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This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp: Promo and Giveaway!

Saturday, October 31, 2015
10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama's high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

The auditorium doors won't open.

Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student's calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

Goodreads Summary

Giveaway link here!

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

My First Peanuts: ABC and My First Peanuts: 1,2,3: Review and Giveaway!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Hurry, friend! Your Peanuts pals have made a mess of the letters of the alphabet and they need your help to get them back in order. Go on an alphabet adventure with the Peanuts gang as they hop from A to Z and teach your little one just how fun learning can be! Find fun little phrases and colorful letters on each page to help your child recognize every letter of the alphabet. Delight your little reader with their first Peanuts ABC book and begin a lifelong alphabet journey. Practicing the alphabet has never been this fun!

Personalize this story with a name, cute photo and a dedication message. Plus, discover a personalized alphabet poster at the end of the book!

Come along for some counting fun! Your favorite Peanuts pals are ready to play and teach a new friend to count along the way! Show your silly Peanuts friends how to keep their numbers in order, then rhyme from 1 to 10 to start your counting adventure. You will play hide and seek, splash at the beach, visit the library and find a pumpkin patch. Through every adventure, your smiling friends are counting on you to learn something new. Join this bright bunch and jump into the fun. Discover lessons that last a lifetime with your first Peanuts 1-2-3 book!

Personalize this story with a name, cute photo, and a dedication message. You can also include a very important number–your child’s age! Plus, discover a personalized 1-2-3 poster at the end of the book.

Use code SNOOPY to receive $10 OFF on personalized Peanuts books.
will both be discounted to $19.99. Code valid 10/25-10/31.


These books are ideal for a fun and educational Christmas gift!  The pages are bright, colorful and full of fun characters that your child and you are likely to recognize.  The Charlie Brown characters are cute and the book is written to engage young children throughout the story.  A parent, grandparent, or friend can personalize the story so that the child feels like this is a very special book.  With these two books, children can explore the alphabet and counting in a fun way and the peanuts characters can be passed down to another generation. The illustrations are fun and amusing and will definitely give any child a lot of enjoyment while they are learning these very essential skills.

4 Stars

Reviewed by Chris & Krystal


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

Persuasion by Martina Boone

Beautiful Creatures meets The Raven Boys in the spellbinding second novel in the Heirs of Watson Island trilogy that “skillfully blends rich magic and folklore with adventure, sweeping romance, and hidden treasure” (Publishers Weekly, onCompulsion).

Grieving the death of her godfather and haunted by her cousin Cassie’s betrayal, Barrie returns from a trip to San Francisco to find the Watson plantation under siege. Ghost-hunters hope to glimpse the ancient spirit who sets the river on fire each night, and reporters chase rumors of a stolen shipment of Civil War gold that may be hidden at Colesworth Place. The chaos turns dangerous as Cassie hires a team of archeologists to excavate beneath the mansion ruins. Because more is buried there than treasure.

A stranger filled with magic arrives at Watson’s Landing claiming that the key to the Watson and Beaufort gifts—and the Colesworth curse—also lies beneath the mansion. With a mix of threats and promises, the man convinces Barrie and Cassie to cast a spell there at midnight. But what he conjures may have deadly consequences.

While Barrie struggles to make sense of the escalating peril and her growing and forbidden feelings for Eight Beaufort, it’s impossible to know whom to trust and what to fight for—Eight or herself. Millions of dollars and the fate of the founding families is at stake. Now Barrie must choose between what she feels deep in her heart and what will keep Watson’s Landing safe in this stunning addition to a series filled with “decadent settings, mysterious magic, and family histories rife with debauchery” (Kirkus Reviews, on Compulsion).

Goodreads Summary

The sequel to the "Heirs of Watson Island," is full of the same awesome mystery and suspense that is present in the first book. The story begins with Barrie coming home to a Watson Plantation under attack. She has to protect the plantation while still digging up the mystery behind what lies beneath the mansion. This is where the story really gets interesting because there is so much to discover and the reader is guaranteed to have lots of fun figuring out the mysteries and enjoying the suspense the book provides. 

This book is a paranormal thrill ride that has many plot surprises and another twist and turn every time you blink. Right when you get comfortable with one aspect of the story you realize that you were probably wrong and it blows your mind apart. The author is great at drawing you in and then proceeding to unravel everything. One thing that I did not like, was the constant fighting between Barrie and Eight. I don't think that it added a lot to the story. Barrie's character was upbeat and intelligent.  Eight was more mysterious and the reader will need some time to feel him out.  Those of you who are big fans of ghost hunting will love the eerie darkness that is present throughout the story though. As the story goes on, it gets more fun and crazy and all of the characters get more frantic to solve the mystery. This book is recommended to young adult/teen readers. 

3.5 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

101 Movies to See Before You Grow Up by Suzette Valle: Review and Giveaway!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015
The perfect handbook for movie-lovers of all ages, helping both kids and parents choose classic and contemporary movies appropriate for the entire family.

Movies are made to entertain! Movies can make you think, teach you a lesson, or just let you escape into a fantasy world for a few hours. This book serves as an interactive bucket list of films for children ages 8 and up to watch before they grow up. 101 Movies to See Before You Grow Up goes beyond mainstream films. From modern flicks to classic films, the list offers a wide selection of "must see" movies. The book is divided into categories and acts as an interactive film journal where kids can document when they see the movie, if they liked it, and how they would rate it. Each page focuses on a single movie with basic information about each film, including the director, runtime, rating, and date of release. There is also a "Film Critic" section at the bottom of each page that allows young movie buffs to write in their own opinions and observations about the movie. 101 Movies to See Before You Grow Up is the perfect handbook for movie-lovers of all ages, helping both kids and parents choose classic and contemporary movies appropriate for the entire family.

"101 Movies' takes you on an infectiously fun and informative journey through the best of our movie history. Trust Suzette Valle to highlight films for entertainment value and good taste - worth having in every room in the house!" -- Sharon Waxman, Founder & Editor-in-Chief, TheWrap

"In a world of too much media and too little family time, Suzette Valle's book has great movie choices that bring families closer." - Nell Minow aka "Movie Mom"

Goodreads Summary

This book is awesome. Not because it has a plot, but because it explores so much of the cinematography that I grew up watching and falling in love with. There is Disney, Star Wars, It's A Wonderful Life, alien movies, family movies, and so much more. It was so much fun perusing all of the movies I've seen, and the the few that I haven't seen. You will relive memories and find a few new possible adventure nights for the future. Every movie included in here is definitely a masterpiece that everyone should see at some point in their lives. On top of the writing content, this book has an intriguingly simple theme of illustrations that allow you to immediately recognize what movie they represent. Although this movie is aimed at kids, it will definitely give hours of entertainment for any person of any age group.

4 Stars

Reviewed by Chris


Leave a comment with your favorite childhood movie and email to be entered to win this fun book!  You get an extra point for tweeting the giveaway @Icecream1891

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

Haunted Open House Giveaway!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Star Wars Psychology edited by Travis Langley

This essay collection offers a fascinating psychological analysis of the compelling and complex universe of George Lucas' richly rendered Star Wars series. A group of expert contributors examines such topics as family ties, Jedi qualities, masculinity, girl power, and the values embodied in both the "dark" and "light" sides of this psychologically spellbinding world.

Goodreads Summary

Everyone knows something about the Star Wars movies. Some people love them, others despise them, and many at least find a small fascination in the universe that George Lucas has created. The stories are epic and span light years of travel along with very visually stunning battles. Beyond the movies and even the plots people have taken to analyzing the stories for the psychological elements present.

That is where this book comes in. The editor Travis Langley, has compiled countless expert psychologist's accounts on topics that arise in the Star Wars universe. One topic that I really found interesting in this book, was the idea of humanizing and dehumanizing characters so that you feel a certain way about them. It made you really think about how much thought Lucas put into dehumanizing storm troopers that are humanoid by giving them masks yet also humanizing droids like R2-D2 even though he is a machine. Another part that really got me thinking is when the book goes into Darth Vader and what he represents. How he creates anxiety for the weak when he enters a room. How his mere presence creates an aura of power, which is representative of the aura that the empire holds by ruling the universe. This element of fear is what keeps people following the laws of the empire even when they aren't physically present. This book definitely dives into some deep topics, and its very interesting to see what the experts have to say about everything. This is something that psychologists and all others can enjoy on some level.

3.5 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

Christina Dodd Cover Reveal

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Rules of Employment for The Distinguished Academy of Governesses: Always remember your station. Be sure to maintain a disciplined schoolroom. And never, ever become too familiar with the master of the house...

Lady Charlotte Dalrumple is known as England’s most proper governess, a woman who has never taken a misstep socially--or romantically. On the surface, she seems perfectly suited to accept the challenge of reforming Lord Wynter Ruskin, sadly uncivilized by his travels abroad.

But Wynter has no desire to be taught manners. He glimpsed an uninhibited beauty hiding beneath Charlotte’s prim exterior, and he’d much rather spend his days--and nights--instructing her in the pleasures of the body and the passions of the heart. But before they can love both must also master the Rules of Surrender.

Hannah Setterington has decided to retire from governessing and become a paid companion to an elderly lady in the country. After all, she's looking for a more restful life. She sees years of calm restfulness ahead.

But when she arrives at the country manse at midnight, the place seems awfully gloomy. And all the servants are most improperly whispering about the master. His strange moodiness... his coldness... and the rumor that he killed his wife.

Back straight, our heroine walks staight into the baron's den, and as she looks at his strong shoulders from behind she instantly knows that he has not killed his wife even though the hairs on her own neck are prickling. He's totally innocent. How does she know? She is his wife.

And the sparks will be flying. . .

Lord Kerrich's position in Queen Victoria's court is imperiled by his rakish reputation, so he attempts a desperate ruse. He hires Miss Pamela Lockhart to find him an orphan to adopt and give the patina of respectability. However, he quickly finds himself loving the irrepressible child---and seducing her beautiful, wary governess.

A few words from the author

I have a confession. In a former life, I was a poor but proud Victorian governess. That's the only obvious explanation for my obsession with governess stories.

I've read and re-read Jane Eyre and always fiercely wanted to be like Jane — proud, independent, clever and the winner of a noble (and rich) man’s heart.

I've seen “The Sound of Music” innumerable times and each time I'm swept up in the magnificent scenery, the thrilling music and the story of the poor but feisty governess who captures the noble (and rich) man’s heart.

For me, there’s something eternally enticing about the tale of a woman who endures personal hardship, tames unruly children, and at the same time finds, to her surprise, that she is irresistible to the master of the house. These women are seldom beautiful, not necessarily well-born, and actively resist love's allure. Yet love in the shape of a tall, dark and autocratic gentleman finds them, captures them, and by the end of the story they are wed to that nobleman and enjoying all the advantages of wealth, privilege and the best sex in the world.

The Governess Brides series begins when Distinguished Academy of Governesses opens its doors to train young women for respectable occupations:

Unfortunately, in RULES OF SURRENDER, Miss Charlotte Dalrumple discovers her first position is to teach Lord Wynter Ruskin, sadly uncivilized by his travels abroad, to take his proper place in society. Hint: it doesn't go well.

In RULES OF ENGAGEMENT, because of his unrepentantly disreputable ways, the Earl of Kerrich is in trouble with the queen. His solution: hire a governess and obtain an orphan to raise. That will make him appear respectable. Trouble: the kid is charming, he's falling in love with the unattractive governess … but other than that, what could go wrong? … Oh, so much.

In RULES OF ATTRACTION, Miss Hannah Setterington travels far into the lonely English countryside to take a new position and hears rumors that the master killed his beautiful young wife. Could any situation be worse? Yes, it could, for she knows the rumors are not true … because she is his runaway wife.

With eleven full-length books and one novella, the Governess Brides is my longest-running and most-popular historical series (six of the titles are on the Goodreads List of Best Governess Romances.) So when Avon Books announced they would repackage the books to introduce them to a new audience, and showed me the concepts, those compelling heroes with their direct gazes drew me at once into the stories.  I promptly sat down with the Rules books to reacquaint myself with the characters and stories and — guess what? I ended up reading them from beginning to end and living, laughing and falling in love along with my governess heroines. I've always said I write the books I want to read. I hope you read and enjoy the Governess Brides, too!

New York Times bestselling author Christina Dodd builds worlds filled with suspense, romance and adventure and creates the most distinctive characters in fiction today. Her fifty+ novels — suspense, paranormals, and historicals — have been translated into twenty-five languages, won Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart and RITA Awards and been called the year’s best by Booklist. Dodd herself has been a clue in the Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle — her mother was totally impressed. With more than twenty-five million of her books in print and eBook, her legions of fans always know that when they pick up a Christina Dodd book, they’ve found, “an absolute thrill ride of a book!”

Enter Christina’s worlds at and join her free mailing list for book news and sales. 

Lady Charlotte Dalrumple, Miss Pamela Lockhart,
and Miss Hannah Setterington
Are sick and tired of having their successful endeavors
rewarded with dismissal
Invite you to visit

The Distinguished Academy of Governesses

Born of their determination to seize control of their lives by
Offering the finest in governesses, companions and instructors
 to fill any need
Serving fashionable society since March 1, 1839

Christina Dodd
The Governess Brides Series
Rules Of Surrender
Rules Of Engagement
Rules Of Attactration

Read the Rules now!

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 Wild Swans by Jackie Morris: Q&A and Giveaway!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

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The Wild Swans
Retold and illustrated by Jackie Morris

This very beautiful and lyrical extended version of the fairy tale 'The Wild Swans' by Hans Christian Andersen is the much anticipated companion to East of the Sun, West of the Moon. With strong characterization of the heroine and also with more rounded characterization of the wicked stepmother than in the original version, and with delicate watercolor paintings throughout, this is both a wonderful story and delightful gift.

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Jackie Morris lives in Pembrokeshire, Wales, with children, dogs and cats. Ever since leaving college, Bath Academy of Art, at least one cat has watched over her while she works. Big cats and small are a passion in her life, and it was while reading and watching her cat Pixie sleeping in winter that the idea for I am Cat came about. Among her many books for Frances Lincoln are The Ice BearThe Snow Leopard, and Tell me a Dragon.


 Q & A 

1)   What was your main inspiration for the book?

The Wild Swans is a story that I have always known, in different forms. The inspiration for working with this story myself was primarily my desire to try to understand it better. Also, I love the idea of a heroine whose heroic task to rescue her brothers is to knit in silence. When I was young I loved to knit, and in working with this book I have rediscovered this passion, I have made time to sit and knit, in silence often, on the hill above my house, in woodland, beside rivers, at readings.

2) Who was your favorite character to write about?

I loved discovering the White Queen, who has no name. She’s often a cipher, a wicked stepmother, with no character. I wanted to make her more than that. She’s a creature of the wild wood, with an ever moving crown of moths and white fur slippers she keeps beneath her bed that when she slips her feet into them can turn her into a wild white hare.
She is always outside the family. At the beginning of the book she is seen flying over the woods as a wild white egret. At the end she watches from the edge of the wood as a white hare. I haven’t finished with her yet. I need to write about her more.

3)   Are there any traits you want your main character to display?

Eliza, the main character of the book has courage, patience, empathy. She loves her brothers so much that she is willing to devote everything to bringing them back to human form. But she has flaws. She doesn’t listen to her brother, Cygfa, or maybe just is thinking of herself and her own wishes.

4)   Please list five reasons we should grab your book!

I can only think of one. The Wild Swans is a story that has lived with me all my life. It is part of the furniture of my mind. In it there are moments of real beauty. I would love to share this with other people, but there are many retellings, many versions. I’ve written mine to be read aloud really, by all ages, or carried around to be used as a harbour, a place of escape. I hope people who need it will find it. It’s such a small voice in such a busy world.

5)   Are you working on another book project?

I am currently working on four cover designs for a wonderful American author called Robin Hobb. I do all her jacket art in the UK and I adore her writing.
Also working on a true story set in Seattle about an Arctic Fox for a Scottish publisher called Barrington Stoke, a counting book called One Cheetah, One Cherry, a Book of Beautiful Numbers and finally a book called The Lost Words written by Robert MacFarlane, a wonderful British author who is very well known in the UK, but perhaps less so in the US? His words are a gift that drop into my inbox for time to time, bringing the wild world behind them. They are a hymn to the wild and a balm to the soul.
And I have a head full of stories that circle like sharks until one decides to grab my attention and shake me until I write it.
And I am knitting.
And when people ask me what I am knitting I say, “well, obviously, a shirt for a wild swan”.


Please comment with your name and email address for a chance to win this awesome book!

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

We Are All Made Of Molecules Blog Tour

Saturday, October 24, 2015

« “This savvy, insightful take on the modern family makes for nearly nonstop laughs.”—Kirkus, Starred

“Nielsen has expertly created two characters with strong personalities, each of whom is loveable
and endearing in their own unique ways.”—VOYA

By Susin Nielsen

Hi— Award-winning author Susin Nielsen delivers an unforgettable and poignant young adult novel, WE ARE ALL MADE OF MOLECULES (Wendy Lamb Books / On sale May 12, 2015 / Ages 12 and up), written in alternating voices. Nielsen deftly explores family tragedy and family ties; sibling rivalry and union; and adolescent confusion and revelation. For WONDER fans who are a little older: a hilarious novel starring a sweet, awkward boy, a not-so-sweet girl, and the bully they defeat.

I’m writing to invite you to participate in a blog tour for WE ARE ALL MADE OF MOLECULES, if interested please reply with the format of your choice— review, giveaway, interview or guest posts (There will be a limit 5 guest post requests. Make sure you book your date fast, so I can get your name on the list!)–and the date of your choice, October 1st—October 31st for National Bullying Prevention Month.  Below is information about the book and I look forward to hearing from you!


Author: Susin Nielsen
$16.99 / 256 pages


“There’s so much to love about this story . . . but what grabbed me the most is the humor.”
—Christopher Paul Curtis, winner of the Newbery Medal

Thirteen-year-old Stewart is academically brilliant but socially clueless.

Fourteen-year-old Ashley is the undisputed “It” girl in her class, but her grades stink.
Their worlds are about to collide when Stewart and his dad move in with Ashley and her mom.  Stewart is trying to be 89.9 percent happy about it, but Ashley is 110 percent horrified, especially when ”Spewart,” the freakazoid brainiac, transfers into her ninth-grade class. She already has to hide the real reason her dad moved out, and Spewart better not tell anyone the truth about her parents’ divorce.

They are complete opposites, but they have one thing in common: they—like everyone else—are made of molecules.

A laugh-out-loud novel that will also have you wiping tears from your eyes, WE ARE ALL MADE OF MOLECULES is wonderfully entertaining.

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

What We Left Behind by Robin Talley

Friday, October 23, 2015

From the critically acclaimed author of Lies We Tell Ourselves comes an emotional, empowering story of what happens when love isn't enough to conquer all.

Toni and Gretchen are the couple everyone envied in high school. They've been together forever. They never fight. They're deeply, hopelessly in love. When they separate for their first year at college—Toni to Harvard and Gretchen to NYU—they're sure they'll be fine. Where other long-distance relationships have fallen apart, their relationship will surely thrive.

The reality of being apart, however, is a lot different than they expected. As Toni, who identifies as genderqueer, falls in with a group of transgender upperclassmen and immediately finds a sense of belonging that has always been missing, Gretchen struggles to remember who she is outside their relationship.

While Toni worries that Gretchen, who is not trans, just won't understand what is going on, Gretchen begins to wonder where she fits in Toni's life. As distance and Toni's shifting gender identity begins to wear on their relationship, the couple must decide—have they grown apart for good, or is love enough to keep them together?

Goodreads Summary

Everyone can think of that couple from high school that seems to have weathered it all through thick and thin and are "meant to be." It seems as though Toni and Gretchen are this couple as they finish their senior year of high school however they go to different colleges and both begin to discover things about their selves that may not be conducive to them staying together. Now they find themselves at a crossroads, and they need to decide if staying together is the best choice for their future selves.

There are so many real life topics that are touched on in this book that are completely relevant to today's society. Beyond the idea of a failing long distance relationship in college, we get introduced to the idea of a man identifying himself with a gender group called "genderqueer." I had never heard this term before this book, so I had to look it up and do some research, however it is interesting. I feel bad for people who struggle with gender identity, and this is something that Toni faces as he enters college. On top of these ideas, you see a lot of what its like to move away from home into your first year at college and begin to find yourself. As much as some might try to avoid it, many people change when they go away to school. The author does a great job at portraying this and telling a great story. Check out this book, its worth a read.

3.5 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

Edgewater by Courtney Sheinmel

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Lorrie Hollander used to be a rich girl, but now she's lost everything because of the secrets and lies of the people around her. It's been 12 years since Lorrie's mother skipped town and left Lorrie in the care of her unstable aunt Gigi. Together they live in a neglected, decrepit mansion called Edgewater, the eyesore in a town of extraordinary wealth and privilege. Then Charlie, the son of an esteemed senator, takes an interest in Lorrie, her shame for her family and lifestyle runs deep. But what she doesn't know is that Charlie's family is hiding something, too, and that their secrets are inextricably tied. Now Lorrie must confront the truth about her family--and everything she ever thought she knew about herself.

Goodreads Summary

Lorrie's family was very wealthy and she used to be in boarding school.  They lost a lot of their money due to duplicity and deception.  Now she is left in charge of a mentally unstable aunt and put into the responsibility of taking care of a run down mansion. Its a lot of issues for any human being to deal with, and when a man takes interest in her, she begins to discover that his secrets may tie into some of the answers to the unanswered questions she has about her family.

The author does a great job at making you really want to know the answers to all of the questions that Lorrie has about her family. I found that the more I read, the more I wanted to know everything. As a result, I couldn't put the book down until it was completely finished. I found myself wanting to know more about Lorrie's love interest as I dug into the story. So many questions ran through my head, not only because I wanted to know the answers, but also because I Lorrie to get some mental relief. In general, this book is easy to follow and an enjoyable read overall.   

3.5 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

Cover Reveal: Don't Get Caught by Kurt Dinan: Promo and Giveaway!

Debut author Kurt Dinan reveals the cover of Don’t Get Caught, and gives readers a first-time sneak peek:

Describe your book in 140 characters or less?

A high school nobody recruits a crew of misfits for heists and pranks to get revenge on the mysterious Chaos Club. #DontGetCaught

How did you come up with the idea for Don’t Get Caught?
Look, who hasn’t wanted to rob a bank?  Or at least hasn’t thought about it?  I can’t be the only one, right?  Right? So, I suppose Don’t Get Caught is my way of robbing a bank without risking actual jail time because, let me make this clear, I would not do well in prison.  I love capers, heists, and schemes, and while the crew in this novel aren’t robbing banks, they are satisfying my criminal thoughts by doing the teenage equivalent of bank robbery--wrecking havoc in their high school.

Tell us about the main character.
Max is a high school nobody, a kid who’s smart enough and nice enough to get by, but who doesn’t really fit in anywhere.  So basically, he’s me at sixteen.  But what Max has that I certainly didn’t have is a genius-level ability to scheme and a newly discovered gift for leading misfits.  He’s underestimated by everyone, a fact that works to his advantage when he decides it’s time to write his name in the wet cement of the universe by destroying a forty-year-old secret society.

Did your class in high school pull any memorable pranks? Or is there one you wish you had pulled?
My prank life didn’t begin until college when I helped mastermind a promotion for a fake campus concert that almost led to my arrest.  But in my final year of high school, the six-hundred members of my senior class were crowded onto bleachers for an all-class picture.  I look at that picture now and see an opportunity for chaos.  I mean, how much would it have cost to hire an airplane to drop a hundred gallons of water at the precise moment the picture was taken?  Or to organize a group of kids to all wear neon shirts and arrange themselves into something profane within the crowd?  It’s missed opportunities like this that keep me up at night.

What books formed your thinking or reflected who you were as a child and teen reader?
I read a lot of early Stephen King probably before I was old enough, and then through high school it was mostly comic books and classics.  I do specifically remember reading Helter Skelter during my junior year, dragging that non-fiction monster around with me for a month or so.  Looking back on it now, that’s probably all of the evidence needed to explain why I didn’t have a girlfriend in high school.

About Don’t Get Caught:

17-year-old Max Cobb is sick of being “Just Max”—the kind of guy whose resume boasts a measly 2.5 GPA and a deep love of heist films. So when an invitation appears in his locker to join the anonymous, untraceable, epic prank-pulling Chaos Club, Max jumps at the opportunity to leave “Just Max” in the dust.
Except that the invite is really a set-up, and Max—plus the 4 other kids who received similar invitations—are apprehended by school security for defacing the water tower.  This time, Max has had enough. Time for Heist Rule #6:

Always Get Payback.

Let the prank war begin...

About Kurt Dinan:

Kurt Dinan is a high school English teacher. He’s had several short stories published, including one in 2010’s The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, with his wife, three young sons, and baby girl. Don’t Get Caught is his first novel.

Excerpt from Don’t Get Caught:

I may not be a fan of heights, but I especially hate ladders. I always think the rung I’m on is going to break away and send me plummeting. So climbing the water tower ladder in the dark, the rungs sticky for some reason, only worries me more. But despite that, I’d be lying if I didn’t say how awesome this was. The higher I climb, the harder my heart pounds from the adrenaline. I feel like a jewel thief scaling a skyscraper at midnight on his way to stealing the Hope Diamond.
Up ahead in the darkness, Wheeler goes into a mock newscaster’s voice announcing, “Five Asheville High School students fell to their deaths last evening when—”
“Shut up,” Malone says.
The climb takes only two minutes but feels like an hour when the ladder ends at the base of a metal grating no more than four feet wide. If a strong wind blows, a waist-high railing is all that’s there to keep me from hurtling to my death.
“Wow, this is higher than I thought,” Ellie says, looking out over the lights of the town.
Malone, recording everything with her phone, says, “I wish I had my climbing gear. I’d love to repel off this.”
“What was it Jesus said, Ellie?” Wheeler says. “‘I think I can see my house from up here’?”
And me, I want down. And not just down, but to roll in the grass and kiss the earth. Then, as I’m about to wuss out, Ellie’s hand is in mine and she’s leading me along the platform.
“Come on,” she says. “Let’s look for the next clue.”
Her hand is soft and warm, and if the platform gives away right now, I can die a happy man.
“You get to open the next envelope if there is one,” Ellie says. “Or maybe it’ll be like in the movies, and there’ll be a cell phone that rings and—”
My foot kicks something metal sending it clanking and skittering across the platform before dropping into the night.
From the other side of the tower Malone says, “What was that?”
I look down at my feet and see four more of what I’ve just booted—spray paint cans.
And in one horrifying moment, I realize why the rungs were sticky when we climbed.
Red paint covers my hands.
Oh shit.
I lean back for a better view of the water tower to see what’s been spray-painted there. The wet paint trails down from certain letters like red teardrops.
Double shit.
Heist Rule #5: When in doubt, run.
But we don’t get that chance.
Suddenly, the water tower lights blaze to life illuminating the newly painted message for the entire town to see.
Assville High School, Home of the Golden Showers.
Both Malone and Wheeler say, “Shit.”
Ellie says, “Wow.”
Adleta says nothing.
And then a voice booms from a bullhorn below where red-and-blue lights flash in the parking lot.
“This is the police. Come down immediately.”
So much for Don’t get caught.

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