Thursday, January 31, 2013

Cover Reveal: Eternal by Kristi Cook

Today we're helping to reveal the cover of Eternal by Kristi Cook. Eternal is third book in the Winterhaven series. There's a giveaway so make sure you scroll to the bottom to enter! Check out the blurb for Eternal:

THERE’S NO HIDING FROM DESTINY…

In the final book of the Winterhaven trilogy, Violet McKenna and her friends find themselves right in the middle of a vampire war. The stakes have been raised, the danger unavoidable now. As the Warriors’ senior year draws to a close, not everyone makes it out alive. Who will be left standing at the end of it all? Will Aidan be a part of Violet’s future, or is he just a specter of the past?



I really love the colors on this book. The other two covers in this series are nice too, but this is my favorite of the three!

What do you think of the cover?


About the Author:

YA author Kristi Cook is a transplanted southern gal who lives in New York City with her husband and two kids. Her YA debut, HAVEN, was released in Feb. 2011 by Simon Pulse.


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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Author Interview: Jena Leigh, author of Revival

Today we have an interview with Jena Leigh, author of Revival. We shared an excerpt from Revival last week. Check out the synopsis of Revival:

Possessing the uncanny ability to fry a television set from twenty paces can really wreck a girl’s social life.

If you’re looking for proof, just ask sixteen-year-old Alexandra Parker. After catching her boyfriend in the arms of the prettiest girl in school, she made the journey from social elite to social pariah in a haze of electricity and exploding electronics. But finding herself at the bottom of Bay View High’s social hierarchy was nothing compared to the shock of discovering who—and what—she really is.

After being zapped out of a burning bookstore by the mysterious Declan—a hero nearly as handsome as he is infuriating—Alex finds herself under the protection of the powerful Grayson family. It’s through them that she learns the truth: that the world she’s always known is nothing like it appears to be... and that she has far more in common with them than she might want to believe.

Now, on the run from a fire-wielding hit man and a secretive government organization, Alex must navigate a strange and treacherous new world filled with superhuman mutants known as Variants. As she begins to unravel the many secrets of her family’s past, she uncovers the real reason for her parents’ death twelve years earlier—and finds out that the threat to her family, and to everyone she cares about, is still dangerously real.

Tell us about yourself.

Caffeine addict, YA author, shameless geek, freckle-faced lover of music and slave to the written word. I live on dreams and coffee.

What is your favorite book and why?

There are so many! I’ve read quite a few books that, after I finished reading them, I wished I would have had the genius to write... But the most recent one I felt that way about was John Green’s novel The Fault in Our Stars. It’s the first book in ages that made me laugh until I cried and then cry until I laughed. Hazel and Augustus’s story is one that will stick with me for the rest of my life. Simply put—it’s a beautiful work of fiction. I doubt there’s a writer out there who doesn't wish that they’d been the one to write it.

What influenced you to write Revival?

It’s hard to say, really. The inspiration for my characters and their personal struggles came, in part, from my own experiences in high school and college... And I’m pretty sure the rest came about as a result of my addiction to bad sci-fi and comic books! You can find little pieces of my life and my past experiences scattered throughout Revival. I wrote the book at a very tough time in my life and my own struggles (along with a few of the happier memories) managed to creep onto the page, even if I wasn’t consciously trying to include them. You write what you know. For me, this book is a prime example of just how true that can be!

Who was your favorite character to write in Revival?

That’s a good question! It seems to change from day to day. Right now I’d probably have to say that Declan’s sister Kenzie is my favorite. She’s sassy, sarcastic and I can always count on her for a witty rejoinder. Kenzie’s scenes are always enjoyable to write.

What's your favorite quote from Revival and why?

Declan reached out, put his hands on Alex’s shoulders and pressed downwards. She fell into a seated position against the fallen tree. 
“Sit,” he said. “Stay.” 
“That’s cute,” she said. “Tell me to ‘heel’ and see what happens.
This scene will always be one of my favorite moments in Revival. At the beginning of the novel, Alex Parker (our heroine) is a sweet—if somewhat mousy—high school junior that is more than happy to let others take center stage while she observes life safely from the sidelines. Declan, even more than Alex’s dire circumstances, forces her to become something else. Something more. In her efforts to keep on an even footing with Declan, Alex finds her own voice. This scene is one of many that show a “new” Alex starting to shine through.

About the Author:

Born and raised in Tampa, Florida, Jena Leigh spent ten years in the mountains of North Carolina before returning home to the lightning capital of North America.

A shameless geek, she loves bad sci-fi movies, Skittles, writing cracktastic e-mails to friends and taking shenanigan-filled road trips to faraway concerts. She has a degree in English from Appalachian State University.

Revival is her first novel.


For more about Revival check out these sites!

AmazonGoodreads

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Teaser Tuesday (38): In the Band by Jean Haus

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

This week's teaser is from In the Band by Jean Haus. I posted my review for this yesterday, but I just wanted to share one of my favorite lines from this book. It's seriously good and if you liked Easy by Tammara Webber I definitely recommend this one.

Sex can be lust, but it can be so much more when trust and respect and affection are layered into it." His lashes lower and a wet finger traces my lips. "I once had enough lust to last a life time." A callused palm presses against my cheek. Dark eyes burn into mine. Burn into me and sear me with their heat. "I want the more," he says huskily before his lips cover mine in a searching kiss.

{In the Band, Chapter 21}

Synopsis of In the Band:

When family problems push Riley Middleton into giving up a percussion scholarship in another state and attending college from home, her friends push her to try out for a local rock band. Of course, Riley makes the band. She rules at the drums.

Riley soon finds out rock bands have a different dynamic than marching bands, especially when each of her male band mates has a major ego and is a major player. Two of them relentlessly flirt with her. The other—a dark, sexy rock god she can’t help being attracted to— is a total jerk and pushes her to quit. She becomes determined to ignore his rudeness and his hotness. Even if she was interested in jerks, a hook up would probably get her booted out of the ego-ridden band, and playing keeps her sane. Behind the drums, the world and its troubles evaporate.

If she wants to stay in the band, Riley needs to ignore the growing sparks between her and her band enemy. But as she gets to know the man behind the stage persona, ignoring him proves to be more difficult than flowing through a time sig shift.

*New Adult/Mature YA for language and sexual situations.

For more about In the Band check out these sites!


*All quotes are taken from an uncorrected ARC. Quotes may not match the finished copy.*


Monday, January 28, 2013

Blog Tour Review: In The Band by Jean Haus


Title: In the Band
Author: Jean Haus
Publish Date: October 19th, 2012
Rating:

When family problems push Riley Middleton into giving up a percussion scholarship in another state and attending college from home, her friends push her to try out for a local rock band. Of course, Riley makes the band. She rules at the drums.

Riley soon finds out rock bands have a different dynamic than marching bands, especially when each of her male band mates has a major ego and is a major player. Two of them relentlessly flirt with her. The other—a dark, sexy rock god she can’t help being attracted to— is a total jerk and pushes her to quit. She becomes determined to ignore his rudeness and his hotness. Even if she was interested in jerks, a hook up would probably get her booted out of the ego-ridden band, and playing keeps her sane. Behind the drums, the world and its troubles evaporate.

If she wants to stay in the band, Riley needs to ignore the growing sparks between her and her band enemy. But as she gets to know the man behind the stage persona, ignoring him proves to be more difficult than flowing through a time sig shift.

*New Adult/Mature YA for language and sexual situations.

In the Band by Jean Haus has definitely taken its spot on my list of favorite New Adult novels. A story about a girl joining a band full of hot guys, especially the hot but frustrating guitar player Romeo? Yeah. Who doesn't want to read about that?

More times than not, in books like this one, I end up disliking the main character within the first few pages. For some reason, they always seem like the same down-and-out, sarcastic, defensive girl who can't let anyone get close to her. That is so not the case with Riley. She's real, low key, honest and funny. And I connected to her immediately.

Riley feels guilt about her family's problems, things that have nothing to do with her. She cooks, cleans, takes care of her sister, all while her mother sinks further into depression. And Riley is the one who is left feeling guilty for wanting to "waste time" in a band or with a boy. I felt such sympathy for Riley, I felt an understanding for why she felt the way she did, but I also had some frustration because Riley was the only member of her family to act like an adult and step up to the plate, even though none of it was her fault or problem. I kept wishing she'd realize that everyone else needed to deal with there own issues and just give everyone the finger and ditch out on them all. But, of course, Riley being the loving, caring daughter that she is would never do something like that.

Then there's the guitar god known as Romeo. I'm telling you, this book is a swoon-fest and it's all Romeo's fault. This boy definitely lives up to his name. The heat between him and Riley sizzles right off the page. Sure, Romeo's character seems like a bit of wish fulfillment, but he is still slightly flawed (in a way that makes him even more attractive). Basically, he reminds me a lot of Lucas from Easy. And I know many of you love Lucas from Easy just as much as I do. And there's even a little extra at the end of the book, a pivotal scene in Romeo's POV, that gives the reader a nice little look inside his head.

In the Band is a mature YA/New Adult novel and, due to a little sexual content, is not recommended for younger readers. But, it it's a steamy romance in the same vein as Easy you're after, then In the Band is the book for you!

For more about In the Band check out these sites!


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Excerpt: The Namesake by Stephen Parlato

Today we have an excerpt from The Namesake by Steven Parlato. A coming-of-age story about a son learning to live with his father's mistakes. Check out the synopsis:

Gifted artist? Standout student?

All his teachers are sure certain that Evan Galloway can be the graduate who brings glory to small, ordinary St. Sebastian's School.

As for Evan, however, he can't be bothered anymore.

Since the shock of his young father's suicide last spring, Evan no longer cares about the future. In fact, he believes that he spent the first fifteen years of his life living a lie. Despite his mother's encouragement and the steadfast companionship of his best friend, Alexis, Evan is mired in rage and bitterness. Good memories seem ludicrous when the present holds no hope.

Then Evan's grandmother hands him the key--literally, a key--to a locked trunk that his father hid when he was the same age as Evan is now. Digging into the trunk and the small-town secrets it uncovers, Evan can begin to face who his father really was, and why even the love of his son could not save him.

In a voice that resonates with the authenticity of grief, Steven Parlato tells a different kind of coming-of-age story, about a boy thrust into adulthood too soon, through the corridor of shame, disbelief, and finally...compassion.

Excerpt from The Namesake:

Excerpt
By Steven Parlato,
Author of The Namesake (Merit Press)
Mister Pettafordi's office is examining room bright. 
It makes me queasy, like I'm here for X-rays -- which, in a way, I am. My art teacher slash guidance counselor slash "Think of me as your friend" wants to help. That's how I landed in the vinyl visitor chair on the wrong side of his desk. I should be in silent study, passing notes to Alexis. Instead, I'm here, embarrassed for Michelangelo's David. He's beside the file cabinet, a red umbrella hanging from his crooked elbow, looking a little vulnerable, naked under the lights. 
I need to write this stupid essay. Mr. P's fixated on getting me a full scholarship; he says I'm his "best student ever." But then, that's what my teachers always say.
Mister P: "Evan, you need to pursue your art."
Me: "Uh-huh."
Mister P: "Evan, you've got what it takes."
Me: "Hmm."
Mister P: "Evan, follow your dream!"
Thing is, I think it's his dream more than mine now. 
But I'm trying to get a jump on this heap of applications. Pettafordi said I need to "dazzle them" with my essay. I asked what I should write about. 
He said, "Evan, write what you know."
As helpful as that was, I've chosen the opposite. See, I'm not sure I want to study art, or even go to college anymore. So I'll write what I don't know. I could do twenty pages on spark plugs or the reproductive cycle of the Andean potato weevil. Except, those I could research. No. I'll tackle the true unknown.
I never knew my father. 
I don't mean that in a trash TV kind of way. Like, Up Next, DNA Tests: Real Dads Revealed! It's not like that. Mom wasn't a sperm bank patron. I wasn't raised by wolverines. I've lived most of my fourteen years in a room two doors down from the man, falling asleep to his snores. I could map you his morning stubble, a whorl on his chin like Madagascar. 
Nope. Nothing dramatic about the Galloways. We were typical. Mom made Campbell's soup casseroles. Dad fell asleep in the leather chair on movie night. We were about as normal as it gets. At least, that's what everyone thought.
Before last April. 
Now when I think about stuff, it's all about how it used to be. We used to have Monopoly marathons. Build model planes. Gorge ourselves at China Buffet. We used to . . . whatever. 
A great philosopher once said, "Used-to-bes don't count anymore." 
Okay, it was this singer, Neil Diamond. My friend Alexis is a huge fan. But I disagree with Old Neil because, really, used-to-bes are the only things that do count anymore. 
Especially when today sucks so bad. 
It's funny how perfectly life splits into before and after. Before, it was just life, crappy or un'. After, everything's different. 
But I was going to tell you about my father.
My Father by Evan Galloway
My father is tall.
My father is fun.
My father reads stories and
Plays with me.
My father is the best, FATHER NUMBER ONE!
I wrote that in first grade. You could say my opinion of him has evolved. For one thing, I realized he was never all that tall. I admit the poem loses something sans macaroni frame, but I think it shows real literary promise. I mean, after reading that, I'm sure you can see how I ended up in Honors English, right?
Yeah, I'm smart. All through school I've been in the brain group: TAG, the Talented And Gifted Program. It's actually sort of cool, loads of field trips, elaborate, "self-guided learning opportunities." Sure, the regular kids call us "Tag Fags," but that's never really bothered me. Not much. It's jealousy, plain and simple. And come on -- tag fag? -- such an obvious rhyme. Leave it to a remedial reader.
Now I'm at Saint Sebastian's Catholic High School, third year, following Dad's footsteps. Yeah, he went here. But I one-upped the old man; I'll graduate at sixteen. They jumped me a couple grades. So I'm the second Evan Galloway to attend SSCHS. My family calls me "Junior," but technically, I'm not. Dad and I don't have the same middle name. Or, didn't. I do that sometimes, refer to him like he's still here. Like he didn't kill himself last spring. Like Gran didn't find him hanging from a beam in her attic Easter morning, while Mom and I were at Mass.

The above is an excerpt from the book The Namesake by Steven Parlato. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

© 2012 Steven Parlato, author of The Namesake

About the Author:

Steven Parlato, author of The Namesake, is a writer, illustrator, and an English professor. His poetry has been featured in Borderlands, Freshwater, Connecticut River Review, Peregrine, and Pirene's Fountain, and he is the winner of the 2011 Tassy Walden Award for New Voices in Children's Literature. He lives with his family, and is at work on his next novel.

For more information please visit http://stevenparlato.com and http://www.adamsmedia.com/merit-press-books and follow the author on Facebook.

For more about The Namesake check out these sites!


Friday, January 25, 2013

FREE for Kindle: XII: Genesis by Brian Palmer & Jason Rowe

XII: Genesis by Brian Palmer and Jason Rowe is FREE on Kindle from today through Jan. 27th! Check out the synopsis:

A century after the world was predicted to end, it was indeed reborn. Under the leadership of the Overseer of New Earth, minds were united, diseases were cured, and the Earth was healed when population centers minimized mankind’s footprint, and the remainder of the planet was turned over to the will of nature. War was eradicated, the world embraced one religion, and the New Era began.

But darkness rises now, mistaken for a mere shadow cast by the bright light of human progress. It is the time of which the ancients foretold. It is the time when all things must end. It is the time of The Twelve.

Six men and six women representing all creeds and colors are supernaturally gifted, but the unlikeliest of heroes. They are barely adults by the world’s standards, but still they are called.

Only they can stand against the growing darkness – but will they stand together?

XII: Genesis is the first installment of an eight-book series in the Young Adult / New Adult genres. If action excites you, if the supernatural intrigues you, and if love compels you - then you are invited to join The Twelve in their fight against the growing darkness that threatens New Earth!


Check out XII: Genesis at these sites!


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Spotlight: Revival by Jena Leigh

Today we're spotlighting Revival, a paranormal novel by Jena Leigh. Check out the synopsis:

Possessing the uncanny ability to fry a television set from twenty paces can really wreck a girl’s social life.

If you’re looking for proof, just ask sixteen-year-old Alexandra Parker. After catching her boyfriend in the arms of the prettiest girl in school, she made the journey from social elite to social pariah in a haze of electricity and exploding electronics. But finding herself at the bottom of Bay View High’s social hierarchy was nothing compared to the shock of discovering who—and what—she really is.

After being zapped out of a burning bookstore by the mysterious Declan—a hero nearly as handsome as he is infuriating—Alex finds herself under the protection of the powerful Grayson family. It’s through them that she learns the truth: that the world she’s always known is nothing like it appears to be... and that she has far more in common with them than she might want to believe.

Now, on the run from a fire-wielding hit man and a secretive government organization, Alex must navigate a strange and treacherous new world filled with superhuman mutants known as Variants. As she begins to unravel the many secrets of her family’s past, she uncovers the real reason for her parents’ death twelve years earlier—and finds out that the threat to her family, and to everyone she cares about, is still dangerously real.

Excerpt from Revival by Jena Leigh:

Declan O’Connell had been reduced to babysitting. 
This was so humiliating. He was going to have to have a talk with Grayson when he got home. Surely his punishment for last month’s misunderstanding should be nearing an end.
It wasn’t his fault they needed a new roof in the atrium. That had been entirely Nathaniel’s doing. Declan had merely supplied a little motivation. It was the Golden Boy that did the glass breaking. 
So how was it that the Golden Boy kept picking up all the choice jobs, while Declan was stuck trailing around after high schoolers? 
He leaned heavily against the brick wall of the alley and watched as his target disappeared into a restaurant across the street, only to reappear a few moments later on the wraparound patio, trailing after a hostess. They settled in at a table overlooking the water. 
At least with this vantage point he wouldn’t have to follow them into the restaurant.
She’d spotted him twice already. Not that he was particularly trying to hide from her at this point. It made things easier when the target didn’t know he was there, sure, but there wasn’t any hard and fast rule about it. 
Declan had been shadowing the pair for nearly an hour before he’d realized that something was off. 
Usually, his job involved protecting innocent humans from the monsters that walked amongst them unnoticed. From the things that went bump in the night. Things a whole lot like him, just without the charm … or a functioning moral compass. 
Judging from the haze of static electricity that followed the girl around like a rain cloud, however, there was something very different about this mark. 
Playing a hunch, he’d broken his cover and followed the two girls into a clothing shop. Ten minutes later the store’s registers were toast and his suspicions had been confirmed.
He wondered if the girl knew what she was. 
Better yet, he wondered if Grayson had known when he’d given Declan the assignment and just hadn’t said anything. 
“I want you to keep an eye on the girl, Declan.” 
“No other specifics?” 
“Just keep her away from bookstores, if you can.” 
Bookstores. 
Thanks, Grayson. That helps. 
Apparently whoever said, “no harm ever came from reading a book” hadn’t met this girl. 
Grayson’s orders were usually pretty detailed. The fact that these weren’t could mean a couple of things. Either Grayson didn’t know the specifics of the danger the girl was facing, or he did, but for whatever reason, he felt Declan didn’t need to know. 
It was the second possibility that worried him. 
He didn’t think that Grayson would ever intentionally send him out on an assignment at a disadvantage—but if Grayson felt like he couldn’t trust Declan with the details, then Declan wanted to know why. 
The cell phone tucked in his jacket pocket began to vibrate. He fished it out and checked the screen. 
The caller ID read “GRAYSON.” 
Declan narrowed his eyes at the shuddering phone. Weird. Grayson never called anyone while they were in the field. He knew better. 
Returning his gaze to the restaurant patio, Declan answered the call. 
“Miss me already?” 
“I want an update on the girl.” 
Declan considered telling him what he’d learned about her, and then thought the better of it. That could wait. “She’s spending the day shopping with a friend.” 
“Shopping?” 
“Clothes shopping. No bookstores in sight. Not so far, anyway.” 
“Hmm.” 
“You going to tell me why this girl is so special you’re calling me for updates? My next check-in’s not for another two hours.” 
“Just do your job, Declan. Keep her safe.” 
The line went dead. 
If Declan had been suspicious before, now he was outright convinced that something was up. 
What was so important about this girl?

About the Author:

Born and raised in Tampa, Florida, Jena Leigh spent ten years in the mountains of North Carolina before returning home to the lightning capital of North America.

A shameless geek, she loves bad sci-fi movies, Skittles, writing cracktastic e-mails to friends and taking shenanigan-filled road trips to faraway concerts. She has a degree in English from Appalachian State University.

Revival is her first novel.


For more about Revival check out these sites!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Author Interview: Bella Forrest, author of A Shade of Vampire

Today we have an interview with Bella Forrest. Bella's talking about her book A Shade of Vampire! Check out the synopsis:

On the evening of Sofia Claremont's seventeenth birthday, she is sucked into a nightmare from which she cannot wake.

A quiet evening walk along a beach brings her face to face with a dangerous pale creature that craves much more than her blood.

She is kidnapped to an island where the sun is eternally forbidden to shine.

An island uncharted by any map and ruled by the most powerful vampire coven on the planet. She wakes here as a slave, a captive in chains.

Sofia's life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn when she is the one selected out of hundreds of girls to join the harem of Derek Novak, the dark royal Prince.

Despite his addiction to power and obsessive thirst for her blood, Sofia soon realizes that the safest place on the island is within his quarters, and she must do all within her power to win him over if she is to survive even one more night.

Will she succeed? ...or is she destined to the same fate that all other girls have met at the hands of the Novaks?

Tell us a little about yourself and how you became a writer.

I've always had an active imagination. My favorite subject at school was creative writing and I wrote a lot of poetry in my spare time. From quite a young age, I felt the urge to express my ideas in words. So I have pretty much always been writing. Although it was only recently, on December 14th (2012), that my debut novel, A Shade of Vampire, was published.

How did you come up with the idea for A Shade of Vampire?

I'm not really sure where the original inspiration came from. The idea just sort of popped into my head one day and the characters and storyline developed organically from there.

What were some of the challenges you faced while writing A Shade of Vampire?

The main challenge for me in writing is always trying to organize my ideas for the story outline. I find this quite frustrating at times because I have quite a hyperactive mind, and it can be very difficult to order my thoughts.

What is your favorite YA read of 2012?

Oh, I'm afraid I really don't have a favorite!

What is your favorite line from A Shade of Vampire and why?

Because I don’t believe that you are a slave to what you’ve become. I don’t believe that you simply can’t.

For more about A Shade of Vampire check out these sites!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Radiant by Christina Daley

Today we're helping reveal the cover of Radiant by Christina Daley. Christina is also generously giving away either an e-copy of Radiant or a signed bookmark to THREE winners! Make sure to scroll to the bottom to enter. Check out the synopsis:

Mary is part Vietnamese. Carter is a complete jerk. Normally, they don't talk much.

But when Mary's in an accident on the way to school one morning, Carter nearly dies saving her life. The doctors say his chances of living are slim, and Mary's feeling the full weight of survivor's guilt.

However, Carter's back at school in a matter of days, as if nothing had happened. Although, he is a little "glitchy," and he's developed a sudden and intense interest in Mary. She thinks he's suffering from major brain trauma from the accident. Or that he's been possessed.

As it so happens, Carter really is possessed. And the thing controlling him is having the time of its life learning to be human.

Featuring a diverse cast of characters, RADIANT is a funny and heartfelt story about being human, being in love, and being healed.


I love the simplicity of this cover and also the way it's backlit by the sun. So pretty!

What do you think of the cover?


a Rafflecopter giveaway


For more about Radiant check out these sites!


Blog Tour Guest Post & Giveaway: Murder on Mars by M.M. Shelley

Today we've got a guest post from M.M. Shelley, author of Murder on Mars! Check out the synopsis:

A paranormal force has lured Ava to New Orleans, where shadows lurk behind every corner and an unknown power has yet to be unleashed.

There is a darkness in New Orleans, one that has brought sixteen year old Ava Lopez to the city in search of her best friend, Dyson. A dark crime has been committed, and there are supernatural forces involved. Three sisters who whisper "fate" are awaiting the arrival of the Guardian.

Shadow People fiercely haunt the city, unchallenged, but Ava senses that Dyson may be involved with their crimes. She must discover the secret that the Shadows are so determined to keep hidden.

Ava will have to risk everything, because where the Fates are concerned there are no second chances.

Excerpt from Murder on Mars:

Ava caught the red eye into New Orleans Louisiana; it was the earliest flight she could make out of New York City. If it had been for anyone other than Dyson there would have been no way she would have dropped everything she was doing to fly out to New Orleans. She had never given the city much thought before; Dyson had mentioned it briefly to her once before saying that his great aunt Caroline lived in the Garden District and from time to time he would visit and stay with her. 
Dyson was Ava’s closest friend; in fact at times he was her only friend. She had met Dyson in the first grade. Ava had transferred from a school in Los Angeles, California and it had seemed that before she arrived everyone had heard the stories of her father; they all knew who she was and who her father was. Her fellow students couldn’t wait to tease and ridicule her, everyday they would find a new way to torture her in class or in the halls. 
Ava wore her black hair in a pony tail which placed her widow’s peak on prominent display; her classmates would say that she looked like Eddie Munster. They also teased her mercilessly about the cleft in her chin and every time they did she had turned her nose up at them. They had also liked to call her Lupus, because her last name was Lopez. And at the lunch table they would sit next to her and poke at her food so she couldn’t eat. 
Through it all she would pretend that everything they did to her didn’t affect her, she never reacted, and she kept her feelings to herself; never letting them see her cry. 
They soon began calling her the ‘ice princess’ because of her lack of reaction and because of the glares she would send their way if she found something annoying or not to her liking. Ava had mastered the art of looking down her nose at someone and it made them feel small, so, finally the other students gave up and moved on to easier targets. 
Dyson had never been one of the ones who had teased her; in fact he had kept his distance from her. One morning as she sat in a swing at the end of a school day waiting to be picked up from school, Dyson walked over and sat in the swing next to her. 
He told her that his car was late; that his parents were in town and whenever they were the car was always late. He took out some licorice and offered her some. Ava was a bit hesitant but helped herself to a piece. Before she took a bite she waited for him to take one; it was to make sure there was nothing wrong with it. 
As his car arrived a window in the back seat rolled down and a woman peered out shouting at him to hurry up and get into the car. Dyson took his time as he handed Ava the rest of the licorice before turning his sharp blue eyes onto his mother. He wore his blonde hair in a disheveled mess just to irritate her and he ran his hand through it for good measure before he kicked up loose dirt spraying rocks at the car. The gravel hit both the car and his mother. Dyson ran along the car and got in on the passenger side, choosing to sit next to the driver rather than with his mother. 
Ava sat on her swing and watched in bewilderment, a smile slowly found its way onto her face. Her father never picked her up from school, he couldn’t as he lived back home in Los Angeles. He knew how the school and the other parents felt about him, the only reason he sent Ava to school so far away was to give her a better life away from the one he was living, at least that’s what he told her time and again, but she knew better. 
Her mother Lucia had died shortly after Ava was born on January twenty third; Lucia was beautiful, she had long thick black hair and green eyes. Ava had inherited her mothers’ dark hair but everything else came from her father, Martin. 
Ava and Dyson were now attending school at Clairman’s Academy, only Dyson hadn’t return from his spring break trip from New Orleans. The last few weeks before he had left Dyson had been acting oddly; as he kept to himself and he was on his phone constantly either receiving texts or phone calls. No matter how many times Ava hounded him he wouldn’t say what they were about. 
And then she got a call from Felix telling her she needed to get to New Orleans as soon as possible. He wouldn’t say why. 
Felix was a friend of Dyson’s; one Ava had met a few times when Felix had been in New York. He was easy to talk to and he had a friendly laugh, that was the first thing she thought of when she heard his voice over the phone, his laugh. It was catchy and easy on the ears; he had a way of making anyone feel welcomed. 
If Dyson was in any kind of trouble she would be there for him as he had been there for her. He had been the one she had turned to after the murder of her father. Ava closed her eyes and leaned her head back against the head rest of her seat. 
She didn’t want to think about that day, she forced it back into the darkest part of her mind and swiftly popped in her earphones to listen to the in-flight movie, hopefully it would help her get some sleep. It was a romantic comedy, she hated those, they were all the same just different actors, but she would rather watch that than let her mind wonder to places she would rather it didn’t. She opened her eyes just as the male actor who had dreamy bedroom eyes and a lazy smile ask his lady love for a dance. She agreed and quickly melted into his arms. Ava yanked the earphones out and pushed the button for the flight attendant who came by. She seemed to have a smile permanently pressed onto her face. The flight was full, first class was sold out, which left Ava in coach. 
Ava didn’t wait for her to speak as she quickly said, “I need a Pepsi.” The flight attendant nodded her head and left at a brisk pace. Fortunately Ava had the aisle seat, nothing worse than being stuck at the window and having to climb over people if she needed to step out. She pulled out her laptop and lowered the tray. The attendant returned with her drink, and Ava signed into her account after paying the charge for the use of WI-FI. 
The flight was a good three hours and she arrived after four a.m. Even though it was early there was a live band playing near baggage claim. The band was exuberant and soulful at the same time; it was their way of welcoming visitors into their city. Ava paused for a moment to listen, she loved music, but unfortunately couldn’t play any type of instrument or sing for that matter, but she did admire those who were able to. She dropped a twenty dollar bill into a black hat as she made her way out of baggage claim and to the taxi stand. 
There was a tall slim man leaning against a cab and as she neared he seemed to become excited, probably because he was about to get a fare so early in the morning. He pushed against the cab and stepped forward offering his help with her luggage. She had three bags with her; a large suit case, a carry on and her laptop bag which she wore strapped across her body. 
Even though she was only sixteen years old Ava looked older, maybe it was because she was a fan of make-up and fashion. Fashion was a way for her to escape and pretend she was someone else, she went through many looks during her years at Clairmans Academy, and at times her looks might have been outrageous, but they were fun none the less. 
She was dressed in a pair of trim black pants that hugged her curves and a silk blouse that was form fitted, her coat was dark grey a mix of a military cut with ruffles on the back just above the hem. 
“Where are we going?” he asked her as he stowed her luggage in the trunk. 
Before she could open the passenger door he had whisked around her to open her door, and waved her into the cab. 
“Le Pavillon Hotel,” she said as she took a seat.

Highlights of New Orleans by M.M. Shelley:

Thank you for hosting this stop on my Murder on Mars tour!

I was fortunate enough to visit the city of New Orleans, Louisiana and I do plan on returning. This city is the setting for my new YA; Murder on Mars: a New Orleans Mystery.

A few highlights of the city:

• The Garden District.
Rows and rows of beautiful homes and lovely gardens. There are a few walking tours that are between 90 minutes to two hours. We took a Haunted tour which was about 90 minutes long. Along the walk we were treated with stories of some of the more interesting homes. We passed by a home that Anne Rice had owned at one time and learned that she had to keep a sign posted for deliveries, stating instructions for the drivers to use a side door. Apparently a ghost had the habit of ringing the bell at the front door.
• K-Pauls Louisiana Kitchen.
This is the best restaurant in town and located in the French Quarter. The food is lovely and the service is wonderful. It’s the only restaurant I know of that does not have a freezer.
• St. Louis Cemetery #1.
No trip is completed without a stop to this cemetery. A tour would probably be recommended, we on the other hand did not make it for the tour, but we did take some great pictures.
Jackson Square.
Located in the French Quarter. There is so much to see and do in this part of the Quarter, we spent hours here could have spent hours more.

About the Author:

M.M. Shelley is a storyteller, word smith and dreamer. She has traveled the world extensively in search of the magic which is often overlooked in every day life. M.M. Shelley is a native of southern California, and a student of mythology from which she gets much inspiration.


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For more about Murder on Mars check out these sites!


Teaser Tuesday (37): Georgetown Academy

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

This week's teaser is from Georgetown Academy by Jessica Koosed Etting and Alyssa Embree Schwartz. I can't even stress enough how much I enjoyed this book. It was like the perfect guilty pleasure! We're giving away a copy, courtesy of Coliloquy, so make sure to head over and ENTER TO WIN! You won't be disappointed, trust me.

So I didn't know you and Luke Jensen were, uh..." Hunter's voice trailed off with uncertainty, but his eyes were steadily fixed on hers.

Holy crap. He had seen her kissing Luke and was... jealous was not exactly the right word. But he seemed interested. She didn't know how to answer.

{Georgetown Academy, 49%}

Synopsis of Georgetown Academy:

It’s the beginning of a new political administration. That might not mean much at most high schools, but at Georgetown Academy, Washington D.C.’s most elite prep school, January 20th means new alliances, new flings, and new places to party.

While freshmen—nicknamed “interns” for their willingness to jump into bed with anyone higher on the D.C. totem pole—navigate the not-so-friendly halls of GA searching for Algebra and Bio classes, the school’s lifers have other things on their minds.

For self-proclaimed D.C. royalty Brinley Madison (of those Madisons), the first day of school is all about establishing the social hierarchy and playing the part of perfect political wife to her boyfriend, the outgoing Vice President’s son. Too bad he has a wandering eye that puts Bill Clinton’s to shame. Can she keep him, and her own secret vice, in check?

Ellie Walker, Brinley’s best friend, floats through the halls on the arm of golden boy Hunter McKnight (the JFK of GA). But when her ex-boyfriend, Gabe, returns to town and her Senator mother’s political nemesis is reelected, Ellie’s life starts to snowball out of control.

Shy, quiet Evan Hartnett is more into books than beer, and her closet is full of t-shirts and jeans instead of Jason Wu and Jimmy Choo. No one’s ever really noticed her—but she’s been noticing them. When her star rises as an intern at D.C.’s most-watched political news show, she soon finds the two worlds colliding in ways that make her question what’s secret and what’s fair game.

New girl Taryn Reyes is all laid-back, California cool; with a father who’s in line to be the first Hispanic president, she’s ready to dive into the D.C. scene with an open mind. But when her fellow students turn out to be more interested in spreading rumors than making friends, she realizes that forging a drama-free path might be a lot harder than she thinks.

With so many new friends and former flames in the mix, things are bound to get a little heated. And while diplomatic immunity might keep the cops away, there’s not much it can do about the press.
In a town where one teenage misstep can turn into a national scandal, the students at Georgetown Academy will have to be on their best behavior—or, at least, they’ll have to make the world believe that they are.

Because there’s only one rule: whatever you do, don’t get caught.

What’s Cool from Coliloquy:
As the party scene at Georgetown Academy gets under way, authors Alyssa and Jessica let readers decide which of the main girls to follow. You’ll see scandalous behavior, unexpected liaisons, and secret betrayals…all giving you a different perspective as events unfold.

For more about Georgetown Academy check out these sites!


*All quotes are taken from an uncorrected ARC. Quotes may not match the finished copy.*


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