Tag Archives: Young Adult

Juan Pablo and the Butterflies – Blitz

Juan Pablo and the Butterflies tour graphic

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Young Adult
Date Published: June 2017
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
 
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Read Juan Pablo and the Butterflies Before It Comes Out On The Big Screen!!
Juan Pablo, a brilliant classical violinist, lives in El Rosario, Mexico’s Butterfly sanctuary. His grandmother Elena is the local medicine woman. The story opens with a bang: a group of narco-traffickers have posted banners signaling a takeover of their town. El Rosario is turned into a ghost town, but Juan Pablo must remain, as his grandmother has fallen gravely ill. His best friend Rocio and her grandfather (who owns the local cantina) stay as well, to help Juan Pablo care for the woman they all love. Just before Elena dies, she makes a startling announcement: she tells Juan Pablo it is time for him to follow the migration of the butterflies north–up through Baja into the United States and all the way to Pacific Grove, CA, another butterfly sanctuary, where, she promises, someone will be waiting for him.
Who this is becomes one of the mysteries fueling the novel.
After shooting up the town, the droguistas take over the cantina, demanding food and discovering Rocio hiding in the upstairs apartment. Juan Pablo must save his best friend and the love of his life. In desperation he uses one of his abuela’s poisons and inadvertently kills eight men. An epic chase begins, one that puts Juan Pablo and Rocio in constant danger on the ever so suspenseful and exciting journey north. Did I mention the story rips beginning to end?
A strong spiritual element is woven throughout the narrative, emerging as Elena’s unique, wise and sometimes comical understanding of the world guides our two heroes on the treacherous journey north. The spiritual element provides a strong counterpoint to the devastation, violence and ruined lives brought by the drug cartels operations on both sides of the border.
Praise for Juan Pablo and the Butterflies:
“The novel delves into a variety of hardships … the content is powerful. Flowers delivers a … touching contemporary novel that is … relevant in its treatment of drug-trafficking, immigration, and human rights issues.” (Kirkus Reviews)
In the otherwise quiet butterfly sanctuary of El Rosario, Mexico, Juan Pablo (JP), a thoughtful teen who loves playing his violin, recognizes the sound of drug traffickers that have taken over his town. His abuela, a doctor and naturalist, lies on her deathbed, from which she directs him to follow the butterflies’ migration to Pacific Grove, California. First, though, JP takes desperate measures to save his dearest friend, Rocio, from his town’s violent drug dealers. His actions yield a more dangerous result than anticipated, and JP must use his talent, wit, and abuela’s sage words to get himself and Rocio to safety. A thrilling series of events ensue that keep the reader wondering if the teens will make it to California alive. An abundance of heart-pounding action makes this a page-turner that adroitly deals with immigration, drug trafficking, and human rights issues. The story’s violence is offset by remembered conversations with abuela—both amusing and insightful—and the tender relationship between two young adults who have spent their lives together. (Booklist May 15, 2017)
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Excerpt
Machine gun fire!
Juan Pablo cracked open the door of his modest home, and peered down the darkened street. The bratatat sounded louder than the blaring music and a furious rev of engines. Like a hammer to glass, the onslaught of noise destroyed the quiet of the butterfly sanctuary. Headlights swept El Rosario’s plaza as several trucks and an SUV circled the cobble stone square. Armed men hung off the side of the trucks and the relentless barrage of their machine guns filled the star-filled night.
Narco-traffickers. Here in El Rosario, home to a billion Monarch Butterflies and the two dozen families who loved them.
Juan Pablo slammed the brightly painted front door with the rainbow colored “Welcome!” sign. For the first time in his life, he found the rusty old lock and bolted it. He rushed to switch off the lamp at his abuela’s bedside before collapsing to the floor. He finished his ninth desperate text to the Novedades de México, the major newspaper for Mexico City.
Help! Narco-traffickers are shooting up the plaza in El Rosario. No one is left but our neighbors Mario and Rocio Ruiz and my abuela, Dr. Elena Venesa. She is unconscious with a fever–we need a doctor. Please send help
After hitting send, he texted Rocio who was hiding in the Cantina:
Juan Pablo: They’re here.
Rocio: Outside.
Juan Pablo: Can u get here?           
Rocio: Too late. Under the bed. Scared. Praying. You? Elena?
Juan Pablo: Same. She is so still…
Rocio: Abuelo will request an ambulance for her.
Juan Pablo: Be safe Rocio. Don’t come out until they are gone. Promise me.
Rocio: I promise.
Juan Pablo stared with horror at his shaking hands. His violinist’s fingers, long, calloused, agile and strong, had never failed him before. He clasped them tight, and made his way to  to the door to listen.
Last week a large black, red and white banner, sporting a menacing el Diablo with sinister eyes and a leering grin stretched across the sole road into their sleepy town. This was how the drug cartel marked a territory and warned the people that the police could not protect them now.  The tourists had departed with most of the butterflies nearly a month before. Of the locals, everyone with relatives in Mexico City, Guadalajara or anywhere with a larger population and so somewhat safer, had packed up and left. Everyone promised to send help back to save the old lady they all loved, but no help ever came. No ambulance dared pass these murderous gangs.
Machine gun fire cracked like thunder and lightning into the sky.
          Would Rocio be safe under the bed? 
Born auspiciously one year, one month, one day apart from him, Rocio was his best friend in this life. (Even though she was bossy and they spent half the time arguing with each other, “like two puppies rough housing,” his abuela said more than once, “You Juan Pablo, such a know it all and Rocio always so bossy, this great cosmic dance between you two is hilarious already…) He closed his eyes, conjuring Rocio’s waist length dark hair and bright, teasing eyes, her skinny legs, and big feet.
Rocio’s uncle in La Peñita de Jaltemba, just north of Puerto Vallarta, begged them to leave before it was too late, but both Mario and Rocio had refused. They would not leave either him or his abuela. “Even if my abuelo could bear to lose the Cantina to the banditos, how could we possibly leave Elena and you, JP?”
Mario had agreed with his granddaughter. “Elena saved my beautiful wife’s life. She saw my daughter into this world and then Leonardo and Rocio. She taught Leonardo all she knows about the herbs and potions and helped him become a doctor too, bless her.” Rocio’s mother worked as a nurse in Arizona, helping to pay for Leonardo’s medical school in Puerto Rico and she was now very close to becoming a US citizen. “We owe everything to Elena, we all do,” Mario added. “Besides, Rocio would never forgive me if anything happened to you, Juan Pablo.”
You could sometimes reason with these modern day monsters, Mario had heard. Wasn’t it rumored that they sometimes paved a road or built a school or gave money to an orphanage? Mario planned to beg them to let an ambulance through for an old woman. “We will pay whatever they ask. Even the worse banditos would not let an abuela die for no good reason. And since no one is here but us and the butterflies, they will soon tire of El Rosario and be gone.”
Just keep Rocio safe. They wouldn’t hurt her, would they?
She was just a girl, only fourteen.
The relentless gunfire and booming music snatched the hope, replacing it with an escalating fear as he thought of the hundreds of stories of the narco-traffickers brutality and viciousness. “Like a deadly virus consuming my beloved country,” his abuela had shaken her head helplessly, knowing no medicine of magic with which to save Mexico from this terrible plague. Everyone had at least one relative, often more, who had lost their life’s savings, died, disappeared, or lived in fear of dying and disappearing. This army of the devil shot people for no reason anyone knew, and like demons from hell, they often tortured them first. They were known to disappear whole families, killing those police that they couldn’t bribe, and taking over whole towns before stealing everyone’s money. They recruited boys even younger than him, forcing them to rob, hide drugs, kill, or be killed. His abuela always imagined El Rosario, their tiny portion of paradise was at least safe, that the mountains and the butterflies themselves would always protect them. But this was not so anymore.
The gunfire and rev of engines abruptly ceased.
Unlatching the rusty lock, Juan Pablo cautiously cracked the door an inch in order to better hear. A man shouted orders, his loud demands rose above the noise of drunken laughter. Tajo, Rocio’s dog, barked frantically at the commotion. 
Gunfire sounded again, followed by Tajo’s surprised yelp.
 “No, no. Dios Mio.” Mario cried out, this barely audible. “Tajo. Tajo.”
Juan Pablo brows drew a sharp line above his green eyes.
Did they shoot Tajo? Why would they shot a little dog?
Sweet, friendly Tajo, their town’s mascot, Tajo whose wagging tail greeted the tourist buses, who followed them up to the meadow in the afternoons, Tajo who loved his violin’s music, Mario’s left over uchepos, and Rocio’s gentle hands. If they killed a small dog, what else could they do? Would they let an ambulance through to aid an old lady? Would they leave a young girl unharmed?
The answer ricocheted through his mind, but how could he stop them? He was just a teenager, tall maybe, but skinny too. He had no gun, power, and worse, no courage. He might love superheroes, but he was not one of them. All he knew was music and books; he was the exact opposite of an action hero.
He shut the door again, bolting it again.
His gaze found his abuela’s stilled form on the small cot.
How could the old woman fall ill now, when they needed her most?
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About the Author

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Most of JJ Flowers’ published books are historical romance novels (Avon Books, Zebra Books,) many of which actually won awards and one of these awards was almost considered prestigious. She finally stopped being able to write these novels when she began having fantasies of killing off her heroines—in really dreadful ways. Her screenplays have been optioned at Warner Bros., Julian Krainin Productions, Bright Light Pictures among others; She suspects she holds the record for most amount of options! Two of her screenplays have received excellent coverage: The Good Fight, Clarence Darrow’s most compelling case where he successfully defended an African American physician who was falsely accused of murder and a two part miniseries Harriet Tubman: Let My People Go. As the world confronts the refugee and immigration crisis, Juan Pablo showed up to share his story, one that she thinks can offer hope for everyone.
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HOLDEN’S REGRETS – BOOK TOUR

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HOLDEN’S REGRETS
Diane Zparkki
Series: Branson’s Kind of Love Book 2
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: March 25, 2018
Second chance love with secrets to be revealed
Ever since they were kids, Shannon has been in love with her best friend’s old brother, Holden. She once hoped that Holden would come to his senses and accept that they are meant to be together.
Holden, on the other hand, only ever saw Shannon as his kid sister’s best friend, and a royal pain with her crush. That was, until one night in college when his sister and Shannon visited him. That was when Holden saw Shannon for the beautiful, vibrate young woman she had grown into.
When he returned home from college, he planned to declare his feelings to her; to tell her that he realized what he had been denying all these years and to give them a chance. However, he was too late. Shannon had finally taken the hint and moved on, dating another man, one she agreed to marry. The only place left for Holden was in the friend zone.
In a turn of fate, circumstances change and Shannon feels like she has no choice but to leave town with a secret of her own. Holden, meanwhile, will do anything to mend their friendship and hopefully build it into something more.
Will Holden be able to handle the surprises that are coming his way and continue to love Shannon the way he really wants to? Can Shannon trust the man who drove her out of her home and hurt her yet again?
“This was a great read and although I shouldn’t have liked Holden to begin with but I did because I felt his pain and understood he was lost in the sorrow of his bad decisions. He had to hit rock bottom before he could make things right. It made it real for me.”
– Anne Citro, Goodreads Reviewer
“This book has a lot of twists. Some you may see coming, but not all. Zparkki did well in keeping a lot under wraps so things will blow up in your face in the end.”
– Kristin Campbell, Goodreads Reviewer

Book Tour Schedule

Follow the book tour from June 4 – 16, 2018.
Join us and visit each tour stop daily and discover more features, excerpts, reviews, interviews, fun facts and more! To check the latest tour schedule, visit the Holden’s Regrets Book Page at Book Unleashed.
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EXCERPT

Holden

The tables had turned at the Branson family dinners. For years the focus had been on Sydney, worrying about her state of mind and the stalker no one could catch. Now the spotlight had turned to me.

My family would never pry into my life, but the heaviness around the dinner table was thick. I remembered how Sydney would escape these dinners by quickly eating her food then moving into the kitchen to help Mom with the cleanup. I chose to have a different approach to the family’s loud silence. I simply sat quietly with an asshole attitude written all over my face, daring them to bring up any subject that would piss me off. I welcomed the fight.

Why didn’t I just stop coming?

“Sydney, your cell is ringing,” Mom called from across the kitchen.

Sydney jumped up and skidded across the kitchen floor to get her phone out of her bag. “Hello?”

Our meal continued as normal until we heard Sydney shouting Shannon’s name in surprise. Then all eyes went to her.

We watched her moving around the room with one hand holding her phone to her ear, while she covered her other ear to block out the noise, which there wasn’t any because everyone else was frozen in place, trying to listen. Meanwhile, I chose to ignore the whole thing, reaching for the roasted chicken marinated in buttermilk, crusted in cornflakes, and baked to a perfect golden crisp.

The only reason I knew those ingredients was because it was my favorite meal that Mom made. I had noticed most of our family dinners recently had consisted of my favorite meals.

Everyone’s eyes went between Sydney and me as I made my plate. They were most likely shocked that I wasn’t acknowledging the phone call. Why would I? She had moved on, not looking back. A courtesy call was all it was, and at the request of Liz.

“Are you not curious about what Shannon has to say?” Mom whispered, not to disturb everyone else who was eavesdropping.

My dad watched me as I answered, shocking my mom with my response.

“Nope. Don’t care.” With no emotion, I dug into my chicken as though it was my last meal.

Sydney swiped her phone to end the call and put it back in her bag before returning to the table with a confused look on her face.

Everyone was waiting to hear what Shannon had said.

“That was Shannon,” Sydney said as she sat down next to Jaxon, her face unreadable.

I knew what I was feeling, though, and it was not happiness.

“What did she say?” Jaxon asked as though he didn’t know a thing, putting his arm around her chair and trying to give the illusion that he was honestly engrossed in what she had to say.

“She really didn’t say anything. Just that she’s fine and not to worry. She wouldn’t tell me where she was, though.”

That wasn’t sitting well with Sydney, nor the rest of the family. My parents had a ton of questions that they started firing off. Of course Liz, Logan, and Jaxon said nothing, allowing my parents to ask. They just sat there quietly with no expressions on their faces, probably afraid it would give them away.

“I just don’t get it, Mom. Why would she leave like that? Why would she lie about going to school? I feel bad. Shannon blames herself for everything that happened to me.”

“I don’t think Shannon is thinking that,” Liz quickly spoke up. “She’s probably worried that, if she was around, it would be a reminder to you of the trouble Danny caused you, and that it would take you longer to heal and get back on your feet.”

“But that’s crazy. She’s a victim as much as I am. We all are, really. We all trusted him.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

“Shannon is no victim. She has always looked out for herself. Thought only of herself and continues to. She used all of us. She ran when things got hot, just like her folks. Don’t waste your time worrying about that tramp. She has moved on to the next sucker.”

“Holden!” Mom scolded me, but she had no idea what I had seen the previous weekend.

About Diane Zparkki

Diane Zparkki

I was born and raised in the greater Toronto area and raised my own family in the suburbs of the city. I’m a busy working mom with writing being my second full time job. With my husband, we have raised three great kids. Who constantly keep me on my toes and laughing. I enjoy planning themed parties and traveling with my family creating memories. Thrill seeking of some sort is always on the menu which I usually drags my family along with me. Going to the movies is always a good night out or curling up with a book and a steaming cup of tea. I have been known to do some Netflix binge watching.
I was never a big reader or writer in my youth-Coles Notes were my best friend throughout college. My enthusiasm for reading came later in life when I joined a book club. I enjoyed reading those initial books that got me hooked into the literary world, but I wanted raw, simple, and happily ever after with a bit of get down and dirty. That was when my love for Alpha bad boys on a Harley was set in motion.
After becoming an avid reader, my mind started to create my first story, and I needed to get it out.
Fixing Sydney and Holden’s Regrets are the first two of Branson’s Kind of Love Trilogy. I hope you enjoy Sydney and Holden’s stories with Logan’s coming in the near future.
Social Media Links: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Giveaway

WIN ONE OF TWO $20 AMAZON GIFT CARDS
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Contest runs from June 4 – 16, 2018.

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Vibrant Awakening – Banner

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Vibrant Awakening

The Prismatic Order, #1
by Tiffany Ransier
Publication Date: April 30, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Vibrant Awakening cover

Purchase: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Kobo | iBooks | Google Play

I’m Rose, the quiet loner girl.
I’ve lived a normal life.
Moving from private school to public school was never supposed to change my life this much.
Being the president of a new club, finding the boy of my dreams – Trevor, making more friends than I’ve ever had in my whole life, and unfortunately my own personal bully
Life was pretty ordinary until…
My body starts to change.
And I’m not the only one.
Strange things happen to all of us
People are going missing and then their bodies appear
Someone is watching my friends
Someone is watching me
Waiting for the perfect moment to strike…
Life can never go back to being normal.

About Tiffany Ransier

Tiffany Ransier is a multi genre author. She loves diving in to different worlds and making theories about books and shows. You will find her work incorporates that.

She lives in SoCal with her parents and younger brother. Her boyfriend is James Ransier, another author. They are the parents of an adorable Siberian Husky/Shiba Inu named Peg.

When she’s not writing stories or reading, she’s going to school to become a doctor – an ob/gyn.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads | Tumblr

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Vibrant Awakening – Reveal

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Vibrant Awakening

The Prismatic Order, #1
by Tiffany Ransier
Publication Date: April 30, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Vibrant Awakening cover

I’m Rose, the quiet loner girl.
I’ve lived a normal life.
Moving from private school to public school was never supposed to change my life this much.
Being the president of a new club, finding the boy of my dreams – Trevor, making more friends than I’ve ever had in my whole life, and unfortunately my own personal bully
Life was pretty ordinary until…
My body starts to change.
And I’m not the only one.
Strange things happen to all of us
People are going missing and then their bodies appear
Someone is watching my friends
Someone is watching me
Waiting for the perfect moment to strike…
Life can never go back to being normal.

About Tiffany Ransier

Tiffany Ransier is a multi genre author. She loves diving in to different worlds and making theories about books and shows. You will find her work incorporates that.

She lives in SoCal with her parents and younger brother. Her boyfriend is James Ransier, another author. They are the parents of an adorable Siberian Husky/Shiba Inu named Peg.

When she’s not writing stories or reading, she’s going to school to become a doctor – an ob/gyn.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads | Tumblr

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A Town Called Wonderful – Promo Blitz

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Teen, Young Adult
Date Published: February 2018
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**This is Part 2 of Book 1 of The Underlands Series**
What if lands of legend and myth did exist? Cities of gold, fountains of youth, and lost worlds of wonder! Turns out, they do exist . . . as Underlands.
As Thomas and Emily follow the stranger out of Wonderful, the young couple finds as many questions as answers as he leads them to a beautiful Refuge. They learn some of the amazing history of the underland called Terra Viva and the terrifying truth that escape is impossible . . . for people who aren’t trait-bearers.
Do they find out what they needed too? Will learning about his father finally bring Thomas the closure he needs? Flip through this quick read to find out!
*Readers can’t wait to keep reading! Fresh storytelling, clean content, and deep connections keep the characters’ stories relatable and intriguing.
All 4 Parts free in April (follow MichaelLacey.me for updates)
 
Other Books in the The Underlands Series
 A Town Called Wonderful small cover
A Town Called Wonderful, Part 1 of 4
What if the lands of legend and myth did exist? Cities of gold, fountains of youth, and lost worlds of wonder! Turns out, they do exist . . . as Underlands.
Thomas and Emily head out with two things in mind: getting to know one another better and learning more about the disappearance of Thomas’s long-lost parents. By following a map from Thomas’s father, they find a legendary underland, a world literally under ground with inexplicable happenings and the most eerie atmosphere. As they struggle to understand the mysterious land, they wrestle with the possibility of being lost in a way that can’t be found.
*Clean content, fast-paced, and imaginative
 
Excerpt
“What’s happening out there?” Thomas asks as he watches headlights bouncing all over the place.
Emily hopes that someone is coming to rescue them, maybe not Mayor or Sheriff, unless there’s no one else. She isn’t in tune enough with engine sounds to know that it’s the same duner as before.
“I think someone’s driving your dune-buggy, and trying to climb up the path.” Thomas watches as the utility vehicle does a surprisingly good job at navigating and scaling the small hiking path.
White replies, “Oh, no need to worry about that. I have asked a friend to bring the duner up close. I usually do but it requires some aggressive driving, something I chose to save you from.”
They hear the old Volkswagen engine struggle and sputter as the driver pushes it into higher RPMs.
Emily asks, “Is that supposed to be happening?”
White walks to the window and stares thoughtfully. He bobs his head side to side and replies, “Yes and no. That is no easy task, and he is not as experienced as myself. Surely, he will be fine. I imagine he has quite the audience right now, which probably does not help,” he chuckles.
Emily is disappointed that it isn’t a rescue attempt.
“Do you think we will ever get out?” Emily asks. “I mean, if Mayor can’t even do it . . .” She sulks as she returns to her seat and stares at her hands.
White replies, “One problem is that Terra Viva is in a sort of stasis, a lockdown if you will. Mayor’s drastic attacks on her landscape has sent her into a defensive mode. He has tried to find a way out since the beginning, but I believe it will take something equally drastic for her to open up again. The fact that Lewis and Mary got out is enough reason to believe it is possible. But Mayor has only been more aggressive since then.
“Mankind has done enough to this beautiful earth, and Terra Viva has done so much for us. It provides food through various plants, vines, and trees, and produces, or at the very least orchestrates the amit and oxygen flows. And since everything is contained underground like a giant greenhouse rather than open earth of above, various and abundant vegetation can exist down here. I believe that if you search long enough, you can find just about anything, even a way out.”
Emily finds herself being filled with hope at these prospects but still feels like White is side-skirting the topic. She just wants to know how and how long.
Thomas, on the other hand, has distracted himself with the amazing news of trait-bearers and Luminants. He wonders if he shares any of his father’s abilities. With newfound confidence, he tries once more to make something happen, anything really. Following White’s example, he closes his eyes. He tries to remember and comprehend what White said to Maka, “Do not try to make something happen that does not want to happen.”
Thomas thinks he notices the slightest vibration. He opens his eyes in wonder and it stops.

 

 A Town Called Wonderful kindle cover
About the Author

Michael Lacey writes from intimate moments pain—such as losing his eye to a lawn dart accident at age 11 or losing his mother in 2017—but he strives to keep moving forward. He understands the value of experiencing emotions and giving them the space to move but pushes towards resolution and closure in the most encouraging ways. He is driven by the pursuit of purpose and hopes his books will help others chase their own true callings.
He’s always dreaming up new adventures for Underlanders as well as entirely new stories. By writing consistently, Michael is working towards a life where he can spend more time each day with his soon-to-be growing family. Keep up with him on Facebook, Instagram, or at MichaelLacey.me.
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