I am so thrilled to be able to host the very amazing Simone Elkeles for the final day of the 2nd Annual Authors Are Rockstars Tour. I have been a fan of this author since before I started blogging when I discovered her Perfect Chemistry series and fell in love with two of the Fuentes brothers – Alex and Carlos. (I didn’t have the pleasure of getting to know Luis until much later.)
And while I loved her writing, her characters and her stories, it was hearing her talk on a panel at RT 2011 in Los Angeles that made her a rockstar author to me. It allowed me to get to know more about her, both as a person and as an author, and learn about how she researched her stories and how she developed her characters. She also shared her thoughts about bad boys and bad girls.
After the event I bought every book she’d written for my collection that I didn’t already own and love. I even got one or two in print because they weren’t available in eBook format at the time. And while I have yet to read the How to Ruin series, I love, love, love every single one of the books in all her other series.
And that includes WILD CARDS, the first book in her newest series that’s releasing this October.
I had been dying to read this book ever since I first learned about it last year. I was so excited to have been approved for the eGalley so I didn’t have to wait quite as long for its release. And it was every bit as awesome as I’d thought it would be.
Which is why I’m totally stoked to be able to share an excerpt from WILD CARDS for my stop on the Authors Are Rockstars Tour today. And while I’d have loved to have been able to share the scene that involved corn fritters and trampolines or the one that involved shaky hands and an ice pack, the one I was given for my stop is kinda sorta perfect.
Because it’s tells the story of how Derek and Ashtyn meet. And it’s anything but predictable.
As I am such a huge fan of this author and because I totally loved this book, I’m offering up a few copies for giveaway. So, if after checking out the book’s description and the excerpt you’d like to enter for a chance to win, the giveaway details follow at the end of this post.
And before I can be accused of taking over this post completely, I’ll step away from the keyboard. But I just have to share my reasons why I think Simone Elkeles is a rockstar before I do.
Simone Elkeles is a Rockstar Author because…
In her books, through her characters, she does sarcasm and does it well.
She creates unconventional character pairings that feel real and believable and have amazing chemistry… some might even call it perfect.
She balances toughness with vulnerability which makes her characters sympathetic, relatable, likable.
She isn’t afraid to make her teenage characters act like teenagers.
She isn’t afraid to make her characters flawed.
She isn’t afraid to tackle difficult subjects, difficult relationships and complex issues.
She writes stories and characters that have an edge, that aren’t perfect, that have pasts that affect them.
She creates characters that are diverse.
And she writes passages that surprise me, make me grin, make me roll my eyes, make me swoon, make me tear up, make me anxious, break my heart and make me fall in love with her characters even when I’m reluctant.
About SIMONE ELKELES
Simone Elkeles is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of novels for teens. Simone’s books have won many awards including being YALSA Top Ten Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, being named to the YALSA Popular Paperbacks and Teens Top Ten lists, and added to the Illinois “Read for a Lifetime” Reading List. Simone also won the coveted RITA award from the Romance Writers of America for her book Perfect Chemistry. Simone is especially proud of the fact that the Illinois Association of Teachers of English named her Author of the Year. You can learn more about Simone’s awards by clicking on each of the book titles below.
Release date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
After getting kicked out of boarding school, bad boy Derek Fitzpatrick has no choice but to live with his ditzy stepmother while his military dad is deployed. Things quickly go from bad to worse when he finds out she plans to move them back to her childhood home in Illinois. Derek’s counting the days before he can be on his own, and the last thing he needs is to get involved with someone else’s family drama.
Ashtyn Parker knows one thing for certain–people you care about leave without a backward glance. A football scholarship would finally give her the chance to leave. So she pours everything into winning a state championship, until her boyfriend and star quarterback betrays them all by joining their rival team. Ashtyn needs a new game plan, but it requires trusting Derek—someone she barely knows, someone born to break the rules. Is she willing to put her heart on the line to try and win it all?
My muscles are tense when we pull into the driveway at my stepmother’s childhood home in a small suburb of Chicago.
As soon as we step out of the cars, an older man I assume is Brandi’s father appears on the front porch of the two-story redbrick house. The dude is staring at Brandi as if she’s a stranger.
I don’t know what went down with Brandi and her old man.
She didn’t explain much, except to say she left home right after her parents’ divorce and hadn’t been back . . . until now.
Brandi grasps Julian by the hand and tugs the tired kid up the porch stairs. “This is my son. Julian, say hello to Grandpa.”
Brandi’s son is a cool kid who can talk your ear off. But he’s acting shy right now and doesn’t say hello to his grandfather.
“And this is my stepson, Derek,” Brandi finally says as she waves her hand in my direction.
Her father looks up. “You didn’t say anything about a stepson when you called.”
“Didn’t I? I’m such a flake I must’ve forgotten to tell you, with all the moving and packing and . . . other stuff . Derek can stay in the den.”
“The den is filled with boxes,” he tells her. “And I gave the old couch that was in the den to charity a while back.”
“If you’d rather, sir,” I drawl, “I can sleep on the porch. Just give me a blanket and toss me scraps of food every now an’ then and I’ll be just fine.”
“I’ll move the boxes and put a blow-up bed in the den,” her dad says, reluctantly giving in when he realizes that I’m not about to hightail it back to California.
“I’m cool with that,” I say.
“Derek, can you and my dad bring our stuff in the house while I put Julian down for a nap?” Brandi asks.
Before I can answer, she slips through the front door with Julian, leaving me alone with her grouchy old man.
Her father scans me up and down. He doesn’t look impressed.
“I don’t expect you to call me Grandpa.”
“I wasn’t plannin’ on it.”
“Good. I suppose you can call me Gus.” He disappears inside. I’m tempted not to follow, but I have no choice. He leads me down a hall to a back room and swings open a door.
“This’ll be your room. I expect you to keep it clean, do your own laundry, and make yourself useful.”
“Do I get an allowance?” I joke.
The guy looks at me with a deadpan expression. “You’re a real comedian, aren’t you?”
“To people with a sense of humor, yeah.”
He makes a harrumph sound in response.
I follow again when he makes an about-face and heads back to the car. It doesn’t take us long to lug everything into the house. There’s no conversation. This is definitely going to be an interesting living situation— not in a good way.
I’m moving boxes to the corner of my room to clear space when Gus reappears. Without a word, he hands me an air mattress and leaves me to figure out how to inflate it.
I shove my suitcase behind the door and take in my new room.This place doesn’t feel like home— not by a long shot.
Suddenly this house feels like it’s suffocating me.
I head to the backyard. I walk through a small garden of weeds to a big wooden shed. An old padlock on the latch is open, so I push back the door.
Rusty garden tools hang on wall hooks, bags of weed killer are scattered on the workbench, and little metal buckets crowd the floor. I kick a bucket aside, then pick up a second one, thinking about everything that’s changed in the past two years.
I swear under my breath and whip the bucket across the shed, the sound of the metal hitting the wall echoing in the small space.
“Stop or I’m calling the police!” demands a girl’s voice from behind me.
I turn to find a hot chick about my age with blond hair in one long braid snaking down her chest. She’s blocking the doorway and holding a rusty pitchfork. She looks like she’s ready to stab me to death, which lessens her hotness factor, but not by much.
“Who’re you?” I ask, taking in her black T-shirt and matching hoodie.
“You thugs from Fairfield think you can come here and—”
I hold up a hand, halting her tirade for the moment. Me, a thug? That’s hilarious. This girl’s thug radar is way off. “I hate to break the news to you, sweetheart, but I’ve got no clue where Fairfield is.”
“Yeah, right. I’m not stupid. And I’m not your sweetheart.”
“Put the pitchfork down, honey.” I take a step closer to her and the exit.
“Not on your life. I’m warning you . . . take one step closer and I’ll stab you.” One glance at her shaking hands tells me she doesn’t have the nerve to go through with her threat.
I put my hands up in mock surrender. I’m standing directly in front of her now, the points of the pitchfork an inch away from my chest. “You really don’t want to stab me.”
“Yes, I think I do.” For a second I’m sure the warrior girl’s about to lower her weapon, until I hear something creak behind me. As I glance over my shoulder, a bracket holding a bunch of tools on the wall crashes to the ground.
The sound startles the girl and she drops the pitchfork. On my foot.
She stares at the pointed tine sticking out of my left shoe and her mouth opens in shock. Before I know it, she backs up and slams the door shut. I’m swallowed by darkness as I hear the padlock snap into place. Two thoughts cross my mind: she thinks I’m a thug and I think she’s a wackjob.
PERFECT CHEMISTRY SERIES
LEAVING PARADISE SERIES
HOW TO RUIN SERIES
What’s Up for Grabs
A pre-order hardcover copy of WILD CARDS to THREE (3) Winners – International
– You must be 13 or older to enter
– Giveaway is International
– Giveaway ends on September 14th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific.
– Winners will be chosen by Random via Rafflecopter
– Books will be ordered from Amazon or The Book Depository
– Winners will be announced in the Rafflecopter and contacted by email
For each giveaway there is a mandatory “Leave a Comment” entry. All other entries are optional. The tweet entry is a daily option.
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