Blog Tour: This Heart of Mine

Jessica's Bigger Better Blog Header.png

1

One month earlier April 13th

“You lucky bitch!” I drop back down on my pink bedspread, phone to ear, knowing Brandy is dancing on cloud nine and I’m dancing with her. I glance at the door to make sure Mom isn’t hovering and about to freak over my language. Again.

She isn’t there.

Lately, I can’t seem to control what comes out of my mouth. Mom blames it on too much daytime who’s-the-baby-daddy television. She could be right. But hey, a girl’s gotta have some fun.

“Where he’s taking you?” I ask.

“Pablo’s Pizza.” Brandy’s tone lost the oh-God shriek qual- ity. “Why . . . why don’t you come with us?”

“On your date? Are you freaking nuts?” Continue reading

GIVEAWAY: Children of Blood and Bone

cbbTomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut, perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

Support the podcast by using our affiliate links to make your pre-order.
Amazon . B&N

Every so often we like to run giveaways here at Booked All Night. They can be books, ARCs, or even our super special cozy booknerd kit.

Our next giveaway will be

February 22, 2018 – February 28, 2018

and we will be giving away an ARC (Advanced Reader/Reviewer Copy) of

Children of Blood and Bone
by Tomi Adeyemi

so long as

we have 100+ subscribers to the podcast.

Listen on Google Play Music .  Listen on iTunes . PlayerFM
or use our FeedBurner link to add it to a podcast service you prefer.

Rafflecopter

If you want this giveaway to fly make sure to share our episodes and subscribe!

 

THE BELLES Giveaway Winner!

Belles Giveaway Winner.png

Our giveaway for THE BELLES has ended and congratulations to Dynal R for winning!

Didn’t win? Don’t worry! We’ve got more giveaways coming! Keep your ear out for the next episode of the Booked All Night podcast for another bookish giveaway!

Follow us on Twitter to stay up-to-date on all Booked All Night news and giveaways at @BookedOwlNight! Subscribe to our late night party podcast for a chance to enter our next event!

THE BELLES Giveaway!

23197837Howdy booknerds!

I seemed to have found myself with two copies of Dhonielle Clayton’s The Belles–a review copy I won in a BookishFirst giveaway and my pre-ordered copy. So I wanted to share this AMAZING book with y’all, so I’m giving away one of my copies! Just enter the rafflecopter below for your chance to win! A random winner will be chosen on February 14th, 2018. International entries are welcome!

Rafflecopter

Fade to Us Excerpt

Jessica's Bigger Better Blog Header (3)

✦ 1

Definite Opinions 

Fade to Us_CoverI had been chasing the Thomas twins around their house for a half hour, begging them to put on their clothes, when the garage door whined up. Their mother was home.

“Guys, come here,” I shouted as I flung myself onto the carpet. Five seconds later, I had two tiny bare butts bouncing on my belly. “Gotcha.” I sat up, locked my arms around their squirmy bodies, and shifted them onto my lap. I’d just wiggled a pair of Pull-Ups onto both boys when Mrs. Thomas walked in the door.

She hugged them as she smiled at me. “Were my little men good today?”

“Absolutely adorable.” I took the wad of cash she held out and shoved it into my pocket. “Thanks.”

“Brooke?” She squinted at the calendar hanging on the kitchen wall. “Can you babysit next Saturday morning? Eight to eleven?” Continue reading

Fade to Us Blog Tour

Fade to Us Blog Tour (1)

Julia Day’s Fade to Us is a story about found families, the bond of sisterhood, and the agony and awe of first love.

Brooke’s summer is going to be EPIC— having fun with her friends and a job that lets her buy a car. Then her new stepfather announces his daughter is moving in. Brooke has always longed for a sibling, so she’s excited about spending more time with her stepsister. But she worries, too. Natalie has Asperger’s–and Brooke’s not sure how to be the big sister that Natalie needs.

After Natalie joins a musical theater program, Brooke sacrifices her job to volunteer for the backstage crew. She’s mostly there for Natalie, but Brooke soon discovers how much she enjoys being part of the show. Especially sweet is the chance to work closely with charming and fascinating Micah–the production’s stage manager. If only he wasn’t Natalie’s mentor…

When her summer comes to an end, will Brooke finally have the family she so desperately wants–and the love she’s only dreamed about?

AUTHOR BIO:

Julia Day_CREDIT-Wes SmithJULIA DAY lives in North Carolina, halfway between the beaches and the mountains. She has two twenty-something daughters, one geeky old husband, and too many computers to count. When she’s not writing software or stories, Julia enjoys traveling to faraway places, watching dance reality shows on TV, and making a dent in her To-Be-Read pile. Julia is the author of YA contemporary romances The Possibility of Somewhere and Fade to Us (Feb 2018).

SOCIAL LINKS:
WebsiteFacebookTwitter
BUY FADE TO US

Q&A with Lily Anderson

Jessica's Blog Features (1).png

About the book:

image002.jpgElliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn’t going to do this summer.

  1. She isn’t going to stay home in Sacramento, where she’d have to sit through her stepmother’s sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
  2. She isn’t going to mock trial camp at UCLA.
  3. And she certainly isn’t going to the Air Force summer program on her mom’s base in Colorado Springs. As cool as it would be to live-action-role-play Ender’s Game, Ellie’s seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it’s much less Luke/Yoda/”feel the force,” and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep. And that just isn’t appealing, no matter how many Xenomorphs from Alien she’d be able to defeat afterwards.

What she is going to do is pack up her determination, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and go to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College, the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program. And she’s going to start over as Ever Lawrence, on her own terms, without the shadow of all her family’s expectations. Because why do what’s expected of you when you can fight other genius nerds to the death for a shot at the dream you’re sure your family will consider a complete waste of time?

This summer’s going to be great.

About the author:

Author-Photo-Lily-Anderson-New.png

LILY ANDERSON is an elementary school librarian and Melvil Dewey fangirl with an ever-growing collection of musical theater tattoos and Harry Potter ephemera. She lives in Northern California. She is also the author of The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You. Continue reading

The Librarian Blog Tour & Giveaway

Jessica's Blog Features (1)

Hey there night owls! It’s midnight on the East Coast which means we can post this awesome blog tour and giveaway for Christy Sloat’s The Librarian, which recently published on June 17th. Read the excerpt for this historical YA romance and then enter the giveaway to win one of five e-copies of the book!

About the Book

the librarian

The Librarian by Christy Sloat
Genre: YA Historical/Romance
Published June 17th, 2017
Published by CHBB Publishing
Goodreads . Amazon . B&N

He’s from 1892 England, she’s in a small library in 2017. And that’s just the start of their troubles.

Emme never meant to stay in Maine. She’d come only to find a librarian for her Gram’s library, a custodian for the collection of mysterious books she’d promised to protect. On a dark, wintery night, alone in the library, she takes her first glance into one of the antique novels and finds herself transported to 1892 England staring into the eyes of handsome and dashing hero Jack Ridgewell. As each chapter passes she learns you can truly fall in love with a character in a book, that book boyfriends are real and Emme must choose between the real world, and his.

When the last page is read he’s gone and Emme feels the cold loneliness of lost love. Will she find Jack again, or will their love be forever lost? The answer lies within the pages…

Continue reading

COVER REVEAL

christina newAbout the Author:

Christina Benjamin is an Award-Winning Author residing in Florida. She’s a proud book nerd, 100% Gryffindor, has entirely too many book boyfriends and loves coffee and tacos!

She loves to read and write across genres. Her best selling books are The Geneva Project series and The Practice Boyfriend. Check them out if you dare.

About the Book:

The Almost Boyfriend by Christina Benjamin

Genre: YA contemporary romance
Nobody likes Devon James, including Devon James. And why should they? He had it all and took it for granted—money, girls, popularity and a future with endless possibility. Now he’s just a washed up has-been. Or so everyone thinks. No one knows the real reason the handsome soccer star quit the team and dumped the hottest girl in school, but they’re not about to forgive him for it either. That’s why he’s perfect for Samantha Connors.
Sam Connors always follows the rules. But when her father forces her to leave Boston to finish her senior year of high school at a posh prep school in Ireland she has no choice but to rebel. And bad boy Devon James is just the guy to help her break all the rules.
Sam is determined to get her life back and return to Boston by any means necessary. Her plan is crazy, but she’s convinced it will work—almost.
A Fun, Fast, YA Romance Read.Perfect for fans of Gossip Girl, 13 Reason’s Why and Pretty Little Liars. (Note: Suggested reading age 16+ for mature language and content.)
And now for the cover…

Continue reading

EXCERPT : Girl Out of Water

I float in the Pacific Ocean.

As I straddle my longboard, cool water lapping around me, I watch surfers up and down the coast take on baby waves, four-­footers that will carry them a short distance before breaking into froth and foam.

I’m waiting for something better.

The sun beats down on the slip of my neck between my wet suit and hairline. The tender skin burns, but I don’t dare move to massage it. Seagulls circle overhead, squawking over the swilling water. They dive to the surface, then soar back up, carrying scraps of seaweed and tiny fish.

And then I see it—­in the distance, coming toward me, coming for me. My gaze flickers over the green-­blue water as I watch the wave take shape. It’s not a three-footer or even a four-footer. No, it’s much better. My fingers drum against my thighs, and I lean forward, gnawing my sun-­chapped lip. Continue reading

Q&A with Laurie Boyle Crompton

image003 (1)Was there anything you had to edit out of the story that you wish you could have kept?

Not in this book, but in my last book ADRENALINE CRUSH there was a lot of character defining backstory that got cut for the sake of pacing and it still stings a bit. I even considered posting excerpts on my website of ‘deleted scenes’ but know that for a story to flow smoothly, it can’t carry too much baggage.

What are some writing rituals you go through before sitting down to write?

All I need is a caffeinated beverage and my two pups by my side. When there’s time I’ll do a partial roll through social media, but have to limit that or I’d never finish another book!

What was the main inspiration for the main character? Did she change over the course of writing the story?

I always knew I wanted Rory to be resilient and she absolutely remained that way, but as I told her story she surprised me with her willingness to open up and be vulnerable. I was proud of how much she managed to grow through the course of the story. Continue reading

Stealing Candy Spotlight & Giveaway

stealing.candy.coverCLICK HERE TO ENTER

Candy hates boarding school. As a junior, graduation is still eons away, and making films is the only way to survive the boredom.

Until she is kidnapped.

Candy panics. Along Came a Spider, Ransom, Taken, Cellular… Candy knows how these movies end. The only reason anyone would abduct her is to get a payout from her rock star father. Except Candy and her father are estranged. There’s no way he’s going to pay.

But with every hour that passes, Candy’s fear slowly recedes. Being on the road is freeing, not to mention great material for a new documentary. And the more time she spends with her mysterious and handsome captor, Levon, the more she learns the whole scheme is not just about ransom. It’s about revenge. What began as a kidnapping is spiraling into a crazy road trip adventure as Candy and Levon find a lot of wrong ways to do the right thing.

image003About the Author: Stewart Lewis is a singer-songwriter and radio journalist who lives in D.C. and western Massachusetts and frequents New York City. Stewart has had two YAs published by Delacorte (You Have Seven Messages in 2011 and The Secret Ingredient in 2013). Visit stewartlewis.com.

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

Love and Vandalism Spotlight & Blog Tour

image002.jpgCLICK HERE TO ENTER

He calls it fate. She calls it blackmail.

Rory has a secret: she’s the vandal who paints graffiti lions all over her small town. If her policeman dad knew, he’d probably disown her. So when Hayes, a former screw-up on the path to recovery, catches her in the act, Rory’s sure she’s busted. Instead, he makes her a deal. If Rory shows him around town, he won’t turn her in. It might be coercion, but at least the boy is hot.

As they spend more time together, Rory worries she made the wrong choice. Hayes has a way of making her want things she shouldn’t want and feel emotions she’s tried to bury. Rory’s going to have to distance herself from Hayes or confront a secret she can’t bring herself to face…

image003 (1).jpgAbout the Author: When she was 17, LAURIE BOYLE CROMPTON painted her first car hot pink using 40 cans of spray paint. This turned her into an overnight icon in Butler, PA. She now lives near NYC in Queens, but maintains a secret identity in New Paltz, NY where she and her family can often be found tromping through the forest. Visit www.lboylecrompton.com

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

Q&A with V. E. Schwab

Blog HEADERS(This interview was originally posted on RoundRobinWrites.com and conducted by Elizabeth DiPietro on behalf of RRW)

She’s the bestselling author of the Shades of Magic Series, This Savage Song, and Vicious. We’re looking at a Shades of Magic TV adaption on the horizon so there’s no slowing down V.E. Schwab. Despite traveling all over the country/world and drowning in deadlines, Ms. Schwab still managed to take some time out to answer a few of our questions.

Q: A trademark of your books are strong, complicated female characters (Lila Bard, Kate Harper). When you’re working on these characters do you ever find it difficult to not let them blend together?

VS: I think the problem is we still don’t see enough strong female characters, so we don’t always realize that it’s a spectrum unto itself. I may have multiple strong female characters, but they all want different things–to be seen, to be remembered, to be valid, to be free. They have to be people first, and everything else second.

Q: In regards to This Savage Song, what inspired you to combine music and monsters?

VS: Honestly, the fact that I have no talent when it comes to music has always made the ability to play vaguely supernatural, so it was only a matter of time before it played a prime role in one of my books. And when I listen to instrumental music, I feel…elevated. Like part of my mind is coming free. So in designing my soul-eating Sunai, it made sense to me that music might serve as a way to bring those souls to surface. Continue reading

Q&A with Emily Skrutskie

skrutskieinterview.pngIf you aren’t sure who Emily Skrutskie is, we would like to point you toward our reviews of The Edge of the Abyss and The Abyss Surrounds Us. If you are looking for more information you can always visit her website and glimpse her bio. If you are looking for even more information, we have great news! Emily stopped by and answered a few questions for us about her writing, her reading, and some quirky questions about her process.

In both The Abyss Surrounds Us & The Edge of the Abyss, Cas has some world-shaking revelations, but she still tries to remain true to herself. What sort of difficulties did you run into when pitting Cas against the truths she once knew?

My biggest struggle—something I really had to lock down in revisions—was making sure that Cas’s journey was consistent from chapter to chapter. I actually had a document on the side where I wrote down exactly what Cas thought and believed in each chapter so that I could make sure the logic flowed naturally without any gaps.

The series deals with a lot of ecological and social issues, which definitely mirror our world today. Were there any specific events in the real world that inspired the world of The Edge of the Abyss and The Abyss Surrounds Us?

Nothing springs to mind immediately. The ecological themes in the book come less from any one inspiration and more from a logical projection of what we might be dealing with more than a century in the future, as well as the fallout of having MASSIVE super predators in the ocean. Continue reading

Stranger Things Have Happened Spotlight & Giveaway

31409123.jpgYou can’t always believe what you see in this hilarious coming of age novel from the author of The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever and I Have a Bad Feeling about This.

Harry Houdini. Penn and Teller. David Copperfield. Marcus Millian the Third.

Okay, so Marcus isn’t a famous magician. He may not even be a great magician. But his great-grandfather, the once-legendary and long-retired Zachary the Stupendous, insists Marcus has true talent. And when Grandpa Zachary boasts that he and Marcus are working on an illusion that will shock, stun, and astonish, Marcus wishes he could make himself disappear.

The problem? Marcus also has stage fright—in spades. It’s one thing to perform elaborate card tricks in front of his best friend, Kimberly, but it’s an entirely different feat to perform in front of an audience.

Then Grandpa Zachary dies in his sleep.

To uphold his great-grandfather’s honor, the show must go on. It would take a true sorcerer to pull off the trick Marcus has planned. But maybe he’s the next best thing…

Continue reading

Pretty Fierce Spotlight & Giveaway

pretty-fierce.cover.jpgAn action-packed, edge-of-your-seat novel about a teen who, when backed into a corner, fights back, from the author of What Waits in the Woods

Kaia has been on the run her whole life. The daughter of professional assassins, she knows danger—and she’ll do anything to survive. After her parents vanished during a job gone bad, Kaia’s spent the last year in hiding, trying to blend in as an ordinary teenager, and there’s no one who makes her feel more normal, more special, than her boyfriend, Oliver.

But when she’s attacked by someone from her mother’s past and Oliver catches her fighting back, Kaia’s secret is exposed. In a split-second decision, she flees the small town, taking Oliver with her. Stalked at every turn, Oliver and Kaia must protect each other…or die trying.

Continue reading

Ultimatum Spotlight & Giveaway

ultimatum.coverFrom the author of Cracked and Empty comes a gripping, emotional story of two brothers who must make the ultimate decision about what’s more important: family or their differences.

It’s not Oscar’s fault he’s misunderstood. Ever since his mother died, he’s been disrespected by his father and bullied by his self-absorbed older brother, so he withdraws from his fractured family, seeking refuge in his art.

Vance wishes his younger brother would just loosen up and be cool. It was hard enough to deal with their mother’s death without Oscar getting all emotional. At least when Vance pushes himself in lacrosse and parties, he feels alive.

But when their father’s alcoholism sends him into liver failure, the two brothers must come face-to-face with their demons–and each other–if they are going to survive a very uncertain future.

Continue reading

Q&A with Amanda Hocking

Amanda-Hocking

Amanda Hocking

How did writing FREEKS differ from your writing your previous novels?

FREEKS was the first thing I had written in awhile that was started out just for me. For most of the past ten years, I have been writing my books with the intention of publishing them, with the audience and readers and trends in mind. I think I had gotten a little burnt out on trying to make everyone happy (mostly because it is impossible to please all readers all the time), and I just wanted to write something that for the sake of writing it.

And that turned out to be a gothic love story about a teenage girl travelling with a band of misfits in the 1980s. It was a very cathartic writing experience for me, and it reminded me of exactly why I loved writing in the first place – I love getting lost in the world, with the characters.

Tell us a little bit about FREEKS and where you got the inspiration to write it.

I was going through a rough patch, creatively speaking, and so I just sat back and tried to think of my favorite and what I loved most that I would want to write about.

When I was a kid, I used to get old books at garage sales all the time, and I distinctly remember getting Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King and a few old V. C. Andrews novels, which are pulpy Southern Gothic-esque novels. I also watched The Lost Boys and Pretty in Pink over and over again (I think I literally ruined the old VHS of The Lost Boys from watching it too much).

So I basically threw all those things together in a soup, and I picked apart the things I liked and wanted to explore more. That became a travelling sideshow in the 80s stopping Louisiana, where a supernatural monster is afoot, and a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who is smith with a local boy with secrets of his own. Continue reading

Unnatural Deeds Spotlight & Giveaway

Secrets. Obsession. Murder. Victoria is about to discover just how dangerous it can be to lose yourself.

Victoria Zell doesn’t fit in, but she’s okay with that. All she needs is the company of her equally oddball boyfriend, Andrew, who is a musical prodigy, homeschooled, and agoraphobic. They’ve been neighbors and inseparable all their lives, and Vic doesn’t care what anyone else thinks.

Until the day Zachary Zimmerman sits beside her in homeroom. Z, as he likes to be called, is magnetic, charming, and mysterious, and Vic is drawn to him in ways she doesn’t understand.

Despite Vic’s loyalty to Andrew, she finds her life entwining with Z’s. He’s an enigma wrapped in a mystery, and she becomes obsessed with figuring him out. Soon, she’s lying to everyone she knows—even Andrew—in an effort to unravel his secrets.

But Z’s not the only one with a past. Vic’s hiding secrets. Dark, horrible secrets. Secrets that will come back to haunt her…and destroy everything in her path.


unnatural.deeds.cover

Chapter 1

Foul whisp’rings are abroad. Unnatural deeds
Do breed unnatural troubles. Infected minds
To their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets.

—Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Act V, Scene 1

Duchess—­Police are investigating an apparent homicide after a body was found in a wooded area early Tuesday morning. Authorities have not yet released the name of the victim or the person(s) they are questioning in connection with the investigation.

—­Central Maine Express Times

Is this thing on?

Ha–ha, I’m a laugh a minute.

Anyway, Andrew. It’s me. Vic. I wanted to say I’m sorry. Sorry for… Well, where do I begin? I—-

Cough, cough, cough.

Sorry. I’m losing my voice. Something bitter is stuck in my throat, and the air is so cold it’s hard to breathe. This place reeks of decaying leaves, of the musty, damp rot of dead things returning to the earth.

There’s something soft and wet under my head. I hope it’s not brain matter. I can’t raise my arms to check because of the way I’m twisted here. I think my leg is broken. Or maybe my back? Damned if I can twitch a muscle without pain screaming its way up my spine.

Somehow I managed to pry my phone out of my jacket pocket and prop it on my chest, but you know how spotty service is around Duchess. All charged up with zero bars—-not that I’d be calling anyone but you. I wish I could see the background photo of you and me. It’d keep me company. You know the one. It’s the picture of us at the Renaissance Faire when we were fourteen. We’re both grinning like mad and you have your arm around me, claiming me as your own. It’s probably the only time you were ever comfortable with yourself. With us. I miss that.

Anyway, you know how glass half–empty I am, Andrew. I wanted to record a note for you on my phone. You know, in case I don’t get out of here.

Of course I’ll get out of here. I wouldn’t be lucky enough to die here. But maybe this’ll be easier than telling you in person.

Cough, cough.

Where should I start?

It’s so quiet. You must have left me, Andrew. But you’ll come back. You always come back. You were scared, maybe, when you saw what you’d done. And now I’m all alone here.

I don’t really know where “here” is. I think it’s a drainage ditch on the side of Route 11. The last thing I remember is rushing down the road near the Kissing Woods, feeling powerful. Immortal. Like everything I wanted could be mine. For an instant, I felt like he could be mine.

But that’s not possible now.

I know what people have said behind my back in hushed whispers. They call me delusional. But I’m not. I know what is real and what isn’t.

No, wait. The last thing I remember is you with that fierce look in your eyes. You sure surprised me. Who knew that my boyfriend, quiet, unassuming Andrew Quinn, had that in him?

I thought I knew you inside and out, but…I was wrong.

I guess I should explain. After all, I have no other pressing engagements. And you’re overdue an explanation, aren’t you? The tall pines can be my witnesses. They can pass judgment as they see fit.

I’m not sure when it all began, but Lady M said it best. Hell is goddamn murky.

Whoops. Blasphemy. Yet another sin to add to my act–of–contrition list.

Looking back, you knew when I started to change, didn’t you, Andrew? You know everything about me. It was that very first day of school, the day my life began and the day it began to unravel.

So here are the gory details. It won’t be enough, but I’ll try. You can’t know it all until you’ve smelled that intoxicating cinnamon–and–cloves scent, read those texts that elevated even the blandest words to poetry, and seen those heart–stoppingly blue eyes.

His eyes. Even now, I can see them with perfect clarity. I’ve seen them in my dreams, in the sky when the sun hits the clouds just right, and in my morning breakfast cereal. It all goes back to him. Every single thought always winds right back to him. Always. Always. Always.

It’s no use. I want him out of my head. I wish I could scrape him out of my memory. I don’t want to live with him etched in the deepest part of me. I don’t want to die thinking of him.

But I know I will.


Goodreads . Our Review

Amazon . Barnes & Noble . IndieBound 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
<script>

Labyrinth Lost Spotlight & Giveaway

Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives. 

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…

 Goodreads . Buy the Book Here . Labyrinth Lost Coloring Page


labyrinth.lost.cover

1

Follow our voices, sister.

Tell us the secret of your death.

—-Resurrection Canto,
Book of Cantos

The second time I saw my dead aunt Rosaria, she was dancing.

Earlier that day, my mom had warned me, pressing a long, red fingernail on the tip of my nose, “Alejandra, don’t go downstairs when the Circle arrives.”

But I was seven and asked too many questions. Every Sunday, cars piled up in our driveway, down the street, and around the corner of our old, narrow house in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Mom’s Circle usually brought cellophane–wrapped dishes and jars of dirt and tubs of brackish water that made the Hudson River look clean. This time, they carried something more.

When my sisters started snoring, I threw off my covers and crept down the stairs. The floorboards were uneven and creaky, but I was good at not being seen. Fuzzy, yellow streetlight shone through our attic window and followed me down every flight until I reached the basement.

A soft hum made its way through the thin walls. I remember thinking I should listen to my mom’s warning and go back upstairs. But our house had been restless all week, and Lula, Rose, and I were shoved into the attic, out of the way while the grown–ups prepared the funeral. I wanted out. I wanted to see.

The night was moonless and cold one week after the Witch’s New Year, when Aunt Rosaria died of a sickness that made her skin yellow like hundred–year–old paper and her nails turn black as coal. We tried to make her beautiful again. My sisters and I spent all day weaving good luck charms from peonies, corn husks, and string—-one loop over, under, two loops over, under. Not even the morticians, the Magos de Muerte, could fix her once–lovely face.

Aunt Rosaria was dead. I was there when we mourned her. I was there when we buried her. Then, I watched my father and two others shoulder a dirty cloth bundle into the house, and I knew I couldn’t stay in bed, no matter what my mother said.

So I opened the basement door.

Red light bathed the steep stairs. I leaned my head toward the light, toward the beating sound of drums and sharp plucks of fat, nylon guitar strings.

A soft mew followed by whiskers against my arm made my heart jump to the back of my rib cage. I bit my tongue to stop the scream. It was just my cat, Miluna. She stared at me with her white, glowing eyes and hissed a warning, as if telling me to turn back. But Aunt Rosaria was my godmother, my family, my friend. And I wanted to see her again.

“Sh!” I brushed the cat’s head back.

Miluna nudged my leg, then ran away as the singing started.

I took my first step down, into the warm, red light. Raspy voices called out to our gods, the Deos, asking for blessings beyond the veil of our worlds. Their melody pulled me step by step until I was crouched at the bottom of the landing.

They were dancing.

Brujas and brujos were dressed in mourning white, their faces painted in the aspects of the dead, white clay and black coal to trace the bones. They danced in two circles—-the outer ring going clockwise, the inner counterclockwise—hands clasped tight, voices vibrating to the pulsing drums.

And in the middle was Aunt Rosaria.

Her body jerked upward. Her black hair pooled in the air like she was suspended in water. There was still dirt on her skin. The white skirt we buried her in billowed around her slender legs. Black smoke slithered out of her open mouth. It weaved in and out of the circle—-one loop over, under, two loops over, under. It tugged Aunt Rosaria higher and higher, matching the rhythm of the canto.

Then, the black smoke perked up and changed its target. It could smell me. I tried to backpedal, but the tiles were slick, and I slid toward the circle. My head smacked the tiles. Pain splintered my skull, and a broken scream lodged in my throat.

The music stopped. Heavy, tired breaths filled the silence of the pulsing red dark. The enchantment was broken. Aunt Rosaria’s reanimated corpse turned to me. Her body purged black smoke, lowering her back to the ground. Her ankles cracked where the bone was brittle, but still she took a step. Her dead eyes gaped at me. Her wrinkled mouth growled my name: Alejandra.

She took another step. Her ankle turned and broke at the joint, sending her flying forward. She landed on top of me. The rot of her skin filled my nose, and grave dirt fell into my eyes.

Tongues clucked against crooked teeth. The voices of the circle hissed, “What’s the girl doing out of bed?”

There was the scent of extinguished candles and melting wax. Decay and perfume oil smothered me until they pulled the body away.

My mother jerked me up by the ear, pulling me up two flights of stairs until I was back in my bed, the scream stuck in my throat like a stone.

Never,” she said. “You hear me, Alejandra? Never break a Circle.”

I lay still. So still that after a while, she brushed my hair, thinking I had fallen asleep.

I wasn’t. How could I ever sleep again? Blood and rot and smoke and whispers filled my head.

“One day you’ll learn,” she whispered.

Then she went back down the street–lit stairs, down into the warm red light and to Aunt Rosaria’s body. My mother clapped her hands, drums beat, strings plucked, and she said, “Again.”

Zoraida_new author photo_Nov12About the Author:

Zoraida Córdova was born in Ecuador and raised in Queens, New York. She is the author of the Vicious Deep trilogy, the On the Verge series, and the Brooklyn Brujas series. She loves black coffee, snark, and still believes in magic. Send her a tweet @Zlikeinzorro or visit her at zoraidacordova.com.

Author Website . Labyrinth Lost Website . Facebook . Twitter . Instagram . Author Tumblr . Labyrinth Lost Tumblr . YouTube

Giveaway: 2 Copies of Labyrinth Lost with Signed Labyrinth Lost Bookmarks

September 6-September 19 (US & Canada only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway