I 💛 YA Mega Blitz! @RRBookTours1 @shanannigans81 @Marinagraphy @TPolen6 @hannahrgoodman

Hi everyone! And welcome to the I 💛 YA Mega Blitz! Did I hear a “say what now?!”? No worries folks, all will become clear in a New York minute 😉 First of all, credit where credit’s due: many thanks to the ever so amazing Shannon from R&R Book Tours for organising this mega blitz and providing a free copy of the books in question. And of course, also many thanks to these fabulous authors!

So what I will do today is present these four novels, and their authors. For three of them, you’ll find an excerpt, and for one my review. AND there is also a giveaway, so be sure to read on!

The first novel I want to tell you about is the one closest to my heart, because it’s the one I’ve read, loved and reviewed for you: Dear Jane by Marina DelVecchio.

Kit Kat is a fifteen-year-old adoptee who writes letters to her favorite literary character, Jane Eyre, as a means of surviving a violent childhood in Greece and a harrowing adoption in New York that requires her to silence her memories and her voice. In writing letters to Jane, Kit Kat discovers a connection to literature that saves her life. Dear Jane is about family, love, forgiveness, and the power of a good book.

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Meet Kathryn a.k.a. Kit Kat, or Elektra as she was called in a previous life, who is now fifteen years old. After discovering a copy of Jane Eyre in the library, she feels she has found a soulmate in Jane and starts writing letters to her. Why? Because Jane is safe because Jane isn’t real. And if there’s one thing Kathryn wants, it’s to be safe, to be able to trust someone, confide in someone who won’t betray her trust.

Our Kit Kat has not had the easiest life. Growing up in Greece, she’s born the daughter of a prostitute and part of the novel centres around that fact and her coming to terms with it, and with sex in general. She’s first raised by her mother and her mother’s husband, a man she loves and calls baba but who is not her biological father. When her mother kicks her baba out (and yes, you can take that literally), little Elektra has to live with her mother’s pimp, an abusive, disgusting man. She escapes her dire circumstances when she’s adopted by a single American woman. However, the love and affection she so desperately needs are withheld once more: her adoptive mother is not a very warm, affectionate person and as Kathryn grows older, her mother has more and more difficulty controlling her daughter and distance between them grows. I think this will resonate with many readers, it sure did with me, having been a moody, hormone-riddled teenager at one point 😁

A moving, well-written coming-of-age story that touches upon difficult themes, with a beautiful ending that brought tears to my eyes. I enjoyed this novel and I’m pretty sure my teenage self would have liked it even more.

About the author:

Marina DelVecchio is a college professor of literature and women’s studies and lives in North Carolina with her family. Her work can be found online at Ms. Magazine, The Huffington Post, The Tishman Review, Her Circle Ezine, and The New Agenda.
Marina DelVecchio | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

For your chance to win either a signed copy (U.S.) or a digital one (International), click on the link below!
a Rafflecoptergiveaway

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Next up: The Gemini Connection by Teri Polen.

Teen twin brothers Evan and Simon Resnik are fiercely loyal to each other and share an unusual bond—they experience each other’s emotions as their own and can sense where the other is.
On their dying planet of Tage, scientists work tirelessly on its survival. Like the twins’ parents, Simon is a science prodigy, recruited at a young age to work with the brilliant creator of Scientific Innovations. To the bitter disappointment of their parents, Evan shows no aptitude or interest in science. As a Mindbender, he travels into the minds of scientists to locate buried memories, connect ideas and concepts, and battle recurring nightmares.
When Simon mysteriously disappears, Evan is plunged into a world of loss and unbearable guilt. For the first time, he can’t ‘feel’ Simon—it’s like he no longer exists. Evan blames himself. No one knows that he ignored his brother’s pleas for help on the night he went missing.
A year later, Simon is still gone. Evan lost his twin, but Tage might have lost its last hope of survival when it’s discovered that Simon’s unfinished project could be its salvation. Evan is determined to find him—somewhere—and bring Simon home. Their unusual connection might be more extraordinary than they know, and the key to locating Simon.

Excerpt:

Ugly.  That was the first word that came to mind.  Deadly was next. 
The twisted creation was courtesy of a new client, a scientist.  The nightmare had been tormenting him for the past couple of weeks. 
The monster stood roughly fifteen feet tall, walked on two legs, and stretched two muscled arms in front of it, but its elongated head was a grotesque combination of goat and demon.  Treacherous horns protruded from either side of its skull, torso, and upper thighs, making it difficult for anyone to get close to the beast.  Not that we especially wanted to, but it was part of a Bender’s job requirement to eradicate nightmares.  So, we took up battle positions—Syd to its right, me to its left—crouched in anticipation of this formidable creature’s attack. 
“I’ll go high, you go low,” I called to Syd.  Besides a hideous appearance, the goat thing screeched like a deranged bird, and we strained to hear each other, even with the com units. 
“Got it, Evan.”  She unsheathed a ten-inch dagger from her utility belt, the silver blade glinting in the eerie cast of yellow-green light in this nightmare-scape.  Being somewhat vertically-challenged (she hated it when I said short), Syd might not look intimidating, but give the girl a knife and she was absolutely lethal.  The creature’s leg tendons would be sliced to ribbons in seconds.
Syd dived to the creature’s right, spinning and coming up behind it, as she avoided an angry kick to her head.  She carved into its left limb, and it let out an ear-piercing shriek.
I withdrew an iron mallet from my own belt and catapulted myself off the wall, soaring over the goat-demon and landing a blow to the left side of its skull.  Its head jerked in my direction when I came down on its other side.  The sharpened tip of the horn caught the left side of my rib cage, and a warm flow of blood seeped through my shirt.  Wouldn’t be the first time I’d walked away from a nightmare with a permanent scar. 
Syd scrambled around its legs, careful not to be trampled.  Her dagger was a silver blur as she slashed the gray-haired appendages, the goat-demon staggering in its efforts to avoid her blade. 
The ground was wet—possibly blood.  But with dream or nightmare creations, you couldn’t be sure.  Because this thing’s creator was a scientist, they tended to more detail-oriented.  Odds leaned in the blood direction. 
The light around us took on a red hue.  Did the ambient illumination correlate to the creature’s anger level?  If yellow-green meant annoyed, did red mean take no prisoners?


About the author:

Teri Polen reads and watches horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. The Walking Dead, Harry Potter, and anything Marvel-related are likely to cause fangirl delirium. She lives in Bowling Green, KY with her husband, sons, and black cat. Her first novel, Sarah, a YA horror/thriller, was a horror finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.
Website | Facebook | Twitter
Goodreads | Instagram | Pinterest | BookBub

For your chance to win either a signed copy (U.S.) or a digital one (International), click on the link below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Next up: A Step Away by G. Randy Kasten

Three friends, Brianna, Sean, and Robert, happen across a body buried in their neighborhood.
Because a police investigation might reveal that the trio is connected to a stolen motor, and that Sean’s mother was having a relationship with a neighbor, the three friends decide they must solve the apparent murder before contacting authorities.
In the process, they sneak into a house, befriend a vigilant neighbor with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and develop a friendship with a kind, older man.
Brianna becomes convinced that clues point to Sean’s father and realizes their detective work is doing more harm than good.
She makes tough choices that affect families and friendships.

Excerpt:

Right below the pipe, a human hand and wrist poked out from the dirt, its flesh partly rotted away. The fingers pointed at us.
I let out a panicked yell identical to Robert’s but stood frozen. A hot, prickly feeling crawled up my back as Sean as shouted to Robert. “You okay, Robber?” When Robert murmured a response, Sean scrambled down to the creek. “Cover it up!” he demanded as he went, pointing at me me. “Cover it back up!”
               “We can’t just…” I started.
               “Cover it up!” Sean was bending over, one hand on Robert’s shoulder. “Just do it!”
I shoveled dirt and leaves at the void, breathing as little as possible and only glancing occasionally at the rotted appendage sticking out at me. Each scoop of crumbly soil slid back down, so finally I started stomping on it to get it to stay, right on top of the hand. I felt as if I was pressing down on something evil. Trying to keep it back. After a minute, Sean stood next to me working with Robert’s abandoned shovel. With his head turned away from the hole, he didn’t help much.
Robert sat where he was, letting out little wails every now and then. It wasn’t a sound like the pain of a sprained ankle or something. It was more like the desperate moans of someone who’d forgotten how to talk.
Once we managed to get the hand covered, we scrambled down the bank, grabbed Robert by his arms, then half carried him and the tools back to the workshop we’d taken over from Sean’s dad. After breathing the rotten stench of the creek, I barely noticed Robert’s smell and couldn’t get that image of the decaying hand out of my mind.
We set Robert down in one of the beaten-up old armchairs we’d dragged in there, then sank down ourselves, panting. The hot prickly feeling was still crawling all over me. Sean and I looked at each other for a few seconds, then away. Robert stared at the floor.
I’d never seen a real skeleton — or a dead body – before. The tuna sandwich I’d eaten an hour earlier seemed to be on a climb back up. I imagined the scene once we called the sheriff; Sean’s parents would arrive home to a flock of cop cars in the driveway. Maybe there’d be a coroner’s van. They’d love driving into that mess.
Then things went from bad to worse. Sean leaned forward and pointed one finger at me and one at Robert. “We can’t tell anyone about this.”
Robert peered out from under the layer of the coarse black hair fallen in front of his eyes. “But Sean, somebody buried a body.”
               “We know that, Robert,” Sean snapped. His nasty scowl reminded me of his father. “But nobody else is going to know that.”
               “Why not?” that high voice again. “That body where it is, it’s not by accident.”
Sean turned to me, “Brianna, you know why we can’t tell anyone.” Like he was pleading with me. “You know.”

About the Author:

After some childhood acting and living in England for a year, I graduated from Reed College, then attended law school. As a litigator in California and Washington State for thirty years, I learned a great deal about what people really want, and also how humor helps in tough situations. Writing remains my main interest. I am the author of Just Trust Me: Finding the Truth in the World of Spin (Quest Books, 2011), a book about discerning truth from appearances. My young adult novel, A Step Away, will be published by Black Rose in 2019. I have also written a couple of short plays, which were performed at a local theatre in Marin County, CA. The Ribbons Agency is a nearly completed satirical book about the arduous task of securing a literary agent. On a more serious note, I am working on a non fiction book that presents a unique, logical reason to believe that greater international peace is inevitable. A resident of San Francisco’s east bay for most of my life, I have lived along Hood Canal (a fjord and part of Puget Sound) in Washington State for the past three years. I’m still adapting to the weather, though it keeps me inside and productive most of the year. When not writing, I’m enjoying the outdoors or playing improvisational piano. Website: G. Kasten

For your chance to win either a signed copy (U.S.) or a digital one (International), click on the link below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Last but not least: Till It Stops Beating (The Maddie Chronicles #4) by Hannah R. Goodman

Seventeen-year-old Maddie Hickman has always coped with anxiety by immersing herself into the latest self-help book. Then her grandmother is diagnosed with cancer, and she spirals so far downward that she almost risks losing everything she holds dear.
From applying to college to solving the mystery of why she detests jelly doughnuts to writing a novel for her senior project and reconnecting with an old flame (or two), the ever-mounting stress leads to an unexpected road trip where she is forced to listen to her wildly beating heart. It is only in the back of a convertible with pop music blasting, that she discovers what she needs in order to really live.
If your heart has ever hurt from beating widely, whether from anxiety or love, this book is the one to read.

Excerpt:

“I need to be with Bubbie. I want to be there every day. When she is sick or tired. When she needs help.” I take breath. “I will stay and take care of Bubbie and go to school in January.”
“I don’t like this idea,” Mom says.
Dad sips his coffee instead of gulps. “I don’t know if the deferment is a good idea or not,” he says. “But staying in California for that long? I think it’s sweet to want to stay and care of Bubbie, but what else will you be doing?” He looks at my mom.
Then Mom explodes. “Stan, she is not deferring.” Finally, she looks at me. “You are not deferring. I’m calling Emerson tomorrow to straighten this out.”
This is so ridiculous. When are they going to get it? I stand up. “You know what? This is crazy. I’ve been losing sleep and getting all panicky again over this for the past few weeks and for what? For what reason? Fear of disappointing you? And now here I am full blown disappointing you both and I did not fall apart or die. I am still here. And so are you guys.” I think of Susan’s opening lines to her speech. Welcome to the last day of childhood. “I’m an adult now, Mom. You guys have to let me make my decisions, without trying to guilt me into doing what you want.” And with that, I walk my adult self out of the living room, and they don’t follow.

About the author:

Often referred to as “the teenage whisperer”, Hannah R. Goodman’s twenty-year career working with teenagers includes the titles teacher, tutor, coach, and, more recently, mental health counselor. Hannah has written essays about mental health for various online publications. Her work has appeared on MindBodyGreen, OC87 Recovery Diaries,  Zencare.co, and The Mighty. Though she has previously earned the title author with her first three books, those were all were self-published. This time around, publisher Black Rose Writing released her novel Till It Stops Beating in July, 2018. Literary Titan’s review praised Till It Stops Beating for “tackling a difficult issue like anxiety and making a story that was funny and sweet without making light of the issue.” Hannah is a member of  ARIA  (Association of Rhode Island Authors) as well as a graduate of Pine Manor College’s Solstice Program in Creative Writing where she earned an MFA in Writing For Young People. She resides in Bristol, RI with her husband, two daughters, and black and white cat named Zoe.
Hannah R Goodman | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
LinkedIn | Amazon | Email | Goodreads | BookBub

For your chance to win either a signed copy (U.S.) or a digital one (International), click on the link below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you made it all the way here: thank you for sticking with me and good luck with the giveaway!

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