Friday, 31 January 2014

The Girl by Madhuri Blaylock Blog Tour - Excerpt + Giveaway



The Girl (The Sanctum #1) by Madhuri Blaylock
Paranormal
Published: 11th November 2013

The Sanctum, an all-powerful governing body founded by ten families, entrusted to maintain the peace amongst Magicals and ensure the ignorance of humans, has been corrupted by greed and savagery for generations, but is all Wyatt Clayworth has ever known.

A descendant of one of the Founding Families and Class A Warrior, Wyatt has always believed in the ways of The Sanctum, having grown up in the system and thrived under their leadership. A golden boy, renowned for his prowess and skill in battle, Wyatt has never questioned a mission or kill order until the night he crosses paths with a brutally injured and mysterious girl.

Scouring Central Park with his best friend and fellow Class A Warrior, Ryker Morrison, for the hybrid demon prophesied to bring an end to The Sanctum and destroy the world for Magicals and humans alike, Wyatt instead finds Dev and his whole life turns upside down. Told he was hunting a killing machine, hellbent on wreaking havoc and destruction upon all it encounters, Wyatt instead sees nothing more than a broken girl with haunted eyes and a bit of a death wish.

All Dev wants is for Wyatt to either kill her or leave her alone. When he refuses to do either, she finds herself being pulled into his life while being hunted by warriors everywhere she turns. Drawn to one another for reasons they cannot begin to explain to themselves, much less anyone else, Wyatt is determined to protect Dev and help her realize her mission to avenge the deaths of her family at the hands of The Sanctum. His abdication of his duties and his outright rejection of his responsibilities to The Sanctum create a maelstrom of events beyond anyone’s imagination.

Book Links

Excerpt

Without making a sound, Wyatt quickly found the exact place he was seeking. Ducking under some low-hanging tree branches, he ventured into the dark, partially-hidden lair only to be met with a less-than-welcoming blade at his throat. Dev had moved slightly from the hiding place Wyatt left her and although the lower half of her body remained immobile, her arms were functioning just fine, as evidenced by the blade drawing a thin trickle of blood from Wyatt’s neck. One wrong move and she would certainly kill him.

Wyatt slowly brought his hands up to Dev’s, wrapped his fingers around hers and painstakingly maneuvered the blade away from his neck. Only then did he dare make eye contact with her.

“You didn’t really think I was just going to leave you here, did you?” Wyatt asked as he moved to retrieve his blade from Dev.

She wasn’t quite ready to give it up and slashed at Wyatt’s outstretched hand, managing to nick his wrist.

“Crap!” Wyatt sat back on his heels, holding his wrist, and laughed, “fair enough. I deserved that. I should have told you I was coming back, but I couldn’t risk Ryker overhearing or suspecting anything. Trust me, if he thought I was coming back for you he would have spent all night watching me like a hawk. So I left you and walked away and it worked. Now get over it and give me back my blade.”

Despite the laughter in his voice, Wyatt wasn’t playing. He wanted his blade. Her name was Odara and she had been handed down the Clayworth line since the witnessing of The Code of Ten. She was sharper than any Raven blade and fit his hand like a glove. Many had fought and died at his hand thanks to Odara. She was his protector and he wanted her back where she belonged, safely strapped to his hip.

"Kill me," Dev offered the blade at a price.

Wyatt stood up tall and glared down at Dev, clenching his jaw in irritation.

"Kill me," Dev challenged him again, taunting him with her smug stare and grim request.

With blinding speed, Wyatt landed on Dev, knocking her to the ground. Before she even realized what was happening, he locked down her arms and liberated his blade from her grasp. Wyatt hovered above Dev, inches from her face, momentarily tempted to slice her throat and end all of this drama. She couldn’t move a muscle.

"You are in no position to bargain with me," Wyatt angrily whispered, never taking his eyes off of hers. "I am faster and stronger than you. So don’t even think about toying with me like that again.”

Wyatt pushed himself off of her, replaced Odara at his hip and grinned mischievously. “For the record, my blade isn’t worth your life. I just want it back. And I asked nicely the first time.”

Dev remained in her prone position, staring up at Wyatt, uncertain of her next move. She didn’t have the strength necessary to pull herself into a seated position and she definitely was not going to ask for help.

“What?” Wyatt stared down at Dev, knowing she needed help to get up but determined to make her ask for it.

Even in the darkness, Dev could see Wyatt’s eyes sparkling with amusement. He was thoroughly enjoying this little moment between the two of them. His pleasure made her wish she had slit his throat when she had the chance. Rather than requesting his assistance, Dev focused every ounce of her energy on rolling over onto her stomach. If she could do that, she could easily pull herself into a sitting position, Wyatt be damned. She closed her eyes and focused every fiber of her being on the task at hand but nothing happened. Her body failed to react. It didn't even twitch. The body that had so beautifully saved her from certain death at the hands of those Sanctum fools just hours earlier now couldn't even roll over. She shook with frustration, wanting to scream to the heavens in rage, knowing such action was futile and beneath her. So she took a calming breath, opened her eyes and glared at Wyatt.

"Ahhhh, you're back. I was starting to miss your charming scowl," Wyatt bent low and absentmindedly pushed some of Dev’s hair out of her eyes, “was getting worried there for a second."

Dev grabbed his hand in her vice-like grip. She hated him and his snarky comments.

"I realize you don’t like me," Wyatt pulled his hand out of her grasp and gently placed his arms around Dev, helping her to sit, unable to look at her lying helplessly on the ground for another second, "but I'm all you've got so by all means, continue simmering in your hatred for me but do so with the understanding that I'm on your side.

"All this stabbing and cutting nonsense has got to end. If you want to hurt me, just imagine it, okay? Pretend. Don't actually do it. I heal quickly but it still hurts like hell."

"Now we've got to get out of here fast," Wyatt checked his watch, alarmed at how much time had passed since he jumped out of his window, "and you still can’t walk, which means I’m going to have to pick you up again. Whether you’re okay with it or not.”

He leaned back on his heels and waited, for some reason hoping Dev would respond, all the while knowing she would not. Dev listened with keen interest to every word coming out of Wyatt’s mouth. She most certainly didn’t like him, but she had to respect his determination. He fully intended to get her out of this park and to somewhere safe and against her better judgment, a tiny part of her was relieved. It was the same, small part of her that was fiercely drawn to him, like a sickness almost. And it was the part of her she most wanted to destroy.

Dev hardened her resolve, focused on her intense hatred for all things Sanctum and shut down.

For an instant, Wyatt thought he saw a spark in Dev’s eyes and just as quickly, it was gone. At that moment, for reasons unknown to himself, Wyatt resigned himself to a one-sided relationship with her, one completely based upon his will to help her. He stood up and reached for her, praying she didn’t have a blade hidden somewhere, knowing that if she did, this time she would definitely kill him. To his surprise, Dev wrapped her arms around his neck and allowed Wyatt to scoop her up and into his arms, but he thought nothing more of it, knowing full well she was merely using him to further her agenda.

And that was all right.




Author Bio - Madhuri Blaylock

Madhuri Blaylock is a lawyer by day, writer and avid shoe and dress buyer at all other times. She lives in Jersey City, but her heart remains firmly planted in Brooklyn via Snellville, Georgia. Her husband, Henry, is also a lawyer, and only a lawyer because he actually likes being a lawyer (go figure), probably always wanted to be a lawyer and is really, really good at all things lawyerly. He's also pretty hot.

She’s got a big kid, Miss Sydney, and a little kid, the one and only Dash. They're awesome and fierce and supremely cool and able to make her laugh at the strangest things. She would love to add a dog, some chickens, a goat and a burro to this crew. Everyone needs a burro.

Some of her favorites, in no particular order: ice cream, Kill Bill, four-inch heels, Matt Damon, tattoos, Laini Taylor, scotch on the rocks, The Sanctum trilogy, random office supplies, Martha's Vineyard, "The Girl" aka my Mini, Rihanna, Doc Martens, tulips, photo booths and dancing like a fool.

One day she plans to grow up. Right now, she’s enjoying the adventure.

Author Links



Find the rest of the TOUR HERE!



Giveaway

$40 Amazon Gift Card

-International
-Ends 2nd March 2014

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Excerpt Blast: The Deep End of the Sea by Heather Lyons

TheDeep End of the Sea Excerpt Blast

The Deep End Of The Sea - Front Cover

The Deep End of the Sea by Heather Lyons
NA Fantasy
Expected Publication: 13th February 2014

What if all the legends you’ve learned were wrong?

Brutally attacked by one god and unfairly cursed by another she faithfully served, Medusa has spent the last two thousand years living out her punishment on an enchanted isle in the Aegean Sea. A far cry from the monster legends depict, she’s spent her time educating herself, gardening, and desperately trying to frighten away adventure seekers who occasionally end up, much to her dismay, as statues when they manage to catch her off guard. As time marches on without her, Medusa wishes for nothing more than to be given a second chance at a life stolen away at far too young an age.

But then comes a day when Hermes, one of the few friends she still has and the only deity she trusts, petitions the rest of the gods and goddesses to reverse the curse. Thus begins a journey toward healing and redemption, of reclaiming a life after tragedy, and of just how powerful friendship and love can be—because sometimes, you have to sink in the deep end of the sea before you can rise back up again.

Book Links



Excerpt

I let it happen again.

The temple settles into that stagnant silence I’ve long learned to loathe, and these are the most cohesive series of words I can string together for many long, desolate minutes. I let it happen again. Resolutions apparently mean nothing, even if crafted under the best of intentions. Had I not, just this very morning, recited a daily pledge held dear to my heart: I shall not let myself be used for death?

And yet, a man is dead, and I was the weapon that slayed him.

I move closer to where he now stands, forever frozen in terror, and press my shaking hand against his outstretched stone one. “I’m sorry,” I whisper, though he cannot and never will be able to hear my words. “So, so sorry.”

His eyes, wide and mercifully detail free, offer me nothing in return. Once I commit his features to memory, I construct a life history with a name worthy of his sacrifice. Walt was single (I can’t bear the thought of spouses and children, thus my collection of singletons) and a bit of a daredevil when he wasn’t volunteering to teach literacy to adults in poverty stricken urban areas. He’d gone spelunking at least a half-dozen times, sky diving twice, and bungee cord diving off some crazy bridge in Colorado just once, on his thirtieth birthday. Walt liked to write poetry; how could he not, when his now-deceased parents had named him after one of the greats?

Walt liked to talk about poetry, too, which means he needs to be with others like him. I strip off my flannel work shirt, down to a tank top, and get to work. Shoving stones around when half of one’s body is reptilian isn’t the easiest of tasks, requiring a great deal of precision and care.

As I always tend to do when placing a new statue, I can’t help but flash back to the one and only time I’d broken one of my victims. I’d been tired—he’d snuck upon me when I’d been sleeping—and an overestimated shove sent poor Nikolaos face first against the temple floor. I’d spent most of that night collecting the pieces which once made a whole man, blubbering in misery. As penance, his head, missing an ear and part of his nose, still sits on a shelf in my bedroom. Treat us gently, I like to imagine him telling me nightly before I sleep. We deserve your care.

I have not failed Nikolaos since. Over the ages, I’ve developed a routine to transfer the statues around the island that includes wrapping the bodies in a thick quilt before putting them up on casters. It takes a painstaking amount of time to shift them short or long distances, but each person deserves nothing less from me.

Walt’s group sits just outside the temple. They are the philosophers of our island; it only seems natural they would find much to appreciate in both the sun and the stars. I struggle with his body over the stairs—they are tricky to maneuver for me even without hauling a two hundred pound statue—but eventually, I get him exactly where he’ll fit in best.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is Walt,” I tell the still faces forming a cluster near a non-functioning fountain. “His poetry is as beautiful as his namesake’s.”

I angle Walt so his eyes face theirs. It’s late afternoon, and there is soft orange light filtering down upon their features. It’s a beautiful sight, which only saddens me, because all of that talk about death and beauty being intertwined is one of the biggest loads of crap I’ve ever heard. Death isn’t beautiful. Too often than not, it’s messy and brutal; even when done in sleep, there’s still that theft of breath, that failure of a heart. Death is an act of violence.

I should know. I am one of the most prolific murderers in history. And I think about death constantly.

I often wonder what my own death will be like, if I am ever blessed to embrace it. I’m not too picky in my imaginings; I’ll take any sort by this point. Logically, I’d prefer a less painful exit, but, knowing my luck, it’ll be as ruthless as once reported and still widely believed.

It ought to be noted I have some of the most wretched luck to ever be doled out, so there is that.

The sound of waves crashing against the shore sends my eyes to the horizon. I’ve tried to drown myself in those waters more times than I ought to admit over the years, but the sea always spits me back out. I’ve also tried overdosing on pharmaceuticals, stabbing myself in the chest and eyes (which was just as painful as you’d imagine), and throwing myself off a cliff. Melodramatic, yes, and all ineffective for an immortal cursed with impenetrable skin and a digestive system apparently filled with acid.

Death is not my friend. At least, not yet.




Author Bio - Heather Lyons

Author Photo

Heather Lyons has always had a thing for words—She’s been writing stories since she was a kid. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. Heather is a rabid music fan, as evidenced by her (mostly) music-centric blog, and she’s married to an even larger music snob. They’re happily raising three kids who are mini music fiends who love to read and be read to.




Author Links



Thursday, 30 January 2014

The Lion's Embrace Blog Tour by Marie Laval - Excerpt


The Lion's Embrace

The Lion's Embrace by Marie Laval
Historical Romance
Publication Date: February 2013

Algiers, 1845.

Arrogant, selfish and dangerous, Lucas Saintclair is everything Harriet Montague dislikes in a man. He is also the best guide in the whole of the Barbary States, the only man who can rescue her archaeologist father from the gang of Tuareg fighters that has kidnapped him. As Harriet embarks on a perilous journey across Algeria with Saintclair and Archibald Drake, her father’s most trusted friend, she discovers a bewitching but brutal land where nothing is what it seems. Who are these men intent on stealing her father’s ransom? What was her father hoping to find in Tuareg queen Tin Hinan’s tomb? Is Lucas Saintclair really as callous as he claims—or is he a man haunted by a past he cannot forgive? Dangerous passions engulf Harriet’s heart in the heat of the Sahara. Secrets of lost treasures, rebel fighters, and a sinister criminal brotherhood threaten her life and the life of the man she loves.

Does forever lie in the lion’s embrace?


Book Links


Excerpt

“Oh, my God,” Harriet breathed out. She glanced around, but nobody was paying the two men the slightest notice. There was no time to think, a man’s life was at stake. With a muffled cry she hurled herself at the tall stranger, jumped on his back, and hooked her arms around his neck.

He let out a roar of anger and swirled round to shake her off, but she wrapped
her legs more tightly around his waist.

“Bon sang! Qu’est-ce que...

He dropped the dagger, twisted his body, and managed to grab her waist to slide her to the front so she was now against his chest. Aware she was losing her grip she lunged forward and sank her teeth into his shoulder.

He growled, held her at arm’s length, and threw her off. She fell on the cobbles. The turban softened the impact to the back of her head, but a vicious pain at the bottom of her spine made her cry out. The man swore in French. Although she only caught a few words, she understood he was angry. Very angry. His victim had escaped.

She let out a sigh of relief. She had done it. She saved a man’s life. Her joy, however, was short-lived. The Frenchman leaned over, picked her up by the collar of her tunic, and lifted her as if she was no heavier than a bundle of cloth. The savage glint in his eyes dried her throat; her heart hammered against her ribs.

“Please, don’t hurt me,” she pleaded, breathless.


His eyes opened wide in shock.

Since when did Tuareg fighters speak fluent English? Come to think of it, since when did they smell of Damascus rose soap?

He peered more closely at the face in front of him and saw two large, grey eyes bordered with long, dark eyelashes and the tip of a small nose above the dark blue scarf. He recalled the odd sensations when the soft, curvy body had thrust against him earlier. This wasn’t a Tuareg fighter at all, it was a … He ripped the headdress off and a mass of thick, honey blonde hair tumbled out.

“A woman? I thought as much. Who are you?” he asked in English. “What the
hell did you think you were doing just then?” He shook her a little, not to hurt her, but enough to give her a fright.

The woman didn’t answer.

“You’re not so bold now, are you?” He narrowed his eyes, smiled his meanest
smile, and was satisfied to hear her helpless cry. She had cost him days of patient stakeout. Now, because of her, Rachid was free to sell the map to the highest bidder. And he knew exactly who that would be.

“Maybe you want to take another bite?” he snarled, pointing to his shoulder.

“No,” she whispered.

“Actually, maybe I’ll be the one to take a bite. You look appetizing enough.”

He lifted her closer, until his mouth almost touched hers, and he felt her warm
breath on his skin.



Author Marie Laval



Book Blitz: The Hardest Part by Heather London - Excerpt + Giveaway


The Hardest Part

The Hardest Part by Heather London
Adult Contemporary Romance
Expected Publication: 5th January 2014

Emily Anderson and Reed Alexander are living with pasts they cannot escape.

Emily moved to New York City seeking a fresh start, intending to focus on her career and to keep a low profile.

Reed returns home to New York City after two years, haunted by the same things that pushed him away years ago.

When Reed and Emily meet, their connection is undeniable, but Emily keeps her feelings hidden. Falling in love is the last thing on her mind and she knows the danger it may bring not only to her, but to Reed as well. Reed isn’t as reluctant, but he knows that the demons he’s fighting could destroy Emily.

The harder they try to resist one another, the deeper they fall in love, and the more complicated their lives become.

In the end, they realize that truly loving someone may mean letting them go… and that’s the hardest part.
Book Links
Amazon - Barnes & Noble



Excerpt

Ignoring the pain, I continued to kick, hoping to get him off me. I continued to reach to get a better hold on the ladder. With my next kick, I felt one of my legs spring free from his grasp. I glanced back, coiled my leg back as far as it would go, hoping to gain as much force as possible, and then let it go, hitting him directly in the face. He stumbled back against the wall, yelling and screaming for Jason and Eric. It was now or never. I had to get away. Reaching again, I grabbed the bar with both hands and pulled myself through the small opening. Our eyes met for just a moment before I took off down the fire escape.

The next few seconds were a blur as the blood coursed through my veins. I flew down the ladder and jumped off the railing before it even reached the bottom. I knew every second counted. At any moment, Jake and his men would be coming around the corner and I wouldn’t be able to fight them all off. I hit the ground with a thud and felt the jarring impact move up my legs and spread into my back. I stumbled forward and ran as fast as I could.

The streets were empty, dark. Running as fast as I could, I scanned for anyone to help me, for a cab. I would've settled for any sign of human life at that point. Yet there was no one.Every few seconds, I looked over my shoulder, expecting to see the three of them chasing after me. Deep down, I was thankful that they weren't back there, but I couldn't help wondering where they were. There was no way he would give up that easily.



Author Bio - Heather London



Heather London is a young adult author who loves to write stories full of fantasy, romance, and science fiction. She is a lover of only the finest of coffee and premium craft beer, but will settle for anything chocolate, regardless of its quality. Heather lives with her husband in Dallas, TX where she is currently working hard on her next project.




Author Links:
Website - Facebook



Giveaway

An e-copy of The Hardest Part by Heather London (epub, mobi, or, pdf)

-International
-Ends 20th February 2014

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Wednesday, 29 January 2014

London Falling by T.A. Foster Blog Tour - Tens List + Giveaway

Blog Tour – London Falling by T.A. Foster

London Falling

London Falling by T.A. Foster
NA Contemporary
Publication Date: 14th January 2014

It’s London’s senior year and she only needs one class to graduate. She just didn’t expect her final assignment: fall in love.

Communication 224 has a reputation for giving out the most unique projects of the semester. When London James and Beau Anderson signed up for the class they had no idea they would be paired up together, much less spend an entire semester working on their final grade.

Professor Garcia tasks them to produce a study on the hit reality show, Love Match, a show about strangers falling in love on over the top dates. London and Beau decide to debunk the popular show’s fantasy portrayal of romance. Determined they can date the entire semester and not fall for each other, the classmates share blogs about their dates and start a website where everyone can follow their dating experiment. 

Is staying out of love as easy as it seems? Headstrong and success-driven London discovers there might be more important things in life than an A.


Book Links



Tens List with T.A. Foster

Top Ten Romantic Comedy Date Scenes


As badly as London and Beau want their dates to go smoothly, it just doesn’t always happen that way. In honor of the romantic comedy side of London Falling, I’ve made a list of my favorite dates in RomCom movies. Cue the cheesy music…


1. The Wedding Planner—movie in the park. Have you ever really thought about eating the colorful M&Ms the same way again?

2. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days—family overnight to play BS. I just doubled up on Matthew McConaughey movies, but he and Hugh Grant are the experts on all things for leading men in RomComs.

3. Bridget Jones’s Diary—dinner after the book launch. All of Bridget’s careful pre-party planning paid off when she ended up going home with Daniel.

4. Serendipity—sundaes at Serendipity. Splitting a pair of beautiful and expensive gloves never sounded like such a good idea.

5. Forgetting Sarah Marshall—Dracula comedy rock-opera performance. Because when you really like someone you watch puppet opera.

6. This is 40—overnight anniversary. At 40, crazy, wild, and hot times still happen when you least expect them.

7. Just Friends—ice skating date. If you want to stay out of the friend zone, don’t plan lunch dates or you’ll have to contend with the Dinkleman factor.

8. Bull Durham—living room dancing. Such an iconic movie scene. Kevin Costner, a kimono, and dancing…

9. Waitress—pie lesson. Felicity traded her journal in for pie making skills and she delivered. I loved this sugary, sweet scene.

10. When Harry Met Sally—New Year’s Eve. It’s the perfect way to start the new year, with a kiss from someone you love.



Author Bio - T.A. Foster

T.A. Foster is a Southern girl whose heart and spirit are connected to the beach. She grew up catching rays and chasing waves along the North Carolina Outer Banks and now resides in the state with her adventurous pilot husband, two children and two canine kiddos.

Her long love affair with books started at an early age, and as soon as she was able, she transformed imaginative stories into words on paper. Time Spell is T.A.’s debut novel, and the first in a series about a very adventurous, clever, and magical girl named Ivy.

T.A. has an undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a graduate degree in Educational Psychology from Texas A&M University. When she’s not chasing her two-legged and four-legged children or trying to escape for date night, you can find her reading, writing or planning her next beach trip.


Author Links
Blog - Twitter - Goodreads - Facebook




Giveaway

Win a bachelor date. Includes:
     -London Falling inspired charm bracelet
     -$20 Fandango movie certificate
     -$40 restaurant gift card

-US Only

-Ends 3rd February 2014

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Book Blast: Mooncalf by Linda Zern - Excerpt + Giveaway

Mooncalf cover

Mooncalf by Linda Zern

Over Olympia and Leah's heads, Americans race the Russians to the moon; on their television sets young men fight and struggle in the mud of Viet Nam; and America holds its breath between heartbreaking tragedies.

But on Miss Brinker's school bus, in the seat with the rip in the green plastic, Olympia and Leah fall in love, the way children do: immediately, completely, and without knowing or caring why they shouldn't. Olympia Crooms, with her happy hair, and Leah Breck, with her silly red dog, are two smart girls.

Olympia's father works other men's orange groves in rural Central Florida and tells his daughter that school is the best way to reach for the stars. Leah's father moves his family from the Space Coast to the country where she and her brother can climb orange trees, imagine lions in the tall grass, and learn to feed baby cows milk from a bottle.

At Evegan Elementary, two smart girls find each other and have to decide if they will learn the hardest lessons of all: the false traditions of their fathers.


Book Links



Praise for Mooncalf

"One of the most admirable things about Mooncalf is that it's difficult to find a single wasted word in the entire book. Granted the book is short; yet, it is very rare to find a book which treats with such delicacy the choosing of each word--each adjective, verb, and noun. Themes, motifs, and symbols are everywhere throughout Mooncalf, and most impressive of all none of it is discarded. Motifs and themes exist in big and small circles in Mooncalf, circling back in on themselves as well as intertwining themselves with the plot and the characters that inhabit it. And those motifs and themes, those messages and those symbols, don't go away once you've finished the book. They stick with you. It's hard to forget Mooncalf."
~ The Thousander Club

"I never expected to be moved to tears by a book meant for adolescents. Buy it, read it, share it, and let yourself be changed by it."
~Lacey Smith



Excerpt

Olympia’s voice was a whisper in Leah’s ear.

“I don’t have those things, those cooties.”

“I know. I don’t even care what those things are.”

“Cootie bugs. Miss Rhodes is saying I have bugs crawling and living in my hair and at my house.”

“Miss Rhodes didn’t mean you.” Leah felt icky. “She couldn’t mean you.”

“It’s because I’m one of the poor kids, you know. She said it: sharecroppers.”

Without looking, Olympia pulled her hand out of Leah’s and started trying to flatten the wrinkles out of the crushed paper doily on the valentine. Leah put her hand over Olympia’s, the valentine a ruined mess under their fingers.

“But Miss Rhodes has hair just like yours.”

“No,” Olympia said, shaking her head. “No, Miss Rhodes doesn’t want hair like mine, like she had when she was a little girl. She wants white folk’s hair. That’s what Granny Mac says. ‘Cuz some colored folks like her don’t know who they want to be any more.’”

Leah looked at the neat part in her friend’s black braids, and loved the way Olympia’s barrettes danced when she dropped her head. She saw only the complicated, clever patterns in her friend’s clean black hair.

Leah saw only Olympia.



Author Bio - Linda Zern

LindaLinda Zern is a native of Florida where she learned to be moonstruck.

She wrote her first children's chapter book, The Pocket Fairies of Middleburg, in 2005. Writer's Digest called "the perspective of these tiny beings [the pocket fairies] refreshing, enchanting, and intriguing."

Florida Publisher's Association was kind enough to award her little book the President's Book Award for best children's book of 2005.

Mrs. Zern has since published an inspirational book, The Long-Promised Song, serving as both writer and illustrator. Three collections of her humorous essays (ZippityZern’s Uncommon Nonsense) can be found at Smashwords.com, and her award winning essays have been recognized and published at HumorPress.com.

Her current project, Mooncalf, is her first work of historical fiction for Middle School readers. Set in rural Central Florida, the author tells the story of two misfit girls and the hard lessons they must learn about friendship and love from their friends, their families, and their world.

The mystical state of Florida remains an enchanted and delightsome place for both Mrs. Zern and her husband of thirty plus years, and so they continue to make their home among the palmettos and armadillos in the historic town of Saint Cloud.

Author Links



 mooncalf tour
Blog Tour Schedule - Stop by on Feb 18th to see my Tens List interview with Linda Zern!



Blast-Wide Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

-International
-Ends 28th February 2014

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 and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Waiting on Wednesday [36]

Hosted by Breaking the Spine


The Fine Art of Pretending (The Fine Art of Pretending, #1)
The Fine Art of Pretending
(The Fine Art of Pretending #1)
by Rachel Harris
Expected Publication: September 2014

From Goodreads:

According to the guys at Fairfield Academy, there are two types of girls: the kind you hook up with, and the kind you're friends with. Seventeen-year-old Alyssa Reed is the second type. And she hates it. With just one year left to change her rank, she devises a plan to become the first type by homecoming, and she sets her sights on the perfect date—Justin Carter, Fairfield Academy’s biggest hottie and most notorious player.

With 57 days until the dance, Aly launches Operation Sex Appeal and sheds her tomboy image. The only thing left is for Justin actually to notice her. Enter best friend Brandon Taylor, the school’s second biggest hottie, and now Aly’s pretend boyfriend. With his help, elevating from “funny friend” to “tempting vixen” is only a matter of time.

But when everything goes according to plan, the inevitable “break up” leaves their friendship in shambles, and Aly and Brandon with feelings they can’t explain. And the fake couple discovers pretending can sometimes cost you the one thing you never expected to want.



I love Rachel Harris and everything she writes, plus from the several sneak peeks from this book I've seen, it shall be brilliant!

WINNER - Australia Day Giveaway Hop


The winner of my Australia Day Giveaway is...

Caitlin A.

Congratulations!

I've sent you an e-mail (don't forget to check your spam folder) and you have 72 hours to respond! I hope you enjoy Captivate, thanks for entering!

Book Birthday: Forever by Karen Ann Hopkins + Guest Post!

Forever (Temptation, #3)

Forever (Temptation #3) by Karen Ann Hopkins
YA Contemporary Romance
Published: 28th January 2014

All I want is my happily-ever-after.

That's all I've wanted since meeting Noah Miller.

From the day we met, the world has tried to keep Noah and me from being together, but now that I'm carrying his child, no one will be able to tear us apart. Or so I hope. But Noah and I have made some mistakes along the way, and the consequences are impacting the people we love. Worse, there's a storm on the horizon, and it's sure to cause serious devastation.

If we can get through this, we'll finally be Rose and Noah; a family, forever.

But first we have to survive the road ahead. And happily-ever-after is a long way off.

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Guest Post by Karen Ann Hopkins

Persistence Pays

Persistence. This one word is the main reason I got published. Most of the time a good product isn’t enough. Neither is experience or knowledge for that matter. When I finally did get the magical phone call from Christina Hogrebe, my amazing agent from the Jane Rotrosen Literary Agency, telling me that she would be thrilled to represent me for my Amish themed YA novel, I had neither experience nor knowledge of the publishing industry. I was about as green as writer could get. Truth be told, I wasn’t a writer at all. I was a horse-back riding instructor and 4H coach. My only writing experience was the monthly articles that I’d submit to the local newspaper about the farm’s events and activities. My entire life had been dedicated to learning about horses, not writing. I’d attended just about every equestrian discipline and husbandry clinic available in a tri-state region, but I’d never taken a single creative writing class. But...once upon a time, before the five children came along and the homeschooling began and the horse farm grew, I’d been an avid reader myself and that's what helped me get started.

At this point, you might be wondering how I ended up writing a three hundred and eighty page novel that would eventually become the first of a published trilogy with Harlequin Teen. Persistence and strange circumstances are the answers. There’s that P word again, but I’ll get to that later. You see, in 2008, my family moved from the mountains of Tennessee to the middle of an Amish community in northern Kentucky. It was one of those reluctant moving experiences. My husband had found a better job in Kentucky and we made the move, leaving behind a successful horse-back riding stable, dozens of much loved students and close family to start over fresh in another state.

My general advice is that If you’re ever faced with such a major life changing move, think very carefully first, AND take your parent’s advice into account before deciding. Of course I didn’t do those things and a few years later, I was a divorced woman caring for five children and a slew of horses and other pets on my own in unfamiliar territory. My ex returned to Tennessee and immediately remarried another woman. I learned the hard way about not listening to my momma, and my gut.

Getting back to the beginning of my writing career and moving away from unpleasant thoughts, I found myself living in the middle of a community of people who lived their lives as if they were trapped in an episode of Little House on the Prairie. It was completely fascinating! Immersing myself into learning about and understanding my new community is what kept my mind distracted from the troubles I was enduring at home.

I was in a unique position. There was a group of about fifteen Amish teens visiting my farm on a weekly basis to watch my non-Amish students take their lessons in the arena. Soon enough, the Amish youth were riding with the non-Amish ones and some of the older Amish girls even assisted me with my lesson program. Through these experiences, a seed of a thought began to grow in my mind. What if a non-Amish teen and an Amish one fell for each other? I soon realized that it wasn’t far fetched at all as I witnessed the daily interactions between the two groups of young people. Friendships were forged and there was some definite flirting going on.

“How could this ever work out?” I asked myself. That question plagued me day and night and the idea of Temptation took hold. It took almost two years of experiential research, observations and discussions with the Amish before I felt confident enough about the foreign culture to tell Rose and Noah’s story. I was lucky. I interacted with the Amish on a daily basis. The youth spent time at my farm, the boys hung out with my teenage sons and the girls babysat my small children. I drove Amish families to town to shop and I even took an Amish family along on a Gatlinburg vacation. I had a lot of opportunities to observe and ask questions, and that’s just what I did.

I had to write Temptation for two reasons. First, I knew that it was a unique and fascinating story, especially for young adults. Second, I was a single mom with five kids and a farm and I needed the extra income.

That’s where the persistence part came in. I had to learn to write, which I did through trial and error and many rejections. I thankfully took advice and continued over the course of a year to revise and improve the work until it was finally at the level where an agent embraced it. That’s when the real work began. My agent helped me with some more edits before she began submitting to publishing houses. I was lucky, having both Harlequin Teen and another large publishing company make offers on Temptation. Ultimately, I chose Harlequin Teen and began a writing career in earnest.

Through the process of working with editors like Adam Wilson and TS Ferguson, my writing continued to improve and what was once an unattainable dream has become a career. If I’d given up early, when the rejections were coming in, Rose and Noah’s story would never have been told. The fan base for this series continues to grow and I’m reminded almost every day by people reaching out to me that the books have made an impact on many lives. I was even contacted by an Amish girl who was shunned by her family for leaving her community to marry her ‘outsider’ boyfriend. She tearfully told me how much my books mean to her and how they've helped her get through her own ordeal. The Temptation series has opened up a mysterious culture to mainstream young people and I’m ever-so-glad that I was ever persistent with the project.

I'm excited to say that Forever, the third book in the series, will be available on January 28th! Rose and Noah's journey, which began in Temptation and continued in Belonging, will finally be resolved in this final installment. Be ready for a roller coaster ride of emotions! I love to hear from my readers! If you have questions about the series or the Amish lifestyle in general, please contact me on Facebook.

Karen Ann Hopkins

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