Monday, July 17, 2017

Nerd Blast: Killing is My Business by Adam Christopher

A blend of science fiction and stylish mystery noir featuring a robot detective: the stand alone sequel to Made to Kill
Another golden morning in a seedy town, and a new memory tape for intrepid PI-turned-hitman--and last robot left in working order-- Raymond Electromatic. When his comrade-in-electronic-arms, Ada, assigns a new morning roster of clientele, Ray heads out into the LA sun, only to find that his skills might be a bit rustier than he expected....
Killing is My Business is the latest in Christopher's noir oeuvre, hot on the heels of the acclaimed Made to Kill.


"Hits hard, spins your head around, and leaves you stunned. The Ray Electromatic mysteries are so freakin’ perfect you’d think robot hitmen and retro supercomputers had always been part of noir fiction.”—Peter Clines, author of Paradox Bound and The Fold

"Humor, action, and heart: everything I've come to expect from an Adam Christopher book, and then some. A marvelous read!"—New York Times bestseller Jason M. Hough, author of Zero World

“Delivers like a punch from a two-ton robot in a zoot suit.”—Delilah Dawson 

"Atmospheric and charming as hell. Adam Christopher has an extraordinary talent for scooping you up and dropping you into an alternative LA that feels just as real as the street outside your house."—Emma Newman


"Robot noir in 60s Los Angeles? You had me at 'Hello.'"—John ScalziNew York Times bestselling novelist

"Gripping, funny, deadly and suspenseful."—Boing Boing
“Delivers like a punch from a two-ton robot in a zoot suit.”—Lila Bowen (aka Delilah Dawson)

"The dialogue is effortlessly swift and clever, and even the B-movie climax is a spectacle to behold. Above that, though, Ray sparks to live, and his antiheroic slant only makes him that much more compelling and and sympathetic. Knowing that there are only two more Raymond Electromatic mysteries to come is the book's only disappointment."—NPR

"Genre mash-ups don't always succeed, but this one will please fans of both gumshoes and laser beams."—Publishers Weekly

"A fun, fast read for anyone willing to take the speculative leap--a must-add for most fiction collections."—Booklist (starred review)

"Made to Kill is yet more proof that we should all be thankful for Adam Christopher and his imagination. This tale of robot noir is unlike anything I’ve ever read—Adam’s is a weird and wonderful voice and we are lucky to have it."—Chuck WendigNew York Times bestselling author of Aftermath

"Adam Christopher has brilliantly deduced what should have been obvious all along: Classic noir and robots are a perfect match. Part Chandler, part Asimov, and part Philip K. Dick, Made to Kill is a rip-roaring cocktail of smart, sharp, twisty, cyber-pulp awesomeness."—Adam Sternbaugh, author of Shovel Ready

"Made to Kill is just the sort of exciting genre collision that marks out Adam Christopher as one of the hottest new young SF writers."—Paul Cornell, author of The Severed Streets

"A smart, rollicking noir/SF mashup. One of the best books I've read all year."—Kelly Braffet, author of Save Yourself


Killing is My Business

Chapter 1

Listen to this:

Vaughan Delaney was a planner for the city of Los Angeles. He occupied a position high enough up the ladder that it entitled him to an office at an equally high altitude in a tall building downtown that was home to a number of other local government desks. The office came with a salary that was high for a city employee but nothing to write a favorite uncle about, and a view that was simply to die for.

Vaughan Delaney was forty-two years old and he liked suits that were a light blue-gray in color. He carried a buckskin briefcase that wasn’t so much battered as nicely worn in. On his head he liked to position a fedora that was several shades darker than his suit. The hat had a brim that looked at first glance to be a little wide for the kind of hat that a city planner would wear, but Vaughan Delaney did not break the rules, neither in his job nor in his private life. He had a position a lot of people envied, along with the life that went along with it, and he stuck rigidly within the boundaries of both.

Actually, that wasn’t quite true. Because the one thing that didn’t fit Vaughan Delaney was his car.

His car was 1957 Plymouth Fury, a mobile work of art in red and white with enough chrome to blind oncoming traffic on the bright and sunny mornings that were not uncommon in this part of California. The machine had fins like you wouldn’t believe and when the brake lights lit you’d think they were rocket motors. It was the kind of car you could fly to the moon in, only when you got to the moon you’d cast one eye on the fuel gauge and you’d pat the wheel with your kidskin-gloved hand, admiring the fuel economy as you pointed the scarlet hood off somewhere toward Jupiter and pressed the loud pedal.

It was a great car and it was in perfect shape. Factory fresh. It was getting on for ten years old but Vaughan Delaney had looked after it well.

And, I had to admit, that car caught my optics. It wasn’t jealousy—I liked my own car well enough, a Buick that was a satisfying ride, functional and elegant and with a few optional extras you wouldn’t find outside a science laboratory.

No, what I had for the red Plymouth Fury was something else. Admiration, and admiration for Vaughan Delaney too. He was every element the city man but that car was a jack-rabbit. Perhaps it was his mid-life crisis. Perhaps he was telling the city to go take a jump while he sat shuffling papers in his nice office with his sensible suit and practical hat. Look what I get to drive to the office in the morning, he said. Look at what I get to drive out to lunch every Wednesday. Look what I get to drive home in the evening. It was the kind of car that people would lean out of the office windows to take a look at, and Vaughan Delaney did every bit to help, the way he parked the red-and- white lightning bolt right outside the office door. Because Vaughan Delaney had reached a certain level within the city hierarchy that allowed him to pick his own secretary based on the color of her hair and the length of her skirt and he was not a man who had to walk very far from his car to his desk.

He was also a family man. When the Plymouth Fury wasn’t outside the office or being driven to lunch on Wednesdays it lived in a two-car garage that sat next to a modest but modern bungalow in Gray Lake. Next to the Fury was commonly parked a yellow vehicle that General Motors had shooed out the door without much of a fuss, a rectangular lozenge on wheels with whitewall tires shining and seat belt tight and the sense of humor removed for safety reasons. 

This was not a car to take much of an interest in. It belonged to Vaughan Delaney’s wife. Her name was Cindy Delaney. 

Cindy Delaney loved her husband and let him know by kissing him on the cheek each and every morning before her husband went to work. The children loved him too. There were two of those, a boy and a girl, and both of them had blond hair like their mother and they were both a decade shy of joining the army and both of them kissed their father on the cheek each and every morning like their mother did, the only difference being that Vaughan Delaney had to go down on one knee so they could smell his aftershave. Then he blasted off in the Plymouth Fury and the quiet street in Gray Lake was quiet once more until Cindy Delaney took the children to school in the yellow boat and then came back again twenty minutes later. Then she put on a housecoat to keep her dress clean and she drove a vacuum over the bungalow while her husband drove a desk down in the city.

 They were a nice family. Middle class, middle income, middle ambition. The children would grow up and the boy would play football at high school with his parents watching and the girl would play flute in the school orchestra with her 

I knew all of this because I’d been watching Vaughan Delaney for three weeks. I’d been to the street in Gray Lake and had sat in my car and I’d watched life in and around the bungalow. I’d been to the office building downtown and had sat in my car and watched the Plymouth Fury come in for landing and Vaughan Delaney hop, skip, and jump up the stairs into the building and then waltz down the same steps some eight hours later.

Vaughan Delaney looked like a swell guy with a good job and a nice car and a happy family.
It was just a shame that he had to die.

Excerpted from Killing is My Business © Adam Christopher, 2017
Keep an eye out for another excerpt from Killing is My Business appearing on this June!
About the author

Adam Christopher’s debut novel EMPIRE STATE was SciFiNow’s Book of the Year and a Financial Times Book of the Year. The author of MADE TO KILL, STANDARD HOLLYWOOD DEPRAVITY, and KILLING IS MY BUSINESS, Adam’s other novels include SEVEN WONDERS, THE AGE ATOMIC, and THE BURNING DARK.

Adam has also written the official tie-in novels for the hit CBS television show ELEMENTARY, and the award-winning DISHONORED video game franchise, and with Chuck Wendig, wrote THE SHIELD for Dark Circle/Archie Comics. Adam is also a contributor to the STAR WARS: FROM A CERTAIN POINT OF VIEW 40th anniversary anthology.

Born in New Zealand, Adam has lived in Great Britain since 2006.

Photo Credit: Lou Abercrombie

--Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter
10 Winners will receive a Copy of Killing is My Business by Adam Christopher

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

My Current Obsession: Ringly

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored by Ringly. I paid for this with my own money and all opinions are my own. I just want the rest of you to drink the kool-aid.


I don't remember where I first heard about Ringly, but I'm glad that I did. As a new mom, especially with having Teacup Human in daycare, I am constantly checking my phone. Is she sick? Do they need me to come pick her up and I missed their call? Was that my phone that vibrated or was is the my coworker's phone? You get the idea.
Enter Ringly. This piece of smart technology is a Heaven sent. Accordingly to Ringly this technology is "smart jewelry that keeps you active, mindful, and in the moment." Not only does it come in a variety of styles, but it's cute! Don't get me wrong, FitBit has come a long way in cute technology wear, but it's still steps behind Ringly.
Ringly comes in three forms: Ringly Luxe Smart Bracelet (six styles), Ringly Luxe Smart Ring (six styles), and Ringly Go (two styles).
Originally I had wanted a ring, and part of  me still does, but unfortunately the only styles that were available in the size I wanted were gold. Nothing against gold jewelry, but I'm not a fan. So I waited and waited for the silver rings to come back in stock in my size.
This did not happen. However, in the mist of my waiting they released their Ringly Go bracelets. Ringly Go comes in two colors: Black/Black and White/Blush.
Beautiful. Simple.
I snatched up the White/Blush option and I love it. It arrived quickly, about two days, and I was able setup my alerts while the bracelet charged.
The app, available for both iOS and Android, is where you set everything up. I only have mine setup for texts and phone calls, but they support a crazy amount of apps. There are four different vibrations and five color options (six if you count no color), so the possibilities are almost endless.
I set mine up so a text buzzes twice and a phone call buzzes four times, but neither flash a color. One of my favorite features is the ability to set up certain contacts to flash an additional color. My husband flashes green, my family blue, daycare purple, and some VIP friends red. This is especially helpful when I'm in a meeting, out to lunch, talking with friends, etc.
I was in a meeting the other day and my phone buzzed twice, but there was no color so I just left my phone in my pocket. No worries. Turns out it was a Redbox code and how professional would I have looked peaking at my phone for a free DVD code? (No offense, Redbox!) Another day I was out to lunch with coworker and my phone buzzed four times and flashed purple. Teacup Human was in need, so I pulled my phone from my pursue and answered.

Ringly also comes with two additional features: Stay Active and Stay Mindful. Stay Active tracks your steps, the distance you have traveled, as well as calories burned. That last bit of information is enhanced if you enter your height and weight under settings. If you have an iPhone you can also connect it to your Health app for more accurate information.
Stay Mindful is a new feature that walks you through guided meditation and breathing exercise. I myself have used the "Mid-Day Recess" quite a bit. These meditations are great ways to just distress in the middle of the workday and remind yourself to just breath.
The battery only lasts about two days, maybe less if you have more notifications, which is considerably less than other pieces of wearable technology but doesn't bother me in the slightest. I charge my phone every night so I just plug my Ringly in at the same time.

I'm not sure what the range is, maybe 30-ish feet, but you can setup an "Out of Range Alert" so if you move too far from your phone, it will buzz seven times. There is also a "Low Battery Alert" and "Sleep Mode" (if your Ringly isn't moving, it goes into sleep mode to conserve battery).
Overall, I'm incredibly pleased with Ringly. They have designed cute wearable tech and if you're the kind of person who loves to accessorize, you can link multiple devices with your app. Maybe you're feeling the ring one day, but the bracelet the next.
And lucky for you, I happen to have the ability to give you 10% off! Just click the following link, sign up, and receive 10% off your first purchase: Trust me, you won't be sorry!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Blog Tour: First We Were IV by Alexandra Sirowy (+Giveaway)

I am thrilled to be the first stop on the book tour for First We Were IV by Alexandra Sirowy, hosted by Brittany's Book Rambles! I have a special tote design to unveil for you guys today and I hope you will like it!
Don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Young Adult, Thriller, Mystery
Publication.Date:May 16, 2017
Published By:  Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Website:Alexandra Sirowy

First We Were IV on Goodreads
My review copy:
Received in exchange for review consideration + design

Where to get:


A group of friends start a secret society in this out-of-control thriller from the author of The Telling and The Creeping that examines the all-consuming love of lifelong friendship—and what someone is capable of when they’re afraid of losing it.

Izzie loves nothing more than her three best friends, Viv, Graham, and Harry, and the bond the four of them share. And she’s terrified of their friendship falling apart next year when they go off to college. To bind them together, she decides to create that will belong only to them, a special thing that they’ll always share between the four of them. And so they dream up the Order of IV, a secret society devoted to mischief that rights wrongs and pays back debts. At first, it works like a charm—but when the Order of IV’s escapades get recognition beyond their wildest expectations, other people start wanting in. And soon, what started as a game of friendship is spiraling into something dangerous and beyond their control—and before it’s over, they’ll pay the ultimate sacrifice.

Never lie. Never tell. Always love each other.
Four seasons, four directions, four chambers of a heart, four elements, and four of us.

I wanted my voice to count. I wanted to believe in what was bigger than me, which is not such a terrible thing, except when others get hurt by what you invent. We were together, tripping with words and laughter, giddy to play mad scientists to our monster.
This is how I didn't notice the beginning of the end.

     First We Were IV by Alexndra Sirowy is a powerful and beautifully written mystery/thriller that (in my opinion) will appeal to fans of Sirowy's previous books (The Creeping, The Telling), as well as novels such as Between The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea, Wink, Poppy, Midnight, or anything by Nova Ren Suma. 

     It's a story about friendship and everything that comes with it - the fear of losing someone and being forgotten, the possibility of it becoming something more, the strength, the weakness, the secrets and bonds, the joy and the sorrows. It starts as something positive, hopeful and playful - with a secret society - the Order of IV - created by four tight-knit friends to commemorate their last year together and leaving a permanent mark on the small town's history, but it quickly spins out of control, turning into something dark and dangerous. Something deadly. 

    I loved Alexandra Sirowy's first book - The Creeping - and even though I never got around to reading The Telling, I knew her books were right up my alley. They're just the perfect blend of creepy and thought-provoking, with plot lines that slowly and steadily get more and more tense with each page tuned. First We Were IV was a really great read. I enjoyed following Izzie's first person's POV and reading the video logs transcripts thrown in every now and then. Those transcripts really helped set the mood, as they told you from the very beginning that something very bad was about to happen and you were about to witness it. 

     At almost 450 pages long, First We Were IV is not a short book. Even then, I found it to be a fairly quick read, thanks to Sirowy's beautifully flowing and haunting writing style. I just love the way this author sets the atmosphere and slowly builds up to a crashing crescendo of an ending. She did it with The Creeping, and I was so excited to see that she did it again in First We Were IV. Additionally, this book is full of memorable quotes and passages that make you pause and think. It's a story that resonated with me for more than one reason (one of them being I too had a tight-knit group of friends growing up and I could relate to everything Izzie was feeling and thinking). 

     Most of all, I loved how dark and creepy this book got towards the end. It was twisty and all kinds of surprising, and it kept me at the edge of my seat till I hit the back cover. Anyone who enjoys a well-written, twisty mystery / thriller, will love First We Were IV

About the author:

Alexandra Sirowy is the author of the young adult thrillers THE CREEPING, the Bram Stoker Award® Nominated THE TELLING, and the upcoming FIRST WE WERE IV. Alexandra attended a women's college as an undergrad and received her graduate degree in International Studies. When she isn't writing, she loves to travel, read, eat, and get into mischief. She lives with her husband in Northern California.

1 signed hard cover copy of FIRST WE WERE IV
Fujuifilm instax mini 9 Polaroid camera in smoky white (& film) like the one in the book!
Strand of gold stars
FIRST WE WERE IV swag (temporary tattoos & bookmarks)
Evie Set Designed Tote Bag

FTC disclaimer: US entires only. No purchase necessary to enter, giveaway items provided by Alexandra Sirowy.
Tour Schedule

Week 1
July 10:  Bookish Lifestyles - Tote Design
July 11 Brittany's Book Rambles - Guest Post
July 12 Emily Reads Everything - Review
July 13   Biscotto's Books - Moodboard
July 14 Forever Lost in Literature - Review

Week 2
July 17 My Friends Are Fiction - Guest Post
July 18 Literary Legionnaire - Review
July 19 The Reader and the Chef - Review
July 20:  Novel Novice - Guest Post
July 21:  Dark Faerie Tales - Interview

Week 3
July 24:  YA and Wine - Review + Guest Post
July 25 YA Book Central - Spotlight
July 26 Tales of the Ravenous Reader - Review
July 27:  A Perfection Called Books - Guest Post 
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