Monday, 23 May 2016

Blog tour extract: Unrivalled by @AlysonNoel @MIRAInk @midaspr #WelcomeToTheParty

Unrivalled by Alyson Noel book tour



EVERYONE wants to be someone.

Layla Harrison wants to be a reporter.
Aster Amirpour wants to be an actress.
Tommy Phillips wants to be a guitar hero.
But Madison Brooks took destiny and made it her own a long time ago.

She’s Hollywood’s hottest starlet, and the things she did to become the name on everyone’s lips are merely a stain on the pavement, ground beneath her Louboutin heel.

That is, until Layla, Aster, and Tommy find themselves with a VIP invite to the world of Los Angeles’s nightlife and are lured into a competition. The prize, or rather the target? Madison Brooks.

Just as their hopes begin to gleam like stars through the California smog, Madison Brooks goes missing. . . . And all of their hopes are blacked out in the haze of their lies.


Extract:


Ghost in the Machine

“How did this happen?”
Madison sat in the passenger seat of a dark green SUV, tugging at the brim of her worn baseball cap, and staring out the windshield at a landscape marred by cargo ships, brightly coloured rectangular containers, and tall working cranes. Everything about the meet was designed to go unnoticed. The car was ordinary. The San Pedro port was too busy for anyone to question them, and if they did, Paul had the credentials to make them go away. Then there was Paul himself and his utterly forgettable face. It’s one of the things that made him so good at his job, no one ever remembered seeing him, and it was nearly impossible to describe him.
“You told me, no, correction, you assured me, that everything from my past was sealed, locked up tight, and safely stored in a deeply buried vault with no key.”
He nodded, his pale eyes scanning the harbor. “I’ve recently come to think otherwise.”
She sighed. Sunk so low in her seat she could barely see past the dashboard. She had obligations, loads of press, a movie to promote, an impending break up with Ryan that would inevitably become very public no matter how hard she tried to keep it under wraps. She didn’t have time for problems. Not of this magnitude.
“How do you know it’s not just another bogus attempt to extort me? You know how fame attracts opportunists.” She studied him closely. The face that had once rescued her, changed her life in ways she could never repay, was now delivering the worst news he possibly could.
“This is different.” He pressed his lips together until they practically disappeared, making her wonder who this moment was harder for, him or her. Paul prided himself on meticulous attention to detail. But if he really did slip, the life Madison had worked so hard to create would burn as quickly as her previous life had.
“How different?” She shifted in her seat, taking in his beige hair, beige skin, thin pale lips, unobtrusive nose, and a small set of milky brown eyes. He certainly lived up to his nickname, The Ghost. Though she mostly called him Paul.
Without a word he handed her a photo of herself as a very young girl.
Madison gripped it by its edges, making careful study of the tangled hair, the dirt smudged face, the blaze of defiance burning in those bright, determined eyes. A long lost before picture in a life meticulously cultivated to consist entirely of afters.
Until now.



About Alyson Noel:





Alyson Noël is the #1 New York Times best-selling, award-winning, author of 23 novels including: The Immortals, The Riley Bloom, and The Soul Seekers series.

With 8 New York Times bestsellers in 2 years, and over 8 million copies in print, her books have been translated into 36 languages, sold in over 200 countries, and have made the New York Times, USA Today, LA Times, Publishers Weekly, Wall Street Journal, NCIBA, and Walmart Bestsellers lists, and have won numerous awards such as: the National Reader's Choice Award, NYLA Book of Winter Award, NYPL Stuff for the Teenage, TeenReads Best Books of 2007, Reviewer's Choice 2007 Top Ten, appeared on the CBS Early Show's "Give the Gift of Reading" segment, and selected for Seventeen Magazine's "Hot List" and Beach Book Club Pick.

Chosen as one of OC Metro magazine’s “20 Women to Watch,” she’s been nominated for the Orange County Business Journal’s “Women in Business Awards” as well as their “Excellence in Entrepreneurship” award. The dramatic rights for The Soul Seekersare optioned to Cheyenne Enterprises and Traziende films; the dramatic rights to Saving Zoë are optioned to actresses/producers Ellen Marano, Vanessa Marano (Switched at Birth), Laura Marano (Austin & Ally), with Jeffrey G. Hunt (Vampire Diaries, Gotham) directing; dramatic rights to The Immortals are optioned to Gil Adler (Valkyrie, Constantine) & Jason Rosenberg.

Her new YA series, Beautiful Idols, beginning with Unrivaled, had a global release in 17 languages and 200 countries on 05.10.16. Her new MG, Five Days of Famous, is set to debut 12.13.16.

Born and raised in Orange County, California, she’s lived in both Mykonos and Manhattan and is now settled back in Southern California.




Unrivaled by Alyson Noel book tour




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Thursday, 5 May 2016

Book review and audio extract: The Last Days of Summer by @VRonan @PenguinUKBooks

last days of summer vanessa ronan review



After ten years in the Huntsville State Penitentiary, Jasper Curtis returns home to live with his sister and her two daughters. Lizzie does not know who she's letting into her home: the brother she grew up loving or the monster he became.

Teenage Katie distrusts this strange man in their home but eleven-year-old Joanne is just intrigued by her new uncle.

Jasper says he's all done with trouble, but in a forgotten prairie town that knows no forgiveness, it does not take long for trouble to arrive at their door ...



Audio extract:

Click HERE to listen to an extract! 





Review:

While I was reading this book I participated in a Twead, which is a read along on twitter and absolutely loved hearing what other readers had to say about this book.

The Last Days of Summer is certainly a book that requires an investment. It will require your time and all your attention. This will not be a book you can just sit down and fly through. Some will love this, others will not. The pace is quite slow meaning if you really want to absorb all of the beautifully descriptive details then you have to avoid the want to skim. 

I usually don't mind a slow paced book but I found it a little hard to avoid being bogged down by the detail. I think it's because I've been reading a lot of fast paced thrillers lately and it took a while to adjust. 

I found The Last days of summer so atmospheric and I was really drawn into the small town gossip that can utterly destroy a persons soul. I was totally taken in by Jasper and the mystery surrounding his prison sentence. 

This book was a stunning piece of work that fans of literary fiction will devour with delight!

★★★★ ☆

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Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Blog tour: While my eyes were closed by @LindaGreenisms @QuercusBooks

while my eyes were closed Linda green writing inspiration


One, two, three . . . Lisa Dale shuts her eyes and counts to one hundred during a game of hide-and-seek. When she opens them, her four-year-old daughter Ella is gone. Disappeared without a trace. The police, the media and Lisa's family all think they know who snatched Ella. But what if the person who took her isn't a stranger? What if they are convinced they are doing the right thing? And what if Lisa's little girl is in danger of disappearing forever?

Linda's writing inspiration:



One of the pivotal scenes in this novel came to me eleven years ago when my son was a baby. It was a dark scene and extremely harrowing but I was determined I would use it one day, I just needed to find a story which would do it justice. I filed it away in my head, in the compartment marked 'to be returned to'.

When my son was two-years-old, we took him to Center Parcs, It was only a matter of months since Madeleine McCann had gone missing. I settled my son down for the night in a fold-up bed wedged between our own bed and the wall. I decided to check on him a couple of hours later. It was dark in the room (we used travel blackout blinds as the early morning sun tended to wake him) and it took a while for my eyes to adjust as I felt my way across to his bed. But as soon as I reached it, I saw that he wasn't there. I checked to see if he'd rolled off onto our bed or the floor - nothing. My eyes were drawn to the window. We were on the ground floor and I'd left it open a crack because of the heat. All I could think of was that he had been taken as we'd sat in the next room. I felt sick. I called my husband, I was physically shaking by the time he came in. I simply pointed to the empty bed, unable to form any words. Fortunately my husband was considerably calmer than I was. He put the light on and started a methodical search of the room. It was only when he got down on his hands and knees and looked under the beds that he saw a small bundle in the far corner. Somehow, my son had slipped down the narrow gap between his bed and the wall (which I was sure he's head couldn't fit through) and remained asleep there on the floor in his toddler sleeping bag, oblivious to our frantic efforts to find him.

I didn't really sleep much that night, the 'what ifs?' running through my head. Having worked as a journalist for 15 years, I was well aware that 'I never thought it would happen to me', was the most common response when people were interviewed about tragic events. But what interested me was how what I'd done - or hadn't done - would have been forensically examined by the media and public if my experience had turned into something tragic.
A few years later I took my son to a park we hadn't been to before and he asked to play hide-and-seek. I closed my eyes and started counting. When I opened them again he was, of course, nowhere to be seen. After ten minutes of fruitless searching, and with a clenching sensation in my stomach, I thought how ridiculous it is that we watch our children like hawks and then take them to a park, close our eyes and tell them to run away and hide. Fortunately, I found my son shortly afterwards but again I was struck by how things could have turned out differently and how I would have been judged if they had.
In the subsequent years the idea of writing a novel about a child who goes missing during a game of hide-and-seek started to formulate in my head. I knew right from the beginning that I wanted the abductor to be a woman. My husband, a photographer, had worked on the case of the missing baby Abbie Humphries, who had been found safe and well with a female abductor after 17 days. I started researching cases of women who had abducted babies or children and as Muriel's character started to form in my head, I realised the scene I had filed away in my head all those years ago would fit perfectly into this novel. I'm not going to say which scene it is, because I don't want to spoil the book, but you will know it when you come to it.

Of course, since those early days the advent of social media has meant that parents - and particularly mothers - are judged and commented on even more. I was interested in the huge amount of vitriol spouted on social media about the McCanns and other parents of children who have gone missing.
And I think the truth is that often the public want to believe that parents are responsible because then they can reassure themselves that it couldn't happen to them. The truth, that sometimes children do go missing and it is no fault of the parents, is a far more unpalatable one.

I wanted my novel to be not so much a whodunnit but, far more interestingly in my view, a whytheydunnit. At no point did I sit down and think, 'I know, I'll write a psychological drama'. It  was more a case that the characters and the story chose me. I don't actually see this book as a big departure from my previous novels, it is more of an evolution. I've always written about dramatic events in people's lives and how they impact on those around them. My previous six novels may have been categorized  as commercial women's fiction but they dealt with such issues as miscarriage, domestic violence, a suicide attempt, traumatic brain injury, a child with a life-limiting illness and a marriage breakdown. Hardly the supposed 'chick-lit' fare. It was simply that with this novel, the dramatic event which occurred happened to be a crime, which took me into new territory.

I hope I've written a thought-provoking novel which will make readers think about how women are judged as mothers and how the media likes to portray everyone as 'good' or 'evil', when the truth is that there are so many complex reasons why people do the things they do and I think we could all do with being more understanding and sympathetic to people instead of jumping to conclusions.

Find Linda online:

Website | Twitter | Facebook


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Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Guest post and #Giveaway: Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran by @AuthorMGW



A young woman confronts her own dark desires, and finds her match in a masked conjurer turned assassin. Inspired by Gaston LeRoux's The Phantom of the Opera, Marion Grace Woolley takes us on forbidden adventures through a time that has been written out of history books. 

"Those days are buried beneath the mists of time. I was the first, you see. The very first daughter. There would be many like me to come. Svelte little figures, each with saffron skin and wide, dark eyes. Every one possessing a voice like honey, able to twist the santur strings of our father's heart." 

It begins with a rumour, an exciting whisper. Anything to break the tedium of the harem for the Shah's eldest daughter. People speak of a man with a face so vile it would make a hangman faint, but a voice as sweet as an angel's kiss. A master of illusion and stealth. A masked performer, known only as Vachon. For once, the truth will outshine the tales. 

On her birthday, the Shah gifts his eldest daughter Afsar a circus. With the circus comes a man who will change everything.


Guest post:



When I saw a call for Go Book Yourself guest bloggers, I knew that I wanted to step forward. 

Back in 2012, Amanda gave a lovely review to one of my early novels, Georg[i]e, the story of a girl who falls for a female-to-male transgender guy. Remembering this started me thinking about time, and how my life has changed over time. 

Georg[i]e was the third novel I’d written, and the last one I would write for almost three years. It wasn’t that I loved books or writing any less, but that I’d started to doubt whether I would ever get very far with my own. I hit the post-publication blues that many new authors get when they realise marketing books is a hundred times harder than writing them. 

Then a story came along that I felt I couldn’t not write: Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran, a dark tale set in 1850s Norther Iran, inspired my Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera. I set out to explore the back story to that classic, which Leroux hinted at but never told. 

It centres on The Little Sultana, a minor character who takes centre stage. An exploration of opulence and wealth in the court of Shah Qajar. An age of political games and cruelty, where women held power and affluence, but rarely in their own right. 

The book struck a chord with Ghostwoods Books, who offered me a contract. Possibly the only fair trade publisher to split earnings fifty-fifty with their authors. The paperback was beautifully produced, and resulted in an audiobook narrated by Hugo-nominee Emma Newman. 

In the space of a year, since its publication, I found myself appearing on a number of high profile book blogs, featured in the UK’s Writing Magazine, and appearing at book talks. My post-publication flump was at its end. 

Few writers, including myself, ever set out believing we’ll make a living from what we write. More important is that what we write gets read. That’s why we write in the first place: to give life to stories, to create something that can live in the imagination of others. 

I’ve since been offered my first small advance for a retelling of The Children of Lir, an ancient Irish legend, also with Ghostwoods Books. Through Ghostwoods I met David Southwell, a fellow author and creator of Hookland, an open source playground for writers and artists interested in mythos and folklore. I’m currently working on a collaboration for that. 

In the same year I took another important decision. 

I currently live and work in Rwanda. I founded a consultancy company for international development, and last year headed a human rights program. I have enjoyed all of that immensely, but in my heart of hearts, it’s always been writing that’s drawn me to the keyboard faster than replying to e-mails or drafting bids for contracts. 

Development is a difficult job for a writer. With writing, you are constantly looking for clarity of communication: how to get your message across, how to strike an understanding with people you have never met before. Conversely, the world of development is built around a language that nobody really understands: ‘sustainability’ this, ‘key performance indicators’ that. 

The language is ambiguous, confusing, and often stands in the way of direct communication on any meaningful level. 

There is a long standing argument that language is the difference between an everyday concept and a profession. If you create lingo that is too hard for most people to understand, they have no choice but to pay someone – a professional – to translate for them. 

Last New Year, I decided to be extremely honest with myself. Writing is my passion, communication is important to me, books make the world go round. 

So, I quit my job, stepped back from consultancy, and I am now planning to teach creative writing in June, as well as getting involved with the local publishing scene to see where I can make myself useful. Oh, and write a load more books. 

It’s unnerving, because it’s not a stable income and I haven’t done it before, but already I feel a lot happier in myself. Any new venture contains elements of the unknown, and that can be terrifying. But, to quote Jim Carrey: “You can fail at what you don't want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.” 

Who knows where I will be this time next year. Wherever it is, I hope this post acts as encouragement to anyone out there writing a book, and to all those in post-publication blues land. It will pass, just keep writing. 

And to readers – you are the reason books exist. 

That is a momentous truth.


Thanks for the great post Marion. You can visit her website HERE. 


Giveaway:


The prize will be one hard copy and one audio copy of Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran.




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