Friday, October 26, 2012

Giveaway: Matt Archer: Monster Hunter by Kendra C. Highley

Matt Archer: Monster Hunter (Matt Archer #1)
Release Date: 08/18/12
299 pages
Summary from Goodreads:
Fourteen-year-old Matt Archer spends his days studying Algebra, hanging out with his best friend and crushing on the Goddess of Greenhill High, Ella Mitchell. To be honest, he thinks his life is pretty lame until he discovers something terrifying on a weekend camping trip at the local state park.

Monsters are real. And living in his backyard.

But that's not the half of it. After Matt is forced to kill a strange creature to save his uncle, he finds out that the weird knife he took from his uncle's bag has a secret, one that will change Matt's life. The knife was designed with one purpose: to hunt monsters. And it's chosen Matt as its wielder.

Now Matt's part of a world he didn't know existed, working with a covert military unit dedicated to eliminating walking nightmares. Faced with a prophecy about a looming dark war, Matt soon realizes his upcoming Algebra test is the least of his worries.

His new double life leaves Matt wondering which is tougher: hunting monsters or asking Ella Mitchell for a date?

Sunday passed in a blur of glum faces and soggy rain. After brunch, Brent headed to his girlfriend’s and probably spent the afternoon making out, which meant he was the only one of us with a shot at a smile. Mamie hid behind a book, re-reading A Wrinkle in Time for the umpteenth time in the recliner by the living room window. While she was occupied with something other than watching me, I headed to my room.
I felt compelled to take a look at the knife without Mike hovering behind me, wearing his troubled frown. He doubted I’d need to use it until I’d been through some training, but we both felt it should be closer to its wielder.
I’d hidden it in the pocket of an old backpack stowed in the depths of my closet. When I retrieved it and laid it on my bed it hummed, almost happily, when I touched it. The white bone handle was a little smaller than a carving knife’s, and worn smooth, without markings of any kind. The brown leather sheath had been stitched with thick twine and fit the knife snugly, allowing a wielder to draw the knife fast without the fear of the blade falling out on its own. The blade itself wasn’t shiny—the metal had a bronze tint to it—and it measured nine inches from where it joined the handle to its razor-sharp tip. Clearly the knife had been designed with one purpose, as a weapon. And a badass weapon at that.
A little shudder ran down my spine. If I was going to wield this blade, I had work to do.
Mike had given me a list of exercises to start on, and I needed Brent’s weight set, so I sneaked across the hall. His weights were on a stand in the corner of his room, but how he used them was beyond me. There wasn’t a single spot on the floor, except for a trail from the door to the bed, that didn’t have clothes, cleats or other junk dumped on it. I picked my way through the mine field and grabbed a pair of twenty-pound dumbbells, thinking I’d just take them to my room since I kept my floor somewhat clean.
Mistake. My arms dropped to the ground and my knuckles dragged like a gorilla’s. Maybe the twenty pounders were too much for the first day.
I exchanged the twenties for the ten-pound weights. I could carry the tens without drooping, so I shuffled back to my room. Even with my last growth spurt, I was only five-four and a hundred and seven pounds; twenty pounds was nearly a fifth of my weight. I felt proud of myself until I noticed the dumbbells had dust on them. Brent hadn’t used these little ones for a long time.
DNA was a weird thing–all of us had the same smallish nose as Mom, and dark “Archer blue” eyes from our deadbeat dad. But our builds were completely different. Mamie was thin, like Mom, and a little taller than her friends. I was on the small side, hitting below the fiftieth percentile on the stupid growth charts they use at the doctor’s office. Brent was the hulk of the family, a good ten inches taller than me and double my weight, all of it muscle and bone. For the nineteenth time, I wondered why the knife picked me.
Thirty minutes of weight training was harder than it sounded, and it had sounded pretty hard in the first place. I worked out my biceps, my triceps, my delts and a whole bunch of other muscles I didn’t realize I had. When I was done, my legs and arms felt like gummy worms. Exhausted, I curled up on my bed huffing and puffing.
“Hey! Who’s been in my room?” Brent yelled.
I bolted upright and regretted it when my head spun. The weights were by my closet door, six feet from my bed, but I didn’t think I could crawl across the room to hide them.
Brent flung my bedroom door open without knocking. “I know you were in there. What did you take this time?”
“Just your weights.” I pointed at the dumbbells, too tired to lie. “Uncle Mike said I needed to do some weight training, you know, put on some muscle.”
Brent paused in his attack, looking surprised. “Really?” He smirked. “I guess wimps have to start somewhere. Besides, a little muscle wouldn’t kill you.”
He turned to leave and bumped right into Mamie. “Hey, Latin Club Princess, you’re liable to get run over if you don’t watch traffic.”
“Being an all-state strong, uh, safely doesn’t mean you can tackle people at home,” Mamie said, crossing her arms. “Have some manners, you Neanderthal.”
I’m not sure Brent understood what “Neanderthal” meant but he could tell she was insulting him.“It’s strong safety, genius.”
They glared at each other. Finally, Brent snorted and went to his room, slamming the door like usual.
“Ugh, he’s loud,” Mamie said. “Why did Uncle Mike tell you to do some weight training?”
Crap, Sherlock had a clue. “He wants me to build up some muscle for the rappelling trip.”
Her forehead wrinkled, making her glasses slip down her nose. “Is that why you’ve been eating so much? I know you hate meatloaf; I could tell you were lying last night. And you ate about forty pancakes at brunch today. Are you trying to gain weight?”
“Um, yeah,” I said. Not original, but that’s all I could think of.
“Matt, a week’s not enough time to gain much muscle.” Mamie got her mother-hen voice on. “Is someone bullying you at school? If they are, I’ll ask Mom to talk to Mrs. Stevens.” That was her solution for everything. You have a problem? Tell an adult.
“No—school’s fine.” I said. “Uncle Mike told me it’s a good idea, that’s all.”
“I promised Mom I’d keep an eye on you. Remember that.” She gave me another long stare, then marched off to her room. She didn’t slam the door.
The next morning, I rolled out of bed, sore all over. That must’ve been why Mike said to stretch after working out. A hot shower helped some. After I threw on a semi-clean pair of jeans and a t-shirt, I stumbled down to breakfast ready to get this week over with so I could go to Colorado with Mike. Mamie sat at the kitchen table, reading the paper, still in her robe. She was always up as early as Mom. I didn’t know another girl who got up early to read the news, from an honest-to-God newspaper, no less. Mamie was sick that way.
“Mom, listen to this.”Mamie pushed her glasses higher up on her nose. “‘The remains of newlyweds John and Marcia Carroll were discovered by Park Rangers on Sunday. While authorities aren’t providing many details, an unnamed source says they believe it to be a bear attack due to the nature of the injuries the couple sustained.’” Mamie turned to me. “Matt, the attack happened in the same park where you and Mike were camping. Good thing you came home early!”
Mom took the paper from Mamie. “Oh my gosh. I’ll need to tell Mike. I don’t want you camping near any crazy grizzlies.”
Up to this point, I’d been shoveling eggs into my mouth and drinking my milk as fast as I could. When Mom and Mamie both looked at me, freaked out, I had a hard time gulping down my last bite.
I had a hunch it wasn’t animals, which meant the creature I stabbed wasn’t the only one roaming the woods. Just knowing something was out there killing hikers made me realize how important it was that I did everything Mike told me for the next few months.
And that included not letting Mom or Mamie know there were monsters in Montana.
Barnes & Noble:
About the Author:
Kendra C. Highley lives in north Texas with her husband and two children. She also serves as staff to two self-important and high-powered cats. This, according to the cats, is her most important job. She believes chocolate is a basic human right, running a 10k is harder than it sounds, and that everyone should learn to drive a stick-shift. She loves monsters, vacations, baking and listening to bad electronica.
Twitter: @KendraHighley
~Giveaway Details~
Grand prize is a Nook Simple Touch and a $25 B&N card plus a paperback copy of Matt Archer: Monster Hunter. (US only). (3) 1st place winners get a $10 Amazon Card plus a paperback copy of Matt Archer: Monster Hunter. (Open Internationally).


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