Book Blitz: The Surrendered

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Welcome to The Surrendered Book Blitz, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!~

surrenderedTitle: The Surrendered
Author: Case Maynard
Published by: Blaze Publishing
Publication date: September 20th 2016
Genres: Young Adult Dystopian
GoodReads

Synopsis:

After a financial collapse devastates the United States, the new government imposes a tax on the nation’s most valuable resource—the children.

Surrendered at age ten—after her parents could no longer afford her exorbitant fees—Vee Delancourt has spent six hard years at the Mills, alongside her twin, Oliver. With just a year to freedom, they do what they can to stay off the Master’s radar. But when Vee discovers unspeakable things happening to the younger girls in service, she has no choice but to take a stand—a decision that lands her on the run and outside the fence for the first time since the System robbed her of her liberty.

Vee knows the Master will stop at nothing to prove he holds ultimate authority over the Surrendered. But when he makes a threat that goes beyond what even she considers possible, she accepts the aid of an unlikely group of allies. Problem is, with opposing factions gunning for the one thing that might save them all, Vee must find a way to turn oppression and desperation into hope and determination—or risk failing all the children and the brother she left behind.

Buy Links:

Excerpt:

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A sinking feeling washes over me. “We’re going to Meadowood.”

He responds without opening his eyes, “I want answers.”

I start to argue that this will be a fool’s errand, but in truth, I want the same answers he does. “Do you think the man who rescued Oliver was with the Southies?”

“I don’t know who else it could’ve been.” He sits up and stretches. “It must’ve been them, and I want to know why they changed the plan without informing us. The Master and his Regulators got to the rooftop very quickly after I fired that shot. I have to wonder if someone told them we were there.”

“You think the Southies took Oliver to get the combination and then set the Regulators on us? Why would they do that?”

He rubs his face. “It doesn’t make any sense. But something’s not adding up.”

I ponder this, thinking about my brother’s strange plea. “I know you think I’m insane, but I can’t help but feel like Oliver knew someone was going to take him; I swear it felt like he was speaking to me when he said not to interfere. But that doesn’t make any sense, either. He’s been behind the fence for years.”

Cason yawns and tries to shake off the effects of the Papaver. “I don’t think you’re crazy; his message did seem odd for someone who was about to hang for a crime he didn’t commit. I don’t know, but hopefully he’ll be at Meadowood and you can ask him yourself.”

My mood elevates as I realize I may only be hours away from a reunion with my brother. The pain in my arm forgotten, I try to concentrate only on this knowledge, confident we’ll have our answers soon enough. “I didn’t get a chance to thank you for earlier. You could’ve just turned me over to the Master and walked away, but you didn’t. I’m grateful for that.”

I feel a little embarrassed as soon as the words leave my mouth. Normally I’m not one to share my feelings, but the Papaver Flower makes me breathless and lightheaded and loosens my tongue.

He reaches for me, careful not to jostle my splinted wrist, and pulls my face to his. “I’m probably going to ruin that sentiment by telling you the Master would never have let me go anyway, but know this—” he runs the pad of his thumb along my lower lip and meets my eyes “—if everyone else in the entire world leaves you to fend for yourself, if your father, your mother, your brother disappoint you, if God himself decides you aren’t worthy . . . you’ll still be able to count on me. I’ve got your back, Vera.”

Buy Links:

About the Author:case

With over 20 years’ experience in the legal and medical fields, Case Maynard decided to trade in her briefs and reports to write the stories that have been floating around in her head since childhood. She lives with her two teenagers and husband in South Georgia, while maintaining a long-distance liaison with her oldest daughter and partner in crime in Alaska. When not writing, she enjoys reading as often as possible, binge watching anything good on Netflix, and all things NCAA football (Go Noles!). You can learn more about Case and her stories on her website.

Author Links:

Giveaway:

Blitz-wide giveaway
  • $15 Amazon Gift Card (INTL)
  • Blaze Publishing Swag Pack (INTL)
  • Blaze Publishing Ultimate Swag Pack (US Only)
  • Rise of the Dystopians Book Set (3 Dystopian Novels) US Only

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Review: Not Quite So Short Stories

27857855Title: Not Quite So Stories
Author: David S. Atkinson
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
Genre: Short Stories Fiction
GoodReads

Synopsis:

The traditional explanation for myth (including such works as the relatively modern Just so Stories by Rudyard Kiping) is an attempt by humans to explain and demystify the world. That’s crap. We may be able to come to terms with small pieces, but existence as a whole is beyond our grasp. Life is absurd, ultimately beyond our comprehension. The best we can do is to proceed on with our lives in the face of that. The stories in this collection proceed from this idea, examining how the different characters manage (and/or fail) to do this.

Not Quite So Stories was one of the oddest books I’ve ever read, in the best possible way.

Let me try to break it down for you – have you ever seen those twitter trends where tweets take a twist in the 140 characters allowed? Well this book is like that except with short stories. Each story was unique, and each story had me absolutely confounded by the end – some due to awe at how deep the short story got, some due to absolute confusion as to why it was even a thing, and some due to annoyance ’cause I really wanted an explanation to why it was a thing (even though the synopsis states clearly that that’s literally the reason why is was written).

I enjoyed about 90% of the stories in this books, the other 10% were okay, but just didn’t appeal to me. Something that was hard to work out for me was taking the work as it was. Often times, I’d flip back pages to figure out if I missed something, when I didn’t, it’s just that the “weird” part of it all wasn’t explained. This both added and detracted from my reading experience.

On one had it was really interesting to read the stories and think, “Hey, that’s really weird and funny” or “I see what you did there, interesting”, while other times I’d be like, “What??”, and then re-read the story from the beginning – leaving it no less confused than when I had read it the first time.

Overall, definitely would recommend. The stories get you thinking about everyday life, as well as get your spirits up. This isn’t a book you have to sit down for a while to read either – each story gives you a dose of happy! My top three stories talk about rolling oranges, toilet paper, and disappearing houses, haha. Check it out – I think there’s something in this book for everyone!

Plot: 4.5/5
Characters: 4/5
World Building: 4.5/5
Writing: 4/5
Cover
: 3/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.48/5

eBook obtained via Roger Charlie in exchange for an honest review.

Book Tour + Review: A Mortal Song

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Welcome to the reveal for Megan Crewe’s new project – A Mortal Song, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!~

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Title: A Mortal Song
Author: Megan Crewe
Publication date: September 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Sora’s life was full of magic—until she discovered it was all a lie.
Heir to Mt. Fuji’s spirit kingdom, Sora yearns to finally take on the sacred kami duties. But just as she confronts her parents to make a plea, a ghostly army invades the mountain. Barely escaping with her life, Sora follows her mother’s last instructions to a heart-wrenching discovery: she is a human changeling, raised as a decoy while her parents’ true daughter remained safe but unaware in modern-day Tokyo. Her powers were only borrowed, never her own. Now, with the world’s natural cycles falling into chaos and the ghosts plotting an even more deadly assault, it falls on her to train the unprepared kami princess. As Sora struggles with her emerging human weaknesses and the draw of an unanticipated ally with secrets of his own, she vows to keep fighting for her loved ones and the world they once protected. But for one mortal girl to make a difference in this desperate war between the spirits, she may have to give up the only home she’s ever known.

Buy Link:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Indigo

Review:

Okay, just to get it out of the way – there are characters named Haru and Jun – I actually grow to like Haru, and Jun is just a name mentioned in passing. That’s right, this is a book about Japan where the characters are Japanese (and Japanese spirits) AND they aren’t named Jun. Rare, right?

This story is about Japanese “spirits” called kami, who are trying to save their kind from an evil spirit. In order to do so, Sora and Takeo need to find the true heir to the kami throne to help defeat the evil spirit. On top of this, Sora needs to come to terms with the shocking news that she is in fact human, and what that means in terms of her relationship with Takeo, and her new band of human friends.

I found this to be a fantastic book about adventure, friendship, love, and self-discovery.

Although Sora has to learn how to cope with being a mere human, she doesn’t get too angsty about it – instead she is strong, resourceful, and open to seeing the world from a different point of view, a human point of view. An honestly, even without the powers, she is absolutely kickass throughout the novel.

To be honest, Takeo as a character was meh to me. He was like wallpaper, and I honestly didn’t see what Sora could be attracted to, save for their childhood history. His character could have also been like this because he was kami. Honestly, I loved Haru and Keiji so much more. As humans, they had more personality and more diversity in responses than Takeo, and they stole the show from him. I loved the characters, overall – they all really complimented each other well, both in skill and wit, and that really helped keep the story moving.

This book got a lot of things right – there was no instant love, but a beginning to something; there wasn’t a special snowflake, but an “oh-crap-I’m-not-actually-special-what-do-I-do-now!?” story line; and there was a lot of culture and time put into world building for the book. Granted, I found that the end was very abrupt and cheesy, the story itself is well worth the read.

The overall concept of the book was fascinating to me, as I’ve never heard of kami before. The concept was new to me, but I loved how it was executed and how it was brought back to the human level of understanding. There was a lot of introspection throughout this book, mainly done by Sora, and I found it to be pretty insightful.

Overall, definitely would recommend!

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
World Building: 5/5
Writing: 4.5/5
Cover: 5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5

eARC obtained via Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Buy Link:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Indigo

About the Author:

Megan

Like many authors, Megan Crewe finds writing about herself much more difficult than making things up. A few definite facts: she lives with her husband, son, and three cats in Toronto, Canada (and does on occasion say “eh”), she tutors children and teens with special needs, and she can’t look at the night sky without speculating about who else might be out there.

Join her newsletter for book news, recommended reads, and exclusive giveaways: http://eepurl.com/btE8mH

Author Links:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

Giveaway:

Tour-wide giveaway (INTL)
  • Japan Media & Treats Prize Pack

ENTER HERE!~

Book Blitz: Dragonfly Nightmare

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Welcome to the Dragonfly Nightmare book blitz, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!~

31416150Title: Dragonfly Nightmare [Once Upon A Secret #1]
Author: Erin Richards
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Suspense
Publication Date: September 12, 2016
GoodReads

Synopsis:

To be a normal teenage girl.
To forget about the past.
To fall in love for the first time.
Is that too much to ask?

Sixteen-year-old Allie Bailey just wants a break—a break from her overly-protected life. And Dragonfly Meadows summer camp is the answer. A summer away from her parents in the California Sierras with her best friend is exactly what she needs.

But once at camp, Allie notices that things are a little off. Paid excursions are cancelled and staff is replaced with shady new people. When the camp’s founder goes “missing,” Allie starts to worry. Unable to let it rest due to her past, she starts to investigate, enlisting the help of Logan Montgomery, her best friend’s older and adorably geeky brother.

When hauntingly familiar flowers appear in Allie’s cabin, she’s not sure what to think—has her past caught up to her? Yet, after Allie stumbles across a murder conspiracy and chases down the truth, she becomes a target. Pushing through her paranoia and fear to find strength, it’s up to Allie to save herself and the campers from a deranged killer before it’s too late.

Buy Links:

Excerpt:

My life turned a corner today to a kickass summer. A glorious day sliding past go and collecting $200 on the highway to my freedom, two days after the ultimate Independence Day. I wanted to shout my bliss to the world, but I refrained from killing my mother’s eardrums any further. Nerd, much?

For the first time in my short sixteen years, I was headed to summer camp. How stupid exciting was that? For others it was no big deal, or even lame. For me, camp meant paradise, considering I’d begged my parents to let me go for the last four summers and got the big, fat no every flipping time. It wasn’t even about money. Just major overprotectiveness due to The Incident That Shall Not Be Cloned.

Although I was joining the Teen Leadership Program as a Cabin Leader, I was coming apart at the seams to revel in the whole camp experience. Not all would be work, though. My best friend slash partner in crime, Laurel Montgomery, and I had dibs on fun. Escaping the house for two weeks was a major step toward more freedom in my life. I just wished my parents held my same excitement. The thought deflated my insane joy.

My gaze bounced to Mom’s white-knuckled grip on the steering wheel. I brushed my fingers over her thigh. “It’ll be okay. You have to let me go sometime.” The four black beads rolled on my leather cuff as I withdrew my hand from her leg. I spun the beads around the band, ignoring their significance for a change.

“I know, Allie. I’m just—”

I curbed the urge to pull more of my hair out before baldness set in. “We’ve hashed this out. You’ve checked out the camp a zillion times. Carla Amadori’s family has owned the joint forever. Laurel and Logan love her, and you spoke to all the other parents.” Overkill if you ask me. “And you know Laurel and Logan will kill anyone who even looks at me wrong.” Even though I kidded, I mentally kicked myself for dredging up that bit of paranoia.

Four years ago on my twelfth birthday, a psycho abducted me and held me at gunpoint for twenty-four hours. My father’s investment brokerage had fired the freak and he flipped. I knew the man from attending various company events. I was lucky he didn’t lay his grubby paws on me or physically harm me. The mental damage was bad enough. Now everyone looked suspicious, and I couldn’t go anywhere without spying one person who looked like a deranged kidnapper. After counseling, I’d learned ways to cope with the trauma, but I still watched my back whenever I left the house. Seriously, I had developed eyes in the back of my head.

The Incident shaped my teenage existence in so many ways. Worst of all, it royally curtailed my freedom. Four smothering years later, because Laurel and her seventeen-year-old brother, Logan, my appointed watchdogs, talked my parents into letting me go, promising they’d stay with me 24/7, I was on my way. Without Laurel’s nagging, I’d be stuck at home this summer with the swimming pool, my cat, and the housekeeper eagle-eyeing my every move.

For the most part, I had buried the memories of the abduction. When I dwelled on them, I made myself believe The Incident was a fictional movie about a girl named Alex. Now, I just wanted to appease my mother before she changed her mind and locked me up at Casa Bailey for the summer. The gates to my prison had opened. By the skin of my dead body, I wasn’t going back inside.

“Happened a long time ago, Mom.” I fingered the bangles on her right wrist. “You have to let it go.” You have to let me go. “Everything will be fine.”

“I know. I know.” Mom’s fingers loosened on the steering wheel. “You have your phone?”

Groaning, I knocked my head on the headrest. “For the millionth time, you know we aren’t allowed to bring them.” The camp was electronic-free, back to nature, home to crappy cell reception. I had no problems living off the grid for two weeks. I wasn’t big on social media or texting anyone except Laurel anyway. The parentals also forbade me to engage on social media, so my phone was simply a phone.

“Right.” Eyes on the road ahead, Mom dug through her purse and withdrew a new smartphone. “Take this.” She stuck it in my hand. “Keep it with you at all times.” A charger landed on my lap.

“Are you kidding me? Mom!” I held the phone as if dog crap coated it. My nose wrinkled. “Paranoid, much?”

“No, I’m not kidding. Don’t tell anyone you have it. Not even Laurel or Logan.”

“You planning to call me every flipping day?” I stuffed the phone in my hobo purse and clutched the bag to my chest, my irritation fading as we neared the school.

“Watch your tongue.” She wheeled the car into the parking lot.

We passed through the familiar scrolled wrought-iron gates of my private school. The campground had a deal with the San Francisco school to use their bus to cart local kids to the camp. Otherwise, you wouldn’t catch me dead or alive on school grounds during the summer.

Vehicles jammed the small parking lot, ignoring the white parking lines. Logan stood by the Montgomery’s silver van. He’d morphed into a taller, sinewy geek with pale skin sorely needing a tan. Maybe he’d buy one at camp, far, far away from me.

Ugh. Why’d he agree to come this summer? Seeing him set off a tumble of thoughts inside my head and an odd crick in my heart I wanted to avoid. I’d once had a tiny crush on the gangly, too-tall-for-his-body loner. Into mixed martial arts, he had a black belt which made him king of the geek squad. Laurel, Logan, and I used to hang like birds on a wire at their home when my parents worked, which was all the time. Then the abduction happened. Next thing, I had the plague as far as he was concerned. He’d disappeared without a word to boarding school in Arizona, and then abruptly returned home this past December for his final semester of junior year. My crush evaporated along with many emotions and feelings that year. We’d avoided one another since his return, both of us burying our heads in the sand. Logan had much ado about the kidnapping, and neither of us had confronted each other about that gruesome event. Talk about lame times ten. Blame, resentment, guilt, sorrow, it all boiled up into a mixed stew when I thought about him. Confusion skewered me most of all. I repeat, ugh.

Buy Links:

About the Author:2994743

Erin Richards lives in sunny Northern California. She writes young adult fiction and adult romance, where you’ll typically find her characters in peril, whether based in reality or a contemporary fantasy setting. Magic, murder and mayhem are all in a days’ work! In her spare time, she enjoys reading, photography, and re-landscaping her backyard, even though she hates digging holes…unless she’s burying fictional bodies! Erin also confesses to a fascination with American muscle cars…and reality TV shows. Keep up with Erin’s latest news, exclusive content, and giveaways and subscribe to her Newsletter.

Author Links:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads

Giveaway:

Blitz-wide giveaway!

  • Sterling silver dragonfly pendant; dragonfly rearview mirror car charm, and dragonfly notebook (US only)
  • $25 PayPal cash or iTunes gift card (winner’s choice) (INTL)

ENTER HERE:

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Megan Crewe’s Secret Project Reveal

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Welcome to the reveal for Megan Crewe’s new project – A Mortal Song, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!~

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Title: A Mortal Song
Author: Megan Crewe
Publication date: September 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Sora’s life was full of magic—until she discovered it was all a lie.
Heir to Mt. Fuji’s spirit kingdom, Sora yearns to finally take on the sacred kami duties. But just as she confronts her parents to make a plea, a ghostly army invades the mountain. Barely escaping with her life, Sora follows her mother’s last instructions to a heart-wrenching discovery: she is a human changeling, raised as a decoy while her parents’ true daughter remained safe but unaware in modern-day Tokyo. Her powers were only borrowed, never her own. Now, with the world’s natural cycles falling into chaos and the ghosts plotting an even more deadly assault, it falls on her to train the unprepared kami princess.As Sora struggles with her emerging human weaknesses and the draw of an unanticipated ally with secrets of his own, she vows to keep fighting for her loved ones and the world they once protected. But for one mortal girl to make a difference in this desperate war between the spirits, she may have to give up the only home she’s ever known.

Buy Link:
Amazon

Pre-order Deal:

Everyone who pre-orders A MORTAL SONG (in any format) and submits their receipt at http://bit.ly/SONGpreorder will receive an exclusive gift package including a digital booklet following Sora’s journey through Japan with behind-the-scenes travel photos and author commentary, a 25-page story giving a look at a key sequence in the book from another character’s POV, and a high-res digital poster of the cover signed by the author. They’ll also get access to a bonus content area with deleted scenes and a chance to earn bigger prizes. And for the entire pre-order period, the ebook is only $0.99!

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About the Author:Megan

Like many authors, Megan Crewe finds writing about herself much more difficult than making things up. A few definite facts: she lives with her husband, son, and three cats in Toronto, Canada (and does on occasion say “eh”), she tutors children and teens with special needs, and she can’t look at the night sky without speculating about who else might be out there.

Join her newsletter for book news, recommended reads, and exclusive giveaways: http://eepurl.com/btE8mH

Author Links:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

Review: How Many Letters Are In Goodbye?

26404153Title: How Many Letters Are In Goodbye?
Author: Yvonne Cassidy
Publication Date: March 8, 2016
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
GoodReads

Synopsis:

It’s been almost eleven years since Rhea Farrell last wrote to her mother.

It was a Friday night ritual – until Rhea’s father decided it was stupid to write letters to a dead person. That was the summer before the accident. The summer before Rhea began to keep her first secret.

Now about to turn eighteen, Rhea finds herself alone on the streets of New York with nobody to talk to about the future, or the past. So, just like she used to do as a little girl, she begins a letter with the words ‘Dear Mum’ and tells her mother the things she can’t tell anyone else.

In the city where Allison Farrell was born, her daughter begins to delve into her past. And as she uncovers more about who her mother truly was, Rhea starts to figure out exactly who she herself wants to be. And that sometimes it takes longer than you think to say goodbye…

Did I pick this book up because of its intriguing cover? Maybe… But did I stay for the story? Definitely.

I saw this book and thought of 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson, and thought I’d give it a shot. To be perfectly honest with you, the beginning of this book took me about two weeks to get through. It was difficult getting into the story – Rhea begins as a curious, but fairly bitter character – she’s an orphan and has been scorned by the only family she has left, it makes sense. However, this is probably where the story loses a few points for me. As it was so hard for me to get into, a fair amount of the first third of the book was something I had to push myself through.

That being said, as time went on – as she met new people, gained better influences, and got back into the world – Rhea really began to grow on me as a character – I actually began to like her!

This book really depicts how people can change people – given the right opportunities and the right support, anyone can come back from the darkness they’ve shrouded themselves in. This book was a roller coaster of emotion. It made me love her family, and then hate them for backstabbing her. Then I loved a few of the other characters, and again trust was broken. Scorned, betray, distrustful – I understood all these emotions through Rhea and I felt for her – as new characters began popping up, I approached them with the same distrust she did. It’s hard to be let down so many times without becoming jaded.

The story unfolds slowly, but very well. While I believe the pacing could have been better (i.e. this book could have been a lot shorter), I liked that I got to know Rhea so well. I liked that they really dug into her history and what made her her, but also put focus on the future – who she was, how she could grow, and who she could become one day.

Of the novel, there was one point in particular that surprised me – mainly because it wasn’t advertised, and it was done so well – it was so subtle that I felt it was natural. Of course that was it, of course that happened – why wouldn’t it?

As a whole, How Many Letters Are In Goodbye was very well crafted and very well done.

Plot: 3.5/5
Characters: 4/5
World Building: 4.5/5
Writing: 4/5
Cover: 5/5
Overall: 3.5/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.46/5

eARC obtained via Flux via NetGalley

Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy Party

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Hi, there! Rebecca Hamilton here to tell you how SUPER excited we are to bring you this MEGA giveaway! First place prize is a $1,000 Amazon Gift Card, but we also have 12 runner up ebook and paperback prizes! Entering will connect you with 21 paranormal romance and urban fantasy authors for more great deals, freebies, and giveaway, so in a way, everyone wins!

Before you enter the giveaway, check out an interview with Emily Mitchell from the Middlemarch Shifters series by Shelley Munro, one of the authors sponsoring the giveaway!


Hi! Greetings from New Zealand, and a big thank you for hosting me and helping to spread the word about My Scarlet Woman and the Middlemarch Shifters series. I’ve brought a friend with me today—Emily Scarlet.

EMILY: Excuse me, Shelley. It’s Emily Mitchell now.

SHELLEY: Right! Pardon me. I thought I’d start from the beginning. Why don’t you tell everyone how you decided to visit Middlemarch?

EMILY: Sure. It was an emotional time in my life. My first husband changed after our marriage. I was happy playing wife and homemaker, cooking for him and making sure everything was just so while he concentrated on his career. What I didn’t know was that Michael was having an affair with his secretary. Color me stupid! I didn’t have a clue. The first I learned of the affair was at breakfast when he told me I was boring and he was leaving me for Tessa. Then, a few hours later, the police were at the door telling me Michael was dead. A car accident.

For six months I brooded and one day I decided, enough. The cheating louse wasn’t worth it. I went shopping, changed my hair and swapped my glasses for contacts. A poster for the Middlemarch Singles dance caught my eye, and I decided it was fate. The perfect place to find a man for one night of naughtiness. My girlfriend Maggie, who was also my sister-in-law, just about had a cow when I told her what I intended to do. She insisted on going with me and kept telling me I needed medication. She was wrong. It was the best decision ever!

SHELLEY: Emily, the special man you met that night swept you off your feet, and you ended up marrying him. We won’t spoil the story for readers, but tell me more about Middlemarch. It’s a small country town. Don’t you miss the city?

EMILY: I adore Middlemarch. It’s home. Why don’t I give you a list of the reasons I love living in Middlemarch? Besides, the next Middlemarch Singles Ball is soon. The ladies reading this might enjoy attending. http://www.middlemarch.co.nz/events/singles-ball.html

SHELLEY: Thanks, Emily! That would be great.

Emily Mitchell’s Top Reasons to Visit Middlemarch, New Zealand

  1. The ratio of men to women. There are eligible bachelors in every direction you look. That’s the reason the ball started—to bring more women to the Middlemarch region.
  2. A large majority of the men have special abilities. *glances over shoulder* Sorry, I can’t tell you more, but if you spend any length of time with one man and love is in the air, he’ll let you in on the secret.
  3. There is a real sense of family and community. The Mitchells are a big family, but their friends are an extended family too. Trouble brings them circling the wagons, I can tell you!
  4. The scenery is gorgeous in all seasons and the air is crisp and clean.
  5. The town is safe, a good place for kids. *pauses* We’ve had a problem…no, Middlemarch is a safe place.
  6. The city isn’t far away. We can drive there in an hour if the need for a fancy dinner or culture strikes.
  7. The Middlemarch Rail Trail and the Taieri Gorge Train bring lots of tourists. They’re both fun activities, even for locals.
  8. The local café, Storm in a Teacup, makes brilliant coffee. The meals are excellent too. Of course I’m biased since I own the place.
  9. The local pub is rough and rustic, but they serve a good beer. Excellent on a hot summer’s day like today.
  10. It’s where my husband Saber was born, and he’s a man in a million.

SHELLEY: Thanks for telling us about Middlemarch, Emily.

Readers, if you’d like to learn more about Middlemarch and the Middlemarch Shifters series, please download your FREE copy of Welcome to Middlemarch here. https://www.instafreebie.com/free/i9fGK

 


Don’t forget to also check out the complete list of books included in this promotion! Some of the authors have even put their books on sale just for you! Click any book to check it out on Amazon!


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Enter the Giveaway – Click Here!

Book Blitz: The Proverbial Mr. Universe

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Welcome to The Proverbial Mr. Universe Book Blitz, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!~

proverbialTitle: The Proverbial Mr. Universe
Author: Maria La Serra
Publication date: June 27th 2016
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
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Synopsis:

Dear girl with the red scarf,
Love was never meant to be conquered;
you have to surrender to it.
Trust me. After all, I am Mr. Universe.

When the universe conveys a message, you listen.

Olivia Montiano just caught her fiancé cheating. Now she is forced to question what she wants out of life and love. Striving to live up to her father’s unrealistic standards for the past twenty-three years, every decision she has ever made was with her father’s wishes in mind—until she finds mysterious, handwritten letters tucked away in places only meant for her. That’s when she realizes she’s been on the wrong path all along and gives her heart to a guy her father thinks is entirely wrong.

Washed-up abstract artist Nick Montgomery has had quite a few setbacks in life. He’s become accustomed to never needing anyone, thinking he’s just fine—until he meets the girl with the red scarf. She’s not his type. But the universe has other ideas. Nick has a secret he’s keeping from her, afraid it will bring their new relationship to a sudden halt.

Will they figure out what the universe holds for them?

Buy Links:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Excerpt:

She was taken aback. “I … I’m not looking for anyone. The only reason I’m here tonight was to get away from someone.”

“Right, and here you are … you found me instead. You can’t deny it’s not serendipity.”

“Serendipity?” Olivia repeated.

“Look, I believe you walked into this bar tonight, not by chance, and I was meant to talk to you. When you’re not looking for something and find something extraordinary, that’s serendipity.” He motioned with his hand in the air like it was some magic trick.

She observed in silence, wondering if this sort of crap worked with other women.

“You think you’re something extraordinary?”

“No, not me … us,” he replied.

Olivia laughed. “Do girls fall for this kind of stuff?”

“I wouldn’t know,” he replied honestly and let out a long breath. “Alright look, we got off on the wrong foot. Can we call it a truce?”

Olivia bit her lip. She hated to admit it, but she was kind of having fun, well maybe just a little. He did manage to get her to forget her problems at least for the moment.

“Nick Montgomery.” He encouraged her by holding out his hand.

She hesitated before taking it. “Olivia … Montiano.”

“Olivia Montiano? Is that your real name?”

“Yeah, why wouldn’t it be?” Her brows tangled together.

“You’re not one of those girls who like to toy with men. Give them a fake name and number?”

“Do I look like the kind of girl who would do such a thing?”

He amusingly narrowed his eyes at her.

“Okay.” She laughed. “Yes, Olivia is my name. I was named after Olivia Hussey.”

“No way!”

She caught sarcasm and narrowed her eyes at him. “Are you familiar with Olivia Hussey?”

“Yeah, sure. Everyone knows who Olivia Hussey is … okay, not really.”

“She’s an actress, obviously one of my mother’s favorites.”

He shrugged. “Anyhow, it’s a lovely name.”

He tapped his fingers on the counter. “Montiano … where have I heard that name before? Sounds very familiar to me.”

She shrugged innocently. Her surname name had been all over the news for the past year.

“Hey, you know what I realized? We share the same first four letters in our surname. You have to admit it’s more than a coincidence.” he said.

“Wow! A good observation.” She smirked, not seeing what the big deal was.

He studied her for a moment, raising his hands in the air in defeat.

“Alright, Olivia Montiano, I give up. I see you’re a woman of many well-kept secrets, and you have the right to them.”

After a short moment of silence, she said, “So, what’s your story?” She was trying to be a little more friendly-ish.

“Nope, I’m not going to tell you a single thing.”

“Alright, I guess I deserve that,” Olivia replied.

“Okay, you don’t have to twist my arm. I’ll tell you … but over dinner.”

“You don’t give up? No, that won’t be possible.”

“Are you afraid that you will find me interesting? See, I’m the type of guy who stays on your mind, long after you met me.” His eyes danced.

Oh great, he was one of those. Full of himself. She should introduce him to Dario.

“For sure. You’re not a guy who is … forgettable.” Olivia laughed.

“Are you making fun of me?”

“You’re a very strange man, Montgomery.”

He took out a blue pen from under the counter. “Give me your hand,” he asked and extended his hand to her. She hesitated for a moment, allowing him to take her hand in his.

“You’re not going to write your phone number, are you?”

“Only a fake one.” He smiled.

Blitz #3

Buy Links:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the Author:Maria

Maria La Serra, a fashion designer, turned writer, lives in Montreal with her husband and two children. She will try everything at least once, except for skiing, hiking or camping-okay anything relating to activities done in the great outdoors. The Proverbial Mr. Universe is her first novel.

Author Links:
Website | GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway:

Bitz-wide giveaway for a $15 Amazon Gift Card, open internationally!

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Review: The Raven Boys

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Title: The Raven Boys [The Raven Cycle #1]
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy Romance
Published: September 18, 2012
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them–until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.

His name is Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She doesn’t believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

Since the final book just came out, I decided to give this series a chance.

A friend was the first person to tell me about this series – how did I miss the absolutely stunning cover? Well, I didn’t really, but I saw Maggie’s name on it an walked away.

No offense to Maggie Stiefvater, but her Shiver/Linger/Forever series bored me to tears. I read all of them, despite becoming greatly disinterested about 25% way through. The series was just too cheesy and repetitive and cliche for my taste.

That being said, I really enjoyed The Raven Boys.

The novel’s synopsis really doesn’t do the book justice. It’s not a dumb book about love, it’s more of a paranormal mystery.

Blue is from a family of psychics, except all she can do is act as an amplifier to her powers. Otherwise, she’s about as useful as a stool (when it comes to paranormal oddness). As such, she finds herself an accessory when it comes to her aunt seeing the dead, or her mom doing a particularly difficult reading. That is, until she’s recording dead spirits into a book, and suddenly sees one for herself.

His name is Gansey, and though she’s never met him, her aunt tells her that if she can see his spirit, then she either kills him, or is his true love.

Cheesy right? Not really.

Because once she meets Gansey, they do not really mesh – instead it’s his friend Adam that courts her.

Now on to Gansey and friends. The Raven boys are the “privileged” – identifiable by the school crest on their sweaters. They’re the sort of people whom you can smell money rolling off of. Except Adam, but we’ll come back to him.

Gansey is the leader, generally chill and level headed, and hell bent on finding Glendower – an ancient king who supposedly possesses enough power to have lay in a sort of stasis since he disappeared hundreds of years ago. Due to this Gansey has an odd interest in ley lines and magic things.

Then there’s Ronan, generally rough around the edges, and in the edges, and everywhere else for that matter. He actually became one of my favourite characters simply because he was such an enigma. Throughout this book, you never really find out much about him, but still find yourself loving his character.

Adam’s next. While he goes to the richy rich school, he’s actually not rich – just smart. And he works damn hard to be. But his life isn’t easy as pie, and he finds himself resenting Gansey for the money he has (and sometimes flaunts). Adam is determined to escape his circumstances on his own, without anyone’s help or charity – i.e., his pride is surprisingly bigger than all the richy rich people.

And lastly, there’s Noah. Oddly my favourite character, despite the fact that he rarely speaks. I love him so much, and I can’t even tell you why ’cause spoilers.

Overall, this book sets up the rest of the series – we learn a lot about what they’re looking for and how they’re going to find it, and about all those who tried to do so before them. While there was a lot of information, I didn’t find it totally overwhelming, likely because it was spread out throughout the entire novel. That being said, there were times where I had to read sections over again ’cause it just didn’t process the first time.

The book also has a lot of background for characters, and I actually felt like much of the storyline was Adam’s, instead of Gansey’s and Blue’s. Although they presented a lot of background information, Adam really stood out in this novel for a great number of reasons. Also helped that both Blue and Gansey thought about him a lot.

Overall, this novel was more of a mystery than a romance – there was actually very little romance in it in general. There’s a lot of intrigue and surprises, and it honestly kept my interest the entire time. Definitely would say to give it a chance, it might surprise you.

Plot: 4.5/5
Characters: 3.5/5
Writing: 4/5
World Building: 5/5
Cover: 5/5
Overall: 4/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.04/5

Blog Tour + Guest Post: Artificial

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Welcome to the Artificial blog tour, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!~

Artificial

Title: Artificial [The Kepler Chronicles #1]
Author: Jadah McCoy
Published by: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication date
: April 4th 2016
Genres
: New Adult Science Fiction
GoodReads

Synopsis:

She struggles to feel human.

In 2256, the only remnants of civilization on Earth’s first colonized planet, Kepler, are the plant-covered buildings and the nocturnal, genetically spliced bug-people nesting within them: the Cull. During the day, Syl leaves her home in the sewers beneath Elite City to scavenge for food, but at night the Cull come looking for a meal of their own. Syl thought gene splicing died with the Android War a century ago. She thought the bugs could be exterminated, Elite city rebuilt, and the population replenished. She’s wrong.

Whoever engineered the Cull isn’t done playing God. Syl is abducted and tortured in horrific experiments which result in her own DNA being spliced, slowly turning her into one of the bugs. Now she must find a cure and stop the person responsible before every remaining man, woman, and child on Kepler is transformed into the abomination they fear.

He struggles not to.

For Bastion, being an android in the sex industry isn’t so bad. Clubbing beneath the streets of New Elite by day and seducing the rich by night isn’t an altogether undesirable occupation. But every day a new android cadaver appears in the slum gutters, and each caved in metal skull and heap of mangled wires whittles away at him.

Glitches—androids with empathy—are being murdered, their models discontinued and strung up as a warning. Show emotion, you die. Good thing Bastion can keep a secret, or he would be the next body lining the street.

He can almost live with hiding his emotions. That is, until a girl shows up in the slums—a human girl, who claims she was an experiment. And in New Elite, being a human is even worse than being a Glitch. Now Bastion must help the girl escape before he becomes victim to his too-human emotions, one way or another.

Buy Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Guest Post:

Welcome author Jadah McCoy (JM), as well as Syl and Bastion from Artificial! Today, Syl and Bastion will be giving us a peak into their lives before Artificial. Enjoy!

JM: Hey guys! Tell the audience a bit about yourselves!

Syl: Well, I grew up on Kepler in the sewers beneath Elite. Scrounging for food, barely surviving, you know the drill. My life revolves around avoiding those fu—

Bastion: *he covers Syl’s mouth with his palm* Careful, darling. A family blog is no place for your potty mouth.

Syl: *she rolls her eyes, swatting him away* Like I was saying, the Cull come out at night, and we do our best to avoid them. I don’t plan on being eaten anytime soon.

Bastion: *waggles his eyebrows very inappropriately*

JM: And you, Bastion?

Bastion: Me? Oh, I’m boring, really. *he makes a dismissive hand gesture* I live in a metropolis and occasionally pester an old mechanic into partaking in my mischief.

JM: So your homes are obviously very different, then.

Syl: *glances at Bastion* They couldn’t be more different. His is full of bright lights and life, mine is comprised of empty buildings and death. His flourishes, mine is slowly dying.

JM: But both are obviously very dangerous, albeit in different ways.

Bastion: Yes, well, while Syl here turns giant bugs into puddles of guts for a living, New Elite’s monsters are not quite so forthcoming.

JM: I see. And what was life like before you two met?

*they both look away, thoughtful*

Syl: Well, it wasn’t great.

JM: How so?

Syl: A lot of people died…some of them because of me. We were running out of food, out of space…running out of time.

JM: That sounds not so great. Bastion?

Bastion: It was…long and boring. Before Syl, my life was like a moonless night, and then she shot across my sky like a meteor.

Syl: *she rolls her eyes* This is him avoiding the question.

JM: …Did you really just quote Twilight?

Bastion: What? It’s a classic!

JM: Now I think you’re trying to get me off track.

Bastion: I would never. In fact, I resent that.

JM: Back on track! There’s a lot to hate about Elite and New Elite, that much is clear. But what’s one thing you love about where you live?

Bastion: Easy. That there’s still good in my fellow androids, despite all the war, the genocide, the horrors. There are still those out there willing to sacrifice themselves to help other androids, to help Glitches, and even humans.

JM: Syl?

Syl: I guess the mystery…the beauty. There’s so much knowledge out there…about my people, where they came from, all the strange things about them I don’t understand yet. It’s strange to walk into a room, untouched by anything but dust. The person’s shirt still laying across their bed where they took it off last. All their belongings still there. It’s haunting.

JM: I can see that. You must feel like an intruder everywhere you go.

Syl: Sometimes, yeah.

JM: So, I took the liberty of gathering a few questions from your adoring fans!

Bastion: Oh, joy! Let me sum it up for you, love. I don’t dream of electric sheep, I’m not going to tell you a joke, and my joy stick only vibrates if you pay ex—

Syl: *she covers his mouth with her hand, this time* Family blog, remember?

JM: Okay! First question is from Holly. What does Syl find most attractive about Bastion?

Bastion: Oi! These questions aren’t so bad!

Syl: Seriously? What do I find most attractive about Bastion? Hm… Probably the stupid face he makes when he gets his ass kicked and I have to save him.

Bastion: That’s cold, love.

JM: Next question is from Dylan. Bastion, as a Glitch, can you recognize other Glitches?

Bastion: Not really. I don’t have a “Glitch radar,” so to speak. But there are certain places Glitches are more apt to frequent.

JM: Last one. From Teresa, why does android society seemingly follow so many human social conventions?

Bastion: *laughs* I’ll say this: humanity is a hard habit to break once it’s learned. And the vastly superior genetically enhanced apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, my friends.

JM: Very interesting. Well, that’s all I’ve got for you. Thanks for answering questions!

Bastion: No problem. Thanks for creating us!

Syl: *laughs* See ya, boss.

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Buy Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the Author:Jadah

Jadah currently lives in Nashville, TN and works in law. When not babysitting attorneys, she can be found juicing her brain for creative ideas or fantasizing about her next trip out of the country (or about Tom Hiddleston as Loki – it’s always a toss up when she fantasizes).

She grew up in rural Arkansas, yet can still write good and sometimes even wears shoes! She did date her first cousin for a while but they decided against marriage for the sake of the gene pool.

Her true loves are elephants, cursing, and sangria – in that order. If you find an elephant that curses like a sailor whilst drinking sangria, you’re dangerously close to becoming her next romantic victim – er, partner.

She cut her writing teeth on badly written, hormone-driven fanfiction (be glad that’s out of her system), and her one true dream is to have wildly erotic fanfiction with dubious grammar written about her own novels. Please make her dreams come true.

Author Links:

Website | GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway:

Enter to win a signed copy of Artificial. Open to U.S. and Canada!

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