YA Scavenger Hunt Spring 2020!

Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This biannual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors … and a chance to win awesome prizes!

On this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter to win our prize – one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 120 hours!

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are FOUR contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I’m on the PURPLE TEAM, but there are also three more teams for chances to win a whole different set of books!

To find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page. And if your TBR needs some filling, check out this Goodreads list of all the featured books!

For more motivation, here are the gooorgeous Team Purple covers!


tumblr_m6hz92Z1Hu1rziwwco1_400Do you want to support debut authors during this difficult time? I do, and I’m also holding a personal giveaway for a debut novel of the winner’s choice. Scroll all the way down to enter!

Puzzle Rules

Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the purple team, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).

Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally; anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by April 5, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

This fall I’m so happy to be hosting:

Colleen Houck

colleen2New York Times bestselling author Colleen Houck is a lifelong reader whose literary interests include action, adventure, paranormal, science fiction, and romance. When she’s not busy writing, she likes to spend time chatting on the phone with one of her six siblings, watching plays, and shopping online. Colleen has lived in Arizona, Idaho, Utah, California, and North Carolina and is now permanently settled in Salem, Oregon with her husband and a huge assortment of plush tigers. You can learn more about her on her author website.

The book she’s showcasing is Terraformer. (You can buy it here!) Here’s the beautiful cover!

About the Book:

Deadly toxins can be hidden inside the most beautiful flowers.

That’s what Astra Meador’s famous biophysicist mother taught her.

As her mother’s apprentice, Astra has developed skills in botany, chemistry, medicine, and, most importantly, in keeping secrets.

In fact keeping Astra’s secret was the reason her family decided to leave the Earth and join a terraforming mission to colonize a distant planet called Crillain IV. But when Astra wakes early from hypersleep, she discovers that her mother never made it onboard, her father died in transit and his body has been ejected from the ship, and she suspects that she’s not the only one awake.

When the ship finally lands and she’s reunited with her brother, Nash, Astra hopes to settle into a new life, especially when she meets the charming young engineer, Jax, and is recruited by the mission commander to train alongside his handsome son to be a future leader of the small colony.

Then Astra learns that she’s not the only one with a dark secret.

As both young men contend for her affection, Astra searches for answers, trying to determine who to trust. But with theft and murder occurring in the colony along with the sudden disappearance of her beloved brother, Astra can’t listen to the whisperings of her heart, especially when someone or something else on the planet is whispering to her mind even louder.

Now it’s time for some …

Exclusive Content!

From Colleen:

Hello Readers,

For your Spring 2020 YASH Bonus Material this season, you get a sneak peek from my soon to be released book, TERRAFORMER! This scene features my two main characters, Astra and Jax, as they are venturing through the forest of an alien world cataloging the plant life. Though Jax is an Engineer, he has some up close experience with the natural flora of their new world while Astra, the Botanist, is taking notes.


“Careful,” Jax said. “We call that one a bullwhip.”


Before I could react, the plant moved. One of its long reeds drew back and snapped, slashing my forearm and leaving a red welt. It shifted away again as I quickly scrambled back, but I wasn’t fast enough. This time Jax caught it with his bare hand. When the reed retreated, it left a bloody smear on Jax’s palm. He refused to let me spray a healing salve on the wound, preferring to wrap it in a clean cloth from his bag instead.

Touching my bruised arm, I hissed. “Bullwhip is a good name for that one.”

“They only do that when you get close.” Rubbing my arm, I frowned. “It doesn’t make sense.”

“What doesn’t?”

“Why would a plant on a planet with no animal life develop protections like that?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, you know cacti on Earth have spines so desert animals don’t dig holes in it to steal its water.”

“Is that why roses have thorns, because deer would eat them otherwise?”

“Roses don’t have thorns, they’re called prickles.”

“Prickles? I don’t know. I’ve seen some pretty sharp thorns.”

I shrugged off his comment and took some notes, explaining to him as I did so. “Some plants evolve defenses, like stinging nettles that impale the caterpillars that eat their leaves, or they produce a toxic oil like poison ivy. Other plants release chemicals to drive off predators or they close their leaves when touched to make them less appealing.”

“Oh! I found one of those.”

“Really?” I asked distractedly.

“Yeah. I’ll show it to you. So, what else do these defensive plants do?”

“Well, there’s one that shoots poison crystals into the mouth of any insect that tries to eat it.”

“Interesting.” He rubbed a hand over his jaw. “You know, just because there aren’t any animals here doesn’t mean nothing attacks these plants. Maybe they’re cannibalistic.”

I laughed. “As in attack of the killer tomatoes?”

Jax grinned. “I’ve seen that one too. Prepare yourself to be bested when it comes to old vids. I’m somewhat of an expert on the subject. But speaking of killer tomatoes, that purple one we saw back there looked like it had a nasty bite. Think it eats its fellows?”

Biting a lip, I considered. “Well, it’s possible. There is a vampiric sort of plant on Earth. It wraps vines around other plants and drains them of nutrients.”

“Huh,” he said. “Maybe the bullwhip plant drives them off and the stinky flower protects itself by smelling bad.”

“You might have something there. It’s a compelling idea. But as far as I can tell, nothing eats these plants or attacks them. I’ve yet to even find a dead branch on a tree. It’s very strange. Maybe it has something to do with the way they deteriorate the moment we detach them from their environment. If that’s true of all the flora here, then there doesn’t seem to be any reason for them to develop these defenses. In all the studies I’ve done, I’ve determined that every plant species we’ve documented thus far is symbiotic in nature.”

“So they have no natural enemies?”

“Not that we’ve seen.”

“Well, unless you count us.”

I shook my head. “We’ve only been here a short time. It would take centuries for the plants to develop a way to thwart us.”

He peered down at my hands and tapped my tablet. “Aren’t you going to write that one down, Astra Meador?”

He smiled, and I was momentarily befuddled by the nearness of his body and the way he said my name. I stared at his mouth just a bit too long and he noticed.

Taking a quick step back, I mumbled, “Oh. Sure.”

When I was done tapping, Jax held out a hand and raised his eyebrow in challenge as if daring me to take it. Just to prove a point, I slid my palm against his gingerly and found I liked how his big, calloused hand wrapped so warmly around my own. “You know,” he said, his smooth voice distracting me in a nearly alarming way, “I never thought your job was that interesting. I just figured you were gathering leaves and analyzing cuttings, but when you talk about it, I can’t help but be fascinated. Even if the ideas I’m proposing are more science fiction than science.”

“Plants are fascinating,” I agreed, happy to talk about a subject I was comfortable with. “As to the science fiction part, curiosity and discovery are what has always driven science forward.”

Jax eyed me. “I’m not so sure it’s the plants fascinating me so much as it is the plant scientist. I could listen to you talk about plants for hours.”

“I’d be happy to teach you,” I said.

“Sure. As long as you don’t mind instructing a student who has a crush on his teacher.”

“Oh,” I said lamely, not sure how to respond and feeling suddenly unsettled. “I guess I don’t…mind.”

He shifted closer, staring at my mouth…


Don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books by me, Colleen, and more! Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the purple team and you’ll have all the secret codes to enter for the grand prize!

Keep Hunting!

Your next stop on the YA Scavenger Hunt is author Elle Beaumont, so click here to go on over to her site! Don’t forget to tweet #YASH.


And … Win a Debut Novel of Your Choice!

Some books in my library

Which author could be your new favorite??? With in-person events and tours canceled, debut authors need help in getting the word out.

To help a bit, I’m giving away one novel by a debut author. If you win, just choose your book—adult, MG, or YA, any genre as long as it’s fiction—and I will have it shipped to you.

Enter here!

3 thoughts on “YA Scavenger Hunt Spring 2020!

  1. May Injustvsay, I really appreciate your competition and how it focuses on debut authors. I cannot think of any at the moment that I am eager to try – often when I go to the bookshop I’m never usually aware of if the new book I’ve picked up is by a new author or not – but Inthink what you’re doing here is lovely.


    1. Thank you! 🙂 I was a debut four years ago, and I know it can be hard and scary. Right now, even more than usual. Supporting bookshops (when they’re open) is so important, too!


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