Tag Archives: romance

Big news!!! @JulieAReece @Month9Books #readtoreview #ARCs #literarycrushes #TheArtisans

Bloggers!

Review copies of THE ARTISANS are here!

The Artisans

Link:  

From 

Blurb:

They say death can be beautiful. But after the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old Raven Weathersby gives up her dream of becoming a fashion designer, barely surviving life in the South Carolina lowlands.

To make ends meet, Raven works after school as a seamstress creating stunning works of fashion that often rival the great names of the day.

Instead of making things easier on the high school senior, her stepdad’s drinking leads to a run in with the highly reclusive heir to the Maddox family fortune, Gideon Maddox.

But Raven’s stepdad’s drying out and in no condition to attend the meeting with Maddox. So Raven volunteers to take his place and offers to repay the debt in order to keep the only father she’s ever known out of jail, or worse.

Gideon Maddox agrees, outlining an outrageous demand: Raven must live in his home for a year while she designs for Maddox Industries’ clothing line, signing over her creative rights.

Her handsome young captor is arrogant and infuriating to the nth degree, and Raven can’t imagine working for him, let alone sharing the same space for more than five minutes.

But nothing is ever as it seems. Is Gideon Maddox the monster the world believes him to be? And can he stand to let the young seamstress see him as he really is?

Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21944665-the-artisans

AND …. 

You can weigh in on our talk about literary crushes here:

http://www.teenreads.com/features/special-feature/authors-divulge-their-literary-crushes.

Here’s one of mine!

“Then let you will decide your destiny. I offer you my hand, my heart. Jane, I ask you too pass through life at my side. You are my equal, my likeness… Will you marry me?” ~ Mr. Rochester, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Le sigh. Right? Who’s your book hero and literary crush?

 


M9B Friday Reveal: Chapter One of I Heart Robot by Suzanne van Rooyen and Giveaway #M9BFridayReveals

M9B-Friday-Reveal

Welcome to this week’s M9B Friday Reveal!

This week, we are revealing the first chapter for

I Heart Robot by Suzanne van Rooyen

presented by Month9Books!

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

I Heart Robot

Sixteen-year-old Tyri wants to be a musician and wants to be with someone who won’t belittle her musical aspirations.

Q-I-99 aka ‘Quinn’ lives in a scrap metal sanctuary with other rogue droids. While some use violence to make their voices heard, demanding equal rights for AI enhanced robots, Quinn just wants a moment on stage with his violin to show the humans that androids like him have more to offer than their processing power.

Tyri and Quinn’s worlds collide when they’re accepted by the Baldur Junior Philharmonic Orchestra. As the rift between robots and humans deepens, Tyri and Quinn’s love of music brings them closer together, making Tyri question where her loyalties lie and Quinn question his place in the world. With the city on the brink of civil war, Tyri and Quinn make a shocking discovery that turns their world inside out. Will their passion for music be enough to hold them together while everything else crumbles down around them, or will the truth of who they are tear them apart?

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Title: I Heart Robot
Publication date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Suzanne van Rooyen

Chapter-by-Chapter-header---Excerpt

Tyri

 

If today were a song, it’d be a dirge in b-flat minor. The androids cluster around the coffin, their false eyes brimming with mimetic tears. They were made to protect and serve their human masters, to entertain and care for us. Now, just one generation later, we toss them in the trash like nothing more than broken toasters.
The androids huddle in a semicircle, four adults and a child droid with synthetic curls. They all look so human; their grief real even if their tears aren’t. The two male-droids are even good looking in that chiseled, adboard model kind of way. They’re a little too perfect. With their machine strength, they lower the cardboard box into the dirt and the child droid begins to sing. His exquisite voice shatters like crystal in my ears, heartbreaking.
Asrid and I shouldn’t be here—the only two humans amongst the machines—but I loved Nana. I loved her before I knew better than to feel anything for a robot. It doesn’t matter how attached you get. A robot can never love you back, regardless of how human their advanced AI might make them seem.
“Why’re they burying it anyway?” Asrid mutters beside me. My friend doesn’t wear black to the funeral, refusing to acknowledge the passing of my nanamaton, an android that always seemed more like a mom and less like an automated child-minder.
“Should be sending it to the scrap heap. Isn’t this against regulation?” Asrid’s face scrunches up in a frown, marring her impeccable makeup. She’s a peacock amongst ravens, and I’m a scruffy crow.
“Nana was like a mother to me. I’ll miss her.” Tears prick the corners of my eyes as the coffin disappears into the earth, and the droid keens a eulogy.
“I know you will, T.” Asrid gives me a one-armed hug.
Svartkyrka Cemetery is losing the battle to weeds. Human tombstones from back when there was real estate for corpses lie in crumbling ruin covered in pigeon poop. No one gets buried anymore—there’s no space and, anyway, it’s unsanitary.
“Can we go now?” Asrid hops between feet to fight off the chill. Autumn has shuffled closer to winter, the copper and russet leaves crunching beneath our shoes. The leaves look like scabs, a carpet of dried blood spilling into the open earth. Fitting for my nanamaton’s funeral, but robots can’t bleed.
“Sure, we can go.”
Asrid wends her way toward the parking lot as I approach the grave. Nana loved yellow anemones, said they were like sunshine on a stick.
“Hope there’s sunshine where you are now, Nana.” I drop a single flower into the ground and wipe away the tear snailing down my cheek. Why Nana chose to permanently shut down and scramble her acuitron brain, I can only guess. Perhaps living in a world controlled by groups like the People Against Robot Autonomy, PARA for short, became too much for her.
“Sorry for your loss,” the child droid says in a tinkling voice.
“Thank you for letting me know,” I say.
“She would’ve wanted you to be here.” The other nanamaton, gray haired and huddled in a trench coat, doesn’t meet my gaze.
I stuff my mitten-covered hands into the pockets of my jacket and hunch my shoulders against the chill. You’d think the universe might have had the courtesy to rain given the sullen occasion, but the sun perches in an acid blue sky.
“Tyri, you coming?” Asrid shouts from the gate, remembering too late that we’re supposed to be stealthy. Government regulation stipulates cremation for humans and scrap heaps for robots. If the authorities discover us committing metal and electronics to the earth instead of recycling, Asrid and I will be fined. The robots will be decommissioned on the spot.
“I’m so sorry,” I whisper to the androids before turning away. Their artificial gaze follows me, boring into my back sharp as a laser.
“Botspit, I’m hungry. I could gnaw on a droid. Where’re we going to lunch?” Asrid ignores the dead and grieving as if none of it exists.
“I think I’ll just go home.”
“Come on, T. I know she was your Nana but she was just a robot, you know.”
Just a robot! Nana changed my diapers. My first day of kindergarten, Nana held my hand. When I came home from school, Nana made me cocoa and sat helping me with homework. Nana cooked my favourite dumpling dinner every Wednesday and made me double-chocolate birthday cake. Nana taught me how to tie my shoelaces and braid my hair. The day I turned sixteen, Mom decided we didn’t need Nana anymore. She should’ve been decommissioned then, but Nana disappeared the day before Mom’s M-Tech buddies came to kill her core and reprocess her parts.
“She was more than that to me,” I say.
“Ah, you’re adorable.” Asrid casts nervous glances across the lot. Satisfied no policemen lurk behind the bushes, she slips her arm through mine and drags me through the gate. The wrought iron is warped and daubed with rust. Marble angels stand sentinel, broken and stained by time. One misses a nose, and the other has lost a wing.
“You didn’t say anything about my new bug.” Asrid pouts when we reach her vehicle. The hoverbug is neon pink, matching her shoes, handbag, and the ribbons holding up her blond hair. The ‘E’ badge that stands for Engel Motors looks more like a spastic frog than the angel it’s supposed to represent.
“Is it meant to smell like cherries?” Even the plush interior is unicorn puke pink. I put on my sunglasses in case all that color stains my eyes.
“Yes, in fact.” Asrid flicks a switch and the engine purrs. “Slipstream Waffles.” She assumes that monotone voice she always uses when addressing machines.
The last thing I want is to sit on sticky vinyl in a noisy waffle house, indulging in sugar and calories served by permanently smiling droids on roller-skates.
“Take me home to Vinterberg.”
“Tyri, don’t annoy me.”
“Sassa, Don’t patronize me.” I give her the glare she knows better than to argue with.
“Vinterberg,” I say again and Asrid heaves a melodramatic sigh.
“Be boring. Going home to make love to your violin?”
“Why ask when you know the answer?” Nana’s coffin lowering into the ground replays in my mind to a soundtrack in b-flat minor.
“How does Rurik put up with being the other love of your life?”
It’s my turn to sigh. Rurik doesn’t really put up with it or even understand why I love music so much. But then, I don’t understand why he gets so hung up on politics, and I definitely don’t understand why he didn’t show up for Nana’s funeral when he knows how much she meant to me.
“We manage.” I stare out the tinted windows at the darkened scenery whipping past.
The hoverbug takes the quickest route, zipping along the street ways that skirt the chaotic center of Baldur. The jungle of concrete and steel thins out into a tree-shrouded suburb studded with modest brick homes. Rurik calls my redbrick bungalow quaint, and it is, complete with flower boxes and a patch of green lawn out back. It’s nothing at all like his dad’s slick penthouse, all glass and chrome with a panoramic view of the city. The funny thing is, Rurik used to live right next-door till his mom had the affair and his dad became a workaholic, transforming the family business into an automotive empire.
The hoverbug slows and lands in my driveway.
“I’ll call you later,” I say before disembarking.
“You heard anything yet?”
“No, but tomorrow is the last day so I’ll hear soon.” I’m trying not to think about why it’s taking so long to hear back after my audition for the Baldur Junior Philharmonic Orchestra.
“You’ll get in T. I’m sure of it. You’re brilliant.”
Asrid’s words make me smile despite the morbidity of the day. She waves and the hoverbug zooms off, leaving me in the rustling-leave calm of Vinterberg.
I press my thumb to the access pad and the front door hisses open. Mom’s at work like always. Taking off my coat and shoes, I whistle for Glitch. She pads into the hallway, her face lopsided from sleep. She stretches and sits down with a decisive humph as if to say, ‘Well, human, I’m here. Now, worship me.’ And I do.
“Hey my Glitchy girl.” I fold my cyborg Shiba Inu into my arms and sweep her off the floor. Her mechatronic back leg sticks out straight and stiff, the rest of her soft and warm. She licks my ear, one paw on my forehead.
“Good afternoon, Tyri. Would you like some refreshments?” Miles whirs out of the kitchen into the hallway. He’s nothing like Nana, just a bipedal mass of electronics and metal with assorted appendages capable of mundane tasks. He doesn’t even have eyes, only a flashing array of lights. Despite Mom designing a new generation of androids for M-Tech, we can’t afford the new model housebot. Maybe it’s better this way. I don’t feel much for our bot, but I dubbed him Miles. It seemed to fit.
“Would you like some refreshments?” he repeats.
“Tea and a sandwich.” I carry Glitch into my bedroom at the back of the house. Glitch leaps from my arms, landing on the bed where she curls up in a knot of black, white, and tan fur amongst my pillows.
Still in my black lace skirt and corset, I stretch and flex my fingers. Twisting the cricks from my neck and rolling my shoulders, I ease out the graveyard tension. My violin lies in a bed of blue velvet, waiting for my touch. With the strings in tune and the bow sufficiently taut, the instrument nestles against my jaw as if I was born with a gap there just for the violin. It completes me.
I warm-up my fingers, letting them trip over the strings as my bow arcs and glides. Then I’m ready to play: Beethoven’s Kreutzer violin sonata in A major, Nana’s favorite. Glitch’s ears twitch back and forth. She raises her head to howl but thinks better of it, yawning and curling back into sleep.
The frenzied opening of the sonata segues into a melancholy tune and in the brief moment of calm, my moby warbles at me. I have mail. I try to ignore the distraction and play through the screeching reminder of an unread message, but it might be the one I’ve been anticipating.
Vibrating in my hand, the moby blinks at me: One unread email. Subject: BPO audition.
“This is it, Glitchy.”
She raises her head as I sit beside her. One hand buried in her fur, I open the email. The words blur together, pixelate and run like wet ink across the screen. Disbelief makes my vision swim. I have to read the message several times over to make sure I haven’t misunderstood.
“Codes! I got in.” Blood warms my cheeks as I whisk Glitch into my arms, spinning her around before squeezing her to my chest. She does not approve and scratches at me until I drop her back on the bed. Miles enters with a tray of tea and neat triangular sandwiches.
“Miles, I got in! I’m going to play for the junior BPO. This is amazing.” I’m jumping up and down.
Miles flashes orange. “Could not compute. Please restate.”
“I’m going to play for the best junior orchestra in the country. This could be my chance to break into the scene, to meet all the right people, and make an impression!” My one chance to escape the life already planned for me by Mom. The last thing I want to be is a robot technician.
Miles keeps flashing orange. “Apologies, Tyri. Could not compute, but registering joy.” His visual array flashes green. “Happy birthday!” He says in his clipped metallic voice before leaving the room.
I clutch the moby and read the email another ten times before calling Mom. I reach her voicemail, and my joy tones down a notch. I don’t want to talk to another machine, so I hang up and call Rurik instead.
“Hey, Tyri. Now’s not a good time. Can I call you back later?”
“I got in,” I say.
“To the orchestra?”
“Yes!”
“That’s great.” He doesn’t sound half as happy as I am.
“Thanks, I’m so excited, but kind of scared too—”
“T, I’m just in the middle of something. I’ll call you back in a bit, okay?” He hangs up, leaving me babbling into silence.
Deflated, I slump onto the floor and rest my head on the bed. Glitch shuffles over to give me another ear wash, delicately nibbling around my earrings. I should’ve known Rurik would be busy getting ready to go to Osholm University. Getting a scholarship to the most prestigious school in all of Skandia is way more impressive than scoring a desk in the Baldur Junior Orchestra. Still, I received better acknowledgment from the housebot than my boyfriend. I call Asrid.
“Hey T, what’s up?” Asrid answers with Sara’s high-pitched giggle in the background.
“I got in!”
“That’s awesome, except I guess that means more practicing and less time with your friends, huh?” Asrid sounds genuinely put out, as if she’d even notice my absence when Sara’s around. Codes, isn’t there someone who could just be happy for me? Maybe Mom’s right, and I am being selfish wanting the “Bohemian non-existence” when I could have a “sensible and society-assisting” career in robotics.
“Sorry, I . . . thought you’d like to know.”
“I’m happy for you, Tyri. I know it’s a big deal to you. Congrats. Seriously, you deserve this considering how hard you practice,” Asrid says, and Sara shouts congratulations in the background.
“Thanks, Sassa.”
“Hey, our food arrived. Chat later?”
“Sure.” I hang up and reach for my violin. Nana would’ve understood. She would’ve danced around the living room with me. She probably would’ve baked me a cake and thrown a party. Determined not to cry, I skip the second movement of Beethoven’s sonata and barrel straight into the jaunty third. The notes warp under my fingers, and the tune slides into b-flat minor.
Two days until the first rehearsal. Maybe I’ll be able to do something different with my life; something that makes me happy instead of just useful.

Chapter-by-Chapter-header---About-the-Author

Suzanne van Rooyen

Suzanne is a tattooed storyteller from South Africa. She currently lives in Finland and finds the cold, dark forests nothing if not inspiring. Although she has a Master’s degree in music, Suzanne prefers conjuring strange worlds and creating quirky characters. When not writing, she teaches dance and music to middle schoolers and entertains her shiba inu, Lego. Suzanne is represented by Jordy Albert of the Booker Albert Agency.

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Chapter-by-Chapter-header---Giveaway

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The book will be sent upon the titles release.

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Month9Books Winter Gift Blitz for the win! @Month9Books @JulieAReece

Welcome to Month9Books’ gift blitz for our amazing winter titles: CROWN OF ICE by Vicki L. Weavil, PRAEFATIO by Georgia McBride, ENDLESS by Amanda Gray, A MURDER OF MAGPIES by Sarah Bromley, DEAD JED (1 & 2) by Scott Craven, and TRACY TAM by Krystalyn Drown! Are you looking for the perfect winter/holiday read? Then these are the titles for you! Oh and as a thank you to our readers we have an amazing giveaway for you!

Crown of Ice by Vicki
L. Weavil
Summary:
Thyra Winther’s seventeen, the Snow Queen, and immortal, but
if she can’t reassemble a shattered enchanted mirror by her eighteenth birthday
she’s doomed to spend eternity as a wraith.
Armed with magic granted by a ruthless wizard, Thyra schemes
to survive with her mind and body intact. Unencumbered by kindness, she kidnaps
local boy Kai Thorsen, whose mathematical skills rival her own. Two logical
minds, Thyra calculates, are better than one. With time rapidly melting away
she needs all the help she can steal.
A cruel lie ensnares Kai in her plan, but three missing
mirror shards and Kai’s childhood friend, Gerda, present more formidable
obstacles. Thyra’s willing to do anything – venture into uncharted lands,
outwit sorcerers, or battle enchanted beasts — to reconstruct the mirror, yet
her most dangerous adversary lies within her breast. Touched by the warmth of a
wolf pup’s devotion and the fire of a young man’s desire, the thawing of
Thyra’s frozen heart could be her ultimate undoing.
CROWN OF ICE is a YA Fantasy that reinvents Hans Christian
Andersen’s “The Snow Queen” from the perspective of a young woman who
discovers that the greatest threat to her survival may be her own humanity.
 
Purchase Links
Praefatio by Georgia
McBride
Summary:
Seventeen-year-old Grace Ann Miller is no ordinary runaway.
After having been missing for weeks, Grace is found on the estate of
international rock star Gavin Vault, half-dressed and yelling for help. Over
the course of twenty-four hours Grace holds an entire police force captive with
incredulous tales of angels, demons, and war; intent on saving Gavin from
lockup and her family from worry over her safety. Authorities believe that
Grace is ill, suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, the victim of assault and a severely
fractured mind. Undeterred, Grace reveals the secret existence of dark angels
on earth, an ancient prophecy and a wretched curse steeped in Biblical myth.
Grace’s claims set into motion an ages-old war, resulting in blood, death and
the loss of everything that matters. But are these the delusions of an
immensely sick girl, or could Grace’s story actually be true? Praefatio is
Grace’s account of weeks on the run, falling in love and losing everything but
her faith. When it’s sister against brother, light versus darkness, corrupt
police officers, eager doctors and accusing journalists, against one girl with
nothing but her word as proof: who do you believe?
 
Purchase Links
 
Endless by Amanda
Gray
Summary:
Jenny Kramer knows she isn’t normal. After all, not
everybody can see the past lives of people around them. When she befriends Ben
Daulton, resident new boy, the pair stumble onto an old music box with instructions
for “mesmerization” and discover they may have more in common than
they thought—like a past life! Using the instructions in the music box, Ben and
Jenny share a dream that transports them to Romanov Russia and leads them to
believe they have been there together before. But Nikolai, the mysterious young
man Jenny has been seeing in her dreams who has now appeared next door, was
there, too. Jenny is forced to acknowledge that Nikolai has traveled through
time and space to find her. Doing so means he has defied the laws of time, and
the Order, an ominous organization tasked with keeping people in the correct
time, is determined to send him back. While Ben, Jenny, and Nikolai race
against the clock—and the Order—Jenny and Nikolai discover a link that joins
them in life and beyond death.
 
Purchase Links
 
 
 
A Murder of Magpies
by Sarah Bromley
Summary:
Winter in Black Orchard, Wisconsin, is long and dark, and
sixteen-year-old Vayda Silver prays the snow will keep the truth and secrecy of
the last two years buried. Hiding from the past with her father and twin
brother, Vayda knows the rules: never return to the town of her mother’s
murder, and never work a Mind Game where someone might see.
No one can know the toll emotions take on Vayda, how emotion
becomes energy in her hands, or how she can’t control the destruction she
causes. But it’s not long before her powers can no longer be contained. The
truth is dangerously close to being exposed, placing Vadya and her family at
risk.
Until someone quiets the chaos inside her.
Unwanted. That’s all Ward Ravenscroft has ever been. To
cope, he numbs the pain of rejection by denying himself emotions of any kind.
Yet Vayda stirs something in him. He can’t explain the hold she has on
him–inspiring him with both hope and fear. He claims not to scare easily,
except he doesn’t know what her powers can do. Yet.
Just as Vadya and Ward draw closer, she finds the past isn’t
so easily buried. And when it follows the Silvers to Black Orchard, it has
murder in mind.
 
Purchase Links
 
 
 
Dead Jed: Adventures
of a Middle School Zombie by Scott Craven
Summary:
The first part of seventh grade was rough on Jed, but things
are looking up now that Christmas is almost here. As with past Christmases, Jed
asks for the one thing he’s always wanted–a dog–and again, his parents tell
him they’re not ready. But fate has a different plan when Jed sees a dog get
run over by a car. Then, it happens. Jed suddenly has a pet, Tread, a zombie
dog bearing his namesake–a tire tread down his back. Jed may have gained a
dog, but he loses his best friend Luke, who fears the way Jed created his
undead pet. When Jed returns to school, he finds a mysterious group called the
No Zombies Now Network spreading rumors of the dangers the undead pose to
normal people. Forced to disprove Hollywood stereotypes, Jed has his work cut
out for him as stories of a zombie dog begin to circulate. Jed could be
expelled if he can’t expose the NZN Network as a fraud. Jed needs help from his
kind of girlfriend Anna, especially after he discovers Luke has joined the
shadowy group. Once again navigating the treacherous waters of middle school,
Jed does his best to stay in one piece. Only this time he’ll need even more
duct tape and staples than usual.
 
Purchase Links
 
 
 
Dawn of the Jed (Dead
Jed #2) by Scott Craven
Summary:
As the fall semester ends and kids head home for winter break,
Jed and his parents gather for the annual exchanging of gift lists. Once again,
Jed asks for a dog, leading to a heated argument and a firm “no.” But
when Jed spots a stray, he chases it until the dog darts into the street where
it is struck and killed by a car. Grief stricken by what he’s done, Jed cradles
the dead dog in his arms. Soon, ooze from the dog mixes with teardrops from
Jed, creating Tread the zombie dog. Finally getting his wish, Jed must convince
his parents to let him keep the undead dog. But a zombie dog turns out to be
the least of Jed’s issues. It seems some parents don’t want Jed attending
school with their kids. Enter the mysterious NZN Network. They’ve been
distributing anti-zombie propaganda in an effort to get Jed expelled. But Jed
wonders if the creation of Tread has caused his relationship with Luke to sour.
And why, just as he seems to need them the most, have his best friends
abandoned him? Could they have bought in to the anti-zombie way of thinking?
Was creating Tread a mistake Jed will live to regret?
When Tread goes missing,
and with his very existence at stake, Jed must rely on his instincts, team up
with an old nemesis, and fight for his right to have just as miserable a middle
school existence as any other student—undead or alive.
 
Purchase Links
 
 
 
Tracy Tam: Santa
Command by Krystalyn Drown
Summary:
Tracy Tam doesn’t really believe in Santa Claus, at least
not like the rest of us do. She also doesn’t believe that Santa can possibly
deliver all of those presents in one night, to children around the world,
without a little help from science. A flying sleigh can only be powered by jet
engines, after all, and Santa’s magical abilities can only be the result of
altered DNA. How else could he know what every little girl and boy wants for
Christmas and who has been naughty or nice? In order to test her theories,
Tracy sneaks onto Santa’s sleigh then ends up at Santa Command, where a team of
(gasp!) humans monitor Santa’s big night. When Tracy attempts to hack into
their computers, she accidentally introduces a virus into the system. As a
result, three states get knocked out of sync with the rest of the world
(oops!). Santa won’t be able to deliver all the presents in time! Now, Tracy
must fix time and help Santa, but she has no idea how. How can a girl who
doesn’t believe help Santa and save Christmas before it’s too late? With a
little Christmas magic, of course!
 
Purchase Links
Giveaway Details:
1 Winner will receive A Taste of Christmas Gift Basket US
Only.
3 Winners will receive eBook bundles of 5 Month9Books.
International.

 

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M9B Friday Reveal: Chapter One of The Perilous Journey of the Not-So-Innocuous Girl by Leigh Statham and Giveaway #M9BFridayReveals

M9B-Friday-Reveal

Welcome to this week’s M9B Friday Reveal!

This week, we are revealing the first chapter for

 by Leigh Statham

presented by Month9Books!

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

The Perilous Journey

Lady Marguerite lives a life most 17th century French girls can only dream of: Money, designer dresses, suitors and a secure future. Except, she suspects her heart may be falling for her best friend Claude, a common smithie in the family’s steam forge. When Claude leaves for New France in search of a better life, Marguerite decides to follow him and test her suspicions of love. Only the trip proves to be more harrowing than she anticipated. Love, adventure and restitution await her, if she can survive the voyage.

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Title: THE PERILOUS JOURNEY OF
THE NOT-SO-INNOCUOUS GIRL
Publication date: 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Leigh Statham

Chapter-by-Chapter-header---Excerpt

The Perilous Journey of the Not-So-Innocuous Girl

Leigh Statham

Chapter One

Marguerite held the brass cricket gingerly in her hands. She kept it tucked under the table while she turned it over, her fingers blindly memorizing every feature. She knew it was childish for a sixteen-year-old to have a favorite toy, but she couldn’t help it. The design fascinated her. Occasionally she would trip the mechanism and the cricket literally sprang to life, launching itself against the underside of the table with a loud knock.
“What was that?” Madame Pomphart cried.
Marguerite caught the little metal bug with one hand and tucked it into the folds of her skirts. “Nothing,” she lied.
“I heard a noise.” The sour-faced governess slapped the desk with her pointer and stepped closer. “What are you hiding?”
Marguerite didn’t flinch. “You must be hearing things again. You are getting rather old.”
Madame Pomphart swung her pointer, making sound contact with Marguerite’s shoulder.
“Ah!” Marguerite grabbed her shoulder and jumped to her feet, knocking her chair over. She quite forgot about the little toy cricket which launched right at the governess’s face.
“What? Oh!” Madame Pomphart batted the air and stumbled backward, dropping her stick as the cricket ricocheted off her nose and landed at Marguerite’s feet. “How dare you bring vermin into my classroom? Your father will hear about this. Lord Vadnay will not be pleased!”
Marguerite scooped up her prize and ran for the door, grateful for the chance to escape.
“Get back here or you’ll receive double lashings!”
It was too late. Marguerite ran much faster than her teacher and was already halfway down the wide corridor. Lined with portraits of long-dead relatives and her father’s collection of modern weaponry, each display tempted her with thoughts of challenging the governess to a duel. She could easily scoop up one of the automated cat-o-nine-tails and turn back to the classroom. She rather fancied the idea, actually. But it wasn’t the right time or the right way to handle her heavy-handed caretaker, and honestly, she wasn’t quite brave enough to do more than talk back—not yet.
Her fear began to lift as she lightly descended the grand curving stairway to the ballroom, sprinting over the marble tiles and through the large doors to the gardens. The French summer sun blinded her. Marguerite blinked as she continued to run around the fountain filled with automated koi. A servant perched on the edge of the large pool, brass fish in hand. Its tail clicked furiously back and forth as he tried to oil it. The late-summer roses bloomed bright with color all around her. Butterflies seemed to flit merrily on every blossom, cheering her on. Human and automaton servants worked side by side grooming the large hedges … They jumped out of her way and bowed. None of them seemed surprised to see the young lady of the house running out of doors and they all knew where she was headed.
She tried to slip away to the cool shelter of the small glen beyond the lavender fields every chance she could, but since her father came up with the idea that she needed to be a “real lady,” it had become more difficult to sneak away.
At this point, she could have stopped. Pomphart wouldn’t follow her now, but it felt so good to move quickly after being at a table all morning. Her heart beat like an auto-hammer in her chest by the time she reached the work fields. More automatons and human servants stopped and bowed to the master’s daughter. Marguerite paid them no attention.
Finally reaching the small grove of trees, she flopped merrily on the soft grass and took a deep breath, then giggled to herself. She was safe, for now. The wind picked up and tousled the leaves overhead, sending bits of sunlight swimming wildly around her. The grass outside the glen rustled under the heavy thud of work boots: Claude.
“Hullo!” His voice sounded merry as he peered through the low branches that poked and tickled at the earth, surprised to see her there so early. “How’d you manage to beat me?” His wavy, light brown hair was just shaggy enough to soften his strong jaw and angular nose. His cheek was smeared with gear oil, right up to the corner of his smiling blue eyes. He was too tall for his work trousers and his chest had grown too broad for his cotton shirt. The buttons tugged a bit, but he wasn’t the type to care about his clothes. He pulled his welding goggles off of his head and wiped the sweat on his brow with the arm of his shirt.
“I ran.” She smiled wickedly.
Claude flopped down in the grass beside her. “That’s not very ladylike, and Pomphart doesn’t usually let you out till half past.”
“I had to run after this marvelous toy you made for me attacked her.” She held up the cricket like a prize gem freshly plucked from the earth.
“Marguerite!” he cried. “I asked you to keep it safe, not use it to get yourself tossed out of ladyhood!”
“It was an accident. I swear. The lessons are just so boring. I needed something to do, so I had it under the table. She’s such a brute. You should have seen how she hit me with her blasted pointer.”
“She struck you again?” his face turned dark.
“Yes, but it’s nothing, just a welt on the shoulder.” The last thing she wanted was to be the damsel in distress.
“Still.” Claude’s brow furrowed. “It’s not right. Ladies don’t strike other ladies. Please keep good care of that little bug. It took me a long time to build and I didn’t record the plans. I may need to borrow it back someday.”
“All right.” Disappointed at his lack of enthusiasm for her naughtiness, she carried on. “But you should have seen her face! If only I could have a portrait made of that. I’d hang it over my bed and have a miniature made to keep by my heart.”
A nasally voice attached to a pointy-faced, pale girl in bright pink skirts burst through the cool glen. “Whose miniature are you keeping by your heart? You haven’t even had your ball yet.”
“Hello, Vivienne.” Marguerite sighed without enthusiasm.
“Marguerite has just sealed her doom,” Claude chimed in. “She threw the cricket I made her at Pomphart’s face today, so there may not be a ball.”
“That’s rubbish! I did no such thing. It just got away from me and bounced right off her nose.” Marguerite laughed again while recalling the image, but Claude’s words made her a bit nervous.
“Oh dear,” cried Vivienne. “What are you going to do?”
Of course Vivienne would make a big deal out of it, Marguerite didn’t expect anything less from her childish neighbor.
“I’m not sure. That’s why I came straight here.” She turned pointedly to Claude. “I thought you’d want to celebrate my freedom and take the rest of the day off.”
Claude was quick to reply, “I’m afraid I can’t. Lots to be finished at the forge and I am on stall-mucking duty with the bots.”
“What do you possibly have to finish at the forge that’s so important?”
Claude raised his eyebrows at her. “A certain girl’s father has requested automatic serving dishes made of twenty-four-karat gold for her introduction to society.”
“Oh my!” Vivienne drew a dramatic breath. “How elegant. I so wish I were old enough to come.”
“Don’t worry,” Marguerite patted the girl’s knee, “I’m sure you can borrow them for your own ball.”
“Marguerite … ” Claude hissed at her.
It wasn’t a very kind thing to say, but Marguerite had never been very fond of Vivienne. She mostly endured her company because she was the only girl within a hundred miles that was close to the same age and station as Marguerite. That, and Claude had insisted she be kind to her.
“You’re right, Claude.” Marguerite smiled in repentance. “I’m sure your father will have loads of wonderful things for the guests to marvel at when your time comes, Vivienne. Still, it would be nice to have both of you there. I suppose I will be forced to talk to strangers.”
“I can’t believe you’re not excited!” Vivienne chattered. “New dresses! Handsome suitors!”
“I am excited,” Marguerite cut her off, “to have it over and done with! Dressing up might be fun, but dressing up to catch a man is not my idea of a good time.”
“Don’t be vulgar.” Vivienne blushed. “It’s not like that at all.”
Claude cut in, “I’d love to stay and discuss this matter with you girls, but I do have a few chafing dishes waiting for their motors in the shop.”
Marguerite tensed at the thought of not only being left alone with Vivienne, but also being without Claude’s protection should Pomphart come looking for her. “Do you think I could come help you at the forge today?”
“Not if you want me to get anything done.” Claude smiled merrily.
“Stop it! You know I’m a whiz with gear-work.”
“When you are actually interested in the work, yes, but I’m afraid that auto-spoons and brass tureens would bore you to death.”
Marguerite tried to make her eyes look large and beseeching, but she knew it was no use.
“No. But you can walk me there. I forgot my lunch anyway,” Claude said as he reached to help Marguerite up.
“I didn’t exactly have time to grab a snack as I fled the dungeons,” Marguerite quipped.
“Oh! I know!” Vivienne was bursting. “Let’s have lunch in town today. You’re not going back to your lessons are you? And Claude is busy with work. It will be such fun girl time!”
Marguerite sighed, but Vivienne was right. There was no way for her to return to the estate house without being trapped by Pomphart, and she had nothing to do if Claude insisted on finishing his chores. Still, she was uneasy about the idea of being on her own with Pomphart’s wrath hovering around an unknown corner waiting to pounce. The woman was ruthless when no one of importance was watching. She had a way of getting Marguerite off on her own and exacting whatever form of punishment she felt was suitable for the crime. Marguerite tried to complain to her father, but he wouldn’t listen, he thought Marguerite just didn’t want lessons anymore.
Claude knew all of this and sensed her fears in her quiet gaze.
“Come with me, both of you. I have someone I want you to meet.” Claude smiled.
Marguerite jumped up at his tug, tossed her wavy brown hair, and set her skirts aright, glad someone was helping her make up her mind. “Very well.”
“Hooray! Oh, I know just the place,” Vivienne said. “There is a new little patisserie I saw the other day I’ve been aching to try.” She skipped up the hill ahead of the other two, babbling on about buns and cakes and half sandwiches.
Claude reached for Marguerite’s arm and squeezed a bit. He used this gesture when he was about to chastise her, but she didn’t think she’d been that rude to Vivienne. The girl got on her nerves with every word, but her intentions were good and Marguerite wasn’t cruel by nature, just impatient.
“What?” she hissed.
“I have some news, but I wanted to tell you first.”
“Oh?” Relieved not to be in trouble, but also perplexed, Marguerite wished more now than ever that Vivienne would just skip into oblivion with her bouncy blonde curls and scattered thoughts.
“Yes. You know how we spoke a few weeks ago about my plans?”
“Did you find a position in Paris?” Marguerite could scarcely contain herself. Her friend was so talented, and she knew better than anyone that he was wasted working as a bondservant on her father’s estate. If he could secure an apprenticeship in Paris he could come back to La Rochelle as a master tradesman. Plus she could visit him there. Still, apprenticeships were hard to come by.
“No, I think it’s better than that.”
“What could be better than Paris?” In her mind, crowds of well-dressed ladies paraded down glittering avenues while the latest autocarts passed by in a blur of technology and innovation. Paris was the hub of all things Marguerite admired.
“I’ve signed into His Majesty’s service. As of next week, I’ll be an official member of the Royal Corp of Engineers.”
“You what?” She was stunned. It took her a moment to sort out her emotions. How could he have made this type of decision without consulting her? They had shared everything since they discovered each other as bored children on the estate a decade ago.
“I knew you’d be angry with me for not telling you beforehand, but an opportunity just presented itself and I knew it was right—I had to take it.”
“No, I’m not angry at all. Just shocked. You know how my father feels about the military.”
“But you see, that’s just it. I won’t have to worry about your father anymore, I won’t owe him anything. My first assignment is to New France.”
“Are you two coming or not? I’m starved!” Vivienne had doubled back when she realized she was talking to herself.
Marguerite wasn’t sure she could eat or talk at that moment. She wasn’t sure she could even take another step.

 

 

Chapter-by-Chapter-header---About-the-Author

L. Statham

Leigh Statham was raised in the wilds of rural Idaho, but found her heart in New York City. She worked as a waitress, maid, artist, math teacher, nurse, web designer, art director, thirty-foot inflatable pig and mule wrangler before she settled down in the semi-quiet role of wife, mother and writer. She resides in North Carolina with her husband, four children, five chickens and two suspected serial killer cats. If the air is cool and the sun is just coming up over the horizon, you can find her running the streets of her small town, plotting her next novel with the sort of intensity that will one day get her hit by a car.

Connect with the Author: Website |Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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Book Blast: The Soul Ajar by Kiana Davenport

 

The Soul Ajar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Soul Ajar by Kiana Davenport

From bestselling Hawaiian author, Kiana Davenport, comes ‘The Soul Ajar,’ a riveting political thriller and love story. Set primarily in contemporary Russia and the United States, here is a novel that brilliantly knits together four seemingly unconnected lives: Adam, a CIA intelligence operative who suffers from albinism, and searches for the Russian assassin who killed his mother, an act he witnessed as a child; Lily, a young Hawaiian-Chinese journalist who falls in love with him; Bazil, an Indian intelligence operative from Mumbai who befriends Adam; and Zahira, a beautiful Afghani girl mutilated by the Taliban. In this searing and multi-faceted novel, Davenport reveals the paths these characters travel as their lives become intertwined in a haunting and timeless story of the love that binds humans together, and the wars that continue to tear us apart.

Amazon

 

PRAISE FOR DAVENPORT’S EARLIER NOVELS:
“A great story written in beautiful prose. It’s been a long time since I cried while reading a novel. Davenport is a brilliant writer.”
— The Huffington Post

“A powerful story about love and war. Davenport is ingenious in the way she writes.
A novel you are unlikely to ever forget.”
— Book Reporter

“A powerful and moving experience.”
— The Washington Post

“A lush, ambitious novel that offers a fascinating glimpse into the beauty and contradictions of Native Hawaiian culture.”
— Publishers Weekly

“Davenport mines the depths of emotion…Readers who enjoy a Doctor Zhivago-like saga will appreciate the broad scope of this novel.”
— Library Journal

“Deeply moving. She possesses the qualities all great writers have, compassion for their subjects. You can’t read Kiana Davenport without being transformed.”
— Alice Walker
“Incredible. Haunting. A powerful tale of love and loss.”
— Booklist (starred review)

“What separates ‘Song of the Exile’ from popular novels is its intensity of feeling, its sensuous detail on every page, its dedication to a level of writing few bestsellers possess.”
— Norman Mailer

“Great storytelling! An epic feminine saga…Davenport’s prose is sharp and shining as a sword. Yet her sense of poetry and love of nature permeate each line.”
— Isabel Allende

“Torrid, yet intelligent. Compares with the fiction of Toni Morrison.”
— Glamour

“A giant, image-fevered, luxuriant saga of a Hawaiian family…powerful, memorable, intoxicating!”
— Kirkus Reviews

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

THE SOUL AJAR,  A Love Story by Kiana Davenport

THE SOUL AJAR, A Love Story

by Kiana Davenport

Giveaway ends December 01, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

kiana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author Kiana Davenport

KIANA DAVENPORT is descended from a full-blooded Native Hawaiian mother, and a Caucasian father from Talladega, Alabama. Her father, Braxton Bragg Davenport, was a sailor in the U.S. Navy, stationed at Pearl Harbor, when he fell in love with her mother, Emma Kealoha Awaawa Kanoho Houghtailing. On her mother’s side, Kiana traces her ancestry back to the first Polynesian settlers to the Hawaiian Islands who arrived almost two thousand years ago from Tahiti and the Tuamotu’s. On her father’s side, she traces her ancestry to John Davenport, the puritan clergyman who co-founded the American colony of New Haven, Connecticut in 1638.

Kiana is the author of the internationally best-selling novels, SHARK DIALOGUES, SONG OF THE EXILE, HOUSE OF MANY GODS, THE SPY LOVER, and most recently, THE SOUL AJAR, now available in paperback and on Kindle. She is also the author of the collections, HOUSE OF SKIN PRIZE-WINNING STORIES, CANNIBAL NIGHTS, PACIFIC STORIES Volume II, and OPIUM DREAMS, PACIFIC STORIES, VOLUME III. All three collections have been Kindle bestsellers. She has also been a guest blogger on Huffington Post.

A graduate of the University of Hawaii, Kiana has been a Bunting Fellow at Harvard University, a Visiting Writer at Wesleyan University, and a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant. Her short stories have won numerous O. Henry Awards, Pushcart Prizes, and the Best American Short Story Award, 2000. Her novels and short stories have been translated into twenty-one languages. She lives in Hawaii and New York City.

Website * Facebook

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Book Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 11/27/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Fall Into Fantasy Giveaway 2014 #FIFG14 #giveaway

 Hey everyone!

 It’s  time for the Fall Into Fantasy Blog Hop (#FIFG14) from Oct. 17th-31st.

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Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

Join me and tons of great authors as we welcome the new season with a chance to win some amazing reads!

Including … 

A signed paperback copy of Crux

Crux

Blurb:

She should have run. Now, she’ll have to fight. Eighteen year old Birdie may be homeless, but she’s surviving, that is until a mysterious guy throws money in the air like a crazy game show host and she grabs some with the idea she’ll be able to buy dinner that night. In that singular moment, unassuming Birdie becomes the girl in everyone’s viewfinder. Thugs want to kill her. Money-guy wants to recruit her. The very hot, very rich and very out of her league Grey Mathews wants to save her. Birdie, though, wants nothing to do with any of them until she realizes fate didn’t bring them all together. Her heritage did. Now, with only twenty-one days left, she’s got to decide whether to follow in the footsteps of those before her or risk her life for people she’s only just met.

Links: 

Follow me on Titter here: @JulieAReece

Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/author.julieareece

 

To Enter… 

Just click below and enter the Rafflecopter giveaways!

FALL INTO FANTASY BLOG HOP RAFFLECOPTERS

 

Leave a favorite  book recommendation in the comments (w/your email)

for a chance to win one of 5 signed Crux bookmarks. 🙂

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You can also win great author SWAG from:

Ash Krafton
Jami Gray
Ronesa Avila
Sharon Buchbinder
M Pax
Debbie Christiana

So cool.

Good luck and thanks for stopping by!!!

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5th Annual Spooktacular Giveaway Hop is here!

So … Boo!

 

Spooktacular Hop

 

My Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Open Internationally

Ends 10/31/14

 

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This year 250+ bloggers are each giving away a prize valued at $10 or more!!  

You’ll have 17 full days to enter all the giveaways.

 

This is such a fun Hop. I love this giveaway and did it last year.

And now for my prizes …

Winner!!!

mollymortensen

(Hi Molly! ♥)

Has 24 hours to reply or another winner will be chosen.

Congratulations Molly, and thanks so much for entering!!!

🙂

I know, I know, this isn’t horror. 

Still, it’s a great read that I hope you’ll enjoy!

One winner will receive both … 

One paperback copy of:

Looking for Alaska

Blurb:

 Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter’s whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the “Great Perhaps” (François Rabelais, poet) even more. He heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.

After. Nothing is ever the same.

And …

 

One ebook copy of:

Crux

Blurb:

She should have run. Now, she’ll have to fight. Eighteen year old Birdie may be homeless, but she’s surviving, that is until a mysterious guy throws money in the air like a crazy game show host and she grabs some with the idea she’ll be able to buy dinner that night. In that singular moment, unassuming Birdie becomes the girl in everyone’s viewfinder. Thugs want to kill her. Money-guy wants to recruit her. The very hot, very rich and very out of her league Grey Mathews wants to save her. Birdie, though, wants nothing to do with any of them until she realizes fate didn’t bring them all together. Her heritage did. Now, with only twenty-one days left, she’s got to decide whether to follow in the footsteps of those before her or risk her life for people she’s only just met.

To enter:

I won’t make you jump through ten hoops to enter. 🙂

Simply leave a comment below about what you’re thankful for this fall. That’s it!

And remember to leave your name and  email address, so I can contact you if you win.

A winner will be chosen at random.

He/She will have 48 hours to answer their email or another winner will be chosen.

Easy breezy.

Good Luck! 

Follow me here: @JulieAReece

or here: https://www.facebook.com/author.julieareece

Check out these other great blogs participating!

Link:

http://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=241072

Or I’ve listed them here: