Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Rockstar Book Tours Blog Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway: Unnatural Deeds (Cyn Balog)

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Author: Cyn Balog
Pub. Date: November 1, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 288
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Secrets. Obsession. Murder. Victoria is about to discover just how dangerous it can be to lose yourself.
Victoria Zell doesn’t fit in, but she’s okay with that. All she needs is the company of her equally oddball boyfriend, Andrew. She doesn’t care what anyone else thinks…until magnetic, charming, mysterious Z comes into her life, and she starts lying to everyone she knows in an effort to unravel his secrets.
And then something terrible happens. Someone is dead and it’s time for Victoria to come clean. Interspersed with news clippings and police interviews, Victoria tells her story to Andrew, revealing her dark, horrible secrets…secrets that have finally come back to haunt her.

Find it: 

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Cyn Balog is the author of the young adult paranormal novels FAIRY TALE, SLEEPLESS, STARSTRUCK, TOUCHED, DEAD RIVER, and UNNATURAL DEEDS. She lives outside Allentown, Pennsylvania with her husband and daughters. Visit her online at www.cynbalog.com.

Anyway, you know how glass half-empty I am, Andrew. I wanted to record a note for you on my phone. You know, in case I don’t get out of here.

Of course I’ll get out of here. I wouldn’t be lucky enough to die here. But maybe this’ll be easier than telling you in person.

Cough, cough.

Where should I start?

It’s so quiet. You must have left me, Andrew. But you’ll come back. You always come back. You were scared, maybe, when you saw what you’d done. And now I’m all alone here.

I don’t really know where “here” is. I think it’s a drainage ditch on the side of Route 11. The last thing I remember is rushing down the road near the Kissing Woods, feeling powerful. Immortal. Like everything I wanted could be mine. For an instant, I felt like he could be mine.

But that’s not possible now.

I know what people have said behind my back in hushed whispers. They call me delusional. But I’m not. I know what is real and what isn’t.

No, wait. The last thing I remember is you with that fierce look in your eyes. You sure surprised me. Who knew that my boyfriend, quiet, unassuming Andrew Quinn, had that in him?

I thought I knew you inside and out, but…I was wrong.

I guess I should explain. After all, I have no other pressing engagements. And you’re overdue an explanation, aren’t you? The tall pines can be my witnesses. They can pass judgment as they see fit.

I’m not sure when it all began, but Lady M said it best. Hell is goddamn murky.

1 winner will receive a finished copy of UNNATURAL DEEDS, US Only.

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

10/24/2016- Bibliobibuli YA- Interview

10/25/2016- Curling Up With A Good Book- Excerpt

10/26/2016- Wandering Bark Books- Spotlight

10/27/2016- BookHounds YA- Excerpt

10/28/2016- Fiction Fare- Interview

Week Two:

10/31/2016- Wanderlust & Books- Spotlight

11/1/2016- Literary Meanderings- Guest Post

11/2/2016- With Love for Books- Guest Post

11/3/2016- The Cover Contessa- Interview

11/4/2016- YA Book Madness- Excerpt

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Harpercollins Children's Book Review: Enzo's Very Scary Halloween (Garth Stein)

27246861Enzo's Very Scary Halloween
Author: Garth Stein
Illustrator: R.W. Alley
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published Date: July 26th 2016
Publisher: HarperCollins

Enzo, the lovable mutt from Garth Stein’s New York Timesbestselling novel The Art of Racing in the Rain, experiences his first Halloween with friends Denny and Zoë in his third (not so) very scary picture book.
When Halloween comes around, Enzo doesn’t know what to expect. Jack-o’-lanterns light up the streets, giant spiders weave webs on porches, and ordinary lawns become creepy graveyards while every child and dog transforms into a creature of some kind—including Enzo!
Enzo the dragon is determined to protect fairy princess Zoë from the monsters and goblins in their neighborhood, but when things get a little too scary, his family is there to reassure him that everything is make-believe and only meant to be fun—just like the wonderful trick-or-treat parade that ends this spook-tastic night! R. W. Alley’s fantastic illustrations bring Enzo to life as he discovers the frightful fun of Halloween.

Garth Stein
Garth Stein is the author of four novels: the New York Times bestselling gothic/historical/coming-of-age/ghost story, "A Sudden Light"; the internationally bestselling "The Art of Racing in the Rain"; the PNBA Book Award winner, "How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets"; and the magically realistic "Raven Stole the Moon." He is also the author of the stage play "Brother Jones." He has a dog, he's raced a few cars, climbed a bunch of really tall trees, made a few documentary films, and he lives in Seattle with his family. He's co-founder of Seattle7Writers.org, a non-profit collective of 74 Northwest authors working together to energize the reading and writing public.

Enzo's Very Scary Halloween is a cute children's book that tells the story of an adorable puppy named Enzo and his experience with Halloween. Enzo is a little nervous about Halloween and when Zoe's Daddy comes in to tell her good night and read her a spooky Halloween bedtime story...Enzo gets a little bit nervous. Zoe is so excited about Halloween and loves listening to her Daddy's spooky stories. Zoe knows that Halloween is just a fun make-believe night full of kids dressed in costumes and candy but Enzo is convinced that their neighborhood is being taken over by goblins, ghosts and other creatures. 

I loved how the book tells both sides of the story. We get to see the story how both Zoe and Enzo experience the night. Zoe knows that Halloween is just a fun night of make-believe but Enzo sees everything as scary and spooky and he truly believes that Zoe has a magic wand that is creating all the spooky things in the neighborhood.

My son and I have read this book just about every night for a week and we love it each time! Enzo is so cute and adorable and his imagination makes this story so fun and interesting. 

The illustrations throughout the book are bright, colorful and very engaging. The characters and costumes are so cute and Enzo's facial expressions are so funny throughout the book. I loved that the characters are happy and just enjoying Halloween and they really bring out the real reason for the holiday which is fellowship and fun with friends! 

I highly recommend this cute story for parents and kids to enjoy during the spooky (but not scary) Halloween month!!

.....and not only did my son and I love Enzo's Very Scary Halloween.....our kitty, Tigger loved it too!! :)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

FFBC Blog Tours, Interview & Giveaway: Blood Red Snow White (Marcus Sedgwick)

Blood Red Snow White
by Marcus Sedgwick
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Release Date: October 25th 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Russia, Fairy Tales

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It is 1917, and the world is tearing itself to pieces in a dreadful war, but far to the east of the trenches, another battle is breaking out - the Russian Revolution has just begun... 
Blood Red, Snow White captures the mood of this huge moment in history through the adventure of one man who was in the middle of it all; Arthur Ransome, a young British journalist who had first run away to Russia to collect fairy tales. 
Told as three linked novellas, part one captures the days of revolution but retells the story as Russian Fairy Tale, with typical humour and unashamed brutality. Part two is a spy story, set over the course of one evening, as Ransome faces up to his biggest challenge, and part three is a love story, full of tragedy and hope, as every good Russian love story should be.

Follow the Blood Red Snow White Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Marcus Sedgwick was born in Kent, England. Marcus is a British author and illustrator as well as a musician. He is the author of several books, including Witch Hill and The Book of Dead Days, both of which were nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award. The most recent of these nominations rekindled a fascination with Poe that has borne fruit here in (in The Restless Dead, 2007) the form of "The Heart of Another" - inspired by Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart." Of his story, Sedgwick says, "This was one of those stories that I thought might be a novel originally but actually was much better suited to the tight form of the short story. I had the initial idea some years ago but was just waiting for the right ingredient to come along. Poe's story, as well as his own fascination with technique, provided that final piece of the puzzle."
He used to play for two bands namely playing the drums for Garrett and as the guitarist in an ABBA tribute group. He has published novels such as Floodland (winner of the Branford Boase Award in 2001) and The Dark Horse (shortlisted for The Guardian Children's Book Award 2002).

Monday, October 17, 2016

Rockstar Book Tours Blog Tour, Interview, & Giveaway: The Secret Diary Of Lydia Bennet (Natasha Farrant)

Displaying t4507_secretdiaryo_4cc_z.JPGTHE SECRET DIARY OF LYDIA BENNET
Author: Natasha Farrant
Pub. Date: October 25, 2016
Publisher: The Chicken House
Pages: 336
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

A fresh, funny, and spirited reimagining of Jane Austen's beloved Pride and Prejudice, The Secret Diary of Lydia Bennet brings the voice of the wildest Bennet sister to life.
Lydia is the youngest of the five Bennet girls. She's stubborn, never listens, and can't seem to keep her mouth shut -- not that she would want to anyway. She wishes her older sisters would pay her attention, or that something would happen in her boring country life.
Luckily, that something is right around the corner, and it's the handsome Wickham, who arrives at Longbourn to sweep her off her feet. Lydia's not going to let him know THAT, of course, especially since he only seems to be interested in friendship. But when they both decide to summer in the fasionable seaside town of Brighton, their paths inevitably become entangled again.
At the seaside, Lydia also finds exciting new ways of life and a pair of friends who offer her a future she would have never dreamed possible. Lydia finally understands what she really wants. But can she get it?

Find it: 

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I am one of those rarities, a Londoner born and bred. And like most true Londoners, I’m not completely English, but three-quarters French with a little bit Dutch thrown in. I can’t imagine living anywhere else, though I would like a horse, a big old house with a secret passage or two, a fig tree, a walnut tree, lots of dogs and a vista of rolling hills on one side and the sea on the other. All of which are sadly incompatible with both life in the city and my income.
I write partly because in my stories I can live the lives I’m not…
I have two teenage daughters, Justine and Lily, who provide endless inspiration for my books. I am pleased to say inspiration works both ways. One of them has dyed her hair pink, and the other has taken to hanging out on the roof in the middle of the night.
The “person” I talk to most is my tortoiseshell cat, Amber. This is because as a writer you spend a lot of time alone, which makes you go slightly mad. Amber repays me for my conversation by trashing my house. Soon we are goig to buy a dachshund puppy called Blue, and presumably he will be equally destructive.
I get very grumpy if I don’t have a good book to read, if I’m not writing, if I’m hungry, tired or don’t get enough exercise. Otherwise I am a generally cheerful person.

Click here for answers to Frequently Asked Questions about my life as a writer.

What is the inspiration for The Secret Diary of Lydia Bennet?

About two years ago, I was talking to a publishing friend about PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, agreeing that the younger sisters remained something of a mystery and wondering what their stories would be. Over dinner a couple of months later, she asked if I would be interested in writing Lydia’s story…

I would never in a million years dare to criticize Austen, but if I might venture to suggest one minor quibble it’s that she rather glosses over Lydia’s story. Running away with a man was SUCH a scandalous thing to do, such a risk not just to herself but to her family. She was either very brave, or very stupid, or had a secret very good reason… As soon as my friend suggested writing the book, I knew I had to find out what that reason was. I wanted to know what happened! 

Who was your favorite character to write?

Lydia! She just burst out from between the lines of Austen’s novel, shouting “my turn!” and demanding a proper story. She has so much energy and such a zest for life. I was consumed while I was writing her, and exhausted when I finished. I miss her. I am aware this all makes me sound a little mad.

Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to write? And why?

The final scene. Partly because I didn’t want to say goodbye to Lydia. Partly also because Austen gave Lydia her ending over two hundred years ago, and there was no getting away from that, no giving Lydia the glorious resolution of her dreams. Instead my ending is bittersweet, realistic but full of hope. Rather like life, I guess… 

Which part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?

Those rare, precious moments when you forget that you are writing because you are so wrapped up in your story.

What’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer?

To not give up when things get tough.

What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2016?

JANE AUSTEN, THE SECRET RADICAL by Helena Kelly. Yes, I am an Austen geek!

What’s up next for you?

I’m working on a middle-grade adventure story which I pitch as Pippi Longstocking meets Enid Blyton!

3 winners will receive finished copies of THE SECRET DIARY OF LYDIA BENNET,
 (US Only)

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

10/17/2016- Curling Up With A Good Book- Interview

10/18/2016- Wandering Bark Books- Review

10/19/2016- The Reading Nook Reviews- Excerpt

10/21/2016- A Page With a View- Interview

Week Two:

10/25/2016- Reese's Reviews- Excerpt

10/26/2016- Betwixt the Pages- Review

10/27/2016- Becky on Books- Interview

10/28/2016- Owl Always Be Reading- Review

Friday, October 14, 2016

Rockstar Book Tours Blog Tour, Interview, & Giveaway: Useless bay (MJ Beaufrand)

Author: M.J. Beaufrand
Pub. Date: October 18, 2016
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pages: 240
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

A gritty, psychological thriller about a mythic set of sixteen-year-old quintuplets searching for a young boy.
On Whidbey Island, the Gray quintuplets are the stuff of legend. Pixie and her brothers have always been bigger and blonder than their neighbors, as if they were birthed from the island itself. Together, they serve as an unofficial search-and-rescue team for the island, saving tourists and locals alike from the forces of wind and sea. But, when a young boy goes missing, the mysteries start to pile up. While searching for him, they find his mother’s dead body instead—and realize that something sinister is in their midst. Edgar-nominated author M. J. Beaufrand has crafted another atmospheric thriller with a touch of magical realism that fans of mystery and true crime will devour.

Find it:
Mary Jane grew up in Gresham, Oregon. She’s a graduate of Wellesley College and has an MFA from the Bennington Writing Program. Currently she lives in Seattle with her husband, two children, and dogs. In the eighties she had a bad perm.

What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

 Years ago, we had a dog trainer to help us with our out-of-control puppy. Later on the trainer was murdered, his body dumped in the Puget Sound. That, coupled with the beautiful wildness of Useless Bay (yes, that’s a real place) on Whidbey Island made me wonder, what would happen if a human corpse washed up there?

 Who is your favorite character in the book?

 It started out being Pixie and Henry, but then wound up being Pixie’s brothers. I’ve known teenage boys who come home with bleeding head wounds and say, “Hey, check it out, how many points is this worth?” And their single mothers just sort of shake their heads take them to the ER. 

Which came first, the title or the novel?

The title, like the novel, came from the landscape. I sometimes want to talk to the person on the Vancouver Expedition who named some of these gorgeous places around Puget Sound, like Useless Bay, Point No Point, and Desperation Pass. I love that they’re beautiful but wacky-sounding at the same time. 

 What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?

I love the scenes of magic realism, where Pixie is plucked out of time and talks to the tall man. I’d like to tell you his identity, but don’t want to spoil it. But I love their instant bond, and how he scares her but she’s reluctant to leave him at the same time. 

Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?

 I love it when characters take on a life of their own. There was a moment when I looked down and thought, “Wait a minute, I didn’t plan for the Gray clan to do this.” But they did, and it fit. In this case, it was their first search and rescue. I’d originally planned for them to be a bunch of big, dumb jocks, but then I realized, “They have a bloodhound. They’re going to use it.” I think that scene informs the rest of the story. 

 What do you like most about the cover of the book?

 I love the critter to the far left of the cover that’s just cresting the surface and looks like a jellyfish with teeth. It gives me the feeling that something’s coming up from the depths to get me. It gives me chills, but in a good way. 

What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2016?

 “Goldenhand” by Garth Nix. I love his rich imagination. Especially anything that takes place in the world of Sabriel. Currently I’m reading Jonathan Stroud’s “The Creeping Shadow” in his “Lockwood and Co” series. It’s also creepy in a good way. 

What was your favorite book in 2015?

 I had three. There was “Bone Gap” by Laura Ruby, “The Game of Love and Death” by Martha Brockenbrough. “Up to this Pointe” by Jen Longo came out in January 2016 but let’s count it as 2015. 

 What’s up next for you?

 Currently I’m working on a book with the working title “Parliament,” about a girl and an owl who are trying to find a creature who’s shredding hikers in the Cascade mountains. Of course, creepy and atmospheric but hopefully in a good way. 

Is there anything that you would like to add?

As a writer, I would be delighted if you read and enjoyed “Useless Bay.” As a mother of teenagers, I would be delighted if you read and enjoyed anything. Go out to your libraries and independent bookstores. Ask the salesperson or librarian what you think you might enjoy. There’s an embarrassment of good reading material out there. Find what’s right for you.

And finally, Pixie wasn’t afraid to get out and explore. Get outside. Look around. See what treasures you turn up.

3 winners will receive a finished copy of USELESS BAY. US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

10/10/2017- The Autumn Bookshelf- Interview

10/11/2017- Zach's YA Reviews- Review

10/12/2017- The Alchemy of Ink- Review

10/14/2017- Curling Up With A Good Book- Interview

Week Two:

10/18/2017- In a bookish world- Excerpt

10/19/2017- The Bookworm Central- Review

10/20/2017- Eli to the nth- Review

10/21/2017- Owl Always Be Reading- Excerpt

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Rockstar Book Tours Blog Tour, Guest Post, & Giveaway: Frost (M.P. Kozlowsky)

Displaying FROST.jpg

Displaying Frost_hirescover.jpgTitle: FROST
Author: M.P. Kozlowsky
Pub. Date: October 11, 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 352
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, eBook

Cinder meets The Walking Dead in a chilling futuristic fairy tale that will reboot everything you thought about family, love, and what it means to be human.
Sixteen-year-old Frost understands why she's spent her entire life in an abandoned apartment building. The ruined streets below are hunting grounds for rogue robots and Eaters.
She understands why she's never met a human besides her father. She even understands why he forbids her to look for medicine for her dying pet. But the thing is, it's not her real father giving the orders . . .
It's his memories.
Before he died, Frost's father uploaded his consciousness into their robot servant. But the technology malfunctioned, and now her father fades in and out. So when Frost learns that there might be medicine on the other side of the ravaged city, she embarks on a dangerous journey to save the only living creature she loves.
With only a robot as a companion, Frost must face terrors of all sorts, from outrunning the vicious Eaters . . . to talking to the first boy she's ever set eyes on. But can a girl who's only seen the world through books and dusty windows survive on her own?

Find it: 
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M.P. Kozlowsky lives in New York City with his wife and two daughters. He is the author of Juniper Berry and The Dyerville Tales, books for readers of all ages.

The basis of FROST came to me when I was walking my dog to his death. Inspiration is a cloud, sometimes dark, sometimes light, and oftentimes it passes through us without taking hold because, in those moments, the world outside the fog is so overpowering and all-consuming. That day, the world had swallowed me whole.
Romeo, our beagle, (we called him B, Beezus, Wheezey, Wheezey-my-cheezey, That One, Toots, Toototties-toofruities, as well as a dozen other names, like all dog lovers, including, like the broot in the book, Romes) was in poor shape. 14 1/2 years old, he couldnt breathe, could barely walk. He wasnt eating and could hardly control his bowels one last illness in a long line of them. My wife (whose love for her pet surpassed that of even Frosts for hers) was in tears, hysterical. We knew it was time.
I tried picking Romeo up, but he cried and winced. There was too much pain for me to carry him. Luckily, we lived in Manhattan at the time and our vet was at the far end of the block. Still, it was a long block and hed have to walk. Yet, if he didnt, I would never have written FROST.
It was one of the worst walks of my life. Romeo was on the leash and sluggishly trailing behind. Every now and then he would stop, stubborn in his progression, his chest heaving. For some reason I found myself continuously apologizing to him. Im sorry, B. Im so sorry. And Id give a little tug on the leash, nothing too hard, just something to get him moving. He would take a few steps forward, stop, and Id have to tug again. It must have taken us a half hour to get down that one block. It wasnt a walk; it was a crawl, an agonizingly slow crawl, allowing me far too much time to dwell on where, exactly, I was leading him. Did he know? Was he aware these were his final moments, his final steps? Did he know this was the last walk we would ever take together? Was that why he resisted? I staggered down that city street with tears dropping from my eyes to the sidewalk like a heavy rain.
People passed and avoided my eyes, the city taking on a tragic hue of gray, though it was a brilliantly sunny day. Not that I saw any of it. Toward the end of the block a black cloud enveloped me, and I found a dark world within it. I saw a little girl lost in the city. Alone and scared. And, behind her, she was dragging her dying pet through the streets in the hopes she might save him. Clear as glass, I felt the pain in her back and on her shoulders, the anguish in her heart.
And then the cloud vanished. That was all I saw. A flash of a vision, a few spasmodic seconds. But the image remained. It was powerful. So very powerful because it was rooted in something so very real. Out of grief can come beauty. I didnt know where the girl was going, or what had happened to her pet and her family and the city itself, but within me were the seeds of a story.
Thats one half of a happy ending. Heres the other: We reached the vet and I discovered Romeo had a collapsed lung, a tumor that they believed to be cancer, and pneumonia on top of it. But, guess what? He ended up living another two healthy years, the lung repairing itself when the pneumonia was treated, and the cancer mysteriously vanishing. He didnt live to see the publication of FROST, but I believe the impact of his time here on Earth the joyful thrall of a life shared with a beloved pet will be felt by many, and for some time to come.

3 winners will receive a finished copy of FROST. US Only.

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

10/3/2017- Twinning for Books- Interview

10/4/2017- Here's to Happy Endings- Review

10/5/2017- Just Commonly- Guest Post

10/6/2017- Pretty Deadly Reviews- Review

10/7/2017- Books and Ladders- Excerpt

Week Two:

10/10/2017- Emily Reads Everything- Review

10/11/2017- Curling Up With A Good Book- Guest Post

10/12/2017- Betwixt the Pages- Review

10/13/2017- The Cover Contessa- Interview

10/14/2017- A Gingerly Review- Review