Spooktacular Giveaway Hop! Three Books for the Taking

Spooktacular2013

The Spooktacular Giveaway Hop is hosted by I am a Reader, Not a Writer. Check out the rest of the over 350 blogs and their associated giveaways here!

 

I’ve been reading some spooky stories and thrilling mysteries for October, and now I’m giving away three different books to get others in the mood too!

So for the ground rules:

  • As per usual, I’d prefer if only those 13+ entered, just to alleviate any fears of corrupting the youth, or whatever.
  • This giveaway is open to those in the US/Canada only. My apologies those who are international!
  • There will be TWO winners: the main winner will get to pick TWO of the three books listed, the second winner will receive the third.
  • The ONLY way to enter is by entering through the rafflecopter. I will not accept any comment-based entries. Sorry, but they spam my email!
  • If selected as the winner, you have 48 hours to respond with your shipping address (and your choices if you are the main winner) before I select different winner.
  • The giveaway ends on Nov. 1 at 12:00 am.

Good luck!

Choice 1:

7242100

Blood Song by Cat Adams (Paperback ARC)

Blood Song is the first book in a fantastic urban fantasy series by bestselling author Cat Adams.

Bodyguard Celia Graves has definitely accepted her share of weird assignments, both human and supernatural. But her newest job takes the cake. Guarding a Prince from terrorists and religious fundamentalists is hard enough, but it seems like the entire supernatural world is after this guy too. When she is betrayed by those she is employed to help, and everything goes horribly wrong, Celia wakes to find herself transformed.

Neither human nor vampire, Celia has become an Abomination—something that should not exist—and now both human and supernatural alike want her dead. With the help of a few loyal friends—a sexy mage, a powerful werewolf, and a psychic cop—Celia does her best to stay alive. On the run from her enemies, Celia must try to discover who is behind her transformation…before it’s too late.

Choice 2:

16435

Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz (Paperback)

Jimmy Tock comes into the world on the very night his grandfather leaves it. As a violent storm rages outside the hospital, Rudy Tock spends long hours walking the corridors between the expectant fathers’ waiting room and his dying father’s bedside. It’s a strange vigil made all the stranger when, at the very height of the storm’s fury, Josef Tock suddenly sits up in bed and speaks coherently for the frist and last time since his stroke.

What he says before he dies is that there will be five dark days in the life of his grandson—five dates whose terrible events Jimmy will have to prepare himself to face. The first is to occur in his twentieth year; the second in his twent-third year; the third in his twenty-eighth; the fourth in his twenty-ninth; the fifth in his thirtieth.

Rudy is all too ready to discount his father’s last words as a dying man’s delusional rambling. But then he discovers that Josef also predicted the time of his grandson’s birth to the minute, as well as his exact height and weight, and the fact that Jimmy would be born with syndactyly—the unexplained anomal of fused digits—on his left foot. Suddenly the old man’s predictions take on a chilling significance.

What terrifying events await Jimmy on these five dark days? What nightmares will he face? What challenges must he survive? As the novel unfolds, picking up Jimmy’s story at each of these crisis points, the path he must follow will defy every expectation. And with each crisis he faces, he will move closer to a fate he could never have imagined. For who Jimmy Tock is and what he must accomplish on the five days when his world turns is a mystery as dangerous as it is wondrous—a struggle against an evil so dark and pervasive, only the most extraordinary of human spirits can shine through.

Choice 3:

1713912

Cross Country by James Patterson (Paperback)

When the home of Alex Cross’s longtime friend, Ellie Cox, is turned into the worst murder scene Alex has ever seen, he is devastated. The destruction leads him to believe that he’s chasing a horrible new breed of killer. As Alex and his girlfriend Brianna Stone begin the hunt for the villain responsible for the killings, they quickly find themselves entangeled in the deadly Nigerian underworld of Washington D.C.. What they discover is shocking: a strongly organized gang of teenage thugs headed by a powerful, diabolical man-The Tiger.

As the killing spree escalates, Alex and Brianna realize they are not dealing with any ordinary killer, but one who has brought his personal war of vengeance to America’s capital. But just when the detectives think they’re closing in on the elusive murderer, the Tiger disappears into thin air. Unable to let the killer get away with this narrow escape, Alex makes it his duty to bring the brutal butcher to justice. He knows that he must follow The Tiger. Alone.

When Alex arrives in Nigeria, he discovers a world where justice is as foreign as he is. Unprotected and alone in a strange country, bombarded on all sides by the murderous threats of The Tiger, Alex must draw on his fiercest instincts just to survive in a lawless world.
From the author Time magazine has called “the man who can’t miss,” Cross Country is the most breathtaking, heart-stopping, electrifing Alex Cross thriller yet.

Good luck! Remember, to enter the giveaway go to this rafflecopter. And also check out all those other giveaways!

Advertisements

Interview and Giveaway: No Angel by Helen Keeble

There’s something always a bit fun about paranormal stories, particularly in October!

No Angel by Helen Keeble17195830

Published: October 8th 2013 by HarperTeen
Genre: Young adult paranormal
Pages: 352
Buy it! Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Synopsis:

Rafael Angelos just got handed the greatest gift any teenage boy could ever dream of. Upon arriving at his new boarding school for senior year, he discovered that he is the ONLY male student. But what should have been a godsend isn’t exactly heaven on Earth.

Raffi’s about to learn that St. Mary’s is actually a hub for demons-and that he was summoned to the school by someone expecting him to save the day. Raffi knows he’s no angel-but it’s pretty hard to deny that there’s some higher plan at work when he wakes up one morning to discover a glowing circle around his head.

Helen Keeble’s debut novel, Fang Girl, has been praised for its pitch-perfect teen voice, and VOYA called it “refreshing and reminiscent of Louise Rennison’s Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series.” No Angel brings you angels and demons like you’ve never seen them-complete with the wry humor of Vladimir Tod, sinfully irreverent romance, and some hilariously demonic teenage dilemmas.

Interview with Helen Keeble about writing

1. Your first book, Fang Girl, was a paranormal comedy about a vampire fan girl who becomes a real vampire. Is No Angel a sequel?
No, they’re completely unrelated – no characters from Fang Girl show up in No Angel. There isn’t any mention of vampires in No Angel, and Fang Girl didn’t have any angels or demons in it, so the jury is out as to whether they’re even set in the same world. (Even I haven’t quite made up my mind on that one)

However, for those who enjoyed Fang Girl, I can promise that No Angel has the same sense of humor, including affectionate mockery of ridiculous paranormal romance tropes! Basically, what I do to vampires in Fang Girl, I do to angels in No Angel.

2. What was the hardest part of writing No Angel?
Working to a deadline! Because I had a two-book contract with HarperTeen (the first being Fang Girl), I actually had a deadline for No Angel before I’d written a single word, or even worked out what the story was going to be about! A very different experience from slowly writing Fang Girl in spare hours over the course of several years, with no-one but myself caring whether or not it was ever finished…

3. How did you become a writer?
The short answer is that I wrote a lot of stuff, and eventually got good enough (and lucky enough) to find someone that would pay me for it.

The longer answer is that I’ve always written for my own amusement, but never let anyone read it until I went to university and started writing fanfic based on a role-playing game called Legend of the Five Rings. It was a rather unusual fanfic community, because people generally used the game’s setting but invented their own original characters rather than writing stories about pre-existing characters (like Harry Potter or Twilight fanfic tends to do). It gave me a lot of practice in inventing imaginary people! I then slowly drifted into writing completely original stories, and was eventually lucky enough to be able to sell some to magazines. After a few successes with short stories, and in a fit of pique at the prevalence of both Twighlight-inspired novels in bookstores and Twilight-bashing articles in newspapers, I decided to try writing a novel… and that was Fang Girl!

So now, somewhat to my bemusement, I seem to have become a YA comedy author. I still blink at my own books sitting on my bookcase, amazed that they are really real.

4. Are you a full-time writer?
I wish! No, like most writers I have a day job – I’m an industrial software engineer. It is a very awesome career (where else do you get to play with oil rigs and nuclear power plants) but does mean I have to squeeze my writings into the evenings. I have a bad habit of forgetting to go to bed, so I’ll often be typing away at my laptop well into the small hours of the morning.

5. Fun fact about writing No Angel?
In order to keep track of where all my characters were at different times in the school day, I made timetables for them in Google Calendar… and then forgot to delete the calendars after I’d finished the book. I was greatly puzzled when Google started bombarding me with reminders to get to my history class.

6. Are you a pantser (just sit down and write) or a plotter (outline everything first)?
I used to be a total pantser (the first draft of Fang Girl was written in a month, for NaNoWriMo), but these days I’m more of a plotter. It’s something of a necessity when working to a deadline, with an editor who wants to make sure you’ve actually got a plan, and are not just going to kill all the characters in the last chapter out of despair.

7. What do you do when you’re not writing?
Apart from the day job, sleeping, and taking care of my family? I read everything I can get my hands on, especially fantasy and science fiction books. I’m also very into board games of all descriptions, from light family fun like Survive! and Kingdon Builder through to heavy strategic games like Tzol’kin or Puerto Rico. In any spare moments, I like to dabble in crafts – I recently learned to knit dolls and dolls’ clothes, and am now experimenting with making jewelry out of resin and plastic. If only there were more hours in the day!

8. What books make you laugh out loud?
I love Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books. They’re an amazing blend of so many different types of comedy: parody, political satire, character-driven, situational, wordplay, puns… even slapstick! He’s a master of messing with reader expectation to comic effect. I think my very favorite example of this in the entire series is the character in Thief of Time who’s dialogue is all “—-ing” this and “—-ing” that… but late in the book we find out (spoiler alert, look away now!) that all he’s doing is pausing and saying “ing”. Genius!

Other writers I can consistently rely on to make me giggle are Sarah Rees Brennan (though she’ll make you laugh in one paragraph and stomp on your heart in the next) and Louis McMaster Bujold (who also manages to mix high emotional stakes with very witty characters). I’m also very fond of the classic P. G. Wodehouse stories, although some of them have, erm, really not aged very well (why hello there, casual racism).

9. Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on now?
I’m currently writing a YA dystopian comedy. No, really.  If anything is ripe for a parody, it’s the whole “THE GOVERNMENT CONTROLS X AND Y IS BANNED!!” genre! The working title is Escaping Utopia, and it’s set in an idyllic far-future society where there is no war or crime as everyone’s needs are perfectly fulfilled by government-issued androids called Soulmates. Unfortunately for one 16 year old boy, his brand-new Soulmate tries to kill him on sight. Hijinks ensue!

The story also features a grumpy girl revolutionary hacker, a ridiculous number of huge planet-shaking conspiracies, and a bubblegum-pink battle robot named Candi who just wants to be loved. Let’s just say I’m having a lot of fun with this one!

https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/1/?ui=2&ik=aca2695382&view=att&th=141807f264a7b7db&attid=0.2&disp=inline&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P_S6mgdahaRg3UQlho0R7NS&sadet=1381159441072&sads=5bxFr4MMX7Zd7iFMGGQyiJ3p9IwAbout the Author:

Helen Keeble is not, and never has been, a vampire. She has however been a teenager. She grew up partly in America and partly in England, which has left her with an unidentifiable accent and a fondness for peanut butter crackers washed down with a nice cup of tea. She now lives in West Sussex, England, with her husband, daughter, two cats, and a variable number of fish. To the best of her knowledge, none of the fish are undead.

Her first novel, a YA vampire comedy called FANG GIRL, is out 11th Sept 2012, from HarperTeen. She also has another YA paranormal comedy novel (provisionally titled NO ANGEL) scheduled for Sept 2013.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway!

One winner (open internationally) can win a signed copy of No Angel! To enter, head on over to this rafflecopter! Good luck!

Excerpt and Giveaway: Deadly to Love by Mia Hoddell

Deadly to Love by Mia Hoddellhttps://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/1/?ui=2&ik=aca2695382&view=att&th=1412c9c92adb15ad&attid=0.3&disp=inline&realattid=f_hlp8lblm3&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P_S6mgdahaRg3UQlho0R7NS&sadet=1379978444086&sads=RJcVq-KLM4FzUhIUwzMtwObqclw

Published: February 2013
Genre: Young adult romance/paranormal/fantasy
Series: Elemental Killers #1Buy it! Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Paperback) | Lulu (only 99c/77p on Kindle for September!

Synopsis:

The world is dangerous – but love will kill you.

Little did Serena Jackson know that one simple, flirty remark to an anonymous guy online would lead to her world being changed forever.

She doesn’t know him, but inexplicably, is drawn. She knows it is wrong but she agrees to meet.

His real name is Kai. He is beautiful. And immediately Serena feels herself blindly falling for him even though she senses a lie. She knows he is hiding something and it terrifies her.

What she doesn’t realise is that her entire life has been built on secrets and lies. The people she loved left her in the dark for a reason.

She trusted them. She trusts Kai. But as he pulls her straight into the heart of the danger the lies and deadly secrets are revealed. They overwhelm her, and the person she once was no longer exists as she is thrown into a ruthless world of elemental forces. The price of truth is her life—and now the world wants her dead.

Praise:

“I couldn’t put it down. So I finished it last night and all I can say is WOW! This book was amazing and different.” Brianna (Book Blogger)

I loved how the author took a different approach to writing a love story in modern times with the paranormal element present. I thought it was absolutely wonderful and refreshing. Marvelous!” Kathy H (Amazon Reviewer)

“I will admit I scoffed at the way it started but in the end I had fallen in love with this story…completely untraditional it was a very original idea, not to mention modern. This story had such a good plot and the story structure was sound.” Kacii – The Kooky Bookworm (Book Blogger)

Excerpt:

As he spoke I checked out the surroundings. It was just starting to get dark outside but I could still see the black outlines of the trees that surrounded us on either side of the narrow road.

“Why are we in a forest?” I asked, a slight hint of fear creeping into my voice as I was unnerved by the fact that we were in a place where Elementals were most likely to inhabit.

“Because the house is located in the forest. Don’t worry we’ll be safe there, I’ve hardly had any Elemental sightings when I’ve stayed here,” he said, but something about it didn’t sound very encouraging.

“And how often do you stay here?” I said slowly, my tone wary.

“Whenever I’m in the area.” His avoidance of a definite answer unnerved me even more as I knew what he was going on to say.

“I have to say, that isn’t very often, but the four times I’ve been here since buying the place have been peacefully silent.”

I was dumbfounded by his statement and my eyes were wide in shock as I watched him to see if he was joking. I saw nothing that led me to believe that or to make me doubt his words though.

“You’ve only been here four times?! How do you know this is a safe place then? It could be crawling with Elementals for all you know.”

He laughed at my sudden outburst of panic.

https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/1/?ui=2&ik=aca2695382&view=att&th=1412c9c92adb15ad&attid=0.4&disp=inline&realattid=f_hlp8lqrz4&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P_S6mgdahaRg3UQlho0R7NS&sadet=1379978388822&sads=SRT9EWucGop_Wb4YGYYbRyGgmAgAbout the Author:

Mia Hoddell lives in the UK with her family and two cats. She spends most of her time writing or reading and loves anything paranormal. Mia always had a love of writing but never reading. She was more interested in sports and hated sitting still – despite getting three poems published before the age of sixteen. Finally though, she found some novels that captured her interest and developed a love of reading which is now one of her favourite hobbies.

Mia began with poems before moving on to short stories. Although she enjoyed this, Mia found she had too much to tell with too little space, so later on she created her first series ‘The Wanderer Trilogy’ and from there other ideas have emerged. With a total of nine books planned at this moment, she is busy working on her second series ‘Elemental Killers’ before moving onto the next idea on her ever growing list.

Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Giveaway

Mia Hoddell is giving away an Amazon gift card this month only there is a slight twist: the more entries she receives the more money she will put on the gift card to giveaway! For example:

No matter what = $5
100 entries = $10
150 entries = $15
200 entries = $20
and so forth…
So if she gets 1000 entries she will give away $100, there’s no limit!

To enter all you have to do is buy or have bought Deadly to Love. It’s only $0.99 or £0.79 on Amazon for the duration of the giveaway! This will also unlock extra entries for you so you can earn more points by sharing the giveaway. Remember the more entries she gets the bigger the prize for you so share! To view the giveaway, you can go here and to enter, go here! Good luck!

Giveaway and Interview with Lenore Appelhans, Author of The Memory of After

Debut Authors Bash at yareads.com

Lenore and I!

Lenore and I!

So YAReads has organized this amazing 2013 Debut Authors Bash. I am super excited that I was paired with Lenore Appelhans. I listened to the audiobook of The Memory of After (when it was named Level 2) and really liked it. It was one of those audiobooks that I sat out in my car for longer than necessary to keep listening.

Then, Lenore was awesome and in town and joined the YADC group (a lovely group of people in the DC Metro area that enjoy books, specifically young adult) at a dinner in DC.  I was able to meet her and even had a picture taken! I am slowly coming to the realization that authors are just people too, but I don’t think I will ever get over the excitement of meeting an author, especially one of a book I enjoyed. It really does take a lot to write and finish a book.

Haven’t heard of The Memory of After? Here’s some information on it before we get to the interview.

The Memory of After by Lenore Appelhans

Published: September 3rd 2013 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published January 15th 2013 as Level 2)
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Dystopia
Pages: 304
Buy it!

12614754Synopsis:

Since her untimely death the day before her eighteenth birthday, Felicia Ward has been trapped in Level 2, a stark white afterlife located between our world and the next. Along with her fellow drones, Felicia passes the endless hours reliving memories of her time on Earth and mourning what she’s lost-family, friends, and Neil, the boy she loved.

Then a girl in a neighboring chamber is found dead, and nobody but Felicia recalls that she existed in the first place. When Julian-a dangerously charming guy Felicia knew in life-comes to offer Felicia a way out, Felicia learns the truth: If she joins the rebellion to overthrow the Morati, the angel guardians of Level 2, she can be with Neil again.

16081764

And, keep your eye open next year for the sequel, Chasing Before!

So, without anymore preamble, here is my interview with Lenore!

I have described the setting of Level 2 as ‘a kind of dystopian purgatory’. How would you describe your book’s setting in five or less words?
Your setting description is pretty accurate. I’d probably say “Memory chambers in the afterlife” since the memory chambers are the hook of the setting.

Which memory would you revisit the most if you were a resident of Level 2?
I would compile top 10 lists like Felicia did. So my top 10 travel memories, top 10 concerts, top ten family vacations, that sort of thing. I like the idea of being able to organize memories into playlists.

I’ve read that you like playlists for books. What is your Level 2 music playlist?
Yes! See? Obsession with playlists! You can see my entire Level 2 playlist here (link: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYf-ELpNqYRBOBsa03NXsepn2xbuoVULI )

I don’t listen to music while I write, but I do have certain songs I’ll listen to before writing scenes that help me get into the right mood. Music has such power to convey emotion, and I really try to bring some of that atmosphere into my writing.

I just turned in revisions for the sequel, Chasing Before, and two days before the deadline, I downloaded Bastille’s debut album Bad Blood. It is insane how many of the themes their songs share with Chasing Before. I am convinced we are sharing a muse.

Felicia’s mother is a Foreign Service officer, which means that her family moves to different countries every few years. What is your favorite place you’ve traveled to or would want to travel to?
I’m very sloth fixated at the moment, so I really want to go to the sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica.

Ruins of ancient cultures fascinate me and some of my favorite places to visit have been Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Tikal in Guatemala (well, all except for the killer mosquitos). I also love visiting natural wonders and was blown away by Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), the fjords of Norway, black sand beaches of Iceland, the natural rock labyrinth of Gory Stolowe (Poland), and gosh I could go on and on.

As far as urban areas, I love NYC!

The structure of Level 2 definitely seems to be closely modeled after internet and social media trends. Is there someone you think would have the most popular memories?
I recently wrote a guest post for Authors are Rockstars about why there are no celebrities in Level 2. (link: http://scottreadsit.blogspot.de/2013/08/lenore-appelhans-is-rockstar-giveaway.html ) So aside from celebrities, I think the most popular memories would be from people who take joy in life.  Even the most spectacular sites or unique experiences would not be much fun to relive from a jaded, bored and/or grumpy perspective.

The story alternates between Felicia in Level 2 and the memories that she experiences. Did this require you to outline the story or did the story just come together as you were writing it?
I had an outline of the memories because they were the most complicated part of the story (two separate timelines and not always in chronological order).  Adding tags and memory numbers to each memory was a way to give them more structure.

I free wrote the Level 2 sections in the first draft and let the characters guide me. Of course there had to be a reason for Felicia to view a particular memory at a particular point in the story, and it was a great exercise to have to figure out those reasons.

Giveaway!

Lenore is also offering one paperback copy of The Memory of After! And thanks to the awesome timing of our dinner, I have signed The Memory of After bookmarks to give out to even more potential winners! This giveaway is for US only. To enter, please go to this rafflecopter! Good luck!

Book Blitz and Giveaway: The Prodigal by Michael Hurley

https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/1/?ui=2&ik=aca2695382&view=att&th=1410547589e7b6e6&attid=0.2&disp=inline&realattid=f_hledt1l12&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P_S6mgdahaRg3UQlho0R7NS&sadet=1379354630420&sads=-16nVtla_hd0jEWp8w9z7GD8U0E

The Prodigal by Michael Hurley

Published: June 1st 2013 by Ragbagger Press
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 358
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis:

Pride, betrayal, forgiveness . . . and the eternal sea. The Prodigal tells the mystical tale of four people on Ocracoke Island whose destiny is tied to an abandoned schooner, thought to have been lost at sea more than a century ago, that one day drifts ashore. Marcus O’Reilly, a renegade Catholic priest, must confront his inner demons. Ibrahim Joseph, a Bahamian fugitive, must face his past. Aidan Sharpe, a fallen lawyer, struggles with self-doubt and his growing affection for Molly McGregor, a fearless towboat captain who cannot find the courage to love. They will all be drawn into a 2,000-year-old mystery that unfolds with the reappearance of the ship.

Book Trailer:

About the Author:

Michael Hurley lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with his wife Susan. Together they have four children ranging in age from 19 to 23.  Born in Baltimore in 1958, Michael studied English at the University of Maryland and law at St. Louis University. He is licensed to practice law in Texas and North Carolina.  A lifelong sailor, he obtained his captain’s license from the U.S. Coast Guard in 1992 and took six months off from the practice of law to work as a sailboat charter captain in New Bern, North Carolina. Between 1995 and 2003, while practicing law full-time, he also wrote and published Paddle & Portage, a quarterly literary journal on wilderness canoeing enjoyed by more than 10,000 subscribers in 48 states.  When he is not sailing or writing or canoeing, Michael continues a hopeless quest to prove that his piano teachers at Baltimore’s Peabody Institute were wrong about him all along.

Giveaway!

There is a giveaway for a $50 Amazon gift card for people 13 and over. It’s open internationally! To enter, go to this rafflecopter! Good luck!

Excerpt & Giveaway: Contrition by Lee Straus

Today I have an excerpt from the third book in the Perception series. Additionally, I have two giveaways for my awesome readers!! Definitely check it out!

18372941Contrition by Lee Straus

Expected Publication: September 26th 2013
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Previous books in the series: Perception (Book 1) and Volition (Book 2)
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis:

Contrition is the dramatic conclusion to the Perception Trilogy.

…the farther you fall…

Zoe, Noah and the other plane crash survivors
are stranded in the Arizona desert.
They all have secrets,
and reasons to hide.
But they’re not alone.
Cyborg soldiers.
War.
Humans and humanoids.
Who can be trusted?
Zoe’s life is in danger.
Noah must make an impossible choice.
Will their love survive their brokenness?
Will the world as they know it end before they can find out?

Excerpt:

“What was Tucson, like?” I asked. It was code for were there pictures of my face?

Noah stared at the ground. “It was busy, just like any other city. Lots of people. Traffic. Noise.”

“And…”

His eyes caught mine. “And lots of billboards. They’re still after us, Zoe. The reward for your return has been upped to two million.”

My heart whooshed. “And you?”

“The same. But the president doesn’t care if I’m brought in alive.”

Fear gripped my throat. “You can’t go into Tucson, anymore, Noah.”

He brushed it off. “Ah, the picture of me makes me look like I’m a twelve year-old boy. I didn’t get a second glance.”

“It’s true,” Taylor said. “Your photos look hot, but his, meh.”

I laughed at Taylor, and he grinned back at me before disappearing into the tech cave. I watched Noah as he unloaded the last of the items from the buggy. He caught me staring, and I glanced away. My shoes were suddenly very interesting. I dug at the sand with my toe. I casually looked up again from under my lashes. Noah’s eyes were on me now. I stayed locked on his gaze. What is he thinking? Did he feel the pull of attraction I felt? Did the longing for something more make his soul ache like mine did?

And if so, would he ever give into it again?

Sweat dripped between my breasts and down my spine. I felt dizzy and slid to the ground with a thump. Thankfully, the others were all busy focused on other things and didn’t notice. I held my chest, willing my heart to slow.

Something was wrong with me.

I didn’t know what, but I should be stronger. I should actually be the healthiest. Well, along with Taylor, though technically I’d been a GAP for longer.

When my heart calmed, I reached into my bag for a “clean” shirt and mentioned to Hannah that I was going to the stream to freshen up. The sun was low on the horizon, and I wanted to make it back before it got dark.

I’d collected the soap and shampoo on my way out of the cave looking forward to the shock of cold water. My hair hung in greasy strands, long enough now to tie back at least. I removed the tie, along with my clothes, and slipped in.

The water was strangely warm. Something was weird, but I wasn’t going to complain just yet. I’d tell Taylor when I got back. I made good use of the soap and was about to reach for the shampoo when I heard movement.

“Knock, knock.”

I startled at the voice. “Noah?”

“Sorry, I didn’t know you were here.”

So, now you do. Why are you just standing there, staring? I was fully aware that, though submerged, I was naked. Noah’s eyes zeroed on mine, and I could sense the debate going on in his head. He wanted to stay.

Suddenly, all the oxygen felt like it was sucked out of the cave.

I took a chance. “Would you… like to join me?”

“Yes,” he said, “against my better judgment.”

“If it helps, I want you to.”

“It helps.”

About the Author:https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/1/?ui=2&ik=aca2695382&view=att&th=141185d1267f98a9&attid=0.3&disp=inline&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P_S6mgdahaRg3UQlho0R7NS&sadet=1379332537351&sads=q1TSmppzflnW2q4QbJW1YOU2B3E

Lee Strauss writes historical and science fiction/romance for upper YA and adult readers. She also writes light and fun stuff under the name Elle Strauss. To find out more about Lee and her books check out her Facebook page. Follow her on Twitter to find out about new releases sign up for her newsletter at www.ellestraussbooks.com

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Giveaways!

For the first giveaway, you can win an ebook copy of Contrition! It ends on September 26, so definitely get your entries in! To enter, please follow this link to rafflecopter.

The second giveaway is something quite fun.

plus an audio copy of PERCEPTION,

plus a cool eternity bracelet from Etsy!

Just enter the rafflecopter!

Giveaway, Guest Post, and Excerpt: Heist by Laura Pauling

Today, I have quite a bit about Heist, a novel by Laura Pauling. I find this one fascinating and the kind of exciting read where you keep skipping to the end of the next page to try to calm your suspicions.

https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/1/?ui=2&ik=aca2695382&view=att&th=140f0b1860ed28cc&attid=0.8&disp=inline&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P_S6mgdahaRg3UQlho0R7NS&sadet=1379008675754&sads=SRbprmmHYmMPXyjg-i7ReflLlvEHEIST by Laura Pauling

Published: August 11th 2013
Genre: Young Adult Psychological ThrillerBuy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis:

Can one decision change the past?

Jack Brodie has a sixth sense that someone has been watching him. Following him.

One night he travels back in time to one of the world’s largest art thefts, known as the Gardner Heist. Why that one moment in time? And what does it mean for Jack?

When he returns, his world is different. His best friend is rougher, meaner. His dad hasn’t been around in years. And then there’s Jetta. The girl who took over his heart the moment she stepped into his life. No one is safe.

Each time Jack goes back to the heist to fix his mistakes, he returns to face the fallout. Disaster strikes in the present until Jack must make a choice. His family and his own happiness. Or the girl he loves. Except, he learns that his sixth sense was right.

Someone has been watching him and wants him dead.

Guest Post: Choosing the Gardner Heist

I love heists – any and all kinds: art theft, diamonds, bank robberies, con stories…etc. Some of my favorite movies and books involve a heist of some sort. So a few years back, I decided to write about one. But which one?

I turned to my best friend in times like this – Google. I plugged in the words, famous art heist. And on the very first page I found the Gardner Heist. I still didn’t think much of it, but I clicked on it, and the word, Boston, flashed on the screen. What? There was a famous heist in a museum in a city near me? The decision was made.

Of course, I knew absolutely nothing about the museum or the heist.

So, the research started. I read nonfiction books and learned the ins and outs of the crime. It truly was fascinating. At that point in time, the heist was coming on twenty years – and it had never been solved! That hooked me even more.

This was an amazing opportunity for me. My books have been set in Paris, Greece, Prague, and the ruins of the ancient Maya. I had to learn what I could of those settings from blogs, books, Youtube videos…etc. It was incredible to go to Boston, walk through the museum, stroll through the Public Garden, ride the T – all settings in my story. Of course, soaking in the atmosphere and scribbling down details I’d be sure to forget otherwise.

You’ll find all those details in Heist. Plus, you’ll walk through details of one of the most famous art heists.

About the Author:https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/1/?ui=2&ik=aca2695382&view=att&th=140f0b1860ed28cc&attid=0.7&disp=inline&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P_S6mgdahaRg3UQlho0R7NS&sadet=1379008404387&sads=4k-w9PaKYBnBpfUZP-TVW8xEMFA

Laura Pauling writes young adult fiction. She lives the cover of suburban mom/author perfectly, from the minivan to the home-baked snickerdoodles, while hiding her secret missions and covert operations. But shh. Don’t tell anyone!

Her YA Circle of Spies Series includes A SPY LIKE ME and HEART OF AN ASSASSIN. Book three, TWIST OF FATE will be released in the fall of 2013.

HEIST, a young adult, psychological thriller, will be released the summer of 2013.

 Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Excerpt

The cops return. Their fake swagger and cop routine is gone. Now they move and talk quickly, with purpose, with no one to impress or fool. They leave the lobby and take the stairs two at a time. I follow them on silent feet up a wide and smooth marble staircase into a small alcove on the second floor. I hover in the hall and peek around the corner, afraid of what I’ll find.

Light from fake candles cast a ghostly shadow on the mix of large and small paintings hanging on the walls. The room drips with elegance, like two old ladies should be sitting on the velvet love seat, sipping Earl Gray Tea and nibbling on rye crackers.

The cops survey the room like they’re kids in a toy store. Dad’s partner moves close to a painting and a screeching alarm sounds. The blaring noise echoes through the entire museum. They mutter curses, and I jump back and clap my hands over my ears, the sound drilling into my head.

Seconds later, it stops. My heart pulses in my throat, and I dare to peek into the room again. Dad has kicked in a motion sensor on the wall. The plastic is shattered and wires hang out. He stands on one of the three chairs, not caring about the street grit on his black shiny shoes, and pulls a large painting of a boat on the ocean from the wall.

Together, they smash the painting from the frame. A knife glitters. Dad pierces the painting and cuts it like he’s slicing an apple for his kid’s snack. Flakes of paint drift to the floor.

I lean against the wall in the hallway, a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. My legs shake. I cringe at the sound of another painting being smashed from its frame. I want to go home. I want to party with my friends, eat a roast beef sandwich with Mom. I want to laugh with Jetta. I want to hold her hand and trace my thumb across her smooth skin. I want to pull her to me and feel her heartbeat against mine.

A strong hand grips my arm and jerks me into the room. “Looks like we have a little friend.”

I stare into Dad’s gleaming eyes. Eyes I don’t recognize. There’s no hint of a smile of recognition. Of course not.

The Gardner Heist happened in 1990. I wasn’t even born yet.

Giveaway!

You can win one eBook copy of HEIST! To enter, please go to this rafllecopter link. Commenting is not a way to get entered. 🙂 Good luck!!

Review and Giveaway: The Elite by Kiera Cass

The Elite (The Selection, #2)The Elite by Kiera Cass

Published: April 23rd 2013 by HarperTeen
Format/Source: Paperback ARC from Goodreads’ giveaways for honest review
Genre: Young adult romance with dystopian elements
Series: Second in The Selection series, sequel to The Selection

Synopsis:

Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.

Review:

I was quite happy to have this book right after completing The Selection so I didn’t have any space between the two. The Elite takes place right where The Selection ends, with the girls having been whittled down to just six. The competition is still on and America is just as conflicted as in the first one on her decision of who to love.

I criticize books based on what they actually are. And The Elite is not meant as literature, and to be frank, I don’t think it’s really meant to be a solid story. It’s one of those guilty pleasure reads, where the premise is enough to have you keep going, to see how the love triangle ends, to see what happens next while making your eyes roll all at the same time. So my critiques of this book cannot be too harsh. It is what it is and it is a light, sometimes frustrating, and enjoyable read.

I kept reading this book to see if America would make a decision. And each chapter added a new revelation about either the history of Illea or some new event that made me want to immediately know the outcome. I was increasingly frustrated by America’s indecisiveness and lack of a spine…it seemed like any decision was open to be immediately changed by a single event. I am still not sure I really understand the presence of the dystopian elements. The rebel attacks, the increasing tension between the castes…I kept feeling like either more attention needs to be paid to that side of things or just leave it. The series is at its core a romance story. While that plot seems less ‘important’ than a government struggle, time and again the focus is brought back to the romance. The dystopian parts of the story are definitely political at their core, or so I felt.

All that said, I look forward to seeing how the story ends and will likely read the next one to see its conclusion. It’s a great poolside read!

My rating: 3/5

Giveaway!

In keeping up with the passing of ARCs, here is my giveaway of my ARC! This is open to the US only (sorry my last one was US and International and I can’t afford to have everyone be in international). It will run from today and will end July 18th. This giveaway is now  closed.  Again, the only way to enter the giveaway is by using rafflecopter, not by commenting. I’ve had a problem in the past with people commenting to enter the giveaway when it is not the way to do it. Typically I disable comments on giveaway posts to avoid that, but I’d love real comments on the review instead. Good luck!

Giveaway: Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop (US/INTL)

https://i1.wp.com/www.iamareader.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Freedom-to-read-2013.jpg

Another giveaway!

Before I get into what is up for grabs this time, I’d like to offer my thanks to those who have and are currently serving this country to protect the freedom and safety of its citizens. This means those in the armed forces, but also those that serve in other ways, in our police, fire, and emergency medical departments. Those nurses, doctors, and public servants who we all rely on in different ways at different times. It is these people that allow the rest of us to live the kind of lives that we want to.

And this year, this week, in particular, I’d like to send my thoughts to those 19 brave firemen who lost their lives this weekend in trying to contain a wildfire.

Thank you!

For this giveaway, I’m making it a nice list of young adult books that I’ve received as ARCs for review. I will be listing four, you can pick your top two. This giveaway is open to everyone, even those that are outside of the U.S.! This giveaway is now closed. The prizes:

Choice 1: The Golden Spark by John Royce

Published: January 15th 2011 by Micron Press
Format: Paperback ARC (cover of the ARC differs from the cover on Goodreads)
Genre: Historical fiction/equestrian

Synopsis:

A modern teenager is carried back into history by her Great Horse of legend, and uses her knowledge of horsemanship to survive humanity’s past. Engaging and fast-paced adventure entertains with excitement, humor and a colorful cast of accurately-portrayed historical characters from the European Renaissance.

Blood Song (Blood Singer, #1)Choice 2: Blood Song by Cat Adams

Published: June 8th 2010 by Tor Books
Format: Paperback ARCGenre: Urban Fantasy

Synopsis:

Blood Song is the first book in a fantastic urban fantasy series by bestselling author Cat Adams.

Bodyguard Celia Graves has definitely accepted her share of weird assignments, both human and supernatural. But her newest job takes the cake. Guarding a Prince from terrorists and religious fundamentalists is hard enough, but it seems like the entire supernatural world is after this guy too. When she is betrayed by those she is employed to help, and everything goes horribly wrong, Celia wakes to find herself transformed.

Neither human nor vampire, Celia has become an Abomination—something that should not exist—and now both human and supernatural alike want her dead. With the help of a few loyal friends—a sexy mage, a powerful werewolf, and a psychic cop—Celia does her best to stay alive. On the run from her enemies, Celia must try to discover who is behind her transformation…before it’s too late.

Choice 3: Orleans by Sherri L. Smithorleans

Published: March 7th 2013 by Putnam JuvenileFormat: Paperback ARC
Genre:
Dystopia/Survival

Synopsis:

First came the storms.
Then came the Fever.
And the Wall.

After a string of devastating hurricanes and a severe outbreak of Delta Fever, the Gulf Coast has been quarantined. Years later, residents of the Outer States are under the assumption that life in the Delta is all but extinct… but in reality, a new primitive society has been born.

Fen de la Guerre is living with the O-Positive blood tribe in the Delta when they are ambushed. Left with her tribe leader’s newborn, Fen is determined to get the baby to a better life over the wall before her blood becomes tainted. Fen meets Daniel, a scientist from the Outer States who has snuck into the Delta illegally. Brought together by chance, kept together by danger, Fen and Daniel navigate the wasteland of Orleans. In the end, they are each other’s last hope for survival.

Sherri L. Smith delivers an expertly crafted story about a fierce heroine whose powerful voice and firm determination will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.

mozanChoice 4: Mozan and the Return of Magic by Stephan Davied

Published: July 13th 2010 by Fyonhaireshizer PublishingFormat: Paperback
Genre: Fantasy

Synopsis:

When the vile sorceress of Fyonhaireshizer kidnaps thirteen year old Mozan, prince of Mazolean, he has no choice but to lead four other abducted royal children on a quest to save their families and kingdom. They must battle dark spirits, gargoyles, one eyed ogres and their own internal demons before they ultimately unite in the kingdom of Mazolean. It is here they meet Anzon, The Lion King and where Mozan learns that his very existence fulfills an ancient and powerful prophecy.

This giveaway is now closed.

To check out all the other wonderful blogs that hosted a stop on this giveaway hop, check out this list!

Good luck!

Giveaway: Midsummer’s Eve Giveaway Hop

midsummer 2013

Click here to see the other blogs participating in I am a Reader Not a Writer‘s Giveaway Hop.

Today is the summer solstice! The official beginning of summer and the longest day of the year. I have to say that having the sun up when I wake up really early in the morning is helpful.

This giveaway is for US only…sorry! The next one is going to be for both US and internationally. Up for giveaway this time is a choice between:

wolfmanWolf Man by Edo Van Belkom

In this eagerly awaited sequel to the critically acclaimed Wolf Pack, Lone Wolf, and Cry Wolf, author Edo van Belkom once again takes the reader to the mysterious world of wolves and werewolves. A near fight-to-the-death between Argus and a wild wolf might have saved a little girl’s life, but it has also created something new and very, very deadly. Fully recovered, the wild wolf now returns in Wolf Man as a savage werewolf bent on terrorizing the town of Redstone and taking what it needs to feed itself and its hungry pack. When a mountain man’s pet dog and livestock are viciously murdered, he convinces the town to take up arms to defend themselves against a pack of killer wolves. But along with guns comes trouble, and although Ranger Brock forbids the pack from running through the forest, it isn’t long before someone is shot.

Now it is up to the ranger and members of the wolf pack to save a dying wolf and restore calm before any more blood is spilled or someone ends up dead. Will they succeed?

OR

Life Expectancy

Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz

Jimmy Tock comes into the world on the very night his grandfather leaves it. As a violent storm rages outside the hospital, Rudy Tock spends long hours walking the corridors between the expectant fathers’ waiting room and his dying father’s bedside. It’s a strange vigil made all the stranger when, at the very height of the storm’s fury, Josef Tock suddenly sits up in bed and speaks coherently for the first and last time since his stroke.

What he says before he dies is that there will be five dark days in the life of his grandson—five dates whose terrible events Jimmy will have to prepare himself to face. The first is to occur in his twentieth year; the second in his twenty-third year; the third in his twenty-eighth; the fourth in his twenty-ninth; the fifth in his thirtieth.

Rudy is all too ready to discount his father’s last words as a dying man’s delusional rambling. But then he discovers that Josef also predicted the time of his grandson’s birth to the minute, as well as his exact height and weight, and the fact that Jimmy would be born with syndactyly—the unexplained anomaly of fused digits—on his left foot. Suddenly the old man’s predictions take on a chilling significance.

What terrifying events await Jimmy on these five dark days? What nightmares will he face? What challenges must he survive? As the novel unfolds, picking up Jimmy’s story at each of these crisis points, the path he must follow will defy every expectation. And with each crisis he faces, he will move closer to a fate he could never have imagined. For who Jimmy Tock is and what he must accomplish on the five days when his world turns is a mystery as dangerous as it is wondrous—a struggle against an evil so dark and pervasive, only the most extraordinary of human spirits can shine through.

This giveaway is now closed. Thank you!