Showing posts with label young adult. Show all posts
Showing posts with label young adult. Show all posts

Friday, December 7, 2018

"Paper Girl" by Cindy R. Wilson

Paper Girl
by Cindy R. Wilson

Paper Girl  by Cindy R. Wilson

Paper Girl by Cindy R. Wilson is currently on tour with YA Bound Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

I haven’t left my house in over a year. My doctor says it’s social anxiety, but I know the only things that are safe are made of paper. My room is paper. My world is paper. Everything outside is fire. All it would take is one spark for me to burst into flames. So I stay inside. Where nothing can touch me.
Then my mom hires a tutor. Jackson. This boy I had a crush on before the world became too terrifying to live in. Jackson’s life is the complete opposite of mine, and I can tell he’s got secrets of his own. But he makes me feel things. Makes me want to try again. Makes me want to be brave. I can almost taste the outside world. But so many things could go wrong, and all it takes is one spark for everything I love to disappear ...

I heard the elevator ding from down the hallway. Therapist #6. Probably another clone of Dr. Edwards and all the other therapists I’d had over the years. I ducked into my study when Mom told her to come back, and planted myself beside my desk. When she came in, her quick smile suggested she was perfectly comfortable walking into a strange place. Well, strange didn’t even begin to cover me and my room. The proof? Her surprised expression when she realized she’d just entered the Milky Way.
Strewn about the room were paper planets, stars, moons, and hopefully soon a couple of constellations. I folded them, cut them out, and crafted them until they became art. They mostly lined the southern wall, but Jupiter was bound to leak onto the ceiling.
And therein lay 80 percent of my life. Paper art in these four walls.
Therapist #6 said, “Wow. This is…out of this world.”
My cheeks flamed, and I gurgled out a laugh. It sounded so silly, so I kept my gaze averted. She didn’t look like a therapist. In fact, she looked young enough to be Dr. Edwards’s daughter, with her dark skinny jeans, a hip blazer, and a navy scarf with designs that reminded me of the galaxy above us. Her shoes were yellow—the same shade I used to make the sun. Did that mean she was inexperienced?
“Zoe, I’m Dr. Gina Price. You can call me Gina. Dr. Edwards mentioned I was coming when he saw you last week, right?”
I nodded. He’d sprung it on me after our session, right after we’d talked about compulsions and changing behaviors. We’d talked about how my parents were enablers, allowing me to stay cooped up in my large apartment with my own paper playground so I’d have no reason to want to leave. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d talked with them as well. My parents probably didn’t know what to do with a word like that. Enabler. Martin and Yoko King weren’t sure what to do with my therapy, either. They thought I was just “shy” and maybe “a little obsessive.”
“This is really impressive,” Gina said, staring at the ceiling. “How long did it take?”
I flicked a glance at her, surprised she asked. Dr. Edwards never asked about my paper art. My stomach clenched so tight, I thought I might throw up. I knew exactly what she was doing. Making small talk to get me to open up, feel comfortable. I kind of wanted to create paper dolls out of both her and Dr. Edwards so I could make them get swallowed by a black hole.
“A long time,” I said, so quiet I was sure she hadn’t heard me.
She stared up at Pluto, one of my favorite pieces. The dwarf planet and I were more alike than I wanted to admit. Both not quite what everyone thought we should be. It could be cold and lonely out in space.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“Wilson made me care about the major and minor characters, root for their successes. I read Paper Girl in one sitting.” ~ Amy's Book Reviews
Paper Girl was unique in the way other elements were explored so that the whole story wasn't just focused on teenage anxiety.” ~ Hayley (Backpacking Bookworm), Goodreads
“... this book is amazing, and I believe Cindy R. Wilson did an excellent job telling this story.” ~ Heather, Goodreads
“Highly recommended to anyone that like YA contemporary novels.” ~ Bookish Tiffany
“I LOVED this book. It's a really sweet story, and I loved how pro-therapy it is.” ~ Julie, NetGalley

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.

By Lynda Dickson
Zoe is a sixteen-year-old shut-in, while Jackson is seventeen and homeless. She never leaves her house, while he doesn’t even have a house. They are total opposites, but they find each other through an online chess game, where they tell each other their most intimate secrets, not thinking that they could ever meet. Little do they realize that they already know each other. What will happen when Jackson discovers Zoe’s secret identity? Can a relationship be built on lies? And what will happen when the truth eventually comes out? Will Zoe forgive Jackson? Will she ever be able to conquer her fears and live a life in the real world? These questions, and more, will be answered in this cute romance with serious undertones.
The story is told from the points-of-view of Zoe and Jackson, interspersed with their online chess chats. They’re both extremely likeable characters in heartbreaking situations. But you just can’t help but feel optimistic that these two damaged souls with help each other heal. I loved the part Gina plays in Zoe’s recovery, especially when we find out why she does what she does.
Warnings: mental illness, alcoholism, drug abuse, child abuse.

Some of My Favorite Lines
“You can be yourself when you’re anonymous, but in real life you have to answer to who you really are. And sometimes, that’s the scariest thing of all.”
“Maybe Zoe’s childhood had vanished just like mine, and we were both unfortunate adults now.”
“The real world was like paper, and one screw up, one spark, and the whole thing would go up in flames.”
“Most everyone is too wrapped up in themselves to care about what you’re doing. And even if they do, it’s their problem, not yours.”
“How did a perfectly normal teenager go from reading on the bleachers in high school to hiding in her house and creating galaxies of paper?”
“Sometimes what you’re looking for finds you first.”
“If we were never anxious about anything, some things wouldn’t mean quite as much as they do when they happen.”


About the Author
Cindy R. Wilson
Cindy lives at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, and loves using Colorado towns and cities as inspiration for settings in her stories. She's the mother of three girls, who provide plenty of fodder for her YA novels. Cindy writes speculative fiction and YA fiction, filled with a healthy dose of romance. You'll often find her hiking or listening to any number of playlists while she comes up with her next story idea.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card and Paper Girl themed journal (US only).


Thursday, November 15, 2018

"The Storm in Our Chests" by Enrique Betancourt

The Storm in Our Chests
by Enrique Betancourt

The Storm in Our Chests by Enrique Betancourt

This book blast and giveaway for The Storm in Our Chests by Enrique Betancourt is hosted by Goddess Fish Promotions. Please be sure to visit the other participating blogs as well.

After being separated abruptly, best friends Benj and Élan reunite after five years. They are not children anymore, and teenage and experience changed them.
Benj used to be an isolated antisocial child, now he’s popular and outgoing, leaving for college in the following year.
Élan used to be chipper, now he’s sad and insecure after years of being tossed around the foster system and realizing he is gay, crushing on a boy he thinks is unattainable.
Their reunion proves to be a challenge as they are the polar opposites of how they knew each other, the journey to healing and proves to be tough. Bonding again may be the only thing that saves them. Through small moments and swift dramatic turns, Benj and Élan will have to prove they are more than friends - they are buddies, and the epitome of unconditional love.

Book Video

“Please! Don’t take my best friend away!”
I remember. Vividly.
It was a scream that tore my vocal cords to shreds as I ran as fast as I could, as far as my young thirteen year old legs could take me. I remember. Sometimes I still dream about it, most times it’s just a repressed memory, sometimes it’s burning in my mind so badly that I have to wake up or else I’d drown in my sleep. I know that I wouldn’t actually drown, but it feels like I would. Can someone actually drown in their sleep? I don’t want to test that theory. Sometimes I’m afraid my mind would decide that it’s had enough and return to that day, that moment. It’s hard to explain, but it’s an intense feeling of helplessness. Of uselessness.
“Please! Please! Don’t take my best friend away!”
I hear a beating, the drumming of my heart that threatened to break my ribcage, as I hear myself with a younger prepubescent voice scream against the cold air, watching as they drive away. I try to run faster. I try to save him. I try to be Superman. But I’m not. I can’t reach the car, I can’t reach it as it enters the highway and I see him for the last time. His eyes, tear-filled eyes, against the back window of the car, looking at me. Waiting for me to save him. But I can’t save him.
I’m not Superman. He was.
He was my Superman.

Praise for the Book
“… without any spoilers, I can say this: 1) the story is well done. 2) the characters, (even the secondary ones) have a certain charm that make you know their personality. I love this story and I really had a good time reading it.” ~ Daniel Garcia


About the Author
Enrique Betancourt
I am the published writer of a novel called The Imaginarium Of The Innocent by Austin Macauley Publishers, and also I have been awarded the Rosa Maria Porrúa Award for my Spanish-language novella Sobre Las Cenizas. My books stand out for their literacy excellence that got me an award, and the dramatic and emotional way I handle my characters. I am Mexican who lived 6 years in the United States, I love to read, to write and music is such a powerful inspiring force for me.

Enter the blast-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $10 Amazon or B&N gift card.


Tuesday, November 6, 2018

"Eden Arcadia Gradation Vol.1" by Benjamin J. Guerrero

Eden Arcadia Gradation Vol.1
by Benjamin J. Guerrero

Eden Arcadia Gradation Vol.1 by Benjamin J. Guerrero

Benjamin J. Guerrero stops by today for an interview and to share an excerpt from Eden Arcadia Gradation Vol.1. Also available: Eden Arcadia Gradation: Chronicles and Eden Arcadia Gradation: Guide Works Part I.

Eden Arcadia Gradation: Chronicles by Benjamin J. GuerreroEden Arcadia Gradation: Guide Works Part I by Benjamin J. Guerrero

Eden Arcadia Gradation is about a young man named Crimzon Zerosaber and his adventures through many conflicts and issues throughout his life. He is guided by his love interest (and eventual wife) Cyan Copia and the rest of his team and family members as they battle monsters and villains with the help of guest characters.

Chapter 1
Slow days in Echo Creek were usually tolerable in their wealth of opportunity and pleasant weather, a perfect climate for relaxation under the clouds in the park or simply hanging out with friends and doing nothing of particular note. Slow days were an inevitability of life, but with a friend like Star Butterfly around, slow days were a different kind of day; namely, a day some monster doesn’t try to steal your face or a spell doesn’t turn your couch into tofu.
Unfortunately, this slow day was lacking in the usual luxuries that made them so nice here in Echo Creek. The sun bore down like the angry eye of some cosmic cyclops, the sidewalk hot enough to cook an egg. It wasn’t unheard of for heat waves to roll through the area, but it had been such a pleasant temperature the day before it came through, and in good faith, Star had invited some friends over to spend time with her out on the town today. What better time to have friends over from another dimension?
The sidewalk clicked under the feet of five individuals, but only one of them could claim them all to be good friends with them. Star smiled confidently as she walked between all her friends, humming to herself to mask her discomfort at the heat bearing down on them. Sure, this wasn’t exactly her or Marco’s idea of good weather for wandering about, but this was her friends’ first trip to Earth; they needed to just play it straight and think cool thoughts.
Zerosaber, the one boy among this group of new visitors to Earth, found it odd Star was humming in the manner she was, sweat dripping down her face. Still, it was nice to see the princess again, it’d been a good while since they had all been available to visit her, especially with his transfer to this dimension. His eyes which watched Star closely were hidden behind the visor he wore, armor glinting in the sunlight, though the glare was cut significantly by his wings, which seemed solid enough to block the heat despite seemingly being made of light, a fact quite fortunate to his friends suffering in the sun. Copia, the blonde beside him and behind Marco, walked with a shy smile on her face, her own wings spread to aid Zerosaber in shielding the human and mewman. Zartria, on Zerosaber’s other side, also had her wings spread; she wouldn’t get to have nearly so much fun if her friends had heat-stroke.
The five teens walked in the shadow of the winged members’ wingspans, the shade not offering much respite but conserving their energy just enough that they might soon find something to cool off with before they sweat themselves to exhaustion – at least, before Star, Marco, and the other girls did, Zerosaber seemed to be doing fine. Not much seemed to bother him, though he was more than willing to help out his friends with this problem, especially Star.
The people of Echo Creek, at least those not still inside in an attempt to escape the heat, all stood transfixed in a mixture of awe and fear of the winged people, backing away as Star’s group trailed down the sidewalk. Star took point, looking like an enthusiastic leader if there ever was one, although the sweat dripping from her face made it obvious she was leading simply to stand in the shadow of Zerosaber, which stretched the furthest of the three.
“Ugh, the people here are so boring.” Zartria mumbled, crossing her arms, wings flapping impatiently. “I thought there’d be monsters wherever you got sent, Star.” She looked at the other fellow blonde, pouting as she looked around at the citizens flinching away from her gaze. Must be the wings and the helmet. Magical princesses from another dimension, some can handle, but light-wings and futuristic armor?
“They’re not boring, Zartria!” Star insisted, glancing to Marco and then to the people shying away from her now that she had what appeared to be an entourage of futuristic winged androids. They weren’t entirely wrong, sure, but her friends wouldn’t hurt a fly. Well, a non- dangerous fly. “They’re just...not used to seeing people with wings. And they tend to shy away from monsters-”
“So boring?” Zartria giggled to herself, smiling apologetically when Star squinted at her, pouting.
After nearly half an hour of walking in the blistering heat, it seemed fate had finally smiled on them, Star’s eye’s lighting up as she caught the all-too-familiar glint of an ice cream scoop, clutched in the hands of a vendor who leaned on his cart like the heat didn’t even touch him – being next to a freezer might do that. “ICE CREAM, MARCO.” She gasped, breaking into a sprint toward the cart, only to slow to a trudge now that she was under the sun’s harsh rays. The others caught up with her, offering her a moment to regain her wits.
“Star, are you okay?” Zerosaber asked, a hand on her shoulder, keeping her steady in case she was about to fall over from the exertion she’d put herself through. He frowned at how red Star’s face was, Copia and Zartria looking more than worried for their friend.
“Star, didja fry your brain or something?” Zartria poked Star’s forehead, squeaking when Zero grabbed her arm and pulled it away, staring her down sternly. “Alright, fine, I won’t poke her.” She gave a big huff. “Sorry, Mr. Stick-in-the-Mud.”
Marco frowned hard as she saw Star stare woozily at all of them, still not fully in grasp of her faculties. “Don’t worry, Star, we’ll get you that ice cream and we can all rela-” As he turned to face the ice cream cart, his face paled, eyes going wide, jaw dropping as a stunned sound escaped his throat.
The vendor was no longer standing beside his cart. In fact, he was no longer on the ground at all, now hanging eight feet in the air, legs squirming desperately before he was knocked back into the throat of a monster. Looming over them on its back legs, the monster looked like a giant turtle, its head like a dragon’s, though its eyes narrowed at them atop free-roaming stalks.
Lowering down onto all fours, the turtle cackled, slick tongue running along its lips. “Gigigigiii,” its piercing laugh erupted, “looks like there’s even more snacks to help me cool off!” It took a step toward them, drool dripping onto the pavement only to rapidly evaporate.
“Star, monster!” Zartria was on alert, pulling out what looked like the grip of a sword, a blade made of light shooting out from it, glowing the same color as her wings.
“You have a laser sword!?” Marco gasped, looking at it like he’d just walked into a sci-fi movie. “That is so co-” The turtle’s head whipped out and hit him in the gut, knocking him a few feet away, landing on his back. Star was still in a daze as her friends ran around her to throw themselves at the giant turtle, Copia clutching a staff, Zero swinging his own sword, Marco getting back up and trying to find a means to punch it, though its head kept bobbing out of the way on its rubbery, snake-like neck.
“What..?” Star rubbed her eyes, the world a blur as she saw her friends whirling around her, getting batted away by the monster only to charge again. The beast just snickered and knocked them away without fail, to which end Zero finally darted around it to flank, only to freeze in shock, disgust spreading on his face as he saw the face of the vendor looking back at him.
“Hey.” The vendor’s face mumbled, looking around, adhered to the shell as if he were part of it. “Uhh, you want ice cream?”
“So hot..” Another face on the turtle’s shell groaned, sweating profusely, the drops of sweat dripping into the cracks of the shell, steam puffing out. Zero took a step back, eyes wide when he saw the beast look back at him, cackling like a banshee before its head lunged at the dazed princess.
Almost like lightning, Zerosaber tackled Star out of the way, the monster’s head smashing into the shop window behind where she stood. Holding her close, he sat her down in the shade. “Stay here.” It was an order, not a request. With a pat on her shoulder, he went back to the fight, sword sparking harmlessly against the turtle’s armor-like shell, his strikes calculated to not hit the faces on its back. “Copia, Zartria, there are humans stuck in its back!”
“Ew!” Zartria flew over it when it tried to rush her, smashing into a deli. It rose back to its feet after a moment, head covered in link sausages, which it slurped up without much thought, its back to Zartria, the faces all over it groaning as if they also felt the pain of flying through the window.
“You’ll regret that!” The monster growled before rushing again, Zartria rolling out of the way for it to only hit a streetlamp, bending it out of shape. Snarling, its head whipped out to bite her, catching on her armor, beak-like mouth trying hard to crack through. Thankfully, her armor held firm, straining but not breaking under the pressure. Relieved, Zartria grabbed its head, trying to keep it from pulling away.
“Copia, knock some sense into this guy!”
Copia nodded and ran toward Zatria and the monster, holding her staff overhead. With a cute cry, she swung it down, proceeding to repeatedly strike the turtle over the head with it, a resounding thwack coming each time. The monster seemed displeased at best, thrashing, the faces on its back groaning like they had motion sickness. While they kept the monster busy, Marco glanced over the ice cream cart, then to Star. A lightbulb clicked in his head.
“Hey, Mr. Vendor Guy, I’m gonna take a popsicle!” Marco rushed to the cart, pulling the frozen treat from its freezer. It felt soothing just to hold it, though juice was already dripping from it – boy, it really was hot.
“Don’t sweat it dude, it’s free popsicle day!” The vendor’s face yelled out before groaning again from the monster’s thrashing.
Running to Star, Marco frantically unwrapped the popsicle, biting the inside of his cheek and hoping his plan would work. Hesitantly, he prodded the frozen bar to Star’s lips. She flinched, eyes opening further, looking at the popsicle at her lips. Suddenly, she grabbed it from Marco’s hand and bit half the bar off in one go. For a second, she looked fit as a fiddle. Then, she grasped her head and groaned, shaking lightly.
“Ngh, brainfreeze..”
“C’mon, Star, focus!” Marco shook her, pointing to the turtle still being beaten by Copia, Zerosaber helping Zartria hold its head steady. “We’re gonna need a spell or something, this guy’s tough, and those people have to be sweating to death on his back!”
“You’d think with a shell like that,” Star rubbed her temples, “he’d be dying in this...heat..” She watched the steam coming from the grooves of its shells, evaporating from the sweat of his victims. She blinked, looking at her wand, trying to think up a plan as her brainfreeze cleared. “Marco.” She looked to her friend. “He’s using the people he eats to stay cool by making them sweat on him, right?”
“Gross, but true.” Marco nodded, raising an eyebrow.
“Well, he doesn’t have a face on his belly.” She pointed out, seeing glimpse of his underbelly through his thrashing. Marco looked as well, nodding when he saw what Star was getting at. “If you were to get him upside down, he’d be just as hot as we are.”
“Need help flipping him?” Marco looked ready to throw down with the overgrown turtle again.
“No, Marco,” She brushed off her wand, “I got this one.” Taking a few steps forward, she started to twirl, arms flowing like water as she worked through the steps of a spell in silence, trying not the alert the turtle until she was ready to cast. Finally, she halted, her stance open but grounded so her spell wouldn’t knock her back. “Get back, everybody! People on the shell, hold on!” She ordered, smirking as her friends pulled back, the monster turning to face her, snarling loudly. After a moment, steam billowed from its nostrils, and it rushed at Star, mouth open.
“Get over here, you little sna-”
Star eyes narrowed, wand glowing. “SUMMER SUN PUNCH BLAST!”
A fist made of burning light rocketed from her wand, catching the turtle with an uppercut to the base of its throat that made it lift onto its back legs, front legs scrambling to regain its balance, its efforts all for naught. The giant turtle fell onto its back with a thud, rocking side to side to try and right itself. Nothing was working. Slowly, its scrambling slowed, eyes going half- lidded as the sun bored down on its exposed belly, a pained groan escaping its maw.
“Please, don’t let me cook like this..” It wheezed, looking at Star, eyes pleading for mercy. “I can’t survive in this heat..”
Star frowned, a groan finally coming from her as she pulled her dimensional scissors out of her pocket, pulling open a portal. “You were probably banished from Mewni, weren’t you? Spit those people out and you can go home.”
The monster seemed to be debating it, as if he had room to bargain. Seeing no other option than the roast in the sun, no doubt, he began to cough, snakelike neck bulging before he spat up the ice cream vendor, covered in drool. Slowly, more came, the turtle shrinking with each person he coughed up until he was the size of a large dog. With his new size, he rolled himself onto his feet and scurried into the portal, afraid of further punishment from the princess or the blazing sun above. Hopefully, the weather would be better in Mewni.
Closing the portal with a sigh, Star looked to her friends. Zartria was looking over the scuffs in her armor, frowning and cursing under her breath. Zerosaber and Copia just looked glad she was okay, though Copia was the only one hugging her. Zerosaber came over to Star, smiling lightly, putting his sword way. “Good job with that monster.”
“It was nothing.” Star shrugged, glancing around before leaning in and pecking his cheek. “Thank you for saving me while I was still all loopy.” She giggled quietly, looking at her feet, color flushing into her cheeks, the heart-shaped marks on them beating lightly.
He nodded, his smile just a little wider, stepping aside when Copia ran past to hug Star tight. “Star, you were amazing!” She beamed up at her, green eyes glinting with admiration. It was no secret that Copia looked up to Star, but she looked like she was hugging her hero as she bounced on her feet, wings flapping excitedly. When she let go of Star, she moved right on to Marco, hugging him as tight as she could manage. As she pressed close, Star could see her cheeks flushing, as were Marco’s, who stood in surrender to Copia’s hug, arms limp at his side.
Slowly, the ice cream vendor rose to his feet, the sausage link the turtle had slurped up earlier around him like a necklace. “Uhhh, I think I died, but,” he took the link off him and
gently let it drop into a trashcan, “thanks?” He looked to the ice cream cart. “I’m...honestly, kids, just take what you want.”
Marco gasped and ran to the cart, pulling out whatever treat he could hold, pausing when he looked up at the sun still bearing down on them all. “Great, but how are we going to get these home before they melt?”
“Why go home?” Star smiled, sitting down and grabbing a popsicle from Marco, smiling as the others took a treat of their own after a moment, sitting beside her.
Looking at the ice cream in his hands, Marco sighed and sat beside Copia, smiling as they five friends sat on the curb and ate ice cream while a group of slime-covered citizens dispersed to go home.

Interview With the Author
Benjamin Guerrero joins me today to discuss his new book, Eden Arcadia Gradation Vol.1.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
I would recommend it for people ages 17 and up due to how dark the story gets as you read it.
What sparked the idea for this book?
A friend of mine one day told me I should start my own project, and that was when Eden Arcadia Gradation was conceived slowly.
So, which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
I believe the character’s story comes first because there is so much you can do with it before making and publishing a book.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
The hardest part was making sure how the chapters were going to turn out after the previous one.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I hope people will like it and become fans of it although I’m quite nervous as to how people might approach me with it.
How long did it take you to write this book?
It took me a year and a half, though I had help from another friend who is also a writer and has been teaching me and working with me through the process.
What is your writing routine?
I usually have time for it when I have free time or I’m not working.
How did you get your book published?
I published the book through Amazon’s services.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Believe in yourself and hope will come around the corner.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I like to go places, travel, and have fun.
What does your family think of your writing?
My family are happy and proud of this.
Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I was just a child with problems around me, but I believe my idols were there to comfort me.
Did you like to read when you were a child?
Not really, but my brother encouraged me to read, so it paid off.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I took my brother’s advice.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Yes, in a lot of ways. Most of the story that goes on in my book is based on my childhood and current adulthood.
Do you hear from your readers much?
Not really, but I wish. It would mean a lot to hear something from them.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
I am making Vol.2 right now and something else. So, yeah, you’ll be hearing from me soon.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by today, Benjamin. Best of luck with your future projects.