Book Tour + Author Interview: Mind Virus

Welcome to the Mind Virus Book Tour, hosted by Roger Charlie!~

Title: Mind Virus
Author: Charles Kowalski
Publication Date: July 1, 2017
Genre: Mystery Thriller
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Robin Fox, peace-loving professor of world religions, wants only to leave his dark past as a military interrogator behind him. But when an unknown suspect tries to disperse a deadly virus in downtown Washington, Fox is unwillingly drawn back into the shadowy world of intelligence.

The FBI and CIA automatically suspect Islamic terrorists, but Fox digs deeper to discover the far more frightening truth: a global conspiracy to eradicate all religion from the face of the earth.

From Washington to Jerusalem, from Rome to London, Fox must use all his wits in a perilous race to stop a psychopathic mastermind from unleashing worldwide devastation.

Buy Links:
Publisher | Amazon

Interview:

What is the theme of Mind Virus?

Mainly, that the fanaticism that leads to violence can be found anywhere, whether among religious believers or nonbelievers, and the will to seek peace and understanding can also be found anywhere.

How do you develop your plots and characters?

Everything begins with “What if…?” In this case, the question was, “Everyone is always talking about terror in the name of religion; could there be terror in the name of atheism?” From this question flows the rest of the plot and the characters. It was easy to develop Robin Fox; he’s the person I might have been if my life had taken a slightly different turn. As for the other characters, they may be loosely patterned on a real person, or a composite of several. If a minor character doesn’t seem sufficiently well-developed, I ask myself: if I were an actor, how would I play this character? How would I see the story from his or her point of view, since in our own minds, we’re always the central character of any story we appear in?

Tell us about your background. What made you decide to pursue writing?

I’ve been writing stories ever since I learned to write, and finished my first (unpublished) novel at the age of 17. I write fiction because my mind naturally frames things in terms of stories; that’s how I try to make sense of complex issues. I also find that, especially on controversial and polarizing issues, the best way—perhaps the only way—of getting people to see an alternative point of view is through story.

Tell us about the challenges of getting your book published. How did it come about?

It was indeed a challenge. The manuscript won more than its fair share of awards and nominations, and agents and editors found the premise intriguing, but not enough to sign, possibly because they felt the story was too controversial to make it past a risk-averse editorial board. But after dissipating my savings in writers’ conferences, I finally met—on a Twitter pitch fest, of all places—an editor willing to take a leap of faith, Susan Brooks.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Forget what they say about “write what you know.” Write what excites your imagination, and the knowledge you need can be acquired. And if a story grabs hold of you and won’t let go . . . tell it! Pay no attention to the inner voices that say “this is no good” or “no one else will be interested in it.” Believe in yourself, even when it feels like no one else does. To paraphrase Florence Foster Jenkins, people may say you can’t write, but never let it be said that you didn’t write.

Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer? If so, what do you do during the day?

I teach English at a university in Japan. Living abroad adds an extra layer of challenge to the writing process. I often feel somewhat out of touch with contemporary American culture, and research that for a U.S.-based writer would take only a simple trip to the local library, or a call to a local expert, for me requires careful planning and considerable expense. But on the other hand, field research in exotic locations is easier, and living at a distance from my native culture gives me a different perspective from writers who are immersed in it.

What are some of your favorite authors or books?

Of course, I took some inspiration from the big names in the genre, like Lee Child. Tana French showed me it’s possible to write genre fiction with a literary flair. Dan Brown, Daniel Silva, and Jeffrey Small paved the way for thrillers with religious themes. Barry Eisler and Barry Lancet showed me it’s possible for Japan-based authors to produce books with worldwide appeal; I’m hoping the same will prove true even for one who isn’t named Barry! And the list wouldn’t be complete without Leo J. Maloney, who ever since our chance meeting at Killer Nashville has been very generous with his time and expertise and always gave me a dose of encouragement at just the time I needed it.

Thanks so much for your time! We look forward to your upcoming projects!

About the Author:

 

Charles Kowalski is almost as much a citizen of the world as his fictional character, Robin Fox, having lived abroad for over 15 years, visited over 30 countries, and studied over 10 languages. His unpublished debut novel, Mind Virus, won the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Colorado Gold Award and was a finalist for the Adventure Writers’ Competition, the Killer Nashville Claymore Award, and the Pacific Northwest Writers’ Association literary award.

Charles currently divides his time between Japan, where he teaches English at a university, and his family home in Maine.

Mind Virus is scheduled for publication by Literary Wanderlust on July 1, 2017.

Other novels and short stories by Charles Kowalski:

“Let This Cup Pass From Me”

“Arise, My Love”

“The Evil I Do Not Mean To Do”

Author Links:
Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Official Website

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Review: The Darkest Corners

Title: The Darkest Corners
Author: Kara Thomas
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Mystery Thriller
Publication Date: April 19, 2016
GoodReads

Synopsis:

There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them.

Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.

Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.

But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.

Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.

Review:

This took a me a long time to review. It’s not that it was a bad book – it was quite good in fact. I think it was because I didn’t know what to do with it. At the end, I had so many questions that didn’t have answers. Here I am, a year later, reflecting on it, and I still say that it’s a pretty great book.

I liked Tessa. I enjoyed accompanying her on her hunt for clues, even when her curiosity made my stomach clench in fear for her. In the end, I also ended up liking Callie, despite my initial annoyance with her character. She grows up, I think, a lot throughout the novel.

Admittedly, the pacing was a little slow. There was a lot of history of the characters and of the town itself, and a lot of “why me” thoughts. But I felt like the book as a whole was put together well. Nothing was revealed too quickly, and I liked that there were some dead ends. It helped make the story more intriguing and creepy.

I read this book when I was taking a criminal profiling class in uni and I found it fascinating to learn and read about this whole thing simultaneously. While I found that some things made sense, I felt that there were a couple things that were a bit of a stretch. In the end though, I was too surprised to really care much about the couple of things that didn’t really click for me.

The end itself was quite the surprise for me, but at the same time, it left me wondering so many things. I get that there wouldn’t be a second one, but maybe a little more added to the ending would have been eye opening, or it might have ruined it, I don’t know.

The thing I love about Kara is that her books always surprise me. I really enjoyed her Prep School Confidential series, and I loved this books as well. I look forward to diving into her new book, Little Monsters, when it comes out in July!

Plot: 4.5/5
Characters: 4.5/5
World Building: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Pacing: 4/5
Overall: 4.5/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.78/5

eARC obtained via Delacorte Press via Random House Children’s via NetGalley.

Book Blitz: Authors to Benefit Diabetes Research

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Welcome to the Authors to Benefit Diabetes Research Book Blitz, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!~

Diabetes

Titles: Sweet Talk, Sweet Dreams, Sweet Seduction
Publication Date: May 1st 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Thriller
Synopsis:

Sweet Talk Boxed Set
Priced at only $9.99, this heart-warming, limited edition collection features ten BRAND NEW contemporary romances by New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors

Sweet Dreams Boxed Set
Priced at only $9.99, this fascinating limited edition collection features thirteen BRAND NEW thrillers by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling authors

Sweet Seduction Boxed Set
Priced at only 9.99, this stunning limited edition collection features thirteen BRAND NEW contemporary romances by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling authors.

Buy Links:
Amazon:
Sweet Talk
Sweet Dreams
Sweet Seduction

Barnes & Noble:
Sweet Talk
Sweet Dreams
Sweet Seduction

iBook:
Sweet Talk
Sweet Dreams
Sweet Seduction

Excerpt from Wanderlust by Roni Loren:

When the song finished, Lex sauntered to the edge of the stage to address the audience. “How’s everyone doing tonight?”

Screams answered him. He gave an easy laugh, clearly comfortable being the center of attention.

 “I’m glad y’all are having a good time. We are, too. New Orleans definitely knows how to throw a party.” He put his hand against his brow to shield his eyes from the spotlights and squinted at the sea of people below him. “Turn up those house lights. I want to see these beautiful faces.”

Female voices reverberated off the walls as the lights above the crowd switched on. A redhead a few steps away from Aubrey lifted up her shirt as soon as Lex’s eyes traveled in that direction. Nice. What was this? Mardi Gras? Lex smiled and gave a little nod of acknowledgement to boob-job girl, but otherwise didn’t comment.

“You know, I’m feeling mighty thirsty, and I heard a rumor that New Orleans is home of the body shot,” Lex said, continuing to survey the audience with a sly smile. “So I’m thinking, that maybe I should try one tonight. What do you think?”

The shouting of the crowd increased.

“Now all I need is…a willing victim,” Lex continued. Bustier girl began her bouncing routine again and waved her hands frantically trying to catch his eye. Lex paced across the stage, taking his time, holding his finger up and preparing to point to the chosen one.

Aubrey put her money on Miss Augmentation, but he passed that section up without a glance. As he neared Aubrey’s end of the stage, his eyes landed on her exuberant neighbor. The girl’s scream turned shrill. “Pick me! Me! Me!”

Lex lowered his hand ready to point and then shifted his gaze, locking eyes with Aubrey. Her breath caught. Oh, shit. Seconds seemed to tick by, but she couldn’t pull away from the stare. She managed to wag her head slowly back and forth. No. No. No.

He smiled, lowered his finger, and pointed directly at her. “You. The sexy brunette in the black t-shirt.”

Her stomach took a nosedive.

“Come on, I won’t bite,” Lex said, waving her forward. “Unless you ask nicely, that is.”

The girl next to Aubrey shot her a glare that could have curdled milk. The sea of fans parted as if she’d suddenly morphed into royalty, and she forced her leaden feet to cross the few yards to the barricade. Her heart took up residence in her throat, threatening to jump out. This was a disaster. She silently cursed the bouncer from backstage. If she had met the band beforehand, she would’ve never ended up in this position. Building a professional relationship with the band after this was going to be next to impossible.

Hands patted her back and shoulders as the two bouncers flanking the stage helped her climb over the metal barrier. Lex squatted at the edge of the stage, all wicked grin and guyliner, and stuck his hand out. He cocked his head, beckoning her closer in a way that spoke without the words. Come on over, lamb, said the wolf. This will only take a minute.

Giveaway:

Open internationally.

Brenda Novak (Sweet Talk & Sweet Dreams)
— Brenda Novak Mini-Tote with Three Autographed Whiskey Creek Paperbacks
Melissa Foster (Sweet Talk)
— DESTINED FOR LOVE, Digital E-book
— HEARTS AT PLAY, Digital E-book
— TAKEN BY LOVE, Digital E-book
— FATED FOR LOVE, Digital E-book
Allison Brennan (Sweet Dreams)
— MURDER IN THE RIVER CITY, Digital E-book
Lauren Hawkeye (Sweet Seduction)
— All Three Parts of THE OTHER BROTHER, Digital E-book
Gina L. Maxwell (Sweet Talk)
— SEDUCING CINDERELLA, Digital E-book
— RULES OF ENTABLEMENT, Digital E-book
— FIGHTING FOR IRISH, Digital E-book
Violet Duke (Sweet Talk)
— LOVE, CHOCOLATE, AND BEER, Digital E-book
— LOVE, DIAMONDS, AND SPADES, Digital E-book
— LOVE, TUSSLES, AND TAKEDOWNS, Digital E-book
— LOVE, EXES, AND OHS, Digital E-book
Nancy Naigle (Sweet Talk)
— SWEET TEA & SECRETS, Autographed Paperback
— WEDDING CAKE AND BIG MISTAKES, Autographed Paperback
— OUT OF FOCUS, Autographed Paperback
CJ Lyons (Sweet Dreams)
— SNAKE SKIN, Digital E-book
Tiffany Snow (Sweet Dreams)
— SHADOW OF A DOUBT, Digital E-book
Steena Holmes (Sweet Talk)
— THE MEMORY CHILD, Digital E-book
Liliana Hart (Sweet Dreams)
— DOWN AND DIRTY, Digital E-book
Nina Lane (Sweet Seduction)
— All Three Novels in the SPIRAL OF BLISS series, Digital E-book
— BREAK THE SKY, Digital E-book
Molly O’Keefe (Sweet Talk)
— BETWEEN THE SHEETS, Digital E-book
Rosalind James (Sweet Talk)
— JUST FOR NOW, Digital E-book
Cynthia Eden (Sweet Dreams)
— BROKEN, Digital E-book

ENTER HERE!~

Tour + Review: Mean Streak

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Welcome to the Mean Streak Blog Tour, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours !~

MeanStreakTitle: Mean Streak
Author: Sandra Brown
Publication Date: August 19, 2014
Publisher: Grand Central
Genre: Adult Romance Suspense
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Dr. Emory Charbonneau, a pediatrician and marathon runner, disappears on a mountain road in North Carolina. By the time her husband Jeff, miffed over a recent argument, reports her missing, the trail has grown cold. Literally. Fog and ice encapsulate the mountainous wilderness and paralyze the search for her.

While police suspect Jeff of “instant divorce,” Emory, suffering from an unexplained head injury, regains consciousness and finds herself the captive of a man whose violent past is so dark that he won’t even tell her his name. She’s determined to escape him, and willing to take any risks necessary to survive.

Unexpectedly, however, the two have a dangerous encounter with people who adhere to a code of justice all their own. At the center of the dispute is a desperate young woman whom Emory can’t turn her back on, even if it means breaking the law.

As her husband’s deception is revealed, and the FBI closes in on her captor, Emory begins to wonder if the man with no name is, in fact, her rescuer.

Buy Links:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iTunes
Kobo

Review:

This is the first book that I’ve read, in a long time, that actually had me captivated from beginning to end. Also, it was my first Sandra Brown book ever. And I loved it! It was intense, it was interesting, and I actually didn’t expect that end.

I think my favourite part of this book is that I didn’t expect the end at all. Like maybe one part here and there, but I just… it was really well organized and everything just falls into place at the end and it’s wonderful.

I love every character in this book, well except for that cheeseball, but that’s ’cause he’s supposed to be annoying. ANYWAYS. I loved Emory. She’s a pure hearted character, but she doesn’t come off as the cookie-cutter type. She enjoys helping people for the sake of helping people, and doesn’t care for riches, fortune, or popularity, and I love that Brown made her characters in a way that seemed normal and realistic.

The others characters popped out of the page for me as well, and I loved that, throughout the novel, each one rolled down a road I never expected them to take. The number of random twists and loops kept me guessing and I thoroughly enjoyed being part of the ride.

I think my two favourite characters were Knight and Grange, the two police men on Emory’s case. They were the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of the novel, as some of their lines just sent me off grinning like a fool in the middle of my Shakespeare lecture (yes, we were learning about Hamlet).

The plot itself had a couple of holes and unanswered questions, but overall it was a very well pieced together novel. It did kind of strike me the wrong way as to how various characters kind of let their unanswered questions slide. Sometimes, they would question something, and then the other character would give them a vague answer that wouldn’t sit well with them or the audience, and a number of times, we never got that answer. This still bothers me as I ask the question “Why?” for a few actions and reactions throughout the book. I understand that some were meant to lead readers towards a different conclusions, but I feel like it could have flowed better, or have been a bit more cohesive within the storyline.

Overall, I loved this book. I love mystery/thriller type novels and this was the perfect book to get me back into reading!

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4.5/5
Writing: 4.5/5
World Building: 5/5
Cover: 4/5
Overall: 4.5/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.01/5

Buy Links:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iTunes
Kobo

About the Author:Sandra

Sandra Brown is the author of more than sixty New York Times bestsellers, including DEADLINE(2013), LOW PRESSURE (2012), LETHAL (2011), TOUGH CUSTOMER (2010), SMASH CUT (2009), SMOKE SCREEN (2008), PLAY DIRTY (2007), RICOCHET (2006), CHILL FACTOR (2005), WHITE HOT (2004), & HELLO, DARKNESS (2003).

Brown began her writing career in 1981 and since then has published over seventy novels, bringing the number of copies of her books in print worldwide to upwards of eighty million. Her work has been translated into over thirty languages.

A lifelong Texan, Sandra Brown was born in Waco, grew up in Fort Worth and attended Texas Christian University, majoring in English. Before embarking on her writing career, she worked as a model at the Dallas Apparel Mart, and in television, including weathercasting for WFAA-TV in Dallas, and feature reporting on the nationally syndicated program “PM Magazine.”

In 2009 Brown detoured from her thrillers to write, Rainwater, a much acclaimed, powerfully moving story about honor and sacrifice during the Great Depression.

Brown recently was given an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Texas Christian University. She was named Thriller Master for 2008, the top award given by the International Thriller Writer’s Association. Other awards and commendations include the 2007 Texas Medal of Arts Award for Literature and the Romance Writers of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Author Links:

Website | GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter

Tour-Wide Giveaway (USA/CAN):

  • 5 winners will each get a signed personalized copy of MEAN STREAK in Trade PB and swag (image attached) + a dozen buttercream cookies from Cheryl’s

GiveawayMS

ENTER HERE !~

Book Blitz: Running on Empty

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Welcome to the Running on Empty Book Blitz, hosted by YA Reads Blog Tours!

Running-on-Empty-194x300Title: Running on Empty
Author: Colette Ballard
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
Genre: YA Contemporary Thriller
GoodReads

Synopsis:

What does it feel like when you die—in those final moments? Do you feel the physical pain, or just the pain of your regrets? What does it feel like when you realize you can’t answer these questions because you’re not the victim?

You’re the killer.

River Daniels lives an ordinary life as a high school junior growing up in the confines of rural Texas until her boyfriend’s brutal attack leaves her both a murderer and a fugitive. When River’s closest girlfriends come to her aid, they make a hasty decision to not only help her, but leave their own troubled lives behind and join in her escape.

The girls manage to elude police for months, but with every near-miss, River’s life spirals further out of control, until she finally hits rock bottom. Realizing she must stop endangering her friends and find evidence proving she acted in self-defense, the girls decide to make a risky move. River must face her ugly past and the one person she was protecting the night her world caved in, the guy she has loved for as long as she can remember.

Buy Links:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Excerpt:

Disappoint him? Was that his main concern? Slack-mouthed, I stared at the phone until Justice’s voice startled me from behind. “Everything okay?”

Hoping he hadn’t heard any of my conversation, I put on a smile and turned to face him. “Everything’s fine.” I twined my fingers around a chunk of hair at the base of my neck. “That was just Logan reminding me of the Seniors’ Breakfast that I’m about to miss.”

“You’re goin’?” He stared at me like I had a pink squirrel tattooed on my forehead.

I wanted nothing more than to stay here the rest of the day and share my pain with Justice—even if it was in silence. Knowing Logan would never go for that, I pushed the gaping hole in my heart aside. “I’m good now, I had a good cry.” I swatted my hand.

“Ya know, today’s the first time I’ve ever seen you cry.” He leaned his back against the truck, obviously missing the point that I was in a hurry. “You wouldn’t even cry that day you fell off my pony and broke your arm when you were seven.” His face grew serious. “Or when your—”

“Yeah, I’m stubborn that way.” I wiped my hands on my jeans, hoping like hell he didn’t finish his sentence. Now wasn’t the time for a reminder of my reaction to my mom’s death—or rather, lack of reaction.

In my attempt to be strong for my younger sister, I disconnected from my emotions, from things I loved—from Justice. It worked for me until Jack came home wasted one night and I unleashed six months’ worth of the seven stages of grief on him. He slapped me so hard, I didn’t cry for the next five years. Until today.

Buy Links:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

About the AuthorColette-Ballard

Colette grew up on a dairy farm in rural Kentucky. She survived the high school experience back in the day when Aqua Net was bought in bulk and mullets were cool. That’s also when she realized that her constant daydreaming wasn’t a curse, but a useful skill—one she used like a lethal weapon to combat her frustration over the haunting question: What does the alphabet have to do with math anyway? Unfortunately, her ninja daydreaming skills only increased her desire to write—not her algebra grade.

After surviving the hairstyles and torturous math classes of her high school years, she wandered a bit—even moving to the farthest northwestern corner of the United States, then to the farthest southeastern corner. She finally settled in the one red-light town she started in, where she continues to live today with her husband and three children.

GoodReads || Blog || Facebook || Twitter || Tulip Romance || YA Fusion

Trailer:

Giveaway:

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Review: Wicked Little Secrets

17905353Title: Wicked Little Secrets [Prep School Confidential #2]
Author: Kara Taylor
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Mystery Thriller Romance

Synopsis:

Anne Dowling becomes entangled in a web of secrets involving a missing student and a conspiracy at Wheatley Prep in this fast-paced, juicy follow-up to Prep School Confidential

Anne Dowling—a fresh, original, and funny new YA heroine whose knowing, irreverent voice will remind readers of Pretty Little Liars and Private—is back for her second semester at Wheatley Prep. Although things have settled (somewhat) since her roommate Isabella’s death, Anne’s still kind of obsessed with the disappearance of Wheatley student Matthew Weaver thirty years ago, since she found a picture of him and his crewmates with the words “they killed him” scrawled on the back among Isabella’s things.

When Anne learns that her boyfriend Brent’s dad is one of the now-powerful Wheatley alumni who rowed crew with Matthew, and that the crew team continues to induct new members with a creepy-sounding ritual called “The Drop,” she knows further investigation could put her relationship with Brent in danger. Determined to discover the truth, she reaches out to Anthony, Isabella’s townie brother, who helps her delve deeper into the secrets in Wheatley’s past. Secrets someone would kill to keep hidden. As the school’s Spring Formal—and its notorious afterparty—approaches, Anne sees the perfect opportunity to do some off-campus digging into the lives of Wheatley’s VIPs in this thrilling, unputdownable read—but if she’s not careful, she’ll be the next student who never comes back.

Kara Taylor one of my favourite 2013 debut authors. I loved Prep School Confidential and now I love Wicked Little Secrets,as well!

I’m going to get right into it. The book started off with a quick little reference to what happened in the first installment of this series, but it skimmed over it. While I always appreciate the lack of an in depth excessive summary, this time, it took me an extra beat to get back into the story. With a series like this, I feel like I needed to get a little longer overview of what happened a few weeks back in Anne’s world, just to re-familiarize myself with all the names.

That being said, I still found myself sucked into the book from the beginning. Sure, I sat there for a moment every now and then trying to remember Harrow and Upton, but seeing as those characters weren’t really important in this installment, remembering them would only clear up your memory of book one, not enlighten you on the clues that are dropped throughout this one.

As I mentioned previously, I really love the character development in this series. They change in such small and subtle ways, but it makes a big difference in the long run. I loved how Anne accepts her crazy, while those who once accepted it are wondering whether she might actually be crazy instead of an extremely clever teen detective. The only issue I have is the lying. I really wish book characters would just stop lying about everything. It’s really vexing. Aside from that, I can’t give away much without spoiling the book, so I’ll just leave it at this: no matter how much each character changed, I loved the way the story flowed and ran with the plot. No change was inconsequential and I appreciated that every little thing had meaning later on, if not in the moment.

The plot and mystery was extremely well done. This book had my heart pounding throughout; the suspense was killer. While there was one scene that I felt lacked some realism, the plot was, overall, believable and captivating. I really enjoy the way that Taylor can just spin readers and her characters around in circles, planting clues and making dead ends. I really like the dead ends. Though they make the book longer, I feel like every dead end helps make the whole mystery more realistic, and makes the story itself more interesting and shows Anne’s determination. And the end. THE FREAKING END. All the pieces just fell into place and it was perfect. It was dramatic, action packed, and slightly heart-breaking. The very end though clawed at my heart. I have to now wait for the third book. It’s inhumane really, leaving me with such an ending only to cut me off from the knowledge of what’s to come. Gah.

I am in love with this series and am now anticipating the finale to this trilogy, supposedly out in August. Amazing writing, great plot lines and ideas, and a fairly tolerable romance between characters. Kara Taylor is officially one of my favourite authors.

Plot: 4.5/5
Characters: 4.5/5
World Building: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Cover: 3/5
Overall: 5/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.14/5

ARC obtained via St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tour: Before They Find Us

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Welcome to the Before They Find Us Blog Tour, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours !~

BeforeTheyFindUsTitle: Before They Find Us
Author: Michelle A. Hansen
Publication Date: November 2013
Genre: Young Adult Romantic Thriller
GoodReads

Synopsis:

I’m going to make you wish you were dead.

Just a text. Seventeen-year-old Rebecca Hales tries not to worry. Probably a wrong number. Not really meant for her, and definitely not related to the crime she witnessed six years ago. Right?

Then two states away, a bomb goes off in her best friend’s locker. Soon Ryan is labeled a terrorist and runs to the safest place he knows—Rebecca’s house in small-town Wyoming. It doesn’t take long for the FBI to show up asking questions. Rebecca lies, of course, and says she hasn’t seen him.

Now she’s neck-deep in it with him, whatever “it” is. The only way out is to return to Vegas, where Ryan is a wanted man. The city of lies and illusion tests Rebecca’s wits as she struggles to find the person who framed Ryan and why.

Is Rebecca’s text linked to the bombing? And what does it have to do with a six year old murder? Rebecca needs to find out before she loses Ryan—and her own life.

Buy Links:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Review:

I really enjoyed this book. Aside from one or two things here and there that bothered me, it was an excellent read.

The characters in this book were really interesting. I loved Rebecca. She was kickass heroine who knew how to shoot a gun, but also knew that she wasn’t immortal. She was confident, but she wasn’t confident. She understood and faced fear, but she never buckled against it. Her dynamic character brought a lot to this book and really made the novel feel real. It was interesting seeing the other characters ready to pledge their loyalty to her. She may be gutsy, but she was damn smart (for the most part). Ryan, on the other hand, actually didn’t show up as much as I thought he would. While some may think this reflect badly on the book, I mean who wants a book with no leading man, I liked the balance it gave the book. Whatever romance there was between her and other characters, it never took away from the plot and I appreciated that, ’cause I REALLY wanted to find out what happened.

Getting into the two things that bugged me a little: I thought her name was Mary for a good chunk of the first chapter. Then realized that it wasn’t when I read the name Beck and was like what?? and then figured out her name was Rebecca (yeah, I couldn’t remember what the synopsis said…). Second, one or two typos left me a little confused, or maybe they weren’t typos and I didn’t get them? But there was an “inside” joke or explanation here and there that didn’t make TOTAL sense to me. Maybe I missed something, but that was another thing that came to my attention. Honestly, it happened like twice, but I just got a little lost.

Moving past that, the plot was well constructed. There were hints here and there, but the way that they layered up, creating a puzzle, piece by piece, really kept me interested in the book. Sure, the twists weren’t that twisty, but the connections made were really well done. In the end, all the strings were tied together. I also really liked how in depth she was able to get with the characters, fully immersing us in their personalities and backgrounds, without overwhelming readers with information. It helped keep the pace of the plot and gave us a good look at the characters, fully developing them. Hansen also went in depth with the computer programming and spyware material, which I found interesting (and a tad freaky), as it really made it seem like these characters knew what they were talking about. She didn’t just label them hackers, she zoomed in closer, explaining how things worked, and how technology, honestly, wasn’t as private as we’d like to think it was. It added to the whole thriller factor, but also gives readers some perspective when it comes to technology.

In addition, I loved the iPhone text pictures. They helped pause the plot for a second at a time, as well as added to the plot, while providing comic relief. I liked that they were added to the book, and they really helped put a semi-visual aspect in the book.

I really enjoyed Before They Find Us. While I wasn’t always left guessing, the fact that certain details made me wary of characters was a interesting way of keeping me on my toes. This book was well written and I loved the characters and story. Overall, this was a great book, and I would definitely recommend you give it a shot.

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
World Building: 4.5/5
Writing: 4/5
Cover: 3.5/5
Overall: 4/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.24/5

Buy Links:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

About the Author:Michelle

Michelle A. Hansen was raised in southeastern Washington. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in English teaching from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and taught high school English for six years.

Michelle loves Pepsi and Doritos more than chocolate. She loves summertime and hates to be cold. She has had three near-death experiences. She’s addicted to office supplies and has an irrationally large stash of pens and notebooks.

Website || Twitter || Facebook || GoodReads

Bonus Epilogue:

On the Hansen’s website, copies of the unpublished Epilogue to Before They Find Us are being given to anyone who subscribes to her newsletter (via sidebar). The epilogue was cut when the book went to print, but it is a nice year-later wrap up for the story. If you’re interested once you read the book, definitely check it out!

Tour Wide Giveaway:

Open INTL:
— $25 Amazon gift card
— Signed paperback copy of Before They Find Us
— Before They Find Us charm necklace, bookmarks and signed postcard
— Ebook copies of Before They Find Us & Painted Blind

ENTER HERE !~

Tour Schedule:

March 24th
Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile  >> Review
We Do Write >> Interview
Lose Time Reading >> Review
StarAngels’ Reviews >> Review
From the Shadows  >> Top 10 List
Pink Fluffy Hearts: Diary of a Coffee Addict >> Review
TNT Reviews >> Review
Pieces of Whimsy >> Review

March 25th
Sweet Southern Home >> Excerpt
YA Story Teller >> Review
Mythical Books >> Guest Post
Shattering Words >> Review
A Book Addict’s Bookshelves >> Top 10 List
Istyria book blog >> Excerpt

March 26th
Mom With A Kindle >> Interview
Between Printed Pages >> Review
Addicted Readers >> Excerpt
Fic Central >> Review
Romance Schmomance  >> Review
Book Lovers Life >>  Guest Post
My Full Bookshelf Reviews >> Review

March 27th
Literary Nook >> Review + Excerpt
All in One Place >> Review
Beauty and the Bookshelf  >> Interview
Living in a Bookworld >> Review
Read More Sleep Less Blog  >> Review + “Behind the Scenes”
Gabic Reads >> Review
We Live and Breathe Books >> Review

March 28th
Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf  >> Guest Post
OldVictorianQuill >> Review
Listful Booking >> Review
books are love >> Review

Cover Reveal: Violet is Blue

VioletIsBlue_highres

Title: Violet is Blue
Author: Tawny Stokes
Publication Date: Januaray 13, 2013
Genre: New Adult Thriller
GoodReads

Synopsis:

A novel of secrets, passion, and betrayal….

For the past four years, 18 year old, Violet Taylor has lived her life like her deceased father would’ve wanted. Perfect grades, perfect friends, the perfect boyfriend from the right family. Except now at the end of high school, she realizes that she’s never fully lived, has never taken risks, has always taken the safe and secure road. That all changes when she breaks up with her boyfriend, takes notice of the bad boy who she once shared a kiss with, and starts receiving gifts and phone calls from a mystery guy who makes her quiver with a need she never knew she possessed…

But what started as innocent turns dark and twisted, and Violet finds herself faced with a horrible secret that could destroy everything she once knew and loved.

About the Author:

Tawny

 Tawny Stokes has always been a writer. From an early age, she’d spin tales of serial killers in love, vampires taking over the world, and sometimes about fluffy bunnies turned bunnicidal maniacs. An honour student in high school, with a penchant for math and English, you’d never know it by the foot high blue Mohawk and Doc Martens, which often got her into trouble. No longer a Mohawk wearer, Tawny still enjoys old school punk rock, trance, zombie movies, teen horror films, and fluffy bunnies. She lives in Canada with her fantastical daughter, two cats, and spends most of her time creating new stories for teens.

You can visit her at http://www.tawnystokes.com or follow her on twitter @TawnyStokes

Tawny also writes adult fiction under the name Vivi Anna.

Author links:

Book Blast: Blog This

Blog This New CoverBlog This by Cami Checketts

Will protecting children throughout the world cost Natasha her own family?
Devastated by the loss of her brother, Natasha Senecot works to expose the dangers of Matthew Chrysler’s violent video games, succeeding in bankrupting and humiliating him.
Chrysler retaliates and sends a hit man after her. Natasha is forced to fake her own death to protect her children. But after witnessing another tragedy, Natasha must come out of hiding.
In a race against time, Natasha must expose Matthew Chrysler before his assassin shatters her world and those she loves.

Amazon

Praise for Blog This

“From the very first chapter, Blog This grabs your gut and your heart with surprising action and touching moments. Cami Checketts blends suspense, humor, and good clean romance into a story that will stick with you.”
~Daniel Coleman, Author of Gifts and Consequences

“LOVED it. LOVED it. LOVED it. Have read all of Cami’s books but Blog This is on the top of my list. Read it twice and enjoyed it just as much as the first time I read it. Just when you think you know what is going to happen you’re led into a different direction. Had a hard time putting the book down and was anxious to see how it was going to end.”
~Elsa Akinason

Excerpt

Natasha sighed. “You don’t need to stay until Detective Bentley comes.”
His eyebrows rose. “You want to be alone with the detective?”
Natasha grabbed a glass from the cupboard and filled it with water from the door of the fridge. “I just don’t want Jace and Lily to wait too long.” She turned to face him, taking a sip of the cold water.
Tony held her gaze with his warm stare and edged a step closer. “I wanted to make sure that you’re okay.”
“I’m fine.” Natasha clutched the glass in her palm. “I can take care of myself.” Why was she lying to him? She tried to shoo him away, when she really wanted to beg him to stay until Alex was apprehended and maybe even after that.
Tony set the water bottles on the counter. “Oh, I don’t doubt you can take care of yourself, but maybe it’s time to let someone else help.”
He took two more steps toward her. She could smell his PS cologne. She’d given him a bottle the first year they were married and told him it was her favorite scent. The fragrance brought back tender memories she wanted to displace and plugging her nose right now might be a little awkward. Natasha raised the glass to her lips to try to block the tempting aroma and create some distance between them. Why was Tony still wearing the same brand?
“What if I want to take care of you?” Tony asked.
Sounds wonderful. She took a long drink, but it didn’t quench the heat in her face.
Tony took the glass from her fingers and set it on the counter. “What if I want to take care of you?” he repeated quietly. He gently took hold of her palm and studied her face for the correct answer.
“I think you’re too late,” Natasha whispered, studying his pressed cotton shirt to avoid his handsome face. Her hand tingled. How could he still affect her like this?
Tony tilted her chin up with his free hand. “Look in my eyes and say that again.”

blog this 299

Price valid on Amazon until October 16th

Author Cami Checketts

Cami Checketts is married and the proud mother of four future WWF champions. Sometimes between being a human horse, cleaning up magic potions, and reading Bernstein Bears, she gets the chance to write fiction.

Cami graduated from Utah State University with a degree in Exercise Science. Cami teaches strength training classes at her local rec and shares healthy living tips on her fitness blog: http://fitnessformom.blogspot.com.

Cami and her family live in the beautiful Cache Valley of Northern Utah. During the two months of the year it isn’t snowing, she enjoys swimming, biking, running, and water-skiing.

BookBlast Giveaway

$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 10/31/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

ENTER HERE!

Cover Reveal: Defector

Today we’ve got the cover for Susanne Winnacker’s novel Defector, the sequel to Imposter !

Ready ??

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TADA!~

Defector

Title: Defector [Variants #2]
Author: Susanne Winnacker
Published by: Razorbill
Publication date: June 26, 2014
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult

Synopsis for Imposter [Variants #1]:

Can Tessa pose as Madison . . . and stop a killer before it’s too late?

Tessa is a Variant, able to absorb the DNA of anyone she touches and mimic their appearance. Shunned by her family, she’s spent the last two years training with the Forces with Extraordinary Abilities, a secret branch of the FBI. When a serial killer rocks a small town in Oregon, Tessa is given a mission: she must impersonate Madison, a local teen, to find the killer before he strikes again.

Tessa hates everything about being an impostor—the stress, the danger, the deceit—but loves playing the role of a normal girl. As Madison, she finds friends, romance, and the kind of loving family she’d do anything to keep. Amid action, suspense, and a ticking clock, this super-human comes to a very human conclusion: even a girl who can look like anyone struggles the most with being herself.

About the Author:Susanne

Susanne Winnacker studied law before she became a full-time writer. She lives with her husband, a dog and three bunnies in Germany. She loves coffee (in every shape and form), traveling and animals.
When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her in the kitchen, experimenting with new vegan dishes.
Her YA thriller IMPOSTOR will be published on May 28, 2013. It has been optioned for TV by Warner Brothers!

Website // Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads

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