Friday, January 31, 2014

Tainted Waters by Maggie Thom - Blog Tour

Blurb

He didn’t commit suicide but who’s going to believe her...

Frustrated at being fired from her latest job and overwhelmed by her consolatory family, Sam decides to move to the family’s cabin at the lake. A place she hasn’t been since her dad committed suicide there, twenty years before. Or did he? Snooping is something she’s good at but someone seems to be taking offense to her looking too closely at what has been happening at the lake. What she discovers is shocking. Now she must uncover what’s real and what’s not. All that she learned growing up, may be false. 

Keegan, who has recently moved to the area to finish his latest book, is also trying to find out if his grandfather, who’d passed away ten years before, died of natural causes or was murdered? The descendants of the four families, who own the land around the lagoon, are dying off. 

Since Sam and Keegan are the only ones questioning the deaths, they find themselves working together to seek the truth. Are people being murdered? Who would benefit from their deaths? Why would there be barricades and armed guards at the north end of the lake? To stay alive, Sam and Keegan must find the answers and convince others, before more people are killed... including them.

"This is a book that will have you on the edge of your seat. Just when you think the story is over, think again." - Read Your Writes Book Reviews

My Review

I enjoyed this story - lots of twists and turns, a good plot, and just a splash of romance.  Sam is spunky and an all around fun person and loving aunt.  Keegan was okay - not super swoon worthy, but a classically attractive male role.

I enjoyed the end of the story.  It gave the feeling that the story wasn't exactly over, and then you learn that it isn't and the bad guy is still out there.  Don't worry, it is a stand-alone novel - no cliff hangers!  The bad guy does get his in the end.  I have to say that I quite loved the whodunit aspect of this story and it was woven wonderfully.  I sort of figured out who the bad guy actually was, but I wasn't sure enough to make that a definitive, "Yes!  I know it is you!."  In the end it was still surprising, but not surprising enough to make my jaw drop in shock and awe.

There were a few editing issues that need to be addressed.  Commonly confused words were used the wrong way frequently throughout the story and there were a few places where words were doubled.  There were also a few places that I had to read the sentences a few times to figure out what it was actually supposed to say, I'm assuming they are just the normal blunders from editing to revision and that the story just needed to be proofread a bit better.

I would give this book a four-star review if the editing were a little more thorough.  It was quite distracting in places and drew my attention away from the plot, which is a shame because the author did a wonderful job with that.  

Excerpt

“You’re fired!”

Sam’s hands slammed down on the arms of the office chair as she jerked forward. “Because some dude stole a necklace from his wife, pawned it and got the insurance for it? And I had the nerve to tell the story?”

“You’re fired!”

There was so much more she wanted to say to him. To tell him. It wasn’t fair that she was getting kicked to the curb for other people’s lies and secrets. It wasn’t her fault that she felt truth should win out at all costs. Climbing to her feet, she stared hard at her boss, debating about telling him again why she’d written that story. The blue vein bulging from his forehead and the deep crimson color of his puffy cheeks told her it was pointless and might just cause a heart attack.

“The story didn’t run, so what’s the big deal?”

His mottled face started to shake with fury. Sam picked up her coffee which she was glad she’d set down when she came in and took a step back. The last man she’d seen that angry had thrown a punch.

“Only because I caught it. Nothing and I mean nothing, gets printed in this paper without my say so. Very sneaky Samantha. Not acceptable. You’re done here. And don’t worry you won’t ever work in this industry again.”

She shook her head hoping something would fall into place and this would all make sense. It wasn’t like it was any different than any of the other stories the newspaper wrote – they got details, or as many as they could and then skewed them sideways if that’s what made the tale sensational. Only she hadn’t needed to do that. The facts themselves had been enough to make the story astounding. For once the paper might have been able to print the truth and nothing but the truth. The informant who’d put her on to this situation had been right, it had been unbelievable. She wished she’d been able to thank him but that was part of the agreement – no names, no thank yous, no mention of where the story started. And she couldn’t tell anyone because it wasn’t actually supposed to have been hers to tell.

“I’m fired.” It didn’t compute.

“Of course. I don’t say things I don’t mean. Now get out.”

She eyed Mr. Donner, the man that she’d thought she was going to have a lot of respect for, the man she’d envisioned thanking in the future for all he’d taught her. For taking her under his wing and making her the exceptional journalist that she was. Okay she knew that was crap but she had hoped that her initial ‘feeling’ about him had been wrong. Besides she figured that even if he wasn’t more than a pompous figurehead, there had to be some people at the paper that she could learn from. To date, unfortunately, she’d only been patted on the head and given the lame jobs. Still, she’d actually started to believe that this work might be her calling. Well, until she’d taken it into her head to run with a tip she’d been given. It hadn’t really been meant for her but since Tom hadn’t been at his desk when his phone kept ringing and ringing, she’d figured it had been hers to run with since she’d been the one to answer it. She had planned to show them what she could do and that would have been the start to her amazing career.

Another damn dream dashed.

Without stopping to think about what she was doing or even taking the time to rationalize that this wouldn’t be in her best interest, she tossed her almost full cup of lukewarm coffee across the expansive cherry wood desk, into the face of the man who had been her supervisor for a few short months.

About Maggie Thom

Maggie Thom, who grew up in rural Alberta, took the challenge and leapt off, leaving a fulltime, twenty year career in management, to write full time. After publishing her first book Captured Lies, October 2012, her second novel, Tainted Waters, April, 2013, she is looking forward to publishing her third book, Deceitful Truths, available late 2013. An avid reader and writer her whole life, she decided to break the monotony of wishing to be an author by making it happen. Married to her best friend, she is learning that humor, love and patience help her navigate her way through her twins’ teen years. Her motto: Escape to read and Read to escape. 

"Maggie Thom writes a fast paced thriller laced with romance that keeps the reader interested and on edge!" - InDtale Magazine

Stalk Maggie

Purchase Tainted Waters on Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, Smashwords, Diesel, and Barnes & Noble!


The Wounded by Lauren Nicolle Taylor - Cover Reveal


OFFICIAL COVER REVEAL: THE WOUNDED 


by Lauren Nicolle Taylor


 We are pleased to release the official cover reveal for the third book in The Woodlands Series by Best Selling Author Lauren Nicolle Taylor. The Wounded is scheduled to release to the masses in less than two weeks. We hope you enjoy this sneak peak at the new cover. We'd love to hear your comments and thoughts on this cover as well as the series of covers so far.









The Woodlands Series by Lauren Nicolle Taylor

(Young Adult Mature- Dystopian Romance)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing


FREE BOOK:




Rosa never thought she’d make it to sixteen...

When being unique puts you in danger and speaking your mind can be punishable by death, you might find yourself fighting to survive. Rosa lives in The Woodlands, one of eight enclosed cities where the lone survivors of a devastating war have been gathered. In these circular cities everyone must abide by the law or face harsh punishment. Rosa's inability to conform and obey the rules brands her a leper and no one wants to be within two feet of her, until she meets Joseph. He's blonde, fair skinned, blue eyed and the laid back, ever-grinning, complete opposite of Rosa. She's never met anyone quite like him, and she knows that spells danger.

But differences weren't always a bad thing. People used to think being unique was one of the most treasured of traits to have. That was before the bitter race war decimated most of the planet, leaving the Russian wilderness as the only scrap of

land habitable for survivors. Now, the Superiors, who ruthlessly control the concrete cities with an iron fist, are obsessed with creating a 'raceless' race. They are convinced this is the only way to avoid another war. Any anomalies must be destroyed.

The Superiors are unstoppable and can do anything they want, after all, they are considered super heroes by the general public. But not everyone see's them this way. When they continue to abuse their power by collecting young girls for use in their secret, high-tech breeding program, they have no idea that one of those girls has somehow managed to make friends even she didn't know she had. And one man will stop at nothing to save her.


THE WALL by Lauren Nicolle Taylor


(Young Adult Mature- Dystopian Romance)
Book 2 in The Woodlands Series




Joseph, wake up, wake up, wake up.

She says it over and over. It’s her plea, her prayer, her mantra. But life doesn’t stop while he’s sleeping. Rosa’s been thrown into a new world, with new rules, and a philosophy that sounds too good to be true. She’s also sure they didn’t rescue her out of the goodness of their hearts.

The Survivors must want something from them… but what?

The Wall finds Rosa eagerly entering a new life, yet struggling to keep the demons and ghosts of the past from dragging her backwards.

She’s left so many people behind and isn’t sure how to start over.

There’s freedom in the Survivors’ world, more than she’d ever dreamed of, but there’s also secrets. The darkest of which pulls Rosa headfirst into a trauma, forcing her to reevaluate her past and pushing her to make a choice that may destroy the tenuous, sewn-together family she’s built on the outside.

Will Rosa make the right choice… or will she lose everything she has fought so hard for?

THE WOUNDED by Lauren Nicolle Taylor

(Young Adult Mature- Dystopian Romance)
Book 3 in The Woodlands Series





You think you’re in control, that you have your hands on the reins. But I’m starting to think either someone else is driving or the reins are attached to nothing. Just flapping and snapping in the breeze. What could be simple, never is.

Rosa doesn’t want to get used to being separated from Joseph, from Orry. But now she must battle her way back to her family, her future, at the same time struggling to come to terms with her father’s past, his secrets and what he means to her now.

With her best friend Rash by her side she feels blessed and cursed. He is her saving grace but will Joseph accept him, and will he forgive her for leaving? More importantly will she manage to return to him? Rosa must pull these threads together. Hold herself in as she hacks her way back to The Wall with the aid of new companions but not the one person she’d planned on saving.

Finding her way back is only the beginning. The biggest changes, the shocking outcomes are waiting. Hovering over the town like a menacing vapour.

The Wounded have waited, nursed, and been dormant for too long and now they’re coming, dragging the ghosts of their lost ones behind them.

About Lauren Nicolle Taylor



Lauren Nicolle Taylor is a 33-year-old mother living in the tiny, lush town of Bridgewater on the other side of the world in Australia. She married her high school sweetheart and has three very boisterous and individual children. She earned a Bachelors degree in Health Sciences with Honours in Obstetrics and Gynecology and majored in Psychology while minoring in Contemporary Australian Writing.

After a disastrous attempt to build her dream house that left her family homeless, She found herself inexplicably drawn to the computer. She started writing, not really knowing where it may lead but ended up, eight weeks later, with the rough draft of The Woodlands.

In 2013, Lauren Nicolle Taylor accepted a publishing contract with Clean Teen Publishing. Her first published novel, The Woodlands, was released on August 30, 2013. Currently, Lauren has finished her manuscript for the second and third book in the series titled: The Wall and The Wounded. 

Where to find Lauren: Blog / Facebook / Twitter


More from Clean Teen Publishing:






Monday, January 20, 2014

The Lotus Effect by Bridget Ladd - Review

Synopsis

An improbable partnership. An unforgettable love.

Lily Emerson, daughter of the Head of Council and Mistress of Science, has lived a privileged life. It’s Lily’s 18th nameday, the day she is to follow in her mother’s footsteps, becoming the next Mistress of Science—the most powerful woman in all of City Prosper. The Architect and designer of Prosper’s future.

During the night of her Coronation, the corruption of the Council spreads before her . . . opening her eyes to the cruelty that resides in the Council, even within her own parents. Lily realizes now the title of Mistress only comes with superficial power, that to truly save the citizens—she has to fight.

Fight in the Barrage—the mechanical gladiatorial tournament in which one chosen pair of volunteers from each Sector fights, armor-clad and as a team, utilizing unique weapon specialties: the Gatling gun, the Cestus, Klaives, Crescent Knives, mechanically engineered beasts—in the hope to win the right to change the Law. A law that has remained unchanged since its creation almost eighty years ago.

The tournament that Xander, Engineering Blacksmith and Lily’s partner, believes she has no business being in.

But Lily’s different. And she sets out to prove just that.

My Review

Bridget Ladd's writing is absolutely amazing.  Her world-building is superb to the point that when I went to bed last night I dreamed of City Prosper and all of the amazing characters that reside there.  I could not see anything, or hear anything, going on around me while reading this book.  It was as though the words literally turned to pictures.  I wasn't seeing the black and white of the pages, but amazing colors and faces, buildings and nature.  I have no words to describe this book other than fantastic and heart-racing.  

Other than The Infernal Devices series by Cassie Clare (which are wonderful, by the way, but more supernatural and paranormal than anything else), I have never read anything remotely close to a steampunk novel.  I find this a great injustice to myself because I think I have discovered a new favorite genre (sub-genre?).  I think that is one of the many reasons I loved this story.  It isn't solely focused on one thing - sci-fi, fantasy, romance, etc.  The story isn't about the romance.  It isn't about the fantastical technology created by these people.  It isn't about a whiny girl that doesn't know her you-know-what from a hole in the ground... Thank the gods for that!  I get so tired of that type of main character in a YA novel.

She is no Bella Swan - too chicken shit to tell those around her what she really wants.  Lily doesn't just follow the herd and do what is asked of her.  She physically can't do it.  She stays true to who she is, deep in her bones, in her blood, in her DNA.  She starts out strong, and grows stronger - she does not start out weak and grow into someone who is bitter and angry.

Xander and Lily do not instantly fall in lust with each other and allow their feelings to complicate their situation.  They are not foolish with their lives and the lives of others by being selfish for their wants.  They push each other to a greatness that already resided within them.

Read this book.  Get it, and read it.  Right now.  Make sure you set aside an entire day, because you will not want to put it down.  You will take it to the toilet with you.  You will read the book while walking to the kitchen to refill your drink, and then grab a snack when you remember that you haven't eaten anything all day. This story draws you in and doesn't let go.  I've finished reading it and I'm still having a hard time letting go.  I cannot wait to see what Ms. Ladd has in store for us in Ardent Ascension! 

About Bridget Ladd

Bridget Ladd never quite grew up. She's most likely to be caught carrying a pocketful of souvenir rocks and shells (to the washer’s dismay) and gets excited over trivial things like colorful ponies and raiding tombs alongside her longtime favorite video game pal, Lara Croft. The smell of freshly turned dirt and the sea air are her favorites, and she isn’t above doing twirling spins barefoot in the grass on a beautiful day in her yard. Her books are her shields and she will admit to having her head in the clouds more times than she probably should . . . but she doesn't let any of this bother her too much, remembering her favorite quote by Le Guin, and knowing that the creative adult is indeed the child who survived.

As for her educational pursuits, she graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 3D Computer Animation/Interactive Design and minored in Art History at East Carolina University. Living her life solely as an artist and illustrator after school was not enough—knowing that a picture was only worth a thousand words—she felt that she needed more. She had to get the trapped stories, the vivid, sometimes adventurous, sometimes terrifying dreams, out of her head. Like the authors, artists, musicians, scientists, peaceful warriors who inspired her, she too wishes to share her worlds with others, let them escape into the unknown. Let them know that like her, it's okay to be different.

She hopes to inspire at least one other soul. Encourage them to put their brush to the canvas, go outside and take the picture they so longed to capture, write the story or song that will blossom to life before someone else's eyes. Just as others had done for her, she hopes to create that one brilliant spark within another, to help bring more color to this sometimes ever graying world. This is her battle. What's yours?

Stalk Bridget





Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Key by Jennifer Anne Davis - Blog Tour and Review


Synopsis

Within these pages lie kingdoms with castles and princes who fall in love with fair maidens, but make no mistake−this is no fairytale.

His father’s kingdom is on the brink of upheaval and at the center of it all is an ordinary girl who could be the key to its undoing. When faced with the ultimate choice, will he choose the girl he’s falling in love with or the kingdom he has sworn to protect?

An ordinary girl with an extraordinary past. All she wants is to be free. What she doesn’t realize is that freedom comes with a price she can’t afford to pay. She’s forced to accept the proposal of a prince she despises, even though her heart belongs to someone else . . . his brother.

Seventeen-year-old Rema lives in a brutal kingdom where travel between regions is forbidden, people are starving, and looking at someone the wrong way can mean death. Nineteen-year-old Darmik is the king’s son and Commander of the King’s Army. He spends his days roving the island, doing his father’s bidding and trying to maintain control over the people.

When a chance encounter throws Rema and Darmik together, they share an instantaneous connection, but any sort of relationship between them is strictly forbidden. Darmik’s brother, the Crown Prince, notices Darmik’s interest in Rema and, in a calculated, political move, blackmails her. Faced with an impossible choice, Rema is forced to sacrifice her heart in order to save her family.

As Rema is taken to the palace with the Crown Prince, Darmik confronts the growing rumor that a legitimate blood heir to the throne exists and is trying to overthrow Darmik’s family. In Darmik’s quest to hunt down and kill the threat, he discovers that nothing is as it seems. Locked in the king’s castle, Rema finds herself a key player in a massive power struggle. When Darmik shows up, she’s not sure if she can trust him. The line between friends, enemies, and loyalty becomes blurred. As truths are unlocked, Rema understands that she just might be the key to finding the rightful heir and restoring peace to the kingdom… if she can manage to stay alive long enough.

My Review

Holy cliffhanger, Batman!  I generally do not start a review with the end of the book, but I stayed up late last night - much to my husband's dismay (thanks babe!) - to finish because I was so hooked on this story that I could not stop reading when I hit that 90% mark at bed time.  I was laying in bed with my Kindle screen set to a black background to try to minimize the lighting, hoping to prevent my husband from being kept awake, but all of that didn't matter once I read the last few lines of the story; which, by the way, you don't realize are the last few lines of the story until you read, "End of book 1" in big, bold letters!  Sneaky, sneaky!

I think, though, that it isn't really a huge cliffhanger, it just seems to be one in the throws of the last two chapters.  Without going into detail, because it would actually ruin the ENTIRE book if that slipped out, I don't think what happens on those last few lines can actually happen if the series is to continue... right, Jennifer?  RIGHT?!?!?!  I actually felt a bit hung over the next morning when I got up.

I am so ready for the next book, and the one after that, and if we're lucky there will be more after that. There are so many different scenarios that could happen in the continuation of the story that, while I have an idea of what is going to happen (hopefully that idea is not actually wishful thinking *coughpleaseletdarmiknotbeadoucheanymorecough*), it could really be anything.  Jennifer could just stab us in the heart, crush our dreams, and make us stop believing in a happily ever after. Please don't crush my dreams!

Ok, I'm done wallowing in self pity now.  Onto Rema.  Rema is our heroine and I adore her!  Her personality is amazing, and everything that I hope my daughter to be when she is 17-years-old.  I loved reading a YA novel with a strong female lead.  She knows what she wants, she has strong ties to her family (at least the people who raised her that she believes are her family...), she is independent, and she can take care of herself.  Mostly.

Then we have Darmik.  I quite love Darmik as well.  He grew up at a military school, basically, and even though his family are nothing but total a-holes, he turned out to be compassionate toward others.  Hard to believe that about the commander of the strongest army in the land - at least they think that they are the strongest... but as you get a bit into the book, you'll probably change your mind about that.

Lennek.  Ugh, his name makes me want to vomit.  He is, in my humble opinion, worse than his father; the man who slaughtered more than 40 people (men, women, children, and infants) to ensure that there were no living heirs to the kingdom he was overthrowing.  I hope that helps to sum up my feelings about Lennek. He's worse than a baby killer.  That is all.

Speaking of the slaughter of over 40 people, the prologue of this book was probably the best I have ever read.  Bravo for that, Jennifer.  No, really.  I generally don't even like prologues because they end up being useless as the stories in them are repeated over and over throughout the book anyway.  Not to mention the physical reaction I had to reading that section.  It got me in my guts, girlfriend.

On to something a little less morbid, guess what else I loved about this book?  No love triangle!  I know, right?  NO LOVE TRIANGLE!

Jennifer, I'm going to need you to finish up the rest of this series, like, yesterday.  Please, and thank you!

P.S.  Isn't the cover gorgeous?

Excerpt

Prince Lennek slouched on the seat, putting his muddy boots up on the velvet bench across from them, appearing disinterested. Rema hated to admit it, but he was handsome. The side of his lips curled as his eyes sliced over to her. She’d been caught staring. Conceited, she thought. He was beautiful, and he knew it. Rema hated the idea of finding a murderer, someone so vile and repulsive, attractive. It sickened her. She focused her attention outside the carriage and remembered Bren, beaten and bloody from orders given by the prince.

“When we reach the city,” Lennek said, “I’ll introduce you to the people. Then I’ll propose, you’ll accept, and a huge party will be given in our honor. We’ll be married in a few weeks.”

“Why wait so long?” she asked, the hatred seeping through. “What if you get tired of me and change your mind?”

“Hmm,” he smiled, as if contemplating how much to reveal. “You needn’t worry. Everything is going according to plan.”

It was only a matter of time before Rema discovered what Lennek was up to.

Today the mountain range was closer—cold and unwelcoming, rising straight up into the sky. They were topped with snow and desolate of trees. No wonder nothing survived up there.

“I want to make sure you play the part,” Lennek said, recapturing her attention.

“And what would that be?” She glared at him. “Just so we’re absolutely clear.”

Prince Lennek chuckled softly. “Rema, darling, you are a feisty one.” Feisty? He had taken her away from her family. He had ordered Bren’s death. Rema was filled with rage.

Lennek’s countenance changed. His eyes turned shrewd, the lines of his face hardening. There was a ferocious quality to him that sent a chill over her body. “You will maintain your place.” He must have seen the confusion on her face. “You’re a horse merchant’s niece. Don’t you ever forget that.”

“How could I possibly?” she harshly said.

“Hmm,” he mused. “Then make sure you don’t forget that I am the Crown Prince, and as such, you are obedient to me.” His menacing eyes penetrated into hers.

Rema tried to control her emotions. There was no way Prince Lennek could know how afraid she was of him. “I understand, Your Highness,” she said, bowing her head, mocking the prince.

Lennek turned so his entire body faced hers. Rema tried to focus her attention outside the carriage, but he reached for her chin, forcing her to look at him. Their eyes locked. “You are going to be my wife,” Lennek said in a low, cold voice. “You will be royalty. Do you understand?”

“No. I don’t,” she answered as his nails dug into her chin. “Let go of me.” Rema knew she was out of line by making demands, but she wanted to know what she had to work with—how far she could push him until his temper exploded.

Lennek smiled wickedly at her. “You’re mine now. Get used to it. I’m giving you everything. Show some gratitude.”

He leaned closer. She could smell him—an odd mixture of rosemary and horse. Rema refused to close her eyes.

“And don’t forget, if you don’t play the part to my satisfaction, I know where your aunt and uncle live. I won’t just have them killed. They’ll be brought before you, tortured while you watch, and then slowly dismembered.”

He released Rema’s face, pushing her away from him like she was cow dung. Lennek slid back into his side of the carriage, no longer looking at her but at a sapphire ring on his finger—the ring of a prince.

About Jennifer Anne Davis

I graduated with Department Honors from the University of San Diego with a degree in English. While working to earn my teaching credential, I was a legal assistant for an attorney.That’s about the time I finally married my high school sweetheart. Once I received my credential from USD, I taught high school English until I had my first child.

Currently I am a stay-at-home mom. I have three kids, one large dog, a gecko, and a frog.

A couple of years ago, I entered a writing contest about motherhood and won. My essay “Caution: Warning Lable Not Included!” was published in the anthology Manual for Motherhood, reaching number one in the Parenting section of Amazon! This sparked my need to write on a daily basis, and I have been writing ever since!

My debut young adult novel The Voice was published by Lands Atlantic in January 2013. The Voice is nominated for three Novel Grounds Literary Awards: Best Indie, Favorite Five Star, and Best Book Boyfriend!

My second book,The Power to See, is a new adult novel and was released in October 2013.

My third book,The Key, is a young adult light fantasy novel, was released in November 2013.

I’ve always had a passion for reading and writing. Being transported into another world and experiencing things beyond my imagination – what could be better? Besides being an outlet and a love, I hope to write books that encourage all to read.

Stalk Jennifer

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Dangerous Waters by CM Michaels Virtual Book Tour

Blurb

For Emily Waters, a nature-loving, small-town girl with an overprotective father, heading off to Boston University to study conservation biology is a dream come true—until a chance encounter catapults her into a mythical world she’d do anything to escape.

The latest victim in a rash of abductions near campus, Emily is brutally attacked before being rescued by a powerful new friend. She survives the ordeal, only to find herself held captive and presented with an impossible choice. While preparing for the unimaginable life she must now embrace clues soon emerge that Emily may not be entirely human, and her physical transformation awakens goddess-like powers that her new family cannot begin to explain. Dealing with her human first love, the not-so-platonic relationship with her coven “sister,” and her new vampire sort-of-boyfriend further complicates matters, not to mention being secretly hunted by the psychopaths who attacked her. And as the only known offspring of a once all-powerful race, the climactic battle is only the beginning of her journey.

Excerpt

“Would you stop already?” Teresa grumbled, glaring at her ever-pacing brother. “No one’s following us. Relax.”

Travis finished scanning Beacon Street and ducked back into the alleyway. “God damn it! Do you ever listen? I told you we had to cool it for a while. What the hell were you thinking?”

“The bitch spilled her drink on me.”

He sighed and tiredly rubbed his eyes. Arguing with her was like trying to reason with a bratty three-year-old grabbing candy in a grocery checkout line. “So we’re homeless because someone accidentally got diet coke on your shirt?”

“Quit being such a queen,” Teresa said with a huff. “You know Stefan thinks of us as his kids, which is totally weird by the way. All he’ll do is make us listen to his rules again. If you wouldn’t have talked me into running, we’d probably be watching TV by now.”

“If Stefan and Alexander just wanted to talk, they would’ve waited until we got back, not raided our feeding room like a two-man S.W.A.T. team. This is serious, Terr. If they find us, they’re going to kill us.”

For the first time in as long as he could remember, his snarky, narcissistic sister looked vulnerable. She crossed her arms to conceal her jittery hands and looked into his eyes. “So what do we do? I’m not living on the street again, or in the skuzzy-ass hotels we used to stay in.”

Travis placed a comforting hand on his baby sister’s shoulder. “Things aren’t like they used to be, sis. Even you have to admit that Stefan taught us a hell of a lot. Once we get out of town, we can trance a bank manager and get all the money we need. I thought we’d head south—you always wanted to see Orlando.” 

Acting as if he hadn’t even spoken, Teresa shrugged off his hand and headed further down the dimly lit alley, veering around overflowing dumpsters and piles of loose garbage before slumping back against the brick wall behind her. “And what about the skank who started all this? We just leave her to her fairy-tale life, sipping wine in her mansion?”

About CM Michaels

C.M Michaels grew up in a small town in northern Michigan as the youngest child of a close-knit family of seven. He met his wife, Teresa, while attending Saginaw Valley State University. Together they’ve provided a loving home for several four-legged “kids”, including Sophie, their eternally young at heart, hopelessly spoiled Spaniel. 

He has always enjoyed writing, and still has fond memories of reading his first book, a children’s novella, to local grade schools when he was 14. Dangerous Waters, the first book in the Sisters in Blood series, is being published by Freya’s Bower on September 5th, 2013. C.M. is currently working on the second book in the Sisters in Blood series along with a Fantasy romance. 

When he’s not writing, C.M. can be found curled up with a good book, watching movies or hitting the hiking trails with his wife. An avid reader since discovering Jim Kjelgaard novels in early childhood, his favorite authors include Kelley Armstrong, Peter V. Brett, Richelle Mead, Rachel Caine, Cassandra Claire, J.R. Ward, Laini Taylor and Tessa Dawn. 

C.M. currently resides in Louisville, Kentucky.

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Purchase Dangerous Waters on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Freya's Bower, and All Romance eBooks!  Please note that the paperback version is also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Freya's Bower.

Watch the book trailer here!

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Fatal Trust by Diana Miller Super Book Blast

Blurb

Stepping her perfect Jimmy Choos into place beside Ben Gallagher’s wounded Nikes, straitlaced Philadelphia lawyer Catherine Barrington is surprisingly unable to resist the disarming small-town mechanic’s charm. He’s one of the heirs to the vast fortune left by his eccentric grandfather Max, a bestselling horror writer, and she’s there to carry out Max’s last wishes. Routine enough…except that inheriting comes with a catch: none of Max’s heirs will get a penny until they’ve lived together for two weeks in the shadow-filled rooms of his mansion in the wooded hills near Lake Superior.

From beyond the grave, a letter from Max insists that his death was no accident, sending Catherine undercover—and way out of her comfort zone—to catch the killer. Posing as Lexie, Ben's cocktail waitress girlfriend, Catherine soon finds herself trapped with the feuding clan at the sinister Nevermore manor. To save her own life, she’ll have to confront the murderer, as well as her growing attraction to Ben—a top suspect.

Excerpt

Catherine woke abruptly, opening her eyes in the total blackness, her heart hammering. It must have been a nightmare, one she couldn’t remember even though it must have scared her to death. She glanced at the clock: 11:47. She closed her eyes again. 

“I’m counting on you to find out who killed me.” 

Her blood turned to ice. “Who is it?” she asked, unnecessarily, since she knew that distinctive voice. 

“You know who I am, Catherine. Just remember the money is the key. Because I really was murdered.” 

She was finally alert enough to think to switch on the bedside lamp. For an instant she swore she saw Max Windsor standing across the room by the dresser, studying her. 

But it couldn’t be. She blinked twice. 

When she focused on the spot by the dresser again, it was empty. 

# # #

She’d been dreaming. That had to be it. Analyzing everything possibly relevant to identifying Max’s murderer—including the ghost appearances—had triggered a nightmare.

Except she was wide-awake now, and she was positive she’d been equally wide-awake when she’d seen Max and he’d spoken to her. But that was impossible. Max was dead, and despite what she’d suggested to Ben, she really didn’t believe in ghosts. So what had just happened?

Of course. She hopped out of bed, stormed to Ben’s room, and pounded on the door. 

“What?” he asked from behind her. He was dressed in a black T-shirt, jeans, and Nikes. She caught a whiff of motor oil. 

“Where have you been?” she asked. 

About Diana Miller

When she was eight, Diana Miller decided she wanted to be Nancy Drew. But no matter how many garbage cans she dug through, conversations she “accidentally” overheard, and attics she searched, she never found a single cryptic letter, hidden staircase, or anything else even remotely mysterious. She worked as a lawyer, a soda jerk, a stay-at-home mom, a hospital admitting clerk, and a conference host before deciding that the best way to inject suspense into her otherwise satisfying life was by writing about it.

Diana is a five-time nominee for the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award, including for Fatal Trust, and won a Golden Heart for her debut novel Dangerous Affairs. She lives in the Twin Cities with her family.

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Please note: I realize the date on the graphic is not January 11, 2014.  Due to the weather I was unable to make quite a few posts.  My sincerest apologies, and be looking for posts over the next few days that will more than likely also have incorrect dates!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Flick by Keira Des Anges Blog Tour

Blurb

Leanna Matthews enjoys flying below the radar. She does well in school, has a few close friends and hides the fact she’s an astral-traveling telekinetic. But there’s no escaping her creepy dreams or Simora, the bizarre little spirit lady, that suddenly pops out of nowhere to warn her against keeping secrets and predicts an encounter with a sinister evil. For the first time in forever someone…or something…is on to her.

But life turns around when Leanna meets Piper one sunny afternoon. She’s inexplicably drawn to him, almost as if she’s been waiting for him to come. Forbidden to have a boyfriend Leanna throws caution to the wind, lying to her family and friends to be with him, while ignoring Simora’s ominous message.

Yet Piper has a secret of his own. He is on a mission and Leanna, unwittingly, is the key.

Excerpt

He stood idly by Ms. Fenson’s hedges, shifting around uncomfortably and looking at nothing in-particular.  After gazing at the sky, he stared at his feet and pulled at the shrubs behind him – which unless he had a death-wish, was an absolute no-no.  Ms. Fenson was a legend in her neighborhood and Leanna knew if this guy stood anywhere near the hedges too long she’d most certainly come after him – and it wouldn’t be pretty!  Although notorious for her loony behavior, no one denied Ms. Fenson took excellent care of her yard and was fiercely protective of it - in a scary, mad-womanish sort of way.

I’ll just walk by him, Leanna thought, trying to ignore the sudden tightness in her chest.  Anyway, who cares?  He doesn’t know me from a hole in the ground.

With each step, her legs turned to mush.  But an invisible force pulled her forward.  The pressure grew stronger, involuntarily pushing her along until she finally passed him; her heart racing, her body stiffening…

“Hey!” he called.

She stopped abruptly.  Was he talking to her?  It was hard to focus; the thumping in her ears grew nauseatingly louder.  But since there wasn’t anyone else around, he must be speaking to her.  Leanna turned around uncertainly.

He casually strolled over with his hands in his jean pockets.  When they finally stood face-to-face, Leanna’s breath caught.

He was even more strikingly handsome up close.  At around 5'10, he wore his wavy hair cropped close to his head, and in spite of his loose, red Ecko T-shirt, he sported a visibly muscular build.  His chestnut eyes were splashed with the tiniest specks of green and framed by long, dark eyelashes, in stark contrast to his honey brown skin.  They were the most beautiful eyes Leanna had ever seen.  But it wasn’t the color that intrigued her.  His eyes were clear and telling; their depths ran deep.  And for a fraction of a moment, she could’ve swore she saw herself.

Read the book with me and tell me what you think! Purchase your copy on Amazon and look for my review of Flick on Sunday!

Watch the book trailer on YouTube!

About Keira Des Anges

By day, Keira des Anges has the distinct pleasure of assisting teenagers with disabilities find employment, empowering one life at a time. By night, she is a chew toy for her dog and cat and avid reader of anything spooky, magical and totally out of this world.  She lives in sunny Florida with her husband and two kids.

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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Visions of Fire and Ice by Teresa Damario Blog Tour


Blurb

Trapped on a planet not their own, the Petiri spend their lives hiding the natural gifts that set them apart from the world. They live long and unfulfilled lives, unable to find their soul mates on this backward planet known as Earth.  That is until the night Ramose comes face to face with Tamara, a woman whose gifts rival his own.  Determined to find why this human is in possession of an ancient magical Petiri relic, he arranges a meeting.  

But Tamara, embittered from past events, is wary despite lifelong dreams of Ramose and a sure knowledge he is her soul mate.  Before long the couple find themselves ensnared in a battle that has raged for millennia in Egypt’s desert.  Set, Egyptian God of Chaos, is determined to take his just due: the throne of Osiris.   

The only way to stop him is for Ramose to put his trust in Tamara, but first must gain the same from her.  The ensuing sensual relationship is filled with romance, lust and love.  Their relationship is tested by an unnatural evil. Will her powers over fire, combined with his ice be enough to win the day?  Or will the ancient gods and goddesses of Egypt destroy more than just their love?

Excerpt

Ramose ducked and twisted his body, avoiding the flailing fist surging forward to contact with his jaw. With one quick upper cut, he cracked his opponent beneath his chin. The man’s head jerked back, blood spurting from a bitten lip.

“Had enough yet?” asked Ramose.

Darius spat, his bloody spittle spattering the blue floor mat. “I had enough a long time ago. But, then again, you need to have your ass kicked lately.”

Ramose grinned. “Let’s see you try,” he said, snatching a pair of swords from the rack on the wall and tossing one to Darius. He was the Master of Defense for his people. He was responsible for teaching them the in’s and out’s of self-defense. It was what kept them alert and safe. 

At least, he liked to think it was what kept them safe. It was probably more luck than anything. Unlike their arrival on this planet more than three thousand five hundred years ago.

“I still don’t understand why you find it so necessary to teach me combat,” repeated Darius for what had to be the fifth time since they’d begun. Ramose sliced forward with his blade, and the man danced away. The sharp edge whizzed past Darius’s ear, slicing a few hairs from the side of his head. The man didn’t blink, but readied his sword for the next attack. “I’ve lasted this long without it, why now?”

Impressed with his pupil’s quick defensive moves, Ramose charged, sending the man off balance. He needed this as much as Darius did. Inside, his nerves sang with an intensity he couldn’t begin to understand. 

Darius dodged his advance with a neat parry. 

“I’ve told you, things are changing.” Gods, how he wished he could give a good answer. So much remained hidden. Premonitions had haunted Ramose’s thoughts for most of his life. Tiny inklings of a future to come. Images or feelings which were never clear, details blurred beneath the mists of the unknown. Right now, he had the odd sensation of danger. And the focus was Darius. 

“You’ve been dreaming about her again, haven’t you?”

Ramose frowned, and parried, the slide of blade against blade vibrated through his muscles. “My dreams are unimportant and have no bearing on your future.”

Darius spun and Ramose blocked. “So, what’s it like, seeing your Kha-Ib?” 

Like the rest of those on board the doomed Petiri vessel, Ramose had left any possibility of finding his Kha-Ib on Petiri, waiting for his return. He’d never met her, but he’d dreamed of her since childhood. The woman in his recent dreams couldn’t be older than her mid-twenties. In most of the dreams, she was no more than a child in her teens. Too young and too human to be the heart of his soul.

“She’s not my Kha-Ib,” Ramose grumbled, slicing toward Darius.

“Whoever this woman is, she haunts your sleep the way a ghost haunts an old graveyard. Elo is trying to tell you something.”

“Our god deserted us the moment we arrived on this backward planet. He’s telling me nothing.” Their blades clanged together, and they both leapt back.

“You’re deluding yourself, Ramose. And, until you admit it, you will never find peace. Whoever this woman is, she’s not your wife.”

Ramose rewarded the verbal jab with a physical one of his own, spinning about and slamming a fist into the man’s solar plexus. The sudden flinch in Darius’ face was a little too satisfying for comfort. 

He’d never loved his wife, not the way a Petiri would love his Kha-Ib. True, every Petiri dreamed of his Kha-Ib, just like he had. Years ago. But those dreams had stopped the moment he’d given up on ever finding the one meant for him.

Loneliness had wrapped its velvet fist around him, driving him to long for what he would never have. He’d decided to accept second best. Everything had gone horribly wrong. No matter how hard he tried, he still couldn’t forget the anger brought on by his wife’s death. A death she’d intended for him. Anger at the memories coiled in his gut.

Ramose balanced on the balls of his feet before striking forward again. Their blades crashed together, their song of battle echoing through the room, sparks flying. 

“Enough talk,” Ramose growled.

Darius shoved hard at Ramose’s shoulders, knocking him backward. “I’m done. I refuse to fight when you’re angry. You’ll kill me.”

Ire burned in Ramose’s gut, and his knuckles turned white on the pummel of his sword. Darius was right. The dreams were getting to him. Dreams of a young girl in peril, with a face he could never see. A human face.

About Teresa Damario

Born in Atlanta, the daughter of an Army Soldier during the early stages of the Viet Nam war, I spent my childhood traveling from state to state, finally ending up overseas in Germany where I graduated high school six months early. 

My writing career however began as a young Airman in the Air Force, writing monthly articles for the weekly base paper.  The articles ranged from climatological data to full center fold articles on the destructive forces of hurricanes.  As I increased in rank, my writing changed to more technological instruction, including such works as WSR-88D Doppler Radar Data Interpretation Guide for North Carolina Stations, and Station Operating Procedures.   

But my early writing wasn’t limited only to the technological side.  I’ve written multiple dog training and behavior articles for canine websites such as Sonora Canine Freestyle, and also the Ask Blackjack column, a fun training column in the voice of my labrador retriever, then a young pup. 

My first book, SheWolf, won 2nd place for Best First book in RWA’s PFF&P Prism awards.

I’m married to a wonderful man named Doug, who is also retired Air Force.  We live in North Carolina with our two dogs.  

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Purchase Visions of Fire and Ice here.

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