Blog Tour: Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi (Excerpt)

Hey everyone! I’m incredibly excited to be a part of the Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes (April 2, 2020 – Rick Riordan Presents) blog tour! I’m a HUGE Roshani Chokshi fan, and ABSOLUTELY LOVED the first book in this series, so I’m beyond excited to be on this blog tour!! Today I’m sharing an excerpt of Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes with you! First, here’s more about the book:


Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents the third book in the Hindu-based, best-selling Pandava series by Roshani Chokshi, in which Aru and her cohorts, Mini, Brynne, and Aiden—and now a pair of twins—each search the Otherworld for Kalpavriksha, the wish-granting tree.

War between the devas and the demons is imminent, and the Otherworld is on high alert. When intelligence from the human world reveals that the Sleeper is holding a powerful clairvoyant and her sister captive, 14-year-old Aru and her friends launch a search-and-rescue mission. The captives, a pair of twins, turn out to be the newest Pandava sisters, though, according to a prophecy, one sister is not true.

During the celebration of Holi, the heavenly attendants stage a massage PR rebranding campaign to convince everyone that the Pandavas are to be trusted. As much as Aru relishes the attention, she fears that she is destined to bring destruction to her sisters, as the Sleeper has predicted. Aru believes that the only way to prove her reputation is to find the Kalpavriksha, the wish-granting tree that came out of the Ocean of Milk when it was churned. If she can reach it before the Sleeper, perhaps she can turn everything around with one wish.

Careful what you wish for, Aru . . .


“Touching, riotously funny, and absolutely stunning.”–Kirkus

Praise for Aru Shah and the End of Time:
“An imaginative novel that puts girl power and diverse protagonists front and center.”
—Entertainment Weekly

“[An] engrossing adventure tale.”—Teen Vogue

“Roshani Chokshi spins a modern-day fairy tale that adults and children will love.”-Bustle

Goodreads | Amazon | Kindle | Audible

B&N | iBooks | Kobo | TBD |


And now for the excerpt! Enjoy!

Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes Excerpt by Jaime Arnold on Scribd


About Roshani:
Roshani Chokshi ( is the author of the instant New York Times best-selling books in the Pandava series, Aru Shah and the End of Time, and its sequel, Aru Shah and the Song of Death. She also wrote the New York Times best-selling YA books The Star-Touched Queen and The Gilded Wolves. She studied fairy tales in college, and she has a pet luck dragon that looks suspiciously like a Great Pyrenees dog. The Pandava novels were inspired by the stories her grandmother told her as well as Roshani’s all-consuming love for Sailor Moon. She lives in the south and says “y’all,” but she doesn’t really have a Southern accent. Her Twitter handle is @roshani_chokshi.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram


Giveaway Details:
3 winners will receive a finished copy of ARU SHAH AND THE TREE OF WISHES, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tour Schedule:

Week One:

4/6/2020 – Kait Plus Books – Excerpt
4/7/2020 – Open Pages – Excerpt
4/8/2020 – BookHounds YA – Excerpt
4/9/2020 – Log Cabin Library – Excerpt
4/10/2020 – Pandora’s Books – Excerpt

Spotlight Post: The Rubicus Prophecy by Alane Adams (Excerpt)

Hey everyone! Today, I have an awesome excerpt to share with you from The Rubicus Prophecy (The Witches of Orkney #2) by Alane Adams (October 15, 2019 – SparkPress). First, here’s more about the book:

Abigail has just started her second year at the Tarkana Witch Academy and is already up to her ears studying for Horrid Hexes and Awful Alchemy! Worse, Endera’s malevolent spellbook has its hooks in her, whispering in her ear to use its dark magic. Meanwhile, the entire school is talking about the Rubicus Prophecy; a sign has arrived that the chosen witchling is among them, the one who will one day break Odin’s curse over them. When an Orkadian warship arrives carrying troubling news, Abigail and her friend Hugo are swept into a new mystery after a young boy from the ship, Robert Barconian, asks for their help retrieving a missing item.

Along with the former glitch-witch, Calla, the four friends end up deep in the catacombs beneath the Tarkana Fortress—a place where the draugar, the living dead, wander about. Abigail discovers there is more to the Rubicus Prophecy than anyone ever imagined. Can she stop it in time before she and her friends are destroyed?

Filled with magical spells, spine-tingling ghosts, and visits from the Norse gods, The Rubicus Prophecy pits Abigail against a sinister power greater than anything she has ever imagined.

Goodreads | Amazon | IndieBound


And now for the excerpt! Enjoy!!

Excerpted with permission from The Rubicus Prophecy: Witches of Orkney, Book Two by Alane Adams. © 2019 Alane Adams. Published by SparkPress, a BookSparks imprint, a division of SparkPoint Studio, LLC.


“What do you think, Abigail? Does my braid look too tight?”

Abigail adjusted the long pleat that hung down Safina’s back. “No, it looks perfect. You’ll be the prettiest firstling ever.”

“Do you really think so?” Safina looked up at Abigail with wide green eyes.

Abigail smiled. “Think so? I know so. Now, did you pack all your things?”

They ran through the list of simple items the girl had. Like Abigail, Safina was an orphan, although there was no mystery about what had happened to her mother. Heralda had been caught in a lightning storm in the middle of using a divining spell, and the result had been disastrous.

“Now, what do you do when Madame Vex greets you?” Abigail prompted.

“Say, ‘Good day, Madame Vex, pleased to meet you.’” Safina dipped into a curtsy.

“Perfect. And when it’s time to choose a roommate?” “Find the closest girl and lock arms.” She thrust her elbow around Abigail’s and grinned up at her. She had a gap between her front teeth and a sprinkle of freckles on her nose. “I wish you and I could be roommates. Then you wouldn’t be all alone.”

“I like my attic room just fine.” Abigail tapped the girl on the nose. It was the truth; she’d grown used to the attic’s dusty corners and cozy rafters. And being alone wasn’t so bad.

“Will I see you much?” Safina’s lower lip wobbled a bit.

Abigail gave her a swift hug. “When I can. I’ll be busy with classes, and so will you—too busy to miss me.”

Safina gazed at her earnestly. “I know being stuck here at the Creche all summer looking after us wasn’t much fun for you, but I’m glad I got to know you better. Will you walk with me? All the way to the gates?”

The other firstlings had already stormed out like a herd of sneevils, fussed over by fawning witch mothers who had found time to see them off. Abigail and Safina were the last to go.

“I suppose I can walk you to the gate,” Abigail said, “but you’ll have to go in by yourself. Witchlings mustn’t show weakness.”

“My witch’s heart is made of stone,” Safina piped up, reciting their code.

“That’s right,” Abigail said, but she flinched at the words. She hated the Witches’ Code, hated reciting it. It always made her feel . . . less. As if it was chipping away at her, shaping her into something else. “Come now, I think Old Nan’s baked some fresh jookberry scones. Let’s see if there are any left.”

The firstling chattered away as they made the long walk to the gates of the Tarkana Fortress, nibbling on the fresh scones. Safina was a sweet witchling, but soon enough she would learn the ways of witchery, and she would be like all the rest. Cold. Ruthless. Ready to cast a spell on any who crossed her.

Before long, the iron gates loomed in front of them. Safina gazed up, her eyes wide.

“Don’t pinch me if I’m dreaming,” she whispered. “I don’t ever want to wake up. I can’t believe I’m really here. I’m going to be a witch.”

“Not if you don’t go inside.” Abigail gave her a little nudge, and the girl took a step forward before turning to flash a grin.

“I’m going to be the greatest witch ever,” she said, then ducked inside the gates.

Abigail sighed. She’d thought the same thing on her first day. Now she wasn’t so sure what she wanted. Find- ing out her father was a real live star had made Abigail question who she really was. It didn’t help that a murky mystery surrounded her mother. She wished she could just talk to her, find out why she had run away.

As Abigail headed for the ivy-covered dormitory tower, she noticed the firstlings were crowding around something, talking excitedly. Curious, she elbowed her way into the center and gasped.

Growing out of the cracks of the cobblestones was a flower on a thick green stalk, nearly as tall as she was. It looked like an ordinary sunflower, but its petals were blood red. Its thick round center pulsed slightly, as though something living were inside. Abigail looked around and then backed away, filled with a sudden dread.

The flower was growing in the exact spot where the viken had attacked her and nearly ended her life.

Spotlight Post: The Other, Better Me by Antony John (Excerpt)

Hey everyone! Today, I have an awesome excerpt to share with you from Antony John’s The Other, Better Me (October 1, 2019 – HarperCollins). First, here’s more about the book:

From the critically acclaimed author of Mascot comes this heartfelt novel, perfect for fans of John David Anderson and Cammie McGovern, about a girl searching for the meaning of family.

Lola and Momma have always been a team of two. It hasn’t always been easy for Lola, being one of the only kids she knows with just one parent around. And lately she’s been feeling incomplete, like there’s a part of herself that she can’t know until she knows her dad.

But what will happen—to Lola, to Momma, to their team of two—if she finds him?

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound


And now for the excerpt! Enjoy!!

THE OTHER, BETTER ME by Antony John – Chapter 1 Excerpt

It’s Friday the thirteenth, and I don’t think Momma will be getting up soon.

She was working late at the restaurant last night because Frankie, the boss’s son, got sick. It’s why she’ll be in bed until ten minutes before the school bus comes to pick me up.

I don’t like it when Momma works late. I always lock our door, so it’s not like I’m scared. And the house is small and cozy – two bedrooms, kitchen, living room, and bathroom. But there’s a space under our house, and when the wind blows hard, it makes this weird howling noise like a ticked-off dog. Last night, I called our neighbor Ms. Archambault so she could hear it over the phone. She’s like my grandmother, only she’s not family. Her house faces ours, so I can see her when she stands in her kitchen window and waves at me. Because Ms. Archambault owns our house, she promised to get her friend Ned, who’s a handyman, to stop the howling noise. That sounded like a good idea to me. We don’t need any ticked-off imaginary dogs living under us.

On the bright side, whenever Momma works late, I get to watch YoutTuber videos on her laptop. She thinks her laptop is password-protected, but my best friend, Kiana, told me to try typing in “pa$$word.” When I told Kiana that it worked, she gave this long, deep nod, like she knew all along. Kiana wants to be a detective, like her dad. I think she’s off to a good start.

Anyhow, today I let Momma sleep until precisely fifteen minutes before I need to leave the house. I eat Cheerios, wash my bowl in the sink, and keep the water running so all the detergent bubbles disappear down the drain. I put my backpack by the door, wet my bobbed hair so it won’t stick up in the back, and make sure my armpits don’t smell. Momma says I have lax standards of personal hygiene. I don’t know what that means, but I think it has something to do with needing to sniff my armpits more often. Finally, I pour a cup of really strong coffee and take it to her.

“I’ve got to go,” I say.

She rolls towards me. “Toilet’s over there,” she mumbles.

I let out a long sigh. This is isn’t the first time Momma has used that joke.

“Are you coming?” I ask.

She catches the smell of coffee but doesn’t reach for the mug. “Oh, Lola, honey. How about you put yourself on the bus today? You can do that, right?”

I’m not sure how to answer. Sure, I can put myself on the school bus. The stop is only half a block away. But Momma has put me on the bus almost every day since I started kindergarten. Even when she was real sick a couple years ago, she hardly missed a day. Plus, she isn’t looking at her coffee anymore. She calls it her “wake-up juice,” but it’s like she has forgotten the mug is there.

Just this once,” she murmurs, eyes closed. “I could really use a little extra sleep.”

“Okay, Momma. I’ll see you after your shift tonight, ‘kay?”

“Same time, same place.”

I lean forward and kiss her. She smiles. But she doesn’t kiss me back. And she still won’t open her eyes.

Release Day Post: The Missing Season by Gillian French (Excerpt + Giveaway)

I am so excited that THE MISSING SEASON by Gillian French is available now and that I get to share the news! If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by author Gillian French, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for FOUR signed copies of the book, Us Only, courtesy of Gillian and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.


Author: Gillian French
Pub. Date: May 21, 2019
Publisher: HarperTeen
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 304
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | TBD


From the author of Edgar Award finalist Grit and The Lies They Tell comes a tense, atmospheric novel for fans of E. Lockhart and Marieke Nijkamp, about friendship, truth, and the creeping fears that can’t be outrun.

Whenever another kid goes missing in October, the kids in the old factory town of Pender know what is really behind it: a monster out in the marshes that they call the Mumbler.

That’s what Clara’s new crew tells her when she moves to town. Bree and Sage, who take her under their wing. Spirited Trace, who has taken the lead on this year’s Halloween prank war. And magnetic Kincaid, whose devil-may-care attitude and air of mystery are impossible for Clara to resist.

Clara doesn’t actually believe in the Mumbler–not like Kinkaid does. But as Halloween gets closer and tensions build in the town, it’s hard to shake the feeling that there really is something dark and dangerous in Pender. Lurking in the shadows. Waiting to bring the stories to life.


And now for the excerpt. Enjoy!

“It’s sad, you coming here.” Kincaid takes me in, his smile fading. “Now you’ve got no chance.”

No chance. Like he read it in my tea leaves or the lines of my palm. “Why?”

“Because he only takes Pender kids. Likes our taste, I guess.” Kincaid drops his board, glides backward on one foot, never breaking eye contact. “Like . . . hopelessness.”

“And Steak-umms from the caf,” somebody says, making people snicker.

“Liver.” Trace shows his teeth. “God, I love that shit.”

“What about Gavin Cotswold?” Sage says. “Have they figured out how he died yet?”

“Mumbler got him.” Trace.

“He OD’d.” Bree gives Trace a withering look. “He went out in the woods, got fucked up, and died. His own mom thinks so.”

“I heard the animals didn’t leave enough of him behind to be sure.” Trace says. Then, to Kincaid, “Tell her about the first boy. Ricky Whoever.”

“Sartain. Ricky Sartain.” Behind Kincaid, most of the activity has stopped, everybody pulling up some concrete to listen. He’s holding court, a storyteller who knows his audience. “It all started, like, twenty years ago. Kid went missing two days before they found him on the banks of the marsh, way out by the railroad bridge.” Kincaid nods slowly, easing into it. “Somebody put their hands all over him.”

More covert laughter, Trace’s whisper: “Loved to death.”

Kincaid entwines his fingers, working his palms together in sinuous rhythm. “Squeezed him, crushed him. Mashed his spine, smashed his belly.”

A voice speaks up: “My mom said that kid got hit by the train.”

“Of course she did.” Kincaid doesn’t turn. “She also told you that Santa Claus is real and honesty is the best policy and if you’re good, you’ll get into heaven, right?”

Snorts. Somebody mimics, “But my mommy said,” whacking the boy who interrupted with a baseball cap.

“He was folded in half.” Sage grips Trace’s forearm. “That’s what I heard.”

“No.” Kincaid’s hands are tai chi slow. “Lengthwise.”

“Stop.” Bree says it under her breath; I’m the only one who hears.

“Ricky disappeared right around Halloween. That’s the pattern.” Kincaid skates a circuit around us, dismounts, and slaps the tail of the board so it pops into his hand again, all one smooth movement that I wish I could watch again frame by frame. “Truth. After, Ricky’s friends told everybody how they’d all gone out to the railroad bridge to smash pumpkins one night, and there was somebody hiding under there. Too dark to see, but they heard him, mumbling and yammering away.”

Yip, yip, yip! I look up to see audience participation, lumbering shapes aping around the others, sounding like a zoo after hours—Ahhh-ah-ah-ah! Mwaaa-hoohoo!

“Next time anybody saw Ricky, he was red guacamole.” Kincaid pauses, smiling faintly, but he’s not really seeing me now. “Ever since, Mumbler’s been around. Takes a bad kid every few years, always in October. Grown-ups have some bullshit excuse for what happened to them, but we know.”

Nods pass around the circle. I watch for inside looks—they’ll drop the act when they see I’m not taken in—but the quiet drags on. “What’s the Mumbler look like?” I hold
Kincaid’s gaze, willing him to let me in on this, let me prove I don’t scare easy. “So I’ll know him if I see him.”

Kincaid looks to Trace, again with the smile that creases his eyes into merry slits, a kid showing his little sister where Mom hides the Christmas presents. “We can take you to him.”


I’m a ridiculous, sometimes cranky, often hungry, frequently writing flibbertigibbet who really hopes she can keep doing this for a living.

My debut novel, GRIT (HarperTeen), was an Indie Next List pick, a Junior Library Guild Selection, received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and ALA Booklist, was an Edgar Award Finalist, a South Carolina Young Adult Book Award Finalist, and received both a 2018 Lupine Award from the Maine Library Association and a 2018 Maine Literary Award from the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance.

My other novels include THE DOOR TO JANUARY (Islandport Press; Bram Stoker Award Finalist), THE LIES THEY TELL (HarperTeen; 2019 International Thriller Award Finalist, 2019 Maine Literary Award Finalist, 2018 Junior Library Guild Selection), and THE MISSING SEASON (HarperTeen, coming 5/21/2019; preorder giveaway happening now). My short fiction has placed in Writer’s Digest and Zoetrope: All Story contests, as well as appearing in such publications as Weirdbook and Creepy Campfire Stories for Grownups.

I hold a BA in English from the University of Maine, and I’m a member of the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance, Mystery Writers of America, and the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators. Currently, I still live in my native state of Maine–shocker, I know–with my husband and sons, where I’m perpetually agonizing over my next novel (in the best possible way, of course!)

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Goodreads | Instagram | Amazon Author Page


Giveaway Details: 4 winners will win a signed finished copy of THE MISSING SEASON, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Spotlight Post: Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway (Cover Reveal + Excerpt)

Hey everyone! Back in September 2017, I helped reveal the cover for Joanna Hathaway’s Dark of the West. Well.. Guess what?!?!? It now has an even more gorgeous cover, plus a new release date – February 5, 2019 (Tor Teen)! Check out the cover and synopsis below, then scroll down for an epic excerpt!

Aurelia Isendare is a princess of a small kingdom in the North, raised in privilege but shielded from politics as her brother prepares to step up to the throne. Halfway around the world, Athan Dakar, the youngest son of a ruthless general, is a fighter pilot longing for a life away from the front lines. When Athan’s mother is shot and killed, his father is convinced it’s the work of his old rival, the Queen of Etania—Aurelia’s mother. Determined to avenge his wife’s murder, he devises a plot to overthrow the Queen, a plot which sends Athan undercover to Etania to gain intel from her children.

Athan’s mission becomes complicated when he finds himself falling for the girl he’s been tasked with spying upon. Aurelia feels the same attraction, all the while desperately seeking to stop the war threatening to break between the Southern territory and the old Northern kingdoms that control it—a war in which Athan’s father is determined to play a role. As diplomatic ties manage to just barely hold, the two teens struggle to remain loyal to their families and each other as they learn that war is not as black and white as they’ve been raised to believe.


Macmillan Publisher Page | Amazon | IndieBound


A tremor of anticipation wakes me before dawn. The eastern mountains have only just begun to glow, bringing with it the Safire arrival, and I sit in my bay window, silent, sketching the familiar view with lazy strokes of charcoal against blank paper. I feel mostly calm. Ready. But my stomach still feels like a knot, and I sing to myself in Resyan, distracting my nerves best I can.

“I am a mountain,” I whisper, “a song you remember.”

Invariably, my sketch changes to Liberty. The leafy branches become his mane and his eyes have hawks in them, wings spread. The poor stallion is still trapped in his stall, injured leg wrapped and splinted, and subtle despair tinges the groom’s reports. They’re leaving the decision up to Reni, the very worst idea. Reni won’t even speak of it. He pretends it never happened, refusing to visit the stables, and now the General is coming and everyone will forget suffering Liberty altogether.

I shade hard enough my pencil splinters.

Yesterday evening, Heathwyn lectured me on the protocol of this visit, rattling off the things to remember while a maid carefully manicured my nails, another one softening my hands with lavender-scented oil.

“All discussion with our visitors will be conducted in Landori, and you’re always to be pleasant and welcoming, no matter the attitude your brother adopts. And you be sure to offer the General the greatest respect. No commentary on Karkev or Thurn or anything contentious. Divert the conversation with a smile if you must, because your smile will be your greatest credit to this visit.”

I made sure to smile extra wide at that, and she clucked her tongue.

“Please, Aurelia, remember you will be watched every moment and your words and actions will reflect entirely on your mother. Reflect well, is that understood?”

She doesn’t know how well I understand that, how the weight of this visit feels like an entire secret world on my shoulders, one that no one else sees, and I promise to smile, smile, smile. Now, the morning sun shines fully and I strain my ears to listen for the sound of aeroplanes in the sky.

A slight impatience pricks inside.

Heathwyn arrives with warm bread and marmalade in hand, a nervous set to her lips, and I pick at the breakfast while she and another maidservant fuss with me—braiding my hair and pinning flowers, dabbing red on my lips and buttoning me into a sea-blue gown with ivory pearls—but in the end, it turns out well.

“The Safire won’t know where to look first,” Heathwyn says, studying me in the mirror, pleased. “You or your mother.”

“I’m sure it will be Violet’s breasts,” I reply with a grin.

Heathwyn clucks her tongue yet again, but Heathwyn hasn’t seen Violet’s chosen gown for today. I have, and so has Reni, and it certainly leaves only the most critical things to the imagination.

“Aurelia, such comments won’t—”

Her rebuttal is cut off by a growl that rattles the very window panes. It’s a fierce sound, echoing harshly off the mountains, passing close overhead. I rush for the window and press my face to the glass, trying to peer up, and Heathwyn tells me to stop because I’ll rub the pink off my cheeks. But there they are! Two Safire fighter planes circling low, flashing brilliant silver in the morning sun. They’re all sharp angles and grey metal compared to the smooth curves of our green Etanian planes, their ferocious noise carrying, surrounding us, seeming to grow with each moment like there are at least ten more hidden out of sight. One loops higher, playful in the morning sky. Black swords wink from the underside of the wings as he spins. Easy and graceful, like a falcon, before diving low again and rejoining his friend. Together, they arc towards the western airfield.

“Stars,” Reni says, appearing suddenly behind me. I step back, giving him space to look as well. “They’re moving at quite a speed, aren’t they?” He cranes his neck as they disappear from sight.

“Have you ever seen anything like it?” I ask.

“I have. It was at a circus, and everyone was dressed in ridiculous colours and acting like fools.”

I swipe at his arm. “I hope those aren’t your opening remarks to the General.” I notice, then, that nestled against his elegant green coat is a ceremonial pistol. “And I hope you’re planning to take that off.”

“It’s custom,” Reni replies. “Father wore his to every diplomatic function.”

“But we’re insisting the Safire remove theirs. It doesn’t look right if we refuse to do the same!”

Reni shrugs. “Dogs are muzzled, not royalty.”

On that vain note, he marches back for the hall, waving for me, and I say a quick, fervent prayer to my father that Reni doesn’t begin a whole war in one day.

Outside, the west entrance of the palace is bright with sun, its honey-coloured walls almost a glare. Etanian and Safire flags dance in the thick mountain wind, displayed in hopeful unity, and courtiers wait along the wide stone steps with chiffon skirts blowing, music sparkling amid the excitement. All eyes are on the long runway before us.

Reni and I stand on either side of Mother as she waits quietly, regally, at the top of the open-air steps in a maroon gown trimmed with gold, her chin raised and my father’s crown glimmering on her black hair. It’s a rare occasion for her to wear it. But today it gleams, luminous as her, a glorious reminder to the kingdom that there is nothing to fear and she rules in splendour. But there’s still a tiny tremor nearly hidden. She fingers the lace detailing of her skirt, and I wish I could squeeze her hand in reassurance.

On the tarmac, the two Safire fighters have landed, silver pipes along their nose trailing exhaust. The wind smells strongly of petrol and smoke. In the distant sky, a larger aeroplane appears, wide-winged and imposing. We watch it lower, hitting the runway with a high-pitched screech. It’s very large, propellers on either side, and the wings rattle as it brakes, swaying side to side slightly. There’s a fox-and-crossed-swords crest painted on the flank, and everyone lining the steps ceases their chatter, tilting their heads, whispering now as if their words might already be heard by the General himself.

One of the Safire pilots leaps down from his now idle fighter. His red hair is a blaze in the sun. The second pilot walks over, and they light up their cigarettes without even a glance at the royal court waiting nearby. Etanian ground crew attempt to speak to them, but they ignore it, striding for the large plane, trailing smoke like their fighters.

Mother flicks her hand. The royal guards on the tarmac come to attention.

Safire uniforms emerge from the General’s plane as the metallic creature hisses in the sun, steel and aluminum pieces settling. They march down the stairs, appearing confident, but none of them look quite like General Dakar—at least, not as far as I know. I’ve only ever seen a few distant photographs in the newspapers. It’s not until the two Safire pilots stamp out their cigarettes and straighten that I think we must be nearly to him. A man with dark skin appears at the top of the stairs. His uniform’s richly medaled, his head swiveling round to take in the runway and palace.

“Admiral Malek,” I hear one lord say knowingly to a nearby friend.

Then the Admiral is down the stairs and another tall, grey-clad shape looms in the door of the plane.

The General, at last.

He pauses there for a long, weighted moment, surveying the world before him. His gaze moves from the line of royal guards to the stone steps and then on up to Mother beneath the arched facade. He smiles.

Descending the stairs, he greets Lord Marcin and Lord Jerig with handshakes. They both put on a good show, thank the stars, then Admiral Malek and the General walk across the tarmac together, the General offering those he passes a formal, yet affable, nod.

When they stride up the palace steps, he’s still wearing his polite smile, and Mother returns it. It’s her polished one that radiates certainty. The General drops into a short bow before us. The rest of his Safire party, following behind, does the same.

“Your Majesty,” he says. “At last we’ve arrived. We’re honoured to be your guests.”

Mother dips her chin in respect. “You’re most welcome in Etania, General. The honour is ours.”


About the Author:
Joanna owes her love of books to her great-grandfather. His memoirs about life as a teenage soldier in the First World War inspired her, at a young age, to enter the complex and provocative realms of history—and she hasn’t left since. Born in Montréal, Canada, she grew up on the doorstep of New York City, then spent her teen years riding horses through the forests of Southwestern Ontario.

Her debut novel, DARK OF THE WEST (Tor Teen, 2018), is the first in a WWII-infused fantasy series of forbidden love and deadly revenge.

She is represented by Steven Salpeter of Curtis Brown Ltd.

Website | Twitter | Instagram

Spotlight Post: What You Hide by Natalie D. Richards (Excerpt)

What You Hide by Natalie D. Richards released one month ago today! Have YOU checked it out yet??

A new pulse-pounding romantic thriller from the author of We All Fall Down and Six Months Later

Spencer volunteers at the library. Sure, it’s community service, but he likes his work. Especially if it means getting to see Mallory.

Mallory spends a lot of time keeping her head down. When you’re sixteen and homeless, nothing matters more than being anonymous. But Spencer’s charm makes her want to be noticed.

Then sinister things start happening at the library. Mysterious symbols and terrifying warnings begin to appear, and management grows suspicious. Spencer and Mallory know a homeless teenager makes an easy target, and if they can’t find the real culprit soon, they could lose more than just their safe haven…


Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Books-A-Million | Indigo | Indiebound


Fairview Public Library

I’ve broken curfew for plenty of stupid reasons, but climbing the public library? I can’t really be thinking about doing this.

I am, though.

Not that I could tell you why. Why would a perfectly rational guy decide to take a jog at one o’clock in the morning? And why did that jog turn into a dead-panic sprint, until I stopped in this alley, sweaty and alone on the narrow strip of pavement between the parking lot and the book drop?

I can’t figure out most of tonight, but I know this: I want to climb to the top of the Fairview Public Library.

It’s not a good idea. Climbing that wall has Terrible Choice written all over it.

But it’d be easy. Thirty, maybe thirty-five feet tall, which I could scale in my sleep. Especially with all those chunky slabs of stone creating perfect crevices for my fingers and toes. I can’t believe I’ve never noticed them. Back in fourth grade, I walked here every other Tuesday for class visits. It was a building full of books then. Now it’s an unexplored vertical trail, my ticket to a view I’ve never seen.

I do this a lot: scan buildings for ascent routes. That’s what happens when you love climbing. I want to climb rocks and trees and the football stadium and the water tower. And apparently the library.

Seriously, I could do it in five minutes. Maybe less.

Which is still plenty of time to get arrested in this town.

Here, tucked close to the side of the building in the alley, I’m not easy to see from Main Street. Halfway up the wall, though, I’d be exposed.

So, don’t be stupid.

I wipe my sweaty hands down the front of my pants and move closer, dragging two fingers down the stone. Rough. Grippy.

A memorial plaque sits on the ground near a weeping cherry tree: Higher Knowledge for Our Best Future.

I flinch, images flipping through my mind like flash cards. Dad at his spreadsheet, Mom at her leather journal, and me typing as fast as my fingers will let me, stacking up rows of words that paint a pleasing story about who I am and what I want.

I don’t know that I decide to start climbing. I just kick off my shoes and socks, and it happens. I test the edge of a curved brick with one hand, and my toes find a natural perch on another. It’s a strong position. A good hold. One upward glance and the path reveals itself—a push with my foot, and my left hand will go to the slightly darker stone. My right will reach the slab below the first-floor windows. Then the edge above it. I see one smooth white stone that might give me trouble, but I can always go for the ledge of the second-floor window if I need to.

I start my ascent, slow and steady. The world slips quietly away. I can’t hear my mom listing college hockey stats, and I can’t see my dad’s postgraduation salary predictions. None of the things I should do and be matter up here.

Eyes open. Core engaged. Grip strong. There is only the steady hunt for the summit when I climb. Nothing else. And, so far, this hunt is easy pickings.

My fingers slip, and I frown, retreating to my former hold. I try again. The problem is the smooth, knobby bit I’d seen below; the one I feared might be trouble. A third attempt, and I pull back to reassess. I need an alternative, because I can’t grip that smooth section without rosin, and I don’t have rosin.

Or a harness.

I’m twenty-five feet up with no harness.

This fact hits me square in the chest, and in the span of one breath, my heart turns to a bag of worms. I grip my toes and push close to the wall to steady myself. Panic and stupidity lead to most climbing accidents, and I’ve already covered the stupidity bit.

“Not smart,” I tell myself, and that’s all I allow. I’ll have to rub this lesson in later, when I’m back on the ground without an assortment of broken bones.

When my heart slows to a steady thud-thud-thud, I start looking for a better route. I’m maybe ten or fifteen feet from the top. With my adrenaline wearing off, it feels doable. This is not a difficult climb. Once I’m up, the fire escape ladder on the back of the building will make for an easy way down. I just need to do it.

I relax into my feet and start up the path closest to the second-story window. I still have that sill if I need it.

I push off my right foot as I reach up, a good pinch at a comfortable reach. Excellent. Plus, I see a perfect lip for my left hand, so I push up through that leg to snag the next hold. My grip sticks, but something snaps. My left foot drops hard, leg scraping stone. I lurch in the opposite direction, forcing my center of gravity to the right.

Was it the brick? I glance down at the wall below, seeing freshly cracked stone where my foot used to be. Bits of mortar and rock lay in the grass, and my stomach drops into my feet.

I was standing on that seconds ago. If it had broken any earlier, I’d have fallen. I lick my lips, heart pounding. Nothing about that brick looked wrong. There was zero warning.

Which means there might not be a warning next time.

Who’s to say the one I’m on now won’t snap? My worry ratchets higher with every breath. I don’t know anything about this wall. These bricks could be painted hunks of mortar for all I know. Every last one could break.

Okay, new plan. I need to get up this wall before it falls apart.

The window.

The sill beneath it will be solid concrete. It’ll hold and give me time to breathe. When my body is in line, I swing my left leg up hard. I have to get high enough to catch the window sill.

I overshoot it. My knee hits the glass with a crack. I stop breathing, mouth dropping open at the neat hole my patella punched in the pane. Cracks spider from the hole in multiple directions. For one breathless instant, all I can do is stare, my bare toes resting on the concrete sill while bits of glass clink down from the opening.

Unbelievable. I kicked in the freaking window.

A shard hits my big toe, and it jolts me into action. I drag myself to the right of the mess, my face scraping mortar. The window I broke is tall and wide with arched glass that looks…expensive.

I’ll worry about it later. I need to finish this and get down before something else goes wrong.

Nothing does. The rest of the climb passes without incident. At the top, I haul myself over the concrete cornice and drop to my backside, panting in relief.

I should bolt for the ladder, but my legs have turned to jelly. I need a minute to catch my breath. I enjoy the view, which is nothing to sneeze at. Fairview is easy on the eyes from up here. A row of postcard-worthy businesses line Main Street, embellished with flower boxes and understated window displays. Here and there, iron benches rest under neatly trimmed trees—an invitation to linger.

Beyond Main Street, the streets give way to a sleeping patchwork of lush, green lawns with curving gardens and winding paths. And houses. Large, beautiful houses.

One of those houses is yours.

My throat squeezes, and I lean forward, staring at the soft glow of streetlights and curved streets. It is the definition of peaceful and safe, but I’m not feeling either of those things. I feel like I’m peering into another dimension. Like I’m seeing something I’ve never seen. Which is ridiculous. I live down there. Fairview has always been home.


A flash of blue and white lights. The police. There’s a single cruiser six or seven intersections down Main Street, so someone must have seen me. Adrenaline floods my senses.

Get up. I have to get up.

My body is heavy. Immobile. What the hell is wrong with me? I need to run!

But I don’t. Moments later, the cruiser turns into the library parking lot, and it’s like my body is frozen. My eyes follow the car as it parks, then trail the beam of the spotlight across the library wall. Shrubs and mulch are illuminated. Then, the cherry tree. Next, my discarded socks and shoes.

I wonder what they’ll do when they figure out I’m up here.

I wonder what it’ll feel like when they take me away.


About the Author:
After years as a professional paper-pusher, NATALIE D. RICHARDS decided to trade in reality for a life writing YA fiction. She lives in Ohio (Go Bucks!) with her husband, three children, and a ridiculously furry dog named Yeti.


Twitter | Facebook


Blog Tour: Bright We Burn by Kiersten White (Excerpt)

Hey everyone! I’m incredibly excited to be a part of the Bright We Burn (July 10, 2018 – Delacorte) blog tour! I’m a HUGE Kiersten White fan, and ABSOLUTELY LOVED And I Darken (book one), so I’m beyond excited to be on this blog tour!! Today I’m sharing an excerpt of Bright We Burn with you! First, here’s more about the book:

Haunted by the sacrifices he made in Constantinople, Radu is called back to the new capital. Mehmed is building an empire, becoming the sultan his people need. But Mehmed has a secret: as emperor, he is more powerful than ever . . . and desperately lonely. Does this mean Radu can finally have more with Mehmed . . . and would he even want it?

Lada’s rule of absolute justice has created a Wallachia free of crime. But Lada won’t rest until everyone knows that her country’s borders are inviolable. Determined to send a message of defiance, she has the bodies of Mehmed’s peace envoy delivered to him, leaving Radu and Mehmed with no choice. If Lada is allowed to continue, only death will prosper. They must go to war against the girl prince.

But Mehmed knows that he loves her. He understands her. She must lose to him so he can keep her safe. Radu alone fears that they are underestimating his sister’s indomitable will. Only by destroying everything that came before–including her relationships–can Lada truly build the country she wants.

Claim the throne. Demand the crown. Rule the world.

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible

Barnes & Noble | iBooks | The Book Depository


And now for the excerpt! Enjoy!!

“If she continues to push on this, she will be killed.” Kumal lifted his hands as though weighing two choices. “I do not mean that as a threat. I mean it as truth. You have said yourself that she will never back down. Her actions threaten everyone in our empire. Instability creates cracks through which death seeps in. Our responsibility is to keep our people safe, and to address threats to their well-being. Radu, I know she is your sister, but if she will not compromise, this necessarily ends in her death.”

Radu felt a pressure behind his eyes like tears he would not release. Kumal was right. Lada was courting death, and would drag untold numbers down with her on her bloody journey. He had failed her before. He would not fail her this time. But to protect her, he would have to betray her. Betrayal was quickly becoming the only skill he had to offer anyone.

Radu nodded. “She will not compromise. When she comes to meet me—as she must, because I amher brother and it aggravates her that I have belonged to someone else these last years—I will bring her back here.”

“She will never come back,” Mara said.

“Not willingly.” Radu waited as his meaning sank in. “No,” Mehmed said. “I cannot make her a prisoner. Not like my father did. It would . . .” His voice broke as he trailed off.

“It would kill whatever love she has left for both of us.” Radu crossed the room and took Mehmed by the shoulders. He saw his own sadness and exhaustion reflected in his friend’s eyes. He hated this decision, even as he felt it was the right one. The only one. “Maybe, someday, we can fix it. But right now, people are dying because of her. Your people. Our people. Can we let them die because of our history with her?”

Mehmed’s eyes tracked back and forth, as though tracing potential futures. Doubtless he searched for one in which he might have Lada the way he wanted her. The future he was seeing did not revolve around Radu. “Bring her back,” Mehmed said. “Bring her home.”


Text copyright © 2018 by Kiersten Brazier. Published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York.


And now for the giveaway! Three lucky winners will receive a finished copy of BRIGHT WE BURN! US Only. To enter, fill out the rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Kiersten WhiteAbout the Author:
Kiersten White is the NYT bestselling author of the Paranormalcy trilogy, the Mind Games series, Illusions of Fate, The Chaos of Stars, In the Shadows with artist Jim Di Bartolo, and the upcoming historical reimagining, And I Darken. She has one tall husband and three small children and lives near the ocean, where her life is perfectly normal.

Website | Twitter

Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads


Bright We Burn Blog Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

Week One:
6/25/2018 – Here’s to Happy Endings
6/26/2018 – Pandora’s Books
6/27/2018 – Two Chicks on Books
6/28/2018 – Jena Brown Writes
6/29/2018 – The Hermit Librarian

Week Two:
7/2/2018 – The Desert Bibliophile
7/3/2018 – PaperTrailYA
7/4/2018 – Wonder Struck
7/5/2018 – The Pages In-Between
7/6/2018 – Beware Of The Reader

Week Three:
7/9/2018 – Lisa Loves Literature
7/10/2018 – Omg Books and More Books
7/11/2018 – Rhythmicbooktrovert
7/12/2018 – Wishful Endings
7/13/2018 – A Dream Within A Dream

Week Four:
7/16/2018 – The Clever Reader
7/17/2018 – Under the Book Cover
7/18/2018 – mall3tg1rl
7/19/2018 – The Book Nut
7/20/2018 – Lori’s Little House of Reviews

Blog Tour: Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking (Excerpt)

Hey everyone! I’m SO excited to be on the blog tour for Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking! Today, I’m sharing an excerpt with you! But first, here’s the cover and synopsis:

When the fate of the world is at stake
Loyalties will be tested

Game of Thrones meets Blade Runner in this commanding new YA fantasy inspired by Norse Mythology from New York Times bestselling author Amanda Hocking.

As one of Odin’s Valkyries, Malin’s greatest responsibility is to slay immortals and return them to the underworld. But when she unearths a secret that could unravel the balance of all she knows, Malin along with her best friend and her ex-girlfriend must decide where their loyalties lie. And if helping the blue-eyed boy Asher enact his revenge is worth the risk—to the world and her heart.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Books-a-Million | IndieBound | Powells

And now for the excerpt! Enjoy!


The air reeked of fermented fish and rotten fruit, thanks to the overflowing dumpster from the restaurant behind us. The polluted alley felt narrow and claustrophobic, sandwiched between skyscrapers.

In the city, it was never quiet or peaceful, even at three in the morning. There were more than thirty million humans and supernatural beings coexisting, living on top of each other. It was the only life I’d ever really known, but the noise of the congestion grated on me tonight.

My eyes were locked on the flickering neon lights of the gambling parlor across the street. The u in Shibuya had gone out, so the sign flashed SHIB YA at me.

The sword sheathed at my side felt heavy, and my body felt restless and electric. I couldn’t keep from fidgeting and cracked my knuckles.

“He’ll be here soon,” my mother, Marlow, assured me. She leaned back against the brick wall beside me, casually eating large jackfruit seeds from a brown paper sack. Always bring a snack on a stakeout was one of her first lessons, but I was far too nervous and excited to eat.

The thick cowl of her frayed black sweater had been pulled up like a hood, covering her cropped blond hair from the icy mist that fell on us. Her tall leather boots only went to her calf, thanks to her long legs. Her style tended to be monochromatic—black on black on black—aside from the shock of dark red lipstick.

My mother was only a few years shy of her fiftieth birthday, with almost thirty years of experience working as a Valkyrie, and she was still as strong and vital as ever. On her hip, her sword Mördare glowed a dull red through its sheath.

The sword of the Valkyries was one that appeared as if it had been broken in half—its blade only a foot long before stopping at a sharp angle. Mördare’s blade was several thousand years old, forged in fires to look like red glass that would glow when the time was nigh.

My sword was called Sigrún, a present on my eighteenth birthday from Marlow. It was a bit shorter than Mördare, with a thicker blade, so it appeared stubby and fat. The handle was black utilitarian, a replacement that my mom had had custom-¬made from an army supply store, to match her own.

The ancient blade appeared almost black, but as it grew closer to its target, it would glow a vibrant purple. For the past hour that we’d been waiting on our stakeout, Sigrún had been glowing dully on my hip.

The mist grew heavier, soaking my long black hair. I kept the left side of my head shaved, parting my hair over to the right, and my scalp should’ve been freezing from the cold, but I didn’t feel it. I didn’t feel anything.

It had begun—the instinct of the Valkyrie, pushing aside my humanity to become a weapon. When the Valkyrie in me took over, I was little more than a scythe for the Grim Reaper of the gods.

“He’s coming,” Marlow said behind me, but I already knew.

The world fell into hyperfocus, and I could see every droplet of rain as it splashed toward the ground. Every sound echoed through me, from the bird flapping its wings a block away, to the club door as it groaned open.

Eleazar Bélanger stumbled out, his heavy feet clomping in the puddles. He was chubby and short, barely over four feet tall, and he would’ve appeared to be an average middle-¬aged man if it wasn’t for the two knobby horns that stuck out on either side of his forehead. Graying tufts of black hair stuck out from under a bright red cap, and as he walked ahead, he had a noticeable limp favoring his right leg.

He was a Trasgu, a troublemaking goblin, and his appearance belied the strength and cunning that lurked within him. He was over three hundred years old, and today would be the day he died.

I waited in the shadows of the alley for him to cross the street. A coughing fit caused him to double over, and he braced himself against the brick wall.

I approached him quietly—this all went easier when they didn’t have time to prepare. He took off his hat to use it to wipe the snot from his nose, and when he looked up at me, his green eyes flashed with understanding.

“It’s you,” Eleazar said in a weak, craggy voice. We’d never met, and I doubt he’d ever seen me before, but he recognized me, the way they all did when their time was up.

“Eleazar Bélanger, you have been chosen to die,” I said, reciting my script, the words automatic and cold on my lips. “It is my duty to return you to the darkness from whence you came.”

“No, wait!” He held up his pudgy hands at me. “I have money. I can pay you. We can work this out.”

“This is not my decision to make,” I said as I pulled the sword from my sheath.

His eyes widened as he realized I couldn’t be bargained with. For a moment I thought he might just accept his fate, but they rarely did. He bowed his head and ran at me like a goat. He was stronger than he looked and caused me to stumble back a step, but he didn’t have anywhere to go.

My mother stood blocking the mouth of the alley, in case I needed her. Eleazar tried to run toward the other end, but his leg slowed him, and I easily overtook him. Using the handle of my sword, I cracked him on the back of the skull, and he fell to the ground on his knees.

Sigrún glowed brightly, with light shining out from it and causing the air to glow purple around us. Eleazar mumbled a prayer to the Vanir gods. I held the sword with both hands, and I struck it across his neck, decapitating him.

And then, finally, the electricity that had filled my body, making my muscles quiver and my bones ache, left me, and I breathed in deeply. The corpse of an immortal goblin lay in a puddle at my feet, and I felt nothing but relief.

“It was a good return,” my mother said, and put her hand on my shoulder. “You did well, Malin.”

Copyright © 2018 by Amanda Hocking in Between the Blade and the Heart and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Griffin.


About the Author:
Amanda Hocking is the author of over twenty young adult novels, including the New York Times bestselling Trylle Trilogy and Kanin Chronicles. Her love of pop culture and all things paranormal influence her writing. She spends her time in Minnesota, taking care of her menagerie of pets and working on her next book.

Author Website | Twitter

Facebook | Author Blog


Release Week Blitz: The Hummingbird Heart by A.G. Howard

I’m so excited that The Hummingbird Heart (Haunted Hearts Legacy #2) by A.G. Howard releases today and that I get to share the news! I’m currently reading and LOVING this book, just as much – if not more – than the first book, The Architect of Song! If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by the fabulous A.G. Howard, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a 5 AMAZING Prizes courtesy of A.G. and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

First here’s more about the book!

Author: A.G. Howard
Pub Date: August 15, 2017
Publisher: Golden Orb Press
Pages: 339
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Find it: Golden Orb Press, Goodreads


Set 19 years after The Architect of Song.

Shortly after escaping a circus tragedy, young Italian orphan, Willow Antoniette, seeks refuge at The Manor of Diversions—a holiday resort in England born of a ghost story. For eleven years, she’s raised alongside the children of the resort’s owners: Julian, his twin brother, Nick, and their younger sister Emilia. Now that Willow is of marriable age, she’s determined to escape finishing school along with everyone’s efforts to make her a proper lady. The only man she wants to spend her life with is Julian, after all. Yet how can she tell him, when he thinks of her as nothing but a friend?

As a machinist and engineer, Julian Thornton prefers a governable life. He can’t allow his ever-deepening attraction for Willow to distract from his amusement park plans to lure a younger, wealthier clientele to their family’s resort. In hopes to escape Willow and find investors, Julian sets off on a transatlantic ocean liner headed for the St. Louis World’s Fair, unaware Willow has secretly stowed away on the same ship.

A tiny, mute orphan named Newton and a pair of haunted Italian shoes bring Willow and Julian face to face on deck. Forced to work together to solve the mystery of Newton and his vindictive, ghostly companion, Julian and Willow can no longer fight their untapped passions. However, time to admit their true feelings is running out, for the ghost and her murderer have enlisted them as unsuspecting pawns in a karmic game of cat-and-mouse that could cost all of them their lives.

Grab Book One!

Architect of Song A lady imprisoned by deafness, an architect imprisoned by his past, and a ghost imprisoned within the petals of a flower – intertwine in this love story that transcends life and death.

For most of her life, nineteen-year-old Juliet Emerline has subsisted – isolated by deafness – making hats in the solitude of her home. Now, she’s at risk to lose her sanctuary to Lord Nicolas Thornton, a twenty-seven-year-old mysterious and eccentric architect with designs on her humble estate. When she secretly witnesses him raging beside a grave, Juliet investigates, finding the name “Hawk” on the headstone and an unusual flower at the base. The moment Juliet touches the petals, a young English nobleman appears in ghostly form, singing a song only her deaf ears can hear. The ghost remembers nothing of his identity or death, other than the one name that haunts his afterlife: Thornton.

To avenge her ghostly companion and save her estate, Juliet pushes aside her fear of society and travels to Lord Thornton’s secluded holiday resort, posing as a hat maker in one of his boutiques. There, she finds herself questioning who to trust: the architect of flesh and bones who can relate to her through romantic gestures, heartfelt notes, and sensual touches … or the specter who serenades her with beautiful songs and ardent words, touching her mind and soul like no other man ever can. As sinister truths behind Lord Thornton’s interest in her estate and his tie to Hawk come to light, Juliet is lured into a web of secrets. But it’s too late for escape, and the tragic love taking seed in her heart will alter her silent world forever.

International and NYT bestselling author, A.G. Howard, brings her darkly magical and visual/visceral storytelling to Victorian England. The Architect of Song is the first installment in her lush and romantic Haunted Hearts Legacy series, a four book gothic saga following the generations of one family as – haunted by both literal and figurative ghosts – they search for self-acceptance, love, and happiness.

New Adult: Recommended for ages 17+.

Goodreads | Amazon


And now here’s an excerpt from The Hummingbird Heart! Enjoy!

In the dream, Willow was a child again. With each barefooted step around the stacks of baggage in steerage, she found them taking on new shapes: pyramids of clowns, bears, horses and feathered performers, all balanced atop one another. She was back at the circus, albeit a much hazier and dimmer rendition than she remembered. She skipped along the center ring, excited to be home at last. Grit and discarded trash snagged between her little toes. A spotlight clicked on to illuminate a trunk. From within came a thumping sound, and girlish giggles.

“Tildey!” Willow cried out, racing across the distance to find her doll, her pigtails slapping her face and neck upon each bounding step. The creak of abandoned trapezes swung overhead, cutting intermittently through a thick cloud of fog. Yet it wasn’t fog. It was tobacco—a stench that seeped into her leotard, her tights, her very pores, until she could taste it coating her tongue like bile.

The spotlight shifted from the trunk to a trapeze just above her where a shape took form in the light: a graceful silhouette in a shimmery leotard and glistening tutu.

“Mama?” Willow whispered in the dream, forgetting Tildey for the chance to see her mother perform once more.

The trapeze vanished into thin air but the aerialist continued a controlled descent toward her, held in place by harnesses attached to the center pole. A face came into view, painted white like a clown, with bloody eyes and a hollow of a mouth—stretched wide on a perpetual scream. Willow yelped and squeezed her lashes shut, willing away the creature … for it was not Mama.

When she opened them again, the freakish performer exploded into a flock of hummingbirds made of ink. They skittered around Willow, buzzing wings scraping her skin and hair, imprinting tattoos everywhere they touched. She screamed and stumbled backwards, bumping into the trunk which was somehow right behind her. A tinkly, off-key lullaby drifted from inside the giant box. The lid shook and shuddered, as if something wanted out.

Whimpering, Willow tried to back away, but her feet grew heavy. She looked down and ballet shoes, covered in steel spikes, swallowed them up. The empty harness that had held the ghastly aerialist slithered toward her like a snake, coiling itself around her legs and arms to hold her in place.

On the final haunting strains of music, the trunk’s lid popped open, and out from the midst rose a hunched old man, holding Nadia’s haunted shoes upside down. Blood and water gushed out of them—a stench of copper and stagnancy—and the man laughed with a voice that gnawed into her bones like a thousand snarling wolves.


About A.G. Howard:
A.G. Howard was inspired to write SPLINTERED while working at a school library. She always wondered what would’ve happened had the subtle creepiness of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland taken center stage, and she hopes her darker and funkier tribute to Carroll will inspire readers to seek out the stories that won her heart as a child.

When she’s not writing, A.G.’s pastimes are reading, rollerblading, gardening, and family vacations which often include impromptu side trips to 18th century graveyards or condemned schoolhouses to appease her overactive muse.

Website | Blog | Twitter

Facebook | Tumblr | Pinterest | Goodreads


Giveaway Details: All International. Ends on August 22nd at Midnight EST!

(1) Grand prize: Signed set of The Architect of Song & The Hummingbird Heart PB
(1) First Place prize: Signed The Hummingbird Heart PB
(1) Second Place prize: Signed The Hummingbird Heart poster
(3) Third – Fifth Place prizes: Signed The Architect of Song & The Hummingbird Heart swag pack sets

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Spotlight Post: The Suffering Tree by Elle Cosimano (Excerpt)

Hey everyone! Today, I have an awesome excerpt to share with you from Elle Cosimano’s The Suffering Tree (June 13, 2017 – Disney-Hyperion). I’m really excited to share this excerpt with you because this book looks AMAZING! First, here’s more about the book:

“It’s dark magic brings him back.”

Tori Burns and her family left D.C. for claustrophobic Chaptico, Maryland, after suddenly inheriting a house under mysterious circumstances. That inheritance puts her at odds with the entire town, especially Jesse Slaughter and his family—it’s their generations-old land the Burns have “stolen.” But none of that seems to matter after Tori witnesses a young man claw his way out of a grave under the gnarled oak in her new backyard.

Nathaniel Bishop may not understand what brought him back, but it’s clear to Tori that he hates the Slaughters for what they did to him centuries ago. Wary yet drawn to him by a shared sense of loss, she gives him shelter. But in the wake of his arrival comes a string of troubling events—including the disappearance of Jesse Slaughter’s cousin—that seem to point back to Nathaniel.

As Tori digs for the truth—and slowly begins to fall for Nathaniel—she uncovers something much darker in the tangled branches of the Slaughter family tree. In order to break the centuries-old curse that binds Nathaniel there and discover the true nature of her inheritance, Tori must unravel the Slaughter family’s oldest and most guarded secrets. But the Slaughters want to keep them buried… at any cost.

From award-winning author Elle Cosimano comes a haunting, atmospheric thriller perfect to hand to readers of the Mara Dyer trilogy and Bone Gap.

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Kobo


And now for the excerpt! Enjoy!

“I always knew he’d come back.” The woman’s brittle voice carried through the air.

Tori turned, shielding her eyes from the afternoon sun, uncertain who the woman was speaking to. Matilda Rice stood bowed in the shade of her porch, her cataract eyes watching Tori. She must have seen Tori reading the flyer.

“Did they find him?” Tori called to her.

“That boy, he wasn’t supposed to die like that.”

A cold weight settled in Tori’s chest. “What?”

The old woman’s gap-toothed grin melted into a thin line. She looked hard at Tori. “Emmeline always said that boy would come back. He’s got business here. Old business. You mind yourself ’round that Bishop boy. It’s dark magic brings him back.”

The hair on the back of Tori’s neck prickled as the woman’s bent frame disappeared into the house.


About the Author:
Elle Cosimano grew up in the Washington, DC suburbs, the daughter of a maximum security prison warden and an elementary school teacher who rode a Harley. She spent summers working on a fishing boat in the Chesapeake Bay, baiting hooks, scrubbing decks, and lugging buckets of chum. A failed student of the hard sciences, she discovered her true calling in social and behavioral studies while majoring in psychology at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Fifteen years later, Elle set aside a successful real-estate career to pursue writing. She lives with her husband and two sons in Northern Virginia and Mexico.

Elle’s debut, Nearly Gone, was a 2015 Edgar Award finalist and winner of the International Thriller Award. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Horror Writers Association, and Sisters In Crime. She was selected for the 2012 Nevada SCBWI Agented & Published Authors’ Mentorship Program, where she worked under the guidance of Ellen Hopkins. She attended the Writers’ Police Academy at Guilford Technical Community College, Department of Public Safety, to conduct hands-on research for her books.

Website | Twitter | Facebook