Monday, February 20, 2017

Sketchy Tacos by Meg D. Gonzalez

sketchy-Tacos
Sketchy Tacos

Meg D. Gonzalez


Teenage artist Mila Gulick travels to Mexico to get away from warring influences and find herself. But life in the land of tacos is a far cry from her sheltered life back home. Mila must find the courage to step out from behind her sketchbook and get to know the people and culture around her. While her host family and the two boys vying for her interest are nothing but smiles, all may not be as it seems.

Soon Mila is questioning her choices and the beliefs she’s held dear. Her heart, her art, and even her safety are at risk as she struggles to find a balance between cultural differences, old assumptions, and strange romance.

Will her trip end in disaster or will she find the strength for which she’s been searching?

  amazon 

Praise for the Book

"This modern coming-of-age story has it all - humor, heart, genuine characters, and spiritual depth. I highly recommend it to teen readers.” - Krista McGee, Inspy Award winning author of First Date and Starring Me

"Meg D. Gonzalez gives us a vivid look at life for an American teenager in Mexico and an even clearer picture of what happens when you decide to embrace who God made you to be. No matter what. Great first novel. Great read." - Nancy Rue, Christy Award winning author of the Real Life series

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Excerpt
Leaning forward, I hide my hot cheeks behind a veil of wavy, brown hair Rosa somehow coaxed straight. As he pushes my bangs behind my ear, his fingertips brush my skin. I suppress a shiver. His hand lingers behind my neck. Lightning skitters across my skin.

“Qué bonita,” he murmurs, leaning forward.

Pretty. He called me pretty. Is this for real?

With a slight sway, I find myself closing the distance. My body reacts to instincts I didn’t know I possessed. Then I freeze.

What if I’m a horrible kisser? Rosa’s friends are a chatty group. What if I’m terrible, and I turn into the laughing stock of her entire social circle? I’d be alone the rest of the summer. Or I’d have to flee the country and return to Mom.

I swing away.

“What’s wrong?” His breath tickles my nose, minty fresh.

“Nothing.” Heat flames from my forehead to my fingertips. Think. Think! Come up with something coy, something cute.

My chin raises. I quirk one corner of my lips. “I’m just not that easy.”


MegAuthor Meg D. Gonzalez

Meg D. Gonzalez is a tea-sipping, adventure-seeking, pug-loving kind of girl. She’s crazy for God and wants to share His love with awesome young women around the globe. She started her first novel at the age of fourteen (it will never see the light of day and that’s best for everyone), but her writing really came alive two years ago after she moved to Mexico. The crazy, wonderful people and culture she encountered inspired the story of Sketchy Tacos. When she’s not writing, she’s learning to play video games with her husband (she’s horrible), taking hikes in beautiful parks with her pug Pascal, crocheting, and watching way too much TV.



amazon paypal  Blast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 3/5/17 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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Friday, February 17, 2017

Clan by Realm Lovejoy


Clan


Realm Lovejoy

Publication date: November 12th 2013
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

“Highly enjoyable, thought-provoking sci-fi by an author with considerable talent and promise.”–Kirkus Reviews
____
Clans are Unity.

No variation. No deviation.
On Clades, to be a Clan is to be an exact copy. A perfect society cloning themselves to survive, even as the zombielike Frags threaten to overrun them on an unforgiving planet.
Clan 1672 (privately known as Twain) was never supposed to survive the Incubation Tank. But he did. Illegally. He is different from the other Clans.
A secret that could destroy him.

*Now available on audio!*

EXCERPT:

A glitch. Being a glitch was somewhat bearable, but an intentional glitch was not. Twigg had told Father Krume and Brisbane that Twain had been an accident. Twain wanted to believe that he had been locked up because Twigg had wanted to protect him, not because Twigg had wanted to cage him like some sort of sick scientific experiment. All those years he had spent, hidden—agonized by solitude…

“Son.” His sponsor stood at the door. “Mandy reported to me that you’ve thrown away dinner two nights in a row. Don’t tell me you’ve got nausea again.”

Twain eyed his sponsor’s silhouette. “Father, are there other mutants besides us?”

“Why would you ask that?”

“We were wondering—someone mentioned that there were more.”
Twigg eyed him sharply. “Who told you this? I knew the Contribution Center was dangerous for you…”

“We didn’t catch his number.”

“I have never seen another mutant and neither have you. Are you sure you didn’t get the Clan’s number?”

Something about the tone of Twigg’s voice gave Twain the feeling that he shouldn’t talk about it anymore. “We honestly don’t know. We’re all the same after all.”



Author Bio:
Realm Lovejoy is an American writer and an artist. She grew up in both Washington State and the Japanese Alps of Nagano, Japan. Currently she lives in Seattle and works as an artist in the video game industry. CLAN is her first book. You can find out more about her and her book at realmlovejoy.com




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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Alternate History by Mary Victoria Johnson, Author of The Ashes and the Sparks


Alternate History

(about the "rules" and "limits" when writing Alt Hist)


by Mary Victoria Johnson

As with most genres, althistory begins with one question: what if? What if Rome never fell? What if the Nazis won World War II? What if the Dark Ages turned into a period of great scientific advancement, or what if dragons really did exist in Ancient China? The possibilities are infinite, which is part of what makes the alternate history such a fascinating topic to explore. My novel takes place in the 1880’s, a period that many would recognize as Victorian. There’s just one key difference: Queen Victoria is dead. Gone. Assassinated. And when you remove such key players, society obviously develops far differently from what happened in our timeline. Really, that’s the core of what althistory is: creating a new, ‘alternate’ timelines.
Few writers enjoy the idea of rules and limits, and as far as genre boundaries go, alternate history offers lots of flexibility. You want the fairies of Irish folktales to be real? Sure. You want massive, gilded airships to be Europe’s primary mode of transportation? Go for it. You want Da Vinci and Michelangelo to be rival vampire-hunting vigilantes? Why not! Time travel, steampunk, and post-apocalyptic dystopias are all totally reasonable subgenres to delve into, but you’ve got to remember to keep the ‘history’ part too. You’ve got to remember that Earth –real Earth- has got to be the basic setting. Even if the magical land of Altoria mimics 3rd century Peru, if there are no connections to reality, then you’re writing straight-up fantasy. There has to be a connection to the real historical timeline. Of course, liberties can be taken; The Ashes and the Sparks involves a completely fictional society based on a mishmash of real Nordic cultures, set on a completely fictional archipelago of islands. But since it’s still set in this universe, with connections to other, real countries, it’s a go.
Another point to remember, is that usually, you only want to shift one major event. It gets way too confusing if the Spanish Armada successfully conquers Britain, leading to a chain of events that make them win the American Revolutionary War, but then a plague wipes out the entire country, so the moon landing never happens, so….lost? Exactly. Keep it simple; it’s amazing how a single event can create a massive ripple effect. Also, don’t leave plot holes. Since you are dealing with real history, your timeline shift has to be somewhat feasible. Nothing irritates readers more than logic jumps.
So go ahead: assemble all your outbreaks and assassinations, and give the past a twist! Set your chain of events in motion.



The Ashes and the Sparks

Mary Victoria Johnson

YA Alt-History Fantasy
Fire and Ice Young Adult Books
October 18, 2016



Welcome to the age of airships. It is a world powered by steam and innovation, ruled by an elusive empress at its heart.

Seventeen year-old Jorun is not part of this world. Hers is one of hidden tunnel networks and lights that dance across night skies, on that has remained separate from the rest of society for over a thousand years. This all changes when a boy appears from nowhere, raving about invaders from a faraway land. Purely by chance, Jorun soon finds herself in the middle of a struggle unlike anything she could have ever dreamed of, and must come to the realization that only she can stop an impending war.





About the Author


Hi! I'm Mary Victoria Johnson, author of fantastical Young Adult fiction. I wrote my first novel when I was fourteen, and I haven't stopped since! Now eighteen, my bibliography includes BOUNDARY, the first part of the Other Horizons Trilogy (Lodestone Books, 2015) and THE ASHES AND THE SPARKS (Fire and Ice YA, 2016). I was born in Cambridgeshire in the UK, and I now live on Vancouver Island where I study Creative Writing at the University of Victoria. 


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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Chameleon by Zoe Kalo





Chameleon
Zoe Kalo

Genre: YA Gothic/Multicultural

Date of Publication: February 15, 2017

Number of pages: 230
Word Count: 55,000

Cover Artist: Deranged Doctor Designs

Amazon - 99¢ thru 2/21

Book Description:

An isolated convent, a supernatural presence, a dark secret…

17-year-old Paloma only wanted to hold a séance to contact her dead father. She never thought she would be kicked out of school and end up in an isolated convent. Now, all she wants is to be left alone. But slowly, she develops a bond with a group of girls: kind-hearted Maria, insolent Silvy, pathological liar Adelita, and their charismatic leader Rubia.

When, yet again, Paloma holds a séance in the hope of contacting her father, she awakens an entity that has been dormant for years. And then, the body count begins. Someone doesn’t want the secret out…

Are the ghost and Paloma’s suspicions real—or only part of her growing paranoia and delusions?

Excerpt:

I cannot clearly say how I had entered
the wood; I was so full of sleep just at
the point where I abandoned the true path.
--Dante Alighieri, Inferno 1. 11-12


Chapter 1

Puerto Rico, 1973

Oak trees dripping with Spanish moss embraced us from both sides, but not enough to shield us from the prison that would be my home for the next seven months. The high stone walls and neo-Gothic bell tower loomed over us as my stepfather drove his Mercedes through the spiked iron gates and into the sloping, curving driveway.
A spider of dread crawled up my back. Prison indeed.
I couldn’t believe it had come to this. The way things had blown out of proportion. I’d only wanted to contact my dead father. Ask his forgiveness.
            My mother reached for my hand from the front seat without turning around to look at me. I stared at her perfectly polished red nails and the glittery square cut emerald on her ring finger. Her fingers flicked, silently pleading for my attention, but I was frozen inside. Her hand retreated.
I stared at the convent, my eyes studying the pointed arched windows, the worn, age-blackened stones. The place looked haunted. Perfect for my state of mind. What was my mother thinking?
Something moved behind one of the windows. A face. For an instant my pulse raced at the sheer paleness of it, at the two dark holes that made up its eyes.
“What are you looking at?” Sara, my six-year-old half sister, asked.
I pointed. “A girl.”
She followed my line of vision. “Where?”
“There. High up. In the window.”
            She dipped her head so she could have a better look. “I don’t see anything.”
            I felt a shiver, but not from the cold. It’s white. It’s watching us.
            Then the car moved too close to the building, and the face vanished from view. 
            “Is this your new school, Paloma?” Sara asked.
            I nodded. Sara was the child, female version of my stepfather. Her bottomless dark eyes, framed by velvety lashes, stared at me with misery. “I don’t like it,” she whispered, grabbing my hand.
            “It’ll be okay,” I whispered back, and gave her hand a little squeeze.
            “You promise?”
            “I promise.”
            “Well, here we are,” Domenico said in his strong Castilian accent, stopping the car in front of the entrance. He climbed out and opened the door for my mother. Then he proceeded to take out my suitcases from the trunk.
            My mother was silent. She stepped out like a wooden mannequin, her eyes shimmery with unshed tears.
            I climbed out, followed by Sara, the gravel crunching under our shoes. The early morning air was cool and a blanket of mist still lingered—not surprising, since the convent was on the outskirts of El Yunque, the island’s rain forest. More Spanish moss hung from the oak trees and rippled in the breeze like long, shivering memories. I could smell the dew on the leaves and the rich perfume of moist earth, redolent of open graves.
            I glanced at the ominous clouds. “Beautiful morning.”
An ongoing distant hum resonated all around us. One, two beats passed, before it struck me: Waterfall.
Something within me shut down—or exploded, I couldn’t be sure.
I shut my eyes for a second, wiping out memories of chilled water searing my lungs.
            I repeated the eighth multiplication table in my head. This always helped.
“After you,” Domenico said, interrupting my thoughts. 
I wanted to loathe him. Tried to, anyway. I could see what my mother saw in him: a powerfully charismatic, handsome man with the infinite skill to make people do his bidding. My mother, with her small delicate features and petite frame, looked invisible beside him. A mere spectre. But that was just a façade. I knew better.
            The big oak door opened and a nun clad in black habit and a wimple came down the steps to greet us.
            Sara wrapped her arms around my waist. Her gesture both comforted me and heightened my anxiety. Nuns in habit made me think of great black birds. 
            “Bienvenidos,” the nun said. Like my stepfather, she also had a Castilian accent. “I’m Madre Estela and I’m second in charge to Madre Superiora. You must be Señor and Señora de Aznar.”
            They exchanged small talk. Madre Estela sounded polite enough, but she didn’t offer to shake hands with my parents, which I found strange. Maybe nuns weren’t allowed to shake hands. I wouldn’t be surprised. I noticed the wedding band on her ring finger. Married to God. Absurd.
            “You must be Paloma,” she said tonelessly. 
            “Yes,” I said. Wasn’t it obvious? I didn’t know what else to say.
            The cross on her chest caught my attention. It had a crucified Christ on it and I noticed the thorns cutting Christ’s forehead, the little drops of blood glistening on His fragile body.
            “Welcome to our school, Paloma.” Her critical gaze scrutinized my makeup, my tight jeans. “I’ve heard much about you.”
I didn’t miss the hint of cold disapproval in her voice. I wasn’t sure how much my parents had complained about my behavior, but considering I had been kicked out—well, actually, kindly asked to leave—from my previous school in the middle of October, it couldn’t be good.
            “Are you ready to resume your senior year of high school?” Stress on resume.
            “I can’t wait,” I said. There was no point in being nice—or pretending to be. That just wasn’t me. I felt miserable and couldn’t hide it. Besides, I could tell from our short exchange that she’d made up her mind not to like me long before meeting me, and I had the sinking feeling that no matter what I said or did, her opinion wouldn’t change. I had already been stamped in her Inquisition book, tagged a criminal. 
            Madre Estela’s stony eyes moved to Sara. My little sister’s arms clutched my waist even tighter. From the nun’s expression, I could tell she was wondering if I had infected Sara with whatever plague ailed me. She dismissed us and turned back to my mother and stepfather. “Madre Superiora is expecting you in her office.  Let’s not keep her waiting. Don’t concern yourselves with the suitcases. Someone will come for them shortly.”
            They thanked her and followed her up the steps.
            “I don’t want to go in,” Sara said.
“It’ll be okay,” I said. I glanced at the window. I wanted to see the pale face again. But there was nothing.
            A drop of rain hit my cheek and I wiped it off. Then I held Sara’s hand and together we walked up the steps and through the arched doorway.
I felt my throat closing up.
            Seven months.
Seven months wasn’t that long, was it? Besides, Thanksgiving break was just around the corner. Six weeks, to be exact. I had already marked my calendar. I couldn’t wait. I would go through the motions, no need to make friends that I’d never see again. When you get close to people, you end up getting hurt.



About the Author:

A certified bookworm and ailurophile, Zoe Kalo has always been obsessed with books and reading. Reading led to writing—compulsively. No surprise that at 16, she wrote her first novel, which her classmates read and passed around secretly. The pleasure of writing and sharing her fantasy worlds has stayed with her, so now she wants to pass her stories to you with no secrecy—but with lots of mystery. She lives amongst cats and books in Belgium, and is the author of the Cult of the Cat young adult fantasy series and the Retribution novella series for adults.

Sign up for her newsletter at www.ZoeKalo.com and receive her exclusive short story “Arkalla.”

Website and blog: www.ZoeKalo.com



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Friday, February 10, 2017

Review: Edge of Night by Ann Gimpel




Edge of Night

Ann Gimpel

Paranormal/Horror/Sci-Fi/Romance
December 2016
Dream Shadow Press

Click here for info and buy links

Here’s a roadmap to Edge of Night. Welcome to an eclectic collection of nine short stories.

You’ve done time at the edge of night. Nail-biting, stomach-churning time filled with hissing snarls, menacing growls, the whoosh of unnatural wings, and the flash of hellfire. Time that lasts forever, but is over within seconds because time becomes unpredictable in places like that. You don’t want to stay, but it’s too fascinating—in a grisly, macabre, toe-curling kind of way—to turn your back on.

You recognize it, though. The place just at the threshold of darkness where it’s not quite safe anymore. Evil broke its bounds at the edge of night, or maybe it always ran free and we’ve been deluding ourselves all along.

Join me for nine supernatural tales. Monsters, demons, gods—fallen and otherwise—ghosts, aliens. A touch of science fiction. More than a splash of romance. From magical lands to a chilling glance into the past, Edge of Night has something to tempt everyone. Everyone who craves danger, that is. It takes guts to read the stuff woven into nightmares.

It’s a tough job, but you’re up to it.


Welcome to my world. A world where magic holds court and the dude next door just might be a demon. Or a shifter. Or an alien.

Review: I received this book from the author, which had no impact on my honest review.

I love a good short story collection. Maybe it's my short attention span... If you've already read Ann Gimpel, then I guarantee that you'll love this collection. If not, then this is the perfect introduction to her writing. The prose flows with vivid descriptions that leap off the page, pulling the reader into the story. One might think that short story equals poor character development, but that is not the case here. It amazes me how I was pulled into a character's life within a single page as happened with the very first story in the collection. Edge of Night has something for everyone within its pages--whether you like horror or aliens-- complete with a dash of romance. Highly recommended.

About the Author

Ann Gimpel is a USA Today bestselling author. A lifelong aficionado of the unusual, she began writing speculative fiction a few years ago. Since then her short fiction has appeared in a number of webzines and anthologies. Her longer books run the gamut from urban fantasy to paranormal romance. Once upon a time, she nurtured clients. Now she nurtures dark, gritty fantasy stories that push hard against reality. When she’s not writing, she’s in the backcountry getting down and dirty with her camera. She’s published over 45 books to date, with several more planned for 2017 and beyond. A husband, grown children, grandchildren, and wolf hybrids round out her family.

Find Ann At:





@AnnGimpel (for Twitter)



Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Code Red by Janie Chodosh



Code Red (Faith Flores Science Mystery #2)
by Janie Chodosh

Genre: YA Mystery

Release Date: February 7th 2017
Poisoned Pen Press

Summary from Goodreads:

After nailing the murderer of her addict mom and proving that her detractors are full of it, seventeen-year-old Faith Flores is back for another kick-ass science mystery. She's proud to be chosen for a summer internship at a research lab in Santa Fe, New Mexico, but once she arrives, complications abound. For one thing, Santa Fe is the birthplace of the father she's never met, and for another, she clashes with a local environmentalist trying to pull the plug on the genetically modified chiles her new boss is engineering. She and violin prodigy, Clem, learn of a new teen drug called liquid gold while discreetly researching the family angle. The chip on Faith's shoulder is still there, but so is her determination to uncover the truth when a girl she meets at a party dies from an overdose of liquid gold.


  

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound  

Excerpt

I should join the bevy of arts and academic interns bonding in clumps of polite, socially correct conversation. At least, if I’m going to be antisocial I should be harnessing the power of positive thought and thinking, Wow! Here I am—St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico! Or, wow! 
What an honor, out of all the science geeks around the nation, the Salazar Center for Plant Genomics chose me as their summer student scholar!

Instead, I sit alone in a window seat overlooking a confusion of mountains and arroyos, no idea what to say to any of the other interns who look so at ease and whose off-resume experiences probably don’t include waiting in the backseat of some beater while their mom scored a fix. Not to mention that if I were to actually open my mouth what would come out would likely have a high lab geek element. And then there’s the nagging distraction of The Jerk, also known as The Sperm Donor, sometimes known as my father, who I happen to know was born here and could still be hanging around.

“Faith, cool name,” someone says.

I spin around, absolutely no idea how long I’ve been staring out the window, to gape at a tall guy standing in front of me who might be Hispanic, might be black, and might be in competition with Jesse, my Philly boyfriend, for the cutest boy I’ve ever seen. To make up for the fact that I seem to have forgotten how to speak, I jam my hands on my hips and
demand an explanation for how he knew my name.


“Um. That would be your nametag?” 


Previous book in the series (click on image for Goodreads link):




About the Author
To write for teens, listen to teens.

I have been listening to teens and young-adults for most of my adult life. As a middle school and high school teacher, I am immersed in the voices of young people. Daily, I listen to their irony and wit, their drama and humor. It is these voices that fuel my desire to write for young adults.

Besides being a writer and a teacher, I am a mom, an avid outdoors person, reader, observer of life, and a scientist wannabe. However, since I realized I only liked to muck around in the field in cool places and would never actually be a scientist, I married one.

When not writing, I like to hang out with my family, rock climb, try to grow a garden in the arid southwest, bird watch, travel, and attempt to play Klezmer music on my violin.



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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Sequence Aligned by Lorraine M.L.M + Giveaway



SeQuence Aligned (The Heart of the Ocean #2)
by Lorraine M.L.M.

Genre: YA Fantasy/Romance
Release Date: February 1st 2017

Summary from Goodreads:


Alessia and Dante’s love has blossomed. Their Sequence of Hearts is sturdier than ever, but the shield that protects Tuscania is weakening and an invasion is imminent. Everyone knows Alessia's new-found power is the key--especially Alessia. Unfortunately, the energy inside her is unstable and expediting her training could have devastating consequences. But that's exactly what must be done.

Whisked away to a secluded training facility, Alessia is forced to put aside all distractions, including Dante, to fully focus on the Sequence of Peace.

But power always comes at a price. When Dante falls deathly ill, Alessia abandons her training to go to him, but she never makes it. Instead, she's kidnapped and dragged outside the shield where she's more helpless than she was back on Earth. As the captive of a vengeful madman, Alessia has only her wits and her will to save herself and the world she's come to cherish.



  

Book One:
SeQuence (The Heart of the Ocean #1)
Release Date: November 2nd 2016

Summary from Goodreads:

Alessia Appleton is desperate. She's desperate to silence the voices inside her head, but being committed to an island asylum has only made them worse. Still, at least there's the ocean. Water is the one thing that blocks Alessia from hearing the thoughts of those around her. Complete submersion is her only relief. So, when she gets the chance to escape her wardens and the voices, Alessia takes it. She dives into the sea and a giant wave drags her under.

When she comes to, one thing is clear--either Alessia's completely lost her mind, or she's not on Earth anymore. 

Instead, she finds herself in a world with two moons, a complex undersea society, a long-lost grandmother, and a drool-worthy young man named Dante Erajion. However, it doesn't take long for Alessia to realise that a new world comes with all kinds of new rules and new problems. In Zeneshia sequence takes precedence over chance, and Alessia's arrival has set off the Foretold Sequence of Hearts, shifting the future to a dire series of choices between Life, Love, and Death.

Shortlisted for the 2015 Love Stories New Talent Award


  

BOOK TRAILER:




About the Author

Lorraine M.L.M writes young adult romantic fiction. Her love for reading prompted her passion for writing. She loves all genres of romance but has a special and inherent interest in Fantasy/Romance in particular uplifting and thought provoking fiction. Her YA Fantasy/Romance debut novel, SeQuence was shortlisted for the 2015 Love Stories New Talent Award.

When she’s not writing, she can be found gazing into the distance thinking about writing.

If you would like to keep up-to-date with news of her forthcoming releases, you can sign up here: http://eepurl.com/b-3fXn

Author Links:
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