Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cover Reveal + ARC Giveaway: BLACK CITY by Elizabeth Richards

Oh my dear, dear Lovelies, I have such a fabulous surprise for you! Today, we are revealing the cover for the much anticipated, oh yes... so, so, so anticipated, Black City by Elizabeth Richards. If you haven't heard of it yet, here's a little more information.

A dark and tender postapocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war.In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection, that causes Ash’s long dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong. When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.

Doesn't that sound fabulous! I truly cannot wait to read it! But I know, enough with the tell, get on with the show. So, here you go! The FANTASTIC cover for BLACK CITY:

Isn't it beautiful! I love the way it looks like the flower is shattering, and I think the colors are perfect. This is definitely a cover I would frame. Yes, we all know I'm one of those people. Here's a little background about this fabulous author, and check out my interview with Elizabeth HERE.

Elizabeth Richards lives in Buckinghamshire, England and can be found online at

Elizabeth Richards is an award-winning journalist and debut author, who spent her early career writing for videogame publications such as CUBE, P2 and GamesTM,and now works as a website editor. Previously, she ran a successful lifestyle website aimed at teenage girls. She won the Jane Hayward Young Journalist of the Year award for her feature on girls in the games industry, and was named 'Editor's Choice' in the industry trade magazine, MCV.

Now, if that wasn't enough excitement, I have another little surprise... THE FIRST CHAPTER! I couldn't resist putting it in red. There's my dramatic side for you. Anyway, here's the lovely little, or not so little, gift.

An air raid siren wails in the distance, alerting Black City citizens to lock their doors and turn out the lights. They don’t want to be out in the dark alone. They might meet something dangerous. Something like me.

I head under the canal bridge and wait for the girl, taking a packet of Sentry-regulation smokes from my back pocket and sparking up. The nicotine courses through my veins, making them throb with adrenaline; the sensation is almost like a pulse . . . almost.
Footsteps approach the bridge, and a short girl with straggly black hair appears from the shadows, dressed in men’s work boots, tight black trousers and a tailcoat made from a patchwork of clashing fabrics. Her hazel eyes gaze up into mine. She’s brave. Not many cherry-poppers have the courage to look me in the eyes. She hands me an old playing card with two hearts on it, one red, one black. It’s my calling card. It seemed an appropriate choice; that’s what I’m selling her after all, an illusion of love. I slip it into the pocket of my dark green military jacket.
“You’re late,” I say. “Last thing I need is to be caught out here after curfew by a Tracker. They’re just begging for a reason to throw me in jail.”
“Sorry, they’ve put up extra checkpoints, stopping everyone. There’s tanks everywhere!” she babbles. “I guess they can’t be too careful with the Sentry Emissary back in the city, what with the boundary negotiations with the Legion and—”
“You paid Beetle?” I interrupt.
The girl nods.
“Terms and conditions,” I say. “No refunds. You don’t enjoy it, you puke, you freak—not my problem, okay?”
She nods again.
“You pregnant?” She blushes furiously. “I’ll take that as a no. It may cause drowsiness, so don’t drive or operate any heavy machinery.” She smiles at this, and I grin. They always like that. “And no repeats for at least two weeks, all right? I mean it.”
“That all?”
“No kissing. Strictly business, okay?”
She seems a little disappointed by this, but I don’t like to mix business with pleasure. She shyly unbuttons the collar of her coat, revealing her slim, pale neck. Hunger grips my stomach at the sight.
“What do I do?” she asks.
“Lean back,” I say.
She obeys like a good girl. I place a hand against the wall and slip my other hand between her thighs, gently easing her legs apart. Touching her doesn’t turn me on, but I groan like it does, knowing she’ll enjoy that. They all do, even the guys—it’s why they come to me instead of the Haze dens. I slide my body between her thighs so we’re face-to-face. Her shallow breaths are warm against my cool skin.
“Relax, okay? It’s more enjoyable if you relax.”
“My heart’s pounding a mile a minute.” She gives a nervous laugh.
“Can’t say I know how that feels,” I admit.
She tentatively presses a hand against my chest, and her eyes widen. “So it’s true, then? You don’t have a heart?”
“I have a heart,” I growl, shoving her hard against the wall. It just doesn’t beat.
A small tear snakes down her cheek, her thin lips trembling.
“Sshhh, it’s okay, sweetheart. I didn’t mean to frighten you.” I gently wipe her tear away. “Forgive me?”
She nods, then tilts her head to one side, exposing the smooth whiteness of her neck. The poison sacs behind my fangs swell with venom.
Focus, Ash. Don’t blow your load.
I lean toward her, pressing my lips against the soft flesh on her neck, just below her ear. Her pulse flutters under my lips, and I nearly lose it. I begin to nibble on the flesh, tickling the tiny hairs on her neck with my tongue, making them wet with my saliva.
“Do it,” she whispers.
So much for foreplay. I sink my fangs into her jugular. Hot blood spills over my tongue, making my taste buds burst with its sticky sweetness. Man, I love the newbies; they always taste the best. She sighs as my venom enters her bloodstream. I wait for the Haze to take effect before I start to drink from her. That’s the bonus of Haze; my clients get high from me, and I get high from them by drinking their drugged blood. It’s win-win.
A sour, bitter flavor suddenly floods my mouth, and I gag, leaping back.
“What the—” I spit up blood.
The girl stares at me with glazed eyes, blood trickling down the two puncture wounds in her neck.
“Everything’s sparkling,” she says dreamily.
“Didn’t Beetle tell you I don’t take clients on meds?”
She lurches toward me, and I grab her before she falls into the water.
“I love you,” she slurs, trying to kiss me.
I shove her, hard. She falls back against the wall and slides to the floor. Her eyes roll back into her head, and she begins to spasm, white foam bubbling out the corners of her mouth.
“No, no, no! Wake up.” I kneel down and shake her, panic rushing through me.
The girl jerks, her boots leaving black scuff marks on the cobblestones. Fragg! This is why I don’t take clients on meds. You can never tell how they’re going to react to the Haze. I shrug off my jacket and place it under her head.
A Sentry tank rolls over the bridge, and I shut my eyes and wait for it to pass. Even though the war is officially over, I still get chills at that sound. Wherever they went, Death followed. I had a few close scrapes during the war. During those days, the fact that I was a legal citizen and half human didn’t mean much to them. If you weren’t 100 percent human, you were the enemy. Every day was a fight for survival. Not much has improved since then; I’m still the enemy in most people’s eyes. All they can see is the Darkling in me. The tank turns down

Bleak Street
toward the Sentry Emissary’s headquarters.
The girl groans. It’s too dangerous here; I have to go. I could just leave her . . . No, that’s not an option, but I can’t take her to the hospital. I’d get in so much trouble.
I peer down the canal. A yellow barge is moored about one hundred feet away. The lights are off. Where is he? He’s meant to be my wingman; that’s why I came to the bridge in the first place. Can this get any wor—
An explosion of pain bursts inside my chest, and I clutch a hand over my lifeless heart. I sense someone behind me and turn.
A girl stands by the entranceway, lit by the headlamps of a passing truck. In the fleeting light, I catch a glimpse of cornflower-blue eyes flicking between me and the Hazer writhing on the ground.
Her gaze finally fixes on me.
I fall back, struck down, as the pain in my chest blooms again.
Shivers run through my body, rushing toward a single point in my chest. There’s a spark of electricity and then:
A flutter.

Now that you've read the synopsis, seen the magnificent cover for BLACK CITY, met the author, and read the first chapter, it's time for the really great part. A GIVEAWAY! Yes, Penguin Books for Young Readers has been generous enough to provide an ARC of BLACK CITY for one of our lucky followers. All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form and leave a comment on this post answering this question: What do you think about the cover for BLACK CITY? You can earn extra entries, just see the form for details. The giveaway will run for one (1) week, and it IS international! PLEASE FOLLOW ALL CONTEST DIRECTIONS.

But there's more! Our winner will also get a chance to win one of 5 exclusive and personalized drawings of the main characters—Ash and Natalie—drawn and autographed by the author. (NOTE: Winning the galley DOES NOT guarantee winning a drawing.) Here is an example of the drawing up for grabs.

(Sorry it's sideways guys, I'm not sure why, but my computer skills are failing me at the moment.) But isn't it pretty! How cool would it be to have one of these?! I wish I could win it! But I'm very happy to offer the opportunity up to you guys. The finished drawing will be more polished, and the winner will receive an original and unique image signed by Elizabeth. **Winners of the drawings for the sketches will be chosen blindly and randomly by the author.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I think the cover is stunning. I love the shattering effect.

  2. I adore this cover. I like the way it's a flower, but it's shattering, which makes it so unique!

  3. Thank you for taking the time to do this giveaway :) The cover is absolutely stunning!!!

  4. The cover is awesome! BUT WHAT THE HELL!? That excerpt?! Um...crazy! Can't wait for this one!

  5. Love the cover. Although it doesn't have much on it's just so.. Beautiful

    Thanks for the giveaway! :)

  6. I love the cover! It speaks such volumes :)

  7. Really glad there isn't a girl in a dress on it, haha. I think it's great overall, something different from what I usually see.

    Thanks for the post and giveaway. :)

  8. I love how the cover just kind of screams something's coming, the rose tearing up, the choice of colors is brilliant!

  9. I LOVE the fluttering petals! :)

  10. I love the cover! Thanks for the giveaway!

  11. The first time I saw the cover I thought it was very powerful. The image of something so delicate and fragile exploding and shattering like that is perfect!

  12. I adore this cover! It looks like the flower both being shot and disintegrated, very vivid! Can't wait to read this one =D

  13. It's stunning. Absolutely stunning. :)

  14. What a fantastic cover!!! I've been seeing a lot of this book lately. Can't wait to read it!

  15. I love the cover, thanks for the giveaway! This book sounds awesome :)

  16. I think the cover is lovely...the books sounds great!

  17. It is stunning. I love the frozen rose shattering... <3

  18. It looks amazing! tho the flower reminds me of the twilight cover...

  19. love this cover- the colors are awesome!

    catherine0807 at hotmail dot com

  20. i am in love with this cover! it is gorgeous!!

  21. The cover is gorgeous. I love the symbolism.

  22. The cover is amazing!!!
    Thanks :)
    kimberlybreid at hotmail dot com

  23. The cover is so breathtakingly fantastic! The coolest cover I have seen in a while :D
    Thank you!

  24. The cover is beautiful and I cannot wait to read the book, Thanks for the giveaway =D
    Tristan @ Reads With Wreckless Abandon

  25. The Black City cover is lovely and simple, enough to attract people who judge books by their covers.

  26. I have been answering this question for almost all the giveaways on this book :O!!

    I dislike the title's font, but overall the design is quite unique. :)

  27. I love the cover! I would love to get the chance to read the book...Thanks for the great giveaway and for making it international!

  28. Thanks for the giveaway! The cover is beautiful! LOVE it!!

  29. Exploding rose = I LOVE IT!

  30. Rose with bloody crimson shattered breathless cover.
    thanks for the giveaway

  31. I love that something so delicate (a rose) is shattering. I cannot wait to read it! :)

  32. The cover is so pretty! I love the shattered rose effect! It makes it so eye catching ^.^

  33. The cover is absolutely GORGEOUS! I love how the background is black with that pop of color on the front! <3

  34. The cover is beautiful, for me the shattered rose represents how everything they knew about life was lost, the beauty of the time, and all the wonderfulness of love! My gosh the excerpt leave wanting more! I need to have a cooopy!! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  36. Totally in love with this cover. I love the bursting flower. It's defintely differently from other book covers. I am super excited for this one. Thanks for the giveaway!