Excerpt + Giveaway: The Darkest Lie by Pintip Dunn

The Darkest Lie by Pintip Dunn - JenHalliganPR.com

I'm thrilled to take part in the Excerpt Blitz for Pintip Dunn's upcoming YA thriller, The Darkest Lie! Check out the book below, along with the teaser excerpt, and be sure to enter the giveaway!

About The Darkest Lie

"The mother I knew would never do those things.

But maybe I never knew her after all.”

Clothes, jokes, coded messages…Cecilia Brooks and her mom shared everything. At least, CeCe thought they did. Six months ago, her mom killed herself after accusations of having sex with a student, and CeCe’s been the subject of whispers and taunts ever since. Now, at the start of her high school senior year, between dealing with her grieving, distracted father, and the social nightmare that has become her life, CeCe just wants to fly under the radar. Instead, she’s volunteering at the school’s crisis hotline—the same place her mother worked.

goodreads-badge-add-plusAs she counsels troubled strangers, CeCe’s lingering suspicions about her mom’s death surface. With the help of Sam, a new student and newspaper intern, she starts to piece together fragmented clues that point to a twisted secret at the heart of her community. Soon, finding the truth isn’t just a matter of restoring her mother’s reputation, it’s about saving lives—including CeCe’s own…

Series: Standalone
Publisher: Kensington Publishing
Expected Publication date: June 28, 2016
Pre-order links: Amazon | Barnes &Noble

About the Author

>Pintip Dunn | JenHalliganPR.com
Pintip Dunn graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B. in English Literature and Language. She received her J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the YALE LAW JOURNAL. She also published an article in the YALE LAW JOURNAL, entitled, “How Judges Overrule: Speech Act Theory and the Doctrine of Stare Decisis,”

Pintip is represented by literary agent Beth Miller of Writers House. She is a 2012 RWA Golden Heart® finalist and a 2014 double-finalist. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Washington Romance Writers, YARWA, and The Golden Network.

She lives with her husband and children in Maryland. You can learn more about Pintip and her books at www.pintipdunn.com.

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It’s time to view the body. Family first.

Well, technically, me first. There was always only three of us in the nuclear unit, and Dad’s been locked in the den for the past seventy-two hours. I’ve only seen him once, when he shuffled upstairs like a pajama-clad zombie and asked me if I’d eaten.

That was it: Did you eat?

Not: I prefer the cherry wood casket. Or: Let me make your grandma’s travel arrangements. Or even: I know this was Mom’s favorite dress, but isn’t the neckline a little...low?

Did I eat?

Yes, Dad. I had soup from the can and microwaved pizza rolls and a bowl of cereal. The food sloshes in my stomach now as I walk down the runner to the casket I picked out because of its mauve tint.

Calla lilies pile in urns around the viewing room, and the air-conditioning wars with the sweat along my hairline. My mom smiles at me from a portrait erected behind the casket. Her eyes are hesitant and a little wary, as if she knew, somehow, some way, she would wind up here. Lifeless. Pumped full of formaldehyde. About to be gawked at by a town full of gossips.

This was only going to end one of two ways—with Tabitha Brooks dead or in jail. I never thought I’d say this, but I’d give anything to see my mother behind bars.

I wade through the dense, chilly air and stop a few feet from the body. Behind me, my grandmother and aunt sit, a box of tissues between them, blowing their noses like it’s a sport.

“Look at our Cecilia,” Gram sniffs. “So brave. Not a single tear shed.”

If she only knew. I’m not brave. Fifteen minutes ago, I was retching into the toilet bowl. Five minutes from now, when the doors open for the visitation, I’ll be long gone, leaving Gram to shake people’s hands and deal with the bit lips, the knowing eyebrows, that inevitable speaking-in-a-funeral-parlor whisper. I can hear the titters: “Is it true? Tabitha’s heart stopped while she was boffing the high school quarterback? Why, she must’ve been twenty years his senior!”

Twenty-three years, to be exact, and a high school English teacher to boot. But she didn’t actually die during sex. Instead, a few days after Tommy Farrow came forward with their affair, my mother took her own life.

What could be a clearer admission of guilt? She might as well have been caught in the act. The investigation was shut down before it even began.

I take a shuddering breath. Two more minutes. A hundred and twenty seconds and then I can leave. I steel my shoulders and walk the final steps to my mother’s body.

Oh god. It’s even worse than I thought.

The room whirls around me, and nausea sprints up my throat. My hands shoot out to grab the casket, stopping short of actually touching the corpse.

This . . . this thing . . . can’t be my mother. She never smiled like that, all serene and peaceful-like. She never wore this much makeup; her red hair was never chopped so closely to her head. My mother was chaos and passion, devastation and joy. Dad used to say you could reach deep into her eyes and pull out a song.

Well, her eyes are closed now, and I’m not sure there’ll be any music in my life, ever again.

The Darkest Lie Blitz | Prize Pack | JenHalliganPR.com

One winner will receive a prize pack including the following 5 books: Forget Tomorrow by Pintip Dunn;  Six Months Later by Natalie Richards;  Find Meby Romily Bernard; and From Where I Watch You by Shannon Grogan;  Lies I Told by Michelle Zink.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Darkest Lie by Pintip Dunn

The Darkest Lie

by Pintip Dunn

Giveaway ends March 28, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

"Waiting On" Wednesday: Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes (WoW #2)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week I am featuring:

Title: Girl Against the Universe
Author: Paula Stokes
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harper Teen
Expected publication date: May 17, 2016
Pre-order links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Book Depository | Indiebound

No matter how many charms she buys off the internet or good luck rituals she performs each morning, horrible things happen when Maguire is around. Like that time the rollercoaster jumped off its tracks. Or the time the house next door caught on fire. Or that time her brother, father, and uncle were all killed in a car crash—and Maguire walked away with barely a scratch.

It’s safest for Maguire to hide out in her room, where she can cause less damage and avoid meeting new people who she could hurt. But then she meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star. Jordy is confident, talented, and lucky, and he’s convinced he can help Maguire break her unlucky streak. Maguire knows that the best thing she can do for Jordy is to stay away. But it turns out staying away is harder than she thought.

From author Paula Stokes comes a funny and poignant novel about accepting the past, embracing the future, and learning to make your own luck.

(image and summary lifted from Goodreads)

Why I’m waiting:
  • That pretty cover. *drools* 
  • Because reasons.
  • Seven "secret" messages hidden in the book. To see what I mean by "secret" messages, check out the guest post Paula Stokes did in Fiction Fare. All gems, TBH.
So what book are YOU waiting for today? Post your WoW link at the comments section! I’d love to stop by. :)

Review: The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil

The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl
by Melissa Keil

Alba loves her life just as it is. She loves living behind the bakery, and waking up in a cloud of sugar and cinnamon. She loves drawing comics and watching bad TV with her friends.

The only problem is she’s overlooked a few teeny details:

Like, the guy she thought long gone has unexpectedly reappeared.
And the boy who has been her best friend since forever has suddenly gone off the rails.

And even her latest comic-book creation is misbehaving.

Also, the world might be ending – which is proving to be awkward.

As Doomsday enthusiasts flock to idyllic Eden Valley, Alba’s life is thrown into chaos. Whatever happens next, it’s the end of the world as she knows it. But when it comes to figuring out her heart, Armageddon might turn out to be the least of her problems.

(cover image and summary lifted from Goodreads)

Series: Standalone
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers.
Publication date:  April 1, 2016 ( First published September 2014 by Hardie Grant Egmont)
Source/Format: eARC via Edelweiss
Pre-order links: AmazonFishpond | Booktopia | Dymocks | Bookworld | Angus and Robertson 

My Thoughts:

The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl (TIAoCG) takes place in the bucolic Eden Valley, Australia. Alba is spending her senior year holiday vacation, developing her drawing skills or hanging out with her five close friends. They are a really crazy bunch of teens together but their world got a little bit crazier when a Youtube video that went viral says that Armageddon is coming on New Year’s Eve and humanity’s last place of salvation is in Eden Valley.

The book’s title, cover image and synopsis (hello, doomsday backdrop) seems to scream fast-paced action scenes and explosions but really, to me, this is a fairly quiet book. In the midst of the chaos brought by the viral video, Alba contemplates the helplessness of not knowing what she really wants to be in the future and her slow acceptance that her friends have different dreams of their own to pursue. She may never see them as often as before and the prospect of not doing everything with her friends forever is so shattering that it might as well be the end of the world.

I instantly liked Alba right from the very first page. She is a no-nonsense girl, loyal to her friends and talented in drawing. At a young age, her father influenced her on reading comic books and her passion for comic-reading prompted her to create her own character she calls Cinnamon Girl. Over the course of the holiday vacation, she tries to work on Cinnamon Girls’s storyline and I love how the author transported the readers on Alba’s young creative process. I will not pretend that I understand every comic-book or art-related references that Alba threw because I am neither a comic book fanatic nor an artist. I googled a lot while reading but hey, it’s fun learning new things from books, right?

The best thing that I love and feel proud about Alba is her exuding confidence about being a curvy girl. She does not feel a single drop of bashfulness with how she looks and is unashamed to bring out her beauty with heavy eyeliners, ruby-red lippies and cute dresses. There is this shining part in the book where she is given a stack of books that includes a diet book as a Christmas present. Even when one of her close friends got all worked up about it, Alba just brushes it off her shoulders because not one bit would she doubt her own body and beauty. I know that there are other YA books out there with “plus-size” main characters  but in my opinion, what set TIAoCG apart from them is that this book is not about Alba being heavy. She just happened to be a big-breasted curvy girl going through transitions of teenage life. Real life curvy girls do not always worry about their body images. I know tons of real-life people who are on the curvy side but their everyday main concerns are not how to be skinny but more on how to balance life and career, or how to be a a great church youth leader. Society may still sometimes be mean and throw shades at their body build or call them names but these real-life Alba girls that I know does not let non-sense weigh them down. What I’m trying to say is that not all fat girls feel bad about their bodies and I’m glad they are represented well in this book. For me, Alba is a revolutionary champion of body positivism in YA.

There is a love story in the book, if you romantic lot wanna know. For the animal lovers, there is a pet dog that did not die. There is a case of a gone gnome girl with her fate bearing some similarity to the gnome in that French movie called Amelie. And as if Alba is not amazing enough in words, the book has some wicked illustrations at the start of every chapter. The copy that I read from is the U.S. version to be released by Peachtree so I am not sure if the first edition copies have the same drawings, too. Let me share some frames that I like and see for yourself how amazing these drawings are.

TIAoCG is not too emotionally complex but it touched me on the right places of my heart. I wish I could’ve read something like this when I didn’t get in to the uni that my three high school best friends and I planned to go together. Maybe I would not have felt so lost back then.

My Rating: