Cover Reveal: The Almost Girl by Amalie Howard and Giveaway!



Seventeen-year-old Riven is as tough as they come. Coming from a world ravaged by a devastating android war, she has to be. There’s no room for softness, no room for emotion, no room for mistakes. A Legion General, she is the right hand of the young Prince of Neospes, a parallel universe to Earth. In Neospes, she has everything: rank, responsibility and respect. But when Prince Cale sends her away to find his long-lost brother, Caden, who has been spirited back to modern day Earth, Riven finds herself in uncharted territory.

Thrown out of her comfort zone but with the mindset of a soldier, Riven has to learn how to be a girl in a realm that is the opposite of what she knows. Riven isn’t prepared for the beauty of a world that is unlike her own in so many ways. Nor is she prepared to feel something more than indifference for the very target she seeks. Caden is nothing like Cale, but he makes something in her come alive, igniting a spark deep down that goes against every cell in her body. For the first time in her life, Riven isn’t sure about her purpose, about her calling. Torn between duty and desire, she must decide whether Caden is simply a target or whether he is something more.

Faced with hideous reanimated Vector soldiers from her own world with agendas of their own, as well as an unexpected reunion with a sister who despises her, it is a race against time to bring Caden back to Neospes. But things aren’t always as they seem, and Riven will have to search for truth. Family betrayals and royal coups are only the tip of the iceberg. Will Riven be able to find the strength to defy her very nature? Or will she become the monstrous soldier she was designed to be?


 
 
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We’re at an impasse, staring at each other with stubborn fury. I’m not above using force to get my way but Shae’s just taken out two Vectors. Alone. I’m not about to make any rash and stupid decisions about her combat skills or apparent exhaustion. The silence hangs between us like an impenetrable wall as we stare at each other across the five feet that could well be an abyss between us. After a few tense minutes, Shae clears her throat.

“Do you remember that day? When I left?” Shae asks and I give the barest of nods. It’s a day that etched into my memory so deeply that I couldn’t forget it if I tried. “I wanted to take you with me but you wouldn’t go,” she says. Her laugh is empty. “You remember what you called me?”

Defector.

She doesn’t have to say it; we both know what I said.

“That was the day I realized that you were your father’s daughter. He robbed you of anything close to love,” Shae says. “You chose to stay with him out of fear for him than out of love for me. He owned you then, and he owns you now.”

“I am nothing like him,” I grit out. “No one owns me.”

“He used to say that I could never be a killer because I was too emotional. Said I loved too much. How can someone love too much? He said I was too much like mom. Soft. I proved him wrong even though I died a little bit inside every time I took a life.” At Shae’s words, my eyes feel like there’s sand behind them, and a boulder settles in the pit of my stomach. “But he was right about you, wasn’t he? The stone cold sister? The one who wouldn’t be torn by emotion, the one who kills without feeling a thing? Servant to the monarchy… obeying orders without question… He’s made you into their killing machine. So what? You’re going to kill me now, Riven?”


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Seventeen Magazine Summer Club author Amalie Howard grew up on a small Caribbean island where she spent most of her childhood with her nose buried in a book or being a tomboy running around barefoot, shimmying up mango trees and dreaming of adventure. 22 countries, surfing with sharks and several tattoos later, she has traded in bungee jumping in China for writing the adventures she imagines instead. She isn’t entirely convinced which takes more guts. She currently resides in New York with her husband and three children.

She is the author of The Aquarathi series from Harlequin TEEN (Waterfell and Oceanborn), The Almost Girl from Strange Chemistry, Alpha Goddess from Sky Pony Press, and Bloodspell from Langdon Street Press. She is represented by the Liza Royce Agency. Visit her at www.amaliehoward.comor on Twitter (@AmalieHoward).

 
 

Other books by Amalie Howard




Review: REAL by Katy Evans

Real

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

A fallen boxer.

A woman with a broken dream.

A competition…

He even makes me forget my name. One night was all it took, and I forgot everything and anything except the sexy fighter in the ring who sets my mind ablaze and my body on fire with wanting…
Remington Tate is the strongest, most confusing man I’ve ever met in my life.

He’s the star of the dangerous underground fighting circuit, and I’m drawn to him as I’ve never been drawn to anything in my life. I forget who I am, what I want, with just one look from him. When he’s near, I need to remind myself that I am strong–but he is stronger. And now it’s my job to keep his body working like a perfect machine, his taut muscles primed and ready to break the bones of his next opponents . . .
But the one he’s most threatening to, now, is me.

I want him. I want him without fear. Without reservations.

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Interview with Brenda Cooper, Author of The Diamond Deep and Giveaway!

Please give a big welcome to Brenda Cooper! She’s visiting the virtual offices to chat about her Ruby’s Song series, and she brought along a copy of The Diamond Deep for one of you to win!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Brenda Cooper] Curiosity, passion, and fear drives me to write and talk about the future a lot.  Techno-geek revolutionary bike rider. Loves dogs.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Diamond Deep?

[Brenda Cooper] Imagine coming from a farm in the hinterlands somewhere that hasn’t been covered by the Internet yet into the middle of New York City.  Only in this case, you’re coming from a starship to the home that you left generations ago.  You’ve struggled to even maintain your level of technology, and without the ship’s systems, you’d be almost feudal.  But when you get home, time and the network effect have turned it into something you barely recognize. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Brenda Cooper] I’ve always been fascinated with the Eva Peron story.  I love the musical and the glittery legend parts of the story, but more importantly, I’m curious about how a girl from essentially nowhere can end up with such influence that she changes the heart of a country.  I wanted to tell that story in my own way.  Ruby is not Eva, and she lives in a very different place.  So I got to play with some of my favorite techno-social ideas and worries while writing about a dynamic woman who uses a combination of grit, courage, sexuality, and performance art to change a society.

Ruby Martin is the primary in the story, modeled a bit on Evita including some of the good and some of the bad bits.  She’s not a kick-ass feminist with three black belts who almost never makes a mistake.  I wanted to write a more complex character than that.  In The Diamond Deep, Ruby is paired with Joel North, the driven leader of his society.

I worked in beats that echo the musical and other research I did on the real Eva Peron as well, but the story is also very different.  It has very classic SF tropes and images, from robotic pirates to genemod humans.  Readers don’t need to know or care about the historical story, and anyone wanting an exact re-telling will walk away confounded.  So Ruby’s story is original, even though it has old roots.  But I think the best stories ever have old roots that run deep into us.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Ruby?

[Brenda Cooper] Determined, Innocent, Passionate

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Joel is never without.

[Brenda Cooper] Worry.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Ruby’s pocket?

[Brenda Cooper] A comb, money, keys.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What has been the most challenging part of writing this series?

[Brenda Cooper] It’s a big story – and I had to fit the big story into two books.  That meant I had to choose really carefully what to leave in and what to leave out.  I think these are faster-paced than my other books because of it, so I think it was good.  But being coherent with so few words to play with was a challenge.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Brenda Cooper] Wow.  I’m going to go with genres here instead of individual people.  I love hard science fiction because it gives me creative ways to read about the future and nice glittery ideas.  I love folk music, especially the kind of rabble rousing slightly rocky music that came out of women’s music movement, like Holly Near and the Indigo Girls.  I also like musicals – we have season tickets to musical theater here and what I love about good musicals is that they compress story down the fine emotional bits.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Brenda Cooper] Time, sleep, and a warm dog at my feet.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Brenda Cooper] Neil Gaiman’s “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” – the audio version where he reads it.  Listening to Neil read his own work is a bit like a good cuddle next to a roaring fire.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Brenda Cooper] I love long bicycle rides (really long – like 100 miles at a time), walking the dog, travel, time with family.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

My website is at www.brenda-cooper.com. I can be followed on Twitter @brendacooper and I’m on FaceBook.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

Purchase link

About the book:

What if a woman as strong and as complex as Eva Perón began her life as a robot repair assistant threatened by a powerful peacekeeping force that wants to take all she has from her?

The discovery ship, Creative Fire, is on its way home from a multi-generational journey. But home is nothing like the crew expected. They have been gone for generations, and the system they return to is home to technologies and riches beyond their wildest dreams. But they are immediately oppressed and relegated to the lowest status imaginable, barely able to interact with the technologies and people of the star station where they dock, the Diamond Deep.

Ruby Martin and her partner, Joel North, must find a way to learn what they need to know and to become more than they have ever been if they are to find a way to save their people.

About the author:

Brenda Cooper writes science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories.  Her most recent novel is THE DIAMOND DEEP, out in October 2013 from Pyr.  It’s book two of a two-book series that started with THE CREATIVE FIRE.  She has seven novels out and numerous short stories.  Brenda is also a technology professional and a futurist, and publishes non-fiction on the environment and the future from time to time.

See her website at www.brenda-cooper.com

Brenda lives in the Pacific Northwest in a household with three people, three dogs, more than three computers, and only one TV in it. 

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Spotlight and Giveaway! Ruby Hill by Sarah Ballance

 

13 Shocking Reasons Real People were Committed to a Lunatic Asylum  by Sarah Ballance

If you thought you had to get your crazy on to land in a place like Ruby Hill, you’d better think again.

The following list of reasons folks were locked up for “treatment” between 1864 and 1889 at the RUBY HILL-esque yet very real Trans-Alleghany Lunatic Asylum is absolutely true. (My commentary, however, may be prone to exaggeration.) (Source)

  1. Bad Whiskey – I don’t know if this guy drank bad whiskey, sold bad whiskey, or manufactured bad whiskey, but you’ve got to feel for anyone forced to sober up a lunatic asylum. I’m pretty sure that type of residence is exactly where I’d most need whiskey, bad or otherwise.

  2. Drospy – I admit I had to look this one up. It’s the old word for edema, which is what happens when you carry excess fluid. Basically this means if you’ve ever taken off your socks to find they’ve left dents in your legs, you could have been committed. Now THAT is lunacy.

  3. Fighting Fire – Not setting them, but fighting them. Apparently firefighting in the 1800s wasn’t always considered the heroic profession we know it as today. And someone at the admissions desk is a pyromaniac.

  4. Menstrual Deranged – What does that mean, exactly? Aside the menstrual part – we get that. Monthly, even. But deranged? We probably don’t want to know, but what do you want to bet a man came up with that one?

  5. Masturbation for 30 Years – Erm, okay. But why THIS GUY and not EVERY OTHER GUY ON THE PLANET? I’m just sayin’….

  6. Suppressed Masturbation – So what we’ve just learned is there is clearly a target zone for this particular activity—somewhere between once and 30 years’ worth. Good luck with that, boys.

  7. Ill Treatment by Husband – Okay, so he’s a jerk so they lock HER up? I bet a man thought of that one, too. (I’m gaining a whole new appreciation for my fabulous husband, who—in over 16 years of marriage—has not once sent me to an asylum.)

  8. Seduction and Disappointment – I’m not sure who was seduced in this scenario and who was disappointed, but apparently this was not the time to oversell oneself. (No wonder that one guy just stuck to masturbation for 30 years.)

  9. Scarlatina (Scarlet Fever) – You there, with the contagious disease. Into the criminally over-crowded asylum. Yep, that’ll fix you. That will fix all of you. Muahahaha.

  10. Medicine to Prevent Conception – To be fair, all forms of contraception were made illegal in the United States in 1873, so this was at least technically a crime. By the 1880s, though, there was a handy-dandy sausage casing device (yes, that would be animal intestine) alternative. Might have been worth a shot because…

  11. Dissipation of Nerves – There’s nothing to indicate the dissipation of nerves was in any way related to conception rates, but my husband and I have six children (one of whom was conceived after I was surgically sterilized) and I’m telling you, asylum people. YOU CAN’T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS. It a classic inverse proportion, and if you don’t believe me just ask all those people who see me with six kids and immediately assume I’m crazy. But I digress.

  12. Carbonic Acid Gas – I’m not sure of the particulars here, but just so y’all know, this is a byproduct of breathing. BREATHING WAS A CRIME.

  13. Novel Reading – ERMAGERD, YOU GUYS. First we can’t breathe, and now they take away our novels! But fear not, for RUBY HILL is not a novel, but a novella. Which can only mean READING RUBY HILL WILL KEEP YOU OUT OF AN INSANE ASYLUM!

Okay, so my logic might be a bit flawed, LOL, but I’m going to distract you quickly so you won’t notice. ?

Here’s a related little historical twist that blew my mind.

In September, Entangled Scandalous released my historical romance, HER WICKED SIN, which is set during the Salem Witch Trials. Back then, the Salem in question was actually Salem Village, which has since been renamed Danvers. Danvers is home to the Danvers State Lunatic Asylum (reportedly one of the most haunted places in the world, and they turned it into APARTMENTS, y’all!), which sits on Hawthorne Hill, the very site of the gallows where the Salem witches were hanged. Nice little coincidence, right? But it gets better. Back in 2011—long before I’d given any thought to writing about the Salem Witch Trials or a haunted lunatic asylum—I had out there a little novella about a haunted house. Its name?

HAWTHORNE.

Mind. Blown.

Now that you’ve been properly wooed (yes-I-said-wooed), are you ready to dive into the dust, abandonment, terror—and yes, romance—of an abandoned mental institution? (Come on—you’ve got to see how the romance fits in there, right?) If so, I hope you’ll consider a dark, dangerous trek (or, you know, just click over) to your favorite e-tailer for the scoop on RUBY HILL!

PS: I’m probably hiking with grizzly bears as you read this, so bear (ha!) with me if I don’t respond immediately to your comments. I do look forward to your replies—and I have been promised nightly wifi—so if I’m not mauled, eaten, or otherwise incapacitated, I will SO come back for you! ?

Ruby Hill by Sarah Ballance

ISBN: 9781622662258

Book Description

From her earliest memories, Ashley Pearce has been drawn to Ruby Hill Lunatic Asylum, and she’s not the only one. Decades after the abandoned hospital ended its institutional reign of torture and neglect, something lurks in the shadows. Since she’s a paranormal investigator, it’s Ashley’s job to find out what.

Crime scene expert Corbin Malone doesn’t believe in ghosts. A born skeptic, he has no interest in entertaining the hype surrounding the mysterious deaths at Ruby Hill, but he won’t turn his back while more women die. He agrees to an overnight investigation, never expecting his first encounter would be with the woman he pushed away a year ago. But when he discovers Ashley is a target, he learns his greatest fear isn’t living with his own demons, but losing her for good.

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Excerpt:
Death had a flavor. Equal parts bitter and bland, the damnable taste was more sickening than the stickiness in Corbin Malone’s throat. It soured his gut, leaving him with an unease he couldn’t quite swallow, and the deeper they drove into the countryside—the closer the car brought him to Ruby Hill Lunatic Asylum—the more potent the flavor. Five years a cop, he’d neatly sidestepped the ugly aftertaste until things got personal.

Until the body belonged to his brother, Cash.

Nearly six months had passed since Cash Malone fought for his last breath inside the dismal, abandoned halls of Ruby Hill. Though his body now rested six feet under a distant patch of cemetery grass, Ruby Hill remained his tomb—a giant, crouching headstone marring acres of otherwise beautiful, rolling hills. And for Corbin, a visage of murder.

About the Author:

Sarah and her husband of what he calls “many long, long years” live on the mid-Atlantic coast with their six young children, all of whom are perfectly adorable when they’re asleep. She never dreamed of becoming an author, but as a homeschooling mom, she often jokes she writes fiction because if she wants anyone to listen to her, she has to make them up. (As it turns out, her characters aren’t much better than the kids). When not buried under piles of laundry, she may be found adrift in the Atlantic (preferably on a boat) or seeking that ever-elusive perfect writing spot where not even the kids can find her.

She loves creating unforgettable stories while putting her characters through an unkind amount of torture—a hobby that has nothing to do with living with six children. (Really.) Though she adores nail-biting mystery and edge-of-your-seat thrillers, Sarah writes in many genres including contemporary and ghostly paranormal romance. Her ever-growing roster of releases may be found on Amazon , Barnes & Noble, Kobo, For the Muse Publishing, and ENTANGLED PUBLISHING.

Website: http://sarahballance.com

Blog: http://sarahballance.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SarahBallance

Facebook: http://facebook.com/sarah.ballance.author.news

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4103362.Sarah_Ballance

Giveaway:

$25 Gift Certificate to winner’s choice of Amazon or Barnes & Noble AND Skelton Key blue Swarovski heart Art Nouveau necklace (US/Canada ONLY) (http://www.etsy.com/listing/88152504/silver-butterfly-key-blue-swarovski?ref=shop_home_active )

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