Sunday, December 11, 2011

#BIR2011: HAVEN by Kristi Cook - MIRAGE Cover Reveal, Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway

It's official! Best I've Read 2011 has officially started and wow, do we have an incredible line-up for you this year! You can check out the full schedule HERE.

We are kicking off this year's event with the amazing and talented Kristi Cook's debut YA novel, HAVEN. It was one of the books nominated most by the 11 blogs participating in BIR2011 and it is definitely one of my all-time favorites.

Today, we are revealing for the very first time the cover for the sequel to HAVEN, which is titled MIRAGE. MIRAGE doesn't come out until the summer of 2012, but we've also got a special, exclusive excerpt for you today. Oh, and we're also giving away FIVE paperback copies of HAVEN.

First, let's tell you a little about the book that so many of us fell in love with, HAVEN:

Haven by Kristi Cook
Release Date: February 22, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse

About the book: One month into her junior year, sixteen-year-old Violet McKenna transfers to the Winterhaven School in New York’s Hudson Valley, inexplicably drawn to the boarding school with high hopes. Leaving Atlanta behind, she’s looking forward to a fresh start—a new school, and new classmates who will not know her deepest, darkest secret, the one she’s tried to hide all her life: strange, foreboding visions of the future.

But Winterhaven has secrets of its own, secrets that run far deeper than Violet’s. Everyone there—every student, every teacher—has psychic abilities, 'gifts and talents,' they like to call them. Once the initial shock of discovery wears off, Violet realizes that the school is a safe haven for people like her. Soon, Violet has a new circle of friends, a new life, and maybe even a boyfriend—Aidan Gray, perhaps the smartest, hottest guy at Winterhaven.

Only there’s more to Aidan than meets the eye—much, much more. And once she learns the horrible truth, there’s no turning back from her destiny. Their destiny. Together, Violet and Aidan must face a common enemy—if only they can do so without destroying each other fi


Are you ready for the cover reveal for MIRAGE now? 

Are you SURE???

Okay, okay.........Here it is in all it's beautiful glory:

Isn't it GORGEOUS??

As another little extra surprise we are also debuting this beautiful countdown widget for MIRAGE. It's seriously one of the best I've ever seen:


“Okay, close your eyes and take a deep breath—in through your nose, out through your mouth,” Dr. Byrne said.  “And then concentrate on one specific thing.  A sound, for instance, or a sensation.  Do you hear the clock on my desk?”
I closed my eyes and nodded.  The ticking was loud, like Gran’s old mantel clock.  I took a deep breath, just like he said—in through my nose, out through my mouth. 
“Now picture one specific image from the vision you want to replay.”  His voice was almost hypnotic.  “It can be anything that stood out vividly.”  He paused for a moment.  “Do you have it?”
“Yes,” I whispered, my mind’s eye conjuring up the image of Whitney stabbing at the elevator button.  I have no idea why that particular image popped into my head, but it was definitely vivid.  She was wearing jeans and a pink sweater; I could see her blond hair slipping from its ponytail, a sheen of sweat on the back of her neck.  Her nails were painted a deep metallic blue, contrasting sharply with her ivory skin, and she was pressing the L button over and over again. 
“Empty your mind of everything, Violet.  Everything but that image, and the sound of the clock.  Make the room around you disappear.  Make my voice disappear.”
But it didn’t.  For several minutes we sat there in total silence, but nothing happened.  None of the weird sensations came that heralded an oncoming vision.  
I felt a breeze blow against my calves, and I shifted in my seat. 
“You’re not focused,” Dr. Byrne scolded.
“I’m trying,” I countered.  Taking another deep breath—in and out—I chose another image from the vision, this one of Aidan.  My breath hitched in my chest as the image flooded my consciousness, his eyes rimmed in red and full of thirst as he reached for Whitney. 
I kept it there, holding on to it as best I could as I listened for the clock’s rhythmic tick, tock, tick, tock. 
I sharpened my focus, trying not to physically flinch at what I saw in my mind. 
Aidan, looking dangerous.  Going after my childhood friend…
A whimper escaped my lips, and I opened my eyes, forcing away the image. 
“Nothing?” Dr. Byrne asked, and I shook my head. 
“That’s all it takes for you?” I asked, my voice a little shaky as I regarded him sitting across the desk from me.  Weirdly enough, we’d shown up at the coaching session dressed alike—khaki shorts, Converse sneakers, and a plaid shirt. 
He had that ‘just rolled out of bed’ look, like he’d forgotten to shave or brush his hair.  Even so, he looked like he belonged on the cover of one of those outdoorsy catalogs, the ones that sold everything from cargo pants to canoes.   
He studied me back, his dark gaze steady.  “Yeah, that’s all it takes,” he said at last.  “But I really had to work on my focus for a while before I got the hang of it, so don’t give up just yet.  The clock helps—that’s why I keep this one in my office.” 
I rose and took a couple of steps toward his desk, reaching out to run one finger along the clock’s smooth, curved frame.  “It’s nice,” I said. 
“Thanks.  It was my grandma’s, actually.  She collected clocks.”  He was still studying me strangely, his brows slightly drawn.  “So, you and Aidan Gray…”  He trailed off expectantly.
I swallowed hard, not quite sure where this was going.  Or how much he knew.  “What about us?”
“I was just wondering if you’re a hundred percent comfortable with the risks.”
“I don’t know what you mean,” I lied.  My heart was pounding in my chest, thumping against my rib cage. 
His expression relaxed a bit.  “I’m pretty sure you do.”
He had me there.  I decided to try a different tactic.  “He says you’ve been working with him in the lab.  Are you a hundred percent comfortable with the risks?”
He shook his head.  “It’s not the same.”
 “It is,” I argued, sliding back into the chair behind me.   
“It’s not, and you know it.  Look, I’m fully supportive of Aidan’s work.  I want to help him.  This is…well, probably the most exciting work I’ve done in a long time.  But I think someone here needs to be looking out for you.”
He obviously had no idea about the Sâbbat thing—and I wanted to keep it that way.  “Mrs. Girard is looking out for me,” I offered.  He must know that much.  
He stood and came around the desk, leaning against it, just inches away now.  I could smell him—soap and aftershave.  He smelled…nice.  Clean, kind of like the ocean. 
“Obviously I’m screwing this up,” he said, shaking his head.  “So let me start over.  I’m trying to say that I’ve got your back.  That if you ever need to talk to someone—to an adult—about the…situation…I’m here.  That’s all.”
“Just how much do you know about the…situation?” I asked, unable to stanch my curiosity. 
“Not much, beyond the scientific details I’ve managed to put together.  I get the feeling that he’s not really at liberty to share.”
“Not without…consequences.”  Oh my God, we were talking in code, like spies or something. 
“Hmm.  Interesting.”  He folded his arms across his chest, causing the rolled-up sleeves of his shirt to ride up, exposing the bottom of edge of a tattoo—something that looked vaguely like a dagger.  Whoa, Dr.  Hottie had a tattoo.  Now that was interesting. 
“Will you promise me one thing, Violet?” he continued.  “Just this one thing, and then we can stop talking about it.  For now, at least.”
“Depends on what you want me to promise,” I said with a shrug.  Because some things weren’t negotiable, especially where Aidan was concerned. 
“Just that you’ll come to me if things start seeming dangerous, that’s all.  I’m not sure how much help I’ll be, but I’ll do whatever I can.”
I sucked in my breath, surprised by his offer.  “You don’t even know me.”
“You’re a student here at Winterhaven.  A precog, like me.  That’s all I need to know.”
I needed to stall for time, to think this through before I made any promises.  “That’s very…generous of you.”
“Then you’ll promise?”
I searched my instincts, wanting to make sure that his intentions were on the up-and-up, that he wasn’t trying to manipulate me for some unknown, nefarious reason.  Because if there’s one thing I’d learned in the past year, it’s that you just never know.
My gaze met his unflinching one, and I felt nothing but a surprising kinship.  He seemed sincere, I decided.  Earnest.  Whatever his reasons were for wanting to protect me, they were good ones—ones I could trust. 
I nodded.  “You’ve got yourself a deal.”


  • We are giving way 5 paperback copies of HAVEN by Kristi Cook. 
  • Open to U.S. mailing addresses only. No PO boxes. 
  • +1 entry for each of the 12 Best I've Read 2011 blogs you are following via Google Friend Connect. (full list of blogs are on the sidebars of this blog and on the Blog Schedules page)
  • Fill out THIS FORM to enter.
  • Giveaway ends Friday, December 23rd at midnight.


  1. OMG! That cover is to die for! I love it lots! Wow,, it's reallllllly pretty! Eeep!

  2. Oh wow, I love the cover! :) Just a quick question: will the giveaways (here and on the other blogs) be US only or some of them might be international, too? I think it's an amazing idea to do this. :)

  3. Isn't it, Momo? I am in love with it!

    Hi, mimz! Not all of the giveaways will be US only. We actually have some great giveaways for our international readers as well. Stay tuned!

  4. Just wanted to say thanks for having me here today--it's such an honor to be a part of Best I've Read 2011!

  5. Mirage looks so pretty, and Haven sounds great. Thanks for the chance to win it!

  6. That cover is gorgeous!! And the excerpt. . . I think I need to re-read Haven in the near future, I'm missing Aidan!

  7. I'm so happy you're all loving the cover as much as I do. And thank you for stopping by and joining in for Best I've Read!

    Kristi, HAVEN is amazing. You earned this honor!

  8. Love the cover! I can't wait to read this.

  9. Love the cover! I can't wait to read Haven :)

  10. Both books have such captivating covers. Thanks so much for the chance to win.

  11. Have is a book that has definitely been on my to be read list this year, but I haven't been lucky enough to get around to it. In the new year, I am definitely make plans to read this one and Mirage, which the cover and the excerpt was to diiiie for! Thanks so much for sharing and for being so generous with this giveaway! :)

    Happy Christmas!

    Suz @ A Soul Unsung

  12. One of my favorite books and authors! LOVE LOVE LOVE the cover!

  13. Thank you very much what a great giveaway! Love the covers!

  14. I'm reading Haven right now. It's really good.. no it's more like amazing i can't wait for miracle to come out :DD. By the way the cover is really pretty and Amazing :)

  15. Wow! I just started reading Haven, and I'm already hooked! I was searching it online and found out that it had a sequal! I definetly can't wait!

  16. i just finished reading haven... AMAZING!! and i LOVE the mirage cover!!! can´t wait to read it!!!!

  17. Sooo i have a calc 2 test and a chem 112 test tomorrow, plus a bio post lab due! but it is TOTALLY worth staying up all night to cram cuz HAVEN. WAS. AMAZING! plain and simple. i started reading it this moring and just finished it. i cant wait for MIRAGE to come out!

  18. I just finished Haven and i must say i'm absolutely in love with the story. With Aidan and Violet... Am i the only one who seems to notice that the butterfly on the covers of both books seem to be a violet tint? I wonder if that has anything to do with the story in the future but i can't wait for june to come and My chance to read mirage...ugh I have the shakes just thinking about it