Pretty Fierce by Kieran Scott (Giveaway and Excerpt!)

 

An action-packed, edge-of-your-seat novel about a teen who, when backed into a corner, fights back, from the author of What Waits in the Woods

Kaia has been on the run her whole life. The daughter of professional assassins, she knows danger—and she’ll do anything to survive. After her parents vanished during a job gone bad, Kaia’s spent the last year in hiding, trying to blend in as an ordinary teenager, and there’s no one who makes her feel more normal, more special, than her boyfriend, Oliver.

But when she’s attacked by someone from her mother’s past and Oliver catches her fighting back, Kaia’s secret is exposed. In a split-second decision, she flees the small town, taking Oliver with her. Stalked at every turn, Oliver and Kaia must protect each other…or die trying.

 

KIERAN SCOTT is the author of several acclaimed young adult novels, including the Non-Blonde Cheerleader trilogy, the He’s So/She’s So trilogy, and Geek Magnet. She also wrote the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Private and Privilege series under the pen name Kate Brian. She is a senior editor at Disney/Hyperion and resides in New Jersey with her family. Visit kieranscott.net.

 

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Kobo | iTunes | Indiebound

 

GIVEAWAY! Enter to win here.

 


EXCERPT 

KAIA

“How did you find me?”

His thin lips curled into a sneer. “Word is out, liebling. You should thank me because I’m going to make your death nice and quick. Others will be coming for you and they won’t be as kind as I intend to be.”

Others? The very word sent a spiral of fear down my spine.

“What did you do to Henry and Bess?” I demanded.

Slowly, the visitor walked past me, slipping the side of his knife across the placket of his gray pinstriped jacket over and over again. My blood left tiny red hash marks in the fabric. He came to a stop behind my chair.

“To who? Those trolls you call protectors? I’m sure they’ll find their bodies before the end of the month.”

A real sob welled in my throat. “You sonofa—”

He grabbed me by the hair. Before he could bring the knife to my neck, I drew my arms forward, then yanked my elbows back as hard as I could into his gut. His knife hit the floorboards as he doubled over and I kicked it away. He was as good as dead, but knives were not my style. I was a gun girl, born and raised. I yanked the shotgun off the mantle—the one Henry had told me he always kept loaded in case of emergency—turned around, and whacked the guy across the chin with the side of the stock so hard even I saw stars. I was going to have to thank Bess for making me keep up the kickboxing training—for keeping me strong. If I ever saw her again.

Please let this guy be lying about what he’s done to them. Henry and Bess had become my family over the last year and a half. They were the only family I had left. I couldn’t lose anyone else. I just couldn’t.

The impact from my blow had laid the German out, and I brought my foot down on his neck, choking off his air supply.

Shotguns leave a serious mess, and they can be painful as hell to fire, but you can load the shell from the magazine into the chamber with one hand. Click clack. It’s pretty badass. I aimed the gun at his face and looked down the sightline at the man’s quivering, bloody upper lip.

“Please, kid,” he rasped. “Please. I’m only doing my job.”

“Not anymore,” I said.

See? Badass.

But then I started to sweat. My throat tightened, and my vision went fuzzy. I didn’t want to do this. Not really. Not again. But I had to. If I didn’t kill him, he was most definitely going to kill me.

I had this sudden, vivid memory of my uncle Marco frying ants with a magnifying glass when I was about five. When I’d burst into tears, he’d looked over his shoulder at me, his glass eye glinting, and sneered. “Survival of the fittest, baby.”

“Please kid,” the guy choked out now. “Please.”

I clenched my teeth. My finger twitched on the trigger. Before I ended him, I needed to ask him who’d sent him here. It was what my parents would have done.

“Kaia?”

I blinked. The screen door creaked open, and Oliver was there, staring. Oliver Lange. My boyfriend. His unruly blond curls were slicked back with water from his postpractice shower, and his solid soccer bod practically filled the doorway. Oliver was the love of my life. The only person left on this godforsaken earth who gave two shits about me.

“What’re you doing?”

He looked, understandably, like he was about to throw up, and suddenly I was reliving, in vivid detail, the day just over a year ago when Oliver and I had met. I’d dropped my books all over the floor in front of my locker when Oliver’s soccer ball had hit my shoulder—an accident that felt like the icing on the crapcake that was my life. It was my second week at South Charleston High School—the first normal school I’d ever been to, and hardly anyone had said a word to me. I’d spent every night for three months not sleeping, searching the internet for any sign of my parents, waiting for a text or a call or an email, and afraid of the nightmares I had whenever I closed my eyes. I was so exhausted that when my books hit the floor, I’d almost lost it. Yes, I’d almost cried over spilled books.

But then Oliver was there, helping to gather up my things, looking directly into my eyes. And unbelievably, what I’d seen there was understanding.

“Hey,” he said. “It’s gonna be okay.”

“Is it?” I asked.

“I’m Oliver,” he said.

“I’m Kaia,” I replied.

He offered his hand to shake, and when our fingers touched, I knew nothing would ever be the same.

“Kaia?” Oliver said again in the here. In the now.

I blinked.

Behind him, a black SUV careened around the corner into view. No plates. It didn’t belong here. We were about to have more company. And Oliver was in their line of fire.

No. Hot desperation welled inside my chest. Not Oliver.

He was everything good and pure in this world. Broken, yes. But to me that made him all the more perfect. And he loved me. Almost every single detail I’d told him about myself had been a lie, except for the fact that I loved him too. That was 100 percent true. And I wasn’t about to let him die.

I flipped the gun around, brought the butt down in the center of Picklebreath’s forehead, and snatched my canvas backpack from the floor. My eyes lit on the German’s duffel, tossed carelessly next to the front entry.

“Grab his bag,” I ordered Oliver.

“What?”

I groaned, leaned past him, and picked it up myself. Brakes squealed outside.

“Get inside!” I shouted to Oliver as I grabbed his arm and dragged him into the house.

“What the hell is going on?”

“Oliver, I swear I will explain everything!” I shoved him ahead of me, through the kitchen toward the back door. There was blood all over the floor—Betty and Henry’s blood—and he slipped in it as he reached for the handle. I swallowed hard and held my breath to keep from throwing up. Outside, a second set of brakes screeched, and a car door popped, then another, then another. “Please! Just run!”

By Your Side by Kasie West

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Honestly, there’s nothing Kasie could write that I wouldn’t want to read. She’s an auto-buy author for me, and I’ve never been disappointed.

In By Your Side, we get to live vicariously through Autumn, who gets stuck in the library after closing (could there even be any better situation for a book lover?) when she runs back in to use the restroom. Somehow her group of friends doesn’t realize that she’s not with them (thanks to multiple cars), and they take off for their weekend adventures. It’s not long before Autumn realizes she’s not alone, either – she’s stuck with Dax, who’s known as a troublemaker. There are a whole lot of situations that line up perfectly to make it so they’re truly stuck in the library over a long weekend, but all of it adds up to a fun story with a classic Kasie West sweetness.

Check out By Your Side here on Amazon or at your favorite book store. Enjoy!

Any Boy But You by Julie Hammerle

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Because I’ve really liked the books I’ve read by Julie Hammerle, I jumped at the chance to read Any Boy But You, the first in a new series set in North Pole, Minnesota. I could tell from the description that this would be an enemies to romance kind of story, but I wasn’t expecting it to be so much fun.

Any Boy But You is sort of a crazy mix of Romeo & Juliet (family feud involving their sporting goods stores), Pokemon Go, and You’ve Got Mail (through the a game’s chat feature). It sounds strange, but it all somehow worked together and made a cute, fun story. My favorite aspect, though, is the setting – North Pole is a quirky town where it’s basically Christmas year round. There were so many great things about North Pole (the best was the Chinese restaurant) that I’m looking forward to reading future books set in this town.

My only complaint about it would be that there’s more language than I really felt was necessary, so it’s not something I’d put in my middle school classroom, but I feel like it’s fine for high school. Check it out here on Amazon or at your favorite bookseller and enjoy!

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#Famous by Jilly Gagnon

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#Famous is a fresh and new rom-com that follows Rachel and Kyle through some crazy insta-fame and the repercussions of an innocent tweet gone viral.

Rachel, a funny, somewhat nerdy kind of girl without many followers, tweets a picture of her crush, Kyle, in his Burger Barn uniform. It’s supposed to just go to her best friend, really, but the picture combined with her sense of humor make for a tempting retweet, and it goes viral in a matter of just a few hours. Suddenly Kyle’s dealing with fame, Rachel’s dealing with embarrassment at having revealed her crush to the world, and things are quickly spiraling out of control.

I loved this book, told in an incredibly well done dual POV, for its fun story and real characters. I loved that, while Rachel and Kyle certainly had their faults, they were both genuinely good people. I also loved that they learned some real and valuable lessons about the internet, fame, and relationships. Click here to see it on Amazon, or request it at your favorite book store!

Official Blurb:

In this modern-day love story, Girl likes Boy, Girl takes photo of Boy and posts it online, Boy becomes accidentally insta-famous. And what starts out as an innocent joke spirals into a whirlwind adventure that could change both their lives—and their hearts—forever. But are fame and love worth the price?

Told in alternating points of view, #famous captures the out-of-control thrill ride of falling for someone in front of everyone.

Lisa Brown Roberts: It Takes a Village (of Characters)

 

 the-replacement-crushI’m excited today to host Lisa Brown Roberts, who has a few books out that I’ve loved this year: The Replacement Crush, which I told you about a while back, and Playing the Player, which happens to be on sale for .99 for the next couple of weeks. You can click on the book covers to find them on Amazon.

One of the things I love most about Lisa’s writing is her characters. They’re fun and engaging and realistically flawed… like they’re all people you’d actually enjoy hanging out with. And, that doesn’t end with the main characters; Lisa makes sure every character, from parents to best friends to even the smallest of supporting roles, is interesting and somehow makes the book better. I asked her to share a little bit with us about how her characters take shape, so I’ll turn it over to her!playing-the-player


I think it’s safe to say my books are character-driven, because my stories always grow from the characters- who they are at the beginning, the choices they make (good and not so good), and how they grow. I love creating the main characters of my books, but I really enjoy developing the secondary characters, too. They often surprise me and end up being the funniest or most memorable characters, according to a lot of my readers.

For instance in THE REPLACEMENT CRUSH, there’s a rock star who ends up playing a significant role in the story. When I first drafted the book, he didn’t even have a speaking role, he was just a guy on the beach to drool over and provide comic relief for my heroine and her bestie. He had other ideas, however, and I’ve heard from so many readers about him, as well as other secondary characters. I’m often asked if I’ll write another story set in Shady Cove, giving a couple of the secondary characters their own romance. That’s always a good sign, when readers want more of a setting and characters!

In PLAYING THE PLAYER, though the book is a romance, much of the story focuses on friendship. Both Trina and Slade, the hero and heroine, have best friends (Desi and Alex) who are the types of friends I love- honest, supportive, funny, and kind. Desi and Alex call out bad behavior and push Slade and Trina to be better people. They also know when to just listen, and laugh. And when Slade and Trina’s opposites-attract summer romance hits a rocky patch, it’s their best friends who encourage them not to give up, and to stop being stupid.

This book also features two crazy little kids, who often steal the show. When I first wrote PLAYING THE PLAYER I wasn’t sure how readers would respond to a story about two teen nannies dealing with two crazy kids, but I was in love with the idea, and really in love with those little kids, so I wrote it anyway. Fortunately it was a big hit with readers, and I’m so happy I trusted my intuition.

As a mom, I like to write books that include parents as well, because teens don’t live in a vacuum- but I don’t ever want to write “lecturing” books. I strive to create relatable parents who aren’t perfect but aren’t horrible, either, just real people who love their kids. In some cases the parents make painful choices, like in my first book HOW (NOT) TO FALL IN LOVE, when the heroine’s father leaves the family rather than deal with problems he caused, and the mom doesn’t cope with the abandonment very well.

However, I’m a firm believer in redemption and resilience, so this book ends on a hopeful note, and both parents are inspired to do better by their daughter’s courage.

Our real lives are peopled with amazing characters, and I hope to the same with the imaginary worlds I create, inventing characters who come to life, and who you’d like to meet in real life.

Guest Post: Rachel Harris, author of My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century

It’s a pleasure to have Rachel Harris, with us, author of the lovely My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century, which I told you guys about a few days ago. You can see my recommendation here.

Hi everyone! First, I want to thank Melissa for having me on her blog today, and for featuring My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century. This book was so much fun for me to write, and my main character, Cat Crawford is a hoot! Today, she’s here to give us all some quick and easy tips for how to dress in the Renaissance. It’s important to note that she’s a twenty-first century girl, so her opinions may not exactly be shared by her sixteenth-century cousins  (*grin*).

Take it, Cat!

Fashion Dos and Don’ts of the 16th Century with Cat Crawford

Okay peeps, as you may know, I recently returned from a time travel adventure to the past. Like, 500 years in the past. And there was a lot to love, but I also spotted some major faux pas going on. So today, I’m here to share Quick and Easy Renaissance Fashion 411 for all future time travelers.

Do:

  • Go for the natural look. People, the sickly white makeup with garish scarlet cheeks is not doing anyone any favors.

Don’t:

  • Immediately dismiss the men’s colored tights and puffy shorts look. I know, it’s not exactly what hotties today are sporting, but once you get over the eye-popping shock, you actually come to appreciate the yum-a-licious views of their legs. Well, when they’re attached to a hottie, that is.

Do:

  • Work the skirt. See, you’re gonna be in dresses—actually surcoats—the entire time, so start practicing the hip sway now. With those swishing skirts accentuating your shrunken waistline (we’ll get to that in a second), attention will be drawn away from the bazillion cultural mistakes you’re bound to be making. (Case in point: do not say the word dude or mention drinking water. Trust me.)

Don’t:

  • Freak out about the corset or corselet if you’re in Florence. The upside, you don’t have to wear them every day. The down side, they do exist. And they suck. And they are from the devil.

Do:

  • Sneak a couple pairs of underwear somewhere on your person before you depart. Chicas in the past? Yeah, lots of layers going on, but there’s no primitive version of Victoria’s Secret. I hear some wore option linen drawers, but I saw none of that. So, either embrace the commando or bring some undies from home. You’ll thank me.

And Finally, Don’t:

  • Forget to enjoy the hairstyles. Seriously, the most creative thing I do at home is a French twist or plugging in my curling iron. These women go all out. And bonus, you get your own maid to brush your hair. I guarantee you’ll turn into a pile of goo…unless you get a maid like my cousin Alessandra. Yanking sucks.

 

Click the image below to check find the book on Amazon!

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