Tuesday 31 March 2015

Book Promo - Destiny

Set in one of the oldest parts of Melbourne, Australia, where thousands of bodies still sleep under the carpark of the Queen Victoria Markets, this is the story of a nineteen year-old girl, Lili McIntyre. When Lili decides to trade her California summer for a mid-winter visit to Australia, it’s in hope of finding inspiration and direction in the country where her father was born.

But when she arrives in Melbourne, the first thing she finds is the last thing she’s looking for—a brooding man who makes her heart race every time she see him.

Against her better judgement, Lili finds herself drawn into a relationship that tests her very beliefs about life, reality and fantasy. But the real test is how to follow her destiny as she faces some of the hardest decisions of her life.

 Author bio:
S M Spencer was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area.

As a young teenager her mother introduced her to the world of romantic suspense by encouraging her to read the works of authors such as Daphne du Maurier and Mary Stewart. These books stirred a passion in her that would last a lifetime—to become a writer.

Feeling the need to experience life before embarking on a writing career, Ms Spencer completed a business degree. Her career eventually landed her in Melbourne, Australia, where she has lived ever since. Yet her true passion to be a writer never abated.

SM Spencer now writes from her home in the outskirts of Melbourne, where she lives with her husband, horses, cats and dogs.

You can follow S M Spencer on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/SMSpencer.writer

Saturday 28 March 2015

Book Review - Artichoke Hearts

Title: Artichoke Hearts
Author: Sita Brahmachari
Series: Mira Levenson (Book 1)
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Release Date: 7 Jan. 2011
ISBN-13: 978-0330517911

Twelve-year-old Mira comes from a chaotic, artistic and outspoken family where it’s not always easy to be heard. As her beloved Nana Josie's health declines, Mira begins to discover the secrets of those around her, and also starts to keep some of her own. She is drawn to mysterious Jidé, a boy who is clearly hiding a troubled past and has grown hardened layers - like those of an artichoke - around his heart. As Mira is experiencing grief for the first time, she is also discovering the wondrous and often mystical world around her.

My Review
This isn't my usual sort of read, I do like the odd bit of contemporary fiction but wasn't too sure about this. I actually listened to it on audio book and really only picked it up because it was the only thing on the shelf at the time that wasn't Thomas the Tank or Fairies. I always have a book to listen to in the car and I needed a new one so this one ended up being picked and I have to say I was actually pleasantly surprised. I found myself enjoying the story and getting more engrossed the further through I went. 
Mira is 12, just at that awkward stage in life where things start to change and people start to look at you differently, she feels more mature but still unsure of the world around her. She's quite quiet but comes from an outspoken family and sometimes finds it hard to be heard, but she gets on very well with her grandma Josie, they almost seem to share their own little bubble in the world, so when Josie's health starts to decline Mira isn't sure what to do with herself.
The story follows Mira as she turns 12, has her first crush on a boy named Jide, deals with the decline and ultimate death of her Gran and just generally battles through the tribulations of growing up. There are moments of real sadness and you can feel Mira's emotion coming through but there are also moments of joy and laughter. 
Mira is a really sweet character and you can't help but really like her. She has a great way of looking at the world and describing what she sees and how it affects both her and those around her.
The narration on the spoken word was very good and captured Mira's quirks, I think listening to it actually bought the characters to life more and I can't say for sure of course but I think I enjoyed it more because I had that voice to relate to.
I would recommend it as a really good read for both children and adults alike. 

My Rating

Book Blitz - Secret Diamond Sisters

The Secret Diamond Sisters (The Secret Diamond Sisters #1)
Release Date: 02/25/14
Harlequin Teen
381 pages

Summary from Goodreads:
Savannah. Courtney. Peyton.

The three sisters grew up not knowing their father and not quite catching a break. But it looks like their luck is about to change when they find out the secret identity of their long-lost dad—a billionaire Las Vegas hotel owner who wants them to come live in a gorgeous penthouse hotel suite.

Suddenly the Strip's most exclusive clubs are all-access, and with an unlimited credit card each, it should be easier than ever to fit right in. But in a town full of secrets and illusion, fitting in is nothing compared to finding out the truth about their past.

Buy Links:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | Book Depository | iBookstore

"Sexy and often electrifying ... Gossip Girl meets The Princess Diaries in a city that never sleeps." 

"This quick and entertaining read is filled with glitz and glamour ... get ready for one crazy and fabulous ride." 

--RT Book Reviews

Book Two:

Diamonds in the Rough (The Secret Diamond Sisters #2)
Release Date: 10/28/14
Harlequin Teen

Summary from Goodreads:
All-access doesn't mean no problems.

The three Diamond sisters survived the summer in style after coming to live with their long-lost billionaire father. But making a place for themselves at their exclusive new Las Vegas private school is throwing them any number of gold-plated curves. Savannah's YouTube stardom turns into a Sweet Sixteen reality show extravaganza—with complimentary enemies on the side. Dangerous flirtations don't keep Peyton from a gamble that will risk far more than she planned to bet. And when Courtney and the sisters' archenemy, Madison, uncover two explosive secrets, it will rock even this town of glittering illusion—and turn their lives upside down all over again.

Sisterhood, first crushes, and scandalous secrets explode in book two of Michelle Madow's riveting series, The Secret Diamond Sisters.

About the Author
Michelle Madow was inspired to write The Secret Diamond Sisters series while walking through her favorite hotel in Las Vegas. The next book in the series, Diamonds in the Rough, launches in October. Prior to The Secret Diamond Sisters, she successfully self-published The Transcend Time Saga. A tireless promoter of her work, Michelle is active on social media networks and has toured across America to promote her books and encourage high school students to embrace reading and writing. A graduate of Rollins College, Michelle lives in Florida ... but she loves going to Vegas.

To chat with Michelle and other fans about her books, joinMichelle Madow's Street Team on Facebook!

Author Links:
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The fireworks started before either of them could say anything more, bursts of light shooting into the desert sky, bigger than any firework show Courtney had seen in Fairfield. It was impossible to ignore the electricity bouncing between the inches of space separating her and Brett, dancing across her skin with each boom overhead. She couldn’t stop glancing at him from the corner of her eye. He looked lost in thought, although sometimes she swore she caught him watching her, too. This went on for twenty minutes, and then came the finale—shot after shot of fireworks exploding, without a second’s break between them. Some sored into their air like comets and others spread like meteor showers, filling up miles of sky.
When it was over, Courtney was sitting so close to Brett that their arms were an inch from touching.
“How did you like it?” he asked, not making an effort to move away.
“I loved it,” she replied. “Thanks for bringing me.”
Her head felt fuzzy, and she pushed a strand of hair behind her ear, her arm brushing his. She stilled at the touch, and he looked at her with more intensity than he had the entire night.
“Are you two ready to leave?” Dawn destroyed the moment, standing up and brushing invisible dust off her jeans.
Courtney jerked backward, torn out of her trance. If the others hadn’t been there, what would have happened between her and Brett? She’d never kissed a guy before, but from the way he was looking at her, she felt like he’d wanted to kiss her. And if he had, she wasn’t sure she would have stopped him.
She shook her head at the thought. Courtney had never broken a rule in her life.
Whatever had just occurred between her and Brett could never happen again.

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Book Blitz Organized by:

Thursday 26 March 2015

Book Promo - The Sara Chronicles


Imagine yourself in a place where not only your wildest, most imaginative dreams but also your worst nightmares are a living, breathing reality. One second, you’re a helpless, victimized child, and the next you can control ocean currents, produce rainstorms, and freeze lakes. Would you use your powers for good? Or would you give in to the part of yourself that wants revenge and control over those who caused you pain?
This is exactly what a young girl named Sara had to decide when she was rescued from her horrible foster parents, the Finklesteins, and taken by her new guardian, Rianna, to a realm where magic has no limits and neither do Sara’s powers. Before Sara can decide, she meets three new friends: Thomas and James, two orphaned boys her age with similar abilities, and Olie, a powerful man who helps to guide the three of them on their quest to keep this magical universe in balance. With Olie and Rianna’s help, the children’s circle of three creates a strong bond that fights against the evil forces of the realm. When they meet Braccus, a most evil being who wants to disrupt the magical world the children have come to treasure, Sara, Thomas, and James know they have a dangerous road ahead of them. But they’re not alone; they soon meet another circle of three orphaned children with miraculous powers: Alice, Franklin, and Finola, and together the two circles of three create a force that will challenge even Bracus. But will these children be able to band together and save the world as they know it? Or will Bracus have his way and tear them asunder? Find out in Laura Hughes’s fast-paced and adventurous story, “The Sara Chronicles: The Beginning – Book One.”
Publisher: Tate Publishing
Publication Date: December 18, 2012
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
Book Series: Book 1 of 6
Formats: Paperback, Kindle, iBook
Print Length: 136 pages
Paperback Price: $9.98
Kindle Price: $6.99
iBook Price: $9.99

Registered nurse by day – author by night – I am an enthusiastic teller of tales. Most of my time off from my day job is spent running, working out, and thinking of new stories to tell. I love writing so much that I have written six complete books in five years with the seventh halfway finished. Notebook after notebook is filled with ideas for my characters and tales I want to start. Each book is like a movie playing in my head that I am just dying to share with others.
March 22, 2015: Random Things in Actionwww.haraiah.blogspot.com
March 23, 2015: Young Adult Book Reviews by Liz Winnwww.villagebookreviewya.blogspot.com
March 24, 2015: Read For Your Futurewww.readforyourfuture.blogspot.com
March 25, 2015: I Read Indiewww.twimom101bookblog.blogspot.com
March 26, 2015: Becky’s Barmy Book Blogwww.beckysbarmybookblog.blogspot.com
March 27, 2015: Books Galorewww.japourney.blogspot.ca
March 28, 2015: Word to Dreamswww.wordtodreams.blogspot.com
March 28, 2015: The Literary Melting Potwww.theliterarymeltingpot.com

Wednesday 25 March 2015

Book Review - My Smoky Bacon Crisp Obsession

Title: My Smoky Bacon Crisp Obsession
Author: J.A Buckle
Series: Half my Facebook Friends are Ferrets (book 2)
Publisher: Curious Fox
Release Date: 9 April 2015
ISBN-13: 978-1782023203

16-year-old Josh Walker is starting sixth form college and is determined to start a band, get a lot closer with his new girlfriend Becky and, hopefully, pass the odd A level. A few days in and he's already embarrassed himself in front of a class ... he'll need all the help his ferret, a little witchcraft and a lot of smoky bacon crisps can give ...

My Review
I read book one for a Book Day at work and loved it, as you can see in my review here. I then recieved a message from J.A herself and her publishers asking if I would like to review book 2 - which I obviously jumped at the chance for, then by some strange coincidence - on the book day at work we had a visitor from Curious Fox publishers and she gave me the advanced copy of this book.
The story follows on from where book 1 finished. Josh is now 16 and just about to start sixth form but it's not as easy as he thinks and there are more problems than just school. With a confused girlfriend that never seems to be happy, a mum who seems distant and vague, an ever annoying sister and the troubles of finding people to start a rock band, life is hard! But Josh is charming and funny and you can't help but like him- he can be a bit of a prat at times but that's part of his charm.
I found this book just as funny as the first with some real laugh out loud moments that will literally have you giggling as you read. Teenagers will relate to Josh and his friends whilst older readers will remember what it was like to be that age. 
With some real heart touching moments and some death rock metal lyrics too- this book has something for everyone and I would strongly recommend it. I hope to see more about Josh in the future and lots more from J.A Buckle.

My Rating  

Book Promo - unFocused

Hilary lives in a world that is supposed to be "perfect." The government provides all of the basic necessities and if you want additional items you can take on non-governmental work or odd jobs to earn luxury dollars to buy pretty much anything you could desire. The downside? She's assigned a career she hates, a place to live that she's never even been to before, and a guy she's supposed to marry that she's not even sure she likes. In fact, she's not sure she can ever feel that way about any guy, period. Oh yeah, and this all happens to everyone when they turn 17. Hilary tries to make the best of it but goes through a series of events that make her question who she is as a person and whether or not "perfect" can ever really exist, no matter what they want her to believe.

Buy Links:
If purchasing through Smashwords, you can use code HR72V to take 50% off ;)
Author bio:
Roselyn Jewell is an author, a wife, a mother, a friend, a sister, a daughter, and so much more! She's always loved reading and found herself wanting to continue the stories she loved so much, which is how she started writing. Now she's finally reached her dream of being published. 
She has 8 novels and 2 boxed sets on the market. Most are romance but there is also a mystery, a thriller, and a YA series she just started. 
She can be emailed at roselyn@roselynjewell.com or found on social media with username jewellromance.

Friday 20 March 2015

Book Review - A Boy Called Hope

Title: A Boy Called Hope
Author: Lara Williamson
Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd
Release Date: 1 Mar. 2014
ISBN-13: 978-1409570318

I'm Dan Hope and deep inside my head I keep a list of things I want to come true.
For example, I want my sister, Ninja Grace, to go to university at the North Pole and only come back once a year.
I want to help Sherlock Holmes solve his most daring mystery yet. And if it could be a zombie mystery, all the more exciting.
I want to be the first eleven-year-old to land on the moon.
I want my dog to stop eating the planets and throwing them up on the carpet.
And finally, the biggest dream of all, I want my dad to love me.

My Review
This was the last book I had to read for Children's Book of the Year day at work and I had heard really good things. My colleagues had read it first and they all told me how good it was and two of them said it made them cry, so I expected a lot. Maybe that was the problem - it was so bigged up to me that there was no way it could live up to my expectations.
The book started off quite well and I was fairly intrigued but I soon got a little bored in places, the storyline seemed fairly slow for me but at the same time quite predictable, there were moments when I was practically shouting at Dan to wake up and pay attention, he missed the most obvious things! But I did always feel sorry for Dan, he has got things a bit tough and he has lot to deal with but my annoyance at his character made it so I couldn't relate or feel for him as much as I would like. 
But saying that I didn't twig the twist about his new brother at all and really enjoyed that revelation, in fact I found myself enjoying the book a lot more when I got to the last 100 pages or so, I felt it picked up a lot pace and character wise. My favourite character is Big Dave, he's great and he really made me laugh, he's a great guy and you can see how much he cares about Dan and his mum. 
Overall I was quite conflicted with this book as I really struggled at first and then sort of enjoyed the ending. I think that maybe if I go back to it one day in the future I may enjoy it a lot more, and I think that it would be a very enjoyable read for children. It is moving and funny and Dan does turn out to be quite relateable. Worth reading for sure, I just wish I had got into it a bit more.

My Rating

Book Review - We Were Liars

Title: We Were Liars
Author: E. Lockhart
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Release Date: 15 May 2014
ISBN-13: 978-1471403989

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

My Review
This was another title on our Children's Book of the Year list at work and one that I was looking forward to, I had heard a lot of good things about it, had read some of her other books and enjoyed them and I knew it had won all sorts of prizes so I left it almost til last to read from our list of titles. The other members of staff doing the reading list had mixed opinions, so I went in not quite sure what to expect. 
There are a lot of characters in this book and I found myself getting confused as to who was who, there is a family tree in the front of the book which came in very handy as a reminder but I still found it quite hard to really connect to any of them. The main character - Cadence seems to be a bit of a selfish brat and is very dramatic. A lot of her dialogue seems over the top and she uses a lot of metaphors which I found a little bit annoying. 
Then I started to get into the book, I was intrigued - the island and teh mystery of her 'illness' had me wondering what was happening, but before long I found myself confused as to what exactly was happening. There is also supposed to be this 'big twist' at the end of the book that will make you wonder how you missed it - well I had sort of figured it out, without giving away spoilers I had guessed the she was the one, not her friends, so I was close and I wasn't that bowled over. 
When I finished the book I literally put it down and thought "what the heck have I just read?" it was a real struggle for me and I found myself more annoyed with the characters than empathizing them. And I don't understand why they were called liars, as they don't lie to themselves, each other or their parents, it was just very odd.
This seems to be a marmite book though, when discussing it on Book day with the other staff members from all the libraries they either really disliked it like me or raved about it. In fact it came 2nd place overall on the day with a number of votes which really shocked me. 
So teens may like it, and it's a very different idea. Always worth a try!

My Rating

Book Promo - Starley's Rust

Starley’s Rust
The EMBODIED trilogy #2
JB Dutton


Published: January, 2015
Format: Ebook & Paperback
Genre: YA urban fantasy
Length: 60,810 words, 206 pages in paperback
Ebook ISBN: 9781311725493
Paperback ISBN-13: 9781502843920 
Paperback ISBN-10: 1502843927
Review formats: Mobi, Epub, PDF

Ebook links

http://bit.ly/StarleysRustAPL (Apple iBookstore)
http://bit.ly/StarleysRustBN (Barnes and Noble Nook)
http://bit.ly/StarleysRustGoogle (Google Play)

Paperback links

Trilogy link

Cover URLs



A family mystery, an exiled race, freakish beasts, jealousy, love… and death. Kari Marriner has to face them all in the fast-paced urban fantasy thriller Starley’s Rust, book 2 of the Embodied trilogy by British-Canadian author JB Dutton.
Long blurb

Six months ago, Kari Marriner’s life was torn apart. Now turned 17, she’s looking for answers in her rural Wisconsin hometown. But just as the Embodied seemed to have vanished, there’s a new, more terrifying visitor from the Dark Universe.

Back in Manhattan, a charismatic English artist named Starley convinces Kari he can find her missing mother if she flies to Paris with him. He also shares an incredible secret from the dawn of mankind. But Starley is not who he seems. Before she knows it, Kari finds herself standing in front of the Mona Lisa with him, yelling out, “He’s got a bomb!”

And that’s when things go totally insane. The Rebel Embodied’s henchman, Cilic, returns to Earth on a deadly mission. The body of Kari’s treacherous friend Aranara is washed up on the banks of the Hudson. But is she really dead? In the Paris catacombs, Kari and Starley are hunted by a nightmarish mythical creature that’s all too real.

A family mystery, an exiled race, freakish beasts, jealousy, love… and death. Kari has to face them all in this fast-paced fantasy thriller.

Starley’s Rust is the spellbinding second novel in JB Dutton’s EMBODIED trilogy. The first installment, Silent Symmetry, was published in 2013 and reached the #1 spot on Amazon’s free Kindle ebook Futuristic & Sci-Fi Romance chart.

Short blurb

Six months ago, Kari Marriner’s life was torn apart. Now turned 17, she’s looking for answers in her rural Wisconsin hometown. Just as the Embodied seemed to have vanished, there’s a new, more terrifying visitor from the Dark Universe. A family mystery, an exiled race, freakish beasts, jealousy, love… and death. Kari has to face them all in Starley’s Rust, book 2 in JB Dutton's The Embodied trilogy.

Author reading

Excerpt 1

The sun was setting behind the buildings. A big barn with half the roof missing. A grain silo. A couple of smaller shed-type buildings, one with no door, the other with the door hanging off its hinges. And a farmhouse. Windows shattered. Front door gawping at me. I gulped and sent an ILY back to Cruz. He liked those.
Then I had the strangest feeling. Like a disruption in the atmosphere, but also in my mind. The air changed somehow, and I heard a rumbling of distant thunder. I could have sworn that the fading daylight got brighter for a few seconds. The hairs stood up on the back of my neck. It made me stop moving. Then reality seemed to snap back to normal. I kept going toward the farmhouse.
I saw something move.
The setting sun had backlit the barn so it was hard to be sure what it was. A horse, I think. A big, black stallion moving around in the barn.
My mind filled in the blanks. Probably a horse that had escaped from a neighboring farm and made a new home for itself here. Okay, cool. No mystery. Maddie must have seen it and her mind made it fit the legend.
I lay Maddie’s bike down in the grass, careful not to make a sound. I tiptoed toward the barn, not wanting to startle it. I turned on the flashlight app on my phone. Clouds were gathering, the light was fading. More distant thunder. I just needed to find it, take a photo and show Maddie. Her grandfather would know what to do, how to capture it safely and find its owner.
I entered the barn, still creeping quietly. Ew. It certainly smelled like a barn. There was hay strewn around on the ground. My phone flashlight was practically useless. It illuminated a patch, like, five feet in front of me. In the dim light, I could make out a row of stalls on each side and a hayloft up ahead with a ladder propped against it.
Now I thought about it, the smell was kinda weird. I grew up around here and although I’d never spent any time on a farm, I sensed that there was some kind of extra, non-farm smell here. Hard to identify. But yucky and familiar all the same.
Was that an animal noise in one of the stalls on the left? Or just the wind blowing through the holes in the walls? I crept toward the stall very, very carefully. My hand holding the phone was shaking. Come on, Kari. Get a grip. The sides of the stalls weren’t high enough to conceal a horse. Unless it was lying down in the hay, of course.
I reached the stall where I thought I’d heard the noise. I waited a second, held my breath, then stepped in front of the stall’s open gate. It was empty. And that’s when the hairs stood up on the back of my neck again. But this time there was another, all-too-familiar feeling along with it.
It was the feeling I had when Noon was in my head. Yet not exactly the same. This was unpleasant, even disturbing, and somehow stronger.
I spun around. In the barn doorway stood the black stallion. Protruding from its forehead was a long, tapered horn. It really was a unicorn. It raised its head and my mind felt like a heavy blanket had been draped over it. It eyed me purposefully. My irrational fear as a little girl came flooding back, multiplied by a million. I almost peed my pants. Was this a bad dream? Maybe I would wake up surrounded by My Little Pony’s in my 8-year-old’s bedroom?
If only…
The unicorn took a step forward. The feeling in my head got even stronger and now I could swear that I heard the name Noon repeating over and over. Not his voice, just his name. Was the unicorn Embodied? I didn’t get a chance to wonder about this because now the feeling in my head was becoming worse… painful. I was convinced that my mind was being probed by this astonishing creature. In the space of a few seconds, the pain increased and so did the repetition of the name Noon until it was so excruciating that I felt like screaming. I put my hands to my temples and opened my mouth. As I was about to close my eyes, I saw the unicorn start to charge toward me.
Despite the pain, I managed to fling myself to one side and into the empty stall just before it reached me. It galloped past and I heard it stop. My head was still throbbing. I staggered to my feet, one fist still pressed to my temple. Maybe I could make a break for it.
The unicorn appeared in front of me, blocking the stall entrance. I was totally trapped. I looked around in desperation. A broken wooden handle was poking out from a pile of hay in one corner. I grabbed it and pulled out a pitchfork. The unicorn advanced into the stall, its head lowered so that its horn was aimed directly at my head. The pain coursed through my brain like a river of electricity.
I swung the pitchfork at the unicorn’s head. I missed, but it backed up, startled. I swung again. It made a snuffling sound and stepped back further.
“LEAVE ME ALONE!” I screamed.
The unicorn cocked its head to one side like it was listening to me. The pain in my brain diminished.
I swung again and shouted the same thing.
The unicorn drew itself up to its full height and then something even more incredible happened. It raised its tail. But this was no stallion’s tail. It was like a huge peacock tail, shimmering with shades of black, gray, and silver. The tail fanned out, probably ten feet wide, and despite the pain in my head, I lowered the pitchfork, just standing there in awe. What was this being? It seemed to possess incredible power and at the same time be unimaginably beautiful. In fact, it was all the more terrifying because it was so beautiful.

Excerpt from Starley’s Rust
Copyright © 2015 John B. Dutton

Excerpt 2

The Mona Lisa was housed in a huge glass case embedded in a wall at the end of the gallery, barely visible above dozens of tourists’ heads. I tried to avoid eye-contact with the guards. We walked toward the milling throng of people, some shuffling closer to be in range to take a bad cellphone photo of the painting, others walking away from it, nodding in appreciation and mentally crossing another item off their bucket lists.
“So let’s just go over this again,” whispered Starley.
“Don’t worry – I’ve got it. We get nearer the painting then I put the backpack on the floor. You take out the fake bomb and I yell out that you’ve got a real bomb and then all hell breaks loose and I spend ten years rotting in a French prison.”
“Exactly! Except for the last part. Sentences are more lenient here than in the US.”
“Cool, I feel much better.”
He winked at me. “Let’s go, yeah?”
We edged our way through the massed tourists. My heart was in my mouth. My mouth was dry. I suddenly needed to pee. Everything felt like a movie.
Then there was nothing between us and the Mona Lisa except for a curved wooden barrier with a guard positioned each side of it.
“Now put the bag down slowly,” said Starley.
I unhooked it from my back and lowered it to the floor. I could feel the guards’ eyes burning into my skull. I stared at the painting. Those famous eyes stared back. Starley bent down and unzipped the backpack. Before I knew what was happening, he had leaped up onto the wooden barrier.
Now or never, Kari.
“HE’S GOT A BOMB!” I yelled as loud as I could.
Starley held the fake bomb high above his head with one hand.
Screaming. Shouting. The guards froze. People froze. Some tripped over each other in their rush to get away. What had I done? Now I was isolated in front of the painting. Starley had a can of spray paint in his other hand. He shook it, the rattling of the can joining the general soundtrack of panic. What was he doing?
Alarms went off. Incredibly loud. I put my hands over my ears. More screaming. Doors closing automatically. People cowering on the floor. Some just standing there, dumbly recording the chaos with their phones.
I stepped away from the backpack. One of the guards sprang to life and dived on top of it. The other, younger guard looked like he wanted to cry.
Starley sprayed a large, red T on the wall to the left of the Mona Lisa, a T on the right side of the painting, then an O on the glass cabinet, encircling her face.
ToT. He really was doing this for me.
He threw down the spray can and took something out of his pocket. A Ziploc bag. Reaching into it, he sprinkled flecks of rust onto the paint. Some stuck to it, some fluttered down like grungy confetti.
The guard lying on the backpack was yelling something in French. Another guard from somewhere else in the gallery appeared and grabbed Starley’s leg. Starley shouted, “Temple of Lies!” The younger guard regained his composure and helped his colleague drag Starley down from the barrier.
I looked around. I didn’t dare intervene. What was the point? And all the while, people were filming the stunt. Oh yeah, this was going to get some attention.
The guards wrenched the fake bomb from Starley’s hand and quickly clued in that they had been tricked. The guard lying on top of the backpack stood up and looked inside it. He recoiled. He must have squished the leftover stinky cheese.
Starley was beaming.
The brave guard said something into a walkie-talkie and the gallery doors reopened. The guard who had jumped Starley slapped some handcuffs on him and started to lead him away with the young guard. But the brave guard stopped them. He looked closely at Starley’s face, then turned to me. My insides churned. He said something else to his colleagues, then Starley said something and the brave guard slapped him across the cheek. I yelled out, “Hey!” and before I knew it, I was being cuffed too.
“Sorry,” said Starley.
But you know what? I didn’t care. I could see the tourists sharing their photos and videos of the stunt on their phones. I knew that Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube would soon be buzzing with the latest Temple of Truth scandal. And this was Starley’s plan. It was performance art that would go viral, which meant that Salas and the other Embodied couldn’t just buy the artwork to hide it from public view. And I was in every video too.
As the guards led us out of the gallery, I started to smile. My guard didn’t like that. He said something in French and shook my arm roughly. Real cops were coming toward us. I had a last glance back at the Mona Lisa. It looked way better with Starley’s rust on it.

Excerpt from Starley’s Rust
Copyright © 2015 John B. Dutton


“The second book is as well; it's fast-paced, keeps the attention, has a great, suspenseful plot that ties in well with the first book but spins everything off in a different direction, and pulls in a lot of cool mythology while at the same time getting a great "alien" vibe in.”

“Character development is great--we continue to follow the struggles Kari has to deal with as she searches desperately for the mother that everyone else insists is dead, and the new character, Starley, is great. Quirky, mysterious, funny and sad, he brings a great dimension to the story.”

“Some parts of the books have great suspense, while some deal with issues all young adults can relate to: the fickleness and confusion of love, the need to break the rules and do something extraordinary, the sadness and desperation of losing a loved one. It's never preachy though, and always fun.”

About the author

After graduating from film school in London, England, John emigrated to Montreal in 1987, where he still lives with his two young children and their even younger goldfish. He spent over a decade as a music TV director before moving into the advertising industry as an award-winning copywriter for clients such as Cirque du Soleil. John has written novels, short stories, blogs, screenplays and a stage play, and is currently writing a trilogy of Young Adult novels. John speaks four languages and has been married three times in three different countries in three different decades. He therefore likes the odd pint of Guinness. And he’s pretty keen on the even pints too…

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Blog: http://JohnBDutton.wordpress.com

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Author contact info

Private email: jdutton@gmail.com
Public email: johnbduttonauthor@gmail.com
Telephone: (514) 992-5771