Monday, January 21, 2013

L. S. Murphy's REAPER: Blog Tour with Giveaway, Guest Post, Excerpt and Review

I love, love, love when I get to share a new author with you!  It's truly exciting for me to not only find a great new talent to stalk, but one for you all to stalk as well (I'm not the jealous type, I share my stalkees freely -- tee hee hee).

And here we are!
With a new fantabulous author
and her new fantabulous book that just came out earlier this month!!!

Today, I'm going to share my thoughts on Reaper, introduce you to the wonderful and talented L. S. Murphy, give ya a sneak peek into the book and then give you an opportunity to win your very own ecopy of this fantastic and surprising novel!!!

Let's get rolling, shall we?

First, let me tell you about this awesome novel.....

There's no way sixteen year old Quincy Amarante will become the fifth grim reaper. None. Not over her shiny blue Mustang. Her Jimmy Choos. Or her dead body.

She’s supposed to enjoy her sophomore year, not learn about some freaky future Destiny says she has no choice but to fulfill.

It doesn’t take long for Quincy to realize the only way out of the game is to play along especially since Death can find her anyway, anywhere, anytime. And does.

Like when she’s reassuring her friends she wants nothing to do with former best friend Ben Moorland, who’s returned from god-knows-where, and fails. Miserably.

Instead of maintaining her coveted popularity status, Quincy’s goes down like the Titanic.

Maybe ... just maybe ... that’s okay.

It seems, perhaps, becoming a grim reaper isn’t just about the dead but more about a much needed shift in Quincy’s priorities—from who she thinks she wants to be to who she really is.

Genre:  YA Urban Fantasy
Publisher Type:  Small Press/Indie (J. Taylor -- I love these guys)
My Rating:  *  *  *  *

My Review:
So when I recieved Reaper I was really excited.  It has a great premise and it's from my favorite publisher (I've never not liked one of their books).  Then as I got to reading, I started worrying.  Yikes, Quincy isn't a likable character (think Austin's Emma).  Nope, not likable.  Not at all.  In the beginning.  But then..... her character growth is subtle and is masterfully entwined throughout the story.  She becomes an incredible character as the book progresses.  She goes from shallow to complex and it's such an incredible journey.  I was completely taken by surprise by how much I grew to love this gal!

Now death is, well, pretty dark stuff and keeping a book from going down into depress-y'all-ville is definitely a gift.  Ms. Murphy nails it with a beautifully crafted balance between the deep (I cried.... a bunch) and the light-hearted (love the fun and creative "otherworldly" characters!!).  And then the romance ---oh the romance!!!  Oh so wonderful!!!  Oh how sweet!!!  Oh how perfect!!!

There's a lot of bittersweet in this novel and the last portion is FILLED with bittersweet.  There was major tear expulsion (but don't worry it's never overly dramatic) and I have mixed feeling about the conclusion.  It's a well done end, but it's so bittersweet that I feel quite conflicted.  Believe me, indifferent is not an emotion you'll be feeling as you finish this book!  It'll leave you thinking about it for weeks.

Cover Art:
I love the clean, crisp design of this cover.  It fits the book so well, too!!!

Sneak Peek:
A spitball stops in mid-air less than an inch from my nose.

It hangs there. I assume everyone else notices the wet wad of paper too, but when I turn to my bestie Jordan, her mouth is stuck open with her eyes half closed.

She was just laughing. Now she’s ... frozen?

The sudden silence is louder than a room full of gossiping teenagers.

Mini-quakes creep up my spine like a centipede hurrying toward my hair.

I’m not entirely sure my heart is beating. I wave my shaking hand in front of Jordan, hoping this will break her free of whatever happened.

No reaction.

Why am I moving?

So many times, I wished Jordan would stop talking. Now is the one time I need her high-pitched voice to pierce my ears.

Quin, relax. It’s okay. No way this is real. I pinch my arm hard, but it doesn’t change anything.

A loud pop makes me spin around in my seat. A man stands in front of the chalkboard in a bluish-white robe staring at me through blizzard white eyes. He holds a staff in front of him that looks like melting glass.

“Hello, Quincy,” he says in a deep velvet voice. “How would you like to see your future?”

I stand and stumble toward the back of the room. “Who are you supposed to be? Gandalf?” I’m unable to keep the tremor out of my voice.

“One person dresses up like me in a movie, and that’s all I hear.” He leans back on Mr. Spragg’s desk. “I’m far more attractive than him and so much more fun.” He winks and lifts his robe, revealing a pair of yellow and red striped Bermuda shorts and orange flip-flops.

My eyes pop wider at the mismatched mess, but I keep my thoughts about his sense of fashion to myself. “Who are you?”

His sigh echoes off the walls. “I’m Destiny.”


Rolling his eyes, he raises the staff high to his left. Like a swordsman, he stabs and swooshes it down in an arch. The air ripples as a dark slit opens. A man in a deep brown pinstripe suit steps through. His cheap sneakers don’t match the formality of the tan fedora and horn-rimmed glasses.

A pony-sized white German shepherd saunters in behind him, and I take an automatic step back. The dog turns his head, black orbs where its eyes should be.
Pinstripe man glances my way before turning toward the person who calls himself Destiny. His features contort and a maroon tint creeps over his face.

“What the f—”

Destiny flips his finger and the new guy shuts up. After a moment, he does another finger move.

“We said when she was eighteen, Des.”

“I’m aware of that, Forsyth.”

“She’s not eighteen.”

“Really? I never would have guessed.” Sarcasm fills each word as Destiny raises his eyebrows like a flag on the Fourth of July.

Forsyth glares. “Then why am I here?”

“I let you pick the date, but I never agreed to honor it.” Destiny pats the dog on the head with sneer and wipes his hands on his robe. “Now is the time. Teach her.”

Loving it? I know, right?!?  Well, if you just can't wait any longer, you can purchase your copy here.  And don't forget to add Reaper to your Goodreads TBR.

So now, let's get to know this wildly talented author......

L.S. Murphy lives in the Greater St. Louis area where she watches Cardinals baseball, reads every book she can find, and weaves tales for teens and adults. When not doing all of the above, she tends to The Bean (aka her daughter), her husband and a menagerie of pets. “A Reason to Stay”, a contemporary romance novella, is available as of November 2, 2012.  Reaper is her debut young adult novel and was released on January 7th, 2013.

She is a co-rep for the Southern Illinois region of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and a member of the St. Louis Writer’s Guild.

Get to know her better on her Blog, Twitter, Facebook and/or Goodreads.

And now here's a guest post from our new friend........

My Critique Group

A few years ago, I decided to take myself seriously as a writer. I had written the prerequisite vampire novel – no, you can’t read it since it sucks – and queried a whopping total of two agents before I started to pay attention to the industry. One thing that stood out, besides the fact that people didn’t want vampire books anymore, was critique groups.

So I set out to find one having already written a new novel.

I’d heard horror stories about critique groups that make my toes curl and my jaw clench. Finding a supportive, encouraging group seemed impossible. I looked around at online groups, but I really wanted the intimacy of seeing my critique partners face-to-face. I wanted to see their eyes when they shredded my story, because I expected to be shredded.

Also, I wanted to be with a group of likeminded people.

That is how I discovered Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). There was a group meeting not too far from my house. I emailed one of the reps and went to my first gathering.


Seriously, I shook the entire time I was there. My face must have looked like a bruised apple. (I blush when I’m scared and nervous, which is A LOT.) But I sat through the meeting, and prepared that they would tear what I brought to shreds.

Only they didn’t. Not really.

Don’t get me wrong, they had no issue telling me what was wrong within those five pages, but they also pointed out what was good. After one little meeting, I had more confidence in myself. I really thought I could make it.

That particular manuscript didn’t go anywhere, but I had another idea brewing. I wrote Reaper, and I took chunks to this amazing group of people. With their help and advice, I rewrote Reaper. Then I rewrote it some more. And then even more. I lost count of how many drafts I had before I got it to the point that it needed to be.

When I got the offer from J. Taylor Publishing, I waited until our next meeting to share the news that Reaper would released onto the world. That I would finally be a published novelist. It was as if all of us had won the lottery.

Yeah, it may be my book, but I never would’ve gotten there without my critique group.

Thanks, L. S!!!  That was awesome advice and a great shout out!!!

Now, onto the giveaway portion of today's post :) ...........


  1. Hey I'm a new book blogger and I saw that you've done some blog tours before. I have never, ever ever EVER done a blog tour before. I have two upcoming blog tours and I was wondering if you have any advice? We're doing the Shadow of the Wolf tour together (it's how I found your site). I'm doing a review/interview. I also have a blog tour coming up in February for the book The Obvious Game. Another question is what the hell is a spotlight post? I've seen it as an option but I have no idea what it is.

    Thanks a bunch!

    The Kooky Bookworm

    1. Hi, Kacii! Welcome to the wonderful world of blogging! I love blog tours; they are a wonderful addition to any blog. My advice? Hmmm... enjoy the experience and always go for the giveaway option if there is one. Your readers will appreciate the opportunity. And a spotlight is just letting your readers know about the book. It's used in lieu of a review.

      Have a great time!!!