Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Competing with the Star by Krysten Lindsay Hager

Title: Competing with the Star
Author: Krysten Lindsay Hager
Series: Star Series #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Release Date: March 22, 2016

Hadley Daniels’s life seems perfect…

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

A famous ex-girlfriend makes matters more complicated…

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

The past is the past-or so they say…

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

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

1.  What is the biggest influence/interest that brought you to this genre?
I used to turn to YA books and reading when I was a teen to help me deal with things. I internalized a lot rather than talking to someone, so reading books with characters going through similar things like friend/frenemy issues, boyfriend problems, dating, crushes, self-esteem issues, and parent issues helped me feel less alone with my own problems. Some of the authors who influenced me are: Paula Danziger, Judy Blume, Francine Pascal, Erika Tamar, and Ann M. Martin.

2.  When writing a book, what is your favorite part of the creative process (outline, plot, character names, editing, etc)?
I don’t do much in the way of an outline unless I’m working on a sequel or series book. My favorite part is doing character sketches. I am also one of the rare authors who enjoys editing. I edit as I go to help me get back into the characters’ world.

3.  When reading a book, what genre do you find most interesting/intriguing?
I love YA, new adult, and women’s fiction. I also love biographies and memoirs and I know you’re not supposed to admit this, but I like self-help books as well. I probably hit the non-fiction section of the bookstore first and then the YA and middle grade section.

4.  If you could co-author with any author, past or present, who would you choose?
I love Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. I wish the world had another novel by her so to have been able to co-write with her would have been a dream. I remember finding her book in my high school lit class bookshelf and escaping into that world during Friday reading. I seriously loved Friday reading when I was in school. When I was in 6th grade we did a read-a-thon which involved reading and snacking all day. We got to make little forts in the building that we took over for the day and it was amazing.

5.  Have you always wanted to write or did it come to you "later in life"?
I’ve always wanted to write ever since I was a kid and making up stories for my Barbie dolls. I can trace it back to watching soap operas with my mom as a kid and acting out the cliffhangers with my Barbies. That got my mind going into that storytelling mode and it just continued on from there. Writing is my passion.

Author Bio:
Krysten Lindsay Hager is a book addict who has worked as a journalist and humor essayist. She is the author of the LANDRY's TRUE  COLORS SERIES and the STAR SERIES. TRUE COLORS was her debut novel and the first book in the LANDRY'S TRUE COLORS series. BEST FRIENDS...FOREVER? (Book 2) was #1 in Amazon's hot new releases in teen & young adult values and virtues fiction and #1 in Amazon's hot new release in children's books on values. Landry in Like (Book 3) was #3 in Amazon's Hot New Releases for Girls & Women. Her work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Bellbrook Times, and on the talk show Living Dayton. Check out her YA novel, NEXT DOOR TO A STAR (book 1 in the STAR SERIES) and COMPETING WITH THE STAR: Book 2 in the STAR SERIES.


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Blood Red Butterfly by Josh Lanyon

Despite falling in love with aloof manga artist Kai Tashiro, Homicide Detective Ryo Miller is determined to break the alibi Kai is supplying his murderous boyfriend--even if it means breaking Kai with it.

How did I miss this Josh Lanyon novella before? The mystery may not be as in depth or central to the story as many of Lanyon's mysteries but it's still there and enjoyable.  Probably a little more suspense than actual mystery.  Some might not care for the insta-love between Ryo and Kai but since they have had interaction at a club even if it's brief and only memorable for Ryo, I don't really think it falls into the insta-love category but even if it did, sometimes it happens and it fits for the scenario the characters find themselves in.  A great little tale that I am glad to add to my Josh Lanyon shelf.


“Bad news,” Hernandez said. “Your homicide suspect’s alibi just turned up.”

“No way.” Ryo grabbed a paper towel and dabbed at the fleck of mustard on his navy silk tie. He shot Hernandez a look in the mirror over the bank of sinks in the john. “You’re kidding me.”

Hernandez shook his head. He was not a kidder.

“No. Way.” Now Ryo was angry. Still watching Hernandez in the mirror, he scrubbed ferociously at his tie. “Torres is not walking away from this. He popped the Martinez woman and he’s going down for it. And no little chiquita—”

Hernandez’ sour grin stopped him. “The alibi is male.”

“Male?” Ryo stopped rubbing his tie. “You mean…?”

“I mean you might even know him.” This was not a dig. Hernandez had been Ryo’s partner for a couple of years back when they were both street cops, and he knew a thing or two about Ryo’s personal life that Ryo didn’t generally share. “Might be something you can use. I don’t think the Sotels are an equal opportunity employer, you know what I mean?”

Yeah, Ryo knew what he meant. As badly as he wanted Torres, he wasn’t sure he liked that idea. He’d prefer to break Torres’ alibi, which should be easy enough to do because Torres had murdered that old woman in cold blood. Nothing and nobody was going to convince Ryo otherwise. “You believe this punk’s credible?”

Hernandez shrugged. “Torres used his one phone call to get this guy over here. See what you think. He’s sitting at your desk biting his nails as we speak.”

Ryo curled his lip, double-checking he didn’t have a piece of lettuce between his teeth. He ignored the derisive sound Hernandez made. It wasn’t about looking good, though Ryo knew he looked good—on a scale of Asian Hawtness, Russell Wong to Dean Cain, he fell comfortably in the middle of Yeah Baby!—it was about conveying bulletproof confidence and unassailable assurance. Attitude. It was half the game.

He straightened his tie. “I don’t think this is going to take long.”

Hernandez cocked and eyebrow and said nothing.

The punk was still sitting in front of Ryo’s desk, though he had stopped biting his nails. Ryo had a quick impression of a slight and slouching boyish figure clad in jeans, a pair of chucks, and a gray hoodie. Across the noisy bullpen someone slammed a file drawer and the kid flinched. Ryo smiled inwardly. Yeah, he’d smash this bogus alibi in less than twenty minutes and get back to building his slam dunk case against Mickey Torres. And this time Torres would not be getting off lightly because of his tender age and deprived childhood. This time he was going away forever. Or what counted as forever in the screwed up Los Angeles County judicial system.

The punk raised his head and Ryo almost walked into a chair. A pale, pointed, delicately-boned face, chestnut hair, wide dark eyes like a faun—assuming a faun was what Ryo thought it was.

The Ice Princess.

No fucking way.

Mickey Torres’ alibi was the same guy who had three times blown off Ryo at Fubar, a gay club he used to frequent. In fact, the Ice Princess was the main reason Ryo had quit going to Fubar. A guy could only take so much rejection.

So this little stuck-up femme dude had cold-shouldered Ryo, but was willing to offer his bony ass to Mickey Torres? Willing to supply gang banger Mickey Torres with an alibi for homicide?

Ryo smiled unpleasantly, noisily dragging his chair out from behind his desk. “I’m Detective Miller. You have information for me Mr.…?”

The Ice Princess jerked straight. His face went whiter, his eyes went wider, but there was no recognition in his turquoise eyes. Just fear. Maybe the fear a lot of honest citizens seemed to feel dealing with the law. Maybe the fear of someone about to perjure himself to the police.

“Tashiro. Kai Tashiro.” His voice was light and husky. A young voice. A young man. But not as young as Ryo had originally thought. Probably in his mid-twenties. Twenty-three or twenty-four.

“How can I help you, Mr. Tashiro?” Tashiro looked about as Japanese as the big-eyed androgynous figures in the manga Ryo’s little nieces loved so much. A poser. It was another point against him, though Ryo knew that wasn’t fair.

Murder wasn’t fair.

“I got a call from a fr—Mickey Torres. He said he’d been arrested and he needed me to—” a nervous swallow, “verify where he was three nights ago.”

Ryo opened the long desk drawer, removed a file, and slammed the drawer closed, harder than he had to. Tashiro gave another one of those little jumps. Ryo opened the file, read for a moment, and then studied the man on the other side of his desk.

“Did Torres tell you what he was arrested for?”

“Homicide.” Tashiro’s voice was almost inaudible.

“That’s right.” Ryo shoved the file with the Martinez crime scene photos across the desk. “He killed a seventy-year old woman by the name of Esther Martinez. Take a look at what he did to her. Take a good look.”

Tashiro looked—he couldn’t avoid it—and closed his eyes. He opened them almost at once. “Mickey didn’t do that.”

“Yep, he sure did. He strangled her and then, for good measure—and because he’s a fucking animal with no conscience or self-control—he beat her head in.” Ryo kept his tone cool and cordial; hoping nobody at the surrounding desks was listening too closely.

Tashiro gave a shake of his head. “He was with me, Detective Miller.”

Ryo took the file back. He considered his strategy. There were a couple of ways to play this. He hadn’t missed Tashiro’s hesitation using the word “friend” in regard to Torres.

“Okay,” he said easily. “He was with you. From when to when exactly?”

Tashiro was still wearing the hood of his sweatshirt. It gave him a strangely monkish look. “From about eleven-thirty to seven-thirty the next morning.”

“About eleven-thirty? So is that eleven-fifteen, eleven-twenty, a quarter to twelve? You’re going to have to be precise about the time when you stand up in court and swear to it in front of a jury.”

Tashiro’s eyes flickered, but he said, “When we left the bar, the clock on my car dashboard said eleven twenty-eight.”

“And what bar was that?” Ryo pulled out his notebook and jotted down the times.


“Fubar. Hm. I think I’ve heard of it. Where’s that located, exactly?”
“Santa Monica Boulevard.”

“That’s a gay bar, right?”

Tashiro nodded, not meeting his eyes.

Ryo put his pencil down. “Do you really not recognize me?”

Tashiro looked across and his eyes went wider still. “Huh?”

Ryo picked up his pencil. Made a sharp notation. “So you and Torres leave Fubar together at eleven twenty-eight on Tuesday night. Then what happens?”

“We drive—drove—to my place.”

“Which is where?”

“14159 Armacost Ave.”

Ryo grunted. “Nice.” Very nice. Half a million nice. What the hell had the neighbors made of street scum Mickey Torres? And what the hell did Kai Tashiro do for a living that he could afford that kind of prime real estate? Nothing legal probably. “Then, what? You guys sat around and played checkers all night?”

Tashiro turned a shade of pink that would require some serious crosshatching in manga. “No. We had another drink and then we…went to bed.”

“Went to bed? Yeah? Did you watch Letterman? Eat animal crackers? Tell spooky stories? I bet Torres has a few of those. Has he shared with you how he wound up in prison the first time?”

Tashiro shook his head. “We…had sex.”

“I didn’t catch that.”

“We had sex.”

“You fucked. Is that what you mean?”

Tashiro’s look was murderous. Ryo smiled. He had a very white and charming smile, and he knew how to use it for maximum annoyance. “So you’re gay?”


“No, no. We try not to make insensitive assumptions on the police force. So you’re gay and I guess Torres is gay?”


“That news is going to cause quite a stir with the home boys. Homosexuality is not popular with Torres’ gang. And I use the word gang deliberately.”

“Is that it?” Tashiro demanded. “Are we done? Mickey was with me. I’ll swear to it in court if I have to. Can I go?”

“You don’t want to wait around for Torres to be released?”

Tashiro’s brows drew together in confusion that was at least partly dismay.

“I’m kidding you,” Ryo said. “It’ll be hours before he’s out. Lots of paperwork involved. In the meantime, we need to get a little more background on you, Kai.”

Author Bio:
A distinct voice in gay fiction, multi-award-winning author JOSH LANYON has been writing gay mystery, adventure and romance for over a decade. In addition to numerous short stories, novellas, and novels, Josh is the author of the critically acclaimed Adrien English series, including The Hell You Say, winner of the 2006 USABookNews awards for GLBT Fiction. Josh is an Eppie Award winner and a three-time Lambda Literary Award finalist.

EMAIL: josh.lanyon@sbcglobal.net


Wicka by Christy Deveaux

Title: Wicka
Author: Christy Deveaux
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Release Date: May 28, 2014

***99cents August 22-28, 2016***
While mourning the loss of a mother figure, Elizabeth Blake, a smart but socially introverted seventeen year old girl from Ann Arbor Michigan, thinks she’s enrolling in an international school in the south of France to finish her final year of high school. Instead, she falls in love; finds out that she is a witch from an ancient family –– who weren’t thought to exist anymore; and discovers that her life is in danger, as the Elders believe that she is the heir to a legend they fear above all else.

Wicka, the debut novel by Christy Deveaux, has been compared to other fantasy paranormal tales such as Twilight, written by Stephanie Meyer and Harry Potter, written by J.K. Rowling. Young adults and grown ups alike are sure to love this adventure filled magical romance.

Author Bio:
Christy Deveaux is the author of The Chronicles of Elizabeth Blake series. Her highly anticipated first book in the series, Wicka, was just released this spring (2014). Inspired by traveling across Europe solo at a very young age, and many travel adventures since, the character and story line behind Elizabeth Blake was born. Christy majored in political science and earned a cross-disciplinary degree from the University of Western Ontario. She lives in Toronto, Ontario with her husband, three children and a fish named Cow.


***99cents August 22-28, 2016***

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