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BOOK TOUR SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: The Seven Torments of Amy & Craig by Don Zolidis

The Seven Torments of Amy and Craig

by Don Zolidis

YA Contemporary

Book Description

Janesville, Wisconsin (cold in the sense that there is no God)
1994

The worst thing that’s ever happened to Craig is also the best: Amy. Amy and Craig never should’ve gotten together. Craig is an awkward, Dungeons & Dragons-playing geek, and Amy is the beautiful, fiercely intelligent student-body president of their high school.

Yet somehow they did. Until Amy dumped him. Then got back together with him. Then dumped him again. Then got back together with him again. Over and over and over.

Unfolding during their senior year, Amy and Craig’s exhilarating, tumultuous relationship is a kaleidoscope of joy, pain, and laughter as an uncertain future-and adult responsibility-loom on the horizon.

Craig fights for his dream of escaping Janesville and finding his place at a quirky college, while Amy’s quest to uncover her true self sometimes involves being Craig’s girlfriend and sometimes doesn’t.

Seven heartbreaks. Seven joys.Told nonsequentially, acclaimed playwright Don Zolidis’s debut novel is a brutally funny, bittersweet taste of the utterly unique and utterly universal experience of first love.

She laughed again. “You know what I’m saying?”

“Sure,” I said, realizing I had zoned out again and she had probably said something important. “It’s just like . . . ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.’ By T. S. Eliot.”

“Well, yes, but I think that’s more about alienation than anything else, and what I’m talking about is acceptance. Like,

Prufrock can’t accept that he’s changed and the world is becom­ing different, you know?”

“Yup,” I said, crossing it off in my notebook. Shit.

You’re probably beginning to understand why I wrote down things to talk about.

“I think my favorite line,” I said, looking down at the rest of my notes, “is ‘I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think that they will sing to me.’”

“Aww,” she said. “Why?

I smiled into my pillow. I hoped she could see it too. “Because that’s how I used to feel before I met you.”

“I’m singing to you,” Amy said into the phone. “Except I really suck at singing.”

“I think the singing is metaphorical.”

“Maybe they’re like the Sirens. Luring lonely poets to their doom. And really they’ve got teeth like knives and will rip you to shreds if you come too close.”

“That pretty accurately describes my love life up to this point.”

“I’m sure it’s not that bad.”

“It’s pretty bad.”

“Oh come on.”

Amy was my first girlfriend. Well, okay, there was Jessica Southern, my junior year, who I went out with for nine days. We kissed once, and then she decided that the whole thing was a misunderstanding. Which it probably was. So, twelve days into my first relationship with Amy, we had already lasted exactly 33 percent more than my previous record (yes, I had done the math).

 

 

About the Author

Originally from Wisconsin, Don Zolidis is a novelist and one of the most-produced playwrights in America.

His 102 published plays have received more than 12,000 productions and have appeared in every state and 64 countries.

His first novel, The Seven Torments of Amy and Craig, will be published by Disney-Hyperion in October 2018.

He currently splits time between Texas and New York and aspires to owning a dog.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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3 winners will win a finished copy of THE SEVEN TORMENTS OF AMY & CRAIG, US Only.

 

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BOOK TOUR INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY: The Girl at the Grave by Teri Bailey Black

The Girl at the Grave

by Teri Bailey Black

YA Mystery

Book Description

Valentine has spent years trying to outrun her mother’s legacy. But small towns have long memories, and when a new string of murders occurs, all signs point to the daughter of a murderer.

Only one person believes Valentine is innocent—Rowan Blackshaw, the son of the man her mother killed all those years ago. Valentine vows to find the real killer, but when she finally uncovers the horrifying truth, she must choose to face her own dark secrets, even if it means losing Rowan in the end.

 

 

1.  Tell us a little about yourself.

Hi there! I’m Teri Bailey Black, the author behind GIRL AT THE GRAVE, a YA novel of love and murder set in 1849 Connecticut. I live in Orange County, California, but feel like I spend most of my time in imaginary places. If I’m not wandering in some story, I’m probably obsessing over another creative endeavor. I love sewing, gardening, baking delicious fattening probably chocolate things, and decorating the house. And shopping! I don’t need to spend money; window shopping works too! I’m married and have four children.

2.  What made you want to become a writer?

I’ve loved writing since I learned to read. I won a school writing contest when I was nine, and by the time I’d finished high school, I’d filled a small filing cabinet with my stories. Then I got married and had four children, and writing took a backseat for a while. My first child was born with severe disabilities, which brought a few extra challenges. Plus, I started a home business that took off and kept me creatively happy. Life was busy! But now my kids are teenagers, so I have more time on my hands and started writing again. I wrote aimlessly at first, trying to figure out WHAT I wanted to write, then I found the right story and some critique friends, put in the hours, attended writing conferences, endured my fair share of rejection, and finally received that wonderful phone call of success. GIRL AT THE GRAVE is my debut novel.

3.  Who or what gives you inspiration?

So many ideas! They’re everywhere and endless. Any good book or movie gets my creative juices flowing. Some ideas drift away, others settle in, but the final idea is always quite different from the initial spark. For instance, I recently watched a History Channel show on World War II that really struck a chord in me. Ideas started flowing—but not war stories. Not even set in that era. But it made think up some interesting characters and situations. (I jotted notes but have yet to write that story.) I usually have several ideas started at once. They’re just vague, shadowy things, a few chapters written, no idea where the plot will go. Then one of the stories starts to fill out in my mind. I keep writing. As I come to understand the characters and fall in love with them, I want to write their story—so I do!

4.  Tell us about The Girl at the Grave.

GIRL AT THE GRAVE is a story of murder and romance set in 1849 in Connecticut. As a child, Valentine saw her mother hanged for murdering the wealthiest man in town. She’s grown up feeling like an outcast, fending for herself in a crumbling estate. She’s worked hard to prove herself at Drake Academy and overcome her mother’s crime, but when a new string of murders strikes the town, everyone suspects her—the daughter of a killer. As Valentine hunts the killer to clear her own name, she uncovers dark secrets she’d rather keep buried. Oh, and there are a couple of good looking guys in her life as well. So basically—a Gothic murder mystery with lots of atmosphere. No ghosts. Not paranormal. (The spooky cover has confused some people.)

5.  What’s the hardest part of being a writer?

I wish I were one of those super speedy writers who pumps out books. I’m not a slooow writer—I’m probably average—but I’m definitely not a fast writing machine. For me, much of the joy is playing with the words, being creative, wandering one direction, then another, figuring out the story, changing my mind, maybe murdering a different person. I would rather take my time and get it right than get it fast. That said—I do push myself to outline and write as quickly as possible because publishing deadlines do exist. I just wrote a book in 10 months. Is that slow? I think that’s as fast as my writing brain can create.

6.  What do you need around you to write (special drink, lucky items, etc)?

The time of day makes a huge difference for me. I write really well in the wee dawn hours. I actually start writing at 4 or 5 in the morning—yes, really! The world is asleep, the house is quiet, and I can disappear into my story. Then, alas, the sun rises, the house gets noisy, time to shower and make the bed and throw in a load of laundry. I still write throughout the day, but I’m much more productive in those early morning hours. The downside: my brain melts at 8pm.

 

About the Author

Teri Bailey Black grew up near the beach in southern California in a large, quirky family with no television or junk food, but an abundance of books and art supplies. She’s happiest when she’s creating things, whether it’s with words, fabric, or digging in the garden. She makes an amazing chocolate cherry cake—frequently. She and her husband have four children and live in Orange County, California.

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Prize: Wonderland Book Beau, size XL for a standard hardcover (USA only)
Starts:10/25/18
Ends: 11/2/18

 

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The Fantastic Flying Book Club

BOOK TOUR SPOTLIGHT: The Stranger Game by Peter Gadol

The Stranger Game

by Peter Gadol

Mystery

Book Description

A literary suspense novel in which an eerie social game goes viral and spins perilously—and criminally—out of control.

Rebecca’s on-again, off-again boyfriend, Ezra, has gone missing, but when she notifies the police, they seem surprisingly unconcerned. They suspect he has been playing the “stranger game,” a viral hit in which players start following others in real life, as they might otherwise do on social media. As the game spreads, however, the rules begin to change, play grows more intense and disappearances are reported across the country.

Curious about this popular new obsession, and hoping that she might be able to track down Ezra, Rebecca tries the game for herself. She also meets Carey, who is willing to take the game further than she imagined possible. As her relationship with Carey and involvement in the game deepen, she begins to uncover an unsettling subculture that has infiltrated the world around her. In playing the stranger game, what may lead her closer to finding Ezra may take her further and further from the life she once lived.

A thought-provoking, haunting novel, The Stranger Game unearths the connections, both imagined and real, that we build with the people around us in the physical and digital world, and where the boundaries blur between them.

The Stranger Game is a sharp-toothed commentary on the ways in which ‘following’ can foster a pretense of intimacy between strangers, and how the falsity of this intimacy—its utter lack of substance—often creates a perilous hunger for more: more access, more communion, more knowledge. It’s also a fun, moody, twisty thriller, with a sun-touched, West Coast vibe…as much Joan Didion as Patricia Highsmith.” —Scott Smith, author of A Simple Plan and The Ruins

“‘Following’ gets a whole new meaning in Peter Gadol’s stylish psychological thriller set in the future of the day-after-tomorrow. A moody, increasingly dangerous house of mirrors where the rules morph as his players become more obsessed with ‘the stranger game.’” —Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander and The Revolution of Marina M.

The Stranger Game is a gripping and nuanced novel that asks whom we trust and why. It is about being an insider and an outsider, about being watched and, finally being truly seen.” —Ramona Ausubel, author of Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty and No One is Here Except All of Us

 

About the Author

Peter Gadol’s seven novels include THE STRANGER GAME, SILVER LAKE, LIGHT AT DUSK, and THE LONG RAIN. His work his been translated for foreign editions and appeared in literary journals, including StoryQuarterly, the Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly Journal, and Tin House. Gadol lives in Los Angeles, where he is Chair and Professor of the MFA Writing program at Otis College of Art and Design. Visit petergadol.com for more info on his work.

Purchase Links

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BOOK TOUR REVIEW: The Boy at the Keyhole by Stephen Giles

The Boy at the Keyhole

by Stephen Giles

Mystery

Book Description

Nine-year-old Samuel lives alone in a once-great estate in Surrey with the family’s housekeeper, Ruth. His father is dead and his mother has been abroad for months, purportedly tending to her late husband’s faltering business. She left in a hurry one night while Samuel was sleeping and did not say goodbye.

Beyond her sporadic postcards, Samuel hears nothing from his mother. He misses her dearly and maps her journey in an atlas he finds in her study. Samuel’s life is otherwise regulated by Ruth, who runs the house with an iron fist. Only she and Samuel know how brutally she enforces order.

As rumors in town begin to swirl, Samuel wonders whether something more sinister is afoot. Perhaps his mother did not leave but was murdered—by Ruth.

Artful, haunting and hurtling toward a psychological showdown, The Boy at the Keyhole is an incandescent debut about the precarious dance between truth and perception, and the shocking acts that occur behind closed doors.

MY THOUGHTS:

3 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS

The Boy at the Keyhole by Stephen Giles

Young Samuel Clay has recently lost his father. They were once a family with a great name, a grand estate, and money and status to go with it. But now, since the death of his father, Samuel’s mother has been abroad, leaving Samuel in the care of the strict housekeeper Ruth.

With a little suggestion from his friend and a lot of help from his imagination, it doesn’t take long before Samuel starts thinking that maybe his mother isn’t just away in America searching for business opportunities. He starts thinking that maybe something more sinister has happened to her–and that the person who did it is the one who’s been trusted with his care now.

The tension is very palpable in this novel, which kept me turning the pages waiting for something big to happen. There were very good moments here and there, but overall I felt there was a ton of buildup to a very unspectacular ending.

As with most Gothic type novels, the house itself plays a role in the story; the Clay manor is large and its’ rooms are full of dark secrets. As we join Samuel going in and out of these rooms trying to discover what really happened to his mother, we can see how he might have started thinking some unsavory things were going on in his home.

I’m still not sure about the ending. Ambiguity is one thing, but I felt totally confused when it was all said and done. I didn’t understand the character’s motives or what exactly happened and why. Maybe some people enjoy that type of ending, but I don’t.

View all my reviews

About the Author

Stephen Giles is the Australian author behind the lauded children’s series “Anyone But Ivy Pocket”, penned under the pseudonym Caleb Krisp. The series, published in the US by HarperCollins/Greenwillow and the UK by Bloomsbury, appeared on the New York Times Best Seller List, has been translated into 25 different languages and was optioned by Paramount Pictures.

Prior to selling his first book, Stephen worked in a variety of jobs to supplement his writing including market research, film classification and media monitoring. “The Boy at the Keyhole” is Giles’ first work for adults and the film rights for this book have been acquired by New Regency.

Purchase Links

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BOOK TOUR GUEST POST: A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti

A Heart in a Body in the World

by Deb Caletti

YA Contemporary

Book Description

When everything has been taken from you, what else is there to do but run?

So that’s what Annabelle does—she runs from Seattle to Washington, DC, through mountain passes and suburban landscapes, from long lonely roads to college towns. She’s not ready to think about the why yet, just the how—muscles burning, heart pumping, feet pounding the earth. But no matter how hard she tries, she can’t outrun the tragedy from the past year, or the person—The Taker—that haunts her.

Followed by Grandpa Ed in his RV and backed by her brother and two friends (her self-appointed publicity team), Annabelle becomes a reluctant activist as people connect her journey to the trauma from her past. Her cross-country run gains media attention and she is cheered on as she crosses state borders, and is even thrown a block party and given gifts. The support would be nice, if Annabelle could escape the guilt and the shame from what happened back home. They say it isn’t her fault, but she can’t feel the truth of that.

Through welcome and unwelcome distractions, she just keeps running, to the destination that awaits her. There, she’ll finally face what lies behind her—the miles and love and loss…and what is to come.

Five quotes from A HEART IN A BODY IN THE WORLD

1. “There are songs about the heart and poems about the heart and legends about the heart and facts about the heart. And, it’s true – the heart sings and speaks and tells its story. There are exact miles of arteries; there is the exact force of its beat. But the heart is also quiet. It is also a mystery. No one really knows how it goes on after being broken.”

2. “We go forward. Sometimes against our will, sometimes against all odds, we go forward.”

3. “She remembers the muscles in her calves and the strength in her thighs, and she remembers the heat of the farmland and the slope of the mountains and the miles and miles she’s crossed. She remembers her strength.”

4. “The trip across the glacier and through the dark land of grief is crooked and dangerous but sometimes beautiful. The voyage past the last edges of the universe is frightening and impossible but sometimes astonishing…”

5. “She is a different person than the defeated Annabelle, the giving up Annabelle. She is sort of a victorious Annabelle, lying among rose petals on the honeymoon bed of the Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel. You never know what a day will bring, which is both the good news and bad news of life.”

About the Author

Deb Caletti is an award-winning author and National Book Award finalist. Her many books for young adults include The Nature of Jade, Stay, The Last Forever, Essential Maps for the Lost, and Honey, Baby Sweetheart, winner of the Washington State Book award, the PNBA Best Book Award, and a finalist for the California Young Reader Medal and the PEN USA Award. Her books for adults include He’s Gone, The Secrets She Keeps, and her most recent release, What’s Become of Her.

Deb grew up in the San Francisco Bay area, and now lives with her family in Seattle.

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5 Winners will receive a Copy of A HEART IN A BODY IN THE WORLD by Deb Caletti. 

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BOOK TOUR SPOTLIGHT: White as Silence, Red as Song by Alessandro D’Avenia

White as Silence, Red as Song

by Alessandro D’Avenia

YA Contemporary

Book Description

Hailed as Italy’s The Fault in Our Stars, this Italian bestseller is now available for the first time in English.

“I was born on the first day of school, and I grew up and old in just two hundred days . . .”

Sixteen-year-old Leo has a way with words, but he doesn’t know it yet. He spends his time texting, polishing soccer maneuvers, and killing time with Niko and Silvia. Until a new teacher arrives and challenges him to give voice to his dreams.

And so Leo is inspired to win over the red-haired beauty, Beatrice. She doesn’t know Leo exists, but he’s convinced that his dream to win her over will come true. When Leo lands in the hospital and learns that Beatrice has been admitted too, his mission to be there for her will send him on a thrilling but heartbreaking journey. He wants to help her but doesn’t know how—and his dream of love will force him to grow up fast.

Having already sold over a million copies in Italy, Alessandro D’Avenia’s debut novel is considered the Italian The Fault in Our Stars. Now available in English for the first time, this rich, funny, and heartwarming coming-of-age tale asks us to explore the meaning—and the cost—of friendship, and shows us what happens when suffering bursts into the world of teenagers and renders the world of adults speechless.

 

About the Author

Alessandro D’Avenia holds a PhD in Classical Literature, and teaches Ancient Greek, Latin and Literature at a high school in Milan. White as Silence, Red as Song was his first novel,published in Italy in 2010. It sold a million copies in Italy, has been translated into over twenty languages and was released as a film in 2012. Alessandro has since published four more books, the latest of which, Every Story is a Love Story, was published in October 2017.

Purchase Links

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BOOK TOUR SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: A Room Away from the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma

A Room Away from the Wolves

by Nova Ren Suma

YA Contemporary

Book Description

Bina has never forgotten the time she and her mother ran away from home. Her mother promised they would hitchhike to the city to escape Bina’s cruel father and start over. But before they could even leave town, Bina had a new stepfather and two new stepsisters, and a humming sense of betrayal pulling apart the bond with her mother—a bond Bina thought was unbreakable.

Eight years later, after too many lies and with trouble on her heels, Bina finds herself on the side of the road again, the city of her dreams calling for her. She has an old suitcase, a fresh black eye, and a room waiting for her at Catherine House, a young women’s residence in Greenwich Village with a tragic history, a vow of confidentiality, and dark, magical secrets. There, Bina is drawn to her enigmatic downstairs neighbor Monet, a girl who is equal parts intriguing and dangerous. As Bina’s lease begins to run out, and nightmare and memory get tangled, she will be forced to face the terrible truth of why she’s come to Catherine House and what it will take for her to leave…

In the Dark

When the girl who lived in the room below mine disappeared into the darkness, she gave no warning, she showed no twitch of fear. She had her back to me, but I sensed her eyes were open, the city skyline bristling with attention, five stories above the street. It was how I imagined Catherine de Barra herself once stood at this edge almost a hundred years ago, when the smog was suffocating and the lights much more dim, when only one girl ever slept inside these walls of stacked red brick.
I was with my friend, if she could be called a friend, on the rooftop that night, close enough to pull her away or slip a word into her ear, close enough to push. I saw how far the gate was, how long the jump would be to reach it. I was there to witness how she flew.
It was dark, and I blamed the darkness. For those few moments, when she was midair and not even kicking, I practically became her. I grew her long legs and longer eyelashes, I lost the jumble of knots in my hair, I let the mistakes spill out of my suitcase and scatter without a care into the wind. I was falling, and falling fast. There was a hum in my ears like a song leaking through floorboards. The windows on the way down were all lit up, every one, people I didn’t know living their private lives inside as if no one could see. The skyline above sparkled the way stars used to at home, and I didn’t want to ever hit ground. I was someone here. I was someone.
Maybe that was what she saw, what she felt, what this house turned her into. She was out there beyond the ledge with nothing beneath her feet. She was high enough to clear the gate many times over. I swore she was out there. I swore the air had her, the night had her, the lights cast a ring all around her, and then the patch of darkness was empty.
I could see past where she’d been, as if I were sailing straight over buildings, beyond spires and scaffolding, past roof gardens and water towers, down through Lower Manhattan to the southern tip of the island, where the gleaming black bay took over. I saw the whole city spread out before me, sinister and strange and perfect. The air was clear, and she wasn’t in it. No girl was falling or flying. Every window was dark. And how oddly quiet it became, like a patch of forest where no person had set foot for what felt like days upon days.
When I remembered where I was, I crept closer to the edge, gripping the bricks to stay steady, and I did what I knew she wanted.
I leaned out into the vacant night—the air boundless, feathery gray, and blooming with possibility—and I looked down.

About the Author

Nova Ren Suma is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling The Walls Around Us, a finalist for an Edgar Award. Her new novel A Room Away from the Wolves is forthcoming September 4, 2018, from Algonquin. She also wrote Imaginary Girls and 17 & Gone and is co-creator of FORESHADOW: A Serial YA Anthology. She has an MFA in fiction from Columbia University and teaches at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She grew up in the Hudson Valley, spent most of her adult life in New York City, and now lives in Philadelphia.

Website   |   Twitter   |   Goodreads   |   Facebook   |   Instagram

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—Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

 – 1 Winner will receive a Copy of A Room Away from the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma

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BOOK TOUR SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: Freefall Summer by Tracy Barrett

Freefall Summer 

by Tracy Barrett

YA Contemporary

Book Description

Sixteen-year-old Clancy Edwards has always been “the good girl.” Ever since her mother died in a skydiving accident when Clancy was young, Clancy’s father has watched her like a hawk. Between her dad’s rules and her boyfriend’s protectiveness, she’s longing for an escape this summer. Then she meets Denny.

Denny is a new skydiving student and college freshman. Clancy lets Denny think they’re the same age–and that she’s old enough to make decisions for herself. But the lies snowball, relationships are damaged, and suddenly Clancy isn’t the person she wants to be. If only making choices were as simple as taking a leap out of a plane. Before Clancy can make things right, one last act of rebellion threatens her chance to do so–maybe forever.

Jumpers try to avoid reserve rides, even though every instructor reminds students, “When in doubt, whip it out.” It’s not only the expense of paying a rigger to repack the reserve. Reserves open fast, and the hard opening can give you whiplash, but it’s not the discomfort either. The main thing is that jumpers are superstitious. If you dump the reserve and it malfunctions too, you’re sunk. Nowhere to go. Reserves just about never malfunction, and the odds against both the main and the reserve malfunctioning are astronomical, but still. . . .
So my mom had tried everything to clear the main. She did exactly what you’re trained to do, exactly what I’d heard my dad and Leon and Noel and Randy and Louisa and Patsy tell their students: “If the pilot chute or the main canopy gets stuck, you have to break the burble.” So she flipped over. It didn’t work, so she flipped back to cut away, so the canopy would fly away cleanly. She had no way of knowing that the AAD would fire at precisely the wrong moment, making the two chutes—the main and the
reserve—snag each other, and that neither one would open.
I watched to the end, seeing the pink canopy and the white one wrap around each other, making a big nasty barber pole that didn’t slow my mom down enough to make a difference. Then, when Angie dropped the camera, the ground came up, up, up to the camera lens, and then—whomp. And the screen went black. Was that the last thing my mom saw? The ground coming up, and then nothing? What did she think about in those last seconds? Did she think of me? Of my dad?
After I went to sleep, I saw it over and over again, only sometimes she cut away sooner and sometimes she cut away later. But no matter what she did, it ended the same way, with the camera thumping on the ground and the sounds of screaming and crying.
I woke up when my dad got home, and I wanted to ask him to come sit by my bed until I fell asleep again. I wanted to tell him about how Theo was acting weird and how confused I was about Denny—about whether he was just a DZ friend or whether he was interested in me (and whether I was interested in him), and what I should do about it if he was. Or I was. I wanted to confess that I’d driven the car on Travis day and had done just fine.
I couldn’t. He’d ground me forever. Anyway, he wasn’t the sit-by-the-bed-until-you-fall-asleep kind of dad, and even if he were, once I got started, I’d tell him about watching the video. And seeing that we hadn’t talked about my mom’s death ever, not even once, I couldn’t do that.

Copyright © 2018 by Tracy Barrett

 

About the Author

Tracy Barrett has written more than twenty books for children and young adults. She’s much too interested in too many things to stick to one genre, and has published nonfiction as well as historical fiction, mysteries, fantasy, time travel, myth and fairy-tale retellings, and contemporary realistic novels. She knows more about ancient Greece and Rome and the European Middle Ages than anyone really needs to know, can read lots of dead languages, and used to jump out of airplanes.
A grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to study medieval women writers led to the writing of her first novel, the award-winning Anna of Byzantium (Delacorte). Her most recent publications are a contemporary YA novel, Freefall Summer, which draws on her own skydiving adventures; a middle-grade fantasy entitled Marabel and the Book of FateThe Song of Orpheus: The Greatest Greek Myths You Never Heard, a collection of little-known Greek myths; and the popular middle-grade series The Sherlock Files.From 1999 to 2009 Tracy Barrett was the Regional Advisor for the Midsouth (Tennessee and Kentucky) with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She is now SCBWI’s Regional Advisor Coordinator.

Tracy grew up near New York City, and went to college in New England and graduate school in California. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree with honors in Classics-Archaeology from Brown University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Medieval Italian Literature from the University of California, Berkeley. She was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to study medieval women writers and won the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Work-in-Progress Grant in 2005. She taught Italian and other subjects at Vanderbilt University for almost thirty years. She has two grown children and lives in Tennessee with her husband and two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

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Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter
 

 1 Winner will receive a Copy of FREEFALL SUMMER and Swags (signed bookplate and a silver skydiving pendant) by Tracy Barrett. 

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BOOK TOUR SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: The Leading Edge of Now by Marci Lyn Curtis

The Leading Edge of Now

by Marci Lyn Curtis

YA Contemporary

Book Description

Just when Grace is beginning to get used to being an orphan, her estranged uncle suddenly comes forward to claim her. That might have been okay if he’d spoken to her even once since her father died. Or if moving in with Uncle Rusty didn’t mean returning to New Harbor.

Grace once spent the best summers of her life in New Harbor. Now the place just reminds her of all she’s lost: her best friend, her boyfriend and any memory of the night that changed her forever.

People say the truth will set you free, but Grace isn’t sure about that. Once she starts looking for it, the truth about that night is hard to find — and what happens when her healing hurts the people she cares about the most?

There’s a moment when I do not breathe, when my heart rate goes volcanic, when the distance to Rusty’s house seems so wide and so impassable that it will take me hours to scramble back.
Owen is staring at me, eyebrows crashed together like he’s trying to solve a particularly difficult crossword puzzle. It’s an expression I know well, seeing as how I’ve spent half a lifetime watching him stand in the garage, gazing at his projects as though he were unraveling the greatest mysteries of the universe.
I want to turn around and run.
I want to slap him.
I want to burst into tears.
What I do, though, is stare at him. He looks the same now, only different. While his dusty blond hair has been cut short, his eyes are the same — still clear emerald-green, big and serious, with lashes as long as palm fronds. He’s probably grown a full two inches since I last saw him, and he’s broader across the chest. On his right forearm is the small diagonal scar he got back in the third grade, when he tried to build a birdhouse for an endangered owl. I always considered that scar one of the things that made Owen Owen. But now it looks misplaced, inappropriate. I have to resist the urge to try to scratch it off. I close my eyes, like maybe I can erase his presence that easily. But he smells so familiar — like sawdust and coffee and soap — that this particular action only makes him more real.
I open my eyes again.
Owen plucks the headphones out of his ears. “Grace,” he says slowly, like he’s trying to remember how my name is pronounced.
Now would be the proper time to speak. But I’m pretty sure that my mouth has been blown apart and then reattached backwards and inside out, a couple of miles north of my vocal cords. So I just continue to look at him.
A few decades pass.
I clear my throat. It sounds like an old, brittle floorboard, creaking under bare feet. “You’re here,” I say, which is quite possibly the stupidest thing I could’ve said to him. Twenty-some-odd months of dreaming about getting even, and now all I can do is state the obvious.

 

About the Author

Marci Lyn Curtis is the author of young adult dramedies THE ONE THING and THE LEADING EDGE OF NOW. She lives near Tampa, Florida with her husband. You can find out more about Marci on her website (marcilyncurtis.com), on Twitter (@Marci_Curtis), on Instagram (@marcilyncurtis), or on Facebook (marcilyncurtis).

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BOOK TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: After Nightfall by AJ Banner

After Nightfall

by AJ Banner

Mystery

Book Description

Beware of friends with secrets…

Imagine your closest friend utterly betraying you. Years later, when she seeks forgiveness, you invite her to your engagement party as a gesture of reconciliation. But seething hostilities rise to the surface, ruining everyone’s evening. After an awful night, your friend’s battered, lifeless body is found at the bottom of a rocky cliff.

Newly engaged Marissa Parlette is living this nightmare. She should be celebrating her upcoming wedding, but she can’t shake the image of her friend lying dead on the beach. Did she fall? Was she pushed? Or did she take a purposeful step into darkness? Desperate for answers, Marissa digs deep into the events of the party. But what she remembers happening after nightfall now carries sinister implications: the ugly sniping, the clandestine meetings, the drunken flirtations. The more she investigates, the more she questions everything she thought she knew about her friends, the man she once trusted, and even herself.

Bestselling author A. J. Banner keeps readers on a razor-sharp edge in this intricately plotted novel of psychological suspense…in which nothing is as it seems.

MY THOUGHTS:

3.75 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS

 
After Nightfall
by A.J. Banner

If you like a story where absolutely everybody is a suspect, then this is the novel for you. Even the narrator thinks she herself is to blame at some point.

The morning after Marissa and Nate’s dinner/engagement party, Marissa wakes up to find that her best frenemy and next door neighbor Lauren is dead. Did she fall or was she pushed from the cliff down to the rocks below? Marissa does her best to investigate who might have had a reason to want Lauren dead–and before ling she finds out there are plenty of potential killers.

Marissa is a likable enough main character, though she makes some decisions that left me scratching my head. There is a wide cast in this novel, and it seems all of them have something to hide, even down to Nate’s 9 year old daughter.

At times I might have felt the author was throwing in TOO many red herrings; it’s a bit tiring trying to keep up with every side character’s personal problems. Most questions do get answered by the end, but it felt more like tying up loose ends than integrating their plot lines into the story.

When the killer was revealed, I was definitely surprised, although the climax fell a little flat for me. I wish we would have gotten to see a bit more of the culprit throughout the whole of the book.

This is another good thriller offering, and you will devour it quickly just like I did.

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About the Author

Born in India and raised in North America, A. J. Banner received degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. Her previous novels of psychological suspense include The Good Neighbor and The Twilight Wife, a USA Today bestseller. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and six rescued cats.

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One commenter will win a copy of After Nightfall. US/CAN only.  Leave me a comment telling me your best friend’s name! Ends 9/7/18.