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The Princess in the Opal Mask by Jenny Lundquist: 250+ Book Giveaway! (INT)

Monday, March 31, 2014
Every Fairy-Tale Ending Has a Price. . . .

Orphaned as a child in the crumbling village of Tulan, Elara is determined to learn her true identity, even if it means wielding a dagger. Meanwhile, in Galandria's royal capital, Princess Wilha stands out as someone to either worship or fear. Though no one knows why the king has always made her conceal her face--including Wilha herself.

When an assassination attempt threatens the peace of neighboring kingdoms, Elara and Wilha are brought face to face . . . with a chance at claiming new identities. However, with dark revelations now surfacing, both girls will need to decide if brighter futures are worth the binding risks.

Goodreads Summary

Author Bio/Links:

Jenny Lundquist grew up in Huntington Beach, California, wearing glasses and wishing they had magic powers. They didn't, but they did help her earn a degree in intercultural studies at Biola University. Jenny has painted an orphanage in Mexico, taught English at a university in Russia, and hopes one day to write a book at a café in Paris. Jenny and her husband live in northern California with their two sons and Rambo, the world's whiniest cat.

Follow her on Facebook:
or Twitter: @jenny_lundquist

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The F-It List by Julie Halpern: 250+ Book Giveaway! (USA)

Sunday, March 30, 2014
Alex and Becca have always been best friends. But when Becca does something nearly unforgivable at Alex’s dad’s funeral, Alex cuts ties with her and focuses on her grieving family. 

Time passes, and Alex finally decides to forgive Becca. Then she’s hit with another shocker: Becca has cancer. It also turns out Becca has a bucket list, one she doesn’t know she’ll be able to finish now. That’s where Alex comes in, along with a mysterious and guarded boy who just may help Alex check a few items off her own bucket list.

Julie Halpern writes about illness, loss, love, and friendship with candor and compassion. Here is an unforgettable book about living fully, living authentically, and just . . . living.

Goodreads Summary

Author Bio/Links:

Julie Halpern is the author of Get Well SoonInto the Wild Nerd Yonder and Don't Stop Now, as well as the picture book Toby and the Snowflakes. In addition to writing, Julie is a middle-school librarian. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, lived in Australia for six months, and created a couple of zines before she started writing books, and realized she was and always has been a writer. She is married to the artist Matthew Cordell, and they live outside Chicago with their daughter and gloriously large Siamese cat, Tobin.

Follow her on Facebook:
or Twitter: @juliehalpern

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Glamour by Andrea Janes Guest Post!

Saturday, March 29, 2014


GLAMOUR is partly a book about magic and friendship. But it is mostly a book about class and labor. Now before you start clutching your pearls, I’m not trying to turn a generation of teen girls into howling Marxists. Actually, I wasn’t trying to do anything except tell Christina’s story. But Christina’s is essentially a tale of class envy. She’s a townie who labors in a one-stoplight beach town, catering to rich tourists every summer only to close up shop come autumn and surrender to the fog of invisibility until another season of service… so you can see that a class angle was sort of inevitable.

At the same time, though, I wanted to subvert expectations. Class in popular media is often treated through a black and white lens, when it is treated at all. In fact, there hasn’t been much discussion on the topic in recent years. It’s no accident that, in GLAMOUR, Christina and her best friend Bridget watch “old movies, like Pretty In Pink.” The 80s and early-to-mid 90s is the last time I can remember anyone talking about social class (where is today’s Roseanne?). An illusory prosperity bolstered by credit led to a decade and a half of ignoring class-consciousness in America, and after the bubble burst we found ourselves left with a wealth disparity unseen since the Gilded Age. What’s a girl to do?

Some references to the economic disaster of 2008 are made in the book, which incidentally I wrote while I was unemployed in 2009. Christina’s father is unemployed because “No one’s building anything now,” a reference to the bursting of the housing bubble. Her quasi-love interest, Matt, surprises Christina by mentioning that his father, too, is unemployed following the onset of the recession. He asks:

“What did [your father] do, before?”
“Mine too.”

The recession affects the labor force in the fictional Cape Cod town of Westervelt, where adults find themselves without work while their teenage sons and daughters toil in temporary jobs “because it depresses tourists to see thirty-five-year-olds flipping burgers.” Bridget, who owns the ice cream shop where Christina works, is forced to hire out-of-towner Reese when another girl quits on her suddenly for precisely this reason. She and Christina are both conflicted about it, but business is business.

Bridget lives in an economic world of her own creation. While her store naturally follows the usual seasonal patterns of Westervelt, it is bolstered by her “penchant for prosperity spells,” which are at times the only thing “keeping her crappy store afloat.” In other words, the only way Bridget breaks even is by using magic. As a small business owner myself, I have to say that some days I over-identify with Bridget!

Magic itself is a kind of labor. It is a skill, a highly sought after and useful one, and the only one that Christina possesses, besides being a “bang up food service worker.” Her options in life include working in food service, bagging groceries, or practicing incredibly powerful and enviably liberating magic. The choice is clear. Nonetheless, she is tempted to use her magic not to create a life for herself, as Bridget has done, but to use it to rig the game in her favor by taking over Reese’s life. It’s kind of hard to blame her. The game was rigged from the beginning, as Christina realizes when she takes a freshman tour of Harvard campus in Reese’s stead. Going to Harvard provides students with a meal ticket for life, she realizes. And some of the students there aren’t even there on their own merit – they’ve been admitted, she learns, because their parents are alumni. It is this realization that the game is fixed that essentially leads her into a darker place than she’s ever gone before.

But all of this would be too easy. Like I said, I had to subvert this black-and-white idea of class. I had to point out that poverty does not necessarily equally incorruptibility (Christina will learn some harsh lessons about her own parents) and that wealth is not always a signifier that someone is, as Christina would say, a total a-hole. Reese couldn’t just be a blonde, shallow, cheerleader type. That would be idiotic. So I gave her some of the best qualities of some of the smartest, most interesting, generous, and ambitious people I knew. I made her be smart and amazing. (But with some flaws; she’s not a total Mary Sue.) I let her use her privilege and wealth not to become a superficial moron but to explore the world around her, to pursue her interests and passions, to learn, and grow.

There was a recent episode of the miniseries Cosmos that made me think of Reese and Christina. In episode three, “How Knowledge Conquered Fear,” Edmund Halley (the comet guy) befriends and assists the struggling Isaac Newton. Newton wasn’t well off – he was at Cambridge on scholarship, and had no family to speak of – whereas Halley was the son of a wealthy soap-maker who indulged all of his passions for science and even funded his first voyage to the southern hemisphere to chart a map of the stars.

Newton, like Christina, was talented but embittered at his lot in life. Halley, like Reese, used his wealth and position to build up his friend, even financing his opus Principia Mathematica. The episode ends by drawing a parallel between the lives of Halley and Newton, “the man who had but one true friend,” and the impending merger of the Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxies, which will set off a gorgeous billion-year light show. This meeting of the minds, this true friendship between people with a brilliant inner light and fierce talent and intelligence, this is the billion-year light show of Reese and Christina.

Ultimately, class can and will be subsumed by talent – true talent. The forces of who you are and where you come from cannot easily be overcome, but they are not immovable barriers. The bigger barriers are in your own mind, in smallness of thought, in meanness, cruelty, shallowness, pettiness and jealousy. Is the game rigged? Yes, it is. But there are ways to cope. Through honing a skill, as Christina works on in the book (spoiler: she doesn’t achieve perfection in one summer). Through generously sharing knowledge, like Reese. Through attaining a delicate balance between life and labor like Bridget, whose motto may very well be, “Enough is as good as a feast.”

Incidentally, there is one person in the book who abuses her employees, sells false promises and cheap product, and values image above substance. She represents the worst of hyper-capitalism, the total undermining of the idea of honest labor at a fair price, the Walmarts and Foxconns of this world if you will. I’ll let you deduce what happens to her.

Bio: Andrea Janes lives, writes, and works in New York City, where she conducts guided walking tours of the city’s many haunted and macabre sites. Learn more at

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

The Runaway King by Jennifer Nielsen: 250+ Book Giveaway! (INT)

A kingdom teetering on the brink of destruction. A king gone missing. Who will survive? Find out in the highly anticipated sequel to Jennifer A. Nielsen's blockbuster THE FALSE PRINCE!

Just weeks after Jaron has taken the throne, an assassination attempt forces him into a deadly situation. Rumors of a coming war are winding their way between the castle walls, and Jaron feels the pressure quietly mounting within Carthya. Soon, it becomes clear that deserting the kingdom may be his only hope of saving it. But the further Jaron is forced to run from his identity, the more he wonders if it is possible to go too far. Will he ever be able to return home again? Or will he have to sacrifice his own life in order to save his kingdom?

The stunning second installment of The Ascendance Trilogy takes readers on a roller-coaster ride of treason and murder, thrills and peril, as they journey with the Runaway King!

Goodreads Summary

Author Bio/Links:

Jennifer lives at the base of a very tall mountain in Northern Utah with her husband, three children, and a naughty puppy. She loves the smell of rainy days, hot chocolate, and old books, preferably all at once. She is a former speech teacher, theater director, and enjoyed a brief but disastrous career as a door-to-door pollster. In her spare time, Jennifer tends to panic, wondering what she has forgotten to do that has allowed her any spare time.

Follow her on Facebook:
or Twitter: @Nielsenwriter

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Fractured Light, Fractured Soul, Fractured Truth, and Confessions of a Cereal Mother by Rachel McClellan: 250+ Book Giveaway! (USA/CAN)

Friday, March 28, 2014
I’m dying, I thought. This was unexpected and not at all how I envisioned my death. I was supposed to die gardening in a flowerbed as a hundred-year-old woman, not as a seventeen-year-old trapped in a lake beneath inches of ice.

Llona Reese is used to living on the run. After the Vykens killed her parents, she knew they would eventually come for her too. She can’t take any chances. But when she starts to make friends for the first time in her life, she gets careless and lets her guard down. Big mistake.

As an Aura, Llona can manipulate light and harness its energy. But if she wants to survive, Llona will have to defy the Auran Council and learn to use her power as a weapon against the Vyken whose sole desire is to take her light. Now she’s caught in something even bigger than she can understand, with a power she can’t wield, and no one she can trust, except, just maybe, a mysterious stranger.

In this breathtaking and romantic adventure, Rachel McClellan delivers a truly mesmerizing story that will keep you guessing to the very end.

Goodreads Summary

Llona will do whatever it takes to protect her new found friends and home, but the dark plot that is threatening Lucent Academy, a school that’s supposed to be a safe place for Auras, may be too powerful for even Llona to defeat. This fast-paced tale of love, loyalty, and overcoming the darkness will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last page!

Goodreads Summary

Llona is determined to end the fight with the Vykens once and for all. All she needs is to find and destroy the Shadow—the ultimate source of dark power. But when she makes a startling discovery about someone she loves, Llona has to fight the toughest battle yet in this exciting conclusion to the Fractured Light series.

Goodreads Summary

In this humorous memoir you’ll discover several mind-saving rules, which include:

- Don’t throw your pregnancy test away before the full three minutes is up.

- Unless there is a rush on the grocery store pending a zombie-virus outbreak, never take your kids shopping.

- If your toddler is going to chew on a Band-Aid, hope it’s one found inside the community swimming pools chlorinated pool and not one found in their locker room.

- Never throw up in a cookie sheet.

- Things can always get worse. You could discover your child playing with a used tampon applicator. It’s not a whistle, sweetie.

- And most importantly, the moment one of your children is seriously ill, forget about everything else. You have the greatest honor in the world – being a Mom.

Goodreads Summary

Author Bio/Links:

Rachel was born and raised in Idaho, a place secretly known for its supernatural creatures. When she's not in her writing lair, she's partying with her husband and four children. Her love for storytelling began as a child when the moon first possessed the night. For when the lights went out, her imagination painted a whole new world. And what a scary world it was…

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Interview with C.C. Hunter

Thursday, March 27, 2014

About this author

C.C. Hunter grew up in Alabama, where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and regularly rescued potential princes, in the form of Alabama bullfrogs, from her brothers. Today, she's still fascinated with lightning bugs, mostly wears shoes, but has turned her focus to rescuing mammals. She now lives in Texas with her four rescued cats, one dog, and a prince of a husband, who for the record, is so not a frog. When she's not writing, she's reading, spending time with her family, or is shooting things-with a camera, not a gun.

C.C. Hunter is a pseudonym. Her real name is Christie Craig and she also writes humorous romantic suspense romance novels for Grand Central.

C.C. would love to hear from you. Because of deadlines, it may take her a day or so to get back with you, but she will reply.


Who is your favorite character to write about?

If you’d asked me this question a year ago, I’d have said Kylie. But now that I’ve finished Della’s first book, I have to say, I love writing about her. Apparently there is a lot more of me in Della than I first thought. J She has a real sassy side, and so do I, but I usually keep it in check. Channeling Della as I write, I get to let it all out. Sometimes it even carries over into my life. I’m not sure my hubby appreciates Della’s sharp tongue. But I’m having a blast.

Which scene in the book would you change if you could?

That’s a great question. And super hard. Here’s why it’s so hard.  I write the book and then rewrite the book, and then do revisions on the book, then I do copyedits on the book and then I do galleys on the book. Normally, the scenes that get published have been gone over and over and if I don’t like them, they get axed before the book comes out.  But I can tell you some of the scenes that were changed, but I won’t ruin it for readers who haven’t read it, so I’ll be vague. In Taken at Dusk, I killed someone in the book. It was a Shadow Falls camper.  And when my editor read it, she didn’t like who I killed.  And she suggested I unkill the dead person and kill someone else.  At first I was like…”What?  Killing that character was hard, I cried and cried. And now you just want me to go in there and say… “Opps, I made a mistake and shouldn’t have killed you. But hey, you over there, we need to talk--and it’s not going to end well for you.”  I cried when I killed the first character, I cried when I bought that character back to life and cried extra hard when I had to kill the other character.  Man, it was a killer week.  And if readers, the ones who have already read Taken at Dusk, would like to know who I killed first, you can email me the question and I’ll send you the answer.  But don’t hate me for killing anyone.  

Who was the hardest character to write about?

Well, usually the character I know the least about is the one I struggle writing.  And in the beginning, Burnett’s past was a mystery.  Ahh, but I got him figured out now.  And I love him.  Burnett plays a big part in the spin off series, Shadow Falls: After Dark.  You know how Holiday was sort of Kylie’s mentor?  Well, Burnett is Della’s go to person.  Of course, Holiday is there, and Della loves her, but  because Burnett is vampire like Della, they share a bond.

Do you plan on writing another series?

I certainly do, thanks for asking! Actually, I had another series proposal on my editor’s desk as I was writing Chosen at Nightfall. It’s tentatively called Glimmer and it’s about the descendants of grim reapers. It will be spooky and sassy just like my Shadow Falls series.

Could you tell us a little about what you're working on?

Right now, I have three projects going. Yeah, I’m going a little loco.  I just finished the rewrites for Reborn. But the copy edits will be back in a few days and I’ll have to go through that book again.  I’ve started writing Eternal, Della’s second book. I’m about 35 pages into it and it’s going really well. Unfortunately, I had to put it aside for the moment for Reborn’s rewrites, and then I had this great idea of writing a short story about the new guy at Shadow Falls. (Yes, this is the guy who is going to give Steve’s a run for his money.  If this new guy survives.  Let’s just say Della doesn’t fall for him right away.  In fact, she threatens to break his neck. But later on, there’s  something about him that has Della tied in knots.)  Anyway, I mentioned my idea of doing the story to my editor and she loved the idea.  The short story is about how this new guys was turned into vampire several years back. And let me tell you, I’ve cried big Texas-size tears writing it. It’s hard not to love him when you know what all he’s lost. Even Della develops a soft spot for him.  I’m almost finished with it. Then, I’m back to work on Eternal.  Man, it’s a busy life.

Thanks so much, Krystal, for inviting me to visit Live to Read.

And thank you to all my readers.  You guys help make my dream come true.

 This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Raven's Tears by Michael Matson and Alesia Matson

A con turned cop. And urchin turned lady.
Two webs of lies. An epic love.

Sir Vincent Sultaire is the Raven, rakehell, playboy, con, serving a term of indenture for the crimes of burglary and extortion. His lover, Lady Angelique Blakesly, seems to be a wealthy, widowed baronness and devout member of the conservative Guardian Paladin church. But Angel's careful poise and reserve conceal the Iris, one of Fernwall's most successful high-stakes burglars; and beneath the collar of Raven's indenture, he's playing the cops and the cons for fun and profit.

Their deceptions intersect explosively after the brilliantly executed theft of the priceless Tôrg-Dernäd. Sir Vincent is put in charge of the investigation, a thief set up to catch a thief. Angelique, beholden to forces beyond her control, is desperate to stop him.

Will Raven discover the truth? And will it be enough to set Angel free before their lies destroy them both?

Goodreads Summary

Many people in this world lead double lives, and this book is a great example of two people who are succeeding very well at it. She is a member of higher society and appears to e conservative and he is a criminal trying to hide his "old" ways from the public. Yet in secret they meet together and begin a relationship that would never be met with smiles if it was discovered. 

One of the things that makes this book stand out a little more than the last romance is its element of magic. It makes the story a lot more unique and interesting. I also really liked reading about a high society type that was fooling everyone and fitting right in with her women's groups and ritzy lifestyle like nothing was going on on the side. Another twist that I enjoyed a lot was that Raven was eventually set to investigate crimes that he committed. It makes for a crazy web of lies that you would never want to be tied up in but enjoy the heck out of reading about and watching from afar. 

4 Stars

*Reviewed by Chris*

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Women's History Month Giveaway: Participate in the 100th Book Giveaway as well as win two books here!

In 1978, Sally Ride, a PhD candidate at Standford University, responded to a newspaper ad to join the US astronaut program. She was accepted and became the first American woman astronaut to fly in space! Among her other accomplishments, she played tennis like a professional, was an astrophysicist who helped develop a robotic arm for space shuttles, and later, through Sally Ride Science, worked to make science cool and accessible for girls. Sally Ride, who died on July 23, 2012, will continue to inspire young children.

Abigail Adams was a strong woman far ahead of her time. She urged her husband, President John Adams, to "remember the ladies" and despite having no formal education herself, she later advocated for equal education in public schools for both boys and girls. She was also the first First Lady to live in the White House! This biography tells the story of Abigail Adams and her role in America's Revolutionary War period.

100th Book Giveaway Celebration!

You can help choose the subject of the 100th book! Details below..

Description of the series: Grosset & Dunlap’s Who Was? series is the leading biography series for young readers, with over 50 titles featuring famous thinkers, politicians, and history-makers published to date. The eclectic collection includes everyone from George Washington to Walt Disney to Dolly Parton. With their quirky cover art, interior illustrations, and novel-like prose, the Who Was…? books make learning about important figures exciting and accessible for middle-grade readers, both in the classroom and at home. The success of the series has inspired two spin-offs, What Was…?, which describes important historical events and landmarks, and Quien Fue…?, for Spanish language readers.
Website: (can enter your suggestion, and features a “leaderboard” for the winners, etc.)
Dates to enter: now through June 1st; Winning subject to be announce July 1st.

To enter to win two books on this site please leave a comment with who is the most inspirational woman to you and why! (March 27-April 4)

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Sidekicked by John David Anderson: 250+ Book Giveaway! (INT)

Andrew Bean might be a part of H.E.R.O., a secret organization for the training of superhero sidekicks, but that doesn’t mean that life is all leaping tall buildings in single bounds. First, there’s Drew’s power: Possessed of super senses – his hearing, sight, taste, touch, and smell are the most powerful on the planet – he’s literally the most sensitive kid in school. There’s his superhero mentor, a former legend who now spends more time straddling barstools than he does fighting crime. And then there’s his best friend, Jenna – their friendship would be complicated enough if she weren’t able to throw a Volkswagen the length of a city block. Add in trying to keep his sidekick life a secret from everyone, including his parents, and the truth is clear: Middle school is a drag even with superpowers. 

But this was all before a supervillain long thought dead returned to Justicia, superheroes began disappearing at an alarming rate, and Drew’s two identities threatened to crash head-on into each other. Drew has always found it pretty easy to separate right from wrong, good from evil. It’s what a superhero does. But what happens when that line starts to break down?

Goodreads Summary

Author Bio/Links:

John David Anderson once hit himself so hard on a dare by his sister that he literally knocked himself out of a chair and nearly blacked out. He has since translated this passion and singularity of purpose to the related arts of novel writing and pizza eating. The author of STANDARD HERO BEHAVIOR and the forthcoming SIDEKICKED, Anderson is a firm believer in wearing the same pair of jeans for three days in a row (four in the winter). He lives with his beautiful wife and twins in Indianapolis.

Follow him on Twitter: @AndersonAuthor

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Five Corners: The Marked Ones: Guest Post and Giveaway!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Advice for Writers

As someone who teaches writing, I get asked this a lot. I have a whole textbook full of advice for academic writers. But I think the most important advice boils down to five things:

1)     Make time for your writing. It’s easy to let life pull you away, especially if you aren’t working full-time as a writer (and even then). But making time each day to write is so important. If you don’t take time to write, you just won’t. When I was writing Five Corners, I had a rule that I had to write something, anything, every day. I wasn’t allowed to go to sleep before I had written something. And I was able to stick with that rule until my manuscript was finished. It really worked for me. Making writing a priority is hugely important.
2)     Get your first draft completely done before you show it to anyone else. Anne Lamott talks about the “shitty” first draft and the first time I read that phrase I felt a sort of release. As writers we so want our work to emerge on the page as beautiful, polished prose but the reality of writing is that first drafts are horrid and not really meant to be shared with others. Too often I meet writers who have stunted a creative work because they’ve prematurely shown others their first few pages or chapters. They get feedback before they are ready for it and often that feedback just kills the project in its infancy. Why do we do this? I think it’s because we love our work. We love our writing like a parent loves his or her baby. Without seeing any flaws or ugliness we adore it. And we so want to share it with others, after all why else would you write? But the time for sharing comes after a significant portion of editing, which is my next tip.
3)     Spend most of your time editing your work. I think the drafting phrase should be short and swift and painful. Get the darn thing on paper in some format and then spend most of your time editing and revising. I like to break the word “revision” down to “re” “vision” – seeing again. It helps sometimes to take a bit of time off from a piece before jumping into this phase of the writing process (but not too much time because it’s easy to lose momentum and forget about your work). Revise, revise, revise. Writing is rewriting as Donald Murray would say. So rework your piece and until you get that little zing that tells you it’s good, it’s perfect, it’s done (by the way, it rarely is done at this stage but it is done enough for you to share it).
4)     And now make sure you share it. I recommend two kinds of audience: a) a fellow writer whom you trust and will reciprocate with the reading of draft works, and b) a sample of your target audience – if possible 5-6 readers who love the genre you are writing in. But don’t just give them your manuscript and expect feedback. You need to provide detailed instructions for what kind of feedback you want. So questions such as “Note any places that felt awkward to you and why?” “If there were parts of the storyline that you didn’t like, please tell me and why?” “Did you get confused in any places?” I like to give 6-8 questions to my sample readers. Then comes the hard part, listening with an open heart to the feedback that comes in.

5)     Most criticism is there to help you as a writer. Let go of your ego. Don’t be one of those parents who believes his/her child is perfect (he/she definitely is not – a perfect human doesn’t exist and neither does a perfect manuscript). Instead listen to what your readers are saying and then try to figure out how you can incorporate their advice. Sometimes the feedback hurts. When this happens to me I sit on the feedback for a few days before I make any decisions. Sometimes the feedback is not useful or you just don’t agree with it. That’s fine, too. Take what you can use and toss the rest. Remember this is your creation. Just be careful that you aren’t hearing just what you want to hear to the detriment of your work.


Growing up in a sleepy village untouched by distant wars and political conflicts, it was easy for Thia, Mina and Kiara to forget such horrors existed in the Five Corners. That is until the dead child is found; a child that bears the same strange birthmark that all three sisters possess. A Mark their mother had always told them was unique to the girls.
Kiara’s suspicions grow as their Inn is soon overrun with outsiders from all walks of life. Strangers, soldiers and Elders who all seem to know more about what is happening than the girls do.
After Mina barely survives an attack in the forest, the sisters are faced with a shattering secret their mother has kept from them for years. As danger closes in around them, the sisters are forced from their home and must put their trust in the hands of strangers.  With more questions than answers, Kiara finds herself separated from everyone she loves and reliant on an Outlander who has spent too much time in army. She doesn’t trust Caedmon but she needs him if she has any hope of being reunited with her sisters and learning what the Mark might mean.

Excerpt 1

Kiara felt her own mother watching her closely. She forced her gaze away from the small lifeless form. Brijit murmured softly to the parents and then moved to Kiara's side.

"Come away from here, Kiara," her mother said firmly.

But Kiara couldn't stop herself from looking back at the child, noting how someone had twined a pretty scarf around her neck, concealing the ugly slashes that she knew were hidden beneath the colorful material. The result of a blade taken to vulnerable flesh. This poor girl had had no chance against her assailant.

Brijit tugged on her arm insistently. "There is nothing more for us to do here," she whispered in a hushed undertone. "Let’s go and give the family some peace."

Kiara felt a sudden wave of shame wash over her. She suddenly wondered what she was doing here?

Don’t try to deny it, she told herself vehemently, you know why you’re here.

She had seen the Mark on the child's shoulder. She resisted the urge to rub her own shoulder where an identical Mark was hidden beneath her tunic. It was something she’d believed she only shared with her sisters. But this child proved different.

And there was no question that this child had been assassinated.


Cathi Shaw lives in Summerland, BC with her husband and three children.  She is often found wandering around her home, muttering in a seemingly incoherent manner, particularly when her characters have embarked on new adventure. In addition to writing fiction, she teaches rhetoric and professional writing in the Department of Communications at Okanagan College and is the co-author of the textbook Writing Today.

Twitter: @CathiShaw

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Shutdown by Heather Anastasiu: 250+ Book Giveaway! (USA)

The battle is all but over, and hope seems to be lost. Zoe and her fellow Resistance fighters are on the run, having lost their home, their protection, and their leader. They are outnumbered and outmatched by the powerful corporation that controls the world, and the cruel Chancellor is inches away from completing a scheme that would kill most of humanity. Zoe's only remaining option is to chase the impossible dream of upending the Link system, freeing the world from the hardware that controls their thoughts and emotions, and hope it will trigger a revolution. 

The plot requires a nearly impossible mission to infiltrate the dangerous Community, and it is a task that Zoe must unfortunately complete alone. With challenges and surprises at every turn, nothing goes according to plan. Adrien's visions of the future now show two possible outcomes: one in which they succeed, and one in which humanity falls. It all lies in Zoe's hands. 

Full of romance, high-adrenaline action and shocking twists, Shutdown is a heart-pounding conclusion to an exciting sci-fi adventure trilogy for young adults. 

The thrilling conclusion to an action-packed sci-fi trilogy

Goodreads Summary

Author Bio/Links:

Heather Anastasiu grew up in Texas and recently moved to Minneapolis with her family. When she's not busy getting lost exploring the new city, she spends most days writing at a café or daydreaming about getting a new tattoo.

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or Twitter: @h_anastasiu

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A Special Love: Guest Post and Giveaway (INT-eBook)!

When Robert Adler and Meredith Conrad fall in love, all that is left for them to do is prepare to live a fairy-tale life. With the blessing of their second child, a son named Michael, everything they have always dreamed of begins to become a reality. But his autism diagnosis is something they never anticipated. The struggle they face after the diagnosis puts a strain on their family that begins to tear them apart. Years later, Michael begins high school, and the true love his older sister Ann Marie finds there helps bring her insight and appreciation of Michael’s unique gifts and identity. It might be just what is needed to put their family back together.


The story of, A Special Love, began to form in my mind when I was lucky enough in life, to stumble upon a job at a school for special needs students. While working there I spent my days laughing, smiling, and crying too. I fell in love with not only the students but their families as well. I recently left my position after having a baby, to be a stay-at-home mom. At that time, a family member began publishing and inspired my decision to actually start writing. I had always wanted to focus on young adult/teen stories, and missing the students I had grown so attached to, I continued to develop the story of a family with an autistic son, and their relationships.
In my time working with special needs students I was often a witness to the struggles they faced and that of their families. Every parent can’t help but have expectations of what their child’s life will be. A parent’s love adapts, grows, and transitions with their child. In this story the family begins to fall apart. When you are the sister, brother, mother, father, or friend to a special needs child or adult, you are often many things; a caretaker, advocate, janitor, nurse. But, those roles always come second to your primary relationship as a sister, brother, mother, father, or friend. I was amazed to see that while the families I encountered faced numerous struggles, they were most often met with smiles, selflessness, and strength.

This novel, is a love letter to any family facing trials and tribulations, with a reminder that while it is easy to focus on the hardships of life, the gift of acceptance and love is what it is really all about. The joy, hard work, and sacrifice that I was able to experience in my career were a true testament to the meaning of family and an illustration that every person is unique, gifted, and one of a kind. As I worked with our special needs and particularly autistic students, it became clear to me that it wasn’t always about their accomplishments, but often their journey to get there. This story is the depiction of one family and I only hope that others will be able to relate. 

Krissy Bells was born and raised in the Detroit metro area. A former school secretary, she now spends her days as a stay-at-home mom. She is passionate about her family and friends, her Dachshund named Harry, and anything topped with cheese or chocolate. Krissy can be contacted at Thank you for reading!

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