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.

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“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…

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

 

map
[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**

labyrinth
(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)

*SWOONS*

“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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When the Moon Was Ours

moonWhen the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore
Young Adult Magical Realism, LGBTQIA+
October 4, 2016 from Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s Press

When the Moon Was Ours follows two characters through a story that has multicultural elements and magical realism, but also has central LGBT themes—a transgender boy, the best friend he’s falling in love with, and both of them deciding how they want to define themselves.

To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town.

But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.

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“Someday, he and Miel would be nothing but a fairytale. When they were gone from this town, no one would remember the exact brown of Miel’s eyes, or the way she spiced recado rojo with cloves, or even that Sam and his mother were Pakistani.” –Anna-Marie McLemore, When the Moon Was Ours (eARC Loc 53)

moons

“He’d set tiny gold star stickers on her skin on summer days, and at night had peeled them off, leaving pale constellations on her sun-darkened body.” –Anna-Marie McLemore, When the Moon Was Ours (eArc Loc 115)

Bacha posh is a cultural practice in parts of Afghanistan, Pakistan and as well as Iran, in which some families without sons will have their daughter to dress up and live as a boy.

“Dressed as a boy. Girls whose parents decided that, until they were grown, they would be sons.” –Anna-Marie McLemore, When the Moon Was Ours (eARC Loc 492)

Miel, one of our main characters name, is Spanish for Honey.

Curandera (Spanish, from curar, meaning ‘to cure’): A healer who uses folk remedies.

Bruja (Spanish for ‘witch’): Derived from Brujeria, which is Spanish for ‘witchcraft’, refers to witch-healers in the Americas (especially Latin America and the United States). Both men and women can be witches: brujos and brujas, respectively.

Layla and Majnun is a classic story of love most notably expressed by the great Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi. It has been presented in many Middle Eastern and sub-continental cultures; Muslim, Sufi, Hindu, and secular. Layla and Qays, are in love from childhood but are not allowed to unite. Qays (called Majnun, which means “possessed”) is perceived to be mad in his obsession with Layla. Layla is married off to another and Majnun becomes a hermit, devoting himself to writing verses about his profound love of Layla. Although they attempt to meet, they die without ever realizing a relationship. [source – and more info] 

“Her feeling that the moon had slipped from her grasp seemed locked in a place so far inside her that to reach it would be to break her open. But this was why Sam painted shadows and lunar seas on paper and metal and glass, copying the shadows of mare imbrium and oceanus procellarum–to give her back the moon. [. . .] But it wasn’t until this girl spilled out of the water tower, sobbing over her lost moon, that Sam began painting so many copies of the brightest light in the night sky. He would never let it seem lost to her again.” –Anna-Marie McLemore, When the Moon Was Ours (eARC 105-108)

“He wanted to give her every light that had ever hung in the night sky. He wanted to give her back what she thought she’d lost years ago.” –Anna-Marie McLemore, When the Moon Was Ours (eARC Loc 1094)

“She wanted to be the girl who belonged under his moons, the girl whose skin he’d set foil stars on in constellations that mirrored the sky. . .” –Anna-Marie McLemore, When the Moon Was Ours (eARC Loc 1865)

“We don’t get to become who we are for nothing. It costs something. You’re fighting for every little piece of yourself.” –Anna-Marie McLemore, When the Moon Was Ours (eARC Loc 2047)

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

moon-playlistthat moon song // gregory alan isakov
cruel and pretty // over the rhine
bird song // the wailin’ jennys
stuck under september // alexander wolfe
storm // jose gonzalez
the other side // madi diaz
idaho // gregory alan isakov
arlington // the wailin’ jennys

**playlist was compiled by author and can be found on griffin teen’s spotify**

“One day, they would be no more than that fairytale. They would be two children named Honey and Moon, folded into the stories whispered through this town.” –Anna-Marie, When the Moon Was Ours (eARC Loc 210)

annamarieAnna-Marie McLemore was born in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, raised in the same town as the world’s largest wisteria vine, and taught by her family to hear la llorona in the Santa Ana winds. Her debut novel THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS was a Junior Library Guild Selection, a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults book, and a finalist for the William C. Morris Debut Award. Her second novel, WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS, will be released on October 4, 2016, and WILD BEAUTY is forthcoming in 2017.

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