Six of Crows (Young Adult Science Fiction / Fantasy) by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows
Teen Science Fiction / Fantasy

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)

} About the Book }

A #1 New York Times bestseller

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.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction―if they don't kill each other first.

} The Book Excerpt }

} About Leigh Bardugo }

Leigh Bardugo is the #1 New York Times bestselling and USA Today bestselling author of Six of Crows (awarded starred reviews from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, VOYA, SLJ, and the BCCB) and the Grisha Trilogy: Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, and Ruin and Rising. She was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, graduated from Yale University, and has worked in advertising, journalism, and most recently, makeup and special effects. These days, she lives and writes in Hollywood where she can occasionally be heard singing with her band.

Secrets of the Moon by Kristy Centeno {Excerpt & Giveaway}

Secrets of the Moon
by Kristy Centeno
Amazon All Romance | Book Depository
Published by: InkSpell Publishing
Genre: Paranormal / Young Adult
Release Date: July 4, 2013
Length: 418 Pages

Teenager Marjorie Emery eluded death. As she struggles to get her life back on track, she believes her efforts are paying off. Yet, when a black dressing, unfriendly, and incredibly handsome hottie walks into her classroom, she’s forced into a tailspin. Marjorie has no idea how much his presence is going to shatter what little tranquility she’s achieved.

Kyran Rousseau’s gloomy nature has a name, one that is potentially fatal under the right circumstances. His family harbors secrets and does everything to protect Kyran. While, he doesn’t want to ruin Marjorie’s normal life, love has a way of changing his plans.

Falling for Kyran is the least of Marjorie’s worries. With a faceless threat hunting her and a boyfriend who's as dangerous as he is good looking—how can Marjorie and Kyran keep all hell from breaking loose before it’s too late?

} The Book Excerpt }

Minutes later we arrived, and just in time for our eight a.m. classes. Claire, Tracy, and I dispersed to our respective classrooms upon entering the building, agreeing to meet later on for lunch. 

Usually, I’d sit in one of the chairs at the first row of tables, since I barely made it in time for class; but today the only available seats were at the back—where no one likes to sit because it’s too far away from the writing board. No one paid attention to me as I scooted by to the back of the classroom and grabbed one of the empty seats at the last row of tables. The seat to the left of me was empty and everyone else had chosen their seats, so I was a little relieved that I wouldn’t be sharing the table with anyone. I wasn’t in the mood for small talk, so sitting alone came as a bonus. 

When a few moments had gone by and no one else showed up, the teacher began his lecture for the day. With book, notebook, and pen in hand, I began to take notes of what the teacher was either saying or writing on the board, when the door opened and someone stepped inside. I was too busy going over what I wrote so I didn’t bother to look up to see who’d entered the classroom. I automatically assumed it was probably a student running late. However, the sound of loud gasps rushing through the otherwise silent room caused me to look up to see what the commotion was all about. 

That was the first time I saw him. My gaze automatically drifted toward the silver-colored orbs he had for eyes. Never in my life had I seen eyes like those. It wasn’t just the color of them that was strange and incredibly alluring but the way he looked around the room also, as if searching for prey. Where that thought came from I had no idea, but I did agree that the description match him to a T. 

The instructor spoke softly to him, but the boy only nodded several times, not even bothering to look at him. I thought that rude until I noticed he was too busy looking at…me. 

My cheeks started to burn as he kept staring at me with those dangerously sensual eyes. No one had ever observed me that way before and it made me slightly uneasy. His quiet stare made me feel hot and uncomfortable all at once. After a silent staring contest, I turned my eyes away from him and decided to stare at the notes in front of me instead. 

His eyes were intense, too much for me to handle without feeling as if I was going to be burned alive right on the spot. Good grief, no one ever had this mammoth effect on me before. 

He was so different from the young men from around here. His demeanor held a hint of arrogance, boldness, and indifference unlike anything I’d perceived. Sure, some guys tended to act that way, but he took it up a notch. I took note of his dress code too: all-black casual wear—black hoodie, black shirt, black pants, black boots. Even his backpack was black. I could have easily accused him of being some kind of rock and roll groupie or maybe even a Goth-loving fan, but he didn’t appear to fit into either category. 

However, the dark clothing only made his look more mysterious and it definitely brought out the color of his eyes even more. He was tall, too, very tall. If I had to guess what his height was, I would say six-foot-one or something close to that. His chestnut-colored hair was long, down to his shoulders, and he wore it lose. Something about him clearly screamed bad boy.

} About Kristy Centeno }

Kristy Centeno is an author of paranormal romance, young adult, new adult, horror, and contemporary romance. 

She has always had a passion for books and after years of being an avid reader, she decided to transform her desire to write into a reality and thus, her first novel was born. In her journey to create memorable reads, she has delved into several genres, creating fictional characters meant to entice readers and captivate the mind. 

She is currently working on finishing off the Keeper Witches series among other projects, which include sequels to her published work. When she’s not busy taking care of her five children or holding down the fort, she finds time to sit and do what she loves the most: writing.

} The Giveaway }
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Novel Book Tours

Phoenix Island by John Dixon

The inspiration for the CBS TV show Intelligence—a thrilling adventure that's “Lord of the Flies meets Wolverine and Cool Hand Luke” (F. Paul Wilson, creator of Repairman Jack).

The judge told Carl that one day he’d have to decide exactly what kind of person he would become. But on Phoenix Island, the choice will be made for him.

A champion boxer with a sharp hook and a short temper, sixteen-year-old Carl Freeman has been shuffled from foster home to foster home. He can’t seem to stay out of trouble—using his fists to defend weaker classmates from bullies. His latest incident sends his opponent to the emergency room, and now the court is sending Carl to the worst place on earth: Phoenix Island.

Classified as a “terminal facility,” it’s the end of the line for delinquents who have no home, no family, and no future. Located somewhere far off the coast of the United States—and immune to its laws—the island is a grueling Spartan-style boot camp run by sadistic drill sergeants who show no mercy to their young, orphan trainees. Sentenced to stay until his eighteenth birthday, Carl plans to play by the rules, so he makes friends with his wisecracking bunkmate, Ross, and a mysterious gray-eyed girl named Octavia. But he makes enemies, too, and after a few rough scrapes, he earns himself the nickname “Hollywood” as well as a string of punishments, including a brutal night in the “sweatbox.” But that’s nothing compared to what awaits him in the “Chop Shop”—a secret government lab where Carl is given something he never dreamed of.

A new life...

A new body. A new brain.

Gifts from the fatherly Old Man, who wants to transform Carl into something he’s not sure he wants to become.

For this is no ordinary government project. Phoenix Island is ground zero for the future of combat intelligence.

And for Carl, it’s just the beginning....

Genre: YA Action, Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller
Published by: Gallery Books (Simon & Schuster)
Publication Date: January 7, 2014
Length: 320 Pages

} The Book Excerpt }

} About John Dixon }
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

John Dixon’s debut novel, Phoenix Island, inspired the CBS TV series Intelligence. A former boxer, teacher, and stone mason, John now writes full time and serves as a consultant to ABC Studios. He lives in West Chester, PA, with his wife, Christina, and their freeloading pets. When not reading or writing, he obsesses over boxing, chess, and hot peppers.

Girl in the Middle by Christine Bailey #Spotlight #Giveaway

Fifteen-year-old Skye, the middle child, finds herself wishing for a new life-one that doesn’t include daily harassment from the in-crowd at Highland Creek High School. Skye barely survived freshman year. She only did because her best friend, Goose, a semi-popular fellow band geek, was by her side. But when their sophomore year starts, Goose ditches Skye for a new crowd.

Cast into a lone existence at Highland Creek, Skye wishes for a touch of extraordinary that everyone, except her, seems to have. Her older sister, Sara Elizabeth, has it. Goose is getting close to it, and even her little sister is wildly popular in junior high. Skye would do almost anything to cast off her ordinary life…but at what price?

When her older sister goes missing without a trace, Skye gets her wish…but it’s not exactly what she had in mind. And when she questions Bryan, the senior class renegade and also the last person to be seen with her sister, she finds something she never quite expected.

Genre: YA Romantic Suspense
Release Date: September 22, 2013
Length: 210 Pages

} The Book Excerpt }

} About Christine Bailey }

Christine H. Bailey teaches Creative Writing and Written Composition at a private university in Tennessee. Before teaching English, Bailey worked as a journalist, a marketing/public relations writer, and a freelance editor.

Girl in the Middle is Bailey’s debut novel. To learn more about this author and her work, visit her online at

} The Giveaway }
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo #FF @LBardugo

The capital has fallen. The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction --- and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

Publication Date: June 3, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult 12+, Youth Fiction
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
ISBN-10: 080509461X
ISBN-13: 9780805094619

} The Epic Excerpt }

} About Leigh Bardugo }

Leigh Bardugo was born in Jerusalem, raised in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University. She is fond of glamour, ghouls and costuming, and gets to indulge all of these fancies in her other life as a makeup artist. She can occasionally be heard singing with her band, Captain Automatic.

Into the Dark Book #1: The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain #Excerpt

Haden Lord, the disgraced prince of the Underrealm, has been sent to the mortal world to entice a girl into returning with him to the land of the dead. Posing as a student at Olympus Hills High --- a haven for children of the rich and famous --- Haden must single out the one girl rumored to be able to restore immortality to his race.

Daphne Raines has dreams much bigger than her tiny southern Utah town, so when her rock star dad suddenly reappears, offering her full tuition to Olympus Hills High’s prestigious music program, she sees an opportunity to catch the break she needs to make it as a singer. But upon moving into her estranged father’s mansion in California, and attending her glamorous new school, Daphne soon realizes she isn’t the only student in Olympus who doesn’t quite belong.

Haden and Daphne --- destined for each other --- know nothing of the true stakes their fated courtship entails. As war between the gods brews, the teenagers’ lives collide. But Daphne won’t be wooed easily and when it seems their prophesied link could happen, Haden realizes something he never intended—he’s fallen in love. Now to save themselves, Haden and Daphne must rewrite their destinies. But as their destinies change, so do the fates of both their worlds.

A pulsating romance of epic proportions, Bree Despain’s THE SHADOW PRINCE will leave her fans breathless for the next book in the Into The Dark series.

Series: Into the Dark (Book 1)
Genre: Mythology
Paperback: 496 pages 
Publisher: Egmont USA (March 11, 2014)

} The Book Excerpt }

} About Bree Despain }
Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads

Bree Despain is the author of The Dark Divine trilogy: The Dark Divine, The Lost Saint, and The Savage Grace. She rediscovered her childhood love for creating stories when she took a semester off from college to write and direct plays for at-risk, inner-city teens from Philadelphia and New York. She currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband, two young sons, and her beloved TiVo.

Marvelous by Travis Thrasher #Excerpt

Brandon Jeffery’s summer started out with a bang --- as in, a friend crashed his car and now he has to work two jobs to pay it off. It’s at Fascination Street Records that he’s introduced to a beautiful but quiet girl named Marvel. She’s new to Hidden Cove and looking for a summer job, so Brandon secretly strikes a deal with their boss to work for free so she can be hired.

When a classmate is found murdered, however, their summer takes a turn for the mysterious. Brandon’s friend Devon is sure he knows just who’s to blame: the creepy recluse of the town quarry. But the police have few leads, and Brandon has the sneaking suspicion he’s being watched.

That’s not what’s on the forefront of his mind, though. More than trying to pay off his car to his unemployed, alcoholic father and protecting Seth Belcher from the school bullies, he’s determined to date Marvel. He doesn’t understand why they seem so close and she refuses to date him, but as the mystery behind her tragic past begins to unravel, Marvel finally confesses her reason: God has revealed she’s destined to die saving others --- and it’s going to be soon.

Series: The Books of Marvella (Book 1)
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: TH1NK (May 6, 2014)

} The Book Excerpt }

Chapter 1

The worst feeling in the world is being stuck. Stuck in a place you know you can’t leave, stuck in a position with no power. Stuck being a person you’d never trade places with.

Summer’s barely begun, and I already feel like some kind of prisoner.

I walk past my brothers’ bikes sprawled on the lawn, past the open garage that stands separate from our two-story house. I’m actually coming home with a piece of good news: I got a job at the record store downtown. But I don’t find anyone inside to share it with. I grab a can of Coke from the fridge and glance at the stack of mail on the kitchen table—mostly unopened bills addressed to my father.

I wonder if and when I’m going to have to start helping pay some of those bills.

I hear the back door open and my brothers’ excited voices. I step into the hallway and the first thing I see is blood on Alex’s face and T-shirt. Carter is right behind him.

“Brandon, look at this,” Alex says, holding one hand up to his nose. It’s probably broken.

Not Alex, not now.

I know what happened, and I know that I finally have to act.

I rush back to the kitchen and grab a big butcher knife. No, that’s crazy. I put it back and grab a big, round cast-iron skillet instead, holding it like a warrior about to go off to battle.

Alex has followed me into the kitchen and is still talking. “Carter’s big head busted me on the nose,” he says.

“What?” I stop and look at him again. My heart is racing. “What were you guys doing?”

“Wrestling on the trampoline.”

I sigh and let out a tidal wave of anger.

“I didn’t mean to,” Carter says. “What are you doing with that frying pan?”

I shake my head and put the skillet away. Not that I would’ve done anything with it anyway. It was just an impulse.

Carter laughs and runs off to the family room.

I poke my head into the room and see my father in his usual place on his armchair throne, eyes focused on ESPN. “I got another job,” I tell him.

He nods and looks at me the way he always does. Like I’m some kind of stranger. At least I’m not a stranger holding a cast-iron skillet, prepared to whack the side of his square face.

“Who would hire you?” Carter asks, and laughs at his own joke. “Someone whose grass you cut?”

Carter’s a little full of himself. Comes from being the baby, I guess, and Mom and Dad’s obvious favorite.

“At least someone around here has a job,” I say.

“Carter’s not the one who busted up his car, is he?” Dad says.

He’s just trying to irritate me. I don’t say anything, because I can’t deny it. I do have a busted-up car. Which is exactly why I now have two jobs this summer.

I turn to head upstairs to my room.

“You need to get your crap out of the garage, ’cause I’m cleaning it out.”

“Okay,” I call back.

I’m asking for trouble by not saying “Yes, sir,” but I’m already halfway up the stairs so I get away with it. It’s a ridiculous request anyway. My father “cleans the garage” at least once a month. It’s just an excuse for him to hide out and drink the day away while claiming to Mom that he’s working on something: his car, a washing machine he hopes to sell, the motor from a dishwasher. Things that have been broken since forever.

When I’m upstairs and Alex passes by me again, I shake my head. “Change your shirt,” I tell him.

For a second he wonders what I’m talking about. “Oh, yeah.”

Four males in this house. Sometimes it’s not a pretty sight.

Mom’s running late at the law office where she works as a paralegal, and I’m doing anything I can to stay clear of Dad. I pump air into the tires on my bike, since it will be my main mode of transportation this summer. I have an older bike in the garage too, one that I’ve said is garbage but Dad keeps saying he’ll fix up and sell. If I had a dollar for every time he’s said one thing and done something else, I could buy a new car. A really nice one.

Dad’s an electrician, or was, till he lost his job—he hasn’t electrified anything in years. Work got scarce when the housing market tanked years ago, and during my sophomore year it dried up altogether. Dad’s mood went from slightly overcast to pitch-black.

“Got the bike out, huh?” Dad walks by me and I freeze. For a second he looks down at my bike, then he keeps going to the back of the garage where his work table sits. There’s a big Chicago Bears flag behind it, along with pictures of the 1985 Bears. The wonderful, infamous ’85 Bears. There’s a funny shot of William “The Fridge” Perry doing a touchdown dance.

It’s a bit sad when you know your father loves a 325-pound defensive lineman from several decades ago more than his own son.

“So—you gonna go find a third job?” Dad says, his back turned to me. “Since they’re so easy to get?”

I don’t respond, because I’m not sure where this is coming from. He’s the one who told me I needed the second job because I’m paying off my car—the car that got crashed by a friend.

Dad turns around and looks at me. “You think you know what it takes to be the man of the house?” he asks.

I think of those bills again. “No, sir.”

He nods slowly, then smiles. It’s the meanest sort of smile I’ve ever seen. The kind the bad guy flashes right before he beats the hero to a pulp.

Maybe I need that skillet after all.

“You guys just stay so busy with your jobs. . . .” His voice fades out as if he’s talking to himself.

I just stand there, not sure what to do, really unsure where this is going. I’m not even sure who he’s referring to. Mom and me?

Dad snaps out of whatever it is. “Go on inside, okay?”

There’s not one bit of hesitation in me. I don’t need to understand anything. I don’t need to ask what’s happening with him. All I want to do is get out of here.

Back inside the house, I feel a little better. Mom will be back from work any minute with her clueless, busy self, and that’ll make me feel even better. But something’s going on inside Dad that can’t be explained by a couple of beers in the middle of the afternoon. This—this whatever it is—scares me.

It scares me because summer has only begun. And Dad has nowhere to be except here. Maybe I should get a third job.

} About Travis Thrasher }
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Critically acclaimed and creatively diverse novelist Travis Thrasher has made a career out of defying expectations. Writing stories that have moved, haunted and provoked readers, Thrasher has told tales in a variety of genres. His one common theme is brokenness, and his one common tactic is surprise. He lives with his wife and three daughters in a suburb of Chicago.

The Rabbit and the Raven by Melissa Eskue Ousley #Spotlight #Review #Giveaway

Darkness is beguiling…and power always comes with a price.

Adopted by loving parents, David Corbin had no idea his life was a lie. Then he met a girl. Abby Brown freed David from the spell keeping him from the truth, that he was the lost heir to the throne in a magical realm.

Even though he got the girl and gained a kingdom, David had no clue about the unfathomable power he would inherit, nor did he realize how much he would have to sacrifice to keep the throne.

If there is any hope of winning the war against the deadly Kruorumbrae, David and Abby will have to journey to the outer edges of the realm to secure the loyalty of the four Oracles. Along the way, they will learn just how seductive darkness can be.

Genre: Young Adult
Length: 276 Pages
Release Date: March 15, 2014
Published by: Gazebo Gardens Publishing

}The Book Excerpt}

}The Epic Review}

Loved, LOVED this book - Melissa Eskue Ousley has done it again! The Rabbit and the Raven is an awesome second installment in the Solas Beir Trilogy.

The story is full of wonderfully well-written characters and a wild ride of magical plot twists, turns and romance that will leave you looking forward to the third book in the series - I know I am.

The villain, Tynan Tierney, is exceptionally written as a darkly seductive, even sympathetic character {"Darkness is beguiling . . . and power always comes with a price."} There's no doubt, he's a very bad guy who has done some awful, evil things . . . That being said, you can't help but like him just a little bit. 

David and Abby, both with their own powerful abilities, are the kind of compelling characters you remember for years to come. 

The Rabbit and the Raven  has earned a 5 Star Epic Review and is definitely a book that's going on my Keeper Shelf, along with the first book of the series, The Sign of the Throne. And I'm looking forward to reviewing the third and final installment, The Sower Comes, when it's released.


}About Melissa Eskue Ousley}
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Melissa Eskue Ousley lives in the Pacific Northwest of the United States with her family and their Kelpie, Gryphon. When she’s not writing, Melissa can be found hiking, swimming, scuba diving, kayaking, or walking along the beach, poking dead things with a stick. 

Before she became a writer, she had a number of educational jobs, ranging from a summer spent scraping road kill off a molten desert highway, to years spent conducting research with an amazing team of educators at the University of Arizona. Her interests in psychology, culture, and mythology have influenced her writing of The Solas Beir Trilogy.

}The Giveaway}

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Chosen by the Master in a mysterious inception ceremony, Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings --- merciless creatures that leave mangled corpses in their wake. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.

As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students study the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing --- kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery --- one that will change Rithmatics --- and their world --- forever.

Bestselling author Brandon Sanderson brings his unique brand of epic storytelling to the teen audience with an engrossing tale of danger and suspense --- the first of a series. With his trademark skills in world-building, Sanderson has created a magic system that is so inventive and detailed that that readers who appreciate games of strategy and tactics just may want to bring Rithmatics to life in our world.

Publication Date: May 14, 2013 
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Science Fiction, Young Adult 12+ 
Hardcover: 384 pages 
Publisher: Tor Teen 
ISBN-10: 0765320320 
ISBN-13: 9780765320322

} The Book Excerpt }

} About Brandon Sanderson }

Brandon Sanderson is the bestselling author of books including WARBREAKER, ELANTRIS, THE WAY OF KINGS and The Mistborn Trilogy --- MISTBORN, THE WELL OF ASCENSION and THE HERO OF AGES. He has also written ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS, a book for middle-grade readers, and has completed the final books in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time® series --- THE GATHERING STORM, TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT and A MEMORY OF LIGHT --- based on Jordan’s notes and material. Sanderson teaches writing at Brigham Young University. He lives in Utah.

Born of Illusion by Teri Brown

Anna Van Housen has a secret.

A gifted illusionist, Anna assists her mother, the renowned medium Marguerite Van Housen, in her stage show and séances, easily navigating the underground world of magicians and mentalists in 1920s New York. For Anna, the illegitimate daughter of Harry Houdini --- or so Marguerite claims --- handcuffs and sleight-of-hand illusions have never been much of a challenge. The real trick is keeping her own gifts secret from her mother: because while Marguerite's powers may be a sham, Anna possesses a true ability to sense people's feelings and foretell the future.

But as Anna's powers intensify, she experiences frightening visions of her mother in peril, which lead her to explore the abilities she's tried so long to hide. And when a mysterious young man named Cole moves into the flat downstairs, introducing Anna to a society that studies people with gifts like hers, she begins to wonder if there's more to life than keeping secrets.

As her visions become darker and her powers spin out of her control, Anna is forced to rethink all she's ever known. Is her mother truly in danger, or are Anna's visions merely illusions? And could the great Houdini really be her father, or is it just another of Marguerite's tricks?

From Teri Brown comes a world bursting with magic, with romance, with the temptations of Jazz Age New York --- and the story of a girl about to become the mistress of her own destiny.

Publication Date: June 11, 2013
Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Paranormal
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
ISBN-10: 0062187546
ISBN-13: 9780062187543

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indie Bound

} The Book Excerpt }

} About Teri Brown }
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Teri Brown is proud of her two children but coming in a close second is the fact that she parachuted out of a plane andbeat the original Legend of Zelda video game.

She is a word scribbler, head banger, math hater, book reader, rule breaker, food fixer, novel writer, kitty keeper, and city slicker. Teri lives with her husband and way too many pets in Portland, Oregon.

Sign of the Throne by Melissa Eskue Ousley

Abby is an ordinary girl haunted by dreams of an ivory castle, blood-thirsty monsters, and a striking stranger. Working as a babysitter for a family of mythology lovers in wealthy Newcastle Beach, California, she struggles to define herself among the elite class while trying to make sense of her strange visions. Upon meeting David, the doppelgänger of the mysterious young man in her dreams, Abby’s life is changed forever.

Encountering the queen of Cai Terenmare, a magical kingdom in a parallel world, Abby learns of an evil lord hell-bent on usurping the throne, the murder of Cai Terenmare’s king, the Solas Beir, and the kidnapping of the Solas Beir’s infant son.

As the kingdom struggles to endure, the queen shows Abby the full extent of her destiny. She must convince her mysterious crush, David, that he is the lost heir. While braving attacks from the dark lord’s sadistic minions, David must realize his true identity and return to Cai Terenmare to claim his throne before time runs out, lest the evil that was temporarily locked away be unleashed, threatening to destroy both the kingdom and all of humanity.

Amazon {Paperback} Amazon {Kindle} Redroom

} The Book Excerpt }
Abby spent the next evening babysitting for Cassandra and Riordan. She putthe kids to bed and laid out her homework on the coffee table downstairs. She was immersed in her work when she realized—the house was quiet. Eerily quiet.

She was used to the familiar creaks and groans of the old house, and night ushered in the occasional chirp of a cricket or flutter of moth wings around theantique sconces lighting the room. Tonight she heard nothing—there was only dead silence. She felt a prickle at the back of her neck and realized she was shivering. The room had gone unnaturally cold, and she had the distinct sense that she was not alone.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a shadowy presence, someone standing still, watching her. She turned to look, but there was no one there. She felt a terrible unease twisting in her gut. Something was wrong.

Responding to her intuition, she got up and climbed the stairs to check on thechildren. Ciaran was snoring, perfectly at peace. He had wriggled out of his covers in his sleep. Abby tucked him back in.

Leaving his room, she walked down the hall to the twins’ room. The nightlight inthe hallway began blinking erratically. She entered the room and froze. Perched monkey-like on the corner of Rowan’s crib was a shadowed figure thesize of a small boy, leaning over the sleeping child. Sensing Abby, it turned its head, blood-red eyes meeting hers.

Abby gasped with horror as the creature leapt with unnatural agility from thecrib and crouched like a spider high on the wall, staring down at her. Slowly, it smiled, revealing rows of pointed narrow teeth, sharp as razors. And then…it pounced.

Abby raised her arms to shield herself, scrunched her eyes shut, and screamed. But there was nothing. She heard a low chuckle behind her and saw the creature near the door. The shadow boy laughed and ran out. Thesmoky form changed into a large black housecat before disappearing throughthe hallway wall.

Abby ran to the twins’ light switch and turned on the lights. She checked to make sure Rowan and Siobhan were unharmed, and then hurried to Ciaran’s room, flicking on lights as she ran. Ciaran was still fast asleep—her scream had not disturbed him at all.

She jerked open his closet door and found his aluminum baseball bat. Then, scooping him and the quilt up from his bed, she ran back to Rowan and Siobhan’s room. She shut the door and nestled the five year old into a make-shift bed on the floor. Sitting against the dresser next to him, she hummed, trying to reassure herself. Armed with the bat and the adrenaline coursing through her body, she waited.

} The Interview }
At what point in your life did you realize that being an author was no longer going to be just a dream but a career you were going to turn into reality?
I always loved reading and writing, but it took me a long time to become a writer. My background is in education and psychology, and I enjoyed working in those fields, conducting research and teaching college classes in Arizona. Eventually though, I realized writing was something I had to do. When my husband and I moved to the Pacific Northwest for an opportunity with his career, I decided to focus on my writing. I jumped in with no plan B, but lucky for me, doors opened and I was able to connect with a wonderful press.

Which of your characters is most like you?
Tynan Tierney, for sure. I’m a sociopath. Just kidding. Actually, this is a tough question, because although none of my characters are autobiographical, I can relate to many of them. I can be introverted and empathic like Abby, but sarcastic and loyal like Jon, and adventurous like David. I’m envious that he went cage diving with Great White sharks. I’d love to do that, and I wouldn’t mind borrowing his bike.

If you were stranded on a desert island, which character from Sign of the Throne would you want with you?

Cael is very handy with a sword. He could hack down some trees to build us a hut and track down some food. Maybe I’d learn some survival skills from him.

Where do you write?

I have an office at home which is nice, because I’ve surrounded myself with photos, art, and objects that inspire me. But I write anywhere on anything—waiting in line or for an appointment, writing on napkins, post-its, or whatever I have on hand. When I get an idea, I try to capture it as soon as possible, and then type it up later.

Do you have any “rituals” you go through before you write?

No, but I do like listening to music while I write, and there’s often chocolate involved.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) of Sign of the Throne to write and why?

I love reading horror, so the chapter called “Changelings” was really fun to write—lots of action and gross creature stuff in that one. It’s always fun to write about the bad guys—they keep things interesting as they wreak havoc. I also enjoyed writing the romantic banter between Abby and David.

How did you come up with the title?

There is an object of power called the Sign of the Throne that plays a role in this book and the two that follow, and it symbolizes both the authority of the Solas Beir, ruler of Cai Terenmare, and the power of the Light.

What would YOU like your readers to know about this book or you in general?

I love mythology and psychology, so this book is brimming over with both. The book was inspired by the idea that many of the bogeymen from various human societies have similar characteristics, and I imagined that these creatures had a common origin in a world parallel to our own. I’ve woven in mythological references and some of the characters’ names have symbolic meanings.

What's one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?

A good editor who knows your genre makes all the difference. Even if you need to invest your own money in an editor before seeking publication, it is worth it. Don’t worry if you’re not the best writer—keep learning and keep reading. You can learn a lot about what to do, and what not to do, from other writers.

Do you have a favorite author?

Stephen King is my all-time favorite because I read The Talisman (written with Peter Straub) when I was about 13, and have been reading him ever since. His book, On Writing, is one of the best out there for writers. It is user friendly with practical and often humorous advice. I also love Christopher Moore, Neil Gaiman, J.K. Rowling, and have recently gotten into a lot more YA authors. Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood series is brilliant.

I've read The Talisman and also Black House. What is your favorite quote?

The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars… Jack Kerouac

What genre of books do you read for pleasure?

Young adult, fantasy, and horror mostly.

What’s the most amusing thing that’s ever happened to you?

My dad is a do-it-yourself kind of guy. He grew up on a farm out in the middle of nowhere, so he learned a lot of DIY vet skills to care of his family’s animals. This came in very handy when I was a kid, like the time he used part of a milk carton to patch the shell of a tortoise that had a close shave with a lawn mower, or when my cat Solomon (a.k.a. Chewy, because, as it turned out, he wasn’t very wise) decided the engine of my mom’s car was a good place to nap. When I was a teen, he developed an interest in DIY medieval weaponry, making knives (swords, really). This did not go over very well with some of the young men I tried to date (nor did some of his DIY vet skills). It probably did not help that when displaying his talents, my dad spoke in a disturbingly cheerful voice—nothing says overprotective psycho-killer father to teenage boys like a guy calmly holding a large knife, talking about surgery. 

One of the boys, however, shared my dad’s interest and gave me flowers and a chest plate as a gift. Impressive as it was to have a hand-made chest plate, I had no use for armor at the time, so I returned it. I should have kept it though because later, my dad got into larger weapons, and fashioned a trebuchet out of an old swing-set. It worked really well, but, unfortunately, he chose to load it with softball sized rocks. The first time he demonstrated the trebuchet, the rock shot straight up into the air and fell frighteningly close to where I was standing. The next time, the rock flew further, but alarmingly close to his neighbor’s backyard. I suggested that he might not be suited to life in prison, and he agreed, so he returned to making swords.

**LOL** What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love to hike, swim, kayak, and walk along the beach. The Pacific Northwest is perfect for that. I also love to scuba dive, although I haven’t been able to do that as much as I’d like. I did get to dive the Great Barrier Reef and saw a black-tip reef shark and a lion fish, so that was amazing. I also like to paint, mostly coastal scenes, and restore furniture I find in thrift shops or discarded on a street corner. The chair in my writing office was one of those finds that looks amazing now that it’s been repainted and has a new cushion and fabric.

If all TV shows were real, what show (all time) would you most like to live in?

Probably Doctor Who, just because anything can happen, any time.

Okay, this has been an awesome interview so far and now it's time for some

} Random-Ness }
Party dress or blue jeans? 
Either, so long as I can wear boots.
Plotter or Panster?
Both, but more of a pantser. Sign of the Throne is part of a trilogy, so there had to be some plotting to keep things cohesive, but as I’ve gotten to know the characters, I’ve been surprised by things in each book, and the endings are not always what I expected. I’ve also had the luxury of being able to work on all three before the first one has been published, so that helps smooth things out. Too much plotting, however, feels contrived to me. I really like listening to what the story needs, and what the characters want, and letting that guide me, adjusting things to remain true to the story. It sounds crazy, but for me, the story takes on a life of its own—I’m just watching things play out and transcribing what happens as I listen to my characters. I’m not the first writer to see it this way (see Stephen King’s On Writing), and it’s a blast when it happens, and not nearly as creepy as it sounds. When you get lost in the world of your story, it’s thrilling.
Print or e-Book?
I do read e-books but I prefer print. It seems like I’m always reading in some location where there’s water (the tub, the pool, the beach), so I’d probably be at risk for electrocution with an e-book.
Coastal walks or extreme sports?
Both, if scuba diving counts as extreme. I still haven’t worked up the courage to sky-dive though. I’ll save that for when I’m eighty. Then I can curse the whole way down and people will find it amusing.
Cookies or cupcakes?
Either, if there’s chocolate involved.
That's a given! Super hero or super villain?
Oooh, great question. Probably hero because it would be nice to help people and use my powers for good. But being a villain could be more interesting.
If I had a free afternoon I’d . . . 
Go on an adventure and hike somewhere new.
Peanut Butter: Crunchy, Creamy, or I hate peanut butter and am addicted to Nutella.
You suddenly realize you live in a haunted house. Do you:

1. Run screaming for the door.
2. Bravely go to a church, load up on holy water and try to get rid of the ghost.
3. Set up ghost hunting equipment to capture phenomenon.
4. Call in the Ghost Adventures crew so that you can ogle the lead guy Zac’s amazingly stiff hair when you’re not ogling his….physical attributes.
5. Deny you have a ghost and just let it scare the bejesus out of your visitors.

These are all perfectly valid options. Unfortunately, I have to go with #5, because I worked in this old building at a university, and sometimes when I worked alone I’d see and hear weird stuff (as did some of my coworkers), and I just decided I didn’t want to talk to dead people so I ignored them. Same thing for a house I lived in once. Some of those experiences actually inspired some things in Sign of the Throne. Once when I was writing late at night, out of the corner of my eye, I saw someone tall standing in my hallway. I thought it was my husband, coming out into the living room to talk with me, but when I looked up the shadow, or whatever it was, disappeared. So I pretended it didn’t happen and kept writing.
Spooky! Could you tell us five random facts about yourself?
1. When I was in kindergarten, my teacher thought I was dyslexic because I wrote everything backwards. Turns out, I’m just left handed and wrote the mirror image of the letters.
2. When I was a kid, I had a cat named Trash that my family rescued from the dump and nursed back to health (thanks to my dad’s DIY vet skills).
3. We also had a pet cemetery, but this was unrelated to my dad’s vet skills. We lived in rattlesnake territory in Arizona, which is not great for dogs and cats.
4. I’m part Scottish and I am a descendent of the Buchan family. The motto used in the book is the real Buchan clan motto.
5. I have twin boys. They are fraternal and completely different from each other.
Very cool interview, Melissa - Thanks for stopping Epic YA Reads today to visit!

} About Melissa Eskue Ousley }
Website I Twitter I Facebook I Goodreads

Author Picture - Melissa Eskue Ousley
Melissa Eskue Ousley is the author of The Solas Beir Trilogy. “Sign of the Throne,” the first book of this young adult fantasy series, will be released on September 14. She is currently working on the second and third novels in thetrilogy, “The Rabbit and the Raven” and “The Sower Comes.”

Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family and their Kelpie, Gryphon. When she’s not writing, Melissa can be found swimming, hiking, kayaking, scuba diving, or walking along the beach, poking dead things with a stick.

Before she became a writer, she had a number of educational jobs, ranging from a summer spent scraping roadkill off a molten desert highway to years spent conducting research with an amazing team of educators at the University of Arizona.

} THe Awesome Giveaway }

Buy the Book Tours