THE SPECIAL ONES Blog Tour

THE SPECIAL ONES

www.rockstarbooktours.com

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About the Book
9780544912298_hresTitle: THE SPECIAL ONES
Author: Em Bailey
Release Date: July 18, 2017
Pages: 304
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, eBook
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iBooks | TBD

Esther is one of the Special Ones: four young spiritual guides who live in a remote farmhouse under the protection of a mysterious cult leader. He watches them around the clock, ready to punish them if they forget who they are—and all the while, broadcasting their lives to eager followers on the outside. Esther knows that if she stops being Special, he will “renew” her. Nobody knows what happens to the Special Ones who are taken away from the farm for renewal, but Esther fears the worst. Like an actor caught up in an endless play, she must keep up the performance if she wants to survive long enough to escape.

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About Em:
EmEm Bailey is an Australian living in Germany where, despite having been a vegetarian for many years, she now enjoys the occasional Wurst. Em used to be a new-media designer for a children’s television production house and is now a full-time author. Shift is her first YA novel, although she has written a number of books for children under the name Meredith Badger.

When she’s not writing, Em is generally getting lost, losing stuff, reading, hanging out with her friends and family, and listening to Radiolab podcasts. Like Olive, she doesn’t like leggings that look like jeans, but has no problem with tofu schnitzels.

Goodreads

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Giveaway Details:
3 winners will receive a hardcover of THE SPECIAL ONES! US Only.
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Tour Schedule
Week One:

7/10/2017- YA Books Central– Interview

7/11/2017- Here’s to Happy Endings– Review

7/12/2017- YA Book Madness– Guest Post

7/13/2017- A Dream Within A Dream– Review

7/14/2017- Novel Novice– Interview

 

Week Two:

7/17/2017- The Best Books Ever – Review

7/18/2017- Literary Meanderings– Excerpt

7/19/2017- Book Sniffers Anonymous– Excerpt

7/20/2017- YA and Wine– Review

7/21/2017- A Gingerly Review– Review

THE DISAPPEARANCES Tour, Excerpt, & Giveaway!

THE DISAPPEARANCESwww.rockstarbooktours.com

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About the Book

Disappearances+Hi+ResTitle: THE DISAPPEARANCES

Author: Emily Bain Murphy

Pub. Date: July 4, 2017

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook

Pages: 400

Find It: AmazonB&NTBDiBooksGoodreads

What if the ordinary things in life suddenly…disappeared?

Aila Quinn’s mother, Juliet, has always been a mystery: vibrant yet guarded, she keeps her secrets beyond Aila’s reach. When Juliet dies, Aila and her younger brother Miles are sent to live in Sterling, a rural town far from home–and the place where Juliet grew up.

Sterling is a place with mysteries of its own. A place where the experiences that weave life together–scents of flowers and food, reflections from mirrors and lakes, even the ability to dream–vanish every seven years.

No one knows what caused these “Disappearances,” or what will slip away next. But Sterling always suspected that Juliet Quinn was somehow responsible–and Aila must bear the brunt of their blame while she follows the chain of literary clues her mother left behind.

As the next Disappearance nears, Aila begins to unravel the dual mystery of why the Disappearances happen and who her mother truly was. One thing is clear: Sterling isn’t going to hold on to anyone’s secrets for long before it starts giving them up.

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Excerpt

“Malcolm,” Mrs. Cliffton says, her voice sharpening. “These are Juliet’s children. I could never live with myself if I turned them away when they had nowhere else to go. We said we would try it, and if it doesn’t work out, then we’ve at least bought Harold some time to find another arrangement.”

She pauses. I slide along the wall and crouch under the window, holding my breath until Dr. Cliffton’s low voice begins again.

“All right, Matilda. I agreed to try it, and we will. But their being here is going to stir things up again at the worst possible time. And I just don’t want them to walk into a hornets’ nest.”

There’s a long pause, and I wonder if the conversation is over. But then Mrs. Cliffton asks softly, “Do you really think we made a mistake?”

“No,” Dr. Cliffton says. “Well, I don’t know,” he clarifies. “Let’s just hope Sterling treats them better than it treated Juliet at the end.”

The hair on the back of my neck prickles. I learn forward, pretending to look at my reflection in the fountain, waiting for him to elaborate. But I don’t see anything. The water is cool and clear and dark. No stars or moon reflect above me. I wave my hand above the water, but it is opaque. Blank. As though I have disappeared.

I stumble backwards into the steadying bricks of the house.

What is this place?

“Juliet must not have wanted them to know, if she never told them,” Dr. Cliffton says. I gulp at the night air, barely able to hear his voice over the thundering of my own heart. “But now that they’re here, Sterling isn’t going to hold on to her secrets for long before it starts giving them up.”

Excerpted from The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy. Copyright © 2017 by Emily Bain Murphy. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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About Emily:

EmilyEmily Bain Murphy grew up in Indiana, Hong Kong, and Tokyo, and has also called Massachusetts and Connecticut home.

She loves books, Japanese karaoke, exploring new cities, and anything with Nutella. Her debut YA fantasy, THE DISAPPEARANCES, will be published by HMH Books for Young Readers and Pushkin Press in 2017.

Murphy is represented by Peter Knapp at Park Literary & Media.

She currently lives in San Francisco with her family and is at work on her second novel.
Website  | Twitter  | Instagram | Facebook |  Goodreads
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Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a hardcover of THE DISAPPEARANCES! US Only.

Rafflecopter Code:

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Rafflecopter link:

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Tour Schedule

Week One:

7/3/2017- Adventures of a Book Junkie– Interview

7/4/2017- Book Princess Reviews Review

7/5/2017- Tales of the Ravenous Reader– Guest Post

7/6/2017- Brooke Reports– Review

7/7/2017- Seeing Double In Neverland Interview

Week Two:

7/10/2017- PaperTrailYA– Review

7/11/2017- Literary Meanderings– Guest Post

7/12/2017- YA and Wine– Review

7/13/2017- A Gingerly Review– Excerpt

7/14/2017- Whatever You Can Still Betray– Review

What I Lost: Blog Tour, Review, and Giveaway!

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Rockstar Book Tours

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About the Book:

Title: WHAT I LOST
Author: Alexandra Ballard
Pub. Date: June 6, 2017
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Pages: 304
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Links: AmazonB&NTBDiBooksGoodreads

What sixteen-year-old Elizabeth has lost so far: forty pounds, four jean sizes, a boyfriend, and her peace of mind. As a result, she’s finally a size zero. She’s also the newest resident at Wallingfield, a treatment center for girls like her—girls with eating disorders. Elizabeth is determined to endure the program so she can go back home, where she plans to start restricting her food intake again.She’s pretty sure her mom, who has her own size-zero obsession, needs treatment as much as she does. Maybe even more. Then Elizabeth begins receiving mysterious packages. Are they from her ex-boyfriend, a secret admirer, or someone playing a cruel trick?

This eloquent debut novel rings with authenticity as it follows Elizabeth’s journey to taking an active role in her recovery, hoping to get back all that she lost.

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Review:

I was not prepared for this book to hit me as hard as it did. This was such a compelling and complex journey for a high school female dealing with anorexia. The stigma on today’s teens to look a certain way is overpowering. I’m surprised there aren’t more stories like this on the market.

Elizabeth dropped 4 sizes in a few short months after a painfully traumatic experience with her now ex-boyfriend. She realized the one thing that she could control in her life was food. Soon it became easier and easier to just not eat, or lie to herself that she was full. This was fueled by her mom’s own silent battle with food restriction. Her mom pushed Elizabeth into “losing just a few pounds to look better”. So who cared if Elizabeth considered dinner six small bites of a banana? Certainly nobody in her household. But things became serious when Elizabeth weighed 90 pounds. She was admitted to a health care facility for treatment.

A very, very little known fact about me is that I have a mild form of anorexia. Mine is nowhere as severe as those talked about in this book but it is real nonetheless. That caused me to connect with Elizabeth on a level I wasn’t ready for. I felt I could completely understand her thoughts and feelings. Her struggle was painful, understandable, and it just felt horribly real. Thankfully Elizabeth was not alone in her treatments. A cast of characters are along for the ride, each with their own demons to slay. They all play a bigger part in Elizabeth realizing what she has done to herself and giving her a glimpse of just how bad she could get if she didn’t do something to try to get better. Please know this story is not just about someone battling anorexia, it is also a bit of a love story. There is some romance that happens and it is super sweet. Elizabeth starts to receive mysterious packages while at the facility and she believes it is her ex-boyfriend sending them. How can her ex-boyfriend send her such loving packages when he is the one that sent her into such a downward spiral? Is it even him sending the packages?

So many questions! Will Elizabeth be able to make enough progress to leave the facility? Will she be able to make the tough food decisions on her own outside? What about her friends at school? This was such an emotional rollercoaster of a ride. I could not put this book down once I started. It was such a powerful read and I hope everyone gives it a chance.

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About Alexandra:
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Alexandra Ballard has worked as a magazine editor, middle-school English teacher, freelance writer, and cake maker. She holds master’s from both Columbia (journalism) and Fordham (education) and spent ten years in the classroom, beginning in the Bronx and ending up in the hills of California. Today she writes full time and lives in the Bay Area with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs. What I Lost is Alexandra’s first novel.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram

 

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Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a finished copy of WHAT I LOST, US Only.

Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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Tour Schedule:

Week One:

5/29/2017-YA and Wine– Interview

5/30/2017- Take Me Away To A Great Read– Review

5/31/2017- BookHounds YA– Guest Post

6/1/2017- Here’s to Happy Endings– Review

6/2/2017- Eli to the nth– Excerpt

Week Two:

6/5/2017- Lisa Loves Literature– Review

6/6/2017- YA Book Madness– Guest Post

6/7/2017- The Cover Contessa– Interview

6/8/2017- Book Briefs– Review

6/9/2017- A Gingerly Review– Review

 

 

Breaking Tour: Review and Giveaway!

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Rockstar Book Tours

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Breaking

About the Book:
Title: BREAKING
Author: Danielle Rollins
Pub. Date: June 6, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Pages: 352
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Find it: AmazonB&NTBDiBooksGoodreads

Companion novel to Burning.

Prep school gets a twist of supernatural suspense in this commercial YA thriller.

Charlotte has always been content in the shadow of her two best friends at the prestigious Underhill Preparatory Institute. Ariel is daring and mysterious. Devon is beautiful and brilliant. Although Charlotte never lived up to the standards of the school—or her demanding mother—her two best friends became the family she never had. When Ariel and Devon suddenly commit suicide within a month of each other, Charlotte refuses to accept it as a coincidence. But as the clues point to a dangerous secret about Underhill Prep, Charlotte is suddenly in over her head. There’s a reason the students of Underhill are so exceptional, and the people responsible are willing to kill to protect the truth…

Suspenseful and scintillating, with hints of the supernatural, this fast-paced thriller will keep readers hooked.

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Review:

When I requested this ARC, I did not know it was the companion novel to Burning. It does not read like a companion novel so I can say if you choose to read this without reading the other, you will be okay.

Charlotte, the MC, was easy to connect with and easy to follow. She was just complex enough to stay interesting and not completely predictable. She was flawed yet I could identify with her. She was used to being in the shadow of her two best friends, Devon and Ariel. When Devon and Ariel commit suicide, it throws Charlotte’s world on its head. Charlotte knows it is not just a coincidence, she knows something more is going on. She suddenly opens her eyes to everything that is going on at Underhill Preparatory Institute. She knows something dark and sinister is taking place and she is going to figure out what, or who, is behind it all.

This was a very well done YA thriller, in my opinion. I thought I was going to stumble a little in the beginning but that didn’t happen. It was easy to follow along and figure out what was going on. There were so many twists, turns, and red herrings that I was always on my toes. There is even a bit of a supernatural aspect thrown in and guess what, it worked. It gave this story a little something extra that isn’t easily found in thrillers today. I really tore through this book and finished in no time. The ending seriously threw me for a loop as I did not see that coming. I hope everyone will give this a chance as it was a good supernatural thriller.

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About Danielle:
unnamed (6)Author of the best-selling MERCILESS series, SURVIVE THE NIGHT, BURNING, and BREAKING. I’m currently working on the last installment of the Merciless books, & starting a new series to be announced later this year.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram

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Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a finished copy of BREAKING, US Only.

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Tour Schedule:

Week One:

5/29/2017- The Cover Contessa– Interview

5/29/2017- A Dream Within A Dream– Review

 

5/30/2017- YA Books Central– Guest Post

5/30/2017- a GREAT read– Review

 

5/31/2017- Pandora’s Books– Excerpt

5/31/2017- Sweet Southern Home– Review

 

6/1/2017- BookHounds YA– Guest Post

6/1/2017- Dazzled by Books– Review

 

6/2/2017- Tales of the Ravenous Reader Interview

6/2/2017- Don’t Judge, Read– Review

 

Week Two:

6/5/2017- Wandering Bark Books– Guest Post

6/5/2017- Pretty Deadly Reviews– Review

 

6/6/2017- Two Chicks on Books– Excerpt

6/6/2017- Novel Novice– Review

 

6/7/2017- Literary Meanderings – Guest Post

6/7/2017- YA Book Madness– Review

 

6/8/2017- Mama Reads Blog– Excerpt

6/8/2017- A Gingerly Review- Review

 

6/9/2017- Portrait of a Book– Guest Post

6/9/2017- Storybook Slayers– Review

 

 

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Cover Reveal: The Librarian by Christy Sloat

 
Today Christy Sloat and Rockstar Book Tours are revealing the cover for THE LIBRARIAN, which releases June 17, 2017! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to win some awesome swag!

On to the reveal!

 

Title: THE LIBRARIAN
Author: Christy Sloat
Pub. Date: June 17, 2017
Publisher: CHBB Publishing
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 230
Find it: Goodreads
He’s from 1892 England, she’s in a small library in 2017. And that’s just the start of their troubles.
Emme never meant to stay in Maine. She’d come only to find a librarian for her Gram’s library, a custodian for the collection of mysterious books she’d promised to protect. On a   dark, wintery night, alone in the library, she takes her first glance into one of the antique novels and finds herself transported to 1892 England staring into the eyes of handsome and dashing hero Jack Ridgewell. As each chapter passes she learns you can truly fall in love with a character in a book, that book boyfriends are real and Emme must choose between the real world, and his. 
When the last page is read he’s gone and Emme feels the cold loneliness of lost love. Will she find Jack again, or will their love be forever lost? The answer lies within the pages…
Exclusive Excerpt!
The Librarian excerpt
© Christy Sloat
I bent down on my hands and knees and felt along the floor hoping not to touch anything   gross. My hands grazed something odd. I felt along its edges. It was hard and didn’t seem  to belong there. Now my curiosity had me crouching in the dark trying to figure out what this was. Finally I found the flashlight and clicked it on. Focusing the light, I saw  the odd thing sticking up like a broken piano key. It was a floorboard upended. I pushed it to get it back into place, but all that did was make it fly up further and then completely out of the floor. 
 
“Well, that’s just great,” I told myself.
 
I was here in the dark talking to myself. I dared to take a look into the floor, hoping not to find a rat family living inside or a web housing a large spider. I did find something, but it wasn’t sinister; it was a set of books in a case covered in plastic wrap. Reaching in, I pulled them out. The dust on it was at least three inches thick. This must be the special book collection Gram told me to read and to keep safe. Anything that was precious to her,   she hid—like the money I found pinned to her clothing in her closet, or the other jewelry  he had taped to the back of her dresser.
 
I brushed the dust off and opened the plastic to find four books inside. They were pretty good in size and looked to be in great condition. They didn’t have traditional covers that you’d see in a bookstore. Instead they were covered in a thick material to keep the books clean and the binding solid. I pulled the first book from the case and placed the others back into the hole. Covering it back with the loose board was easier than taking it out. I held the book close, and instead of going upstairs I went to my book nook. I had just washed the blankets the day before. Cozied up in the nook, I stared out the window one last time before opening the book. I decided I would only read for a little while before going up to bed. Gram did want me to read them after all.
I opened the first page to the title page; it was blank. I flipped the page and snuggled deeper into the blankets preparing to read the first chapter and that’s when things changed. 

 

About Christy: 
I am Southern California native, now living in New Jersey! How did that happen? I am married and have  two beautiful little girls who love to read just like Mommy. I have had a passion for books since I was a little girl and an imagination for just as long. I hope my books can inspire others to read and to write too. Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads


 
Giveaway Details:

5 winners will receive a THE LIBRARIAN Magnet, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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Just A Normal Tuesday Tour, Excerpt, and Giveaway!

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www.rockstarbooktours.com

unnamed (4)Title: JUST A NORMAL TUESDAY

Author: Kim Turrisi

Pub. Date: May 2, 2017

Publisher: Kids Can Press

Pages: 256

Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads

It’s just a normal Tuesday for sixteen-year-old Kai, until suddenly it’s anything but. She’s received a letter from her beloved older sister, Jen, a letter that begins, My very bestest sister, Kai, if you are reading this, I am already gone. From that moment on, Kai’s life will never be the same, as she is forced to deal with the shock and horror of losing Jen to suicide.

Consumed with grief, Kai looks for answers, lashes out at people who love her and eventually turns to excessive drinking and drugs, all with disastrous results and no relief from her suffering. Struggling with their own sorrow, Kai’s parents realize she needs more help than they can give, and they enroll her in the Tree House, a “grief camp” for children. Though reluctant to go, once she’s there, Kai finally finds others who truly understand her loss. No longer alone, she’s able to begin dealing with her pain. And to see light at the end of the dark tunnel.

Kim Turrisi’s beautiful, wrenching young-adult novel sheds a much-needed light on the subjects of mental illness and suicide. Using the unique idea of a grief camp, Turrisi lays out a process for healing and moving forward for readers who have been touched by loss. But this book’s appeal reaches beyond that. With combined elements of tragedy and romance, compellingly told in Kai’s authentic voice, this ultimately hopeful story will be an unputdownable read for any teen.

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Excerpt:

Jen found this classic desk at a garage sale for like twenty bucks and said if I was going to be a writer, my desk had to mirror my style. Vintage, quirky, retro, that’s me. The classic Rolling Stones Tattoo You album is just getting going. Perfect vibe. I toss the stack of mail and watch as it slides across the slippery surface of my desk. That’s when I glimpse an envelope skidding out of the pile like it’s stealing second base. The lettering on the envelope matches the postcards in my locker. Jen’s writing. Odd that she’d send a letter but she does love to write.

I pick up the envelope and am immediately struck by the weight of it. Two stamps on the front. I’m ultra-careful not to rip it. Learned that the hard way when my grandparents sent money and I tore a crisp hundred-dollar bill. Jen knows I’m saving for my trip. Could she be sending some cold hard cash? That would be so like her. First thing I see is a note.

My very bestest sister, Kai

If you are reading this, I am already gone.

I scrutinize the stationery. It’s definitely my sister’s handwriting. Slanted, looping, like art. If there were an award for best cursive writing, Jen would bring home the hardware, hands down.

I’ve watched you grow up since you were a baby. You’ve turned into an amazing person. I know you know how much I love you and have always wanted the best of everything for you. Please don’t be disappointed in me for being too weak to face down my demons.

Demons? Disappointed? I snag my phone from my pocket and choose her number in my favorites. Sometimes it’s just easier to talk than read stuff that makes no sense. Like this.

Straight to voice mail. I return to the letter, curious.

That’s when I see the word …

funeral.

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About Kim: 

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A graduate of Florida State University, Kim Turrisi began her career in film and television. After a year of on-set production (getting coffee, wrangling actors and taking lunch orders) Kim segued to the development side of the business. First working as a development executive at Columbia-Tri-Star and eventually shepherding many projects in family entertainment for Disney, Viacom and Hallmark.

Kim created and wrote an online web series for which she won a Daytime Emmy. She wrote for ABC Family’s webisode series, PRETTY DIRTY SECRETS, an internet companion piece to smash hit PRETTY LITTLE LIARS.

While she’s always been a voracious reader and writer, she never thought about writing for teens until she immersed herself in the children’s publishing world as the Director of Special Projects for the Society of Book writers and Illustrators. There, reading children’s literature is a big part of her job.

Her debut Young Adult novel JUST A NORMAL TUESDAY is loosely based on the author’s own experience, the debut YA novel follows 16-year-old Kai as she struggles through the emotional aftermath of her sister’s suicide. Kai spends a month at grief camp, discovering a roadmap to piecing her broken heart back together.

One of Kim’s favorite parts of the writing process is to create playlists for her characters that she listens to when she writes. When she revises her manuscripts, she’s generally in mismatched plaid and her desk is riddled with junk food. She collects Chuck Taylor’s, Van’s, and has a killer sock collection.

Born in Hawaii, she credits her love of travel to her life as an Air Force brat moving every two years. When she isn’t writing or reading, she can be found obsessing over her dogs, Riley and Rocco.

Represented by Tricia Lawrence at EMLA

Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @kimmyt22

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads
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Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a signed finished copy of JUST A NORMAL TUESDAY & swag including a bookmark, magnet, & temporary tattoo, US Only.

1 winner will receive JUST A NORMAL TUESDAY swag including a bookmark, magnet, & temporary tattoo, US Only.

 

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 Rafflecopter Link:

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Tour Schedule:

Week One:

4/24/2017- BookHounds YA– Interview

4/25/2017- The Candid Cover– Review

4/26/2017- Wandering Bark Books– Guest Post

4/27/2017- Angel Reads– Review

4/28/2017- A Gingerly Review– Excerpt

Week Two:

5/1/2017- Here’s to Happy Endings– Review

5/2/2017- Margie’s Must Reads– Guest Post

5/3/2017- The Bookworm Central– Review

5/4/2017- Literary Meanderings – Interview

5/5/2017- Just Commonly– Review

Rockstar Book Tours: Blood Road Release Celebration! (Excerpt & Giveaway)

 
 
I am so excited that BLOOD ROAD by Amanda McCrina is available now and that I get to share the news!
 
If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Amanda McCrina, be sure to check out all the details below. 
 
This blitz also includes a giveaway for a 1 month subscription to Owl Crate courtesy of  Month9Books and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.
About The Book:

Title: BLOOD ROAD
Author: Amanda McCrina
Pub. Date: April 25, 2017
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 329
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | TBD
Nineteen-year-old Torien Risto has seen dissidents dealt with before. He knows the young local girl who just knifed him will hang for assaulting an Imperial officer, unless he can stop it.
Someone inside the provincial government is kidnapping Imperial citizens and selling them across the desert to the salt mines, silencing anyone who tries to intervene. The girl’s brother is one of those who has been taken. Rejected by the corrupt courts, she’s waging a personal war against the Empire.
Determined to save her life, Torien sets out in search of answers on the Salt Road, the ancient trade route running deep into the heart of a desert—territory claimed by the hostile Mayaso tribe.
Now, Torien is no longer sure where his own loyalty lies, or how far he will go to break the cycle of tyranny, political bullying, and social injustice in an empire that seals its borders in blood.
Exclusive Excerpt
He touched her arm. She tensed but did not move away. He took off his
glove and traced her cheekbone with two fingers, brushing the tears from her
cheek. She drew a shivering breath. He turned her head and held it between his
hands and brushed the tears from her eyelashes with his thumbs. She stood very
still and silently while he did it, her eyes closed, her lips tight. He bent
his head and buried his face in her black hair—and she slipped in suddenly
under his arms, looping her arms around his neck, resting her cheek on his
chest. Then she twisted against him, tilting her head back to look up in his
face. “It’s no good,” she said. “I can’t feel your heart beat.”
“It’s the plums. I think I’ve suffocated.”
She laughed. He felt it echo through her body. He felt her muscles
loosen. Her breath was warm on his neck. “If that’s all,” she said.
They sat below the boundary wall. She unbuckled his helmet and cuirass
and held the cuirass for him while he shrugged it off. She sat against him with
her knees folded up on his lap, her shoulders under the curve of his arm. She
unlaced his jerkin and bent her ear to his chest. “Better,” she said. “And
this—just to be sure.” She leaned into him and pressed her lips gently to the
pulse in his
He kissed her. He sat up from the wall, cupping her head in his hands,
and he bent his face to hers and kissed her lips, her eyelids, her forehead; he
lifted her chin with his fingers and kissed the hollow at the base of her
throat. Her arms were around his neck and her cheek against his and her tears
running on his face. He tried to lift her to look at her. She shook her head.
Her lips brushed his ear. “Don’t,” she said. Her voice was thick. So he put his
arms around her waist and held her, his head and shoulders braced against the
sun-warmed stones of the boundary wall, his chin on her shoulder, and he
listened with his eyes closed while she cried.
He opened his eyes at the smell of wood smoke. They were smoking the
hives over in the bee field. Over Ceno’s shoulder, he watched the smoke trail
away southward toward the city. He could see the Hill just visible above the pines
in the hazy distance, the Palace and Senate buildings in delicate white-marble
miniature—and the moment shattered against it, and there was nothing but Tasso,
and the orders in his saddlebag, and the cavalry column mustered and awaiting
his command on the parade ground at Vione.

 
 
About Amanda: 
Amanda McCrina has studied in Italy, taught English in Japan, and currently tutors Latin in Atlanta, Georgia. She received her BA in History from the University of West Georgia, and is now pursuing her MA. She writes stories that incorporate her love of history, languages, and world travel. She drinks far too much coffee and dreams of one day having a winning fantasy-hockey
season.
 
 
 
 
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