Ivory Queen (Order Of The Bell #1.5) By Jacob Devlin #BookBlast @chapterxchapter, @jacob_devlin, @BlazePub

Book Blast: Ivory Queen (Order Of The Bell #1.5) By Jacob Devlin with Giveaway

 

Hello readers!

Are you looking for your next read?

Well, let us help make things easier for you!

Welcome to the Book Blast for

Ivory Queen (Order Of The Bell #1.5)
by Jacob Devlin

presented by Blaze Publishing!

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

Looking for more books to read?
Read on and find a book that’s waiting for you to devour!

 

 

Twenty-five years ago, the venomous Queen Avoria was banished from the enchanted realms of Florindale and sentenced to spend eternity inside a cursed mirror.

After a seemingly endless tumble through the mirror’s abyss, Avoria awakens in a gloomy metropolis in the darkest corner of Wonderland. There she meets the shrewd King of Hearts, Cornelius Redding, and the two strike a turbulent alliance. As Avoria helps Cornelius execute his conquest of Wonderland, she plots her own vengeance against the world that cast her out. In the city’s cold shadows, Avoria finds pawns in the souls that defied her, truth in the reflection that calls to her, and power in the past that forged her. And thus, the Ivory Queen begins carving a path to the ultimate throne.

Ivory Queen (Order of the Bell #1.5)
by Jacob Devlin
Publication Date: January 10, 2017
Publisher: Blaze Publishing

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WHAT READER’S ARE SAYING:

“a well-written glimpse into the magic mirror.”Janelle

Avoria is a really fascinating villain”Samantha

 

When Jacob Devlin was four years old, he would lounge around in Batman pajamas and make semi-autobiographical picture books about an adventurous python named Jake the Snake. Eventually, he traded his favorite blue crayon for a black pen, and he never put it down. When not reading or writing, Jacob loves practicing his Italian, watching stand-up comedy, going deaf at rock concerts, and geeking out at comic book conventions. He does most of these things in southern Arizona.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

 

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The asteroid hurtling toward the earth will kill billions.

The Emperor and his Gold Court will be safe in their space station, watching from the stars. The Silvers will be protected underground. But the Bronzes must fight it out at the Shadow Trials for the few remaining spots left on the space station.

When an enigmatic benefactor hands Maia Graystone a spot in the Trials, she won’t just get a chance at salvation for her and her baby brother, Max: She gets to confront the mother who abandoned her in prison, the mad Emperor who murdered her father, and the Gold prince who once loved her. But it’s the dark bastard prince she’s partnered with that will make her question everything, including her own heart. With the asteroid racing closer every day, Maia must trust someone to survive.

The question is who?

 

Shadow Fall (Shadow Fall #1)
by Audrey Grey
Publication Date: November 22, 2016
Publisher: Blaze Publishing

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After a financial collapse devastates the United States, the new government imposes a tax on the nation’s most valuable resource—the children.

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Crescenzo never would’ve thought his father’s figurines were modeled after real people, but when his loved ones start vanishing from his life, he must unite their real life counterparts and seek their aid to save his family.

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The Carver by Jacob Devlin
Publication Date: July 19, 2016
Publisher: Blaze Publishing

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 I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

Weddings, Crushes, and other Dramas by Emily McKay #BookTour @chapterxchapter, @Emily_Mc_Kay @EntangledTeen

 

Weddings, Crushes, and Other Dramas (Creative HeArts #6, Willa & Finn #2) by Emily McKay

Publication Date: February 13, 2017

Publisher:  Entangled Teen Crush

 

Falling in love with the best man wasn’t on the program.

Willa is happy to be the maid of honor in her dad’s upcoming wedding to uber-celeb Mia McCain. Not as happy about the best man being her soon-to-be stepbrother, the infuriating—and infuriatingly gorgeous—Finn McCain. Every time their paths cross, the attraction simmering between them grows a little harder to ignore. Willa knows all about guys like Finn—they only want what they can’t have. What’s between them isn’t real.

Finn has never felt anything more real than what’s developing between him and Willa. Sure, her dad warned him to steer clear, but it’s not just about forbidden temptation. He’s determined to prove to Willa he’s not going anywhere—and that happily-ever-after will always be worth the risk.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains a wedding so crazy it’ll make you laugh, a stepbrother so hot he’ll make you swoon, and a heroine so real she’ll make you cry.

 

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Other book in the series

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains an unbelievably hot bad boy, an unbelievably famous actress, and all the drama that comes with adding both to your family. Oh, and a forbidden flirtation with a soon-to-be stepbrother.

When Willa Schofer’s father comes home from a business trip with an über-famous new fiancée, Willa’s senior year blows up in paparazzi-fueled flames. Overnight, she has a new house, a new car, and a new soon-to-be stepbrother—the unbelievably hot, unbelievably arrogant, Finn McCain. Thank god he’s constantly pushing her buttons, or she might do something irresponsible. Like fall for the jerk.

Just when Willa’s decided to avoid him for, oh, ever, Finn lands in the center of her senior project team. Seriously—how hard is it to shake a guy? At least her work on the project snagged the attention of the (second) hottest guy in school. He might only be into her because of her famous stepmom, and he’s not quite as exciting as a certain annoying housemate, but at least she’s allowed to crush on the guy.

Because crushing on your annoying stepbrother? So not cool.

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About the Author

Emily McKay is a life-long fan of books, pop-culture and anything geeky. She has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and baking cookies. When she’s not kicking-ass and scooping cookie dough, she’s watching videos from Screen Junkies (her favorite Youtube channel) or Pemberly Digital or Classic Alice. Okay, she has a Youtube problem! She’s seeking help. Really. Though, she may also have a slight problem with procrastination.

When the internet is down and there are no chocolate chips in the house, she does write books – everything from Harlequin romance novels to post-apocalyptic YA. Though her interests may appear broad, the common denominators are swoony heroes and snarky humor.

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Giveaway Information: 

 

  • One (1) winner will receive a digital copy of How Willa Got Her Groove Back by Emily McKay

 

 

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I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

Pushing the Boundaries by Stacey Trombely #Bookblast @chapterxchapter @trombolii and @EntangledTeen

Giveaway below

Pushing the Boundaries (Off Limits #1)

by Stacey Trombley

Publication Date: January 16, 2017

Publisher:  Entangled Teen Crush

Myra goes to Haiti with one goal: take the photograph that will win a scholarship and prove to her uber-traditional family that she has what it takes to be a photographer instead of a doctor. Her camera has always been her shield against getting too close to anyone, but she didn’t expect the hot teen translator who has an ability to see past her walls.

Elias needs his job as a translator to provide for his siblings. He can’t afford to break the rule forbidding him from socializing with a client. Except this girl Myra insists on going outside the city to capture the perfect picture, and he steps in as her guide in order to keep her safe.

The deeper they travel into the country, the harder they fall for each other. Now they’re both taking risks that could cost each other their dreams.

If they get too close—it could ruin both their lives.

Excerpt

Chapter One

 

Myra

Sweat drips down my forehead the second I take my first step out of the plane. I wipe it quickly. Yeah, that’s cute.

I pull at the baggy green T-shirt. Paired with stupid khaki pants, I’m a full-on frump-fest. I guess it doesn’t really matter. There isn’t anyone to impress here. They dressed us in matching, hellishly bright T-shirts so we wouldn’t lose each other in the rush of a new country. Convenient, but ugly.

Hungry eyes watch us as we pass through the crowd, looking for our massive bags. It was only a two-hour flight from Florida, but I feel like we flew straight to Africa. No one speaks English. They shout out in a strange language.

I thought I was prepared for this trip to Haiti, but ten seconds here and I’m already feeling overwhelmed. I grip the camera around my neck. The world is much easier to cope with when you’re looking at it through a lens. I snap a picture of the big warehouse-looking room of baggage claim. It’s an ugly picture, but I feel better for taking it.

You’d think I’d be used to this feeling, this out-of-place, stands-out, “what’s up with that girl” feeling. I’ve felt that my whole life. A Pakistani girl living in middle-of-nowhere, bumfuck, Middle of America, where, I swear, some people must not have seen a person of color in real life before.

But here, it’s a totally different feeling. I’m still an outcast, still getting odd looks, still totally out of place. Only it’s not my darker-than-normal skin color, big eyes, and lush black hair that makes me stand out here. It’s how light my skin is.

It’s the first time in my life I feel white.

But really, it’s not the race these people care about. It’s my nationality. I’m American. To them, American means rich.

The people at the gates, the workers, the other passengers—all of them with skin black as night. It’s beautiful, really. It’s just clear I don’t belong here.

No one in my group does.

I finally catch sight of my last bag among the remaining luggage. With a huff, I pull my massive green suitcase from the conveyer belt.

“Myra! Get a move on.” I suppress an eye roll and heave the stupid heavy bag across the crowded airport. Thick voices bombard me.

A black man in a collared shirt I think was once white approaches me and reaches for the bag in my hands. I rip it from his fingers, taking a panicked step backward but having no idea where I’ll go. My stomach leaps to my throat. Oh shit…

But he doesn’t pursue me. He just shakes his head and says something in a language I can’t understand. Then reaches for the bag again. I take another step back.

“Mom?” I call out, looking for her in the mass of bodies around me. Dirty, sweaty men everywhere.

“Myra! Let the man have it, he’s toting the bags for us,” I hear the familiar accent call from somewhere in the huge crowded room, and my head clears. I can’t mistake my mother, not anywhere. No one has a Pakistani accent like hers. Not even my father’s is as thick.

I blink and find a flash of green through the crowd before me. Okay, maybe the T-shirts were a good idea. I see another man in the same yellowed-white shirt stacking suitcases on a big trolley thing. Oh.

I give the man next to me an awkward smile, and he takes the bag, mumbling under his breath. Like I could understand him in the first place.

Stupid Americans. Yeah, it’s probably something like that.

 

 Purchase:

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About the Author

 

Stacey Trombley lives in Ohio with her husband and the sweetest Rottweiler you’ll ever meet. She thinks people are fascinating and any chance she has, she’s off doing or learning something new. She went on her first mission trip to Haiti at age twelve and is still dying to go back. Her “places to travel” list is almost as long as her “books to read” list.

 

Her debut novel Naked released from Entangled Teen in 2015. Find her online at www.StaceyTrombley.com and on twitter @trombolii.

Website – http://www.staceytrombley.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Trombolii

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/StaceyTrombleyAuthor

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/trombolii/

Pineterest – https://www.pinterest.com/tromboli/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8475704.Stacey_Trombley

Giveaway Information: 

 

Pushing the Boundaries Prize Pack including:

* Signed copy of Naked by Stacey Trombley

* Signed copy of Pushing the Boundaries by Stacey Trombley

* Haitian Art as shown in the photo

 

 

 

 

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I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

Home by Eleni McKnight #BookBlitz @chapterxchapter @eleniwriting

Book Blitz: Home by Eleni McKnight – Excerpt and Giveaway

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Hello Readers! Welcome to the Book Blitz for

Home by Eleni McKnight!

Celebrate this release by entering the giveaway
found at the end of the post!

 

Happy Release Week, Eleni!

 

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Knowledge is a dangerous commodity in the Home commune, the last beacon of civilization against the fallen outside world. As Suzannah Commons begins to secretly read forbidden books, she jeopardizes her future for the forbidden love of the boy who supplies her new, dangerous habit, Silas Maars, and his family. Will her new-found knowledge be her destruction?

Suzannah is in training with the rest of the unmarried teenage girls in the Handmaiden House and Home’s laundry to become a bride when she accidentally comes upon a naked boy in one of the family quarters, Silas Maars. To see a naked man before marriage is an unforgivable sin in Home and a challenge to her precious status as a virgin, her only aspect of worth. This compromise to her purity would earn her an automatic exile in the Hard Labor Camp, a death sentence until the commune leader, Parson, sentences her to the punishment of serving Silas and his unusual family as a housekeeper. As she works for the Maars family and is isolated from the rest of the commune’s population, she discovers the frightening, threatening outside world is not as dangerous as she has been led to believe. The Maars family reveals to her that Deacon controls the population of Home by keeping them all ignorant, denying them education and books so he can teach his own twisted, corrupt, self-serving version of religion from the pulpit. As she learns the truth and begins to fall into a star-crossed love with Silas, her fate as a childbride to one of the lecherous Elders or a worker in the hard labor camp is drawing nigh.

Published: WordCrafts Press, LLC.
Publication Date: November 22, 2016

Available for Purchase:
AMAZON

 

excerpt

 

 

The next night after dinner, I went to the Maars’ quarters to clean Silas’s room. “I got it,” Silas said.

“You got what-“ I saw a book in his lap. It was a giant book, covered in pictures. I had seen pictures before, but they were in school. They were rare, we didn’t have the technology to make photographs anymore. The book said LIFE in large white letters. “Silas!” I cried. “What are you doing with that? You know you’ll get in trouble if they find out you have it!”

“No, I won’t,” he said. “They don’t even notice if we keep it hidden.”

“Books are rare!”

“No, they’re not,” he chuckled. “They’ve got a whole room full of books in the Elder’s wing. On shelves and stacked on top of each other in giant piles.”

“A whole room?” I repeated, trying to imagine it. “Is that where you got these?”

“Yeah,” he said, flipping through the book. “There’s thousands of books. Tens of thousands. Maybe even a hundred thousand!”

“You’re making that up,” I said.

“Here.”

He showed me a beautiful printed page. It had yellowed a bit, the edges were dog-eared. I felt a chill; I never was allowed to handle something as precious as a book before. I had learned to read by a chalkboard and it helped when there were directions painted on the walls of the laundry and the directions on the cooking cards. This was special and sacred, and Silas was letting me handle it like the bag of laundry I picked up every night. I looked at the page on the book: in the middle, a picture was in black and white of a group of women dressed in pantsuits, like the mechanics in our commune, standing by some large metal thing. They were grinning, proud, brandishing tools, not ashamed to be forced into wearing pants like the hard labor whores were forced to, their hair under colorful red patterned bandanas.

Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs)

I blinked. “Real women in the militia?” I asked.

“Yeah. They used to have a militia with an entire department where they flew airplanes.”

“Airplanes are made-up.”

“They used to drop bombs on the enemies during wars. They’d blow up entire cities. And shoot each other down in air fights.”

“Men can’t fly,” I snorted.

“I’ve flown.”

“You’re making that up, you have not. It’s impossible!”

“They used to know how,” he said. “Papa says that there are people that still know. People go to places to get onto planes called aeroports. And the pilots would drive them across the world. You’ve never read a book, have you?”

About-the-Author2

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Eleni McKnight is a Murfreesboro, Tennessee native and graduated from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville with a degree in Theatre with an emphasis in Literature. This left her with a wild passion for creating costumes and doing make-up in her freetime, along with her intense passion for reading from her childhood. She started writing at age eight when she had read all the Baby-Sitter’s Club books she had brought along for a road trip at age nine, and wanted something new to read. It’s never quite left her over the years.

These days, you can usually find her working backstage or costuming in local community theatres, reading a book, walking/exercising, at a concert, drinking a craft beer with friends, knitting, embroidering, or taking a dance class.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Tumblr | Goodreads

 

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 I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

STATION FOSAAN by Dee Garretson #CoverReveal #FridayReveals #Month9Squad #Month9Books

Today Dee Garretson and Month9Books are
revealing the cover and first chapter for STATION FOSAAN, which releases February
14, 2017! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to be one of the first readers
to receive a eGalley!!
A quick note from the author:
I’ve been a major science
fiction fan ever since I discovered A WRINKLE IN TIME. When I moved on to
watching STAR TREK every day after school, that hooked me. Spock was my first
crush. I don’t know what that says about me. Maybe it was his pointy ears,
because I’m very taken with the pointy eared elves in LORD OF THE RINGS too. It
wasn’t just Spock though. I loved all the strange new worlds. I was devastated
the day my father told me that even once I grew up, there would be no
Enterprise spaceships and I couldn’t be Lieutenant Uhura. I still remember how
I wanted that communication earpiece, the miniskirt and the boots.
 
So you might say STATION
FOSAAN is in response to that disappointment. I created my own science fiction
world, which has been influenced not only by STAR TREK, but by STAR WARS and
DUNE as well. And while it is a space adventure, it’s also a story of two
people who find each other only to discover their lives may have to follow
different paths. The essence of a story is always the characters. I love to
create ones I’d want to know in real life. And like in real life, these
characters face powerful forces who try to emphasize the differences between
peoples rather than finding common ground. It’s a test to see what they choose.
One of my favorite parts from the book is something that is also my personal
motto: “We have to take chances. I have to take a chance. It’s time to go
beyond the known.”
On to the reveal! 

 

Title: STATION
FOSAAN
Author: Dee Garretson
Pub. Date: February 14, 2017
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 300
Find it: Goodreads
|
Amazon | B&N | TBD
Scientists and their families stationed
on the remote planet of Fosaan were promised a tropical vacation-like
experience. But Fosaan, devastated from an apocalyptic event nearly
three-hundred years ago, is full of lethal predators and dangerous terrain.
Earthers are forbidden to go beyond the
safety zone of their settlement and must not engage the remaining reclusive
Fosaanians, native to the planet. Sixteen-year-old Quinn Neen is about to do
both of those things.
During an unsanctioned exploration of
the planet, Quinn discovers a beautiful Fosaanian girl named Mira stealing food
from his family’s living unit. But before he can convince her to show him
around, scientists are taken captive, leaving Quinn and the other young
Earthers at the mercy of space raiders.
Quinn must go from renegade to leader
and convince Mira to become an ally in a fight against an enemy whose very
existence threatens their lives and the future of Earthers stuck on Fosaan and
at home.

 

STATION FOSAAN is THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND
meets STAR TREK: THE WRATH OF KHAN. 

Excerpt

Chapter 1When a civilization comes close to extinction, what emerges out of the ashes? On Fosaan, music did not, and art has turned to survival craft. Perhaps if I record what I know, some in the future will understand us better. The coming of the Earthers may be the end of us, and I do not want our memories to fade to ash. I may be giving myself too lofty a title, but for now I shall sign my musings,

Erimik, historian of the Clan

A flash in Fosaan’s sky distracted me from my work for a moment. If I hadn’t known better, I’d have thought a large ship just entered the atmosphere, but none were scheduled to land.

The flex wall rustled behind me. “Piper?” I said, not looking up from the display slip. One more minute and I would have the depiction of the snake-like creature completed, right down to the exact interlocking star pattern on the skin and the red speckling on the forelegs. Duplicating the vivid greenish yellow color would be trickier, but I had imaged it so there’d be a reference when I got down to mixing colors.

It was pure luck I had found a dead one on the walkway to study. I didn’t know what happened to the other deceased animals on Fosaan, but if the shrieks and howls that came from shore were any hint, I could guess. I’d just have to make sure I got rid of the thing before Piper got home. My younger sister hated seeing anything dead.

“Piper?” I turned around, but no one was in the unit. The rustling sound had moved into the kitchen.

Magellan squawked and flapped her wings from the window ledge, “Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert!”

Since the parrot said the same thing at every sound she didn’t recognize, I wasn’t too worried. “Mags, relax. It’s probably just an olon.” I got up and grabbed the stick I always used to shoo away the tiny nuisances. If I let one in, a whole flock of them would follow, perching on every available surface, chittering and staring as if expecting me to put on a show for them. Me, Quinn Neen, whose talents, such as they were, did not include entertaining anyone or anything. It was even worse when they brought in their latest catches from the sea, treating the floating living units like their own picnic area, dropping bones all over the floor.

Now that Mags felt like she had done her guard job, she lost interest. Balancing on one leg, she examined a talon on the other. “Beautiful toe,” she declared.

“Yes, you’ve told me before,” I said, knowing I’d never be able to convince the parrot a talon was not the same thing as a toe. I wasn’t sure she grasped the concept of “beautiful,” but she applied it more frequently to herself than anyone else. Leaving the bird to her talon inspection, I pushed aside the divider to get into the kitchen. No olons. No more rustling noise either, just the faint splash of the waves rocking the walkways that connected the individual living quarters. A gust of wind brought in the briny scent of the water, sharper smelling than the oceans of Earth. It overpowered the pine scent I had set on the room control, which I liked to use as a reminder of the pine forest reserve my grandmother managed on Earth. Another gust rattled the beads Piper had attached to her favorite house droid, but there were no other sounds. Maybe an olon had come and gone.

I turned to go back when a flash of white caught my eye. Startled, I dropped the stick and then tripped over it. A girl, a Fosaanian girl, stood clutching a wafer loaf to her chest, a cloud of long shimmery white hair quivering. In fact, all of her was shivering. She was soaked, water dripping off her. I could see her wet footprints all over the kitchen. Her silvery eyes held mine and I couldn’t think of a thing to say. I wasn’t usually so speechless around girls with incredible eyes, but I’d never encountered one I didn’t know in my own quarters.

“What are you doing?” I finally managed to croak, even though it was obvious she was taking the loaf, or more accurately, stealing the loaf. Fosaanians never came out onto the Earthers’ floating compound.

“I’m sorry,” the girl said, putting the loaf back on counter and edging to the door.

“No, wait!” I didn’t mean to shout, but my words came out too loud. The girl froze like I had issued an order, though I could tell she was ready to bolt. “It’s okay,” I said. “I mean, if you’re hungry, take it.” Picking the loaf up, I held it out to her, hoping it would convince her to stay for a little while. She would be the first Fosaanian I had talked to, if I could get her to talk. The small population of Fosaanians, the descendants of the few who had survived the planetary apocalypse, kept away from all of us Earthers, except for the ones who worked at the supply depot or who delivered the iridium sulfide. None of those could be called the least bit friendly.

She didn’t take the loaf, but she didn’t run either. Instead, she stood there looking around the room, clearly curious.

“I have an even better idea,” I said, trying to come up with one. “How about I fix us both something to eat? I’m hungry too.” The girl was too thin, but then all the Fosaanians I had seen were skinny. I assumed it was a Fosaanian physical trait that went along with their long fingers and thin necks, but now it occurred to me that if she was here to steal food maybe they weren’t getting enough to eat.

“The food, it is not for me,” the girl said. “My little sister, she had an accident and some of her teeth were damaged. It’s easier for her to eat soft food….” Her voice trailed off, and she clutched her hands together.

“You can take it. We have plenty. I’ll find some other stuff too.” I grabbed a carryall and opened the storage cabinet, looking for soft food. “Why doesn’t your sister just get replacement teeth?”

Her eyes widened. “You can replace teeth?”

“Sure, people do it all the time.” I had two replacements already, from running into a low bulkhead when I was trying to get some exercise during the long dull journey to Fosaan from Earth.

“How much do teeth cost?”

“I don’t know.” I found some milk bars and added them to the carryall. “Not much, probably.” I’d never even thought about it.

“If it costs as much as wafer bread, then it would be too much.” She sounded angry.

“Maybe not. I have a friend up on the space station in charge of inventory,” I told her. “I can ask him if they have some extra teeth. They probably do.”

Her eyes narrowed and she took a step back. “What would I have to do for them?”

“Nothing,” I said. I was struck by how suspicious she sounded. “My friend, Gregor, he isn’t too strict about things. Giving you some teeth for your sister isn’t going to break the budget of the station.” I knew Gregor would actually be pleased to do something that was outside the rules. He took so much pleasure in breaking military protocol, I sometimes wondered why he had signed up for more service after the mandatory enlistment was up.

An olon flew in and perched on a stool, folding its wings into small pleats and settling down like it intended to stay. I recognized it from its abnormal markings. Most olons had a bright green streak under each eye, but this one was missing the streak on the left. It was also the one who seemed to have an uncanny knack for knowing when food was out. “You’re not getting any of this,” I said to it. “Don’t be lazy. Go find your own food.” It hooted at me.

At the noise, Mags hopped into the room and then flew up and landed on the counter, flapping her wings and screeching, “Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert! Dog! Dog!” She hated the olons and “dog” was her word for anything she hated.

The olon just gazed at the parrot, not moving. “Easy, Mags,” I said, “It’s ‘olon’. ‘Olon.’”

“Dog!” Mags flapped her wings threateningly. “Man the weapons!” My father had taught Mags the weapons line, and he and I thought it hilarious, though my mother wasn’t crazy about the parrot threatening any guest the bird didn’t like. When the olon didn’t move, Mags added in some incoming missile sound effects to indicate she was extremely displeased.

“Calm down, Mags.” The olon didn’t appear perturbed at all by the parrot. It sidled to the edge of the stool, its attention totally focused on the wafer loaf.

“Your creature talks? You communicate with them?” the girl asked, her amazing eyes widening.

It took me a moment to answer; I was so caught up in looking at her. “Uh, no, I sort of communicate with Mags, but I just talk to the olons. They don’t understand me. It’s a habit when I’m by myself.” Now she would think I was strange. I’d only started talking to myself once we’d arrived. There were fifteen other younger Earthers onplanet and an assortment of scientists who came and went to the orbiting space station for their shifts, but we often got tired of each other. I spent most of the time working on my own projects.

The girl eyed the olon. “I’ve never seen one without two markings on the face,” she said. “I did see one once with double markings, but never just one.”

“I’d like to see one like that.” I was intrigued that she had noticed. Most people didn’t pay much attention to them. When I had first observed the marking and pointed it out to my friend Lainie, she had pretended to be interested, but the way she smiled made it clear she was just humoring me.

The olon hooted once more and then flew back out the window, like it had given up on the possibility of a handout.

“All clear!” Mags announced, using another of the military phrases my father favored. She began to preen herself. “Beautiful feathers.”

“Quinn!” Piper shouted from the walkway. The bells my little sister wore in her hair jangled crazily as she ran into the room. “Quinn, guess what? The shuttle landed but nobody was on it. Not mom, not anybody. Nobody knows why.” Piper skidded to a stop, noticing the girl. “Why is a Fosaanian here?” she demanded, her eyes wide.

“Um…She was out swimming,” I said, not wanting to explain the conversation about the bread. There were never simple explanations for Piper. Everything always led to another why. “I invited her in,” I added.

“Hello,” Piper said, moving closer to the girl and sniffing the air. “You don’t smell. My friend Lia says Fosaanians smell.”

“That’s rude, Piper. I’m sorry,” I said to the girl. I had heard the same rumor, that Fosaanians smelled like the sulfur permeating the atmosphere.

“I said she DIDN’T smell.” Piper glared at me. “It would be rude if I said she DID. What’s your name?”

“My name is Mira,” The girl answered almost in a whisper.

Piper reached out and patted Mira on the arm as if she was some shy creature. “Mira is a pretty name. Mine’s Piper. How old are you? I’m seven. Why do you have that funny mark on your face?”

The girl jerked back like the question shocked her. I didn’t understand her reaction, and after she didn’t respond, I said to Piper, “It’s a tattoo.” I didn’t think much about it because the small three-sided red mark on her check matched the ones on the two Fosaanians who worked at the station.

Mira’s lack of response didn’t stop Piper. “Why do all the Fosaanians have white hair? It makes everyone look old.” Piper moved closer like she was going to touch Mira’s hair.

“Piper!” Time to distract my sister before she did anything embarrassing. “What about the shuttle?” I asked.

“It landed without anybody on it, and nobody at the supply depot can talk to the space station. Is it true Fosaanian babies are born with black hair and then it turns white?”

Piper’s jumps in topics were hard to follow, and it took Mira some time to answer. “We all have white hair all along,” the girl said.

“That’s strange.” I was puzzled, not about the hair, but about the shuttle. There were always communication problems between the depot and the station because of the weird atmospheric components on Fosaan, and because of the frequent volcanic ash that spewed into the air from a nearby island, but I couldn’t think of a reason why the shuttle wouldn’t have anyone on it. “Maybe everyone decided to stay for a double shift. Mom said they were having problems with the newest version of the MIdroids.”

Piper shrugged. “Mick didn’t say anything.”

“What’s Mick doing about it?” I asked. Mick ran the depot, with the help of a few Fosaanians and some ancient droids he refused to replace. He was good with supplies and machines and droids, not so good with other people.

“He sent the second shift up. They’re supposed to report back.” Piper twisted her finger through her own hair, and the bells jingled softly. I knew the hair-twisting meant Piper was nervous.

“I’m sure they will,” I said to reassure her. I was about to go back to talking to Mira when I realized there was something odd about Piper’s last statement. “How are they going to report back if the link isn’t working?”

“I don’t know. Do all Fosaanians have such curly hair? I wish I did.”

“Piper, stop with the questions. You’re being nosy. Why don’t you see if you can get Mom on the comm here?” I suggested.

“Okay.” Piper darted out of the kitchen, and too late, I remembered what I had left on the work table.

Piper’s shriek came a second later. “Quinn! Disgusting! It’s dead! Get it away!”

“Sorry, Piper,” I said. The Fosaanian girl was edging for the door again. “Wait, don’t go yet. Maybe you could help me with something. It’s in here.” I didn’t want to let her go so I gestured towards the other room and walked out of the kitchen hoping she would follow me. She did, stopping in the doorway. I heard a sharp intake of breath.

When I turned around, the girl was staring wide-eyed around the room. “How is this possible?” she said, reaching out her hand to touch one of the holographic pine trees.

“Oh, I forgot,” I pointed at the scene setter on the table. “I had the scene set to be a pine forest. I really miss one I used to go to on Earth, so I like to set that surrounding when I work.”

“I didn’t know such things existed,” Mira said, kneeling down to touch the stream that ran around the chairs. I turned the sound up so the faint murmur of water came from it. The girl’s hand went into it and touched the floor. “This is amazing! It looks so real. I smell something strange too.”

“I’ve got it set to pine forest scent. I can switch it to something else if you like, flowers, or a camp fire. Do you want to see it snow?” I changed the scene to snowfall and immediately drifts appeared, covering most of the furniture. Holographic snowflakes fell from the ceiling, which had changed to the gray of a winter sky.

Mira lifted her hands out and smiled. “It’s cold! I have heard of snow, but I didn’t know it was cold.”

“Excuse me,” Piper said, standing by the work table with her hands on her hips, her face screwed up in disgust. “Does anyone besides me care that there is a dead thing here?”

“It’s okay, Piper.” I said. “It can’t hurt you. I meant to get rid of it before you got home.” I switched the snowfall back to the forest. The falling flakes were too distracting most of the time.

Piper stomped her foot. “Why do you have to drag stuff inside to depict it? Why can’t you just image things like normal people?”

“There’s no challenge to imaging it. Anybody can do that. Depicting objects sharpens a person’s power of observation.” I’d heard one of the tests to get into the reconnaissance corps training program measured how well the applicant could observe tiny details. “Besides, I needed to scan its measurements so I could record them.” We’d had this argument many times and I didn’t get why Piper couldn’t understand. It wasn’t like I kept the specimens around forever, though sometimes to tease her I pretended I’d accidentally lost one in her room. She fell for it every time.

The Fosaanian girl got up and walked over to the table, stepping around a moss-covered boulder that wasn’t really there. She looked down at the creature. “You didn’t kill this, did you?” she asked.

If I had been the type to lie, I would have told her I caught it barehanded as it ran past me. I was a terrible at lying though. “No, it was already dead when I found it.” I switched the room back to normal.

“I thought so. Most beings don’t survive getting close to an anguist.”

“I didn’t know,” I said, somewhat pleased I had managed to study something so lethal. “It’s called an anguist?”

“I don’t care what it’s called!” Piper wailed. “Just get it away!”

Since I was done with it anyway, and it was already starting to smell in the heat, I reached over to pick it up, intending to drop it out the window into the water.

“Wait!” The Fosaanian girl said. “How did you get it in here? Did you touch it?” She sounded horrified.

My hand froze. “Uh, yeah, I picked it up and brought it in. Why?” I asked, not sure I wanted to know the answer.

“How did you pick it up?”

I pictured how I had found the creature. “I picked it up behind the forelegs. Why?”

“They exude poison when they’re threatened, particularly from their tails.” Mira’s face showed the same alarm that her voice held. “It’s so lethal, it paralyzes you almost immediately.”

I couldn’t remember exactly where I had touched it. I’d moved it around a lot as I was measuring it. Was my hand feeling a little numb? I flexed my fingers. They still worked. “I feel fine. I guess I didn’t touch the poison part.” Good to know I hadn’t managed to paralyze myself. It had been idiotic of me not to think of that possibility. I knew there were dangerous life forms on Fosaan, and the Earthers were forbidden to go anywhere except the depot and the beach, but I hadn’t even imagined a small dead creature could hurt me.

“You shouldn’t just pick up what you find,” Mira said, putting her hands on hips just like Piper did. “There are many deadly animals and plants on Fosaan.”

At first I didn’t hear what she said. The amazing color of her eyes distracted me again. I had thought all Fosaanians had dull gray eyes.

“Quinn, didn’t you hear her? Deadly animals are a BAD thing,” Piper said.

“Um… I heard. Do you know how to identify them?” I asked the girl. She had just given me an idea.

“Of course I know,” she said, as if I were slightly dense. “I wouldn’t be alive if I didn’t.”

I tried to pick my words carefully so I could get her to go along with my idea. “Could you show me which ones are dangerous? I really want to know, because I’m making a guide.” Her expression grew more puzzled and I realized she didn’t understand, so I kept talking. “The life forms that survived the Apocalypse haven’t been completely logged, I mean logged by our people. If you helped me, I could make a real guide. We could work on it together. I’ve got some great recording equipment my friend on the space station lent me and I’ve made this capture device to get some of the smaller flying creatures, so I can observe them and then release them. I’ll show it to you…that is…if you want to see it….” Her face was expressionless, and I realized she might think it was all too boring.

Finally she said, “No…I don’t think my uncle would allow me to help you…I don’t know.”

Since it wasn’t a flat-out no, I persisted, “It wouldn’t take much time.”

“It’s not a good idea,” she said, sounding certain.

I slumped back against the table. At this rate, I’d never get the guide done before the deadline to submit my application to the reconnaissance corps. Without something unique like a guide to add to my application, I didn’t stand much of a chance of acceptance. My examination scores fell right in the middle of average. And if I didn’t get in, my grandfather would make sure I was assigned to one of the officer academies. I knew that would only lead to a spectacular failure. I’d make an even worse officer than my father.

Piper’s voice caught my attention. “Quinn, I thought we were going to talk to Mom.”

“You can speak to someone on the space station from your own home?” Mira drew close to the comm unit and put out her hand like she wanted to touch it.

“Yes, everyone has one of these,” I said.

“Haven’t you seen the ones inside the depot?” Piper asked.

“Fosaanians aren’t allowed inside unless they work there,” Mira said.

I hadn’t realized that. I just assumed the Fosaanians preferred to keep to themselves. “Why not? It’s nothing special.”

“It’s a rule. Are these hard to work?” Mira’s hand still hovered over the touchpad. “My uncle and my cousin operate the one at the depot, and they say you can get information from everywhere in the galaxy, and pictures of other places. My cousin told me he’s seen images of other planets, and they have giant buildings on them.” She said it like she didn’t really believe it.

“Sure, tall buildings are everywhere.” I wasn’t interested in ordinary buildings, but if she was and it got her to stay, I’d show her as many as she wanted. “We’ll look at some once I talk to my mother.”

I was about to speak the code to call up the Comm Center at the station when a voice said, “Incoming message. Secure channel. Turing Seven. Response.”

“That’s Grandfather!” Piper squealed.

I restrained myself from groaning. My grandfather was the last person in the galaxy I wanted to speak to. “Not good timing,” I said, turning to Mira. “I’m sorry, but it would be good if you go in the kitchen while we’re talking to my grandfather. I don’t want to have to explain to him what you’re doing here.”

She didn’t question me, which surprised me, though at the same time I was happy I didn’t have to go into more detail. My grandfather did not like to be kept waiting. I spoke the response. “Turing Five.”

My grandfather’s attaché appeared on the slip, a woman who Piper called Lieutenant Bark because every word the woman spoke came out short and abrupt. “Hold a moment for Admiral Neen,” the woman said.

It didn’t take a moment. Almost instantly the grim, lined face of my grandfather filled the display. I knew everyone remarked on how much I looked like the man, down to the dark brown eyes that were nearly black, the sharp lines of our faces, and the set of our jaws, but I hoped I never grew to look so rigid. In a dress uniform, the dark green sheen of it rippling in the sterile light of his office, the man would have projected authority even if you didn’t know he was head of the Konsilan.

“Good day, Quinn.”

“Good day, Sir.” I instinctively sat up straighter. I’d learned long ago not to slouch in view of my grandfather.

“Hi Grandpa!” Piper pushed in besides me on the chair.

“Hello, Miss Piper.” A smile appeared on the stone face, something rarely seen. “How’s my girl?”

“Good! When are you coming to visit?”

I hoped he’d say “Never.” The last argument between my father and grandfather had been so terrible, I couldn’t imagine them meeting again.

“I’m not sure.” The admiral turned and said something to the attaché and then turned back. “I’m sorry, Piper, but I don’t have much time and I need to talk to your brother.”

“Okay,” she said, sliding off the chair. I heard her move to the kitchen and begin chattering again to Mira. “That’s a pretty necklace! Can you show me how to make one like it?” I didn’t hear Mira’s reply and I tried to block out their voices so my grandfather wouldn’t comment on my lack of focus, an almost criminal offense to him.

The frown had reappeared on his face. “Quinn, I understand you haven’t yet submitted your application for any of the officer academies. The deadline is coming up.”

“I know, Sir. I…uh…wanted to speak with you about that.” I felt sweat running down my back and wondered why the room had suddenly gotten so hot. I tried to think of how I had practiced my speech to my grandfather, but instead all I could see in my head was the sweep of wall in the man’s office that contained image after image of Neen ancestors in all their military glory.

My grandfather raised an eyebrow. “Go ahead.”

I reminded myself that it was my future at stake, not my grandfather’s. “I…” Before I could say anything else, the slip went blank. “That’s weird,” I said.

“What’s weird?” Piper came back in the room.

“We lost contact with Grandfather.”

I spoke the code to call up the Comm Center. The display flickered, then the familiar logo of the station came up, the words Advanced Artificial Intelligence Research Center emblazoned across a rotating triple torus. I waited for the next slip. Someone on first or second shift communications should appear.

Instead, a voice said, “Due to technical difficulties, AAIRC is not available at this time.” The slip went clear.

 

Dee Garretson writes for many different
age groups, from chapter books to middle grade to young adult to adult fiction.
She lives in Ohio with her family, and in true writer fashion, has cat
companions who oversee her daily word count. When she’s not writing, she loves
to travel, watch old movies, and attempt various kinds of drawing, painting and
other artistic pursuits.

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“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

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The Breakup Support Group by Cheyanne Young

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After four years of first love bliss, Isla Rush just got dumped.

Any hope she has of winning her ex-boyfriend back is shattered when the town rezones her neighborhood, forcing her to spend senior year at a wealthy high school in the next town over.

With a broken heart consuming her soul, Isla can’t focus on anything, except maybe Emory Underwood—a ridiculously hot guy who dates a new girl almost every day. She can’t help but crush on him, even though it’s wrong.

When memories of her ex make her cry in second period, the school counselor sends Isla to a club that meets during lunch. The Break-Up Support Group is a collection of broken-hearted misfits who are all helping each other heal.

Just when Isla’s heart is finally on the mend, Emory shows up, forced to atone for all the broken hearts he’s caused over the years. While hiding her massive crush, she helps him understand the seriousness of breaking a heart.

In turn, Emory offers to help Isla get back on the dating scene by agreeing to be her fake date for the homecoming dance. Isla gladly accepts the ruse, because if anyone can make her into a desirable girlfriend, Emory can! There’s just one small problem.

Isla’s little crush on Emory might be exactly full blown. And a homecoming fake date with him could push her over the edge to possibly uttering the “L Word!”

Isla can’t afford another heartbreak so soon after the last one. She will have to resist his charms, refuse to look into those dreamy eyes, and above all else, not make the mistake of letting him kiss her.

If only she hadn’t let her guard down at the end of the night, under the light of her porch in a toe-curling kiss moment of weakness. And now, after months of Break-Up Support Group therapy, and with a heart fully on the mend, Isla has just handed it over to a guy who knows full well just how to break it.

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The Breakup Support Group by Cheyanne Young
Publication Date: November 22, 2016
Publisher: Swoon Romance

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Cheyanne Young is a native Texan with a fear of cold weather and a coffee addiction that probably needs an intervention. She loves books, sarcasm, and collecting nail polish. After nearly a decade of working in engineering, Cheyanne now writes books for young adults and is the author of the City of Legends Series with Alloy Entertainment and the forthcoming Breakup Support Group with Swoon Romance. She doesn’t miss a cubicle one bit.

Cheyanne lives near the beach with her daughter and husband, one spoiled rotten puppy, and a cat that is most likely plotting to take over the world.

 

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 I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl