Category Archives: Excerpt

What We Left Behind by Robin Talley: Exclusive Excerpt + Blog Tour Contest

Welcome to Day #2 of the What We Left Behind Blog Tour!

To celebrate the release of What We Left Behind by Robin Talley (10/27/15), blogs across the web are featuring exclusive content from Robin, as well as 10 chances to win a copy of What We Left Behind or a 7-book LGBT YA Prize Pack chosen by Robin herself in the Grand Prize Giveaway! We also have a chance here at Novel Novice for you to win a copy of What We Left Behind.


In this excerpt from chapter 3, politics-dork Toni and ultracool roommate Ebony are navigating a Harvard student activities fair full of tables advertising student clubs.

The Yard is packed—more crowded than it was on move-in day. I try to take deep breaths as I scan the booths for the groups I’m signing up for: the Undergraduate  BGLTQIAA Association, the PolitiWonk blog and the Model Congress. All I see in every direction is people jumping up and down, hugging, and eating the free candy the groups have set out on their tables. Am I the only lost freshman here?

Someone to my left yells, “Eb!” Ebony grins and waves at a girl in tennis gear.

“I’m going to go say hi,” Ebony says. “You’ll be okay on your own, right?”

What am I, a toddler?

“Of course,” I say, but Ebony’s already gone. All right, then. I push past a group of guys high-fiving each other by the Ukrainian-American Brotherhood table and find a spot blessedly free of people so I can collect myself.

A girl rushes up to me and presses a mini Snickers bar into my hand. “Hi! I’m so glad you’re interested in the HSWMS! Let me tell you about what we’ve got planned for this year!”

I blink at the girl. Then I realize this spot was only free because I’m in front of the Harvard Students Waiting for Marriage Society table.

“Oh, sorry,” I say. “I’m not interested.”

I put the Snickers back on the table in case it has abstinence cooties.

I back away from the HSWMS table and allow the throng to carry me from booth to booth. There must be hundreds of them.

Hmm. Maybe I should sign up for some other groups, too, just in case. It probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to join the College Democrats. And the Japanese fencing-club people look like they’re having a great time waving swords around.

Then I see the giant rainbow flag pinned high on a brick wall. I’ve found the UBA.

The crowd in front is bigger than for any other table in the row. Behind the booth and wading out into the sea of students are upperclassmen wearing bright purple T-shirts that say, “We’re so gay! Harvard UBA!”

Cute. Maybe too cute.

The sign-up sheet is front and center in the middle of the table. All around me, freshmen are elbowing their way toward it, but I linger at the back of the crowd.

Just go up there and sign the list. You don’t have to talk to anyone. Just put your name down and get out of there.

“Hi!” someone perks at me before I’ve unfrozen. It’s an alarmingly cheerful blond in one of the purple shirts. “Are you a freshman?”

“Uh, yeah,” I say.

“That’s fantastic!” the girl says as if we aren’t surrounded by freshmen on every side. “We have special cupcakes for freshmen!”

The girl points to one end of the table. Eight neat rows of cupcakes are laid out, each with the pink letters QF carefully written on chocolate frosting.

“It stands for Queer Freshmen,” the girl says.

“Uh-huh,” I say.

Maybe Ebony was on the right track. There are at least four other LGBT groups on campus. Surely one of them is less focused on T-shirts and cake decoration.

“Don’t worry about her,” a short black guy with a buzz cut says as the blond wanders away to pounce on someone else. The guy is wearing a matching T-shirt, too. “Shari was the bake-sale queen four years running back in Kansas City. It’s safest to humor her. Her bite is way worse than her bark.”
I smile at the guy. “Thanks for the tip.”

We shake hands. It isn’t easy in the press of moving bodies.

“I’m Derek,” the guy says.

“I’m Toni.”

“Tony with a Y?”

“No, I.”

“Ah.” Derek nods, as if this explains everything, and points to my wrist. “Great tattoo.”


“Queer history buff?”

I blink in surprise. On my eighteenth birthday I got a blue star tattooed on my wrist. Back in the thirties and forties, blue stars were one of those secret signals closeted people used to aid their gaydar. I’d thought that was cool. I’d also wanted to piss off my mother by getting a tattoo. No one has ever known its back story until I explained it, though.

“Sort of, yeah,” I say.

Derek nods. “Are you trans?”

I blink again. No one’s ever come straight out and asked me before.

No one I’ve met online. No one in the LGBT youth center where I volunteered in DC. None of my high school friends.

Not even Gretchen.

So it’s strange acting all casual about it here, with someone I don’t even know. For a second I want to look around to make sure no one’s listening. Then I decide I don’t care. I’ve been worrying about that stuff my whole life.

I’m in college now. It’s time to get over it.

“I’m genderqueer,” I say.

“That’s cool,” Derek smiles. Like this is a totally normal conversation. Like those weren’t the two most nerve-racking words I’ve ever spoken out loud.


Stop by The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say Shh tomorrow for Day #3 of the tour!

Blog Tour Schedule:

October 19th – Once Upon a Twilight
October 20th — Novel Novice
October 22nd — Reading Teen
October 23rd — Great Imaginations

October 26th — I Read Banned Books
October 27th — Ravenous Reader
October 28th — Candace’s Book Blog
October 29th — Book Love 101
October 30th — The Hiding Spot

about the book

What We Left Behind HQFrom the critically acclaimed author of Lies We Tell Ourselves comes an emotional, empowering story of what happens when love isn’t enough to conquer all.

Toni and Gretchen are the couple everyone envied in high school. They’ve been together forever. They never fight. They’re deeply, hopelessly in love. When they separate for their first year at college—Toni to Harvard and Gretchen to NYU—they’re sure they’ll be fine. Where other long-distance relationships have fallen apart, their relationship will surely thrive.

The reality of being apart, however, is a lot different than they expected. As Toni, who identifies as genderqueer, falls in with a group of transgender upperclassmen and immediately finds a sense of belonging that has always been missing, Gretchen struggles to remember who she is outside their relationship.

While Toni worries that Gretchen, who is not trans, just won’t understand what is going on, Gretchen begins to wonder where she fits in Toni’s life. As distance and Toni’s shifting gender identity begins to wear on their relationship, the couple must decide—have they grown apart for good, or is love enough to keep them together?


What We Left Behind Grand Prize PackOne (1) winner will receive a 7-book LGBT YA Prize Pack featuring the 5 novels chosen by Robin in Day #1’s post (The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth, Ask the Passengers by A.S. King, If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan, Far From You by Tess Sharpe,  The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson), plus copies of both of Robin Talley’s novels (What We Left Behind and Lies We Tell Ourselves).

Enter by filling out the Rafflecopter form here.

U.S./Canada only. Ends 11/1 at midnight ET.


Another chance to win! We’re giving away a copy of What We Left Behind to one lucky winner. U.S./Canada only.

To enter, tell us in the comments why you want to read What We Left Behind, then fill out the Rafflecopter form here to complete your entry and earn more chances to win.

Contest ends at midnight (PT) on Tuesday, October 27th.

Exclusive Excerpt: The Tragic Age by Stephen Metcalfe

Today, we are thrilled to be hosting the final stop on the pre-publication blog tour for The Tragic Age by Stephen Metcalfe, a thought-provoking new contemporary coming-of-age story in the vein of The Catcher in the Rye and King Dork.

tragic ageAs part of the blog tour, we’re excited to bring you an exclusive excerpt from the book — but first, catch up on all of the previous excerpts released so-far:

And now, here is the final excerpt from The Tragic Age:



It’s twenty minutes later and I’m moving down the hall- way past the school office when I glance through the open door and see that Willard Twomey is sitting on a bench.

It’s postbell but I’m in no real rush. After lunch it’s fourth period calculus and I always take some time get- ting there because I know the teacher, Mr. Thurmond, is still in the faculty lounge sucking down his umpteenth cancer stick of the day.

Mr. Thurmond, who is heavy and sad faced, is an aspiring stand-up comedian who puts flyers of his open-mike nights on the classroom bulletin board, never realizing none of us are old enough to get in. He also uses the class to try out his material, which means he tries to make calculus funny. Calculus, which studies the limits, functions, derivatives, and integrals of numbers, is about as funny as an abscessed tooth and so is Mr. Thurmond.

“What did the zero say to the eight?” he’ll say. “Nice belt!”

“What is the first derivative of a cow?” he’ll says. “Prime rib.”

No one laughs.

Which confuses and disappoints Mr. Thurmond. And makes him anxious. Which makes him want a cigarette. Which makes him excuse himself and run down the hall to the teacher’s lounge. The class is pretty much Mr. Thurmond’s only good joke.

I stop and look around to see if anyone is coming, and when I see that no one is, I turn back and go into the school office. Except for Willard Twomey and some secretary, there’s nobody else there. I clear my throat. The secretary looks up from whatever it is she’s doing. Unprepared for the port-wine hemangioma on my face, she flinches.

“Shouldn’t you be in class?” she says. No hello, no may I help you.

“I need to see the nurse,” I say.

“For what?” she says. She seems alarmed. Like maybe a birthmark is possibly contagious.

“For a brain tumor,” I say.

Actually, I don’t say that.

“My stomach hurts,” I say. “I think I ate something at lunch.” Which is true. It was something.

The secretary sighs as if she’s besieged on a daily basis by disfigured people who have gotten sick from eating something at lunch and it’s exhausted her.

“Have a seat,” the secretary says. “I’ll see if she’s in.” She gets up and she leaves, probably down the hall to join Mr. Thurmond and the school nurse in the faculty lounge for a quick smoke.

Willard Twomey is still sitting on the long wooden bench, acting as if I’m not even there. I go over and sit down next to him, leaving room between us. Now both of us are acting as if the other isn’t there. I realize I can hear Mr. Esposito, the principal, talking on the phone in the inner office. He has a surprisingly strong, authoritative voice.

“Yes, I understand . . . No, but I do want to know who’s responsible for him . . .”

Obviously he’s talking about Willard Twomey.

“Very impressive,” I say, not looking at Willard Twomey. Willard Twomey doesn’t say anything.

“What you did in the cafeteria today.” Willard Twomey doesn’t so much as blink. “Montebello’s an idiot.”

“What are you?” says Willard Twomey. He stares straight ahead. I notice that on the back of his right hand Willard Twomey has another tattoo.


And on the back of his left hand yet another.


“. . . yes, well, I think we should have been informed that the young man has a juvenile record and a history of physical assault,” says Principal Esposito in his surprisingly strong voice.

“Who’s he talking to?” I say.

I don’t think Willard Twomey is going to answer. But then he does.

“My grandmother. Like she’s going to do anything but make herself another drink.” Willard Twomey sounds disgusted.

“I understand. Yes, I’m sure it is difficult for you,” says Principal Esposito’s voice, full of authority.

I don’t remember the last time I’ve done this. Maybe I never have. But I do now. I stick out my right hand.


A handshake is a ritual in which two people grasp one another’s hands. It is thought by some to have originated as a way of saying, There is no weapon in my hand. I’m not going to cut your head off. This, of course, is unless it’s the left hand, which in many parts of the world is a way of saying, I’m going to use your head to wipe my ass.

“Billy Kinsey,” I say.

Willard Twomey looks at my outstretched right hand. And now he looks at me. At me. Willard Twomey doesn’t flinch, he doesn’t waver. He studies my face. It is rude and disconcerting to the point of panic inducing and I have to force myself not to look away. His eyes trace the periphery of my right cheek and all of a sudden that side of my face begins to burn.

Point of reference.

Dorie used to say that my birthmark lightened or darkened, ebbed and flowed in shade and intensity, according to my emotions, and that a person could tell what I was feeling just by looking at it. Which is just another reason why I always try to feel nothing at all.


Dorie thought my port-wine hemangioma was beautiful.

Willard Twomey reaches out and lightly taps my open hand with a closed fist. “Twom,” he whispers. He repeats himself, says it louder. “Twom Twomey.”

“Not Willard?” I say. I make sure I sort of smile as I say it.

“Not unless you want a tray in your head.” He’s sort of smiling too. The tap with the fist, I decide, is an original way of saying, I’m not going to kill you yet.

“I look forward to meeting you as well,” we hear Esposito’s voice say. It sounds like he’s wrapping things up which means it’s time to get out of there. I stand.

“See you around,” I say.

“I thought you were sick,” says Twom Twomey.

“Miraculously cured,” I say.

I beat it out of the office into the hall. When I look back I can see Esposito standing over Twom Twomey, lecturing. Twom Twomey, looking bored to stone, is staring at Mr. Esposito’s navel. Esposito might as well be talking to the wall.

Twom. Twom as in “tomb.” A mausoleum. A place for the dead. Dad thinks I should have a new friend. I wonder what he’ll think about one who’s now baptized my open palm with the right hand of chaos.

The Tragic Age is in stores March 3rd. Here is the official synopsis:

This is the story of Billy Kinsey, heir to a lottery fortune, part genius, part philosopher and social critic, full time insomniac and closeted rock drummer. Billy has decided that the best way to deal with an absurd world is to stay away from it. Do not volunteer. Do not join in. Billy will be the first to tell you it doesn’t always work— not when your twin sister, Dorie, has died, not when your unhappy parents are at war with one another, not when frazzled soccer moms in two ton SUVs are more dangerous than atom bombs, and not when your guidance counselor keeps asking why you haven’t applied to college.

Billy’s life changes when two people enter his life. Twom Twomey is a charismatic renegade who believes that truly living means going a little outlaw. Twom and Billy become one another’s mutual benefactor and friend. At the same time, Billy is reintroduced to Gretchen Quinn, an old and adored friend of Dorie’s. It is Gretchen who suggests to Billy that the world can be transformed by creative acts of the soul.

With Twom, Billy visits the dark side. And with Gretchen, Billy experiences possibilities.Billy knows that one path is leading him toward disaster and the other toward happiness. The problem is—Billy doesn’t trust happiness. It’s the age he’s at.  The tragic age.

Stephen Metcalfe’s brilliant, debut coming-of-age novel, The Tragic Age, will teach you to learn to love, trust and truly be alive in an absurd world.

The Originals: The Rise Exclusive Sneak Peek & Blog Tour Contest


Today, I’m super excited to be hosting a stop on the official blog tour for The Originals: The Rise created by Julie Plec.

From the creator of The Originals, the hit spin-off television show of The Vampire Diaries, come three never-before-released prequel stories featuring The Original vampire family.

Today is the LAST STOP on the blog tour, but check out the tour page to see all the other fabulous content about The Originals: The Rise. Today, we’ve got an exclusive quote from the book just for you — but be sure to keep reading to learn more & enter to win a fabulous prize pack!!!

Originals Quote Image 20 - Jan.30

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The Originals: The Rise
Author: Julie Plec
Series: The Originals, book 1/3
Release date: Tuesday, January 27
See it on GoodReads

The Originals_The Rise_book 1_coverAbout the Book:

Family is power. The Original vampire family swore it to each other a thousand years ago. They pledged to remain together always and forever. But even when you’re immortal, promises are hard to keep.

Arriving in New Orleans in 1722, Original vampire siblings Klaus, Elijah and Rebekah Mikaelson believe they’ve escaped their dangerous past. But the city is lawless, a haven for witches and werewolves unwilling to share territory. The siblings are at their mercy…especially after Klaus meets the beautiful and mysterious Vivianne. Her impending marriage is key to ending the war between the supernatural factions—and Klaus’s attraction to her could destroy the uneasy alliance. As Elijah works toward securing a piece of the city for his family, and Rebekah fights her unexpected feelings for a French captain, will Klaus’s volatile desires bring their world crashing down—and tear them apart for good?

JuliePlec_AuthorPhotoAbout the Author:

Julie Plec is the co-creator & executive producer of The Vampire Diaries & the creator of The Vampire Diaries spin-off, The Originals. Plec got her start as a writer and producer on the ABC Family series Kyle XY. She also collaborated on the CW drama The Tomorrow People. Her screenplay adaptation The Tiger’s Curse is in development at Paramount, and she will produce the feature @emma with Darko Entertainment. Past feature production credits include Scream 2 and Scream 3.


Enter to win one of 15 prize packs including: A copy of The Originals: The Rise and a copy of The Originals season 1 on DVD. US/Canada only. Ends Feb. 4, 2015.

Enter by filling out the Rafflecopter form HERE!

This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.


Dead of Winter by Kresley Cole – Exclusive Excerpt & Contest

We are BIG big fans of Kresley Cole’s Arcana Chronicles here at Novel Novice, so obviously we’re super excited about the January 6th release of book 3, Dead of Winter. But if you’re like us, and you just can’t wait until January to get started, you’re in luck … because today, we have an EXCLUSIVE sneak peek at the book!

We’re part of the Dead of Winter Chapter 1 Blog Tour Reveal, and today we’ve got your look at the second excerpt. Plus, keep reading for your chance to enter an AMAZING giveaway!!!


A wolf’s howl pierced the night.


I jolted awake in the saddle. The rain had dwindled to a foggy drizzle. How long had I been out?

I rubbed my gritty eyes. Almost screamed. I was surrounded by shadowy figures.

Wait, not figures. All around me were towering stacks of rocks, placed like logs for a bonfire. There were so many stacks the area resembled a forest. The stone forest.

Who would waste calories to assemble these? And why did I find them so chilling?

Matthew, are you there?

At last, I felt his presence in my mind! —Empress!—

Has Violet joined her brother yet?

—The Violet is not there.—

Oh, thank God.


Shit! You told me Vincent camped within days of Death’s castle. I’ve ridden for DAYS.

—Arcana all around.—

I heard their calls, as if from a sound-out. . . .

—Eyes to the skies, lads!— Joules.

—Trapped in the palm of my hand.— Tess.

—I watch you like a hawk.— Gabriel.

—Behold the Bringer of Doubt!— Selena.

—Don’t look at this hand, look at that one.— Finn.

—Crazy like a fox.— Matthew.

—We will love you. In our own way.— The Lovers.

So many Arcana were close. Which meant I was close.

—Terror from the abyss!— Huh?

Before I could ask about the new call, my sense of being watched returned. I jerked my head around.

—Empress, you’re one stone forest and one clearing away. Some . . . obstacles between us.—

Movement. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man skulking from one stack of rocks to the next.

Another man loped to join the first. The armed pair wore fatigues and creepy night-vision goggles. Soldiers of the Lovers’ army?

The stones were for cover, staged as if for a paint-ball course! How long had those men been lying here in wait?

Matthew, I’m in trouble! I slapped the reins against the mare. She whinnied a protest, but increased her speed. Chest heaving, she wound around the stacks.

I craned my head back. Two soldiers had become ten, all with rifles at the ready. Now they walked in plain view. Because I was already surrounded?

As the ground began to flatten, those stacks grew fewer. I raised my hand above my eyes, straining to see. Ahead—the clearing Matthew had spoken of !

My face fell. With no vegetation, it was a quagmire, water and muck pooling in huge craters.

Past that, a wall towered, must be thirty feet high. What lay behind it?

A shot rang out; a bullet whizzed by my head. My mount fled from the sound. “Go, GO!”

In my panic, my nails morphed into thorn claws. The razor-sharp edges sliced through the fingers of my gloves. My glyphs stirred, moving over my skin.

A second gunshot. The near-miss bullet pitted the mud beside the horse’s hooves. She shrieked, trotting faster.

The shooters missed on purpose. They would want me—and the horse—alive.

Women and horses were two valuable A.F. commodities.

Desperate for safety, I squinted at the wall. Men guarded a brightly lit gate.

—Head there, Empress.—

My mare would have to slog through the clearing. It was like a moat fronting that wall. The soldiers would catch me long before then.

A bright color drew my attention. Attached to a post was a handcrafted sign emblazoned with a red skull and crossbones—along with the warning: DANGER! MINES!

And that explained the craters.

Are you kidding, Matthew? Soldiers trailing me; mines ahead. How do I get past a minefield?

An agonized yell sounded behind me.

I dared a glance back. Only nine soldiers followed. They ran toward me at a faster clip. The ones at the edges aimed their guns—off to their sides.

Another horrified yell.

And another.

Open gunfire erupted. Muzzle flashes warred with fog; I couldn’t make out anything.

I turned forward. Screamed.

Three soldiers stood before me, rifles trained on my face. The mare reared, punching hooves at them.

The other gunmen had been pushing me toward these!

Yet behind them, a black beast melded with shadow. One brilliant golden eye gleamed like a lantern.

Cyclops! Had Lark sent her one-eyed wolf to protect me?

Baring dagger-size fangs, the massive beast gave a spine-chilling snarl. The men twisted around—

Cyclops launched himself at the panic-stricken soldiers, knocking them to the ground. His mighty jaws clamped down on limbs and rifles, snapping through bone and metal.

Body parts sailed into the air. Blood spurted like a mall fountain. I winced, though I should be used to seeing stuff like this.

The wolf lifted his head from the carnage and growled at the stupe­fied soldiers positioned behind me. Those bastards had driven me into a trap; Cyclops ate the trap.

Faced with the beast’s dripping maw, they fled headlong.

For me, Cyclops wagged his scarred tail. “Good damn wolf. Good boy.”

Matthew said: —Ride for the fort! You have to make it to the wall.—

What’s behind the wall? For all I knew, Matthew was sending me into the Milovnícis’ camp.


Into mines? We’re going to get blown away! Forget my self-healing powers; I couldn’t regenerate from decapitation.

—Go left.—

Directing me around the danger?

I turned to Cyclops. “I don’t know if you can understand me, or if Lark is steering her familiar. But follow my mount carefully unless you want to regrow limbs.” He was still limping from our battle with the Devil Card.

He chuffed, and bubbles of blood formed over his snout. With a swish of his tail, he defiantly snapped up a dismembered arm, carrying it like a chew toy. But he did move behind me.

I’m trusting you, Matthew. I swallowed and guided my horse left.

—MY left!—

Quick correction. Cyclops followed.

—Faster, Empress. Or the Azey will figure out our mine moat maze.—

Your what? Who are the Azey?

A.S.E. Army of the Southeast. Go right for three seconds. Then left.—

Holding my breath, I slapped the reins yet again. One thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three. I tugged the reins to my right.


Soon I was galloping through a minefield, a telepathic Arcana in my mind and a giant wolf at my heels.

I could hear those same wet breaths. The wolf had been following me! If I lived through this night, I was so going to owe Lark.

The gate creaked open ahead. I spurred the mare, racing to reach the fort.

With no idea what awaited me . . .

One lucky winner will receive an Amazon Kindle, pre-loaded with Poison Princess, Endless Knight, and an advanced e-copy of Dead of Winter.

Enter by filling out the Rafflecopter form HERE!

Contest is open to the U.S. only. Contest ends at midnight (PT) on Friday, November 21st.

See more chances to win, and get more sneak peeks from Dead of Winter by visiting all of the blog tour stops this week:

Here’s more about Dead of Winter:

dead of winterCan Evie convince her rival loves to work together? Their survival depends on it in this third book of #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole’s Arcana Chronicles, a nonstop action tale of rescue, redemption, and a revenge most wicked.

Heartbreaking decisions
Evie was almost seduced by the life of comfort that Death offered her, until Jack was threatened by two of the most horrific Arcana, The Lovers. She will do anything to save him, even escape Death’s uncanny prison, full of beautiful objects, material comforts and stolen glances from a former love.

Uncertain victory
Despite leaving a part of her heart behind with Death, Evie sets out into a frozen and perilous post-apocalyptic wasteland to meet up with her allies and launch an attack on The Lovers and the vast army they command. Such formidable enemies require a battle plan, and the only way to kill them once and for all may mean Evie, Jack, and Death allying. Evie doesn’t know what will prove more impossible: surviving slavers, plague, Bagmen and other Arcana or convincing Jack and Death to work together.

Two heroes returned
There’s a thin line between love and hate, and Evie just doesn’t know where she stands with either Jack or Death. Will this unlikely trio be able to defeat The Lovers without killing one another first?

Pre-order Dead of Winter here and check out the official website for the Arcana Chroincles.

For the comments: Tell us why you’re excited about Dead of Winter!

House of Night Blog Tour: Exclusive Excerpt + Contest from Redeemed by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast

blog tour banner generic
Today, I am so pleased to be sharing an EXCLUSIVE excerpt from Redeemed by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast, the final book in their best-selling House of Night series. It’s all part of the official blog tour!

You’ll find the excerpt below, but then keep reading for your chance to win a signed House of Night comic!  And look for Redeemed, in stores now.

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Redeemed_cover…Neferet beamed a smile at her Dark minions that was both exquisitely beautiful and terrifying. “I have an answer to our dilemma, children! The cage we created to hold Redbird was a weak, pathetic attempt at imprisonment. I have learned so much since that night. I have gained so much power—we have gained so much power. We will not cage people, as if I am a gaoler instead of a goddess. My children, we are going to blanket the very walls of my Temple with your magickal, unbreachable threads so that my new supplicants will be able to worship me unhindered. And that will only be the beginning. As I absorb more and more power, why not encase the entire city? I know it now—I know my destiny. I begin my reign as Goddess of Darkness by making Tulsa my Olympus! Only this is not a weak myth passed down as trite stories from schoolchildren to schoolchildren. This will be reality—a Dark Otherworld come to earth! And in my Dark Otherworld, there will be no innocents being abused by predators. All will be under my protection. I hold their fates in my hands—they have only to look to my welfare to be fulfilled. Ah, how they will worship me!”

Around her, the tendrils writhed in response to her excitement. She smiled and stroked those nearest to her. “Yes, yes, I know. It will be glorious!”

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One winner (U.S. only) will receive a signed House of Night comic. Contest is open through midnight (PT) on Monday, November 10th.

Fill out the Rafflecopter form HERE to get started!

If you tweet, be sure to use the hashtag #HONRedeemed

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Order Redeemed now from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Here’s more about the book:

 In the final electrifying novel in the HoN series, Neferet has finally made herself known to mortals. A Dark Goddess is loose on Tulsa and the world. No single vampyre is strong enough to vanquish her – unless that creature has the power to summon the elements as well as the ability to wield Old Magick. Only Zoey Redbird is heir to such power…but because of the consequences of using Old Magick, she is unable to help. Find out who will win and who will lose in this epic battle of Light versus Darkness.

And just for fun, here’s an old interview I did with P.C. Cast several years ago when she was in Portland. This was one of the most fun interviews!

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray: Exclusive Chapter Reveal & Giveaway

AThousandPiecesofYou copy
Today, we are THRILLED to be kicking off the official chapter reveal for Claudia Gray’s A Thousand Pieces of You, a stunning new science fiction story packed with action and romance. (It’s also going to be our November Book of the Month!)

Today, we have your exclusive first look at Chapter 1 of A Thousand Pieces of You — and below, you’ll find out where you can read Chapters 2-4 later this week. Plus, of course, there’s a great contest in store.

Check out the excerpt here, then keep reading for more about the book & your chance to win a signed copy of the book & a poster!

Chapter 1

My hand shakes as I brace myself against the brick wall. Rain falls cold and sharp against my skin, from a sky I’ve never seen before. It’s hard to catch my breath, to get any sense of where I am. All I know is that the Firebird worked. It hangs around my neck, still glowing with the heat of the journey.

There’s no time. I don’t know whether I have minutes, or seconds, or even less. Desperately I tug at these unfamiliar clothes—the short dress and shiny jacket I wear have no pockets, but there’s a small bag dangling from my shoulder. When I fish inside, I can’t find a pen, but there’s a lipstick. Fingers trembling, I unscrew it and scrawl on a tattered poster on the wall of the alley. This is the message I must pass on, the one goal I have to remember after everything else I am is gone.


Then I can only wait to die.

Die isn’t the right word. This body will continue to breathe. The heart will continue to beat. But I won’t be the Marguerite Caine living in it anymore.

Instead, this body will return to its rightful owner, the Marguerite who actually belongs in this dimension. The dimension I leaped into, using the Firebird. Her memories will take over again, any second, any moment, and while I know I’ll awaken again in time, it’s terrifying to think about . . . passing out. Getting lost. Being trapped inside her. Whatever it is that happens to people traveling from another dimension.

It hits me then. The Firebird really works. Travel between alternate dimensions is possible. I just proved it. Within my grief and fear, one small ember of pride glows, and it feels like the only heat or hope in the world. Mom’s theories are true. My parents’ work is vindicated. If only Dad could have known.

Theo. He’s not here. It was unrealistic of me to hope he would be, but I hoped anyway.

Please let Theo be all right, I think. It would be a prayer if I still believed in anything, but my faith in God died last night too.

I lean against the brick wall, hands spread, like a suspect’s on a police car right before the cuffs go on. My heart hammers in my chest. Nobody has ever done this before—which means nobody knows what’s about to happen to me. What if the Firebird can’t bring me back to my own dimension?

What if this is how I die?

This time yesterday, my dad probably asked himself that same question.

I close my eyes tightly, and the cold rain on my face mingles with hot tears. Although I try not to picture how Dad died, the images force their way into my mind over and over: his car filling with water; brownish river lapping over the windshield; Dad probably dazed from the wreck but scrambling to get the door open, and failing. Gasping for the last inches of air in the car, thinking of me and Mom and Josie—

He must have been so scared.

Dizziness tilts the ground beneath my feet, weakens my limbs. This is it. I’m going under.
So I force my eyes open to stare at the message again. That’s the first thing I want the other Marguerite to see. I want that message to stay with her, no matter what. If she sees that, if she keeps running over those words in her mind, that will awaken me within her as surely as the Firebird could. My hate is stronger than the dimensions, stronger than memory, stronger than time. My hate is now the truest part of who I am.

The dizziness builds, and the world turns fuzzy and gray, blackening the words KILL PAUL MARKOV—

—and then my vision clears. The word KILL sharpens back into focus.

Confused, I step back from the brick wall. I feel wide awake. More so than before, actually.

And as I stand there, staring down at my high heels in a puddle, I realize that I’m not going anywhere.

Finally, as I begin to trust my luck, I step farther into the alley. The rain beats down harder on my face as I look up into the storm-drenched sky. A hovercraft looms low over the city like yet another thundercloud. Apparently it’s there to fly holographic billboards across the city skyline. Astonished, I gaze at the hovercraft as it soars through this strange new dimension, 3-D advertisements flickering through their motions in the sky around it: Nokia. BMW. Coca-Cola.
This is so like my world, and yet not my world at all.

Is Theo as overwhelmed by the journey as I am? He must be. His grief is nearly as deep as mine, even though Dad was only his adviser; more than that, this is what Theo and my parents worked for these past few years. Has he kept his memory as well? If so, we’ll be in control throughout the trip, our minds piloting the selves born in this alternate dimension. That means Mom was wrong about one thing—which is kind of staggering, given that every other theory she’s ever had has just been proved true. But I’m grateful for it, at least for the moment before my gratitude disintegrates in the hot blaze of anger.

Nothing can stop me now. If Theo made it too and he can find me—and I want so desperately for him to find me—then we’ll be able to do this. We can get to Paul. We can take back the Firebird prototype he stole. And we can take our revenge for what he did to my father.

I don’t know if I’m the kind of person who can kill a man in cold blood. But I’m going to find out.

Want more? Yeah, you do! Here’s where you’ll find more chapter reveals this week:

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Fill out the Rafflecopter form HERE for your chance to win a signed copy of the book & a poster.

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AThousandPieces_hc_cHere’s more about A Thousand Pieces of You, in stores November 4th:

Every Day meets Cloud Atlas in this heart-racing, space- and time-bending, epic new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray.

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.

Goodreads/Amazon/Barnes & Noble

About Claudia Gray:

Claudia GrayClaudia Gray is a pseudonym. I would like to say that I chose another name so that no one would ever learn the links between my shadowy, dramatic past and the explosive secrets revealed through my characters. This would be a lie. In truth, I took a pseudonym simply because I thought it would be fun to choose my own name. (And it is.)

I write novels full-time, absolutely love it, and hope to be able to do this forever. My home is in New Orleans, is more than 100 years old, and is painted purple. In my free time I read, travel, hike, cook and listen to music. You can keep up with my latest releases, thoughts on writing and various pop-culture musings via TwitterTumblrPinterestGoodreads or (of course) my own home page.

If you want to contact me, you can email me, but your best bet is probably to Tweet me. I don’t do follows on Twitter, but I follow everyone back on Tumblr, Pinterest and Goodreads.

Website | Twitter |Tumblr | Pinterest | Goodreads | Wattpad

Exclusive Cover Reveal & Contest: The Devil You Know by Trish Doller

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Today, I am so thrilled to be sharing the exclusive cover reveal for The Devil You Know by Trish Doller, as  well as an excerpt and a GIVEAWAY that includes all three of Trish’s books — Something Like Normal, Where the Stars Still Shine, and one of the first ARCs of The Devil You Know.

Are you read for the cover?

No, really. Are you ready?




Well, okay then. Here it is:

devil you know

Gorgeous, no? And so, so perfect (I think) for this thrilling new YA novel. Here is the official synopsis:

Eighteen-year-old Arcadia wants adventure. Living in a tiny Florida town with her dad and four-year-old brother, Cadie spends most of her time working, going to school, and taking care of her family. So when she meets two handsome cousins at a campfire party, she finally has a chance for fun. They invite her and a friend to join them on a road trip, and it’s just the risk she’s been craving-the opportunity to escape. But what starts out as a fun, sexy journey quickly becomes dangerous when she discovers that one of them is not at all who he claims to be. One of them has deadly intentions.

A road trip fling turns terrifying in this contemporary story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

You can add the book on GoodReads here, and pre-order it on Amazon. Plus, connect with Trish Doller here:

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Want to win one of the first ARCs of The Devil You Know, plus Trish’s first two books? Start by telling everyone about the cover reveal for The Devil You Know:

  • Post the cover reveal on your blog, Tumblr, or other website & link back to the contest here!
  • Tweet about the cover reveal & contest
  • Follow Trish and Novel Novice on Twitter
  • Comment below & tell us what you think of the cover

See all the ways you can enter to win & submit your entries using the Rafflecopter form HERE!

One winner (U.S. only) will receive finished copies of Trish’s books Something Like Normal and Where the Stars Still Shine, as well as an advanced reader’s copy of The Devil You Know.

something like normal where the stars still shine devil you know

The contest runs through midnight (PT) on Sunday, September 14th. U.S. Only. Remember to share the cover for The Devil You Know as much as possible!

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And now here is an exclusive excerpt from The Devil You Know:

The Devil’s Chair is built into a low brick wall that surrounds a private burial plot consisting of two graves. One of the headstones has toppled over while the other is missing entirely, and the chair sits facing the graves. According to information Matt gleaned from the Internet, the chair is a mourning bench built by a man who wanted a place to sit while visiting his wife’s grave. A symbol of love, not evil. But in the dark, lit only by the narrow glow of the flashlight, I half expect to see the devil waiting there for us.

“What time is it?” I fall back to clutch Noah’s hand as Matt points the beam at his watch. I’m not usually scared of things that go bump in the night, but Joan’s warning creeps out from the corner of my brain where I’ve kept it tucked away all afternoon. What if there’s someone out here, lurking in the woods, waiting for urban myth chasers like us? Thinking about the gun in Joan’s premonition makes me shiver and Noah wraps his arm around my shoulder.

“We’ve got a couple of minutes,” Matt says. He places an unopened can of beer on the armrest of the big brick chair, an offering for the mythical devil who is supposed to drink it without opening the can––or, more realistically, for the person who will come along for the free beer after we leave. “Who’s going to sit?”

“Count me out,” I say.

“Aw, come on, Cadie.” Noah catches me up against him and pulls me down with him onto the chair. Straddling his lap. His hand steals beneath the back of my shirt and his mouth grazes my neck, making me shiver for a whole different reason. “I won’t let the devil get you.”

“You guys…” Matt sounds irritated.

“How do I know you’re not the devil?” I whisper to Noah, my lips touching his. I can feel his smile against my mouth, even in the dark.

“Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t,” he whispers in reply as his fingers tiptoe up my back.

Matt counts down the seconds. “. . . three . . . two . . . one . . . midnight.”

Noah kisses me at that moment, holding me so close I can feel how much he wants me. His face is rough with stubble under my palms and his tongue warm and alive in my mouth. I sink so quickly when I’m around him, turning into an aching, hungry creature more frightening than any devil could be. And it isn’t until the sound of a revving engine splits the stillness around us that I realize we’re alone. Several of the buttons on my shirt are open and Matt is gone.

GoodReads | Amazon


Exclusive Excerpt from Deadly Delicious by K.L. Kincy

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Today we have an exclusive excerpt from Deadly Delicious by K.L. Kincy:

Deadly Delicious - ebook coverI bound up the crooked stairs and slip into the kitchen. “Mama?” I call.

No reply.

Cooling on top of Mama’s prized pink appliances, her secret-recipe DeLune DeLuxe doughnuts perfume the air with the aromas of happiness, confidence, and good luck. My head gets all whirly as I breathe in deep.

These doughnuts are pretty enough to be hanging on a Christmas tree. They’re all twinkly with sprinkles, and plump enough that I’m just itching to squeeze them. Oh, look, chocolate filling leaking from the good luck doughnut. I glance around the kitchen. The coast’s clear, so I dip my pinkie into the chocolate.

A stinging blow lands on my knuckles. Mama’s choice walnut-wood spatula.

Even though she can’t actually poof from a cloud of smoke, it still scares the bejesus out of me when she pounces like that. She’s wearing her favorite coral pink suit and pillbox hat, her hair all glossy—she must have just drove up.

“For customers only,” Mama says.

Like I don’t have any wishes of my own.

Check out more & order your copy of Deadly Delicious here!

Cover Reveal Contest: How to Be Manly by Maureen O’Leary Wanket

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We’re excited to be among the first to see, and to share, the brand new book How to Be Manly by Maureen O’Leary Wanket coming September 2014 from Giant Squid Books. How to Be Manly is a Young Adult Contemporary novel. The cover art is by Jillian Blazek at
How to be Manly Cover

“When you start this program, your whole life will change.”

When Fatty Matty Sullivan finds a self-help book by former football great Tad Manly at a yard sale, he secretly starts following the old pro’s advice to turn himself into the kind of guy super hot Cassie Bale will love.

But between taking care of his grandfather, trying to pass remedial Algebra, and getting caught up in his friend Jester’s half-baked weed-dealing schemes, Matt’s summer isn’t quite the game-changer he’d planned. And when on top of it all his dad moves back in with his own plans to get rich quick, Matt suddenly has much bigger things to worry about. It turns out that there might be more to being manly than he thought.With the humor and insight of YA favorites Judy Blume and Louis Sachar Maureen O’Leary Wanket’s debut is a sharp, comic novel about trying to do the right thing…even when you’re not sure what that is.

Goodreads | Giant Squid Books & How to Be Manly

MOW author pic_cr suzanne swansonAbout the Author:

Maureen O’Leary Wanket is a writer and teacher living in Sacramento, California with her husband and two daughters. How To Be Manly is inspired by the humor and courage of the students she’s met in her classrooms over the past twenty years.

Maureen’s short stories have appeared in Esopus, Xenith,Fiction at Work, Blood and Thunder, Musings on the Art of Medicine and Prick of the Spindle. How To Be Manly is her first novel. Follow her on Twitter @maureenow.


Giveaway of one paperback Advanced Reading Copy of How to Be Manly (US)
and 3 eARCs of How to Be Manly (INT)
Giveaway courtesy of Giant Squid Books.

Enter by filling out the Rafflecopter form HERE!

The cover of How to Be Manly shows snippets of Matt Sullivan’s story: donuts, his favorite food; grass stains from long days on the football field; a stack of cash. In a series of cover-reveal posts, author Maureen O’Leary Wanket talks about the importance of each of these things to Matt’s story.
Maureen O’Leary Wanket on football in How to Be Manly:

In How to Be Manly, fifteen-year-old Matty loves his grandma’s cakes and playing video games. In an effort to get a certain girl to like him, he makes an impulsive decision to join his high school football team.

Matty is lucky enough to have a great coach who cares and wants to see him succeed. Writing the character of Coach Grimes was a labor of love, inspired by the wonderful coaches I’ve known in my work as a high school teacher.  I’ve seen firsthand the difference a good coach can make in someone’s life. I didn’t care about football at all until I started teaching, but there is something archetypal about young men going into the field to win honor for their school. There are very few places in our culture where young men and women can test their heroic mettle.

Leave it to a writer to impose a literary template such as the hero’s journey on something as cut and dried as a football field, but that’s how I see it.

How to Be Manly is a book for anyone who has ever thought that a change for the better could be possible, even if it means being uncomfortable and scared. It’s about a young man who decides that he is going to be the hero of his own story.


Blades of grass tickled my ear. So this is where I would die. The sun burned my eyes right out of their sockets.

“You okay, Matt?”  Coach Grimes bent over me.  His breath was minty. He was chewing gum.  It was blue.  How dumb that my last thought on earth before I died would be noticing that my Coach’s gum was blue. On the last run at the sled I knocked my stomach into my lungs.  Black spots danced around Coach’s head. I wondered if he could see them too.

He held up a finger. I watched it go back and forth. Then he pulled me up by my helmet face guard. My feet stayed under me.

“You’re okay,” he said.  He smacked me on the butt.  There was a lot of butt-smacking so far in football.  

“I’m dying,” I croaked.

“Nah,” Coach said.  “Just had the wind knocked out of you.  Never had the wind knocked out of you before?”


Coach put his arm around me.  “You’re doing fine, Matt.  Keep working.  Keep working.”

Then he pushed me back into line for drills.  

This was where I lived now.  Nothing else was real. I ran at the sled. There were purple jerseys and the sun in my eyes and green grass.  A sea of green.  Always green.  The field never ended.

The sled.  My enemy.  It looked padded and cushy but that was a trick. I ran at full speed.  I never ran that fast in my life.


Blog Tour: Excerpt from The Dragon’s Egg by H.B. Bolton + Int’l Giveaway

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Today, I am pleased to be hosting a stop on the official blog tour for The Dragon’s Egg by H.B. Bolton. This is the third book in a fun middle grade fantasy. (Be sure to check out all the blog tour stops here!) Check out more about the book below, then scroll down for an excerpt, discussion & international giveaway!

dragon's egg coverSure, the glass castle floating over Evan’s head makes him uneasy, but that’s the least of his worries. With each step inside the Dungeon of Dreadful Dreams, he must battle against his worst nightmares. One after the other, wispy smoke-filled bull sharks come at him — he must remember they’re only illusions pulled from his imagination by those dreaded shadowlike hands. If only the vengeful dragon circling above was also an illusion and didn’t have his mind set on destroying the one person who can control him: Emrys.

Inside the castle’s glass tower, Emrys sleeps in an eternal slumber, and Evan’s uncertain whether he can save the great wizard. Especially now that Emrys’ former student, the Lady of the Lake, has joined forces with the cunning immortal Alamaz. Together they have already stolen the Dragon’s Egg, but their greed doesn’t end there. The Siren’s Pearl calls to them, and that means only one thing … Atlantis is in trouble.

Join Evan, Claire, and Dunkle — along with a few other unlikely heroes — as they travel across the realm of Medieval Legends, float through the Ancient Isle of Avalon, plunge inside the Dungeon of Dreadful Dreams, and be there when Atlantis rises once again.

Book Trailer Amazon Goodreads

Illustration from The Dragon's Egg

Illustration from The Dragon’s Egg

Today, we have an excerpt from the book. Check it out below, then keep scrolling for a great giveaway:

Book Excerpt – Entrance to Avalon

A voice, ever so faint, rose above the jingling bells, and Lady Morgan sang haunting lyrics about the Otherworld.

The lake rumbled and then surged high above them. Waves barreled over Evan’s head and crashed around him. A single angelic face appeared in the tallest wave, followed by another and then another.

Illustration from The Dragon's Egg

Illustration from The Dragon’s Egg

The song finished, and a slight smile formed on Lady Morgan’s lips. Without warning, she simply disappeared, taking the magical silver branch with her.

“Whoa, that was intense. I can’t believe —” Evan started to say, when a dozen tiny hands reached for him, dragging him by his ankles toward the lake!

Air filled his lungs, as he gasped for one last breath. Bubbles swarmed him, tickling his skin, as he plunged deeper in the lake. He tried but couldn’t hold back any longer. Laughter burst from his open mouth. Certain he would drown, panic set in. A flower petal drifted by, and he realized there was no water in the lake — only air and a scent that made him giddy. The small hands released him from their vicelike grip. He braced for a severe landing, but to his surprise, bubbles clung to his body. Although the layer of suds obscured his view, he noticed a few floating boulders as he passed by.

He drifted down, down, down, until at last, his feet rested on a bumpy surface. Tiny explosions erupted around him and, as each bubble burst, a delicious gumball-like fragrance streamed out. Evan couldn’t shake the silly grin off his face and wondered why he even cared to. Just then, a misty pink petal landed on his nose. He sneezed, and it drifted toward Claire, who was humorously swatting at the swarming petals. And that was when he noticed his surroundings, and his jaw dropped.

An enormous rock kept Evan, Claire, and Dunkle suspended in the air. Instead of falling into vast nothingness, they bobbed through an array of vibrant clouds. Tethered to the rock, a knot of woven vines connected them to a flourishing island that hovered nearby. Fruit-filled trees surrounded the edges, and farther inland, animals grazed along a grassy hill. A tall rectangular building stood in its center, towering above the fertile landscape. To Evan’s surprise, he recognized the ancient structure from history class: St. Michael’s Tower.

Excerpt Discussion:

Avalon, also known as the Island of Apples, was considered a bountiful island where grains, grapes, and apple trees grew in abundance, and cows grazed close-clipped grass. The people of Avalon lived in a paradise, and aged to more than one hundred years old. According to ancient myth, Avalon was the meeting place of the dead. For the living, it was a doorway that led into another realm of existence. The Tor was a place where the fairy folk lived and the home of Gwynn ap Nudd, the Lord of the Underworld. Avalon was also home to Morgan le Fay, who was an ancient sorceress and known as a fairy queen; however in most legends, she is simply King Arthur’s sister.

Avalon was the place where King Arthur was taken to recover from his wounds after fighting Mordred at the Battle of Camlann. During that time, water washed right up to the base of Glastonbury Tor, and King Arthur would have been brought there by boat. Around 1190, Avalon became associated with Glastonbury, when monks claimed to have discovered the bones of Arthur and Guinevere.


$25 Gift Card (INT), set of all the books in paperback (US), set of all the books as ebooks (INT)

Fill out the Rafflecopter form here to be entered!

hb boltonAbout the Author:

A magical part of H.B. Bolton’s childhood was being swept into worlds of enchanting characters, fantastical creatures and extraordinary powers—simply by picking up a book. As a mother and a teacher, she was compelled to create imaginary worlds of her own in order to share them, not just with her children, but with all children. H.B. Bolton lives in Florida with her supportive husband and two highly spirited children. Shh, can you keep a secret? Not only does she write books for the young-at-heart, adventurous sort who yearn to dive into a good young-adult fantasy story, she also writes spellbinding, heart pounding women’s fiction. These particular books are written under the name Barbara Brooke, but that’s another story, altogether.

Connect with H.B. Bolton here:

Website Facebook Twitter Goodreads | Amazon