A simulated bookstore visit -- and a giveaway!

Today is the release day for my second djinn novel, Master and Apprentice. And this is the internet. These things are seemingly unrelated, but I'm about to relate them.

Lots of folks (myself included) like to check out new-to-them books in a bookstore, so they can pick up a copy of a potential read, leaf through it, maybe read a few pages and decide whether or not to buy it. Sadly, you can't pick up the internet and leaf through it. So I'd like to present this simulated visit to a bookstore, and let you decide whether you're interested in this particular novel.

For the purposes of this simulation, you have decided to employ the infamous Page 69 Test. Yes, you have. Trust me on this.

You walk into a bookstore, and you see that cover there.

(You say to yourself, my, what an intriguing cover! That guy is hot! [or if your tastes run that way: that chick is hot! Or: that wolf is hot!] You pick up the book, and notice that while the cover itself has a nice, matte finish, the title square is nice and glossy. You spend several minutes running your thumb over the glossy title square, noticing the way your thumb slides across the surface and kind of skips off the edge onto the surrounding matte finish. This is fun. Several people are giving you strange looks.

You turn the book over and realize that the logline in the rectangle at the top of the back cover is also glossy, while the rest of the back cover is matte finish. You are amazed that you know what the term "matte finish" means, and wonder if perhaps you've been spending too much time reading book production blogs.

The book feels nice in your hands. A lovely mass market paperback -- not too thin, not too fat. Just right.)

While you're looking at the back cover, you read the blurb:


Luck has never been on Gavyn Donatti's side. Anyone else with magic abilities inherited from a distant genie relative would have it made, but not Donatti, descendant of a cranky, shape-shifting genie named Ian. The prince of a murdered kingdom, consumed with revenge and driven by an unbreakable curse, Ian is determined to hunt down and destroy every last one of his enemies in the power-hungry snake clan-at any cost, including his life. Or Donatti's.

Obsessed by his own rage, Ian has never really taught Donatti how to use his abilities. So when a powerful cult of magic-users captures Ian's wife, the princess Akila, and then Ian himself, Donatti is left alone to take on dozens of half-djinn and their mysterious leader with designs on world domination.

Facing an impossible mission, Donatti is forced to turn to an enemy for help-one who claims to know how to unlock his true potential. Trusting a snake might be the last mistake Donatti ever makes-but if he doesn't learn to wield the power inside him, everyone will pay the ultimate price.

You think to yourself: Cults, royalty, magic, shifters ... well, I wouldn't kick this book out of bed for eating crackers. And then you think: what's that even mean, anyway? Who eats crackers in bed?)

Since you're intrigued by the blurb (you are intrigued, aren't you?) you decide that you should probably read a little to make sure the author has, in fact, grasped the English language. You open the book and read the first page:

They tell me flying is safer than driving. Every day, millions of people take to the skies and fail to crash and die. Maybe that's true when flying involves spending hours being delayed in an airport, eating bad airline food, and hoping the person who bought the seat next to yours has showered some time in the past week. Maybe it's safer being surrounded by an experienced, professional pilot and crew, a bunch of lifesaving devices, and decades of engineering precision.

But when flying means riding piggyback on an airborne djinn who isn't very good at it, and who might be cranky enough not to notice--or care--if you fall off and drop a thousand feet to your death, it's safer to swim in a pool full of hungry sharks. When I fly, nobody offers me peanuts or a watered-down drink. I don't even get a lousy seatbelt.

Lucky me.

"Ian, we've been up here an hour," I shouted. "Where's this damned cave?"


"You said that the last three times I asked."

"Then stop asking, thief."

So that works for you. Finally, you thumb through the book to find Page 69:

Ian pointed down between his feet. "I can see the road."

"Oh." I glanced over and looked through the rust-edged hole in the passenger side floor at the dust gray asphalt rushing by. "Er...we should be fine. The floor's not important."

"Indeed." Ian slid back in the seat and tried to tuck his legs under him. It didn't work, so he settled for propping them on the dash. "I believe I would have preferred walking."

I decided not to let him bait me. The road dipped ahead, so I slowed to 20 and puttered down a steep incline that looked like it'd never end. "So, what's the plan now-hit the next town and find a mirror?"

Ian offered a weary nod. His eyes fluttered closed. "Wake me when we arrive."

Great. I thought about protesting. If I had to stay awake, he should too. But it made sense to let him rest. I still had some juice left, and if whoever was chasing us managed to catch up, we'd need everything we could get.

Toward the bottom of the incline, the blasted rock on the mountain side of the road gradually gave way to more trees. Twilight's shadow distorted them, made them a fairy tale woods that no self-respecting girl with a basket would be caught dead in. I flipped the headlights on against the gathering gloom, and wasn't surprised that only one lit up. The road leveled out a little, so I walked the protesting truck up to 40 and held it there. Much faster and it'd probably shake itself apart. I pitied whoever owned this wreck, and not just because I'd stolen it.

Something vibrated against my leg, and I finally realized it was my phone and not the truck. I fished it out. The thing must've taken a hit at some point, probably during my tumble down the tree. A crack split the screen and spiderwebbed in a corner. The display flashed on and off, but between flashes I made out the incoming number. Jazz. I thumbed the green button and said, "Don't worry."

Now you need to know what Jazz says, and why Donatti, who's supposed to be retired, has stolen a truck, and whether or not Donatti and Ian are about to hit a moose (here's a hint: yes, they are). So you bring the book to the front counter and purchase it.

While you walk out to the parking lot, you surreptitiously stroke the little glossy square on the cover a few times -- but you leave it in the bag, so no one thinks you're a weirdo.

Or you can just pick up Master and Apprentice from Amazon, BN.com, or Powell's.



Win a copy of Master of None, the first book in the djinn series. That way you won't have sequel-reading fear. Or, if you've already read Master of None, you can win a copy of Master and Apprentice.

I'm excited. Are you excited?

To enter, leave a comment and tell me if you'd want to read this book based on the Page 69 Test. Let me know if you'd want to win Master of None or Master and Apprentice, and don't forget your email address. My friend Random will choose a winner -- the contest is open through April 3, because that's my next official post day here on the League. So enter now, and tell your friends!


Mario Acevedo said…
Great post. You passed the page 69 test. Makes for another book on my TBR pile.
Anonymous said…
Sounds awesome! Definitely passed the page 69 test 'cause I giggled at "Er...we should be fine," and I can't wait to find out about the moose! lol

I'd love to win Master of None, which has actually been on my mental TBR pile for a while now.

drakeLa90 at aol dot com
Mandy P. said…
Great post! This book definitely passes the page 69 test-- I would buy it... But winning is even better! :) although I haven't read the first one yet... So Master of None, please. :)

Bookwyrm369 said…
I can feel the book in my hand right now ;-) Great post - made me laugh out loud! I have and loved Master of None so would love to win Master and Apprentice. Happy release day!

smaccall @ comcast.net
Diane P said…
Clever PR-gave me a little chuckle this morning and intrigued me. Good luck with your book.
Karen said…
I'd read it without the page 69 test! (I loved the first book, so its already on today's "Tuesday Releases Bookstore Shopping List".)
But I'd still love to win a free book!
Yes, that page 69 was some interesting stuff! Ian seems like a hoot and I'm interested to see where they're going and why they need a mirror?

I'd be starting with book 1, so: Master of None. :)

thecozyreader @ gmail.com
Teril said…
How did you know my method for dining awesome books!
Yes after that test page and after having read Master of None (which was awesome) I cannot wait to read Master and Apprentice.

terilhack at gmail dot com
I was hooked on page one page 69 was just the icing on top lol. I think if I could read one it would be better to start with the first one Master of none even if that means i have to wait to read about that moose XD

as always ♥, Carol

Barbara E. said…
I loved your post, that was a lot of fun. I can't wait to feel the cover of Master and Apprentice. I'm going to have to run to the bookstore just to check it out, LOL.
I have Master of None on my wish list, but haven't had a chance to get it yet, along with a bunch more fabulous books out there, so if I were to win, I'd love to win that one. Although, if I won Master and Apprentice, I could touch the cover all I wanted, and run out and buy Master of None. Either way, I'd just be thrilled to get a copy of one of these fabulous books and get started reading the series.

Barbed1951 at aol dot com
Mariee said…
I definitively want to read this book based on the Page 69 test! Sounds great.

Please count me in for Master of None.

marieimy (at) gmail (dot) com
Vickie said…
Excellent post Sonya. No need to put me in the drawing. Have my own copy, thank you.

The page 69 test worked just dandy.
Hee hee... great test. You passed!

I'd love to read Master of None plz! pretty plz!!

books (dot) things (at) yahoo (Dot) com
Bethany C. said…
I'm excited! And I'd want to win Master of None because I'm a loser that hasn't started this series yet. But I blame my lack of reading time on my 17 month old and the necessity of stupid 'parental supervision.'

Unknown said…
Definitely passed the page 69 test....and YES I pet books at the store....sometimes I even smell the pages...sick...I know.

I definitely would have to start with Master of None....I'm the kind of person that CAN'T start a series anywhere but the beginning and each book has to be read in ORDER! Super OCD about that stuff.

Dakota Cassidy said…
Congrats on your book release, doll! Sorry I missed it yesterday, but Blogger likes me as much as it likes you, and I just couldn't post :)

Dakota :)
Awesome post. Nothing I like better than "discovering" a new author!. The page 69 test has put it squarely on my wishlist.


alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com
Kristin said…
What a wonderful post! Made me laugh, as always:) Happy release day!

Kristin @ My Bookish Ways
Bronwyn Green said…
No need to enter me in the contest, I already ordered my copy! But I did want to say, Happy (Late) Release Day!!!!

Unknown said…
You passed the test! Your books sound so good. I would love to win Master of None, but I plan to read both!

Pamk said…
you definitely passed the test for me. I'd love to win the first one in this book.
scrtsbpal at yahoo dot com
donnas said…
Congrats on the release!! Page 69 totally sold me. However I need to get and read Master of None first.

bacchus76 at myself dot com
Vireyda said…
I admit... I must know more about the moose :)

evening-green said…
Yes I'd consider buying it after that test, that is after I've read the first book.
So I'd love to win Master of None <3

eveningreen (at) gmail (dot) com

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