Monday, April 29, 2013

Cover Reveal: Foreplay by Sophie Jordan

Today, I've got the cover for Sophie Jordan's upcoming New Adult release Foreplay, book 1 in The Ivy Chronicles, for you guys!!

So first things first, let's see this awesome cover!!!

Image Map

Uhhh. YEAH. I seriously love this cover! Talk about sexy...

And in case you're not sure what this one's about, here's the summary for you:

Before she goes after the life she’s always wanted, she’s about to find the one she needs.

Pepper has been hopelessly in love with her best friend’s brother, Hunter, for like ever. He’s the key to everything she’s always craved: security, stability, family. But she needs Hunter to notice her as more than just a friend. Even though she’s kissed exactly one guy, she has just the plan to go from novice to rock star in the bedroom—take a few pointers from someone who knows what he’s doing.

Her college roommates have the perfect teacher in mind. But bartender Reece is nothing like the player Pepper expects. Yes, he’s beyond gorgeous, but he’s also dangerous, deep—with a troubled past. Soon what started as lessons in attraction are turning both their worlds around, and showing just what can happen when you go past foreplay and get to what’s real…

This is definitely a book I'd kiss a llama for, and it hits shelves November 5 from William Morrow! You can add it to your Goodreads here and preorder here.

So what do you think of this cover? I think it's gorgeous. And hot.

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Beta's Perspective: The Program by Suzanne Young

Out next Tuesday is a new book from Suzanne Young, The Program. This is one I beta read, and it’s a book that holds an incredibly special place in my heart. But this isn’t a review, exactly. Not just because I’ve been with this book from the start, but because I know, my view on it, is usually seen as biased.

But this book? The immense amount of love I have for it has everything to do with the book. I love Suzanne dearly, she has been the single most supportive person in regards to my own writing, and she’s taught me more than words can express. And in truth, it’s reading books exactly like The Program, even from the raw first pages, that have made me a better writer.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it to anyone who listens, Suzanne is genuinely one of the single most talented writers I know. Her raw, not even edited by herself, stuff is often better than some of the finished stuff out there. And I don’t say that out of friendship, I say it out of truth. As a reader, and as a writer, she very often leaves me just utterly stunned.

The Program left me stunned. From the first pages I read, to when I finished reading the very first draft. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t have that many criticisms. I actually felt very useless as a beta reader, because I just didn’t really see too many flaws with it. I was so captivated by the world, the characters, the story and the writing, there was almost no room, for me, for negative stuff. Yes, I took time, digested, figured out the niggling feelings of where things were off, or needing more explanation. I found some inconsistencies. I did my job. But it wasn’t an easy job for me to do, not like I’ve experienced with other authors, other books.

I. Love. This. Book. The elements, the themes, the concepts. All of it. It challenged me and made me think. It broke my heart, and left me emotionally wrung out. And that was in the very first draft. I’ve read this book four times now, in all it’s forms. I’ll read it again once I get the finished copy. And I know I will continue to love it, continue to be enamored.

What would you do, if everyone around you was being taken away? What if the only way known to stop an epidemic is to wipe out your memories, restart you, and take away all the bad that’s happened in your life? And how much of that… is erasing you? What would you do, if showing any kind of adverse emotion, even normal ones, risked getting you flagged and taken away?

Those are just some of the things Suzanne tackles in this book, however intentionally or not, however subtly or more clearly. I felt so, so much for Sloane. And though, yes, she was infected, a huge part of me, even now, will argue that she was less infected, and more affected. Affected by the loss of her brother, of her friends. Torn apart by losing her boyfriend, who isn’t dead, but maybe even worse—erased and restarted. When you’ve lost everyone around you, how can you not be sad? Except being sad, means she’s infected, at least in this world.

Sloane’s story is a painful one. It’s one set in a world that doesn’t exist right now. And yet, despite the dystopian type elements, I wouldn’t really classify this as one. It’s romance, as all of Suzanne’s stuff is. It’s figuring things out, it’s fighting back, it’s fighting for you. It’s a blend of things, and it’s something that left me breathless, and thinking about it for weeks. This is one of those books I remember details of so vividly, I actually am almost scared to talk about it specifically because I can't always remember if those vivid things are from the final version, or an earlier one. But one scene, that I believe is in the final version, is on the beach, not long before James goes away. And it’s one of the palpably emotional, intensely sad scenes I’ve ever read. It’s a scene I wanted Suzanne to fight to keep, if it came up to cut it, because it struck me so much.

There is something so amazing about the relationship Sloane and James have. These are the kind of characters who are so perfect for each other, I can't imagine them ever with anyone else. And yet, they get broken apart, their memories of each other are taken away.

It’s an element that made my chest ache throughout so much of this book.

And it’s an element I think we can all connect to, no matter our experiences.

And that’s the talent I think Suzanne has, so beautifully portrayed in this book. It doesn’t matter where you come from or what you’ve been through. There’s something of all of us in her characters, this innate universal connection which she forges. At least, through my eyes, it’s there.

So do yourself a favor, and check out this book next week. I’ve been waiting, alongside Suzanne, a long time for it to come out. I can't believe it’s finally here. I can't wait to hold it in my hands. This book is, hands down, my favorite thing of everything I’ve read of Suzanne’s, published and otherwise.

I am proud beyond of words of Suzanne, and can't express enough how dear this book is to me, and just how intensely I adore it.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Cover Reveal + First Chapter: Scorched by Mari Mancusi

The awesome Mari Mancusi has a new series forthcoming, this time featuring dragons! I am so incredibly excited for this book, and now I've got the cover here for you guys! So first, let's get to the GORGEOUS cover!

Uhhh yeah, I freaking adore this cover! Cannot wait to read!

About the Book: Sixteen-year-old Trinity Brown is used to her grandfather's crazy stories, so she never believed the latest treasure he brought home was a real dragon's egg. Not until their home is invaded by soldiers trying to steal it and a strange boy who tells her the world as she knows it will be wiped out in a fiery dragon war—unless they work together to stop it. Meantime, there's a different voice whispering to Trinity, calling to her, telling her what to do...the dragon inside her egg is not ready to give up without a fight.

AND, you can enter here for a chance to win an early copy plus add it to your GR shelf!

Want to read the first chapter? I thought so. Here you go!

They came at noon, black shadows dancing across the sky, drowning out the sun. Their cries echoed through chambers and courtyards. Their fire blazed down narrow streets.

Some dropped to their knees in prayer. Others tried to flee. But in the end, they all fell down—-ashes choking their lungs, flames singeing their flesh.

There was no place to run. No place to hide.

They would find you.

And when they did…you would surely burn.

—The Scorch

by Julian Bachman, year 54 PS

Part 1:


Chapter One


Connor’s eyes flew open. Blinding white lights barreled toward him at breakneck speed. No time to think, he hurled himself to the side, adrenaline igniting the reflexes he’d honed in boot camp. A bright blue metal monstrosity shot past him, wailing an angry protest in its wake.

That was close. Too close. Sucking in a breath, he crawled up onto a nearby platform, trying to gain his bearings. Shiny hunks of metal machinery—-like the one that had nearly crushed him—-lined the road, dark and silent, while others cruised by, determined white lights chasing brilliant red tails. They reminded him of something he’d once seen on the Surface Lands. Cars, his father had called them. Of course they looked a lot different when living, breathing, and not caked with rust.

But that meant…A smile crept to his lips.

It had worked. It had actually worked.

“Well, what do you know,” he murmured, drawing in a lungful of the freshest air he’d ever breathed in all his seventeen years, with zero smoky aftertaste. It was crisp. Colder than they’d predicted for August in Texas. So cold, in fact, he could see his breath reflected in puffy clouds as he exhaled. Shivering a little—-his travel jumper was definitely not made for this kind of weather—-he found himself gazing up into an open sky littered with stars and anchored by a bright, full moon. The vastness of the universe unabashedly spread out before him made him a little dizzy.

Maybe I should make a wish, he considered, remembering the old rhyme his mother used to sing. Star light, star bright…

Wish my supplies would arrive all right, the solider in him finished, reminding him he wasn’t on some pleasant stargazing holiday. His eyes reluctantly left the sky, scanning the ground below, searching for his canister. One couldn’t travel with one’s belongings, they’d told him in the debriefing, except for specially designed clothing. Something about splitting up different types of molecules. The essential items they’d sent to aid his mission would be arriving separately. In a titanium pod. Right about—-

A large metal cylinder shot through the sky, almost knocking him out before bouncing harmlessly to the ground.


“What in God’s good name was that?”

Connor whirled around to find the largest woman he’d ever seen exiting one of the nearby apartment buildings. He tried not to gape at her immense frame, wrapped securely in a black, puffy coat. What rations must these people be allotted in order to gain such girth? As three equally well--fed and well--dressed young boys filed out behind her, his mind flashed to the orphans of Strata--D. Their rail--thin frames, their hollow, hungry eyes…

He set his jaw. Just another reminder of how important this mission truly was.

As he watched, the three boys scrambled past their mother, eagerly circling the titanium capsule, eyes shining with interest. One reached down, daring to touch it…

Oh no they didn’t. Connor swept in, neatly scooping up his belongings. As the children squawked in protest, he held up his free hand. “It’s okay,” he tried to assure them. “It’s just my—-”

“Get away from my kids, you freak!” Mom was now on the scene, waving one hand threateningly at Connor, the other fumbling at her coat pocket. For a split second, he feared she was reaching for a weapon. Instead, she pulled out a small, black plastic device. Some kind of primitive transcriber?

“See something, say something,” she muttered to her children, waving them behind her, as she frantically started pressing at the screen. “That’s what they say to do. Can’t let the terrorists win.”

“Please,” Connor pleaded, taking a few steps backward, his mind desperately searching for a rational explanation for the canister falling from the sky—-preferably one that didn’t require prior knowledge of quantum physics. He was supposed to be blending in, not making a scene. He wasn’t exactly off to an auspicious start.

His eyes lit upon an open window, two stories up, red--checkered curtains fluttering in the night sky. “My…girlfriend,” he stammered, his mind reaching for the proper terminology as he waved his arm in the direction of the window. “She tossed me out.” He gave the woman his best sheepish smile, then held up the canister. “Told me to take my gear and never come back.” The woman narrowed her eyes, staring at him for a moment, then up at the open window. Connor realized belatedly that she could very well know the girl who lived in the apartment above or know that there was no girl to begin with. This wasn’t like back home; people here knew their neighbors, shared cups of sugar—-that sort of thing. Had he just made a huge mistake?

Believe me, he pushed, in a feeble attempt to try to bend her will. Believe me and walk away.

But it was no use. The trip had left him completely depleted. And he had no idea how long it would take to regenerate his spark. He’d be forced to do things the old--fashioned way—-at least for the foreseeable future.

“What’s her name?”

Connor was startled. “What?”

“Her name,” the woman repeated. “Your girlfriend who threw you out. Does she have a name?” She gave him a pointed stare, as if daring him to answer, her fingers still hovering dangerously close to her transcriber.

“Oh right. Her name is…”

His mind went blank. Completely blank. Come on, Connor. A name! Any name! He could feel her eyes upon him, sharp, assessing, as they took in his strange clothes with growing suspicion. He had to do something—-say something—-and fast. Before it was too late. “Her name is…”

With one fluid movement, he ripped open the capsule, his fingers diving for his gun. Before the woman could even grasp his intentions, he had the weapon trained on her face. “Her name is get the hell back!” he growled. “And I suggest you do as she says.”

The woman’s eyes bulged and a small squeak escaped her lips. Staggering back, she held up her hands in surrender, her transcriber falling from her meaty grasp and clattering to the pavement below. Her children screamed, latching on to their mother, their innocent little faces mirroring her terror as Connor narrowed his eyes, doing his best to look desperate and dangerous. As if he were the type of guy who shot down mothers and children in cold blood every day before breakfast.

“Please, mister,” the woman begged, fat tears streaming down her cheeks. “You can have everything. Just let us go.” She shrugged her bag off her shoulder, allowing it to fall to the ground. “There’s plenty of cash in there. Take it all. Just don’t hurt my kids.”

Connor sighed, lowering his gun. And…so much for blending in.

“It’s okay,” he tried to assure her, guilt gnawing at his insides. He’d meant to stop her from making her call, not scare her and her family half to death. “I promise I’m not going to hurt you.”

I’m the good guy, he wanted to add. The one they sent to save your world.

But of course he couldn’t tell her that. It would just bring up too many unanswerable questions. And he had to get a move on anyway—-catalog his gear, get changed, locate the museum. Do a little preliminary scouting before introducing himself to the girl. He had a lot to accomplish in the next four months—-before the Reckoning day—-and, as his father would say, there was no time like the present.

Or the past, in this particular case.

He gestured to the woman’s bag with an apologetic look. “Take your stuff. Just walk away and pretend you never saw me, okay?”

Yeah, like that was going to happen. He could tell from the look in her eyes she’d remember this incident till her dying day. Her children too. But it couldn’t be helped, he reminded himself. And they would thank him if they knew the truth. They would get down on their very knees.

The woman’s face crumpled in relief. “Thank you, sir!” she babbled. “Thank you, thank you so much.” She scurried to grab her bag, then collected her cracked transcriber. “Merry Christmas,” she babbled as she gathered up her children and turned to leave. “Merry Christmas to you and yours.”

Connor had started to walk away. But the woman’s words made him pause. “Wait, what? What did you just say?” He turned back to her questioningly.

The woman whimpered, holding her hands in front of her face, as if she was afraid he was going to hit her. “Um, I just said merry Christmas,” she stammered. “Or, you know, whatever holiday you celebrate—-Happy Hanukkah? Kwanza?”

“But…” Connor protested, his mind racing with sudden confusion. “It’s August.”

The woman stared at him, as if he’d lost his mind.

“It has to be August,” he repeated, panic welling up inside of him. “They told me it would be August. Four months before the Reckoning.”

“Um, I don’t know what that is,” the woman sputtered. “But it is Christmas. I promise you, it’s Christmas Eve. In fact, I was just about to take the boys over to see the tree. They’ve never seen it lit up and—-”

She kept babbling, but Connor was no longer listening. He dug into the capsule again, heart pounding wildly in his chest as he searched for his transcriber. There had to be some mistake. The woman had to be lying. Because there was no way…

His hands closed around the device and he pulled it from the pod with shaking fingers. He flicked it on, waiting anxiously for the screen to illuminate, scarcely able to breathe.

December 24th, the device read. 7 p.m.

“No,” he whispered in horror. “That can’t be right.”

But it was, he realized. The signs had been there from the start. August in Texas—-it should have been a hundred degrees out—-not cold enough to snow.

Something must have gone wrong back at the base. Someone must have pressed the wrong button, turned the wrong dial.

“I was supposed to have four months!” he cried, looking up at the woman with wild eyes. She gave him a helpless shrug, then turned and fled down the street as fast as her thick legs could carry her, her kids scrambling to catch up. Connor watched them go, suddenly feeling as frightened as they must feel. But for a very different reason.

“I was promised four months,” he whispered to no one.

With four months, he could have secured a strong link with the girl. He could have made sure the egg never fell into her hands. He could have gotten a jump on the government…

…and saved his father’s life.

Now he had exactly fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes to find the museum. Fifteen minutes to retrieve the egg and the girl. Fifteen minutes to figure out a way to make this all turn out right.

Or the apocalypse that ripped apart his world would begin…all over again.