Thursday, April 9, 2015

Cover Reveal, Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway: Loving Dallas by Caisey Quinn

I'm thrilled to be taking part in the cover reveal blitz for Caisey Quinn's Loving Dallas, the second book in the Neon Dreams series! While I still favour the cover for Leaving Amarillo, I really do like that the neon colouring on the title really ties both of the covers together, and Dallas sure has a very thoughtful expression on his face...

 Release Date: June 16, 2015
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

Summary (from HarperCollins): 
In the second novel in bestselling author Caisey Quinn’s Neon Dreams series, a country rock band and its members embark on the rocky road to fame and find love along the way.

Dallas Lark is so close to achieving his dream of making it big in country music that he can taste it. Arriving in Nashville after signing with sexy, successful manager Mandy Lantram, his life goes from tragedy and turmoil to one lucky break after another—except it isn’t really luck because Dallas has sacrificed everything for his career, leaving behind his band, sister, best friend, and high school sweetheart, Robyn, in the pursuit of fame.

Robyn Breeland is a successful marketing coordinator and promotions specialist for a thriving liquor distributor out of Texas. She loves every aspect of her job: coming up with new ideas, traveling, hosting promotional parties and exclusive events—until it brings her face-to-face with the man who broke her heart, prompting her to erect a steel cage around it.

When their paths collide and they’re forced to work together, Dallas and Robyn realize that the old spark they thought they’d extinguished might still be a burning flame.

Caisey Quinn's Guest Post on Writing Loving Dallas

One of the absolute craziest things about writing Loving Dallas was the fact that it was like having two male leads. Dallas himself says it best in the chapter where he explains to Robyn about "Person Dallas" and "Performer Dallas." The recording label he is hired onto quickly turns charming Dallas Lark from Amarillo (think: country cutie Easton Corbin) into the sexy, sharp-tongued Dallas Walker, a drifter with a shady past (think: country music outlaw Eric Church). I thought it might be fun to compare the two sides of my guy side by side! 

STYLE

First up, even though he's really just one man, Dallas has a completely different style when he's on stage. If you were to see the laid back crooner around town, he'd be clad in a well worn-in flannel button down and his favorite pair of jeans and cowboy boots. There will likely be trucker hat providing some shade over his baby blues. However, stop in to see a show and you might not recognize him! On stage Dallas Walker rocks an edgier look including Aviators, leather jackets, and biker boots. Vintage rock band tees are a staple in the wardrobe of this version of Dallas!

SWAGGER

Dallas Lark is a caring and somewhat overprotective big brother to his little sister, Dixie. He believes women should be treated like the ladies that they are with the respect they deserve. He says Grace and he says ma'am, y'all!

Dallas Walker on the other hand is a little rougher around the edge and if you get too close you might enter a danger zone where you end up in scandalous tabloid photos alongside country music's newest bad boy!

SWEETHEARTS

Dallas Lark will forever carry a torch for his high school sweetheart, Robyn Breeland. She is and will always be his muse.

Dallas Walker can't be tamed or tied down and women traipse in and out of his life quicker than Billboard chart toppers change places! He does certainly pay a lot of attention to one special lady that has yet to be identified by media sources. Rumor has it she's the one that got away! 

Which version of Dallas would be your favorite kind of book boyfriend? Decide for yourself on 6.16.15 when LOVING DALLAS GOES LIVE!

Excerpt
 
“I’m still me,” he’d said before falling asleep. 

I’d been about to snuggle down into that blissful murkiness of sleepy time when he’d said it.

No matter how much he’d changed, Dallas was still Dallas. And maybe I had a college degree and a big-girl job, but I was still the same girl he couldn’t forgive. I’d been an idiot, pushed him away so that he wouldn’t let my mom’s illness stop him from chasing his dreams. By the time I realized how unfair it was and how much I needed him, the damage was done and Dallas Lark had moved on. 

I was the one who’d needed space, but Dallas ended up being the one to walk away for good. 

Forget being on the same page; Dallas and I had been reading entirely different books when it came to our relationship. In mine, there was a happily ever after that involved making a life together. He wasn’t just in my story—he was my story. In his I was merely a chapter. 

I’m still me. 

I wanted to smack myself. Hard. Of course he was still him. And he’d still walk away, dragging my battered heart behind him while I watched him leave. I’d hurt him, deeply. And I’d live with that regret for the rest of my life. He’d still be the guy who chose music over me, over us. He had even more reason to now that he was on this tour. 

I waited there in his arms, forcing my steel walls back up between us while he drifted into unconsciousness. Once his breathing was deep and the light rumble of a snore settled into a steady rhythm, I slipped out of his bed and gathered my things as quietly as I could. Dressing quickly, I watched him, memorizing that peaceful look on his handsome face and promising myself this was a one-time thing. I wasn’t going to obsess over it. It was a life experience, one I didn’t regret but knew I’d be crazy to repeat. 

I chanced one last look as I left, before I shut the door completely. The light from the hotel hallway sliced across him and he looked so . . . alone. 

I closed the door and told myself this was for the best. What would having breakfast together or sharing a cab to the airport change? Nothing, that’s what. 

This time, I’d been the one to leave. For the sake of my sanity and my heart, I could never fall into bed with Dallas Lark again. 

Giveaway!
To celebrate the cover reveal for Loving Dallas, William Morrow Paperbacks is giving away 3 signed paperback copies of the first book in the series, Leaving Amarillo! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below and you'll be entered into the contest. 
 
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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday - All Played Out by Cora Carmack

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine spotlighting upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating.

Release Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
 
Summary (from Goodreads):
First person in her family to go to college? CHECK.
Straight A’s? CHECK.
On track to graduate early? CHECK.
Social life? …..yeah, about that….

With just a few weeks until she graduates, Antonella DeLuca’s beginning to worry that maybe she hasn’t had the full college experience. (Okay... Scratch that. She knows she hasn't had the full college experience).

So Nell does what a smart, dedicated girl like herself does best. She makes a "to do" list of normal college activities.

Item #1? Hook up with a jock.

Rusk University wide receiver Mateo Torres practically wrote the playbook for normal college living. When he’s not on the field, he excels at partying, girls, and more partying. As long as he keeps things light and easy, it's impossible to get hurt... again. But something about the quiet, shy, sexy-as-hell Nell gets under his skin, and when he learns about her list, he makes it his mission to help her complete it.

Torres is the definition of confident (And sexy. And wild), and he opens up a side of Nell that she's never known. But as they begin to check off each crazy, exciting, normal item, Nell finds that her frivolous list leads to something more serious than she bargained for. And while Torres is used to taking risks on the field, he has to decide if he's willing to take the chance when it's more than just a game.

Together they will have to decide if what they have is just part of the experiment or a chance at something real.

If you're a fan of reading New Adult books, then I'm sure you know Cora Carmack. Losing It was one of the very first NA novels I ever read, but it's her Rusk University series that I've really grown to love. Steadfast and loyal Carson McClain stole my heart in All Lined Up, and who couldn't fall for troubled bad boy Silas Moore in All Broke Down?

Yet, it's Mateo Torres who has always stolen the scene whenever he made an appearance in the previous books. Torres is the life of every Rusk University party and his wild antics are always good for a laugh. I've always been curious about the kind of girl who would capture his heart, and I couldn't be more excited to see him fall for studious Nell! This book may just be my favourite in the series. When May 12th arrives, I'll definitely be reading Cora Carmack's All Played Out right away!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Dark Company Blog Tour & Giveaway! Author Interview with Natale Ghent


I'm thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Canadian author Natale Ghent's latest YA novel Dark Company, which was just released earlier this month!

Dark Company is a new spin on the ancient battle between the forces of light and darkness. Caddy will need to escape the Grey Men who pursue her, and Skylark must come to terms with her new afterlife and prepare to fight. All the while, the evil Speaker's powers grow...

Thanks to Random House Canada, I was able to ask Natale Ghent a few questions about Dark Company!

Natale Ghent brings us an engrossing fantasy set in the near-future about the war between two worlds and a girl pitted in the battle of good and evil.

Seventeen-year old Caddy is haunted by visions of global destruction. They come on like seizures, taking her to a desolate place where dispossessed souls struggle to be heard. It is one possible future--one she feels she must prevent. But in a world where food and money are scarce, and the struggle over resources between the continents is escalating toward war, Caddy has little hope.

When her father goes missing, she searches for him and is abducted into a cabalistic society called The Dreamers--visionaries who "dream" to sustain the light against the dark energies that threaten to take over the planet. Caddy is shepherded into the society by a high school classmate called Poe, and through him, uncovers long-hidden truths about herself and her father.

The situation darkens when Caddy learns that the dreamers are hunted and killed by an ancient order known as the Grey Men--a cult dedicated to eradicating the light to assist a demonic entity they call The Speaker. By killing the dreamers, the grey men open rifts in the light that allow The Speaker to seed evil and darkness on the earth plane with the ultimate goal of destroying the planet. Things become more complicated when Meg, a girl from Caddy's high school, who has been ushered into this other reality, clashes with Caddy to supress the forces of light and to try to win back Poe's heart.

As she falls deeper and deeper into the world of the dreamers, Caddy discovers layers of deceit and treachery realizes it's up to her to find a way to overcome the dark and prevent the light from being extinguished forever. . .

1) DARK COMPANY is told from the alternating perspectives of Caddy and Skylark, two very different girls with a role to play in the fight against the evil Speaker. Whose point of view was the most challenging to write?

I would have to say Caddy’s point of view was more challenging. I was so excited about Skylark that I thought about her all the time. Caddy was more of a slow bloomer. She isn’t as exuberant as Skylark and keeps her feelings hidden—she has to because she has so many secrets to protect and so few people to trust. By the end of the novel I was really enjoying spending time with Caddy, and I grew to deeply appreciate what she brought to the story.

2) What inspired you to write about an endless battle between the forces of Light and Dark? I've grown accustomed to reading YA paranormal novels centered around angels and demons, but your unique spin on the genre and shift away from the terminology was very refreshing! 

I was inspired to write about an endless battle between forces of Light and Dark because I had so much experience with it in my personal and professional life—as crazy as that sounds! I used to work as a hypnotherapist. A lot of my research and practice revolved around spirit and entity release. I encountered some extremely dark stuff doing that work. It helped me to understand how important it is to open the door on this topic. The terminology and unique spin were drawn from these experiences.

3) In DARK COMPANY, there is a powerful book kept in the Hall of Records called The Book of Events that allows you to view the past. Is there a moment from your own past that you would love to revisit again?

This is such a beautiful and thoughtful question. There are so many moments I would like to revisit, it would be painfully hard to chose only one. But I would have to say that I would really love to revisit a happy time in my past when my family was all together. There is one moment that stands out in my mind: We were quite poor growing up and would sit around the gas stove with our feet on the open door, keeping warm. During one of these times, my brother said something so funny, we all doubled over, howling with laughter, and in the process, broke the stove door off its hinges. My poor mum! She couldn’t keep anything good in the house with five kids!

4) Meg/Skylark finds herself recruited as a member of the Warrior Frequency, much like how angels have their own kind of hierarchy they belong to. Which Frequency would the Light of Corometh likely choose for you?

Another juicy question! I’m currently working on a quiz meme that people can take to determine their Frequency. If I took my own quiz, I would probably be placed in the Healer Frequency. I just can’t help myself from helping others. There are so many different healing modalities—I’m fascinated by them all. And I love falcons. How cool would it be to have a falcon as an animal friend? I particularly love kestrels.

5) While DARK COMPANY does not end on a cliffhanger, there is definitely a sense of more challenges to come for Caddy and Skylark in the future. Is there a sequel planned for the novel?

I definitely plan to write a sequel and maybe even a third, if all goes well.

Thank you so much for the awesome questions! This has been so much fun!

If anyone would like to know more about Dark Company, they can visit my website at http://www.darkcompanybook.com/


*****
Giveaway! Thanks to the generosity of Random House Canada, I will be giving away a signed copy of Natale Ghent's Dark Company to one lucky reader! 
  • please fill out the Rafflecopter form to enter
  • must have a Canadian mailing address
  • winner's mailing information will be forwarded to publisher
  • do not leave your email address in the comments
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Monday, March 30, 2015

All The Rage Blog Tour! Review: All The Rage by Courtney Summers

Title: All the Rage
Author: Courtney Summers
Release Date: April 14, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 336
Source: ARC provided by publisher

Overall: 5 Stars

Summary:
The sheriff's son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything--friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy's only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn't speak up. Nobody believed her the first time--and they certainly won't now--but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear.?

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, Courtney Summers' new novel All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women in a culture that refuses to protect them. 
My Thoughts: 
When Romy Grey was raped at a party one night, she tried to speak up against her rapist. Kellen Turner was the sheriff's son, her small town's golden boy... and nobody believed Romy, the girl whose father was a drunk, who lived on the wrong side of town. Branded a slut, a liar, and an outcast, Romy has been abandoned by her closest friends, the very people who should have supported her when she needed it most. 

The only place Romy still finds any refuge and semblance of peace is at Swan's Diner, where she works as a waitress on the outskirts of town. At Swan's, nobody knows Romy was raped, and nobody thinks she's a liar. She's just a pretty teen girl named Romy. But when a classmate she once considered a friend suddenly goes missing and a desperate, town-wide search to find her begins, Romy must reconsider her decision to remain silent, even if it means exposing herself to the harsh criticism of her community again.

I felt so much rage and anger for Romy while reading All the Rage. Why is it so easy for society to cast the blame on victims of rape? If a woman dresses in revealing clothes showing skin, or acts flirtatiously to a man, why is it we are so inclined to judge her in the wrong? That she must have been at fault, and not the other way around? Much like Courtney Summers' previous novels, All the Rage offers us no easy resolutions or straightforward answers. Romy may have physically recovered, but the trauma of her rape has left long-lasting psychological damage that cannot be quickly healed.

Romy is not necessarily a reliable narrator, but it doesn't mean she isn't telling us the truth. Her thoughts can be fragmented, and there are gaps in her memories that she cannot recall, but I felt it was a reflection of just how broken and hollow Romy feels deep inside. At school, she is relentlessly bullied and called out for being an attention seeker, but it couldn't be further from the truth. Romy wants to be invisible, to hide away from others because she cannot trust anyone anymore. She doesn't feel safe in the world unless she can meticulously apply red nail polish to her nails and red lipstick to her lips; it's the only form of control she feels can still exert over her own body after being so utterly violated.

While All the Rage is a fictional contemporary novel, it is heartbreaking to know that there are women just like Romy who suffer in silence without the justice they deserve. I find it utterly terrifying and horrifying to know someone can rip away my agency and make me feel powerless, that sexual assault is still a crime that offenders never truly face punishment. Rape has become synonymous with terms like shame and silence when it shouldn't, and this is something we must find a way to change in the future.

Courtney Summers has written a powerful, unflinching novel that adds to a much needed discussion about rape culture and its consequences. All the Rage is an emotionally-charged book that explores difficult subject matter and makes no promises of consolation or assurance. Romy's story will surely hit you with all the feels and resonate with readers long after finishing the novel.
 
Thanks so much to Raincoast Books for providing this review copy! Don't miss the rest of the stops on the Canadian blog tour for Courtney Summers' All the Rage!
 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday - Mad Miss Mimic by Sarah Henstra

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine spotlighting upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating.

Release Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Penguin Canada
 
Summary (from Goodreads):
London, 1872. Seventeen-year-old heiress Leonora Somerville is preparing to be presented to society -- again. She's strikingly beautiful and going to be very rich, but Leo has a problem money can't solve. A curious speech disorder causes her to stutter but also allows her to imitate other people's voices flawlessly. Servants and ladies alike call her "Mad Miss Mimic" behind her back...and watch as Leo unintentionally scares off one potential husband after another.

London in 1872 is also a city gripped by opium fever. Leo's brother-in-law Dr. Dewhurst and his new business partner Francis Thornfax are frontrunners in the race to patent an injectable formula of the drug. Friendly, forthright, and as a bonus devastatingly handsome, Thornfax seems immune to the gossip about Leo's "madness." But their courtship is endangered from the start. The mysterious Black Glove opium gang is setting off explosions across the city. The street urchins Dr. Dewhurst treats are dying of overdose. And then there is Tom Rampling, the working-class boy Leo can't seem to get off her mind.

As the violence closes in around her Leo must find the links between the Black Glove's attacks, Tom's criminal past, the doctor's dangerous cure, and Thornfax's political ambitions. But first she must find her voice.

My WoW pick this week is Canadian author Sarah Henstra's debut YA novel Mad Miss Mimic! I absolutely love historical books set in the Victorian period, and with an English heiress who has a speech disorder and a mysterious opium gang attacking London, it should be an irresistable combination. Handsome suitors, deadly drama, dark intentions, a girl struggling to find her own voice... there's so much to love! And isn't the cover so pretty, too? I definitely can't wait to read Sarah Henstra's Mad Miss Mimic!

If you're Canadian, Penguin Canada is giving away 32 copies of Mad Miss Mimic on Goodreads right now! The giveaway ends on April 5, 2015, so enter soon:
https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/129275-mad-miss-mimic
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