Saturday, August 22, 2015


Hi guys! This week's #SizzlingSummerMysteries giveaway is an island mystery! *cue hula dancers* *bonus points if Thad is one of them* The winner of the Rafflecopter below can choose from NIL (highly recommended if you haven't read it) or NIL UNLOCKED.

Truth time. I have not read NIL Unlocked yet and normally I do not pimp books I haven't read. But, I've read NIL and loved Thad it, and all accounts say this book is even better. A 4.29 rating on Goodreads? You'd have to add the ratings for all my books together to get that, and we all know how awesome they are ;) Plus it's Lynne Matson who is pretty much the most epic person ever. So I feel completely comfortable pushing this book in your face like MYSTERIOUS ISLAND. WILD ANIMALS. ROMANCE. DEATH. WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT, PEOPLE? And maybe whoever wins it can buddy read it with me, because it's sitting across the room in a box with all the other Southeast Summer Book Bash books that I bought in June. We will just not talk about the box of unread books I bought in March. Or December. #IHaveAProblem.

Instead, let's talk more about NIL UNLOCKED!

Here's the official flap copy:

"This is a fast-paced, tension-filled story with engaging characters and a strong romantic plot." -VOYA

On the island of Nil, the rules are set. You have exactly 365 days to escape—or you die. Rives is now the undisputed Leader of Nil City, but keeping the City united is tougher than ever.

Raiders have grown bolder, supplies are dwindling, and non-human inhabitants have taken a turn toward the deadly. New arrivals cause rifts within the City, putting the Search system at risk, and calling everything Rives knows into question. Desperate for answers, he teams up with the only other person searching for them: Skye, a new arrival with a mysterious past of her own. Soon the duo find themselves locked in a desperate race to save all the residents of Nil—and possibly destroy the island forever. But at what cost? And who will pay the price?

Here's more about Lynne:

I love books--both reading and writing them. When I'm not reading or writing, you can find me hanging out with my husband and four sons. At any given time, at least one of the 6 of us is up to no good.:)

My books: NIL and NIL UNLOCKED are out now; NIL ON FIRE ends the trilogy in May of 2016. Join the #NILtribe...we have cool snacks :)

Paula: IDK...I went to one NIL Night and the snacks were kinda healthy ;)

Lynne was too busy battling angry pandas writing NIL ON FIRE to answer my questions, so instead I will bring you: FIVE THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT NIL/LYNNE MATSON

1. One of the early titles for NIL was DAYWATCH, but for some people that conjured up uncomfortable images of David Hasselhoff in swim trunks.

2. Lynne Matson is one of the nicest people EVER. If you read NIL and were wondering if anyone could possibly be as nice as Charley, yes they can. Lynne is just as lovely and kind as her MC. [NOTE: This does not mean that Charley = Lynne now or Charley = Lynne in high school. Authors are not their characters and it makes us a little crazy when you assume we have all the same thoughts and feelings as our fictional creations.]

3. Lynne is also a total speed demon with a major lead-foot. Do not get into a cross-country race with her, because she will beat you easily (unless she runs out of gas--apparently she hates to stop for it.)

4. Lynne has a possessed cell phone that auto-corrects randomly and has bestowed nicknames upon half of the YA Valentines. Lynne is Princess Zloty. I am Panda. Kristen Lippert-Martin is K-Snap. 

5. Lynne is a huge supporter of YA literature. I've done a fair number of events and I've never seen anyone buy more books than Lynne. She buys they for herself, for her family, for giveaways, for Christmas presents. If you ever go into a bookstore and the YA shelves are mostly bare, that's probably because Lynne Matson was in the neighborhood. LOVE YOU LYNNE!

I borrowed this picture of Lindsay Cummings, me, and Lynne
from Lynne's blog. Yay Southeast Summer Book Bash 2015!

And now, let the winning begin. I changed up the blog comment question to match this week's island theme :D

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I've got one more of my favorite #SizzlingSummerMysteries to give away. See you next week!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Giveaway: IMPOSTER

It's time for another #SizzlingSummerMysteries giveaway! This week I'm proud to feature one of my very first published author pals, Antony John, and his Hollywood mystery, Imposter. Antony is kind of a mysterious guy so you won't find him hanging out online much. (Rumor has it he's actually the ninth doctor, but I don't watch Doctor Who so I don't know if that's something that could be keeping him busy ;D)

So there have been a scad of YA books set on Hollywood sets lately, but all the ones I can think of have been romantic contemporaries. This is a great Veronica Mars type mystery featuring a guy's guy (you know how I like those) as the main character. I was lucky enough to read early and later drafts of Imposter, and I'm pleased to say it is a clever mystery that will keep you guessing, with romantic and family subplots that add to the story without overshadowing the narrative. And the prose here is absolutely stunning. I think I must have marked a passage on almost every page that I wanted to scrawl down in a notebook because it was so carefully crafted and insightful.

Here's the official flap copy:

Perfect for fans of Veronica Mars, this Hollywood thriller explores the blurred lines between Hollywood glamour and reality. 

Seth Crane has hit rock bottom. His mom recently died, his dad had a stroke and is out of work, and he just lost out on a commercial role. So when a producer shows up at his community theater production and offers him the lead role in an Indie film with major Hollywood buzz, it seems like the answer to all Seth’s problems.

Seth gets swept up in the Hollywood glamour right away, staying in a fancy hotel, going to the best parties, doing press conferences, and falling for the beautiful starlet Sabrina Layton and then his costar Annaleigh. But things suddenly start popping up in the tabloids—things Sabrina and Annaleigh told him in confidence and that no one else could know—and the line between the film and reality starts to blur. Nothing in Hollywood is what it seems, and Seth has to decide just how far he’s willing to go for fame, money, and to protect the people he loves.

Here's more about Antony:

Antony John was born in England and raised on a balanced diet of fish and chips, obscure British comedies, and ABBA's Greatest Hits. In a fit of teenage rebellion, he decided to pursue a career in classical music, culminating in a BA from Oxford University and a PhD from Duke University. Along the way, he worked as an ice cream seller on a freezing English beach, a tour guide in the Netherlands, a chauffeur in Switzerland, a barista in Seattle, and a university professor. Writing by night, he spends his days as a stay-at-home dad—the only job that allows him to wear his favorite pair of sweatpants all the time. He lives in St. Louis with his family.

Here's Antony sharing some insights about his seventh novel:

1. Describe your book in ten words or less.

For a young actor in Hollywood, reality and fiction blur.

2. What is/are your favorite thing/s about the story?

I’m a total sucker for twisty thrillers (which is why I loved LIARS, INC.), and IMPOSTER has twists galore. I also love taking tropes — and when it comes to books and movies about Hollywood, there are so many to choose from — and subverting them. Basically, I like keeping readers perpetually unsure and unsettled, because I’m a terrible, evil person :) [Paula: It's true, he is. And the worst part is that he's evil in a British accent, so he kind of tricks you into thinking he's this charming fella!]

3. What was the most difficult part of the writing or publication process?

Halfway through the editing process, I switched to a new editor who had a different vision for the book. This required a lot of rewriting. On the bright side, this turned out to be the greatest part of the writing experience too, as her ideas were awesome. Now it’s impossible for me to imagine the book any other way.

4. If this book became a movie, what song would play during the credits?

Hmm, tricky one. If we were trying to play up the twisty thriller / noir vibe of the book, we could go classic with “Windmills of Your Mind” (preferably the moody Dusty Springfield version). Alternatively, we could focus on the blurring of fiction and reality in Hollywood, in which case I’d vote for “City of Delusion” by Muse.

5. Is this book your attempt to vicariously experience life as a Hollywood actor?

Uh, yeah. I came really close to stardom in my elementary school’s nativity play, but it’s tough to make that transition from child actor to Hollywood icon. Now that I’ve written all about it, I’m kind of glad I didn’t get to experience it in real life. Writing books seems much less stressful . . . and safer too!

I totally played a goose in my middle school's presentation of Charlotte's Web, so I'm right there with him. I almost got to be Charlotte but the girl who beat me out actually looked like a spider. But wait. There's something more stressful than writing books? *brain explodes*

Allons-y! Get click-a-lickin on the Rafflecopter so you can win this book. Antony has a signed ARC to give away if the winner has a US address, and because I don't want my foreign friends to miss out, we'll hook the winner up Book Depository style if you're outside the US. Apologies to those of you who live outside of the TBD shipping area. If we had lots of $$ we'd hook you up, I swear. <3

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Because Antony was kind enough to mention LIARS, INC., I'll leave this here for one more week :D  --> ICYMI: Check out an interview with Parvati from Liars, Inc. and enter to win a copy of my latest mystery over on In Love With Handmade. See you next week for another giveaway! :D

Sunday, August 9, 2015


Hi guys! This week's #SizzlingSummerMysteries giveaway is an espionage mystery! They Call Me Alexandra Gastone  is (to quote ALA Booklist)  "an intricate debut spy thriller." It was written by T.A. Maclagan, a lovely author I met on Twitter, and a girl whose last name I spell wrong about 75% of the time.

I love spy-girl books, but I'll admit I generally don't hold them to very high standards. I mean, come on, a teen girl juggling high school with working for a government agency--a girl who is usually skilled at disguises, languages, weapons, martial arts and yet can't manage to handle her love life? Yeah, to me a lot of YA spy thrillers are fun, but implausible. So imagine my surprise when this book turned out to be incredibly realistic from the very beginning. This is an intelligent, well-researched espionage book. The main character, Lex, is balanced and believable throughout the entire story. I felt like I was reading a YA written by Tom Clancy. It is the first book of a duology and does end on a bit of a cliffhanger, but not without resolving the major storyline. if you like spy thrillers, I highly recommend TCMAG.

Here's the official flap copy:

When your life is a lie, how do you know what’s real?

Alexandra Gastone has a simple plan: graduate high school, get into Princeton, work for the CIA, and serve her great nation.

She was told the plan back when her name was Milena Rokva, back before the real Alexandra and her family were killed in a car crash.

Milena was trained to be a sleeper agent by Perun, a clandestine organization from her true homeland of Olissa. There, Milena learned everything she needed to infiltrate the life of CIA analyst Albert Gastone, Alexandra’s grandfather, and the ranks of America’s top intelligence agency.

For seven years, “Alexandra” has been on standby and life’s been good. Grandpa Albert loves her, and her strategically chosen boyfriend, Grant, is amazing.
But things are about to change. Perun no longer needs her at the CIA in five years’ time. They need her active now.

Between her cover as a high school girl—juggling a homecoming dance, history reports, and an increasingly suspicious boyfriend—and her mission in this high-stakes spy game, the boundaries of her two lives are beginning to blur.

Will she stay true to the country she barely remembers, or has her loyalty shattered along with her identity?

Here's more about Tiff:

T.A. Maclagan is a Kansas girl by birth but now lives in the bush-clad hills of Wellington, New Zealand with her Kiwi husband, son and four pampered cats. With a bachelor’s degree in biology and a Ph.D. in anthropology, she’s studied poison dart frogs in the rainforests of Costa Rica, howler monkeys in Panama and the very exotic and always elusive American farmer. It was as she was writing her ‘just the facts’ dissertation that T.A. felt the call to pursue something more imaginative and discovered a passion for creative writing.They Call Me Alexandra Gastone is her first novel.

Here's Tiff telling us more about her debut novel:

1. Describe your book in ten words or less.

Espionage thriller. Twists and turns. Kick-butt heroine with depth.

2. What is/are your favorite thing/s about the story?

As a big fan of strong female characters like Buffy and Veronica Mars, I love that Lex is that type of female lead. She’s both physically strong and mentally resourceful while also being realistically vulnerable. She’s not a ‘can do no wrong’ badass. She can and does get hurt but she’s strong enough to make it to the other side of everything life keeps throwing at her.

3. What was the most difficult part of the writing or publication process?

Nailing the lead character of Lex was the hardest part. As a spy for the ‘other’ side, I had to walk a fine line in order to make her likeable as well as believable. In my early drafts she was coming across as distant and afraid to engage in her relationships, which made it hard for the reader to connect with her. With the help of my agent, we eventually found what I hope is the perfect balance.

4. If this book becomes a movie, what song would play during the credits?

Radioactive by Imagine Dragons. It has an espionage feel to it and is all about a life coming apart at the seams.

5. Who are the authors/writers who have made you want to get in the writing game?

I’m a huge fan of Steve Hamilton, the author behind The Lock Artist. His characters have killer voices and he’s a masterful plotter. Joss Whedon and Rob Thomas—the minds behind Buffy and Veronica Mars—have also been big influences. I love their whip-smart dialogue and the way they develop their characters. I think shows like Buffy and Veronica Mars are very empowering to women, which I love.

Paula: OMG. Anyone who likes Buffy and Veronica, will probably also like Liv Moore from iZombie. I also feel compelled to point out that U.S. peeps can watch some iZombie and the entire series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Hulu right now. Okay, enough jibber-jabbering by me. Get your Rafflecopter on already ;)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
BONUS GIVEAWAY--ICYMI: Check out an interview with Parvati from Liars, Inc. and enter to win a copy of my latest mystery over on In Love With Handmade.

Saturday, August 1, 2015


Hi guys! It's August in the U.S. and August is one of those months that happens to be hot almost everywhere. Which means if you're like me you are either at the beach or hiding in the air conditioning, and either way you're going to need a book, right? So I'm going to help you out with an entire month of weekly giveaways. The theme here is mysteries, and what better kind of mystery to start with than a good old-fashioned murder mystery?

Tara Kelly is the critically acclaimed author of Harmonic Feedback and Amplified. I was lucky enough to read The Foxglove Killings over a year ago, and it was the kind of book I couldn't put down for a second. I had to know how it was all going to turn out! Tara excels at creating a believable (and totally creepy!) small town setting and unique cast of characters. And the slow build of tension to the dramatic finale will have you on the edge of your seat (or beach towel, if you're lucky.)

Here's the official flap copy:

Gramps always said that when the crickets were quiet, something bad was coming. And the crickets have been as silent as the dead. It started with the murdered deer in the playground with the unmistakable purple of a foxglove in its mouth. But in the dying boondock town of Emerald Cove, life goes on.

I work at Gramps's diner, and the cakes―the entitled rich kids who vacation here―make our lives hell. My best friend, Alex Pace, is the one person who gets me. Only Alex has changed. He's almost like a stranger now. I can't figure it out...or why I'm having distinctly more-than-friend feelings for him. Ones I shouldn't be having.

Then one of the cakes disappears.

When she turns up murdered, a foxglove in her mouth, a rumor goes around that Alex was the last person seen with her—and everyone but me believes it. Well, everyone except my worst enemy, Jenika Shaw. When Alex goes missing, it's up to us to prove his innocence and uncover the true killer. But the truth will shatter everything I've ever known about myself — and Alex.

Here's more about Tara:

Tara Kelly adores variety in her life. She’s an author and one-girl-band by night, and a graphic designer, video producer, and photographer by day. She lives in Sin City with her beloved guitars, sound design master husband, and a fluffy cat named Maestro.

Here's Tara with more about her first mystery novel:

Paula: Describe your book in ten words or less.
Tara: Sometimes you only see what you want to...

Paula: What is/are your favorite thing/s about the story?

Tara: The characters. They took on a life of their own as I wrote (and rewrote and rewrote) the story, and they all surprised me in the end.

Paula: What was the most difficult part of the writing or publication process?
Tara: I've never rewritten a book so many times (and I almost gave up). I'd never written a mystery or thriller before, so this book put me way out of my comfort zone. But I'm a better writer for it!

Paula: If this book became a movie, what song would play during the credits?
Tara: I fear the song may give away the ending, so I'll share the opening credits song. Cullorblind by Skinny Puppy.

Paula: Free play! Ask and answer any question you wish people would ask you but they never do.
Tara: Would you like an all-expenses paid trip to Ireland? Why, yes. Yes I would!

Paula: You and me both on that whole Ireland thing ;) I bet it's not even hot there! Now for the giveaway. TO THE RAFFLECOPTER!

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BONUS GIVEAWAY: Check out an interview with Parvati from Liars, Inc. and enter to win a copy of the book over on In Love With Handmade.