Friday, March 24, 2017

New Release, Giveaway, and Excerpt: Looking Back on Forever by Kat Alexander

Contemporary Romance
Date Published: February 27th

There are moments in time that stand out more than others: your first kiss, a special birthday party, seeing your baby for the first time, an intimate conversation, a first date, even something as little as sitting around a dining room table with friends. This is the story of the moments that stood out after I first laid eyes on Noah Gish. ~ Claire Sawyer
The city, it used to be a place I loved and missed with an ache in my gut. It was home. The place where I grew up, where I had fun, where I had my friends, where life was as good as I knew it to be. Then I was shipped off to a place that begins the story of how I fell in love, just to screw everything up. ~ Noah Gish

Excerpt:

That thought is halted the minute she walks in. Long, soft waves of brown swish inside the doorway. Below that hair is a petite, very petite, package full of curves. flawless ass wrapped in some tight jeans, tiny waist, full breasts seen at a side profile, outlined in a gray V-neck shirt. Those soft globes peeking out as she inhales. The ideal hourglass figure.
I haven’t even seen her face and I’m already picturing what I would do to her. I want to feel her skin. I can imagine how silky it would feel, how soft and conforming to my grip. How it would feel under my lips. Taste on my tongue. I want to lick her back. Every curve of …
Again my thoughts come to a halt. My erection stops mid-growth. Her face. Those eyes. My heart stops. It literally. Fucking. Stops. I don’t even think I breathe.
I’m not a fan of clichés, but from my reactions—my stopped breath, my stopped heart, the jaw dropping, eyes devouring, not to mention sexual thoughts paused … and now my heart is beating like I just ran a marathon, quick breathes, heart attack approaching. If I believed in it, I think I am experiencing love at first sight. And from the looks of her—paused mid-step, eyes locked on mine, rapid breathing, mouth parted, now trying not to look at me—I would say she is experiencing the same dubious phenomena.
Her face, if it had to be described in one word, it would be angelic. Her skin is impeccably fair, with a pretty blush to her cheeks. Her eyes are big and doe-like, so sweet, innocent, and the most beautiful shade of blue I have ever seen. They are fanned by the thickest lashes, and the arch of her brow just begs to be outlined by a finger. Her lips are the closest to natural red I have ever seen on a girl. And I know it’s not makeup; there isn’t a stitch of it on her pretty fresh face. Her nose … I want to press a kiss to that little nose.

What the hell am I saying? One look at this girl, and I am a puddle of mush.





Literature is my passion. I like to challenge myself and grow in my writings. I have many unfinished books and some that have been published under a different name.


My passions include the arts: music, photography, writing, dance, painting, films, architecture—anything that is creation. There is not much I don't like; and if I don't like it, I at least appreciate the process it took place to create it. This is something incorporated in all my books.



In my spare time, I enjoy being out in nature, travelling, spending time with family, and reading. I read everything, from contemporary to paranormal, and history to science. Learning is something very important to me.


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$50 Amazon gift card and signed copy of Looking Back on Forever

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Book Release and Excerpt: Creepy Hollow by Rachel Morgan



YA Fantasy
Date Published: March 14, 2017

Seventeen-year-old Violet Fairdale has one job: protect humans from dangerous fae. It’s a job she’s good at—until the cute guy whose life she just saved follows her back into the hidden world of magic. Now she’s broken Guild law, landing herself in a whole lot of trouble. The last thing Vi wants to do is spend any more time with the guy who got her into this mess, but the Guild requires that she return Nate to his home and make him forget the magical world he’s discovered. Easy, right? Not when you factor in evil faeries, plenty of mystery and intrigue, and inconvenient feelings of the romantic kind. Vi is about to find herself tangled up in a deadly plot that threatens not only her own life, but her entire world.



Excerpt

I cry out as the boy grabs hold of my arm. I stumble on the invisible path, my mind loses hold of my destination, and I tumble out of the darkness and onto the forest floor. I don’t usually exit the faerie paths so clumsily, but I don’t usually have a human boy on top of me.

I lie there blinking as the reality of what just happened strikes me like a slap in the face.

A human.

In the fae realm.

And I’m the one who brought him here.

No no no NO.

I give the guy a good kick and he lands on the ground beside me with a groan. “What did you do that for?” I yell, jumping to my feet. “You can’t follow me through! That’s not how this works.”

He sits up and stares at his surroundings—the wildly tangled trees; the creeping mist; the shifting smoke-like colors in the yuro plants’ leaves—with a mixture of horror and awe on his face. “That … was …”

“Probably the most idiotic thing you’ve ever done.” I doubt he’s listening to me though.

“I think you were right about the dreaming thing,” he says. “There’s no way this could be real. Am I high on something?”

“Ugh.” I clench my fists so tightly I can feel my nails digging into my skin. “It’s magic, you moron.”

He looks at me and frowns. “There’s no such thing as magic.”

“Well, you probably think there’s no such thing as faeries either, and yet here I am.” And here he is. In my forest. My home. I kick a flurry of leaves into the air. Their colors shift rapidly in protest, cycling through an endless palette: lavender, magenta, burgundy, sienna. I bury my face in my hands. I have so failed this assignment.

“No way,” he says, rustling the leaves as he stands. “You can’t be a faerie. You’re way too big.”

I lower my hands. “Excuse me?” I’ve been called many things in my seventeen years, but ‘big’ has never been one of them. Quite the opposite, in fact.

“Aren’t faeries supposed to be, like, really tiny? With wings and a wand and faerie dust?”

“I’m not Tinker Bell!”

He takes a step back. “Okay, okay. Since this is a dream, I guess you can be whatever you want to be.”

“Did it feel like a dream when I kicked you just now?”

“Actually, that did kind of hurt.” He rubs his leg.

I shake my head. “This is such a mistake. You should not be here.”

“So you don’t have wings then?” he asks, completely ignoring what I just said.

“Sure I do. They’re in my pocket.”

“Really?”

“No!” I’m trying to think of the best way to fix this, and I wish he’d keep quiet.

“Oh, wait, you do have a wand though. I saw you using it on my wall.”

“It’s not a wand, it’s a stylus. Just a stick, really.”

“But it—”

“You know, if it weren’t my sole purpose in life to protect humans like you from crazy magical fae, I’d leave you here to find your own way home.”

“Is that what you were doing in my room?” he asks after a moment.

I sigh. Why am I telling him any of this? “Yes. I was on assignment.”

“I was your assignment?”

Wow, you catch on fast. “Yes.”

He hesitates a moment, then grins. “That’s kind of hot.”



About the Author

Rachel Morgan spent a good deal of her childhood living in a fantasy land of her own making, crafting endless stories of make-believe and occasionally writing some of them down. After completing a degree in genetics and discovering she still wasn’t grown-up enough for a ‘real’ job, she decided to return to those story worlds still spinning around her imagination. These days she spends much of her time immersed in fantasy land once more, writing fiction for young adults and those young at heart.

Rachel lives in Cape Town with her husband and three miniature dachshunds. She is the author of the bestselling Creepy Hollow series, and also writes sweet contemporary romance under the name Rochelle Morgan.

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Friday, March 10, 2017

Book Review: The Rite of Wands by MacKenzie Flohr

The Rite of Wands is interesting, a perfect fantasy book for MG and YA fantasy lovers. It is told in alternating points of view by Mierta McKinnon and Orlynd O'Brien, two young teens. Mierta goes through the Rite of Wands and sees a dark future for himself. Orlynd is brought to King Francis to act as his warlock.
Mierta is a potion maker, a skill that he uses to try to avoid his fate. Orlynd has visions though he can't always interpret them as quickly as he needs to. He is caught in the schemes of Anya, the woman who is brought to marry Francis's son.
The author is very good on detailing the environment in which the characters find themselves, helping the reader to visualize in great detail the surroundings of Mierta and Orlynd. I found the dialogue a bit stilted at times and I personally didn't like Orlynd's dialect. There's a glossary in the back to help interpret what he was saying, but I found his speech distracting and it kept taking me out of the story. Other readers may not have this issue. I'd also warn the readers that this has a cliffhanger ending.
I'd like to thank the publisher for providing me with a copy of this ARC. I did enjoy the story and I'm eager to see what happens next.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Book Review: Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop

I usually only share reviews for Indie books, but on occasion, I will throw in a review of a book by
one of my favorite authors. Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop is the fifth and last book in The Others series, though I did hear there may be more books about Thaisia and its inhabitants.
This is a series that, at least in my opinion, needs to be read in order. The inhabitants of the Courtyard change subtly over the five books in various ways that culminate in Etched in Bone.
Meg Corbyn, the cassandra sangue, has mostly stopped cutting, suppressing the need by using her prophecy cards in lieu of the cutting euphoria. Things at the Courtyard have settled down; the Others and the humans are adjusting to living together after cataclysmic events of the previous books where the Humans First and Last movement tried to erase the terre indigene from all the lands.
The story builds slowly as Monty's brother 'Jimmy' and his family arrive to disrupt the fragile peace. While the other books dealt with bigger issues and movements, Etched in Bone is more about how this one bad apple can also cause destruction on a different scale. Jimmy is a grifter who mistreats his wife and children, takes advantage of his siblings and mother, and just generally causes trouble. Right from the beginning, the reader wants the Others to eat him, but Namid's Teeth and Claws make them accommodate him, wanting to learn more about this one human troublemaker.
The relationship between Meg and Simon Wolfgard has deepened. Meg is growing up, learning to deal with the real world after her years of confinement and Simon is patient while helping her adjust to new activities and changes.
There are some lighter moments; I especially liked the turkey hunt and the Elders asking for their treats. All in all, Etched in Bone is a satisfying conclusion to a wonderful series.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Book Review: The Wingman by Natasha Anders

Daisy McGregor is not precisely an ugly duckling, but she's just not as pretty next to her two sisters. She's used to being ignored by others when Mason Carlisle suddenly starts paying attention to her at a night out. When she finds out that he was just trying to help his brother get a date with her oldest sister, Daisy decides to take advantage. Mason is a nice guy so he goes along with Daisy's scheme to be her date for her other sister's upcoming wedding. In fact, he decides that he must spend more time with Daisy to make the façade seem real.
I really enjoyed this book and just ordered another book by the same author. Both Daisy and Mason both grow as their relationship develops. They are both just nice normal people and it's sweet how they both overcome their backgrounds to find each other. Mason is a hottie, former Seal and underwear model, who sees Daisy for the woman she really is. And Daisy is a bit of a mess, but finally manages to assert herself to her mother and sisters. It's a great story. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for letting me read this "Ugly Duckling" romance.

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Book Review: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for letting me read this book. I applied for The Bone Witch because the premise sounded very interesting. However, the reality turned out much different. I was initially confused between the two ongoing stories. I don't particularly like long passages in italics that didn't seem to pertain to the main storyline (later I discovered that it's told by a bard about an older Tea).
Tea is a young girl who discovers she's a bone witch when she accidentally raises her brother, Fox, from the dead.   After this the story goes downhill. Tea is taken off to learn how to become an asha, and, as others have noted, this mirrors Memoirs of a Geisha very closely. The author is very good at detail and world-building. But there is very little actual story going on here so the detailed descriptions of everything just become mind-numbing. I'm normally a fast reader, but this book took me forever to finish. When I keep looking to see what page I'm on now and it seems like hours and you've only read ten pages, you know there's a problem.
I'm sure that some people will really like this book, but it was not for me.  I reviewed this book of my own volition.

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Monday, March 6, 2017

Book Release and Excerpt: Like Clockwork by Ali Abbas

Steampunk/Anti-Romance/Gothic Suspense
Date Published: February 28, 2017
Publisher: Transmundane Press

Commander Raymond Burntwood of the Royal Navy has returned to England where he meets the reclusive heiress Lady Ariana Grayhart. After the scandal of a night spent dancing together, Ariana returns home to Northumberland. Raymond’s superiors—seeking information about Ariana’s father—dispatch the commander under the cover of courting the heiress.
All is not as it seems in the Grayhart household. Captain Grayhart is an invalid, the servants maintain a monkish silence, and secrets are layered upon secrets. Everyone has their own agenda, from Raymond's friend and confidante Du Bois, to the family lawyer Sir Berwick, and Ariana herself.
In the midst of it all, Raymond must unravel the truth of Captain Grayhart's decline and save Ariana's reputation and fortune. In doing so, he learns dark secrets about himself that could tear his world apart.







Excerpt:
 I hurried back up the aisle, looking for a break in the foliage where I could step across, but the wall of green was impenetrable. My boots clattered on the stone floor, and I almost lost my footing as I came around the corner. I caught a glimpse of a figure turning past a small forest of bare poles standing in tall thin pots.

            More carefully now, I followed, watching the occasional pools of standing water and mossy patches on the uneven flags. I turned down the same space that the figure had gone and gagged. The stench was foul. I buried my nose in the elbow of my coat and stumbled backwards. My heel caught on one of the tall pots. I grabbed at the pole to catch my balance, but it swayed away under my weight and snapped. I fell heavily on the floor, a length of cane in my hand and the other canes clattering against each other in mock applause.
            I stood gingerly, wincing against the sharp pain of a blossoming bruise. The intake of the foul miasma hit me like a blow. I took a few cautious steps, using the length of cane as a walking stick.
            We had taken a pirate laden with slaves and bound for Port of Spain once. The Thame had stumbled on him by chance on the high seas, and did some damage before a long chase commenced. The pirates had given up looking after their cargo for some days by the time we finally overcame them and boarded the ship.
            In the hold, we had found a hundred souls dead, and only a handful alive. They were barely recognisable as men in their filth and malnutrition, packed into the darkness with death. We took the survivors on board and burned the shattered remains of the ship with its grisly contents. Some nights the smell of that hold haunted me. And now, I had found it once more in a stuffy corner of this oppressive glasshouse.
            My mind reeled between the present and past. Before me, a row of corpses slowly decayed into the boards of a ship’s hold. I doubled over and retched up scalding bile. I spat to clear my mouth and squeezed my eyes shut against the vision. Minutes passed before I dared to look up again.
            Before me were rows upon rows of noxious-looking fungi. They grew in shallow trays of straw-flecked manure, distended stems rising to lopsided caps. The sickly dark-yellow colour was deeply unwholesome, similar to the lantern lit bodies of the dead slaves. The fungi varied from six inches to a foot tall, and the mature ones seemed to be the same across.
            At least eight tables laden were with these trays. Oozing stems showed some had been recently harvested. I reached out my hand in horrified fascination. Something in their vile shape called out to be squeezed. Two soft footsteps fell behind me, and a strong hand gripped my wrist.



Author Info: Ali Abbas is a writer, photographer, and carpenter from London. He has travelled widely but still lives in the suburb where he was born. It's hard to explain what he does for a living, the common term is Policy Wonk.


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