ARC REVIEW + EXCERPT: It Started With Goodbye by Christina June + INT Giveaway!!

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It Started With Goodbye

Christina June

Published May 9th 2017 by Blink/HarperCollins

YAContemporary | Romance

Purchase links: Amazon | BN | TBD

4 ★★★★

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night (which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client). When Tatum discovers she’s not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela-slash-fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way.

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[tour schedule

 

REVIEW:

“I cried for the girl constantly trying to force a connection, to find someone who took her at face value and didn’t ask her to be something she wasn’t. cried out for the doors that had closed and cried for the ones that might never open..”

I didn’t even know this was a retelling! Come to think of it, while I was reading the book I have this bubble of thought that says ‘Gosh she’s so much like Cinderella with what’s happening to her lol’ I love how Christina June got a lot of the books scenarios and character attitudes from the original Cinderella and modernized it but not in a way that it will lost the FEELS of the original story.

What I love about ISWG is that it’s not a love story. But it’s full of love. It’s romantic. It’s swoony. And most importantly, it’s full of heart. It started With Goodbye starts with our main character having the baddest day of her life and I like that. Because it just says that everything happens for a reason and bad things happening are actually a sign that GREAT things are ahead. Which is what happened with Tatums story. And Christina June made such a readable story with a relatable set of characters. Tatum is quirky, sweet, funny and authentic. She’s not perfect. You’ll scratch your head by some of her actions sometimes but that is the most wonderful part of reading a story, right? Getting affected by the characters actions that you’re connected with them. Now, I’m not sure if I’m the only one who felt this way but Tate’s parents are the only characters who I didn’t like much (her father is present here unlike from the original and she also has a stepmother) but I guess the author really designed them that way. The important thing though was that they helped a lot with Tatums character development.

The book has a lovestory as well that will also make you think of the original Cinderella. I don’t want to tell here how they met (hella cute), how did their love story progressed (swooooony) and what happened to their lovestory. You need to read the story for that, but one thing I can tell you is that even though the romance is not the highlight of the book, you won’t stop talking and thinking about it (like what I’m doing right now) just because it was done beautifully. There are a lot of winning relationships that is also part of the book such as friendships and family relationship. I specifically love the bond of Tatum and her abuela which is so delightfully sweet.

My rating is missing one star because ISWG started slow for me but despite of that, I would still recommend this book for contemporary lovers like me. It Started With Goodbye is well written and full of charm that will just touch your heartstrings. The characters are authentic and the story will make you believe that you could be a Tatum as well who is still lovable and fearless despite the unfortunate circumstances surrounding her.

 

EXCERPT:

I started crafting a letter, each key cool and hard under my fingers.

Hi Ashlyn,

Would she get stabby if I was formal, or would she think I was being contrite? I took off the lyn.

Hi Ash,

I heard through the grapevine that you enrolled at Blue Valley. I checked out the website, and it pretty much looks too good to be true. Do you ride to class on horseback? I bet they feed you nothing but ambrosia and Perrier too. We miss your face around here.

We or I? I left it we.

You aren’t missing anything at all at Henderson. Three more finals and then hello, junior year.

Remember the logo I was working on for Abby Gold’s blog? I finished it, and it turned out pretty well. Abby thinks I should make this a regular thing and launch my own business. What do you think?

Maybe she’d bite and give me her opinion. I did actually want it—she was pretty savvy when it came to people-oriented things, Chase excepted. I really just hoped she’d write me back.

Anywho, hope things are going okay. Do you have a roommate? If yes, if she annoys you, you can always freeze her bra or something. My intel says that’s the kind of prank people pull at all-girls schools.

Tatum

Or should I sign it Tate? Ashlyn was the only person who ever called me that. Again with the formal name or not. I looked back up at the top of the email. I supposed they should match, so I changed it.

Tate

Oh crud. What about a closing? Did I say Love or Sincerely? Warmly? Yours truly? The cheeky but effective Cheers? Or, my least favorite of all because it was so sadly insincere and fake, Best? Why was this so difficult? I closed my eyes for a moment, the pores on my hands prickling. I googled “how to close a letter,” determined to find exactly the right way to show my friend that I missed her and wanted to talk with her, but that I wasn’t going to apologize because I’d done nothing wrong and acted out of self-preservation. Google would know the right answer.

I read the almighty Wikipedia page titled “Valedictions”—apparently, that was the fancy word that meant how to say goodbye—and laughed at some of the phrases people used to write in old letters. “Yours aye”—which meant “yours always”—made me think of a pirate. The list of more casual closings suggested TTFN. That was too childish. Yours hopefully? Plain desperate, and too obvious. Couldn’t give it all away. And then I saw it. Be well. It made the most sense, as I was innocently hoping she was settling in at her new school. It wasn’t reciprocal. With a simple Be well, I was offering my personal goodwill without asking for anything in return. And it wasn’t too stiff or laid-back. Just right, as Goldilocks would say.

Be well,

Tate

AUTHOR:

  Twitter | Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Instagram

Christina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become – whether it’s her students or her characters.

Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, eats too many cupcakes, and hopes to one day be bicoastal – the east coast of the US and the east coast of Scotland. She lives just outside Washington DC with her husband and daughter.

Her debut novel, IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE, will be published by Blink/HarperCollins on May 9, 2017.

   

 

 

GIVEAWAY:

 

5 Winners will receive a Copy of IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE by Christina June

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GUEST POST: Spurt by Chris Miles (What fiction Inspired SPURT!) + INT Giveaway!!

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Spurt

Chris Miles

Published February 7th 2017 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

YA > Contemporary | Humor

Purchase links: Amazon | BN | TBD 

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

Balls and all!

Jack Sprigley isn’t just a late-bloomer. He’s a no bloomer: an eighth grader, and puberty is still a total no-show. Worse yet, he hasn’t heard from his friends all winter vacation. He assumes they’ve finally dumped him and his child-like body—until he finds out it’s much worse than that. His friends are now so far ahead of him that they’ve started dating. Jack is out of luck. But then he comes up with a plan to catch up and win his friends back. And his plan is perfect: he just has to fake puberty.

 

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GUEST POST:

 

What fiction most influenced your childhood, and what effect did those stories have on SPURT

I always feel that I never read enough fiction as a kid, or perhaps that I didn’t read widely enough. The things I did read, though, I read very deeply and obsessively.

Up to the age of ten I mostly read Garfield and Peanuts comics, Doctor Who novelisations and Mad magazine. Later on I was obsessed with the Douglas Adams Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy series and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels. I’m a fairly anxious, melancholy person, and funny books and funny things in general were a great comfort and relief for me when I was growing up — and still are.

There was one particular book that my dad owned which I read over and over as a younger kid, and which I think was a big influence on Spurt. It was a book called The Two Ronnies Sketchbook, and it contained scripts from a British sketch comedy show from the Seventies.

The thing about these sketches was that they were full of misunderstandings, complications and verbal wordplay. I never actually saw any of these sketches on TV, only in print. But in reading them I think I got a sense of how to convey comic timing with the written word, as opposed to performance. While a lot of Spurt is inspired by more modern cringe comedies, there’s also a lot that reflects my love of this more old-fashioned style of comedy — such as the scene where Jack gets some advice from the school counsellor, Mr Trench, or when Jack has a serious miscommunication with his mum during a phone call.

I also used to listen to old audio recordings of Monty Python sketches and actually write out the dialogue by hand. I think it helped me develop the ability to feel the rhythms of a good sketch — or in the case of fiction, a good scene. Comedy sketches are usually a series of very rapid reversals of expectation, twists of logic and escalating moments of conflict, and these are all excellent techniques to deploy at the scene level in narrative fiction, as well as at the big picture structural level over the course of a novel.

 

AUTHOR:

 

 Caroline-Patti-225x300

Website | Facebook | Goodreads

Chris Miles has written several books for young readers in Australia. His short fiction and other writings have appeared in publications throughout Australia. He works as a website designer and developer, and in his spare time he indulges his love of Doctor Who, LEGO®, Dungeons & Dragons, and anchovies. He is a dog person (though not literally).

 


   

GIVEAWAY:

 

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Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

– 5 Winners will receive a Copy of Spurt by Chris Miles

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TOUR HOST:

JEAN BOOKNERD TOURS

Paula

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BOOK SPOTLIGHT: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco + INT Giveaway!!

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The Bone Witch

Rin Chupeco

Published March 7th 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire

YA > Fantasy | Paranormal

Purchase links: Amazon | BN | TBD | itunes 

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

The beast raged; it punctured the air with its spite. But the girl was fiercer.

Tea is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy makes her a bone witch, who are feared and ostracized in the kingdom. For theirs is a powerful, elemental magic that can reach beyond the boundaries of the living—and of the human.

Great power comes at a price, forcing Tea to leave her homeland to train under the guidance of an older, wiser bone witch. There, Tea puts all of her energy into becoming an asha, learning to control her elemental magic and those beasts who will submit by no other force. And Tea must be strong—stronger than she even believes possible. Because war is brewing in the eight kingdoms, war that will threaten the sovereignty of her homeland…and threaten the very survival of those she loves.

 

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AUTHOR:

 

 Caroline-Patti-225x300

Twitter | Website  | Pinterest

Despite uncanny resemblances to Japanese revenants, Rin Chupeco has always maintained her sense of humor. Raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband. She’s been a technical writer and travel blogger, but now makes things up for a living. The Girl from the Well was her debut novel. 

 

 


   

GIVEAWAY:

 

2

 

2

Open International

1 winner will get a signed hardcover of The Bone Witch

by Rin Chupeco & a crochet Tea doll

2 winners will get a bottlecap necklace and a crochet doll each

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BOOK EXCERPT: Seven Days Of You by Cecilia Vinesse

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Seven Days Of You

Cecilia Vinesse

Published March 7th 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

YA > Contemporary | Romance

Purchase links: Amazon | BN | TBD | itunes | Kobo

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

Sophia has seven days left in Tokyo before she moves back to the States. Seven days to say good-bye to the electric city, her wild best friend, and the boy she’s harbored a semi-secret crush on for years. Seven perfect days…until Jamie Foster-Collins moves back to Japan and ruins everything.

Jamie and Sophia have a history of heartbreak, and the last thing Sophia wants is for him to steal her leaving thunder with his stupid arriving thunder. Yet as the week counts down, the relationships she thought were stable begin to explode around her. And Jamie is the one who helps her pick up the pieces. Sophia is forced to admit she may have misjudged Jamie, but can their seven short days of Tokyo adventures end in anything but good-bye?

 

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EXCERPT:

 

07:00:00:00 
DAYS   HOURS     MINS     SECS  

AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SUMMER, I tried to get on top of the whole moving-continents thing by reminding myself I still had time. Days and hours and seconds all piled on top of one another, stretching out in front of me as expansive as a galaxy. And the stuff I couldn’t deal with—packing my room and saying good-bye to my friends and leaving Tokyo—all that hovered at some indistinct point in the indistinct future. 

So I ignored it. Every morning, I’d meet Mika and David in Shibuya, and we’d spend our days eating in ramen shops or browsing tiny boutiques that smelled like incense. Or, when it rained, we’d run down umbrella-crowded streets and watch anime I couldn’t understand on Mika’s couch. Some nights, we’d dance in strobe-lit clubs and go to karaoke at four in the morning. Then, the next day, we’d sit at train-station donut shops for hours, drinking milky coffee and watching the sea of commuters come and go and come and go again. 

Once, I stayed home and tried dragging boxes up the stairs, but it stressed me out so much, I had to leave. I walked around Yoyogi-Uehara until the sight of the same cramped streets made me dizzy. Until I had to stop and fold myself into an alcove between buildings, trying to memorize the kanji on street signs. Trying to count my breaths. 

And then it was August fourteenth. And I only had one week left, and it was hot, and I wasn’t even close to being packed. But the thing was, I should have known how to do this. I’d spent my whole life ping-ponging across the globe, moving to new cities, leaving people and places drifting in my wake. 

Still, I couldn’t shake the feeling that this good-bye—to Tokyo, to the first friends I’d ever had, to the only life that felt like it even remotely belonged to me—was the kind that would swallow me whole. That would collapse around me like a star imploding. 

And the only thing I knew how to do was to hold on as tightly as possible and count every single second until I reached the last one. The one I dreaded most. 

Sudden, violent, final. 

The end.  

Chapter 1 

Sunday:  
06:19:04:25 
DAYS     HOURS     MINS     SECS 

I WAS LYING ON THE LIVING-ROOM floor reading Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries when our air‐conditioning made a sputtering sound and died. Swampy heat spread through the room as I held my hand over the box by the window. Nothing. Not even a gasp of cold air. I pressed a couple of buttons and hoped for the best. Still nothing. 

“Mom,” I said. She was sitting in the doorway to the kitchen, wrapping metal pots in sheets of newspaper. “Not to freak you out or anything, but the air-conditioning just broke.” 

She dropped some newspaper shreds on the ground, and our cat—Dorothea Brooks—came over to sniff them. “It’s been doing that. Just press the big orange button and hold it.” 

“I did. But I think it’s serious this time. I think I felt its spirit passing.” 

Mom unhooked a panel from the back of the air‐ conditioning unit and poked around. “Damn. The landlord said this system might go soon. It’s so old, they’ll have to replace it for the next tenant.” 

August was always hot in Tokyo, but this summer was approaching unbearable. A grand total of five minutes without air-conditioning and all my bodily fluids were evaporating from my skin. Mom and I opened some windows, plugged in a bunch of fans, and stood in front of the open refrigerator. 

“We should call a repairman,” I said, “or it’s possible we’ll die here.” 

Mom shook her head, going into full-on Professor Wachowski mode. Even though we’re both short, she looks a lot more intimidating than I do, with her square jaw and serious eyes. She looks like the type of person who won’t lose an argument, who can’t take a joke. 

I look like my dad. 

“No,” Mom said. “I’m not dealing with this the week before we leave. The movers are coming on Friday.” She turned and leaned into the fridge door. “Why don’t you go out? See your friends. Come back tonight when it’s cooled down.” 

I twisted my watch around my wrist. “Nah, that’s okay.” 

“You don’t want to?” she asked. “Did something happen with Mika and David?” 

“Of course not,” I said. “I just don’t feel like going out. I feel like staying home, and helping, and being the good daughter.” 

God, I sounded suspicious, even to myself. 

But Mom didn’t notice. She held out a few one-hundred-yen coins. “In that case, go to the konbini and buy some of those towels you put in the freezer and wrap around your neck.” 

I contemplated the money in her hand, but the heat made it swim across my vision. Going outside meant walking into the boiling air. It meant walking down the little streets I knew so well, past humming vending machines and stray cats stretched out in apartment-building entrances. Every time I did that, I was reminded of all the little things I loved about this city and how they were about to slip away forever. And today, of all days, I really didn’t need that reminder. 

“Or,” I said, trying to sound upbeat, “I could pack.” 

 

 Packing was, of course, a terrible idea. 

Even the thought of it was oppressive. Like if I stood in my room too long, the walls would start tightening around me, trash-compacting me in. I stood in the doorway and focused on how familiar it all was. Our house was small and semi-dilapidated, and my room was predictably small to match, with only a twin bed, a desk pushed against the window, and a few red bookshelves running along the walls. But the problem wasn’t the size—it was the stuff. The physics books I’d bought and the ones Dad had sent me cluttering up the shelves, patterned headbands and tangled necklaces hanging from tacks in the wall, towers of unfolded laundry built precariously all over the floor. Even the ceiling was crowded, crisscrossed with string after string of star-shaped twinkly lights. 

There was a WET PAIN! sign (it was supposed to say WET PAINT!) propped against my closet that Mika had stolen from outside her apartment building, a Rutgers University flag pinned above my bed, Totoro stuffed toys on my pillow, and boxes and boxes of platinum-blond hair dye everywhere. (Those, I needed to get rid of. I’d stopped dyeing my hair blond since the last touch-up had turned it an attractive shade of Fanta orange.) It was so much—too much—to have to deal with. And I might have stayed there for hours, paralyzed in the doorway, if Alison hadn’t come up behind me. 

“Packed already?” 

I spun around. My older sister had on the same clothes she’d been wearing all weekend–black T‐shirt, black leggings–and she was holding an empty coffee mug. 

I crossed my arms and tried to block her view of the room. “It’s getting there.” 

“Clearly.” 

“And what have you been doing?” I asked. “Sulking? Scowling? Both at the same time?” 

She narrowed her eyes but didn’t say anything. Alison was in Tokyo for the summer after her first year at Sarah Lawrence. She’d spent the past three months staying up all night and drinking coffee and barely leaving her bedroom during sunlight hours. The unspoken reason for this was that she’d broken up with her girlfriend at the end of last year. Something no one was allowed to mention. 

“You have so much crap,” Alison said, stepping over a pile of thrift‐store dresses and sitting on my unmade bed. She balanced the coffee mug between her knees. “I think you might be a hoarder.” 

“I’m not a hoarder,” I said. “This is not hoarding.” 

She arched an eyebrow. “Lest you forget, little sister, I’ve been by your side for many a move. I’ve witnessed the hoarder’s struggle.” 

It was true. My sister had been by my side for most of our moves, avoiding her packing just as much as I’d been avoiding mine. This year, though, she only had the one suitcase she’d brought with her from the States—no doubt full of sad, sad poetry books and sad, sad scarves. 

“You’re one to talk,” I said. “You threw approximately nine thousand tantrums when you were packing last summer.” 

“I was going to college.” Alison shrugged. “I knew it would suck.” 

“And look at you now,” I said. “You’re a walking endorsement for the college experience.” 

The corners of her lips moved like she was deciding whether to laugh or not. But she decided not to. (Of course she decided not to.) 

I climbed onto my desk, pushing aside an oversize paper‐ back called Unlocking the MIT Application! and a stuffed koala with a small Australian flag clasped between its paws. Through the window behind me, I could see directly into someone else’s living room. Our house wasn’t just small lit was surrounded on three sides by apartment buildings. Like a way less interesting version of Rear Window. 

Alison reached over and grabbed the pile of photos and postcards sitting on my nightstand. “Hey!” I said. “Enough with the stuff-touching.” 

But she was already flipping through them, examining each picture one at a time. “Christ,” she said. “I can’t believe you kept these.” 

“Of course I kept them,” I said, grabbing my watch. “Dad sent them to me. He sent the same ones to you, in case that important fact slipped your mind.” 

She held up a photo of the Eiffel Tower, Dad standing in front of it and looking pretty touristy for someone who actually lived in Paris. “A letter a year does not a father make.” 

“You’re so unfair,” I said. “He sends tons of e‐mails. Like, twice a week.” 

“Oh my God!” She waved another photo at me, this one of a woman sitting on a wood-framed couch holding twin babies on her lap. “The Wife and Kids? Really? Please don’t tell me you still daydream about going to live with them.” 

“Aren’t you late for sitting in your room all day?” I asked. 

“Seriously,” she said. “You’re one creepy step away from Photoshopping yourself in here.” 

I kept the face of my watch covered with my hand, hoping she wouldn’t start on that as well. 

She didn’t. She moved on to another picture: me and Alison in green and yellow raincoats, standing on a balcony messy with cracked clay flowerpots. In the picture, I am clutching a kokeshi—a wooden Japanese doll—and Alison is pointing at the camera. My dad stands next to her, pulling a goofy face. 

“God,” she muttered. “That shitty old apartment.” 

“It wasn’t shitty. It was—palatial.” Maybe. We’d moved from that apartment when I was five, after my parents split, so honestly, I barely remembered it. Although I did still like the idea of it. Of one country and one place and one family living there. Of home. 

Alison threw the pictures back on the nightstand and stood up, all her dark hair spilling over her shoulders. 

“Whatever,” she said. “I don’t have the energy to argue with you right now. You have fun with all your”—she gestured around the room—“stuff.” 

And then she was gone, and I was hurling a pen at my bed, angry because this just confirmed everything she thought. She was the Adult; I was still the Little Kid. 

Dorothea Brooks padded into the room and curled up on a pile of clean laundry in a big gray heap. 

“Fine,” I said. “Ignore me. Pretend I’m not even here.” 

Her ears didn’t so much as twitch. I reached up to yank open the window, letting the sounds of Tokyo waft in: a train squealing into Yoyogi‐Uehara Station, children shouting as they ran through alleyways, cicadas croaking a tired song like something from a rusted music box. 

Since our house was surrounded by apartment buildings, I had to crane my neck to look above them at this bright blue strip of sky. There was an object about the size of a fingernail moving through the clouds, leaving a streak of white in its wake that grew longer and then broke apart. 

I watched the plane until there was no trace of it left. Then I held up my hand to blot out the sliver of sky where it had been—but wasn’t anymore. 

 

 

AUTHOR:

 

 Caroline-Patti-225x300

Twitter | Website  | Instagram

PI was born in France but then moved to Japan. And then to the States. And then back to Japan. And then back to the States. When I was 18, I moved to New York where I was homesick for nearly seven years. After that, I got a job in a cold, snowy city in northern Japan and, from there, I headed to Scotland where I got my master’s in creative writing and lived off tea, writer tears, and Hobnobs.
I still live in the U.K. and spend most of my time writing, reading, baking, and getting emotional over Tori Amos albums. Hobbies include pretending Buffy the Vampire Slayer is real, collecting a lipstick to match every Skittle flavor, and listening to a thousand podcasts a day.
A pup named Malfi and a Renaissancist named Rachel are my favorite things in the world. That, and books. I should probably mention the books again.

 

TOUR HOST:

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BOOK SPOTLIGHT: Bluescreen by Dan Wells + Giveaway!!

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Bluescreen

Dan Wells

Published February 16th 2016 by Balzer & Bray

YA > SciFi | Dystopia

Purchase links: Amazon | BN | TBD | itunes | Kobo

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

Los Angeles in 2050 is a city of open doors, as long as you have the right connections. One of those connections is a djinni—a smart device implanted right in a person’s head. In a world where virtually everyone is online twenty-four hours a day, this connection is like oxygen—and a world like that presents plenty of opportunities for someone who knows how to manipulate it.

Marisa Carneseca is one of those people. She might spend her days in Mirador, the small, vibrant LA neighborhood where her family owns a restaurant, but she lives on the net—going to school, playing games, hanging out, or doing things of more questionable legality with her friends Sahara and Anja. And it’s Anja who first gets her hands on Bluescreen—a virtual drug that plugs right into a person’s djinni and delivers a massive, non-chemical, completely safe high. But in this city, when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is, and Mari and her friends soon find themselves in the middle of a conspiracy that is much bigger than they ever suspected.

Dan Wells, author of the New York Times bestselling Partials Sequence, returns with a stunning new vision of the near future—a breathless cyber-thriller where privacy is the world’s most rare resource and nothing, not even the thoughts in our heads, is safe.

 

1

[tour schedule

 

 

AUTHOR:

 

 Caroline-Patti-225x300

Twitter | Website  | Facebook

Dan Wells is a thriller and science fiction writer. Born in Utah, he spent his early years reading and writing. He is he author of the Partials series (Partials, Isolation, Fragments, and Ruins), the John Cleaver series (I Am Not a Serial Killer, Mr. Monster, and I Don’t Want To Kill You), and a few others (The Hollow City, A Night of Blacker Darkness, etc). He was a Campbell nomine for best new writer, and has won a Hugo award for his work on the podcast Writing Excuses; the podcast is also a multiple winner of the Parsec Award.

 

 


   

GIVEAWAY:

 

2

Win (1) of (2) copies of BLUESCREEN by Dan Wells (US Only)

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