world came along—the final bell. I grabbed my bag and rushed out the door to my locker, where I ran into Reagan O’Hara, Nick’s gorgeous ex-girlfriend. “Watch where you’re going, spaz,” she said, glaring at me. “Exactly where are you in such a hurry to get to anyway? I can’t imagine that you’d have plans.”

I could have said, “Off to meet my boyfriend, you know, the guy you used to badmouth me to,” but no, I took the high road and said, “Excuse me,” and kept going.

“Whatever, loser,” she said. My shoulders tensed. As I tried to ignore her and tell myself it was just jealousy, I couldn’t pretend that her words didn’t hurt. I had been considered kind of a loser at my old school in Goodacre. I had had one super close best friend who I did everything with, Lexi Irvin, and when she moved to Dallas, it was as if I had been abandoned. So yeah, I had felt like a complete loser in Goodacre, but now I was here in Grand Haven, with new friends and a new positive outlook on life. I had a new best friend, Charlotte Lidstrom, and had become friends with former teen TV star Simone Hendrickson and her best friend, Asia Milanowski.

It could be intimidating hanging out with Simone since she was popular, pretty, and famous. Sometimes I felt invisible next to her, and unfortunately, hanging with Simone sometimes meant spending time with people like Reagan or Simone’s other friends, Pilar Ito and Morgan Kemp. Morgan was the ultimate mean girl. I swear, even if she told me she loved my outfit and was hooked up to a lie detector test saying she was telling the truth, I still wouldn’t want to risk it and I’d go home and change. But today I was not going to worry about Morgan, Reagan, or any of that. I was just going to focus on my first date with Nick.

Until I rounded the corner and ran into Simone, who was waiting for me at my locker with Morgan and Pilar.

“Hey, Hadley,” Simone said. “Wanted to return your lucky bracelet. Let’s hope it helped me pass my math test.”

She handed me my heart and natural stone charm bracelet and I slid it on my wrist. Morgan looked down at my hands and made a face.

“Why are you wearing such dark nail polish?” she asked me.

My face got warm. “I thought the color was pretty when I saw it in the store. I’ve never seen this shade of purple with so much blue in it.”

“Guys aren’t into weird nail polish colors,” Morgan said as she fluffed her long curly blonde hair with her red polished fingers.

Great, so even my nail polish was wrong. Could I do anything right?

“Here comes Nick,” Pilar said, and the girls all got quiet.

“Hey, guys,” he said, coming up and nodding at them. I started to curl my fingers under so he wouldn’t notice my dark polish—the color that up until a few minutes ago I thought was unique and beautiful was now making me feel like a little oddball.

“Cool color,” Nick said.

“Huh?”

“I like the blue. It’s very you,” he said, and then he reached over and intertwined his fingers with mine. Take that, you dark nail polish haters.

“So are we all heading over to Scoops together?” he asked.

Simone played with a strand of her long blonde hair, but didn’t say a thing.

“Yup, we thought we’d go over with you guys,” Morgan said, smiling up at him with her gleaming white teeth.

Wait, what? No, not cool. This was our first date and I knew I’d feel awkward talking to him around a group—a group judging me on what I said, did, and apparently even the colors I wore.

 

Author Bio:

Krysten Lindsay Hager is a book addict who has worked as a journalist and humor essayist. She is the author of the LANDRY’s TRUE COLORS SERIES and the STAR SERIES. TRUE COLORS was her debut novel and the first book in the LANDRY’S TRUE COLORS series. BEST FRIENDS…FOREVER? (Book 2) was #1 in Amazon’s hot new releases in teen & young adult values and virtues fiction and #1 in Amazon’s hot new release in children’s books on values. Landry in Like (Book 3) was #3 in Amazon’s Hot New Releases for Girls & Women. Her work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Bellbrook Times, and on the talk show Living Dayton. Check out her YA novel, NEXT DOOR TO A STAR (book 1 in the STAR SERIES) and COMPETING WITH THE STAR: Book 2 in the STAR SERIES. You can follow her at: http://www.krystenlindsay.com.

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Book Blitz & Giveaway: Wrecked by Elle Casey

Wrecked
Elle Casey
(Wrecked, #1)
Publication date: January 1st 2012
Genres: Adventure, Romance, Young Adult

NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR, ELLE CASEY, brings readers the High Seas and High Adventure novel WRECKED.

If you liked The Breakfast Club and The Swiss Family Robinson, you’ll love WRECKED!

An ill-fated Caribbean cruise and four teenagers: a nerd, a jock, a mouse, and a beauty queen…an island, a treehouse, some nefarious interlopers…life and death…fear and loathing…love and laughter.

Follow Jonathan, Kevin, Candi and Sarah as they find their typical high school lives and their worlds totally WRECKED.

Content Warning: Contains some foul language and non-explicit sex scenes between older teens. May not be appropriate for younger, middle-grade teens.

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EXCERPT:

“I can’t believe you roped us into this stupid cruise,” Sarah said in a tone of voice that clearly carried her frustration with parents who never appreciated her very important social calendar. She stood in the middle of her parents’ bedroom with her hands on her hips, chin stuck out for emphasis.

“Sarah, we don’t want to hear another word about this. You’re going, and that’s final. Now go pack your bag.” Sarah’s father turned his back on her to walk into his large bedroom closet. She lost sight of him as he turned the corner. The closet, trimmed entirely in dark cedar, was larger than many of her friends’ bedrooms.

Sarah’s mom stepped over and took Sarah’s hands in hers. “I’m sorry, sweetie, but your father is right. We’re all going, and you can’t stay behind. It’s important for your dad’s business that we all be there. But don’t look so glum – it’s going to be fun!”

Sarah knew her mother was trying to sell her on the idea by using her especially chipper, upbeat voice. The annoying one. She rolled her eyes and pulled her hands away. “Oh, please. Like being stuck out in the middle of the ocean with you guys and those loser Buckley kids could ever possibly be fun. Not in a million years, Mom. I’m not in the damn chess club, you know.” The thought of being on a cruise with the two Buckley nerds was too much. Sarah had a boyfriend and a convertible, neither of which was going on this cruise. What was so difficult for her parents to understand?

Sarah’s mom sighed and walked over to the dresser without responding, putting her fingers up to her temples to massage them. Confrontation wasn’t her strong suit, and Sarah used this to her advantage as often as possible.

Sarah’s father, on the other hand, wasn’t one bit shy about going head-to-head. He stepped out of the closet carrying an armload of things for his suitcase. Without even sparing her a glance he said, “Don’t talk to your mother that way, Sarah. Just go pack.”

“But … ”

“Not another word, or you’re going to be very sorry.” He caught her eye, giving her one of his famous warning looks.

Sarah knew what that meant. Either he was going to take away the keys to her car and turn her into a social castaway or forbid her from seeing her boyfriend Barry.

“Fine!”

She turned and stormed from the room in a huff. She tried to stomp her feet for emphasis, but they didn’t make a sound on the heavily padded, ultra thick carpeting. It was very unsatisfying.

On her way down the hall she stopped off at her twin brother’s room and leaned in the doorway. Her eyes scanned the sports posters on the wall, the thirty or so perfectly arranged trophies on the shelves, and the small modern metal and glass desk with a computer sitting on it. He was always so neat with his stuff. “Kev, can you believe this crap? It’s total B.S., right?”

Sarah’s brother Kevin was packing a duffle bag he used for rugby. She watched him move back and forth, grabbing things from different places. He always looked so at ease with himself. His muscled arms and back showed how hard he worked out so he could excel at his favorite sport. He was like most rugby players – he laughed at football players because they had to wear pads and helmets. Rugby players had to worry every game about broken bones and ears being bitten off, or so he said.

He continued to open drawers, pulling out wads of clothes and shoving them into his bag as he responded. “Whatever. I’m gonna go to the all-you-can-eat buffets and put them out of business. Then I’m gonna drink beer until I puke. Then we come home. No big deal.” He didn’t bother looking up.

Sarah snorted in disgust, a look on her face as if she’d smelled something bad. “Is that all you ever worry about? Food and beer?”

“What else is there to worry about?” he asked, dead serious.

“What about Gretchen? She’s not going to be there.”

“But there will be other girls, and Gretchen isn’t the only fish in the sea.” He sniggered at his own poor cruise joke.

“I’ll bet she wouldn’t be so thrilled to hear you say that.”

He looked up at his sister to fix her with his threatening look. “She’s not going to hear anyone say that, or else.”

He sounded just like their dad. Sarah was sick of being threatened, but she knew that Kevin meant either he would share one of her secrets or he’d tackle her and mess up her hair – totally not worth it.

Gretchen probably had no clue that her brother was just using her like he did all the girls before her. The only thing he really cared about was rugby – and food and beer, of course. When he went to rugby parties, there was always beer there, provided courtesy of the older alumni of the team who still came to watch matches and party afterwards.

Sarah continued, “Whatever. I’m not going on this cruise and pretending like I’m having fun. We’re gonna be stuck with those Buckley idiots the entire time, I just know it.”

She paused in her ranting to carefully admire her latest manicure. Her nails were a rosy pink with white tips – flawless. Her skin was already very carefully bronzed to match her summer outfits. Her hair was expertly highlighted. All of it was going to be wasted on this stupid business cruise.

Kevin paused in his packing to spare her a glance. “Don’t worry about it. We’ll ditch ‘em as soon as Mom and Dad aren’t around, and I’ll make sure they keep it to themselves and don’t rat us out.”

Sarah stood up straight and took a step into the bedroom. “Ooh, are you going to threaten them? That should be entertaining.”

“No, I’m not going to threaten the twerp or his sister. I’m just going to explain to them that they’ll have much more fun doing things with other kids more their speed.” He stopped, pointing a finger at his sister. “And don’t take another step into my room, or I’m gonna tackle your scrawny butt and mess up your hair.”

She gingerly stepped back, knowing her brother wasn’t kidding. Then she continued, “Awesome. That’s one issue out of the way, at least.” Sarah was picturing Jonathan and Candace Buckley, who she saw from time to time at school in the hallways or at lunch. What is it with those people who can’t even look in the mirror and see what they’re wearing, anyway? she thought to herself.

“Consider it done.” Kevin finished packing his duffle bag, zipped it up with one quick, practiced motion, and threw it over his shoulder.

“Sounds like a plan,” said Sarah, holding her hand up for a high five as he came towards the door.

Their hands met with a loud crack. “I’m outta here. Tell Mom I’ll be back before four.”

“Tell her yourself. I have to pack for this disaster.” She pushed off the doorframe, stepped around him, and went into her room across the hall.

“You’re a serious pain in the ass, you know that?” he yelled after her, shutting his door behind him.

She didn’t bother to answer, other than to slam the door in his face as he walked by. She could hear him muttering behind the door, walking down the hallway towards the stairs.

She reached under her bed, pulled out her Louis Vuitton suitcase and carry-on make up case and put them on the bed. She turned towards her huge closet, throwing open the doors. So, what does a girl wear on a cruise from hell? As her eyes landed on the short, black skirt her aunt had bought for her on their last shopping spree, an evil glint came into her eye. Well, this little number for starters…

Her parents were going to be sorry they forced her to go on this stupid trip. She laughed out loud thinking about her revenge.

 

Author Bio:

Elle Casey, a former attorney and teacher, is a NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling American author who lives in Southern France with her husband, three kids, and a number of furry friends. She has written books in several genres and publishes an average of one full-length novel per month.

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