Punk 57

punk-57Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas
New Adult Contemporary Romance

“We were perfect together. Until we met.”


I can’t help but smile at the words in her letter. She misses me.

In fifth grade, my teacher set us up with pen pals from a different school. Thinking I was a girl, with a name like Misha, the other teacher paired me up with her student, Ryen. My teacher, believing Ryen was a boy like me, agreed.

It didn’t take long for us to figure out the mistake. And in no time at all, we were arguing about everything. The best take-out pizza. Android vs. iPhone. Whether or not Eminem is the greatest rapper ever…

And that was the start. For the next seven years, it was us.

Her letters are always on black paper with silver writing. Sometimes there’s one a week or three in a day, but I need them. She’s the only one who keeps me on track, talks me down, and accepts everything I am.

We only had three rules. No social media, no phone numbers, no pictures. We had a good thing going. Why ruin it?

Until I run across a photo of a girl online. Name’s Ryen, loves Gallo’s pizza, and worships her iPhone. What are the chances?

F*ck it. I need to meet her.

I just don’t expect to hate what I find.


He hasn’t written in three months. Something’s wrong. Did he die? Get arrested? Knowing Misha, neither would be a stretch.

Without him around, I’m going crazy. I need to know someone is listening. It’s my own fault. I should’ve gotten his number or picture or something.

He could be gone forever.

Or right under my nose, and I wouldn’t even know it.


“Those letters are everything. They’re her and me, kids just trying to figure themselves out and going through all out growing pains. They’re where I first started to fall for her and need her. They’re my fucking songs and a part of me. Our history is in those letters. Every beautiful thing she ever said to me to tilt my world on its side.” –Penelope Douglas, Punk 57 (Loc 3871)

“His sister, Annie, kept making fun of him, screaming that his Hogwarts letter had arrived.” –Penelope Douglas, Punk 57 (Loc 414)

10 points to…Ryen! for her Harry Potter wax seal. It was a Gryffindor seal — The question is, where can we get one of those?

“I learned a long time ago that you don’t need to reveal everything inside of you to the people around you. They like to judge, and I’m happier when they don’t. Some things stay hidden.” — Penelope Douglas, Punk 57 (Loc 477)

“We’re all ugly, Ryen. The only difference is, some hide it and some wear it.” –Penelope Douglas, Punk 57 (Loc 4579)

“You don’t have to be embarrassed. No one does you better than you. You can’t be replaced. Not everyone will see that, but only you need to.” –Penelope Douglas, Punk 57 (Loc 4601)

“No one has ever come close to meaning to me in person what mean to me in your letters.” –Penelope Douglas, Punk 57 (Loc 5328)

(Image Source)

bad girlfriend // theory of a deadman
bleed it out // linkin park
blow me (one last kiss) // p!nk
colors // halsey
dirty little secret // all-american rejects
do you know who you are // atreyu
happy song // bring me the horizon
i think we’re alone now // tiffany
lose yourself // eminem
love the way you lie // eminem
more human than human // white zombie
mudshovel // staind
sk8er boi // avril lavign
so cold // breaking benjamin
square hammer // ghost
stupid girl // garbage
true friends // bring me the horizon
where’d you go // fort minor
wildest dreams // taylor swift

**playlist compiled by author**

(graphic/fanmix by yours truly — click image to enlarge)

odd one // sick puppies
heathens // twenty one pilots
the diary of jane // breaking benjamin
ten million voices // shaman’s harvest
be somebody // thousand foot krutch
octahate // ryn weaver
gentleman // theory of a deadman
jenny // studio killers
trouble // halsey
you’re such a // hailee steinfeld
bad intentions // niykee heaton
problem // natalia kills
desire // meg myers
these are the lies // the cab
smack down // thousand foot krutch
just the beginning // sick puppies

“Speak your mind, and you give others permission to do the same.” –Penelope Douglas, Punk 57 (Loc 5185)

Penelope Douglas is a writer living in Las Vegas. Born in Dubuque, Iowa, she is the oldest of five children. Penelope attended the University of Northern Iowa, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration, because her father told her to “just get the damn degree!” She then earned a Masters of Science in Education at Loyola University in New Orleans, because she HATED public administration. One night, she told the bouncer at the bar where she worked that his son was hot, and three years later she was married. To the son, not the bouncer. They have spawn, but just one. A daughter named Aydan. Penelope loves sweets, The 100, and she shops at Target almost daily.

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My Strongest Weakness

msw_cover_ebookMy Strongest Weakness by Brighton Walsh
New Adult Contemporary Romance, Novella, 90s

She’s the last thing he needs, but she’s the only thing he wants…as long as it’s behind closed doors.

It was supposed to be a one-time thing. No one would find out; no one would have to know. And then once turned into twice, and twice turned into several times a week, and now pierced, punk-loving, rebellious Tia Lanning is banging Mason Brooks, the big man on campus and Mr. All American.

But banging him isn’t the problem. Falling for him is. Especially when he’s content to let her remain his dirty little secret.


“Better. Better, because now we don’t have to hide. Better, because now she’s mine.
My opposite.

My balance.
My strongest weakness.”
–Brighton Walsh, My Strongest Weakness (Loc 1083)

graphic by me


[Reblog on Tumblr!]

  • Sugar Ray
  • Tori Amos
  • Bikini Kill
  • Ace of Base
  • Pavement
  • Weezer
graphic by me

All Star / Smash Mouth
All the Small Things / Blink-182
All Or Nothing / O-Town
Baby One More Time / Britney Spears
California Love / 2Pac ft. Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman
I Got 5 On It / Luniz
I Want It That Way / Backstreet Boys
Kiss Me / Sixpence None the Richer
Lovefool / The Cardigans
My Boo / INOJ
No Scrubs / TLC
Step By Step / New Kids On The Block
Tearin’ Up My Heart / *NSYNC
Tha Crossroads / Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
Try Again / Aaliyah
Wannabe / Spice Girls

Wow, how mainstream can I get? Other than mentioned above, I mostly listened to 80s freestyle and Disney soundtracks in the 90s. (I was only 0-8 years old back then, forgive me) I didn’t come to appreciate other 90s music until my teen years or now in my adulthood like Nirvana, Garbage, or Foo Fighters to name a few. Kind of sad about that, but I’ll just go with better late than never in my defense. 😉

– What songs were YOU into in the 90s?
Or what songs from the 90s do you (still?) like? –

Brighton Walsh spent nearly a decade as a professional photographer before deciding to take her storytelling in a different direction and reconnect with her first love: writing. When she’s not pounding away at the keyboard, she’s probably either reading or shopping—maybe even both at once. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and two children, and, yes, she considers forty degrees to be hoodie weather. Her home is the setting for frequent dance parties, Lego battles, and more laughter than she thought possible.

She is multi-published with Berkley, St. Martin’s Press, and Carina Press, and is represented by Mandy Hubbard of Emerald City Literary Agency.

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Labyrinth Lost

labyrinth-lostLabyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
Young Adult Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, LGBTQIA+

Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…


“Spells are for witches. Brujas do cantos.
All brujas are witches but not all witches are brujas.”
–Zoraida Cordova, Labyrinth Lost (ARC pg. 11)


[Image Source]
“Los Lagos is a place of power. You have power, whether you want it or not. The land calls out to us.” –Zoraida Cordova, Labyrinth Lost (ARC pg. 104)

Deathday: a magical coming of age, like a bat mitzvah or a sweet sixteen, but for brujas and brujos [of Zoraida’s own creation]. It is a time when a family of brujas/brujos gets together and wakes the dead spirits of their ancestors. The ancestors then give their blessing to the bruja/brujo. In the glossary that can be found in the back of the book, Zoraida says that aspects of Deathday are inspired by the Day of the Dead (Mexican holiday) and Santeria (Afro-Caribbean religion).

Death mask: white clay that covers the face, which the matriarch of the family paints on the bruja or brujo receiving their Deathday. Then a black paint or charcoal powder is used for the eyes, nose, and lips. The death mask is influenced by the sugar skulls of the Day of the Dead. In real life, sugar skulls are used to represent the dead and decorate the feasts of Dia de los Muertos.

the Deos: the pantheon gods worshipped by brujas and brujos. It represents all aspects of nature, creation, and everyday life, similar to the orishas of Santeria and the gods of Greek mythology. Brujas and brujos often choose a Deo the way catholics choose a patron saint to pray to. Even though the Deos rarely present themselves to mortals, they make their presence known. It is believed that the Deos act through the mortals they created–the brujas and brujos.

**Info from above are from the glossary, which can be found in the back of the book. Zoraida informs that these are creations of her own for the purpose of Labyrinth Lost**

(photo by me)

Bruja/Brujo = witch

Mi’jita = my little daughter

Viejos = old

Brujita = little witch

Nena = baby girl

“I like to think I’m the right amount of cold. That way, no one can hurt me.” –Zoraida Cordova, Labyrinth Lost (ARC pg. 18)

“This is for every time I wasn’t strong enough to believe. Now belief is all I have left.” –Zoraida Cordova, Labyrinth Lost (ARC pg. 96)

“I’m just a girl, and there is also magic in that.”
–Zoraida Cordova, Labyrinth Lost (ARC pg. 264)

“Let’s dance,” Rishi tells me, pulling me onto the dance floor. “Is it weird that I miss the Meadow del Sol? And that you could see so many stars. Sometimes I dream of it.”
“I’ll give you stars,” I tell her.
–Zoraida Cordova, Labyrinth Lost (ARC pg. 312)


“Not all loves are meant to last forever. Some burn like fire until there is nothing left but ash and black on skin. Others, like the love I feel for Rishi, stay close to the heart so I’ll never forget.” –Zoraida Cordova, Labyrinth Lost (ARC pg. 314)

**Quotes are taken from an uncorrected advanced review copy and is subject to change in final copy**

“Wild magic can’t be tamed.”
–Zoraida Cordova, Labyrinth Lost (ARC pg. 297)

zI write YA Urban Fantasy about mermaids and other things that go bump in the night. I also write about 20-something-year-old-girls searching for love and the meaning of life. I often wish my life were a cross between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Sex and the City. I’m a contributing writer to Latinos in Kid Lit because #WeNeedDiverseBooks.

I’ve always loved stories about magic and impossible worlds. Other things I love: Harry Potter FOREVER. I’m always either sorted into Ravenclaw or Slytherin, so instead I pledge to the mermaids of the Black Lake. Moon Prism Power. Five by five. Orlando Bloom’s Face. Daughter of Poseidon. I love you/I know.

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