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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Monday, August 31, 2015

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums. 

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes. 

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

Goodreads Summary

An unlikely group of misfits come together to achieve a momentous task in the realm of magic and deception. This dark story dives into black market dealings and would satisfy the fancy of everyone who would be into this genre.

I really liked the interactions between all of the characters on the mission team. The author does a stellar job at developing all of their personalities individually and nailing how they would interact together. It is like a dysfunctional family that somehow operates well enough together to survive. I also loved the moments of humor thrown in to break up the times of serious darkness.  This book will also appeal to the supernatural lover. With this great blend, who wouldn't love this "Ocean's Eleven" type adventure?

4.5 Stars

Reviewed by Chris

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

Newt's Emerald by Garth Nix

Lady Truthful will inherit her family’s most valued heirloom on her eighteenth birthday. Until the Newington Emerald is stolen.

Lady Truthful, nicknamed “Newt” by her boy cousins, discovers that to her horror, the people closest to her have been framed for the theft. But Newt won’t let their reputations be damaged by rumors from a false accusation. Her plan is simple: go to London to recover the missing jewel. Despite her best intentions, a young lady travelling alone is frankly unacceptable behavior. So Newt and her aunt devise another plan…one that entails men’s clothing and a mustache.

While in disguise, Truthful encounters the handsome but shrewd major Harnett, who to her amazement volunteers to help find the missing emerald under the assumption that she is a man, Henri de Vienne. But once she and her unsuspecting ally are caught up in a dangerous adventure, Truthful realizes something else is afoot: the beating of her heart.

Truthful has far more than romantic complications to worry about. The stolen emerald is no ordinary heirloom-it is the source of the family’s luck and has the power to yield vast magic. It would be completely disastrous if it fell into the wrong hands. The fate of England depends on Truthful securing the emerald.
 

Goodreads Summary

Lady Truthful has a conundrum on her hands.  She must recover the beautiful emerald that she was to inherit upon her 25th birthday.  Unfortunately, she can't discover the thief as a woman and must dress as a man.  Armed with some male clothing and her aunt, Newt begins tracking the emerald.  Along the way, she meets major Harnett and discovers that she might have a love interest.

Newt was a fun character for the most part.  She was shrewd and intelligent, but had moments where I thought she was just "too much."  I loved Newt's aunt.  Funny and a terrific supporting character, I wouldn't have minded more scenes with her starring them.  The author once again proves great at character development.  The story was good enough; I hoped for more plot twists here and there.  This book is recommended to young adult/teen readers

3 1/2 Stars


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

Velvet Undercover by Teri Brown

Sunday, August 30, 2015
Samantha Donaldson’s family has always done its duty for the British Crown. In the midst of World War I, seventeen-year-old Sam follows in their footsteps, serving her country from the homefront as a Girl Guide and messenger for the intelligence organization MI5. After her father disappears on a diplomatic mission, she continues their studies of languages, high-level mathematics, and complex puzzles and codes, hoping to make him proud.

When Sam is asked to join the famed women’s spy group La Dame Blanche she’s torn—this could be the adventure she’s dreamed of, but how can she abandon her mother, who has already lost a husband to the war? But when her handlers reveal shocking news, Sam realizes there’s no way she can refuse the exciting and dangerous opportunity.

Her acceptance leads her straight into the heart of enemy territory on a mission to extract the most valuable British spy embedded in Germany, known to the members of LDB only as Velvet. Deep undercover within the court of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Samantha must navigate the labyrinthine palace and its many glamorous—and secretive—residents to complete her assignment. To make matters worse she finds herself forming a forbidden attraction to the enemy-a dangerously handsome German guard. In a place where personal politics are treacherously entangled in wartime policy, can Samantha discover the truth and find Velvet before it’s too late…for them both?

From author Teri Brown comes the thrilling story of one girl’s journey into a deadly world of spycraft and betrayal—with unforgettable consequences.

Goodreads Summary

I think it would be so cool to be Samantha!  She's intelligent, quick on her feet, and great at codes.  La Dame Blanche, an all women spy group, asks Samantha to join and immediately sends her off to find a British spy.  Samantha enters a world of intrigue and deception and she must learn to keep her cards close to her chest...particularly around a certain German guard.  

I liked Samantha's character.  She was spunky and strong.  Velvet was an interesting supporting character and not quite what I expected.  I thought the crush Samantha had on the guard was cute and I was glad that she didn't take it too seriously.  I really enjoy history and World War I made for a good background to the story.  I do wish that I had felt more connected to Samantha and the other characters.  This book is recommended to young adult/teen readers

3 1/2 Stars

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

A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis


Grace Mae knows madness.

She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum.

When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.

In this beautifully twisted historical thriller, Mindy McGinnis, acclaimed author of Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust, explores the fine line between sanity and insanity, good and evil—and the madness that exists in all of us.
 

Goodreads Summary


Grace Mae was put away due to a pregnancy.  She decides that she will live just long enough to have her baby and remain silent.  She's unhappy and in a dark mood (as she should be).  The reader will love how strong she is as a female lead.  Grace has a quick and witty mind; she endures hardship after hardship and her life isn't fair.  I love how tough and resilient she is.  Just when she is about to give up and feeling her worst, a doctor decides to make her his assistant and she escapes the asylum.  Grace adjusts well to working for the doctor and soon finds herself with a new, disturbing mystery at hand: there is a murderer attacking women.  

I loved this book.  The supporting characters were developed just right and Grace is someone I would love to meet in real life.  The author has a knack for creating characters I really care about.  I loved how the plot was quick-moving and the ending took me by surprise!  I recommend this book for young adult/teen characters.

5 Stars

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

Luck Be A Lady by Meredith Duran: Giveaway and Promo!

Romance sizzles between a famous heiress and an infamous crime lord in this fourth sexy novel in the Rules for the Reckless series from the USA Today bestselling author of Fool Me Twice.

The Wallflower

They call her the “Ice Queen.” Catherine Everleigh is London’s loveliest heiress, but a bitter lesson in heartbreak has taught her to keep to herself. All she wants is her birthright—the auction house that was stolen from her. To win this war, she’ll need a powerful ally. Who better than infamous and merciless crime lord Nicholas O’Shea? A marriage of convenience will no doubt serve them both.

The Crime Lord

Having conquered the city’s underworld, Nick seeks a new challenge. Marrying Catherine will give him the appearance of legitimacy—and access to her world of the law-abiding elite. No one needs to know he’s coveted Catherine for a year now—their arrangement is strictly business, free from the troubling weaknesses of love. Seduction, however, is a different matter—an enticing game he means to ensure she enjoys, whether she wishes to or not...

Goodreads Summary

I love romance books.  They allow for an easy escape from reality to an imaginative world I wish I could find a way into now and then.  Catherine and Nick both have something the other wants.  Catherine will provide him with a good name and Nick will help her get her birthright back.  I could tell that they were perfect for each other right from the start, but they took a little longer to see that.  I loved how Catherine slowly opened up to Nick and it was really interesting to learn more about Nick's past.

Catherine was an "Ice Queen," but the reader won't find it hard to get to know her.  Her determination and love for her heritage shines through.  Nick was a rough and tumble rogue; his mysterious demeanor only made me want to read more about him.  The plot in this book was fairly fast-paced with a few slower parts here and there.  Overall, this book is recommended to adult romance readers!

4 Stars

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MEREDITH DURAN is the author of eight previous novels, including The Duke of Shadows (winner of the Gather.com First Chapters Romance Writing Competition); Wicked Becomes You (included on the Woman’s World List of Best Beach Reads for Summer 2010), and the USA TODAY bestseller Fool Me Twice. She blames Anne Boleyn for sparking her lifelong obsession with British history, and for convincing her that princely love is no prize if it doesn’t come with a happily-ever-after. She enjoys collecting old etiquette manuals, guidebooks to nineteenth-century London, and travelogues by intrepid Victorian women. Visit her at MeredithDuran.com, or catch up with her on Twitter: @meredithduran and Facebook: AuthorMeredithDuran.


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

The Dark Rituals: Guest Post and Giveaway!

Saturday, August 29, 2015
Halloween is right around the corner and I can’t wait. It’s a whole month of celebrating all things spooky! I always loved ghost stories as a kid. Sitting around a campfire at night, telling stories that sent a chill down your spine. There is something cool about getting yourself a little bit freaked out. Looking out into the darkness and wondering if there is something out there peering back.
It was with that love of all things spooky that I started working on my new series, The Dark Rituals. I wanted to blend a story about magic with a mix of an old fashion ghost story.
I will admit there were times when I was working on the story late at night that I would freak myself out. I would work on the scary scenes sometime after midnight, “the witching hour” as I like to call it. I would turn off all the lights and just have the glow of the monitor lighting up the room. I would be pounding away on my keyboard when suddenly my cat would jump up into my lap and I would get let out a shriek.
So if you like things that go bump in the night I hope you check out my new YA series, The Dark Rituals. The first three books are coming out in October. They are especially fun if you read them during the witching hour ;)

 Praise for Awakening, Book 1 in the Dark Rituals series:
"A paranormal story unlike any other. If you are looking for an original plot look no further. … I couldn't put it down! Every single time I thought I was getting to a lull where I might be able to stop reading, the hooks dug in deeper." —Goodreads reviewer
"The plot twists and turns on this wild horror ride. … A must read by an exceptional upcoming author." —Goodreads reviewer



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In Awakening, the first installment in the Dark Rituals series, a former healer turns to the Death Arts to seek revenge.
Seventeen-year-old Colina was born a healer. But after a horrific event forces her to leave her clan, she becomes desperate to learn the dark magic of the death dealers, mages who draw their power from the spirits of the dead. Colina was taught to fear and hate death dealers, but becoming one of them is the only way for her to get the revenge she seeks—and the only way for her to survive.
Colina asks a young death dealer named Luke to help her, but he’s reluctant to train her in the Death Arts. Little does she know convincing him to teach her will be the easiest part of her journey. To become a death dealer, Colina will need to undergo three dark rituals, each more terrifying than the last. At the same time, she’ll have to deal with her growing feelings for her mentor. Too bad the first ritual involves him strangling her to death.
As Colina undergoes the trials, she discovers an untapped darkness within herself. If she survives the horrific rituals and gains dark power, what will she become?
Catrina Burgess’ Dark Rituals series originally appeared on Wattpad with over three million reads. Awakening is the first book of four and was named Wattpad’s Best Suspense Story of 2014.



About the Author:
I write because it helps keeps the darkness away and reminds me that there is magic in the world. I live with one husband, two dogs, and a cat named Shitty Kitty in a small mining town in Arizona. At night this place is definitely spooky. I swear I’ve heard the wind giggle, and sometimes there’s a very odd breeze. Luckily, I love all things that go bump in the night. I adore old movies. I’m a huge Joss Whedon fan.
I’ve been known to eat pizza and cold Chinese food for breakfast, and I’m the queen of the board game Stratego. I’ve never been beaten. NEVER!
Social Media:
Follower me on twitter: @catrinaburgess1



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

Blood & Salt: Trailer and Giveaway!

Thursday, August 27, 2015
Watch the trailer and read an excerpt here!
BLOOD AND SALT by Kim Liggett
THE SICKENING CRACKLE of the corn-husk rope pulls me from sleep, down the hall, up the stairs, and out into the night. The sky is the strangest color, a dusky gray rose. Dark blond hair skims the ground as it disappears into a patch of tall prairie grass.
Tearing through the coarse grass, I try to reach her. As I break into a small clearing, I catch a glimpse of her face—eyes wide and lifeless, she stares back at me as her body’s being dragged into the corn.
Sensing a presence, I turn to see a winged figure made of smoke move toward me, but I’m not afraid. The scent of freshly rained-upon soil, salt, hay, cloves, sandalwood, and saddle leather perme­ates the air. It’s the most beautiful smell in the world. I close my eyes to breathe it in, hoping it will imprint on my memory. And when I open them, the smoke has sharpened into the face of Dane.
I reach out to touch him, but he flinches away. I can’t help but laugh. Even my illusion of Dane won’t cooperate.
My skin is pulsing with light. Faint at first, the golden light soon grows into a soft halo that wraps around me, illuminating the protection marks.
I stand perfectly still, coaxing the golden light forward to reach him. As soon as it meets his skin, I can feel him, just as if I were touching him with my own fingers. Every bit of our connection is alive and electric as it flows through me and into him, back from him to me, and around us.
I feel his spirit, damaged and beautiful. Perfect in its flaws. Suddenly, I become worried that he can see all of me, too; something in me wants to cover up, to hide my imperfections. I feel vulnerable, like a gaping wound with salt water lapping at the edges.
“Do you see the light?”
“There’s no light,” he answers.
It makes me so sad he can’t see or feel what I feel. “Just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.”
Dane’s shadowy figure takes an unexpected step toward me. Even though he’s only a hallucination, I swear I can feel his gentle breath on my face. He leans forward, pressing his lips against mine. I can taste him, along with the salt of my tears that stream into our mouths. Sadness and ecstasy consume me.
I open my eyes to find Dane has vanished, along with every bit of light that beamed from my skin. I hear the crops rustle behind me. I turn and step toward the corn. As I peer through the stalks, a feeling of dread presses down on me, crushing me, holding me in place.
The dead girl’s hand emerges from the corn, clasping my ankle. “I thought you loved me,” she whispers.

“Ashlyn.”
I awoke sometime before dawn, sprawled on top of my cov­ers, a thick sheen of sweat covering my body. I stirred; my muscles ached. My feet gritted against the sheets. Looking down, I found them caked in dirt.
I leapt out of bed.
“What’s going on?” Rhys mumbled.
“Nothing. Just need to get ready.” I escaped into the bath­room and rested my forehead against the closed door.
“This is real,” I told myself as I pressed my fingers into the cool wood grain. I stole a glance at myself in the mirror and did a double take.
Threaded into my tangled hair were coarse strands of prairie grass. In a panic, I checked the rest of my body. “Holy shit.” I exhaled when I discovered a bloody handprint coiled around my left ankle.
I’d gone outside without a clue of how I got there or how I got back. I’d lost time again. Maybe hours. Was Coronado’s black magic trying to lure me into the corn? But it felt deeper than that.
“Are you okay in there?” Rhys knocked on the door, star­tling me.
“Find another bathroom,” I snapped as I pumped water into the washtub. I stepped into the cool water and scrubbed my legs with a washcloth until they were raw, then pulled the plug, watching the dirty water swirl around my ankles and disappear down the drain.
The dead girl spoke to me. She touched me. She wanted me to find her in the corn. And Dane could take me there.

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

Invaded by Melissa Landers


The romantic sequel to Alienated takes long-distance relationships to a new level as Cara and Aelyx long for each other from opposite ends of the universe...until a threat to both their worlds reunites them. 

Cara always knew life on planet L’eihr would be an adjustment. With Aelyx, her L’eihr boyfriend, back on Earth, working to mend the broken alliance between their two planets, Cara is left to fend for herself at a new school, surrounded by hostile alien clones. Even the weird dorm pet hates her.

Things look up when Cara is appointed as human representative to a panel preparing for a human colony on L’eihr. A society melding their two cultures is a place where Cara and Aelyx could one day make a life together. But with L’eihr leaders balking at granting even the most basic freedoms, Cara begins to wonder if she could ever be happy on this planet, even with Aelyx by her side.

Meanwhile, on Earth, Aelyx, finds himself thrown into a full-scale PR campaign to improve human-L’eihr relations. Humans don’t know that their very survival depends on this alliance: only Aelyx’s people have the technology to fix the deadly contamination in the global water supply that human governments are hiding. Yet despite their upper hand, the leaders of his world suddenly seem desperate to get humans on their side, and hardly bat an eye at extremists’ multiple attempts on Aelyx’s life.

The Way clearly needs humans’ help . . . but with what? And what will they ask for in return?

Goodreads Summary

I don't know if I would ever give up my life on Earth to go live on an alien planet.  Cara, our heroine, does exactly that.  Cara is the outsider on this planet and she doesn't even have her boyfriend, Aelyx, with her.  She must learn quickly to fit in.  I really liked learning more about L'eihr and the planet and people the author created.  The reader will find him/herself understanding much more about what Aelyx was referring to in the first book when he spoke of his planet.  

The plot increased in speed when the book took a twist and Cara helps in readying a human colony for L'eihr.  I have always both wanted to read about plans for a colony on Mars in the paper (and feared hearing about it) so this was right up my interest alley.  I thought the supporting characters did their jobs; they're not all likable, but they add another dimension to the novel.  Overall, this book is recommended to young adult/teen readers.

4 Stars

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

First In Line: Promo and Giveaway!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Being the first at anything is no easy feat, but you already know that.

-          You were reading The Hunger Games before VOLUNTEERING AS TRIBUTE.
-          You were FEELING THE FEELS from The Fault in Our Stars before it was TFIOS. Okay? Okay.
-          You KNEW YOUR FACTION while other people were being sorted into their houses.

Members receive a monthly newsletter and access to locked sections of the site. This will include special behind-the-book material and author content, such as never-before-seen deleted scenes, extended excerpts, author videos and Q&As, sharable social images, and advance reader’s copy giveaways!

The inaugural books that are being featured include: New York Times bestselling author James Dashner’s THE GAME OF LIVES, New York Times bestselling author David Levithan’s ANOTHER DAY, bestselling and critically acclaimed authors Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s ILLUMINAE, debut author Nicola Yoon’s EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING, and more!

We invite you to join now at www.firstinlinereaders.com! And, don’t forget to share your FIRST IN LINE moments with hashtag#FIRSTINLINE. Tell your friends, teens, and colleagues to secure THEIR place in line at www.firstinlinereaders.com.

GIVEAWAY!

Please leave a comment with your email for a chance to win a First In Line Tote! (USA)


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

Resist by Tracy Lawson: Q&A and Promo!

Knowledge comes with a price.
Tommy and Careen no longer believe the Office of Civilian Safety and Defense’s miracle antidote can protect them from a terrorist’s chemical weapons. After accidentally discovering the antidote’s real purpose, they join the fight to undermine the OCSD’s bid for total control of the population.
Being part of the Resistance brings with it a whole new set of challenges. Not everyone working for change proves trustworthy, and plans to spark a revolution go awry with consequences far beyond anything they bargained for. Tommy and Careen’s differing viewpoints threaten to drive a wedge between them, and their budding relationship is tested as their destinies move toward an inevitable confrontation with the forces that terrorize the nation.
Where does love fit in when you’re trying to start a revolution?
 

Goodreads Summary

1. Can you give us a brief summary of Resist?

QUICK SUMMARY OF COUNTERACT:
The Resistance Series takes place in a near-future version of the United States. The powerful Office of Civilian Safety and Defense has enacted a long list of Civilian Restrictions designed to keep the people safe from frequent terrorist attacks, but it hasn’t worked: as the story opens, the threat of a chemical weapons attack is literally hanging over everyone’s heads.
Careen takes the OCSD’s offered antidote, but the side effects cause her to hallucinate. Her erratic behavior attracts the attention of a young law enforcement officer, who mistakenly pegs her as a dissident. Careen doesn’t realize the antidote is causing her confusion…until she runs out on the day of the anticipated attack.
Tommy, recuperating from injuries sustained in a recent auto accident, is unaware that there’s a link between that accident, which killed his parents, and the chemical weapons attack that threatens him now. When he discovers that working out before he takes his dose of the antidote helps him feel more like himself, he defies the rules to regain his strength and his sanity. On the day of the attack, he meets Careen, who just might be the girl of his dreams, and tries to save her by sharing his last dose of the antidote, even though doing so could potentially hasten his own death.
What Careen and Tommy learn about the true nature of the terrorist threat spurs them to take action; their decisions lead them to run afoul of local law enforcement, team up with an underground resistance group, and ultimately take their quest for the truth to the highest reaches of the United States government.

QUICK SUMMARY OF RESIST:

In Resist, the second volume in the Resistance Series, Tommy and Careen are no longer na├»ve, frightened teenagers who believe the Office of Civilian Safety and Defense can protect them from terrorist attacks. They’ve discovered the OCSD’s miracle antidote’s true purpose: to create a population bereft of free will, incapable of defying the tyrannical OCSD. They join the Resistance, but on their first mission, things spin out of control and soon they’re on the run, dodging the quadrant marshals in a headlong dash for the Resistance’s secret headquarters.
Being part of the Resistance presents them with new challenges. Not everyone working for change will prove trustworthy, and plans to spark revolution go awry with consequences greater than they could’ve imagined. Tommy and Careen’s relationship is tested when their philosophical differences and the pressures of interpersonal rivalries and jealousy put a strain on their romance. Can they make time for each other while trying to start a revolution?
2. What was the inspiration behind The Resistance Series?

I was mentoring a friend of my daughter’s when the initial idea for Counteract came about. Chase is a pretty sharp guy and an excellent writer—and when he was in high school I had a lot of fun working with him and editing some of his short stories. We had finished working on a story about baseball, a broken nose, and a broken heart, and were ready to start something new, when he suggested we write scenes in response to the prompt: “What if everyone were on LSD and all thoughts were communal?” It was certainly thought provoking! Chase created the characters Tommy and Eduardo, I created Careen, and right away, we knew we were onto something. Obviously, the story morphed and changed a lot before it became the finished version of Counteract—but that was how it all began.

3. Did you always plan to write another book in the series?

I let my husband read the first draft of Counteract when I was about a third of the way through the original outline. He was enthusiastic and supportive and suggested developing a story line that could be carried forward if I chose to make Counteract the first in a series.

I liked the idea of doing more than one book about Tommy and Careen, and as I wrote the rest of the first draft, I pinpointed elements of the story I’d need to develop and expand to pave the way for a series.
4. How do the characters of Tommy and Careen develop in Resist?
Tommy and Careen are law-abiding citizens until they accidentally discover that the Office of Civilian Safety and Defense lied about the terrorist attack and why it mandated the use of the Counteractive System of Defense drug. They go from being accepting and compliant to impulsively joining a rebel group that’s working to overthrow the oppressive government agency, without having a chance to think about what they’re doing and why.
They’ve only known each other for a week, and their relationship has progressed far too quickly—they became a team, then a couple, without really getting to know each other, and soon they realize they don’t have much in common.
Tommy’s all for the physical aspects of revolution, and is eager to learn about guns and explosives. Careen finds kindred spirits among the older leaders of the group, who are committed to sway the public’s allegiance away from the OCSD by waging a war of information. Her pacifistic approach clashes with his need to prove himself on the field of battle, and further complicates their partnership.
5. What do you enjoy about this series that cannot be found in any of your other books?

The Resistance Series is my first published fiction. My other book, Fips, Bots, Doggeries, and More, is based on a journal kept by my great-great-great grandfather during his family’s 1838 horse and wagon trip from Cincinnati to New York City.

I did a ton of research before writing that book, and amassed two filing cabinet drawers full of information related to the 22-page journal! During the publication process, I nearly went crazy double-checking all my facts and citations, and by the time the book went to print, I never wanted to see another footnote. Fiction? Yes, please!

Now that I’ve had a little break from footnotes, I’m enjoying writing another nonfiction history book. I’m planning to merge my two favorite genres and write some YA historical fiction sometime after I finish the Resistance Series.

6. The main characters in The Resistance Series are Tommy and Careen. Where did you find your inspiration for them? 

My characters are a little bit of me, and little bits of people around me, but as I spend time with them in the context of the story, they become less like people in the real world; I don’t stop developing them until they are individuals: unique and unlike anyone else.

Chase created Tommy, and at first I wasn’t as close to him as I was Careen. That changed as I wrote more scenes for Tommy—especially the scene when he and Careen meet. His reactions and his choices came from inside me; before long, he was unique and independent of any outside influence.

7. How does the Office of Civilian Safety and Defense (OCSD) differ from other dystopian governments in young adult series like The Hunger Games and Divergent?

In the Resistance Series, there has been no rebellion, no cataclysmic event. The dystopian world in which they live has been created by fear, engineered by an enemy masquerading as a protector.

The Office of Civilian Safety and Defense was created to protect against the rampant terrorism that has affected the nation for the better part of the twenty-first century. Little by little, the OCSD usurped power from the traditional three branches of the US government.

The OCSD’s long list of Civilian Restrictions was designed to maximize safety and security. Most people don’t consider themselves oppressed or fettered by their lack of freedom. Teenagers like Tommy and Careen don’t know things were ever different. They can’t remember a time when teenagers learned how to drive and went on dates to malls and movie theaters.
8. What elements test the relationship between Tommy and Careen in Resist?
Tommy and Careen had only each other to rely on in Counteract, and their relationship progressed quickly—perhaps a little too quickly.
Now they’ve joined the Resistance, and they’re part of a community for the first time. They have a hard time adjusting to the constant scrutiny, and Tommy laments about how their relationship seemed a lot less complicated when they were alone.   
Their philosophical differences about how to fight the OCSD drive a wedge between them, and interpersonal rivalries and jealousy test their budding relationship.
9. What do you hope readers take away from this book?
First and foremost, I want readers enjoy the story! I hope they relate to Tommy and Careen, and look forward to reading the next installment in the series.
Books for young adults often reflect the reader’s need to question authority and rebel against the rules set down by older generations; the Resistance Series looks at what can happen when people surrender our civil liberties in exchange for the promise of safety and security.
I hope readers understand that protagonists in dystopian books are often branded as outcasts or rebels because they question the restrictive rules of their societies—and that individuals who change the world rarely do so by going along with the herd.
10. What kind of research did you do for the series?

Please don’t call the police if you see what’s in my browser history! I’ve Googled the effects of various controlled substances, different types of explosives, and interrogation techniques.

I learned to shoot a handgun so that my characters’ first experiences with weapons would be authentic. At first it was scary, but now I enjoy going to the target range. I’m no Annie Oakley yet, but I’m at least as good as Scarlett O’Hara, who once saucily told Rhett Butler, “I can shoot straight, if I don’t have to shoot too far.”

 11. What made you want to write books for young readers?

I love reading YA, and I taught dance classes for twenty years before I got serious about writing. I spent a lot of time around my students, my daughter, and her friends, so it seemed natural to write for a teen audience.

12. How long did it take you to write Resist?  

I wrote Resist in a little over a year. It went a lot faster than Counteract (which took almost three years) because I knew the characters well and had planned ways to continue the story into the second book.

13. Do you have any interesting writing quirks?

I like to write with pen and paper—preferably outside. I sit quietly until one of the characters starts to speak, and then I write down what they say. Some days I’ll scribble for pages and pages, and when I look at the clock I’ll be surprised how much time has flown by! I usually let those pages sit for at least a few hours, sometimes a few days, before I transcribe them into the computer, and that’s where the scenes really begin to take shape.

As far as writing snacks go, I’m partial to sunflower seeds and Diet Dr Pepper!

14. What does your family think of your writing?

My family has been very supportive. My husband knows how to urge me on when I get discouraged, and my daughter says I’m a better choreographer now that I’ve become an author. I guess writing helped me refine how to advance a story through dance.

I haven’t shared much about what happens in Resist with my family. My five teenaged nieces can’t wait to read it, and I can’t wait to hear what they think!

15. Tell us where we can find your book and more information about you. 

My books are available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle, and on Barnes & Noble’s online store. If you live near Columbus, Ohio, you can buy signed copies of my books at three independent stores: The Book Loft of German Village, Mary B’s, and Urban Emporium.

You can get the behind-the-scenes scoop on all things Resistance Series, see book trailers, and check out my blog at http://counteractbook.com. You can also find me on Twitter @TracySLawson and on Instagram as TracyLawsonAuthor.






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

Breakout by Ann Aguirre: Promo and Giveaway!

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We are absolutely thrilled to bring you the Release Week Blitz for Ann Aguirre's BREAKOUT! BREAKOUT is an Adult Romantic Science Fiction novel set in the Jax Universe and is a part of Ann Aguirre’s Dred Chronicles, published through Ace. Grab your copy of BREAKOUT today!

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    BREAKOUT Synopsis: All hell is breaking loose in the edge-of-your-seat follow-up to Havoc and Perdition fromNew York Times bestselling author Ann Aguirre… The prison ship Perdition has become a post-battle charnel house with only a handful of Dred’s soldiers still standing and now being hunted by Silence’s trained tongueless assassins. Forging an uneasy alliance with mercenary commander Vost—who is their only chance at escape—the Dread Queen will do whatever it takes to end her life sentence on Perdition and keep the survivors alive long enough to cobble together a transport capable of getting them off station. If Dred and her crew can win the deadly game of cat and mouse, the payoff is not only life but freedom—a prize sweeter than their wildest dreams. Yet the sadistic Silence would rather destroy Perdition than let a single soul slip from her grasp… Praise for the Dred Chronicles: "There's so much action, so much adventure, and more than that, it's great writing."—USA Today "SiranthaJax fans may be intrigued to see what befell Jael after his ill-considered actions there, and new lead Dred is a strong linchpin for a promising new series."—Publishers Weekly "Spectacularly and spell-bindingly perfect with high octane action that keeps you on the edge of your seat and a romance that is surprisingly sweet and tender in a harsh and unforiving setting...This is honestly one of the best SF romance series I have read." —Book Pushers  

And don’t miss the previous books in the Dred Chronicles!

Perdition1

PERDITION

HAVOC

HAVOC

      Author PhotoAbout Ann Aguirre: Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author and RITA winner with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. Ann likes books, emo music, action movies, and she writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens, published with Harlequin, Macmillan, and Penguin, among others.      

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BREAKOUT Excerpt:

While Jael and Keelah were gone, Dred felt the walls closing in. The space they’d chosen was barely sufficient for their number, but it was well hidden and defensible. She inspected all the machines to see if there was anything worthwhile, but she didn’t know enough about ship mechanics to be sure. Plus, stripping some vital part in here might compromise the station’s systems, killing them before they were ready to take off.
Mary, I hate feeling useless.
So she was beyond relieved when the two returned . . . but Jael was carrying RC-17. That didn’t bode well.
He handed it to her before climbing out of the wall panel, and she checked it for damage. The scorch marks on the casing looked like it had been shot, but she didn’t think any of the prisoners, apart from her crew, had managed to steal rifles or weapons. Dred turned an icy look onto Vost and his men. The shorter merc, Duran, shifted uneasily. Both the grunts were younger than the commander, probably by as much as ten turns. Redmond had curly black hair and medium brown skin while the other was pale and freckled. Duran seemed to be the youngest of everyone, and he exuded a boyish air that was probably what drew Calypso.
“Something you want to tell me?” she prompted.
“Yeah, about that . . .”
“Spit it out,” Vost ordered.
“Sorry, sir. When you sent us out to gather supplies a few days back, we ran across that unit. I thought it was scouting for our location, spying on us, so I blasted it.”
“Why didn’t you say something before?” Jael demanded.
Duran gave him a dark look. “You know how many cleaning bots I’ve run across up in this orbiting scrapyard? How would I know the one I shot is the exact droid you’re looking for?”
Tam shifted through the bodies crowded around the bro- ken unit to take a look, and Dred handed the metal carcass to him. With Ike gone, he likely knew the most about main- tenance and repair. A few minutes later, he let out a sigh.
“The battery’s completely fried. I’ll need to cannibalize another unit to get this one operational again.”
“How’s the memory core?” Martine asked.
That was the key bit. If that was damaged, too, they could forget about ever finding Ike’s stashes. And that might mean the end of their escape plans. Dred leaned in, along with everyone else, until Tam motioned them to get out of his light. Sheepish, she fell back a step.
He poked around a little more before pronouncing, “It looks intact, but I won’t know for sure until 17 powers up.”
“So before we start scavenging for ship parts,” Redmond muttered, “we have to find droid parts.”
Calypso sighed at him. “Why is your brain so limited? There are nine of us. It makes more sense to figure out what we need, then divide into search teams.”
“Like a scavenger hunt,” Martine said.
Jael offered a twisted smile. “Serious sodding hunt, bright eyes. The prize is freedom, the penalty for failure is execution.”
  InkSlinger Blogger Final This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ