Saturday, May 28, 2016

EXCERPT: THE SIXTH EVENT by Kristen Morie-Osisek

* COMPETING WITH A STAR by Krysten Lindsay Hagar
* REVIEW: SALT TO THE SEA by Ruta Sepetys
* GARY PAULSEN, Author of Hatchet

Kristen Morie-Osisek
Evernight Teen
Ages 14 & up

Eighteen-year-old Raquel isn't eighteen anymore...

During Raquel's first semester of college, she witnesses the end of the world, only to wake up in her old room at her parents' house two years in the past. Even worse, it seems she's the only one who remembers—until Chris Lyley, a boy Raquel always thought was a loser, tells her he remembers the catastrophe.

Before long, they both discover new abilities. They're able to understand any language and teleport through time and space. If Raquel and Chris can figure out what caused the end of their world, maybe they can stop it.


My heart pounded as my white ceiling greeted me when I opened my eyes.
 I blinked frantically, the vision of the rock hitting me still fresh in my mind, the instantaneous crushing sensation throughout my body fading to a dull, residual mental ache. Fear crashed and faded in a wave of relief when it all resolved into the deep blackness of my dorm room.
That had been one hell of a dream.
I narrowed my eyes, still staring up at the ceiling. My dorm ceiling was gray, not white.
I sat up and turned to the left expecting the glaring green glow of my digital clock. Instead, I was greeted with the dim shape of a dresser, outlined in the rosy hue of a rising sun.
My pink and white dresser at my parent’s house.
Shock spread through me, sending tingles down to my toes. My bedroom was coming into view, not my dorm room.
A stuffed dog sat at the foot of my bed. Instead of the giant glass window over the football field, my lace pink curtains fluttered in a warm California breeze, a copy of Teen Vogue sitting on the sill.
I rolled over and stood, grabbing the magazine. Justin Bieber smiled at me from the October 2010 cover.
Impossible. This was impossible.
“Elsie!” I shouted my roommate’s name. The magazine hit the floor with a ruffle of pages. The plush, carpeted floor, not the hard tiles of my room at college.
My comfy bed, complete with a feather mattress, took up the same side of the room it always had. My computer desk sat at the far side of the bed, the blocky Dell PC taking up most of the space. A life sciences textbook lay next to it, the image of a tiger on the front coming into focus as my eyes adjusted to the darkness. On the floor, my giant shoulder bag from high school lay with papers strewn around it. I took a step closer, peering at the letters, my heart pounding so hard I didn’t think to turn on the light.
High school biology notes. I had taken biology in my junior year.
I fled, my door banging against the wall as I ran to the bathroom, flicking on the light.
Elsie wasn’t here. I stared into the mirror of my parent’s bathroom, at my frizzy brown hair. I didn’t look so different. A little bit shorter, a little bit ganglier. No freshmen fifteen. I still had that annoying pattern of three pimples that kept coming back on my chin.
But I was still younger. Not eighteen, not a college student.
A girl in high school. High school. Again.
I stared in shock. This couldn’t be true. It must still be part of the dream, part of the green sky and rocks hitting me. I blinked hard, touching my nightgown, pinching my arm until I winced with pain.
“Mom!” I shrieked so loud I thought the mirror would shatter. “Mom, Mom, Mom!”
My mother came rushing in, her robe pulled tightly around her. “Raquel, what is it?” Her hair framed her face in an unruly brown cloud, her eyes wide and face pale. “What’s wrong?” She was as scared as I was.
“What happened?” I shouted as I grabbed her. “What happened?”
“What do you mean?” She pulled me out of the hug, looking into my eyes. “Raquel, what is wrong? Are you sick?”
In the glaring bathroom light, I stared into her wide eyes. She stared back at me, full of concern, full of worry for her daughter.
“The…I died. There were birds dying, and a rock hit me, and I should be in college…” I babbled, and she shook her head, gripping me tight.
“Raquel, it was a nightmare. That’s all.”
“What’s going on?” My dad’s voice shouted from the dark hallway.
“Nothing, dear,” my mother shouted back. “Raquel just had a little night terror.”
“At sixteen?” Disbelief and exhaustion edged his voice. “Go to sleep, Raquel,” he added, mumbling.
My heart pounded harder, even as I shut my mouth, looking back into the mirror. The mirror in my parent’s house, where a sixteen-year-old me stared back. My stomach flipped, then sank into my feet.
I was two years younger. The world was two years younger.
And no one else remembered anything.

Friday, May 27, 2016


Krysten Lindsay Hagar
Ages 14+

Hadley Daniels’s life seems perfect…

Before the beginning of sophomore year of high school, Hadley and her family move to a beautiful beach town, where she makes amazing new friends and lands the boyfriend of her dreams—Nick Jenkins. He’s the kind of guy every girl swoons over, and it isn’t long until Hadley discovers some are still swooning.

A famous ex-girlfriend makes matters more complicated…

After some time dating, Hadley and Nick form a deep bond. But insecurity sets in when Hadley discovers her boyfriend once had a huge crush on her friend—who just happens to be the beautiful former teen TV star, Simone Hendrickson.

The past is the past—or so they say…

Hadley confronts Nick, who confesses about his history with Simone. Though he claims to only have eyes for Hadley now, it’s hard to believe—especially when she’s blindsided with the news that Nick and Simone kissed after school.

Now Hadley must determine who is telling the truth. Love, betrayal, friendship…who needs soap opera drama when you’re busy competing with a star?

Friday, May 20, 2016

BOOK BLAST & $100 GIVEAWAY: AQUA by Katherine Armstrong Walters

Katherine Armstrong Walters
Ages 14+

Eighteen year-old Marin has few clues about where she came from outside of a recurring nightmare of a horrific boating accident. Determined to prove to the world and to herself that she can overcome her extreme phobia of water and lead a normal life, she enrolls in a summer internship at a marine research facility in California. When a cataclysmic work accident suddenly brings her drowning nightmares into reality, she learns a secret about herself that makes her realize a mystery lurks in her hidden memories.

What she discovers could be the key to unlocking her past, but opening that door forces her to choose between two worlds and two hearts, and starts a chain of events that could destroy everything and everyone she cares for in an adventurous tale of love, loss, and discovery.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016


* Interview with Gary Paulsen & book giveaway
* Book Review: Slade House by David Mitchell
* Zombie Reads

Ruta Sepetys
Penguin Young Readers
Ages 12 - 17

World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, many with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer to safety.

Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people—adults and children alike—aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.

Told in alternating points of view and perfect for fans of Anthony Doerr's Pulitzer Prize-winning All the Light We Cannot See, Erik Larson's Dead Wake, and Elizabeth Wein's Printz Honor Book Code Name Verity, this masterful work of historical fiction is inspired by the real-life tragedy that was the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloffthe greatest maritime disaster in history. As she did in Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys unearths a shockingly little-known casualty of a gruesome war, and proves that humanity and love can prevail, even in the darkest of hours.


I loved Ruta Sepetys' debut book, Between Shades of Gray, about the horrors inflicted on the Baltic people's by The Soviet Union and Stalin. So I knew Salt to the Sea had to be worth reading, and I was right.

With text stripped down to its most essential language, Sepetys delivers a tale that is both compelling and heart wrenching. The four alternating points of view move the story along at a breakneck speed, making the reader hardly feel the passing hours and page turns. I was completely swept into the book and into the individual lives of the characters, which are revealed like Hansel and Gretel's breadcrumbs, coaxing you along page after page.

I met Ruta once a few years ago and she advised me to "write stories that matter." The story she has written of the tragic sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff is one that matters immensely. Salt to the Sea is remarkable, memorable, and meaningful. Five stars.

Sunday, May 15, 2016


Middle Grade Monday is a weekly collection of blog posts assembled by author Shannon Messenger. For a complete list of posts, visit Shannon's blog HERE.

About the Book

Title: Dragons are Real | Author: Valarie Budayr | Illustrator : Michael Welply Publisher: Audrey Press | Publication Date:

 May 5, 2016 |&nbs p;Genre: Children's Picture Book Number of Pages: 32

Book Description:

What if I told you that all of the fairy tales, myths and legends that have been told about dragons over the years are WRONG? What if I told you that Dragons are indeed REAL and that they are different than you've ever imagined? Did you know that Dragons are the master of disguises? Did y ou know that they love sugar and sweets (at unacceptable levels) and will do anything for t reats? Award winning author Valarie Budayr brings us this fairly true story based on her childhood friendship with a REAL live Dragon.

About the Author: Valarie Budayr

Award Winning and Best-selling aut hor, Valarie Budayr inspires children and adults alike to experience their books t hrough play, discovery, and adventure via engaging extension activities on her popular website,

Valarie is co-founder of Multi-cultural Children's Book Day , #ReadYourWorld, a celebrat ion of diverse and cultural kid-lit shared with over 98 million people on&nbsp ;January 27th. Her foundation puts hundreds of books into the hands of children in rural and i ntercity areas.
Valarie's other best-selling and award winning titles a re: The Fox Diaries: The Year the Foxes Came to our Garden, The Ultimate Guide to C harlie and the Chocolate Factory, and A Year in the Secret Garden.

Michael Welply was born in London in 1948. The family move d to Winnipeg, Canada, in 1950. He studied art in Winnipeg and then in Paris, but his idea of living from the sales of his paintings is somewhat compromised by the lack of buyers . He started his career as an illustrator in 1977 in London. In 1981 he returned to live in Franc e with his American wife and their two children. Since then he has worked for publishers in both Europe and North America. To date he has illustrated over 80 books and more than 100 covers, in a wide range of subjects extending from detailed non-fiction to juvenile and adult fiction in the realms of fantasy, mythology, science fiction an d fairy tales.

Blog Tour Giveaway

 One winner will receive $100 Amazon gift card or $100 PayPal cash prize, winner's choice  
Giveaway ends: May 30, 11:59 pm, 2016 
Open to: Internationally 
How to enter : Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.
Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new w inner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries rece ived. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Fa cebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Valarie Budayr and is hosted and mana ged by Stacie from BeachBoundBooks. If you have any additional questions feel f ree to send an email to

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016


I read on the HUFFPOST WEIRD NEWS that May is ZOMBIE AWARENESS MONTH. Don't believe me? You can read about it HERE.

In honor of zombies and zombie-fans everywhere, here are some of my favorite books...all about zombies. Feast...and enjoy!!!

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie WarZom-B (Zom-B Series #1)

Rot & Ruin (Rot & Ruin Series #1)Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

The Enemy (Enemy Series #1)Ashes (Ashes Trilogy Series #1)


Sunday, May 8, 2016


Middle Grade Monday is a weekly collection of blog posts assembled by author Shannon Messenger. For a complete list of posts, visit Shannon's blog HERE.

Gary Paulsen
Simon & Schuster
Ages 8 - 12


From three-time Newbery Honor author Gary Paulsen comes a laugh-out-loud novel about six wacky misfits who get stuck together in a school restroom and discover friendship.

It seemed like a normal school day, until a horrible storm forced the very cautious school administration to make everyone hole up in a safe place. Six students find themselves stuck in a tiny, questionably smelly space—a school bathroom—with a stuffed cat for entertainment. Hijinks ensue and the unexpected happens. They enter as strangers…and leave as friends.

Get to know the story even better with a special script that accompanies the novel, so any six kids can get together with their friends and perform the story anywhere they’d like.


Laurisa: Six kids in a bathroom during a storm. Where did that idea come from?
Gary: I was filling up at a gas station, and as I entered to pay, someone yelled, “Don’t step in the blood,” and I thought, “What a great first line for a book; I wonder what happens next.”

Laurisa: Six Kids and a Stuffed Cat includes a script for a play. Have you seen it performed?
Gary: Not yet, but I hope to. For years school classrooms have been sending me videotapes and CDs and flash drives with play adaptations of my books. I’ve seen a few of my books performed live, but not this one yet.

Laurisa: Are the "kids" boys or girls?
Gary: I never used him or her or he or she and I tried to pick names that were gender neutral so that any combinations of students could be any of the roles when they assigned parts to stage the play. It’s funny because most of the reviews so far have said the characters were boys, but I never meant the characters to be specifically male.

Laurisa: Which of the six kids is most like you?
Gary: Probably the quiet one playing air guitar. I’m not an airband kind of guy, but I’ve always been out of the loop a little bit, doing my own thing.

Laurisa: You recently published This Side of Wild. Tell us about it.
Gary: This Side of Wild was a book I’ve wanted to write for a long time. I think I had to write as many books about dogs and the outdoors and adventure as I did before I felt anyone would believe, really believe, that what I was saying about those animals was the truth and not stories I made up.

Laurisa: Give an example of how a true life event inspired one of your books.
Gary: I think it might be easier if I picked something that didn’t come from my life. Everything I write has some basis in an experience I have had.  Even Six Kids and a Stuffed Cat came from a moment in a gas station. Hatchet happened because I had been in forced landings in bush planes, Dogsong was because I had run dogs, Woodsong and This Side of Wild ARE my life. It’s all there; every book I write has pieces of my life in it somewhere.

Laurisa: What is one of the scariest things that has happened to you?
Gary: Falling through ice on a lake in the middle of winter will do until something scarier comes along. I just went, flump, down like a brick to the bottom of the lake. I looked up at the air bubbles floating to the surface and thought, “There it is, my life, there goes my life.” And then Cookie, my lead dog, pulled the team up and away from the hole I’d just plunged through. I happened to grab a piece of rope that was tied to the sled as it rose to the surface and she pulled me out of the water. She saved me, Cookie saved my life. I owe everything that happened to me after that moment to my lead dog Cookie.

Laurisa: Are there any adventures you still hope to have?
Gary: I would still love to sail the Horn and run dogs and write all the books I have in my head.

Thank you, Mr. Paulsen for being my special guest today! And for all of you readers, how would you like to win both of Gary's new books? Just complete the rafflecopter form below to enter. The winner will be chosen at random and announced May 23rd! You must be 18 years or older to enter. [Contest open internationally, though if the winner is not a U.S. resident, a $20 (US dollars) digital Amazon gift card will be awarded.]  

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