Book Finds: Serpent's Kiss

BOOK FINDS is a regular feature that spotlights upcoming book releases that I am looking forward to read.

SERPENT'S KISS by MELISSA DE LA CRUZ
RELEASE DATE. June 12, 2012
PUBLISHER. Hyperion

SYNOPSIS. The intriguing Beauchamp family, introduced in the New York Times bestselling Witches of East End, returns in Serpent’s Kiss, with dizzying plot twists and spellbinding magic.

Joanna and her daughters, bookish Ingrid and wild-child Freya, are just settling into the newfound peace that has been cast over their small, off-the map town of North Hampton. With the centuries-old restriction against practicing magic lifted, casting spells, mixing potions, and curing troubled souls has never felt so good for the three witches. That is, until everything gets turned upside down—from Joanna’s organized kitchen to Ingrid’s previously nonexistent love life to Freya’s once unshakeable faith in her sexy soul mate, Killian Gardiner.

When Freya’s twin brother, Freddie, suddenly returns, escaped from Limbo and professing innocence on a long-ago crime, Freya should be ecstatic. The golden boy can do no wrong. Or can he? Freddie blames no other than her fiancĂ© Killian for his downfall, and enlists Freya’s help to prove it. Now Freya doesn’t know who to believe or trust.

And for the first time in—well, forever, really—Ingrid is also busy in love. Matt Noble, the handsome and charming police detective, has won her heart. But can romance work between a virgin witch and a mortal who doesn’t believe in magic? Things get even more complicated when it appears Ingrid is harboring the prime suspects in Matt’s police investigation.

To add to the chaos, a dead spirit is attempting to make contact with Joanna—but does it mean to bring harm or help? Joanna asks her sort-of ex-husband Norman to help figure it out, only to accidentally invite him to a Thanksgiving dinner with a dapper gentleman she’s recently begun dating.

As the witches pull together to discover the serpent within their midst and the culprit behind Freddie’s imprisonment, everything is thrown into peril. Will the discovery come too late to save those they love most?

Melissa de la Cruz weaves all this and more in a blockbuster sequel that is not to be missed by her fans, and one that is sure to enchant new readers of the series.

What are you waiting for? Share your thoughts below.

Blog Tour - Character Interview: Until Next Time by Amy Lignor

Today on Mr. Book Wonder, one of Amy Lignor's lead characters from her new incredibly romantic paranormal book Until Next Time has flown by for an interview--which is a rare privilege for me because she's more human than you think she is.

ABOUT THE BOOK
Until Next Time by Amy Lignor
RELEASE DATE. February 1, 2012
PUBLISHER. Tribute Books
PURCHASE. AMAZON
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SYNOPSIS. How does a girl choose between the one who steals her heart and the one who owns her soul?

Matt and Emily were created for a specific job. Raised and trained as the ultimate angel/warrior team, they are sent down to save, defend, judge and forgive, depending on the ‘life’ they’ve been assigned. What they don’t realize is that the power of human emotions, such as love, anger, passion and fear can take over even the best of souls, causing them to make mistakes and follow paths that lead to confusion and heartache.

When the reason for their training is finally revealed, the angel/warrior team find themselves thrust into a world they know nothing about. Matt takes over the life of Daniel, a young man with a great deal of baggage. Emily becomes Liz, a girl living in a remote village who relies on nothing more than her own strength to survive. A violent storm erupts one night, and framed in the window of Liz’s establishment is a frightening face. Let in by the soul of a Good Samaritan, the two visitors bring with them a past full of secrets that could literally change an angel’s path and a warrior’s plans.

From murder to redemption, this angel/warrior team must find a way to keep the faith they have in each other in a world that’s ripping them apart.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR. Amy Lignor began her career at Grey House Publishing in northwest Connecticut where she was the Editor-in-Chief of numerous educational and business directories.

Now she is a published author of several works of fiction. The Billy the Kid historical THE HEART OF THE LEGEND; the thriller, MIND MADE; and the adventure novel, TALLENT AND LOWERY 13.

She is also the owner of The Write Companion, a company that offers help and support to writers through a full range of editorial services from proofreading and copyediting to ghostwriting and research. As the daughter of a research librarian, she is also an active book reviewer.

Currently, she lives with her daughter, mother and a rambunctious German Shepherd named Reuben, in the beautiful state of New Mexico.

INTERVIEW WITH EMILY
INDIA EISLEY as EMILY

Welcome to Mr. Book Wonder, Emily! Please take a seat on our wooden stool. If you aren't comfortable, please will yourself to conjure a seat for yourself.

With a wave of Emily’s hand the stool is now a comfy red lounge chair—St. John’s personal favorite.

Tell us about yourself Emily, from your favorites to your deepest secrets.
Hmm . . . you probably should’ve asked Matt to do this. I mean, he really loves talking about himself.

How do you deal with your struggles as both a human and an angel?
I know this sounds bad, but I really like the angel world more. I have to tell you that our rules, how everything is set up, run, and falls into place up here . . . it’s just easier, you know? I like the fact that I understand how to protect and care for others, and know what my duties are and what I have to accomplish to make things right. But when I’m a human, that’s when all the confusions starts. Matt has tried to teach me to lighten up. I know that’s a funny term when it comes to a person who already has wings, but St. Francis thought it up and he really hoped it would catch on.

Humans are really tough to understand. To have a head and a soul that can feel so angry, so depressed, so in love—and all in the same week, sometimes—it just makes my soul wonder about it all. Dreams are great, but humans have the capability to dream big and still have such hideous nightmares all at the same time. This really makes me question the whole human thing and why they were made like that.

We know that Heaven is the happiest place a good soul could find. Still, it is quite a mysterious place for us humans. Tell us what kind of place is Heaven so we know what we shall expect of it once our time has come.
Although there are a lot of things that Matt and I have to spend time working on, for humans Heaven is seriously cool (another word St. Francis is fond of). You’ll love the library. It’s extraordinary. For anyone who reads, or loves books—this stunning place is never-ending and packed with all the titles that have ever been written. There are millions of shelves. Even some that, unfortunately, have our own stories written down, so everything Matt and I have done can be read about. I, personally, like that lady, Jane Austen, even though she reminds me of a person I really should forget about.

There are huge hallways in Heaven with glass ceilings, which are nice because you can see all the flights take off. Also the saints are always running around and meeting people. They love to be guides and they like to wear the costumes of the time period they’re currently working in down below, so Mark can actually lead you around Heaven dressed like a pirate, which people like.

There are doors down each and every hallway. If you open one, you can walk into a jungle and meet the animals. Then, in the next one, you can walk into a castle, or even a lawyer’s office if that’s your thing. I just escorted a wonderful girl to a room that had a huge house filled with her family. That room smelled so good because her grandmother really cooks well. I watched them as they all caught up, and she got to play with her favorite dog who came up to Heaven about ten years before her—so it was a really good time. I guess you could say that Earth is what you make of it, and Heaven is what you want it to be.

Among your teachers in Heaven, who do you find the most attractive, bravest, funniest, most serious and smartest?
I have to say ick on the attractiveness, although Gabriel has a very quiet way about him. Lots of the unbetrothed women who come up here like to hang out with him--especially the ladies that hold quilting parties--whatever that is. Gabriel sits, laughs, drinks coffee, and creates these big blankets. He loves it.

The funniest is definitely Francis. His hair sticks up all over the place (Michael says he looks like Einstein). He’s always running down the halls with an animal in his arms, and he’s always laughing. He’s so cool, and lets us experiment with the animal world. He was really encouraging when we made the albatross.

The most serious is my own teacher. Michael is a bit scary sometimes, even though I know he loves me more than anything and wants to see me succeed. But he’s a definite worrier, and always wants to make sure that Matt and I take our job very seriously. I would have to say that he’s also the bravest, for me. Gabriel is brave because he stands in front of all the bad things down in the world and defeats them. But Michael’s brave because he keeps trying. Michael refuses to give up--even when sometimes there isn't much left to fight for as far as I’m concerned. He’s also smart enough to know that he doesn’t know everything, and tries so hard to make things right. (Of course, don’t tell him I said all this because he’ll be impossible in class tomorrow.)

How is your relationship with Matt doing?
Matt and I are always good . . . we’re just growing up, I guess, because we keep meeting up as humans and things keep happening. He’s still the only one I would ever rely on to back me up, even when we’re angry at each other. We just got back from a place that you call the Gilded Age in your history books. A lot happened there, so we’re just kind of trying to figure out what the next step is going to be.

Do you think he truly is the one for you?
I watch those shows you have down there so I know I can plead the fifth. Only time will tell.

Was it love or duty that made you decide what you have to do during the time when you were on Earth?
Duty is what I’m called upon to accomplish by my teachers, but my soul does feel love and I do want the bad guys to lose. I don’t want the people I care about and protect to be harmed. I suppose I do what I do for both reasons. And I know that our teachers will continue to send Matt and I down in order to bring them back the answers. They want to know how the world can be righted again. They want to know how humans face those things you call the seven deadly sins, and how to beat them. Duty calls . . . but love does end up getting in the way sometimes.

What will you miss the most on Earth?
I never really thought that Earth had anything I would miss, seeing as that Matt and I were born and raised in what everyone calls perfection. But Matt was right in the end (don’t tell him I said that, please, or he’ll be impossible in class tomorrow too). On Earth I don’t know what’s coming around the next corner and sometimes what arrives is really great—like Faith and Charles and . . . anyway, I guess the thrill of not knowing is what I miss the most.

We humans have a different perspective of love. What is your own understanding of love?
There’s a lot of happily-ever-after dreams on Earth, which I think is really nice. They want to love someone with their whole heart. For us, we know that the soul is the only thing that’s not made out of blood, cartilage and other stuff; it’s the only part that’s really alive. So if you don’t love someone with your whole soul, then they’re not your soulmate.

Any other message you want to tell us?
I guess you should know that we’re always around. I’ve sat with a lot of you who were scared or upset, and you need to know that we’re always around. It may not be me and Matt who are in your house, but you’ll know if it is us pretty quickly because Matt likes to cook things in people’s kitchens and ends up making a real mess. He also likes to rearrange furniture. He read something about Feng Shui in the library and believes in all the Heaven & Earth balance stuff. So if your kitchen is a disaster in the morning, or your couch has been moved into the bathroom, we’re definitely the team that’s assigned to help you (I know . . . lucky, right?) But no matter how you feel, and no matter what or who you believe in, you aren’t alone. I can promise you that.

I think I could hear the Heavens calling your name Emily. I guess I shall say goodbye to you and thank you so much for giving me a chance to talk to a beautiful angel like you!
It was nice to meet you too. Did you want the stool back, or just keep the chair? It’s way more comfortable and I’m sure John can conjure a new one.

Well, I'm more than happy to add that chair to my furniture. Until next time, Emily!
I’ll look forward to it.

Cover Unveil: Taste by Kate Evangelista

RELEASE DATE. May 1, 2012
PUBLISHER. Crescent Moon Press
PURCHASE. AMAZON
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SYNOPSIS. At Barinkoff Academy, there’s only one rule: no students on campus after curfew.

Phoenix McKay soon finds out why when she is left behind at sunset. A group calling themselves night students threaten to taste her flesh until she is saved by a mysterious, alluring boy. With his pale skin, dark eyes, and mesmerizing voice, Demitri is both irresistible and impenetrable. He warns her to stay away from his dangerous world of flesh eaters. Unfortunately, the gorgeous and playful Luka has other plans.

When Phoenix is caught between her physical and her emotional attraction, she becomes the keeper of a deadly secret that will rock the foundations of an ancient civilization living beneath Barinkoff Academy. Phoenix doesn’t realize until it is too late that the closer she gets to both Demitri and Luka the more she is plunging them all into a centuries old feud.

EXCERPT

I sat up and followed Calixta’s gaze upward. I rubbed my eyes. I didn’t know what I was seeing at first. A statue? ­My brain refused to snap together coherent thoughts. I didn’t realize I’d fallen so close to one of the garden benches until I stared up at the boy that sat on one. He was strikingly beautiful. His tumble of blonde hair curled just above his sculpted cheekbones. He wore a silk shirt and a loosened cravat, like he’d become bored while dressing and decided to leave himself in disarray. His ivory skin and frozen position was what had me mistaking him for something carved from marble by Michelangelo. Then he sighed—a lonely, breathy proof of life. If I had to imagine what Lucifer looked like before he fell from heaven, the boy on the bench would certainly fulfill that image. My brain told me I had to look away, but I couldn’t.

“Luka,” Calixta said again, her voice unsure, almost nervous. It no longer contained the steel and bite she had threatened me with, which made me wonder who the boy was.

He leaned on his hands and crossed his legs, all the while keeping his eyes fixed on the night sky. His movements spoke of elegance and control. I’d encountered many people with breeding before, but his took on the air of arrogance and self­assuredness of someone used to getting what he wanted when he wanted it.

I only realized I’d been holding my breath when my lungs protested. I exhaled. My heart sputtered and restarted with a vengeance. Luka tore his gaze away from the stars and settled it on me. I’d expected pitch­black irises, like the other Night Students, but blue ice stared back at me.

“Human,” he whispered.

He reached out, and with a finger, followed an invisible trail down my cheek. I stiffened. His touch, cooler than Demitri’s, caused warm sparks to blossom on my face. He lifted his finger to his lips and licked its tip. He might as well have licked me from the way my body shivered.

Luka’s curious gaze held mine. “Leave us,” he said, but not to me.

“But—” Calixta protested like a spoiled child.

He spoke in a language I hadn’t heard before, remaining calm yet firm. The words had a rolling cadence I couldn’t quite follow, like rumbling thunder in the distance. They contained a harsh sensuality. The consonants were hard and the vowels were long and lilting.

Footsteps retreated behind me.

Luka reached out again.

It took me a minute to realize he wanted to help me up. I hesitated. He smiled. I smiled back timidly and took his hand, completely dazzled. Even with my uniform soaked from melted snow, I didn’t feel cold—all my attention was on him and the way his callused hand felt on mine. Without moving much from his seated position, he helped me stand.

“What’s your name?” he asked. He had a voice like a familiar lullaby. It filled my heart to the brim with comfort.

I swallowed and tried to stop gawking. “Phoenix.”

“The bird that rose from the ashes.” Luka bent his head and kissed the back of my hand. “It’s a pleasure meeting you.”

My cheeks warmed. My head reeled, not knowing what to think. I couldn’t understand why I felt drawn to him. And the strange connection frightened me.

From behind, someone gripped my arms and yanked me away before I could sort out the feelings Luka inspired in me. I found myself behind a towering figure yet again. Recognizing the blue­black silk for hair tied at the nape, relief washed over me. Calixta hadn’t come back to finish me off.

Demitri’s large hand wrapped around my wrist. Unlike the night before, no calm existed in his demeanor. He trembled like a junky in need of a fix. The coiled power in his tense muscles vibrated into me.

“What are you doing here?” Demitri asked.

I didn’t know he’d spoken to me until I saw his expressionless profile. I sighed.

“Phoenix.”

I flinched. The ruthless way he said my name punched all the air out of me. “You owe me answers,” I said with as much bravado as I could muster.

“I owe you nothing.” He glared. “In fact, you owe me your life.”

“I don’t think so.”

Ignoring my indignation, he faced Luka, who’d remained seated on the bench during my exchange with Demitri. “Why is she with you, Luka?”

“I wasn’t going to taste her, if that’s what you’re implying,” Luka said. “Although, she is simply delicious. I wouldn’t mind if you left us alone.”

There it was again. Taste. The word that kept coming up between these Night Students and I was connected to it in an increasingly uncomfortable way. To taste meant to sample, but what? My flesh? They had to be joking because the alternative wasn’t funny.

“The sins of the father …” Demitri left his sentence unfinished.

Luka’s smile shifted into a snarl. “Obey my command.” His chin lifted. “Kneel.”

Demitri’s stance went rigid. His grip tightened around my wrist.

Okay, weird just got weirder. Why would Luka want Demitri to kneel before him? I thought back to Eli and the others bowing to Demitri when he questioned them, but they didn’t kneel. Seriously? Were they all living on a different planet or something?

“Kneel.” Luka’s detestable smirk made his features sinister rather than angelic. The real Lucifer: a fallen angel.

Without letting go of my wrist, Demitri knelt down on one knee and bowed his head, his free hand flat at the center of his chest. “Your command has been obeyed,” he said formally.

Luka nodded once.

Demitri stood up and pulled me toward the school without telling me where we were going. Not having the time to thank Luka for saving me from Calixta, I risked a glance back. Luka smiled at me. His smile spoke of whispers, secrets, and promises to be shared on a later date.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR. When Kate Evangelista was told she had a knack for writing stories, she did the next best thing: entered medical school. After realizing she wasn’t going to be the next Doogie Howser, M.D., Kate wandered into the Literature department of her university and never looked back. Today, she is in possession of a piece of paper that says to the world she owns a Literature degree. To make matters worse, she took Master’s courses in creative writing. In the end, she realized to be a writer, none of what she had mattered. What really mattered? Writing. Plain and simple, honest to God, sitting in front of her computer, writing. Today, she has four completed Young Adult novels.

Book Finds: So Close to You

BOOK FINDS is a regular feature that spotlights upcoming book releases that I am looking forward to read.

So Close to You by Rachel Carter
SO CLOSE TO YOU by RACHEL CARTER
RELEASE DATE. July 10, 2012
PUBLISHER. HarperTeen

SYNOPSIS. Lydia Bentley has heard stories about the Montauk Project all her life: stories about the experiments that took place at the abandoned military base near her home and the people who’ve disappeared over the years. When she stumbles into a vessel that transports her to a dangerous and strange new reality, Lydia realizes that all the stories she’s ever heard about the Montauk Project are true—and that she’s in the middle of one of the most dangerous experiments in history.

Alongside Wes, a darkly mysterious boy whom she is wary to trust, Lydia begins to unravel the secrets surrounding the project. But the truths behind these secrets force her to question all her choices. And if Lydia chooses wrong, she might not save her family but destroy them . . . and herself.

What are you looking forward to read? Share your thoughts below.

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