Monday, June 27, 2016

MIRAGE BY Tracy Clark | Book Launch | Blog Tour | Interview | Review | Giveaway

Author: Tracy Clark
Pub. Date: July 5, 2016
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Pages: 272
Format: Hardcover, eBook
Find it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Goodreads

Seventeen-year-old Ryan Poitier Sharpe is a gutsy, outgoing girl who spends her summer days hurling herself out of planes at her parents’ skydiving center in the Mojave Desert. Fiercely independent and willing to take risks, she challenges those around her to live life fully. But after a brush with death, Ryan is severely altered—she’s not the same thrill-seeking girl she once was and seems to be teetering on the edge of psychosis. As her relationships crumble and her life unravels, Ryan must fight the girl she’s become—or lose herself forever—in this eerie and atmospheric thriller.

About Tracy:

Tracy Clark is a young-adult writer because she believes teens deserve to know how much they matter and that regardless of what they’re going through, they aren’t alone. In other words, she writes books for her teen self.

She grew up a “Valley Girl” in Southern California but now lives in her home state of Nevada, in a small town at the base of the Sierra Foothills. Her two children teach her the art of distraction and are a continuous source of great dialogue.

Tracy was the recipient of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Work in Progress Grant. A two-time participant in the prestigious Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program. Tracy is a private pilot, an irredeemable dreamer, and a spicy-chocolate connoisseur.

See far below for GIVEAWAY details... BUT FIRST... The Oracle and The Muse had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Ryan, the main character of Mirage. Hold on to your seats, folks.

TOaTM: Ryan, thank you so much for joining us here and agreeing to do this interview. First, let me just say... OMG your hair ROCKS! My daughter has really thick, curly hair. What types of hair care products or techniques do you use? Do you have a night-time hair maintenance ritual that I could use with her?

Ryan: I feel like we need to break this down to “before” and “after” what we’ll from here on out call, “the crash.” Before my little incident in the motorhome, the Mayan’s would have been jealous of the precision of my hair care calendar. I had it dialed in.

I have two words for you: HY-DRATE. I live in the Mojave Desert, so throw that fun fact into the mix, too. My hair hates it here and it lives off a steady diet of Shea butter, styling products, and my personal secret ingredient… coconut oil. Before “the crash,” I’d flat-twist my hair at night and take it out in the morning—unless I was skydiving. Desert + afro + 170 mph winds and you have a recipe for disaster. So if I were jumping I’d leave the twists in under a durag and my jump helmet and untwist them later.

After “the crash” I shaved my head. Now, I’m TWA all the way.

TOaTM: *laughs* And you are totally rocking that TWA.  Okay, moving on. What’s your biggest pet-peeve?

Ryan: Wannabes. Wannabees at anything. Don’t play at stuff. If you’re gonna do something, do it full-on. One of my favorite things about skydiving is the moment you leave the plane. There’s no going back. You’re out the door and all in and it’s all you. Commit to everything like you just jumped out of a plane.

TOaTM: Definitely words to live by. In fact, I might just post those words on my mirror. Now tell me, what was it like the first time you jumped from an airplane? Was there any apprehension, any heart in the throat feeling?

Ryan: My mom about killed my dad one time because he took a six-year old kid on a tandem skydive. That kid was me and I think he got straight-up sick of my badgering. I might have been fearful of the distance between plane and earth but I trusted my dad. I was strapped to the chest of the strongest person I knew. Things changed as I got older and saw him differently but that exposure to thrill at such a young age changed me. My boyfriend, Dom, refutes that. He says I was born this way. The first time I jumped on my own I definitely felt… not apprehension… it was more like… need.

TOaTM: I've always wanted to sky dive... ever since I saw Point Break. But, I digress.  I love that you felt a *need* to jump. Totally badass. How did you become so fearless? 

Ryan: I got 99 problems but fear ‘aint one.

TOaTM: *laughs* 

Ryan: J Kidding. I fear things. People think skydivers are altogether fearless but we’re not. Maybe we jump because there’s other things we fear more and we need to forget them for two badass minutes at a time. Most skydivers I know have one fear in common: living on a round earth with no edges. We need the edge to feel alive.

TOaTM: I hear ya. Okay, here's a curveball. Who is your favorite musical group?

Ryan: I can’t be pegged by my music. I’m all over the place. But I’m a California girl at heart and I love a band called OPM. Especially their older stuff like their album, California Poppy. It’s the right vibe of rock, reggae, with some hip-hop thrown in. I listen to them at the drop zone. There’s not a single jump, not a single jump, not a single solitary jump that doesn’t start with their song “Stash Up.” J

TOaTM: Nice. I'll have to look that song up. Everyone needs an anthem, right? What about books? What was the last book you read? Did you like it? Why or why not?

Ryan: Last book I read was Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy and hell yeah I liked it! “Go big or go home.” Best character ever.

TOaTM: What brings out your nerdy side?

Ryan: My best friend, Joe-Lo. We’ve been friends forever and I can be real with him in a way that’s different from any other relationship. We can be nerds together and nerd + nerd = cool, somehow.

TOaTM: I have a multiple choice for ya. Sort of... Which of the following do you believe in… luck, miracles, fate, destiny, karma?

Ryan: Why should I pick one? I’ve had the winds of all five blow through my life, especially lately.

TOaTM: From talking to you, you're definitely a force to reckoned with. But... everyone has a weakness. What's yours?

Ryan: I’m too sure about things. Being so damn sure means that wrongness can be a pebble in your shoe. You know it’s there but you’re so certain you’re on the right path that you don’t want to stop long enough to deal with the small pebble of doubt. When I ignore that pebble, it turns into a rock every time.

TOaTM: Interesting. *Smiles* Pebble in your shoe, huh? Great analogy. Okay, if JK  Rowling dropped you into her books, what Hogwarts House would the Sorting Hat place you in?

It’s like this: If Katniss chose Dauntless and went to Hogwarts and started her own house in the attic. That would about sum me up.

TOaTM: That's flipping' awesome! Love it. Alright... you ready... we've come to the Speed Round:

-     TOaTM: Cats or dogs?
Ryan: Tigers

-     TOaTM: Light side or dark side?
Ryan: Equal measure.

-     TOaTM: Chuck Taylors or Shell-toed Adidas?
Ryan: Vans.

-     TOaTM: Storm or Wonder Woman?
Ryan: Wonder Woman.

TOaTM: Okay. *smiles* You've been a good sport. Final question: For anyone who may look up to you and/or find your spirit and passion inspirational and badass, what’s the best big sisterly advice you could give them?

Ryan: To wholly and unapologetically BE WHO YOU ARE. I don’t care what people think they know about you. In fact, none of that matters—their opinions are usually more about them anyway. There’s not one person on this planet that knows what it’s like to be me, to have lived with the people I live with, to grow up in the circumstances that I have, or have my concoction of traits, etc. Blended all together, that means that I’m unique. None other like me. Same goes for you! Don’t let other people’s opinions take the wind out of your chute. Don’t let yourself down. Live up to the best version of yourself that you hold inside. And when the moment comes that you have to choose fear over the leap of being fully alive—freaking jump.

TOaTM: "Freaking Jump" I love that so much I might get that tattooed on my ankle. Ryan, thank you so much for stopping by. You're welcome back any time.


And NOW... here's the official TOaTM - REVIEW of MIRAGE: 

“…trumpets and neon and hot sauce.” 
That about sums up this book. Psychological. Thriller.

This story is a whisper that strikes like a velvet hammer. It defines the universal struggle to be unapologetically oneself, and to be truly seen.

Gutsy sky diver tests the limits of her mortality while being both an inspiration and a cautionary tale, simultaneously. What she finds as she draws ever closer to the precipice is truly haunting. The narrative hurtles toward a final few chapters that left me breathless.

I absolutely love Ryan to the sun and back. She’s brazen and badass, yes. But sometimes the fearlessness masks her vulnerability, which is the thread that knits together the entire tale. The author walks the line between sanity and psychosis, between dauntless fortitude and unguarded nakedness, with nimble deft.

Tour Schedule:

Week One:
6/27/2016- The Oracle and The Muse- Interview
6/28/2016- Seeing Double In NeverlandReview
6/29/2016- Teen Readers' DiaryGuest Post
6/30/2016- BookcrushinReview
7/1/2016- The Cover Contessa- Interview

Week Two:
7/4/2016- A Dream Within A DreamReview
7/5/2016- Ohana ReadsGuest Post
7/6/2016- Book-KeepingReview
7/7/2016- Curling Up With A Good BookInterview
7/8/2016- Here's to Happy EndingsReview

 And Finally... the Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a finished copy of MIRAGE, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


Fighter Girl by Kathryn James
Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: May 17th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

“It began three days ago with a fight. Seems that for me, everything begins with a fight…”
Sammy Jo may be strong, fast and tough, even in heels, but she gets into trouble when she fights some local thugs to save a rich boy named Gregory.
Now bad guy McCloud is after her – and he’s even more dangerous than her forbidden love for Gregory.
Fighter Girl was published in the United Kingdom under the title GYPSY GIRL.


Kathryn lives in Leicester with her family, writing full time (and loves that!) Kathryn always wanted to become an author and wrote her first story at age eight. But it took quite a while and lots of different jobs before she got published.

She's worked with gypsy and traveller children, working from a converted bus with a rainbow on the side, doing video and photography projects, and documenting travelling lives.
Mist draws on and is influenced by her work with this community.

She's also written scripts for a local video production company, many of them for children and teenagers.

The noise rose again, to a continual roar as the men gathered around the cage for the next bout. It was two heavyweight fighters, prowling around the ring, eyeing each other like wolves. And that’s how the crowd was treating them, holding onto the bars, rattling them, yelling and shouting. Kimmy was pushing her way back to me. She organized my fights, took bets, got my winnings, made sure we were paid in full, and most importantly, she watched my back and got me away from there after I won, as quickly as she could. Sometimes the men didn’t like paying out money because a girl had beaten their fighter. “You’re on next,” she said. “Win and we’ll make good money.” 
I took off my zip-up and began to jog on my toes, warming my muscles. Euston was still watching me. So was Gregory, standing all alone amid the crowd as they pushed him this way and that. All they saw was a girl in spandex shorts, black gloves, and a crop top, with long hair in a plait that came to her waist. Once Euston saw how slight I was, he began to relax. He was wrong. He thought that strength only came with big muscles.
And Gregory? What did he think of me? I still couldn’t read his face.
I waited, jogging and doing my stretches, Kimmy by my side and Gregory watching, as the two heavyweights finished their fight. As they were helped from the ring, one of them shaking drops of blood from a cut eyebrow, music began blaring from loudspeakers. It told everyone a new fight was going to start.
“Make way for the next contestants!” bellowed the scar-faced manager.
A corridor opened up in the packed crowd that ended at the door of the cage. Kimmy led me through, lashing out at the hands that reached out to touch me, yelling at the men to keep back, hitting them if they didn’t move out of the way fast enough. 
I didn’t know where Gregory was. He wasn’t following us. I thought for a moment that maybe he’d taken the opportunity to leave and forget he’d ever been brought to a place like this. I ducked into the cage and moved over to the middle, the lights blinding me for a moment until my eyes got used to the brightness. He hadn’t walked out. He’d made his way to the front, two meters from me, crushed in on all sides by supporters trying to get the best view of the fight. He was holding on to the bars with his hands. If he hated me, he didn’t show it. If he liked the thought of watching me fight, he didn’t show that either. He looked like he was afraid for me. No one had ever been afraid for me before.
I jogged on the spot as I waited for my opponent to make his way into the cage. All around me the men shouted and howled at me. All except Gregory. He made no sound, he just watched. I breathed in the smell of sweat and the metallic tang of blood, mixed with the hundred different aftershaves and perfumes that wafted from the crowd surrounding the cage. I could see Kimmy pushing her way to Gregory’s side and hanging onto the bars so that she could shout instructions and encouragement to me during the fight.
All I needed now was Euston. The music kept playing; the crowd kept cheering, but a minute passed, which is a long time to be bouncing on your toes in a cage, waiting. The cheering changed to boos.
Something was wrong.
The manager was at the cage door arguing with someone. It wasn’t Euston. He wasn’t the problem. I could see him near the door with his trainer, who was looking annoyed.  I glanced around for Kimmy, but she wasn’t by the bars anymore. She was fighting her way toward the manager. But it wasn’t him she was aiming for. She was shouting at someone, telling them to go away, to get lost.
I gave up on the jogging and went over to Gregory. The crowd was turning around, looking at someone who was approaching the ring. “What’s happening?” I said to him. “I don’t know.”  
“New fighter coming,” said a man pushing his way to the front, beside Gregory.  “He’s paid to fight you!” He leered at me. “He must really want to beat you.”
My hand was on the bars as I strained to see. Gregory slid his down and grasped mine. I think he’d seen the fighter. “You’re going to fight him? Are you crazy or is this a fix?” he asked, urgently. I pulled my hand away. I didn’t care who I fought. He was scared for me, but I scare myself. I’m too good. Someone should stop me.
I could hear Kimmy above all the men, her higher voice carrying. She was still shouting at someone to go away—the new fighter, I supposed. Yelling at him that Sammy-Jo had an opponent, she didn’t need another. Yelling at the manager that he should stick to the deal and not change sides just because he was offered lots of money.
But the crowd didn’t seem to mind. They were urging the new fighter to get in the ring. All I could see was the top of the new fighter’s head as he began to push his way through the crowd. I backed away, into the center of the cage, my heart starting to pound. Gregory was right. Kimmy was right. Not him. He should go away. I didn’t want to fight him. But it was too late. He was ducking through the door and strutting towards me.
I could hardly catch my breath. I wanted the ground to swallow me whole.

“Looks like you’re going to fight me,” said Rocky.


Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)

  • $5 Amazon Gift Card + eBook copy of Fighter Girl

a Rafflecopter giveaway