Tag Archive | Young Adult

Great Summer Reads Countdown Blitz 2017

Day 5:
Accidentally in Love by Shannon Guymon

summer 17

 

A funny and bittersweet look at grief, love and families who maybe love each other too much.

 
Accidentally in Love - eBook smallLetting go of the past and facing the present and future is harder said than done for Kam Matafeo. Getting over his wife’s death isn’t something on Kam’s list of things to do.  But when Grace Jackson, his new Sous Chef walks in, life is turned upside down. And not just for him either.  Anne, his mother-in-law, is not open to the idea of anyone new in Kam’s life and will do anything to stop his romance from blooming. But when the ‘Love Witches’ step in to protect him, the battle lines are drawn. Fircrest is in for some fireworks when the fight for Kam’s heart not only affects his family, but his friends’ lives too.

Things get so crazy that Grace has to make the decision to stay and fight for herself and Kam or to give up and let Kam slip back into the darkness.”

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Excerpt:

      Barry gestured to the guests.  “This is Pule Matafeo and his wife, Posey. And this couple is Asher and Meredith Murphy.”
      Grace frowned and stared at Pule Matafeo.  Was the whole town nothing but Matafeos?
      “Uh, any relation to those guys?” she said gesturing over her shoulder to Tate and Tai. She looked back at the table and all four heads looked down as if they had been staring in her direction.
      Pule smiled serenely and nodded. “Those two men are my cousins and Kam is my big brother.”
      Grace smiled and reached out her hand to shake.  “It’s a privilege to meet you.  I have to say, I love working for your brother.  He is so kind and thoughtful.  I can’t even imagine what it would be like to grow up with Kam as an older brother,” she said.
      Pule snorted and was about to say something when the woman sitting next to him elbowed him in the side.  Pule smiled and nodded.  “Kam was wonderful.”
      “He is wonderful,” his wife said.  “Hi, I’m Posey, Wren Downing’s younger sister.  She’s told me about your gnocchi.”
      Grace grinned. “I love Wren! She’s my favorite.  Are you a chef too?”
      Posey shook her head.  “Oh, no. I can barely microwave food.  I write children’s books.”
      Grace shook her head. “That is so cool.  Good for you.”
      “And I’m Kam’s ex-girlfriend.”
      Grace swiveled her head to see an attractive blond with a razor sharp angled bob looking her up and down.
      “Um, okaay. That’s nice for you.”
      The man sitting next to her rolled his eyes and sighed loudly. “I’m Asher Murphy.  And since you’re new in town, we run the Match and Mingle web site for singles in the Fircrest and Tacoma area.  The first month is free.”
      Grace frowned and looked down at her hands.  “I probably should look into something like that but I have the worst luck with men.  The last guy I dated, emptied out my savings account. I think I’ll stick to what I’m good at. Cooking.”
      “Gotcha. You’re a cat lady,” Meredith said with a small, self-satisfied smile.
      Grace turned and smiled directly at the woman, not breaking eye contact. She made it a rule to never back down from a bully and she wasn’t going to start now, even if it was an ex of Kam’s.
      Meredith looked away first and blushed.  “Sorry, that was rude,” she finally said.
      Grace didn’t bother acknowledging the obvious and looked back to Pule and Posey.  “So how was dinner tonight?” she asked, changing the subject.
      Posey pointed to her almost empty plate.  “I’m about to order another meal just so I can take home some leftovers.  It was amazing, Grace.  Truly, delicious.”
      Pule stopped glaring at Meredith to smile at her.  “Let’s just say we’ll be coming back every week for dinner and twice for lunch if I have anything to say about it.”
      Asher put his fingers to his lips and make a kissing motion.  “Perfection.  Thank you for moving to Fircrest, Grace.  We’re all very happy you’re here. Right, Meredith?”
      Grace watched curiously as Meredith winced.  If she wasn’t mistaken, someone was getting kicked under the table.
      “She might be a halfway decent cook but that doesn’t mean that she’s good enough for K…” she gasped suddenly and didn’t finish her sentence. She glared across the table at Pule. “That hurt!”
      Pule ignored Meredith and smiled up at her.  “I think you are good enough for Calzones.  I’ve been after Rob forever to add them to the lunch menu.”
      Grace smiled in confusion.  “Good enough for calzones? Uh, sure.  I’ll see what I can do.  You all have a wonderful evening.  I have one more table to say hi to.”
      She walked away, motioning to Barry to show her the last table.  That was the weirdest encounter she’d had since moving to Fircrest.  She was going to stay clear of Meredith. That woman was psycho.

 
 

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I live in Rocky Mountains with my husband and children and love my home when it’s not snowing. I’m the author of 36 books so far. I also write YA Paranormal Romance under my pen name, Katie Lee O’Guinn.  I enjoy the outdoors, reading and being with my family. I’m a huge believer in happy endings. Scarlett really should have been happy with Rhett and it’s a darn shame Leo and Kate didn’t float safely into New York on the Titanic. Don’t even get me started on Romeo and Juliet.

I’m also a supporter of Operation Underground Railroad. Check out their website at ourrescue.org to learn more.

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The Guardians of Ivalice By Laura Catherine

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Title: The Guardians of Ivalice
Author: Laura Catherine
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Release Date: June 24, 2017

On Ivalice, Prince Morgan has been living in the shadow of his twin brother and older sister. She will be queen one day and inherit the power of Spirit to protect their world and guard the other elements from harm. Morgan wants this power for himself and nothing will stop him from getting it, not even his family. With her dying breath, Queen Tamsin sends the elements to another world where Morgan cannot have them.

On Earth, Nix, Grace, Kendra and Phoebe are four ordinary teenage girls living normal lives where homework and boys are their biggest problems. That is until they absorb some strange glowing balls of light into their bodies and start controlling the elements.

Everything is about to change for these girls when the weight of an entire world is put on their shoulders.

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Excerpt:

The bus was old and probably in need of replacing with ripped seats and graffiti on everything including the roof. It also smelled like those tree air fresheners.

She made her way down the aisle to her favourite spot. It was about halfway down the bus, not so close to the front that you had to sit near a teacher but not so far back that you stayed away from the school bullies in the back row.


Nix slid into her favourite seat, the one graffittied in lyrics from her favourite band Chaos Destiny.


“Hello.”


Nix looked up to see the new girl staring down at her.


“Hi,” Nix replied. “You’re the new girl.”


“Phoebe Jenkins,” she said with an awkward smile.


Poor girl, Nix thought, doesn’t know anyone.


“Ah, I’m saving the seat next to me for my friend, but you should sit in front of us.”


Phoebe looked surprised at the offer and Nix wondered if other people had been less nice to her. Hopefully she hadn’t been subject to the antics of the school bully, Jasper.


“Go on, sit,” Nix encouraged with a smile.


“Thank you,” Phoebe replied and perched herself on the seat ahead of Nix.


“I shotgunned the window side,” Grace said as she pushed her way through the aisle of students still taking their seats.


Nix moved out of the way so Grace could claim her prize. Grace was always last to be called for things because her last name was West.


“What did I miss?” Grace said leaning on the back of Phoebe’s seat.


“Grace this is Phoebe,” Nix introduced.


“Ah, new girl,” Grace said with a cheesy grin. “Excellent. How are you liking Verndale?”


Phoebe sat up straight, pushing a loose strand of hair behind her ear. “It is a very beautiful town,” she replied. Her voice was soft like a gentle touch of fingers on guitar strings.


“Great. Just stick with us and you can’t go wrong.” Grace winked and leaned back in her seat.


Mr. Haynes appeared at the front of the bus, ushering people to take their seats so he could do a head count.


“Now today’s excursion—”


Mr. Haynes was cut short as a dark skinned girl with a shining curtain of black hair raced up the bus steps.


“Kendra,” Mr. Haynes said a little startled. “Where have you been? I called your name a while ago.”


“I’ve been objecting,” she said giving him a dazzling white smile.


“Objecting.” Mr Haynes nodded then did a double take. “Objecting to what?”


“I’m objecting to this excursion. I shouldn’t have to be forced into a swamp against my will.”


“I am sorry, Miss Tate, but there are other places out there besides the mall,” said Mr. Cole, the sports teacher who was accompanying Mr. Haynes on the trip.


The students giggled. Kendra pouted and looked like she was going to argue the point, but Mr. Haynes asked her to take a seat.

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Meet The Author

Laura Catherine was born in Melbourne, Australia and spent most of her childhood creating fantasy worlds and talking to her invisible pet cheetah who ran along powerlines.

Her imagination has carried her through childhood where her mother read stories about fantasy worlds at bedtime. Never one to face reality, Laura spent a lot of time turning boxes into ships and castles.

Laura self-published her first novel, Djinn (2013), a Paranormal Romance, and the second in the series, Blooders (2015). Laura is currently working on the next instalment in the Djinn series, Bloodjinn, as well as a few other novels including the first in a new YA series, The Guardians of Ivalice.

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Rising by Sonya Weiss

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 Title: Rising
Author: Sonya Weiss
Genre: Young Adult, SciFi Supernatural Romance
Pub Date: May 9, 2017

 

When sparks fly between a human and a Supernatural, the entire planet could be at stake.

9781516100279_400x600It’s been ten years since the Great Extinction, when Supernaturals threatened to destroy humanity. Now, in the sleepy town of Wayside, Nevada, seventeen-year-old Cassie Grant’s life couldn’t be more ordinary. Determined to get into an Ivy League college, her focus is squarely on her studies. But suddenly everything changes when she witnesses Jason Taylor, a cute and quiet loner, mysteriously save a young boy from falling to his death.

Although the Supernaturals ultimately retreated to their planet, three families were left behind—including Jason’s. So far, they’ve been successfully hiding in plain sight. But Jason knows that if Cassie exposes him, all their lives will be in peril—especially since Cassie’s father is the head of the Alien Eradication and Defense Department. At first, befriending Cassie is Jason’s survival tactic. But as they spend more time together, they begin to fall in love. With the authorities closing in and a hidden threat that could tear the very Earth apart, can Cassie and Jason keep each other safe—or will their star-crossed romance start another war?…

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Excerpt:

CASSIE
      I wiped off the mess I’d made of my makeup for the second time, and stared at the pallor of my skin in the mirror. The scar high on my cheekbone wasn’t as bad as the ones on my back, but it was a visible reminder of the attack that gave me nightmares. Each time I’d jerk myself out of sleep, I’d fallen right back into the disturbing images again. No high IQ needed to guess why. At dinner Dad had talked in detail about the destructive nature of aliens. As if I needed to be told.
      His stories and warnings alone weren’t the reason I didn’t like aliens. I knew firsthand that they killed, that they left humans scarred. I didn’t blame my father for my injuries, but my mother did. I pushed away the memory of what happened during that awful camping trip in New Mexico. That night had forever changed all of us and made me look at aliens differently.
      Aliens were mysterious, powerful beings who were hunted by the government but more often than not, we humans were the prey. While there were a lot of pro-alien groups around that spouted on websites and to anyone who’d listen that we had nothing to fear from these “visiting creatures,” the scars on my body were living proof that was a lie.
      A strange premonition swept over me and I shivered, then tried again to reapply my makeup fast so I wouldn’t be late for school. One more year, and then I was through.
      I couldn’t wait to get out of Wayside, Nevada, far away from my father, and his job as lead agent at the Alien Eradication and Defense Department. I didn’t want to live with the reminder of aliens at every conversation. I needed a clean slate, a place where I could build good memories. I wished we could go back to our lives before the Great Extinction.
      That war between the humans and aliens sucked the laughter out of our family like a tornado had spun through. Aliens had killed my uncle during one of the battles. My father hadn’t been the same since his brother’s death but he’d tried hard to keep himself together. But then after me nearly dying during that camping trip because of an alien attack, my father had unraveled in ways that baffled and sometimes even scared me.
      I finished applying my makeup, checked my arms and back in the mirror to make sure my scars were hidden, and gave my face one final glance. Good enough. Grabbing my backpack, I made my way down the stairs to the living room where Mom lay curled on the sofa beneath a blanket. She had the same shoulder-length black hair and brown eyes I did, but where she was cover-model confident, not even photoshopping could erase my self-consciousness. I was a little on the nerdy side so I’d never been that confident, but after I was scarred, it had only gotten worse. I didn’t wear sleeveless shirts anymore and I wouldn’t dream of ever wearing a bikini again.
      With a frustrated sigh, Mom sat up and muted the television, silencing the anchor mid-report on the frequent earthquakes striking our area. I stood behind the sofa and lip-read the closed captioning for a few seconds.
      “Anything new, or are they rehashing yesterday’s news?”
      “Not much new other than the United States Geological Survey is monitoring the area. Nevada is the twenty-first state hit with a wave of them.”
      “That’s a lot of earthquakes.”
      “There’s nothing to worry about, Cassie. If there were, the USGS would inform the right people who would then inform the public.”
      I didn’t believe that. Because of Dad’s job, I had insight into how the government hid things. The rash of unexplained earthquakes made me edgy. “Where’s Dad?”
      To my surprise her lips tightened, and I wondered if there was trouble again in Alienville. “He slept at the office last night.”
      “Chasing little green men wore him out?” I pushed my hands through my out of control hair to corral it into a ponytail.
      She tried to hide it, but a ghost of a smile flitted across her lips, and for a second we were unified in the knowledge Dad was acting weirder than usual. “You know your father.”
      My stomach dropped. They’d been fighting more lately and the fights were getting uglier. “Did he sleep at the office because of his work or…”
      “You should eat. I’ll make you something.” She got up and went into the kitchen. Mom was a great cook, but she never took the time anymore because she always had to leave the house before I did. I didn’t know what she was still doing home.
      After taking the milk out of the refrigerator, she poured a glass, and then reached for the box of pancake mix. When she pulled the eggs out and set them on the counter, I said, “Mom? What’s going on?” Different what-ifs flitted through my mind while I waited for her to answer. Dad was having an affair. Mom was sick. Or Dad’s grouchy, could-never-be pleased mother was coming to visit. That last one made me feel sick. “Is Grandma coming for a visit?”
      She glanced over her shoulder, shook her head, and laughed as we shared a look of mutual thank-God relief. “Speaking of aliens,” she muttered.
      I laughed again. “Seriously, Mom. What is it?” I covered her hand with mine to get her to stop trying to make breakfast.
      She hesitated, as if trying to decide how to answer. “Your dad thinks there’s a connection between aliens and these earthquakes.”
      I rolled my eyes. Their power wasn’t something to be underestimated, but I wasn’t stupid enough to think they could control the Earth. “He thinks there’s a connection between global warming and aliens, power
outages and aliens, rising taxes and aliens. When doesn’t he think things are related to aliens?”
      She shook her head as if trying to shake off the sudden heaviness blanketing both of us. “You don’t want breakfast?”
      I moved to the pantry and scored the last chocolate chip granola bar from the box. “I don’t have time. The class hike is today. I have to rush, or I’ll be late.”
      “You’re wearing that?”
      I glanced down at my jeans with the myriad of artful cuts. “These are retro. Everyone’s wearing them.”
      “I meant the T-shirt.”
      I put a hand over the image of ET. I’d unearthed the shirt at the secondhand store. “It’s a joke.”
      “Make sure you change before your father sees it. No use throwing gas on the fire.”
      Dad was exactly the reason I’d bought the shirt, and I didn’t care if he saw it. Yes, I was afraid of aliens, but I was tired of my fear holding me hostage and I was trying to find my way back to the me I’d once been. There were so many things I didn’t do anymore since that camping trip because I was too afraid.
      “Cassie?” Mom said.
      “Fine, I’ll change before he sees it.”
      “Are you riding in with Mark?” She sounded hopeful, not yet knowing my status as the alien hunter’s daughter wiped out my dating life once again.
      “Um…no. Gotta run.”

 

 

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Author Bio:

Weiss, SonyaSonya Weiss is a freelance writer, ghostwriter, and author, including the Stealing the Heart series with Entangled Publishing. She’s addicted to great books, good movies, and Italian chocolates. She’s passionate about causes that support abused animals and children. Her parents always supported her bringing stray animals home, although the Great Dane rescue was a surprise.

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Elsekind by Celeste Hollister

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 Title: Elsekind
Author: Celeste Hollister
Published: April 20th, 2017
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Genre: YA Fantasy

 
ElsekindKex Mardugal is half human, half something… Else. With her dark skin and wild eyes, humankind considers her a soulless abomination. In the face of prejudice, Kex has carved a place for herself in human society. She earned the rank of King’s Champion, securing a position of strength within her homeland.

This attracts the attention of an inscrutable sorcerer who entreats Kex to join his party of warriors to fight against an enigmatic evil threatening to overtake their world.

But conflicts within the party undermine their ability to work together. All the while, their enemy, a strange and powerful demon, steadily gains strength, commanding deadly storms and legions of curselings to spread its blight across the land.

As an Elsekind, Kex discovers that she alone can define her code of honor in order to fight against the monsters of the world.

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Excerpt:
Kex and Hailan
      Kex curled her knees tight against her chest. She breathed in slow, deep breaths. Her weapon felt cold beneath her palm. Rough boards rasped against her cheek as she pressed her face to the floor. Muffled footsteps approached – barefoot, if she had to guess. She tightened her fist around the weapon and waited. The angle was wrong, but she was too small to overpower him in a close fight. She would rely on quickness and the element of surprise. He would never think to find her here.
      Her pulse quickened as the footfalls paused. The door opened on a well-oiled hinge. A sphere of lamplight revealed two hairy ankles, and – just as she hoped – two naked feet. Kex drew a breath and waited.

      Closer, she thought.. Come closer. I dare you
      Lamplight and legs loomed nearer but still out of reach. The lamp’s handle squeaked as he set it upon the table. Then he turned and shuffled forward, giving her an unpleasant glimpse of his toenails. Inches away, then half-inches, then precisely where she wanted him.
      Kex lashed out, stabbing down into the top of his foot. He howled and hopped – as she hoped – and she kicked out, her heel connecting with his ankle, knocking his other foot out from beneath him.
      He scrabbled to his side, quick for his size, but by then she had used his own leg to haul herself from beneath the bed. She vaulted astride him, pressing her weapon to his freshly-shaven throat.
      “Where is it?” she hissed.
      Eyes wide, he glanced from her to the weapon pressed into his neck.
      “Oh, by the Saints,” he moaned.
      She bore down, sinking it deeper into his skin. “I asked you a question.”
      He stammered, then refocused. “Is that a fork?”
      “Aye.” The skin blanched around the tines as she leaned her weight into it. “I can make you bleed with a fork.”
      “I think you already did,” he whined. She noted that he lay very, very still as he said, “C’mon, Kex, what’s this about?”
      She narrowed her eyes. “Don’t play around, Hailan Chase. You know well what I want.”
      “Nope.” Hailan carefully shook his head. “Not me.”
      “I may not kill you with this,” Kex said through her teeth. She bore down enough to make him squirm. “But I will maim you – four perfect little cuts – and everywhere you go, from this day forward, everyone will know that Lady Kex took you down with a utensil.”
      “Oh,
Lady, is it?” Hailan said.
      “Don’t change the subject,” she said. “Where is my book?”
      “Hmm… Book?”
      “The Codex, damn it. Where is it?”
      Hailan raised his hands. “Xylo has it.”
      “Your sister?” Kex clicked her tongue.
      “She’s awful clever.”
      “She’s eight.”
      Kex felt his weight shift. She knew this maneuver. If he thought he was going to roll her, she had to ensure he was too frightened to try. She flicked her wrist, caught the fork with her left hand, and positioned it above his eye.
      His dilating pupils told her all she needed to know. He wouldn’t be moving. He might not dare to breathe.
      “It is my Mother’s book,” Kex said. “I want it back.”
      Hailan swallowed several gulps of air. “She’s a curious girl, my sister. You’re the only Elsekind she’s ever seen.”
      Kex hissed through her teeth. Hailan cringed.
      She said, “Xylo’s seen Alusians.”
      “That’s different,” he said. “You’re different. I mean, not
different, not like Halfkin different, but you’re not the same.” He moaned. “You know what I mean.”
      Kex eased back but kept the fork pointed at his face. Yes, she knew what he meant. All too well.
“With my permission, Xylo may borrow any object in my possession. But you will not take them without asking. Nod if you understand.”
      Hailan nodded. He looked like he might be sick.
      “Go now and fetch it back,” Kex said. She got to her feet and moved to the door. “I will meet you and Aralund on the pitch in one half hour.”
      Hailan massaged his neck. As she opened the door, he said, “Kex, I was only playing.”
      Though she saw his sincerity, she could not afford to soften. She said, “I know that. Which is why you I leave you unharmed.” With a smirk, she added, “Well. Mostly.”

 

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The Author:

Celeste HollisterCeleste Hollister is a novelist, a mom, a travel writer, and willing cat minion. She writes books for people who struggle with racial identity and LGBT+ representation. She graduated from Texas State University with a degree in writing, taught in urban schools for a decade, and lived in South Korea for a year. She loves wine, cookies, traveling abroad, and fanfiction. Currently, she lives in San Marcos with her lovely boyfriend and fabulous daughter.

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