Monday, February 27, 2017

Review: The Cubit Quest by Trevor Leck


THE CUBIT QUEST
by Trevor Leck
Clink Street Publishing
YA Adventure





Twelve-year-old Charlie Watkins could have inherited his dad’s massive intellect. 
He got his massive feet instead. 

Perhaps if Charlie had that intellect he might have been able to figure out why so many men in suits were suddenly following him or where his dad hid the Cubit - a mythical object that men have sworn to protect and even more have died trying to possess - before his so-called accident. 

If starting yet another new school wasn’t bad enough, Charlie meets Mr Leopold, a disfigured, mind-reading lunatic and discovers that he alone must find the Cubit if he is to save his dad. The Brotherhood, however, have other ideas. Led by the ruthless Draganovic, they will stop at nothing to get their hands on it. With the help of Mr Leopold and fellow new boy Elvis, Charlie sets out on The Cubit Quest. 


Hunting for the Cubit, playing football, lessons with the dreaded Funeral Face and unsuccessfully avoiding school bully Grimshaw by day, Charlie finds his nights no less complicated. Stalked in his dreams, he’s soon immersed in a world of power struggles, battling dragons and duels to the death. With the Brotherhood hot on his heels and as the bullets begin to fly, there are no guarantees that Charlie, or anyone else, will make it to the end in one piece.





MY TIDBITS

With a mixture fantasy, mystery and myth, this is a quick paced adventure packed full of surprises.

Charlie is having strange nightmares, but considering it's the first day of school, he's hacking it off as stress. When he hears a strange voice while walking the dogs and an even odder man appears, Charlie's adventure is about to begin.

This is a difficult book to categorize in so many way. There is a bit of fantasy, a bit of mystery, a bit of action and adventure, and some paranormal too. So, I'm not sure what genre to throw it into. Perhaps, simply adventure pure. It definitely packs a fast paced ride, which keeps the reader on their toes. There's a lot going on, and the layers mount with mystery continually. First, about half-way through the book, do the explanations start popping up and things start to become clear.

Although this is placed as a book for the young adult audience, I'd shove it more into an upper middle grade category (for the most part). Charlie comes across as a solid 12-year-old and his reactions, as well as those of his friends, are fitting to that reader age group. The writing is usually direct and creates the atmosphere for this younger audience. However, some of the themes, material, and at times the writing, can edge more to the mature side. In other words, this is a borderline read aimed between the two.

Charlie is a sympathetic character, who is simply doing is best as things around him grow stranger and stranger. He's has a good head on his shoulders and attacks the situation as best as he can. His friends are supportive, giving a great message in this area. And the villains are as evil as they can be. 

The scenes hold just the right amount of description to pull into the world without coming across as lengthy. Although characters come across nicely, this isn't so much of an emotional read and action stays in main focus. The writing is quick as well as the scene changes, which did cause for a little confusion now and then. But it won't bore younger readers and keeps action fans glued to the pages.

Summed up, this is a fun read. Adventure fans are sure to get their fill, but I'd recommend this more for ages 10-14. . .and ones who don't mind it a bit harsh at times.




EXCERPT

(CONTEXT: Spending most of his time falling over his massive feet, Charlie Watkins was usually the last one picked to play football. Nobody was more surprised than Charlie to see his shot hit the back of the net. Nobody wanted revenge for losing that game more than school bully, James Grimshaw.)

Charlie froze mid-stream. Urine splashed on the floor. The hand on the back of his neck gripped tighter. He might have heard Grimshaw approach if it hadn’t been for Elvis, who was humming loudly from the cubicle. At that precise moment, Charlie wished he’d locked himself in a cubicle too.
After leaving the changing rooms, it took Grimshaw exactly two minutes to catch Charlie on his own. ‘Where’s your boyfriend when you need him?’ he said, keeping below the volume of the hum. The increase in pressure informed Charlie that it was a rhetorical question; he wasn’t expected to answer. Placing his mouth next to Charlie’s ear, he spat, ‘I don’t like being beaten, so I guess it’s time I did a little beating of my own. Four o’clock back on the football pitch, just you and me. If you tell your boyfriend I’ll make your life hell.’ Thrusting forward, he smacked Charlie’s head into the wall in front.
Elvis came out of the cubicle, took one look at Charlie and stopped humming. ‘What’ve you done to your head?’
‘I slipped,’ Charlie said without thinking. He didn’t know whether to tell Elvis about what had just happened or not. Nor did he fancy finding out what Grimshaw’s version of ‘hell’ might be.
Elvis chuckled. ‘Did you see Grimshaw’s face?’
‘What! When?’
‘On the football pitch, you fool. First you nearly take his head off and then you score a wonder goal, winning us the game.’
‘Don’t remind me,’ moaned Charlie.
‘That’s the best thing you could’ve done. If you let people like Grimshaw walk all over you, they’ll do it time and time again. Face up to them and they know you’re not a push over.’
Perhaps it was easier to stand up to someone like Grimshaw, Charlie reasoned, if you were, like Elvis, the size of a small building.
The rest of the afternoon ticked by incredibly slowly. Charlie’s constant clock-watching did nothing to speed matters. At the end of the day Elvis shot off to sports practice and Charlie made a half-hearted attempt to locate Edgar Wisdom. He wasn’t successful.

At four o’clock, a forlorn Charlie made his way to the football pitch. He was going to prove that he was no coward. Swallowing hard, he watched the immense figure of Grimshaw stride purposefully towards him. It suddenly dawned on him that bravery was one thing, whereas stupidity was another thing altogether. One thing was certain: he was about to get the beating of his life.



And here he is. . .


Living in Telford, Shropshire, Trevor Leck has been dabbling in writing for over fifteen years. Always a fan of gripping adventure stories he has taken inspiration from his favourite authors, including John Grisham and J K Rowling, and the towns and cities he grew up, especially North Shields, to create his Young Adult series.






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Cover Reveal: Bad Bloods by Shannon A Thompson





Fans of the dynamic BAD BLOODS series by best-selling author Shannon A. Thompson are in for a new adventure in the BAD BLOODS universe! We have two exciting cover reveals and pre-order specials to share with you here. In addition, to celebrate this new duology, we are offering an exciting deal on BAD BLOODS: NOVEMBER RAIN for free, and BAD BLOODS: NOVEMBER SNOW for $2.99. Check out our cover reveal below and make sure to leave a comment! Then go grab yourself the first two books today while this sale lasts.

BAD BLOODS: JULY THUNDER (April 10, 2017)


Pre-order today: AMAZON / NOOK / iBOOKS

From best-selling author Shannon A. Thompson comes an exciting new duology in the Bad Bloods universe.
Fourteen-year-old Violet has been called many things: a bad blood, a survivor, an immortal…now she has a new name—citizen. But adjusting to a lawful life is not easy, especially when she must live under the rule of the same officers who justified the killings of her flock only eight months earlier.
Segregation of bad bloods and humans is still in effect, and rebellious Violet steps into a school where she is not allowed. When the police get involved, things deteriorate quickly, sparking a new revolution at the wall separating the Highlands from the outskirts.
That's when Caleb steps in. He might appear to be an average sixteen-year-old bad blood, but he has secrets, and Violet is determined to figure them out. Caleb knows who's attacking the wall and why, but his true identity remains a mystery—and how he relates to Violet could shake the threatened city to its very core.
Together or not, a storm will form, a rally will start, and shocking truths will be revealed.

BAD BLOODS: JULY LIGHTNING (May 1, 2017)


Pre-order today: AMAZON / NOOK / iBOOKS

Sixteen-year-old Caleb has been called many things: a patient, a musician, even a prostitute…now he has a new name—son. After his identity is uncovered, Caleb bands together with the family he once rejected in order to save the city of Vendona. But it won't be easy. Enemies wait around every corner—and so do harsh realities. With Violet and Kuthun by his side though, nothing seems impossible. As Vendona sits on the verge of an economic collapse and a massive hurricane threatens the city, Violet and Caleb must show its citizens how to overcome decades of hostility and division to save themselves.
Standing or not, a sea will rage, a wall may fall, and all will depend on immortal pain and sacrifice.

START READING THIS SERIES TODAY FOR FREE!

November Rain REview

AVAILABLE HERE FOR FREE: AMAZON / NOOK / iBOOKS / KOBO

Seventeen-year-old Serena isn’t human. She is a bad blood, and in the city of Vendona, bad bloods are executed. In the last moments before she faces imminent death, a prison guard aids her escape and sparks a revolt. Back on the streets determined to destroy her kind, Serena is spared by a fellow bad blood named Daniel. His past tragedies are as equally mysterious as her connection to them.
Unbeknownst to the two, this connection is the key to winning the election for bad bloods’ rights to be seen as human again. But Serena is the only one who can secure Vendona’s vote. Now, Daniel must unite with her before all hope is lost and bad bloods are eradicated, even if it means exposing secrets worse than death itself. United or not, a city will fight, rain will fall, and all will be threatened by star-crossed love and political corruption.
BAD BLOODS: NOVEMBER SNOW
PART TWO IS ONLY $2.99 FOR A LIMITED TIME!
November Snow Review
AVAILABLE HERE FOR $2.99: AMAZON / NOOK / iBOOKS / KOBO

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About Shannon A. Thompson. . .

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Shannon A. Thompson is a young adult author, avid reader, and a habitual chatterbox.
As a novelist, poet, and blogger, Thompson spends her free time writing and sharing ideas with her black cat, Bogart, named after her favorite actor, Humphrey Bogart. Her other two cats bring her coffee. Between writing and befriending cats, Thompson graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor's degree in English with an emphasis on creative writing, and her work has appeared in numerous poetry collections and anthologies. Thompson is currently represented by Clean Teen Publishing, and The Timely Death Trilogy is now available.
Visit her blog for writers and readers at www.ShannonAThompson.com.
Love free books? Shannon has one up for grabs right now!
Minutes Before Sunset on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Goodreads

Saturday, February 25, 2017

I am NOT a Princess by Bethany Burt


I am NOT a Princess!
by Bethany Burt
Illustrated by Brenda McCallum
Schiffer Publishing




Play-acting and self-identity are the themes of this charmingly illustrated book about a girl who dreams of being a beautiful princess. What s not to love? Princesses get to wear fancy dresses and beautiful jewels. They live happily ever after with the prince of their dreams in a splendid castle in the countryside. Plus, they are never burdened with boring chores or unpleasant activities. Their only real job is looking pretty. But when Eliza, dressed in full princess fashion, tries to join in on the fun in her household and neighborhood, she is disappointed to discover that being a princess prevents her from doing many of the things she loves. She can t ride a bike, play baseball, help her father paint, or bake cookies with her mom. See what happens as her frustration builds. This glimpse inside a little girl's head helps preschoolers put their fantasies in perspective. For ages 0-6.


 MY TIDBITS

Pretty, pink, frilly princess dreams come to life as a little girl twirls her way through the day in a fun role play.

Eliza is going to be a princess with her prettiest dress and fanciest gems. It's fun at first, but soon family and friends are offering her other play possibilities--things which are fun but not very princessy. Eliza needs to decide what to do.

This is a pink, princess book as little girls so often love. Eliza is a normal girl, who loves to pretend as so many girls that age do. She's got very specific ideas of what princesses can or cannot do, and as she turns down one fun opportunity after the other, the problem with Eliza's definition is something the intended audience can easily recognize. 

The illustrations are pink and pretty--perfect for young girls and fitting to the story. There's a cute green frog and a cuddly bear, which accompany Eliza during her imaginary game. These extra characters give readers something to look out for and add a lovely touch of humor to the story.

The text is appropriate for listeners ages 3 and up. It gets right to the point and gives a nice flow as a read-aloud. There's enough change of scene to keep the pictures interesting, and it's no problem to flip through and imagine the story even without the written/read words.

Mixed in with all of the royal play are a few messages young readers/listeners can understand. By sticking only to her own way of doing things, Eliza misses out on more and more fun opportunities. She also learns that her definitions and perceptions aren't quite as solid as she thought. Sometimes, it's better to let go of stubborn self-made ideas and simply enjoy what others want to do too.

Summed up, this is a cute picture book princess fans are sure to love and are sure to have them chasing their own princess roll plays. . .and maybe do all the fun things even though they are a princess.

Review: Ferryl Shayde by Vance Huxley


FERRYL SHAYDE
by Vance Huxley
Entrada Publishing
Upper Middle Grade Fantasy
ages 10 and up
313 pages





How many people have a tattoo that teaches them magic? 
While trying to outrun the local bully, Abel trips over a stone slab and something wakes up. 
Looking back - he must have been concussed or enchanted - because after it helps him escape, Abel breaks the binding seals and lets it out, finding himself apprenticed to Ferryl Shayde. 
When she moves into a tattoo on his arm, Abel can see the magical creatures that live alongside us every day. Not the ones of folk tales, but their scruffy, slimy, fanged cousins. Worse, he finds that the pact that should keep them under some sort of control has failed. 

Magic is easy, controlling it can be lethal, and by letting Ferryl Shayde out Abel has aroused the unwanted interest of others. 

If only it was just a board game, like the one he is creating with his friends. Unfortunately, it turns out the other way round and the players begin to discover real magic. 





MY TIDBITS

From the very first page, the adventure shoots off into a world of magic and action.

All Abel wants is to escape getting clobbered, but when the only retreat leads him through the town's creepiest property, he wonders if he should be more afraid of monsters and ghosts. The last thing he expects to run across is a sorcerer, who's been trapped for over a hundred years. She wants to be freed, but by doing so, life gets a whole lot more interesting than he bargained for.

Abel is a character on the end of the food chain, and the first scene shows just how horrible he's bullied. It's not a gentle beginning, and the violence hits hard. A lot happens quickly, making this a very fast paced read. There were a couple spots, where I had to go back and read through again to make sure I didn't miss anything. So no boredom in these pages!

Imagination takes flight in this tale, and it was exciting to see all of the different creatures cursing the town. The mythical monsters peer out of the most unexpected corners, and keep the tale on its toes. 

The sorcerer has quite a bit of personality, and having her placed in a tattoo in the form of a girl in a cat costume is humorously unique. The interactions between Ferryl and Abel make both easy to like, although their personalities are so different. The building of trust and teamwork was evident and added a nice touch to the story. There's also a great character development in Abel as he turns from a fearful, uncertain child into a self-assured magic wielder, who saves the town. This alone is a great message for the intended audience.

Summed up, this is an entertaining read which will keep kids ages 10 and up (due to the level of violence) on the edge of their seats. 

Friday, February 24, 2017

My Clueless Broken Heart by Jennifer DiGiovanni


My Clueless Broken Heart

A School Dayz Novella
by Jennifer DiGiovanni
YA Romance






Becca Thornton is clueless when it comes to love. Why else would she break up with Will Gamen, a boy at the top of the hottie short list for every other girl?
Because, if she’s being totally honest, Becca will admit the truth. Her heart belongs to someone else. For as long as she can remember, Travis Brennen has been unavailable. When Travis unexpectedly rolls back into town, Becca realizes for the first time that her feelings for him might be mutual. But Travis and Becca come from what he calls “different circumstances.” Becca’s parents are world-famous scientists and Travis’s dad is the caretaker on the Thornton family’s estate. Still, Becca can’t change the way she feels about him, no matter how hard her parents try to keep them apart. She’ll just need to find a way to prove to her parents that Travis isn’t the guy they’ve always assumed him to be. Becca’s earned the right to grow up, make her own choices, and fall in love, even if she ends up with a broken heart.

Get the book for free on Amazon today!

And here she is. . .

Jennifer DiGiovanni is a freelance writer and YA author of the School Dayz series. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading, working on home design projects, or trying to meet the daily goals on her Fitbit. She also likes to try new sports and activities, from archery to ballroom dancing, with varying degrees of success.

Facebook: Facebook
Swoon Romance on Twitter: @SwoonRomance
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Sneak Peek: Holdfast by Kate Carter




HOLDFAST
by Kate Carter
 December 14th 2016
YA Science Fiction, Thriller





Once they’d do anything to keep her safe. Now they’ll do anything to kill her.
The discovery of a genetically twisted corpse on her latest stepfather’s ranch in the Badlands of Forsaken triggers a desperate and brutal race against time for eighteen-year-old con artist Ariel Tesla when her loving stepbrothers are turned into monstrous killers with a single purpose: to hunt Ariel down and destroy her.
Running for her life, the one person she can turn to for help is the last person in the galaxy she can trust, former mark Hale Carrow. She needs a ship to get off the planet, fast; he wants revenge on the girl who broke his heart.
To save the family she never thought she wanted, she’s going to have to gamble on the boy she betrayed, or no-one’s life will ever be the same.
And hers will be over.


EXCERPT

The human body can only handle so much stress. Ariel knew how this went. If she stopped, she wouldn’t be able to start again. She’d crash, and then she’d be at the mercy of anyone or anything that came along. Despite the danger of stopping, she found her steps slowing. It wasn’t, however, the exhausted halt she battled with every step, nor the jagged, stumbling, end-of-the-line finish she yearned for. It was a graceful, taut arrest of movement, up on the balls of her feet, body quivering, nerves screaming.
The mech shed was in sight, a shade beyond comfortable sprinting distance, dead ahead. She was out in the open, visible from every angle. Flat land stretched around her, rising to bluffs ahead and to her left. She turned, poised and scanning, all exhaustion forgotten.
A full circle sweep. Nothing. She stared over at the bluffs and jumped with a punch of sudden shock when a group of ferrokirrim broke over the ridge and bounded down the slope, scattering scree. A mother and her almost full-grown cubs, she registered. Heading right for her.
They’d take her down in a second. She’d be dead a second after that. In half an hour, she’d be a memory. She wasn’t ready to be a memory. She wasn’t ready for any of this, damn it. She bent her knees as they thundered her way, all the while thinking, What, are you going to wrestle them? There was nothing on the planet of Forsaken fiercer than a mother looking out for her cubs. Ariel braced.
They ran past her.
They ran right past, giving her a wide berth. She felt the mother’s eyes flick over her, dismiss her, then urge her cubs on with a spine-ruffling grunt.
Ariel straightened slowly, staring after them. They were running away from something.
What in hell would scare off a mother ferrokirrim?
A rock bounced down the scree slope.
Ariel counted the strikes. Three, then silence again. She did not want to turn and see what had knocked it loose. She didn’t have a choice. She turned.


All about. . . 
Kate Carter writes science fiction and fantasy, and lives in the UK. You can stay up to date with Kate's books through her Amazon author page.

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Cover Reveal: Behind the Lens by Cassandra Giovanni with Giveaway

The cover is designed by Gio Design Studios. This cover reveal is organized by Lola's Blog Tours.

Behind the Lens

BEHIND THE LENS

Boys of Fallout #2
By Cassandra Giovanni
YA/NA Coming of Age

COMING. . .
MARCH 14th, 2017!!!










Natalie Scott's life is simple with no strings attached. As a band photographer, she's made metal music her life, and life on tour means no relationships.

At least not ones that last and that's the way she likes it.

She only has one rule.

Don't date or otherwise screw around with the client.

But she never said anything about love.

Brent Andrews knows Natalie's rules.

And he's about to make sure he's an exception to them.

All of them.

Even ones she didn't know she had.


You can find Behind the Lens on Goodreads

You can pre-order Behind the Lens on Amazon.

Excerpt
I scrunch my nose up as I look at the door hanging open for us. "It's going to be a love fest in there, isn't it?"
Brent scratches his chin. "Honestly, every time the girls have shown up, I've had a girlfriend--so I've never really paid much attention."
I swallow, looking down at my shoes before looking over at him. "Was it a love fest for you?"
He blinks at me a few times, his lips in a stern line. "We don't just start fucking all over the bus."
I throw my hands up. "Hey, I know how it is. You haven't gotten laid in a few months and you get to see your significant other--"
"Is that all you think we think about?" he asks, a slight smirk on his face. "Or is that all you think about?"
My face burns red, and I shake my head. "No--not at all."
"Brent?" a woman's voice calls at our backs.
"Tay!" Brent replies as he turns, pulling her into a hug. "It's good to see you!"
Tay smiles as she pulls away from him. "I forgot how lovely you guys smell right after you get off stage."
I watch as Brent's face turns red, and he puts his hands in his pockets as he rocks on his heels. "Sorry, I haven't gotten a chance to shower."
She punches him in the shoulder. "Seriously, Brent? Believe me, Kie smells no better than you do. Speaking of which, where is he?"
Brent glances at me and then to the woman. She has long blonde hair curled into waves with ice blue eyes that are anything but cold. She smiles as she looks over at me, holding out her hand. "I'm sorry, this was rude of me--you must be Natalie, the photographer? I'm Taylor, Kie's girlfriend. Everyone calls me Tay."
I shake her hand. "You're the first one to actually introduce yourself to me. The other girls didn't even notice me at all."
She laughs, running a hand through her hair. "I'm sure if I saw Kie, I would've ignored you too!"
I nod over my shoulder. "Brent, go take a shower. I'll help Tay find wherever Kie ran off to."
Brent narrows his eyes at me, and I smile up at him. "You do smell."
He blinks at me. "And you smell any better?"
My eyes widen and he puts his hands up before backing slowly onto the tour bus.
"I'm sorry if I smell," I say as I look down at my damp tank top.
Taylor laughs. "You definitely don't smell like any of them do."
"Thanks," I reply. I nod towards the building. "I think he went somewhere inside the venue."
We fall into step with one another and she looks over at me with a slow smile. "So you...and Brent?"
My face burns and I feel a cold sweat building on my spine. I tell myself it's just the difference in temperature between the air-conditioned backstage and the heat of Arizona outside.
"No, not at all," I reply, and my voice cracks.
Because I'm thirsty. Who wouldn't be after the workout that is doing show photography?
She bites her lip. "Sorry, I didn't mean to assume--"
I put a hand up, laughing a bit too high pitched. "Believe me, I've gotten used to people assuming that."
"So do you?" she asks, biting her lip as she looks at me.
"Like him?" I finish her sentence.
She closes her eyes as we walk further into the venue and shakes her head. "You don't have to tell me. We don't know each other...It just seemed like you do."
An awkward silence falls over us, and I clear my throat. "Uh, I think I saw Kie go this way. All these places are so different -- crazy mazes."
I hear a muffled noise that sounds like Kie and head towards the door I think it's coming from. I open the door to peek my head in and blink as I stare at Kie with a half naked girl wrapped around him and his pants at his ankles. His eyes meet mine, going wide before I slam the door shut.
Taylor stands back behind me, and she swallows, staring at the closed door. "Anything?"
My hands go into fists as I try to control my facial expression. "Place has rats apparently."
Her eyes drop to the floor, and she nods. "Sometimes they do."
"Maybe he made it onto the bus by now?" I say, linking my arm in hers. Guilt washes over me as I try to act like I saw nothing.
Her body is stiff, and I can tell by the blank look in her eyes that she knows the way Kie is. "Sure, if not, I'm sure he'll make his way there eventually."
Silence falls over us as we make our way towards the bus. My chest tightens as I glance over at her, and I bite my lip before asking, "So it's that obvious?"
Taylor shakes her head, looking over at me and her friendly eyes have a dark hint to them as does her tone when she replies, "What?"
I feel the need to distract her from whatever is going on in her head.
"That I might be..." I suck my lips into my mouth before admitting, "A tiny bit attracted to Brent?"
Taylor bursts out laughing. "A tiny bit? And who says it's only obvious one way?"


Get book 1 in this series!
Out of Beat
Book one in this series Out of Beat is available now! You can buy a copy on Amazon




Cassandra GiovanniAnd here she is. . .

Cassandra doesn’t remember a time when she wasn’t writing. In fact, the first time she was published was when she was seven years old and won a contest to be published in an American Girl Doll novel. Since then Cassandra has written more novels than she can count and put just as many in the circular bin. Her personal goal with her writing is to show the reader the character’s stories through their dialogue and actions instead of just telling the reader what is happening. Besides being a writer, Cassandra is a professional photographer known for her automotive, nature and architectural shots. She is happily married to the man of her dreams and they live in the rolling hills of New England their dogs, Bubski and Kanga.

For regular updates visit Cassandra’s website and sign up for her newsletter.

You can find and contact Cassandra here:
- Website
- Facebook
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- Goodreads
- Instagram
- Newsletter

GIVEAWAY!!!
There is a cover reveal wide giveaway for the cover reveal of Behind the Lens. One winner will win a swag pack including bookmarks and postcards (US only). And an ebook copy of the both books in the series, Out of Beat and Behind the Lens by Cassandra Giovanni.

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
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