BLOG TOUR with #Giveaway, #Excerpt *SOMEONE I USED TO KNOW*PATTY BLOUNT #YA

 

It’s been two years since the night that changed Ashley’s life and two years of hell for Derek. When it all comes to a head at Thanksgiving, will these siblings be able to salvage their relationship? From the award-winning author of Some Boys comes an unflinching examination of rape culture that delves into a family torn apart by sexual assault.

 

Rafflecopter for Someone I Used To Know Blog Tour Giveaway: 

Patty is offering one (1) lucky Grand Prize winner a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a paperback copy of Someone I Used to Know, plus three (3) Runner-Up winners a $5 Amazon Gift Card. To enter for your chance to win one of these exciting prizes, please follow this Rafflecopter link :

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b050ef29556

 

 

About Someone I Used To Know:

Title: Someone I Used To Know

Author: Patty Blount

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Release Date: August 7, 2018

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Format: Digital eBook / Print

Digital ISBN: B07C933LP6

Print ISBN: 9781492632818

 

 

Add to your TBR list: Goodreads

Available:  Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Kobo  |  iTunes

 

About Patty Blount:

 

Patty Blount grew up quiet and somewhat invisible in Queens, NY, but found her voice writing smart and strong characters willing to fight for what’s right. Today, she’s the award-winning author of edgy, realistic, gut-wrenching contemporary and young adult romance. Still a bit introverted, she gets lost often, eats way too much chocolate, and tends to develop mad, passionate crushes on fictional characters…and actors like Gilles Marini….and Sam Heughan. Okay, so Patty’s not nearly as cool as her characters, but she is a solid supporter of women’s rights and loves delivering school presentations.

Patty is best known for her internet issues novels, including SOME BOYS, a 2015 CLMP Firecracker winner and RWA Rita Finalist, and SEND, a 2012 Junior Library Guild Fall Pick. Her upcoming release, SOMEONE I USED TO KNOW, has already been selected as a 2018 Junior Library Guild Fall Pick. Visit her website at pattyblount.com, where you can sign up for her newsletter. She blogs at YA Outside the Lines and is also active on Twitter and Facebook. When she’s not writing, Patty loves to watch bad sci-fi movies, live tweeting the hilarity, and scour Pinterest for ideas on awesome bookcases. Patty lives on Long Island with her family in a house that, sadly, lacks bookcases. She loves hearing from readers, especially when they tell her she’s cool (even though she knows it’s not true), and is easily bribed with chocolate. Never underestimate the power of chocolate.

Read | Roar | Revel

 

Connect with Patty:  Website  | Facebook  |  Twitter  | Goodreads  |  Amazon  | BookBub

 

 

 

 

Excerpt:

Copyright© 2018 Someone I Used To Know

Patty Blount

This novel is a companion story to my award-winning SOME BOYS. In this scene, Ian Russell, one of the main characters in Some Boys, meets Derek Lawrence in SOMEONE I USED TO KNOW.

~*~

Derek

A knot forms in my gut, a thick and oily clot of guilt. I sink on to the first bench I spot, clutching my middle and trying like hell not to puke. Damn it, I wish to hell I’d beaten the snot out of Victor Patton.

Came close to it.

“Hey, man.”

I twitch and find some guy sitting beside me. No idea where he came from. He’s older than I am, but not by much. Mid-twenties, maybe? Dark hair, dark eyes, some serious muscle.

I nod and shift away, willing my stomach to settle down.

“I’m gonna say something to you,” the guy says. “And you can tell me to buzz off, or you can listen. I see you sitting here, green around the gills, gripping one of those rally flyers, and see a look on your face I know well.”

I shift back to study him. He meets my gaze without flinching, and there’s something in his tone that tells me he’s not kidding.

“Somebody you love got assaulted,” he says, and before I can say anything—before I can even think of something to say—he adds, “Me too.”

I stare at him in disbelief. Are we supposed to do some kind of male bonding over rape…some sort of weird bro hug and then share our feelings? That kink in my gut unclenches, and my breakfast comes up and out. I manage to turn away before I ruin this guy’s day and spew into the bushes behind the bench. It takes a few minutes. When I’m finally empty and want to crawl into the gutter to die, the guy shoves a bottle of water into my field of vision.

“Take it. Keep it.”

Grateful, I crack the seal, chug, and rinse out my mouth. Then I take a nice gulp, sit back on the bench, and wipe my mouth. “Thanks,” I offer a few minutes later, when I’m sure I’m not dying.

“Yeah, no big.”

There’s a long pause. “Girlfriend?” he asks after a minute. And it takes me another minute to figure out he’s asking who I know that got raped. I shake my head.

“Sister.”

“Oh, man. I’m sorry.”

I only nod. What else is there to say? In silence, we watch the perky girl with the clipboard chase down two guys on Rollerblades to sign up for the rally.

He snorts out a laugh. “That girl has some serious fun attitude.”

I laugh, too. “That’s an oxymoron, no?”

Shrugging, he says, “Maybe. Never could keep those lit terms straight.”

That makes me wonder about him. “You’re not a student?”

“No,” he admits. “I graduated a few years ago. Degree in engineering. I work in the city now.”

“So what are you doing here?”

He sighs and looks back to the quad where Perky Girl’s got another pair of guys on the hook for rally duty. “Over there. Under the Rock Stock tent. Black boots.”

I scan the area, find the tent, and see a bunch of people under it. But the black boots do it for me. The girl is hot, like off-the- charts hot. Long wild hair, dark sunglasses, jeans, and a black shirt that’s held together with a series of metal rings. She looks like the lead singer from some hard rock band.

“Oh! I’m sorry. Was she—”

“Yeah. Back in high school. By my friend. At a party she only went to because she hoped I’d be there.”

“I’m sorry.” I sigh.

“I came over here to talk to you because you looked like— well, like a guy about to puke.”

My face gets hot. I swallow another gulp of water and look away. But I can’t deny I’m curious. “How do you…” Deal with it? Avoid killing the guy who did it? I wave my hand, trying to fill in that blank but coming up empty.

He angles his head, studying me. “Get over my guilt?”

Okay. That works, too.

He takes another look at the girl in the black boots and shrugs.

“Still working on it. Being here is part of it. She’s doing the keynote speech at the rally. Took me a while, but I finally figured out that therapy’s not so bad, either.”

My parents wanted us all to go to therapy, but I said no way. Maybe that was a mistake. “Can I ask you something?”

The guy nods.

I swallow more water. “You ever say something you can’t take back? Something that made her hate you.”

He grins and rolls his eyes. “God, yes. I can’t watch a Star Wars movie without wanting to kick my own ass.”

“Huh?”

He waves a hand. “Long story. I was a real dick to her, embarrassing her in front of my friends so they wouldn’t turn on me. She forgave me. Somewhere along the line, I figured out how to forgive myself so I could be the man she deserves.”

Forgive myself. That’s exactly what Brittany said. I consider that for a couple of minutes and then shake my head. “I gotta go.” I stand up. “Thanks for the water and for—” I wave a hand. “You know.”

“Yeah. No problem. Hope we see you at the rally. Trust me, she’s something.” He jerks a thumb toward the girl in the black boots, and I don’t doubt him for a second.

“Yeah. Maybe.”

He extends a hand. “Ian.”

I shake it. “Derek,” I say. “Thanks again.”

“Here.” He fishes through his pockets and comes out with a business card. “My cell number. I can help. If you want.”

I take off, tucking the card into my pocket along with the blue-and-white flyer. I don’t even know why I’m keeping them. It’s not like there’s any way Ashley’s gonna forgive me. I’m not even sure I can forgive myself. I’ll never be the hero again in her eyes.

 

Provided by:

 

Thank you Barclay Publicity for allowing us to be a part of this blog tour!

 

 

 

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BLOG TOUR~~THE DU LAC CHRONICLES~~MARY ANNE YARDE~~



The Du Lac Chronicles : Book 1
By
Mary Anne Yarde
“An evocative, timeless saga of love and betrayal”
Tony Riches, author of The Tudor Trilogy
Amazon #1 Best Seller in Young Adult, Medieval Fiction
AD 495, Wessex, Briton.
If all you had left was your heart, would you give it to your enemy?
A generation after Arthur Pendragon ruled, Briton lies fragmented into warring kingdoms and principalities.
The powerful Saxon King, Cerdic of Wessex, has spent the last twenty years hunting down Arthur’s noble knights. He is determined to secure his kingdom against any reprisals for killing their legendary leader. The knights who have survived the genocide are destined to spend the rest of their lives in hiding, never revealing who they really are.
The only knight who refused to be intimidated by this Saxon invader was Lancelot du Lac. Lancelot and Cerdic formed a fragile truce, but Lancelot has been dead these past eight years and it has fallen to his sons to protect Briton from the ambitions of the Saxon King.
Alden du Lac, the once king of Cerniw and son of Lancelot, has nothing. Betrayed by Cerdic, Alden’s kingdom lies in rubble, his fort razed to the ground and his brother Merton missing, presumably dead. Cerdic has had Alden tied to a post and ordered his skin to be lashed from his back. In the morning, if Alden is still alive, he is to be executed.
Annis, daughter of King Cerdic of Wessex, has been secretly in love with Alden for what seems like forever. She will not stand by and see him die. She defies father, king, and country to save the man she loves from her father’s dungeons. Alden and Annis flee Wessex together.
To the horror of Alden’s few remaining allies, he has given his heart to the daughter of his enemy. Alden’s allies see Annis, at best, as a bargaining chip to avoid war with her powerful father. At worst, they see a Saxon witch with her claws in a broken, wounded king.
Alden has one hope: When you war with one du Lac, you war with them all. His brother Budic, King of Brittany, could offer the deposed young king sanctuary—but whether he will offer the same courtesy to Annis is far less certain.
 Born in Bath, England, Mary Anne Yarde grew up in the southwest of England, surrounded and influenced by centuries of history and mythology. Glastonbury—the fabled Isle of Avalon—was a mere fifteen-minute drive from her home, and tales of King Arthur and his knights were part of her childhood.
At nineteen, Yarde married her childhood sweetheart and began a bachelor of arts in history at Cardiff University, only to have her studies interrupted by the arrival of her first child. She would later return to higher education, studying equine science at Warwickshire College. Horses and history remain two of her major passions.
Yarde keeps busy raising four children and helping run a successful family business. She has many skills but has never mastered cooking—so if you ever drop by, she (and her family) would appreciate some tasty treats or a meal out!
Twitter @maryanneyarde
Inside the Writer’s Mind ~ Mary Anne Yarde. The Du Lac Chronicles
 
Q1 – SDB: Writing can be a daunting prospect, what made you decide to share your story with the world?
MAY: I grew up just outside of Glastonbury ~ The Ancient Isle of Avalon ~ England. The stories of King Arthur and his Knights were very much a part of my childhood ~ he was everywhere. I knew the stories of Arthur from a very young age and as a teen, I became fascinated with his life.
For me, Arthur embodies an almost utopia age. Everything he stands for, everything he did, had such an impact, that we are still talking about him today. He was a hero, and we all need heroes.
The problem with researching Arthur is that there is a very blurry line between what is real and what is fictitious. But the one thing, which I found the most frustrating, wasn’t the lack of evidence, but the actual story itself, particularly with regards to the ending. King Arthur is betrayed by Lancelot, and then he is betrayed by Mordred. Arthur is fatally wounded at the Battle of Camlann. He is taken to Avalon, and we never hear of Arthur again. As for his knights…if they were lucky enough to survive the battle, they simply disappeared or became hermits.
Seriously?
That was the best the great poets could come up with? I’m sorry, but that ending sucks! The Knights stopped being knights? I don’t buy it and I never will.
I came up with an idea for a book that told the story of what happened after King Arthur’s death. My favourite knight has always been Lancelot, and I wanted to create a world for his children ~ a world for the next generation of Du Lacs and Pendragons. I didn’t realise then, that it would take me another 12 years to actually have a manuscript that I thought was worth sharing with the world. Publishing wasn’t so much of a daunting experience as a necessary one. I had sat on this story for too long.
Q2 – SDB: Who has influenced you as an author?
MAY: I am an avid reader. I love the books by Nicholas Evans and Nicholas Sparks. They both write such beautifully emotive prose that I cannot help but admire them.
Q3 – SDB: What is your writing method? Do you outline first or do you purge your brain on paper until your story is told?
MAY: I made a plan once. It took me ages, several months in fact. Once I was happy with the plan I sat down at my computer, looked at my notes and thought ~ oh screw this! I threw the notes away and just started writing. I do have a rough plan in my head and I will jot down the odd sentence that I think would work well later on in the book, but apart from that. I just sit down at the computer and bleed!
Q4 – SDB: How long does it take you to write your story, from getting it down on paper to publishing?
MAY: The Du Lac Chronicles, from start to finish, took me 12 years. The second book in the trilogy, which is due out later this year, took me about six months. Hey, I think I’m getting quicker at this writing game!
Q5 – SDB: Can you tell me a little bit about your book(s) without giving away too much? Why should I read it?
MAY: I would be honoured to tell you about my books…
 A generation after the fall of Arthur Pendragon, Briton lies fragmented into warring kingdoms and principalities.
Eighteen-year-old, Alden du Lac, Lancelot’s son, ruled the tiny Kingdom of Cerniw. Now he half-hangs from a wooden pole, his back lashed into a mass of bloody welts exposed to the cold of a cruel winter night.
When Alden notices a shadowy figure approaching, he assumes death has come to end his pain. Instead, the daughter of his enemy, Cerdic of Wessex, frees and hides him, her motives unclear.
Annis has loved Alden since his ill-fated marriage to her Saxon cousin ~ a marriage that ended in blood and guilt ~ and she would do anything to protect him. Annis’s rescue of Alden traps them between a brutal Saxon king and Alden’s remaining allies. Meanwhile, unknown forces are carefully manipulating the ruins of Arthur’s legacy.
If you love romance, adventure, intrigue and King Arthur’s knights, then check out The Du Lac Chronicles to find out what happened after King Arthur died. I promise you there are not any hermits. Well there is one, but he doesn’t come into the story until much later on in the trilogy!
Q6 – SDB: How much of yourself is in your character(s)?
MAY: It would be wrong to say that there is nothing of me in the characters. I do draw on my life experience…
…there was that terribly traumatic incident where I was chased by a Saxon Army, so I know exactly what that feels like! Rescuing gorgeous men from dungeons is an everyday occurrence for me as well…and…I do have big knees!
Joking aside, I think out of all the characters in The Du Lac Chronicles, I am most like Merton du Lac. He is incredibly loyal, good looking – well, obviously!  He is also very sarcastic ~ Umm…I’m not known for my sarcasm. Maybe he isn’t like me after all?!
Q7 – SDB: What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
MAY: You have absolutely nothing to lose by writing your story, so stop making excuses as to why you can’t and just go for it.
Q8 – SDB: Is there anything else that you’d like to share?
MAY: Yes. I think it is about time that we all learnt how to make pottage. Making pottage is an art and one that we have all but forgotten. It was the staple diet for the poor in the Dark Ages. All you need is whatever you can get your hands on  ~ any vegetables you happen to have growing in your garden. If you don’t have any vegetables, you can steal some from your Overlord, but make sure you don’t get caught, because you might lose your hand, or worse, your head.
Throw all of your ingredients into a big pot…a cauldron will do, like the one witches use. Hang the cauldron over an open fire and slowly heat up the pottage, don’t let it boil. Remember if the stew boils the stew spoils ~ oh hang, on, I think my home economics teacher was talking about milk when she said that. Have I told you I hate cooking?
The joy of pottage is that it can last you for days, and you can keep adding things to it, so that bit of venison you poached the other day, can be added in quickly before anyone notices the deer is missing!
What could be better? It is the Dark Ages equivalent of fast-food. Wholesome and Nutritious. Now please eat, because the King’s Soldiers are coming and this may well be your last ever meal in this world.
Thanks for having me on your blog!! Right…now what was I doing? Oh, curses…the pottage is boiling, the pottage is boiling!!


MY THOUGHTS:
The Du Lac Chronicles, Book 1 is a unique Historical Fiction /Fantasy /YA/Teen/Myths /Legends with a mix of Romance. Based on Arthurian Legend. Set during 5th Century, AD 495 Wessex, Briton. A trilogy.

A fantastic Historical Fiction with so many facets interwoven into the story. The characters are endearing and complex, as well as, the storyline.

Alden Du Lac, once King of Cerniw, who loses everything, his kingdom, his people, his country and captured by an enemy, he didn’t see coming. They were supposed to be allies. He is tortured, beaten, whipped, sentence to death, and left hanging on a whipping post, bloodied and weakened.
Annis, only daughter of the Saxon King Cervix of Wessex, a cruel and brutal father, King and man. He was also supposed to be Alden’s ally, but he betrayed him, razed his Kingdom, and either killed or scattered his people.

Annis, defies her father, her King and her country to save Alden, the man she has loved from afar. Alden and Annis are on the run for their lives, hunted, betrayed but also find passion and love, along the way.
Steeped with treachery, betrayal, challenges, a father’s cruelty, secrets, conflicts, lies, deception, adversity, danger and so much more.

The resilience of Annis and Alden is simply captivating and mesmerizing!
Alden is presumed dead by some, his youngest brother missing, and it is hard to tell who is foe or friend.

An epic love story that will hold the reader in awe from the first page to the last and beyond. With political and court intrigue, bravery, honor, and love, it is simply hard to turn away from this fast paced, dangerous and magnificent treasure. Insufferable adversaries lurks, and dangers on every horizon for Alden and Annis. But these two strong, determined characters continue on though, the odds are against them, surviving.

Written flawlessly, uniquely and timelessly captivating! A timeless tale of Kings, love, sacrifice and honor. A breathtaking Historical Fiction, and one I’d highly recommend.

My only complaint, are the several unanswered questions. I think ithe will be amazing to learn the secrets of the families secrets. There is more to this story than meets the eye. No cliffhanger. A satisfying ending. But, Alden and Annis’ story continues in “The Pitchfork Rebellion: The Du Lac Chronicles” novella, available now Free.

I can’t wait for the next installment of “The Du Lac Chronicles”. Ms. Yarde has written an exceptional Historical Fiction based on Arthurian Legend. Well worth your time to read!
Received for an honest review. However, all opinions, insights and thoughts are my own personal opinions.

Rating: 4
Heat rating: Sweet-Mild *due to violence, no true graphic*
Reviewed by: AprilR

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BOOK TOUR~ AFTER OZZ~BART BAKER…

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After OzzTitle: After Ozz
Author: Bart Baker
Publisher: CreateSpace
Pages: 254
Genre: Young Adult
Format: Kindle/Paperback

With her uncle, the President of the United States, presumed dead and her beloved younger brother, Ozz, missing, Dot Gale is whisked into an odyssey in a different, very strange dimension. With the aid of three friends she makes on this arduous adventure, Scared Crow, Heartless and half man/half beast, Lars, Dot must battle the diabolically deadly Empress West if she is ever to return home with Ozz. Can Dot survive the evil machinations of the Empress and return home to rescue the United States before her wicked Aunt Emily succeeds with her sinister plan to take over the country?

To Purchase After Ozz

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***

Meet the author…

Bart Baker

Bart and his family, Pastor Joe Elvis and their two sons Isaiah and Emmanuel, moved to St. Louis, Bart’s hometown. For nearly 30 year, Mr. Baker resided in Los Angeles, where he worked as a writer/producer in the entertainment industry.He has had two feature films produced LIVE WIRE for New Line Pictures, and SUPERCROSS for Fox, as well as eleven films for television, including CHILDREN OF THE BRIDE, which spawned two sequels, BABY OF THE BRIDE and MOTHER OF THE BRIDE on CBS, as well as the Christmas perennial, A DIFFERENT KIND OF CHRISTMAS for Lifetime.

Mr. Baker has worked on film and TV projects for Warner Brothers, Tristar, New Line, Fox, CBS, NBC, ABC, Lifetime, USA Network, Syfy Network, Fox Television, The Family Channel, as well as working on staff on the FX Network series, DIRT starring Courteney Cox.

Presently, Mr. Baker has two projects in development, HONEYMOON WITH HARRY a feature film based on Bart’s debut novel of the same name at New Line with Bradley Cooper attached to star. Mr. Baker has also completed his second novel, IMMEDIATE FAMILY. Mr. Baker also has eight produced theatrical plays under his belt.

An avid fitness buff and political junkie, Bart enjoys spending his free time with his family and friends, and enjoys teaching film/television writing classes at Webster University.

Writing is his passion and he feels blessed that he’s been able to make a living doing what he loves and for all the interesting people and events that he’s been exposed to through his work.

For More Information

Visit Bart at his website

Visit him at the following locations:

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***

Tour Schedule!

May 4

Book featured at 3 Partners in Shopping

May 6

Interviewed at As the Page Turns

May 7

Book featured at Breaking the Spine

May 8

Book reviewed and Guest blogging at Queen of All She Reads

May 11

Book featured at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Guest blogging at Mythical Books

May 12

Book featured at Chosen By You Book Club

May 14

Book featured at Literarily Speaking

May 15

Book featured at Inkslinger’s Opus

May 18

Interviewed at I’m Shelf-ish

May 20

Guest blogging at The Dark Phantom

May 21

Book featured at Bent Over Bookwords

May 25

Interviewed at Straight From the Author’s Mouth

May 26

Book featured at The Zen Reader

May 28

Interviewed at Review From Here

May 29

Guest blogging at My Life, Loves and Passion

June 1 

Guest blogging at Literal Exposure

June 3

Book featured at Voodoo Princess

June 4

Guest blogging at Mom with a Kindle

June 5

Interviewed at Examiner

June 8

Guest blogging at A Taste of My Mind

June 9

Book featured at Book Marketing Buzz

June 10

Guest blogging at The Literary Nook

June 12

Guest blogging at The Cover Contessa

June 15

Book featured at My Book Addiction and More

June 16

Interviewed at Pimp That Character

June 17

Book reviewed at Charles Reads

June 18

Interviewed at Blogher

June 19

Book featured at Lover of Literature

June 23

Guest blogging at The Book Refuge

June 25

Book reviewed at A Room Without Books is Empty

June 26 

Book featured at The Revolving Bookshelf

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TODAY’S GUEST BLOGGER~RESEARCHING THE FUTURE~ LAURA LIDDELL NOLEN~ THE ARK

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Researching the Future

Laura Liddell Nolen

 

When I set out to write my first book, I didn’t think much about how much time I’d spend researching. The book is set fifty years in the future, just after World War III, so I thought I’d have more leeway in coming up with technology. After all, the sky is the limit- future tech hasn’t even been invented yet! But the more I wrote, the more I felt the need to ground Char’s universe in realistic, nearly-current technology. I also found myself double-checking little details about stuff I thought I knew. Handcuffs, Braille, motor boats, Kevlar, so-called “assault rifles,” you name it, I looked it up!

 

Although I did have lots of fun with the cars. Automobiles of the 2060’s won’t drive unauthorized users, and if they think you’re trying to commit a crime, they shut down entirely. Considering the GPS systems we use today, it wasn’t that much of a stretch. So that gave me some fun rules to work with, especially when you add an escaped convict trying to fight her way into space.

 

The spaceships were another story- definitely fun, but requiring way more research than any other part of the book. There are two main kinds of spacecraft in The Ark. The first are Off-Planet Transports, which hold ten thousand passengers and blast off from earth. They’re a lot like modern-day rockets, but they have thin, aerodynamic spokes that hold the passengers.

 

The other kind, obviously, are the Arks.

 

Arks are a hybrid of a space station and a spaceship. They’re too big to blast off from the earth, so they were constructed in space, like a space station. But they have more propulsion capabilities than a station like the ISS, for example, because they aren’t meant to stay in orbit. They’re travelling to a planetoid in the Kuiper Belt, which is a considerable distance from earth. In that respect, they’re like spaceships.

 

Each Ark is designed to hold a hundred thousand people for several years. Certainly, there are enough resources on earth right now to feed a tiny fraction of our population for a very long time, but you need somewhere to put all that food. Plus, you need terraforming equipment, farm animals, and any other– ahem– remnants of human civilization you want to preserve. So I knew the cargo hold had to be big.

 

Eventually, I decided that the North American Ark would be shaped like a doughnut, so that the outer rim is much bigger than the center rim. That’s why I put the cargo hold as far out as possible- it’s got tons more space

 

In researching space stations, almost the first thing I discovered is that gravity is really, really good for us, and its absence can wreak havoc on all our body systems. My ship had to have it- most of the time, anyway. So the North American Ark spins, pressing its cargo and occupants outward. Somewhere near the middle rim is the “sweet spot,” where the amount of simulated gravity is one g- the same as the force of gravity on earth. Naturally, the Guardians took the sweet spot for themselves.

 

Which leaves the rest of the Ark, including the cargo hold, for everyone else. The outer rim is a dark, heavy place- full of perfect hiding places for stowaways and their ilk. Here’s hoping Char can find it before Central Command finds Char.

 

The wildest part of it is, this spaceship design isn’t nearly as original as I’d thought! While looking up historical spacecraft, I stumbled onto a few ideas that never became reality. And folks, as unbelievable as it sounds, there once were plans for a real-life, doughnut-shaped ship. I present to you the Stanford Torus, a marvel of modern imagination and possibility. The 70’s were a magical time, clearly. There are lots of differences between the North American Ark and the Stanford Torus, but the similarities are striking. I’m going to use as much of this as possible in writing the sequel to The Ark.

 

So happy researching, everyone! May your internet searches be ever fruitful, bearing only the happiest of results and the silliest of cats.

Thank you for stopping by today! What a delight to have you with us today!

***

Pump Up Your Book Presents The Ark Virtual Book Publicity Tour

Title: The Ark
Author: Laura Liddell Nolen
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 239
Genre: YA Scifi
Format: Paperback/Kindle/Nook

There’s a meteor headed for Earth, and there is only one way to survive.

It’s the final days of earth, and sixteen-year-old Char is right where she belongs: in prison. With her criminal record, she doesn’t qualify for a place on an Ark, one of the five massive bioships designed to protect earth’s survivors during the meteor strike that looks set to destroy the planet. Only a select few will be saved – like her mom, dad, and brother – all of whom have long since turned their backs on Char.

If she ever wants to redeem herself, Char must use all the tricks of the trade to swindle her way into outer space, where she hopes to reunite with her family, regardless of whether they actually ever want to see her again, or not . . .

For More Information

***

Meet the author…

Laura NolanLaura Liddell Nolen grew up in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where she spent lots of time playing make-believe with her two younger brothers. They supplemented their own stories with a steady diet of space- and superhero-themed movies, books, and television. The daughter of a comic book collector, she learned how to handle old comics at an early age, a skill she’s inordinately proud of to this day.

Laura began work on her first novel, The Ark, in 2012, following the birth of her daughter Ava, a tiny rebel and a sweetheart on whom the novel’s main character is loosely based. Completion of The Ark was made possible in part due to an SCBWI Work-in-Progress Award.

Laura loves coffee, dogs, and making lists. She has a degree in French and a license to practice law, but both are frozen in carbonite at present. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and two young children, and their dog Miley, who is a very good girl.

For More Information

 

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52 LIKES~ MEDEIA SHARIF~ Meet Valerie, from 52 Likes…with excerpt and #giveaway…**14+ due to adult situations**

52 Likes tour banner-1Meet Valerie, from 52 Likes…

Valerie – Character Guest Post

If you asked me a year ago how I was doing, I would tell you I was miserable. I did something real stupid, something that gave everyone negative ideas. Boys in particular had the worst to say about me, but even the girls didn’t like me. I thought that this school year was going a bit better, that people were forgetting, but they weren’t. Then things got worse.

Something horrible happened to me a week ago, which only my mom, best friend, and a volunteer counselor know about in detail. Also the police, since I reported the crime. I was raped, and somehow classmates heard about it and are spreading twisted rumors about the incident. They made me look like the bad person…again.

With the help of some strange messages from I don’t know who, I’m getting closer to finding out who raped me, because I have a feeling the masked man is someone I know, someone who wants to finish the job. He didn’t just rape me, but also tried to kill me before someone stepped in. I’m fighting for my life.

***

52likes cover

52 LIKES
Medeia Sharif
YA Paranormal/Evernight Teen/@ 47K
*Editor’s Pick*

After a brutal rape and near-murder, Valerie wants to get past feelings of victimhood from both the assault and her history of being bullied. Not knowing the identity of her masked rapist and dealing with the nasty rumors about that night are two things that plague her daily. 

Valerie will have to follow ghostly entities, past victims of the rapist-murderer, contacting her through a social media site. Why do all of their eerie photos have 52 likes under them? Their messages are leading her to the mystery man, although he’ll put up a fight to remain hidden.

14+ due to adult situations

Buy Links: Evernight Teen / Amazon / Omni Lit / BookStrand

 

***

Excerpt:

52likes cover
With the girls closest to me, I see their Picomatic profile page, which is a reminder that I have a direct message on there. “Did you DM me on Picomatic?” I whisper to Cookie.
She shakes her head, briefly looking up from her notebook. I should be writing too, but can’t concentrate on the five questions Ms. Garland wrote on the board. She’s seated behind her desk as a student approaches her to ask a question. The student is blocking her face, so she can’t see me at all. During times like these, when teachers are busy, I whip out my phone.
I slide my phone out of my pocket and into my lap. It used to be a wonderful distraction that entertained me during boring lectures and educational videos. Seeing others on Picomatic, I’m now dying to know what the DM is about. Even if it’s an inappropriate or harassing one, I need to see it. If it upsets me, I’ll report it as spam. If it’s extremely bad, pertaining to that night, I have to tell someone, even though last year the school didn’t do much in the way of protecting me from the trio, which was the quartet back then since Hector would play their vicious games.
I open my Picomatic page. Selfies abound, some from a few seconds ago. Most pictures are from P.E. or some other class where teachers don’t supervise as much. Some people are taking pictures of work that has been graded, bragging about A’s or criticizing teachers who gave them F’s. I tap the corner, where the direct messages are. If it’s a graphic with THOT or some other message on it, I need to know that’s not who I am. I never was. Be brave, I urge myself.
There’s a DM from someone named 2beautiful. I can’t recall any friends who use that handle. Where the profile pic should be, there’s a close-up of an eye. The eye is lined, with heavy mascara and purple and blue eye shadow. It’s an attractive picture, although eye pics can be deceiving. Sometimes the rest of the person isn’t as pretty. I don’t recognize this eye, although anyone’s eye can be transformed like this with the right makeup.
I scroll down to see the picture message she sent me. I frown, unsure of what this is, who this is. It’s almost pornographic, but not really since it’s just a sliver of skin, although there’s a hint of the girl’s V between her legs.
The picture is of a slender, yet curvaceous naked hip. The bone protrudes slightly and I can tell the girl is pear-shaped. I’m also pear-shaped, which is especially noticeable around Christmas time when I gain five pounds from eating too much during winter break.
This photo of a girl’s hip has 52 likes. I gasp. Is it a photo of me? Did someone take a picture of me at home or in the shower? Then I think back to the rape, of the flashes of light…I thought it was lightning, but I could be wrong. He had pulled me down to the floor and knocked me around. The room was dark. Maybe I didn’t notice every single thing he had done to me. Had the rapist photographed me?

***

Author Bio:

I’m a Kurdish-American author who was born in New York City, and I presently call Miami my home. I received my master’s degree in psychology from Florida Atlantic University. After becoming a voracious reader in high school and a relentless writer dabbling in many genres in college, I found my niche writing for young people. Today I’m a MG and YA writer published through various presses. In addition to being a writer, I’m a middle school English teacher. My memberships include Mensa, ALAN, and SCBWI.

Website: http://www.medeiasharif.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sharifwrites
Instagram: http://instagram.com/sharifwrites
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4086531.Medeia_Sharif

Giveaway: $25 Amazon Gift Card

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BLOG TOUR~ SARAH E. BOUCHER~ BECOMING BEAUTY…with review

Becoming Beauty blog tour

 

Young Adult novel based on the classic fairy tale Beauty & The Beast.

 

About the book:

In this imaginative retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Bella is a spoiled brat who’s sent to the Beast’s castle as punishment for her selfishness. More than just their personalities clash! As Bella improves the Beast’s manners, she also finds herself changing for the better. Bella must choose whether to follow the path she’s always dreamed of—or risk it all for something even greater.

Becoming Beauty is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and books & things.

 

 

***

About the author:

Sarah E. Boucher spends her days instilling young children with the same love of literature she has known since childhood. After hours, she pens her own stories and nurses an unhealthy obsession for handbags, high heels, baking, and British television. Sarah is a graduate of Brigham Young University. She lives and teaches in Ogden, Utah. Becoming Beauty is her first novel.*

 

Visit Sarah at blog/website (SarahEBoucher.com)

Or connect with Sarah by clicking through to the following social media sites:

“Becoming Beauty” blog tour schedule:

November 9: Jorie Loves a Story • Wondrous Reviews
November 10: R.K. Grow • I Love to Read and Review Books
November 11: A Casual Reader’s Blog
November 12: Readalot • Literary Timeout
November 13: Getting  Your Read On
November 14: Books Complete Me • The View From My Window
November 15: Misty Dawn Pulsipher • My Book Addiction and More
November 16: Jo Ann Schneider • Inklings and Notions
November 17: Katie’s Clean Book Collection • My Book a Day
November 18: Bookworm Lisa • Wishful Endings
November 19: Mel’s Shelves
November 20: A Backwards Story • The Book Blog Experience
November 21: Claudia Y. Burgoa
November 22: Corinne’s Garden • Mom Loves 2 Read
November 23: Enchanted by YA • Hannah Clark
November 24: Let It Be & Celebrate
November 25: Blooming with Books • Fire and Ice Reads
November 26: The Phantom Paragrapher • Reader Girls Blog

 

Presented by:

blog.cedarfort.com

***

MY THOUGHTS:

BECOMING BEAUTY is an interesting YA Clean Romance/Fiction. Based on the re-telling of the classic “Beauty and the Beast” fairy tale. An interesting tale to be sure. The characters are engaging as well as enduring. It was interesting to see the growth and the relationships grow between the characters.

The storyline, while, I wouldn’t say it was unique, it was interesting and entertaining. A different insight into an old story.

My only fault, the ending felt a little rushed, but with this said, the author did a great job of  tieing up all the loose ends. If you enjoy fairy tales, you will enjoy, “Becoming Beauty”. Ms. Boucher, is a promising author and one to watch for in the future.

*Received for an honest review from the publisher*

Rating: 4

Heat rating: Sweet

Reviewed by: AprilR,courtesy of My Book Addiction and More

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SPOTLIGHT~ GHOSTING BY EDITH PATTOU…

TODAY’S SPOTLIGHT!

GHOSTING BY EITH PATTOU

GHOSTING

About the book:

On a hot summer night in a Midwestern town, a high school teenage prank goes horrifically awry. Alcohol, guns, and a dare. Within minutes, as events collide, innocents becomes victims—with tragic outcomes that alter lives forever, a grisly and unfortunate scenario that’s all too familiar. But victims can also become survivors, and as we come to know each character through his/her own distinctive voice and their interactions with one another, we see how, despite pain and guilt, they can reach out to one another, find a new equilibrium, and survive.

Told through multiple points of view in free verse and stream of consciousness, Ghosting is an unforgettable, haunting tale.
Praise for the book:

“Eight teens’ fates intertwine and recombine in the aftermath of a prank gone very wrong…[Ghosting is] a novel in verse…engaging.” —Kirkus Reviews

Buy the book:

• Amazon Hardcover: http://amzn.to/1rNzM3c
• Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/1jQzVkb

 



About the author:

Edith Pattou has found acclaim as a writer in middle-grade fantasy with such award-winning books as East, which received starred reviews in Booklist and School Library Journal; was selected as a Top Ten Book for YA, an American Library Association Notable Book, a School Library Journal Top Ten YA Book, one of the 100 Best of the Best YA Books for the 21st Century by the Young Adult Library Services Association; and was nominated for numerous state awards. It’s a nominee for NPR’s all-time Best YA Novels list.

 

Connect with the author:
• Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1qg9bMx
• Twitter: https://twitter.com/epattou
• Website: http://edithpattou.com/
• Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1rhAA0n

 



 

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~ THE MYSTERIOUS TREASURE OF JERRY LEE THORTON BY MIKE THOMAS~ SPOTLIGHT….

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Join Mike Thomas, author of the young adult adventure novel, The Mysterious Treasure of Jerry Lee Thorton, as he tours the blogosphere August 5 through September 27, 2013 on his first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

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The Mysterious Treasure of Jerry Lee ThortonABOUT THE MYSTERIOUS TREASURE OF JERRY LEE THORTON

What does a guy do when his best friend starts doing things that are completely out of character? In the case of Luke McAllister, you can’t do anything – until you figure out exactly what it is that is different.

The fact that his best friend is a girl complicates matters a heap. Nothing makes sense when RaeNell Stephens, the girl that has “the best curve ball he’s ever seen”, starts blushing and acting like a durned female. All of this at the beginning of the ‘summer to end all summers’ too. This is the summer that Luke, RaeNell, and their friend Farley Midkiff set out to locate, and cash in on a rogue Civil War soldier’s stolen one million dollar Union payroll.

Undaunted by thousands of scholars and fortune seekers having looked unsuccessfully for the treasure for a hundred years, the three twelve-year-old friends search diligently for themselves. What they find is an adventure that leads them on a spiraling path of discovery.

They discover newness in themselves, their families, and the closeness of a small southern community in the process. Luke wrestles with his morality, ethics, and his slowly emerging awareness of the difference between boys and girls. He also discovers that his late father left him an incredibly large legacy of duty, fidelity and caring for those around him.

The telling of the story takes place in imaginary New Caledonia County, NC in 1966. The deep rural traditions, vernacular, and ways of life of the region and community are portrayed in great detail as the story unfolds.

This is an adventure story, but it is also a story about making good decisions whether you want to or not… It is also a story of relationships. Family and community are underscored, but there is an underlying theme of male/female relationships. It’s really okay for boys and girls to be buddies without always having to be boyfriends and girlfriends. It is also a story about innocence. NOT innocence lost, but innocence maintained.

Purchase at:

barnes and nobleamazon

 

 

 

Add on Goodreads:

goodreads

 

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ABOUT MIKE THOMAS

Mike Thomas is a southern writer. He grew up in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina where he learned a lot about family, traditions, and the genteel lifestyle most southerners enjoy. The richly eccentric folks of his youth have become his characters in today’s books and stories.

Mike began as a newswriter, editor, columnist, reporter, and speechwriter before switching to the role of Critical Care Registered Nurse. He traveled nearly every corner of the world as a vagabond contract nurse before resettling in North Carolina a few years ago.

He lives with Bobby, his desktop computer, and Rachel his laptop, in Halifax County, NC.

“That’s all I need,” He says, “Just my computers and a bit of focus. Then we can make up worlds we could only have dreamed of last week.”

You can visit him at www.mikethomas-writer.com

WATCH THE TRAILER!

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The Mysterious Treasure of Jerry Lee Thorton Virtual Book Publicity Tour Schedule

————————————————————

Monday, August 5 – Book featured at Margay Leah Justice

Wednesday, August 7 – Book featured at Between the Pages

Friday, August 9 – Book featured at Book Marketing Buzz

Tuesday, August 13 – Guest blogging at Beauty in Ruins

Wednesday, August 14 – Guest blogging at The Writer’s Life

Friday, August 16 – Interviewed at Pump Up Your Book

Monday, August 19 – Book reviewed at Hezzi D’s Books and Cooks

Tuesday, August 20 – Guest blogging at The Story Behind the Book

Wednesday, August 21 – Guest blogging at Literarily Speaking

Friday, August 23 – Interviewed at Literal Exposure

Monday, August 26 – Book featured at Plug Your Book

Tuesday, August 27 – 1st chapter reveal at As the Pages Turn

Wednesday, August 28 – Interviewed at Between the Covers

Friday, August 30 – Interviewed at Review From Here

Wednesday, September 4 – Interviewed at I’m Shelf-ish

Thursday, September 5 – Guest blogging at Between the Covers

Monday, September 9 – Interviewed at Broowaha

Wednesday, September 11 – Interviewed at Beyond the Books

Thursday, September 12 – Guest blogging at Straight From the Authors Mouth

Friday, September 13 – Guest blogging and 1st chapter reveal Queen of All She Reads

Monday, September 16 – Book reviewed at Create with Joy

Monday, September 16 – Book featured at My Book Addiction and More

Tuesday, September 17 – Guest blogging at She Writes

Thursday,September 19 – Interviewed at As the Pages Turn

Monday, September 23 – Guest blogging at Allvoices

Tuesday, September 24 – Interviewed at Blogher

Wednesday, September 25 – Book reviewed and interviewed at Authors and Readers Book Corner

Thursday, September 26 – Book featured at Cheryl’s Book Nook

Friday, September 27 – Book reviewed at Blooming with Books

Monday, September 30 – Book featured at A Room Without Books is Empty

————————————————————–

Pump Up Your Book

Thanks for stopping by today!!!

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~GIVEAWAY AND Q&A WITH TRACY KAUFFMAN~ SOUTHERN ATTRACTION…

IT IS OUR HONOR AND PLEASURE TO WELCOME…

**CHRISTIAN YA ROMANCE AUTHOR**

TRACY KAUFFMAN 

SO WITHOUT FURTHER ADO, LET’S GIVE TRACY A BIG MBA&M WELCOME!

WELCOME TRACY!!

MBA&M: Please tell our readers a little about Tracy Kauffman?
TRACY: I am from North Alabama.  I have a type A personality which means I am too high strung to sit still.  I  work a nursing job part time when needed and the rest of the time I am either writing, reading, marketing or hanging out with my family.
MB&AM: What is the allure of YA romance?
TRACY: Who doesn’t love romance and well I thought this would be a great genre to write for. 
MBA&M: What drawn you to write “Southern Attraction”?
TRACY: I like stories about the south and use them in most of my writing.  So I had already wrote one called Southern Adventures, so this one being romance, the name came natural.
MBA&M: After seeing the destruction of tornadoes that torn through Alabama in 2011,can you tell our readers some of the devastation you seen,and how that influenced you to write “Southern  Attraction”?
TRACY: My town was not directly hit but all the towns around us were.  Power lines were down for a week.  Do you know how hard it is to cook without power.  How drinking water doesn’t taste as good not being cold.  No power no refrigerator.  Walmart had to close their doors.  Food was spoiled.  Taking ice cold baths wasn’t fun either.  As a nurse, I worked at a hospital where I helped out in the ER.  I had never worked in the ER before so it made it even more crazy.  Had to hold pressure on wounds.  People couldn’t find family members.  Kids without parents, parents without kids.  People trapped in their basements.  One lady had her chimney set upon her and the rest of the house was gone.  Houses were wiped clean of their cement foundations.  Whole towns completely wiped off the map.  A huge tornado that was over a mile wide just kept going and going and going  destroying everything in its path.  People were finding pictures of other people and putting them on facebook so they would have something to remember their past by.  There is so much more I can say but it would take a while. 

 

MBA&M: What three words would you use to describe “Southern Attraction”?
TRACY: romance, discovery, grief
MBA&M: What author do you feel influenced your writing the most?
TRACY: I get asked this a lot.  There are so many to name.  Writers I grew up reading were Mark Twain, William Shakespeare, Judy Blume, Lewis Carroll, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Charles Dickens etc… They all influenced me.
MBA&M: Who do you credit your love of  writing to?Why?
TRACY: I guess I take after my dad.  He loves books and I guess that is why I love writing, because of my love for books.
MBA&M: What was the hardest scene to write in “Southern  Attraction”?
TRACY: The tornado scene.  It brought back memories and I wanted to let the reader feel what I felt.
MBA&M: I has been a pleasure to have you visit with us and our readers today. Tracy, please tell our readers where to connect with you and where they may purchase “Southern Attraction”?
My website is: http://Tracykauffman.com. My Twitter page is: https://twitter.com/KauffmanTracy.  My facebook fanpage is: http://on.fb.me/10u7fNK
My Amazon page: http://amzn.to/ZXZLCW



Tracy, have you anything else to add?
Thanks for the interview.  I know you’ll love this book and I appreciate all my fans.
Thank you, Tracy, for taking a few moments of your time to visit with us and our readers today!
_____________________________________________________________________________________
Blurb :


Southern Attraction is a young adult romance book about a girl who loses her parents and is forced to live with a redneck uncle from Alabama. There she has to choose between two young men that she likes. Will she choose true love or a lifestyle that she is accustomed to.


Heather has everything she ever wanted; money, clothes, friends, popularity and parents that adored her.  Until one terrible day, she loses it all.  She is uprooted from a place she loves to a small town in Alabama with a uncle she doesn’t know.  The  small town of  Huckleburg was nothing like Manhattan.  Country rednecks owned the town and no one accepted Yankees from New York.  Heather didn’t think things could get worse until a  tornado comes and blast through the small town.  Heather has to lose herself to rediscover what life is all about.  She meets two guys that she can’t decide between who she really wants.  Join Heather as she discovers that there is more to life than money and fame.  Will Heather ever fit in and find true love or will she stay an outsider living in the south. 




Southern Attraction Book Trailer here:  http://youtu.be/Vlro6z76yrg
____________________________________________________________________________________
My Bio:
Tracy Kauffman is a Christian fiction author of Young Adult and Children Stories.  She grew up in North Alabama, where she still resides with her husband and daughter.  She loves taking cruises and traveling with her family.  Her favorite place that she has been to is the Grand Canyon.  
Tracy has  an  associates degree in Nursing.  She is a registered nurse and works part time in a local nursing home.  The rest of the time she spends her time writing books and marketing  them.  Her titles include: Gwendolyn’s Wish, Southern Adventures, Richard the Lionheart, My Boyfriend the Squire and Captain Honey Bear Saves Goldie Locks.
Tracy started writing poetry at a small age and won the title of editor in her school newspaper, when she was in second grade.  She had her first poem published in a online writing contest called, The Cosmetology Student.  She decided to write her first book, Southern Adventures, when her son left home for the Air Force.
She loves writing and hopes to be able to inspire her readers into living a happy healthier life.  She feels like  her own  life experiences have made her a better writer.  Learn more about her by visiting her website or blog.


My website is http://tracykauffman.com 
My blog:   http://tracykauffman.blogspot.com  andhttp://tracykauffman.wordpress.com
My twitter handle: @Kauffmantracy
My Facebook fanpage is:  https://www.facebook.com/TracyKauffmanFictionAuthor?ref=hl


____________________________________________________________________________________

Check out “My Thoughts” on this title:
http://mybookaddictionreviews.com/2013/07/11/southern-attraction-by-tracy-kauffman/
___________________________________________________________________________________
~GIVEAWAY ALERT~
(Sponsored by the author)
Thanks to Tracy, we are offering 1 lucky commenter a digital copy of “Southern Attraction”. This will be in a PDF format only! Open Internationally! Giveaway will run from July 13 until July 20,2013.
GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!
____________________________________________________________________________________
Thanks for stopping by and spending time with our guest today!

 

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~BRANDED BLOG TOUR~ ABI KETNER & MISSY KALICICKI….

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BRANDED

BY ABI KETNER & MISSY KALICICKI

 

Title: Branded (Sinners #1) by Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicicki

Genre: YA Dystopian Romance

Goodreads Link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17402117-branded

Book Trailer: http://video214.com/play/PlssJogkXB4H85hKKomnOA/s/dark

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Branded Abi&Missy front ebooklg(1)Summary:

Twenty years ago the Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadliest sins were the downfall of our society. He created the Hole where sinners are branded according to their sins and might survive a few years. At best.
Now LUST wraps around my neck like blue fingers strangling me.   I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit and now the Hole is my new home.

Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain.

Now, every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win.
The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me.
I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter.
My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.

 +++

branded authors picAuthor Bio:

Abi and Missy met in the summer of 1999 at college orientation and have been best friends ever since. After college, they added jobs, husbands and kids to their lives, but they still found time for their friendship. Instead of hanging out on weekends, they went to dinner once a month and reviewed books. What started out as an enjoyable hobby has now become an incredible adventure.

Links:

Website: http://www.abiandmissy.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AbiandMissy

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AbiandMissy

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Excerpt:

Chapter One

I’m buried six feet under, and no one hears my screams.

The rope chafes as I loop it around my neck. I pull down on it, making sure the knot is secure. It seems sturdy enough.

My legs shake. My heart beats heavy in my throat. Sweat pours down my back.

Death and I glare at each other through my tears.

I take one last look at the crystal chandelier, the foyer outlined with mirrors, and the flawless decorations. No photographs adorn the walls. No happy memories here.

I’m ready to go. On the count of three.

I inhale, preparing myself for the finality of it all. Dropping my hands, a glimmer catches my eye. It’s my ring, the last precious gift my father gave me. I twist it around to read the inscription. Picturing his face forces me to reconsider my choice. He’d be heartbroken if he could see me now.

A door slams in the hallway, almost causing me to lose my balance. My thoughts already muddled, I stand, waiting with the rope around my neck. Voices I don’t recognize creep through the walls.

Curiosity overshadows my current thoughts. It’s late at night, and this is a secure building in High Society. No one disturbs the peace here—ever. I tug on the noose and pull it back over my head.

Peering through the eyehole in our doorway, I see a large group of armed guards banging on my neighbors’ door. A heated conversation ensues, and my neighbors point toward my family’s home.

It hits me. I’ve been accused and they’re here to arrest me.

My father would want me to run, and in that split second, I decide to listen to his voice within me. Flinging myself forward in fear, I scramble up the marble staircase and into my brother’s old bedroom. The door is partially covered, but it exists. Pushing his dresser aside, my fingers claw at the opening. Breathing hard, I lodge myself against it. Nothing. I step back and kick it with all my strength. The wood splinters open, and my foot gets caught. I wrench it backward, scraping my calf, but adrenaline pushes me forward. The voices at the front door shout my name.

On hands and knees, I squeeze through the jagged opening. My brother left through this passage, and now it’s my escape too. Cobwebs entangle my face, hands, and hair. At the end, I feel for the knob, twisting it clockwise. It swings open, creaking from disuse. I sprint into the hallway and smash through the large fire escape doors at the end. A burst of cool air strikes me in the face as I jump down the ladder.

Reaching the fifth floor, I knock on a friend’s window. The lights flicker on, and I see the curtains move, but no one answers. I bang on the window harder.

“Let me in! Please!” I say, but the lights darken. They know I’ve been accused and refuse to help me. Fear and adrenaline rush through my veins as I keep running, knocking on more windows along the way. No one has mercy. They all know what happens to sinners.

Another flight of stairs passes in a blur when I hear the guards’ heavy footfalls from above. I can’t hide, but I don’t want to go without trying.

Help me, Daddy. I need your strength now.

My previous desolation evolves into a will to survive. I have to keep running, but I tremble and gasp for air. I steel my nerves and force my body to keep moving. In a matter of minutes, my legs cramp and my chest burns. I plunge to the ground, scraping my knee and elbow. A moan escapes from my chest.

Gotta keep going.

“Stop!” Their voices bounce off the buildings. “Lexi Hamilton, surrender yourself,” they command. They’re gaining on me.

I resist the urge to glance back, running into what I assume is an alley. I’m far from our high-rise in High Society as I plunge into a poorer section of the city where the streets all look the same and the darkness prevents me from recognizing anything. I’m lost.

My first instinct is to leap into a dumpster, but I retain enough sense to stay still. I crouch and peek around it, watching them dash by. The abhorrent smell soon leaves me vomiting until nothing remains in my stomach. Desperation overtakes me, as I know my retching was anything but silent. My last few seconds tick away before they find me. Everyone knows about their special means of tracking sinners.

I push myself to my feet and look left, right, and left again. Their batons click against their black, leather belts, and their boots stomp the cement on both sides of me. I shrink into myself. Their heavy steps mock my fear, growing closer and closer until I know I’m trapped.

Never did I imagine they’d come for me. Never did I imagine all those nights I heard them dragging someone else away that I’d join them.

“You’re a sinner,” they say. “Time to leave our society.”

I stand defiant. I refuse to bend or break before them even as I shiver with fear.

“There’s no reason to make this difficult. The more you cooperate, the smoother this will be for everyone,” a guard says.

I cringe into the blackness along the wall. I’m innocent, but they won’t believe me or care.

The next instant, my face slams into the pavement as one guard plants a knee in my back and another handcuffs me. A warm liquid trails into my mouth. Blood. Their fingers grip my arms like steel traps as they peel me off the cement. The tops of my shoes scrape along the ground as I’m dragged behind them until they discard me into the back of a black vehicle. The doors slam in unison with one guard stationed on each side of me, my shoulders digging into their arms. The handcuffs dig into my wrists, so I clasp them together hard behind me and press my back into the seat, unwilling to admit how much it hurts. My dignity is all I have left.

Swallowing hard, I stare ahead to avoid their eyes.

Did they need so many guards to capture me?

I’m not carrying any weapons, nor do I own any. I don’t even know self-defense. High Society frowns on activities like that.

The driver jerks the vehicle around and I try to keep my bearings, but it’s dark and the scenery changes too fast. Hours pass and the air grows warmer, more humid, the farther we drive. The landscape mutates from city to rolling hills. They don’t bother blindfolding me because they escort all the sinners to the same place—the Hole. Twenty-foot cement walls encase the chaos within. There’s no way out and no way in unless they transport you. They say the Hole is a prison with no rules. We learned about it last year in twelfth grade.

To the outside, I’m filth now. I’ll never be allowed to return to the life I knew. No one ever does.

“All sinners go through a transformation,” one of the guards says to me. His smirk infuriates me. “I’m sure you’ve heard all kinds of stories.” I don’t respond. I don’t want to think about the things I’ve been told.

“You won’t last too long, though. Young girls like you get eaten alive.” He pulls a strand of my hair up to his face.

Get your hands off me, you pig. I want to lash out, but resist. The punishment for disobeying authority is severe, and I’m not positioned to defy him.

They’re the Guards of the Commander. They’re chosen from a young age and trained in combat. They keep the order of society by using violent methods of intimidation. No one befriends a guard. Relationships with them are forbidden inside the Hole.

Few have seen the commander. His identity stays under lock and key. His own paranoia and desire to stay pure drove him to live this way. He controls our depraved society and believes sinners make the human race unforgivable. His power is a crushing fist, rendering all beneath him helpless. So much so, even family members turn on each other when an accusation surfaces. Just an accusation. No trial, no evidence, nothing but an accusation.

I lose myself in thoughts of my father.

“Never show fear, Lexi,” my father said to me before he was taken. “They’ll use it against you.” His compassionate eyes filled with warning as he commanded me to be strong. That was many years ago, but I remember it clearly. My father. My rock. The one person in my life who provided unconditional love.

The vehicle stops, and I’m jerked back to reality. “Get out,” the guard orders while pulling me to my feet. The doors slide open and the two guards lift me up and out into the night. A windowless cement building looms in front of us, looking barren in the darkness.

The coolness of the air sends a shiver up my spine. This is really happening. I’ve been labeled a sinner. My lip starts to quiver, but I bite it before anyone sees. They shove me in line and I realize I’m not alone. Women and men stand with faces frozen white in fear. A guard grabs my finger, pricks it, and dabs my blood on a tiny microchip.

I follow the man in front of me into the next room where we’re lined up facing the wall. Glancing right, I see one of the men crying.

“Spread your legs,” one of the guards says.

They remove my outer layers and their hands roam up and down my body.

What do they think I could possibly be hiding? I press my head into the wall, trying to block out what they’re doing to me.

“MOVE!” a guard commands. So I shuffle across the room, trying to cover up.

One.

Two.

Three.

Four.

Five of us sit in the holding room. One by one, they pull people into the next room, forcing the rest of us to wonder what torture we’ll endure. An agonizing amount of time passes. I lean my head back and try to imagine a place far away. The door opens.

“Lexi Hamilton.”

A guard escorts me out of the room, and I don’t have time to look back. As soon as the door closes, they pick me up and place me on a table. It’s cold and my skin sticks to it slightly, like wet fingers on an ice cube. Then, they exit in procession, and I lie on the table with a doctor standing over me. His hands are busy as he speaks.

“Don’t move. This will only take a few minutes. It’s time for you to be branded.”

A wet cloth that smells like rubbing alcohol is used to clean my skin. Then he places a metal collar around my neck.

Click. Click. Click.

The collar locks into place, and I struggle to breathe. The doctor loosens it some as I focus on the painted black words above me.

 

The Seven Deadly Sins:

Lust ¾ Blue

Gluttony ¾ Orange

Greed ¾ Yellow

Sloth ¾ Light Blue

Wrath ¾ Red

Envy ¾ Green

Pride ¾ Purple

 

“Memorize it. Might keep you alive longer if you know who to stay away from.” He opens my mouth, placing a bit inside. “Bite this.”

Within seconds, the collar heats from hot to scorching. The smell of flesh sizzling makes my head spin. I bite down so hard a tooth cracks.

“GRRRRRRRRR,” escapes from deep within my chest. Just when I’m about to pass out, the temperature drops, and the doctor loosens the collar.

He removes it and sits me up. Excruciating pain rips through me and I’m on the verge of a mental and physical breakdown. Focus. Don’t pass out.

Stainless steel counters and boring white walls press in on me. A guard laughs at me from an observation room above and yells, “Blue. It’s a great color for a pretty young thing like yourself.” His eyes dance with suggestion. The others meander around like it’s business as usual.

I finally find my voice and turn to the doctor.

“Are you going to give me clothes?” A burning pain spreads like fire from my neck to my jaw, making me wince.

He points to a set of folded grey scrubs on a chair. I cover myself as much as I can and scurry sideways. Grabbing my new clothes, I pull the shirt over my head and try to avoid the raw meat around my throat. I quickly knot the cord of my pants around my waist and slide my feet into the hospital-issue slippers as the doctor observes. He hands me a bag labeled with my name.

“Nothing is allowed through the door but what we’ve given you,” he says.

I hide my right hand behind me, hoping no one notices. A guard scans my body and opens his hand.

“Give it to me,” he says. “Don’t make me rip off your finger.” He crouches down and I turn to stone. I don’t know what to do, so I beg.

“My father gave this to me. Please, let me keep it.” I smash my eyes shut and think of the moment my father handed the golden ring to me.

“It was my mother’s ring,” he’d said. “She’s the strongest woman I ever knew.” With tears in his eyes, he reached for my hand. “Lexi, you’re exactly like her. She’d want you to wear this. No matter how this world changes, you can survive.” I turned the gold band over in my palm and read the engraving.

You can overcome anything… short of death.

“You’re going to take the one thing that matters the most to me?” I say, glaring into the guard’s emotionless eyes. “Isn’t it enough taking my life, dignity, and respect?”

A hard blow falls upon my back. As I fall, my hands shoot out to stop me from smashing into the wall in front of me. The guard bends down and grabs my chin with his meaty fist.

“Look at me,” he commands. I look up and he smiles with arrogance.

“What the hell?” He staggers a step backward. “What’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with your eyes?”

“Nothing,” I respond, confused.

“What color are they?”

“Turquoise.” I glower at him.

“Interesting,” he says, regaining his composure. “Now those’ll get you in trouble.”

Reality slaps me across the face. I have my father’s eyes. They can’t take them from me. I twist the ring off my finger and drop it in his hand.

“Take the damn ring,” I say. I walk to the door. He swipes a card and the massive door slides open to the outside.

“You have to wear your hair back at all times, so everyone knows what you are.” He hands me a tie, so I pull my frizzy hair away from my face and secure it into a ponytail. My neck burns and itches as my hand traces the scabs that have already begun to form. Squinting ahead into the darkness, I almost run into a guard standing on the sidewalk.

“Watch where you’re going,” he says, shoving me backward. His stiff figure stands tall and I cringe at the sharpness of his voice.

“Cole, this is your new assignment, Lexi Hamilton. See to it she feels welcome in her new home.” The guard departs with a salute.

“Let’s move,” Cole says.

I take two steps and collapse, my knees giving out. The unforgiving pavement reopens the scrapes from earlier and I struggle to stand. A powerful arm snatches me up, and I see his face for the first time.

 

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