Monday, July 16, 2018

Book Blast: The Boyfriend Whisperer by Linda Budzinski @LindaBudz


The Boyfriend Whisperer
Linda Budzinski
Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: November 15th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
As President and CEO of Boyfriend Whisperer Enterprises, Lexi Malloy is Grand View High School’s undercover Cupid. One problem: She’s stuck in the friend zone when it comes to her own crush, Chris Broder. She and Chris have been best friends since the third grade, and he doesn’t even seem to realize she’s is a member of the opposite sex.
When pretty and popular cheerleader Lindsay LaRouche hires Lexi to whisper Chris, she has to decide whether to place her commitment to her company—and Chris’s happiness—before herself.
EXCERPT:
I crank up Mumford & Sons on my iPod and pull up the Boyfriend Whisperer Enterprises files on my tablet. With Valentine’s ten days away, I need to plot out some big moves for my clients.
I start with Jolene. I watched Brendon staring at her this afternoon during the pep rally. He’s falling hard. No need to play it subtle. He likes spicy food, so Red Hots are an obvious choice, in a heart-shaped tin. What should the card say? Something super flirty. “Let’s heat it up on Valentine’s.” No … “spice it up.” I jot that down and move on to my next client.
Just as I’m picking out a sweet YouTube link I want her to send her BF-to-be, Coach Reilly pulls my earbud out and scares me half to death.
“Malloy! I’m talking to you. What are you working on?”
I slam my tablet shut. “What? Homework. Sorry. What do you need?”
She shoves my backpack to the floor and plops down beside me. “Let’s talk about tomorrow. We’re expecting scouts from all over. Rumor has it someone from U Conn might even turn up.”
She pauses as if to gauge my reaction, so I force a smile. “U Conn? Wow. That’s great.”
She leans in. “There’ll be a lot of buzz in that arena. Parents, coaches, other players. They’ll all be talking about the scouts and about you and your future. Here’s the thing: You need to ignore them.”
“Ignore them.”
“Exactly. You have one job tomorrow, and that’s to play the best game Alexis Malloy knows how to play. Run, pass, shoot, rebound. That’s it. The rest is static. Ignore the static.”
“Got it. Static.”
Coach furrows her brow. “You nervous?”
“Maybe a little.”
She pats my arm as she stands. “A little nervousness is good. You’ve got this, Malloy. You can do it.”
I smile and slump back into my seat. The fact is, I’m not at all nervous. I only said that so she wouldn’t launch into a lecture about being too cocky. She’s forever vacillating between warning me not to be too nervous and not to be too cocky, when in reality, I’m neither. The truth is, when it comes to college scouts, I just wish they’d leave me alone.


Author Bio:
My young adult novels, EM & EM (2015) and THE FUNERAL SINGER (2013), were both published by Swoon Romance YA. My upcoming novel, THE BOYFRIEND WHISPERER, scheduled for publication in fall of 2016 by Swoon, received the Romance Writers of America Young Adult Chapter’s 2015 Rosemary Award and the Virginia Chapter’s 2015 Fool for Love Award.
I live in Northern Virginia with my husband, Joe, and our feisty chihuahua, Demitria (also known as Dee Dee, The Puppy, and Killer). I’m a sucker for romance and reality TV and have been known to turn off my phone’s ringer when watching “The Bachelor.”
My favorite flower is the daisy, my favorite food is chocolate, and my favorite song is “Amazing Grace.”
When I’m not writing, I work in nonprofit management. I’m represented by the amazing Andrea Somberg of Harvey Klinger Inc.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Cover Reveal: The Witch's Tower @TamaraGrantham


The Witch’s Tower
Tamara Grantham
(Twisted Ever After, #1)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: March 11th 2019
Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Young Adult
Gothel is a witch. Punished for the actions of her mother, her choice is simple: either she stands guard over Princess Rapunzel—or she dies. But just because a choice is easy doesn’t mean it’s pleasant. Protecting Rapunzel means watching as the princess lays trapped in a tower, bedridden by hair that is so long and heavy it’s slowly driving her insane. Gothel’s life has become one of imprisonment and solitude as well—until a prince and his handsome squire appear at the tower.
Only one object can cut Rapunzel’s hair and end the curse: a pair of magical shears. But the shears are guarded by the most terrifying witches in the land, who also happen to be Gothel’s aunts. As Gothel and the prince’s squire, Raj Talmund, work to form a plan, she finds herself more and more drawn to the mysterious young man from the Outerlands. Unfortunately, his destiny is far more dangerous than she wants to admit: to save a princess, he must kill the witch who’s been forced to guard her.
THE WITCH’S TOWER is the first in an inspired new series of fairy-tale retellings from award-winning fantasy author Tamara Grantham.


Author Bio:
Tamara Grantham is the award-winning author of more than a dozen books and novellas, including the Olive Kennedy: Fairy World MD series and the Shine novellas. Dreamthief, the first book of her Fairy World MD series, won first place for fantasy in INDIEFAB’S Book of the Year Awards, a RONE award for best New Adult Romance of 2016, and is a #1 bestseller on Amazon with over 200 five-star reviews.
Tamara holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Lamar University. She has been a featured speaker at multiple writing conferences, and she has been a panelist at Comic Con Wizard World speaking on the topic of female leads. For her first published project, she collaborated with New York-Times bestselling author, William Bernhardt, in writing the Shine series.
Born and raised in Texas, Tamara now lives with her husband and five children in Wichita, Kansas. She rarely has any free time, but when the stars align and she gets a moment to relax, she enjoys reading fantasy novels, taking nature walks--which fuel her inspiration for creating fantastical worlds--and watching every Star Wars or Star Trek movie ever made. You can find her online at www.TamaraGrantham.com.

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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Blog Tour: A Study in Shifters by Marisol Holmes @iheartreads


A Study In Shifters
Majanka Verstraete
(The Adventures of Marisol Holmes, #1)
Publication date: June 26th 2018
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Seventeen-year-old Marisol Holmes may be the great-great-great granddaughter of Sherlock Holmes, but it’s hard to live up to the family name when only one mistake can spell your downfall. After trusting the wrong guy in a case gone totally wrong, Marisol convinces the Conclave, an underground organization of detectives solving supernatural cases, to give her a last chance to prove her worth, and maybe even heal her broken heart
After all, as a half-blood jaguar shifter, Marisol is uniquely qualified to solve this murder—and every scrap of evidence points toward the culprit being a fellow jaguar shifter. But is one of her own people involved, or is this all a ploy to kick Marisol’s mother off the shifter throne?
Then Marisol discovers her best friend, Roan, is missing, and maybe the killer’s next target. The stakes just got higher than political intrigue. Just when things couldn’t get worse, Marisol’s ex-boyfriend-turned-nemesis, Mannix, starts leaving sinister clues for her. Marisol fears this case might be far more personal than she could’ve imagined.
It’s time for Marisol to prove her worth, or her people could fall into chaos while her best friend loses his life.

1.    Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else? 
I knew I wanted to be a writer ever since I learned to read and write. In fact, I wrote my first story when I was just seven years old –not that it was any good, but it had a cute storyline featuring witches.
Writing is my “second job” (but my favorite). For my day job, I work as a lawyer. Being able to combine writing with a day job is hard sometimes, but I love writing so much that I always make time for it.
2.   How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?
That depends a lot on the book, and if you take into account editing as well. If it’s just drafting, then that usually takes 1-2 months, depending on how well the book has been outlined beforehand, and how much time I have.
For editing, that can take a lot longer, again depending on the book. For “A Study in Shifters”, we had several rounds of editing, so that took a while, but it was worth it!
3.   How do you come up with themes for your stories?
I get inspiration from all kinds of things. For the “The Adventures of Marisol Holmes” series, Christina and I discussed possible themes for a book, and because of my background in criminology and law, and because I enjoy mystery novels, we decided to go with a story that was Sherlock Holmes-themed, but featured shifters.
For other stories, sometimes I get inspiration from dreams, sometimes from real-life events. It all depends on the story.
4.   Do you have a schedule of when you write? 
After work and in my lunch break. Lunch break is most productive, I have to admit, because I’m quite tired when I get home from work, and then I still have to do all those other pleasant things, like cleaning, cooking, and so on.
5.   How are you able to balance other aspects of your life with your writing?
It’s hard sometimes, but the longer I’m at it, the more I get the hang of it. Sometimes it’s very hectic, especially with one (or multiple) deadlines dangling over my head. But I love writing so much that I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
6.   What elements do you think make a great story line? 
An original concept (or an original twist on a known trope), characters you can really connect to as a reader, and a vivid world filled with intriguing secondary characters that really bring the world to life.
7.   What was the hardest thing about writing a book?
For “A Study in Shifters”, the hardest part was the editing, no doubt. Monster House Books has an excellent editing system, with several rounds of edits, and for more extensive than I’ve seen with other publishers I’ve worked with in the past.
8.   How many books have you written so far? Do you have a favorite? 
About fifteen now, I’d say. It’s hard to pick a favorite. My first ever published book, “Fractured”, will always have a special place in my heart, though.
9.   Do you have a favorite character?
For this book in particular, that’s definitely Mannix, our bad guy. He’s just so complicated and mysterious, and I love writing about him and getting to know more about him and his secrets.
10.        Where do you write?  
Almost anywhere. During lunch break, I write at work, but at home, I write when I’m on my computer, which is in the living room, or sometimes while watching TV on the couch.
11.When deciding on how to publish, what directed you to the route you took? 
That’s a tough question! When I came across Monster House Books by seeing one of their titles on a blog and reading the review for it, I thought it would be a good fit because of their model, and how they co-operate with authors every step of the way, from the initial idea through various rounds of editing and then all the way to the book being released.
12.         Have you gotten feedback from family about your book(s)? What do they think?
They love it, especially my mom. She’s my number one fan.
13.         What kinds of things do you like to do outside of writing?
I love traveling, spending time with my family and friends, and of course, my cats.
14.        What kinds of advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing? 
Don’t give up. It’s tough, especially when you get a rejection letter for the manuscript you’ve spent ages on… But don’t give up! Your book is worth it.
15.         What is your favorite book? favorite author? Do you have an author that inspired/inspires you to write? 
My favorite book is “In the Forests of the Night” by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. It’s about vampires and the plot is amazing. I’ve read this book at least fifty times, I swear.
16.         Do you have any go to people when writing a book that help you with your story lines as well as editing, beta reading and such? 
Christina and Genevieve from Monster House Books both helped me a lot while writing this book.
17.         Are you working on anything now? 
Yes, I’m working on the sequel to “A Study In Shifters”, titled “The Sign of The Serpent”.
18.         Tell us 5 things that make you smile
Cats and other cute animals
People leaving reviews on one of my books – always makes me smile even if it’s not a “good” review, I’m just glad someone took the time to read and review!
Tasty food (unfortunately usually nothing I cooked)
Reading a delightful book curled up on the couch
Spending time with friends
19.         Tell us 5 things that make you sad
People hurting animals, this makes me extremely sad and angry
When people are mean or hurtful to others
TV series, when people die or break up, or anything else bad happens
Watching the news
When a character dies in one of my books… that’s horrible!
20.        If you could travel anywhere in the world to visit a place so you could use it as a background for a book, where would it be?
To Scotland, visit some historic towns and castles, and Loch Ness.


Author Bio:
Author Majanka Verstraete has written more than twenty unique works of fiction. A native of Belgium, Majanka’s novels explore the true nature of monsters: the good, the bad, and just about every species in between. Her young adult books include the acclaimed Mirrorland (YA Dark Fantasy) and Angel of Death (YA Paranormal) series of novels. At MHB, Majanka is currently developing a new YA shifter series with a fresh take on fierce female detectives called THE ADVENTURES OF MARISOL HOLMES.
When she’s not writing, Majanka is probably playing World of Warcraft or catching up with the dozens of TV series she’s addicted to.
Want the latest news about Majanka Verstraete? Sign up for our newsletter!

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Friday, June 29, 2018

Blog Tour: Neverworld by Marisha Pessl @marishapessl



Author: Marisha Pessl
Pub. Date: June 5, 2018
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Pages: 336
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonAudibleB&NiBooksTBD

Once upon a time, back at Darrow-Harker School, Beatrice Hartley and her six best friends were the cool kids, the beautiful ones. Then the shocking death of Jim—their creative genius and Beatrice's boyfriend—changed everything.

One year after graduation, Beatrice is returning to Wincroft—the seaside estate where they spent so many nights sharing secrets, crushes, plans to change the world—hoping she'll get to the bottom of the dark questions gnawing at her about Jim’s death. But as the night plays out in a haze of stilted jokes and unfathomable silence, Beatrice senses she’s never going to know what really happened.

Then a mysterious man knocks on the door. Blithely, he announces the impossible: time for them has become stuck, snagged on a splinter that can only be removed if the former friends make the harshest of decisions. Now Beatrice has one last shot at answers--and at life.



Excerpt:
Excerpt copyright © 2018 by Wonderline Productions LLC. Published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York.
CHAPTER 1


I hadn’t spoken to Whitley Lansing—or any of them—in over a year.
When her text arrived after my last final, it felt inevitable, like a comet tearing through the night sky, hinting of fate.

Too long. WTF. #notcool. Sorry. My Tourette’s again. How was your freshman year? Amazing? Awful?

Seriously. We miss you.

Breaking the silence bc the gang is heading to Wincroft for my bday. The Linda will be in Mallorca & ESS Burt is getting married in St. Bart’s for the 3rd time. (Vegan yogi.) So it’s ours for the weekend. Like yesteryear.
Can you come? What do you say Bumblebee? Carpe noctem.
Seize the night.
She was the only girl I knew who surveyed everybody like a leatherclad Dior model and rattled off Latin like it was her native language.
“How was your exam?” my mom asked when she picked me up. “I confused Socrates with Plato and ran out of time during
the essay,” I said, pulling on my seat belt.
“I’m sure you did great.” She smiled, a careful look. “Any thing else we need to do?”
I shook my head.
My dad and I had already cleared out my dorm room. I’d returned my textbooks to the student union to get the 30 percent off for next year. My roommate had been a girl from New Haven named Casey who’d gone home to see her boyfriend every week end. I’d barely seen her since orientation.
The end of my freshman year at Emerson College had just come and gone with the indifferent silence usually reserved for a goingoutofbusiness sale at a minimall.
“Something dark’s abrewin’,” Jim would have told me.

I had no plans all summer, except to work alongside my parents at the Captain’s Crow. The Captain’s Crow—the Crow, it’s called by locals—is the seaside café and ice cream parlor my family owns in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, the tiny coastal village where I grew up.
Watch Hill, Rhode Island. Population: You Know Everyone.
My greatgrandfather Burn Hartley opened the parlor in 1885, when Watch Hill was little more than a craggy hamlet where whaling captains came to shake off their sea legs and hold their children for the first time before taking off again for the Atlantic’s Great Unknowns. Burn’s framed pencil portrait hangs over the entrance, revealing him to have the mad glare of some dead genius writer, or a world explorer who never came home from the Arctic. The truth is, though, he could barely read, preferred familiar faces to strange ones and dry land to the sea. All he ever did was run our little dockside restaurant his whole life, and perfect the recipe for the best clam chowder in the world.
All summer I scooped ice cream for tan teenagers in flipflops and pastel sweaters. They came and went in big skittish groups like schools of fish. I made cheeseburgers and tuna melts, coleslaw and milk shakes. I swept away sand dusting the blackandwhitecheckered floor. I threw out napkins, ketchup packets, salt packets, over21 wristbands, Del’s Frozen Lemonade cups, deepsea fishing party boat brochures. I put lost cell phones beside the register so they could be easily found when the panicstricken owners came barging inside: “I lost my . . . Oh . . . thank you, you’re the best!” I cleaned up the torn blue tickets from the 1893 saltwater carousel, located just a few doors down by the beach, which featured faded faceless mermaids to ride, not horses. Watch Hill’s greatest claim to fame was that Eleanor Roosevelt had been photographed riding a redhead with a turquoise tail sidesaddle. (It was a town joke how put out she looked in the shot, how uncomfortable and buried alive under her platetectonic layers of ruffled skirt.)
I cleaned the barbecue sauce off the garbage cans, the melted Wreck Rummage off the tables (Wreck Rummage was every kid’s favorite ice cream flavor, a mashup of cookie dough, walnuts, cake batter, and dark chocolate nuggets). I Cloroxed and Fantasticked and Mr. Cleaned the windows and counters and door knobs. I dusted the brine off the mussels and the clams, polishing every one like a gemstone dealer obsessively inspecting emeralds. Most days I rose at five and went with my dad to pick out the day’s seafood when the fishing boats came in, inspecting crab legs and fluke, oysters and bass, running my hands over their tapping legs and claws, barnacles and iridescent bellies. I composed song lyrics for a soundtrack to a madeup movie called Lola Anderson’s Highway Robbery, drawing words, rhymes, faces, and hands on napkins and takeout menus, tossing them in the trash before anyone saw them. I attended grief support group for adolescents at the North Stonington Community Center. There was only one other kid in attendance, a silent boy named Turks whose dad had died from ALS. After two meetings he never returned, leaving me alone with the counselor, a jittery woman named Deb who wore pantsuits and wielded a threeinchthick book called Grief Management for Young People.
“‘The purpose of this exercise is to construct a positive meaning around the lost relationship,’ ” she read from chapter seven, handing me a Goodbye Letter worksheet. “‘On this page, write a note to your lost loved one, detailing fond memories, hopes, and any final questions.’ ”
Slapping a chewed pen that read tabeego island resorts on my desk, she left. I could hear her on the phone out in the hall, arguing with someone named Barry, asking him why he didn’t come home last night.
I drew a screeching hawk on the Goodbye Letter, with lyrics to a madeup Japanese animated film about a forgotten thought called Lost in a Head.
Then I slipped out the fire exit and never went back.
I taught Sleepy Sam (giant yawn of a teenager from England visiting his American dad) how to make clam cakes and the perfect grilled cheese. Grill on medium, butter, four minutes a side, six slices of Vermont sharp cheddar, two of fontina. For July Fourth, he invited me to a party at a friend of a friend’s. To his shock, I actu ally showed. I stood by a floor lamp with a warm beer, listening to talk about guitar lessons and Zach Galifianakis, trying to find the right moment to escape.
That, by the way, is Bee,” said Sleepy Sam. “She does actually speak, I swear.”
I didn’t mention Whitley’s text to anyone, though it was always in the back of my mind.
It was the brandnew waytooextravagant dress I’d bought but never taken out of the bag. I just left it there in the back of my closet, folded in tissue paper with the receipt, the tags still on, with intention of returning it.
Yet there was still the remote possibility I’d find the courage to put it on.
I knew the weekend of her birthday like I knew my own: August 30.
It was a Friday. The big event of the day had been the appearance of a stray dog wandering Main Street. It had no tags and the haunted look of a prisoner of war. He was gray, shaggy, and startled with every attempt to pet him. A honk sent him skidding into the garbage cans behind the Captain’s Crow.
“See that yellow saltbed mud on his back paws? That’s from the west side of Nickybogg Creek,” announced Officer Locke, thrilled to have a mystery on his hands, his first of the year.
That stray dog had been the talk all that day—what to do with him, where he’d been—and it was only much later that I found my mind going back to that dog drifting into town out of the blue. I wondered if he was some kind of sign, a warning that something terrible was coming, that I should not take the much exalted and mysterious Road Less Traveled, but the one well trod, wideopen, and brightly lit, the road I knew.
By then it was too late. The sun had set. Sleepy Sam was gone. I’d overturned the café chairs and put them on the tables. I’d hauled out the trash. And anyway, that flew in the face of human nature. No one ever heeded a warning sign when it came.
My mom and dad assumed I was joining them at the Dreamland Theater in Westerly for the screwball comedy classics marathon, like I did every Friday.
“Actually, I made plans tonight,” I said.
My dad was thrilled. “Really, Bumble? That’s great.” “I’m driving up to Wincroft.”
They fell silent. My mom had just flipped the Closed sign in the window, and she turned, wrapping her cardigan around herself, shivering even though it was seventyfive degrees out.
“How long have you known about this?” she asked.
“Not long. I’ll be careful. I’ll be back by midnight. They’re up there for Whitley’s birthday. I think it’ll be good for me to see them.”
“That’s a long way to drive in the dark,” said my dad.
My mom looked like I’d been given a prognosis of six weeks left to live. Sometimes when she got really upset, she chewed an imaginary piece of gum. She was doing that now.
“Part of the grieving process is confronting the past,” I said. “That’s not the point. I—”
“It’s all right, Victoria.” My dad put a hand on her shoulder. “But Dr. Quentin said not to put yourself in stressful situations that—”
“We’ve established that Dr. Quentin is an idiot,” I said.
“Dr. Quentin is indeed an idiot,” said my dad with a regretful nod. “The fact that his name is onehalf of a state prison should have been a red flag.”
“You know I don’t like it when you two gang up on me,” said my mom.
At that moment, someone—some redfaced weekender in seersucker shorts who’d had too many stouts at O’Malligan’s— tried to open the door.
“We’re closed,” my mom snapped.

That was how I came to be driving my dad’s ancient green Dodge RAM with the emphysema muffler fifty miles up the Rhode Is land coastline.
Wincroft.
The name sounded like something out of a windswept novel filled with ghosts and madmen. The mansion was a sprawling collection of red brick, turrets, gardens, and crow gargoyles, built in the 1930s by a Great White Hunter who’d supposedly called Hemingway and Lawrence of Arabia his friends. He had traveled the world killing beautiful creatures, and thus Wincroft, his seaside estate, had never been lived in more than a few weeks in sixty years. When Whitley’s weird exsecondstepdad, Burt—commonly called E.S.S. Burt—bought it in foreclosure in the 1980s, he gut renovated the interiors in an unfortunate style Whitley called “if Madonna threw up all over Cyndi Lauper.”
Still, it wasn’t unusual to open a chest of drawers in the attic, or a musty steamer trunk, and find photographs of strangers gripping rifles and wearing fox furs or some weird piece of taxidermy—a ferret, red frog, or rodent of unknown species. This gave every visit to Wincroft the mysterious feel of being on an archaeological expedition, as if all around us, inside the floors, walls, and ceiling, some lost civilization was waiting to be un earthed.
“We are our junk,” said Jim once, pulling a taxidermy lizard out of a shoe box.
Leaving the interstate, the road to get there turned corkscrewed and dizzying, as if trying to shake you. The coast of Rhode Island—not the infamously uptight Newport part, with the stiff cliffs and colossal mansions smugly staring down at the tiny sailboats salting the harbor, but the rest of it— was rough and tumbledown, laidback and sunburnt. It was an old homeless beachcomber in a washedout Tshirt who couldn’t remember where he’d slept the night before. The grasses were wiry and wasted, the roads salty and cracked, sprouting faded signs and faulty traffic lights. Bridges elbowed their way out of the marshes before collapsing, exhausted, on the other side of the road.
I still had their phone numbers, but I didn’t want to call. I didn’t even know if they’d be there. All these months later their plans could have changed. Maybe I’d knock and Whitley wouldn’t answer, but her ex second stepdad, Burt, would, E.S.S. Burt with his toolong, curly gray hair; Burt, who a million years ago had written an Oscarnominated song for a tragic love story starring Ryan O’Neill. Or maybe they would all be there. Maybe I wanted to see the looks on their faces when they first saw me, looks they hadn’t rehearsed.
Then again, if they didn’t know I was coming, I could still turn around. I could still go join my parents at the Dreamland for His Girl Friday, afterward head to the Shakedown for crab cakes and oysters, saying hi to the owner, Artie, pretending I didn’t hear him whisper to my dad when I went to the bathroom, “Bee’s really come around,” like I was a wounded racehorse they’d decided not to euthanize. Not that it was Artie’s fault. It was the natural reaction when people found out what had happened: my boyfriend, Jim, had died senior year.
Sudden Death of the Love of Your Life wasn’t supposed to happen to you as a teenager. If it did, though, it was helpful if  it was due to one of the Top Three Understandable Reasons for Dying as a Kid: A. Car accident. B. Cancer. C. Suicide. That way, after you selected the applicable choice, the nearest adult could promptly steer your attention to the range of movies (many star ring Timothy Hutton) and selfhelp books to help you Deal.
But when your boyfriend’s death remains unsolved, and you’re left staring into a black hole of guilt and the unknown?
There’s no movie or selfhelp book in the world to help you with that.
Except maybe The Exorcist.
If I was a noshow tonight, my old friends would come and go from Wincroft, and that would be that. Not showing up would be the final push of that old toy sailboat from my childhood, the one shove that would really send it drifting out toward the middle of the lake, far from the shoreline, forever out of reach.
Then I’d never find out what happened to Jim.
I kept driving.
The twisting road seemed to urge me onward, yellowed beech trees streaking past; a bridge; the sudden, startling view of a harbor where tall white sailboats crowded like a herd of feast ing unicorns before vanishing. I couldn’t believe how easily I remembered the way: left at the Exxon, right on Elm, right at the stop sign where you diced with Death, rundown trailers with strungup laundry and flat tires in the yard. Then the trees fell away in deference to the most beautiful kiss of sky and sea, al ways streaked orange and pink at dusk.
And there it was. The wroughtiron gate emblazoned with the W.
It was open. The lamps were lit.
I made the turn and floored it, oak branches flying past like ribbons come loose from a ponytail, wind howling through the open windows. Another curve and I saw the mansion, the win dows golden and alive, all hulking red brick and slate, crow gargoyles perched forever on the roof.
As I pulled up I almost laughed aloud at the four cars parked there, side by side. I didn’t recognize any of them—except for Martha’s Honda Accord with the bumper sticker honk for general relativity. If pressed I could, with little trouble, match the other cars with their respective owners.
I had changed so much. From the look of these cars, they had not.
I checked my appearance in the rearview mirror, feeling im mediate horror: messy ponytail, chapped lips, shiny forehead. I looked like I’d just run a marathon and come in last. I blotted my face on the roll of paper towels my dad kept in the door, pinched my cheeks, tucked the loose strands of dark brown hair behind my ears. Then I was sprinting up the stone steps and rapping the brass lion knocker.
Nothing happened.
I rang the doorbell, once, twice, three times, all in one crazy, deranged movement, because I knew if I hesitated at all I’d lose my nerve. I’d sink, like some lost boot caught inside a lobster trap, straight back to the bottom of the sea.
The door opened.
Kipling stood there. He was wearing a chinlength pink wig, blue polo shirt, Bermuda shorts, flipflops. He was extremely tan and chewing a red drink stirrer, though it fell out of his mouth when he saw me.
“Good Lord, strike me down dead,” he said in his cottonplantation drawl.

About Marisha:
Marisha Pessl grew up in Asheville, North Carolina, and now lives in New York City. Special Topics in Calamity Physics, her debut novel, was a bestseller in both hardcover and paperback. It won the 2006 John Sargent Sr. First Novel Prize (now the Center for Fiction’s Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize), and was selected as one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review. Her new novel, Night Film, comes out August 20, 2013.

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Tour Schedule:
Week One:
6/1/2018- YA Books CentralExcerpt

Week Two:
6/4/2018- Two Chicks on BooksExcerpt
6/5/2018- Bookish LifestyleReview
6/6/2018- Tea With Mermaids- Review
6/7/2018- Trendy Simple LifeReview
6/8/2018- A Dream Within A DreamReview

Week Three:
6/11/2018- Books Coffee and RepeatReview
6/12/2018- NerdophilesReview
6/13/2018- Life of a Literary NerdReview
6/14/2018- Jena Brown WritesReview
6/15/2018- Once Upon a TwilightReview

Week Four:
6/18/2018- Here's to Happy EndingsReview
6/19/2018- Book-KeepingReview
6/20/2018- A Gingerly ReviewReview
6/21/2018- Cindy's Love of BooksReview
6/22/2018- RhythmicBooktrovertReview

Week Five:
6/25/2018- BookHounds YAReview
6/26/2018- Under the Book CoverReview
6/27/2018- Smada's Book SmackReview

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