Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Echo Prophecy by Lindsey Fairleigh

BLURB:

“…we only see what we want to see…what we expect to see…”

Discover what’s hidden—a powerful, mythic race, an ancient Egyptian prophecy, and a love strong enough to shatter the boundaries of time.

Alexandra Larson isn’t human…but she doesn’t know that. As far as Lex is concerned, she’s simply an ambitious and independent archaeology grad student with a knack for deciphering ancient languages, especially the various forms of Egyptian. When she’s recruited to work on her dream excavation, her translating skills uncover the secret entrance to an underground Egyptian temple concealed within Djeser-Djeseru—the famous mortuary temple of Queen Hatchepsut. Lex is beyond thrilled by her discovery…as is the enigmatic and alluring excavation director, Marcus Bahur.

As the relationship between Lex and Marcus heats up, a series of shocking revelations leave the young archaeologist reeling. Once Lex discovers the truth of her ancient Egyptian roots—the truth of her more-than-human nature—the people she trusts most make one final, terrifying revelation: Lex is the central figure of a four-thousand-year-old prophecy. She is the only thing standing between the power to alter the very fabric of time and an evil megalomaniac…who also happens to be her father. As events set in motion over four millennia ago lead Lex and Marcus from Seattle to the heart of Egypt, the fate of mankind depends on one thing: the strength of Lex’s love.

My Review

I wasn't sure how well I would be able to get into the book when I  started reading the prologue.  If I have a hard time pronouncing words in a book it draws my focus away from the story and I spend more time trying to figure out if I'm saying/thinking the word right.  However, by the end of the prologue I was already hooked.

I loved the characters in this book.  They were fun and very easy to connect to.  Their personalities were not overdone, which I have come to find happens a lot with quirky characters.  I loved that it took me a few days to read this book, too.  I enjoy a quick read, but I like being able to sit with a book for a few days and really become immersed into another world.  I have to say that I have also, thanks to Ms. Fairleigh, been looking for programs on History and Discovery about ancient Egypt (lol).

This story has a very original idea, which is hard to come by lately in the indie world.  It isn't so much because people are stealing ideas from each other, it is just that there are so many new authors trying to make it that many of them end up writing books with the same ideas and plots. And a random thought to add, I found the best parenting advice, ever, while reading this book (see excerpt below this review). 

While I cannot wait to read the next book in this trilogy, I have to say that I loved that there was only a teeny, tiny cliff hanger at the end, and I still had plenty of closure.  I am so excited to see where we get to go next!

Excerpt

“Alright,” she purred. “Follow me.”

Swaying, she led me through a curtain of multi-hued glass beads and into a cramped back room that had clearly been decorated with fortune-telling in mind; there was a small, square table of polished oak, several dim antique lamps, and a short bookshelf filled with tarot cards, leather-bound books, and other tools of the trade. A teenage version of the shop owner was sitting at the table, rapt attention on her phone. She cocked her head inquisitively at our arrival but didn’t look up.

“Kat, go watch the counter. I have some business with this customer.”

The teenager—Kat—rolled her eyes before standing and exiting the room with a huff.

“Your daughter?” I asked, amused.

“Do you have children?”

I shook my head, surprised by her question.

“I’d advise that you spend some time remembering your teenage self before reproducing. If you can’t stand the idea of being around that version of yourself for more than a few hours, you’re not ready,” the shopkeeper replied.

“I heard that, Mom!” Kat called from the front of the store.

My hostess pointedly raised one artful eyebrow. “Please, have a seat.” She took her daughter’s place while I sat in the wooden chair opposite her.

“Thanks for agreeing to speak with me,” I said after a long silent moment. It wasn’t much of a conversation starter, but it was the best I could come up with under pressure.

With a knowing smile, she said, “I’m sure it will be enlightening for us both. Now, what brought you here?”

I pursed my lips, considering the best way to start. “I guess you could say I’m looking for answers . . . or an explanation. You see, I’ve been experiencing something sort of . . . odd.”

“Odd how?” she asked, resting her clasped hands on the table.

“Well . . . it’s these dreams I’ve been having. Except, I just had one and I was awake, which doesn’t really make sense, does it? And they’re not dreams exactly, but more like visions. I mean, some are things I’ve witnessed in my life, but some happened before I was born, and—this is going to sound totally nuts—some haven’t even happened yet. But they’re all real.”

As I spoke, my companion sat up straighter, evidently intrigued. “What makes you think it’s anything beyond an active imagination? What makes it ‘real’?”

I leaned forward, intent on making the woman—a stranger—believe me. If she believed me without thinking I was crazy, maybe I could too. “Because I know things.” I said. “Things I shouldn’t know . . . things I couldn’t know. I dreamed something bad would happen to me, and it happened exactly as I saw it.”

“If you knew it would happen, why didn’t you try to change it?”

I laughed bitterly. “I thought I was just anxious. It didn’t seem possible that I could see the future in my dreams.”

“You said it’s not always a dream, that you’ve been awake for these ‘visions’?”

“Yeah . . . just once, about fifteen minutes ago.”

She leaned back in her chair, studying me, her generous lips pressed together in a flat line. After a protracted silence, she asked, “You want to know what’s happening to you, correct?”

“Yes.” Eager, I licked my lips. She knows something . . . she has to.

“I’ve heard of people with abilities like this. Usually it’s genetic.” She paused. “Have you spoken with your parents about it?”

Frustrated, I shook my head. “My mom doesn’t know about any of it. She’d tell me if she did. And . . . I don’t know who my father is.”

“Mom!” Kat called from the front of the shop.

“Just a minute!” the woman across the table from me yelled back. To me, she said, “Your situation is odd, like you said, but there are others like you out there. It’s standard for your kind to learn about such things from their families. I’m amazed you’ve slipped through the cracks for so long.”

“My kind? What are you talking about?” My hands gripped the edge of the table so firmly that my nail beds were turning white.

The muffled sound of Kat’s voice, along with a deeper, male voice, grew louder from beyond the beaded curtain.

“Yes, your kind.”

About Lindsey Fairleigh

Lindsey Fairleigh lives her life with one foot in a book--as long as that book transports her to a magical world or bends the rules of science. Her novels, from post-apocalyptic to time travel and historical fantasy, always offer up a hearty dose of unreality, along with plenty of adventure and romance. When she's not working on her next novel, Lindsey spends her time reading and trying out new recipes in the kitchen. She lives in the Napa Valley with her loving husband and confused cats.




Purchase Echo Prophecy on Amazon:


You can also purchase Echo Prophecy at Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords!



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Clean Teen Publishing - Bullying Awareness Month Giveaway

Help Stop Bullying 

Clean Teen Publishing's Bullying Awareness Month Giveaway


October is around the corner and with October comes National Bullying Awareness Month. We all have been affected by bullying in some way or another during our life time. We all know how it made us feel. Some of us are going through it right now. Some of us are watching our children going through it. All of us know someone who is being affected by it. That is why during the month of October, Clean Teen Publishing and Crimson Tree Publishing will be hosting a series of posts from our authors about bullying. We invite everyone to subscribe to our blog and come back often during the month of October to participate in our Bullying Awareness Month Events and Giveaways. 

Let's work together to stop bullying now! 


You don't have to wait until October to help stop bullying. 
And you don't have to wait until October to enter our grand prize giveaway for $100! 

Enter now for your chance to win a $50 gift card to give to anyone you think needs encouragement. (This can be a friend, a family member, a neighbor, someone who is going through a hard time right now, someone who has been bullied recently, etc. This is up to you on who you want to give the $50 gift card to.) And we will match the give away with another $50 gift card for you
*Both gift cards will be sent through email and will be from Amazon.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

My Boyfriend is a Zombie by Elita Daniels

Blurb:

Does the heart still ache for love after it has stopped beating?

Life changes for 17 year old Victoria when she follows a strange man into the cemetery one afternoon and discovers him burying a secret next to a headstone. After an awkward beginning they are soon drawn to each other and begin an unusual relationship. Travis is a zombie. He takes her into the world of Black Hollow a place that offers a second chance for the deceased. Victoria knows Travis can never offer her the life a normal young man could but gradually she starts to realise that if they can just overcome his existential crisis and kept him from falling apart they could share a life she'd never dreamed in a world she could never have imagined. Only she thinks she might be being haunted by the dead bride of Travis's best friend, who has his own set of dangerous secrets locked away in an old garden hut.

My Review

I was really excited to review this book.  The idea was original and there were so many places the story could take the reader.  However, it ended up falling a little short for me.  Ultimately, I decided to give this story 2 stars, and here is why:

While I generally do not review a book based on the editing, this book seriously needed another round of copy edits.  There were so many issues that it was distracting.  

Travis was over 200 years old, and Daniels did a superb job grasping his personality based on the era he comes from.  There was absolutely nothing wrong with his character, I actually fell in love with his personality and his quirkiness.  What bothered me were the moments when Victoria would speak.  It was as though she came from the same era as Travis - before she had spent any real time with him, so it was not just a case of her picking up some of his mannerisms.  

I know that the majority of books in the Young Adult genre (regardless of the subcategory, be it dystopian, paranormal, contemporary, etc.) have the romance/love triangle element.  It is almost a given, and if it is not part of the main plot it is a pleasant surprise.  But when it came to the love triangle in this story, I was reminded of Bella in Twilight.  Very naive and controlling, but at the same time she allowed others to make her decisions for her.  Near the end of the story I got really excited because she did the unexpected, but it was kind of where I was hoping she would go (I really felt that her relationship with Travis was very unhealthy), but as with most YA novels, it needed to have a happy ending.  However, I was still okay with how the story ended - it wasn't all hearts and flowers, and because of the unhealthy relationship it will show girls that life is not a fairy tale.  Kuddos for that.  I would have liked it better if this story followed through with her decision at that point to show the younger audience that it is okay to end something when it is not healthy for you.

Some of the descriptions in the story were a bit corny and overdone.  For example: "The new moon, in cool height above the trees, rooftops, and clouds, lighted Victoria's way home."  While it wasn't necessarily a bad description, the new moon cannot light the way because it is blacked out.  The intimate scenes (don't worry for those parents out there who decide to allow their daughters to give this book a go - it is PG-13) were a bit awkward and uncomfortable.  They were described as follows: (not direct quotes) he brought his mouth to her mouth; his mouth was described as ugly-beautiful.  Considering the title of the book, we know that her boyfriend is a zombie.  Not everything associated with him is going to be swoon-ish.  It is one of the reasons I was so ready to accept this review.  I wanted something different that involved a girl falling in love with a boy because of who he was, not because he's, like, totally smokin' hot!!  

Lastly, there were quite a few scenes that should have been cut.  One of the things I love about Indie is the fact that the author has total control over the finished product.  What is helpful, though, is having a good editor that will let you know when you have gone a little overboard and need to make some changes.  That is what a copy-edit is there for.  They dig deep down into the guts of a book and make the authors words shine.  This book took me 3 days to read, and normally a book will take me 1 day, 2 max.  There were instances when I had to force myself to sit down for a bit and actually continue reading.  It was just a bit too much.  

Please do not take this review lightly, learn and grow from it.  I did enjoy the idea and the plot (for the most part).  The world building for Black Hollow was superb.  It reminded me a bit of Beautiful Creatures mixed in with Diagon Alley from Harry Potter (Do not lynch me if that is spelled wrong - I have shamefully not read the books).  The idea of zombies thinking for themselves, exercising their brains so that they can continue to be in control of themselves was just an amazing idea.  Zombies with feelings and were lucid, and not just mindless corpses in search of brains.  It was unique and I loved that.

Something else that Elita Daniels excels at is action.  Every single action scene in the book had me sitting on the edge of my seat.  She wrote in a way that I could not tell who was going to come out the victor.  It was genuinely suspenseful.

Also, I did not check the front matter to see who designed the cover, but I love it.  So many indie covers are the same, and I absolutely loved this one.  It is as unique as the story itself.

This idea that Elita Daniels has come up with has the potential to become something huge.  There is something missing in the YA market, and regardless of Warm Bodies (which is a completely different concept of zombies than this book), this story could be the one to fill it.  It touches on different aspects of the paranormal genre, and even those touches are unique.  My suggestion is finding another editor and have them dissect the story for you.  Find some beta readers - not your close, personal friends, unless you can trust them to be honest and not just tell you how fabulous it is because they do not want to hurt your feelings.  Beta readers can be great if you find some good ones. 

I will say that if the author takes my review seriously, and does an overhaul, I would be more than happy to read the story again; like I said, it can seriously be a best seller. Good luck, Elita, and congratulations on being one of the few authors out there that have come up with something completely original and went for it. I do see you going to some great places, you just need a little bit of help to get there.

About Elita Daniels

Elita Daniels was born in the early 1980's in North Queensland, and was raised (and still lives) in the historical gold city of Charters Towers. She started writing at age twenty-five, writing late at night when the house was quiet.

She aspires to move with her husband to a nice sized property located in a cooler climate, get a couple of dogs, and see "Tree of Life" made into a movie.



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***Review has been done in conjunction with Nerd Girl Official. For more information regarding our reviews please visit our Fansite: www.facebook.com/NerdGirl.ng ***

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Help JON MESSENGER's Series Hit #1



We are so excited to see that Jon Messenger's WORLD AFLAME Series is on the Amazon Best Seller's charts. We want to make Jon Messenger's year by helping him get on the New York Times Best Sellers list! Help support this amazing author who is also an Army Major and Amazing Father, by purchasing his books TODAY! 

If either of Jon Messenger's books hit in the Amazon Top 100 in all of Kindle Books (not sub-categories) Clean Teen Publishing will host an epic giveaway ($200 Amazon Gift Card) for those who helped get his book there! So hold onto your proof of purchase. If your book was purchased between 9/25/13 and 10/10/13 you will be eligible for this exclusive giveaway! The giveaway will be announced on the Clean Teen Publishing Website at the time that the book hits TOP 100! Make sure to check the website often or check the website on 10/10/13 to see if we made it! Be a part of something huge!  

FLAME CALLER by Jon Messenger

Book 2 in The World Aflame Series ~ NEW ADULT 

(Young Adult Appropriate)

THE
EARTH GIVES WAY TO THE SEA, THE SEA BOWS BEFORE THE WIND, THE WIND FEEDS THE
FLAME, THE FLAME BURNS THE WORLD OF MAN DOWN TO THE EARTH.

White Halls is no longer a sleepy little town. Its houses lie smoldering on their foundations. The residents take refuge in their homes, afraid to leave. And the town’s prodigal son and newest Wind Warrior, Xander Sirocco, has fled.

Xander has lost his family, his grandfather is in a coma, and now the fate of the world is in his hands. He has no time to figure out his feelings for Sammy—the Fire Wielder who saved his life after first trying to take it—because he has a world to save. But how do seven Wind Warriors fight off an army of Flame Callers… who are determined to burn the world of man down to the earth?

When a whispered word gives Xander newfound hope, he sets off to find the very thing that could save them all. They say that Elementals—embodiments of the elemental powers that the different castes wield—are only a myth. Even so, the hope of finding an Elemental is his only chance to save not only the Wind Warriors and Sammy, but also the world itself.

Little does Xander know that while he is out chasing the Wind Elemental, the Fire Elemental is closing in quickly behind him. It has nefarious plans for Sammy… and it will not stop until Xander is dead.

 Check out this amazing BEST SELLING series today!






WIND WARRIOR by Jon Messenger

Book 1 in The World Aflame Series ~ NEW ADULT 
(Young Adult Appropriate)

THE EARTH GIVES WAY TO THE SEA,
THE SEA BOWS BEFORE THE WIND,
THE WIND FEEDS THE FLAME,
THE FLAME BURNS THE WORLD OF MAN DOWN TO THE EARTH.

The sleepy town of White Halls harbors a dangerous secret. On a picturesque street, two houses down from a lovely little park, in a quaint little home with a wraparound porch, lives a family that seems rather normal. Sure, their twenty-year-old son, Xander, still lives at home, but he's going to college and dating the leader of the schools top sorority. It's all very... normal.  However, when a man is miraculously saved from being hit by a bus, Xander's life turns in to the living embodiment of the tornadoes he can suddenly create with a flick of his wrist. Whether he wants this gift or not, Xander must learn to use his new 'super power' quickly if he wants to survive.  For his kind is a dying race, and when this sleepy town has a sudden influx of new, blonde, fire wielders, no one is safe, especially Xander. It doesn't help that one of these blondes happens to be the most beautiful girl he has ever seen. Xander can't deny the instant connection he feels to her so, when she tries to kill him, it certainly makes things complicated.

About Jon Messenger


Jon Messenger (Born 1979 in London, England) serves as an United States Army Major in the Medical Service Corps. Since graduating from the University of Southern California in 2002, writing Science Fiction has remained his passion, a passion that has continued through two deployments to Iraq, a humanitarian relief mission to Haiti, and an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. Jon wrote the "Brink of Distinction" trilogy, of which "Burden of Sisyphus" is the first book, while serving a 16-month deployment in Baghdad, Iraq.

Jon's books include Wind Warrior which was published through Clean Teen Publishing and quickly hit the best selling lists of Amazon. Jon Messenger has won a readers choice award as well as the Clean Teen Publishing writing contest for his Novella of Wind Warrior, which is also featured in Wonderstruck. Messenger's sci-fi series, Brink of Distinction, was picked up by Clean Teen Publishing's adult imprint: Crimson Tree Publishing in the Fall of 2013. 

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