Friday, February 24, 2017

Young Adult Lit Giveaway

EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
Young Adult Lit Giveaway


Welcome to the YALit Giveaway! This book blitz is brought to you by Xpresso Book Tours.


Description
A bunch of authors have gotten together to bring you a Young Adult Big Box of Paperbacks Giveaway! One lucky winner is going to win 50 Young Adult Paperback Books! How’s that for an epic book-lover’s prize?!
This box of books is valued at over $500! And this giveaway is open worldwide! Their first giveaway went to a winner in ROMANIA – and yes, they’re willing to pay the insane shipping on this oversized, overweight package to get the prize to WHOEVER wins! 
You can check out the list of prizes here and read an excerpt from one of the sponsor's books below.

Excerpt from Sanctuary by Melle Amade
Callum’s not watching them, though. His gaze is on me. My skin heats up in a micro-second.
“How was your summer, Shae?” Aiden’s voice startles me. I was so caught up in Callum I didn’t notice Aiden leave his fans. Callum takes another swig of beer, but he’s still looking at me as I turn to Aiden.
“Good.” I glance around for Zan or Roman.
“Callum, why don’t you get me a beer,” Aiden says.
“Sure,” Callum acquiesces. My head swivels from one to the other. That was weird. I’m pretty sure Aiden gave Callum an order.
“How have you been, Shae?” Aiden asks. I open my mouth to repeat my answer but he places a finger over my lips. “Really,” he says.
“It’s been a pretty quiet summer,” I say shrugging. “But, look, I’m really sorry about -”
“How’s your mom?” he asks.
“She’s okay.” I shrug, but he doesn’t look like he believes me. “Really.”
“I can’t help worrying about you.” His smile is rich and warm as he puts his arms around me, pulling me into a friendly hug. I stand there scrunched in his grip, not daring to hug him back. It’d be too hard to let go. I just breathe into the moment wishing I could stop time.
A piercing scream shatters the air. Aiden and I break apart. My eyes find Zan in the crowd. Her hands are over her ears to block out the shriek. But, it doesn’t stop. It wrenches the sky in half. Someone needs help. Now.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Giveaway
Enter the giveaway here for a chance to win 50 Young Adult paperback books (open worldwide).



Thursday, February 23, 2017

"Child's Play" by Merry Jones

REVIEW and GIVEAWAY
Child's Play
(Elle Harrison Thriller Book 3)
by Merry Jones


Child's Play is the third book in the Elle Harrison Thriller series by Merry Jones. Also available: The Trouble With Charlie and Elective Procedures.



Child's Play is currently on tour with Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


Description
Since her husband’s murder two years earlier, life hasn’t been easy for Elle Harrison. Now, at the start of a new school year, the second grade teacher is determined to move on. She’s selling her house and delving into new experiences - like learning trapeze.
Just before the first day of school, Elle learns that a former student, Ty Evans, has been released from juvenile detention where he served time for killing his abusive father. Within days of his release, Elle’s school principal, who’d tormented Ty as a child, is brutally murdered. So is a teacher at the school. And Ty’s former girlfriend. All the victims have links to Ty.
Ty’s younger brother, Seth, is in Elle’s class. When Seth shows up at school beaten and bruised, Elle reports the abuse, and authorities remove Seth and his older sister, Katie, from their home. Is Ty the abuser?
Ty seeks Elle out, confiding that she’s the only adult he’s ever trusted. She tries to be open-minded, even wonders if he’s been wrongly condemned. But when she’s assaulted in the night, she suspects that Ty is her attacker. Is he a serial killer? Is she his next intended victim?
Before Elle discovers the truth, she’s caught in a deadly trap that challenges her deepest convictions about guilt and innocence, childhood and family. Pushed to her limits, she’s forced to face her fears and apply new skills in a deadly fight to survive.

Excerpt
I was the first one there.
The parking lot was empty, except for Stan’s pickup truck. Stan was the custodian, tall, hair thinning, face pock-marked from long ago acne. He moved silently, popped out of closets and appeared in corners, prowled the halls armed with a mop or a broom. In fourteen years, I couldn’t remember a single time when he’d looked me in the eye.
Wait—fourteen years? I’d been there that long? Faces of kids I’d taught swirled through my head. The oldest of them would now be, what? Twenty-one? Oh man. Soon I’d be one of those old school marms teaching the kids of my former students, a permanent fixture of the school like the faded picture of George Washington mounted outside the principal’s office. Hell, in a few months, I’d be forty. A middle-aged childless widow who taught second grade over and over again, year after year, repeating the cycle like a hamster on its wheel. Which reminded me: I had to pick up new hamsters. Tragically, last year’s hadn’t made it through the summer.
I told myself to stop dawdling. I had a classroom to organize, cubbies to decorate. On Monday, just three days from now, twenty-three glowing faces would show up for the first day of school, and I had to be ready. I climbed out of the car, pulled a box of supplies from the trunk, started for the building. And stopped.
My heart did triple time, as if responding to danger. But there was no danger. What alarmed me, what sent my heart racing was the school itself. But why? Did it look different? Had the windows been replaced, or the doors? Nothing looked new, but something seemed altered. Off balance. The place didn’t look like an elementary school. It looked like a giant factory. A prison.
God, no. It didn’t look like any of those things. The school was the same as it had always been, just a big brick building. It seemed cold and stark simply because it was unadorned by throngs of children. Except for wifi, Logan Elementary hadn’t changed in fifty years, unless you counted several new layers of soot on the bricks.
I stood in the parking lot, observing the school, seeing it fresh. I’d never paid much attention to it before. When it was filled with students, the building itself became all but invisible, just a structure, a backdrop. But now, empty, it was unable to hide behind the children, the smells of sunshine and peanut butter sandwiches, the sounds of chatter and small shoes pounding Stanley’s waxed tiles. The building stood exposed. I watched it, felt it watching me back. Threatening.
Seriously, what was wrong with me? The school was neither watching nor threatening me. It was a benign pile of bricks and steel. I was wasting time, needed to go in and get to work. But I didn’t take a single step. Go on, I told myself. What was I afraid of? Empty halls, vacant rooms? Blank walls? For a long moment, I stood motionless, eyes fixed on the façade. The carved letters: Logan School. The heavy double doors. The dark windows. Maybe I’d wait a while before going inside. Becky would arrive soon, after she picked up her classroom aquarium.
Other teachers would show up, too. I could go in with them, blend safely into their commotion. I hefted the box, turned back to the car. But no, what was I doing? I didn’t want to wait. I’d come early so I could get work done without interruption or distraction before the others arrived. The school wasn’t daring me, nor was I sensing some impending tragedy. I was just jittery about starting a new year.
I turned around again, faced its faded brown bricks. I steeled my shoulders, took a breath and started across the parking lot. With a reverberating metallic clank, the main doors flew open. Reflexively, I stepped back, half expecting a burst of flames or gunfire. Instead, Stan emerged. For the first time in fourteen years, I was glad to see him. Stan surveyed the parking lot, hitched up his pants. Looked in my direction. He didn’t wave or nod a greeting, didn’t follow social conventions. Even so, his presence grounded me, felt familiar.
I took a breath, reminded myself that the school was just a school. That I was prone to mental wandering and embellishing. And that children would stream into my classroom in just three days, whether I was ready or not.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
"A nurturing and protective elementary school teacher is thrust into a web of unspeakable evil. Riveting, suspenseful and diabolical, Child's Play keeps the reader anxiously and eagerly turning the pages." ~ Mary Jane Clark, New York Times Bestselling Author
"What a wild ride! Merry Jones' Child's Play starts on the first day of school and gets ever more terrifying from there. The novel is a terrific mystery, with the sins of the past rising to swallow an entire town, but it triumphs as an examination of female friendship, how it nurtures and how it destroys. Not to be missed." ~ William Lashner, New York Times Bestselling Author
"Surprising, dark, and even disturbing. A fragile and vulnerable young teacher faces a terrifying first day of school - and that is just the riveting beginning. Timely, provocative and sinister, this twisty story of family and friendship is not for the faint of heart." ~ Hank Phillippi Ryan - Agatha, Anthony, and Mary Higgins Clark award winning author
"What’s behind these horrors culminates in helter-skelter chaos. Elle’s home becomes the center of a tragic universe, since she 'attracted tragedy and death.' That combination is magnified many fold as bodies pile up. And readers are left enchanted by another 'Elle-oquent' thriller." ~ BookReporter
"The murder of the principal and a teacher on opening day at an elementary school a terrifying scenario. In Child's Play Merry Jones showcases her unique skill in delivering this dark, very dark, thriller with a modicum of humor. The end, well, you won't see it coming amid the tortuous twists and turns. Merry Jones at her best!" ~ Patricia Gussin, New York Times Best-selling Author of After the Fall

My Review


By Lynda Dickson
Just before the start of the school year, second grade teacher Elle Harrison discovers the body of the school principal stabbed to death in her office. Detective Stiles, who interviewed Elle two years earlier following the murder of her husband, heads up the investigation. With the help of her friends Becky (a fellow school teacher), Susan (also her lawyer), and Jen, Elle navigates her way through a series of murders, a persistent real estate agent who seems to be a bit too interested in her, an obsessed former student, and even circus school. Who'll be left standing?
Sorry to say this, but Elle is one of the most annoying characters I've ever come across. She second guesses all of her decisions and runs an incessant internal monologue - and these are in sentence fragments, not even full sentences. As she herself states, "I was prone to mental wandering and embellishing." So much so, that her friends call it "pulling an Elle". Things are so dramatic and over-the-top in her mind but, when something happens in real life, it's described so matter-of-factly that you need to re-read that section to find out what actually happened or if, in fact, it did actually happen and wasn't just a figment of her imagination. While the reason for her "dissociative disorder" becomes apparent toward the end of the book, it still feels like an unnecessary characteristic.
Throughout the book, asterisked section dividers (***) are over-used and excessively disruptive. It's almost as if the author has invented a new form of punctuation - a kind of exclamation mark for an entire scene, like "ooh, insert jaw-drop here ..." after something shocking (in her eyes) happens, even though the next sentence follows on directly.
Unfortunately, I also found the plot predictable and saw the ending coming a mile away. The only reason I kept reading was to see how long it would take for the penny to drop. It never does. The only redeeming feature is that you don't need to have read the previous books, as the narrative seamlessly incorporates any background information you need to know.
One for the die-hard fans only.

About the Author
Merry Jones is the author of some twenty critically acclaimed books, both fiction and nonfiction. Her work has been translated into seven languages. Her previous Elle Harrison novels have been The Trouble With Charlie and Elective Procedures. Jones lives with her husband in Philadelphia.





Giveaway
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $15 Amazon gift card or one of three ebook copies of Child's Play by Merry Jones.

Links

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

"Legacy of the Mind" by H. R. Moore

EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
Legacy of the Mind
(The Legacy Trilogy Book 1)
by H. R. Moore


Legacy of the Mind is the first book in The Legacy Trilogy by H. R. Moore. Also available: Origin of the Body and Design of the Spirit.



Legacy of the Mind is currently on tour with YA Bound Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


Description
Anita has never been ordinary, she’s stuck out like a sore thumb her entire life; not only can she see the energy of others, a rare skill, but she’s won every Body challenge she’s ever entered. So when the powerful, good looking Descendants, Marcus and Alexander, mysteriously arrive in Empire, her difference attracts and keeps their attention.
Once in Empire, the sudden death of ruling Body Descendant, Christiana, sets in motion a number of events; a quest for the treacherous Austin to find the girl Christiana had been looking for; a challenge where Anita stands out more vibrantly than ever before; a perilous dip in the world’s energy; and a dangerous belief among the people that they will never truly be free. Powerful factions soon form within the ruling elite and when a trusted friend and mentor reaches out to ask for Anita’s help, she has to make a choice; help her friend and betray the one she loves, or do nothing and watch the people starve.


Excerpt
‘I declare this Chase…open,’ Austin roared, as he flung the lid open and a pigeon launched itself into the sky.
Anita watched the pigeon in what seemed like slow motion as it paused for a split second in mid-air.  She used this opportunity to point her energy metre at the bird and lock on to its energy before hurtling down the hill with the rest of the contestants.  About half way down she felt someone shove her forcefully sideways.  She stumbled and almost fell as she saw Gwyn whip past her.  Bitch, thought Anita.  Now she felt justified in hating her.  Two can play at that game, she thought, as she launched herself off a ledge at the bottom of the hill.  She felt like she was flying.  Not missing a beat, she landed, completed a forward roll, and picked up her pace again.  The stunt gave her a bit of a lead, as most other contestants, including Gwyn, she noticed smugly, were taking the path all the way to the bottom, and were stuck in single file as the path narrowed.  Anita knew that Bas would follow her though, and the other Descendants had been behind her, so who knew what they’d done.  She pelted at full speed across a rickety bridge over the river into the dense woodland the other side.  Anita could feel someone coming up behind her.  She knew with energy that strong that it would be one of the Descendants, she just didn’t know which one, and it would waste time and energy, not to mention require risking running into a tree, if she turned to take a look.
She soon got an answer.  As she landed her vault of the fence at the far side of the woods, she saw Alexander’s delicious form recover from his own leap and race away.  Anita picked up her pace to match Alexander’s, not quite believing how fast he was for a Spirit.  They flew across the open field, easily jumping the stream that ran through its middle, and leapt at the steep incline the far side.  Anita felt totally exhilarated.  This was the first time she’d ever been truly challenged in a race, and that spurred her on to new depths of determination.
They reached the hill’s summit and picked their way down the other side back to the river.  ‘You could at least pretend to use your energy metre,’ Alexander jibed.  ‘I’ve already warned you once.’
‘You seem to have a callous disregard for your own safety, whilst being particularly precious about mine,’ she shot back.  ‘Any specific reason for that?’
‘I’m the Spirit Descendant; people would mock me if I couldn’t read energy.  You, on the other hand, are a Body, with, as it turns out, exceptional Body skills, as well as significant Spirit abilities.  You are not what you might call normal, and this is a dangerous climate in which to stick out.’
‘Well you seem to have remarkable Body skills for a Spirit and seem to be fine, so I’ll take my chances,’ retorted Anita, as they reached the river and started jumping from rock to rock to cross it.  The next group of challengers, including Gwyn, Bas and Marcus had reached the summit behind them, and Anita made a show of holding up her energy metre as she crossed the river and pointing in the direction that the pigeon had flown.  ‘Happy now?’ Anita called over her shoulder as she launched into a sprint along the river bank the other side.  Alexander pelted after her, a bit pissed off now.  He’d recently been getting used to people doing whatever he said, and Anita’s disobedience was infuriating.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]



Praise for the Book
"Is HR Moore the new JK Rowling?" ~ The Resident Magazine
"Finally a book that bridges the gap between the romance of Twilight and the action of the Hunger Games!"
"Fast paced and a real page turner, with the right mix of action and a touch of romance..."
"Drama, excitement, vivid scene settings with plot twists...This story has it all!"
"Fantastic characters and an all consuming story."


About the Author
Harriet was born in Germany in 1987, the family returning to the UK, to Dorset shortly afterwards. She lived there until she was 5, her grandfather teaching her the basics of cheating at cards and swindling chocolate, her mother starting to instil a (some would argue) unhealthy relationship with cake, and the neighbours demonstrating that some people don't understand cherry blossom is there to be picked, mixed with mint and water and sold as perfume.
Then there was Scotland; stealthy guinea pig breeding, riding horses, advanced cards, more cake, then to Devon and school in Exeter. She loved maths in the early years, but by the time she got to A Level, Sociology was her favourite subject, opening her eyes to things she'd never before considered, namely, nobody is really right, nobody is really normal and primary socialisation has a lot to answer for.
At the age of about 12, Harriet started rowing for Exeter Rowing Club. This quickly took over her life and before too long she was clad in lycra, training 6 days a week and competing at events around the country.
After finishing her A Levels, Harriet went to university in St Andrews, studying Philosophy for two years, then switching to Management. She was particularly interested in the 'people' elements of her course and especially the areas concerning how people create and react to change. After four very civilised years by the sea, she ventured to London, to foray into the strange world of insurance (surprisingly, more interesting than you might think). She worked as a Project Manager on large change programmes before founding her own consultancy in 2015.
Harriet now lives in Hertfordshire with her husband Chris and daughter Atia. When she isn't, writing, editing, eating, running around after her toddler, or imagining how much better life would be with the addition of a springer spaniel, she occasionally finds the time to make hats.


Giveaway
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win some a $20 Amazon gift card.


Links



"The Rise of Miss Notley" by Rachael Anderson

EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
The Rise of Miss Notley
(Tanglewood Book 2)
by Rachael Anderson


The Rise of Miss Notley is the second book in the Tanglewood series by Rachael Anderson. Also available: The Fall of Lord Drayson.


This book blast and giveaway is brought to you by I Am A Reader.



Description
When Miss Coralynn Notley’s father barters her off to the first titled gentleman to come along, she realizes she must flee her home or be forced to wed a despicable man. Driven by desperation, she applies for the position of housekeeper at Tanglewood Manor, the home of the handsome Mr. Jonathan Ludlow. The moment Jonathan sees Miss Notley, he is intrigued. She is far too young and inexperienced, yet there is something about her that that inspires a certain hope within him. Does he dare offer her the position of housekeeper or will doing so result in catastrophe?

Excerpt
Cora nodded and followed Mr. Ludlow into the parlor. He closed the doors and stood in front of them with his arms folded, looking far more intimidating than he had during their last meeting. He said nothing, merely lifted an inquiring eyebrow and waited.
Caught unprepared, Cora stared at him, trying to organize her thoughts into words. After a few moments of awkward silence, he lost patience. “What is it you wished to speak with me about, Mrs. Notley? Or are we to stand here staring at each other all afternoon?”
Not knowing how else to begin, Cora blurted, “Why have you hired me, sir?”
He blinked a few times before frowning. “I believe I have made that perfectly clear. You are to be the housekeeper, are you not?”
This was going to be more difficult than she had imagined. “Yes, of course, but there has been some talk about, or rather concerns expressed . . .” How did one put this delicately?
“About . . .?” he prodded, obviously not thrilled that his morning regime had been waylaid.
“About the reasons I have been offered the position,” she quickly said, hoping that would be enough to make him understand her meaning.
Unfortunately, his brows drew together in confusion. “What are you saying, Mrs. Notley? I have hired you to do certain duties that will hopefully make my household run more smoothly. What other reason could I possibly have for offering you the position?”
“You have hired me to do a job I am untrained to do,” she said. “While I am grateful for the opportunity, I also find it necessary to clarify that I have come here to be a housekeeper and only a housekeeper. Even though I am young and . . .” Her voice drifted off. Had she almost referred to herself as pretty? Goodness, this was proving to be very awkward indeed.
“Beautiful?” he finally guessed, not looking at all pleased with the direction the conversation was taking.
“I was going to say not repulsive,” she fibbed.
“Very well,” he said. “Even though you are young and not repulsive . . .” He moved his hand in a circular gesture, urging her to finish her thought.
Cora straightened her shoulders and forced herself to continue. “I am not the sort of girl who would ever . . . fraternize with her employer.” Her face infused with heat, but she forced her gaze to remain steady.
“I see.” He walked slowly towards her, rubbing his chin with his hand. A few steps away, he stopped and eyed her quizzically. “Have I made any improper advances towards you?”
“No, sir.”
“Have I spoken to you in an unprofessional manner?”
“No.”
“Have I looked at you in a way that has made you feel uncomfortable?”
“No.” Cora suddenly wished she had not felt the need to clarify anything. He made her feel as though she had put the cart before the horse when what she had been trying to do was see that the cart and horse simply stayed in their proper places. Was that so wrong?
“Might I ask who, exactly, has led you to believe that I am the sort of man capable of—how did you put it? Fraternizing with my help?”
“I, er, would rather not say, sir.” Though Cora felt no loyalty towards Sally, she refused to bring Mr. and Mrs. Shepherd’s names into the conversation. “I did not mean to besmirch your name or cause any offense, Mr. Ludlow. I merely wanted to make my feelings on the matter clear.”
“And you have.”
“Good.” Cora dropped into a quick curtsy, anxious to get away. “I shall go and find Watts now.”
She was almost to the door when his voice stopped her. “Once again, you are attempting to scuttle away before we have completed our conversation.”
Slowly, she turned around and lifted her eyes to his. “I never scuttle, sir.”
“What would you call that rapid walk of yours?”
“A rapid walk.”

Praise for the Book
"I very much enjoyed this story. Although it is a stand-alone novel, it does mention some of the characters from the previous book and so reading the first book is helpful. Fans of Downton Abbey will likely enjoy this tale as well." ~ Autism Mom
"Filled with likable characters, an assortment of endearing supporting characters and a quaint country setting. The writing was well done, I was quickly drawn into the story and transported back in time to a charming regency world. It stands well on its own, but it was fun seeing Lord and Lady Drayson make an appearance and meeting Lady Harriet has me eagerly awaiting her book, which comes out this fall! I'd definitely recommend to any regency fans, or just anyone who enjoys a sweet romance." ~ Kathy (Bookworm Nation)
"This is a very well written Regency Romance story. The characters act in ways that are true to the period, the story is good enough without needing any pornography simply for prurient interest, there are no editing or spelling errors that I noticed, and the characters are lovable and funny. I enjoyed the book very much." ~ Amazon Customer PatH
"This was so fun! I loved the humor in this story. It was a clean romance with a dashing gentleman and a beautiful hilarious and strong woman." ~ Donna C.
"You will absolutely love this book and the way that the story plays out. The characters are so full of life and spunk. If you need an escape from life, go back to Regency England with The Rise of Miss Notley." ~ Christy M.

About the Author
A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.




Giveaway
Enter the blast-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash.

Links