Book review, Promotion

Finding Esme by Suzanne Crowley- Blog Tour Stop, Review and Giveaway

About the book

Title: Finding Esme

Author: Suzanne Crowley

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Date of Publication: 14th August, 2018

Formats: Hardcover, Audiobooks

Length: 288 pages

Genre: Middle Grade literature, Children’s literature, Fantasy, Fiction

Rating: 5/5 stars

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book as a part of the Blog Tour organised by Magico Libro Casa tours

Find it at: GoodreadsAmazonIndigo, B&N, itunes, Kobo, TBD


The Blurb

Twelve-year-old Esme’s life changes when she discovers dinosaur bones on her family’s peach farm in Texas.

Fans of Wendy Maas and Lynda Mullaly Hunt will love this perfectly pitched story about friendship, family, and loss from Suzanne Crowley, the acclaimed author of The Very Ordered Existence of Merilee Marvelous.

After her grandfather died from a heart attack while driving his tractor on Solace Hill, twelve-year-old Esme’s been inextricably drawn to that spot, although her grandmother warns her to stay away. But when she follows her little brother, Bo, and her dog, Old Jack, up the hill while chasing fireflies, she makes an incredible discovery—dinosaur bones peeking out from underneath the abandoned tractor.

The bones must be a message from her grandfather, a connection from beyond the grave. But when word gets out that the farm is hiding something valuable, reporters, researchers, and neighbors arrive in droves. Esme struggles to understand who has her best interests at heart, especially as the memory of her grandfather begins to slip away.

Full of friendship and adventure, and featuring a palpable Texas setting, Finding Esme is a moving and heartfelt story about family, friendship, and learning to deal with loss.

From acclaimed author Suzanne Crowley, this engaging adventure set on a Texas peach farm is just right for fans of Rebecca Stead and Ann M. Martin.

The Book

I love reading Middle Grade books. They have a sense of purity that adult books sorely lack. I’ve been wanting to read Finding Esme ever since it was released and was over the moon when I got a chance to be a part of this blog tour.

The book begins with the description of Esme’s family life. While you pity the little girl for the lack of parental love, you can’t help but admire her grit. She seems to have inherited her wilfulness from her grandmother along with her ability to ‘find’ things. I was glad that the author described their gift as being highly attuned to intuitions and signs from nature rather than ascribing it purely to magic.

The descriptions of familial duty, estranged love, need for parental approval, sisterly concern, and the tortures of coming of age were rendered beautifully. The book even manages to put across messages of body positivity and being at peace with oneself. There were times where I had tears in my eyes for the little girl who had to grow up well before her time. I was glad that the author found an authoritative figure who she could look up to and that not every adult in her life betrayed her. Bo gives a much-needed lightness to the story when you are heartbroken at how their mother treats them. I enjoyed every aspect of the book and can’t wait to read more of the author’s work.

The Author

Suzanne Crowley is the author of two acclaimed novels for young readers, The Very Ordered Existence of Merilee Marvelous and The Stolen One. The author, who is also a miniaturist and dollhouse collector whose work has graced the covers of magazines worldwide, was born in a small town in Texas and lives in Southlake, Texas. After living all over the United States, Suzanne and her family now make their home back in her native state of Texas.

Her work include:

  1. The Very Ordered Existence of Merilee Marvelous (2007)
  2. The Stolen One (2009)
  3. Finding Esme (2018)

Find her at:

FacebookTwitterInstagram

Good ReadsPinterest      


Giveaway Details

1 winner will receive a Swag Box of Finding Esme with lots of other goodies Check out Magico Libro Casa Tours for the rules on winning it.


Blog Tour Schedule

  1. 12/1/2019- anabellasbooks- Spotlight
  2. 12/2/2019- booksletusescape_- Excerpt
  3. 12/3/2019- katstopreading- Review
  4. 12/4/2019- the_food_and_book_life- Review
  5. 12/5/2019- gurlwithbooks- Review
  6. 12/6/2019- siilbookishpastrychef- Review
  7. 12/7/2019- nkliterarynerd- Authors Day

Book Reveal, Promotion

Children of Virtue and Vengeance- Announcement

Statistics

Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult

Length: 448 pages

Publisher: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers (Pan Macmillan Publishers)

Date of Publication: 3rd December, 2019


Tomi Adeyemi’s ground-breaking debut became a global phenomenon and instant #1 New York Times bestseller! Children of Blood and Bone by 24-year-old author Tomi Adeyemi has exploded into a global phenomenon. Entertainment Weekly called Adeyemi “the new J.K. Rowling” and readers and critics alike are calling this fantasy novel inspired by both West Africa and the American black experience ground-breaking, relevant, and impossible to put down.  The second book in this series, Children of Virtue and Vengeance, will be on sale December 3, 2019.

The Series

The Legacy of Orisha series follows Zélie Adebola, a young woman on a quest to return the magic that was stolen from her people by an oppressive ruling class, while learning to embrace her own magic in an epic adventure set in a world that is both richly fantastical and uncannily reflective of our own society.

The Book

In the second book of the series, Zélie has finally succeeded in returning magic to the land of Orïsha, but the ritual was more powerful than they could’ve imagined, reigniting the powers of not only the maji, but of nobles with magic ancestry, too. Now, Zélie struggles to unite the maji in an Orïsha where the enemy is just as powerful as they are. With civil war looming on the horizon, Zélie finds herself at a breaking point: she must discover a way to bring the kingdom together or watch as Orïsha tears itself apart.

The Author

Tomi Adeyemi is a Nigerian-American writer and creative writing coach based in San Diego, California. Her debut novel, CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE, comes out March 6th, 2018 and the movie is currently in development at Fox with the producers of Twilight and The Maze Runner attached. After graduating Harvard University with an honors degree in English literature, she received a fellowship that allowed her to study West African mythology and culture in Salvador, Brazil. When she’s not working on her novels or watching Scandal, she can be found blogging and teaching creative writing to her 3,500 subscribers at tomiadeyemi.com. Her website has been named one of the 101 best websites for writers by Writer’s Digest. 

Her work include:

  1. Children of Blood and Bone (2018)
  2. Children of Virtue and Vengeance (2019)

TL;DR: The second book of the Legacy of Orisha series by Tomi Adeyemi, Children of Virtue and Vengeance releases on the 3rd of December by Pan Macmillan


Did you read the first book in the series, Children of Blood and Bone? Did you like it?

Tell me in the comments below or on my Instagram @the_food_and _book_life

Book Reveal, Promotion

Deadwave by Michael Evans- Book reveal

Statistics

Genre: Cyberpunk, Adventure

Date of Publication: 3rd October, 2019


This thrilling cyberpunk adventure meant for readers of Ernest Cline, Marie Lu, and Andy Weir will leave you on the edge of your seat and then knock you right off it.

If you love Altered CarbonThe Matrix. or Ready Player One then this high-octane, young adult, cyberpunk thriller is just for you.

The Blurb

One secret organization. One zombie-infested, virtual reality game. One dream.

The only love Sam has in life is Deadwave, a virtual reality, zombie, battle royale video game. He has spent most of his teenage years escaping the agony of his mother’s suicide and a dreary world on the precipice of collapse by killing zombies and other players in Deadwave, making it his sole mission to become the best player on the planet. Now his dream is right at his fingertips, but dark secrets are lurking in Sam’s past that threaten to take everything away from him. After Sam is kidnapped and forced by a secretive group of wealthy people to steal the patents to a revolutionary technology from his father that will allow people to live forever in a virtual world, Sam is given just thirty days to live. 

Now, Sam must face the biggest challenge of his life. He must win the Deadwave World Championship and end the constant torture and manipulation from this ultra-powerful group, or it’s game over.


Links

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48047141-deadwave

Amazonmybook.to/deadwave

Signed Paperbackhttps://mevansinked.storenvy.com/products/28589903-deadwave-conspiracy-chronicles-1-signed-paperback-edition

By signing up to Evan’s newsletter everyone will receive a free copy of the Deadwave Official Game Guide and updates twice a month from me on my mission to live boundlessly: https://mevansinked.com/team-boundless/

The Author

Michael Evans is an author of Young Adult novels and an advocate for a better future. He is currently working on the Conspiracy Chronicles and loves to enjoy the outdoors and write in his free time. 

His other work include:

  1. Forever Gone (2018)
  2. Control Freakz (2018)
  3. Delusional (2018)
  4. Triggered (2018)
  5. Deadwave (2019)
  6. Blood Brothers (2019)
Author Interview, Promotion

Author Interview- Thomas Leslie McRae

I recently read the books Pimp in the Pulpit volumes 1 and 2 by Thomas McRae. I got a chance to interview the author and here are some of the things that we spoke about.


Me: When did you first realized that you wanted to write?
TM: I wanted to be a writer since I was a kid. I love poetry and writing it, I also love short fiction novels. I love the idea that something I can put on paper can actually touch many lives, plus different people. Words are a powerful thing they can inspire or break people’s spirit so that is why I like to write. I like knowing that my words have meaning and that people are interested in what I have to say.

Me: How did the process of publishing your first book change you as a person?
TM: In the beginning it was a fulfilling experience, but to be honest Author House Publishing is all about taking people’s money and not providing quality work or support. Speaking as a self-published author I would recommend before you handover any of your money you do thorough research and stick to your budget and don’t let any self publishing company convenience you differently. I am grateful for learning things and experiencing some harsh lessons in life. But it’s a lesson I learned and I’m a better writer for it.

Me: Seeing that Pimp in the pulpit was inspired by your own life experiences what was the hardest scene that you had to write?
TM: To be perfectly honest nothing I wrote was all that difficult. Because speaking the truth is refreshing and uplifting I believe it’s sad that most people spend so much time trying to be politically correct, instead of being honest and direct about life and everything involving it.

Me: What was one of the interesting things that you learnt during the process of creating this book?
TM: I learned that people don’t like having the truth about themselves being broadcast for everyone to see. But it’s ironic that they won’t do or try and be better. If people spend less time putting on a show for everyone else and be the man and woman they say they are then this world would be a better place.

Me: What do you hope that your readers take away from the book?
TM: I hope everyone and anyone who is willing to keep an open mind will enjoy and learn from the story in this book. Because Pimp in the Pulpit has a little bit of truth, fiction and a diversity in characteristic and literary form. Families aren’t perfect but some are worse than others so always be happy and grateful for what you have.

The author and his brother who is featured heavily in the Pimp in the Pulpit books, as children

Me: What does your family think of your writing?
TM: Some of my family is supportive, but most of them genuinely are just putting on a show. They only care when there is an audience or if I’m doing radio, book bloggers or newspaper interviews. I try not to focus on that but dedicate myself to my craft as a writer and a author.

Me: Do you read reviews for your books? How do you react to them?
TM: I do read my reviews from time to time. I usually try to get a mental concept of the good and bad reviews, because accepting criticism and embracing good reviews is something you have to accept if you’re going to be an author. Not everyone is going to like what you write or understand your creative style. But always stay true to who you are and Never Lose Yourself in your literary journey.

Me: Describe a typical writing day.
TM: I don’t have any typical procedures. I write when I’m happy, sad or just bored. As long as I feel I have something to say, I will write it down on a piece of scrap paper and go back to reevaluate my thoughts and ideas.

Me: Writing can be emotionally draining how do you deal with that?
TM: I usually don’t get drained by writing, because writing is an excitement that touches the core of my soul. I love to write because it gives me purpose and it helps me see who and what I am.

Me: What are some of the common traps for aspiring writers?

TM: Speaking from a self publishing author perspective, I can honestly say one of the main traps you fall into when dealing with these self-publishing companies is being persuaded into going over your budget with false notion of support and marketing help. Many of these self publishing company’s will promise you everything from the stars and the moon but once the money exchanges hands they act like these real estate agents and grab your money plus run like the wind. Some will continue to take your calls but ignore you in general. So my advice is this- stand your ground and stick to your guns and don’t do anything that doesn’t work for you.

Me: Do you see yourself writing in any other genre?
TM: Anything is possible because there was a time, I wasn’t sure I would ever work up the courage to publish a book led alone trying to market it myself. So yeah it could happen.

Me: What does literary success mean to you?
TM: Literary success, it simply means to me knowing that I gave it my all and was able to get my message out to you the people. No matter how many books I sell I just want to touch at least one person with my words and my stories and that alone will be enough.

Me: What are you currently working on?
TM: As of right now my poetry book Fatal Impact is available online, for more information about that contact iuniverse publishing. But Fatal Impact is filled with passion and desire plus a variety of collection of poems such as spiritual, love, death, political and personal. It’s a good poetry book that  anyone and everyone could relate to.


Fatal Impact newest book available online can all be purchased at any online book retailer websites Amazon.com, Barnes and noble.com Google Books.com are the main ones.

Book Reveal, Promotion

Policy of Truth by Scarlett Holloway- Blog Tour

statistics

Genre: Mystery

Length: 278 pages

Date of Publication: 22nd February, 2019

Pre-order: 22nd January, 2019


The Blurb

After ending an abusive relationship, all Tamra ‘Durty’ Simons wanted was to reinvent herself and meeting Lace Beck gave her the opportunity to do just that.
However, a long journey of picking up the pieces didn’t prepare her for Sting’s appearance in her life.
Brett ‘Sting’ Jackson, was on a mission. Infiltrate the Death Angel MC and keep an eye on them. It was supposed to be simple─until Durty. Trying to gather intel was harder when falling for Durty seemed inevitable.
A foundation based on lies is sure to crumble, but when a rival club attacks the Angels, Sting and the Muerte Roja put their lives on the line to ensure Durty and the club is kept safe.
When the truth surfaces and passions ignite, will love be the only thing that survives?

The Author

Growing up on Central Coast, Scarlett Holloway always dreamed of seeibg her name on the cover of a book and on the NYTBS list. What better way than to bring a part of her past onto the pages of a novel, as well as writing about issues that women face on a daily basis? When she is not in her bunny hole writing, she is a massage therapist, trying to her people through therapeutic healing. Scarlett is hopelessly devoted to her husband, who she lovingly calls her plotbunny, and her teenage son.

You can contact Scarlett Holloway on her social media here-

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ascarlettssong/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/ScarlettsSong Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thescarlettholloway/


Author’s upcoming work

Scarlett Holloway also has a new book in the works- Texas Heat (Part I of the Double J Saga) to be released in April 2019.

If you wish to own a copy of policy of Truth, enter this giveaway by January 22nd. Click below to enter-

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/efe433001/?fbclid=IwAR3nvcwXrAjQpWvmlPRFycR8Zjp9nDEGjDnd8dDtZMddaGZXSOJXx1mVTXE


You can also follow the blog tour here-

Book Reveal, Promotion

Cover Reveal- Fairies and Frosting by Christina Bauer

Statistics

(Fairy Tales of the Magicorum #2.5)
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: May 28th 2019
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

The Blurb

Elle (never call her Cinderella) is trying to throw a surprise birthday party for her bestie, Bryar Rose. Trouble is, some unfriendly fae are working hard to ruin everything. Good thing she has a certain handsome Le Charme wizard on speed dial…

***An interim novella between SHIFTERS AND GLYPHS and SLIPPERS AND THIEVES***

About The Series

The Fairy Tales of the Magicorum series includes WOLVES AND ROSES (Book 1), MOONLIGHT AND MIDTOWN (Novella 1.5) and SHIFTERS AND GLYPHS (Book 2, Fall 2018). Eight full novels are planned in total.

Goodreads / Amazon / Google Play / Kobo

The Author

Christina Bauer knows how to tell stories about kick-ass women. In her best selling Angelbound series, the heroine is a part-demon girl who loves to fight in Purgatory’s Arena and falls in love with a part-angel prince. This young adult best seller has driven more than 500,000 ebook downloads and 9,000 reviews on Goodreads and retailers. The first three books in the series are now available as audiobooks on Audible and iTunes.

Bauer has also told the story of the Women’s March on Washington by leading PR efforts for the Massachusetts Chapter. Her pre-event press release—the only one sent out on a major wire service—resulted in more than 19,000 global impressions and redistribution by over 350 different media entities including the Associated Press.

Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.

Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / LinkedIn / Website

GIVEAWAY!

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Guest Post, Promotion

Themes Beneath A Story- Guest Post by Kate Murdoch

As you are aware, I am a part of the Kate Tilton Book Bloggers where authors can request reviewers to take a look at their book. As a part of the book blogger team, I have received a couple of books to review and Kate Murdoch’s Stone Circle was one of them.

Kate Murdoch is an artist turned writer who lives in Australia. Below is a guest post by Kate herself about the themes for her new book- Stone Circle.


The Author  km-final-large-1-min.jpg

Kate Murdoch is the author of Stone Circle. She exhibited widely as a painter both in Australia and internationally before turning her hand to writing. In between writing historical fiction, she enjoys writing short stories and flash fiction.

She is an active blogger and also posts on Instagram, Twitter, Pintrest and Facebook.

Her short-form fiction is regularly published in Australia, UK, US and Canada.

Stone Circle is a historical fantasy novel set in Renaissance Italy. It was released by Fireship Press December 1st 2017. Her novel, The Orange Grove, about the passions and intrigues of court mistresses in 18th century France, will be published by Regal House Publishing in 2019. 


Written by Kate Murdoch

The themes beneath the story

Alongside writing novels I write short fiction. I like this form as it’s pared back to one theme, one idea. It’s refreshing to write because you can find a more direct solution – the sentiment you are trying to express can be teased out with a few plot points. In any case, it’s healthy as a writer to switch between writing novels and short stories, because the marathon of long form can take its toll. A short piece can give a sense of accomplishment in a few days, rather than a few years.

In writing a novel, I’m attempting to convey several layered themes at once. I don’t need all of them to be transparent to the reader, but they help enrich the story and my characters. In Stone Circle, issues of identity along with class, rivalry and love are explored. One character, Nichola, is not entirely good or bad. The shades of grey in his personality led to my focus in my forthcoming novel, The Orange Grove.

In this story, my themes were more opaque, even to me. I was interested in the ambiguity of morality, but the challenge of revealing this through plot and character was a hurdle. I was wary of being misinterpreted, that readers might think I was endorsing bad behaviour. Rather, I wanted to paint my less wholesome characters with empathy, in terms of the causes and conditions behind their actions. The message being: ‘If we had that upbringing, or those circumstances, what might we do? Would we be pushed to go against our morals or beliefs?’ It’s something I think about when I see people who have committed crimes in the media. What was the tipping point taking them to a place of no return? This is often touched on as the ‘ordinariness’ of evil. The fact that a number of those who commit crimes are living seemingly perfect lives and present as ‘normal’ until it all unravels. Perhaps, there are many who come to that edge, but quietly step back.

Stone Circle was more straightforward in its themes. How talent can break through even the most rigid social barriers. How love and tenderness is a universal need, and how self-knowledge, through spirituality or other means, can lead to transformation.

Whether these types of issues are examined in short or long form, if the result is a reader asking themselves questions, or just thinking about human complexity, then three days or three years are more than worthwhile.


Excerpt of Stone Circle

Is the ability to read minds a blessing or a curse?  

When Antonius’s father dies, he must work to support his family. He finds employment as a servant in the Palazzo Ducal, home of Conte Valperga. Sixteenth-century Pesaro is a society governed by status, and Antonius has limited opportunities. When a competition is announced, Antonius seizes his chance. The winner will be apprenticed to the town seer. Antonius shares first place with his employer’s son. The two men compete for their mentor’s approval. As their knowledge of magic and alchemy grows, so does the rivalry and animosity between them. When the love of a beautiful woman is at stake, Antonius must find a way to follow his heart and navigate his future.

Did you like what you read?

The book is available on Amazon, Amazon Australia, Amazon UK, Book Depository, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and ibooks.

Book Reveal, Promotion

Aesthetic Reveal- Salt for Air by M. C. Frank

jpeg-min.jpg
Aesthetic for Salt for Air by M. C. Frank

Ellie, the orphan of a math professor father and who used to be an overweight nerd,  loves TV shows and books but hates sports. She is about to get evicted from her home but she tries to escape reality with her vivid imagination. She spends her days imagining underwater kingdoms, reading stories about Mermen and writing fanfiction about them. She is constantly bullied at school. But one day the bullies go too far. When she is drowning in the toilet water that they hold her under, Emerald Eyes comes to her to tell her that she needs to survive in order to save someone else.

But who is the someone?

If you die for me, I’ll kill you.

Read Salt for Air by M. C. Frank to see if Ellie manages to save an ancient civilization and the life of its exiled prince.

Who doesn’t love mermen? Don’t miss out on this cool story. Add it to your Goodreads ‘To-Read’ list here.

 

Promotion

Book Blitz: Evolved by N. R. Walker

Statistics

Publication date: April 23rd 2018

Genre: Adult, Romance, Science Fiction

The Author

N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance. She loves
writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way.

She is many things; a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys
who live in her head, who don’t let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with
words.

She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things…but likes it even more when they fall in
love.

She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day
she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.

She’s been writing ever since…

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

The Blurb

“In 2068, androids are an integrated part of human
life. Big Brother no longer just watches from the shadows. It’s in every
household.

Lloyd Salter has OCD issues with noise, mess, and he’s uncomfortable with human
interaction. When his ex claimed the only thing perfect enough to live up to his
standards was an android, Lloyd dismissed it. But two years later, after much self-
assessment, Lloyd thinks he may have been right.

SATinc is the largest manufacturer of androids in Australia, including the Fully
Compatible Units known as an A-Class 10. Their latest design is the Synthetic Human
Android UNit, otherwise known as SHAUN.

Shaun is compatible with Lloyd’s every need; the perfect fit on an intellectual and
physical basis. But Lloyd soon realises Shaun’s not like other A-Class androids. He
learns. He adapts. Sure that SATinc is aware Shaun functions outside of his
programmed parameters, Lloyd must find a way to keep Shaun safe.

No one can know how special Shaun is. No one can know he’s evolved.”

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT

By the time my intercom sounded at nine fifteen the next morning, the butterflies in
my belly felt more like stomping elephants. I buzzed the delivery team through and
waited for the elevator to ping down the hall.

Breathe, Lloyd, I reminded myself.

My apartment was a spacious two-bedroom luxury unit on the top floor of the
complex. Polished concrete floors, high ceilings, a bookcase as one entire wall, and
floor-to- ceiling windows on the north-east facing wall. I liked the clean lines, minimalistic
furniture. Well, I didn’t just like it. I needed it. Clutter and closed spaces made me
anxious. My ex-boyfriend had found my apartment cold and clinical, but I found the

whites and greys soothing, peaceful. Then again, he’d found a lot of things about me
clinical…

The knock on my door startled me, even though I’d been expecting it. I opened it to
find two men and a rather large crate. The first man smiled. He was wearing grey suit
pants and a navy sweater. He showed me his ID. “Mr Salter, my name is Myles
Dewegger. We have a special delivery.”

“Yes, yes, please come in,” I said, standing aside in invitation.

The second man wheeled through the crate. He was dressed all in black with a
military style haircut, and he looked as though he belonged in a SWAT team. He was a
rather large man, with bulging muscles and perfect skin, and I had to study him for a
second. No, he was human.

“Nice place,” Myles said, looking around the large, open living room. “Are we all
right to do this here?”

I closed the door and took a breath to steady myself. I wasn’t accustomed to having
strange people in my house. “Yes, of course.” I followed him and stood next to the
couch. “I thought Mr Kingsley might have attended the delivery. I assumed incorrectly, it
seems.”

“Sasha’s a busy man,” Myles said with a smile. “Though if you’d prefer, I can call
him and you can speak to him.”

“No, it’s fine,” I said. I was now staring at the crate. Oh boy. It was well over six feet
tall, three feet wide. Shaun was inside. He was right there. I swallowed hard.

Myles read me. “Let’s introduce you, shall we?”

I nodded. “Yes, please.”

Myles and his helper, whose name I didn’t know, undid the crate and removed the
front panel. My heart almost stopped. Inside, Shaun stood, packaged-in perfectly so as
not to be damaged in any way. He was dressed in a dinner suit. A charming navy piece
with a light blue shirt underneath his blazer, top button undone. His black hair was
exactly as I’d ordered; short sides, longer on top, professional. His skin was warm ivory
with a subtle hint of blush on his cheeks; his lips were pink and a perfect cupid’s bow.
His eyes were closed, his lashes long.

He took my breath away.

The big delivery guy stepped in and unstrapped Shaun, then lifted him out. Right,
that explained the need for muscle. Then he quickly wheeled the crate back to the front
door, making the room neat again, leaving Shaun standing perfectly still in my living
room.

Myles glanced at me. “Everything look okay?”

I nodded and had to focus on speaking so I could make actual sound. “So far,
yes.”

Myles smiled as he took out a small hand-held screen I recognised from the SATinc
office. It was a control panel. He tapped on both screens, I entered in a personal code,
and Shaun was officially added to my Wi-Fi.

It was becoming so very real.

Myles seemed completely unfazed and oblivious to the fact that I was in the middle
of a monumental life event. He went on a spiel of specifications and diagnostics,
developmental robotics, neural networks, artificial consciousness, proprioceptive
sensors, and spatial cognizance, but all I could do was stare at Shaun.

Breathe, Lloyd.

Myles stopped speaking when he realised I wasn’t paying attention, and his pause
made me look at him instead. He continued, “I’ll activate him, then we’ll require him to
study your face for a few seconds. He has facial recognition, so once he recognises you
as his custodian, he’ll be able to identify you anywhere.”

“Okay.”

“So if you’re out in public and you become separated, he will be able to find
you.”

For the strangest reason, I found that comforting.

“And your voice. He’ll recognise that anywhere.”

I smiled at Shaun, though he still had his eyes closed.

“Are you ready?” Myles asked.

I nodded.

Myles held the small black screen toward me. He entered in a code and spoke clear
and loud. “Please re-enter in your Wi-Fi code,” he said, averting his eyes while I entered
my security code for Shaun’s wireless access. Then Myles added something else, and
watching Shaun, he said, “Activate.”

Shaun opened his eyes.

They were the exact shade of blue I’d asked for. But he just stared blankly.

Myles entered in more codes, then spoke to me. “Please stand in front of him until I
tell you to move.”

I did as I was instructed. Shaun was approximately an inch shorter than me, and he
was even better close up. Being this close to him sent a curl of anticipation through
me.

I could hear Myles tapping on the screen and then Shaun’s eyes focused on me. He
was scanning my face, and then he looked down to my feet and up my body. It set my
blood on fire.

Then Myles handed me the small screen and said, “Please read this out loud to
him.”

I let out a breath and looked Shaun right in the eye. “My name is Lloyd Salter. I am
your custodian, and this is your home.”

Myles took the control again and clicked on the screen a few more times, and
something in Shaun changed. I saw it, the very moment it happened.

He became aware.

His gaze fell on me. “Hello, Lloyd,” Shaun said. His voice was a deep baritone, with
a tenor that curled in my belly.

“Hello Shaun,” I replied. My voice was barely a whisper.

And then, throwing my world completely off its axis, he smiled. Not a perfect smile,
but slightly lopsided in a very human way. If a simple smile could complete my
existence, it was done. He was stunningly perfect.

“It is very nice to meet you,” Shaun said.

“Likewise,” I replied. I couldn’t stop staring at his eyes, and I swore the corner of
Shaun’s lip twitched in an almost smile.

“Is that normal?” I asked Myles. “He’s so… human.”

Myles grinned. “It’s amazing, isn’t it? How real they are?”

I nodded, staring back at Shaun. So very real.

“As I was saying before, he has the spatial awareness and object manipulation skills
of a surgeon. He can lift heavy objects with ease, but he can also hold the finest, most
delicate glass object with precision. He has social intelligence; he can recognise and
interpret, process and simulate human affects and empathy. He is, without doubt, the
most advanced A-Class synthetic android in the world.”

Shaun tilted his head a little while he studied me, and I stared right back at him.
So remarkable.

“He’s been uploaded with extensive knowledge of all requested data,” Myles said,
holding the screen out for me to see. I glanced at it but couldn’t take my eyes off Shaun
for long. Myles continued anyway. “Literary histories, world current affairs, everything
you asked for has been preloaded, but he can access any information you require. If it’s
on the web, he can find it, and he can discuss, converse, debate whatever you
want.”

Wow.

“Now, as for the personal companion aspect,” Myles went on. Personal companion
aspect was synthetic speak for sex. “All lubricants must be silicone based, not oil based,
though I’m sure you’re aware. He can self-clean but he might like it if you help him.” I
looked at Myles and he winked. “Yes, he has likes and dislikes. Though he’s been pre-
dispositioned to your psych evaluation so there are no conflicts. He enjoys
conversation, attention, praise…, touch. Sex.”

My heart rate took off.

Breathe, Lloyd.

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Book Reveal, Promotion

Book Blitz: Eye of the Colossus by Nicole Grotepas

Statistics

Publication date: April 19th 2018

Genre: Adult, Science Fiction, Steampunk

The Author

I’m passionate about human rights, animal rights, and living life with no regrets. I love how becoming a parent has deepened my devotion to making the world a better place. I do that best by crafting stories that attempt to answer hard questions–the ones I think about most–while also being entertaining and fun. I live in a landscape that reminds me of my place in the universe, under an endless sky and towering mountains that are older than human memory, and I love it here.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

The blurb

The City of Jade Spires, the biggest in the 6-moons, is a breathtaking symbol of hope and unity for the four races. But it’s also a hub of corruption. Holly Drake is proof of that. Fresh out of prison for a mistake framed to look like cold murder, she’s broke, jobless, and branded with a prison record.

When she lands a gig stealing back the Eye of the Colossus jewels, the chance for a big payout means she won’t have to depend on anyone else. She’s never had that kind of freedom. She’ll do it. Even if the work is only a shade lighter than outright crime.

But soon she finds herself pursued by thugs from the Shadow Coalition, an underworld government that wants her dead. Pulling off the heist without getting killed means putting trust in recruits she hardly knows. The clock is ticking to get the jewels, but a mistake now could be fatal. Chasing across the 6-moons to complete the job will test her grit and determination to succeed when everything is stacked against her. More than that, finding out just what secrets the 6-moons hold will either turn her into the hero the moon system needs, or destroy her…

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EXCERPT

“So, Xadrian. What is it that you need?” Holly waited for something about blackmail or a request for her to tail and photograph some wealthy man in a seat of power who was potentially cheating.

“Ah, to business then,” he muttered and stretched his back and neck, and then cracked his knuckles. “Very well. This face you see before you? It isn’t the face of the one who requires your services. I’m here on behalf of someone else. Someone with money and power.”

Holly attempted to keep her face passive. “Obviously,” she said. Obviously. Obviously I wouldn’t be introduced to the actual client. Duh. It was probably like this a lot, in this business. Whatever this business was.

“Yes, I’m sure you knew that,” Xadrian said, a grin touching the corners of his lips. “My employer has had a valuable, priceless possession stolen:

the Eye of the Colossus. And my employer needs it back.”

“Oh great,” Holly said. “It’s not a simple job.”

“It was stolen, my employer needs it back. Ms. HD, what do you know about the Eye of the Colossus?”

She shrugged. “Nothing, really. I don’t move in those circles. It’s not really my thing.”

“The Eye is a golden amulet with eleven priceless gems embedded within it—it was created by the famous Druiviin artisan, Ko Lapsong to represent the unity of the four races on the six moons, bestowed by the life-giving hydrantium found on Muibaus—aka the Eye,” he paused. “Sorry. You’ve really never heard of this?”

Holly shook her head. “I don’t dig jewelry. But I get it, Ixion is the Eye. So one gem for each race, each inhabited moon, and then the biggest is Ixion?”

“Muibaus,” he nodded. “Ixion is the pedestrian term for the planet.”

That fit. The rings, the attention to appearance, the expensive wines. Xadrian was kind of a snob.

“Moving on. Eleven gems. The biggest is the Eye, exactly. The problem for us and therefore you, is that in less than two weeks it will be moved.” Xadrian studied Holly’s face as though to see if his words were having the right impact. She nodded once to give him feedback. “Once it’s moved, we won’t know where it is and will be unable to recover it.”

“An item, stolen, you need it back before it gets moved and you can’t track it. Great.”

“It’s slightly more complicated than that, however, some of the details that you will need, we’ve got.” He tapped a dark green folder sitting on the table beside his goblet of wine. He paused and swirled the drink around in the glass. He sniffed it and then took a sip. “This folder contains an image of the jewels and the location. We can provide some other tiny bits of intel. For the rest, you will need to scout it out, sneak in, and try to get it back without it being damaged in any way. Or, without your being arrested.”

Holly pursed her lips. “Makes total sense. But before you go on, we should address the elephant in the room. Payment. So far I’m not feeling inclined to do such a dangerous-sounding job.”

Xadrian dipped his head in satisfaction. “You’ll be paid, rather handsomely if I do say so myself.

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