Sunday, October 4, 2015

Guest Post + Giveaway: Copygirl by Anna Mitchael and Michelle Sassa

Hey everyone! Today I'm spotlighting a great new book that's releasing this coming week! Read on for more info on the book, an awesome guest post by one of the authors - and don't forget to enter to win your own copy!

Author: Anna Mitchael and Michelle Sassa
Genre: Women's Fiction/Contemporary Fiction
Release Date: October 6, 2015
Publisher: Berkley


Mad Men meets The Devil Wears Prada in this lively debut about a young woman working at the hippest ad agency in New York...

So. You want to work in advertising. The glitz, the glamour, the cocktail-fueled brainstorming sessions and Xbox breaks. Sounds like a dream job, right?

Wrong. The reality can be a nightmare. There are five simple rules for succeeding in the ad world—and I think I’ve already broken every single one…

1) Never let them see you cry. Even if your best friend breaks your heart. And posts it all over social media.

2) Be one of the boys. And, if you were born with the wrong equipment, flaunt what you've got to distract them while you get ahead.

3) Come up with the perfect pitch in an instant—or have your resumĂ© ready to go at all times.

4) Trust no one. Seriously. If you don't watch your back, they'll steal your ideas, your pride, even your stapler.

5) Most importantly, don’t ever, under any circumstances, be a CopyGirl.

Trust me. I know…

Mad Men vs Ad Women
by Michelle Sassa

Psst. Can you keep a secret? Mad Men was my favorite TV show. Like ever. Shocker, I know, since I am an advertising copywriter. And my debut novel Copygirl chronicles the (ahem) fictional exploits of a female copywriter trying to beat the boys’ club at their own inane game of keep-away. Not unlike Mad Men’s Peggy Olson.

So, not a shocker, really, (and not a bummer) that reviewers have made comparisons between my book and the dearly departed series about a male-driven ad agency in the 1960’s. The brilliant author Sarah Bird called Copygirl a ‘modern twist on Mad Men’ and I didn’t even have to use my psychic powers to get her to say that. Then Publishers Weekly said, ‘Here’s what happens when girl power storms Mad Men…wickedly funny and smartly sweet,’ and my co-author Anna was so excited about the comparison, she wanted to have that critic’s babies. Even though she is totally done having kids.

But even though my story and that acclaimed TV series both have the advertising world as their backdrop, my real inspiration wasn’t Mad Men but rather Ad Women. As in the ad women I was lucky enough to meet in my career, plus the ones who lit the way, blazing through the glass ceiling wielding pens like blowtorches. The real Peggy Olson’s had to work twice as hard as men, often for half the glory and pay. We really have come a long way, baby, but even in the last two decades I still saw sexism that might even make Don Draper blush.

In my first advertising job, I was expected to water my boss’ plants, shop for his dress shirts and buy gifts for his mother. Fine, I was paying my dues as a lowly assistant, but the last straw was when he pinched my butt. Needless to say, I let that pig’s plants die.

Moving up the ranks of the creative department should have shielded from such chauvinism, right? Wrong. I can’t even count how many times I got sent into new business pitches to ‘chick up the room.’ When it was time to write for Summer’s Eve, Midol or Maidenform, you can bet they didn’t ask the boys’ club. But we have to decide how we’re going to fight and I decided to band together with the women around me and make sure I was doing work that couldn’t be ignored. And the bright side to ‘chicking up a room’ means sometimes you get sent to Paris for a toilet paper project aimed at females….and in between all the croissant-stuffing and cafĂ© au lait-sipping, you get to team up with the chick you’ll write novels with a decade later. Score one for the girls’ club.

Still, even after being sent to France, there was only so far some at that ad agency wanted to see me go. One partner actually told me to my face that there would never be a female creative director at his agency! But the clients loved my work, so he was forced to pay me like one anyway, and there was sweet satisfaction in watching all
the copygirls who came after me rise up to take that title. True, what they say, success is the best revenge.

So props to Mad Men, but mad love to Ad Women. Because when someone tells us we can’t, it only makes us want to show them we can. They say it’s the journey, not the destination, and one of my favorite parts of Copygirl is that it’s a celebration of the people—men and women—who help a heroine on her climb. Because in the ad world and this whole mad world, we do get by with a little help from our friends. And the truth is every bit as inspiring as a TV show. 
Anna Mitchael is a Louisiana-born writer who now lives on a ranch in Texas with her family, lots of cattle and a one-eyed dog. She is the author of a memoir entitled Just Don’t Call Me Ma’am, a monthly magazine column and a blog on positive living. She often writes about the modern female experience, hope, perseverance and the comfort of coyotes. 
Author Links:

Michelle Sassa is a freelance writer who has created memorable ad campaigns for brands like Coca-Cola, Reebok and New York Road Runners. She lives with her husband and three kids by the Jersey Shore, where she is an avid soccer player, rock music aficionado, and disciple of stupid humor. CopyGirl is Michelle's first novel.

Author Links:
Giveaway: (1) Finished paperback of Copygirl - Open to US only!


Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Storm Blog Tour: Excerpt + Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Storm! Today I have a great excerpt from the book to share with you - and don't forget to enter the giveaway!!

The Storm (The Rain #2)
Author: Virginia Bergin
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Dystopia
Release Date: October 6, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire


"I'll tell you a weird thing about apocalypses - a thing I didn't even know until I was in one: they seem pretty bad, don't they? Well, take it from me: they can always get worse."

Three months after the killer rain first fell, Ruby is beginning to realise her father might be dead . . . and that she cannot survive alone. When a chance encounter lands her back in the army camp, Ruby thinks she is safe - at a price. Being forced to live with Darius Spratt is bad enough, but if Ruby wants to stay she must keep her eyes - and her mouth - shut. It's not going to happen. When she realizes what is going on - the army is trying to find a cure by experimenting on human subjects - Ruby flips out . . . and makes an even more shocking discovery: she's not useless at all. The Storm begins . . .

From Chapter 8 of The Storm by Virginia Bergin

By the time I’ve finished, my tray is so heavy, my arms are questioning how long they can hold it as I turn and… So the whole place is pretty much empty, right? There are a few people left, lingering over le top nosh, but I want to sit away from people. I want to stuff my face in peace, then find a place to sleep—­in this canteen if I have to. I look to the far end of the room; it is darker there, the lights down at that end off already, chairs stacked on tables. Only one person sitting there, alone.

I must be really, really, really hungry, because I suddenly feel all shaky and my stomach does this funny flip.

As I get closer, I see that he has a book open in front of him…but he isn’t trying to read in the darkness; he is just staring out of the window—­into space, I presume, because you can’t see into the stadium from here and the view’s not all that, just more boring buildings. But at least he can see the view; he’s got new glasses.

D-­A-­R-­I-­U-­S   S-­P-­R-­A-­T-­T

I wish I knew how terrible I look, but maybe I don’t look terrible at all. This is not because I care about what Darius Spratt thinks, you understand. This is for the sake of my own dignity. There’s quite a lot of black makeup gloop on my hands, but it can’t really be smudged all over my face, can it? (Oh yes, it can!) On my tray, the tiny upside-­down reflection of me in the spoon (for quicker stew shoveling) gives no real clue—­because the light is so bad, I suppose. I’d rustle up some inner dignity, but I won’t be able to hold the tray for long enough to get that done. I take a deep breath and a long, shaky walk across that room.

I spill my water putting the tray on the table. It goes all over my food.

The Spratt, startled, looks around and—­

“Ruby!” he gushes.

This makes a change from what he usually says to me, which is, “What have you done to your hair?” That will be coming, I am sure. For now, the gushy voice is the least of it—­he actually surges to his feet and opens his arms and—­

I dump myself down as elegantly as I dumped the tray. There will be no hugging here, I can assure you.

“Hi,” I say—­as curtly and as crisply as I can manage.

The Spratt gawks at me with joy and—­oh no! You’re kidding me! Glistening tears well in his eyes. (TEARS OF GUILT. Should be.) The effect on me is horrific; I have had a very traumatic time and very little sleep and so, in my weakened state, I feel a surge of emotion at the sight of his familiar, nerdy face. (See how dreadful apocalypses are?)

“Siddown!” I hiss.

The Spratt sits back down—­but he can hardly stay in his seat; he leans across the table at me, and I see his hand creeping across it toward my hand, which is just lying there, dog dead exhausted by all the goings-­on. I grab my spoon and shovel stew into my face. It is hard to swallow. I am starving, and the irksome presence of the Spratt is putting me off my food.

“You’re alive…” he breathes at me.

Yup. He is definitely one of the smart, useful people. I nod at him in a mean sort of way, eyes narrowed; if my mouth wasn’t crammed full of unswallowable cold stew mush, I’d tell him straight out what my look is intended to convey: “NO THANKS TO YOU.”

“Did you find your dad?” he blurts.

How did he do that? How did he just manage to pick the one question that stabs me straight in the heart? I have been back in the Spratt’s company for approximately ten nanoseconds and already I am wigging out. Right. I’ve got to shut him up. I need to swallow so I can talk. I grab his mug of—­cocoa? He’s drinking cocoa?!—­swig, and force that stew mush down.

“Oh, Ruby,” he whispers softly, like he already knows the answer. So softly and kindly and sweetly, I feel myself choking up—­which is even more annoying than wigging out.

I shove my plate of food away, mainly so the spoon is out of reach. Otherwise, I would be tempted to find out if you can stab with one. Instead, I stab with words.

“Did you find your mom?”

The Spratt is adopted. He now basically has a snowflake’s chance in hell of finding her.

He glances around, and I think he’s about to yell at me, which I already know in a way—­but only in a certain sort of way—­I would deserve for asking such a cruel question—­but no: “I did,” he whispers, his eyes wide with the marvelousness of the thing.

The seething troll monster of my own feelings bristles. I’d slap it, but it is covered, all over, in razor-­sharp spines. It has a heart though; somewhere in the gargantuan raging mass of its troll body, a small, sad, human heart beats.

“Really?” I say.

“Kind of,” he says. He glances around again. “I looked it up,” he whispers—­so I’m guessing he wasn’t supposed to or something. “I know who she was—­her name and where she lived. I just don’t know what happened to her, you know…”

I do know. I know exactly. And I know exactly what that feels like. And I also remember the too-­many times (twice) the Spratt dared to point out to me that my dad was probably dead, and the troll monster wants to say this now, to him, about his mom, and see him hurt, but I just can’t stand it. I can’t stand any of this. I get up, shoving my chair backward.

I don’t know where I think I am going. I have nowhere to go.

I burst into tears.

“Ruby!” says Darius.

His arms are around me. His arms do not feel the spines. The troll monster shudders and judders with tears.

Ah-­hoo, ah-­wah, ah-­wooh, blubs the troll.

But you will notice that it was the troll that was crying and not the small, sad human heart. 
Virginia Bergin learned to roller-skate with the children of eminent physicists.
She grew up in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, in a house tied to her father’s job. Her parents, the children of Irish and Polish immigrants – and one Englishwoman – had moved from Liverpool to the south of England in search of work.
Virginia studied psychology but ruined her own career when, dabbling in fine art at Central St Martins, she re-discovered creative writing. Since then she has written poetry, short stories, film and TV scripts and a play that almost got produced – but didn’t.
In between and alongside more jobs than you’ve had hot dinners, she has worked as a writer on TV, eLearning and corporate projects and has 22 broadcast and non-broadcast TV credits, from children’s favourite Big Cat Diary Family Histories (BBC) to the award-winning series Africa (Tigress Productions for National Geographic). Most recently, she has been working in online education, creating interactive courses for The Open University.
She has lived in North Wales, London and Bristol. In May 2015, she moved from a council estate in Bristol to live in rural Somerset, somewhere between Taunton, Chard and Ilminster. Her nearest neighbour is a horse. (Biography + photo taken from author's website.)

Author Links: 

Buy Links:

Friday, October 2, 2015

We'll Never Be Apart Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway

Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for We'll Never Be Apart! Today I'll be sharing a guest post by the author with you - and don't forget to enter the awesome giveaway! To follow the rest of the tour, check out the schedule at the bottom of the post.

We'll Never Be Apart
Author: Emiko Jean
Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller
Release Date: October 6, 2015
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover; ebook
288 pages





That’s all seventeen-year-old Alice Monroe thinks about. Committed to a mental ward at Savage Isle, Alice is haunted by memories of the fire that killed her boyfriend, Jason. A blaze her twin sister Cellie set. But when Chase, a mysterious, charismatic patient, agrees to help her seek vengeance, Alice begins to rethink everything. Writing out the story of her troubled past in a journal, she must confront hidden truths.

Is the one person she trusts only telling her half the story? Nothing is as it seems in this edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller from the debut author Emiko Jean.
Top 10 Favorite Books/Authors

In no particular order …

1. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

2. Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

3. The Giver by Lois Lowry

4. The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut

5. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

6. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

7. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

8. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

9. Anything by Shel Silverstein
Emiko Jean is an elementary school math teacher, whose work with children in foster care inspired her debut novel, We'll Never Be Apart. Aside from reading, writing, and teaching, Emiko is passionate about bugs. She can often be found in the remote forests of the Pacific Northwest, where she lives with her husband, hunting giant moths and cataloguing rare insect colonies.

(3) Winners will receive a finished copy of WE’LL NEVER BE APART - US Only! 

Tour Schedule:

Week 1: 
9/28/2015- Bookish Lifestyle- Interview 
9/29/2015- Curling Up With A Good Book- Review 
9/30/2015- Paranormal Book Club- Excerpt 
10/1/2015- The Candid Cover-Review 
10/2/2015- A Dream Within A Dream- Guest Post

Week 2: 
10/5/2015- YA Book Madness- Review 
10/6/2015- The Cover Contessa- Interview 
10/7/2015- Falling For YA- Review 
10/8/2015- Fangirlish- Guest Post 
10/9/2015- Literary Meanderings- Review 


Omega Blog Tour: Excerpt + Giveaway
Welcome to my stop on the OMEGA blog tour! I have a great excerpt from the book to share with you today - and don't forget to enter the giveaway! To follow the rest of the tour, click on the banner above.

Omega (Omega #1)
Author: Lizzy Ford
Genre: YA Dystopia
Release Date: October 25, 2015


In a modern world ruled by territorial Greek gods, the human race has been oppressed, exploited and now, nearly destroyed by the constant infighting of gods.

However, a human girl with the power of a goddess is coming of age. Alessandra is the Oracle of Delphi – the last prophesized – and bears the mark of the double omega. Soon after she turns eighteen, Alessandra is told her destiny: to step between the warring gods and the human race and save her world from certain ruin.

For the gods, her appearance marks the beginning of the end – their end. They and the Triumvirate – leaders of the human elite – who serve them will stop at nothing to preserve their power.

Alessandra emerges from the forest where she spent her life hidden from gods and men and immediately plummets into a race against time, gods, and herself to discover who and what she is in a world where everyone she meets has a hidden agenda, and those pulling the strings remain in the shadows.

Before she can determine exactly what kind of savior her world needs, she must first master her power by completing three trials devised by the Triumvirate to enslave her.

One lone girl stands between warring gods and the people she’s destined to protect, but it’s the battle to understand who she is that she must win first.

“Nothing bad had ever happened in five minutes, right?

…I approached the red rope and nudged my toes up against it then looked around. I half expected there to be a siren or an electrical shock or something after the constant reminders from Herakles and the priests never to leave the woods.

Nothing happened.

I stepped on the red cord.

Still nothing.

I stepped over the physical boundary of my world, and a thrill went through me. Not only was there no alarm, but I didn’t feel guilty or bad for doing it, emotions that might derail me from continuing. I stayed where I was, my heels butting up against the cord, and lifted my gaze to the lake.

The possibilities were endless. My whole life started right here and right now. I laughed at my overdramatic thoughts, realizing nothing was about to change except I might upset Herakles. That alone made me hesitate. I loved my crazy mountain man guardian, and it bothered me to think I was going to make him mad by doing this.

Assuming he finds out. The stubbornly independent side of me he spent hours trying to exhaust with physical activity knew there was only one way he could find out, and I wasn’t about to tell him. At least, not for three weeks. Maybe after graduation when we were on the way to the Burger God I was going to spend my life working at, I’d tell him of the one time in twelve years when I defied him to dip my toes in the lake.

Crouching like it was a race, I breathed in deeply, then bolted. There was no real reason to run. I was completely alone, and I laughed as I sprinted, tickled beyond anything to be completely free, if only for mere minutes.

Sprinting to the lake, I kept to my internal promise of not spending more than a few minutes off the property and threw myself to the ground. Wrenching off my shoes and socks, I scooted to the edge of the lake and dangled my legs over the rock on which I sat. The moment my feet dipped beneath the cool surface, my world seemed to slow to a stop. I leaned over, marveling at the sensations. It shouldn’t have been, but this was somehow different than a pool. It felt… alive.

“Holy Poseidon,” I murmured.

The sensation of being united with something living moved through my system, a wave that ran from my toes to the tip of my head, in rhythm with the water, then outward, rippling the grass around the lake. I shivered. Fascinated, I peered into the dark depths of the lake. My feet caused small waves that were pushed back to the natural tides of the lake. Deep within the depths, I caught a glimmer of something odd.

I squinted in the fading light. They weren’t fish or rocks or anything. The lake was too deep to see the bottom, but I swore I saw ribbons of soft colors twisting around like smoke
through the waters. Their movements were too precise to be dictated by the tides. I blinked- and they were gone.

Realizing my five minutes were up, I lifted my feet and dried them on my pant legs then replaced my shoes and socks. I didn’t feel nearly as urgent about returning to the forest where I’d spent most my life and ambled back. It was strange, but I could almost feel the tide of the lake still moving through me, rocking from toes to head and back again before rustling the grass around me. It was gentle, soothing and peaceful. I was an extension of the water, and it felt nice, natural.

I had nothing to compare the experience to and couldn’t help wondering if I’d spent my entire life cut off from such small pleasures. It made me despise the nymphs even more, since they probably spent every weekend feeling whatever this was out in the real world.

Stepping over the red rope, the internal rocking stopped, and I realized it hadn’t only been the lake I felt. The breeze that stirred the surface of the lake stopped at the barrier, too, and its gentle touch on my skin fell away.

I missed them almost as soon as I left them. Facing the lake once more, I smiled. If nothing else, I now knew one of the secrets of the world outside my boundaries, and it was beautiful.

Beyond happy with my secret adventure, I moved five meters from the cord to an area big enough for a fire and built a little campsite. My assigned kit contained a canteen of water and the ingredients for s’mores. Herakles’ thoughtfulness only added to my happiness. I went through my tasks of finding shelter, starting a fire, and stretching out on the ground to watch the stars with a smile plastered on my face. After my treats, I let the fire die out and retreated to a small shelter I’d created from a poncho and tree branches. I had brought a sleeping bag and crawled into it. My mind was on the lake, on my future and how incredible it was going to be to leave the compound once and for all and join the rest of the world. I slid into a deep, contented sleep.

Something awoke me shortly before dawn. I opened my eyes, senses trained on the world outside my makeshift tent. Animals used their instincts and intuition better than humans, and Herakles had emphasized being more like the locals when camping out. So I listened in silence and stillness.

An animal was rustling quietly, but it wasn’t close, and it wasn’t in the forest, which meant that it was large if I could hear it from this far off. The sounds came from the direction of the lake. I crept out of my sleeping bag and covered the distance quickly between me and the boundary. Reaching the stump where I often perched to gaze at the lake, I squatted on top of it and stared.

It was an animal, but nothing like I had ever seen before. Monster was probably a better description. The creature had a wingspan of ten meters and was the size of a linebacker with the long, lean, musculature and grace of a feline. It stood on two legs, and had two arms that looked pretty human. The sound I heard was of its long tail tapping the brush lining the bank of the lake. Its skin was an unnatural shade of stone grey. One of its ears stuck out at an odd angle and its eyes glowed like blue jewels in the night. It had fangs, talons, and a barbed tail, and its eyes were positioned facing forward, all of which were characteristics of a predator of some sort and not something I cared to confront.

It stood where I had sat earlier, peering at the lake, at the surrounding area, at the sky. It crouched beside the lake, tail tapping the dirt.

It was horrifying- and magnificent. I couldn’t have imagined a more incredible combination of a man and a beast. The raw power it exuded in each tiny, controlled movement exceeded anything a human or traditional predator possessed.

This is a dream. It had to be. No such creature existed, unless it was some sort of undiscovered animal or leftover dinosaur. And if that were the case, I didn’t think this would be the first time I’d seen it. I spent too many days and nights in the forest for it to belong here. Where it had originated, and why it chose here to stop, I couldn’t begin to guess.

There was intelligence in its movement and visual exploration of the environment. The man-beast hybrid wasn’t something I was able to explain away. I pinched my arm to ensure I was awake. The light sting wasn’t much of a reassurance when faced with a monster from a nightmare.

It stood and unfurled its wings. 
Lizzy Ford is the award winning, internationally acclaimed author of over thirty five books written for young adult, new adult and adult romance readers, to include the internationally bestselling Rhyn Trilogy, Witchling Series and the War of Gods series. Considered a freak of nature by her peers for the ability to write and release a commercial quality novel in under a month, Lizzy has focused on keeping her readers happy by producing brilliant, gritty romances that remind people why true love is a trial worth enduring.

Author Links:


Cover Reveal: Still a Bad Boy by Ada Scott

Still a Bad Boy  (Still a Bad Boy #1)
Author: Ada Scott
Genre: New Adult Romantic Suspense
Release Date: November 2, 2015
Cover Design by Kevin Does Art 


I can’t get him out of my mind, and I can’t keep myself out of his bed


He wasn’t supposed to notice me. Jace Barlow: the most powerful man in the city. Mysterious, scarred, pure muscle and tattoos.

He was my first. That didn’t stop him from pinning me against a wall, using me for his own pleasure until I screamed his name.

Now my boss thinks I’m getting the scoop of the century, but all Jace is giving me is orgasm after leg-quivering orgasm. When he puts his hand on my throat and growls in my ear…

“You are mine.”

I know it’s true.

I’ve fallen hard and I’ve never felt safer…

Until I see him kill somebody.


I dedicated my life to taking down the Picolli Crime Family from the inside.  I made a name for myself, the mafia’s most brutal enforcer.  I worked my way up the chain, and my revenge came.  A righteous bloodbath.

Then I took their place so they could never come back.

Nothing else has ever mattered.  Until Kendall.

She was an innocent girl for me to defile, and then leave her ruined for other men like all the rest.  But she makes me so hard I ache for release, and for the first time in my life, I want to have her again.

Kendall’s the chink in my armor my enemies have been looking for.

I don’t care.

She is mine and I’ll die before I give her up.
A former office drone, a former nurse, I now spend every waking moment doing what I love, creating and publishing these steamy stories about bad boys from the mafia, motorcycle clubs, and mma that make me, and hopefully you, weak at the knees! Anywhere a bad boy can be found, I'll be there taking notes and making it even sexier :)

Author Links:
What do you think of the cover? Leave a comment!

Friday Reveal + Giveaway: Chapter Two of Nameless by Jennifer Jenkins

Welcome to this week’s M9B Friday Reveal!

This week, we are revealing CHAPTER TWO of
Nameless by Jennifer Jenkins
presented byMonth9Books!

NAMELESS is in development for film by Benderspink! That’s the same company who optioned Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen and produced the I AM NUMBER FOUR film!

Jennifer is also one of the co-founders of Teen Author Boot Camp, and works with amazing authors like James Dashner and Brandon Sanderson to help teens master the craft or writing. New York Times bestselling author Jessica Day George read NAMELESS and loved it!: "Jenkins brings edge-of-your-seat adventure to this intriguing new world. I can’t wait to read more!”

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

Four clans have been at war for centuries: the Kodiak, the Raven, the Wolf and the Ram. Through brutal war tactics, the Ram have dominated the region, inflicting death and destruction on their neighbors.

Seventeen-year-old Zo is a Wolf and a Healer who volunteers to infiltrate the Ram as a spy on behalf of the allied clans. She offers herself as a Ram slave, joining the people who are called the “nameless.” Hers is a suicide mission – Zo’s despair after losing her parents in a Ram raid has left her seeking both revenge and an end to her own misery. But after her younger sister follows her into Rams Gate, Zo must find a way to survive her dangerous mission and keep her sister safe. What she doesn’t expect to find is the friendship of a young Ram whose life she saves, the confusing feelings she develops for a Ram soldier, and an underground nameless insurrection. Zo learns that revenge, loyalty and love are more complicated than she ever imagined in the first installment of this two-book series.

add to goodreads

Pre-order Links:
Chapter 2 ~~~Zo~~~ The cold air traveling over Zo’s skin smelled strangely mineral. She walked blindfolded with Tess in her arms, and the tip of a spear at her back. She memorized the turns as they prodded her forward, knowing it would do little to help if she couldn’t pass whatever trial the Ram leader had in store. The path sloped down and the moist air grew colder. Her foot caught on a rock and Zo fell to her knees, sending Tess flying into the darkness. Hands grabbed Zo’s collar and hoisted her back to her feet.   “Carry the small one,” the leader ordered.   “Zo?” Tess’ voice cracked, weak and distant.   “I’m here,” said Zo, straining to see through the blindfold.   She didn’t want her sister to say more. Her accent might betray them both.   The ground leveled beneath them, and a guard yanked off the blindfold, taking a chunk of Zo’s dark hair with it. She didn’t cry out.   They couldn’t hurt her.   She looked at the limp form of her sister in the arms of a bare-chested Ram guard and crumbled at the contradiction. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. If only Tess hadn’t followed.   If only …   Guards lined the opposite wall. Shadows from the torchlight made the scowls on their faces all the more sinister. Each carried a round shield at his back, a spear in hand, and a short sword at his hip.   A redheaded boy lay on a narrow bed in the center of the room silently weeping. His body was long, but judging from his young face, he couldn’t have been much older than twelve or thirteen. The deep wound just above his hip swam in dark red blood. He whimpered while biting down on a stick.   Zo didn’t ask questions. “I need blankets!” she yelled, as she washed her hands in a basin of scalding water. With pulsing, red hands, she took a stack of linens from a supply table and pressed it to the wound. The boy kicked and jostled.   “Hold him down or he’ll bleed out!” shouted Zo.   No one moved.   Two women in white robes came in through a different tunnel entrance carrying woolen blankets. When they saw Zo, they froze.   “Help me!” Zo snatched the blankets from their hands and rolled the boy onto his side. Lifting his legs, she wedged blanket rolls under his good hip. The redheaded boy cried out in pain but Zo needed to keep the wound above his heart. She wrapped a bandage around his trunk, keeping as much pressure on the open wound as possible.   The boy’s skin turned alabaster from blood loss. Zo yanked more blankets from the hands of the women, covered him up, and rubbed warmth into his arms and legs while muttering the words of one of her mother’s blessings. “Hold as still as you can,” she whispered into his ear. “You’re going to be fine. I promise.”   Zo approached the intimidating line of Ram soldiers.   Each wore animal hide trimmed with fur. Thick leather straps crisscrossed their chests housing a variety of evil-looking weapons. “Where is my pack? It has the medicines I need.” The men barely moved, barely blinked, with hands clasped behind their backs like dangerous statues of unfeeling.   The bald leader shook his head. A taunting, wicked, grin stretched across his face. Tess whimpered from one of the dark corners of the cave. Water dripped from the jagged, rock ceiling. The quiet symphony of sounds and silence contrasted with Zo’s rapidly beating heart.   She swore and darted to the opposite wall where the healers stood just as still and lifeless. “Do you have any pseudo ginseng root?”   The aging healer looked over to the Gate Master, shook his head, and looked down at his hands. So they would put this boy’s life in danger just to see if she would fail? I shouldn’t be surprised.   Zo ran back to the steaming water and plunged four inches of her long braid into the basin. Sweat dripped from her forehead. She scrubbed the crusted mud from her hair and went to the closest soldier, holding out the dark braid. “Cut it,” she said.   His gaze swept over her body before fixing on her face.   His lips curled into a crooked grin.   She hated when men looked at her that way.   “Cut it!” she yelled, eyeing the knife at his hip, wondering if she had any chance of taking it from him without meeting a quick death.   A young soldier to his left stepped out of rank. His long dark hair was tucked behind his ears, his brows knit together and a muscle in his neck leapt as he frowned. The unexpected flash of his dagger made Zo scream. A small segment of her braid dropped to the ground and the young soldier took his place back in line, ignoring the disapproving scorn of the Ram leader. Zo gasped as she snatched up the braid. She stumbled over to the sink again to rinse the hair one final time to prevent infection. Convinced the hair was clean, she darted back to the boy and removed the crimson-soaked dressing from the wound. The blood had slowed, but not enough. He’d die if this didn’t work.   She shoved the hair into the wound and piled the excess on top.   The boy screamed then passed out.   Zo placed her hands over the mound of hair and uttered words of healing. The flame of her energy flickered as she willed the blessing to take effect. Her head swayed without permission as she reapplied a bandage.   When Zo finished, she slumped to the floor before they carried her and Tess away.   ~~~Gryphon~~~   Joshua’s dried blood tugged on Gryphon’s arm. A deathly plaster, equal parts unforgiving and taunting. He scratched away at the memory of the ambush, the way young Joshua’s eyes doubled in size when the arrow entered his side. It was Gryphon’s fault. He’d let the kid come with his mess unit against his better judgment.   It was his fault.   Gryphon took the mountain trail home from the caves. He attacked the climb like he would any enemy. After the first mile his legs warmed. After the second they burned. He welcomed the dull pain creeping through his fatigued muscles. Pain equaled progress. With enough pain he might outpace his grief. Joshua.   Gryphon sprinted the last hundred yards of the climb. The wind picked up as he reached the summit overlooking the ocean below. High waves crashed into the cliff wall. An arctic spray carried on the breeze, stinging Gryphon’s eyes.   He turned and showed the ocean his back, casting his gaze over the valley of the Ram. Wind whipped his dark brown hair and made the metal of his weapons clink together. From this view he could see far beyond the training grounds and housing complexes, past the fields where hundreds of Nameless bent over acres of dying soil. Even beyond the fabled wall of Ram’s Gate that corralled the vast lands of his people.   He felt powerful. In control.   Not like this morning when he couldn’t slow Joshua’s bleeding.   The twenty members of Gryphon’s mess unit were encouraged to sleep in the barracks, even though many of them were married men. Unity meant everything to a Ram mess unit. Gryphon abided this and every other command issued by his leaders with exactness. But tonight, the thought of facing his brothers of war with all their questions and condolences seemed too much.   No. Tonight he would hide behind the walls of his inheritance like a child hides behind his mother’s skirt. The brick-and-plaster house sat back on a five-acre plot. It was one of the furthest family plots from the main gate and the center of town. A red sun dipped behind the towering wall of Ram’s Gate, casting an ominous glow around the house as Gryphon climbed the dirt path. The solid oak door whined with complaint as he nudged it open.   “Who’s there?” Gryphon’s mother reached the entry with her arms and hands covered in white flour and her graying bun sitting at an angle on her head. She studied Gryphon and the corners of her mouth sank into the frown he’d come to associate with his childhood.   “Wash the blood off your hands.” She retreated back to the kitchen without another word.   Gryphon leaned his long spear and shield against the wall and sloughed off his pack. He turned and noticed the rusted metal shield mounted above the hearth. His cheeks colored in shame. He looked away, but it didn’t stop the boiling wave of anger that always came when he looked at his father’s shield.   The symbol of his family’s disgrace.   Despite Gryphon’s countless protests, his mother refused to take it down. “It’s good to remember,” she would say. Then she’d go out into the forest where she thought no one could hear her and cry, rocking back and forth with her hands wrapped firmly about her stomach. As if she’d fall apart if she didn’t hold herself together.   No matter how hard he worked in the training field, that shield would always hang over his head. Always. In the kitchen, Gryphon plunged his hands into a basin of water. As he scrubbed, the water turned the color of salmon flesh.   His mother kneaded her palm into a batch of dough with more force than necessary. She used her forearm to push aside a clump of silver hair that fell into her face. “How many?” she asked with her back to him.   Gryphon couldn’t scrub his hands hard enough. “One. We were ambushed.” His excursions used to be so boring. They used to go weeks without running into another clan, but lately …   “Who?” His mother stood up straight, prepared to take the news like a strong Ram woman was meant to.   “Joshua.” Gryphon felt his control slip. He chewed on his tongue until he could steel his emotions. “Spear,” was all he trusted himself to say.   Joshua wasn’t a member of a mess unit yet. The System didn’t allow thirteen-year-olds to join. He had still been in training, but he’d begged to go, and Gryphon—his mentor— didn’t have the heart to turn him down.   “Will he live?” she asked, kneading the dough again.   “I … ” Gryphon cleared his constricting throat, thinking of the dirty Nameless girl they’d let work on Joshua in the cave.   “I don’t think he will.”
 ©NicholeV Photography, LLC 2008. This work is registered and protected under US and international copyright laws. Any violation of this copyright will be diligently prosecuted.With her degree in History and Secondary Education, Jennifer had every intention of teaching teens to love George Washington and appreciate the finer points of ancient battle stratagem. (Seriously, she’s obsessed with ancient warfare.) However, life had different plans in store when the writing began. As a proud member of Writers Cubed, and a co-founder of the Teen Author Boot Camp, she feels blessed to be able to fulfill both her ambition to work with teens as well as write Young Adult fiction.

Jennifer has three children who are experts at naming her characters, one loving, supportive husband, a dog with little-man syndrome, and three chickens (of whom she is secretly afraid).

Visit her online at




Thursday, October 1, 2015

Blood and Salt Blog Tour: Playlist + Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Blood and Salt! Today I have Ash's playlist to share with you - and don't forget to enter the awesome giveaway! To follow the rest of the tour, check out the schedule at the bottom of the post.

Blood and Salt (Blood and Salt #1)
Author: Kim Liggett
Genre: YA Paranormal/Horror
Release Date: September 22, 2015
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons BYR


Romeo and Juliet meets Children of the Corn in this one-of-a-kind romantic horror.

“When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it into the deepest ocean. You will be all in—blood and salt.”

These are the last words Ash Larkin hears before her mother returns to the spiritual commune she escaped long ago. But when Ash follows her to Quivira, Kansas, something sinister and ancient waits among the rustling cornstalks of this village lost to time.

Ash is plagued by memories of her ancestor, Katia, which harken back to the town’s history of unrequited love and murder, alchemy and immortality. Charming traditions soon give way to a string of gruesome deaths, and Ash feels drawn to Dane, a forbidden boy with secrets of his own.

As the community prepares for a ceremony five hundred years in the making, Ash must fight not only to save her mother, but herself—and discover the truth about Quivira before it’s too late. Before she’s all in—blood and salt.

Ash is an enigma. I love how complicated she is. She's not perfect, which is why I adore her. She's feminine, but she has a really hard edge.

This is her playlist:

1. I Cut Like A Buffalo-- The Dead Weather
"I look like a woman, but I cut like a buffalo." This song fits Ash to a T.

2. July Flame-- Laura Viers
This song is dreamy and lyrical-- just like Ash.

3. Rebel In You-- Supergrass
This song has always reminded me of Ash.

4. I Never-- Rilo Kiley
I can see Ash singing this in the shower. It's got that old-school feel that I know she'd love.

5. Bad Blood-- Beck
This is just one of those songs Ash would listen to on repeat and drive her brother crazy with.

6. Some Sweet Day-- Sparklehorse
Ash would be completely into Sparklehorse. The lyrics alone are breathtaking.

7. Gasoline and Matches --Buddy Miller and Julie Miller
I can picture Ash singing this in the car with all the windows rolled down.

8. What You Do To Me-- Blakroc
Another song with that old-school feel, but with a modern edge.

9. Use Me-- Holly Golightly
This song really captures how Ash feels about her brother's warning about Dane.

10. And It Spread-- The Avett Brothers
I think Ash would dig this band.

11. Lust For Life-- Iggy Pop
I can see Ash belting this at the top of her lungs. Who doesn't love Iggy Pop?

12. Push That Knot Away-- KT Tunstall
This song has a pent-up quality, that I know Ash would be able to relate to. She's spent her whole life trying to push away the feelings inside of her.

13. Boys Wanna Be Her-- Peaches
A great song to close out this list. Ash is a badass. I want to be her. Yes, I do. 
At sixteen, Kim Liggett left her rural midwestern town for New York City to pursue a career in both music and acting. While attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Kim sang backup for some of the biggest rock bands in the 80′s.
After settling down to have a family, she became an entrepreneur, creating a children’s art education program and a travel company specializing in tours for musicians.
She’s married to jazz musician Ken Peplowski, has two beautiful teens, and a very neurotic dog that drags her through Riverside Park everyday on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. (Author info and pic taken from Goodreads.)

Author Links:

Tour Schedule:
Good Books & Wine – Guest Post #1 – 9/14
Addicted Readers – Interview - 9/15
Jessabella Reads – 25 Random Things - 9/16
A Midsummer Night’s Read – Book Playlist #1 - 9/17
It Starts At Midnight – Review & Giveaway - 9/18
The Book Bratz – Review & Giveaway - 9/21
No BS Book Reviews – Interview - 9/22
Once Upon a Twilight – Would You Rather? - 9/23
Please Feed the Bookworm – Review & Giveaway - 9/24
The Irish Banana – Guest Post #2 - 9/25
Winterhaven Books – Top 10 - 9/28
My Friends are Fiction – Review & Giveaway - 9/29
Fiction Fare – Interview - 9/30
A Dream Within a Dream – Book Playlist #2 & Giveaway - 10/1
Two Chicks on Books – Interview - 10/2