Feed Your Reader–Cheap YA Books!

Need a cheap read? Here are some Kindle deals!

 

Chain Reaction is $2.99

 

Luis Fuentes is a good boy who doesn’t live with the angst that his big brothers, Alex and Carlos, have always lived with. Luis is smart, funny, and has big dreams of becoming an astronaut. But when he falls for the wrong girl, Luis enters a dark world he’s never known, and just when he thinks he’s got life all figured out, learns some disturbing news about his family that destroys his positive outlook on life. Will that Fuentes bad boy streak come out with a vengeance and lure Luis to live on the edge like his new girlfriend and his own father?
Continuing all the steamy romance of the first two books, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Simone Elkeles gives fans one more satisfying taste of the irresistible Fuentes boys.

Bright Young Things is $1.99

From Amazon:

 

The year is 1929. New York is ruled by the Bright Young Things: flappers and socialites seeking thrills and chasing dreams in the anything-goes era of the Roaring Twenties.

Letty Larkspur and Cordelia Grey escaped their small Midwestern town for New York’s glittering metropolis. All Letty wants is to see her name in lights, but she quickly discovers Manhattan is filled with pretty girls who will do anything to be a star. . . .

Cordelia is searching for the father she’s never known, a man as infamous for his wild parties as he is for his shadowy schemes. Overnight, she enters a world more thrilling and glamorous than she ever could have imagined—and more dangerous. It’s a life anyone would kill for . . . and someone will.

The only person Cordelia can trust is ­Astrid Donal, a flapper who seems to have it all: money, looks, and the love of Cordelia’s brother, Charlie. But Astrid’s perfect veneer hides a score of family secrets.

Across the vast lawns of Long Island, in the ­illicit speakeasies of Manhattan, and on the blindingly lit stages of Broadway, the three girls’ fortunes will rise and fall—together and apart. From the New York Times bestselling author of The Luxe comes an epic new series set in the dizzying last summer of the Jazz Age.


 

Enchanted is $1.99

From Amazon:

 

It isn’t easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.

When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.

The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past—and hers?


 

Entwined is $1.99

From Amazon:

 

Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it’s taken away. All of it.

The Keeper understands. He’s trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.

But there is a cost.

The Keeper likes to keep things.

Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

Interview with Bryony Pearce, Author of The Weight of Souls and Excerpt

Please welcome Bryony Pearce to the virtual offices this morning!  Bryony is here to chat about her latest release, The Weight of Souls.  The Weight of Souls is published by one of my favorite publishers Strange Chemistry.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Bryony Pearce] Slightly harassed, book-obsessed dieter with two small children seeks moments of sanity by disappearing into worlds of her own making. Likes chocolate and wine.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Weight of Souls?

[Bryony Pearce] Sixteen year old Taylor Oh is cursed: if she is touched by the ghost of a murder victim then they pass a mark beneath her skin. She has three weeks to find their murderer and pass the mark to them – letting justice take place and sending them into the Darkness. And if she doesn’t make it in time? The Darkness will come for her…

She spends her life trying to avoid ghosts, make it through school where she’s bullied by popular Justin and his cronies, keep her one remaining friend, and persuade her father that this is real and that she’s not going crazy.

But then Justin is murdered and everything gets a whole lot worse. Justin doesn’t know who killed him, so there’s no obvious person for Taylor to go after. The clues she has lead her to the V Club, a vicious secret society at her school where no one is allowed to leave… and where Justin was dared to do the stunt which led to his death.

Can she find out who was responsible for his murder before the Darkness comes for her? Can she put aside her hatred for her former bully to truly help him?

And what happens if she starts to fall for him?

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Bryony Pearce] When I was a teenager I was fascinated by the mythologies of different cultures. I read books telling the stories (particularly tales from Egyptian, Aztec, Norse, Greek and Roman beliefs), books from the cultures themselves (Beowulf, Homer’s Iliad) and fact-based books (Humphries’ Miracles of Exodus, Accounts of the Tutankhamum expedition and other non-fiction). I also adored historical fiction based on these mythologies.

As a result my writing tends to involve significant ‘mythic’ elements. My first book, Angel’s Fury, is a blend of Hindu mythology and Christianity (reincarnation and fallen angels) and Cassie’s story is told against that backdrop. For the follow up to my debut I also wanted an epic mythic element, but I didn’t want to replicate Angel’s Fury, so I had to look elsewhere.

Recalling my obsession with Egypt and Egyptian mythology in particular I revisited my old reference books, did some more research and came up with a back-story based on the rivalry between Anubis and Horus.

In the history of my novel, Anubis, the original Lord of the Dead Lands and judge of the dead, was trapped by the priests of his rival, Horus, within the tomb of Nefertiti (which, to this day, has not been found). In the 1800s a group of tomb robbers discover the tomb, and within it, the trapped, and much diminished, jackal-headed Egyptian god.

The sole survivor of the slaughter is a Chinese worker named Fa. Anubis allows him to live only if Fa agrees to a deal. He and his descendants will work for Anubis (who still cannot leave the tomb), seeking out murderers and sending them to him for justice via ‘The Darkness’.

And how do they find these murderers? Anubis ‘gifts’ Fa and his descendents with the power to see their victims: the dead.

My story is about a modern teenager named Taylor, who suffers from Anubis’ curse. She sees dead people and is compelled to find their murderers and send them into the Darkness. If she does not, the Darkness will come for her. As with all of my characters, Taylor appeared in my head fully formed one day. I lived with her for a while, got to know her and then populated the rest of the book.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Taylor?

[Bryony Pearce] Hardened

Lonely

Indomitable

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Justin had a theme song, what would it be?

[Bryony Pearce] Coldplay’s Viva la Vida

I am a fan of the poetry in Coldplay’s lyrics and their belting tunes to which I sing along (tunelessly). The lyrics to Viva la Vida feel truly appropriate for what happens to Justin in the novel.

He starts off as king of the school; the most popular boy, ruler of the clique … then he gets murdered. He can’t be seen by anyone except a girl he made miserable for years, he doesn’t know who killed him and is powerless to affect the living. Finally he is terrified that when his killer is found and he moves on, he won’t be going ‘anywhere good’. He cannot see a light: ‘Saint Peter won’t call my name’.

I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own
I used to roll the dice
Feel the fear in my enemy’s eyes
Listen as the crowd would sing
"Now the old king is dead! Long live the king!"
One minute I held the key
Next the walls were closed on me
And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand

For some reason I can’t explain
I know Saint Peter won’t call my name
Never an honest word
But that was when I ruled the world
I hear Jerusalem bells are ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror, my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Taylor is never without.

[Bryony Pearce] Her memory of her mother and her mother’s white glove, which she uses to cover up her hand if a ghost has Marked her.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Justin’s pocket?

[Bryony Pearce] A One Direction CD (as if)

Rubbish (chewing gum, sweet wrappers etc.) it always goes in the bin

A make up bag (he’s willing to take a lipstick, but if Tamsin can carry an entire make up bag she can carry a handbag to put it in)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Taylor’s greatest regret?

[Bryony Pearce] That she was not honest with her friends earlier on and did not have the chance to be with Justin before he died.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Bryony Pearce] Anne Macaffrey, David Gemmell, Stephen King, Maggie Steifvater. I like to think that my work is dark, character driven, exciting but also lyrical and descriptive. (at least, that’s what I aim for), and, to me, the aforementioned writers embody those attributes. If I’m feeling a bit stuck, I’ll often go back and read some King or Macaffrey and the ideas will start to flow again.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Bryony Pearce] Peace and quiet

My laptop

A comfortable chair

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Bryony Pearce] City’s Son by Tom Pollock. His writing absolutely embodies what I try to do with my own, but I think he does it much better. He is lyrical, exciting, dark and his characters stayed with me long after the end of the book. I kind of hate him J

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Bryony Pearce] I’ve loved reading since the moment I could read and that was SO long ago that I have no idea what books were the most important to me. I know my mum used to read me the newspaper from cover-to-cover when I was a baby (no television in our house until I was eight), I know that I have a lovely battered copy of The Wind in the Willows and I know Mum once told me that I made her read a book called Aristide over and over solidly for almost three hours. This says a lot about my mum’s awesomeness (my kids would have been told to go and play with their LEGO after three renditions) and also suggests that I loved the book.

I do, however, remember the books that made me want to write: Anne Macaffrey’s Brain and Brawn Ship series. In particular The Ship Who Sang: I read it and adored it when I was quite young and never looked back.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Bryony Pearce] I’m a mum to two small children (a girl and a boy who isn’t at school yet), so most of my time is spent feeding and entertaining the kids, chauffeuring them around and cleaning up their messes!

I read all the time. If I don’t have a child in my arms, I’ll have a book.

When I can, I like to go to the cinema and theatre and I recently began karate lessons with my children. It is a great family activity and I love it.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Bryony Pearce] Facebook Page BryonyPearceAuthor

Twitter @BryonyPearce

Email: admin@bryonypearce.co.uk

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

Bryony is hosting a giveaway on her blog.  Please hop over to enter

Purchase links:

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-weight-of-souls-bryony-pearce/1113784409?ean=9781908844644

About the book:

Sixteen year old Taylor Oh is cursed: if she is touched by the ghost of a murder victim then they pass a mark beneath her skin. She has three weeks to find their murderer and pass the mark to them – letting justice take place and sending them into the Darkness. And if she doesn’t make it in time? The Darkness will come for her…
She spends her life trying to avoid ghosts, make it through school where she’s bullied by popular Justin and his cronies, keep her one remaining friend, and persuade her father that this is real and that she’s not going crazy.
But then Justin is murdered and everything gets a whole lot worse. Justin doesn’t know who killed him, so there’s no obvious person for Taylor to go after. The clues she has lead her to the V Club, a vicious secret society at her school where no one is allowed to leave… and where Justin was dared to do the stunt which led to his death.
Can she find out who was responsible for his murder before the Darkness comes for her? Can she put aside her hatred for her former bully to truly help him?
And what happens if she starts to fall for him?

About the author:

Bryony Pearce completed an English Literature degree at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge in 1998 and afterwards worked in the research industry. After a while she moved to a village at the edge of the Peak District and went freelance so she could devote more time to writing.

She is now a full time mother to two children, writes as much as possible and enjoys doing school visits and events when she can fit them in.

Her first book, the award-winning Angel’s Fury, was published by Egmont in 2011.

Excerpt:

Cover Shot! Pawn by Aimee Carter

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café.  I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share.  More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents.  There is an allure to a beautiful cover.  Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

I think the cover for Pawn by Aimee Carter is visually interesting, and I like the grays and the blue.  What I really like, however, is how complicated and suspenseful the plot sounds.  Wonder if it will live up to my expectations?

In stores November 2013

YOU CAN BE A VII. IF YOU GIVE UP EVERYTHING.

For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country.

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister’s niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter.

There’s only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed …and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that’s not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she’s only beginning to understand.

Previously titled Masked.

Feed Your Kindle with Cheap YA Books!

Here are some nicely priced YA novels to keep you busy reading today.

Paranormalcy – $1.99

 

Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.

But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

 

Perfect Chemistry – $2.99

 

A fresh, urban twist on the classic tale of star-crossed lovers.

When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created "perfect" life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she’s worked so hard for-her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more.
In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.


 

 

Spellcaster – $2.99

 

When Nadia’s family moves to Captive’s Sound, she instantly realizes there’s more to the place than meets the eye. Descended from witches, Nadia can sense that a spell has been cast over the tiny Rhode Island town—a sickness infecting everyone and everything in it. The magic at work is darker and more powerful than anything she’s come across and has sunk its claws most deeply into Mateo . . . her rescuer, her friend, and the guy she yearns to get closer to even as he pushes her away.

Mateo has lived in Captive’s Sound his entire life, shadowed by small-town gossip and his family’s tormented past. Every generation, the local legends say, one member of the family goes mad, claiming to know the future before descending into insanity. When the strange dreams Mateo has been having of rescuing a beautiful girl from a car accident actually come true, he knows he’s doomed.

Despite the forces pulling them apart, Nadia and Mateo must work together to break the chains of his terrible family curse, and to prevent a coming disaster that even now threatens the entire town, including Nadia’s family, her newfound friends, and her own life. Shimmering with magic and mystery, New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray’s new novel depicts a dark and unforgettable world of witches, curses, buried secrets, and star-crossed romance.


 

Starling – $1.99

 

Mason Starling is a champion fencer on the Gosforth Academy team, but she’s never had to fight for her life. Not until the night a ferocious, otherworldly storm rips through Manhattan, trapping Mason and her teammates inside the school. Mason is besieged by nightmarish creatures more terrifying than the thunder and lightning as the raging tempest also brings a dangerous stranger into her life: a young man who remembers nothing but his name—the Fennrys Wolf. His arrival tears Mason’s world apart, even as she feels an undeniable connection to him. Together, they seek to unravel the secrets of Fenn’s identity as strange and supernatural forces gather around them. When they discover Mason’s family—with its dark allegiance to ancient Norse gods—is at the heart of the mystery, Fennrys and Mason are suddenly faced with a terrifying future.

Set against the gritty, shadowed back-drop of New York City, this first novel in award-winning author Lesley Livingston’s epic Starling Saga is an intoxicating blend of sweeping romance and pulse-pounding action.

Review: When the Stars Threw Down Their Spears by Kersten Hamilton

 

Title: When the Stars Threw Down Their Spears

Author: Kersten Hamilton

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

 

“People will die.”

Locked doors are opening, and uncanny creatures are tumbling through mysterious portals from Mag Mell, the world-between-worlds, into the streets of Chicago. The Dark Man has marked Aiden with a new song that’s scared him badly, and a frightening new group of sídhe is lurking nearby.

Teagan knows this is war, and she must protect her family. She leaves her flesh and bones behind to join Finn in hunting the evil beings across the city. Meanwhile, their relationship is heating up—almost faster than they can control. But he is still bound to fight goblins his entire life . . . and by blood she is one of them now.

Then the gateway to Mag Mell cracks open again, and the Wylltsons find themselves caught in a trap. As her loved ones begin to die, Teagan realizes that she must destroy the Dark Man and his minions once and for all in order to save those who remain . . .

. . . before it is too late.


Review:

All good things must come to an end, so it is with some sadness that I type out this review.  I have loved Kersten Hamilton’s Goblin Wars series since the first book, which I remember reading in Lexington KY at a horse show.  I read a lot of books and usually can’t remember the protagonists’ names half of the time, but I distinctly remember reading Tyger, Tyger in the hot, sweltering arena.  I remember some OMG moments, and I remember being impatient to read In the Forests of the Night, which I thought was an even better book.  And so here we are, on the finale, and once again, I thought Kersten Hamilton delivered a powerful, adventurous story, which closed out the series nicely.  While people did die, as promised, she wrapped up most of the story lines to my satisfaction, and I don’t hesitate to urge you to read this if you have been enjoying the series so far.  You won’t be disappointed.

I will make one observation about the author’s narrative style, because I believe that it will drive some people batty.  Occasionally, the character interactions come across as kind of random, but I think that these conversations add a lot of flavor and background to the events.  Topics fly back and forth, and at the time, they don’t always seem to fit with what is going on.  Only as Teagan and Finn are ramping up for their big showdown with the Dark Man, Mab, and all of the scary creatures in Mag Mell do they make sense.  When the conversations are finally placed in the context they belong, all of seams become neat and tidy.  The prose requires some patience, and I didn’t find it as immediate and relevant as other YA books.  It doesn’t plod by any stretch of imagination, but I wonder if this series would have been better suited as straight up fantasy, instead of being shelved in the YA section of the bookstore.  Your mileage may vary here.

I grew to love many of the characters, especially Teagen, Aiden, and Abby.  The Turtles even had their Mafioso charm, which made the scene in Rosehill that much more painful.  New character Seamus was a welcome arrival, and I never knew if he should have been trusted.  One thing that I will say for Teagan is that she gave her trust unconditionally, and she always believed the best in everyone and everything.  Even when it was doubtful that her trust was deserved, she still gave it wholeheartedly, accepting that there were risks involved.  Once crossed, however, it would take a feat of great sacrifice and effort to earn it back.  It was her unfaltering belief in others that made Teagan such an easy character to like.  She knew that she was going to get bit on the backside every now and again, but that didn’t destroy her faith that others would do the right thing.

I enjoyed this series very much, and am sad to see it come to a close.  I knew that I could count on an engaging read with each new installment, and that something would happen to shock and horrify me, but also give me hope that things would, somehow, work out in the end.  I also appreciated Teagan’s growth as a character, because, if I have to be honest, I was a little iffy on her the first 100 pages of Tyger, Tyger.  She more than made up for that by the end of the series, becoming strong, brave, and kind.  I don’t think I would have managed to remain kind, considering all of the life-altering and heartbreaking events that she experienced.  In the end, that’s the take away I’ll have for this series; Teagan’s unwavering faith in others, despite all of the betrayals and treachery, and that’s where she found the strength to keep fighting against the Dark Man and Mab.  Win or lose, she refused to compromise her beliefs.  I loved that about her.

Grade:  B+

Review copy provided by publisher

Review: ZOM-B: City by Darren Shan

 

Title: ZOM-B: City

Author: Darren Shan

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

 

After escaping a secret military complex amid the zombie apocalypse, B roams the streets of a very changed London, dirty and dangerous and eerily quiet, except for the shuffling of the undead. Once again, B must find a way to survive against brain-eating zombies –and now also against those who have seized control of the city. With danger lurking around every corner and no one to trust, B must decide whether to join the creepy Mr. Dowling in exchange for his protection. When everyone around you is dead, where do you turn for help?


Review:

Darren Shan’s ZOM-B books are like crack.  You can’t read just one, and because each one ends on a cliffhanger, you squirm with anticipation until the next one hits store shelves.  While I normally abhor cliffhangers, the release schedule is accelerated, so you get a new installment every 3 months.  The story is also so straightforward that there’s not much to forget from one book to the next.  B, an revived zombie who managed to keep her intelligence, is fighting to keep her undead life.  The world is a dangerous place since the zombie apocalypse, even for a zombie.  Danger lurks behind every corner, and only quick thinking and luck keep B from a final, horrible death.

Told in tense, in your face prose, ZOM-B: City follows B from her escape from the underground research bunker to her journey through a devastated London.  Along the way, she encounters a handful of surviving humans.  None of these guys are right in the head, but after witnessing the end of the world, I guess everyone is entitled to their idiosyncrasies.  Some of the living want nothing more than to end her unnatural life, while others, though wary, mean her no harm.  As she wanders from one encounter to the next, she pieces together the reality of the new world after the zombie attacks.  Billions have been wiped out, the government is ineffective, and martial law is in effect.  The remaining humans have huddled together in walled compounds, and the search is on for survivors.  B thinks that she can help save humanity – since she hasn’t become a mindless monster, perhaps a cure can be manufactured from her blood.

Shan pushes the envelope with this series.  It’s truly horrific; he doesn’t shy away from gore and violence, and he paints an interesting picture of how the survivors would behave.  They have all been twisted by their experiences, B included.  They have all seen things that aren’t meant to be seen, and there is no going back to a time before the bloodshed and death of the zombie uprising.  Mr Dowling is particularly disgusting.  This sicko clown accessorizes with human remains.  I really want to know his story, and what’s the deal with the mutants?   How did the whole zombie nightmare happen in the first place?  These short novels are impossible to put down, and I look forward to hunkering down with each new installment.  While occasionally disgusting, ZOM-B isn’t so scary that I’m afraid to read it after dark, and plot advances so quickly that it’s hard not to gobble up each new installment in one sitting.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

Spotlight and Excerpt: The Year of the Great Seventh – Teresa Orts

Teresa Orts dropped by the virtual offices this morning to share an excerpt of The Year of the Great Seventh.  Check it out, and if you enjoy it, please use the Amazon link to purchase a copy. (I receive a small commission if you do so)

EXCERPT – The Year of the great Seventh by Teresa Orts

Admitting I wasn’t going to fall asleep, I emerged from under the bed covers, went over to the windows, and sat on the floor. They say if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Well, if the city lights were going to keep me awake, I might as well enjoy the view.

Crossing my legs in the lotus position, I admired the city skyline. The other glass tower across from us seemed to be private apartments. Most of the floors had their lights on. The energy of this city was captivating. Life continued on through the night in the city that never slept.

It was starting to snow. The frosty flakes resembled white cotton candy. They seemed to be defying the laws of gravity as they were suspended on the air and then swirled up into the sky. It was probably due to the air current caused by the tall buildings. But as things stood in my life at the moment, anything seemed possible.

The traffic was as dense as rush hour in downtown L.A. Cars jammed around Columbus Circle, and no one thought twice about leaning on the horn, even though it was past midnight.

In one of the apartments opposite, a man was sitting by the window, typing on a laptop. The room was dark, but the reflection of the computer screen lit up his face. I could see him clearly. It was as though we were sitting across from each other. I was sure he could see me, too. We were so close, but at the same time, so far. This must be the big city syndrome where you can feel so alone amongst so many people. And knowing that Nate was just across the wall only enhanced the feeling.

I had to start blocking any thoughts of Nate. I had to give myself a break or I was going to start losing my mind. Unfortunately, I was aware that ignoring a problem wasn’t likely to make it go away. I couldn’t believe Nate had planned to hide the stain on his back from me. How long did he think he could pretend everything was going to be fine?

Dad taught me to only believe what could be proved by science, but this lulled me into a state of denial. Nate was vanishing with the tick of the clock, and I had to help him. I wasn’t sure how yet, but I couldn’t fail him. I wanted to slap myself to throw myself into action. How could I be so passive when I was losing the only thing I wanted?

The man in the apartment across from me was drinking from a cup and flicking through the pages of a book that he had next to the laptop. After scanning a few more pages, he continued to type. I wondered what he was doing. I wanted to think he was writing a detective novel based in 1950s Manhattan.

The man stopped typing and stared openly at me, as if he also needed to share his secrets with a stranger. It was snowing hard, and thousands of snowflakes playfully spiraled up into the sky, proving reality had many dimensions. The simple stare from a distant stranger was appeasing that loneliness that was taking hold of me.

I couldn’t stop staring back. Here, sitting on the floor of this grandiose room, in the epicenter of the madness of this city, I just felt so small. How was I, this tiny, fragile girl, going to make the world change its course?

The man with the computer—as if he could hear my thoughts—smiled at me and nodded. Without uttering a word, and with the power of our surroundings, this stranger confirmed that, yes, I could do whatever I gave myself to. It was probably a coincidence, but there were moments like this when the universe conspired to prove that life was full of magic moments. You just needed to learn to see past what was in front of you.

The man went back to typing on his computer, unconscious that with just one stare he’d provided me with the courage I lacked. I was beginning to fall in love, but in this case, with New York City. There was something about the anonymity of this city that brought us closer as humans.

Purchase link:

About the book:

Sophie has always felt out of step—an outsider, even amongst friends in her high school with all the hype about celebrity culture. Her life in L.A. seems to have been already written for her, but when her junior year starts, it all takes a drastic turn. When she crosses paths with the school’s heartthrob, Nate Werner, they fall for each other in a way neither can understand. What they don’t know is that by giving in to their desires, they are unlocking an ancient Egyptian prophecy that threatens to return Earth to the dark ages.

To undo the curse, Nate and Sophie embark on an adventure that takes them across the country. But their quest is not only to save the world as they know it. It is also a fight for their very survival. Behind the scenes, there are those that are counting on them to fail.

 

Teresa Orts – MY BIO

Unlike most authors, I didn’t start writing books when I was five years old. In fact, I’d never been too interested in reading or writing. Hanging out with friends in the small Spanish town where I grew up always seemed more appealing than anything a book could offer. It took about twenty-seven years and a global financial meltdown for me to discover the magic world of writing.

At the time, I was living in New York City, and one morning I discovered I was no longer expected at my sixty-hour-a-week investment banking job. Most of my friends had very demanding jobs, so I spent my days wandering around on my own.

Like other unemployed people, I started living through the nights and sleeping through the days. New York is known as the city that never sleeps for a good reason! One night, tired of surfing the web and watching TV, I opened a Word document and started typing a short story, which I saved in my computer with little interest. That was the day Nate and Sophie were born.

Days later, since the financial industry seemed to be going into a downward spiral, I decided to spend three months traveling through Southeast Asia and New Zealand. I thought, naïve me, that by the time I returned, the financial crisis would have come to an end.

Something really strange happened to me during that trip. No matter where I went, I couldn’t stop thinking about the story. Nate and Sophie followed me everywhere. No matter how hard I tried to forget about them, they just wouldn’t go away. At the beginning, I thought I was losing my mind, but soon after, I realized I had to continue writing the story.

When I came back to New York, I went right back into it, and that’s how The Year of the Great Seventh was created. Unfortunately, halfway through the novel, I received a letter from the immigration department informing me that, with no job, I was no longer welcome in the United States. Without much of a choice, my boyfriend and I decided to pack our lives, along with my half-drafted manuscript, and begin another exciting adventure in London, where we now live.

About the author:

Teresa Orts studied economics and went on to work in the financial industry. She lives in London with her husband and son and this is her first novel. If you want to know more about her, please visit her website www.teresaorts.com

Interview with Shaunta Grimes, Author of Viral Nation

Please welcome our special guest Shaunta Grimes!  Shaunta is the author of Viral Nation, a book that I am dying to read because protagonist Clover is autistic and because that super awesome dog on the cover.  Please check out what Shaunta has to say about her new book.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Shaunta Grimes] Shaunta Grimes has done a lot of things and been a lot of places, but she always comes back to storytelling.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Viral Nation?

[Shaunta Grimes] Viral Nation is a YA science fiction story about a group of kids who accidentally start a second American Revolution. It has a time-traveling submarine, the Ponderosa Ranch, Lake Tahoe, and a casino called The Dinosaur.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Shaunta Grimes] When I started writing Viral Nation, the US economy was at its worst point of the current recession, gas prices were soaring over $4 a gallon for the first time, people were losing their houses all over the place. The US was involved in two wars, people were scared about the possibility of the bird flu becoming a serious problem, the weather was doing weird things. I wanted to write a story about a collapsed society from the point of view of the young people who inherit it.

I knew from the beginning that I wanted to write about a really interesting character who happened to have autism, and that I wanted to explore the experience of being the sibling of a person who has autism. I was inspired by the relationship between my two oldest kids when I was writing Clover and West.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Clover?

[Shaunta Grimes] brilliant, awkward, freak

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Clover had a theme song, what would it be?

[Shaunta Grimes] The one song that I listened to over and over again while I was writing Clover’s story was “Raise Your Glass” by Pink. I love how it celebrates being different. But, I think that if Clover had a theme song all her own, it would be “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keyes.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Clover is never without.

[Shaunta Grimes] I had a hard time choosing between her dog, Mango, and her mother’s old red Chucks. In the end, it’s Mango. He’s an extension of her.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Clover’s pockets?

[Shaunta Grimes] Anything slimy, lipstick, a cell phone.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Shaunta Grimes] Amazing stories. I read a lot. My favorite authors are Octavia Butler, Neil Gaiman, Nancy Farmer, Paolo Bacigalupi . . . I could go on and on. I also go to a lot of movies and I watch television to feed my addiction to stories. I try to read, watch movies, and even watch TV like a writer. I look for what’s working in a show, for instance, that keeps me coming back week after week. If a movie keeps me watching without even noticing that time is passing, I try to figure out what made it special.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Shaunta Grimes] A notebook, a good pen, and a computer. I never revise while I’m writing a first draft, but I keep a notebook of notes for later editing.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Shaunta Grimes] Paolo Bacigalupi’s Ship Wreckers. What an amazing story.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Shaunta Grimes] When I was in the sixth grade, I took the city bus a few blocks to my local library and checked out Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. The librarian made me prove I could read it before she let me take it home. It was my first real trip out of the children’s library. I still remember the excitement I felt when I read it. I have always been a reader, so I didn’t really need to be turned on to it. There was something special about Scarlet O’Hara, though.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Shaunta Grimes] I love thrift shopping. I’m slightly addicted to finding vintage stuff.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Shaunta Grimes] They can reach me at shauntagrimes@gmail.com. They can also find me at www.shauntagrimes.wordpress.com, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can order Viral Nation from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the links below

 

About the book:

After a virus claimed nearly the entire global population, the world changed. The United States splintered into fifty walled cities where the surviving citizens clustered to start over. The Company, which ended the plague by bringing a life-saving vaccine back from the future, controls everything. They ration the scant food and supplies through a lottery system, mandate daily doses of virus suppressant, and even monitor future timelines to stop crimes before they can be committed.

Brilliant but autistic, sixteen-year-old Clover Donovan has always dreamed of studying at the Waverly-Stead Academy. Her brother and caretaker, West, has done everything in his power to make her dream a reality. But Clover’s refusal to part with her beloved service dog denies her entry into the school. Instead, she is drafted into the Time Mariners, a team of Company operatives who travel through time to gather news about the future.

When one of Clover’s missions reveals that West’s life is in danger, the Donovans are shattered. To change West’s fate, they’ll have to take on the mysterious Company. But as its secrets are revealed, they realize that the Company’s rule may not be as benevolent as it seems. In saving her brother, Clover will face a more powerful force than she ever imagined… and will team up with a band of fellow misfits and outsiders to incite a revolution that will change their destinies forever