Monday, February 20, 2017

{Blog Tour} Spotlight: BEAUTIFUL BROKEN GIRLS by Kim Savage

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Beautiful Broken Girls
by Kim Savage


Mira and Francesca Cillo—beautiful, overprotected, odd—seemed untouchable. But Ben touched seven parts of Mira: her palm, hair, chest, cheek, lips, throat, and heart.

After the sisters drown themselves in the quarry lake, a post-mortem letter from Mira sends Ben on a quest to find notes in the seven places where they touched. Note by note, Ben discovers the mystical secret at the heart of Mira and Francesca's world, and that some things are better left untouched.

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Age Group/Genre: Young Adult, Magical Realism, Mystery
 Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BFYR)
Purchase: Amazon • B&NKobo • iBooks






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Kim Savage is the author of AFTER THE WOODS, a debut psychological thriller for young adults coming on Feb 23, 2016 with Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Macmillan. Her second thriller for young adults comes from FSG is 2017. Before writing fiction, she worked as business journalist, pitching stories along the lines of “Stigmatized Properties: When Murder Kills Property Values”. You get the idea.






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Thanks so much for stopping by! Happy Reading!

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Book Blitz: CHAMELEON by Zoe Kalo—Excerpt + Giveaway

PRESENTED BY XPRESSO BOOK TPURS
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Chameleon
by Zoe Kalo


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

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Age Group/Genre: Young Adult, Gothic, Paranornal
Purchase: Amazon • B&N

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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 dark 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. 
“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—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, shall we not? 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.


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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.

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Continue on for the giveaway! ~

Thursday, February 16, 2017

{Blog Tour} CRAZY MESSY BEAUTIFUL by Carrie Arcos—Author Interview + Giveaway

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Crazy Messy Beautiful
by Carrie Arcos

From National Book Award finalist Carrie Arcos–a fresh take on happily ever after, and friendship, that is anything but a love story.

When your namesake is Pablo Neruda—the greatest love poet of all time—finding “the one” should be easy. After all, sixteen-year-old aspiring artist Neruda Diaz has been in love many times before. So it’s only a matter of time before someone loves him back.

Callie could be that someone. She’s creative and edgy, and nothing like the girls Neruda typically falls for, so when a school assignment brings them together, he is pleasantly surprised to learn they have a lot in common. With his true love in reach and his artistic ambitions on track, everything is finally coming together.

But as Neruda begins to fall faster and harder than ever before, he is blindsided by the complicated nature of love—and art—in more ways than one. And when the relationships he’s looked to for guidance threaten to implode, Neruda must confront the reality that love is crazier, messier, and more beautiful than he ever realized—and riskier, too, than simply saying the words.

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Age Group/Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
 Publisher: Philomel Books
Purchase: Amazon • B&N • Kobo • IndieBound

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with Carrie Arcos


LM: What inspired you to write Crazy Messy Beautiful?

Carrie: My first year of teaching high school, I was introduced to the writer, Pablo Neruda, by a former student of mine. He used to carry a worn copy of Neruda’s first book Twenty Love Songs and Poem of Despair in his back pocket. As soon as I read the first lines, I became a fan. And was shocked, actually, that I hadn’t studied him before in high school or college. (I was an English major, after all.) I thank Esteban in my acknowledgements.

Not long ago I was doing a high school visit, speaking to a class about my books, when I noticed a boy sitting in the front row. He was a Latino kid with dark curly hair, jeans, black shirt, and drawing in a journal. After the visit, I asked if I could see them. I was struck by his talent and his sweet, shy nature.

I’m not sure exactly what made me connect him to my former student, except maybe temperament. But the visit started the kernel of my first thoughts of a new character. With my books, I always start with character. I knew I wanted to write about a boy who was into Pablo Neruda. When I started writing, I just got this wonderful voice of a character who was actually named after Neruda, the greatest love poet in the world, but who is actually the unluckiest in love.

The story developed from there and became an exploration on the nature of love. How does love happen? Is there such a thing as true love? What do you do when someone doesn’t love you back? Also, what about when people fail love? Since my Neruda is a bit of a romantic idealist, he has to learn that love is not just about poetry and words. It’s about showing up, even when you don’t want to. It’s about choosing.

LM: What was the most challenging thing about writing Crazy Messy Beautiful?

Carrie: The most challenging thing was that I had this great character in Neruda. I had his voice. I really felt like I knew who he was, but I didn’t have much of a story. I struggled to find the plot, what story I wanted to tell through this character. It took multiple drafts, more drafts than any other story I’ve written. It really is true what other writers say—that every book is different so the process of writing each book is also not uniform.

LM: Describe the dynamic between your main characters, Neruda & Callie, in just five words.

Carrie: Awkward. Cute. Friends. Painful. Understanding.

LM: If this book had a theme song, what would it be?

Carrie: All out of Love by Air Supply

LM: Give us a little glimpse into Crazy Messy Beautiful—share with us one of your favorite quotes or scenes from the book!

Carrie: I love this realization from Neruda: 

I open the worn pages of Neruda’s Twenty Love Songs and turn right to “The Song of Despair.” I’ve read it many times. But now I understand the shipwreck of his soul and the debris and the cold, cold death of his love’s kisses. How she became dangerous and how he sank. How she sank him. She abandoned him and he was left drowning in sorrow. In the end, he’s just standing on the shore alone, deserted like an empty harbor.

LM: Tell us what you enjoy doing when you aren't writing!

Carrie: I enjoy spending time with my kids and husband. We like to hike (well, the parents do). I also like going to dinner with friends, exploring LA, cooking, reading, and meeting new people.

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Carrie Arcos is a National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature for OUT OF REACH; her second novel is THERE WILL COME A TIME. CRAZY MESSY BEAUTIFUL will be available soon. She lives in Los Angeles with her family. For more information, check out her website: carriearcos.com

WEBSITE • GOODREADS  TWITTER • FACEBOOK




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Huge thanks to Carrie for answering my questions so thoughtfully!

Readers, please continue on for giveaway details! ~

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Trailer Reveal: AS YOU LAY SLEEPING by Katlyn Duncan

PRESENTED BY YA BOUND BOOK TOURS

As You Lay Sleeping by Katlyn Duncan


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As You Lay Sleeping



I did it all for you…

Cara’s boyfriend is dead.

When fingers start pointing at her, she knows she’s in more trouble than she originally thought. Because Cara can see that something isn’t right.

As her carefully constructed life begins to crumble, Cara isn’t sure who she is anymore.

But maybe that’s exactly what someone wants her to think…

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Age Group/Genre: Young Adult, Mystery
 Pubdate: February 22, 2017
 Publisher: HQ Digital/HarperCollins
Add the book on Goodreads!
★ Purchase: AmazonB&NBooks-a-Million • Kobo
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I've been writing and reading since I can remember. My fondest memories were pushing mom out of the house to get the latest Goosebumps installment. Even though I went to school and worked in the field of science, my head has always been in the clouds.

Outside of writing, I enjoy spending time with my hubs, pup, and sometimes a good rom com.






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Thanks so much for stopping by! Happy Reading!

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