Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Love Has No Finale - Becca Fitzpatrick's FINALE Excerpt Reveal!


I'm really excited to be part of the Love Has No Finale blog tour which sees five blogs post excerpts from Becca Fitzpatrick's final book in the Hush, Hush saga - Finale.

Finale isn't published for a little while yet - October 25th in the UK and October 26th in the US - but this week you can read some excerpts to tide you over untile then! I've been a huge fan of Becca's since before Hush, Hush was published in 2009 and I'm sad to see the series come to an end. Still, I'm looking forward to seeing what she writes next!

Use the #FinaleReveal hashtag on Twitter if you want to talk about these excerpts and the blog tour, and ENJOY!


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Exclusive Excerpt

Hank was dead, and the archangels were expecting me to stop the Nephilim from going to war.
This was where things got tricky. Just hours before I shot Hank, I’d sworn an oath to him, vowing to lead his Nephilim army. Failure to comply would result in my death, and my mom’s. How to fulfill my promise to the archangels and my oath to Hank? I saw only one option. I would lead Hank’s army. To peace. Probably not what he had pictured while forcing me to swear the oath, but he wasn’t around now to argue the details. It didn’t slip my mind, however, that in turning my back on the rebellion, I was also allowing the Nephilim to remain in bondage to fallen angels. It didn’t seem right, but life was paved with difficult decisions. As I was learning all too well. Right now, I was more concerned with keeping the archangels happy than the Nephilim.
“What do we know about my oath?” I asked Patch.
“Dante said it went into effect when Hank died, but who determines if I keep it or not? Who determines what I can and can’t do in terms of carrying out my oath? Take you, for instance. I’m confiding in you, a fallen angel and the sworn enemy of Nephilim. Won’t the oath strike me dead for treason?”
“The oath you swore was about as vague as you could have made it. Luckily,” Patch said with obvious relief.
Oh, it had been vague all right. And to the point. If you die, Hank, I’ll lead your army. Not a word more.
“As long as you stay in power and lead the Nephilim, I think you’re within the terms of the oath,” Patch said. “You never promised Hank you’d go to war.”
“In other words, the plan is to stay out of war and keep the archangels happy.”
Patch sighed, almost to himself. “Some things never change.”
“After Cheshvan, after the Nephilim give up on freedom, and after we’ve put a big, fat smile of contentment on the archangels’ faces, we can put this behind us.” I kissed him. “It’ll just be you and me.”
Patch groaned. “It can’t come fast enough.”
“Hey, listen,” I told him, anxious to move on to any topic other than war, “I was approached by a man tonight. A man who wants a word with you.”
Patch gave a nod. “Pepper Friberg.”
“Does Pepper have a face as round as a basketball?”
Another nod. “He’s tailing me because he thinks I went back on an agreement we had. He doesn’t want a word with me. He wants to chain me in hell and dust his hands of me.”
“Is it just me, or does that sound kind of serious?”
“Pepper Friberg is an archangel, but he’s got his hand in more than one pot. He’s leading a double life, spending half his time as an archangel, and the other half moonlighting as a human. Up until now, he’s been living the best of both worlds. He has the power of an archangel, which he doesn’t always use for good while indulging in human vices.”
So Pepper was an archangel. No wonder I hadn’t been able to identify him. I hadn’t had a lot of experience dealing with archangels.
Patch went on, “Someone has figured out his crooked game, and word has it they’re blackmailing him. If Pepper doesn’t pay up soon, his vacation time on Earth is going to become a lot more permanent. The archangels will strip his power and tear out his wings if they find out what he’s been up to. He’ll be stuck down here for good.”
The pieces clicked together. “He thinks you’re blackmailing him.”
“A while back I figured out what he was up to. I agreed to keep his secret, and in return he agreed to help me get my hands on a copy of the Book of Enoch. He hasn’t delivered on his promise, and it seems logical that he thinks I’m feeling hung out to dry. But I think he must have been careless and there’s another fallen angel out there looking to benefit off his misdeeds.”
“Did you tell Pepper that?”
Patch smiled. “Working on it. He’s not feeling very talkative.”
“He said he’ll burn down all of Delphic if that’s what it takes to smoke you out.” I knew archangels didn’t dare set foot inside Delphic Amusement Park, fearing for their safety in a place built by and highly populated with fallen angels, so the threat made sense.
“His neck’s on the line and he’s getting desperate. I might have to go under.”// “Go under?”
“Lie low. Keep my head down.”
I pushed myself up on one elbow and stared at Patch. “How do I fit into this picture?”
“He thinks you’re his one-way ticket to me. He’s going to be sticking to you like spandex. He’s parked down the street as we speak, eyes peeled for my car.” Patch stroked his thumb across my cheek. “He’s good, but not good enough to keep me from having quality time with my girl.”
“Promise me you’re always going to be two steps ahead.” The thought of Pepper catching Patch and putting him on the fast track to hell didn’t exactly give me a warm, fuzzy feeling.
Patch hooked a finger in my neckline and pulled me into a kiss. “Don’t worry, Angel. I’ve been doing this sneaky stuff longer.”

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 Here's where you can read the rest of the week's excerpts:



Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Unspoken Blog Tour: Sarah Rees Brennan Talks Gothic Novels + UK Giveaway!


Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan (who, by the way, is quite brilliant and very funny) was published in the UK last week - hurrah! Here's what it's about:

Kami Glass is in love with someone she's never met - a boy the rest of the world is convinced is imaginary. This has made her an outsider in the sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale, but she doesn't complain. She runs the school newspaper and keeps to herself for the most part - until disturbing events begin to happen. There has been screaming in the woods and the dark, abandoned manor on the hill overlooking the town has lit up for the first time in 10 years. The Lynburn family, who ruled the town a generation ago and who all left without warning, have returned. As Kami starts to investigate for the paper, she finds out that the town she has loved all her life is hiding a multitude of secrets- and a murderer- and the key to it all just might be the boy in her head. The boy who everyone thought was imaginary may be real...and he may be dangerous. 


Thanks to Sarah for writing a great guest post for me and I hope you check out the book!



THE GOTHIC
What is a Gothic novel?
I will tell you the basic shape of a Gothic novel. (Like the shape of a mystery is: someone is dead! Suspicions abound! Detection ensues. Turns out the person who did it is someone who it makes sense that they did it, but a narrative trick means they were not the people you most suspect!)
People also call Gothic novels ‘Gothic mysteries’ or Gothic romances.’ Like, you know, either a mystery or a romance, same thing. And there is a lot of both mystery and romance in a Gothic novel! But let us concentrate on what Gothickyness itself actually is, or we will all RUN MAD!
This is how a Gothic novel generally goes.
GIRL: I have met a sinister yet handsome man, and a sinister yet handsome manor.
MANOR: I am full of secrets.
MAN: This property is totally secret-free and so am I!
GIRL: I think something is up.
MAN: Baby I have no idea why you would say that!
MANOR: Many mysterious and terrible things occur inside and around me! People getting buried alive, lunatics in the attic, fires. FIRES.
GIRL: I don’t want to be high maintenance about this, but I think my LIFE IS IN DANGER.
MAN: No, no, baby, it’s all good.
GIRL: Maybe my life is in danger FROM YOU.
I love a Gothic novel. Gothics are books which talk about girls being able to say ‘Okay, I don’t feel safe’ and be right, and rescue themselves. http://sarahreesbrennan.com/2012/08/house-of-ladies-intrepid-in-danger-into-good-books/
In this day and age, girls don’t have to go live in their great-uncle’s Gothic manor anymore, plus they have match.com and singles bars so they can meet Mr ‘Right Attitude Toward Murderous Houses’ and not have to make do with anyone super sketchy.
But kids still have to go where their parents want them to go, and do what their parents tell them to do. http://sarahtales.livejournal.com/199374.html
So I thought it would be fun to write a Gothic novel about teenagers, and have the kid trapped in the Gothic manor be a boy.
One of the joys of Gothic novels is having a girl around who suspects things are really off and is totally right. So while the boy is trapped in the manor, I saw a perfect opportunity to have a GIRL REPORTER researching said manor! As a childhood fan of Lois Lane , I think every Gothic needs a girl who wants to investigate matters and solve mysteries: http://sarahtales.livejournal.com/194421.html
Menace, danger, mystery, romance, boys being tormented and girls being awesome. What’s not to like about a Gothic novel?
I hope you guys will like mine.



 Giveaway!

Thanks to Simon and Schuster UK, I have a pretty cool giveaway for all my UK readers. Here's what you can win:

  • A set of Sarah's Demon's trilogy
  • A set of Demon's badges 
  • A Demon's bookmark
  • A copy of Unspoken


Rules & info:
  • Open to UK only.
  • End date: September 25th, 2012.
  • One entry per person.
  • You do NOT have to follow my blog to enter.
  • Books will be sent out by the publisher.

Fill in the form below to enter, and good luck!


Friday, 14 September 2012

Hollow Pike Uncut Blog Tour: 'Night Whispers' Deleted Scene!


To celebrate James Dawson's Hollow Pike paperback release, Indigo arranged an excellent blog tour allowing bloggers to post deleted scenes from the book. Due to a technical issue, I'm posting this a few days later than scheduled, but I hope you still enjoy this slice of uncut Hollow Pike!


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Deleted Scene – Night Whispers
This is ‘the extended cut’ of the bedroom scene in Chapter 4 of Hollow Pike. In this early version, when the novel was still called Bracken Hill, Lis could actually hear the ravens that were haunting her.
 
Her eyes snapped open. Her sleep had been warm and thick like treacle, yet she had woken. Why?
Sitting upright, Lis pushed her hair back from her face and stared through the sepia light that filtered through the translucent drapes over the French windows. She could hear talking in the distance. Was it Sarah and Max? A quick glance at her mobile confirmed the time at 4.15am. Maybe baby Logan was having a bad night. She strained to catch the conversation.
It wasn't Sarah's voice. Or Max's for that matter. The speaker had a shrill, coarse whisper, although Lis still couldn't hear what was being said.
Suddenly something knocked against the terrace door. Three short, sharp taps on the glass. Instantly recoiling, Lis pulled her sheets up around her face and flattened her back against the wall. She slowly edged down the bed towards the door, aware that any quick movements would alert whoever was on the terrace to her presence.
‘Come outside ...'
The words came through clearly this time, freezing Lis to the spot. Tears stung her eyes but she dared not even blink.
‘Come outside!’ the voice repeated more firmly in its strange, genderless tones.
‘We have much to discuss,’ cried a second voice, even more bizarre than the first. Lis inhaled sharply, hardly daring to look at the door. There were at least two of them. Shadows moved outside the doors, followed by yet more frantic tapping against the glass. It sounded like fingernails. Lis sank from the bed onto the floor, keeping her body as low as she could. She knew the dainty French windows wouldn't take much force.
‘What is your name, stranger?’
‘Let us in!’
They were talking directly to her. She was being watched, and on the other side of the fragile barrier, someone was waiting for her. She closed her eyes and pressed her body into the wall, clinging to the darkest shadows, hoping the intruders would give up and leave.
Silence.
Lis held her breath. The curtain was still and she heard no voices.
She waited, counting out the empty seconds, but only getting to about fourteen before her muddled mind lost its way and she had to start again. Could she have been sleepwalking? She tentatively put one hand forward and began a sort of crawl towards the doors. She needed to listen more closely. Were they still there, but speaking more quietly? Her breath came in short, raspy bursts as she practically slithered towards the door, all the time listening intently. Still she heard nothing.
Lis stopped when she reached the curtain. With all the bravery she could muster, she turned her ear towards the window before reaching out for the cool, hanging fabric. Should she look out into the darkness beyond? Her fingers teased the edge of the drapes.
‘Please let us in!’ the voice practically screamed.
Lis flung herself away from the door, certain the glass would break.
‘Sarah!’ the word caught in her throat, barely audible. ‘Sarah! Max!’
She pushed herself along the carpet, never taking her eyes off the windows as the tapping persisted.
A pyjama-clad Max barged into the room, nearly hitting Lis with a heavy corner of the door. Sarah was close behind.
‘Lis! What is—’
‘There's someone on the terrace!’
Sarah entered the room, pulling Lis up off the floor and into her arms. Max headed straight for the French windows, grabbing a wrought iron candlestick from Lis’s desk. ‘Max, no!’ pleaded Sarah. ‘Call the police!’
Max ignored her and pulled back the curtain. Lis twisted her face away from Sarah's shoulder to catch a glimpse of the prowlers. Max threw a glance back at his wife and squared his broad frame.
With a single bold move he twisted the key in the lock and shoved the doors wide open. Birds squawked and scattered everywhere as Max pounced into the velvet darkness. Instantly security lights flooded the entire terrace, chasing away every last shadow.
Max turned quickly, brandishing his makeshift weapon in all directions. He darted along the terrace and up the wooden stairs leading to the garden's rambling flowerbeds. There was nothing. Somewhere high above, an owl sang his haunting melody and a chill night wind swept through the chattering leaves – but Max was entirely alone.
He trotted back down the decking as Sarah and Lis emerged from the bedroom. ‘There's no one here, Lis. Nothing, honestly.’
Lis looked frantically from her brother-in-law to her sister. ‘I swear there was, Sarah. I'm not messing around!’
Sarah stroked her hair back, gently. ‘What did they sound like? What did they say?'
‘They were speaking in really weird voices, saying “Let me in! Let me in!”’
Max took a further glance over the terrace. ‘Lis, love, the security lights didn't come on until I went out.’
Lis cast an appeal straight into her sister's eyes.
‘Look, Lis. You said it yourself ... you're having these incredibly vivid dreams. Of course you're scared, but there's nothing here.’
Max wrapped a giant arm around her tiny frame. ‘It's OK, Lis. We don't think you're going mad. It could have been some of the lot from your school. We did once find some lads drinking in the top garden. But if they were, they're long gone, Lis. I'm gonna call the police first thing though. Little hooligans.’
Lis, feeling bolder, stepped away from Sarah and surveyed the whole garden. It was still and tranquil. There was nothing here to hurt her. She wondered whether her twisted dream-life could be starting to creep into reality. The voices had seemed real, but then so had her encounters in the forest. She’d read all about sleepwalking and how real it seems at the time. She shivered at the thought.
Almost reading her mind, Sarah took her hand. ‘Come back to bed with me. Max, spare room?’
He smiled amiably. ‘Yeah, OK. Break from your snoring.’
Sarah raised a weary eyebrow. ‘Very funny. I'm going to check Logan. Go get cosy in our room, Lis. I'll be through in a sec.’
Lis tried to gather strength from the normality of Sarah and Max and their kindness. She drew herself upright, almost casting a warning shot to the night.
She had moved two hundred miles to live here. She might well have been so terrified that she felt almost physically sick, but she wasn't going to run away. Not this time.

~


HOLLOW PIKE by James Dawson is published by Indigo and available to buy in paperback £6.99, eBook £4.49. Visit http://www.jamesdawsonbooks.com/


Thursday, 6 September 2012

Blackwood Author Gwenda Bond's Five Favourite Literary Heroines - Guest Post!



Blackwood by Gwenda Bond is published by Strange Chemistry in the UK this week and to celebrate I have a pretty cool guest post from Gwenda herself. But first, here's what Blackwood is all about:

On Roanoke Island, the legend of the 114 people who mysteriously vanished from the Lost Colony hundreds of years ago is just an outdoor drama for the tourists, a story people tell. But when the island faces the sudden disappearance of 114 people now, an unlikely pair of 17-year-olds may be the only hope of bringing them back.

Miranda, a misfit girl from the island's most infamous family, and Phillips, an exiled teen criminal who hears the voices of the dead, must dodge everyone from federal agents to long-dead alchemists as they work to uncover the secrets of the new Lost Colony. The one thing they can't dodge is each other.



Thanks for the post, Gwenda!

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Five Favorite Literary Heroines 
by Gwenda Bond 

There are so many fabulous ladies in literature that singling out just a few is extremely hard work. I’m sure I’ll be kicking myself later and reordering and substituting, but I’m just going with the first five that came to mind today, from five of my favorite books/series. Most of them come from YA, unsurprisingly, with one exception in number four.

1. Lyra Belacqua from His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. How amazing is Lyra? A strong, silvertongued, irrepressibly curious character willing to risk everything, but with a survival instinct as well-developed as her sense of daring. Her daemon Pan and tomboyish ways only make me love her more.

2. Frankie Laundau-Banks from The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart. A whip-smart girl decides she’s fed up with the status quo and infiltrates her private school’s secret society for boys only. Pulling off genius pranks and sending the whole school spinning, Frankie is a feminist tour de force all her own. Frankie for president.

3. Elisa from The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson. Give me a sensible heroine any day. Carson takes the chosen one trope and makes it fresh by creating in Elisa a “chosen” heroine who’s also a student of military history and a zaftig lover of pastry. Elisa’s continued sensible action in the face of whatever challenges come at her make a heroine to root for and to remember.

4. Claire DeWitt from Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran. This non-YA novel about a former girl detective with a surrealist yet no-nonsense bent is one of my favorites in recent years. The heroine of the title, Claire DeWitt, is haunted by the memory of a missing childhood friend, even as she solves a crime in post-Hurricane-Katrina New Orleans. Flawed and fascinating, I can’t wait to see her again as the series continues.

5. Katsa from Graceling (and Bitterblue) by Kristin Cashore. I adore all Cashore’s heroines, but I believe Katsa is my favorite. She’s tough—physically and emotionally—and as the story unfolds she becomes even stronger. She becomes strong enough to trust the hero, Po. But it’s her fierce defense of Bitterblue, her belief in those she cares for, and her unwillingness to compromise her principles in the name of convention that make Katsa such a wonderful character.

Thanks so much for hosting me!