Monday, April 17, 2017

Spring Into Horror Read-A-Thon Starting Post

Official dates are April 17 through 30, starting at 12am CDT Sunday and ending at 11:59pm CDT on Sunday the 30th. It's a 2 week 'thon, with only one rule. 1 book has to fall into the "scary" category, but can be thriller, mystery, Gothic novel.

So my #TBR is going to probably change a bit, but my stack for this looks like this:

  • Truthwitch
  • Let the Right One In (My scary pic)
  • Gothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell
I do have a kindle full of books, so I may throw some of these in. I WILL be participating in Dewey's Read-a-Thon April 29th, so I'll combine my progress for both that day. I may not update daily, but I'll at least do a weekly update. 


Update 1:
this is a review book (YA Fantasy)
I'm at 35% and enjoying it so far! Review to come (check sidebar for post date)


Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Investment Club by Doug Cooper *Blog Tour* (Review)




Title: THE INVESTMENT CLUB
Author: Doug Cooper
Publisher: Rare Bird Books
Pages: 362
Genre: Literary/Upmarket Fiction
Forty million people visit Vegas every year but most never get past the strip. What about the people who live there? What brought them there? What keeps them there?


Told from the perspective of a seasoned blackjack dealer, The Investment Club tells the stories of a self-destructive, dwarf entrepreneur, a drug-addicted musical performer-turned-stripper, a retired, widowed New Jersey policeman, a bereaved, divorced female sportscaster, and a card-counting, former Catholic priest before and after their fateful meeting at the El Cortez Casino in downtown Vegas.


As the five learn the greatest return comes from investing in one another, their lives stabilize and take on new, positive directions. But their love and support for each other can take them only so far before they must determine the meaning and value of their own lives.


FOR MORE INFORMATION:


Amazon | Barnes & Noble


About the Author

Doug Cooper is the author of the award-winning novel Outside In and The Investment Club available October 2016. He has a BS in Mathematics Education from Miami University and a MA in American Studies from Saint Louis University. Always searching, he has traveled to over twenty countries on five continents, exploring the contradictions between what we believe and how we act in the pursuit of truth, beauty, and love. Originally from Port Clinton, Ohio, he has also called Cleveland, St. Louis, Detroit, New York, and Oslo, Norway home. He now lives in Cleveland working on his third novel Focus Lost.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS


My Review: 

This was not my typical read, so I had to take it slowly. This doesn't mean I didn't like it, quite the opposite in fact. My taking it slowly actually made me enjoy it even more! How weird is that? Doug Cooper writes lovely characters that are realistic and well written. The story is quite interesting and does indeed pull you in. The character's voice is vivid and their personal stories are what make this book such a fun read. The skillful writing will have you fully investing yourself in each character and wanting to know much more about them. All in all, this was a surprisingly good read! 



Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Grimm Woods by D. Melhoff * Review & Giveaway*

Grimm Woods

by D. Melhoff

on Tour April 1 - May 31, 2017

Synopsis:

Grimm Woods by D. Melhoff
A remote summer camp becomes a lurid crime scene when the bodies of two teenagers are found in a bloody, real-life rendering of a classic Grimm’s fairy tale. Trapped in the wilderness, the remaining counsellors must follow a trail of dark children’s fables in order to outwit a psychopath and save the dwindling survivors before falling prey to their own gruesome endings.
Drawing on the grisly, uncensored details of history’s most famous fairy tales, Grimm Woodsis a heart-pounding thriller about a deranged killer who uses traditional children’s stories as tropes in elaborate murders. Set against the backdrop of modern-day Michigan, it’s a journey through the mind of a dangerous zealot and a shocking glimpse into the bedtime stories you thought you knew.

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Bellwoods Publishing
Publication Date: December 2016
Number of Pages: 384
ISBN: 0992133130 (ISBN13: 9780992133139)
Purchase Links: Amazon ๐Ÿ”— | Goodreads ๐Ÿ”—

Author Bio:

D. MelhoffD. Melhoff was born in a prairie ghost town that few people have heard of and even fewer have visited. While most of his stories are for adults, he also enjoys terrifying younger audiences from time to time, as seen in his series of twisted picture books for children. He credits King, Poe, Hitchcock, Harris, Stoker, and his second-grade school teacher, Mrs. Lake, for turning him to horror.

Catch Up with Mr. Melhoff on his Website ๐Ÿ”—Twitter ๐Ÿ”—, & Facebook ๐Ÿ”—.


My Review:
So let's see, a group of teenage camp counselors in the woods, sex, drugs, booze, and
and some spooky ass woods. Sounds like your typical 80's slasher set up, right? That's totally the vibe that this book has, and I can tell you I'm a HUGE fan of that genre of movies! I have to admit the beginning of this book was kind of a slow burn for me, but it did pick up speed and in such a gruesome way! This has got all the fun mixes of horror, campy cheese, and of course a sprinkling of the fairy tales from your childhood, except these have teeth! 
This was a pretty good book, like I said the beginning was a bit slow, but once it found it's pace it didn't wanna stop moving super fast, which I could get behind fully! 

There is a lot of sex (implied and otherwise), lots of drugs and booze, and of course tons of profanity. I don't have a problem with these, but if you do then this might not be your cup of tea. 

Giveaway

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for D. Melhoff. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon Giftcard and 5 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Grimm Woods by D. Melhoff. The giveaway begins on April 1st and runs through June 2nd, 2017.




Friday, March 31, 2017

Reading For the Weekend Read-a-Thon

Yo, you guise! It's been stupid long since I've been able to find the time to just read my heart out! I've been reading but it's sooo slow going, what with school (blegh math!) and work (blegh adulting!) so I decided that I'm just gonna do it! I have from now until Sunday off, so nerdy little me decided to do this damn thang!

Here we go! My tbr stack of fun!

I've already started on Gemina and Grimm Woods is a review book, so those are my first two priorities. The rest would just be icing on the cake!

So I'll be updating here, my twitter feed, and my instagram. Stay tuned my doods!

Nerdlette, out!

Update the 1st: Gemina is dunzo! Loved it! Finished up at 2am (ish) last night!

Now onto Shift!

Weekend Readathon Completed!

I read Gemina and 300 pages into Shift! I call this a success!

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Enemies of Versailles by Sally Christie (Blog Tour)




Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Atria Books (March 21, 2017)


In the final installment of Sally Christie’s “tantalizing” (New York Daily News) Mistresses of Versailles trilogy, Jeanne Becu, a woman of astounding beauty but humble birth, works her way from the grimy back streets of Paris to the palace of Versailles, where the aging King Louis XV has become a jaded and bitter old philanderer. Jeanne bursts into his life and, as the Comtesse du Barry, quickly becomes his official mistress.


“That beastly bourgeois Pompadour was one thing; a common prostitute is quite another kettle of fish.”


After decades of suffering the King’s endless stream of Royal Favorites, the princesses of the Court have reached a breaking point. Horrified that he would bring the lowborn Comtesse du Barry into the hallowed halls of Versailles, Louis XV’s daughters, led by the indomitable Madame Adelaide, vow eternal enmity and enlist the young dauphiness Marie Antoinette in their fight against the new mistress. But as tensions rise and the French Revolution draws closer, a prostitute in the palace soon becomes the least of the nobility’s concerns.


Told in Christie’s witty and engaging style, the final book in The Mistresses of Versailles trilogy will delight and entrance fans as it once again brings to life the sumptuous and cruel world of eighteenth century Versailles, and France as it approaches irrevocable change.


“Sally Christie’s The Sisters of Versailles is an intriguing romp through Louis XV’s France. Filled with lush backdrops, rich detail, and colorful characters, fans of historical fiction will enjoy this glimpse into the lost golden era of the French monarchy.” (Allison Pataki, author of THE ACCIDENTAL EMPRESS)


“A stunning breadth of period detail, offered in a fresh, contemporary voice.” (Juliet Grey, author of the acclaimed Marie Antoinette trilogy)


“Such an extraordinary tale makes for compelling reading and, as the lead book in a planned trilogy, will draw in readers who are interested in royal lives before the French Revolution…. Historical fiction fans, unfamiliar with the history of the Nesle sisters, will be intrigued.” (Library Journal)


“Tantalizing descriptions and cliff-hangers will leave the reader rapidly turning the pages in anticipation… A wickedly delightful read.” (New York Daily News)


Purchase Links


About Sally Christie



Sally Christie is the author of The Sisters of Versailles and The Rivals of Versailles. She was born in England and grew up around the world, attending eight schools in three different languages. She spent most of her career working in international development and currently lives in Toronto.

Connect with Sally



My Review:
Wow! Okay first off, this series was riveting. I was not expecting to gobble them up like the delicious treat that they all turned out to be! I found myself falling quite swiftly into these books, I felt like Ms. Christie brought me into the story and the atmosphere of  18th century Versailles.

The writing was vivid, lively, and brutally honest. The characters are interesting, and a good chunk of them are double sided. There's layers and layers of plot, but at no point did I get lost or felt overwhelmed. The politics of court life, the slums of the city, and the splendor of the lives of the higher born, were all so interesting and exciting.

This is the last book (I AM SAD ABOUT THIS) of this series, and it ended in a completely satisfactory way. I wished this series could go on and on, but alas, it has reached it's conclusion.

There is so much to treasure about this this book and it's predecessors, the characters are memorable, the writing is delicious, and the world of the past is brought to life by a very talented Ms. Christie

I definitely recommend this series to those that love this time period. You will not be disappointed. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Purr M For Murder (Blog Tour)


Purr M For Murder by T.C. LoTempio


Cozy Mystery 1st in Series Crooked Lane Books (March 14, 2017) 
Hardcover: 304 pages 
ISBN-13: 978-1683310921  
Kindle ASIN: B01N6P3WYP
 
Sydney McCall left behind an ex-fiancรฉ and a New York advertising job to return home to Deer Park, North Carolina and help her sister, Kat, run the local animal shelter, Friendly Paws. Determined to save the shelter from financial trouble, Sydney and Kat organize a cat cafรฉ fundraising event at a local coffee shop. Things are looking up until their landlord, Trowbridge Littleton, threatens to shut down the event. When Sydney drops by his art gallery to make peace, she finds Kat--along with Littleton's dead body.

Local homicide detective Will Worthington--who just happens to be Sydney's old high school crush--is highly suspicious of the sisters' involvement. Desperate to clear their names from the suspect list, Sydney pounces on the investigation. With the help of one of the shelter cats, a savvy orange tabby named Toby, Sydney begins poking her nose into other local businesses whose owners may have benefited from Littleton's death--until the killer notices she's pawing a little too closely at the truth.

Purchase Link:


About the Author…..

While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic. She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – the first volume, MEOW IF ITS MURDER, debuted Dec. 2, 2014. Followed by #2, CLAWS FOR ALARM. #3, CRIME AND CATNIP, was released in December. 

She, Rocco and Maxx make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Catch up with them at www.tclotempio.net and www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com

Where to find them:
 ROCCO’s blog: www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com  
Website: https://www.tclotempio.net/
 facebook: https://www.facebook.com/toni.lotempio.5  
Twitter: @RoccoBlogger - https://twitter.com/@RoccoBlogger




 My Review:

Purr M For Murder was a very pleasant surprise! If I'm being honest I didn't really go into this with much hope that it would be any different than most of the "cozy mysteries" with animals on the cover. Wow was I wrong! Shame on me for basically judging a book by it's cover! *Bad bookworm, BAD!* 


I'll start with the characters. They are Deeee-lightful. Syd is a smart character, that I instantly could see as an actual person. She's flawed but not overly so. Her sister and friends have vivid personalities too, no question about that! If I had to pick someone that I wasn't super fond of, I'd definitely say it's gotta be Will's partner. He was just annoying, although he did have a fondness for good desserts which I can't really fault him in that!

The real star though, was Toby the cat! I want that cat in my life super muchly! His personality was awesome! To top it off, he's also a friggen hero, which makes me love him and want to adopt him (Sorry Syd!) even more! 

Alrighty, so onto the meaty bits of the story. Was the mystery any good? Well I should say so! I can usually guess who or what the outcome will be. The murderer is usually the wife, yadda yadda yadda...I was completely clueless til the end! I'm not even joking, the ending took me by surprise! I had completely written off who it turned out to be, chapters before the ending. So you got me there! I guess I need to turn in my junior detectives badge :( 

All-in-all, this was a great read. I was surprised, I was entertained, and I was delighted thoroughly! Definitely pick this one up!




Enter the Giveaway 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Murder by the Book *Blog Tour* (Review)



Murder by the Book
by Devorah Fox

Murder by the Book: A Mystery Mini
Print Length: 27 pages
Publisher: Mike Byrnes and Associates, Inc. (February 27, 2016)
Publication Date: February 27, 2016
ASIN: B01CC3NJQO
An ordinary work day at the western Massachusetts Sugarloaf Inn turns more chilling than the winter weather when staff member Candy Wadsen makes a gruesome discovery. Her day goes from bad to worse when Candy realizes that Detective Sergeant Dan Petrowski suspects her of committing the crime.

“What if?” Those two words all too easily send Devorah Fox spinning into flights of fancy. Best-selling author of an award-winning literary historical fantasy series and several thrillers, she also penned Mystery Mini Short Reads and contributed short stories to popular fantasy anthologies. Born in Brooklyn, New York, she now lives on the Texas Gulf Coast with rescued tabby cats … and a dragon named Inky. Visit the “Dee-Scoveries” blog at http://devorahfox.com
Author Links
Twitter: @devorah_fox   http://twitter.com/devorah_fox

PURCHASE LINKS 


My Review:
 
What a quick fun read! This was a bit on the short side, but I really liked it. I think I read it in well under an hour, so if you are looking for a fun little snack of a mystery, then you should definitely look into this one! I loved how Ms. Fox gave us just enough info about everyone involved, so while you're reading you're guessing "whodunit" right along with Candy and Detective Dan. 
My only complaint about this one is that it was so short! I wanted more, and hope that Ms. Fox can give us another (longer..hopefully) story with Candy! 



Friday, February 10, 2017

Death Spiral & Code Red by Janie Chodosh (Blog Tour & Review)

Death Spiral (Faith Flores Science Mystery #1)
by Janie Chodosh
Genre: YA Mystery



From Goodreads:

Life is tough when you have a junkie for a mom. But when sixteen-year-old Faith Flores—scientist wannabe, loner, new girl in town—finds her mom dead on the bathroom floor, she refuses to believe her mom really OD'd. But the cops have closed the case and her Aunt T, with whom she now lives in the Philly ‘burbs, wants Faith to let go and move on.

But a note from Melinda, her mom's junkie friend, leads Faith to a seedy downtown methadone clinic. Were her mom and Melinda trying to get clean?

When Melinda dies of an overdose, Faith tracks down the scientists behind the trial running at the methadone clinic. Soon she's cutting school and lying to everyone—her aunt, her best friend, even the cops. Everyone, that is,  except the strangely alluring Jesse, who believes the “real” education's on the street and whose in-your-face honesty threatens to invade Faith's self-imposed “no-dating” rule. A drug-dealer named Rat-Catcher warns Faith to back off, but it doesn't stop Faith from confronting a genetics professor with a guilty conscience. When the medical examiner's body winds up in the Schuylkill River, Faith realizes if she doesn't act fast, she may be the next body in the morgue. Can Faith stop this deal gone bad from taking a sharp turn for the worse?

Death Spiral is a smart, surprising novel featuring an in-your-face heroine sure to appeal to teens and adults alike.



My Review:

This book was a smart, fast-paced, and well constructed thrill ride. Faith is a wonderful character that is smartly written and completely real. She's true to herself, even when she isn't completely honest with others, and a complete badass. She uses her brains to expose a conspiracy that's already taken the life of someone she loved very dearly. She's certainly not a damsel in distress! I loved getting to know her, and her friends were pretty awesome too! In some YA stories, the friends take a backseat and pop up with useful info when the story requires it, a bit too convenient for my tastes, if you ask me. However, her friends are all just as developed as she is.

Death Spiral was a fun and interesting read from page one! I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Code Red (Faith Flores Science Mystery #2)
by Janie Chodosh
Genre: YA Mystery


From Goodreads:

After nailing the murderer of her addict mom and proving that her detractors are full of it, seventeen-year-old Faith Flores is back for another kick-ass science mystery. She's proud to be chosen for a summer internship at a research lab in Santa Fe, New Mexico, but once she arrives, complications abound. For one thing, Santa Fe is the birthplace of the father she's never met, and for another, she clashes with a local environmentalist trying to pull the plug on the genetically modified chiles her new boss is engineering. She and violin prodigy, Clem, learn of a new teen drug called liquid gold while discreetly researching the family angle. The chip on Faith's shoulder is still there, but so is her determination to uncover the truth when a girl she meets at a party dies from an overdose of liquid gold.


My Review:

 This book was just as awesome as the first! I'm really loving how Faith is evolving as a character and the writing was already pretty on point, but in this one it was just as tight. There's another mystery that keeps you flipping the pages, more characters that are just as well written as Faith, and more deliciously geeky science and sleuthing that just makes this series super fun! 

I'm telling you guys this series is pretty darn awesome! I wouldn't recommend missing out on it!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Solstic (Promo)




Solstice (The Star-Crossed Saga #3)
by Braxton A. Cosby
Genre: YA Scifi
Release Date: November 25th 2016

Summary:

What You Believe, Can Destroy You!
William and Sydney have sacrificed everything to fortify their love, so much so that William dares to brave the depths of space to find a cure for their deadly Supernova bond, leaving both her and Earth vulnerable to Torrian Alliance attack. But with a full scale rebellion in play on Fabricius, the reality of Sydney’s execution from Torrian hands is diminished, only eclipsed by the certainty of a more threats – The Third Faction and The Dagmas Clan – lead by Dominic and his insurgent recruits. With overwhelming odds mounting against them, William makes a desperate attempt to find the last of the endangered Star-children only to be captured by a new menace, where he is forced to compete in the dreaded Gauntlet of sport. Allies surge to free Fabricius, seeking alliances across the galaxy while Sydney tries to keep her identity hidden and trains to master the third phase of her Star-child evolution: Solstice. With Sarah’s mysterious return home with clues to unlock the future, Noella’s training and Bill’s symbiotic development hope is restored, but will it be enough to unite the galaxy and destroy evil for once and for all?



Book One:

ProtoStar (The Star-Crossed Saga #1) by Braxton A. Cosby
Release Date: September 26th 2014


Summary from Goodreads:


What Would You Choose, love or duty?

On the brink of civil war, the Torrian Alliance continues with its mission to obliterate Star-children across the universe in order to suppress an intergalactic evil. Following the recommendations of his council, King Gregorio Derry reluctantly agrees to send his only son William on a mission to restore honor to his family name. William seeks to complete his assignment, the elimination of a Star-child named Sydney on planet Earth, but when the assassination is delayed he begins to realize an emotional connection with his target. With conspiracy threatening his home planet, and a hidden menace on Earth seeking to secure a vested interest, William finds himself torn between irrevocable duty and sacrificing everything he stands for to defend Sydney. As William and Sydney struggle to overcome their impossible circumstances, they start to wonder if the connection of two Star-Crossed lovers will be enough to save them from certain doom.








Book Two:

Supernova (The Star-Crossed Saga #2) by Braxton A. Cosby
Release Date: June 28th 2015


Summary from Goodreads:


WHAT YOU CHOOSE, BECOMES YOU…
Against everything he had known as truth, William has made the choice to protect Sydney from the forces seeking to destroy her. But just as these two Star-Crossed lovers are beginning to explore their relationship and search for answers to the mysteries of Sydney’s existence, she advances to the next stage of her Star-child evolution—Supernova—and struggles not only to control her new powers, but also the emotions for her new love. William seeks to find the truth behind Sydney's erratic behavior, while overcoming the new threat headed to Earth to destroy them. With new villains and old allies on the horizon, and chaos brewing on William’s home world, will self-sacrifice prove to be the only way for him to achieve victory and defend his love, or is there another way?
The follow-up to the debut Award-winning novel PROTOSTAR!










ENDORSEMENTS FOR THE STAR-CROSSED SAGA:

"The Star-Crossed Saga is daring, exciting and romantic. It's an imaginative science fiction adventure, chock full of memorable characters, including the smart and alluring Sydney, who will inspire girls everywhere as they navigate the tricky waters of teen hood. Braxton Cosby's debut delivers." -Adriana Trigiani -- New York Times bestselling author

"Braxton Cosby's stories feel personal and well thought-out. I'm happy to welcome this entertaining writer to the YA science fiction field. I look forward to more of his work!” -Tananarive Due, author of My Soul to Keep

“Even an eternity of travel may fall to emotion…ProtoStar is a blend of science fiction and romance…a unique spin of the doomed love, very much recommended.” -James A. Cox – Midwest Book Review

"This Young Adult Sci-Fi book has it all: romance, innocence, mystery, intrigue, prophecy and adventure. ...Cosby writes like a seasoned author and I look forward to the next installment in this series." -Anne B. Readers Favorite

"...a magnificent start to an inventive series by a talented debut author...strong prose is appealing, engaging and well-written. His characters glimmer like the sun...a cinematic literary epic adventure." -Blogcritics

"...filled with lots of action and great pacing...very descriptive and vivid." -Jennifer Jabaley, author of Crush Control

“...a really intriguing story that encompasses action, adventure, romance, drama and a measure of science fiction that helps make this multi-faceted book a very engaging read. Ending skillfully with a suspenseful cliffhanger, this book, with its well-developed characters and many surprising twists will leave readers anxiously waiting for the next installment in the Star-Crossed Saga.” -Literary Classsics 5/5 stars








About the Author
Multi-Award Winning and #1 Amazon Bestselling Author Braxton A. Cosby creates vivid, original stories that focus on relationships and world building that brings characters to life. Braxton received a lot of his inspiration from watching the accomplishments and exploits of his famous uncle, comedic legend Bill Cosby. Braxton is the CEO of Cosby Media Productions, a full-service entertainment studio that focuses on producing content in the areas of television, film, and print media. Braxton is also an actor and radio show host. As a writer, Braxton’s novels explore the psychology of human connection, concerning themes of trust, faith and selflessness. He resides in Lawrenceville, Ga with his wife and a scruff Morkie named StarKozy.

Author Links:


End of the Road (Blog Tour) Review & Guest Post

End of the Road

by LS Hawker

on Tour January 30th - February 28, 2017

Synopsis:

End of the Road by L.S. Hawker

Great minds can change the world

or leave it in ruins . . .

When tech prodigy Jade Veverka creates a program to communicate with her autistic sister, she’s tapped by a startup to explore the potential applications of her technology. But Jade quickly begins to notice some strange things about the small Kansas town just beyond the company’s campus—why are there no children anywhere to be seen, and for that matter, anyone over the age of forty? Why do all of the people living here act uncomfortable and jumpy?
On the way home one night, Jade and her co-worker are run off the road, and their lab and living spaces are suddenly overrun with armed guards, purportedly for their safety. Confined to the compound and questioning what her employers might be hiding from her, Jade fears she’s losing control not only of her invention, but of her very life. It soon becomes clear that the threat reaches far beyond Jade and her family, and the real danger is much closer than she’d ever imagined.

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: January 31st 2017
Number of Pages: 384
ISBN: 006243523X (ISBN13: 9780062435231)
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 

Read an excerpt:

September 7
Jade Veverka unwrapped the frozen bomb pop she'd bought from the gas station on the corner of Main and 3rd and took a bite. She sat gazing at the pile of magazines on the barbershop coffee table while a rhythmic alarm-clock buzz went off in her head. Not an urgent warning, just buzz buzz buzz.
Her friend and coworker Elias Palomo sat in the barber chair, getting his customary fade crew cut, the same one he'd presumably sported since his plebe days at the Naval Academy. So the background to her mental alarm clock was an actual buzzing from the electric razor punctuated now by a sharp yip of pain from Elias.
"Sorry about that," the barber said.
Elias rubbed his ear, and Jade attempted to keep her face neutral, looking at his scowl in the mirror.
Buzz buzz buzz.
She leaned forward and fanned the magazines—Popular Mechanics, Sports Illustrated, ESPN—all this month's issues. Jade took another bite of bomb pop and grinned.
"What are you smiling at?" Elias grumbled, rubbing his nicked ear.
"I don't know how to tell you this," Jade said, "but you are not the center of my universe. I do occasionally react to things outside of you. I know it comes as a shock."
"Shut up," he said, his dark eyes flashing.
Jade stared now in fascination as the razor tracked upwards on Elias's skull, his glossy black hair—or what was left of it—uneven, his scalp an angry pink. This guy was the worst hair dresser Jade had ever seen. And the least talkative. In her experience, growing up in rural Ephesus, Kansas, barbers had always fit the stereotype—gregarious and gossipy.
Elias was the shop's lone customer, and only a few folks walked by outside the window, through which Jade could see the hardware store and the occasional slow passing car.
Buzz buzz buzz.
It struck Jade now that this was less a barbershop than what amounted to a barbershop museum, complete with an actor playing the part of the barber. She wanted to point this out to Elias, but it would mean nothing to him. He'd grown up in Reno, Nevada, a vast metropolis compared to Jade's 1200-population hometown an hour southeast of this one, which was called Miranda, Kansas.
Not only was this man not a barber, he wasn't a Kansan either, Jade would have bet money.
"Hey," she said to him. "What's your name?"
The man went on butchering as if she hadn't spoken. Elias's eyes met Jade's in the mirror, and his dark thick brows met on either side of a vertical crease, his WTF? wrinkle. He leaned his head away from the razor, finally making the barber pay attention.
"The lady asked you a question," Elias said.
Jade had to hold in a guffaw. This never failed to tickle her, him referring to her as a lady. No one other than him had ever done that before. Plus she loved the authoritative rumble of his voice, a trait he'd probably developed at Annapolis.
The barber froze, his eyes locked with Elias's. Weird.
"Need a prompt?" Elias said. "Your name."
The man cleared his throat.
"Is it classified?"
Jade did guffaw this time, and she watched the barber's jaw muscles compress as she clapped a hand over her mouth.
"My name's Richard."
"Hello, Richard, I'm Elias. This is Jade. We work out at SiPraTech."
Jade could see from Richard's face he knew very well where they worked. He nodded and got back to destroying the remains of Elias's hair.
"Whereabouts you from, Richard?" Jade said.
He pulled the razor away from Elias's head and blinked at her.
What in the world was this guy's problem?
Buzz buzz buzz.
Elias emitted a loud sigh, clearly exasperated by the guy's reticence, and waved a hand as if to say, "Carry on, barber-not-barber."
Jade laughed again.
"Here," Richard mumbled. "I'm from here."
Like hell. What was he, in the witness protection program or something?
And then it hit her. The magazines, every last one of them, was a current issue. In a barbershop. The place where back issues of magazines go to die.
She'd worked for SiPraTech just over three months now, and Miranda, the closest town, had always given her an itch. Something about it was slightly off, but she couldn't say what. She'd brought it up to her team members—Elias, Berko Deloatch, and Olivia Harman, and each of them had looked at her like she was schitzy. They all came from big cities, so Miranda struck them as weird in general.
Buzz buzz buzz buzz buzz buzz.
As if drawn by static electricity, her eyes tracked to the window where a man in mirrored shades peered into the barbershop. The man had a dark mustache and wore a blue baseball cap pulled low over the sunglasses.
What was he staring at? She glanced behind her, but there was nothing to see but a white wall. When she turned back, the man mouthed something at her, his exaggerated soundless enunciation wringing a sharp intake of breath from her.
"What?" Elias said in response to her gasp.
Was it her imagination, or did this man she'd never seen before say her name?
Jade Veverka.
She looked at Elias, and said, "There's a man out there—"

Author Bio:

LS HAWKERLS HAWKER grew up in suburban Denver, indulging her worrisome obsession with true-crime books, and writing stories about anthropomorphic fruit and juvenile delinquents. She wrote her first novel at 14.
Armed with a B.S. in journalism from the University of Kansas, she had a radio show called "People Are So Stupid," edited a trade magazine and worked as a traveling Kmart portrait photographer, but never lost her passion for fiction writing.
She's got a hilarious, supportive husband, two brilliant daughters, and a massive music collection. She lives in Colorado but considers Kansas her spiritual homeland. She is the author of The Drowning Game, a USA Today Bestseller, and Body and Bone.

Visit Ms. Hawker's Website , her Twitter Feed , & her Facebook Page .

 

My Review:

  End of the Road is an exciting adventure, peppered with cool pop culture geeky references. The story is fast paced, and interesting. Jade is a relate-able character, she's not perfect, but she also isn't normal. I am not a huge technology geek, so some of the techno jargon was like klingon to me, but that didn't detract from the story for me.

The biggest draw for me with this book was the plot and how realistic it is. The premise is terrifying in a way because of how realistic it is. The book has so many twists and turns, I have to use the cliched phrase, it really keeps you guessing. I do think that I'll be checking out the writer's other books, especially after this one!

I enjoyed it very much, and DO recommend it if you like techno-thrillers with a nice heaping dose of realism. 


Guest Post:

Characters and Their Humans by LS Hawker

Unlike a lot of authors, I often base my characters on people I know. The most fun, naturally, is using real people as the basis for bad guys. One of THE DROWNING GAME's bad guys, Randy, is based on a friend's ex-boyfriend, right down to his monster pickup truck. When she and I would go out, he would take a fifth of Jack Daniel's with him to drive around and hunt us down. One night he finished bottle by the time he found us, and he was enraged. We tried to get his car keys from him, and he grabbed me by the face and shoved me down into the street. So you can see why he was a great model for an antagonist. 

On the other end of the spectrum is my second novel BODY AND BONE's Isabeau, who's based on my friend Liz. She was the perfect level-headed foil for my protag, but one with loads of personality and surprising secrets. 

Sometimes I model a character on a real person without even knowing it. That was the case with Petty from THE DROWNING GAME. Petty has been a virtual prisoner in her own home, a captive of a paranoid father hell-bent on protecting her from a dangerous world by training her in combat while restricting contact with the outside world. 

When he dies unexpectedly, she believes she's finally going to be free. But the people around her ignore her needs, talk about her as if she isn't there, and regard her as a means to their own ends. She must escape. Thus begins a journey of self-discovery while navigating a terrifying and unfamiliar outside world, made more complicated and perilous by her social awkwardness, guilelessness, and obsessive fears.
When I first shared a chapter, a friend commented, “Your main character is really interesting, really unique. She seems—what’s the word? Autistic?”

I was stunned by this observation, because unbeknownst to my friend, my youngest daughter Layla had just been diagnosed with autism. All the characteristics of autism as demonstrated by Layla showed up in Petty without any conscious agency on my part. Petty's situation—living as a prisoner in her own home—was much like Layla's, who'd been a prisoner in her own mind before her diagnosis and treatment. 

Typically, though, I'm aware of it when I base a character on a real person. I'll use their physical characteristics, mannerisms, and speech patterns as a jumping-off point. Then I summon the emotions the real person arouses in me, and build from that emotional center. 

Without fail, these characters become their own people, assert their own personalities. None of the characters I've written who started out as replicas of real people end up exactly like their original models. This is, of course, because the characters experience situations the real people never have. But I imagine how the real person would react in those situations.

I also write a full life story for each my characters, although most of it doesn't show up on the page. Their backstories inform how they act and react in the circumstances they find themselves in. In the files I keep on my characters, I include "face claims," photos from the internet I use as a physical models for characters. 

Only one character in my latest release, END OF THE ROAD, is based on a real person, and he's a bad guy (sorry-not-sorry—you'll have to read it to find out who it is). But the group of people my protagonist, Jade, works with is based on my oldest daughter Chloe's group of overachieving friends. The group dynamic is the model more than the individual characters—none of them is based on a real person.
Bringing realism to the page is never easy, but it's a lot more fun when you're surrounded by friends—both real and imagined.
 


Check Out This Awesome Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for LS Hawker and William Morrow. There will be 3 US winners of one (1) eBook Coupon for End of the Road by LS Hawker. The giveaway begins on January 24th and runs through March 2nd, 2017.
a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours