Posted in Animal Fiction, Fiction, Middle Grade

Happy #Nocturnals Day!

It’s the Nocturnals, Book 3: The Fallen Star‘s book birthday today, and I’d like to shine a (soft) spotlight on my favorite Nocturnal, Tobin! Fabled Films put together a little writeup about pangolins that I thought I’d share with you. Enjoy!

In The Fallen Star, the third installment of the non-episodic middle grade series, The Nocturnals, all of the forest’s pomelos have been inexplicably poisoned. Iris, a mysterious aye-aye, claims that monsters from the moon are to blame. When Tobin the pangolin falls ill, the Nocturnal Brigade must race to find answers, and the cure, before this possibly unearthly predicament threatens to harm them all.

Tobin is one of the main characters of The Nocturnals series, and many of our readers write to us saying that they have never heard of the critically endangered pangolin before reading our books. Here are some interesting facts about pangolins that help inform and develop Tobin’s character.

Pangolins are funny-looking creatures, but everything about them is designed to help them survive and protect themselves. All of their physical features perform a specific job.

Pangolins look like they wear an armor, and that’s because they are covered in scales made of keratin, which is the same thing that our human fingernails are made of. Just like our fingernails, the keratin on a pangolin is hard and forms a protective shell. Whenever Tobin is scared, he curls up as a way of protecting himself.

Not only does Tobin curl himself up for protection with his scales when he’s scared, but he also sprays something smelly to ward off predators. This smell comes from the scent glands on his tail end. Remember when Bismark complained how stinky Tobin was when they first met? That was because Tobin sprayed something because Bismark had startled him. When Tobin is afraid, he sprays an unpleasant smell from his scent glands. This reaction also helps deter the thing that he’s afraid of. Tobin is sometimes embarrassed by this bad smell, but he shouldn’t be, because spraying that smell helps him survive (especially if the smell has been enhanced by a poisoned pomelo, like in The Fallen Star!).

Pangolins have very poor eyesight. When Tobin first meets the bats in The Mysterious Abductions, he thinks that they’re the same creatures as Bismark because he can’t see very well. But Tobin has other senses like smell and hearing that compensate for his poor eyesight. His very long snout makes his nose very sensitive. Instead of seeing something, he can detect its presence by smelling it.

To read more about pangolins and their special features, check out these resources:

“Mammals.” Animal Encyclopedia: 2,500 Animals with Photos, Maps, and More! Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2012. 47. Print.

(http://www.iucnredlist.org/ ;

(http://animaldiversity.org/)

(Macdonald, David W. “Pangolins.” The Princeton Encyclopedia of Mammals. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2009. 476-77. Print.)

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Spotlight On: Our Love Grows, by Anna Pignataro

Our Love Grows image excerpt

I adore Our Love Grows; it’s a perfect read-aloud for growing boys and girls (who will never be too big for a loving lap, right?). Enjoy this spotlight from the publisher, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, and please wander over to my review if you want more info.

Our Love Grows, Written and Illustrated by Anna Pignataro (April 5, 2016; Hardcover, ISBN 9781492634188)

Our Love Grows coverTitle: Our Love Grows

Author: Anna Pignataro

Release date: April 5, 2016

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Praise for Our Love Grows

“[Pignataro] creates delicately ethereal landscapes for the pandas to traverse—forests dense with pine and bamboo, snowy hillscapes—while showcasing a playful tenderness in their explorations and interactions… Pitch perfect in its spirit of cozy reassurance.” —Publishers Weekly, STARRED Review!

“A sweet story for parents to share with their young children. The theme is straightforward and told in rhyme. The book conveys a similar message to Sam McBratney’s Guess How Much I Love You, and the engaging artwork greatly enhances and complements the story. The pen and paint illustrations have a soft tone and will give readers a warm feeling.” —School Library Journal

 

 

About the Book

Like the sky, and the trees and the child she holds… A Mother’s Love Grows.

In the deep green forest, Pip asked,

“Mama, when will I be big?”

Pip is an adorable, roly-poly little panda who sees the world changing and growing. But Pip is feeling a bit left behind. Luckily Mama is there to show playful and curious Pip that, like the trees in the forest and the stars in the sky, he’s growing and changing too. And no matter how much Pip grows, the one thing that will never change is how much Mama loves him!

Our Love Grows on Goodreads

Buy the Book:

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Anna Pignataro author photo

About the Author

Anna Pignataro is the creator of the bestselling books Mama, How Long Will You Love Me? and Mama, Will You Hold My Hand? Her works have been translated into eleven different languages, and she has won numerous awards including the Crichton Award for Illustration. She lives in Australia with her family.

Connect with Anna Pignataro:

Website: http://annapignataro.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/annapignatarobooks/

 

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Posted in Fiction, Fiction, Middle Grade, Middle School, Realistic Fiction, Tween Reads

Spotlight On: Just Like Me, by Nancy Cavanaugh

I recently raved about how much I loved Just Like Me, by Nancy Cavanaugh. Now, enjoy this spotlight and excerpt from Just Like Me – and make sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win your own copy of the book!

9781492604273-PR

Just Like Me, By Nancy J. Cavanaugh (April 5, 2016; Hardcover, ISBN 9781492604273)

Book Info:

Title: Just Like Me

Author: Nancy J. Cavanaugh

Release Date: April 5, 2016

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Praise for Just Like Me

“A tender and honest story about a girl trying to find her place in the world, and the thread that connects us all.” – Liesl Shurtliff, Author of Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin

“A heartwarming and tender story about the universal struggle of yearning to be an individual while longing to fit in.” -Karen Harrington, author of Sure Signs of Crazy

“[A] charming and refreshingly wholesome coming-of-age story….Filled with slapstick humor and fast-paced action, the novel will engage reluctant readers, while offering fuel for deep contemplation by those ready to tackle questions of identity and belonging.” –School Library Journal

“From pillow fights to pinkie promises, sock wars to s’mores, a red thread connects this energetic summer-camp story with Julia’s deeper journey to accept herself, her adoption, and her Chinese roots.” -Megan McDonald, award-winning and bestselling author of the Judy Moody series and Sisters Club trilogy

Summary:

Who eats Cheetos with chopsticks?! Avery and Becca, my “Chinese Sisters,” that’s who. We’re not really sisters—we were just adopted from the same orphanage. And we’re nothing alike. They like egg rolls, and I like pizza. They’re wave around Chinese fans, and I pretend like I don’t know them.

Which is not easy since we’re all going to summer camp to “bond.” (Thanks, Mom.) To make everything worse, we have to journal about our time at camp so the adoption agency can do some kind of “where are they now” newsletter. I’ll tell you where I am: At Camp Little Big Lake in a cabin with five other girls who aren’t getting along, competing for a camp trophy and losing (badly), wondering how I got here…and where I belong.

Told through a mix of traditional narrative and journal entries, don’t miss this funny, surprisingly sweet summer read!

Find Just Like Me on Goodreads!

Buy Links:

Amazon

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BooksAMillion

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Indiebound

Jacket Flap Author PhotoAbout the Author:

NANCY J. CAVANAUGH is an award-winning author and former teacher and librarian at an elementary school. Nancy lives in Chicago, IL, with her husband and daughter but flies South to Florida for the winter. Visit nancyjcavanaugh.com for more.

Social Networking Links:

Website- http://www.nancyjcavanaugh.com/

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/Nancy-J-Cavanaugh-281062665333065/

Twitter- https://twitter.com/NancyJCavanaugh

Excerpt from Just Like Me:

The camp bus sputtered and chugged up the interstate, sounding as if this might be its last trip. Avery sat across the aisle from me with her earbuds on, practicing a Chinese vocabulary lesson. Becca sat next to her, chewing on a straw and watching a soccer match on her cell phone.

“Ni hao ma,” Avery said, her chin-length hair with bangs making her look studious in her thick, black-framed glasses.

When she saw me looking at her, she pulled out one earbud and offered it to me.

Did she really think I wanted to learn Chinese with her?

“Technically the lesson I’m working on is review, but I could teach you the basics if you want.”

I looked around at all the kids on the bus staring at her and shook my head.

“GO! GO! GO!” Becca yelled, pumping her fist in the air as she cheered for Spain’s soccer team.

Her hair spilled out of her ponytail as if she were playing in the soccer game instead of just watching it. “Booyah! Score!”

As kids stood up on the bus to see what all the yelling was about, I slid down in my seat, and the driver gave us that “death look” in her rearview mirror. The one that said, “If I have to stop this bus, somebody’s gonna get it…”

“Hey, Julia!” Becca yelled, holding up her phone. “Wanna watch with me? The game just went into overtime!”

“No thanks.”

Crowding around a tiny phone screen and watching people kick a soccer ball around was not my idea of fun.

My idea of fun was craft camp at the park district with my best friend, Madison, but Mom said I had the rest of the summer to do that.

Instead I was heading north toward Wisconsin to Camp Little Big Woods, but at least that was better than heading south toward Indiana for Summer Palace Chinese Culture Camp.

As soon as we “graciously” agreed to be the subjects of Ms. Marcia’s adoption article, she suggested that the three of us spend a week together making paper lanterns and learning the pinyin alphabet at culture camp.

“It will be a great way for you girls to reconnect not only with each other, but also with your heritage,” Ms. Marcia had gushed.

She loved treating us as if we were two instead of almost twelve.

But I said there was no way I was going to eat Chinese food three times a day and do tai chi every morning, so we settled on the sleepaway camp Avery and Becca went to every year.

I reached into the pocket of my suitcase and pulled out the plastic lacing of the gimp friendship bracelet I had started a few days ago. I had planned to finish it before camp so that I could give it to Madison when I said good-bye to her, but I’d run out of time. I decided I’d try to finish it while I was at camp and mail it to her along with a nice, long letter saying how much I missed her.

“Hey, Julia!” Becca yelled. “What’s that?”

“Nothing,” I said. “Just a friendship bracelet for my friend Madison.”

“COOL!” Becca yelled. “We should totally make those for each other in the arts-and-crafts room at camp.”

She went back to her straw-chewing and her tiny-phone-screen soccer game.

Friendship bracelets for the three of us? I guess “technically” as Avery would say, the three of us were friends. But even though “technically” I had known Avery and Becca longer than I had known my parents, I couldn’t imagine ever thinking of them as the friendship-bracelet kind of friends.

What are your thoughts on the Chinese proverb: “An invisible red thread connects those destined to meet regardless of time, place, or circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle, but never break.”

Dear Ms. Marcia,

I’ve been hearing about this red thread for as long as I can remember, but I cannot imagine a thread, of any color—red, blue, purple, orange, or green—connecting Avery, Becca, and me. And if by some chance there really is a thread, I’m pretty sure this trip to camp might just be enough to snap that thing like an old rubber band, breaking it once and for all. Then that Chinese proverb would be history in a whole new way.

Julia

ALSO BY NANCY J. CAVANAUGH

always abigailAlways, Abigail

Summary:

Abigail and her two best friends are poised for a life of pom-poms and popularity. But not only does Abigail end up in a different homeroom, she doesn’t make the squad. Then everyone’s least favorite teacher pairs Abigail up with the school’s biggest outcast for a year-long Friendly Letter Assignment. Abigail can hardly believe her bad luck! As her so-called best friends and dreams of pom pom fame start to slip away, Abigail has to choose between the little bit of popularity she has left or letting it go to be a true friend.

Goodreads

Buy Links:

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Apple

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BooksAMillion

!ndigo

IndieBound

ratchetThis Journal Belongs to Ratchet

Summary:

It’s the first day of school for all the kids in the neighborhood. But not for me. I’m homeschooled. That means nothing new. No new book bag, no new clothes, and no new friends.

The best I’ve got is this notebook. I’m supposed to use it for my writing assignments, but my dad never checks. Here’s what I’m really going to use it for:

Ratchet’s Top Secret Plan

Turn my old, recycled, freakish, friendless life into something shiny and new.

This Florida State Book Award gold medal winner is a heartfelt story about an unconventional girl’s quest to make a friend, save a park, and find her own definition of normal.

Goodreads

Buy Links:

Amazon

Apple

Barnes & Noble

BooksAMillion

!ndigo

Indiebound

Don’t forget to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win one of 2 Copies of Just Like Me! Runs March 8th-April 30th (U.S. and Canada only)

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Posted in Fiction, Intermediate, Middle School, Realistic Fiction, Tween Reads

Spotlight On: Dream On, Amber by Emma Shevah

I reviewed Dream On, Amber by Emma Shevah a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed it. Now, enjoy a publisher spotlight on the book, including an excerpt and a Rafflecopter giveaway where you have a chance to get your own copy of Dream On, Amber!

dream on

Dream On, Amber
By Emma Shevah
October 6, 2015
Hardcover ISBN 9781492622505

Book Info:
Title: Dream On, Amber
Author: Emma Shevah
Release Date: October 6, 2015
Publishers: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Praise for Dream On, Amber:
“By turns playful and poignant, in both style and substance, this coming-of-age novel will hook readers from the first page to the last.”—School Library Journal, STARRED review
“Amber’s effervescent and opinionated narration captivates from the start, making it easy to root for her as she strives to conquer the “beast” of her worries and thrive at home and at school.”—Publishers Weekly, STARRED review
“Shevah tenderly captures the void of growing up without a father yet manages to create a feisty, funny heroine… A gutsy girl in a laugh-out-loud book that navigates tough issues with finesse.” –Kirkus, STARRED review
“[This] novel is a charmer…While its humor and illustrations lend it Wimpy Kid appeal, its emotional depth makes it stand out from the pack. Molto bene!”- Booklist, STARRED review

Summary:
My name is Ambra Alessandra Leola Kimiko Miyamoto. But call me Amber. I have no idea why my parents gave me all those hideous names but they must have wanted to ruin my life, and you know what? They did an amazing job.
As a half-Japanese, half-Italian girl with a ridiculous name, Amber’s not feeling molto bene (very good) about making friends at her new school.

But the hardest thing about being Amber is that a part of her is missing. Her dad. He left when she was little and he isn’t coming back. Not for her first day of middle school and not for her little sister’s birthday. So Amber will have to dream up a way for the Miyamoto sisters to make it on their own.

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25965546-dream-on-amber?ac=1
Buy Links:
Amazon- http://ow.ly/RX7L9
Barnes&Noble- http://ow.ly/RX7VK
Books A Million- http://ow.ly/RX9Ra
iBooks- http://ow.ly/S3wH6
!ndigo- http://ow.ly/S3wQz
Indiebound- http://ow.ly/S3wYp

About the Author:
Emma Shevah is half-Irish and half-Thai, born and raised in London. She has lived in Australia, Japan, India (her first child was born in the Himalayas), and Jerusalem before moving back to the UK. Emma has busked as a fire-juggler, been a restaurant manager, a copy writer, an English teacher, and is now a blogger and author.

Social Networking Links:
Website: http://emmashevah.com/
Twitter: @emmashevah

Excerpt from Dream On, Amber:
Bella came in wearing her matching pink nightdress, pink dressing gown, and pink slippers with Hello Kitty all over them. I just don’t get why people like Hello Kitty. I know it’s Japanese and supposed to be kawaii (cute) and everything, so maybe I should like it, but it’s just a picture of a cartoon cat’s head. I mean, seriously, what’s the big deal?
Bella’s hands were behind her back like she was hiding something. She looked much happier than she did when we got home from the party. She moved her arms to the front and handed me a sealed envelope.

“What’s this?” I asked, putting my sharpener down.

“Can you mail it for me tomorrow?”

I looked at the front of the envelope. There was nothing written on it.

“But it’s blank, Bella.”

“Yuuup.”

“Who’s it for?”

“None of your beeswax, Mrs. Nosy Pants.”

“Um…okay. So you…you want me to put it in the mailbox?”

“Yes, Amber. Duuuh. That’s what mailing means.”

“But how is the mailman going to know who to give it to if it has no name on it?”

“Oh,” she said, frowning.

She lay down on her belly on the floor and with her red crayon from the dollar store (well, she wasn’t borrowing any of mine), she wrote on the front of the envelope: “TO MY DAD.”

I looked at her.

“Bella—”

“Shush,” she said. “Just mail it for me.”

“But there’s no address on it—”

“The mailman will know where he lives. He knows where everyone lives.”

“He won’t know where Dad lives. Nobody knows where Dad lives. Not even Mum.”

“Didn’t I say ‘shush’? I’m sure I said ‘shush.’ Just mail it for me. Pleeease, Amber.”

I sighed. What was I supposed to tell her? She was too little. She didn’t get it. So I took it and put it on my desk, just to make her happy.

I know I shouldn’t have done it and it’s probably against the law and everything but when she went out of my room, I opened it.

It said:

Dier Dad,
My nam is Bella and Im your dorta. My bithday party is on Sunday 16 Speptmbr and I rely want you too come. And I neid you to play with me in the park and posh me on the swing. Please come home
love, Bella
P.S. Please buy me a perpel Swatch wach and Sparkle Girl Julerry Makar for my bithday.

I didn’t know what to do. Obviously, I wasn’t going to mail it without an address on it. So instead, I put it in my secret place. If you pull the bottom drawer of my dresser all the way out, there’s a space under it on the floor where I put my most sacred things. I had a coin that I found in Hyde Park that I’m sure is Roman or Viking and one day I’m going to sell it and get mega rich. I had a few other cool things in there too. Some of them are embarrassing, like key-rings I made out of lanyard strings when I was, like, seven and valentine cards my mum sent me. Stuff you can’t exactly throw out but really don’t want anyone to see. The letter wasn’t one of my sacred things but where else was I going to put it?
I also had a picture of my dad holding me when I was a baby that I sneaked out of Nonna’s album. Obviously, we have a whole bunch of photos of him in that album, but I wanted one for myself. One of him with me. Just to prove to myself that he did actually exist and hold me once, and he even looked proud. I don’t look at that photo much because it makes me angry. I know it doesn’t make sense to keep it, but there you go. Not everything makes sense. If it did, he would never have left in the first place.

There was another knock on my door, so I quickly closed the drawer.

“Hang on… Okay, you can come in now.”

Bella stuck her head in.

“When do you think he’ll get it?” she asked.

“Well, they have to find him first. It’s not easy, you know. It takes teams of detectives months to find missing people.”

She walked in to my room and said, “Oh,” and did that thing where she points her toes inward and puts one foot over the other, like her toes are hugging.

“Do you think he’ll get it before my birthday?”

“I don’t know, Bella. I don’t think so. But if by some weird miracle he did get it before then, I’m sure he’d come to your party.”

Bella unhugged her toes and put her hands on her hips. “Amber?”

“Mmm?”

“How do you know I want Dad to come to my party?”

Oops.

“Well, it’s kind of obvious, Bella. You did ask if he’d get it before your birthday.”

“Oh,” she said, frowning. “Hmm. Well, okay.” And she skipped back to her room.

The letter wasn’t my biggest problem at that point. I was so worried about starting my new school in the morning that I couldn’t get to sleep for ages. When you can’t sleep, your mind starts going a bit doolally. Well, mine does anyway. I start thinking all kinds of crazy things. And eventually the problem with Bella and her letter worked its way into my churning brain.

It was kind of mean and everything but there were times I really wished Bella wasn’t my sister. But knowing there was a huge hole where our dad was supposed to be wasn’t much fun either. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that maybe, just maybe, I could do something about it. I could save Bella from years of torture with one quick solution.

It seemed straightforward enough.

I decided to pretend to be my dad and write back to her, you know, to make her feel better.

And that was it.

Paff!

The most ingenious idea I’ve ever had lit up my mind like a firework.

Check out this Rafflecopter giveaway!
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Posted in Espionage, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Middle Grade, Tween Reads, Uncategorized

Sourcebooks Spotlight: The Secret Mission of William Tuck

william tuckThe Secret Mission of William Tuck
Eric Pierpoint
September 1, 2015;
ISBN: 9781402281747

Book Information:
Title: The Secret Mission of William Tuck
Author: Eric Pierpoint
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Summary:

William Tuck is set on justice. For his brother killed by British soldiers, for his friend Rebecca’s father held prisoner by the redcoats, and for the countless other rebel Americans struggling beneath the crushing weight of British rule.

The whispered words of a dying soldier and a mysterious watch give William all the ammunition he needs: a secret message for the leader of the rebel army. Rebecca disguises herself as a boy, and she and William join the American troops. They embark on an epic journey that pulls them into a secret network of spies, pits them against dangerous gunmen, and leads them on a quest to find General George Washington himself.

Can William and Rebecca determine friend from foe long enough to deliver a message that might just change the tide of the American Revolution?

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25782504-the-secret-mission-of-william-tuck

Buy Links:

Amazon- http://ow.ly/OHFe6
Barnes & Noble- http://ow.ly/OHHJ7
Books A Million- http://ow.ly/OHHRx
iBooks- http://ow.ly/OHHYC
!ndigo- http://ow.ly/OHI80
Indiebound- http://ow.ly/OHIgn

Eric-105About the Author:

Eric Pierpoint is a veteran Hollywood character actor who’s begun a writing career with several screenplays in development. His ancestors came west on the Oregon Trail in the mid 1800s, so Eric and his dog, Joey, followed in their wagon wheel tracks and traveled cross-country researching The Last Ride of Caleb O’Toole. Visit http://www.ericpierpoint.net for more info!

Social Networking Links:

Website: http://www.ericpierpoint.net/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ericpierpoint

Excerpt from The Secret Mission of William Tuck:

William! No!” screamed his mother, Martha, as William broke out of her grasp. He leaped from the porch of their farmhouse and ran toward his brother, who stood surrounded by redcoats on horseback over by the freshly plowed field at the edge of the woods. “Dear God! William!”

Still dressed in her yellow dress and white bonnet, her arms covered in flour, she bent down to help her burly husband, Benjamin Tuck, who lay still after being shot in the leg by a soldier of the British procurement troops. Bo, the old family bloodhound, howled from the end of his rope, which was tied to the front stoop.

“Asher!” cried William. He raced along the wooden fence that held the family livestock, past two British supply wagons. Four black men, dressed in shirts with the words “We Are Free” written in red paint across their fronts, had begun to slaughter the Tucks’ hogs and chickens and load the carcasses. Former slaves promised their freedom by the British, they went about their bloody business with axes and clubs.

William ran as fast as his legs could carry him across the field, past the bodies of three British soldiers and Asher’s fallen friend, a fellow member of the Virginia militia. The battle had been short and deadly. What had begun as an argument had ended in an explosion of muskets. Asher, a crack shot with his Virginia rifle, had killed two of the twenty British soldiers who had come to take the family livestock for General Cornwallis’s army as he rampaged through the southern colonies.

A British captain stood pointing an accusing finger at Asher. The brass buttons on the officer’s red uniform coat gleamed in the sunlight. The black feather cockade of his dragoon helmet pointed straight up into the blue of the hot June sky.

Suddenly, the captain slapped Asher across the face with his glove, knocking his tricorn to the ground. He barked an order, and ten redcoats quickly dismounted and began to drag Asher to the nearby woods. Hopelessly outnumbered, Asher did not resist but stood proud and defiant as the soldiers tied him to a tree.

“Form up!” ordered the captain. He then marched arrogantly over to his men as they lined up to form a firing squad. The soldiers began to check and load their muskets.

“I, Captain Barrington Scroope, humble servant of His Majesty, King George III, do hereby sentence you to death for crimes against the Crown.” Scroope drew his saber. “May God have mercy on your soul.”

“No!” choked William, tears streaming down his cheeks.

“William! Stay back!” called Asher.

“Make ready!” commanded Scroope as he raised his sword above his head. In perfect unison, the ten soldiers brought their Brown Bess muskets up into position and pulled back the cocks.

“Present!” The redcoats took aim. Captain Scroope waited, as if relishing his power.

William sprinted, his feet flying over the ground.

Seeing William running toward his brother, Scroope cocked his head slightly and smiled with false pity—-the saber scar that ran down the left side of his mouth turned it into a ghoulish grin.

“Asher!” cried William desperately, racing to get to his brother’s side. As he reached the firing squad, one of the redcoats swiftly turned and smashed his musket into the side of William’s head. William fell to the ground as blinding pain shot through his body. Blood began to pour from his scalp and drip into his eyes, and his ears rang as he tried to find Asher.

“Fire!” Scroope sliced the air with his sword. Asher turned his gaze from his younger brother and faced his death. The crash of ten muskets ripped the air and tore the heart right out of William Tuck.

Rafflecopter Giveaway: Win one of 2 copies of The Secret Mission of William Tuck by entering a Rafflecopter giveaway! The giveaway runs from August 24-September 30. Good luck!

 

Posted in Horror, Teen, Young Adult/New Adult

Spotlight Tour: Rin Chupeco’s The Suffering!

I just finished reading Rin Chupeco’s The Suffering – the sequel to last year’s The Girl from the Well – and you are in for a treat. Well, you’re in for an even bigger treat, because Sourcebooks Fire has a Rafflecopter giveaway for you, along with an excerpt from The Suffering!

sufferingThe Suffering
By Rin Chupeco
September 1, 2015; Hardcover ISBN 9781492629832; Trade Paper ISBN 9781492629849
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Praise for the Suffering:

“Rin Chupeco’s The Suffering is a horror lover’s dream: murders, possessed dolls, and desiccated corpses. I cringed. I grimaced. You won’t soon forget this exorcist and his vengeful water ghost.”
–Kendare Blake, author of Anna Dressed in Blood

“Chupeco deftly combines ancient mysticism with contemporary dilemmas that teens face, immersing readers in horrors both supernatural and manmade. The Suffering is a chilling swim through the murky waters of morality.”
–Carly Anne West, author of The Bargaining and The Murmuring

Summary:

Breathtaking and haunting, Rin Chupeco’s second novel is a chilling companion to her debut, The Girl from the Well.

The darkness will find you.

Seventeen-year-old Tark knows what it is to be powerless. But Okiku changed that. A restless spirit who ended life as a victim and started death as an avenger, she’s groomed Tark to destroy the wicked. But when darkness pulls them deep into Aokigahara, known as Japan’s suicide forest, Okiku’s justice becomes blurred, and Tark is the one who will pay the price…

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24789796-the-suffering?from_search=true&search_version=service_impr

Buy Links:
Amazon- http://ow.ly/PrKxL

Barnes&Noble- http://ow.ly/PrKLh

Books A Million- http://ow.ly/PrL7j

iBooks- http://ow.ly/PrLCI

!ndigo- http://ow.ly/PrLOZ

Indiebound- http://ow.ly/PrLXu

 

chupecoAbout the Author:
Despite uncanny resemblances to Japanese revenants, Rin Chupeco has always maintained her sense of humor. Raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband. She’s been a technical writer and travel blogger, but now makes things up for a living. Connect with Rin at www.rinchupeco.com.

Social Networking Links:
Website: http://www.rinchupeco.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RinChupeco

Excerpt from The Suffering:
It’s still early morning when our group is given clearance to enter. Aokigahara is a deceptive forest. It has all the hallmarks of a popular tourist destination: narrow but well-maintained hiking trails with a surprising amount of litter, not to mention strips of tape and ribbon wrapped around tree trunks. The leader explains that hikers use them as markers to maintain their bearings. Later on, one of the other volunteers whispers to us that some of the tapes were left by those who came here to kill themselves, in case they decided to change their minds. The revelation horrifies Callie.

A few miles into our hike, anything resembling civilization disappears. Roots crawl across the hard forest floor, and it’s easy to trip if you’re not constantly looking down. We’re outside, but the trees make it feel claustrophobic. They reach hungrily toward the sun, fighting each other for drops of light, and this selfishness grows with the darkness as we move deeper into the woods.

It’s quiet. The silence is broken by the scuffling of feet or snapping of dry twigs as we walk. Every so often, volunteers call back and forth to each other, and rescue dogs exploring the same vicinity that we are will bark. But there are no bird calls, no sounds of scampering squirrels. We’re told that there is very little wildlife in Jukai. Nothing seems to flourish here but trees.

This deep into the woods, any roads and cleared paths are gone. At times, we’re forced to climb to a higher ledge or slide down steep slopes to proceed, and there’s always some root or rock hiding to twist an ankle.

And yet-the forest is beautiful. I like myself too much to seriously think about suicide, even during my old bouts of depression, but I can understand why people would choose to die here. There is something noble and enduring and magnificent about the forest.

That sense of wonder disappears though, the instant I see them. There are spirits here. And the ghosts mar the peacefulness for me. They hang from branches and loiter at the base of tree trunks. Their eyes are open and their skin is gray, and they watch me as I pass. I don’t know what kind of people they were in life, but they seem faded and insignificant in death.

Okiku watches them but takes no action. These are not the people she hunts. They don’t attack us because they’re not that kind of ghosts. Most of them, I intuit, aren’t violent. The only lives they had ever been capable of taking were their own.

I’m not afraid, despite their bloated faces, contorted from the ropes they use to hang themselves or the overdose of sleeping pills they’ve taken. If anything, I feel lingering sadness. I can sympathize with their helpless anguish. These people took their own lives, hoping to find some meaning in death when they couldn’t find it in life. But there’s nothing here but regret and longing.

And there’s that tickle again, so light it is nearly imperceptible. Something in this forest attracts these deaths. It lures its unhappy victims with its strange siren’s call and then, having taken what it needs, leaves their spirits to rot. A Venus flytrap for human souls.

Something is wrong here, and suddenly, the forest no longer looks as enticing or majestic as when we arrived.

 

18509623New in Paperback from this Author: The Girl From The Well

Praise for The Girl From The Well:

“[A] Stephen King-like horror story.” -Kirkus Reviews

“Told in a marvelously disjointed fashion.” -Publishers Weekly STARRED Review

“This gorgeously written story reads like poetry.” -Brazos Bookstore

“Darkly mesmerizing.” -The Boston Globe

“A superior creep factor that is pervasive in every lyrical word.” -Booklist

 

Summary:
The Ring meets The Exorcist in this haunting and lyrical reimagining of the Japanese fable.

Okiku has wandered the world for hundreds of years, setting free the spirits of murdered children. Wherever there’s a monster hurting a child, her spirit is there to deliver punishment. Such is her existence, until the day she discovers a troubled American teenager named Tark and the dangerous demon that writhes beneath his skin, trapped by a series of intricate tattoos. Tark needs to be freed, but there is one problem-if the demon dies, so does its host.

With the vigilante spirit Okiku as his guide, Tark is drawn deep into a dark world of sinister doll rituals and Shinto exorcisms that will take him far from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Japan. Can Okiku protect him from the demon within or will her presence bring more harm? The answer lies in the depths of a long-forgotten well.

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25263927-the-girl-from-the-well

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