Berkley Massachusetts, here I come (unless I get lost).

specialeventaheadGreetings fellow weirdos.

Tomorrow (Tuesday, July 12th for those of you seriously upping your “Summer Brain” game and no longer understanding the ebb and flow of time) I will be at Berkley Library with two additional weirdos: Trisha Leaver and Kristy Acevedo.

Trisha writers horror that corrupts your sanity, as well as contemporary that requires you to ingest copious amounts of sunshine after reading or you will melt into the pavement in agony. She also writes a bit of “what if” Sci Fi that makes me seriously question what brand of glue she sniffed as a child. Her books are: The Secrets We Keep, Sweet Madness, Creed, Hardwired, and I See Reality

Kristy has hit the ground running this year with her debut Sci-Fi novel, Consider, which translates loosely to a tale about a panic-attack prone kid who is thrown into a “Crap, we’re doomed to die and screwed either way thanks to the creepy holograms” scenario. Kristy obviously enjoys torturing emotionally frayed characters and her readers happily scream for more.

And then there is me. The sane one. Sorta. Well . . . kinda.

Oh screw it – I’m the most warped of all. I just dyed my almost 8-year-old son’s hair green, but more or less skimmed the instructions, resulting in what looks like a cross between a hairy map of the continents and Mikey the Ninja Turtle after a bender. Luckily, my son loves it (crooked mohawk included) and school doesn’t restart until late August. His hair should grow out by then and the staining to his skin should fade. Hopefully. Eventually. Meh, whatever. My books are Undertow, Stormfront, True North, and Cruel Summer.

Come find me! I have leftover green dye!

 

berkley library

 

Today on Cape Cod!

On Thursday, July 7th I will be at the Boune Public Library with Laura Woollett as part of their Summer Reading Program! This is a great chance to escape the beach for a bit and grab some books for your kiddos for their summer reading!

 

Bourne Library Radical Reads

Ultimate Reading list for Summer

I am a book addict.

I love the multitude of stories, the feel of the paper, the weight of a novel – everything. And I read – ALL THE TIME. I also snoop all the time when it comes to books, so I’m always stumbling across novels that grab me by accident.

Recently, I taught a class with Mick Carlon at the Hyannis Library about hooking a reluctant reader. I’m actually pretty good at it – hooking a reader with a book I recommend and turning them into some RAVENOUS, BOOK-READING MANIAC.

Case in point: my son’s friend’s mom. We’ll call her “Gavinsmom” as that’s what she’s known as in all conversations I have with my seven-year-old. Basically she had her first name deleted the second she popped out a kid . . . like all us moms.

Once upon a time (technically a few months ago), Gavinsmom was a non-reader. But then, one day, she was at my home and noticed that I had copious amounts of the same book on my shelves (Undertow) and she was like, “Um – what’s the deal?” to which I explained that Undertow was MY book and that I write the series. As in writing words. Like, all the freakin’ time. ‘Til my retinas bleed.

That was in January and I recently asked her to write about what happened after that fateful bit of info. This is her story and how books became such a game-changer in her life and how she became a storyteller:

11193242_10205986015146714_8131125074986849663_nOne day I was dropping my son off at Kate’s house when she mentioned that she had read two books in one day. I swear my jaw hit the floor. I told her that I could never do that considering that I have never enjoyed reading. I’ve tried over the years but never stayed interested in a book long enough to finish it. Kate simply said that I just needed to find the right one. She immediately went upstairs to her extensive book collection and brought down two books. She handed me Undertow and Obsidian.
 
I reluctantly accepted the challenge. I was hesitant for a couple of reasons. 1. The idea of suddenly loving to read after one book was hard to believe 2. Undertow was written by Kate. No pressure there. 
 
And I’m woman enough to admit when I’m wrong. 
 
I was wrong. 
 
The moment I read the first chapter of Undertow, I was hooked. I finished it in two days! I moved on to Jennifer Armentrout’s Obsidian from the Lux series. Holy Aliens! I was obsessed! I read that one in a single day. I couldn’t get enough. I called Kate begging her to let me borrow the rest of the books in both series. 
 
Since the beginning of January, I have read roughly 60 books and the list keeps rapidly growing week to week.
 
Then one day Kate and I were talking about how I met my husband. I was telling her some of the funny things that happened during that time and suddenly Kate said that my story would make a good book and that I should write it. 
 
Again, jaw to floor. 
 
Never in my life did I think of becoming a writer. I didn’t think I was creative enough for that. And I have enough trouble explaining things out loud, let alone writing it down.
But again, I accepted the challenge of writing one chapter. I brought it back to Kate and she was impressed and said that I was a writer. Now, a few months later, I have written nine chapters of my book, which earned the title South of Montgomery.
 
Being a stay at home mom for the past eight and a half years, my life had been entirely devoted to my children and husband. But along the way, I lost myself. I barley remembered what I use to do for fun or what my hobbies were. My life became my kids and husband, but with Kate’s help, I was able to find a love of reading and writing, which were both something I never expected in a million years. I love how you can be transported into another world in a book. Reading and writing allows me to get out of my everyday life and just escape. And somewhere, along the way, I found myself once again.

 

I guess, my point is, that books aren’t just an escape – they are this insanely awesome doorway to another part of yourself. And it’s a part of oneself that rarely has a chance to come out and play, especially with the burdens of school and work. So reading, especially the wild stuff, is so important. It’s probably even more important for those kids (and adults) that actually don’t like to read.

So, with that in mind, here is MY ultimate list for those reluctant readers in your life for this summer. Go forth, fair weirdos, and burn thy cash at thy bookstoreth.


TEEN SUMMER READ PICKS BY K.R. CONWAY


 

18196040The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

That’s how many days I’ve been trapped.

  1. That’s how many days I have left to find a way out.

DAI, trying to escape a haunting past, traffics drugs for the most ruthless kingpin in the Walled City. But in order to find the key to his freedom, he needs help from someone with the power to be invisible….

JIN hides under the radar, afraid the wild street gangs will discover her biggest secret: Jin passes as a boy to stay safe. Still, every chance she gets, she searches for her lost sister….

MEI YEE has been trapped in a brothel for the past two years, dreaming of getting out while watching the girls who try fail one by one. She’s about to give up, when one day she sees an unexpected face at her window…..

In this innovative and adrenaline-fueled novel, they all come together in a desperate attempt to escape a lawless labyrinth before the clock runs out.

 

12813630Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.

 

19547856Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Albertalli

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

 

22924235Undertow by Conway

Eila Walker knows luck is not a friend, so she is downright shocked to inherit a million-dollar Cape Cod home. And yeah, her new town isn’t perfect: the cheerleaders are heinous clones, the local undertow can kill ya, and her Great Grams was supposedly fried by lightning in the harbor square. Still, Eila is hopeful her luckless days are in the past . . . until history decides to repeat itself.

When Raef O’Reilly becomes her friendly, yet weirdly protective shadow, Eila thinks life is pretty darn perfect – until she is hauled beneath the waves by an unnatural undertow. Revealing coal-black eyes and iron-like strength as he rescues her, Raef can no longer hide what he is . . . or what she can do. Eila, last of her kind, can supposedly channel the power of human souls, while Raef is more adept at stealing them. Even worse, the legend about her ancestor isn’t such a myth, since Eila’s grandmother was one kick-butt warrior until her lightning-like power backfired. A power that is written all over Eila’s DNA.

Determined to stay one step ahead of a dangerous clan that is hunting her, Raef, along with three unlikely allies, will do all they can to protect her. But as hidden pieces of their brutal histories unravel, Eila begins to understand just what went down in the harbor square. She soon realizes that following in her grandmother’s fearless footsteps may be the only way to save those she loves . . . including Raef.

 

25582556Titans by Scott

Ever since the Titans first appeared in her Detroit neighborhood, Astrid Sullivan’s world has revolved around the mechanical horses. She and her best friend have spent countless hours watching them and their jockeys practice on the track. It’s not just the thrill of the race. It’s the engineering of the horses and the way they’re programmed to seem so lifelike. The Titans are everything that fascinates Astrid, and nothing she’ll ever touch.

She hates them a little, too. Her dad lost everything betting on the Titans. And the races are a reminder of the gap between the rich jockeys who can afford the expensive machines to ride, and the working class friends and neighbors of Astrid’s who wager on them.

But when Astrid’s offered a chance to enter an early model Titan in this year’s derby, well, she decides to risk it all. Because for a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, it’s more than a chance at fame or money. Betting on herself is the only way she can see to hang on to everyone in the world she cares about.

 

16034235Throne of Glass by S. Maas

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

 

16096824A Court of Thorns and Roses (OLDER TEENS) by S. Maas

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it… or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

 

25982606Burn Baby Burn by Medina

Nora Lopez is seventeen during the infamous year 1977 in New York.

After a freezing winter, a boiling hot summer explodes with arson, a blackout, and a serial killer named Son of Sam, who is shooting young people on the streets seemingly at random.

Not only is the city a disaster, but Nora has troubles of her own: her brother, Hector, is growing more uncontrollable by the day, her mother is helpless to stop him, and her father is so busy with his new family that he only calls on holidays.

And it doesn’t stop there. The super’s after her mother to pay their overdue rent, and her teachers are pushing her to apply for college, but all Nora wants is to turn eighteen and be on her own. There is a cute guy who started working with her at the deli, but is dating even worth the risk when the killer especially likes picking off couples who stay out too late?

 

12578077Obsidian by Armentrout

Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring… until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something… unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don’t kill him first, that is.

 

12925379My Life in Black and White by Natasha Friend

 What if you lost the thing that made you who you are?

Lexi has always been stunning. Her butter-colored hair and perfect features have helped her attract friends, a boyfriend, and the attention of a modeling scout. But everything changes the night Lexi’s face goes through a windshield. Now she’s not sure what’s worse: the scars she’ll have to live with forever, or what she saw going on between her best friend and her boyfriend right before the accident. With the help of her trombone-playing, defiantly uncool older sister and a guy at school recovering from his own recent trauma, Lexi learns she’s much more than just a pretty face.

 

JoyrideJoyride by Anna Banks

A popular guy and a shy girl with a secret become unlikely accomplices for midnight pranking, and are soon in over their heads—with the law and with each other—in this sparkling standalone from NYT-bestselling author Anna Banks.

It’s been years since Carly Vega’s parents were deported. She lives with her brother, studies hard, and works at a convenience store to contribute to getting her parents back from Mexico.

Arden Moss used to be the star quarterback at school. He dated popular blondes and had fun with his older sister, Amber. But now Amber’s dead, and Arden blames his father, the town sheriff who wouldn’t acknowledge Amber’s mental illness. Arden refuses to fulfill whatever his conservative father expects.

All Carly wants is to stay under the radar and do what her family expects. All Arden wants is to NOT do what his family expects. When their paths cross, they each realize they’ve been living according to others. Carly and Arden’s journey toward their true hearts—and one another—is funny, romantic, and sometimes harsh.

 

26244548Wanderlost by Jen Malone:

Not all those who wander are lost, but Aubree Sadler most definitely is on this novel’s whirlwind trip through Europe.

Aubree can’t think of a better place to be than in perfectly boring Ohio, and she’s ready for a relaxing summer. But when her older sister, Elizabeth, gets into real trouble, Aubree is talked into taking over Elizabeth’s summer job, leading a group of senior citizens on a bus tour through Europe.

Aubree doesn’t even make it to the first stop in Amsterdam before their perfect plan unravels, leaving her with no phone, no carefully prepared binder full of helpful facts, and an unexpected guest: the tour company owner’s son, Sam. Considering she’s pretending to be Elizabeth, she absolutely shouldn’t fall for him, but she can’t help it, especially with the most romantic European cities as the backdrop for their love story.

But her relationship with Sam is threatening to ruin her relationship with her sister, and she feels like she’s letting both of them down. Aubree knows this trip may show her who she really is—she just hopes she likes where she ends up.

 

21936937Blackhearts by Castroman

 

Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.

Edward “Teach” Drummond, son of one of Bristol’s richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There’s just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.

Following her parents’ deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she’s stuck in England?

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.

 

13138635These Broken Stars by Spooner and Kaufman

Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive – alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth.

 

20757532Shutter by Courtney Almeda

Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She’s aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera’s technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.

When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn’t exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she’s faced before . . . or die trying.

 

51ExuegMh1LSwim the Fly by Don Calame

Fifteen-year-old Matt Gratton and his two best friends, Coop and Sean, always set themselves a summertime goal. This year’s? To see a real-live naked girl for the first time — quite a challenge, given that none of the guys has the nerve to even ask a girl out on a date. But catching a girl in the buff starts to look easy compared to Matt’s other summertime aspiration: to swim the 100-yard butterfly (the hardest stroke known to God or man) as a way to impress Kelly West, the sizzling new star of the swim team. In the spirit of Hollywood’s blockbuster comedies, screenwriter-turned-YA-novelist Don Calame unleashes a true ode to the adolescent male: characters who are side-splittingly funny, sometimes crude, yet always full of heart.

 

18304322Dumplin’ by Murphy

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

 

23437156Six of Crows by Bardugo

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

 

10194157Shadow and Bone by Bardugo

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

 

16429619Kiss of Deception by Pearson

A princess must find her place in a reborn world.

She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor’s secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can’t abide. Like having to marry someone she’s never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.

 

16068341The Truth About Alice by Mathieu

Everyone knows Alice slept with two guys at one party.

But did you know Alice was sexting Brandon when he crashed his car?

It’s true. Ask ANYBODY.

Rumor has it that Alice Franklin is a slut. It’s written all over the bathroom stall at Healy High for everyone to see. And after star quarterback Brandon Fitzsimmons dies in a car accident, the rumors start to spiral out of control.

In this remarkable debut novel, four Healy High students—the girl who has the infamous party, the car accident survivor, the former best friend, and the boy next door—tell all they know.

But exactly what is the truth about Alice? In the end there’s only one person to ask: Alice herself.

 

10194514Pushing the Limits by McGarry

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with “freaky” scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again..

 

11410430Defiance by Redwine

While the other girls in the walled city-state of Baalboden learn to sew and dance, Rachel Adams learns to track and hunt. While they bend like reeds to the will of their male Protectors, she uses hers for sparring practice.

When Rachel’s father fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the city’s brutal Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector: her father’s apprentice, Logan—the boy she declared her love to and who turned her down two years before. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father’s survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can’t be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

 

16143347We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

A beautiful and distinguished family.

A private island.

A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.

A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.

A revolution. An accident. A secret.

Lies upon lies.

True love.

The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.

And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

 

10507293The Selection by Cass

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

 

11594257Under the Never Sky by Rossi

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland–known as The Death Shop–are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She’s been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild–a savage–and her only hope of staying alive.

A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile–everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria’s help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

 

27774758An Ember in the Ashes by Tahir

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

 

24396858The Dead House by Kurtagich

Part-psychological thriller, part-urban legend, this is an unsettling narrative made up of diary entries, interview transcripts, film footage transcripts and medical notes. Twenty-five years ago, Elmbridge High burned down. Three people were killed and one pupil, Carly Johnson, disappeared. Now a diary has been found in the ruins of the school. The diary belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, Carly’s identical twin sister. But Carly didn’t have a twin . . .

Re-opened police records, psychiatric reports, transcripts of video footage and fragments of diary reveal a web of deceit and intrigue, violence and murder, raising a whole lot more questions than it answers.

Who was Kaitlyn and why did she only appear at night? Did she really exist or was she a figment of a disturbed mind? What were the illicit rituals taking place at the school? And just what did happen at Elmbridge in the events leading up to ‘the Johnson Incident’?

Chilling, creepy and utterly compelling, THE DEAD HOUSE is one of those very special books that finds all the dark places in your imagination, and haunts you long after you’ve finished reading.

 

23395680Illuminae by Kaufman and Kristoff

 This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

 

23340891Sweet Madness by Leaver and Currie

Seventeen-year-old Bridget Sullivan is alone in Fall River, a city that sees Irish immigrants as nothing more than a drunken drain on society. To make matters worse, she’s taken employment with the city’s most peculiar and gossip-laden family—the Bordens. But Bridget can’t afford to be picky—the pay surpasses any other job Bridget could ever secure and she desperately needs the money to buy her little sister, Cara, passage to the states. It doesn’t hurt that the job location is also close to her beau, Liam. As she enters the disturbing inner workings of the Borden household, Bridget clings to these advantages.

However, what seemed like a straightforward situation soon turns into one that is untenable. Of course Bridget has heard the gossip around town about the Bordens, but what she encounters is far more unsettling. The erratic, paranoid behavior of Mr. Borden, the fearful silence of his wife, and worse still…the nightly whisperings Bridget hears that seem to come from the walls themselves.

The unexpected bright spot of the position is that Lizzie Borden is so friendly. At first, Bridget is surprised at how Lizzie seems to look out for her, how she takes a strong interest in Bridget’s life. Over time, a friendship grows between them. But when Mr. Borden’s behavior goes from paranoid to cruel, and the eerie occurrences in the house seem to be building momentum, Bridget makes the tough decision that she must leave the house—even if it means leaving behind Lizzie, her closest friend, alone with the madness. Something she swore she would not do.

But when Bridget makes a horrifying discovery in the home, all that she thought she knew about the Bordens is called into question…including if Lizzie is dangerous. And the choice she must make about Lizzie’s character could mean Bridget’s life or death.

SWEET MADNESS is a retelling of the infamous Borden murders from the point of view of Lizzie’s Irish maid, Bridget Sullivan.

 

21979832The Girl from Everywhere by Heilig

Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.

As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix.

But the end to it all looms closer every day.

Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence.

For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters.

She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love.

Or she could disappear.

 

22328546The Red Queen by Aveyard

This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart.

 

 

23719270Vengeance Road by Bowman

Revenge is worth its weight in gold.

When her father is murdered for a journal revealing the location of a hidden gold mine, eighteen-year-old Kate Thompson disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers—and justice. What she finds are untrustworthy strangers, endless dust and heat, and a surprising band of allies, among them a young Apache girl and a pair of stubborn brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, a startling truth becomes clear: some men will stop at nothing to get their hands on gold, and Kate’s quest for revenge may prove fatal.

 

23014001The Awesome (older teens) by Darrows

Seventeen-year-old Maggie Cunningham is tough, smart, and sassy. She’s also not like other girls her age, but then, who would be when the family business is monster hunting? Combat boots, ratty hooded sweatshirts, and hair worn short so nothing with claws can get a grip, Maggie’s concerns in life slant more toward survival than fashion or boys. Which presents a problem when Maggie’s mother informs Maggie that she can’t get her journeyman’s license for hunting until she loses her virginity.

Something about virgin blood turning vampires into pointy rage monsters. Blood and gore and insides being on the outside and all that.

Maggie’s battled ghosts and goblins and her fair share of house brownies, but finding herself a boy – fitting in with her peers – proves a much more daunting task than any monster hunt. Did you know normal girls don’t stuff their bras with holy water balloons? Nor do they carry wooden stakes in their waistbands. And they care about things like “matching” and “footwear.” Of course, they also can’t clean a gun blindfolded, shoot a crossbow, or exorcise ghosts from a house. Which means they’re lame and Maggie’s not. Because Maggie’s awesome. The Awesome, in fact. Just ask her. She’d be more than happy to tell you.

After she finds herself a date.

 

ScarletUS.inddScarlet by A.C. Gaughen

Will Scarlet is good at two things: stealing from the rich and keeping secrets – skills that are in high demand in Robin Hood’s band of thieves, who protect the people of Nottingham from the evil sheriff. Scarlet’s biggest secret of all is one only Robin and his men know…that she is posing as a thief; that the slip of a boy who is fast with sharp knives is really a girl.

The terrible events in her past that led Scarlet to hide her real identity are in danger of being exposed when the thief taker Lord Gisbourne arrives in town to rid Nottingham of the Hood and his men once and for all. As Gisbourne closes in a put innocent lives at risk, Scarlet must decide how much the people of Nottingham mean to her, especially John Little, a flirtatious fellow outlaw, and Robin, whose quick smiles have the rare power to unsettle her. There is real honor among these thieves and so much more – making this a fight worth dying for.

 

10576365The Darkest Minds by Bracken

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.’

 

17331828Talon by Kagawa

Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they’re positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon’s newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember’s bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

 

25327907-1Girl Singer by Carlon

Harlem 1938: eighteen-year-old Avery, aspiring singer, is heard by Lester “Pres” Young, Count Basie’s tenor saxophonist. Pres recommends her to Basie, and Avery is whisked into the jazz life. Years later, with several hit records to her credit, Avery settles in Greenwich Village. But her life takes a sharp turn when she meets Karl, a Jewish refugee from Hitler’s Germany.

 

BecomingJinn-e1423841776818Becoming Jinn by Goldstein:

Forget everything you thought you knew about genies!

Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit.

To the humans she lives among, she’s just the girl working at the snack bar at the beach, navigating the fryer and her first crush. But behind closed doors, she’s learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny.

Mentored by her mother and her Zar “sisters”, Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn . . . and that her powers could endanger them all. As Azra uncovers the darker world of becoming Jinn, she realizes when genies and wishes are involved, there’s always a trick.

 

29512334Consider by Acevedo

As if Alexandra Lucas’ anxiety disorder isn’t enough, mysterious holograms suddenly appear from the sky, heralding the end of the world. They bring an ultimatum: heed the warning and step through a portal-like vertex to safety, or stay and be destroyed by a comet they say is on a collision course with earth. How’s that for senior year stress?

The holograms, claiming to be humans from the future, bring the promise of safety. But without the ability to verify their story, Alex is forced to consider what is best for her friends, her family, and herself.

To stay or to go. A decision must be made.

With the deadline of the holograms’ prophecy fast approaching, Alex feels as though she is living on a ticking time bomb, until she discovers it is much, much worse.

 

12294652My Life Next Door by Fitzpatrick

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.

As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase’s family embraces Samantha – even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha’s world. She’s suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

 

11836538Croak by Damico

Fed up with her wild behavior, sixteen-year-old Lex’s parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape.

But Uncle Mort’s true occupation is much dirtier than shoveling manure. He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach Lex the family business.

She quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. But Lex can’t stop her desire for justice — or is it vengeance? — whenever she encounters a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again.

Will she ditch Croak and go rogue with her reaper skills?

 

16068905Fangirl by Rowell

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

 

23299512This Savage Song by Schwab

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from acclaimed author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books, This Savage Song is a must-have for fans of Holly Black, Maggie Stiefvater, and Laini Taylor.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives. In This Savage Song, Victoria Schwab creates a gritty, seething metropolis, one worthy of being compared to Gotham and to the four versions of London in her critically acclaimed fantasy for adults, A Darker Shade of Magic. Her heroes will face monsters intent on destroying them from every side—including the monsters within

 

22752127The Serpent King by Zentner

 Dill has had to wrestle with vipers his whole life—at home, as the only son of a Pentecostal minister who urges him to handle poisonous rattlesnakes, and at school, where he faces down bullies who target him for his father’s extreme faith and very public fall from grace.

The only antidote to all this venom is his friendship with fellow outcasts Travis and Lydia. But as they are starting their senior year, Dill feels the coils of his future tightening around him. Dill’s only escapes are his music and his secret feelings for Lydia—neither of which he is brave enough to share. Graduation feels more like an ending to Dill than a beginning. But even before then, he must cope with another ending—one that will rock his life to the core.

Debut novelist Jeff Zentner provides an unblinking and at times comic view of the hard realities of growing up in the Bible belt, and an intimate look at the struggles to find one’s true self in the wreckage of the past.

 

26156203The Crown’s Game by Skye

Perfect for fans of Shadow and Bone and Red Queen, The Crown’s Game is a thrilling and atmospheric historical fantasy set in Imperial Russia about two teenagers who must compete for the right to become the Imperial Enchanter—or die in the process—from debut author Evelyn Skye.

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know.  The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love . . . or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear . . . the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

 

204297Sleeping Freshman Never Lie by Lubar

Starting high school is never easy. Seniors take your lunch money. Girls you’ve known forever are suddenly beautiful and unattainable. And you can never get enough sleep. Could there be a worse time for Scott’s mother to announce she’s pregnant? Scott decides high school would be a lot less overwhelming if it came with a survival manual, so he begins to write down tips for his new sibling. Meanwhile, he’s trying his best to capture the attention of Julia, the freshman goddess. In the process, Scott manages to become involved in nearly everything the school has to offer. So while he tries to find his place in the confusing world of high school, win Julia’s heart, and keep his sanity, Scott will be recording all the details for his sibling’s—and your—enjoyment.

 

21518344Unhooked by Maxwell

For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home. Her mother believes they are being hunted by brutal monsters, and those delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. Gwen’s only saving grace is that her best friend, Olivia, is with her for the summer.

But shortly after their arrival, the girls are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and dragged to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey. And Gwen begins to realize that maybe her mother isn’t so crazy after all…

Gwen discovers that this new world she inhabits is called Neverland, but it’s nothing like the Neverland you’ve heard about in stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through your fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and tries to find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the captivating pirate who promises to keep her safe.

Caught in the ultimate battle between good and evil, with time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to finally face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But can she save Neverland without losing herself?

 

18798983The Wrath and the Dawn by Ahdieh

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

 

24807186Wolf by Wolf by Graudin

The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule. To commemorate their Great Victory, they host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The prize? An audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s ball in Tokyo.

Yael, a former death camp prisoner, has witnessed too much suffering, and the five wolves tattooed on her arm are a constant reminder of the loved ones she lost. The resistance has given Yael one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female racer, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele’s twin brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move.

But as Yael grows closer to the other competitors, can she be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and stay true to her mission?

From the author of The Walled City comes a fast-paced and innovative novel that will leave you breathless.

 

12849226The Vindico by King

The Vindico are a group of supervillains who have been fighting the League of Heroes for as long as anyone can remember. Realizing they’re not as young as they used to be, they devise a plan to kidnap a group of teenagers to take over for them when they retire—after all, how hard can it be to teach a bunch of angsty teens to be evil?

Held captive in a remote mansion, five teens train with their mentors and receive superpowers beyond their wildest dreams. Struggling to uncover the motives of the Vindico, the teens have to trust each other to plot their escape. But they quickly learn that the differences between good and evil are not as black and white as they seem, and they are left wondering whose side they should be fighting on after all . . .

With fast-paced action, punchy dialogue, and sarcastic humor, this high-stakes adventure from a talented new YA voice pulls you in from the first page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hyannis Public Library Event!

Rule #1 to being a writer: Be a reader.

And don’t read what people expect you to read. Read the wild side. The dark side. Root for the bad guy and the good guy. A great book transforms your world. Steals you away to another dimension where the dog isn’t barking and the kids aren’t fighting and the food may be burning.

Great books are like drugs – addictive and hallucinatory. But sometimes finding them, isn’t easy. Sometimes convincing a non-reader to try a book is like communicating the rules of a rotary to a non-Massachusetts driver.

But all it takes is one book. Just one.

On June 1st at the Hyannis Library, I’m teaching Hooking the Teen Reader with Mick Carlon. We are going to talk about how we draw the reader into our stories, as well as our favorite, un-put-downable reads. Our books will also be available for purchase and for us to sign after the event.

Summer is coming! It’s Time To Get Your Read On, Baby!

 

Art Shanty Weekend!

Dear Cape Codders and Tourists Hoping to Not Get Eaten by Jaws:

I shall be at the Hyannis Art Shanties at the Hyannis Harbor ferry docks this weekend (May 20, 21, 22) with Katie O’Sullivan and Kathryn Knight. Come find me, maybe grab a few books, and have a blast!

CRUEL SUMMER 5.5 x 8 cover onlyIn honor of the ferry and of the coming high-season of Cape Cod, I’ve loaded a chapter from CRUEL SUMMER where tourist / immortal killer, Kian, is meeting up with Ana Lane who he has hired to help him find a new car at an antique auto sale on Martha’s Vineyard (since his other vehicle contained a dead dude and a kilo of cocaine, making it useless):

 

Cruel Summer (Kian’s POV):

The ride over to the Vineyard consisted of screaming children and people plastered with Martha’s Vineyard sweatshirts, as if they needed a reminder of where they were going. Couples talked non-stop about places they were hoping to see and families gossiped about other people. I even caught one couple groping each other near the back half of the ferry, apparently unwilling to wait for a room.

I slid into a bench seat on the top deck of the boat, handing Pix a hot chocolate I’d gotten from the café onboard. I leaned back in the seat, watching the island slowly grow on the horizon.

Another half hour jammed in with the coupon-clipping crowd and I could get the hell off this dingy ship.

Pix pried the plastic top off the drink and blew over the swirling chocolate, trying to cool it. I watched as her fingertips played over the edge of the paper cup, searching for a place to touch without getting burned. She finally took a tiny sip and began running down the itinerary of cars that we had decided on.

“So, we will look at the ’62 Bonneville and the ’70 Mach 1 Mustang first. And then, it looks like they put all the new models down on Front Street, so we can wander down that way if you decide to go new. I’ve got to tell ya, everyone will be after the ’63 Sting Ray.” She took another sip, watching me over her cup.

“I bet you like the old school muscle cars,” I replied, trying not to stare at her pink tongue that was sweeping away the chocolate from her lip.

“Mmm hmm,” she replied. “I like the icons with plenty of ponies under the hood. The newer cars are so much plastic. Give me chrome and steel any day. Something that defends me on the road and blows the doors off the brat in his Daddy’s new Beamer.”

“Is that Trans Am you were working on yours?” I asked as the wind picked up. It tossed her hair, causing her mane to twist wildly in her face, like Medusa’s snakes. She wrangled it all back into a pony tail.

“Yeah. My boss, Jack, gave it to me, and in return I work half-days on Saturday for free. I’ve been working on it for about a year. It just takes a lot of time and money and I’m . . .” Her words stalled and she dropped her gaze to the cup as she cleared her throat. “It’ll get done. Eventually.”

“It’s Saturday and you’re not at work though. You’re with me. How’d you manage that?”

She shrugged. “I told Jack that I could work a few extra hours this coming week at night to make up for it.”

Jack sounded like a slave driver. I hated Jack. Didn’t her parents care she worked so much for this jerk? In fact . . .

“I’m surprised you actually were able to come with me to the island. Not many parents would let their beautiful daughter wander off with a stranger.”

Pix flushed at the compliment and looked away toward the island, which loomed larger and larger. I could make out waterfront restaurants and the tilting sailboats moored near the docks.

She took a sip of her drink, but didn’t look back at me as she answered. “It’s just my Dad and me and he owns a fishing boat, so he’s gone half the time. He knows I’m a big girl – I can handle myself.”

I found it disturbing that she was on her own. A lot. She was probably 105 pounds soaking wet and I knew, for a fact, that she slept in her car the other night.

Someone could attack her – have his way with her. She could be killed. Abducted. She could be one of those missing kids whose faces line the telephone poles and walls of various cities.

And her pal, MJ, didn’t want her to go home. Was home worse than sleeping in a car? Scenarios began filtering through my mind, none of which were good.

The tension inside me began to tighten, squeezing me like a cheap wool sweater.

What would happen to her once I left? Would I end up seeing her face on the news, listed as yet another casualty of a rip current that pulled her down and filled her lungs with seawater? I saw those people on TV all the time and I knew the truth every time.

A soul shark had killed them.

I’d watch as the reporters clustered around the family, capturing the agony of those the person left behind. It had never bothered me – their tears, their gasped thanks, their pleas for space. But now, as I looked at Pix, I knew I couldn’t handle the idea of her being the one who was killed. I couldn’t handle the idea of someone attacking her.

I moaned.

I should’ve never stayed on Cape Cod. Never have followed this unusual, defiant girl to the beach. At minimum, I should’ve left yesterday morning, never gone to RC garage, never asked her to come with me to the Vineyard.

I should’ve put half the country between us, but I hadn’t and now I was . . . I was . . . shit, I was screwed! I was invested. I LIKED her. Even worse – I worried about her.

It was rumored that a soul thief could become bonded to the soul of a human, and that the link, once formed, was damn near unbreakable. Up until now, I’d called it total bullshit – an excuse for those Mortis who were stupid enough to get involved with humans.

Apparently I was a top rank moron, because I was definitely involved with Pix . . . who was now giving me a weird look.

“Um. Are you okay?” she asked.

Hell, NO I wasn’t all right! It had to be a lie – such bonds are supernatural fairy tales. I was in control of my destiny. I could walk away. I could pull out and leave her standing on the docks whenever I wanted.

Pix smiled a little. “’Cause you look like you might barf, and no offense, I don’t want to be barfed on. The two hundred a day does not include puking rights.” She smiled a little. “Plus we’re only stuck on the boat for maybe another ten minutes. Just keep your eye on the distance – it eases the seasickness.”

I wasn’t seasick – I was heartsick – but I did as she instructed because looking at her was too hard. Because looking at her reminded me of all the reasons I was wrong for her and all the selfish reasons why I didn’t care.

I was going to stay.

Find a way to be part of her world.

I looked back at her and she gave a lopsided smile. “See? You look a little better. Told ya – keeping your eye on the horizon helps. Barf-incident avoided. I totally earned a tip!”

Oh, hell.

I’d become bonded to the soul of Ana Lane.

 

 

Ireland Giveaway!!

A mad fan from across the pond is giving away the entire Undertow Series! SHOW HER SOME LOVE! :)

Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 7.04.06 PM

Well it’s time for giveaway number 1!!this giveaway will run from May 1st to May 31st and winner will be picked the first week of June. This giveaway is worldwide so anyone can enter. The rules are as follows.
1. Like this page (siobnans book corner)
2. Like this post.
3. Share this post.
4. Comment when done.

And now for the prize one very lucky person is going to win the UNDERTOW series by K.R. Conway. Book 1 Undertow book 2 Stormfront book 3 True North and Cruel Summer which is set the summer before Undertow but needs to be read after. This amazing series will have you begging for more. So don’t miss your chance to own this amazing series.

This giveaway is not sponsored and is my way of giving back to you all!! CLICK HERE: https://www.facebook.com/siobhansbookcorner/

Why do I Write in Reverse?

11205488_10207143978055771_307772720279880141_nNot long ago I was on the phone with another author friend while hashing out a story idea I had. When I was done, she replied, “Dude – you’re incapable of writing a straight contemporary story.”

Word.

The truth is, she’s right. I mean, I COULD do it, but at some point there would be a sizable, Kindle-hurling twist or the whole thing would just go off the rails a’la Spielberg’s Super 8 or something like that.

I blame this tendency to write like a loon on two things: genetics and writing in reverse.

The genetics is, well, crazy encoded.

Writing in reverse, however, is teachable and explainable:

Writing in Reverse forces me to dig deeply into the characters – their personalities, complexities, voice, drive, etc. It is the ULTIMATE tool for writing characters that come screaming off the page and haunt the reader well past the end of the book. And, personally, I like to torture them (both characters and, yeah, maybe the reader too).

Writing in Reverse (WIR) allows me to jump down the line in the story and test out plot threads and story layers against my characters. By using WIR, I know (well in advance) if something isn’t going to work with my cast because I’m building REAL fictional people who will not be forced into something that is against their natural “character.” Kinda like my real-life teenager . . .

Readers HATE that – when a character does something that doesn’t make sense for THAT particular character.

WIR also allows me to build detailed backstories and motivations for my characters. It allows me to change traits, modify voice, and in general build a cast that I can write for without even thinking about it. I know instinctively how a character will react / say / do in ANY situation and it makes writing a breeze.

Great stories lay down a path which forces the character to make choices based on who they are as a real person, not necessarily on what the author wants. That’s what WIR does brilliantly. It works great for any genre, even if it’s straight contemporary.

That said, I’m weird, so when I start playing around with a story idea, it usually starts out like this:

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And ends up like THIS:

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For more posts on Writing In Reverse CLICK HERE.

See YOU at #NESCBWI16

Book Signing at Titcombs

Howdy everyone!

I will be at Titcombs Bookshop on Rte 6A in East Sandwich tomorrow, March 13th, from 1-2pm, signing my books (including True North). Come on down and find me!!

It’s also the 1-year anniversary of Cruel Summer – the Undertow series prequel novel that revolves around Ana, Kian, and MJ. If you are daunted by the size of the Undertow books, Cruel Summer is a great way to get a taste of the series in just 65k words. It’s also perfect for those Cape Codders who want to rip their hair out during July 4th week because of all the traffic, since the book is set at the height of the summer season.

Titcombs carries all the books in stock :)

 

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