Tag Archives: YA Bound Book Tours

Dream Boy by Mary Crockett Hill & Madelyn Rosenberg Book Blitz + Giveaway!

 
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Dream Boy
Release Date: 07/01/14
Sourcebooks Fire
 
 
Annabelle Manning feels like she’s doing time at her high school in Chilton, Virginia. She has her friends at her lunchtime table of nobodies. What she doesn’t have are possibilities. Or a date for Homecoming. Things get more interesting at night, when she spends time with the boy of her dreams. But the blue-eyed boy with the fairytale smile is just that—a dream. Until the Friday afternoon he walks into her chemistry class.
  One of friends suspects he’s an alien. Another is pretty sure it’s all one big case of deja vu. While Annabelle doesn’t know what to think, she’s willing to believe that the charming Martin Zirkle may just be her dream come true. But as Annabelle discovers the truth behind dreams—where they come from and what they mean—she is forced to face a dark reality she had not expected. More than just Martin has arrived in Chilton. As Annabelle learns, if dreams can come true, so can nightmares.
 
 

  Available from: Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Kobo Books * The Book Depository

Advanced Praise:
“Dream Boy explores the mysterious world of dreams, where we access our deepest desires…the authors expertly weave fantasy and the real world in a perfect blend.”
Erica Orloff, author of In Dreams
 
“Eerie, twisty, fast and funny, Dream Boy will forever change the way you see your dreams–and your nightmares. An exciting, imaginative look at what might happen when people from the corners of your mind suddenly show up in your real life.”
Lois Metzger, author of A Trick of the Light
 
Reviews:
“The perfect book to add to your summer reading list. An awesome balance of love, humor and action, this new read may just be your dream come true!” – GirlsLife
 
“Hits the chick-lit and romance buttons, adding suspense and an intriguing idea as well for nicely rounded entertainment.” — Kirkus Review
 
“An original, twisty paranormal romance.” — Booklist
 
“Five stars… Perfect writing, perfect characters … perfect plot.” — Paperback Wonderland “Dream Boy skillfully and creatively tackles the common theme of good and bad dreams coming alive…. The writing is tight and well paced, and nicely balances action with Annabelle’s character development as she tries to unravel the mysteries of… her dreams. Her teenage voice is spot on: unsure of herself, but spirited, with a sarcasm that masquerades as confidence. The plot twists and moves in unexpected yet fascinating directions.” — The Roanoke Times

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Excerpt2Dream Boy onion I’ve always been a dreamer. Daydreams. Night dreams. Dreams of grandeur and dreams of escape. If I were an onion and you peeled back the papery outside, you’d find layer after layer of eye-watering dreams. And in the center, where there’s that little curlicue of onion heart? There’d be a puff of smoke from the dreams that burned away.   It was all just brain waves, I thought—disconnected, like the notebook that my friend Talon keeps. She draws a line down the middle of the page; on the right she writes everything she remembers about a dream, and on the left she puts notes about the stuff that’s happening in real life, things that might trigger her subconscious. Reality on one side, dreams on the other—a clear line between the two.   But it turns out there are no clear lines, just a jumble of what is and what might be. And all of it is real. ~ Keep reading! You can check out the first three chapters here. WarIsNotTheAnswerswirlyAbout the Author

Mary Crockett likes turtles, licorice, and the Yankees. Madelyn Rosenberg likes cats, avocados, and the Red Sox. Luckily they both like the weirdness of dreams (and each other) enough to write novels together. The friendship has survived three moves, six kids and countless manuscript revisions. Madelyn lives just outside of Washington, D.C. Mary remains in the mountains near their hometowns in southwestern Virginia.

Where to find Mary: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook 
Where to find Madelyn: Website | Goodreads Twitter | Facebook
 
Got a Book Club that might be interested in reading DREAM BOY? Check out the DREAM BOY Discussion Guide.  
 
The DREAM PARTY Pinterest page has ideas about throwing a theme party.  
 
The DREAM BOY inspiration page can show you some of the things that got Mary and Madelyn thinking.
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Giveaway
$10 Gift Certificate to Amazon or Barnes & Noble (winners choice) PLUS a nifty Dream Boy T-shirt

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Honey Queen by Christina Mercer Blog Tour: Playlist + Giveaway!

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Honey Queen
by Christina Mercer
Release Date: 05/31/14

Love is honey sweet, but it comes with a fatal sting . . .

Melaina Maris needs wings to fly the gap between loving Sam and her family’s ancient curse that forces carnal love and then kills the male lovers. She won’t let the same fate that killed her father befall another. She refuses to allow her goddess-created bloodline to continue. But there’s no easy way out, especially after the curse turns her into the Honey Queen—savior to honey bees—intensifying her charms.

To help her fulfill the curse’s demands in the least harmful way, her grandmother takes her to mate with terminally ill Boyd. But Boyd’s gay. And an expert in mythology. Instead of having sex, Melaina learns how she might summon the goddess who created the first ancestor bee-charmer and cursed her bloodline. Melaina’s magic—tears to save honey bees from endangerment—could be enough to persuade the goddess to end the curse. But an unexpected discovery soon changes that hope, spinning Melaina into a swarm of love, friendship and death.

Praise:

“HONEY QUEEN will leave you tingling. Mercer delivers an unforgettable character connected directly to nature with a twist of mythology that exemplifies the power of love, and with enough courage, the power to change ones destiny.” Rachel Allen Dillon, award-winning author and illustrator of Through Endangered Eyes

In prose so delicious, you can taste it, Christina Mercer’s HONEY QUEEN captures the genuine angst and yearning of YA fiction with a powerful honey-sweet twist of Mythic proportions. Readers will catch the buzz of Melaina’s riveting journey to convince a Goddess to save her bloodline, the love of her life, and all the bees. A wonderful reminder of the indelible bond between humanity and nature.” -Jordan E. Rosenfeld, author of Forged in Grace, Night Oracle and Make a Scene

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Author Christina Mercer’s Honey Queen Playlist

Blake Shelton – Who Are You When I’m Not Looking

Adele – Rolling in the Deep

Kenny Chesney – She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy

Blake Shelton – Honey Bee

The Beatles – Blackbird

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About The Author2

christina mercerChristina Mercer is an award-winning author of fiction for children and young adults. Honored titles include Tween Fantasy ARROW OF THE MIST and its sequel ARMS OF ANU, and YA Fantasy/Romance HONEY QUEEN. Christina enjoys life in the foothills of Northern California with her husband and sons, a pack of large dogs, and about 100,000 honeybees. For more about her and her writing, visit:  WebSite | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

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Giveaway

1 $10 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
1 “Honey Bee” swag pack (USA).

Swag will be bookmark, buzz card, beeswax lip balm, honey sticks, honeybee charm.

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Let’s Get Lost Week 2 Blitz: Release Celebration + Giveaway!

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Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid Book Blitz + Giveaway!

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Let’s Get Lost
by Adi
Alsaid
Release Date: 07/29/14
Harlequin Teen
 
Summary from Goodreads:
Five strangers.
Countless adventures. One epic way to get lost.
Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA.
She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need
someone the most.There’s HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams
for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen
goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes
off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost
the ability to love.Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves
them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila’s own 4,268-mile
journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need
most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you’re
looking for is to get lost along the way.

 

Early Praise:
“Reminiscent of John Green’s Paper
Towns
 and road trip novels that feature a teen paving the way to
adulthood, Alsaid’s debut is a gem among contemporary YA novels.” – School
Library Journal
“Five love stories, beautifully woven
together by a special girl in search of adventure, hope, and full
appreciation of life’s simple pleasures. A do-not-miss.  ” – Justine Magazine
“Moving and poignant.”  – Glitter Magazine
“An entertaining and romantic road-trip
debut.” – Kirkus
“Leila’s quest to find the Northern
Lights takes readers on a captivating cross-country journey, where four
strangers’ adventures collide into one riveting tale of finding yourself.” ―YABooksCentral.com


“This will likely be a popular summer
hit, especially for older teen about to embark on their own journeys of
self-discovery.” –
Booklist
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Top 5 YA Authors

 

 

  • John Green
  • Leslye Walton
  • David Levithan
  • Corey Whaley
  • Lockhart

 

In the few years since I began reading young adult novels, I’ve taken a shotgun-blast approach when choosing what to read next. Rather than focusing on one author’s work to fully explore, I’ve tried to get my hands on as many different ones as possible. So, though I’ve only read one or two books by some of these authors, they wrote the books I most enjoyed within the genre, and am looking forward to reading more and more of their work. Three of them I only discovered this year while traveling to book conferences, and all three of their books (Whaley’s Noggin, Lockhart’s We Were Liars, and fellow debut author Leslye Walton’s The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender) are among my favorite books overall that I’ve read in the past couple years.

 

My Top 5 YA Authors

 

Donna Jo Napoli

Libba Bray

Laurie Halse Anderson

Holly Black

Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

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bd3d9-abouttheauthorAdi Alsaid was born and raised in Mexico City, then studied at the
University of Nevada, Las Vegas. While in class, he mostly read fiction and
continuously failed to fill out crossword puzzles, so it’s no surprise that
after graduating, he did not go into business world but rather packed up his
apartment into his car and escaped to the California coastline to become a
writer. He’s now back in his hometown, where he writes, coaches high school and
elementary basketball, and has perfected the art of making every dish he eats
or cooks as spicy as possible. In addition to Mexico, he’s lived in Tel Aviv,
Las Vegas, and Monterey, California. A tingly feeling in his feet tells him
more places will eventually be added to the list. Let’s Get Lost is his YA
debut.  
Let’s Get Lost Website!
 
Author Links:
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1 signed hardcover copy of Let’s Get Lost
1 Let’s Get Lost luggage tag
1 Harlequin TEEN notebook
1 Let’s Get Lost sachel
1 Harlequin TEEN tote bag

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Book Tour: Prophecy of the Most Beautiful (Oracle of Delphi #1) Guest Post + Giveaway!

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Prophecy of the Most Beautiful 
(Oracle of Delphi #1)
by Diantha Jones 
Release Date: 03/01/12

She has a destiny so great that even the gods fear her.

Constant hallucinations and the frequent conversations with the voices in her head, have earned eighteen-year-old Chloe Clever the not-so-coveted title of “Whack Job” in her home town of Adel, Georgia. Fed up with prescription meds and therapists, she wishes for a life where she is destined to be more than the butt of everyone’s jokes and mockery.

Be careful what you wish for has never rung more true.

After a vicious attack and learning that her favorite rockstar is an Olympian god, she is thrust into her new life as the Oracle of Delphi, the prophesier of the future. Setting out to fulfill the prophecy she has been given, Chloe learns of how great she is to become, all the while fighting mythical monsters and trying to outwit the ever-cunning Greek gods who harbor secrets of their own. While on a mission to discover the Most Beautiful, she strives to uncover the mysteries of the demigod Prince who has sworn to protect her with his life…and threatens to win her heart in the process.

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Wrangling the Myths: How I Did It

 

I didn’t really. Wrangle the myths, that is.

 

Greek mythology is so massive, it would take a lifetime to learn everything. Even then, I bet there’d be something you missed. It’s an impossible thing to take on. I’ve studied the myths for the past four years and still feel like a fish out of water at times. There’s just so much of it, so many interpretations, that in the end it all boils down to which tall tale you choose to believe.

 

When researching the myths for my Oracle of Delphi series, I started with…duh, the Oracle. That was easy enough, I guess. Then I moved on to the Olympians. That went well too…at first. Then I realized there was so much more to the big twelve than I had ever known. They are each the god of at least ten different things. They’ve also got a beast or two that is attributed to them, plus plants and other symbols. And let’s not start with the love interests! Out of control, I tell you.

 

But I didn’t stop there. To understand the ways of the Olympians, I had to also study the Titans (Kronos, Rhea, Hyperion, etc.) and the gods of the Cosmos (Uranus, Gaia, Nyx, etc.). Then came the myths themselves. My favorite is the story of Cupid and Psyche and how their romance came to be. But there are other cool myths as well, such as the quest of Jason & the Argonauts, and the twelve labors of Hercules, both which are important to the Oracle of Delphi series.

 

Then there are all of the minor gods and demigods who played major roles in Greek mythology. Really ya’ll…it’s a lot, but not for a moment have I ever felt bored with it. It’s all such exciting stuff! Each time I open one of my books or bring up a website, I’m excited wondering what new, amazing myth I’m going to discover. So have I conquered the Greek myths? Not even close. But I’m sure having a blast trying.

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About the Author

diantha jones Diantha Jones was born the day thousands of turkeys sacrificed their lives to fill millions of American bellies on November 22 which also happened to be Thanksgiving Day (Her mother says she owes her a turkey). She is a Journalism graduate who wants to be a career novelist (of books, not Facebook posts). When not writing or working, she is reading on her Nook, being hypnotized by Netflix or on a mission to procure french fries.

The Oracle of Delphi fantasy series is her first series. She is also the author of Mythos: Stories from Olympus, a companion series, and there is another fantasy series in the works. She also writes (new) adult fantasy/paranormal romance under the name A. Star.

 

Author Links:

Website Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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Collide by Christine Fonseca Book Blitz + Giveaway!

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Collide
by Christine
Fonseca
 
Release Date: 07/07/14

What if psychic warfare is real???



Christine Fonseca’s latest action-packed, heart-pounding
thriller COLLIDE, explores the world of psychic warfare with a new twist!
The most dangerous
secrets are the ones that kill.
When a surprising mental breakdown draws too much attention from a secret
government group call the Order, 17-year-old Dakota discovers that her
so-called boring life isn’t so boring after all. Between the lies, secrets and
assassins out to kill her family, Dakota discovers there’s more to paranormal
activity than ghosts and cheap mind tricks. Now she must uncover the truth
before a new breed of terrorism takes everything away – including her life.

 

Buy Links:
“Collide
is a fast moving, suspenseful thriller full of twists and turns around every
bend. An action packed read that will have your heart slamming in your chest
and your mind racing until the end.”
– Brooke DelVecchio, the
Cover Contessa
 –
blogger/reviewer

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An introduction into the Solomon Experiments and Dr. LeMercier:
Project Stargate 2.0
The Solomon Experiments

 

Dr. LeMercier’s Personal Journal –
June 29, 2002
Day 1:

 

The children are assembled, selected from a pool of more than a thousand recruits. It’s exciting to have so many of the former participants’ offspring in this group. I expect Jennings and Harrison to provide strong recruits. We agreed it best if I didn’t know their identities to avoid tainting the experiments in any way. Avoid favoritism. I expect them to pass the weeding, especially with their genetics.

Training begins in the morning. Dr. Tate and I have redesigned the protocols. They are more grueling than the previous tests, designed to push not only the candidates’ physical and mental stamina but also their emotional development. The new program measures every aspect of their supernatural potential, from telekinesis to telepathy and more.

We anticipate better results this time. These children are younger, stronger than their predecessors. Their abilities, unmatched. But will it be enough? I can measure their ethics, but I can’t guarantee their willingness to do everything their country requires.

We’ve run out of time. Global terrorism has reached unfathomable heights. The attacks have increased since 9/11. It’s worse than before, worse than during the Cold War. I fear another Hitler. We should’ve acted swifter when we first discovered Hitler and Stalin’s early research into the supernatural. Instead, we let our fear supersede our responsibilities to keep our nation safe.

Never again.

There will be no safety until we find a better way to train our special forces. Our country will not be free from the terrorism that threatens us until we resume our goal of new, advanced weaponry. These experiments are the key. We cannot fail this time as we have before.

The younger recruits offer something we haven’t had in the past, a way to shape and train their morality. We will be able to push the experiments beyond the confines of humanity. We will bypass ethical concerns and find the recruits we can train to use their gifts in new ways.

We will teach them to kill.

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About the Author
Critically acclaimed nonfiction and YA author Christine Fonseca is
dedicated to helping children of all ages find their voice in the world. In
fiction, she explores the darker aspects of humanity and delivers gothic
thrillers that take you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions.
In addition to writing, Ms. Fonseca is a frequent presenter and trainer
on subjects ranging from writing to behavior and understanding the unique needs
of gifted children. She blogs regularly on many sites and participates in
events throughout the country. See the News/Events page for upcoming events.

When Christine isn’t crafting her next book and working with kids,
she can be found sipping too many skinny vanilla lattes at her favorite coffee
house or exploring the world with her family.

 
Author Links:
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Perfected by Kate Jarvik Birch Release Day Book Blitz: Excerpt + Giveaway!

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Perfected
Release Date: 07/01/14
Entangled TeenSummary from Goodreads:
Perfection comes at a price.
As soon as the government passed legislation allowing humans to be genetically engineered and sold as pets, the rich and powerful rushed to own beautiful girls like Ella. Trained from birth to be graceful, demure, and above all, perfect, these “family companions” enter their masters’ homes prepared to live a life of idle luxury.
Ella is happy with her new role as playmate for a congressman’s bubbly young daughter, but she doesn’t expect Penn, the congressman’s handsome and rebellious son. He’s the only person who sees beyond the perfect exterior to the girl within. Falling for him goes against every rule she knows…and the freedom she finds with him is intoxicating.
But when Ella is kidnapped and thrust into the dark underworld lurking beneath her pampered life, she’s faced with an unthinkable choice. Because the only thing more dangerous than staying with Penn’s family is leaving…and if she’s unsuccessful, she’ll face a fate far worse than death.
For fans of Keira Cass’s Selection series and Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden series, Perfected is a chilling look at what it means to be human, and a stunning celebration of the power of love to set us free, wrapped in a glamorous—and dangerous—bow.

Praise for Perfected:
“Compelling, imaginative, and unique. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough!”— Mary Lindsey, author of Shattered Souls

Available from:

Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Kobo Books

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“Remember… You’ll never be one of them,” Miss Gellner said, repositioning each of us on our divans in the sitting room so our gowns draped elegantly around our crossed ankles.

She stepped back and gazed at the group of us, her face pinched and stern like always, but I spotted a tiny glimmer of pride behind her rheumy eyes. Twenty girls: lovely, demure, quiet. She was pleased with us, even if she wouldn’t say it out loud.

Miss Gellner blinked, as if bringing herself back to the moment. “Things won’t change once you leave here,” she went on. “Simply because you’ll be pampered and spoiled, your life’s mission won’t suddenly be any different. Remember that. Your sole purpose is to enrich the lives of your new owners.”

As she said this, she lightly tapped her bamboo training stick against my back, not a hard whack the way she had done relentlessly when we first transferred from the Greenwich Kennel to the training center, where she and her staff could cultivate us into the sort of girls we were bred to be. This was just a warning tap, reminding me to sit so that my spine was a stem, and I was the flower resting atop it.

It was a pose we’d practiced daily for the past four years; during music and etiquette and dining, even during our nightly baths. But the fluttering in my stomach distracted me, drawing me down into myself. My whole body felt fluttery: my hands, my feet, even my eyes. I worried that the moment the two grand doors leading to the reception room swung open, I might flap away; a feather caught on the wind.

Next to me, Seven bit nervously at her bottom lip. It was weird to think that by tonight she’d have a new name, a real one. The breeders at Greenwich assigned us numbers as names at conception: One through Twenty, since twenty was the maximum number of girls they were allowed to have each year. I was Eight, but not for much longer. By tonight, I could be anything.

Across the room, Miss Gellner took a few steps towards the grand wooden doors, resting her hand lightly on the knob before she turned to face us one last time.

“I want you to keep your composure when they come in. I’ve spent four years preparing you for this moment.” She thumped her training stick on the ground for emphasis. “Four years. Don’t waste them. Each move that you make, every turn of your head and pout of your lip speaks to my effectiveness as a trainer and I won’t have that work tarnished. When I open these doors, I expect you to remember all the things I’ve taught you.”

The stiff lining of my dress rubbed against my rib cage and I ached to shift to a more comfortable position, but I held still, staring straight ahead at Miss Gellner with a soft smile placed carefully on my lips.

“Be sure to hold your tongues,” she went on. “You are not doing the selecting. Do not ask questions. Speak if spoken to, but keep your answers brief. We don’t want to scare away a potential buyer with a girl who has too forward a notion of who’s in charge.”

Beside me, the other girls were sitting silently. We were perfectly trained, all of us. And lovely, too. In our new dresses, we looked like royalty. Miss Gellner had picked out a different shade of gown for each of us, our first piece of clothing that was distinctly ours. She’d deliberated long and hard on the color choices. She wanted us each to look different. It wouldn’t do for the customers to think they were getting cloned girls even though there were plenty of differences between us to set us apart. Yes, we all had large eyes, spaced perfectly on our heart shaped faces. We all had small noses, long, thin necks, and rose petal lips. But we each had distinct coloring. Seven’s hair was nearly black. Sixteen’s eyes were green, the color of fresh summer grass, and Twenty’s skin was the same warm brown of the toasted bread that we were rewarded with on Sunday mornings. We were unique. One of a kind.

I was happy with the dress Miss Gellner had chosen for me. It was the palest shade of blue, hardly a color at all. These dresses would be the only item that would accompany us to our new homes. Our new owners would provide everything else.

“We’re lucky to have a number of congressmen and senators here today,” Miss Gellner went on. “Power, prestige, wealth, you’ll be surrounded by the best, which is why it is important that you be the best.” Miss Gellner sighed, nodding her head once. “All right girls. It’s time.”

She turned and threw open the doors. “Ladies… Gentlemen…” her voice boomed as she glided into the next room. “If you’ll kindly follow me, I’ll show you to the sitting room. You’ll have a chance to look over each of the girls before you make your decision. As I told each of you over the phone, the number on your tag will determine the order of selection.”

A moment later a stream of bodies and voices flowed into the room. I drew a breath and held it, trying to compose myself, but the fluttering inside me only grew worse. My vision blurred as the men and women pressed closer, talking loudly to one another.

“Oh my! They’re so little,” a woman cooed “They look like twelve-year-olds.”

“I can assure you, they’re sixteen,” Miss Gellner said. “They’re fully grown; all measuring in at exactly five feet.”

An older man grabbed a lock of my hair and rubbed it between his fingers. “Like corn silk,” he said to the woman next to him. “Did you say you were hoping for a blond or a red head? This one almost seems like a mix of the two.”

“And it does have beautiful eyes. Look, they’re practically turquoise,” she crooned. “But, I was hoping for a real red head. There’s an auburn one over there we should look at.”

I didn’t dare turn my head to watch them walk across the room to look at Ten.

A middle-aged couple finished looking at Seven and circled around me. I blinked a few times, finally bringing my eyes back into focus as the man’s dark eyes skated over me. He was obviously quite a bit older than me, but his jaw was much stronger than the other men I’d seen so far and his eyes were bright. A sprinkling of gray hairs dusted the dark hair at his temples. The woman beside him had probably been a beauty when she was younger, but now she was a different sort of beautiful: regal and refined. She was tall, even taller than Miss Gellner, with high cheekbones, a strong jaw, and long arched brows perched overtop piercing blue eyes. Even though she had lines around her eyes and mouth, her hair was almost as dark as Seven’s, without a hint of gray. Everything about her intimidated me.

“Now this has some promise,” the man said, looking into my eyes. “Do you like this one?”

“Oh, John, do we really need to do this?” The woman sighed, her eyes drifting around the room.

“Do what, Darling?”

“You can cut it with the ‘Darling’, too. It’s not like anyone’s listening. They’re busy choosing their own pets,” she said, gesturing towards the rest of the people in the room with an elegant sweep of her arm. “And you can stop pretending I have any say in your precious little project. You know I couldn’t care less about getting her.”

Her husband stepped forward, so close their bodies almost touched. “You know how it looks for us not to have one, don’t you? After all the time I spent getting this bill to pass. People are saying things. You don’t want them to think—”

She took a step away from him, eyeing an old man who had turned his attention to their conversation. “Whatever you say, Dear,” she interrupted. “I’m merely along for the ride.”

“You can’t argue that Ruby needs this,” the man said. “We agreed.”

Her face softened. “I know.”

He took a deep breath, and when he turned back to me, it was as if he’d flipped a switch, changing his face back to the same well-groomed look of prominence and stature I’d seen on it to begin with.

“Stand up and give us a little whirl, Love,” he said to me.

I hadn’t anticipated the weakness in my legs, but I stood and turned slowly, the way I learned in my Poise lessons. I kept my chin up, neck elongated, my arms held out ever so slightly from my sides as if my hands were brushing the skirt of a tutu.

The man smiled once I faced him again. “And what are your talents? The Kennel Trainer said that you each specialized in two.”

“My talents are piano, dance, and singing. Although my vocal range is not as diverse as some.”

His forehead creased, his eyes narrowing, and my stomach flipped. If Miss Gellner had been standing next to me, she would have lashed me with her stick. We’d practiced our lines over and over and still I said it wrong. There hadn’t been any need for me to point out my faults so blatantly. I should have only mentioned the piano and dance and not said anything about the singing. I was trying too hard to impress.

“Three talents?” he asked. “Marvelous. I suppose We’d be getting a little bit more bang for the buck if we go with you then, isn’t that right?”

The man’s phrasing confused me and I lowered my eyes to the ground and smiled softly the way we’d been taught to do if we ever didn’t know how to answer a question.

“So which is your favorite?”

“Favorite?” I asked.

“Which one do you like the most?”

“I’m quite good at all three as long as the song I’m singing is written for a mezzo soprano.”

“But certainly you have a favorite?”

My mind raced, trying to think over all the scenarios we’d spoken about like this one in our Conversation class, but I drew a blank. Those classes were meant to help us understand our new owner better, not to help them understand us. I couldn’t come right out and tell him that I had a favorite. Miss Gellner would be outraged. Maybe I could try to change the subject? But then he might realize I was doing it to avoid his question, and he would know that I really did have a favorite.

It was too complicated an interaction.

The woman smiled slyly. “Maybe she doesn’t understand your question John. Sure, she’s pretty, but they weren’t bred for brains.”

“I thought you said you wanted to stay out of this.”

She raised her hands and took a step back without saying another word.

The man tried again. “What I mean to say is: which one of your talents do you prefer? Is there one that makes you particularly happy?”

I swallowed, hoping to push down the rock that had lodged itself in my throat. “Well sir, if there’s one that you prefer, I’m sure I’d be delighted to perform for you.”

The man sighed and shook his head. “Never mind. Why don’t you sit back down?”

I smiled once more and sank back onto the divan, trying to hold my head high even though my eyes burned.

For the next hour, the groups of men and women circled around the room. They were all so much bigger than I’d imagined they’d be, not only in their physical stature, but their presence, as if the room couldn’t contain them. They gobbled up the air.

Finally Miss Gellner moved us into the concert room. We’d each been assigned one talent to demonstrate to give the clients a better taste of what they’d be buying. Four and Five would each be performing an adagio en pointe, a few girls were playing the flute and the cello, but the majority of us would be playing the piano or singing.

Maybe it should have bothered me that I wouldn’t stand out, but all I could think about as we sat down in the velvet seats arranged along the edges of the room was Debussy’s First Arabesque in E major, the song Miss Gellner had chosen for me to play. It wasn’t an elaborate song. I could play solos that were so much more difficult like the piece by Prokofiev that I learned last year, but I was glad she hadn’t chosen that one. Sure, I wouldn’t be able to show off my finger work playing the First Arabesque, but that didn’t matter. I could already feel the notes of the song moving up through my fingers and arms, a soft vibration that settled somewhere at the base of my neck like the warm hand of a friend.

We moved in order: One, Two, Three, Four, on and on until finally it was my turn. As I climbed the stairs to the small stage at the front of the room and sat on the tufted cushion of the piano bench, it was as if a white curtain had been drawn down between the crowd and me. I took a deep breath, savoring the moment before I placed my hands on the keys and started to play.

My fingers floated over the ivories for only a short four minutes, but my heart and mind quieted. I didn’t know if the other girls felt this way when they were playing, as if they were all alone and the rest of the world melted away leaving the air awash in soft color. I’d always been too embarrassed to ask. What if it meant that I had something wrong with me?

Those four minutes didn’t last long enough and before I knew it my fingers had stopped, hovering over the keys as the last notes died away. A polite spattering of applause brought me back to the room full of strangers. As I stood, I glanced out into the audience, allowing myself to imagine which of these people might be my future owner. Toward the back of the room I spotted the man with the salt and pepper hair and his wife. Neither of them was clapping, but for just a second he held my gaze and nodded ever so slightly.

That small gesture made my face burn with shame. He knew that I lied to him before when he’d asked me which one of my talents was my favorite. Of course it was piano, but I could never say it out loud. I was supposed to bring pleasure to my new masters, not to find pleasure for myself.

A cold sweat broke out across my back and I shivered, sitting back down on my chair to watch the remainder of the performances. If he could read me so easily, maybe everyone else could, too.

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About the Author

Kate Jarvik Birch is a visual artist, author, playwright, daydreamer, and professional procrastinator. As a child, she wanted to grow up to be either a unicorn or mermaid. Luckily, being a writer turned out to be just as magical. Her essays and short stories have been published in literary journals including Indiana Review and Saint Ann’s Review. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband and three kids. To learn more visit www.katejarvikbirch.com
 
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Fan Art by Sarah Tregay Book Blitz + Giveaway!

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Fan Art
by Sarah Tregay
Release Date: 06/17/14
Harper Teen
 
When the picture tells
the story…

Senior year is almost over, and Jamie Peterson has a big problem. Not
college—that’s all set. Not prom—he’ll find a date somehow. No, it’s the worst
problem of all: he’s fallen for his best friend.

As much as Jamie tries to keep it under wraps, everyone seems to know where his
affections lie, and the giggling girls in art class are determined to help
Jamie get together with Mason. But Jamie isn’t sure if that’s what he
wants—because as much as Jamie would like to come clean to Mason, what if the
truth ruins everything? What if there are no more road trips, taco dinners, or
movie nights? Does he dare risk a childhood friendship for romance?

This book is about what happens when a picture reveals what we can’t say, when
art is truer than life, and how falling in love is easy, except when it’s not.
Fan Art explores the joys and pains of friendship, of pressing boundaries, and
how facing our worst fears can sometimes lead us to what we want most.

 
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Guest Post - blueUndercover with Sarah Tregay’s Novel Fan Art

Guest Post by Sarah Tregay

I listen to a lot of audio books, and from time to time I’ll read something on a Kindle. While both are convenient ways to get immersed in a story, I miss seeing the book itself. Because I am a graphic designer in my day job, I enjoy the little details in a printed book, such as the typeface, an illustration, or a beautiful chapter heading. Hardcover books are a treat because you can peek under the jacket and see the art on the binding.

So, in case you borrow a copy of Fan Art from your library or read it on your iPad, here is the art under the cover:

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Also, Melissa DeJesus did an amazing job illustrating the graphic short story within Fan Art:

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About the Author
Raised without television, Sarah Tregay started writing her own middle grade novels after she had read all of the ones in the library. She later discovered YA books, but never did make it to the adult section. When she’s not jotting down poems at stoplights, she can be found hanging out with her “little sister” from Big Brothers Big Sisters. Sarah lives in Eagle, Idaho with her husband, two Boston Terriers, and an appaloosa named Mr. Pots. Her next book, Fan Art, will be released in June.
Author Links:
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2 signed ARC’s of Fan Art (US/CAN only)

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Gypsy by Trisha Leigh Book Blitz + Giveaway!

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Release Date: 05/13/14
378 pages
Summary from Goodreads:
Inconsequential: not important or significant.
Synonyms: insignificant, unimportant, nonessential, irrelevant
In the world of genetic mutation, Gypsy’s talent of knowing a person’s age of death is considered a failure. Her peers, the other Cavies, have powers that range from curdling a blood still in the vein to being able to overhear a conversation taking place three miles away, but when they’re taken from the sanctuary where they grew up and forced into the real world, Gypsy, with her all-but-invisible gift, is the one with the advantage.The only one who’s safe, if the world finds out what they can do.

When the Cavies are attacked and inoculated with an unidentified virus, that illusion is shattered. Whatever was attached to the virus causes their abilities to change. Grow. In some cases, to escape their control.

Gypsy dreamed of normal high school, normal friends, a normal life, for years. Instead, the Cavies are sucked under a sea of government intrigue, weaponized genetic mutation, and crushing secrets that will reframe everything they’ve ever been told about how their “talents” came to be in the first place.

When they find out one of their own has been appropriated by the government, mistreated and forced to run dangerous missions, their desire for information becomes a pressing need. With only a series of guesses about their origins, the path to the truth becomes quickly littered with friends, enemies, and in the end, the Cavies ability to trust anyone at all.

 
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Excerpt2

The library is one of the bigger rooms in the house, converted from what used to be the upstairs parlor. The Professor looks out a window that overlooks the back lawn. Shelves, sagging with dusty books, cover every inch of the light blue, fifteen-foot walls. The morning sunlight still lingers around the front of the house, making this space dim, but motes of dust twirl and waltz like members of a royal court on the pale, reaching beams.

All at once, happiness floods my bloodstream, as though someone smacks good cheer into my chest cavity through my shoulder blades. The strange desire to burst into song hums along my nerve endings, as though I’m a Disney princess summoning her bird and varmint attendants at the window. It takes serious concentration to bite back the urge.

The abrupt change in mood announces another Cavy’s presence, but as hard as I try to glare at Pollyanna, my mouth refuses to cooperate. Her mutation, a reverse empath alternation that allows her disposition to affect the moods of people in close proximity, is more…invasive than most. Losing control of my own mind never fails to make me feel icky.

And given her insistence on cynicism and anger, she’s not aptly named. Not at all.

“Feeling good, Gyspy?” She shakes out her long, blond hair and pins me with china-blue eyes. The faux-happy shroud crawling from her to me dissolves and my smile finally falls away. Polly nods. “That’s better. You look weird when you smile.”

“Pollyanna, we have spoken at length about the perils of using your gifts on your fellow Cavies.” The Professor’s patient, tired voice reprimands the youngest of his students, if only by several months.

The Philosopher, who runs Darley, took us in before we were three months old, and we all arrived between sixteen and seventeen years ago.

“Sorry, sir.”

She’s not sorry, but his chastisement and her apology are part of our daily routine. Of all the kids here, Pollyanna is my least favorite. She’s everyone’s least favorite, and even though she knows it she doesn’t change. I guess she doesn’t care.

“Sorry for what? Fucking with people again?” The voice bleeds out of thin air before Haint shimmers into view around it, face first. She leans against one of the bookcases once her shoulder appears, examining her nails as she waits for her daily reprimand.

The Professor doesn’t disappoint. “Language, dear.”

He says nothing to me, not even hello, nor does he issue a warning to Haint about using her ability to go invisible. It’s not dangerous. Pollyanna could make any one of us walk straight off a cliff if she felt particularly suicidal that day.

The twins Athena and Goose arrive together, a tornado of rough-housing elbows and flashes of reddish hair, loosing half a shelf of books onto the floor and toppling an end table before getting themselves under control. The Professor ignores them, having long ago resigned himself to their antics.

We’re all here now, at least those who are expected. Mole is still enduring his weekly brain prodding and so is Reaper. They’re our lethal Cavies, and are kept for testing more often and for longer than the rest of us. We’re categorized according to our level of usefulness, the details of our mutations and abilities listed in records the Philosopher hopes might convince the government we could be potential assets as opposed to threats.

Three Operationals, two Substantials, one Developmental, three Unstables, and one Inconsequential. That’s me. The one who will never be an asset to anyone but can’t be locked away and forgotten like an Unstable, either. They don’t know what to do with me, so I shuffle along with the group.

“Everyone sit down, please.”

The Professor’s command sounds more like a genteel request, and we drop into a circle of cross-legged teenagers on the oval Oriental rug that smothers the center of the room. He paces behind us, passing binder-clipped pages into our waiting hands.

I grab mine, excited as the title filters through my eyes and into my brain. It’s a thesis, written by the Scientist back in the 1960s: Genetic Mutation and the Human Brain.

He died before any of us were born but his thoughts and experiments, his studies, help the scientists at Darley Hall figure out what might have caused the mutations that resulted in our “gifts.” Maybe one day they’ll figure out how to switch off those screwy genes and I can touch another person without at least one layer in between us. Without the protection, touching someone means seeing a number in my mind.

The age the other person is going to die.

My “talent” is creepy at best, totally useless at worst, and being able to get rid of it has been a hidden desire for the whole of my life.

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About the Author
About the Author
Trisha Leigh is a product of the Midwest, which means it’s pop, not soda, garage sales, not tag sales, and you guys as opposed to y’all. Most of the time. She’s been writing seriously for five years now, and has published 4 young adult novels and 4 new adult novels (under her pen name Lyla Payne). Her favorite things, in no particular order, include: reading, Game of Thrones, Hershey’s kisses, reading, her dogs (Yoda and Jilly), summer, movies,  reading, Jude Law, coffee, and rewatching WB series from the 90’s-00’s.

 

Her family is made up of farmers and/or almost rock stars from Iowa, people who numerous, loud, full of love, and the kind of people that make the world better. Trisha tries her best to honor them, and the lessons they’ve taught, through characters and stories—made up, of course, but true enough in their way.
 
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Don’t Fall by Rachel Schieffelbein Release Day Book Blitz + Giveaway!

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Don’t Fall
Release Date: 2014
Swoon Romance
Summary from Goodreads::

In which a teenage girl endures the over-protective love of her adoptive mother until she falls for a boy who has her wanting to spread her wings, pitched as a contemporary retelling of RAPUNZEL.Seventeen-year-old Anya leads a very secluded life in a house on the edge of town with her adopted mother. She doesn’t go to school, but instead has a private tutor. Her over-protective mom keeps her so sheltered that she doesn’t even have a best friend. But Anya doesn’t seem to mind. She has her books, her photography, and her daydreams, and would do anything to please her mom. Until one day at the library, the only place she’s allowed to go, she takes a picture of a beautiful boy.

Before long she’s lying to her mom, and sneaking out late at night to meet Zander. But Zander wants more than a secret romance. If Anya wants to be with the boy of her dreams, she will have to risk her relationship with the only other person she’s ever cared about.

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Retellings

First of all, thank you so much for having me on your blog! I’m going to talk a bit about fairy tales and why I wrote this retelling.

I have always loved fairy tales. I grew up on them, and I suppose I’m a bit of a romantic. I love magic, and true love, and happily ever afters. It makes me happy that retellings are gaining in popularity. All those old stories I loved are getting a new light shone on them, new twists, new characters, and new perspectives.

Rapunzel has been my favorite fairy tale from long before Disney made its version of it. (Although the Disney version is pretty cute.) To be honest, I think a big part of why it’s my favorite has to do with fond memories of visiting an elderly neighbor who used to read it to me.

It was a story I really wanted to work with, but making it contemporary had its challenges! So I will tell you now, no one climbs anyone’s hair. It’s the theme of the story I wanted to hold onto. The idea of this girl being locked away from the world, and how she has to set herself free to really find herself.

I love Anya, my Rapunzel. She’s sweet and innocent, but also spunky and fun. I wanted to write her a modern fairy tale, with its own kind of magic, true love, and happily ever after. Hopefully I’ve succeeded, and readers will fall for her and Zander, too.

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About the Author
Rachel grew up in a tiny town in Minnesota. She still lives there, with her husband and their four kids. She coaches high school speech and theater, rides Arabian horses, reads as much as she can, and writes stories.

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Giveaway
1 ebook of Don’t Fall + $10 Amazon Gift Card (INT)

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