Colleen Houck

REIGNITED Official Blog Tour

Erika Lewis

GAME OF SHADOWS Official Blog Tour

Stephanie Morrill


Colleen Houck


Merry Jones


Carrie Arcos


Tim Shoemaker


Elana K. Arnold


Chris Miles

SPURT Official Blog Tour

Angela Corbett

CHASING BRYNN Official Blog Tour

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Guest Post with Merry Jones

Book Nerd Guest Post

Merry Jones is the author of some twenty critically acclaimed books, both fiction and nonfiction. Her work has been translated into seven languages. Her previous Elle Harrison novels have been THE TROUBLE WITH CHARLIE and ELECTIVE PROCEDURES. Jones lives with her husband in Philadelphia.

Social Media

Series: The Elle Harrison Series (Book 3)
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Oceanview Publishing (January 3, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1608091910
ISBN-13: 978-1608091911

Praise for CHILD'S PLAY

“A nurturing and protective elementary school teacher is thrust into a web of unspeakable evil. Riveting, suspenseful and diabolical, Child's Play keeps the reader anxiously and eagerly turning the pages.” ―Mary Jane Clark, New York Times best-selling author

"Surprising, dark, and even disturbing. A fragile and vulnerable young teacher faces a terrifying first day of school--andthat is just the riveting beginning. Timely, provocative and sinister, this twisty story of family and friendship is not for the faint of heart."  ―Hank Phillippi Ryan, Agatha, Anthony, and Mary Higgins Clark award winning author

“What’s behind these horrors culminates in helter-skelter chaos. Elle’s home becomes the center of a tragic universe, since she “attracted tragedy and death.” That combination is magnified many fold as bodies pile up. And readers are left enchanted by another “Elle-oquent” thriller.” ―BookReporter

"The murder of the principal and a teacher on opening day at an elementary school a terrifying scenario. In "Child s Play" Merry Jones showcases her unique skill in delivering this dark, very dark, thriller with a modicum of humor. The end, well, you won t see it coming amid the tortuous twists and turns. Merry Jones at her best!" ―Patricia Gussin, New York Times Best-selling Author of After the Fall

“In Jones’s fast-paced third Elle Harrison novel (after 2014’s Elective Procedures), the Philadelphia second-grade teacher believes that she failed Ty Evans, a former student who later confessed to killing his abusive father, but she hopes to redeem herself with his younger brother, Seth, now enrolled in her class. With Ty newly released from juvenile detention and clashing with their alcoholic mother, Seth’s home life is unstable. When the draconian school principal and a humorless teacher―both of whom treated Ty cruelly―are murdered, Elle is torn between belief in his innocence and her desire to protect Seth. Meanwhile, the realtor charged with selling her house becomes increasingly aggressive, and when someone drugs and rapes Elle, she doesn’t know whether to suspect the realtor or the killer. The identities of the rapist and murderer are obvious well before Elle or other characters identify them. Still, Elle’s complex feelings toward her late husband―who was murdered while they were separated―add nuance and depth.” ―Publishers Weekly

"What a wild ride! Merry Jones' Child s Play starts on the first day of school and gets ever more terrifying from there.The novel is a terrific mystery, with the sins of the past rising to swallow an entire town, but it triumphs as an examination of female friendship, how it nurtures and how it destroys. Not to be missed. " ―New York Times best-selling author William Lashner

Defining Moment

Do you have a “calling”? Is there some goal you are driven to achieve? Some activity that you are almost compelled to perform?

That’s what writing is for me. It always has been.

As a child, I began writing stories as soon as I learned to hold a pencil. When I was seven or eight, my school teachers had me read my stories to the class. I remember one about a house filled with spiders. And one about a strange man who could make it snow in the summertime just by raising his hand. There was one, told in the voice of his great grandchild, about a skinny old man who scampered outside every day to sit atop a fence and watch the road, and who accidently froze to death one winter, sitting on that fence.

One was about bullies who threw a boy’s school books out of the school bus window. It ends with the boy retracing the bus route, alone, to fetch his books.

The stories were all fairly bleak. Even then I was drawn to dark fiction.

But stories weren’t all I wrote when I was young. For years starting as a teenager, I kept journals. Volumes and volumes of them. I recently threw out a stack, not wanting my children or anyone else ever to find let alone read them. But the point is, I was driven to write, even if all I had to write about was a detailed—oh trust me, way too detailed account of what happened on a disastrous date or how scared I was that I’d never find Mr. Right.

It wouldn’t be wrong to call my writing a compulsion, even a need. But, despite its vital part in my life, there were about five years in which, married unhappily and estranged from myself, I didn’t write a word. Oddly, during those five or so years, I had five—or was it six?—surgeries. Minor ones, but surgeries nonetheless. In hindsight, I’m convinced that the surgeries were no coincidence, that my physical health was linked to my blocked writing. I was holding in energy or creativity--or whatever you want to name it--that needed to be released, and holding it in was actually harming my health.

Whether or not that’s true, my health improved when I began writing again. But after a long hiatus, getting started writing my own stories again wasn’t easy. I lacked confidence. Writing seemed to be a distant, unfulfillable dream. I imagined what it would be like to have a book published, just one. To actually have people read it. I listened to the song “Paperback Writer” and ached.

Years passed while, instead of daring to write my “own” stories, I focused my writing on scripts and articles for business clients. Then a guy I was dating (now my sweet husband) asked what, if I could do anything, I’d want to do.

I listed having children and writing a book. So, we had children. And he kept pushing me to write. Finally, after our second baby was born, I scraped up the nerve to begin again.

It wasn’t easy. I doubted myself. I had an idealized view of “authors.” I asked myself, “Who do you think you are? What makes you think you can be an actual author?” I ripped myself, tore at my confidence. But I kept writing. And within two years, amazingly, the book—non-fiction about stepmothers, was published.

So, you’d think I’d have been satisfied, right? My dream had come true.

But no. The compulsion to write remained as strong as ever. Rather than begin satisfied, my need to tell stories mushroomed.

Since that first book, I’ve had nineteen more published. And I’m still as compelled to write as I was as a seven-year-old. I can’t stop. Writing is just what I do, what I’ve always done. If I resist—if I stop writing and releasing that creative energy--I’m certain that, like the last time, it will be at my own peril.

So I don’t fight it, don’t question it. I write.

Since her husband’s murder two years earlier, life hasn’t been easy for Elle Harrison. Now, at the start of a new school year, the second grade teacher is determined to move on. She’s selling her house and delving into new experiences―like learning trapeze.

Just before the first day of school, Elle learns that a former student, Ty Evans, has been released from juvenile detention where he served time for killing his abusive father. Within days of his release, Elle’s school principal, who’d tormented Ty as a child, is brutally murdered. So is a teacher at the school. And Ty’s former girlfriend. All the victims have links to Ty.

Ty’s younger brother, Seth, is in Elle’s class. When Seth shows up at school beaten and bruised, Elle reports the abuse, and authorities remove Seth and his older sister, Katie, from their home. Is Ty the abuser?

Ty seeks Elle out, confiding that she’s the only adult he’s ever trusted. She tries to be open-minded, even wonders if he’s been wrongly condemned. But when she’s assaulted in the night, she suspects that Ty is her attacker. Is he a serial killer? Is she his next intended victim?

Before Elle discovers the truth, she’s caught in a deadly trap that challenges her deepest convictions about guilt and innocence, childhood and family. Pushed to her limits, she’s forced to face her fears and apply new skills in a deadly fight to survive.


I was the first one there.

The parking lot was empty, except for Stan’s pickup truck. Stan was the custodian, tall, hair thinning, face pock-marked from long ago acne. He moved silently, popped out of closets and appeared in corners, prowled the halls armed with a mop or a broom. In fourteen years, I couldn’t remember a single time when he’d looked me in the eye.

Wait—fourteen years? I’d been there that long? Faces of kids I’d taught swirled through my head. The oldest of them would now be, what? Twenty-one? Oh man. Soon I’d be one of those old school marms teaching the kids of my former students, a permanent fixture of the school like the faded picture of George Washington mounted outside the principal’s office. Hell, in a few months, I’d be forty. A middle-aged childless widow who taught second grade over and over again, year after year, repeating the cycle like a hamster on its wheel. Which reminded me: I had to pick up new hamsters. Tragically, last year’s hadn’t made it through the summer.

I told myself to stop dawdling. I had a classroom to organize, cubbies to decorate. On Monday, just three days from now, twenty-three glowing faces would show up for the first day of school, and I had to be ready. I climbed out of the car, pulled a box of supplies from the trunk, started for the building. And stopped.

My heart did triple time, as if responding to danger. But there was no danger. What alarmed me, what sent my heart racing was the school itself. But why? Did it look different? Had the windows been replaced, or the doors? Nothing looked new, but something seemed altered. Off balance. The place didn’t look like an elementary school. It looked like a giant factory. A prison.

God, no. It didn’t look like any of those things. The school was the same as it had always been, just a big brick building. It seemed cold and stark simply because it was unadorned by throngs of children. Except for wifi, Logan Elementary hadn’t changed in fifty years, unless you counted several new layers of soot on the bricks.

I stood in the parking lot, observing the school, seeing it fresh. I’d never paid much attention to it before. When it was filled with students, the building itself became all but invisible, just a structure, a backdrop. But now, empty, it was unable to hide behind the children, the smells of sunshine and peanut butter sandwiches, the sounds of chatter and small shoes pounding Stanley’s waxed tiles. The building stood exposed. I watched it, felt it watching me back. Threatening.

Seriously, what was wrong with me? The school was neither watching nor threatening me. It was a benign pile of bricks and steel. I was wasting time, needed to go in and get to work. But I didn’t take a single step. Go on, I told myself. What was I afraid of? Empty halls, vacant rooms? Blank walls? For a long moment, I stood motionless, eyes fixed on the façade. The carved letters: Logan School. The heavy double doors. The dark windows. Maybe I’d wait a while before going inside. Becky would arrive soon, after she picked up her classroom aquarium.

Other teachers would show up, too. I could go in with them, blend safely into their commotion. I hefted the box, turned back to the car. But no, what was I doing? I didn’t want to wait. I’d come early so I could get work done without interruption or distraction before the others arrived. The school wasn’t daring me, nor was I sensing some impending tragedy. I was just jittery about starting a new year.

I turned around again, faced its faded brown bricks. I steeled my shoulders, took a breath and started across the parking lot. With a reverberating metallic clank, the main doors flew open. Reflexively, I stepped back, half expecting a burst of flames or gunfire. Instead, Stan emerged. For the first time in fourteen years, I was glad to see him. Stan surveyed the parking lot, hitched up his pants. Looked in my direction. He didn’t wave or nod a greeting, didn’t follow social conventions. Even so, his presence grounded me, felt familiar.

I took a breath, reminded myself that the school was just a school. That I was prone to mental wandering and embellishing. And that children would stream into my classroom in just three days, whether I was ready or not.

You can purchase Child's Play at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Todd and TOR Books for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Child's Play (Elle Harrison Thriller #3) by Merry Jones.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Vlog Post with Colleen Houck

Book Nerd Vlog Post

New York Times Bestselling author Colleen Houck is a lifelong reader whose literary interests include action, adventure, paranormal, science fiction, and romance. When she’s not busy writing, she likes to spend time chatting on the phone with one of her six siblings, watching plays, and shopping online. Colleen has lived in Arizona, Idaho, Utah, California, and North Carolina and is now permanently settled in Salem, Oregon with her husband and a huge assortment of plush tigers.
Social Media

Series: Reawakened
Paperback: 224 pages
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1539999033
ISBN-13: 978-1539999034

"[A] must-read for thrill-seekers and fans of alternate worlds."—RT Book Reviews

"Rick Riordan fans who are looking for another series will delight in this fantasy."—SLJ

"Littered with Egyptian mythology and snappy dialogue, this romantic adventure is a good choice for graduates of Rick Riordan or fans of Houck’s Tiger’s Curse series."—Booklist

"Fans of paranormal romance will love the Egyptian spin on this story of devotion and sacrifice, and Lily’s humor, combined with plentiful dangerous escapades, will keep readers engaged."—VOYA

"The author weaves her story out of Egyptian lore, cinematic magic, selfless love, and . . . is clever enough to remain surprising even to the last sentence."—Kirkus Reviews

“Houck’s moving depiction of the love between Lily and Amon is memorable."—Publishers Weekly

"Wonderfully written and…the heart-pounding adventures are topped only by the heart-melting romance."—The Deseret News

"A sparkling new novel with a fully imagined world and mythos, and crackling romance! Egyptian mythology has never been this riveting!"—Aprilynne Pike, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Wings series, on Reawakened, book one in the series 

Ten favorite guy characters from your books, including random facts about them.

Mr. Kadam-He loves nothing more than tea time and, in fact, drinks tea the British way every afternoon.

Dr. Hassan-He owns a fedora hat in every color.

Lily’s Grandfather-Lily’s grandpop is no longer living in the Reawakened series, but his presence is still felt. He and Nana may not have had a shotgun wedding.

Amon-In addition to Danishes, Amon also loves cherry pie, but he hates pumpkin.

Osiris-Created water lilies, the flower Lily was named after. Fun facts: The goddess Durga also loves flowers and gifted Kelsey with a wreath of them. Ren gives Kelsey tiger lilies since they are her favorite flower and remind her of him.

Faunus-One of the Silvanae, Faunus knows much more than people think. He plays his pan pipes in a certain melody that jogs his memory. It works with a special sort of magic and he can remember things, even when a certain goddess tries to erase them.

Murphy-The pilot friend of Mr. Kadam is a sweet natured and faithful friend who has seen much more than he can explain. My dachshund is named after him.

Cherty-The ferryman who takes Lily and company to the Netherworld is a brave but crusty old sailor. He asked for the job of ferryman when he was still alive. Only he and Amun-Ra know why.

Nebu-The unicorn returns in Reunited to help Lily fight in the battle of the cosmos against Seth. He has a fondness for pretty girls and grazing on dandelions.

Li-I’ve always loved martial arts and Li is someone who’d be really fun to hang out with. Don’t tell his grandmother, but he prefers pizza over her home cooking.

Bonus: Fanindra-She may be related to both dragons and phoenixes.

A sibling rivalry.
A forbidden romance.
A spell that changes everything.

In Heliopolis secrets abound and passions ignite as chaos rises.

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Tiger’s Curse series and Reawakened comes a novella full of celestial marvel, passion, betrayal, and evil that will grow to reign over humanity forever.

Before Lily and Amon met, before the cosmos was in chaos and needed three brave brothers to fight off evil, there were four siblings who helped rule the earth.

Each sibling had a special gift. Osiris, the god of agriculture, helped mortals to grow and thrive in their natural environment. Isis, the goddess of creation, fostered health and wellness. Nephthys, the seer, was able to keep the balance between all living beings and the universe. But Seth, the youngest sibling, was left without any special powers. The Waters of Chaos, which granted each god’s talent, were running dry, and Seth was paying the price.

As time passed, however, Seth’s determination and willfulness resulted in a very special gift, one that should have granted him the ability to enact wondrous change. But Seth’s competitive childhood gave him a heart so cold and vacant that instead, his gift brought about great evil.

Seth was now the god of unmaking, the creator of disorder and destruction. And he was ready to seek his revenge, dominating all who got in his way.


After cupping her hand with his, he added, with an almost desperate hiss, “Such a thing is forbidden.”

“I thought we already talked about that aspect.”

“Yes, but . . . this is different. Think of the consequences.”

“And what are the consequences of a life lived without love?”

He gently removed her hand from his chest and pressed it between his own. “You can’t mean this, Isis. You don’t understand.”

“I understand loneliness and longing.” She brought her other wing around until they stood in the midst of them. “I understand now that it was always you.”

You can purchase Reignited at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Todd and TOR Books for making this giveaway possible.
12 Winners will Receive a Copy of Reignited, Scarab Necklace + Exclusive Bonus by Colleen Houck
15 Winners will Receive an E-Copy of Reignited by Colleen Houck

February 21st Tuesday JeanBookNerd VLOG & TENS LIST
February 21st Tuesday Wishful Endings FAVORITE BOOKS
February 21st Tuesday Movies, Shows, & Books EXCERPT
February 22nd Wednesday Insane About Books RANDOM THINGS 
February 22nd Wednesday J.R.'s Book Reviews REVIEW 
February 23rd Thursday Once Upona Twilight RANDOM THINGS 
February 23rd Thursday Ohana Reads REVIEW & EXCERPT 
February 24th Friday Sabrina's Paranormal Palace REVIEW 
February 24th Friday Brooke Blogs RANDOM THINGS 
February 24th Friday Allison's Nook REVIEW 
February 25th Saturday CBY Book Club TENS LIST 
February 25th Saturday La Fin Absolute du Monde RANDOM THINGS 
February 26th Sunday Taking It One Book at a Time REVIEW & DREAM CAST 
February 26th Sunday Books, Dreams, Life RANDOM THINGS 
February 26th Sunday TTC Books and More REVIEW 
February 27th Monday Owl Always Be Reading REVIEW 
February 27th Monday Lisa Loves Literature REVIEW & TENS LIST 
February 28th Tuesday The Silver Dagger Scriptorium RANDOM THINGS 
February 28th Tuesday Literary Meanderings INTERVIEW 
March 1st Wednesday Book Queen Reviews REVIEW 
March 1st Wednesday Whatever You Can Still Betray GUEST POST 
March 2nd Thursday A Dream Within a Dream REVIEW & RANDOM THINGS 
March 2nd Thursday Rose's Book Corner REVIEW

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Julie Pennell Author Interview

Book Nerd Interview

Julie Pennell grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana, where she ate her weight in crawfish, used the word “y’all” a lot, and wrote a weekly Teen Scene column for the local paper. After graduating with a degree in journalism from Louisiana Tech University, she moved to New York City to work at Seventeen magazine and later Alloy Entertainment as a digital editor. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and is a regular online contributor to Teen Vogue, TODAY, and The Nest, among other publications. The Young Wives Club is her first novel.

Social Media

What was your first introduction to literature?

I’ve loved books my whole life. My mom says that I made her read me multiple books a night when I was little. When I got older, I used to steal my older sister’s Baby-Sitters Club books. I think that was the first series that made me want to become a writer.

What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you? 

I wrote The Young Wives Club while living in Oxford, England, for a year. My husband got the opportunity to do research there so I quit my full-time job and joined him. It was truly magical. I’d write in gardens full of poppies and bluebells, old pubs, and cafés that looked out onto buildings from the 1600s! Little did anyone know I was writing scenes about crawfish and pickup trucks ;)

When did you write your first book and how old were you? 

The Young Wives Club is my first novel and I started writing it when I was 29. I’ve attempted a couple of other books before – I started writing one when I was a little girl called “Paradise Pink” (title inspired by a paint chip I found at Home Depot with my mom). It was about a little girl who wanted to redecorate her bedroom, but I didn’t get too far. I guess she never got her new bedroom either.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school? 

In college, my journalism professor used to run around the room shouting, “Show me, don’t tell me,” and I recite that phrase to myself at least once a day while I’m writing.

Did you learn anything from writing THE YOUNG WIVES CLUB and what was it? 

That writer’s block is a real thing and it comes when you’re on a major deadline! Haha! (But seriously…)

For those who are unfamiliar with Laura, how would you introduce her? 

Laura is a sweet girl who I think has her head in the cloud sometimes. Her heart is pure and she wants that perfect life, but she soon learns that what she thought were the right choices might be her downfall.

What part of Madison did you enjoy writing the most? 

Madison says whatever is on her mind, and it’s usually really snarky. I had so much fun with her lines – maybe because she gets to say what I wish I could say to other people sometimes – ha! I also loved watching her grow and mature throughout the book.

If you could introduce Gabrielle to any character from another book, who would it be and why? 

Oh man, that’s a tough one. I think Gabrielle needs some guidance, especially in the beginning of the book. I’d probably put her with a motherly figure, someone who could give her good advice and steer her in the right direction. I know Tami Taylor from Friday Night Lights isn’t a book character, but she’d be perfect!

Which character have you enjoyed getting to know the most while writing THE YOUNG WIVES CLUB

Definitely the four main characters, Laura, Madison, Claire, and Gabby. I felt like these girls could be my friends in real life. I laughed with them, cried with them… cringed with them. I know they’re just figments of my imagination, but they felt so real!

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? 

I’m so lucky that I’ve made a lot of writer friends throughout my career and I cherish all of their advice and support. So I like to think I have many mentors, and I’m so grateful for all of them.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be? 

There’s a story in every person. Pick up a pen and write it.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heartbreak, or having never loved at all? 

I’m a Libra and therefore a total romantic. I’d pick love with heartbreak every time. Even though breakups hurt like hell, we learn from every relationship, and each one makes us stronger.

When was the last time you cried? 

Every time I watch This Is Us. That show makes me ugly cry! It’s so good though.

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager? 

I really loved being a teen in the 90s – the boy bands were top notch and the teen magazines were in their prime. My walls plastered with those Tiger Beat posters. What a time to be alive!

What's the loveliest thing you have ever seen? 

My book cover! I got tears in my eyes when my publisher showed me the final copy. Besides the fact that it’s so delicious (I mean, that cake – right?!), I’ve wanted this to happen for so long that it felt like I was looking at a tangible version of a dream.

Where can readers find you? 

I’m @juliepens on Twitter and Instagram. Say hi!

In Toulouse, Louisiana finding your one true love happens sometime around high school. If you’re lucky, he might be the man you thought he was. But as four friends are about to find out, not every girl has luck on her side in this charming debut novel perfect for fans of The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Desperate Housewives.

Laura Landry’s quarterback husband was her ticket out of Toulouse. But when a devastating football injury sidelines him, they’re forced to move back to the small town she was so desperate to leave. As Brian starts drinking instead of rehabbing his knee, Laura must reevaluate what her future looks like…and if it includes her husband.

For years, Madison Blanchette has been waiting for bad-boy musician Cash Romero to commit to her. When wealthy George Dubois asks her out, she figures she may as well wait in style. Life with George means weekend trips to New Orleans, gourmet meals, and expensive gifts. At first she loves how George’s affection sparks Cash’s jealousy, but when George proposes to Madison, she finds herself torn between two men…

All Claire Thibodeaux wants is to be the perfect wife and mother. If she can do everything right she won’t end up like her mom, a divorced, single parent trying to make ends meet. But when Claire’s husband Gavin, a well-respected local pastor, starts spending late nights at work and less time in their bed, she can’t help but fear that history is about to repeat itself…

Gabrielle Vaughn never thought she’d end up with someone like her fiancé. The son of a prominent congressman, Tony Ford is completely out of her league—which is why she lied to him about everything from having a college degree to the dark truth about her family. She knows she has to come clean, but how do you tell the love of your life that your entire relationship is a lie?

As these young wives come together to help each other through life, love, and heartbreak, they discover that there are no easy answers when it comes to matters of the heart.


“This sweet (but not too sweet) page-turning debut will appeal to fans of warm southern women’s fiction from authors like Rebecca Wells and Mary Kay Andrews. A really delightful book.”--Booklist

“Pennell's debut novel shimmers with lively banter and the glitter of these young women's dreams…A light novel in which women take charge of their own happily-ever-afters.”--Kirkus

"The Young Wives Club is as delicious as its cover! A heartwarming story about friendship, heartache, and self-discovery set in the kind of small Southern town I wish I'd grown up in. You will find yourself rooting for Claire, Laura, Madison, and Gabby as they navigate from girlhood to womanhood, learning what to keep, and what to leave behind. I loved this book!" --Karen White, New York Times Bestselling Author of Spinning the Moon

"Four friends whose lives are varying degrees of perfect lean on each other in tiny Toulouse, Louisiana . . . It's uplifting to watch each woman come into her own–some via forgiveness, some via romance. This sweet (but not too sweet) page-turning debut will appeal to fans of warm southern women's fiction like Rebecca Wells and Mary Kay Andrews. A really delightful book." --Booklist

"So satisfying—lots of laughing and crying! A wonderful read!" --Amy Poeppel, author of SMALL ADMISSIONS

You can purchase The Young Wives Club at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Julie and Simon & Schuster for making this giveaway possible.
Winner will receive a Copy of The Young Wives Club by Julie Pennell.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Guest Post with Kevin Emerson

Book Nerd Guest Post

Author of the EXILE series, THE ATLANTEANS series, THE FELLOWSHIP FOR ALIEN DETECTION, the OLIVER NOCTURNE series and CARLOS IS GONNA GET IT. Musician in THE BOARD OF EDUCATION. Former K-8 science teacher, currently teaching with Richard Hugo House and Writers in the Schools. Originally from Cheshire, CT, now living in Seattle, by way of Boston.
Social Media

Age Range: 8 - 12 years
Grade Level: 3 - 7
Series: Chronicle of the Dark Star (Book 1)
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Walden Pond Press (February 14, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062306715
ISBN-13: 978-0062306715


“Emerson’s writing explodes off the page in this irresistible space adventure, filled with startling plot twists, diabolical aliens, and (my favorite!) courageous young heroes faced with an impossible task.” --Lisa McMann, New York Times bestselling author of The Unwanteds series

“Last Day on Mars is thrillingly ambitious and imaginative, a rousing space opera for any age, meticulously researched and relentlessly paced. A fantastic start to an epic new series.” --Soman Chainani, New York Times bestselling author of The School for Good and Evil

“This is perfect science fiction: a terrifying yet very cool vision of the future, lots of technological awesomeness, mind-bending alien mysteries, a mission to save the human race—and two funny, resourceful, very real kid heroes who I’d follow to the edges of the universe.” --Tui Sutherland, New York Times bestselling author of the Wings of Fire series

“A hugely enjoyable blend of adventure, humor, science, and kids trying to find their place when humanity itself doesn’t have one.” --Emma Trevayne, author of The Accidental Afterlife of Thomas Marsden

“Action-packed science-fiction adventure.”

What fiction most influenced your childhood, and what effect did those stories have on LAST DAY ON MARS?

When I was a kid what I remember reading most were Choose Your Own Adventure books about Dungeons and Dragons, Indiana Jones, and James Bond. Those books have been on my mind lately for two reasons.

When I was a kid reading those books, it was pretty hard not to thumb ahead and cheat: sneaking a peek at what would happen for each choice before you chose. Of course we’d like to know our options, and yet in real life, every choice is somewhat of a gamble, and a commitment to one future and not some other one you’ll never get to experience. (In the second book of this trilogy, we get a little deeper into the idea of possible futures and the concept of a quantum superposition, but that’s a conversation for next year).

Second, in Last Day on Mars, I thought it would be interesting to give the main character, Liam, an alien device that allows him to cheat the way we always would in Choose Your Own Adventure books, but with a catch. The alien device lets him see one version of what might happen in the future (the most probable one), but not others. And so while it is helpful for him to know some of what might happen next (especially when what happens next is him dying!), he is still uncertain what will happen if he tries something else. He can’t use it too often, as the side-effects of the time travel leave him feeling pretty ill. But it was interesting to bestow a character with the ability to partially see the future. In a way, it’s almost more stressful to get a limited glimpse of your destiny, because it takes away the idea that there is only ONE destiny, or a destiny at all. Not only is Liam’s world ending (via moving away and the Sun swallowing Mars), and his future unknown (will they make it to their new home? Will it be safe there?), but now he sort of sees his life as this Choose Your Own Adventure book, where there are always multiple outcomes to every choice, and nothing is certain. This level of possibility and randomness is almost too much for a human to take--even though, if you think about it, those elements are always there.

Last Day on Mars is the first book in the Chronicle of the Dark Star trilogy. One of the big questions in the entireseries is: how can (or even should) humans comprehend our place in the universe? What is the cost of such knowledge for our very humanity? Liam’s alien device is just the beginning.
Ten facts about Last Day on Mars 

1. The very first idea that led to Last Day on Mars is a file on my computer called School Ship from February, 2006. It was meant as a prologue, where scientists are placing embryos on a ship.

2. When I first talked with the awesome people at Walden Pond Press, who published my previous middle grade novel The Fellowship for Alien Detection, I proposed that my next book would be about a boy who befriends a lonely zombie. We all liked it, but we were worried that zombies had been overdone. They wondered if I had another sci-fi idea, which got me thinking again about that old School Ship idea.

3.The working title of the original proposal and sample chapters was Starbenders. I never really knew why. The working title from 2013-14 was Pioneers.

4. In the original outline, all of the events on Mars were supposed to take place in the first act of the first book of the trilogy. It wasn’t until I began to officially write the first draft that I realized that I had enough material about just the last day on Mars to fill an entire novel.

5. The main character, Liam, was inspired by a conversation that my wife and kids and I had on a road trip. I was recounting an episode of Star Talk about the sun eventually dying out, and my daughter, anxious like her dad, got really worried. What bothered her most was that our world wouldn’t be here any longer. I started to think about what it would be like to be faced with that reality, and have it feel so out-of-your-control. Was there a scenario I could invent where the sun would be dying soon?

6. When I started writing, I realized that while Liam was freaked out by the end of the solar system, he was just as freaked out by the fact that he had to move away from the only place he’d ever called home: Mars. I remember moving just a few miles away when I was ten, and how upset I was.

7. In the first draft of Last Day on Mars, Liam had a pet cockroach named Rusty (there are cockroaches everywhere in the Mars colonies), but then my editor reminded me that this was sort of the same as in Wall-E, and Rusty was cut.

8. I tried to make the geography and atmospherics of Mars as real-feeling as possible. The giant volcano in the story, Olympus Mons, is a real landform, though in reality it is so broad that apparently when you are standing on it, you can’t even tell you’re on a mountainside. In the story, I made it seem a little more like a mountain.

9. I did a lot of research on different types of rocket designs, so that the ones in the novel would at least be plausible (i.e., humanity hasn’t discovered any kind of warp drive or light speed). Along the way, I ended up writing a song about a real-life rocket called the VASIMR, and recording a pretty crazy version with my band The Board of Education. I wanted it to sound kind of like the theme song to The Great Space Coaster. You can hear it (gulp) here it below:

10. One of the very last revisions I made to this book is in chapter 2. It’s the scene where JEFF (their android who is shaped like a smiling panda, a sort of cross between JARVIS and C-3PO) is

It is Earth year 2213—but, of course, there is no Earth anymore. Not since it was burned to a cinder by the sun, which has mysteriously begun the process of going supernova. The human race has fled to Mars, but this was only a temporary solution while we prepare for a second trip: a one-hundred-fifty-year journey to a distant star, our best guess at where we might find a new home.

Liam Saunders-Chang is one of the last humans left on Mars. The son of two scientists who have been racing against time to create technology vital to humanity’s survival, Liam, along with his friend Phoebe, will be on the very last starliner to depart before Mars, like Earth before it, is destroyed.

Or so he thinks. Because before this day is over, Liam and Phoebe will make a series of profound discoveries about the nature of time and space, and find out that the human race is just one of many in our universe locked in a desperate struggle for survival.

Page 152-153

“Do you see any way in?” said Phoebe. “I mean, we’re going in, right?”

Liam swallowed hard. Maybe he had it backward. Maybe they were just two tiny humans in a tiny ship and it was completely insane to even considergoing inside some sort of alien structure. Whatever was in there might capture them, or kill them. They had no way of knowing. And yet . . .

“Yeah,” said Liam. “We’re going in.” He tapped the controls with shaking fingers and circled around. “Maybe if you can make your stuffinvisible, you don’t need doors?” He raised the drone until they hovered above the structure. “Wait, there.” He pointed to a sleek instrumentsticking out of the roof, made of black polished metal. There was a hole torn in the roof beside it, as if the instrument had shifted when thestructure did.

“That kind of looks like a telescope,” said Phoebe. “It does,” said Liam. Maybe there was a benevolent, science-loving alien in there. Then again,the ability to build a telescope didn’t mean you were peaceful, or that you didn’t have meter-long claws and tentacles and a mouth with six rows of teeth like the main villains in Roid Wraiths.”

You can purchase Last Day on Mars at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Todd and TOR Books for making this giveaway possible.
7 Copies of Last Day on Mars (Chronicle of the Dark Star #1) by Kevin Emerson.

February 13th Monday CBY Book Club EXCERPT
February 14th Tuesday JeanBookNerd VLOG & GUEST POST 
February 15th Wednesday Sabrina's Paranormal Palace REVIEW & RANDOM THINGS 
February 15th Wednesday Books, Dreams, Life TENS LIST 
February 16th Thursday Such a Novel Idea REVIEW & INTERVIEW 
February 17th Friday Wishful Endings REVIEW & RANDOM THINGS 
February 17th Friday Mixed Book Bag REVIEW 
February 18th Saturday A Dream Within a Dream REVIEW & MUSIC PLAYLIST 
February 18th Saturday TTC Books and More TENS LIST 
February 19th Sunday Kara the Redhead EXCERPT 
February 19th Sunday Reading for the Stars and Moon REVIEW & DREAM CAST 
February 20th Monday Taking It One Book at a Time REVIEW & FAVORITE BOOKS 
February 21st Tuesday She Dreams in Fiction RANDOM THINGS 
February 21st Tuesday Brooke Blogs REVIEW & EXCERPT 
February 22nd Wednesday Mama Reads Blog REVIEW

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
a Rafflecopter giveaway