Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Happy Release Day, THE DOLLHOUSE ASYLUM!

14741373 Paperback, 296 pages
Expected publication: October 22nd 2013 by Spencer Hill Press
ISBN 1937053644 (ISBN13: 9781937053642)
Edition language: English
Book Blurb: A virus that had once been contained has returned, and soon no place will be left untouched by its destruction. But when Cheyenne wakes up in Elysian Fields--a subdivision cut off from the world and its monster-creating virus--she is thrilled to have a chance at survival. At first, Elysian Fields, with its beautiful houses and manicured lawns, is perfect. Teo Richardson, the older man who stole Cheyenne's heart, built it so they could be together. But when Teo tells Cheyenne there are tests that she and seven other couples must pass to be worthy of salvation, Cheyenne begins to question the perfection of his world. The people they were before are gone. Cheyenne is now "Persephone," and each couple has been re-named to reflect the most tragic romances ever told. Everyone is fighting to pass the test, to remain in Elysian Fields. Teo dresses them up, tells them when to move and how to act, and in order to pass the test, they must play along. If they play it right, then they'll be safe. But if they play it wrong, they'll die.

 


Excerpt from Chapter One
 “Makeup is good.” Teo taps lightly on a handheld computer screen. “Hair is so-so.” He continues to scan the device, and I don’t like how he’s picking me apart like he’s Photoshopping me. Where are the other students? Or maybe it’s more than I could ever hope: it’s really just the two—three—of us, and he is finally unveiling his feelings. I never expected to fall in love with a teacher, but when I started at Khabela, the Austin math and science school, Teo was the only one who welcomed me. It took me a moment to understand why a math teacher would care that I read Tristan and Isolde, but soon we were knee-deep in conversation about all our favorite classic stories. I wish he’d tell me why he brought me here. Maybe he let my mom know, explained what we were actually doing. “Teo—?” But I fail for words, the gray walls seeming to snatch at the fear inside me. My palms break out in a sweat and it’s calculus all over again, where Teo asked me to stand in front of my class to share the index card I had made to memorize last year’s trig functions. While I hate speaking in front of groups, I did it anyway, my heart slamming against the insides of my chest the entire time. When I’d finished, Teo congratulated me, making the fear worth it. Tapping his computer screen, Teo trains his gaze on me again, softening a little. “I cannot tell you how much seeing you here pleases me.” My heart flip-flops and it’s hard to say anything. He’s happy to see me. It’s all I can do to keep myself from smiling stupidly. He takes one step toward me and I long to fill the gap. And when he speaks, his voice rings out in a baritone melody. “I hope you enjoy our little neighborhood, Miss Laurent. The women are on one side of the street, the men on the other. They each have their own houses. Seven again.” His lips perk up into one of those smiles that I love, and I’m reminded of his reverence for the number seven, how he arranges our desks in three rows of seven. Glancing at the wooden door ahead, I open my mouth to ask if he’ll show me this street, when he says, “That is right. You should desire to go through that door. Of course, the choice is yours.” He gestures behind me. “The back door is always an option.” I turn to find the back door, only to see plastic shadows, slick and dark—body bags—hanging on a rod by the door. Another one of Teo’s jokes, maybe. A metaphorical exercise. Life without love is not living. See, Miss Laurent, you might as well be dead. But Teo would never hurt me. When we kissed, he held me like a porcelain doll, treasured me. “Front door, then?” Teo asks when I manage to turn back to him, his tone light, almost happy. He wants to show me this neighborhood that revolves around the number seven. I’m not sure what to make of it, but I want him to show me. Teo and the albino grab me by the arms and force me up, but there’s no reason to be touchy-feely. Wherever he goes is where I want to be. Teo is brilliant and kind. He would never shatter me.

 
Mary GrayAbout the Author:
Mary Gray has a fascination with all things creepy. That's why all her favorite stories usually involve panic attacks and hyperventilating. In real life, she prefers to type away on her computer, ogle over her favorite TV shows, and savor fiction. When she's not immersed in other worlds, she and her husband get their exercise by chasing after their three children. THE DOLLHOUSE ASYLUM is her first novel.

Author Links: Goodreads | Website | YouTube | Twitter | Facebook



Giveaway
To celebrate the release of THE DOLLHOUSE ASYLUM, author Mary Gray is giving away one signed copy of THE DOLLHOUSE ASYLUM (U.S. only) and an unsigned copy of THE DOLLHOUSE ASYLUM (open to all). Ends 10/23/13 (midnight).

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway!!!


A NOTE FROM KK:
Hooray! It's another Reading With Me title- which means I got to have all sorts of fun promoting this one! I'm gonna be honest- it's not the kind of book that I'd usually read- I'm not really into the creepy books. But it was DEFINITELY a creepy book. Gaaaaaah. Like, probably it's not a good idea to read it alone in the dark by yourself. And you may possibly want to whack Cheyenne over the head in the beginning for being clueless. But luckily (or unluckily, as the case may be), she's quickly jolted out of her little lala land bubble, and that is where the creepiness begins. Possibly I may have yelled at this book a few times while reading... the words "OH MY GOD WHAT JUST HAPPENED??" may have happened a few times :)
I happen to be a bit of a history nerd and I have a special place in my heart for tragic romances, so having that aspect of the book was absolutely fabulous, and gave it a twist that you don't tend to find in books, which is a definite win. The story itself was actually pretty thought provoking- it got me thinking about what would make a love story tragic, and the boundaries we set when it comes to people we love, and the consequences we face when people take love and protection a little too far.
NOTE: The words "older man" in the blurb really weirded me out, because I thought it meant like, a forty year old. It does not. Cheyenne is eighteen (I'm pretty sure) and Teo is twenty four. So, he's older, but not super creepy pedophile older.
The writing itself was excellent, and the writing and the plot line kept me turning pages and "Oh no she didn't"ing all the way 'til the end. If creepy dystopian fiction is your thing, and a seriously twisted yet somehow kind of sympathetic villain makes you all happy, run to your nearest bookstore and get yourself a copy. You'll be glad you did. *cheesy wink*

Friday, October 18, 2013

REVIEW: SWEET SURRENDERING By Chelsea M. Cameron

Happiest of Fridays, lovelies! I'm so excited to be one of the blog tour stops for the wonderful Chelsea M. Cameron and her latest book- actually, it's her first adult book! SWEET SURRENDERING.

First, let us take a moment to drool at the abs...um, cover. Cover.

Now, a cover like that kind of gives you expectations. Sexy expectations, yes? YES. *pats cover uncreepily* And Chelsea, because she is so excellent like that, delivers on the sexiness one hundred percent.

SUMMARY: (VIA GOODREADS)
She’s his boss. He doesn’t care. This office isn’t big enough for the two of them…

When Rory Clarke ends up hiring the guy she spent one steamy night with to be her administrative assistant, she's determined to keep things professional.

Lucas Blaine has other plans for her. He wants Rory, and it’s hard to resist his stunning blue eyes, chin dimple and the way he fills out a suit. Everywhere she looks, there he is, giving her a panty-melting smile and pulling her away for the most amazing (and satisfying) sex she’s ever had in her life.

What starts off as one sexual encounter turns into multiple trysts in and out of the office and the lines she’d tried to draw so carefully are blurring. But the closer they get, the more Rory realizes that there are things about Lucas she doesn’t know, things he’s hiding from her. She’ll have to decide if she can surrender to her feelings or get out while she still can.

THOUGHTS FROM THE PEANUT GALLERY:
I was lucky enough to get an eARC of the book, although that doesn't in any way reflect my view of the book. It just means I got to read it early and squee silently about Lucas before any of you did :)

So, you know how there are some books you read because you want to contemplate the existence of the universe, and there are some books you read because you need a good cry, and then there are some books you read because you just want a book equivalent to an iced latte? Sweet and frothy and fun and refreshing? Well, if I would compare SWEET SURRENDERING to a beverage (because why not), I'd go with either an iced caramel latte (with whipped cream. Obviously.) or a moscato.

It was FUN. It was sexy. It was exactly what I had been wanting to read- a romance where the main character wasn't whiny or mopey or pining after some guy the whole time, a guy who has earned himself a spot in my Fictional Book Boyfriend Harem, and just enough of a mystery to give it a little twist.

Rory, the main character, was fabulous. She grew up rich, but was not the annoying rich girl. She's a hard worker, and one of the reasons she works so hard is because of her parents, which shows you a lot about her personality. When Lucas ends up being the best bet for Rory's administrative assistant, Rory has to decide whether hiring basically the hottest guy in the universe is a good plan.

Lucas working as Rory's administrative assistant is what a lot of people wish their office jobs were like- working in a gorgeous office with a drop dead gorgeous man. They sleep together, 'to get it out of their systems' HAHAHAHAHA, and lemme just say, you can read those scenes outside during a blizzard and you'd be fine. And there are certain office supplies you will never look at the same way anymore. ;)

So, the problem with having your administrative assistant becoming your Sexcretary kind of makes things complicated, and Rory has to figure out if Lucas is nothing more than a hot guy who's a great time in bed, or if he's actually worth fighting for.

All in all, SWEET SURRENDERING was an adorable book. It was a super fun read- a little predictable (well, it's an office romance. It follows the plot of one.) but that was totally okay with me. There's a reason office romances sell- because we all at one point have probably had a coworker that we thought sexy thoughts about. Whether you end up acting on said thoughts... *shrugs* Hopefully that's your little secret :) Chelsea is a fabulous writer- the characters jump off the pages (hello, Rory & Sloane, please be my friends forever thanks), and the story flowed smoothly. It was such a pleasure to be able to dive into Rory and Lucas's world for a little bit.

Some fabulous little quotes:
"Growing up with money meant that I practically had a degree in Men Who Don't Understand The Word No." -earc, loc 36

"I swear to God, I was going to kill Royce Winkle for cheating on me so I had to break up with him, so I wasn't getting regular sex anymore. The fact that his last name was Winkle should have been my first red flag, but he was charming and rich and liked to pay for dinner when we went out." -earc, loc 113

"Listening to douches with guitars that they think can sing and and girls with too many feelings trying to pour them into crappy lyrics? I am there," I said, raising my head.' -earc, loc 169

"Fuck you evolution for making a guy who is good with children so fucking attractive. Especially right now." -earc, loc 1492
FINAL VERDICT: 
If you're a fan of slightly snarky, sexy romance? Definitely. If you're a tad more uptight and don't approve of fictional office romance? Not for you.
And OHAI SWEET SURRENDERING is on a release sale- for a mere NINETY NINE PENNIES. So go one-click this fabulousness and then use the money you saved to buy yourself a latte. A pumpkin spice one, because it's October.

BUY LINKS: 
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1anY3zp
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1gIPYeU
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/sweet-surrendering
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id722387866

GIVEAWAY: 
HOORAY!! The grand prize winner will get to name a character in a future book, win a signed inspiration collage (OMG please tell me that includes some Lucas abs. *dreams*), and a red shoe charm bracelet. The 4 runners up will receive a red shoe charm bracelet. And and and the contest is international!


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Author Information:

Chelsea M. Cameron is a YA/NA New York Times/USA Today Best Selling author from Maine. Lover of things random and ridiculous, Jane Austen/Charlotte and Emily Bronte Fangirl, red velvet cake enthusiast, obsessive tea drinker, vegetarian, former cheerleader and world's worst video gamer. When not writing, she enjoys watching infomercials, singing in the car and tweeting (this one time, she was tweeted by Neil Gaiman). She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maine, Orono that she promptly abandoned to write about the people in her own head. More often than not, these people turn out to be just as weird as she is.

Her New Adult Contemporary Romance titles include My Favorite Mistake, which has been bought by Harlequin along with a sequel, Deeper We Fall and Faster We Burn (April 20, 2013)

Her Young Adult books include Nocturnal, Nightmare and Neither, the first three books in The Noctalis Chronicles. The fourth and final book, Neverend will be out in 2013. Whisper, the first in The Whisper Trilogy is also available, with the second book in the series, Silence and the final book, LIsten coming out in 2014.




Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Happiest of Book Birthdays, RECLAIMED!

16045763Paperback, 296 pages
Expected publication: October 15th 2013 by Spencer Hill Contemporary
ISBN: 1937053881 (ISBN13: 9781937053888) Edition language: English

  Book Blurb: Jenna Oliver doesn’t have time to get involved with one boy, let alone two. All Jenna wants is to escape her evaporating small town and her alcoholic mother. She's determined she'll go to college and find a life that is wholly hers—one that isn't tainted by her family's past. But when the McAlister twins move to town and Jenna gets involved with both of them, she learns the life she planned may not be the one she gets. Ian McAlister doesn't want to start over; he wants to remember. Ian can’t recall a single thing from the last three months—and he seems to be losing more memories every day. His family knows the truth, but no one will tell him what really happened before he lost his memory. When he meets Jenna, Ian believes that he can be normal again because she makes not remembering something he can handle. The secret Ian can’t remember is the one Luke McAlister can’t forget. Luke has always lived in the shadow of his twin brother until Jenna stumbles into his life. She sees past who he’s supposed to be, and her kiss brings back the spark that life stole. Even though Luke feels like his brother deserves her more, Luke can’t resist Jenna—which is the trigger that makes Ian's memory return. Jenna, Ian, & Luke are about to learn there are only so many secrets you can keep before the truth comes to reclaim you.

Buy Links:
Add RECLAIMED to your Goodreads shelf.

 About the Author
Sarah Guillory smaller Sarah Guillory is a YA author. In addition, she teaches sophomore English and loves that they pay her to fan girl over books and authors and to watch her students fall in love with the written word. Sarah lives in Louisiana with her husband and ridiculously spoiled bloodhound. RECLAIMED is her debut novel. Author Links: Goodreads | Website | Blog | Twitter | Tumblr




Announcements
In honor of Teen Read Week, Sarah Guillory is donating several copies of RECLAIMED to school libraries. She's also having a huge giveaway that includes a $100 giftcard to the bookstore of your choosing and a 30 minute Skype chat with you or the classroom of your choosing. Stop by her blog to learn more! Also, on Friday, October 18th, at 5:00 PM EST, we will begin the 24-hour RECLAIMED read-along. This is the time for everyone to be reading, tweeting, and reacting to RECLAIMED. No Spoilers, please, just good reading fun! Sarah will also be doing a live online chat on Monday, October 21st, at 9:00 EST so tweet your spoiler-free questions using the hashtags #RECLAIMED, #RWM, and #askGuillory. To learn more about these wonderful events, stop by Sarah's blog!

A Note From KK:
OMG YOU GUYS.
As one of the members of the RWM team, I can tell you that I have been waiting for this day for SO LONG. I was so lucky to be able to read RECLAIMED early and I am in awe of Sarah's writing. I was honestly pretty hesitant to pick up the book at first- I'm really not a fan of love triangles. Pretty much ever. And then I read RECLAIMED and I can honestly say it is one of the only love triangles I not only liked, but LOVED.
That's right. I said LOVED.
I know. I almost didn't believe it myself.
The characters leaped off the page- Jenna, Ian and Luke were all so incredibly real. One of the reasons I really hate love triangles is because they don't feel real, or they just seem dumb- like, it's not an actual triangle and the girl is just stringing one of the guys along. Or I hate both the love interests, or I'm mad at the main character for being annoying. (Why are so many love triangle female characters so annoying??) None of that happened. I loved Jenna- her struggles felt real and sometimes familiar- the ache to leave the little bubble you grew up in and go and find yourself somewhere new. Luke and Ian- their relationships, with each other, and both of their relationships with Jenna were heartbreaking and beautiful. The struggle to choose wasn't overdone at all- which is why I can tell you that RECLAIMED has a love triangle I actually liked a lot.
The story was engrossing and wonderful and was nothing that I expected and everything I hoped it would be. I laughed, I cried, I screamed and squeed and almost threw the book across the room at one point. And I had the biggest, cheesiest grin on my face when I got to the end. And yes, I did actually, in real life, pat my heart with happiness.
This is a debut that you do not want to miss.
And for all of Sarah's students: YOU GUYS ARE SO LUCKY SHE'S YOUR TEACHER.

Hope y'all are having a wonderful Tuesday!
xo

Thursday, October 10, 2013

FREE BOOKS.

HOORAY!!!
All the free books today- and conveniently, they're all copies of Heart Breaths!

First, a super huge congratulations to the two winners of the eARCs from the cover reveal giveaway: Faith and Dawn- I've already emailed you both.

It's a little crazy that Heart Breaths is at the formatter now- which means that come the weekend, I'm going to start sending it to people to read.

People who aren't me.

EEEEEE!!!

If you'd like an eARC (not printing any ARCs yet, if I decide to I'll update y'all) of Heart Breaths, I'd love to send one to you- all I ask for in exchange is a fair and honest review.
And if you'd like to be part of the potential Heart Breaths blog tour (running release week), please feel free to sign up in the handy dandy Google Doc below.



Thank you thank you thank you thank you :)
Can't wait to share Heart Breaths with you!
And now, back to working on the next MS.... *cackles evilly*
xo

Thursday, October 3, 2013

34 Days 'Til HEART BREATHS: The OMG It's Actually Real And Did You See My Cover??? Edition

*Bounces in*
OHAI YOU GUYS.

So, a while back, I wrote this book, and decided that the best route of publishing for it would be to self-publish. Which means that I waved my magic wand and transformed myself into a publisher, too. (tada!) All the aspects of publishing that normally would be taken care of by a publisher are done by me, or by people I hire to do it.

I was very nervous about my cover- and picky. Very, very picky. There's a trend of Two White People Almost Kissing on book covers of most New Adult novels being released, and that was pretty much the last thing I wanted on Heart Breaths. For one thing, Heart Breaths is not really such a Two White People Almost Kissing kind of book. It's really not. While the romance does play a rather significant role in the plot, it's not the only story, and I wanted the cover to reflect that.

Hafsah, the lovely and talented photoshop wizard, managed to take my semi-incoherent rumblings (and my Pinterest board) and turn it into the PERFECT cover for HEART BREATHS.
Perfect, y'all. 

I mean, JUST LOOK AT IT.


BLURB: After a tragedy nearly ripped 21 year old Madeline Darlington-Gray’s life in half, she's spent the past three years trying to put the pieces back together. But pieces never just fit back together, and when she's betrayed by those she trusts, everything crumbles. Shoving everything she owns into the trunk of her car, Maddie drives south, trying to run from her past.

Eno, North Carolina seems like the perfect place to hide. Working at a local café is light years from Maddie's Manhattan existence and for the first time in a while, she's finding her family. There's Grandma, the café owner; Samantha, the hairstylist next door with plans to make Maddie's life unsuck and Noie, the three year old girl who's stolen Maddie's heart.

And then there’s Gabriel Mendez, Noie’s single dad. He’s intrigued Maddie since the first time she met him, and while he has his own secrets, he wants more from her than just friendship. But the past never stays past, and all too soon, Maddie realizes she can't hide from hers. If she can't put the pieces of her shattered life together this time, she'll have no hope for a future.
A future she desperately wants.


I have been a squeeing, semi-incoherent Gollum since Hafsah sent it to me... The words "MY PRECIOUSSSSSS" have been uttered enough times that people have started to look at me funny. 
*shrugs*
That's okay with me- because hi, DID YOU SEE THAT PRETTY???

And because I love you, here is a special little teaser from HEART BREATHS. Conveniently, it also happens to be the entire first page.

It had been seven hours and fourteen minutes since I completely and utterly lost my mind. Since I shoved everything I could fit into my car, returned my keys to the landlord, and drove. All I wanted to do was drive - drive until my tires ran flat, get a new pair, and keep going. Drive until I couldn’t drive anymore, until the allure of wherever I was became stronger than the urge to bury my head in the sand and never, ever come out. Far enough away that my memories would all magically fade away into a bizarre kind of nostalgia, the kind that only comes from knowing how bad things sucked. The kind that only happens after blacking out.
 I don’t know when I realized there were beaches again. It was miles and miles of mindless driving. No GPS, no phone, and no map- I was probably heading south. It would have helped to read road signs, but when everything goes, everything goes. I pulled into a rest stop and stumbled out of the car, cramped from sitting hunched over the wheel for seven hours. It was a testament to how far gone I was at this point- I had driven over seven hours without stopping. Normally all it took was two minutes of driving before the panic attack would hit.
Welcome to Virginia Beach! A garish sign proclaimed. Well, that would explain the location bit, I thought as I walked blindly to the bathrooms.
I barely recognized myself in the mirror. Then again, it had been years since I recognized myself at all. Swiping the hair out of my face again and pulling it into a ponytail, I made a face at my reflection. If Mother knew I was walking in public with my hair looking like this, she would be so horrified her Botoxed forehead wouldn’t be enough to hide it. I don’t know which one she would find worse- showing emotion or my hair. It was a tough call. Shaking off thoughts of my mother, I trudged out of the restroom and into the main convenience store.
“Well, hi!” sang a cheery voice from behind the counter as I walked in, surveying the store. “How can I help you?”
Nobody could help me. Especially not some random cashier in a gas station store on the side of the highway. “I’m fine, thanks,” I mumbled. “Just looking.”

Author Info: KK Hendin's real life ambition is to become a pink fluffy unicorn who dances with rainbows. But the schooling for that is all sorts of complicated, so until that gets sorted out, she'll just write. Preferably things with angst and love. And things that require chocolate. 
She spends way too much time on Twitter, and rambles on occasion over atwww.kkhendinwrites.blogspot.com.

LINKS:

did you really think there would be no presents?
SILLY YOU.

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THIRTY FOUR DAYS, y'all.
I am so excited and nervous and all the simultaneous feelings. I think I'll go and look at my cover some more.

*BIG SMOOSHY HUGS*

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

WEDNESDAY!!

Fall, fall, fall, fall. What happened to you? You were here and you were so lovely and now... now you abandoned me for greener pastures of somewhere else. I haven't updated y'all on what's be up with me lately because, holidays. Alllll the holidays, y'all. But the holidays are over and now everything is back to normal.
Well, relatively....


What I've Been Reading: The fabulous thing about all the holidays is the time I have to read. I found my box of books that I had been missing (you can read about that here), and so I've been doing a lot of rereading recently. Just a few of the books I've read over the past while include Reclaimed by Sarah Guillory (review coming soon), Be My Downfall by Lyla Paine (review coming soon for that too), Beautiful Broken by Nazarea Andrews (hawt and sweet), My Favorite Mistake by Chelsea Cameron (adorable), Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (SO good), The Tao of Martha by Jen Lancaster (not as funny as her others, but still fab), a few of the Sammy Keyes series (YAY!), UltraViolet Catastrophe by Jamie Grey (y'all know I love it), and alllll the beta and CP words.
Not to mention all the books I read at work, which are not nearly as advanced. I will say that The Cat In The Hat is very popular.

What I've Been Listening To: the lovely, lovely Vitamin String Quartet- When I'm revising, it's harder for me to listen to music with lyrics, so VSQ is a great compromise- all the pretty music and none of the sometimes distracting words.

What I've Been Writing: Well, Heart Breaths is at the copy editor (EEEE!!!), so mostly that :) I've been working on a newer MS- one that I mostly wrote earlier this year, but needs a whole bunch more words and research. The MC in that one is very different than Maddie (HB's MC), and it's a fun change up. I've been plotting, too, which involves calendars and word counts and a lot of evil cackling.

What Inspires Me: people with excellent time management skills. I am jealous, and would like to be one of them when I grow up.

What Else: Day Job is going well so far (YAY!), I've been formatting the new #MSWL posts from the last Twitter party- there are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds, and they are incredibly fascinating and slightly dangerous because I don't need any more SNIs on my list ;)
Over at RWM, we're having a blast with the upcoming releases- I'm so excited for you to read all the new books! And to meet all the authors, who are all kinds of fabulous. Seriously. The best group of authors ever. (And the best co-interns. If one day we take over the world....well, it might happen. Maybe. Possibly.)
Oh yeah- and Heart Breaths comes out in 35 days. THIRTY. FIVE. DAYS. *dies*
But tomorrow you'll get to see the cover and y'all. It is just magnificent, and I cannot be happier with it.

Now I'm off to go do some sort of voodoo dance to try to get the weather back to the 50s and 60s where it belongs. No more of this 86 degrees nonsense.
What’s going on with you this Wednesday? Let me know in the comments below.
xoxox