The pandas will be back with new first pages soon. In the meantime, let’s look back at a previously featured first page.

Chapter 1

Last night I pleaded with Death, but he turned a bony back to me, pushed Hope into the corridor and shut the door.

We’re waiting, all of us. Mom in the chair next to Dad’s bed, holding his hand as if she can keep him with us as long as she doesn’t let go. Keith asleep on the rollaway a nurse wheeled in earlier. He’s on his side, his long runners’ legs drawn to his chest and his head resting on his arm. Me, scrunched down into a chair at the foot of Dad’s bed. I no longer feel like I have a body. I’m not even tired, just numb. Then Death. He’s backed into the darkest corner.

I twist my Sweet Sixteen bracelet around and around, counting the tiny links. Mom and Dad gave it to me in June before I learned how hospitals smelled at two a.m. or how I preferred nightmares to being awake.

I hate being here.

I hate what’s happening.

I want it over.

I close my eyes and let my head fall back against the vinyl chair.

No. I don’t mean that.

Excerpt copyright © 2010 C. Lee McKenzie


 About the book:

Carlie Edmund has everything: a loving family, good friends, a perfect home and wealth and status; then in her junior year of high school the worst happens. Her dad dies and her mom must sell their home to pay disputed medical bills. Carlie’s life is turned upside down, and she must learn to live in a very different place with very different people.

What people are saying:

“Small but glittering details illuminate the prose, and perfect turns of phrase keep the reader right next to Carlie as she struggles . . . Full of heart and hope . . . a beautiful book.”–L.K. Madigan, 2010 Morris Award winner Flash Burnout

“A beautifully written, meaningful, young adult novel. Carlie Edmund will jump off the page and pull you into a poignant and timely story of loss and ultimate gain.”–Francisco X. Stork, author of Marcelo in the Real World, NY Times Notable Children’s Book of 2009, Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2009 & 2010 YALSA Top 10 Best Books for Young Adults

“Brimming with loss, hope, and the enduring power of love . . .”–Michelle Zink, author of Prophecy of the Sisters

Released: December 2010

About the author:

C. Lee McKenzie is a native Californian who grew up in a lot of different places; then landed in the Santa Cruz Mountains where she lives with her family and miscellaneous pets—usually strays that find her rather than the other way around. She writes most of the time, gardens and hikes and does yoga a lot, and then travels whenever she can. Her favorite destinations are Turkey and Nicaragua, but because she had family in England, Switzerland, and Spain she goes there frequently as well.

She takes on modern issues that today’s teens face in their daily lives. Her first young adult novel, Sliding on the Edge, which dealt with cutting and suicide was published in 2009. Her second, titled The Princess of Las Pulgas, dealing with a family who loses everything and must rebuild their lives came out in 2010. You can visit her at http://cleemckenziebooks.com.


Win a copy of The Universe of Fair! Details at the end of this post.

Chapter 1

The Force Field

On the way home from school on the bus I’m staring off into space and thinking about how weird it is that I ended up to be me, Miller Sanford, from Holmsbury, Connecticut. I think how much more likely it is that I would have been born in China, because there are more than a billion people there and only three hundred million here, and even less in Connecticut, and way less in Holmsbury.

Then I think that if I was born in China, I’d probably be allowed to ride my bicycle home from middle school. Unless I had the same mom in China that I have now. Which I guess I’d want, even if she wouldn’t let me ride my bicycle home from school. Which she wouldn’t.

What’s even weirder to think about is that if my molecules and atoms and electrons and quarks were put together in a different way, I could just as easily be an earthworm. Or a rock. Maybe I am a rock. Maybe I’m a rock that just thinks I’m an eleven-and-a-half-year-old boy.

“How do you know you’re not really a rock?” I ask my friend Lewis, who’s in the seat behind me.

“Because rocks don’t make movies,” Lewis says. He waves his hand sideways, keeping his eyes glued to the flip screen of his video camera. “Stand up and look out the window.”

Excerpt copyright © 2012 Leslie Bulion


About the book:

For young science whiz Miller Sanford, an eagerly awaited day at the fair turns into a wacky adventure with more twists and loops than the BlastoCoaster! Instead of enjoying a freewheeling day on his own, he’s drawn into a series of mishaps involving a string of tagalong first graders, his dad’s prize-worthy lemon meringue pie, and flying death heads!

What people are saying:

“…this winsome effort not only lovingly celebrates the color and magic of the fair, but endearingly depicts the inner landscape of a maturing child encountering his first taste of the adult world. A cheerful and totally entertaining look at fairs, friendship and the value of family.”–Kirkus Reviews

“…Bulion captures the boisterous, chaotic nature of the fair, as well as its primacy in the grade-school social calendar. Dormer’s characteristically sketchy and childlike illustrations match the upbeat mood of this entertaining story.”–Publishers Weekly

About the author:

Leslie Bulion has graduate degrees in oceanography and social work. She has written parenting and education articles and is the author of several children’s books, including Uncharted Waters, The Trouble with Rules, and At the Sea Floor Café. Leslie lives in Connecticut with her husband, Rubin Hirsch, and at the youth exhibit of her town’s agricultural fair. Visit her at www.lesliebulion.com.

About the illustrator:

Frank W. Dormer, a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design, is an elementary school art teacher. In addition to illustrating many children’s books, he wrote and illustrated The Obstinate Pen and Socksquatch. He has drawn dogs, kids, cowboys, pens, imaginary creatures, and now thanks to Leslie Bulion, bumper cars. Rank lives in Branford, Connecticut. Visit him at www.frankwdormer.com.

Giveaway:

The publisher has been kind enough to contribute a copy of The Universe of Fair for a giveaway!

The contest is open in the US and Canada, and ends on October 31st at midnight EST.

Just comment on this post to enter.

For extra entries:

-Be a follower on Twitter or like us on Facebook [+1 entry each].

-Link to this contest on Twitter, Facebook, etc. [+1 entry per each link].

Please list your extra entries in the comments.

Good luck and happy reading!


The pandas will be back with new first pages soon. In the meantime, let’s look back at a previously featured first page.

Jerry Mac MacDonald has no pre-game rituals. He wakes up, jumps out of bed, and eats whatever looks good. Even though we have to be on the soccer field in forty- five minutes, he shows up at my house and starts playing solitaire on my computer.“You’re not going to believe it, Ari. I just got the fourth king.”

I believe it. Mac is the luckiest person I know. Beyond lucky. Always in the right place at exactly the right time. But it’s not just that. Girls think he is cute. Two weeks of school, the guy still has no homework. Most impressive: Even though the stakes could not be higher, he does not feel out of control.

Today is the all-important last day of tryouts for Somerset Valley select soccer, U-thirteen, Division One. I can’t leave anything to chance.

Excerpt copyright © 2011 Sarah Aronson


About the book:
It’s not exactly that Ari Fish is obsessive compulsive. It’s just that he believes in luck. That’s why he recites American presidents (in order), always showers with his left hand, and talks to his poster of Wayne Timcoe (the greatest goalkeeper ever to graduate from Somerset Valley High) before he goes on to the soccer pitch. Thomas Jefferson may have said that luck is all a matter of hard work, but Ari knows that sometimes luck is…luck. And to win at soccer you need it.

When Ari finds a rare Wayne Timcoe trading card, he knows his luck has changed. Now he’s going to start in the net. Mac MacDonald will learn to play nicely with Parker Llewellyn, the only girl on the team. And Ari’s fire-fighter brother will come home safely. Right? But then Ari’s Timcoe card disappears. With his luck finally run out, what can Ari put in its place?

What people are saying:

“Aronson skillfully dodges the predictability of sports-themed books by creating multilayered characters and an intriguing whodunit involving a valuable missing rookie card…Aronson’s graceful storytelling will keep even nonsoccer buffs turning pages.”–Publisher’s Weekly

“The pursuit of luck is the guiding force behind this appealing, middle-grade sports novel about soccer and friendship.”–Jewish Book Council, starred review

Released: June 30, 2011

About the author:

Sarah Aronson holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is the author of the YA novel, Head Case, named a 2008 Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, and the newly released Beyond Lucky. She is the co organizer and founder of the Novel Writing Retreat at VCFA. Check out her writing classes at www.writers.com.


Win a signed copy of A Whole Lot of Lucky! Details at the end of this post.

I didn’t do it.

I am innocent.

I know convicts say that even when they’re guilty, but I’m telling you the truth. At three-oh-five today, I didn’t mean to push Amanda on her bike so hard that she sailed off the curb and fell splat on the road in the pickup line after school. Thank God Mrs. McCrory had just paid the garage to tune up her Honda. That van stops on a dime now (and hardly even came close to hitting Amanda).

If you’re the type of person who judges people guilty instead of presuming them innocent, you should put this book down and walk away. Don’t even look back. But if you’re still reading this—and I know you are because there you are and here I am—then you are the type of person who likes to know the truth and that’s just what I’m going to tell you.

“How do you like my new bike?” Amanda had asked, running her fingers along the pink, thickly padded seat. “It’s got twelve speeds.” She’d made a special trip to my house Sunday afternoon. Her shiny blonde hair was still pinned back on either side in her church barrettes, but she’d changed from her dress into capris and a green top. Usually, I rode to her house after church, so that’s how I knew she was showing off. A new bike—it wasn’t even her birthday.

I stepped out from the chilly shadow of the house into the warm brightness of the day. Florida sunshine is at its best in February. Your feet feel like blocks of ice in the morning, but your toes are sticking out of sandals by lunch. The air is light and sends ribbons of sunshine through your window, inviting you to come outside and play.

Amanda stood by me as I took in the glittery seat, the tangle of wires that allowed for speed and braking, and the rainbow-colored monkeys she’d already clipped to the spokes. The frame was pink and white with black lightning striking the sides. “Nice,” I said. “Can I ride it?”

Her gaze flitted over to our garage. Bougainvillea vines crept up the outside of it and wove green tendrils through the fraying net of the basketball hoop. Huge bunches of purpley-pink explosions hid the thin white paint of the cinderblocks. Occasionally, Dad cut the branches with his hedge trimmers, but those vines ran wild at night, growing an extra foot for each one Dad lopped off.

My bike leaned inside the open-mouthed garage.

Excerpt copyright © 2012 Danette Haworth 


About the book:

Hailee Richardson never realized how much she hated her Salvation Army life and Goodwill accessories until the night her family wins the lottery. All of a sudden she’s no longer the dorky girl at school without a cell phone or a brand-new bike! And the newfound popularity that comes with being a lottery winner is just what she’s always dreamed of. But the glow of her smartphone and fancy new clothes wears off when Hailee is transferred to Magnolia Academy, a private school. All of a sudden, her best friend and parents seem shabby compared to the beautiful Magnolia moms and the popular bad-girl Nikki, who seems to want to be her friend. Now, Hailee wants nothing more than to grow up-and away-from her old life. It’ll take one very busy social networking page, a stolen first kiss, and a whole carton of eggs for Hailee to realize that not all luck is good, not all change is bad, and a best friend who’s just a call away will always be more valuable than a phone.

What people are saying:

“Haworth effectively captures the self-consciousness, self-absorption & limited experience of a preteen, and the seductive charms of Facebook friendships for that age. Realistic, modern and still familiar, this is a middle school story both children and their parents should read.”–Kirkus, Starred Review

“Haworth does an excellent job of portraying the modern kid’s life (cell phones, Facebook) mixed with evergreen problems like trying to fit in with the popular crowd and cheating on tests.”–Booklist

Released: September 4, 2012

About the author:

Danette Haworth lives in Orlando, Florida with her family. The only thing Danette has ever won (beside Scrabble games) is a stuffed dog from a fireman’s bazaar. She named it George. Visit her at www.danettehaworth.com.

Giveaway:

Danette has been kind enough to contribute a signed copy of A Whole Lot of Lucky for a giveaway!

The contest is open in the US and Canada, and ends on October 17th at midnight EST.

Just comment on this post to enter.

For extra entries:

-Be a follower on Twitter or like us on Facebook [+1 entry each].

-Link to this contest on Twitter, Facebook, etc. [+1 entry per each link].

Please list your extra entries in the comments.

Good luck and happy reading!


The pandas have two giveaway winners to announce today.

The winner of Courtship and Curses is:

Nandini!

The winner of The Upside of Ordinary is:

Ruth Schiffmann!

Congrats to the winners!


Win a signed copy of Henry Franks! Details at the end of this post.

Spanish moss, bleached to gray in the heat, stretched down from the trees and the breeze barely stirred the air. From his bedroom window, Henry watched oak branches reaching for the house, close enough to scratch against the bricks. The marshes surrounding St. Simons Island reached to the horizon, flashing with light where the rising sun reflected off the water.

With the blinds pulled up, he pressed his hands against the glass. Scar tissue ringed his index finger like jewelry made of flesh, matching the bracelet on his left wrist and the necklace of scars circling his neck. More snaked around his legs, beading with sweat in the Georgia heat.

Henry closed his eyes, took a deep breath and then counted to ten. A pushpin stuck out of the wall next to the window and he grabbed it without looking. A branch grated across the house with a hiss that seemed almost alive.

Where the sharp metal point broke the skin of his right index finger a single bead of blood welled up. He opened his eyes, took another breath and then counted again.

Against the glass, he pushed the pin the rest of the way into his finger. Blood ran like rain down the window but Henry Franks didn’t feel a thing.

Excerpt copyright © Peter Adam Salomon


About the book:

One year ago, a terrible accident robbed Henry Franks of his mother and his memories. The past sixteen years have vanished. All he has now are scars and a distant father—the only one who can tell Henry who he is.

If he can trust his father.

Could his nightmares—a sweet little girl calling him Daddy, murderous urges, dead bodies—help him remember?

While a serial killer stalks their small Georgia town, Henry unearths the bitter truth behind his mother’s death—and the terrifying secrets of his own dark past.

Sometimes, the only thing worse than forgetting is remembering.

 What people are saying:

“Salomon’s Frankenstein homage churns through its often confounding but highly unnerving plot like a slow nightmare—readers won’t be entirely sure they even want to know how it ends. The scenes are clipped, the dialogue spare, and the prose rewards meticulous reading, making this debut the thinking teen’s horror choice of the year.”–Booklist, Starred Review

Released: September 8, 2012

About the author:

Peter Adam Salomon graduated Emory University in Atlanta, GA with a BA in Theater and Film Studies in 1989 and earned his CICP (Certified International Credit Professional) designation from NACM (National Association of Credit Management), FCIB (The Association of Executives in Finance, Credit and International Business) and Michigan State University in 2006.

He has served on the Executive Committee of the Boston and New Orleans chapters of Mensa as the Editor of their monthly newsletters and was also a Judge for the 2006 Savannah Children’s Book Festival Young Writer’s Contest. He is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, the Horror Writers Association and The Authors Guild and is represented by the Erin Murphy Literary Agency. His debut novel, HENRY FRANKS, will be published by Flux in September 2012.

Peter Adam Salomon lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with his wife Anna and their three sons: André Logan, Joshua Kyle and Adin Jeremy. You can visit him at www.peteradamsalomon.com and learn more about his novel at www.henry-franks.com.

Giveaway:

Peter has been kind enough to contribute a signed copy of Henry Franks for a giveaway!

Just comment on this post to enter.

For extra entries:

-Be a follower on Twitter [+1 entry].

-Link to this contest on Twitter, Facebook, etc. [+1 entry per each link].

Please list your extra entries in the comments.

The contest is open in the US and Canada, and ends on October 3rd at midnight EST.

Good luck and happy reading!


Win a copy of Nerve! Details at the end of this post.

Prologue

It took three days of waiting, but at four a.m. on a Sunday, the street in front of her home finally emptied of all Watchers. Maybe even crazies needed to sleep once in a while. She could use some rest too, but more than that, she craved freedom. It had been almost a week since she’d left her house.

She scribbled a note for her parents, threw a pile of gear into her car, and sped off, peeking into the rearview mirror all the way out of town and throughout the two-hour drive to the Shenandoah. The countless times she’d ridden these roads with her family had been filled with games, singing, videos, and sometimes just daydreaming, but this time, it was with a rising sense of panic.

Ignoring years of training by her parents to check in with a ranger when she reached the park, she left her car near the most deserted trailhead she could find and took off on a path where the foliage was on the verge of being overgrown. By early afternoon, she’d have to settle on a spot to set up camp. For now, she just wanted to disappear into the greenery. If she could evade the Watchers for a little while longer, this greenery would bring her some measure of peace, at least for a few days.

Her backpack weighed heavy on her shoulders as she pounded up the rocky hillside, pushing past ferns, and catching the occasional drops of dew that lingered on the leaves. The rushing sound up ahead spurred her on with the promise of a waterfall. It would be a blessed distraction from the constant rumination that had taken over her thoughts for the past twenty-three days. Damn game.

Excerpt copyright © Jeanne Ryan


About the book:

When Vee is picked to be a player in NERVE, an anonymous game of dares broadcast live online, she discovers that the game knows her. They tempt her with prizes taken from her ThisIsMe page and team her up with the perfect boy, sizzling-hot Ian. At first it’s exhilarating–Vee and Ian’s fans cheer them on to riskier dares with higher stakes. But the game takes a twisted turn. Suddenly they’re playing all or nothing, and the prize may be their lives.

 What people are saying:

“[R]eaders will find themselves flipping madly to the very last page.”–Kirkus

“Ryan’s story is thought-provoking and unsettling…the ending goes off with a bang and a twist.”–Publishers Weekly

Released: September 13, 2012

About the author:

Jeanne Ryan has lived all over the world, raised in a family with eleven brothers and sisters. She spent her early childhood in Hawaii and the rest of her growing-up years trying to figure out a way to get back there, with stops in South Korea , Michigan and Germany along the way. Before writing fiction, she tried her hand at many things, including wargame simulation and youth development research. But she decided it was much more fun to work on stories than statistics. These days, she still loves Hawaii , but has found her home under the moody skies of the Pacific Northwest. You can visit her at www.jeanneryan.com.

Giveaway:

Jeanne has been kind enough to contribute a copy of Nerve for a giveaway!

Just comment on this post to enter.

For extra entries:

-Be a follower on Twitter [+1 entry].

-Link to this contest on Twitter, Facebook, etc. [+1 entry per each link].

Please list your extra entries in the comments.

The contest is open in the US only, and ends on September 26th at midnight EST.

Good luck and happy reading!


Win a copy of The Power of Poppy Pendle! Details at the end of this post.

 Chapter One

 Poppy

POPPY PENDLE WAS BORN ON THE FLOOR OF A BAKERY, in the little town of Potts Bottom. Now, people don’t usually give birth on bakery floors in the middle of a Thursday afternoon, but Edith Pendle did just that. She had no choice, even though her baby wasn’t due for another two weeks. Poppy pushed her way out with the speed of an express train and was immediately wrapped up in a cake-scented tea towel by the kind lady who ran the shop. The customers cheered, and someone handed Edith Pendle a bag of little warm almond cakes. Sitting up in her mother’s arms, Poppy breathed in deeply and reached for the bag of cakes. Then she did something quite unexpected. She gobbled them all down, waved her sugary fingers at the crowd, smiled, and gave a contented burp.

Excerpt copyright © 2012 Natasha Lowe


About the book:

Poppy Pendle is born with the gift of magic. Her parents are delighted that Poppy has inherited the witchcraft gene, which hasn’t shown up in the Pendle family since Poppy’s great grandmother Mabel. But Poppy has no interest in magic whatsoever. All she wants to do is bake. Believing they know what is best for their daughter Mr. and Mrs. Pendle sign Poppy up to attend Ruthersfield, the exclusive girls school for witchcraft. Poppy is miserable as she has less and less time for baking and the pressure from her parents builds. Against all odds, Poppy tries to follow her own dream, until one day, desperate to make her parents understand what it is that she wants, Poppy’s magic spirals out of control with disastrous results…

What people are saying:

“Lowe’s energetic first novel is led by the 10-year-old Poppy…Readers will easily empathize with Poppy and recognize the loneliness and anger that accompany being misunderstood.”–Publisher’s Weekly

Released: September 4, 2012

About the author:

Natasha Lowe knew as a child that she wanted to be either a writer, an adventurer, or a fancy tea- shop owner. So she did a little bit of everything, traveling from her native London to America, where she ran the Tea House bed and breakfast and wowed guests with her grandmother’s shortbread recipe. She lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and four children. Visit her at www.natashalowe.com.

Giveaway:

Natasha has been kind enough to contribute a copy of The Power of Poppy Pendle for a giveaway!

Just comment on this post to enter.

For extra entries:

-Be a follower on Twitter [+1 entry].

-Link to this contest on Twitter, Facebook, etc. [+1 entry per each link].

Please list your extra entries in the comments.

The contest is open in the US and Canada, and ends on September 19th at midnight EST.

Good luck and happy reading!


Win a copy of The Upside of Ordinary! Details at the end of this post.

A big THANK YOU to Dad and the Super-pro vacuum he ordered on the internet. The huge carton it arrived in yesterday is just my size.

Through the little peephole I made in one of the cardboard walls, I film my sister Zelda eating left-over lasagna for breakfast.

I zoom in on her face as she spoons a stack of cheesy noodles into her mouth, her eyes glued to the TV. On the screen, two girls argue and a bad word gets bleeped out.

“Ha! UNBLALEEVRABLE!” Zelda says with a stuffed face.

“Mom doesn’t like us to watch this reality show,” I say popping up from inside the box.

“AAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!” My sister screams. A hunk of curly pasta drops out of her mouth. Zelda coughs. “Are you trying to kill me?” She sputters, “I almost choked to death!”

“Sorry,” I say lifting my leg over the top of the box. Zelda drops her plate onto the coffee table. It clanks against the wooden top which makes a great sound effect. Susie shuffles over and gobbles up the rest, the tags on her collar clinking with every lick.

“You’re not sorry!” Zelda sneers, “you’re a sneaky, annoying GERM!”

I’m not really a germ. ‘Jerm’ is short for Jermaine, my name. Out of context it sounds like another word for bacteria… gross… I know. But it’s catchy too… perfect for a famous person.

“You were great!” I tell Zelda. “The element of surprise works for you.”

“Leave me alone!” she snaps. I follow her, filming the back of her head, as she stomps into the kitchen.

Five days ago I started filming the reality show I am making about my family. So far this is what I have for footage: Mom cleaning a chicken for dinner, and thirty minutes of her working up a sweat on the Stairmaster; Susie rolling over for a biscuit; Dad plunging a toilet, sweeping the garage, and grumbling that no one but him ever thinks to throw out the brown bananas. The best stuff I’ve filmed is of my cranky big sister Zelda. I surprised her when she stepped out of the shower (though Mom made sure I erased it), I caught her hissy fit when she couldn’t find one of her sneakers, and of course there’s this morning’s riveting moment when she spat out that forkful of lasagna. And I’m just getting started! My reality show will be hugely interesting, which will make me hugely famous. I plan to include the seven hamsters living under the Ping-Pong table in my basement too. I didn’t mean to have seven. I brought only one home from the pet store. But a week or so later, Bernie gave birth to six babies! Dad says we should change Bernie’s name to Bernadette, but I think her name works just fine. (Note to self: film the cleaning of the cages).

Excerpt copyright © 2012 Susan Lubner


About the book:

Jermaine Davidson wants to be famous: limo-riding, camera-flashing, crowd-waving famous.

Since her family isn’t likely to move from Maine to Hollywood so she can become a movie star, Jermaine decides she’ll make a reality show about her family and friends. This laugh-aloud debut novel takes a lighthearted look at unbridled ambition, the cult of celebrity, the reality behind reality TV, and the upside of being part of an ordinary but loving family.

Released: August 1, 2012

About the author:

Susan Lubner is the author of three picture books (Abrams), and the middle grade novel The Upside of Ordinary (Holiday House). Her work has been published in Spider Magazine and two other stories will be published in forthcoming issues of Highlights for Children. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, two daughters, two cats, and a very spoiled dog who loves books so much he tries to eat them when no one’s looking. Visit her at www.susanlubner.com.

Giveaway:

Susan has been kind enough to contribute a copy of The Upside of Ordinary for a giveaway!

Just comment on this post to enter.

For extra entries:

-Be a follower on Twitter [+1 entry].

-Link to this contest on Twitter, Facebook, etc. [+1 entry per each link].

Please list your extra entries in the comments.

The contest is open in the US and Canada, and ends on September 12th at midnight EST.

Good luck and happy reading!


Win a copy of Courtship and Curses! Details at the end of this post.

Aunt Isabel was, as usual, exasperated. “Molly, I don’t know why I brought you shopping with us. While that color will do for a creeping plant on a blasted heath somewhere, it will not do for poor Sophie.” She motioned away the bolt of yellowish-green satin proffered by the dressmaker’s assistant.

“Ha!” Aunt Molly tilted her head and squinted at the rejected fabric. “I thought it reminded me of something. It’s just the color of toadflax leaves, y’know. But toadflax doesn’t grow on heaths. It’s a meadow and hedge-side plant.”

“I was not knowing that toads had the flax,” Madame Carswell observed. “Do they make linen from it too? English toads must be terribly clever.” She turned her head slightly and winked at the fourth member of the party seated in Mrs. James’s exclusive Bruton Street shop.

The young woman her aunt had called “poor Sophie” caught her wink and smiled down at her lap. Now Aunt Isabel would say something about not having time to examine what grew in the hedgerows, and then probably go on to say something about Aunt Molly’s botanical obsession destroying her fashion sense.

Excerpt copyright © 2012 Marissa Doyle


About the book:

Sophie’s entrance into London society isn’t what she thought it would be. Mama isn’t there to guide her. Papa is buried in his work fighting Napoleon. And worst of all, the illness that left her with a limp, unable to dance at the Season’s balls, also took away her magic. When the dashing Lord Woodbridge starts showing an interest in her, Sophie wants to believe it’s genuine, but she can’t be sure he’s feeling anything more than pity.

Sophie’s problems escalate when someone uses magic to attack Papa at her first ball of the Season, and it soon becomes clear that all the members of the War Office are being targeted. Can Sophie regain her own powers, disentangle her love life, and save her father—and England?

What people are saying:

“[A] cheery Regency fantasy….Doyle’s gift, on display in earlier historical fantasies (Bewitching Season, 2008, etc.), lies in creating vivid female characters and the bonds between them.”–Kirkus Reviews

Released: August 7, 2012

About the author:

Marissa Doyle originally intended to be an archaeologist but somehow got distracted. But she’s put her passion for history into writing young adult fiction: her award-winning books Bewitching Season, Betraying Season, and Courtship and Curses (all from Henry Holt Books for Young Readers/Macmillan) blend history with magic and romance. She lives in Massachusetts with her family and a pair of bossy pet rabbits. Visit her on the web at www.marissadoyle.com and at her teen history blog, http://nineteenteen.blogspot.com.

Giveaway:

Marissa has been kind enough to contribute a signed copy of Courtship and Curses for a giveaway!

Just comment on this post to enter.

For extra entries:

-Be a follower on Twitter [+1 entry].

-Link to this contest on Twitter, Facebook, etc. [+1 entry per each link].

Please list your extra entries in the comments.

The contest is open in the US and Canada, and ends on September 5th at midnight EST.

Good luck and happy reading!

 


« Previous PageNext Page »