Thursday, October 25, 2018

BOOK BLTIZ - YA DYSTOPOIA - Sunscorched (Subterranean Series, #1) by Jen Crane

Sunscorched
Subterranean Series, #1
by Jen Crane
Publication date: October 23rd 2018
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult




BLURB

Death at daylight. Danger at dark.

Life can’t possibly get more treacherous than a violent sun allergy in a solar-blighted world. At least that’s what seventeen-year-old Nori Chisholm thought before news of an impending sunscorch delivered her death sentence.

Desperate to survive the scorch, she’s forced to shelter underground and discovers a secret subterranean world where life is hard, and so are the people. Betrayed and left for dead by the man who pledged to help her, Nori is sold to a gritty pit fighting ring. There she makes a friend—and plenty of enemies.

Speeding by motorcycle through the underground world, Nori makes a shocking discovery that shatters everything she thought she knew. Can she use the knowledge to save what’s left of the world?

Winner of the Rosemary Award for excellence in young adult fiction, Sunscorched is a tale of survival and self-discovery at breakneck speed. Fans of Bella Forrest and Marie Lu, who crave dangerous heroes and dark secrets, will love the Sunscorched world.
EXCERPT:
A trail of blood disappeared beyond the door of the small foyer. The man Nori rescued lay face-up, the knot near his temple swelling fast. His leg oozed blood, the scarlet pool closing in on the tiny corner of space Nori occupied. When she found the wound—and the gaping tear in his leather riding pants—dread settled in her gut. The bleeding would have to be stopped if he was going to survive, which meant she had to do it.
Nori groaned and scrubbed her eyes, then set to work. She sifted through her backpack for something to tie around his wound, finding both a pocketknife and the thick, sun-blocking canvas she always kept nearby. She ripped a long strip of the fabric and wrapped it several times around the man’s injured thigh.
“Probably a good thing you can’t feel this,” she said to his unconscious form and, catching another look at the knot on his head, grimaced. “You’re gonna have a pretty bad headache, too.”
After tying the two ends together, Nori sat back to admire her work. Blood had soaked through most of the bandage, but it wasn’t seeping onto the floor anymore, at least.
Mom and Dad are probably freaking out by now, Nori thought. Curled in the corner of the foyer farthest from the man, she sat with arms wrapped around bent knees. The man outside hadn’t made a sound. Maybe he hadn’t seen her. Maybe he’d left. Or maybe he was waiting just outside the door.
Nori rocked back and forth, forehead pressed to her knees. Finally, she let out a long breath and stretched her legs. She was leaving. She’d saved the stranger. Twice. He was hidden in the foyer, and when he came to, he could find his own way back to safety.
Bracing herself on the wall to stand, she kept as far as possible from the unconscious body between her and the door. Stretching over him to reach the door, she extended one leg, straddling him only a moment until she lifted the other to join it. But as she raised her back foot, the front one was knocked from under her, sending her roughly down onto her butt. She yelped and looked wildly around, scurrying back to the foyer wall. Hands in front of her face, she prepared to defend herself as best she could.
“I’m not going to hurt you,” he said. His voice was deep, but not threatening. “Where are we?”
Nori flattened her palms to the wall, pushing herself against it to stand again. She didn’t answer.
The steely eyes from the alley focused on her face. He surveyed her hair, her shoes, and her clothes before finding her eyes.
“What did you throw?” he asked.
The question caught her off guard. “Wh-what?”
“What did you throw? To distract him?”
“A book.”
“A book?”
Nori nodded as she edged toward the door—and the street.
“What were you doing with a book?” he asked.
“Reading,” she said, pinning him with a look that seriously doubted his intelligence.
Dark eyebrows lowered over narrowed eyes. “In the dark?”
Nori bit the inside of her cheek. “Of course not,” she said. She’d been running in the dark, not reading, though she often did. But he didn’t have to know that. “It was in my backpack from earlier today.”
He squinted, as if he didn’t quite believe her. “What happened to your face?”
She reflexively touched the pink patches, a fresh new layer where sun-damaged skin had peeled away. The pink was fading, but not entirely healed.
“Sunburn,” she said. “Stayed out too long.”
“That happen a lot?”
“What business is it of yours?” she snapped. “And you can say ‘thanks for saving me’ anytime.”
His eyes shot down for a moment before he lifted them to meet her gaze. “Thank you.” His voice was quieter, sincere. “I know you put your own life at risk. Thank you for saving me.”
“Twice,” she said. “I saved you twice. Once with the book, and the other by hauling you in here when you were unconscious to bandage your leg. Technically, I guess that’s three times.”
“All right.” His lips twitched. “I owe you one. Or three.” As if he hadn’t noticed it before, he looked down at his thigh and then back to Nori. “First time to make a tourniquet?”
She lifted her head. “You were bleeding all over the floor. I did the best I could with what I had. What happened to you, anyway? You must’ve lost a lot of blood to pass out like that.”
“I tried to clear a chain-link fence, but my leg caught.”
Nori looked at the bandage again, but quickly averted her eyes from the exposed skin of his thigh. She cleared her throat. “Why was he chasing you?”
He shrugged.
“You’re not going to tell me?” she asked.
He shook his head, all nonchalance.
“Fine.” Nori huffed a breath. “What’s your name?”
“Cooper.”
“That your first name?” She asked and extended her arm toward the door handle, making sure she could escape if necessary.
“It’s what people call me,” he said. “What’s yours?”
She didn’t answer as manners battled with self-preservation in her brain.
“Oh, come on,” he goaded. “You can’t ask to see mine and not show me yours.”
“Nori,” she said quick and low. The concession pained her.
“That your first name?” he shot back.
She scowled, and he threw up his hands in defense. “Okay, okay. I’m just messing with you. Anyway, thanks again for the help, Dory.”
“It’s Nori.”
Cooper nodded, an amused smirk tightening his lips. “Thanks, Nori.” He rose slowly, hopping on one foot at first, and reached for his backpack in the corner. As he slipped it over a shoulder, he stopped and caught her gaze again. “Why’d you help me—three times? You didn’t have to.”
“I did have to,” she said. The answer came easily. “You were in trouble, and I could help. No brainer.”
“Kindness is not so common as you think,” he said lifting his chin and narrowing his eyes as if trying to get a better read on her. “How long have you been like this?”
“Like what?”
“You burn easy. And you can see well in the dark, right?”
“I’ve been this way my whole life.” The answer was smooth, and without thought. Nori gasped and balled her fists when she realized what she’d revealed. Her condition wasn’t a secret, though it was a mystery. But she didn’t like a stranger knowing so much about her. And she hated that he’d gotten her to talk so easily. Her teeth creaked under the pressure of her jaws.
“Anyone else up here like you?” Cooper closed the distance between them and searched her eyes for an answer. “You know anyone else who burns like you do? Who can see better in the dark?”
She shook her head, blinking in incomprehension. “How do you… What do you mean? What do you know about it?”
“You should go,” he said and pushed open the door.
“No.” Nori pulled the door shut, her heart thundering in her chest. “Tell me how you knew to ask those questions. Do you know someone else like me?”
Cooper let out a long breath, his wary gaze never leaving hers. “It’ll be light soon,” he finally said. “If you want to make it home in time, you’ll already have to run like hell.”
He turned to open the door again, but Nori stopped him. “Wait.” She fumbled for something to say. “Do you live around here?” She threw on her own backpack, wishing to know something about the man who knew so much about her.
“Right under your nose,” he said, and with one last nod, ran from the foyer, into the dark alley, and out of sight with no noticeable limp.
As Nori watched him go the shadows changed, and her heart seized. The sun was on the rise. “Stupid,” she told herself, racing home on shaky legs. “Stupid, stupid, stupid.”







Author Info
Though she grew up on a working cattle ranch, it's fantasy and sci-fi that shine Jen Crane's saddle. Her latest novel, Sunscorched, received a Rosemary Award for excellence in young adult fiction. 
Jen has a master's degree and solid work histories in government and non-profit administration. But just in the nick of time she pronounced life *too real* for nonfiction. She lives in The South and creates endearing characters and alternate realms filled with adventure, magic, and love. 
Book 2 in Jen's fantasy romance series, Descended of Dragons, was selected by iTunes/iBooks as "Our Pick" in fantasy/sci-fi. 
**Sign up for Jen's newsletter to get release updates and freebies: bit.ly/Jen_Crane_Newsletter**

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Sunday, October 14, 2018

BOOK BLITZ - YA FANTASY - Rheia by Cassandra Page

Rheia

by Cassandra Page
Publication date: October 13th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

“Beauty and the Beast” meets Ancient Greece, with a steampunk twist


BLURB
Every year, Rheia’s father brought home four prisoners of war, sacrifices to keep the demon Typhein bound. Rheia never gave them much thought … until her father’s enemy made her one of them. Now she has two weeks to find a way to escape death at the hands of the Beast and either save her people or condemn them to destruction.

The last thing Rheia expected was to fall in love with the Beast oath-bound to kill her.
EXCERPT:
Rheia waited, fidgeting, until the herbalist finished tying off the bundle of fennel and counting out her change. Then she tucked the herbs into her basket and followed her brother, head down so as not to attract attention: an unwed, unaccompanied woman. She would kill Aias if his running off resulted in any slight against her name. She swallowed and adjusted her veil, making sure her hair was completely covered.
She found Aias standing in the deep shadows beneath the statue. He couldn’t see into the temple from there, wedged as he was between one huge sandalled foot and an outer pillar, adjacent to the shadowed porch, but his head was cocked as he listened, eyes wide as wine cups. “You just wait until I tell Mammidon about this,” she hissed.
“Shh,” Aias whispered, raking her with a contemptuous gaze. “I’m listening.”
“And if the priests see you out here, lurking like a thief, what will they say?” She grabbed his arm and tried to pull him away, but he eeled from her grip and stepped closer to the entrance. If she tried to grab him again, he might stumble backward, out into the bright sunshine where he would be much more obvious. Grinding her jaw with frustration, she glared at him.
He glared back, head tilted upward to meet her gaze. “Rheia, something is going on. They are stirred up like an ants’ nest. Don’t you want to know why?”
“No,” she whispered, shaking her head emphatically. And she didn’t. She wanted to browse the trinkets at Phidias’s stall, see if he knew her name, see whether Galen was lurking out the back somewhere and might come over to see her.
But she couldn’t do so without Aias. “All right,” she said with a sigh, crossing her arms and looking away towards the harbour as though she was merely taking a moment to shade herself from the hot sun. “One minute.”
Resolved not to listen to the voices inside the great building, Rheia studied the mason’s mark hidden at the statue’s heel as though it were the most interesting thing in the world. She had heard of Myron, even though he’d died when her grandmother was a baby; the huge statue had been his last great work. But a babble of raised voices as they passed close by the inside doorway caught her ear: the words thysia and offering louder than the rest, as the speaker emphasised a point. They fell away, and she wondered what had happened to cause such consternation. Had the helot girl tried to escape again? Had she been successful this time? There would be a city-wide manhunt to find her if it were true. A surge of sympathy for the girl made her purse her lips. How awful it would be, to know you would be dead when next the moon was full.
Aias’s fingers digging into Rheia’s arm brought her back to herself. “Rheia,” he whispered, the sound sharp with fear. “Let’s go.”
“Finally,” she muttered, glancing up and down the street for watching eyes before hurrying him away from the temple, her hand at the small of his back so he couldn’t dart off again. But when she tried to stop at the goatherder’s stall to buy a pottery jar of milk, he dragged her on, out of the agora. “Aias, stop! Wait!”
“You heard what they said.” He shook his head, curls bouncing emphatically as he hauled her along the street, almost at a run. “We have to get home. Father will know more.”
Rheia’s heart felt strange in her chest, anxiety making it flutter. “More about what? I was trying not to listen. As you should have been.”
Her little brother stopped, staring up at her with his mouth ajar. Then he pulled her by the hand into a quiet alley, away from the bustling traffic of the main street. “One of the helots is dead,” he whispered, eyes glittering with excitement. “One of the girls. Suicide, they say.”
Rheia’s eyes widened as she stared at her brother. The flutter in her chest expanded to swallow her belly. “But what will happen now? It’s only two weeks until the festival. The offering!”
“That’s what they were arguing about. One of the priests thought the triremes would be sent back out, while the other said it was too late. Father will know; if the ships are to be sent, he will captain the fleet. Come on. Before he leaves!”
Rheia let Aias drag her up the hill towards their villa, her mind whirling with the implications. The Broken Ones were meant to have the thysies for a full ten days before the ritual. Something about cleansing rituals. But that would only give the triremes three days to get to the helot lands and back again. Would it be enough?
And if not, what was the alternative?







Author Info
Cassandra Page is a mother, author, editor and geek. She lives in Canberra, Australia’s bush capital, with her son and two Cairn Terriers. She has a serious coffee addiction and a tattoo of a cat – despite being allergic to cats. She has loved to read since primary school, when the library was her refuge, and loves many genres, all of them speculative fiction. When she’s not reading or writing, she engages in geekery, from Doctor Who to AD&D. Because who said you need to grow up?
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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

BOOK BLITZ - YA PARANORMAL FANTASY - First Full Moon by Michelle Alstead


First Full Moon
by Michelle Alstead
Publication date: August 28th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult



BLURB

More secrets. More lies. I’m going to die.

She wanted a car for her sixteenth birthday, not magical powers… Candy McGregor is a teenager living in Sequim Falls, a small East Coast town, where the McGregors own just about everything. While her grandmother grooms her to run the family business—a pharmaceutical empire—Candy dreams of a life where she’s known as more than just a last name. When the monthly family dinner turns into a horror show, Candy discovers the McGregors aren’t so much blessed as they are cursed. At midnight on her sixteenth birthday, Candy inherits both the ability to do magic and the destiny to become a wolf on the next full moon. There is hope of a life that doesn’t require being chained up once a month. If Candy can undo the original spell that created the curse, she can rid the world of werewolves and remain a witch. But there’s one really big problem. Not everyone hates being a wolf. With the next full moon looming, Candy must take on forces that will do anything to stop her. Will she break the curse or surrender to life as a monster?
EXCERPT:
The windows are shut and the blinds drawn. A space heater warms my bedroom to a balmy eighty degrees. As I stand in the middle of the room, a cold draft blows past me, raising the hair on my arms and neck.
Someone is watching me.
Will it be my time soon? Will I be the next one taken?
“That creepy frown on your face is going to cause premature wrinkles,” Larkin says.
My cousin lies across my bed, her black combat boots dangling off the edge as she scrolls through her phone without pausing long enough to read anything. She chews gum and blows a bubble that pops, covering her mouth. Larkin doesn’t seem to mind that strands of her long, raven-black hair brush the gum she pries from her face.
“I’m fifteen and too young for wrinkles,” I reply, moving to the window and opening the blinds. From the third floor, I can see everything and everyone in front of the house. The driveway and yard are empty. Not a soul to be seen anywhere.
“You turn sixteen in like five hours.” Larkin’s only a little bitter I’m the oldest grandchild.
Even though I can’t see anyone, there’s someone watching me. I feel it.







Author Info
Michelle Alstead is a single, divorced mom of a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder, who tries to promote autism awareness and advocate for gender equality while raising Sheldon Cooper and searching for some semblance of a love life.
Michelle's novels are frequently available for free on Amazon Kindle. Sign up for her email list to receive notifications. http://michellealstead.com/sign-up-for-our-email-list/ 
All of Michelle's adult novels take place in the same universe. Characters cross over between novels, which makes for a more interesting world. 

One Last Try will be released Feb. 2018. 

The Full Moon Series (four young adult supernatural stories) will be published in time for Halloween 2018.

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Monday, September 10, 2018

COVER REVEAL - YA PARANORMAL - Demons Lie by Sherry D. Ficklin


Demons Lie
by Sherry D. Ficklin 
Publication date: October 30th 2018
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult


BLURB

Rule #1 Demons Lie

Orphaned by an unspeakable evil, Aria Dupree is the last of her line. A powerful witch tasked with guarding the boundaries between our world and the world of demons who prey on humankind, Aria has gone rogue. Now she’s out to find and destroy every single gateway into our world and kill every demon that she can find–including the one who murdered her mother.

But, as it turns out, hunting is the easy part; it’s graduating high school that might kill her. Red Prairie Texas isn’t just another stop on her demon hunting world tour and an unlikely alliance might be exactly what she needs to keep from becoming a slave to the very darkness she’s been fighting against.

Because the devil is coming down to Texas–and only Aria can keep all hell from breaking loose.
***Also, the author will be releasing a short prequel serial for free on her website beginning Sept. 17th and leading up to the release. You can check it out at http://sherryficklin.com***!





Author Info
Sherry is the author of over a dozen novels for teens and young adults including the best selling Stolen Empire series. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she's on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is only seen in blurry photographs.
Sherry also writes contemporary romance under the pen name SJ Noble. You can find her at her official website, www.sherryficklin.com, or stalk her on her Facebook page www.facebook.com/sherry.ficklin.

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BOOK BLITZ - YA PARANORMAL - Truth in Lies (The Generators, #2) by Jennifer DiGiovanni

Truth in Lies
The Generators, #2
by Jennifer DiGiovanni
Published by: Evernight Teen
Publication date: September 7th 2018
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult




BLURB

Cara Scotto is living a secret life. She hates holding back the truth about her supernatural powers from her family and friends, but tells herself it’s the only way to protect them. When she struggles to control her surging energy levels, she fears someone will uncover pieces of the truth in her lies.

Intent on learning how to best use her new abilities, Cara trains with her boyfriend Alex, hoping to increase her speed and strength. Though Alex and Cara vow not to let fear rule their lives, they can’t forget Ian, the supernatural scientist intent on uncovering Cara’s true potential, and wonder what his next step will be. They won’t need to wait long before he strikes again.

Soon, the answer becomes clear—someone needs to step up, eliminate Ian, and replace him. Until now, Alex has avoided the underground supernatural networks, but he realizes that agreeing to take over Ian’s position may be the only way to secure the future he and Cara dream of having.
EXCERPT:
“Why are you so happy?” Nate asks when I jump in his car and shoot him a smile. Typically, he’s carting my semi-conscious body back and forth to Amber Lea High. Most mornings he shakes me awake after he pulls in the school parking lot.
“Alex is coming home … he’s taking me to the prom … it’s a sunny day…” I list the simple pleasures in life that would make any eighteen-year-old girl happy.
“Back it up. You’re dragging the most eligible bachelor on the East Coast to your prom?” Nate acts like this is the first time he’s hearing about it. He must not listen to the one-way chatter I keep up on our drives home from school when I’m actually awake.
Puzzled, I ask, “Who else would I take to the prom?”
“I don’t know. A friend, maybe. Not Alex.”
“Nate, have I done anything without Alex in the last four months?”
He makes a careful turn on Main Street. “No, but seriously, Cara. Aren’t you a little beyond a high school prom?”
I hold up a hand to stop him. “Don’t ruin this for me.”
But he plows ahead, undaunted. “Aren’t those boring DeMarsh charity events enough for you?”
“Are all of my friends there? Do I get to wear a prom dress?”
“Does it matter? You’re with Alex. The so-called love of your superhuman existence. Tell him to buy you a prom dress and you can wear it around town this weekend when you go on a coffee run. Or better yet, invite your friends to his house and have your own prom without people staring at him all night long.”
My chest pangs. Is Nate putting a voice to what Alex really feels? But, wouldn’t Alex tell me the truth? He’s never complained about going to the prom with me. And I went with him to Crestview’s prom a month ago, although we spent most of the weekend driving around the city, scoping out apartments for next fall, so we can live as close as possible to each other, though we’re attending different colleges. “Can’t I just be normal for one night?”
“No, you can’t. Want to know why?” Nate presses the brake pedal and turns to me. “Because you’re not normal! You never were normal although you tried to ignore that fact for the last eighteen years.”






Author Info
I’m the author of contemporary and light fantasy books for teens. Aside from writing fiction, I’m also a freelance writer and a small business owner. After graduating from college with a dual major in Business and English, I started out in the business world and eventually returned to school for my MBA. But, I always seemed to choose jobs that involved a lot of writing. 
Today, I spend my days managing a small business and writing. Some days I write more than others, but I try to spend my mornings working on fiction. I also like to hike and run. Often, I’ll challenge myself to learn something new, from archery to video games to guitar, and call it future book research. 
My most recent work-in-progress was named a finalist in the Serendipity Literary Agency YA Discovery Contest. It’s about a girl who was cured by a medical miracle and a boy who never received the miracle he so desperately wanted.
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Tuesday, September 4, 2018

BOOK BLITZ - YA FANTASY - Jaclyn and the Beanstalk by Mary Ting

Jaclyn and the Beanstalk
by Mary Ting
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: September 4th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult


BLURB
What fate awaits a girl who hears monsters at night…

Sixteen-year-old Jaclyn looks up to her father. An honest man who once fought for the king, he now teaches Jaclyn how to use her wits—and her sword.

But he has a secret. And his secret may have a connection to the one thing Jaclyn is hiding from him.

Upon hearing “monsters” are terrorizing the small villages around Black Mountain, Jaclyn’s father and his friends head out to hunt them … but they don’t return.

Armed only with her sword and three magic beans—a gift from a mysterious old woman—Jaclyn sets out for Black Mountain to save her father.

On her climb, one bean drops and grows into a beanstalk, catching her when she falls.

She isn’t the only one that takes the ride. Jack, her childhood friend and secret crush, is following her.

Together, Jaclyn and Jack must battle to save not only their fathers, but the townspeople the beasts plan to lay waste to before it’s too late.
Only $1.99 for a limited time!
EXCERPT:
Mother crinkled her nose. “Don’t fret. You’re of marriageable age now. We must think of finding you a husband or your time will pass. I’m only thinking of your future, Jaclyn. I want to see you settled soon. Your father and I are not getting younger.”
“Getting married and bearing children is not for me. There’s much work to be done.”
I slipped my arms around her waist and pressed my head to her back. I inhaled deeply as warmth enveloped me and her love replaced the fright from my nightmares.
Safe. I am safe. No monsters.
“Our life is good here. Why would I want to fix what is not broken?”
“’Tis what we do. People will talk.”
“Let them.”
I scowled, anger boiling through my veins. I tended to not raise my voice, so I softened my tone out of respect.
“I will not be handed to a suitor I do not love.”
Mother patted my arm. “My child, you have much to learn. Love comes later. I did not love your father at first.”
“I will not follow other people’s ways.” Pouting, I shuffled my feet on the dirt.
She released a deep sigh. “Oh, Jaclyn. Your time will come. Everyone has a destiny. Everyone has a story to tell. Some more than others. We shall see what lies ahead for you. Fate will lead you to the path you are meant to take.”
I wished I had eyes for the future. I wanted to know a demon would not seize my soul, and I wanted to see a path without the nighttime cries. They must be monsters. I’d never heard a human throat make such tortured sounds.
What fate awaits a girl who hears monsters at night?
Illness swept through my stomach. A shudder racked me, beginning in my gut, forewarning me.






Author Info
International Bestselling Author Mary Ting/M. Clarke resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one-Something Great. Why the pen name, M Clarke? She tours with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children's chapter book-No Bullies Allowed.



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Friday, August 31, 2018

BOOK BLITZ - YA HISTORICAL - Hiro Loves Kite (Paper Stars, #2) by Lauren Nicolle Taylor

Hiro Loves Kite
Paper Stars #2
by Lauren Nicolle Taylor
Publication date: August 27th 2018
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Genres: Historical, Young Adult




BLURB

We offer our wounds and scars. Understanding that’s part of what makes us beautiful.

Nora finally has her beloved sister Frankie back but that’s just the beginning of their struggles. She must now become Kite. A stronger, more independent version of herself. A King. A guardian.

And Kettle has Kite’s heart. She gives it freely. But as he holds it, dear and close like a lost treasure, something holds him back: A feeling that he doesn’t deserve good things. A looming shadow that threatens to separate them. Kettle must accept that he is also Hiro: A Japanese American with every right to happiness and freedom.

Because Hiro loves Kite. And Kite won’t wait forever for him to tell her.

But they’re standing on icy ground. As the leverage they had on Kite’s abusive father wavers and life on the street affects Frankie’s health, the challenges threaten to break their bond.

Snow is gathering at the station doors and doubts are piling high. They must rely on each other. Believe in the magic that got them this far. If they don’t, it’s not just their future in jeopardy but the fates of all the street kids in their care. All the Kings.
EXCERPT:
Frankie Comes Home…
Paying for a hot dog in pennies and dimes is embarrassing. Being two pennies short and having the hot dog stand guy take pity on us was completely humiliating. We’re skinny. I just hope the Kings haven’t eaten everything we had stored away.
Without Kin and Keeps, there’s been a little more to go around. My shoulders sag. Now there are more mouths to feed. My fingers scrape the insides of my pockets, searching for a coin that maybe got snagged in the seams. If I turn them inside out, I really will look like a street urchin. I’m the pirate who opens the treasure chest, finds he’s been beat, and opens it again just to rub it in. I snort.
We wait for a large crowd to head for the subway and melt in. Frankie’s eyes are as wide as a sliced moon as we weave and duck. Eyes on each other, hands gripped tightly.
Kite pushes Frankie’s head under the turnstile as I pay with our last coin. She presses her back into me. The smell of faint perfume, the last of her old life, and salt, the new, coming from her hair. As I reach around her to push the stile, a two for one, her breath catches. I let my hand rest on her waist for a second. Let myself imagine we’re a couple on our way home from a shopping trip, and then it falls like so many un-granted wishes into a fountain.
Leaning close to her ear so she can hear me, I hold my breath, thinking inhaling any more of her sweetness may actually kill me. “Ready?”
She nods. Her cheek brushing my lips.
We take our route to the secret door. To the home we now share like kids playing house, only far too real.
Frankie, to her credit, rolls with the punches. Punch one: Hot dogs instead of roast beef and gravy for dinner. Punch Two: Cheating our way through the subway. Punch Three… I knock on the King’s door, and Krow answers. He looks us up and down, slick and distrustful for a moment, then breaks into a grin. “Kettle! Kite!” he shouts. “Kettle and Kite are home.” He stares at my hands. When he sees there’s no food—only a suitcase—he quickly looks away. But there’s no hiding his disappointment.
Frankie squeezes her way through the doorway into the vast, abandoned subway tunnel. My home. My refuge. And now hers. Blinking, she stands on her tiptoes. Lip in teeth. “Holy hell!” she shouts, and several Kings look her way.
Kite flushes pink, then taps her sister’s shoulder. “Frankie!” she chastises. “Language.”
We step inside, and Frankie swings her head from side to side. “I mean tank you, holy hell.”
We both chuckle, eyes connecting over the top of her head.
Punch three: “This is where we’re going to be staying for a while,” Kite’s voice chases after a galloping Frankie as she jumps from bed to bed. She is the spokes of a traveling star. She is the light you can’t catch.
Frankie doesn’t hear her, and Kite runs to catch her sister. I drag the case inside, plonk it on Kin’s bed. Now Kite’s to share with her sister.
Finally, Frankie stops running and presses a palm to her chest as she wheezes. Kite rushes to her, and she puts both hands on her sister’s shoulders. “Are you okay?”
Punch four is for me, and I feel it sock me right in the guts. As I watch them, I know. Like really know that I would do anything to help them. They are instantly and permanently part of this family. And it scares me.






Author Info
Lauren is the bestselling author of THE WOODLANDS SERIES and the award-winning YA novel NORA & KETTLE (Gold medal Winner for Multicultural fiction, Independent Publishers Book Awards 2017). 

She has a Health Science degree and an honors degree in Obstetrics and Gynecology. A full time writer, hapa and artist, Lauren lives in the tucked away, Adelaide hills with her husband and three children.

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