Excerpt & Giveaway: The Quest to the Uncharted Lands by Jaleigh Johnson

THE QUEST TO THE UNCHARTED LANDSThe Quest to the Unchartered LandsAmazon/B&N/iBooks/TBD/Goodreads

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From the acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller The Mark of the Dragonfly comes another magical and thrilling story that takes readers on an exciting new adventure.

Stella Glass dreams of exploring worlds beyond her home of Solace, but when her famous parents are sent on a historic mission to the Uncharted Lands, it’s simply too dangerous for her to join them. By order of the king, she is left behind.

Missing out on the excitement is one thing, but Stella is devastated at the thought of her parents flying into the unknown. So she takes matters into her own hands. Instead of staying with family as planned, she steals away and–right before takeoff–sneaks aboard the airship.

But Stella isn’t the only stowaway. In the cargo bay is a boy who is also desperate to get to the Uncharted Lands. And someone else who’s determined to keep the ship from making it there at all. . . .

Excerpt

This was it. All her weeks of planning, lying awake at night for hours, worrying over the details she might have missed, wondering if, when the moment came, she would actually have the skill and courage to pull this off, or if she would be caught and forced to stay behind.

No, she wouldn’t let that happen. Her parents were setting off on a journey into unknown territory. She had to go with them.

Because how would she bear it if they never came back?

The matches shook in Stella’s hands. She closed her eyes and forced down the sudden panic that swept over her. It’s all right, she told herself. Pretend this is nothing more than an experiment in the lab. Follow the steps—one by one. Everything was in place. She just had to strike the match and begin.

Opening her eyes, Stella felt a veil of calm settle over her. She lifted her hands and struck the match, and with a crackle, a bright flame sprang to life in front of her eyes. Before she could change her mind, she touched it to the fuse.

A bead of orange engulfed the string and started to burn. Stella jumped to her feet, running to the next one, and the next. When all four fuses were lit and burning toward the smoke bombs, she stuffed the matches into her alchemy case and moved quickly out of the grove

and across the palace lawn, careful to hurry but not run.

In her head, she began to count. From the experiments she’d conducted, she judged that she had about forty seconds before the smoke grew thick enough to attract someone’s attention. Forty seconds   to weave through the crowd and get to the ship.

Now thirty. Twenty.

With ten seconds left in her count, a scream tore through the humid afternoon air.

“Fire! Someone, help! Fire!”

Stella sped up her pace. One by one, faces in the crowd began turning from the ship toward the grove. To keep up appearances, and because she wanted to see how visible the smoke screen was, Stella turned with them. A jolt of satisfaction went through her when she saw the thick gray clouds twisting toward the sky, obscuring the speared tips of the cypress trees.

More panicked shouts rang out, the crowd ahead of her thinning as people either ran toward the smoke or tried to back away to a safe distance. Palace guards shoved people aside as they ran toward the imaginary fire.

Stella turned back to the ship. The way was suddenly clear in front of her. The laborers who’d been loading cargo had gone to help put out the fire. There wasn’t a guard in sight to block her way or a chamelin watching from the sky. Her stomach pitched, but Stella forced her

feet to keep moving, counting her steps in her head.

One.

She reached the rope line barring everyone from the ship.

Two.

She ducked under, rising to her feet on the other side. Three.

The cargo bay of the ship loomed before her, dozens of crates still arranged in neat piles on the lawn. Casting one last furtive glance around her, Stella ran up the gangplank and into the dark belly of the ship.

The Iron Glory, flagship of the Dragonfly territories

and symbol of its fragile peace with the Merrow Kingdom, was going to be the first vessel in Solace history to make it across the Hiterian Mountains to the uncharted lands.

And Stella Glass wasn’t letting her parents go without her. She would be the first stowaway to see what was waiting on the other side of that range.

OTHER BOOKS BY THE AUTHOR 

The Mark of The DragonflyAmazon/B&N/iBooks/TBD/Audible/Goodreads

[STAR] “This magnetic middle-grade debut . . . [is] a page-turner that defies easy categorization and ought to have broad appeal.”

Publishers Weekly, Starred
 
[STAR] “Heart, brains, and courage find a home in a steampunk fantasy worthy of a nod from Baum.”

Kirkus Reviews, Starred
 
[STAR] “A fantastic and original tale of adventure and magic. . . . Piper is a heroine to fall in love with: smart, brave, kind, and mechanically inclined to boot.”

School Library Journal, Starred
 
A complex and impeccably developed plot—there is plenty to recommend in this novel.”

The Bulletin
 
Appealing characters and lots of action make it a good choice for young adventure readers.”

Booklist 

Piper has never seen the Mark of the Dragonfly until she finds the girl amid the wreckage of a caravan in the Meteor Fields. The girl doesn’t remember a thing about her life, but the intricate tattoo on her arm is proof that she’s from the Dragonfly Territories and that she’s protected by the king. Which means a reward for Piper if she can get the girl home. The one sure way to the Territories is the 401, a great old beauty of a train. But a ticket costs more coin than Piper could make in a year. And stowing away is a difficult prospect–everyone knows that getting past the peculiar green-eyed boy who stands guard is nearly impossible. Life for Piper just turned dangerous. A little bit magical. And very exciting, if she can manage to survive the journey.

SECRECTS OFAmazon/B&N/iBooks/TBD/Audible/Goodreads

An engaging world rich in detail, mayhem, and adventure…All aboard for fantasy lovers with a dual penchant for girl power and keeping up with the Indiana Joneses.”

Kirkus Reviews

From Jaleigh Johnson, the acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller The Mark of the Dragonfly, comes another thrilling adventure in the magical world of Solace.
   

Lina Winterbock lives in the mountain strongholds of Solace. She’s an apprentice to the archivists, the wise men and women whose lives are dedicated to cataloging, studying, and preserving the objects that mysteriously fall from the sky in the scrap towns.
   

Lina should be spending her days with books, but the Iron War has changed everything. The strongholds are now a refuge, and the people Lina once counted on no longer have time for her, so she spends her days exploring the hidden tunnels and passages of her home. The strongholds are vast and old, with twisting paths, forgotten rooms, and collapsed chambers, some of them containing objects that have been lost and forgotten even by the archivists.
   

And in one of the forgotten chambers, Lina discovers a secret.
   

Hidden deep in a cavern is a half-buried airship like nothing she has ever seen before. She’s determined to dig it out and restore it. But Lina needs help, and she doesn’t know anyone she can trust with her secret.

Then she meets Ozben, a mysterious boy who has a secret of his own—a secret that’s so dangerous it could change the course of the Iron War and the world of Solace forever. 

authorJaleighWebsite | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram

Jaleigh Johnson is a fantasy novelist living and writing in the wilds of the Midwest.  Her middle grade debut novel The Mark of the Dragonfly is a New York Times bestseller, was chosen for the ABA 2014 Spring Indie Next list, and was named one of Amazon’s Top 20 Children’s Books of 2014.  Her other books in the Solace series from Delacorte Press include The Secrets of Solace and The Quest to the Uncharted Lands.  She has also written several novels and short stories for the Dungeons and Dragons Forgotten Realms fiction line published by Wizards of the Coast.  Johnson is an avid gamer and lifelong geek, and in her spare time she also enjoys traveling, reading, baking, and going to movies with her husband.  Visit her online at www.jaleighjohnson.com.  Photo credit: Mark Jones.

giveaway

3 winners will receive a finished copy of THE QUEST TO THE UNCHARTED LANDS, US Only.

   a Rafflecopter giveaway

Week Two:

6/26/2017- YA Book Madness- Excerpt

6/27/2017- Book-Keeping- Review

6/28/2017- Bibliobakes- Review

Week Three:

7/3/2017- The Desert Bibliophile- Review

7/4/2017- Savings in Seconds- Review

7/5/2017- Jrsbookreviews- Review

7/6/2017- Two Chicks on Books- Interview

7/7/2017- Seraphina Reads- Excerpt

 

Happy reading,

Jordan

Spotlight & Giveaway: Pretty Fierce by Kieran Scott

prettyAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Kobo | iTunes | Indiebound

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

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An action-packed, edge-of-your-seat novel about a teen who, when backed into a corner, fights back, from the author of What Waits in the Woods

Kaia has been on the run her whole life. The daughter of professional assassins, she knows danger—and she’ll do anything to survive. After her parents vanished during a job gone bad, Kaia’s spent the last year in hiding, trying to blend in as an ordinary teenager, and there’s no one who makes her feel more normal, more special, than her boyfriend, Oliver.

But when she’s attacked by someone from her mother’s past and Oliver catches her fighting back, Kaia’s secret is exposed. In a split-second decision, she flees the small town, taking Oliver with her. Stalked at every turn, Oliver and Kaia must protect each other…or die trying.

authorKIERAN SCOTT is the author of several acclaimed young adult novels, including the Non-Blonde Cheerleader trilogy, the He’s So/She’s So trilogy, and Geek Magnet. She also wrote the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Private and Privilege series under the pen name Kate Brian. She is a senior editor at Disney/Hyperion and resides in New Jersey with her family. Visit kieranscott.net.

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Enter for your chance to win a copy of Pretty Fierce 

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One of my favorite things about writing PRETTY FIERCE was trying to figure out what Kaia would do next. I don’t consider myself to be particularly brave—except for the fact that I don’t mind public speaking which is one of those things that keeps people awake at night. But I imagine that if I were ever in a situation like Kaia is in—being pursued by bad guys, hunted down at every turn, forced to try to protect the man I loved—I’d probably end up a ball of blubbering mush in a corner. So when I was writing her, I would try to imagine the exact opposite of what I would do in a given situation, and then write that. More often than not, it ended up being the thing that I wish I would have the guts to do, but really just couldn’t imagine myself doing. And that’s what I think makes a great kick-butt heroine—someone who allows us to see the possibilities of what we could do—what we could be—if we could find that deep well of courage within ourselves.

Here is one of my favorite kick-butt heroines:

Laia, An Ember in the Ashes, Sabaa Tahir

This book is just one of those reads that completely blew me away. It’s not only full of action and emotion and suspense and a ridiculously well-realized world, but the characters are so believable and realistically flawed. Laia, though an orphan, lives a relatively peaceful life in the military state of the Martial Empire, but when her grandparents are slain right in front of her and her brother, Darin—her only living relative—taken to prison, she rises to the occasion. Though Laia is almost always afraid, she takes on the role of spy/slave under basically the scariest woman in all of literature—the Commandant of Blackcliff Academy—in an attempt to save her brother. Laia’s fierceness is a quiet, but incredibly powerful kind. Sometimes the greatest strength lies where you least expect it.

Excerpt

KAIA

Oliver was bartering with the cab driver, trying to tip him with cans of soup, when we pulled up in front of my house, and their conversation faded into the background. A lump the size of a soccer ball formed in my throat. The house was exactly the same.

Same olive-green siding, same intricate white trim, same yellow and purple flowers bursting from the flower boxes. My parents’ rocking chairs sat on the porch, angled toward each other as if waiting for them to walk out the front door with glasses of lemonade. Next to them was the wicker couch that I’d always laid out on, my knees crooked over the arm, my bare feet dangling down the side closest to my father, so he could tickle them. The door was the same burgundy color and looked freshly painted. The lawn was recently mowed.

Was someone living here?

My heart seized.

Was my mother living here?

What if I walked through the door, and she was sitting on the couch in her old, fluffy pink slippers, waiting for me? What if, all along, all I’d needed to do was come home? The idea made me queasy with excitement and dread.

The taxi’s door opened, and Oliver was there, right in front of me. I blinked up at him. I hadn’t even heard him get out of the car. He offered his hand, but I ignored it and shoved myself out, feeling silly. I walked to the end of the driveway and looked at the garage. I could see the top of my father’s silver SUV through the garage door window. I felt disoriented, as if I’d stepped into a time warp.

“What?” Oliver asked. “What is it?”

“My dad’s car. It’s still here.”

If anyone was living here, it wasn’t a new family.

My pulse raced. I bounded up the porch steps and over to the fourth shingle under the second window, jabbing my fingers up under the crease. A key fell into my hand and the lump in my throat widened.

“You okay?” Oliver asked.

All I could do was nod. Tears were threatening to spill over. I shoved the key into the lock, turned it, and pushed open the door, quaking with pent-up emotions—anticipation battling it out with hope and anger and fear.

No one was home. That was obvious the second I stepped inside. The air was stale with the scent of too many hot days with windows locked tight. A thin layer of dust had accumulated on the table next to the stairs, where my mother’s favorite, framed picture of our family sat. I ran a finger through the dust and swallowed.

Oliver squeezed my shoulders. “So,” he said lightly. “This is where you grew up.”

“Sort of. I mean, we were hardly ever here, but…we were here more than any other place. My parents called it ‘home base.’”

Oliver kissed my cheek and squeezed my shoulders again, grounding me. Reminding me that even though my parents weren’t here, he was. He headed toward the foot of the stairs.

“What’re you doing?” I asked, swiping a hand across my cheek.

His fingers curled around the top of the newel post and he grinned. “I’m going to go see your room.”

Oh crap.

“Oliver! Oliver, no!”

But he’d gotten a lead on me. By the time I made it to the second floor he was already throwing open doors. To the bathroom, the linen closet, the spare room, and then—

“Don’t,” I said, eyeing his hand on the doorknob.

“Oh, but I have to,” he replied playfully.

He opened the door, and a shaft of pink light engulfed him.

“Oh. My. God. It’s like a My Little Pony shrine in here!”

My love of pink had come from my mother. But while she had used the color as a mere accent—a bag strap here, a beaded bracelet there, the occasional stripe on a headband—I had embraced the color with every fiber of my being. When I was four.

“You cannot judge me by this room!” I said, arriving at the door as he flung himself, face up, onto my canopy bed.

Damn. It was even pinker than I remembered. A light pink rug, pink and hot pink striped walls, a pink flowered canopy and pink plaid sheets. There were pink stuffed animals, a pink-framed mirror, pink bookshelves filled with pink and purple and white books and toys and knickknacks. There was no color in the room other than pink and white and purple. Except for Oliver. He was all gray T-shirt and tan skin and blond hair.

“I never had you pegged for a Disney Princess,” Oliver said, pushing himself up on his elbows.

I walked over and sat next to him. The bed gave a familiar squeak. “I thought about changing it when I was thirteen, but we never got around to it. We were rarely here, so it didn’t seem to matter. I never even thought about the fact that a guy might see it one day.”

“Are you saying I’m the first guy you ever invited into your Barbie Dreamhouse?”

“I didn’t exactly invite you,” I pointed out, shoving his chest. “You barreled right in.”

Oliver reached an arm around my waist. He got that look in his eye he only got when we were entirely alone. It made my heart catch.

“Just like the day we met.”

I smiled. The day we met. Probably the single best day of my life.

Now, an entire year of kisses and phone calls and texts and adventures and secrets and whispers and near-death experiences between us, we were sitting in my pink explosion of a room, and I was overwhelmed by the sheer luck I felt at finding him. I leaned down and kissed him. He pulled me to him, pressing the whole length of his body against mine, and slid his hand under my short hair, around the back of my neck. We kissed for a long time, legs intertwining, chests bumping, hands exploring. For those few spare minutes, there was only Oliver.

Then he rolled me onto my back, and I winced as one particular bruise on my spine ached. I sat up, remembering why we were here. Oliver almost fell off the bed.

“What? What’s wrong?” he said.

“Oliver,” I replied, gasping for air. “I have to show you something.”

Fierce reading,

Jordan

Release Week Blitz & Excerpt: Other Breakable Things by Kelley York & Rowan Altwood

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca | Entangled Publishing | Goodreads

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According to Japanese legend, folding a thousand paper cranes will grant you healing.

Evelyn Abel will fold two thousand if it will bring Luc back to her.

Luc Argent has always been intimately acquainted with death. After a car crash got him a second chance at life—via someone else’s transplanted heart—he tried to embrace it. He truly did. But he always knew death could be right around the corner again.

And now it is.

Sick of hospitals and tired of transplants, Luc is ready to let his failing heart give out, ready to give up. A road trip to Oregon—where death with dignity is legal—is his answer. But along for the ride is his best friend, Evelyn.

And she’s not giving up so easily.

A thousand miles, a handful of roadside attractions, and one life-altering kiss later, Evelyn’s fallen, and Luc’s heart is full. But is it enough to save him? Evelyn’s betting her heart, her life, that it can be.

Right down to the thousandth paper crane.

Excerpt

Nembutal isn’t a name I recognize. One of Luc’s medications? Something he wanted to try that he couldn’t get here? He didn’t tell me anything about it. I Google the name and get an array of results: Nembutal (pentobarbital), sedative and anticonvulsant. Used to treat tension, anxiety, nervousness, and epilepsy. Pentobarbital may induce death in high dosages and is used for euthanasia in both humans and animals.

My legs nearly give out.

The night Luc went to the hospital, I saw webpages open on his phone on euthanasia in Oregon. It hadn’t seemed right, and I hadn’t been able to wrap my head around it at the time, and so I’d shrugged it off and never even broached the subject with Luc. He could have been looking it up for any number of reasons. Curiosity brought about by temporary desperation.

This, though? This is a step further. This makes me feel cold all over.

The bathroom door swings open and Luc steps out. I hadn’t even heard the shower turn off. He’s dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, towel around his shoulders, and he

pauses when he sees me. “Evelyn?”

I could ignore it. I’m overreacting. I have to be…right? Yet I find myself turning to stare at him, holding up the business card and trying to keep my voice level. “What’s this?”

There’s a hitch in Luc’s step as he crosses the room to take it from me, and he won’t meet my eyes. “Just something someone gave me the other day. I don’t know.”

Any hope I had that this was some dumb misunderstanding is quickly fading. “Don’t lie to me.”

“It’s nothing,” Luc insists, pushing a hand back through his wet hair and turning away. “Just…don’t. I don’t want to—it’s not…”

“It’s not what? Not what I think it is?” My voice cracks near the end, and Luc goes still, as though he knows this entire conversation is about to hit the roof. I snatch my phone back up and read to him aloud: “Pentobarbital is contained in a group of drugs called barbiturates.”

“Evelyn…”

“Used to treat insomnia and seizures—”

“Evelyn.”

“—and for human euthanasia. Death in a bottle.” I lower the screen and stare at him, fighting back the overwhelming flood of tears threatening to reduce me to a complete mess. “Is that not what I think it is?”

Slowly, Luc turns to me, his expression one of guilt and grief and frustration. “I’m dying. You know that.”

I twist my fingers around my phone so tightly it hurts.“We’re all dying, Luc.”

“Some of us faster than others.”

auth

Kelley York and Rowan Altwood are a wife and wife writing team living in central California with their daughter and way too many cats. Kelley is the author of Hushed, Made of Stars, and Modern Monsters, and Other Breakable Things is Rowan’s debut.

Website | Kelley York Twitter | Rowan Altwood Twitter | Author | Kelley York Goodreads | Rowan Altwood Goodreads

Happy reading, 

Jordan

 

Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Imperfect Harmony by Raine Thomas

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A rock band. A reality show. The opportunity of a lifetime.
 
As the front man for The Void, lead singer Dane Archer has yet to achieve the success he craves. He hopes that will change when he’s approached about filming a reality show called House of Archer. All he and the band have to do is get some juicy footage while on their upcoming tour.
 
The problem? Archer’s life is a snoozefest. His parents are happily married, he’s never done drugs or gotten arrested, and he doesn’t get into fights with his band mates. He knows the show will fizzle and die before it ever hits the air, taking his dreams of worldwide fame along with it.
 
Unless…
 
If Archer can convince his best friend Lily to be on the show, he’s sure they’ll get all the compelling footage they need. Her life is filled with drama. Hell, she’s practically a reality show in her own right.
 
Archer’s willing to do whatever it takes to get Lily on board, even if it means charming her into being more than just friends. But when he finds himself falling for her, his seemingly simple plan gets complicated. Soon the line between reality and Reality TV begins to blur, leaving him wondering if achieving his dreams is worth all it might cost him.
Excerpt
“What are…Dane? What’s going on?” Lily asked as he climbed into the SUV behind her and closed the door.
 
“We’re going to talk.”
 
“I don’t want to talk.”
 
“That’s too damn bad.”
 
Her irritation disappeared in a blink of shock. He hadn’t infused the words with any heat, but it certainly wasn’t the response she had expected.
 
Neither of them said another word until Barney had seated himself behind the wheel. “Do you need anything before we depart, Mr. Archer?” he asked.
 
“No, Barney. Thanks.”
 
Barney nodded and pressed the button to raise the privacy shield between the front and back seats. Once they were moving, Dane turned back to Lily. Since she was glowering out the window, she saw his expression in the reflective surface. For some reason he looked amused over her behavior.
 
“Lily, nothing happened with Camilla,” he began.
 
She shrugged. “Why would I care?”
 
“Because I kissed you yesterday.” When she didn’t reply, he continued, “Do you really think so little of me that you believe I’d go from kissing you like that to pursuing another woman?”
 
She huffed out a sigh and finally met his gaze. “Of course I don’t think little of you, Dane. Honestly, I don’t know what to think right now.”
 
He looked relieved that she was speaking with him in a calm manner rather than chewing his head off. It made her regret going out of her way to avoid and ignore him all morning. She had been acting like a middle schooler. He was her best friend. He deserved to have his say.
 
“Look, Lily, I know I screwed up last night. I should have mentioned I had that interview so you knew to wait for me. I was more concerned about keeping Camilla happy so she would give the band some good press than I was about hunting you down to talk about us.”
 
She bit her bottom lip and looked down at the notebook she was clutching in her lap. “It’s okay, Dane. I—”
 
“No, it’s not okay.” He ran a hand through his hair as though trying to find the right words to give her. “You have no idea how important you are to me, Lily. You’re the best friend I’ve ever had. You’re beautiful and funny and I know I can tell you anything. But I haven’t told you the truth about how I feel about you. I want more than just your friendship. I want a shot at a real relationship with you.”
 
Her heart ached more with every word he spoke. “Oh, Dane.”
 
His expression fell. “What? What’s wrong?”
 
Taking a deep breath, she said, “Johnathan asked me to marry him.”
 
The words seemed to knock the wind right out of him. She actually saw him flinch as though suffering from a blow. He shook his head and cleared his throat a couple of times before he spoke again.
 
“What did you tell him?” he managed to ask.
 
“Well…I told him yes.”
a294d-playlist
“My House” by Flo Rida
“Smooth” by Rob Thomas feat. Santana
“My Life Would Suck Without You” by Kelly Clarkson
“Stand by You” by Rachel Platten
“Don’t Wanna Know” by Maroon 5, Kendrick Lamar
“Heathens” by Twenty-One Pilots
“I Started a Joke” by The Wallflowers
“Lose Yourself” by Eminem
“Starving” by Hailee Steinfeld
“One Call Away” by Charlie Puth

author 
Raine Thomas is the award-winning author of bestselling Young Adult and New Adult fiction. Known for character-driven stories that inspire the imagination, Raine recently signed with multiple award-winning producer Chase Chenowith of Back Fence Productions to bring her popular Daughters of Saraqael trilogy to the big screen. She’s a proud indie author who is living the dream.
 
Raine is a hopeless romantic with a background in the fields of mental health and wedding planning…two areas that intersect far more than one would think. Her years working with children and young adults with emotional and behavioral challenges inspired her to create protagonists who overcome their own conflicts. When she isn’t writing or glued to e-mail or social networking sites, Raine can usually be found vacationing with her husband and daughter on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.
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Want to win a Kindle Fire, $25 Amazon GC, and Swag Pack?  Click the rafflecopter link below for your chance at these awesome prizes. Ends 2/5/17

 

Presented by:
Feisty reading, 
Jordan

Excerpt Blitz: Stay by A.L. Jackson

iBooks/GooglePlay/B&N/Kobo/Signed Paperback/Amazon Release Notification

Release Date: Jan 23, 2017

synFrom NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author A.L. Jackson comes the next sexy, gripping Bleeding Stars Stand-Alone Novel…

I’m Ash Evans.
The life of the party.
Hot. Rich. Charismatic.
A tattooed rock star with the world at my feet.
I burn through women faster than the strike of a match.

I’ve embraced my lifestyle and live it to the fullest.
Until the day my lifestyle caught up to me.

Willow Langston found me at my lowest.
Literally.
Facedown in a puddle of my own blood.

I owe her my life and I have three months to repay that debt.
What I never should have done was touch her. Kiss her. Take her to my bed.

Love wasn’t supposed to be a part of the equation.
I gave up that nasty complication a long damned time ago.
Now I want her more than my next breath.
But she doesn’t know what I know.

Do I leave to protect her? Or can I face my demons and ask her to Stay?

Excerpt

She stared back at me with big chocolate eyes.

Molten.

Her gaze washed over me like lava.

Burning up everything in its path.

“You are so beautiful,” she said, voice hoarse.

“Peaches,” I whispered as a warning. Wasn’t sure I trusted myself with her right then.

“You are. Did you know…did you know the first time I saw you…when you were lying covered in blood and you opened your eyes and looked at me, that I saw it? Something so beautiful and raw and powerful. Even when you’d been broken. The way you looked at me shook me straight to my bones. And then tonight…what you did for me…I don’t…”

I roughed a hand through my thrashing hair, a perfect mirror to my thrashing heart. “Peaches.”

Another warning.

I didn’t deserve the way she was looking at me. Like I was good and right when I was no better than the bastard we’d left lying back there on the floor.

So slowly, she reached out, shaking fingers gentle as she traced them along the scar that marked that night beneath my eye.

A tremble took me whole.

Energy pulsed and shivered and shook.

Shit.

I gripped her by the wrist and pressed the underside to my nose. “You’re killing me, darlin’.”

“And you’re saving me.”

A hard frown hit me. “It was you who did all the saving.”

Sitting back a fraction, she shook her head. “If it weren’t for you, I’d be home tonight, hiding in the dark.” Her tongue darted out to sweep across her lips. “I never would have been brave enough to go there or to stand up to him. To say those things.”

“But that’s where I think you’re wrong, darlin’.” This time it was my turn to reach out and touch her. I cupped the side of her face, glancing between her and the road. “I think you’re so much braver than you’ve been giving yourself credit for. I see it there. Feel it every time I look at you. You’re incredible, Willow. Every time you walk through my door, I know it. So good that I know I shouldn’t be doing whatever the fuck it is I think I’m doin’ with you.”

She was still panting those breathy pants, and she leaned into my touch.

“I…” she attempted before she looked down, averted her gaze. Even with her head downturned, there was no missing the blush creeping to her cheeks. She hesitated before she spoke. “When you kiss me…it doesn’t feel like pretending. It feels like the best thing I’ve ever felt.”

I swallowed hard, crossing a line. Pushing into the boundaries that should have been firmly set in place. “That’s because when I kiss you? It’s not pretend. When I tell you you’re gorgeous—the best thing I’ve ever seen? I mean it. And when I look at you…”

I touched the center of my chest, feeling ripped open wide. Exposed. Maybe telling her the truth when it wouldn’t do either of us any good was wrong. But there was no hiding when this girl was looking at me that way. “I feel it right here. We might be pretending, but you can’t fake this.”

Like she didn’t trust herself, she pressed farther against the door. “You make me want things…things I know I shouldn’t want.”

“And what is it you want, Peaches?” I prodded low, knowing full well I was pointing us in the direction of no return. “Told you when I came into your store that I’d give you anything.”

“I want…” She tucked her bottom lip between her teeth, nervous or unsure whether to give me the truth.

Blood pounded mercilessly through my veins. Thickened with lust. All of it clouded my judgment, knocking loose my center of gravity.

Because I knew the look on her face. Desire was written across her like a musical score.

The way her body rocked and trembled and silently pled.

Desperate to be played.

I knew I should close my mouth. Shut this down. Drop her at home. Instead, I let the words slide free. “Tell me, Peaches.”

The needy rasp fell from between her lips. “I want you to touch me.”

authorFacebook/Reader Group/A.L. Jackson Author App/Amazon/Bookbub 

Romantic reading, 

Jordan

Excerpt Reveal: Safe Bet by Monica Murphy

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Sydney Walker’s new job is perfect. As the live-in nanny to the most famous quarterback in the NFL and his beautiful wife, she couldn’t have it any better. Their kids are adorable. Her bosses are more than generous. Plus, there are hot football players at the house all the time. Life can’t get much better than this.

Until her life turns into an absolute nightmare. The media is abuzz with rumors that she and her boss Drew Callahan are having a torrid affair. Everyone knows the truth—except the public. So Drew’s wife Fable comes up with the perfect idea.

She creates a fake relationship between Sydney and one of the rookie players on Drew’s team. Wade Knox is forever indebted to Drew and Fable and readily agrees to the set up. Pretending to be in a romantic relationship with the hot nanny for a week—how hard can it be?

Crazy how it only takes one week for two people to fall head over heels in love…
(This mash-up new adult romance features characters from both the One Week Girlfriend series and The Rules series.) 

Excerpt

“Drew!” Fable calls, waving him over. “Come meet Sydney.”
He starts to head over there and when he sends me a look over his shoulder, I reluctantly follow him. I really don’t need to be involved in this scenario, but I just can’t tell him that, can I? It would be rude. And I’m never rude to Drew and Fable.
Ever.
“Sydney, this is my husband, Drew. Drew, this is Sydney Walker. She’s going to be our new nanny,” Fable says, sounding pleased. She looks over at her husband with a little wince. “I hope you don’t mind that I went ahead and hired her.”
“Of course I don’t mind. I trust your judgment.” Drew turns to greet Sydney. “Good to meet you,” he says as he gives Sydney a firm handshake. She’s staring up at him, her lips slightly parted, her eyes wide. Full on awestruck, which is typical. He’s a superstar. That’s how most people look at Drew when they first meet him.
“Hi,” she squeaks, her cheeks going pink as she releases Drew’s hand. Her gaze slips to mine, and then flitters away. But that one quick glance was like a sucker punch to my gut.
The nanny is beautiful.
I take a deep breath, shoving my hands in my jeans’ pockets so I won’t do something stupid—like try to grab her. She has pretty blue eyes and a full mouth that’s
made for kissing. Her curves are even lusher than I first realized. She has full hips and a tiny waist and shapely legs. But I can’t worry about pretty nannies right now. I have to concentrate on work.
It still blows my mind that I might play for the NFL. That football is my job. I’m a lucky son-of-a-bitch.
“Sydney, this is Wade Knox. He’s an old family friend,” Fable says, knocking me from my thoughts. I blink and look down to find Sydney smiling up at me, interest clearly showing in her gaze. Hmm. “Wade, this is Sydney.”
“Hey Sydney.” I shake her hand, electricity pulsing between us the moment our palms touch. She jerks her hand away from mine as if I burned her. Guess she felt it too.
Interesting.
“Nice to meet you,” she murmurs as she takes a step back. Like she needs the distance.
Even more interesting.
We make small talk for a few minutes before Fable takes Sydney back to the house, and the moment the door shuts behind them, Drew’s talking.
“The nanny’s cute,” he observes, his voice way too nonchalant.
“Uh huh.”
“She looked at you like she thought you were cute, too.”
I roll my eyes. He never says stuff like this, so what’s his deal? “Cute? What are you doing? Trying to play matchmaker?” I send him a pointed look. “Give me a break. I don’t need the distraction.”

 

Playful reading, 

Jordan

Review, Excerpt, Q + A, & Giveaway: Freeks by Amanda Hocking

freeksfreeks-coverMacmillan/Books-A-Million/Barnes & Noble/Amazon/Goodreads

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Welcome to Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Sideshow, where necromancy, magical visions, and pyrokinesis are more than just part of the act…

Mara has always longed for a normal life in a normal town where no one has the ability to levitate or predict the future. Instead, she roams from place to place, cleaning the tiger cage while her friends perform supernatural feats every night.

When the struggling sideshow is miraculously offered the money they need if they set up camp in Caudry, Louisiana, Mara meets local-boy Gabe…and a normal life has never been more appealing.

But before long, performers begin disappearing and bodes are found mauled by an invisible beast. Mara realizes that there’s a sinister presence lurking in the town with its sights set on getting rid of the sideshow freeks. In order to unravel the truth before the attacker kills everyone Mara holds dear, she has seven days to take control of a power she didn’t know she was capable of—one that could change her future forever.

Excerpt

5. Carnival

Unlike many of the other members of the sideshow, I didn’t have a specific job. My mom was a fortune- teller, Gideon did a magic show, Zeke had his tigers, Brendon and his family did acrobatics, Seth was a strongman. My best friend Roxie Smith was in two acts— she helped out Zeke, and did a peepshow revue with two other girls.

I had no talent. No special ability, making me essentially a roadie. I did what was needed of me, which usually involved helping set up and take down, and various menial tasks. I cleaned the tiger cages and emptied out latrines when I had to. It wasn’t a glamorous job, but it was crucial to our way of life.

Since Roxie worked with the tigers, Mahilā actually tolerated her. Roxie was helping me clean out the tiger cage they traveled in. The cage was open to a fenced-in enclosure Seth had built, so the tigers could roam as they pleased.

Safēda lounged in the grass, the sun shining brightly on her white fur. Whenever we stopped, Safēda seemed content to just lay in the sun, sleeping the entire time, but as the older tiger, it made sense.

Mahilā paced along the fence, occasionally emitting an irritated guttural noise in between casting furtive glances back toward Roxie and me. Her golden fur was mottled with scars from her past life in the abusive circus, including a nasty one that ran across her nose.

“So where did you go last night?” Roxie asked, her voice lilting in a sing song playful way. She was out in the run, using a hose to fill up a blue plastic kiddie pool so the tigers could play in it, while I was on my hands and knees scrubbing dung off the cage floor.

Her bleached blond hair was pulled back in a ponytail, and the sleeves of her white T- shirt were rolled up, revealing her well-toned arms. The cut- off jean shorts she wore barely covered her bum, and her old cowboy boots went up to her knees— her chosen footwear anytime she was at risk of stepping in tiger poop.

With fair skin, full lips, large blue eyes, and a dainty nose, Roxie was pretty and deceptively tough. Being a beautiful carnie was not an easy job, and dancing in the revue under the stage name “Foxy Roxie” didn’t help that. But she made decent money doing it, and Roxie never put up with anybody’s crap. I’d seen her deck guys much bigger than her and lay them out flat on their backs.

“I was just at a party,” I said as I rinsed the brush off in a bucket of bleach and warm water.

“A party?” Roxie looked over at me with a hand on her hip.

 “How’d you get invited to a party so fast?”

I shrugged. “I was just exploring town, and I saw some people hanging outside of this big house party, and they invited me in.”

“So what are the people like here? Are they nice?”

Safēda had gotten up and climbed into the pool, and then she flopped down in it, splashing Roxie as she did. Roxie took a step back, but kept looking at me.

“I don’t know. The people I met last night seemed nice, and they were superrich, so that bodes well for the town, I guess.”

“Like how rich?” Roxie asked.

“Like their house is practically a mansion.” I dropped the brush in the water and sat back on my knees, taking a break to talk to her. “It was the nicest house I’ve ever been in, hands down.”

“Is that why you spent the night there?”

Roxie understood my fascination with houses. Well, “understood” wasn’t the right word. It was more like she knew of it, but didn’t understand it all. She’d grown up in an upper- middleclass family, in nice houses with basements, and thought they were about as boring and lame as she could imagine.

“Partly.” I nodded. “It was a really amazing house. There were pillars out front, and the front hall was bigger than my trailer.”

“It’s just a house, Mara.” Roxie shook her head.

“I know but . . .” I trailed off, trying to think of how to explain it to her. “You know how you felt when you first joined the sideshow two years ago? How everything seemed so exciting and fun, and I was like, ‘We live in cramped trailers. It kinda sucks.’”

Roxie nodded. “Yeah. But I still think this life is a million times better than my old life. I get to see everything. I get to decide things for myself. I can leave whenever I want. There’s nothing to hold me back or tie me down.”

She’d finished filling up the pool, so she twisted the nozzle on the hose to shut it off. Stepping carefully over an old tire and a large branch that the tigers used as toys, she went to the edge of the run and tossed the hose over the fence, before Mahilā decided to play with it and tore it up.

She walked over to the cage and scraped her boots on the edge, to be sure she didn’t track any poop inside, before climbing up inside it.

“So what was the other reason?” Roxie asked.

I kept scrubbing for a moment and didn’t look up at her when I said, “Gabe.”

Gabe?” Roxie asked. “That sounds like a boy’s name.”

“That’s because it is.”

“Did you have sex with him?”

“No.” I shot her a look. “We just made out a little.”

“What what what?” Luka Zajiček happened to be walking by just in time to hear that, and he changed his course to walk over to the tiger cage. “Is that what you were up to last night?”

“That’s what sucks about living in a community so small. Whenever anything happens, everybody knows about it right away,” I muttered.

Luka put his arms through the cage bars and leaned against it, in the area I’d cleaned already. Since he was rather short, the floor came up to his chest, and his black hair fell into his eyes.

His eyes were the same shade of gray as mine, but his olive skin was slightly lighter than mine. We first met him when he joined the carnival four years ago, and the first thing my mom said was that she was certain that we were related somehow.

Unfortunately, Mom knew next to nothing about our family tree to be able to prove it. All she could really tell me was that we were a mixture of Egyptian, Turkish, and Filipino, with a bit of German thrown in for good measure.

Luka had been born in Czechoslovakia, but he’d moved here with his family when he was young, so he’d lost his accent.

He had recently roped me into helping him with a trick. He’d stand with his back against a wall, while I fired a crossbow around him. Originally, Blossom had been the one to help him, but she kept missing and shooting him in the leg or arm, so he’d asked me to do it because I had a steadier hand.

“So you made out with some local guy last night?” Luka asked, smirking at me. “Are you gonna see him again?”

“He’s a local guy. What do you think?” I asked, and gave him a hard look.

Luka shrugged. “Sometimes you bump into them again.”

“And that goes so well when they find out that I work and live with a traveling sideshow,” I said.

The floor was spotless, or at least as spotless as tiger cages can get, and I tossed my brush in the bucket and took off my yellow rubber gloves.

“We can’t all meet our boyfriends in the sideshow,” I reminded Luka as I stood up, and it only made him grin wider. He’d been dating Tim— one of the Flying Phoenixes— for the past three months.

“But you didn’t see Blossom anywhere in town last night?” Roxie asked, and Luka’s smile instantly fell away.

A sour feeling stirred in my stomach, and I looked out around camp through the bars of the cage, as if Blossom would suddenly appear standing beside a trailer. As I’d been doing my chores all morning, I kept scanning the campsite for her, expecting her to return at any moment with a funny story about how she’d gotten lost in town.

But so far, she hadn’t. And the longer she went without coming back, the worse the feeling in my stomach got. I shook my head. “No. I didn’t see her at all last night.”

“She’s gotta turn up, though, right?” Luka asked. “I mean, it’s not like there are really that many places she could’ve gone considering she has no money or car and she’s in a small town.”

The tigers were still down in the run, so I opened the side gate and hopped down out of the cage. Roxie got out behind me, then we closed the door.

“I should talk to Gideon,” I decided as Roxie locked the cage up behind me. “It’s not like Blossom to do this.”

“It’s not totally unlike her, though,” Roxie pointed out.

“When we were in Toledo six months ago, she dis appeared for a few days with that weird commune, and came back just before we were leaving, totally baked out of her mind.”

Blossom had grown up with parents who pretended to be hippies but were really just a couple of drug addicts. That— along with her unexplainable telekinesis— led to her dabbling with drugs and alcohol at a young age, before the state intervened and shipped her off to a group home.

My mom tried to keep her clean of her bad habits, but sometimes Blossom just liked to run off and do her own thing. That wasn’t that unusual for people who lived in the carnival.

“But if you’re worried, you should talk to Gideon,” Roxie suggested. “Luka’s right in that Blossom really couldn’t have gone far. Maybe you can scope out Caudry.”

“Since that sounds like a mission that may take a bit of time, can you help me and Hutch with the museum before you talk to Gideon?” Luka asked. “The exit door is jammed, and we can’t get it open, and Seth is busy helping set up the tents.”

“Sure. Between me and Mara, I’m sure the two of us can get the door unstuck,” Roxie said.

I dropped off the bucket with the other tiger supplies, and then followed Roxie and Luka away from our campsite to the fairgrounds on the other side of a chain- link fence. We always stayed close to the rides, the midway, and the circus tent, but we didn’t actually sleep there. It was much better for every one if we kept our private lives separate from the crowds.

Many of the games were already set up, and the Ferris wheel was in the process of being erected as we passed. Near the end of the midway was a long black trailer painted with all kinds of frightening images of werewolves and specters, along with happier pictures of mermaids and unicorns, and the sign was written in bloodred:

Beneath that were several smaller signs warning “Enter at your own risk. The creatures inside can be DISTURBING and cause NIGHTMARES.”

The entrance to the left was open, but the exit door at the other end was still shut. Wearing a pair of workman’s gloves, Hutch was pulling at the door with all his might. His neon green tank showed that his muscles were flexed and straining in effort. The bandana kept his dark brown hair off his face, but sweat was dripping down his brow.

“Let me have a try, Hutch,” Roxie said.

“What?” He turned to look back at her. “Door’s stuck.”

“I can see that. That’s why I said let me have a try.”

“Okay.” Hutch shrugged and stepped back.

Hutch’s real name was Donald Hutchence, but nobody ever called him anything but Hutch. He didn’t have any special powers, unless you considered being really agreeable and easygoing a super power, so, like me, he was left doing whatever else needed to be done.

Roxie grabbed the door and started pulling on it, and when it didn’t budge, I joined her.

“Luka, go and push from the inside,” Roxie commanded through gritted teeth.

Both Luka and Hutch went inside, pushing as Roxie and I pulled. And then all at once, the door gave way, and we all fell back on the gravel. I landed on my back, scraping my elbow on the rocks.

Roxie made it out unscathed, and Hutch fell painfully on top of me, so he’d avoided injury. Luka crashed right on the gravel, though, and the rocks tore through his jeans and ripped up his knees and the palms of his hands pretty badly.

“Do you need me to get a Band- Aid or anything?” Hutch asked as he helped me to my feet.

“No, I’ll be okay.” I glanced over at Luka and the blood dripping down his knees. “What about you? Do you want anything?”

“Nah. Just give it a few minutes.” Luka waved it off and sat down on the steps leading up to the museum door.

No matter how many times I saw it, I couldn’t help but watch. His knee was shredded, with bits of gravel sticking in the skin. Right before my eyes, the bleeding stopped, and the rocks started falling out, as if pushed by his flesh, and the skin grew back, reattaching itself where it had been little mangled flaps.

Within a few minutes, Luka’s knee was healed completely.

Copyright © 2017 by Amanda Hocking and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Griffin.

int

  1.     Your characters are sent into the Hunger Games. Who wins?

If it’s just the characters from FREEKS, and only one could win, I would put my money on Luka or maybe Roxie. Luka because he can heal from injuries, which gives him a crazy advantage, but Roxie is smart and she’s a survivor. Plus, she has the power of pyrokinesis, which I think I would come in handy in a battle to the death.

  1.     What do you listen to while you write? Or do you prefer silence?

I almost always listen to music when I write, unless I’m writing a really difficult scene. Sometimes the silence helps me focus, but most of the time, I prefer music. For FREEKS, I got to make a really fun 80s playlist, so I especially enjoyed working to that.

  1. What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve looked up in the name of research – or what do you think the government has maybe flagged you for?

There are sooo many things. For FREEKS, I had to do fun stuff like, “What does a dead body smell like?” and “How much blood can a human lose?” And then after those macabre questions, I did a bunch of googling on fireflies and tarot cards. My search history when I’m working can be pretty exciting like that.

  1. What was your favorite part of writing FREEKS?

I love Southern Gothics and I love pulpy 80s horror movies, so I was excited to be able incorporate those things in FREEKS. But my favorite part was actually Mara and Gabe. I think they complement each other well, and it was fun writing their banter and flirtations.

  1. Which actor/actress would you like to see playing your main characters from FREEKS?

For Mara, I envisioned Cassie Steele from the start. I used to be a hardcore Degrassi fan, and I loved Cassie Steele on that. For Gabe, I like Ryan Guzman. I saw him in a Jennifer Lopez movie, and I was like, “Yep. That could be Gabe.”

  1.  Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

I usually write between 11 am and 7 pm. I’ve tried to write earlier in the day and have more of a 8-5 type schedule, but I am not a morning person. My brain just doesn’t want to work much before noon.

  1.   Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

I usually have a goal in mind before I start writing, but it varies. Some days, it’s slow going and I hope to get at least 500 words out. Other days, I fly through with thousands of words. So it depends on where I’m at in the book, when it’s due, and how I’m feeling about the whole thing.

  1. When you develop your characters, do you already have an idea of who they are before you write or do you let them develop as you go?

With all my main characters, I have a really good idea of who they are, and it’s just a matter of showing that to the readers. With the side characters, they tend to be rather one-dimensional, and they grow into the story as they’re needed.

  1. How did writing Freeks differ from your writing your previous novels?

FREEKS was the first thing I had written in awhile that was started out just for me. For most of the past ten years, I have been writing my books with the intention of publishing them, with the audience and readers and trends in mind. I think I had gotten a little burnt out on trying to make everyone happy (mostly because it is impossible to please all readers all the time), and I just wanted to write something that for the sake of writing it.

And that turned out to be a gothic love story about a teenage girl travelling with a band of misfits in the 1980s. It was a very cathartic writing experience for me, and it reminded me of exactly why I loved writing in the first place – I love getting lost in the world, with the characters.

  1. If Freeks had a theme song what would it be?

Either “Hush” by Limousines or “Head Over Heels” by Tears For Fears.

  1.   Can you please tell us a little bit about Freeks and where you got the inspiration to write it?

I was going through a rough patch, creatively speaking, and so I just sat back and tried to think of my favorite and what I loved most that I would want to write about.

When I was a kid, I used to get old books at garage sales all the time, and I distinctly remember getting Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King and a few old V. C. Andrews novels, which are pulpy Southern Gothic-esque novels. I also watched The Lost Boys and Pretty in Pink over and over again (I think I literally ruined the old VHS of The Lost Boys from watching it too much).

So I basically threw all those things together in a soup, and I picked apart the things I liked and wanted to explore more. That became a travelling sideshow in the 80s stopping Louisiana, where a supernatural monster is afoot, and a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who is smith with a local boy with secrets of his own.

  1.   Freeks is full of many amazingly talented characters and I imagine it was really fun to create some of them, but which one was your favorite and why?

Mara and Gabe are my obvious favorites, since they’re the main characters because I was drawn to them and their story the most. Both of them of them have complex feelings about family and personal identity, and their instant chemistry was fun to write.

But I think Gideon – the namesake and head of sideshow – was actually the biggest surprise, which made him fun in a different way. In the original outlines of the story, he was much a different character – very one-note and cruel – but he completely changed and evolved as I was writing.  

  1.   The book is based off of a type of traveling circus that is full of many mysterious acts. If you were to attend a Freekshow, which act would you want to see most?

My favorites are usually the acrobatics, but I think if I attended Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Sideshow, I would be most excited to see Gideon’s magic act. With his skills and knowledge, I think it would be a really amazing show.

  1.   What do you hope readers will take away from FREEKS after reading it?

With some of my other novels, I deal with heavy themes like life and death, identity, honor, mortality, classism, and family. And while I do definitely touch on those themes in FREEKS, I mostly wrote it as an escape for myself, and that’s what I hope it is for other readers. Life can be hard and frustrating, and I just wanted to write a fun book that readers could get lost in for awhile.

  1. What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

Probably how chronically shy I am. Writing is a weird profession, because a good 90% of it is perfect for introverts – you sit alone by yourself and make up imaginary friends to go on adventures. But the last 10% – which involves introducing the whole word to your imaginary friends – is the most exciting and rewarding part, but it’s also the most difficult when you’re as shy as I am.

review3.5/5 Stars

***I received this eARC via NetGalley, St. Martins, and with participation in this tour in exchange for an honest review 

PROS:

  • Mara is spontaneous, responsible, and terrified to get too close because she knows with her lifestyle love can’t last and once they find out that she lives with a traveling show it’s all over. Mara has grown up fast and loves her eclectic bunch-they’re family. She’s got secrets, she’s completely calm and collected about the supernatural, it’s her life. Mara does more than anyone to find out what’s going on at their camp. She’s likable, thoughtful, and so brave. As a heroine, she’s not particularly special in the typical YA way, she just uses her head, makes connections, and is determined to beat this invisible enemy. 
  • What Amanda Hocking is particularly skilled at is making her secondary characters memorable and unique. You might not like them, but you certainly will not forget them. Each member of the sideshow has a great back story and tons of personality. Roxie is a fiery (she’s has the gift of pyrokinesis), flirty, and sassy little thing. She’s a real minx. I adored her character, I only wish there had been more of her. Her story is made of fierce survival and overcoming her horrific past. Gideon is just as intriguing. From the scars on his back, his past, everything about his is suspect, but at the same time full of a heroic desperation to save his army of misfits. 
  • The concept is AMAZING. I mean super creepy and gory attacks on a sideshow. There’s an abundance of just not right, chilling things that you can’t put your finger on that will keep you on edge about what’s really going on. 
  • I usually loathe instalove, but I didn’t mind this one. Gabe is sexy, sensual, and just the right amount of mysterious/brooding. The chemistry is spot on and you’ll definitely crave more of them, even if they have very few conversations with substance. Lots of hot make out scenes though. 

CONS:

  • The story is set in the 1980s; while there are some randomly inserted references, there weren’t enough of them to feel fully cemented in the time period. The book could have been set in any time range, but maybe because the prevalence of “freak shows” has gone way down since the 1950s. Because there are a limited number of references, they feel like you’re being hit over the head with them whenever they do come up. A more fleshed out setting would have helped with total immersion in the story. 
  • Pacing lagged despite the disappearances, murders, and general supernatural encounters. Some sections were more everyday monotony than working to solve the crimes and harassment against the sideshow members. A ton of focus was placed on the instalove portion of the story, while I didn’t mind the romance, a whole lot of making out some conversation made scenes longer than they actually were. 

authoramanda-hocking-new-credit-mariah-paaverud-with-chimera-photographyAuthor Website/Twitter /Facebook/Author Blog/Pinterest/GoodReads

Amanda Hocking is a lifelong Minnesotan obsessed with Batman and Jim Henson. In between watching cooking shows, taking care of her menagerie of pets, and drinking too much Red Bull Zero, she writes young adult urban fantasy and paranormal romance.

Several of her books have made the New York Times Bestsellers list, including the Trylle trilogy and Kanin Chronicles.  Her zombie series, The Hollows, has been adapted into a graphic novel by Dynamite. She has published over fifteen novels, including the Watersong quartet and My Blood Approves series. Frostfire, Ice Kissed, and Crystal Kingdom  – all three books in her latest trilogy, The Kanin Chronicles – are out now.

Her next book will be Swear, the final book in the My Blood Approves series, and it will be out November 9, 2016. After that, her next book is Freeks – a standalone YA paranormal romance novel set in the 1980s that follows a traveling sideshow. It will be out sometime in early 2017, with the St. Martin’s Griffin.

-via Goodreads

giveaway

For your chance to win a hardcover copy of FREEKS comment with your favorite Amanda Hocking book or encounter either on this blog post, via Twitter @jw08k, or on the Facebook blog page 

U.S. ONLY. Ends 11:59 p.m. EST on 12/28 

Fantastic reading, 

Jordan