Colleen Houck

REIGNITED Official Blog Tour

Erika Lewis

GAME OF SHADOWS Official Blog Tour

Stephanie Morrill

THE LOST GIRL OF ASTOR STREET

Colleen Houck

REIGNITED

Merry Jones

CHILD'S PLAY

Carrie Arcos

CRAZY MESSY BEAUTIFUL

Tim Shoemaker

CODE OF SILENCE

Elana K. Arnold

A BOY CALLED BAT OFFICIAL BLOG TOUR

Chris Miles

SPURT Official Blog Tour

Angela Corbett

CHASING BRYNN Official Blog Tour

Monday, February 27, 2017

Guest Post with Steven Manchester


Book Nerd Guest Post

Steven Manchester is the author of the #1 bestsellers Twelve Months, The Rockin’ Chair, Pressed Pennies, and Gooseberry Island as well as the novels Goodnight, Brian and The Changing Season. His work has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show, CNN’s American Morning, and BET’s Nightly News. Recently, three of Manchester’s short stories were selected “101 Best” for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

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Ten Random Facts about Ashes

1. I worked as a Correction Officer for the better part of the decade. Although Ashes is a work of fiction, the prison scenes are based on actual experiences.

2. My family and I love to visit Salem around Halloween; Tom’s walk through Salem in the book is the exact walk my wife and I work several years ago.

3. Stuart Prendergast (the ashes in the box) is the darkest villain that I’ve written to date.

4. My publisher, Lou Aronica, picked the cover and I knew just as soon as I saw it that it was perfect for the story.

5. I have a friend, Paul, who was traveling on business through Pennsylvania. He was reading an advanced copy of the book is the very motel that the main character was staying (eerie cool).

6. After it was storyboarded, this book took me five months to write.

7. My friend and renowned artist, Brian Fox, contributed to this novel; we met once a week for nearly three months before he unveiled his amazing contribution.

8. The “big reveal” toward the end of the book wasn’t written in until the third draft.

9. Great thought—and discussion—went into some of the graphic language in the story. I’ve prided myself on no unnecessary sex or profanity within my novel. In order for the character to seem real, some gritty language was necessary.

10. If I can’t laugh or cry while I’m writing, I could never expect my readers to do the same.


EXCERPT

Tom wheeled his late-model, platinum-colored BMW into Attorney Russell Norman’s freshly paved lot and parked between a brand new Lexus—sporting the license plate JUSTIS4U—and a custom pickup truck. Looks like I’m going after the hillbilly, he thought when he spotted the faded Massachusetts Department of Correction sticker in the rear window. His blood turned cold. “It must be Jason,” he thought aloud. I didn’t think he’d come.

Tom took a few deep breaths, not because he was nervous about his father’s death or talking to any lawyer but because he hadn’t seen his Neanderthal brother—for fifteen years, I think. He paused for a moment to give it more thought. Although their relationship had essentially vaporized in their late teens—the result of a fall out that still haunted his dreams—they’d occasionally wound up in each other’s orbits; weddings, funerals, and the like, enough to remain familiar with each other’s career choices, wives, and children. But even that came to an end fifteen years ago, he confirmed in his aching head before opening the door. While his toothache-induced migraine threatened to blind him, he took one step into the oak-paneled waiting room. His and Jason’s eyes met for the briefest moment. As though they were complete strangers, they both looked away. And here he is, Tom thought, disappointed. This is just great.

Through peripheral vision, Tom noticed that his older brother now wore a scar over his right eye, just above a bushy eyebrow that could have easily belonged to a homeless Scotsman. A jagged ear lobe, a piece clearly torn away, pointed to a crooked nose that sat sideways on his face—all of it rearranged since birth. What a big tub of shit he’s turned into, Tom thought, struggling to ignore his throbbing face and head. He’s as fat as a wood tick now, he thought, grinning, and he looks like he’s ready to pop. Jason looked straight at him, as if reading his mind. Tom immediately looked away, his rapid heartbeat starting to pound in his ears, intensifying his physical pain. Unbelievable, he thought. After all the years and all the distance, his elder brother—by only two years—still scared the hell out of him. He’s just a big asshole, that’s all, he told himself, but he still couldn’t bring himself to rejoin his brother’s penetrating gaze.

The secretary answered her phone before calling out, “Mr. Prendergast . . .”

Both brothers stood.

“Attorney Norman will see you now.”

Tom walked in first, letting the door close behind him—right in Jason’s face.

“Still a weasel,” Jason muttered, loud enough for all to hear.

“What was that?” Tom asked just inside the door.

“Don’t even think about playing with me,” Jason warned as he reopened the door and entered the room, “’cause I have no problem throwing you over my knee and spanking you right in front of this guy.”

I’m fifty years old, for God’s sake, Tom thought, and he thinks he’s going to spank me? I’m surprised the prison even let him out.

The attorney—his hand extended for anyone willing to give it a shake—looked mortified by the childish exchange.

Tom shook the man’s hand before settling into a soft leather wing chair. Jason followed suit.

The room was framed in rich mahogany paneling. The desk could have belonged in the oval office. Beneath a green-glassed banker’s lamp, stacks of file folders took up most of the vast desktop. An American flag stood in one corner, while framed diplomas and certificates, bearing witness to the man’s intelligence and vast education, covered the brown walls.

Attorney Norman wore a pinstriped shirt and pleated, charcoal-colored slacks held up by a pair of black suspenders. He had a bow tie, a receding hairline that begged to be shaved bald, and a pair of eyeglasses that John Lennon would have been proud to call his own. There’s no denying it, Tom thought, trying to ignore his brother’s wheezing beside him, he’s either a lawyer or a banker. He couldn’t be anything else.

While Jason squirmed in his seat, visibly uncomfortable to be sitting in a lawyer’s office, his hands squeezed the arms of the chair. What a chicken shit, Tom thought, trying to make himself feel better. Peering sideways, he noticed that his brother’s knuckles were so swollen with scar tissue they could have belonged to a man who made his living as a bare-knuckle brawler. He’s still an animal too, he decided.

Attorney Norman took a seat, grabbed a manila file from atop the deep stack and cleared his throat. “The reason you’re both here . . .”

“. . . is to make sure the old man’s really dead,” Jason interrupted.

In spite of himself and his harsh feelings for his brother, Tom chuckled—drawing looks from both men.

“The reason we’re all here,” Attorney Norman repeated, “is to read Stuart Prendergast’s last will and testament.” He flipped open the folder.

This ought to be good, Tom thought, while Jason took a deep breath and sighed heavily. Both brothers sat erect in their plush chairs, waiting to hear more.

As if he were Stuart Prendergast sitting there in the flesh, the mouthpiece read, “My final wish is that my two sons, Jason and Thomas, bring my final remains to 1165 Milford Road in Seattle, Washington, where they will spread my ashes.”

“Seattle?” Tom blurted, his wagging tongue catching his tooth, making him wince in pain. Quickly concealing his weakness, he slid to the edge of his seat. “Oh, I don’t think so,” he mumbled, careful not to touch the tooth again.

Jason was shaking his head. “Hell no,” he said.

The attorney read on. “I’ve always been afraid to fly, so I’m asking that I not be transported by airplane but driven by car.”

“No way,” Tom instinctively sputtered.

Jason laughed aloud. “This is just great. The old bastard’s dead and he’s still screwing with us.”

The less-than-amused attorney revealed a sealed envelope and continued on. “As my final gift to my sons . . .”

“Only gift,” Tom muttered, feeling a cauldron of bad feelings bubbling in his gut.

“I’m leaving this sealed envelope for them to share, once and only once they’ve taken me to my final resting place.”

“What the fuck!” Jason blurted.

Every cell in Tom’s overloaded brain flashed red. Don’t do it, he thought. You don’t owe that old man a damned thing. But every cell in his body was flooded with curiosity. He looked at Jason, who was no longer shaking his fat head.

“Maybe the bastard finally hit it big at the dog track?” Jason suggested.

Tom nodded in agreement but secretly wondered, Could it be the deed to the land Pop bragged about owning in Maine? He stared at the envelope. For as long as I can remember, he claimed to own forty-plus acres with a brook running straight through it. He stared harder. Could it be? he wondered, wishing he had X-ray vision. A parcel of land in Maine sure would make a nice retirement . . .

“How ’bout we travel separately and meet in Seattle to spread the ashes?” Jason said, interrupting his thoughts.

“Great idea,” Tom said, hoping against all hope that the idea would fly with their father’s lawyer.

Attorney Norman shook his head. “I’m sorry, gentlemen, but your father specifically requested that you travel together with his remains to Seattle. Any deviation from this can and will prohibit you from attaining the sealed envelope.”

There was a long pause, the room blanketed in a heavy silence. Son of a bitch, Tom thought, this couldn’t have come at a worse time. He turned to Jason, who was already looking at him. “What do you say?” he asked, already cursing his inability to curb his curiosity.

Jason shook his head in disgust. “The last thing I want to do is to go on some stupid road trip with you.”

“Trust me, that’s a mutual feeling,” Tom shot back.

“But I don’t think we have a choice,” Jason added. “Our fucked-up father wants to play one last game with us, so to hell with it—let’s play.”

This is insane, but he’s right, Tom thought. With a single nod, Tom stood. “Okay, let’s have the ashes then,” he told the lawyer.

The attorney shook his head. “I don’t have them. They’re currently at a funeral home in Salem.”

“Salem?” Tom squeaked, unhappy that his tone betrayed his distress.

“That’s right. You have to take custody of your father’s remains from the Buffington Funeral Home in Salem, Massachusetts.”

“You must be shitting me.” Jason said.

The attorney smirked. “I shit you not,” he said, throwing the letter onto his desk.

Salem? Tom repeated in his head. Just when I thought Pop couldn’t be a bigger prick . . . The migraine knocked even harder from the inside of his skull, making him feel nauseous. Amid the pain, his synapses fired wildly, considering all this would mean: I’ll have to take bereavement leave from school and find someone to cover my classes. I should probably double my treatment with Dr. Baxter tomorrow. And what about Caleb and Caroline? he asked himself, quickly deciding, They’ll be fine without me for a few days. Then he pictured his wife’s face. And Carmen, she’ll be fine without me for a lot longer than that. The nausea increased. Screw her.

“Are we done here?” Jason asked, obviously itching to leave.

The lawyer nodded. “I’ll need proof in the form of a video or a series of photos that you’ve deposited your father’s remains where he wished. Once I have that, the letter’s all yours.”

“How wonderful,” Jason said sarcastically. He stood, turned on his heels, and headed for the door.

Tom also got to his feet. He looked at the lawyer and, trying to ignore his physical discomfort, he smiled. “Don’t mind him,” he said, shrugging. “That imbecile is exactly what our father trained him to be.”



Middle-aged brothers Jason and Tom Prendergast thought they were completely done with each other. Perceived betrayal had burned the bridge between them, tossing them into the icy river of estrangement. But life – and death – has a robust sense of irony, and when they learn that their cruel father has died and made his final request that they travel together across the country to spread his ashes, they have no choice but to spend a long, long car trip in each other's company. It's either that or lose out on the contents of the envelope he's left with his lawyer. The trip will be as gut-wrenching as each expects it to be . . . and revealing in ways neither of them is prepared for.

At turns humorous, biting, poignant, and surprisingly tender, Ashes puts a new spin on family and dysfunction with a story that is at once fresh and timelessly universal.


Praise for ASHES

Ashes uses a poignant cross-country expedition to explore the shared history of an interesting pair of estranged brothers charged with fulfilling their father's bizarre last wish. The pilgrimage twists through childhood memories of comic misdeeds and bruising misunderstandings, detours into sibling squabbles, and bounces over the ruts of problematic marriages and ornery children to arrive at an unexpectedly wonderful destination. I loved it.” --Anne Hillerman, New York Times bestselling author of ROCK WITH WINGS

“When two middle-aged, estranged brothers hit the road with their father's ashes in the back seat of the car, what begins as a grueling test of opposites ends up as a heroic testament to love. Ashes is a story about disappointment, dysfunctional families, and male aging, filled with observations that are both painfully true and terribly funny. Sometimes raw, always engaging, Steven Manchester's novel is a wry and wise journey through the ruins of the American Dream.” --William Kent Kruger, New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-winning author of ORDINARY GRACE

“Steven Manchester has the enviable ability to capture the intricacies of the human heart through words. Ashes is a moving novel of two brothers and their journey back to one another. A must read.” --Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE and MISSING PIECES

“Ashes is a wonderfully character-driven, page-turning tale of two estranged brothers on a personal quest across the country. Their spontaneous road trip is a bumpy one, full of twists and turns and peopled with all sorts of colorful characters along the way, but it's also touched with humor―enough to amuse and delight the reader through a heartfelt, life-changing journey of self-discovery. Manchester's devoted fans will find much to love in his new novel, which proves he is an author who knows how to keep readers well-entertained, while touching their hearts deeply and profoundly at the same time.” --Julianne MacLean, USA Today bestselling author of THE COLOR OF HEAVEN

You can purchase Ashes at the following Retailers:
        


And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Steven Manchester for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Ashes by Steven Manchester.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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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.

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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.

EXCERPT

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*
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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.
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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.




Excerpt

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
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February 22nd Wednesday Insane About Books RANDOM THINGS 
February 22nd Wednesday J.R.'s Book Reviews REVIEW 
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February 26th Sunday Taking It One Book at a Time REVIEW & DREAM CAST 
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February 27th Monday Owl Always Be Reading REVIEW 
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March 2nd Thursday Rose's Book Corner REVIEW

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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.

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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.

Praise for THE YOUNG WIVES CLUB

“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*
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