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Posts Categorized: Blog Tour

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Excerpt: Riveted by Jay Crownover

Posted by Irish in Blog Tour, Excerpt1 Comment

RIVETED - header banner

 

 

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Marked Men books comes the next installment in the Saints of Denver series.

 

 

Riveted - cover

Everyone else in Dixie Carmichael’s life has made falling in love look easy, and now she is ready for her own chance at some of that happily ever after. Which means she’s done pining for the moody, silent former soldier who works with her at the bar that’s become her home away from home. Nope. No more chasing the hot as heck thundercloud of a man and no more waiting for Mr. Right to find her; she’s going hunting for him…even if she knows her heart is stuck on its stupid infatuation with Dash Churchill.

Denver has always been just a pit stop for Church on his way back to rural Mississippi. It was supposed to be simple, uneventful, but nothing could have prepared him for the bubbly, bouncy redhead with doe eyes and endless curves. Now he knows it’s time to get out of Denver, fast. For a man used to living in the shadows, the idea of spending his days in the sun is nothing short of terrifying.

When Dixie and Church find themselves caught up in a homecoming overshadowed with lies and danger, Dixie realizes that while falling in love is easy, loving takes a whole lot more work…especially when Mr. Right thinks he’s all wrong for you.

CHAPTER ONE EXCERPT 

I shifted my weight on my feet and bit back a sigh. I should have known she was going to be persistent, but I was done playing nice for her when it was clear her son was so beaten down that he was too scared to make a move or even speak for himself. She was a tyrant and I wasn’t going to subject myself to her vile company anymore. As soon as I slipped inside my apartment I was going to delete all the dating apps I had on my phone.

“I have a dog and she’s leery around strangers.” That was partly true. I did have a dog, a massive blue pit bull that I rescued from a shelter just days before she was supposed to be put down. Dolly looked like a brute, but she was a sweetheart and had never met a human she didn’t want tummy scratches and love from. We were kind of kindred spirits in that way. I mean I didn’t need my ears scratched or my belly rubbed, but I was afflicted with the same pressing need to be liked and accepted by pretty much everyone I came in contact with. It was ingrained in me to at least try to make everyone a friend, and if they didn’t reciprocate my kindness it only forced me to try harder. Sometimes I hated that about myself, and sometimes it was my favorite personality trait because the men and women in my life weren’t the easiest nuts to crack. They all loved me and let me in because I’d refused to let them shut me out.

Well, all except for one man.

I couldn’t hold back my flinch when he crossed my mind because he had warned me about online dating from the get-go, and I hated that he was right about it. I also hated that he was the reason I was desperate to find a man . . . a man who wasn’t him . . . in the first place.

Mommie Dearest shook her head and clicked her tongue at me. “Joseph is allergic to dogs. Your pet will have to go as things progress between the two of you.”

I felt my eyes pop wide and the forced smile I had plastered on my face for the entire evening finally slipped away. I already knew she had a few screws loose, but she was taking her crazy to another level if she thought she could tell me to get rid of my dog or what to do with anything in my life.

I straightened my shoulders and tilted my chin up. It was a look that worked on the drunks and unruly college kids that I hustled out of the bar where I worked every night.

“That’s not going to be a problem because things are not progressing beyond my front door. Thank you both for dinner, but if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go inside and cuddle my dog and erase every online dating app there is.”

The woman narrowed her eyes and stepped around her son. The young man made a noise low in his throat and his eyes widened. I thought he was scared of his mom, but the closer I looked at him the more obvious it became that he was scared for me as the woman advanced. He reached out a hand to grab his mother’s elbow, but it fell away before making contact like he knew the repercussions for intervening would be severe and drastic.

“Listen here, you little . . .” I lifted my hand before she could throw at me whatever insulting word she was going to label me with. I don’t think the woman was used to anyone standing their ground with her because she gasped and fell back a step.

“Stop. I thought I was talking to Joseph. I thought he was a nice guy, maybe a little sheltered and awkward . . . but a nice guy. Obviously it wasn’t him running his dating profile and there was some other agenda here from the start. I’m well past the age where I need a mother’s approval or permission to date her son, so I’m going to go into my apartment and end this date before either side gets nasty.” I looked at the shell-shocked young man hovering behind his mother and mouthed good luck before turning my back on both of them and inserting my key into the door. Dolly barked loud and deep from the other side, which was both comforting and reassuring.

I turned the knob on the door and pushed into the apartment without looking back. Once the door was shut and my dog was happily rubbing against my legs, I tossed my head back and let out a sigh that felt like it was tied to my soul. I was tired, so tired.

Want to read all of Chapter One from RIVETED? Follow along with the tour here!

Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play

 

ADD RIVETED TO YOUR GOODREADS

 

 

Want to read all of Chapter One from RIVETED? Follow along with the tour here!

February 6th

Julalicious Book Paradise

Musings of the Modern Belle

Mustreadbooksordie

NallaReads

Two Book Pushers

BookWorm221

Whoo Gives A Hoot

Les ChroniquesAléatoires

The Silver Dagger Scriptorium

Books,Dreams,Life

Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

KT Book Reviews

BFF Book Blog

Waiting For Wentworth

February 7th

Reading and funny

Nose Stuck in a Book

Little Red’s Reviews

Smut Book Junkie Reviews

BFD Book Blog

Barbara’s Book Reviews

Books n Wine

Ticket to Anywhere

Bewitching Bibliophile

Movies, Shows, & Books

My Reading Obsession Reviews

Book Angel Booktopia

Vera is Reading

All Things Dark & Dirty

February 8th

Brittany’s Book Blog

Crazii Bitches Book Blog

Renee Entress’s Blog

Greyland Reviews

Jack of All Trades, Master of None

Literary Misfit

Lea’s Book Blog

Friends Till The End Book Blog

SnoopyDoo’s Book Reviews

Fantasticandosuilibri

Quesarasera Book Blog

Pardon My Blurb

Reese’s Reviews

4 the Love of Reading

PBC

February 9th

What Is That Book About

A Literary Perusal

KatyaRath

Red Cheeks Reads

Cocktails and Books

books and the big screen

Books, Coffee & Passion

February 10th

My Girlfriend’s Couch

Queenzany

The Cover Contessa

Romanticamente Fantasy Sito

The Readdicts

G & T’s Indie Café

Shelf_Life

Abibliophobia Anonymous Book Reviews

Reading Between the Wines Book Club

we stole your book boyfriend

 

 

And read Chapter Two of RIVETED here!

 

 

RIVETED - Preorder graphic

Jay Crownover continues her Saints of Denver series with Riveted, available February 14th, 2017

Give yourself a Valentine’s Day gift in advance…Preorder and fill out the form here: https://a.pgtb.me/t0JkQX

Pre-order Riveted today and on February 14th, you’ll also receive a glossy Saints of Denver poster and an exclusive first-look at Chapters 1 and 2 of Avenged, her forthcoming Mackenzie Family novella.

Avenged combines the grit of Saints of Denver series with the all-out heat of The Point series with a mind-blowing, mystery, yet-to-be-revealed, couple combining both of these worlds. Be one of the first to find out who it is, pre-order Riveted today.

Posters will be mailed the week of February 14th and Avenged chapters will arrive via email.

 

 

Jay Crownover - headshotAbout Jay Crownover:

Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men, The Point, and the Saints of Denver series. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she’ll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.

 

 

 

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

 

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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Blog Tour: Excerpt from The Lawrence Browne Affair by Cat Sebastian

Posted by Irish in Blog Tour, Contest1 Comment

 
Can they find forever in the wreckage of their lives? 

THE LAWRENCE BROWNE AFFAIR
Cat Sebastian
Releasing Feb 7th, 2017
Avon Impulse

 

An earl hiding from his future . . . 

 Lawrence Browne, the Earl of Radnor, is mad. At least, that’s what he and most of the village believes. A brilliant scientist, he hides himself away in his family’s crumbling estate, unwilling to venture into the outside world. When an annoyingly handsome man arrives at Penkellis, claiming to be Lawrence’s new secretary, his carefully planned world is turned upside down.

A swindler haunted by his past . . . 

Georgie Turner has made his life pretending to be anyone but himself. A swindler and con man, he can slip into an identity faster than he can change clothes. But when his long-dead conscience resurrects and a dangerous associate is out for blood, Georgie escapes to the wilds of Cornwall. Pretending to be a secretary should be easy, but he doesn’t expect that the only madness he finds is the one he has for the gorgeous earl.

Can they find forever in the wreckage of their lives? 

Challenging each other at every turn, the two men soon give into the desire that threatens to overwhelm them. But with one man convinced he is at the very brink of madness and the other hiding his real identity, only true love can make this an affair to remember. 

Cornwall, 1816

CHAPTER ONE

All this fuss about a couple of small explosions. As far as Lawrence cared, the explosions were entirely beside the point. He had finished experimenting with fuses weeks ago. More importantly, this was his house to burn to the ground if that’s what he wanted to do with it. Hell, if he blew the godforsaken place up, and himself right along with it, the only person who would even be surprised was the man sitting before him.

“Five servants quit,” Halliday said, tapping Lawrence’s desk in emphasis. Dust puffed up in tiny clouds around the vicar’s fingertips. “Five. And you were woefully understaffed even before then.”

Five fewer servants? So that was why the house had been so pleasantly quiet, why his work had been so blissfully undisturbed.

“There was no danger to the servants. You know I keep them away from my work.” That was something Lawrence insisted on even when he wasn’t exploding things. The very idea of chattering maids underfoot was enough to discompose his mind even further. “And I conducted most of the actual explosions out of doors.” Now was probably not the time to mention that he had blown the roof off the conservatory.

“All I’m suggesting is a sort of secretary.” Halliday was dangerously unaware of how close he was to witnessing an explosion of the metaphorical variety. “Somebody to keep records of what you’ve mixed together and whether it’s likely to”—he puffed his cheeks out and made a strange noise and an expansive gesture that Lawrence took to represent explosion—“ignite.”

The Reverend Arthur Halliday did not know what was good for him. If he did, he would have fled the room as soon as he saw Lawrence reach for the inkwell. Lawrence’s fingers closed around the object, preparing to hurl it at the wall behind the vicar’s head. Sod the man for even suggesting Lawrence didn’t know how to cause an explosion. He hadn’t invented Browne’s Improved Black Powder or even that bloody safety fuse through blind luck, for God’s sake.

“Besides,” Halliday went on, “you said you need an extra set of hands for this new device you’re working on.”

Oh, damn and blast. Lawrence knew he shouldn’t have told the vicar. But he had hoped Halliday might volunteer to help with the device himself, not badger Lawrence into hiring some stranger. The vicar was convenient enough, and when he wasn’t dead set on sticking his nose where it didn’t belong, he wasn’t entirely unpleasant company.

“I’ve had secretaries,” Lawrence said from between gritted teeth. “It ends badly.”

“Well, obviously, but that’s because you go out of your way to terrify them.” Halliday glanced pointedly at the inkwell Lawrence still held.

And there again was Halliday missing the point entirely. Lawrence didn’t need to go out of his way to frighten anyone. All he had to do was simply exist. Everyone with any sense kept a safe distance from the Mad Earl of Radnor, as surely as they stayed away from rabid dogs and coiled asps. And explosive devices, for that matter.

Except for the vicar, who came to Penkellis Castle three times a week. He likely also called on bedridden old ladies and visited the workhouse. Maybe his other charity cases were grateful, but the notion that he was the vicar’s good deed made Lawrence’s fingers curl grimly around the inkwell as he plotted its trajectory through the air.

“I’ll take care of the details,” Halliday was saying. “I’ll write the advertisement and handle the inquiries. A good secretary might even be able to manage the household a bit,” the vicar said with the air of a man warming to his topic, “get it into a fit condition for the child—”

“No.” Lawrence didn’t raise his voice, but he slammed his fist onto the desk, causing ink to splatter all over the blotter and the cuff of his already-inky shirt. A stack of papers slid from the desk onto the floor, leaving a single dustless patch of wood where they had been piled. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a spider scurry out from under the papers.

“True,” Halliday continued, undaunted. “A housekeeper would be more appropriate, but—”

“No.” Lawrence felt the already fraying edges of his composure unraveling fast. “Simon is not coming here.”

“You can’t keep him off forever, you know, now that he’s back in England. It’s his home, and he’ll own it one day.”

When Lawrence was safely dead and buried, Simon was welcome to come here and do what he pleased. “I don’t want him here.” Penkellis was no place for a child, madmen were not fit guardians, and nobody knew those facts better than Lawrence himself, who had been raised under precisely those conditions.

Halliday sighed. “Even so, Radnor, you have to do something about this.” He gestured around the room, which Lawrence thought looked much the same as ever. One hardly even noticed the scorch marks unless one knew where to look. “It can’t be safe to live in such a way.”

Safety was not a priority, but even Lawrence wasn’t mad enough to try to explain that to the vicar.

“Villagers won’t even walk past the garden wall anymore. And the stories they invent…” The vicar wrung his hands. “A secretary. Please. It would ease my mind to know you had someone up here with you.”

A keeper, then. Even worse.

But Lawrence did need another set of hands to work on the communication device. If Halliday wouldn’t help, then Lawrence had no other options. God knew Halliday had been right about the local people not wanting anything to do with him.

“Fine,” he conceded. “You write the advertisement and tell me when to expect the man.” He’d say what he needed to in order to end this tiresome conversation and send the vicar on his way.

It wasn’t as if this secretary would last more than a week or two anyway. Lawrence would see to that.

 

Cat Sebastian lives in a swampy part of the South with her husband, three kids, and two dogs. Before her kids were born, she practiced law and taught high school and college writing. When she isn’t reading or writing, she’s doing crossword puzzles, bird watching, and wondering where she put her coffee cup.

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Friday, November 4, 2016

Blog Tour Review: Heartless

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Blog Tour, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Blog Tour Review: HeartlessHeartless by Marissa Meyer
Published by Feiwel & Friends on November 8th 2016
Genres: Emotions & Feelings, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Family, Fantasy, Friendship, Love & Romance, Magic, Politics & Intrigue, Romance, Royalty, Young Adult
Pages: 464
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
Setting: Wonderland
four-stars

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.
Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.
At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.
Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

Also by this author: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Fairest, Winter

First Line(s): Three luscious lemon tarts glistened up at Catherine.

First things first…there are FOUR days until HEARTLESS!

Can you believe it?!? The wait is almost over!

excited-baby

We all know the story of Alice in Wonderland even if we’ve never read the book by Lewis Carroll we at least know the Disney version about a plucky girl who falls down a rabbit hole and goes on a most extraordinary adventure. There are songs and shenanigans and run ins with the evil Queen of Hearts. When you watch the movie or read the book the Queen is always cast as a villainous character and as a viewer its easy to sympathize with Alice and cheer her triumphs. But you don’t always think about why the Queen is so evil or that maybe Alice isn’t as nice as you originally think. We grow up conditioned to think about fairy tales in a certain way that it can be a bit shocking to see alternate versions of the stories we love. We see this in the stories of Gregory McGuire and on the show Once Upon a Time and now here, in HEARTLESS by Marissa Meyer we get to see a new side to the Queen of Hearts. Not only does HEARTLESS make you think differently about a story you thought you knew but its also a bit of a unicorn in the world of fantasy books in that it is a standalone book.

lurking

HEARTLESS is a story that will suck you in from the start. This book is such a different sort of story from Meyer’s series, The Lunar Chronicles and yet you still get her signature writing style and her ability to spin a beautiful story. HEARTLESS is not a retelling of Alice in Wonderland, its a prequel. Its a story that came about because Meyer’s asked the question why is the queen so evil? Was she born this way or did something happen to make her this way. Catherine (aka the Queen) is a girl much like the readers of the book she has hopes and dreams and a love for baking that will make a reader’s mouth water throughout this book. She’s of a noble family but she dreams of opening a bakery with her friend and maid.

cupcake

But we all know that’s not how the story ended up and I loved Meyer’s take on the story. I love the characters that she created and how she incorporated some old friends. It was a wonderful mix of original and new and told in a way that I think would make Lewis Carroll proud. HEARTLESS is a book that will suck you in with its whimsy and you’ll fall in love with Cath. You’ll turn the pages hoping against hope that somehow the ending of this story will be different and that Cath will get her bakery and her happily ever after. You’ll hope that in the end you’ll learn that the Queen of Hearts is a different girl altogether. But not all stories have a happy ending and sometimes your heart has to break. And boy does Meyer’s play with your heart but everything that happens needs to happen and despite the lack of a HEA its still possible to love this book. In fact, its kind of hard not to like this story and I highly recommend it.

broken-heart

irishdarkblue

JOIN THE #HEARTLESSCOUNTDOWN!

Join Fierce Reads in celebrating all things Heartless by Marissa Meyer! Starting Monday, September 19, they’ll be counting down to on sale with daily challenges where you can show your love and excitement, AND where you’ll have the chance to win a special edition advance copy of Heartless and MORE every single day.

Enter for your chance to win each day from September 19 – November 8 on Twitter or Instagram using #HeartlessCountdown and #Sweepstakes.

Fierce Reads will be posting weekly challenge updates and adding more links and information for some challenges as we get closer. Click here to take a look at the schedule and join in the excitement!

four-stars
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Monday, October 10, 2016

Guest Post: Joshua Khan, Author of Shadow Magic on Inspiration

Posted by Irish in Blog Tour, Guest Post, Middle Grade0 Comments

Guest Post: Joshua Khan, Author of Shadow Magic on Inspiration

 

Title: Shadow Magic (Shadow Magic #1)

Author: Joshua Khan

Release Date: 6th October 2016

Genre: MG Fantasy

Publisher: Scholastic

Format: Paperback

Thorn, an outlaw’s son, wasn’t supposed to be a slave. He’s been sold to Tyburn, an executioner, and they’re headed to Castle Gloom in Gehenna, the land of undead, where Thorn will probably be fed to a vampire.

Lilith Shadow wasn’t supposed to be ruler of Gehenna. But following the murder of her family, young Lily became the last surviving member of House Shadow, a long line of dark sorcerers. Her country is surrounded by enemies and the only way she can save it is by embracing her heritage and practicing the magic of the undead. But how can she when, as a girl, magic is forbidden to her?

Just when it looks like Lily will have to leave her home forever, Thorn arrives at Castle Gloom. A sudden death brings them together, inspires them to break the rules, and leads them to soar to new heights in this fantasy with all the sparkle and luster of a starry night sky.

I’m very pleased to welcome Joshua Khan, author of SHADOW MAGIC, to Ticket to Anywhere as part of the UK blog for this fun and imaginative middle grade novel. SHADOW MAGIC is filled with friendship, mystery, zombies, magic and giant bats. Its an adventure story and sure to engage the mind of anyone who reads it. SHADOW MAGIC is currently available in the US, UK and Australia and if you haven’t picked it up yet then what are you waiting for? As Rick Riordan has blurred “I defy you not to love this story.”

Guest Post

Most Inspiring Things/Places

 

My bank statement is probably what inspires me most of all. Second comes the crack in the walls in the house. Third is the holes in my shoes…

I jest, sort of. Writing’s my job. It’s my career. It’s what earns me money and I’m very proud of that. Very. Getting paid to do something you love is damn awesome.

I’m not looking for inspiration, and definitely not waiting for it to strike. If I’m not typing, I’m sitting with my notepad open. Sometimes it’s just scribbling, sometimes its notes in teh margin on previous pages, sometimes it’s maps or pages and pages of download, random ideas that, when shifted through, make yield up a nugget of sometime shiny.

My inspirations the world going by. I love taking buses. Up on the top floor you’ve a great view, of people and places and the sky and I love that. Looking down onto people’s heads and wondering about what they’[re wondering about, trying see into their heads. Cafes, travelling, seeing sights, all these things inspire me, if not immediately, sometimes later. They’re a compost of ideas. What will grow out of it, who knows?

I start and abandon projects all the time. If I hit 20,000 words on an idea, then I’ll finish it, that’s my test on its sturdiness. I no longer plot in detail, certainly not on the 1st draft. I have a sense of the journey, the destination, but not on the actual road. I know where I want to end up, but happy to work on the route as it comes.

I think there is an irony to writing. It’s a lonely profession, but one that needs the writer to engage with the outside world more than any other job. It’s our concerns, our dreams and our frustrations with the world at large that feed our work. SHADOW MAGIC is all about the education and opportunities for girls, despite the zombies and giant bats my concerns are how my daughters, now in secondary school, will get on in the outside world, what with gender pay gaps and glass ceilings and stereotypes on careers suitable for women (one daughter’s very interested in the RAF, for instance, the other’s taken up martial arts). So, my biggest inspiration is my children. Always has been, always will be.

Joshua Khan was born in Britain. From very early on he filled himself with the stories of heroes, kings and queens until there was hardly any room for anything else. He can tell you where King Arthur was born* but not what he himself had for breakfast. So, with a head stuffed with tales of legendary knights, wizards and great and terrible monsters it was inevitable Joshua would want to create some of his own. Hence SHADOW MAGIC. Josh lives in London with his family, but he’d rather live in a castle. It wouldn’t have to be very big, just as long as it had battlements.

*Tintagel, in case you were wondering.

Website: http://www.joshuakhan.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/writerjoshkhan

 

Tour Stops

Wednesday 5th October

Bart’s Bookshelf

Teens on Moon Lane

Thursday 6th October

Luna’s Little Library

Bazinga Booknerd

Friday 7th October

Bookish Outsider

Sister Spooky

Saturday 8th October

Northern Plunder

Chouett

Sunday 9th October

Tales of Yesterday

The Book Bandit

Monday 10th October

It Takes a Woman

Ticket to Anywhere

Tuesday 11th October

Big Book Little Book

Delightful Book Reviews

Wednesday 12th October

ArtsMum

The Reading Pile

Thursday 13th October

Kirstyes

Inspiring Imarah

Friday 14th October

YA Under my Skin

Bibliomaniac

Saturday 15th October

Fiction Fascination

Sweet Love Books

Sunday 16th October

Mugglenet

K Books

Monday 17th October

Snuggling on the Sofa

MG Strikes Back

Tuesday 18th October

YA Yeah Yeah

Nayu’s Reading Corner

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Friday, October 7, 2016

Blog Tour Review: Enjoy the Dance by Heidi Cullinan

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Blog Tour, Review1 Comment

Blog Tour Review: Enjoy the Dance by Heidi Cullinan

Blog Tour Review: Enjoy the Dance by Heidi CullinanEnjoy the Dance by Heidi Cullinan
Series: Dancing, Book 2
Also in this series: Dance with Me
Published by Self-Published on October 11, 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Love & Romance, Performing Arts, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 224
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
Setting: St Paul, Minnesota (2012)
three-stars
Also by this author: Love Lessons, Fever Pitch, Lonely Hearts, Short Stay, Dance with Me

First Line(s):  One cool October day, after a dispiriting seven hours of teaching privileged kindergarten children, Spenser Harris returned to his apartment to discover a teenage boy – battered, bruised, and coiled into a ball – in front of his door.

ENJOY THE DANCE is the second book in Heidi Cullinan’s Dancing series and takes place about a year after the events in DANCE WITH ME (my review) ends. While this book features cameos from people that we’ve met before the two main characters are new ones to the reader, Spenser and Tomas. Both of whom I really liked and I also really liked their story and the journey that they took over the course of the book. I liked how they became friends first and then worked up to something more. I liked the slow burn aspect of this book but also liked that it wasn’t so slow that I lost interest. I also liked how Spenser and Tomas interacted with the people around them.

What I didn’t like about ENJOY THE DANCE was just how much was going on in this book. There was the issue with Duon, there was the political aspect, and then there was what was going on with Tomas’s family. Just one of those plot points would have been a lot but all three together and it all got a bit jumbled and distracting. The political portion of the story line, while an important part of modern history, isn’t something that I really want to encounter to the extent mentioned in this book. As a bit of filler here and there fine but it was just so much. Although, I do think that part of this dislike of mine comes from politic fatigue. We are in the midst of Presidential election season and I’m just really really really tired of politics. So this portion of the story may not have bothered me if I’d read it at a different time.

ENJOY THE DANCE is a quick read and I liked it I just didn’t love it as much as I would have liked. I think if there was more focus on the romance and less on the political situation than I would have liked it more. I enjoyed the cameos of the characters we knew and I won’t be surprised if Duon eventually gets his own story. The boy has been through a lot of the course of the two books in this series and ENJOY THE DANCE ends in 2015 so there is potential for it. Speaking of the ending, ENJOY THE DANCE had an epilogue that did not suck. You know me reader, I am not a fan of epilogue but I think that Cullinan did a good job with this one. Although I did think that the timing of things didn’t seem entirely plausible for a 3 year stretch from the start. A year, maybe, but three? It just seemed forced. But overall, I liked it and I liked how Tomas and Spenser’s story ends. Unlike make of Cullinan’s books I didn’t find this ending to be too sugary although it does end in a way that is so very Cullinan.

If you are a fan a Cullinan, then you will like ENJOY THE DANCE. There is a lot to like about this book and I think that new fans and old will enjoy it. ENJOY THE DANCE can be read as a standalone book but there is something added when you know the other characters involved. This was a quick read for me and I do look forward to reading more of what Cullinan comes up with.

enjoy-the-dance-quote

three-stars
Rating Report
Plot
three-stars
Characters
four-stars
Writing
three-half-stars
Pacing
three-stars
Cover
three-stars
Overall: three-stars
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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Excerpt: Danny, The Champion of the World by Ronald Dahl

Posted by Irish in Blog Tour, Excerpt0 Comments

Excerpt: Danny, The Champion of the World by Ronald Dahl

This year Penguin Young Readers and the Roald Dahl Literary Estate are celebrating 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl —the world’s number one storyteller.

I have been a fan of Roald Dahl since I was a little girl and read The BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Matilda. These stories took me away from the everyday and transported me to a world’s that I longed to live in and am forever grateful to Mr. Dahl for all the wonderful memories he has given me.

As part of the celebration, Penguin Young Readers has released brand new covers of all of Roald Dahl’s works. I have the honor of celebrating the newest cover for The BFG and an excerpt! Pleasejoin me in the celebration of such a wonderful event.

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Title: Danny, The Champion of the World
Author: Roald Dahl
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 1975

Can Danny and his father outsmart the villainous Mr. Hazell?

Danny has a life any boy would love—his home is a gypsy caravan, he’s the youngest master car mechanic around, and his best friend is his dad, who never runs out of wonderful stories to tell. But one night Danny discovers a shocking secret that his father has kept hidden for years. Soon Danny finds himself the mastermind behind the most incredible plot ever attempted against nasty Victor Hazell, a wealthy landowner with a bad attitude. Can they pull it off? If so, Danny will truly be the champion of the world.

Excerpt

When I was four months old, my mother died suddenly and my father was left to look after me all by himself. This is how I looked at the time.

                I had no brothers or sisters.

                So all through my boyhood, from the age of four months onward, there was just us two, my father and me.

                We lived in an old gypsy caravan behind a filling station. My father owned the filling station and the caravan and a small meadow behind, but that was about all he owned in the world. It was a very small filling station on a small country road surrounded by fields and woody hills.

                While I was still a baby, my father washed me and fed me and changed my diapers and did all the millions of other things a mother normally does for her child. That is not an easy task for a man, especially when he has to earn his living at the same time by repairing automobile engines and serving customers with gasoline.

                But my father didn’t seem to mind. I think that all the love he had felt for my mother when she was alive he now lavished upon me. During my early years, I never had a moment’s unhappiness or illness, and here I am on my fifth birthday.

                I was now a scruffy little boy as you can see, with grease and oil all over me, but that was because I spent all day in the workshop helping my father with the automobiles.

                The filling station itself had only two pumps. There was a wooden shed behind the pumps that served as an office There was nothing in the office except an old table and a cash register to put the money into. It was one of those where you pressed a button and a bell rang and the drawer shot out with a terrific bang. I used to love that.

                The square brick building to the right of the office was the workshop. My father built that himself with loving care, and it was the only really solid thing on the place. “We are engineers, you and I,” he used to say to me. “We earn our living by repairing engines and we can’t do good work in a rotten workshop.” It was a fine workshop, big enough to take one automobile comfortably and leave plenty of room around the sides for working. It had a telephone so that customers could ring up and arrange to bring their cars in for repair.

                The caravan was our house and our home. It was a real old gypsy wagon with big wheels and fine patterns painted all over it in yellow and red and blue. My father said it was at least one hundred and fifty years old. Many gypsy children, he said, had been born in it and had grown up within its wooden walls. With a horse to pull it, the old caravan must have wandered for thousands of miles along the roads and lanes of England. But now its wanderings were over, because the wooden spokes in the wheels were beginning to rot, my father had propped it up underneath with bricks.

                There was only one room in the caravan, and it wasn’t much bigger than a fair-sized modern bathroom. It was a narrow room, the shape of the caravan itself, and against the back wall were two bunk beds, one above the other. The top one was my father’s, the bottom one mine.

                Although we had electric lights in the workshop, we were not allowed to have them in the caravan. The electricity people said it was unsafe to put wires into something as old and rickety as that. So we got our heat and light in much the same way as the gypsies had done years ago. There was a wood-burning stove with a chimney that went up through the roof, and this kept us warm in winter. There was a kerosene burner on which to boil a kettle or cook a stew, and there was a kerosene lamp hanging from the ceiling.

                When I needed a bath, my father would heat a kettle of water and pour it into a basin. Then he would stop me naked and scrub me all over, standing up. This, I think, got me just as clean as if I were washed in a bathtub—probably cleaner because I didn’t finish up sitting in my own dirty water.

                For furniture, we had two chairs and a small table, and those, apart from a tiny chest of drawers, were all the home comforts we possessed. They were all we needed.

                The lavatory was a funny little wooden hut standing in the meadow way back of the caravan. It was fine in the summertime, but I can tell you that sitting out there on a snowy day in winter was like sitting in an icebox.

                Immediately behind the caravan was an old apple tree. It bore fine apples that ripened in the middle of September. You could go on picking them for the next four or five weeks. Some of the boughs of the tree hung right over the caravan and when the wind blow the apples down in the night, they often landed on our roof. I would hear them going thump…thump…thump….above my head as I lay in my bunk, but those noises never frightened me because I knew exactly what was making them.

                I really loved living in the gypsy caravan. I loved it especially in the evenings when I was tucked up in my bunk and my father was telling me stories. The kerosene lamp was turned low, and I could see lumps of wood glowing red-hot in the old stove, and wonderful it was to be lying there snug and warm in my bunk in that little room. Most wonderful of all was the feeling that when I went to sleep, my father would still be there, very close to me, sitting in his chair by the fire, or lying in the bunk above my own.

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Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl (1916–1990) was one of the world’s most imaginative, successful and beloved storytellers. He was born in Wales of Norwegian parents and spent much of his childhood in England. After establishing himself as a writer for adults with short story collections such as Kiss Kiss and Tales of the Unexpected, Roald Dahl began writing children’s stories in 1960 while living with his family in both the U.S. and in England. His first stories were written as entertainment for his own children, to whom many of his books are dedicated.

Roald Dahl’s first children’s story, The Gremlins, was a story about little creatures that were responsible for the various mechanical failures on airplanes. The Gremlins came to the attention of both First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who loved to read the story to her grandchildren, and Walt Disney, with whom Roald Dahl had discussions about the production of a movie.

Roald Dahl was inspired by American culture and by many of the most quintessential American landmarks to write some of his most memorable passages, such as the thrilling final scenes in James and the Giant Peach – when the peach lands on the Empire State Building! Upon the publication of James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl began work on the story that would later be published asCharlie and the Chocolate Factory and today, Roald Dahl’s stories are available in 58 languages and, by a conservative estimate, have sold more than 200 million copies.

Two charities have been founded in Roald Dahl’s memory: the first charity, Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity, created in 1991, focuses on making life better for seriously ill children through the funding of specialist nurses, innovative medical training, hospitals, and individual families across the UK.

The second charity, The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre – a unique cultural, literary and education hub – opened in June 2005 in Great Missenden where Roald Dahl lived and wrote many of his best-loved works. 10% of income from Roald Dahl books and adaptations are donated to the two Roald Dahl charities.

On September 13, 2006, the first national Roald Dahl Day was celebrated, on what would have been the author’s 90th birthday. The event proved such a success that Roald Dahl Day is now marked annually all over the world. September 13, 2016 is Roald Dahl 100, marking 100 years since the birth of the world’s number one storyteller. There will be celebrations for Roald Dahl 100 throughout 2016, delivering a year packed with gloriumptious treats and surprises for everyone.

For more information please visit www.roalddahl.com/usa

Facebook.com/RoaldDahl

Twitter.com/roald_dahl  

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #roalddahl100
Youtube.com/officialroalddahl

Pinterest.com/roalddahl

Instagram: @roald_dahl 

Don’t forget to hashtag #roalddahl100

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Monday, October 3, 2016

Blog Tour Review: Say It Louder by Heidi Joy Trethway

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Blog Tour, Contest, Review0 Comments

Blog Tour Review: Say It Louder by Heidi Joy Trethway

Blog Tour Review: Say It Louder by Heidi Joy TrethwaySay it Louder by Heidi Joy Tretheway
Series: Tattoo Thief,
Also in this series: Tattoo Thief, Tyler & Stella, Revenge Bound
Published by Self-Published on September 28, 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Love & Romance, Music & Musicians, Performing Arts, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 246
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Tattoo Thief, Tyler & Stella, Revenge Bound

 

Place(s) Traveled To: New York, New York // Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

First Line(s): I’m shaking as I leave Tyler’s loft.

One band. Five love stories. Too many secrets.

We’ve been waiting a long time to find out how the band Tattoo Thief will deal with drummer Dave’s toxic ex—and the secrets she’s been collecting on everyone. It was worth the wait.

You don’t have to be a fan of the series to love a book that starts fast with a huge wow moment and then unpacks the band’s secrets. In fact, you don’t have to read the earlier books because each book is a different love story about a different member of the band.

 About Say it Louder:

I had a choice—dump my toxic girlfriend, or break up my band.

It should have been easy. But she’s been collecting dirt on all of us for years.

Just when I think I’ve hit rock bottom, a pink-haired street artist rocks my world. They call Willa “the Parking Lot Picasso.” I call her my refuge, my center, my last reason to hope.

When Willa’s life on the streets collides with a sudden spotlight on her art, I’ll stop at nothing to protect her. But when the spotlight turns on my secret shame, she might be my only salvation.

Review

SAY IT LOUDER is the long awaited sequel in Heidi Joy Tretheway’s Tattoo Thief series and it picks up almost immediately after REVENGE BOUND ends. We see Dave at a crossroads with the members of his band and the after effects of choices he makes from that meeting. Though its a decision that’s a long time in coming since readers are well aware of the toxicity that is Dave’s girlfried, Kristina. We also know that Kristina won’t go quietly though I did expect there to be more tension and drama from her. The scenes with Kristina just fell flat for me as did much of this book. Perhaps, because I’d been waiting for it for so long that my expectations were higher than they may have been and as a result SAY IT LOUDER just never really lived up.

As an installment in the series, I liked where SAY IT LOUDER went but just never really felt the heat between Willa and Dave. Willa was intensely dislikable at first and Dave seemed a little wishy-washy. Willa does change over the course of the book but it seemed pretty sudden and I never really bought her change in behaviour. I didn’t really feel the heat between Willa and Dave but as a couple they did work. They definitely worked better than Dave and Kristina ever did. For me, SAY IT LOUDER just didn’t seem to hit the right now. It was well written but it just seemed to lack the heart of the other books and while I liked it I just didn’t love it as much as I’d wanted.

A portion of SAY IT LOUDER was also spent introducing a new character, Ryan, and placing her into the path of the main characters. As with the introduction of Willa in REVENGE BOUND, this was all part of a set up and we learn that there is to be another book in the series, SKIP A BEAT. Which I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it. On one hand, I like the idea of another rock star musician book but on the other I was ready for this series to be over. Ryan also wasn’t really developed enough in this book to give a sense on who she is and if her story is worth reading. Although, deep down I know that I will because I do enjoy Tretheway’s writing.

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Grab your copy today:

Amazon ebook | iBooks | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | Paperback

 

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Get the first book in the Tattoo Thief series free (on iBooks, Amazon, Nook or Kobo), or dive in to Say it Louder by downloading a free extended sample for Kindle or all other devices. Check out this excerpt, and then enter the Rafflecopter giveaway to win a signed paperback and special swag.

Tattoo Thief (#1) – https://heidijoytretheway.com/0px%20!important;%22%20/%3E

Tyler & Stella (#2) – https://goo.gl/WrLTff

Revenge Bound (#3) – https://goo.gl/Uq5VTR

Skip a Beat (#5) – releases Jan. 31, 2017

All buy links are at www.heidijoytretheway.com/books

 

About Heidi Joy Tretheway:

heidi-joy-tretheway-author-photo

Heidi Joy Tretheway is a sucker for campfires, craft cocktails, and steamy romance in books and real life. She sings along with musicals (badly), craves French carbs, and buys plane tickets the way some women buy shoes.

Her first career as a journalist took Heidi behind the scenes with politicians, rock stars, and chefs, all of whom inspire her stories. Heidi Joy is currently working on her tenth book from her home in southwestern Washington.

 

Connect with Heidi:

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Enter Heidi’s Giveaway:

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Tour Stops

September 30th                             

Socially Awkward Book Nerd     Review

Barbara’s Book Reveiws                              Excerpt

October 1st                      

Books,Dreams,Life          Excerpt

The Silver Dagger Scriptorium                   Excerpt

Vera is Reading                Excerpt

October 2nd                    

Sassy Girl Books                             Review

A Dream Within A Dream            Excerpt

Quesarasera Book Blog                Review

October 3rd                     

Southern Belle Book Blog            Excerpt

Ticket to Anywhere                       Review

Reading Tigress                Review

October 4th                     

My Favorite Things         Review

SnoopyDoo’s Book Reviews        Excerpt

October 5th                     

Words of Wisdom from The Scarf Princess           Review

Reese’s Reviews               Excerpt

Bound By Books Book Review    Review

October 6th                     

Romance Book Nerd      Excerpt

EskieMama Reads           Excerpt

October 7th                     

Collector of book boyfriends      Playlist

iScream Books Review

Captain Reads A Lot       Excerpt

Inked in Chapters            Review

October 8th                     

CReeeBookWorld            Review

Renee Entress’s Blog      Review

Author Groupies              Review

October 9th                     

A Brit and a Yank             Review

Reading Between the Wines Book Club Guest Post

bookshelf dreaming       Review

Ashley Book Blog            Review

October 10th                   

The Smut-Brarians          Review

Books to Breathe             Review

Books Need TLC                              Review

October 11th                   

Adventures in Writing    Playlist

Live read and breathe    Review

Novel Addiction                              Review

October 12th                   

Alpha Book Club              Review

Red Cheeks Reads           Excerpt

Wild and Dirty Book Blog             Review

October 13th                   

G & T’s Indie Café            Excerpt

Short and Sassy Book Blurbs       Review

Ramblings From This Chick         Review

The Phantom Paragrapher          Review

Nay’s Pink Bookshelf      Excerpt

 

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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Blog Tour Excerpt: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Posted by Irish in Blog Tour, Contest, Excerpt0 Comments

Blog Tour Excerpt: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Nevernight (1)

The first in a new fantasy series from the New York Times bestselling author.

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

Title: NEVERNIGHT

Author: Jay Kristoff

Pub. Date: August 9, 2016

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

Pages: 448

Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksGoodreads

Excerpt

She snapped to her feet, stiletto drawn, her shadow writhing across the tiles toward him. The Dweymeri boy had drawn his scimitar, two more throwing knives poised in his other hand. Dark saltlocks of matted hair swayed over his eyes. The tattoos on his face were the ugliest Mia had ever seen, looking like they’d been scrawled by a blind man in the midst of a seizure. Yet the face beneath . . .

The pair stood watching each other, still as statues, moments ticking by like hours as the gale howled about them.

“You have very good ears, sir,” she finally said.

“You have better feet, Pale Daughter. I heard nothing.”

“Then how?”

The boy offered a dimpled smile. “You stink of cigarillo smoke. Cloves, I think.”

“That’s impossible. I’m upwind from you.”

The boy glanced at the shadows moving like snakes around his feet.

“Seems to be raining impossible in these parts.”

She stared at him. Hard and sharp and lean and quick. A rapier in a world of broadswords. Mercurio was better at reading folk than any person she’d known, and he’d taught her to sum others up in a blinking. Whoever this boy was, whatever his reasons for seeking the Church, he was no psychopath. Not one who killed for killing’s sake.

Interesting.

“You seek the Red Church,” she said.

“The fat man wouldn’t take my tithe.”

“Nor mine. We’re being tested, I think.”

“I thought the same.”

“It’s possible they’re no longer here. I was heading into the wastes to look.”

“If it’s death you seek, there are easier ways to find it.” The boy gestured beyond Last Hope’s walls. “Where would you even start?”

“I was planning on following my nose,” Mia smiled. “But something tells me I’d do better following yours.”

The boy stared long and hard. Hazel eyes roaming her body, cool and narrowed. The blade in her hand. The shadows at his feet. The whispering wastes behind him.

“My name is Tric,” he said, sheathing the scimitar at his back.

“. . . Tric? Are you certain?”

“Certain about my own name? Aye, that I am.”

“I mean no disrespect, sir,” Mia said. “But if we’re to travel the Whisperwastes together, we should at least be honest enough to use our own names. And your name can’t be Tric.”

“. . . Do you call me liar, girl?”

“I called you nothing, sir. And I’ll thank you not to call me ‘girl’ again, as if the word were kin to something you found on the bottom of your boot.”

“You have a strange way of making friends, Pale Daughter.”

Mia sighed. Took her temper by the earlobe and pulled it to heel.

“I’ve read the Dweymeri cleave to ritualized naming rites. Your names follow a set pattern. Noun then verb. Dweymeri have names like ‘Spinesmasher.’ ‘Wolfeater.’ ‘Pigfiddler.’ ”

“. . . Pigfiddler?”

Mia blinked. “Pigfiddler was one of the most infamous Dweymeri pirates who ever lived. Surely you’ve heard of him?”

“I was never one for history. What was he infamous for?”

“Fiddling with pigs.1 He terrorized farmers from Stormwatch to Dawnspear for almost ten years. Had a three- hundred- iron bounty on him in the end. No hog was safe.”

“. . . What happened to him?”

“The Luminatii. Their swords did to his face what he did to the pigs.”

“Ah.”

“So. Your name cannot be Tric.”

The boy stared her up and down, expression clouded. But when he spoke, there was iron in his voice. Indignity. A well- nursed and lifelong anger.

“My name,” he said, “is Tric.”

The girl looked him over, dark eyes narrowed. A puzzle, this one. And sure and certain, our girl had ever the weakness for puzzles.

“Mia,” she finally said.

The boy walked slow and steady across the tiles, paying no attention to the black beneath him. Extending one hand. Calloused fingers, one silver ring—the long, serpentine forms of three seadrakes, intertwined—on his index finger.

Mia looked the boy over, the scars and ugly facial tattoos, olive skin, lean and broad shouldered. She licked her lips, tasted sweat.

The shadows rippled at her feet.

“A pleasure to meet you, Dona Mia,” he said.

“And you, Don Tric.”

And with a smile, she shook his hand.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1 O, stop giggling and grow up.

jay

About Jay Kristoff

Jay Kristoff is a New York Times and international bestselling author of science fiction and fantasy. He grew up in the second most isolated capital city on earth and fled at his earliest convenience, although he’s been known to trek back for weddings of the particularly nice and funerals of the particularly wealthy. He spent most of his formative years locked in his bedroom with piles of books, or gathered around dimly-lit tables rolling polyhedral dice. Being the holder of an Arts degree, he has no education to speak of.

His LOTUS WAR trilogy was critically acclaimed in Kirkus and Publishers Weekly, nominated for the David Gemmell Morningstar and Legend awards and won the 2014 Aurealis Award. Jay’s new series, the SciFi thriller THE ILLUMINAE FILES, was co-authored with Amie Kaufman. Book 1, ILLUMINAE, became a New York Times and international bestseller, was named among the Kirkus, Amazon and YALSA Best Books of 2015 and won the 2016 Aurealis Award and an ABIA Book of the Year award. ILLUMINAE is currently slated to be published in twenty five countries, and film rights have been acquired by Brad Pitt and Plan B Entertainment.

Jay’s new fantasy series, THE NEVERNIGHT CHRONICLE, commences with book 1, NEVERNIGHT, from St Martins Press/Thomas Dunne Books and Harper Voyager in 2016. A new YA series, LIFEL1K3 has also been acquired by Knopf/Random House Kids, and commences publication in 2018. Jay is as surprised about all this as you are. He is represented by Josh Adams at Adams Literary.

Jay is 6’7 and has approximately 13,030 days to live. He abides in Melbourne with his secret agent kung-fu assassin wife, and the world’s laziest Jack Russell.

He does not believe in happy endings.

Website | Twitter | Facebook |Instagram | Goodreads

Contest

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Tour Stops

Week One:

8/1/2016- Dark Faerie Tales Interview

8/2/2016- Once Upon a Twilight– Review

8/3/2016- Supernatural Snark– Interview

8/4/2016- Nerdophiles– Review

8/5/2016- The Book Cellar– Interview

 

Week Two:

8/8/2016- MEREADALOT– Review

8/9/2016- Ticket to Anywhere– Interview

8/10/2016- The Young Folks– Review

8/11/2016- Two Chicks on Books– Interview

8/12/2016- Mundie Moms– Review

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Blog Tour Guest Post: The Virgin and the Viscount by Charis Michaels

Posted by Irish in Blog Tour, Contest, Excerpt, Guest Post, Spotlight0 Comments

Blog Tour Guest Post: The Virgin and the Viscount by Charis Michaels

VirginandtheViscountCOVER

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About THE VIRGIN AND THE VISCOUNT

In the next sparkling romance in debut author Charis Michael’s Bachelor Lords of London series, a proper viscount meets his match in a beguiling virgin who can’t help but break all the rules.

The Virgin
Lady Elisabeth Hamilton-Baythes has a painful secret. At the innocent age of fifteen, she was abducted by highwaymen and sold to a brothel. After two days, a young lord discovers her and enacts a brave rescue to get her out. Now she’s a grown woman, working to save other girls from the horror she saw that night and never forgetting the young man who rescued her.

The Viscount
Bryson Courtland, Viscount Rainsleigh has overcome an abusive boyhood, neglectful parents, and a bankrupt title to be one of the wealthiest noblemen in Britain. He works tirelessly to be upright and forthright and proper to a fault. Now he requires only one thing: A proper, forthright, proper wife.

The Unraveling
When a charity event puts Lord Bryson and Lady Elisabeth face-to-face, Bryson has no memory of the wounded girl of long ago. All he can see is a perfect candidate to be his future wife. Elisabeth has never forgotten him, but she worries that the brave boy who saved her so long ago has become a rich man with an unfulfilled life.

As a whirlwind courtship reveals the truth, Bryson must accept that Elisabeth is actually a shadow from his dark past, while Elisabeth must show that love is the noblest virtue of all.

 

Guest Post

 

Crafting a Book Title with a Title:  How The Virgin and the Viscount Got Its Name

The Virgin and the Viscount was the very first romance manuscript I ever wrote, way back in 2004, twelve years before it would reach the hands of readers.

Back then, it had a working title of, A Proper Scandal.

Back then, it was not connected to another book like it is now.

Back then it was double the word count.

            After I finished the first draft, it languished with its old title and original length until I was able to revise it into my Bachelor Lords of London series.  To my delight, the revisions came easily, almost as if it belonged in the series from conception. Characters were combined.  Chapters were cut. My writing became more succinct.

What did not come as easily was giving the book a new title.

            When an author names a work of commercial fiction like romance, she has the challenge of making quite a lot of people happy.  Herself (obviously), her editor, the editors above her editor, the marketing and publicity teams, her readers, and simply the trending Zeitgeist.

But before I could please everyone, I had to think series, I had to think “Bachelor Lords,” I had to make this book fit with the book before it, The Earl Next Door.

Since Book I in the series contains the aristocratic title “Earl,” we felt second book should hit on the hero in general and mention his rank particular.

Ha! Easier said than done….Here, I share with you a very few of my many, many rejected false starts:

The Stone-Cold Viscount, The Viscount’s Vow, The Viscount’s Vice, The Viscount’s Only Vice, The Viscount Takes a Vice, Unraveling the Viscount or The Viscount Unraveled.

When these were all rejected and I was pulling my hair, I sent up:

Stand and Viscount-ed,  Down for the Viscount (personal favorite worst of the worst), Where the Viscount Ends, or Viscount on the Verge.

And finally (pathetically):  Don’t Viscount the Chickens Before They Hatch, which is what I felt I had done by writing this book into the series without deciding on a viable name at the onset.

Alas, we all know a title emerged and the book is called The Virgin and the Viscount.  To arrive at this, I finally caught on to what my publisher seemed to want, the perfect balance of little bit sexy + a little bit catchy.

I began to search words that began with “V” (for the catchy) that might also be provocative (for the sexy).  When I stumbled on “Virgin,” I thought, fingers crossed, I might I might have a winner—and I was right.  I got the thumbs-up from my publisher, my writing buddies, and I even felt like my characters would approve.

Now, ahem, if I can only convince my mother.

Excerpt

 

Prologue

 

On April 12, 1809, Franklin “Frankie” Courtland, 6th Viscount Rainsleigh, tripped on a root in the bottom of a riverbed and drowned.  He was drunk at the time, picnicking with friends on the banks of the River Wylye.  According an account later given to the magistrate, his lordship simply fell over, bumped into a fallen log, and sank.

It was there he remained—“enjoying the cool,” or so his friends believed—until he became too heavy, too slippery, and, alas, too dead to revive.  But they did dislodge him; and after that, they claimed he floated to the surface, bobbed several times, and then gently glided downstream.  He was later found just before sunset, face down and bloated (in life, as also in death), beached on a pebble shoal near Codford.

At the time the elder Courtland was sinking to the bottom of the river, his son and heir, Bryson was hunched over a desk in the offices of his fledgling shipping company, waiting for the very moment his father would die.  It had been an exceedingly long, progressively humiliating wait.  Years long—nay, decades.

Luckily for Bryson, for his ships and his future, he was capable of doing more things at once than wait, and while his father drank and debauched his way through all respectability and life, Bryson worked.

It was an unthinkable thing for a young heir and nobleman—to “work”—but Bryson was given little choice, considering the impoverished state of the Rainsleigh crest.  He was scarcely eleven years of age when he made first foray into labor, and not so many years after, into private enterprise.  His life in work had not ceased since.  On the rare occasion that he didn’t work, he studied.

With his meager earnings (he began by punting boats on the very river in which his father later drowned), he made meager investments.  These investments reaped small gains—first in shares in the punting station; later in property along the water; later still, in other industry up and down the river.

Bryon lived modestly, worked ceaselessly, and spared only enough to pay his way through Cambridge, bring up his brother, and see him educated him, as well.   Every guinea earned was reinvested.  He repeated the process again and again, a little less meagerly each time ‘round.

By the time the elder viscount’s self-destructive lifestyle wrought his river- and drink-soaked end, Bryson had managed to accrue a small fortune, launch a company that built and sailed ships, and construct an elaborate plan for what he would do when his father finally cocked up his toes and died.

When at last that day came, Bryson had but one complaint: it took fifty-two hours for the constable to find him.  He was a viscount for two days before anyone, including himself, even knew it.

But two days was a trifle compared to a lifetime of waiting.  And on the day he learned of his inheritance—nay, the very hour—he launched his long awaited plan.

By three o’clock on the fourth day, he’d razed the rotting, reeking east wing of the family estate in Wiltshire to the ground.

Within the week, he’d extracted his mother from the west wing and shipped her and a contingent of discreet caregivers to a villa in Spain.

Within the month, he’d sold every stick of furniture, every remaining fork and dish, every sweat-soaked toga and opium-tinged gown.  He burned the drapes, burned the rugs, burned the tapestries.  He delivered the half-starved horses and the fighting dogs to an agricultural college and pensioned off the remaining staff.

By the six-week mark, he’d unloaded the London townhome—sold at auction to the highest bidder—and with it, the broken-down carriage, his father’s dusty arsenal, what was left of the wine stores, and all the lurid art.

It was a whirlwind evacuation, a gutting, really, and no one among polite society had ever witnessed a son or heir take such absolute control and haul away so much family or property quite so fast.

But no one among polite society was acquainted with Bryson Anders Courtland, the new Viscount Rainsleigh.

And no one understood that it was not so much an ending as it was an entirely fresh start.  Once the tearing down ceased, the rebuilding could begin. New viscountsy, new money, new respect, new life.

It was an enterprise into which Bryson threw himself like no other. Unlike all others, however, he could only do so much, one man, alone. For this, he would require another.  A partner.   Someone with whom he could work together towards a common goal.  A collaborator who emulated his precise, immaculate manner. A matriarch, discreet and pure. A paragon of propriety.  A viscountess.  A proper, perfect wife.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

About CHARIS MICHAELS

 Charis Michaels is thrilled to be making her debut with Avon Impulse. Prior to writing romance, she studied Journalism at Texas A&M and managed PR for a trade association. She has also worked as a tour guide at Disney World, harvested peaches on her family’s farm, and entertained children as the “Story Godmother” at birthday parties. She has lived in Texas, Florida, and London, England. She now makes her home in the Washington, D.C.-metro area.

 

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Blog Tour Guest Post: A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody

Posted by Irish in Blog Tour, Guest Post0 Comments

A Week of Mondays_Cover Image

 A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody

Ellie is having the worst Monday of her life. She messes up her school  speech for the class vice presidency position, she manages to take the world’s  worst school picture, she bombs softball tryouts, and the icing on top  of this awful cake: her perfect boyfriend who is in a high school rock band dumps her. At the end of  the day, Ellie wishes she could redo everything. When she wakes up the  next morning, she discovers that it’s Monday again! She has six more chances to redo the day in the hopes of having everything go exactly the way she wants. But in the process, she just may find out that what she really wants and what she actually needs are two very different things.

Expected publication: August 2nd 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Guest Post

ELLISON “ELLIE” SPARKS: An idealistic, ambitious sixteen-year-old junior with alot on her plate.

Those were the first words I ever wrote about Ellie Sparks. They were written in a synopsis for my publisher when I was first trying to sell them on the idea for a book called A WEEK OF MONDAYS.

Of course, you can’t write an entire book about a one-sentence character. Just like you can’t live your entire life as a one-sentence person. But every character has to begin somewhere. And this is where Ellie began for me.

As an idealistic, ambitious sixteen-year-old junior with a lot on her plate.

In my mind, this is who she had to be. I thought, if you’re going to write about a girl who relives the same horrible Monday over and over again, trying to “get it right,” these are the adjectives that must describe her. She has to be idealisticenough to think she can fix everything in her life. Yet, she also has to beambitious enough to try it. And how else are you going to fill seven Mondays with interesting storylines if the main character doesn’t have a lot on her plate.

So there was Ellie. And there was me, ready to write her, thinking I understood her. Thinking I knew everything I needed to know about her.

This is the writing process for me. I start with an idea of who someone is. I draw a box around them, like an identity fence. I stuff them inside and I lock the gate. I tell them, “This is who you are. Don’t try to change that. Don’t try to be or do anything else. I don’t have time for detours. I’m on a deadline.”

I never learn.

A WEEK OF MONDAYS is my tenth published novel and I’m still trying to lock characters inside fences. Eventually, though, they always break free. They always get bigger than their boxes. And even though I try to adjust, I keep drawing bigger and bigger boxes around them, trying to contain them to the world I built, the world I envisioned, they never quite want to stay inside. Just like people. You can try to identify them, label them, build a fence around them that makes youfeel safe, and yet they’ll always surprise you. Because no character—no human being—fits inside a box.

One of my favorite reviews of A WEEK OF MONDAYS says, “Watching Ellie relive her horrible day is something like peeling an onion. Each Monday, a piece of her people-pleaser facade melts away, revealing more of her real self.”

I smiled when I read that because it wasn’t until then that I realized exactly what had happened in the writing of this book. I had done it again. I had tried to put yet another character in a box, and she had slowly, word by word, page by page, Monday by Monday broken free.

This book is ultimately a story of self-discovery.

Seven days. Seven chances to completely reinvent yourself. Wear different clothes, make different choices, explore different paths, say different things, be different people.

Because sometimes it takes a whole week of Mondays to figure out who you really are. And when you finally do, you may find yourself thinking ‘Thank God It’s Monday’ after all.

For the next five Mondays, blogger friends across the internet will be sharing their best and worst Monday. Follow along with us online with #TGIM and #AWeekofMondays, because whether a Monday is memorable for good reasons or memorable for bad reasons, we stand to learn a lot about ourselves.

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