Tag Archives: Book Blitz
Under A Million Stars by Rita Branches
Publication date: August 8th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Can a beating heart bleed from the shattered pieces?
Her heart cracked when her best friend walked away; it completely shattered when she lost her family in a tragic accident.
Now orphaned at seventeen, Charlotte Peterson is forced to live with her former best friend, Jacob Parker. Charlie, a talented pianist, desperately wants their loving friendship back, but something is holding Jake back. The more she spirals into the darkness of depression, the more she needs him.
Jacob vowed to stay away from her—no matter how much he still loved her. Armed with secrets that would have destroyed both of their families, he chose to end their friendship and walk away, which nearly killed him. As he watches the girl he once knew begin to fade away, however, he realizes that their relationship is more important than the truth he’s hiding.
Now it’s up to Jacob to put the pieces of Charlie’s broken heart back together—even if it means revealing the secrets he so desperately wants to protect her from.
Will Jacob find a way to bring back the carefree, talented girl he once knew, or is it too late for both of them?
These two weeks had been hell for me.
I didn’t know how I was going to pull this off for the eight months I still had left in this hell of a town. My parents didn’t get me, and she was around all the time, suffocating me. My heart skipped a beat every time I heard her voice, and it doubled in speed when she was near me. I wouldn’t be able to stay away, I knew it. She was breaking my heart all over again.
I heard her at night, when she thought everyone was sleeping. I just sat on the floor, resting my head against the wall, and listen to her cry and throw up every other night.
I stayed there like a jerk, as if I didn’t give a crap about her or her feelings, but I cried. I missed her. I wanted to hold her at night and tell her that everything would be alright, but I couldn’t. I promised I would stay away—I couldn’t hurt her, anymore. I pushed my knees to my chest to hold myself together and to keep me from crumbling. Sometimes, I had to place my closed fist against my mouth, so she wouldn’t hear me sob. I wished she would have, though. I wished she would have opened the door and saw me sitting there, caring about her, suffering like she did.
My mom was getting suspicious about me. She knew about her, or at least that something wasn’t right. My face, the permanent dark circles under my eyes, and my lack of appetite wasn’t normal, though. I was okay, before her parents’ accident—I had started to pull myself together.
This night was especially bad. She stayed in the bathroom for hours. I had been on the other side, hearing her cry and wishing I could take it all away.
I was starting to get really scared for her. I left before my parents woke up, unable to face them and those disapproving looks, anymore, like I wasn’t doing anything right with my life. They wanted a perfect son and they didn’t have one.
I was in no condition to go to college—I couldn’t even imagine myself being closed behind four walls for another four or five years. I needed something to take my thoughts away—something that would fuel me with adrenaline. They wouldn’t approve of the plans I’d been making. They’d hate them, in fact, but I didn’t care, anymore, I just needed to get away.
Rita Branches is an independent YA (young adult) author who enjoys spending every free moment (when she´s not reading) writing emotional stories.
$15 Amazon Gift Card
Lavender in Bloom
Publication date: July 25th 2016
Genres: Historical, Romance, Young Adult
It’s the year 1802 in Avignon, France…
Noah Capet has spent most of his young life living simple and unvaried days in the hushed countryside of southern France. Quiet, reserved, and diffident, his preference for existing is to do so in solitude, keeping to himself both in town and on his family’s farm—a predilection that’s altogether disrupted when a newcomer to town by the name of Jeremie Perreault begins an unremitting quest to befriend him.
Jeremie is everything Noah is not. Charismatic and gregarious, he leaves a trail of charmed admirers in his wake wherever he goes. Expressive and idealistic, he talks without end about his deep love for old books and his spirited dream to one day travel the world on a literary pilgrimage.
Over the course of a single summer, the two form an unlikely friendship, but just as quickly as it develops, it soon entirely dissolves as they’re forced to face the truth of what has unexpectedly emerged between them.
Lavender in Bloom is a tender and tragic coming-of-age story about first love and self-discovery, and a poignant reminder that time is fleeting and always takes with it the choices we’re too afraid to make.
INTERVIEW QUESTIONS WITH AUTHOR LILY VELEZ
Where did the inspiration for Lavender in Bloom come from?
The story behind Lavender in Bloom first emerged on July 22, 2013. Back then, I was still developing my character Noah Capet, and while doing some free-writing for his backstory, pieces of his forbidden romance with Jeremie began to emerge little by little. The very first ‘telling’ of the story was less than 500 words and written in first-person from Noah’s point of view. Over the next few years, I’d return to Noah and Jeremie again and again, writing snippets here and there that eventually amounted to tens of thousands of words. Finally, I decided 2016 would be the year I brought their story into the world!
If you could spend a day with a character from your book, who would it be and what would you do?
I’d probably most enjoy spending a day with Jeremie. I would want to join him on one of his literary pilgrimages–probably the one where he visits all the breathtaking libraries in the world. That would be so much fun, and it’s actually a goal of mine as well!
What were your goals and intentions in this book? What do you hope people will take away?
I hope people will take away the fact that you can’t live your life to please other people. This is something I think we all face at some point in our lives. We either do what’s expected of us to make mom and dad (or whoever it might be) happy and proud (but it comes at the expense of our own joy)…or we forge a path for ourselves, break the mold, and live the fulfilling life of our dreams.
It can be scary to do the thing that lights you up on the inside–especially if it’s met with the disapproval of others. No one wants to be an outcast. We want to be accepted and loved. We want to feel like we belong.
But this life you have is your life and yours only. It’s a gift. You’ve been given a unique opportunity to explore the world, to grow, to learn about what you like and don’t like, to develop meaningful and beautiful relationships with others, and to have an overall fulfilling and positive experience until your last day. So why spend a single minute of your life in a job/role/position/relationship/etc. that doesn’t make you excited to be alive?
Your dreams are special, and I hope this book encourages people to go after that thing that’s been tugging at their heart for a while now, to say yes to that opportunity no matter how scary it might be, and to not let amazing and beautiful things slip through their fingers because of fear.
Did you ever consider giving the story a happier, alternative ending?
I did, actually. There were a few days during the writing process when I wondered if I shouldn’t change the ending entirely. Ultimately, I realized that I would be robbing from the story’s truth by doing that. The fact of the matter is that in life, we do experience loss. We experience heartbreak. We experience grief. We make decisions (or choose not to make decisions), and we often have to live with the consequences for the rest of our lives. I think there are plenty of books with happy endings out there, and I love them just as much as the next person. But Noah and Jeremie’s story always had a tragic ending from the beginning, and I didn’t want it to lose its effect. As a writer, I feel that one of my jobs is to capture and display humanity’s universal truths in my stories, so while the truth in this case wouldn’t exactly be warm and fuzzy, I knew this was how it had to be written.
That being said, I’ve written a number of versions of Noah and Jeremie’s story–you could call them ‘alternate universes’, I suppose. Some end tragically all the same, but in others, there are happy endings. In fact, in my favorite version, Noah and Jeremie live in present-day Rome and have a precocious son named Remy. 🙂
Lily Velez has been writing stories since she was six years old. Not much has changed since then. She still prefers the written word and her overactive imagination over the ‘real world’ (though to be fair, her stories no longer feature talking dinosaurs). A graduate of Rollins College and a Florida native, when she’s not reading or writing, she spends most of her days wrangling up her pit bulls Noah and Luna, planning exciting travel adventures, and nursing her addiction to cheese. All this when she isn’t participating in the extreme sport known as napping. You can learn more about Lily and her books at http://www.lilyvelezbooks.com.