June 28, 2017

Emily and the Spellstone Blog Tour: Deleted Scene + Giveaway

Welcome to Day #8 of the Emily and the Spellstone Blog Tour!

To celebrate the release of Emily and the Spellstone by Michael Rubens (6/13/17), blogs across the web are featuring exclusive content from Michael and 10 chances to win a copy of Emily and the Spellstone, as well as a Grand Prize Giveaway

Deleted Scene
In this book, young Emily Edelman, a decidedly non-adventurous type, finds herself in possession of a Spellstone -- an immensely powerful magical object that in form and function resembles, well, a cellphone (if that cellphone was made of stone and enabled you to cast all sorts of spells). Emily doesn’t want the potentially dangerous Spellstone, but no matter how hard she tries, she can’t get rid of it. Even worse, the members of the malevolent Venemüch family want the Spellstone to use for their own nefarious ends. It was great fun describing the family and their household, hinting that their somewhat clichéd vampiric clothing and lifestyle was, in fact, a conscious decision – as if they understood that they had to fulfill certain expectations for how evil magical families should dress and behave, even ordering items from various specialty catalogs designed for creatures like themselves. I had a short scene that outright stated the aforementioned dynamic, but my editor (the very wise and experienced Dinah Stevenson) felt I was probably spending too much time on world-building and description at the expense of moving the story along. She was right. But I still like the excerpt – and luckily enough, I now have an opportunity to share it: Here’s a minor secret about the Venomüch family: They didn’t have to dress or live the way they did. They were sophisticated beings, perfectly comfortable doing evil in any number of environments. They could, for example, be living in an ultramodern, all-glass skyscraper with a doorman and gym and all that, a building that levitated above the clouds on a very high-end and exclusive planet. In fact, they’d done that for a while. But in the end a sinister house and old-fashioned garb just seemed right to them. Also, it was hard to find an appropriate school for their children. So Maligno Sr. had indeed found an evil-minded architect and described what he wanted, and there you have it.
 
*****
Stop by Book Swoon tomorrow for day #9 the tour!
 
Blog Tour Schedule:
June 19th — Bookhounds  
June 20th — Mundie Kids
June 21st — WordSpelunking  
June 22nd — Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust
June 23rd — Positively Book Crazy  
June 26th — GeoLibrarian
June 27th — YA Books Central  
June 28th — A Dream Within a Dream 
 June 29th — Book Swoon 
 June 30th — Crossroad Reviews
 


Emily picks up a stone that looks like a cell phone but has unexpected magical powers. It's a Spellstone! Now that she has become an unwilling Stonemaster—one who wields the power of the Stone—she has to figure out Spellstone technology fast if she is to survive a hair-raising adventure among giant dogs, demons, clones, mean girls, and deeply wicked people who want the Stone. A witty tale of a quiet girl who discovers she's a hero when she needs to be. Stonemasters rule!


Michael Rubens is the author of two YA novels, Sons of the 613 and The Bad Decisions Playlist, and one novel for grownups, The Sheriff of Yrnameer. A correspondent and producer for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, he has also been a producer for Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. His writing has appeared in places like The New Yorker’s Daily Shouts, Salon and McSweeney's. He lives with his family in Brooklyn. Visit his website at www.michaelrubens.com.

Follow Michael: Website | Twitter
 
(1) Copy of Emily and the Spellstone - Open to US only!

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GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY
One (1) winner will receive signed copies of Spellstone and Michael’s 2 YA novels, Sons of the 613 and The Bad Decisions Playlist, as well as a custom Spellstone phone case!
 
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Release Week Blitz + Giveaway: Girl on the Verge by Pintip Dunn

  Hello Readers! Welcome to the Release Week Blitz for
Girl on the Verge by Pintip Dunn!
Check out the excerpt below, and be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!
 
Congratulations Pintip!!
 
 
Girl on the Verge
Author: Pintip Dunn
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Publisher: Kensington

Description:

From the author of The Darkest Lie comes a compelling, provocative story for fans of I Was Here and Vanishing Girls, about a high school senior straddling two worlds, unsure how she fits in either—and the journey of self-discovery that leads her to surprising truths.

In her small Kansas town, at her predominantly white school, Kanchana doesn’t look like anyone else. But at home, her Thai grandmother chides her for being too westernized. Only through the clothing Kan designs in secret can she find a way to fuse both cultures into something distinctly her own. When her mother agrees to provide a home for a teenage girl named Shelly, Kan sees a chance to prove herself useful. Making Shelly feel comfortable is easy at first—her new friend is eager to please, embraces the family’s Thai traditions, and clearly looks up to Kan. Perhaps too much. Shelly seems to want everything Kanchana has, even the blond, blue-eyed boy she has a crush on. As Kan’s growing discomfort compels her to investigate Shelly’s past, she’s shocked to find how much it intersects with her own—and just how far Shelly will go to belong…


 

 

“Hey. Look at me, please.” I nudge her shoulder, and she lifts her tear-stained face. “I messed up tonight. But it won’t happen again. No boy is going to come between us. I promised.”

She widens her eyes. “You still plan to keep your word?”

“Of course. I don’t make promises just for the hell of it, you know.”

A smile ghosts across her lips, but I can tell she’s still hurt. My heart contracts even more. 

“I’m here for you, Shelly. How can I prove that?”

“Well, there is one thing. . . .” She glances over her shoulder, although no one else is here. 

“Never mind. You’re going to think it’s silly. Forget I said anything.”

“I won’t. We’re friends, right? You can tell me anything, and I won’t think you’re silly.”

She takes a deep breath. “Okay. Fine.” The words tumble out. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, ever since I was a kid. Problem was, I never had anyone to do it with.”

“What is it?”

“I want us to be blood sisters.”

A chill creeps up my spine. Blood sisters? As in, my blood mixed with hers? This is unsanitary at best, deadly at worst.

“You hate the idea, don’t you?” she moans. “Forget it. I knew it was silly. . . .”

“No, no. You just surprised me, that’s all.” My mind spins, as I try to think of how to respond. “I don’t have anything against the idea, in theory. But you know all that stuff we’ve heard, about AIDS and other diseases and infections. Maybe I’m just being silly. . . .”

“Hey, it’s a valid concern. And I could tell you I’m clean, but you can never be too sure, right?” She wrinkles her forehead. “I’ve got it! We can do our own modified version. We’ll drop our blood onto a clean surface and let the liquid mix there. That way, we’ve performed the ceremony, but we’re still protecting ourselves. What do you think?”

“Um . . .” NO! my mind screams. Every cell in my body rebels against the thought. Mixing our blood is just gross. And weird. There’s nothing in me that wants any part of this. I rack my brain, searching for a reason, any reason at all that won’t offend her.

“Look, I know we only met a couple weeks ago,” Shelly says in a small voice, “but I feel this connection with you. Like we were always meant to be friends. This ceremony represents that. You’re my sister, through and through.”

I take a deep breath. This idea she’s suggesting is more than a little creepy. But Shelly’s been through such a rough time lately. It’s not going to kill me to drop a little blood on a cutting board. If it makes her happy, I should just say yes. It’s not that big a deal . . . even if it makes all the hair stand up on my neck.

“Okay, fine,” I say, before I can change my mind. “Let’s do it.”

 
 Pintip is a New York Times bestselling author of YA fiction. She graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B. in English Literature and Language. She received her J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the YALE LAW JOURNAL.

Pintip's first novel, FORGET TOMORROW won the RWA RITA® award for Best First Book. Her other novels include THE DARKEST LIE, REMEMBER YESTERDAY, and the novella, BEFORE TOMORROW. She is represented by literary agent Beth Miller of Writers House.

She lives with her husband and children in Maryland.


 
 
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Book Blitz + GIveaway: Breaking Roman by Alexis James


 

Breaking Roman (Moran Family #3)
Author: Alexis James
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: June 27, 2017

Description:

They call me Romeo.

I love romancing women, and I’m good at it.

Too bad it is all a ruse.


Roman, the youngest of the three Moran brothers, is the only one who has ever believed in true love. Too bad his one special person barely acknowledges his existence.

Sabrina Morris spends her days running the HR Department of The Moran Group, and her nights corralling her teenage daughter. She doesn’t have time for love. She’s heard the stories, but Roman is not at all what she expects him to be. His gentle nature catches her completely off-guard. She doesn’t expect to be attracted to him, and she certainly doesn’t expect him to be equally drawn to her. But can she see past his Romeo façade and allow the warm, loving man into her life?


PROLOGUE

They call me Romeo. It’s not my given name, but that hardly matters.

I earned the moniker when I was a young little shit, maybe twelve. My friends and I were at the beach, like we were most every day during the summer, taking full advantage of the fact that we live near the water in Miami. We were cussing, simply because we thought it sounded cool (it didn’t), strutting around with fake bravado trying to impress all the girls we’ve known since kindergarten. My friend Raul dared me to talk to Missy Evers, the new girl who recently moved here from Idaho. An hour after that first chat with cutie-pie Missy, who by the way still rocks a bikini like nobody’s business, she was holding my hand. Two hours later my tongue was working hard to get into her mouth and I got my first feel of a female breast, even if it belonged to a relatively flat-chested twelve-year-old girl. That little make-out session happened strategically within eyesight of my group of boisterous friends, because at that age only two things matter: getting some action and making sure your friends know about it. And that’s all it took for the nickname to stick. Now, at the ripe old age of twenty-nine, it’s something I despise.

I was a halfway decent guy even back then, so most of my time with Missy was G-rated. When she finally took off with her giggling friends in tow, she was starry eyed, hanging on my every word. My dumb buddies, who knew nothing about who or what the Shakespearian Romeo was really like, pranced around like a bunch of idiots, harping, “Romeo got him some!” Groping a girl with a bunch of onlookers was considered “getting some.” How messed-up is it that?

In all the years that I’ve carried the stupid nickname around, I’ve served it well. Even my sweet mama calls me that, though in her eyes I’ll always be her baby boy. Honestly, I’m a hopeless romantic. I believe in love and all the great things that come with it. I believe in monogamous relationships, unlike my older brothers, who up until a few years ago made bed-hopping an Olympic event. That’s not to say I don’t do my own share of bed-hopping, but mine is more about the … research, part of my daily quest to find my ideal mate. I date frequently, constantly searching for the one woman who stands above all others. The one woman who I have an immediate connection with and see myself standing next to when we’re old and gray. When I date we have some laughs together; I charm and wine and dine. We flop around on the mattress a few times and by week two I’m usually bringing the lucky lady home for Sunday dinner with my entire family.

No one has ever lasted past Sunday dinner.

It’s not that my family isn’t welcoming, because they are. But Mama figured out years ago that in my hunt for Mrs. Right, first I’d have to spend my time with all the Miss Wrongs out there. She’s gracious and kind to whichever woman I bring home, giving me a knowing look at the end of the meal that silently says, “Oh hell no.” Well … without the swearing, but you get what I’m saying. My devout Catholic mother would never, ever swear.

In the past few years I’ve brought upwards of twenty different women home to meet my family. Some don’t last through the entire meal. Some make the grave mistake of seeing dollar signs. While my family’s empire is considerable, I down play it as much as possible. I do well, I make good money, have a cool car and a decent place to live. But I’m not the millionaire my oldest brother Cruz is or the numbers guy that my other brother Marco is. I’m the black sheep brother, different in every way from the other two arrogant dicks I happen to be related to. I enjoy getting my hands dirty, wearing ratty jeans, and romancing women. Cruz and Marco are both suit-wearing hotshots who ooze over-confidence and up until Cruz got hitched to Mia and Marco shackled himself to Amita, they were both serious players. Well, to be fair to my oldest brother, I’m only assuming he was a player before meeting Mia. It’s not like he ever shared any tawdry bedroom happenings with me. That’s cool and all and to each his own, but it’s not my style. I see no point bullshitting my way between a woman’s legs, especially when I can say a few nice things and treat them decently and still get the same result.

I suppose I’ve earned the damned nickname, but that sure as hell doesn’t mean I like it. I have a hard enough time keeping up with my two older brothers without that damn label being tossed around. Maybe I’m being over-sensitive; my actions don’t exactly discourage the name. I just don’t think anyone takes me seriously anymore and who knows, maybe I’ve done that to myself. Maybe I really am Romeo.

What my brothers don’t know is that this Romeo found his Juliet years ago, more than three to be exact. He met her simply by chance, one of those meant-to-be moments that has sadly turned out to be anything but. His Juliet is blind to his advances, businesslike and driven in everything she does. His Juliet is beautiful, ethereal, and totally and completely untouchable. So he continues to wine and dine, romance and sweet talk, all as a ruse to hide what’s really in his heart. It’s nothing more than a lame attempt to somehow figure out what makes Juliet tick and in doing so keeping all the unwanted family questions at bay.

Whether or not I am a true Romeo remains to be seen. What I do know is that I’ll be whomever I have to be to get to know the illusive Juliet.


Alexis James lives on the beautiful Central California coast. When she’s not spending time with her hubby of almost 30 years or her amazing kids, you can find her tapping away on the computer. She loves reading, spending time with family, reading, camping, reading….and writing too! She enjoys a good date night, an inexpensive glass of wine, and any story that can make her smile and/or cry.

Alexis’s first novel, “Losing Faith”, was released in September 2014. Her second novel, “Loving Emma”, is a standalone, though it does feature some characters from “Losing Faith”.

She invites you to visit her author pages on Facebook and Goodreads, and her website: alexisjamesauthor.com. You can also follow her on Twitter (@alexisjames27) or you can email her at: alexisjamesauthor@gmail.com.





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June 27, 2017

Book Blitz + Giveaway: His Semi-Charmed Life by Lisa Hughey


 

His Semi-Charmed Life
Author: Lisa Hughey

Genres: Adult Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: June 23, 2017

Description:

Going from princess to pauper wasn’t exactly the fairy tale ending Penelope Hastings believed in as a kid. She grabs at the opportunity to work at Camp Firefly Falls—home of her most treasured childhood memories and the haven where her spoiled heart expanded, and her perspective changed, after an encounter with an older boy. Now she’s hoping that the camp can work its magic one more time and help her craft a new life.

Rags to riches entrepreneur, Diego Ramos, never wanted to see Camp Firefly Falls again—the site of the most hated year in his teenage life as camp counselor, and his most regrettable moment ever. That one clash with an entitled little girl had a profound impact on him, changing the trajectory of his future. So, when his assistant books a corporate retreat at Camp Firefly Falls, he’s more than a little unsettled at the irony.

Now, twenty years later, Penelope and Diego are reunited. A second chance at happiness won’t come easy when their reversal in fortunes and unexpected sexual attraction complicates everything. Will they be able to work through their regrets and memories, and learn that love is the greatest fortune of all?


Diego lifted Penny’s hand to his mouth and licked the chocolate. “Don’t want any to go to waste.” His rough fingers circled her wrist, holding her in place. His tongue lapped at her skin and tingles spread from her fingertips throughout her body.

“What—” her throat suddenly tight. What was he doing? “—was that for?”

He pulled away and grinned. “Don’t want you to get dirty.”

A smear of chocolate clung to his upper lip. Without thinking she leaned in and sucked the sweet from his mouth.

The moment was fraught with an odd tension. The crackle of the fire, the scent of wood smoke filled her senses, and yet she could still smell the essence of him.

Amusement sparkled in his chocolate eyes, even more rich and sinful than the candy he’d just licked from her flesh.

“Nothing wrong with a little dirty,” Penny said.


USA Today Bestselling Author Lisa Hughey has been writing romance since the fourth grade, which was also about the time she began her love affair with spies. Harriet and Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys later gave way to James Bond and Lara Croft and Jason Bourne.

Exploring the complex nature of a profession that requires subterfuge and lies fascinates her. She loves combining her two passions into fiction. As evidenced by her Black Cipher Files series.

Archangel Rafe was her first foray into the paranormal but after spending time in the Angelic Realm, it won't be her last. At their heart, the Seven novels are about the dynamics of family relationships. But the really hot Archangels don't hurt.

And recently she's been immersed in the Stone Family novellas, four stories about a blended family of brothers and sister who have a lot more in common than they realize. But of course she couldn't just write about family and romance. There are complex plots, bad guys, and suspense too.

Lisa loves to hear from readers and has various places you can connect with her, although, shh, Twitter is her favorite.





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Book Blitz + Giveaway: Grind by Sybil Bartel


 

Grind (Thrust #3)
Author: Sybil Bartel
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: June 27, 2017

Description:

Dane

I’m silent. I’m trained. I’m lethal.

My hand skimming down your thigh, my gaze a weapon—I know more ways to kill you than please you.

But you’re not paying for my aim. You’re paying for my control. Bringing you a breath away from ecstasy, watching you beg as I hold back your release, I’ll show you exactly what you’ve been missing. Your hunger is my currency and five thousand is my price. I only have one rule—no repeats, because I’m not for keeps. I’m for sale.

One slow grind and I’ll give you exactly what you paid for.


“I don’t have any money to pay you.” He knew I didn’t, but I wasn’t saying it just to remind him.
“I don’t want you to pay me.” He held his hand out. “Come on.”
My heart raced and the whisper of his scent through the rainwater drenching his body filled my head. I ached to touch him. “Where?”
“To bed.”
“I can’t… with you.” I had reasons, but I was rapidly forgetting them.
His hand never wavered. “I need sleep. You need sleep. I’ll rest better if I know where you are. Come.”
Knowing I shouldn’t, knowing I was crossing an invisible line I would never return from, I gave him my hand.
He didn’t hesitate. He pulled me to my feet and took a step.
I panicked. “Wait.” Oh God, don’t say it, don’t say it. “I can’t do this. This will mean something to me that it doesn’t to you.”
Cool gray-brown eyes stared down at me without mercy. “Do not speak for me.”
“I just meant—”
“I know what you meant.”
I gave him the truth because it was all I had left. “You’re taking what I don’t have to give.”
His shoulders dropped, his frame leaned toward me, and he lowered his voice to a barely audible whisper. “Trust me.” Rain dripped from his cheek and landed on my arm. “This is what I ask of you, only this. Nothing else.”
If you could fall in love in a single moment with a perfect stranger, I fell in love. “You will break me, Dane Marek,” I whispered.
“You are already broken, Irina Tsarko.”

Sybil Bartel grew up in Northern California with her head in a book and her feet in the sand. She dreamt of becoming a painter but the heady scent of libraries with their shelves full of books drew her into the world of storytelling. She loves the New Adult genre, but any story about a love so desperately wrong and impossibly beautiful makes her swoon.

Sybil now resides in Southern Florida and while she doesn’t get to read as much as she likes, she still buries her toes in the sand. If she isn’t writing or fighting to contain the banana plantation in her backyard, you can find her spending time with her handsomely tattooed husband, her brilliantly practical son and a mischievous miniature boxer…

But Seriously?

Here are ten things you probably really want to know about Sybil.

She grew up a faculty brat. She can swear like a sailor. She loves men in uniform. She hates being told what to do. She can do your taxes (but don’t ask). The Bird Market in Hong Kong freaks her out. Her favorite word is desperate…or dirty, or both—she can’t decide. She has a thing for muscle cars. But never reply on her for driving directions, ever. And she has a new book boyfriend every week—don’t tell her husband.

To find out more about Sybil Bartel, be sure to follow her on Twitter (she loves to hear about your favorite book boyfriend!), visit her website, like her on Facebook or join her Facebook group Book Boyfriend Heroes for exclusive excerpts and giveaways.





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June 26, 2017

Shattered Minds Blog Tour: Tens List, Review + Giveaway

http://www.jeanbooknerd.com/2017/04/shattered-minds-by-laura-lam.html


Shattered Minds (Pacifica #2)
Author: Laura Lam
Genre: Science Fiction/Thriller
Release Date: June 20, 2017
Publisher: Tor Books

Description:

She can uncover the truth, if she defeats her demons

Ex-neuroscientist Carina struggles with a drug problem, her conscience, and urges to kill. She satisfies her cravings in dreams, fuelled by the addictive drug ‘Zeal’. Now she’s heading for self-destruction – until she has a vision of a dead girl.

Sudice Inc. damaged Carina when she worked on their sinister brain-mapping project, causing her violent compulsions. And this girl was a similar experiment. When Carina realizes the vision was planted by her old colleague Mark, desperate for help to expose the company, she knows he’s probably dead. Her only hope is to unmask her nemesis – or she’s next.

To unlock the secrets Mark hid in her mind, she’ll need a group of specialist hackers. Dax is one of them, a doctor who can help Carina fight her addictions. If she holds on to her humanity, they might even have a future together. But first she must destroy her adversary – before it changes us and our society, forever.  


Praise for FALSE HEARTS:

“Riveting.” ―F. Paul Wilson, New York Times bestselling author

“A multilayered, suspenseful thriller, False Hearts explores themes of identity and power in a breakneck plot that keeps the pages turning.” ―Ilana C. Myer, author of Last Song Before Night

“An ingenious premise, and Laura Lam executes it flawlessly. Gritty and wise, your own pulse will be racing as you get caught up in this exciting tale.” ―Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning author of Red Planet Blues

“A taut futuristic thriller, set in a San Francisco where everybody is beautiful... and nobody is exceptional. Two unusual sisters are caught in a war for control of a society that quietly suffocates its outsiders, rebels, and the damaged. Taema and Tila are all three, and their strange past and unique bond make False Hearts a difficult book to put down.” ―A. M. Dellamonica, author of Child of a Hidden Sea

“A smart debut from someone who's clearly got what it takes.” ―Peter F. Hamilton, author of the Commonwealth Saga


Ten Things You Didn’t Know About the Pacifica Series


I’m writing this assuming you haven’t read either False Hearts or Shattered Minds, so here’s basically a list of cool worldbuilding/character stuff.


1. People all have brain implants. They’re mostly auditory and ocular, though some will also get extra implants to help with memory retention.

2. A lot of people will ‘brainload’ information while they sleep. Education is free, so plenty of Pacifica residents will collect degrees like candy and enter the workforce earlier than we do now.

3. Pacifica is the west coast of the former United States. It consists of Hawaii, California, Oregon, and Washington. The middle states are the Great Plains, the Southern states are the Great South, and the East Coast is Atlantica.

4. Pacifica is an ecotopia in a lot of ways. There are orchard skyscrapers, and there’s a special algae that grows in bays that make them glow green at night. This helps bolster food supplies. Zero waste hover cars are common, as well as very affordable public transport. In Los Angeles, they’ve started creating floating skyscrapers, so that the ground can be greener. Smog is almost gone. People order food and clothing and whatever else they need from replicators, like Star Trek, and a lot of it goes back in to be recycled. Minimalism is cool.

5. Physical perfection is prided upon, with all the unfortunate abled connotations as a result. People have muscle nanoimplants to keep them in shape. They can walk into flesh parlours and change aspects about themselves they don’t like. The irony is they end up changing themselves to largely look the same.

6. Gene therapy means a lot of hereditary diseases have been eradicated. Prosthetics are advanced. People are healthier and live much longer.

7. Cloning has been outlawed. Does that mean it doesn’t happen? That’s less clear...

8. AI is advanced but not sentient (as far as we know). Drones do a lot of jobs and many factories etc are automated. Basic income is in place and most people do elect to work. A forty hour workweek is uncommon—it’s usually closer to twenty, though some work more if they love their job.

9. Dream drugs are all the rage. The main one is called Zeal, produced by Sudice, Inc. It’s meant to be cathartic. You go into a dreamscape, you work out whatever is troubling you, and you come out feeling calmer. You’re also more tractable, less likely to commit crimes.

10. If you’re someone that society deems a high risk of becoming a criminal, you’re highly likely to become addicted to it. Many of them slowly waste away, and society turns away, pretending it doesn’t happen. Shattered Minds starts with Carina constantly plugged into Zealscapes, using them as her own form of suicide. Yet when an old colleague interrupts to dump encrypted information in her head that could take down the corporation they both used to work for, she’s forced to return to real life and try to overcome her serial killer urges.
Shattered Minds is the second book in a thrilling dystopian science fiction series. I haven't read anything quite like this in quite a long time, so it all felt fresh and original to me. There were a ton of fascinating details the author wrote into this world and I loved learning about them all and daydreaming what it would be like to live there. They have a lot of cool things (see the guest post above for more!) like dreamscapes, brain implants, body upgrades, replicators to create just about anything you could want, and gene manipulation to pretty much wipe out diseases - to name a few. Every detail was thought out and vividly imagined. It was interesting to see this world and think of how true it might be for our own society in years to come.

Carina was an interesting choice for a main character. She was more of an anti-hero than a heroine - more flaws than positive qualities. I did find her realistic and could empathize with her most of the time. Except when it came to her Zeal addiction -which is a huge part of her character. I understand that an addiction takes over someone's life if they allow it to, but I personally have never experienced that - and I found it hard to identify with that aspect of Carina's character. She had good traits too - she was strong, smart, determined, and hellbent on exposing the horrible things her old employer was doing behind closed doors. Oh - probably should mention her blood thirst. She has a yearning to kill pretty much everyone she comes across - thanks to the aforementioned previous employer. 

The book is told from three different characters' perspectives - Carina, Dax, and Dr. Roz. Dax is a hacker/doctor that Carina gets to help her take down the corporation. He can also help with her addiction, and is even a romantic interest. Dr. Roz is basically the villain in the story - the doctor at the corporation who's behind it all. I loved that the author chose to write the book from each of these perspectives, but one thing I didn't like was the third person point of view that was used. I completely understand why she chose this style - main to avoid confusing the reader (I think), but I personally prefer the first person. I never feel as connected to the narrator when the third person is used, and this happened here as well. If it had been done in the first person, I'm pretty sure I would've identified with the characters more easily and had a little bit better experience. This is solely my own personal opinion and preference and has absolutely nothing to do with the writing or the story itself. Overall, this was an edgy thriller that fans of science fiction, urban fantasy, dystopian, and fantasy will definitely want to pick up. Highly recommended!


Laura Lam was born in the late eighties and raised near San Francisco, California, by two former Haight-Ashbury hippies. Both of them encouraged her to finger-paint to her heart’s desire, colour outside the lines, and consider the library a second home. This led to an overabundance of daydreams.
 
After studying literature and creative writing at university, she relocated to Scotland to be with her husband, a boy she met online when they were teenagers and he insulted her taste in books and she insulted his right back. She almost blocked him but is glad she didn’t. She is now a dual citizen, but at times she misses the sunshine.
 
While working a variety of jobs from filing and photocopying endlessly at a law firm to library assistant to corporate librarian, she began writing in earnest. Her first book, Pantomime, the first book in the Micah Grey series, was released in 2013, which was a Scottish Book Trust Teen Book of the Month, won the Bisexual Book Award, was listed a Top Ten Title for the American Library Association List, and was nominated for several other awards. Robin Hobb says “Pantomime by Laura Lam took me into a detailed and exotic world, peopled by characters that I’d love to be friends with... and some I’d never want to cross paths with.” The sequel, Shadowplay, followed in 2014, as well as several the Vestigial Tales, self-published short stories and novellas set in the same world. The third book in the series, Masquerade, will follow in 2017.
 
Her newest book is False Hearts, a near-future thriller released in June 2016 by Tor/Macmillan and in three other languages. Peter F. Hamilton calls False Hearts “a strong debut from someone who’s clearly got what it takes.” Another thriller, Shattered Minds, will be released in 2017.
 
She is still hiding from sunshine in Scotland and writing more stories.

    
 You can purchase Shattered Minds at the following Retailers:
        
(3) Winners will receive both FALSE HEARTS and SHATTERED MINDS by Laura Lam
Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter