Monday, May 23, 2011

Armchair BEA Introduction and Giveaway #1

Since my health and my finances prevent me from attending BEA (though one day I hope to go), I am staying home and enjoying Armchair BEA this week with lots of other great bloggers.  Today's post is simple:

Who are you, and how do you Armchair?
My name is Crystal and I am a bookaholic, I know I am and I am not undergoing any 12-steps to get rid of it. You see I could have worse habits, like 300 cats instead of books. Books don't need feeding or have to use the bathroom, they just sit there and look pretty on my shelves and only cause me some pain when trying to decide what to read next.
Okay that was me two years ago, now that number has probably tripled no matter how many books I give away on my blog. I'm pretty sure my husband is eying me and considering whether the insane asylum is a good idea or if I was gone there would he end up there after having to care for the kids by himself for that period of time. I'm pretty sure the books will win out in the end. Plus he has the benefit of me saying "hey honey, I think you would enjoy this book" and I haven't been wrong yet with book or author recommendations for him.

So who am I? I am an obsessed book blogger, who is going through a rough patch in my health at the current moment and that may have me in Duke Hospital within the next month, but it won't be in the mental health ward. With all of that I also get to say this is the last week of little league for my boys and while I have enjoyed watching them play and the camraderie of the other parents, I will be glad to see it end, because I do work as well and this 8-4 work, then 5:30 - 8:30 running the kids around and finally eating at 8:30 gets old pretty darn quick (and it was close to landing me in the insane asylum). I will be happy to catch back up on my reading and to actually see my boys more nights of the week. I hope also to get back to my blog more and visiting other blogs I have missed out on that while socializing at the ball field lately.

So that leads to the personal me. I am a wife of 13 years and my husband and I have actually been together for 19 years (since the end of our senior year of high school) and no you cannot do the math! I have a 10-year-old who is becoming a know-it-all, but he is a sweet boy and a 6-year-old who keeps me on my toes (he was singing California Gurls by Katy Perry while waiting in line at Walmart yesterday - Bikinis, zuchinnis, martinis). We also are owned by a sweet black cat who keeps getting into disagreements with snakes and his name is Buckwheat. And the final member of the family is our pound puppy Chewey (short for Chewbacca - my boys' are Star Wars addicts). Chewey is part lab and has the prettiest coat. He's also the perfect size, about 3/4 the size of a full-blooded lab. Everyone but Chewey and Buckwheat love to read, and Buckwheat loves to pester us when we read, so maybe he loves to read as well.

That's pretty much it - I have to say that blogging for the last two years has really led me to branch out in my reading and I love that. No longer am I waiting on 3-4 of my favorite authors to release new books, now I have a whole world open to me. Oh and I have a Kindle so I have even more books than my husband knows about, but hey a lot of them were free, okay some of them were free, he doesn't have to know about the ones I do the one-click thing with - you know it doesn't even seem like spending money ;)

So what about you? Tell me something about yourself and be entered in to win your choice of two books my read pile. I'll be putting up a page to look at the choices later today (it's here now), but there is something for everyone. I do have to limit this one to the US/Canada because of postage costs. It takes a lot of money for my book habit, ooops I mean to raise two hungry boys. LOL. Giveaway ends the end of this week, 5/27/11.
I'll also be running other giveaways this week because I like to share the wealth (and my husband likes me to remove some books from the house from time-to-time).

Adele Griffin's Teenage Yard Sale & Giveaway (author of Tighter)

My Teenage Garage Sale from 1988, Fall of Senior Year of High School.

Everything Must Go!

1. My Unrelenting Sarcasm (no value): When I was 17, this was my most overused personality trait and I wish I’d sold it off then. Sarcasm is a way of making people feel bad while safeguarding your own emotions. No fun.

2. My Little Brothers, ages 8-16: (Four for $1.00): Even though I love them all dearly, I probably would have sold them back then. The house always smelled like feet, the backyard was a jungle of skateboard ramps, and the TV was only on the Sports Channel. Ugh.

3. My AP Physics Notebook ($5.00): How’d I place into honors physics?  No idea. I did not belong there and I had no idea what I was doing there. Good doodles in the notebook, though.

4. My Paula Abdul mix tape: (no value, but I could be blackmailed with it).

5. My “signature” Benetton body fragrance (no value): for when you want to smell like inside an old lady’s pocketbook.

6. The real scent of my VW Rabbit (priceless). I think if I caught a whiff of that plastic/tanning oil/French fries scent, it would catapult me into a matrix of high school memories from which I might never return.

7. My impulse-purchase M.C. Hammer pants. ($20.00 for the real silk).  I truly thought I rocked this look. Sad.

8. My freshman-in-college boyfriend’s love letters to me ($200.00): I actually don’t know where these are, but I’d pay a grown-up amount of money to see them again. They were a touch scandalous, as I recall.

Thanks Adele for that fun look into your past!

About the Book
TighterWhen 17-year-old Jamie arrives on the idyllic New England island of Little Bly to work as a summer au pair, she is stunned to learn of the horror that precedes her. Seeking the truth surrounding a young couple's tragic deaths, Jamie discovers that she herself looks shockingly like the dead girl—and that she has a disturbing ability to sense the two ghosts. Why is Jamie's connection to the couple so intense? What really happened last summer at Little Bly? As the secrets of the house wrap tighter and tighter around her, Jamie must navigate the increasingly blurred divide between the worlds of the living and the dead.

Brilliantly plotted, with startling twists, here is a thrilling page-turner from the award-winning Adele Griffin

I have one copy of Tighter by Adele Griffin to giveaway.  Open to US/Canada only, simply fill out the form below.  Ends 5/30/2011.

If you can't see the form below, you can find it here.

Book Tour: The Shepherd by Ethan Cross

The Shepherd
The Shepherd by Ethan Cross
Publisher: Fiction Std.
Publish Date: March 16, 2011
Paperback, 400 pages 
Fiction, Suspense

 ISBN: 978-1936558063

***My review will come later this week - and this book starts off with a bang and has me entranced so far.***

About Ethan Cross

Ethan CrossWhen a fireman or a policeman would come visit his school, most of his classmates’ heads would swim with aspirations of growing up and catching bad guys or saving someone from a blazing inferno. When these moments came for Ethan Cross, however, his dreams weren’t to someday be a cop or put out fires; he just wanted to write about it.
And his dream of telling stories on a grand scale has come to fruition with the release of his new book, The Shepherd.
Ethan Cross is the pen name of a thriller author living and writing in Illinois with his wife, two daughters, and two Shih Tzus.
For more information about Ethan, you can visit her website at

About The Shepherd

The  ShepherdMarcus Williams and Francis Ackerman Jr. both have a talent for hurting people. Marcus, a former New York City homicide detective, uses his abilities to protect others, while Ackerman uses his gifts to inflict pain and suffering. When both men become unwilling pawns in a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of our government, Marcus finds himself in a deadly game of cat and mouse trapped between a twisted psychopath and a vigilante with seemingly unlimited resources. Aided by a rogue FBI agent and the vigilante’s beautiful daughter -a woman with whom he’s quickly falling in love- Marcus must expose the deadly political conspiracy and confront his past while hunting down one of the most cunning and ruthless killers in the world.

Book Excerpt

The dream always started the same. With the darkness, came memories and pain. Every night, Marcus Williams found himself trapped in a prison without walls. His recollections painted a dark portrait that didn’t simply reside somewhere deep within his subconscious. He had seen it with his own eyes. The world of his memories and the setting of his nightmares had left a stain on his soul and blood on his hands—neither of which could ever truly be washed away.
Like countless others before him, he had begun his career as a young police officer with a head filled by ideals like justice will prevail and good always triumphs over evil. It didn’t take him long to discover that the old cliché of justice being blind was fairly accurate, and more often than not, evil was better funded than good. He had sat on the outside, looking in on a world fueled more by money and power than by the long-forgotten concepts of honor and virtue.
During his time as a protector of the peace, he witnessed many atrocities. He beheld injustices that consisted not only of the acts that men committed, but also of the punishment, or lack thereof, that they received. He had seen good people, who had committed crimes out of desperation and necessity, sentenced to the harshest degree of the law. By the same token, he witnessed justice turn a blind eye to certain individuals because of the size of their bank account or the amount of power that they wielded.
His time as a caretaker of chaos had left him not only haunted by painful memories, but also plagued by soul-shaking visions that tormented him upon entering the deepest recesses of sleep.
His heart raced as the events of a fateful night from his past played out deep inside his mind. He knew that he was dreaming and that nothing could erase the events recorded forever upon the pages of his memory. The fact that it wasn’t real didn’t make the experience seem any less authentic. He could feel the same chill in the air. He could smell the same scent of the river nearby. And he could hear the same scream that called to him on that night; a scream that his dreams would never allow him to forget.
Through the endurance of countless nights of restless sleep, he had learned that if he focused hard enough and screamed with enough ferocity inside his mind, the echoes from his subconscious triggered a reaction in the conscious side of his brain. Through the act of silently screaming, he could break the chains of sleep and save himself from reliving the painful events of his past.
He awoke alone, drenched in sweat from forehead to rib cage. The clock read 5:15.
He stumbled down the hallway to a room containing the device that would transport him from semi-consciousness to alert coherence. Entering the kitchen, he headed to his trusty coffee pot. Caffeine…every aspiring insomniac’s best friend.
Moving to the living room, he flipped on the television and cycled through the channels. He sat on a folding chair. Unpacked boxes surrounded him. The television and the coffee pot had been the first items to be unboxed.
Only five channels came in clearly, and he found himself forced to choose between a multitude of infomercials or a local news program. Since he had yet to come to the place in his life where he felt the need for knives that could cut through a tin can as easily as a tomato, a boxed set of the greatest country songs from the 60s, or a can of spray-on hair replacement, he switched to Channel Four News.
As he sipped his coffee and watched, an image flashed onto the screen that drew his attention. He was certain that he had never seen the face that stared back at him, but he sensed a vague familiarity in the man’s features that he couldn’t pinpoint. He also recognized something in the man’s eyes that he knew all too well. The man’s gray eyes reflected a hunger that dwelled in the darkest regions of a tainted soul. He saw a raging fire inside the man and knew that neither food nor drink could quench his thirst or appease his never-ceasing appetite. He had seen a similar hunger on a night from his past that he could never remember to forget. He turned up the volume.
“Most recently, Ackerman is believed to be responsible for the brutal murders of three men, including two Colorado State Troopers. But there was an unexpected twist to the story. Ackerman allegedly took one of the men’s family hostage and forced them to play a sadistic game. This is what a representative from the Colorado State Patrol, Major Christian Steinhoff, had to say at a recent press conference.”
The image cut to a man at a podium who expounded upon the details of the incident with the family, describing the miraculous survival of one of the victims, a woman named Emily Morgan. A picture of the woman flashed onto the screen. Her pale features seemed luminescent.
“Francis Ackerman Jr. is considered armed and highly dangerous. He is believed to be responsible for the brutal slayings of an undetermined number of men and women since his recent escape from a mental institution in Michigan and is wanted for questioning in several other ongoing criminal investigations. In an interview yesterday afternoon, a representative from the Dimmit County Sheriff’s Department told one of our reporters, Julian Harms, that this man will likely be remembered as one of the most prolific serial killers in U.S. history… In other news, presidential candidate and front runner, Paul Phillips, will be speaking in San Antonio…”
In the last moment before politics replaced the killer’s image, Marcus felt frightened and yet curious in regard to the killer from the TV. What could drive a man to commit such terrible acts? He realized that the world was a vast sea of infinite possibilities. Any number of circumstances could account for an ordinary man’s departure from the world of the mentally stable and socially acceptable into the realm of the criminally insane.
He considered that—sometime in the not too distant future—a scientist might discover that the root of all serial killers and violent offenders did not stem from a connection with an abused childhood or dark suggestion from the realm below. Perhaps, the root of insanity was actually yellow dye number five or red dye number forty, either of which could be found in the common Twinkie.
The concept of Insanity by Reason of Twinkie brought a smile to his face and allowed him to stop thinking about the killer from the TV and, if only for a few precious seconds, the dark deeds of his own past.


FTC Information: I received this book from the publisher through Pump Up Your Book Promotion for an honest review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.