Monday, October 31, 2016

Paranormal Bar and Grille Tour




Paranormal Bar and Grille Tour



Will O the Wisp
by Craig Boyack

A Thousand Yesteryears
by Mae Clair

Vampire Island
by Sandra Cox

The Glade
by Harmony Kent

Love Set in Stone
by Staci Troilo


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GENRE: Paranormal

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BLURB:

October starts out warm and sunny, but this is the month when everything changes. Mornings grow frosty, leaves change colors, and the breeze takes on a bite.

Summer dies.

It’s a time for harvest celebrations. A boy loans a girl his coat. She snuggles a little closer and takes his hand. A riot of autumn splendor accompanies the farmer’s market where they stroll.

But the vibrancy of daylight doesn’t compare to the darkness of night. Is that chill on your neck the breeze or something else?

October night

You walk a tad faster and look over your shoulder. The trees creak when the wind whips through their branches—at least, you hope that noise came from the undulating bows.

You check under the bed and inside the closet before climbing under the covers. Sleep doesn’t come easy. The old house groans its complaints, and the night magnifies every innocuous noise until terror paralyzes you—because you know nefarious things go bump in the night.

Welcome to the Paranormal Bar & Grille Blog Tour

…where you can rub elbows with everyone from a gargoyle or vampire, to a creature from urban legend, or the ghostly realms of myth. Step up to the bar, grab a booth. You never know what’s on the menu, or if you might end up there yourself.

Sound like your kind of hangout? Then you’ve come to the right place. We’re a group of five authors who love nothing more than to trigger the chill that crawls up your back, the nervous glance tossed over your shoulder. We invite you to discover outstanding books and check out our awesome tour prizes.

Just be careful of what the bartender serves you. That heady brew may not be a beer, and witches can’t be trusted to provide effective antidotes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

An Excerpt from Love Set in Stone


He gasped but only succeeded in inhaling thick embers. “I hate it when you do that to me, Anael. What the hell?”

“Not what, Damien,” Anael said. “Where. It’s against the rules, but you needed to see.”

“Hell.”

“The first level.”

Damien choked on clouds of brimstone and looked around. Bodies hung on racks, some scourged by demonic creatures wielding whips of fire, others stretched until their limbs tore off only to reassemble and stretch again. Some souls were skinned and devoured, the torment cyclical, never-ending. Giant beasts with nine-inch claws and twelve-inch teeth tore people into bloody shreds. They gnawed on the bones of writhing beings, snarling and snapping at anything near them.

There was no blessed retreat into unconsciousness or death. This was their other side, their ever-after, their eternity. The tormented endured each torture, alert and unprotected. Impossibly hot gusts of wind howled through the cavern, tossing the departed from one horror to the next. And the maniacal screeches of the tormentors were only overpowered by the anguished wails of the damned.

“I’ve seen enough.” Damien’s words were barely intelligible through his coughing and wheezing.

“Are you certain? This is only the first level. The second level hosts souls feeding on their own entrails, or having a myriad of sexual violations forced upon them. Rape. Sodomy. Bestiality. And then there’s—”

Damien clutched Anael’s arm. “Enough!”

“Do you understand now?”

Damien looked up and howled, his throat burning, his voice mingling into the sounds of all the other lost souls, an agonizing dirge melodic only to Satan himself.

When he thought the devil’s name, the most sinister laugh echoed through the cavern, a shadow given voice and power. It sent chills down his burning spine. The demons cheered, their victims cowered, and Damien cringed, seeking escape that would only be denied him.


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AUTHOR Bios and Links:

                                                                                        Craig Boyack

Just a fiction writer, trying to reach the world.

Craig came to fiction writing later in life than most authors. He always had to write, to one degree or another as part of various jobs. Early one winter morning, he conquered the Internet and didn’t feel like shoveling the sidewalk until the
sun came up. He tried a few pages of fiction and got hooked.

Craig doesn’t like limitations and calls himself a writer of speculative fiction. It’s a broad field, but he limits himself to science fiction, paranormal, and a bit of fantasy.

He has eight published works—six novels and two collections of short stories.

Amazon | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads 








Mae Clair

Mystery & Suspense…with a dash of Myth & Romance
 Genres:
Mystery, Psychological Thrillers, Supernatural Suspense, Romantic Suspense
Quirky fact I don’t want anyone to know:
(or maybe I do)….I saw a UFO when I was six. Probably why I write some of the stuff I do.
~ooOOoo~

Bio:
They say everyone has a story to tell.

I wrote my first childish “masterpiece” at six and was immediately bitten by the writing bug. Since then, I’ve been composing nonstop, and have dabbled in multiple genres over the years, writing everything from fantasy, westerns, and horror to inspirational fiction, romance, and sci-fi. It took me a while to find my niche, but I’ve settled comfortably into the mystery/suspense genre (with a just a dash of romance tossed in).

Several of my earlier works have strong romantic themes, but all are infused with threads of mystery. I have a passion for folklore, myth, and urban legends and that attraction often factors into my writing. You’ll find threads of archaic tales and mysterious places woven throughout many of my novels.

I am a member of the International Thriller Writers and a past president of the Central Pennsylvania Writer’s Organization. If I’m not camped out at my keyboard or have my nose buried in a book, I’m likely looking up blurry images of cryptids on Google, sorting through vintage photographs or imagining life as a cat.

Amazon | Website | BookBub | GoodReads | Newsletter | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest





                                                    Sandra Cox

 Living life. Writing fantasy.

Sandra writes YA Fantasy, Paranormal and Historical Romance, and Metaphysical Nonfiction. She lives in sunny North Carolina with her husband, a brood of critters and an occasional foster cat. Although shopping is high on the list, her greatest pleasure is sitting on her screened in porch, listening to the birds, sipping coffee or a latte and enjoying a good book. She's a vegetarian and a Muay Thai enthusiast.

Blog | Website | Facebook | Twitter






Harmony Kent
The author who gets write into your head.

Genres: Multi-genre
Quirky Fact I don’t want anyone to know: Wrote the entirety of The Glade while listening to the Twilight movie soundtrack. And she’s not mentioning the glass of white (ahem) ‘grape juice’ that kept finding its way to her computer station.

Author Bio:
Harmony Kent is famous for her laughter, and has made quite the name for herself … she’s also, um, a writer … and fairly well known for that too. She’s even won a few awards. Harmony lives in rural Cornwall with her ever-present sense of humour and quirky neighbours and refuses to admit to her age.

If you catch her at work, you’ll see that she also offers editing, proof reading, manuscript appraisal, and beta reading services. Not to mention being passionate about supporting her fellow authors.

Website | Facebook | US Amazon | UK Amazon | GoodReads




Staci Troilo

Staci Troilo. Writing Relationship Wrongs.

 Genres:
Romance, Suspense, Paranormal, Mystery, and Mainstream

Quirky fact I don’t want anyone to know:

The socks in my sock drawer and the books on my shelf are arranged in rainbow order.

Bio:

I’ve always loved fiction, ever since my parents read me fairy tales when I was little. Today, my interests are much more eclectic. I love getting lost in sci-fi battles, fantasy realms, horror worlds, suspenseful intrigues, and romantic entanglements.

As goes my reading, so goes my writing. I can’t pick a single genre to focus on, so I don’t even try. I’m proud to say I’m a multi-genre author.

When I’m not reading or writing, I’m spending time with family and friends, possibly cooking for them, or maybe enjoying an afternoon in the pool. To learn more about me, visit me at http://stacitroilo.com or connect with me on social media.


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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Blog Tour: The Sailweaver's Son by Jeff Minerd





Title: The Sailweaver’s Son
Author: Jeff Minerd
Genre: MG/YA Fantasy






Description
The Sailweaver’s Son combines traditional fantasy with a dash of steampunk and takes young readers to a unique world—Etherium. A world where mountains rise like islands above a sea of clouds and adventurers travel the sky in sail-driven airships.

When fifteen year-old Tak rescues the survivor of an airship destroyed by one of the giant flammable gas bubbles mysteriously appearing in the sky of Etherium, the authorities react like a flock of startled grekks.

Admiral Scud accuses Tak of sabotage and treason. Tak’s father grounds him for reckless airmanship. Rumors spread that the bubbles are weapons devised by the Gublins, a race of loathsome but ingenious underground creatures. The King’s advisors call for war, hoping to win much-needed Gublin coal. 

To clear his name, solve the mystery, and prevent a misguided war, Tak must do what anyone knows is suicide—visit the Gublins and find out what they’re up to. When the wizard’s adopted daughter, an oddly beautiful and irksomely intelligent girl from the Eastern kingdoms, asks Tak to help her do just that, he can’t say no.

The adventure will take Tak from the deepest underground caves to a desperate battle on Etherium’s highest mountaintop. It will force him to face his worst fears, and to grow up faster than he expected.



Excerpt

He’d seen nothing like it in his life. No sky rider ever had. It was an enormous bubble. Twice the size of the battleship. As it rose into the sky, the bubble wobbled and shimmered, squished into lopsided potato-like shapes then snapped back to roughly round. It was more or less transparent, but its rippling surface glistened with a rainbow of colors where the sunlight played on it. The bubble rose with alarming speed, rolling this way and that with the wind. It was not on a collision course with the battleship—yet. It was some distance off the port bow.
The lookouts didn’t see it until it was too late. As the giant bubble drew level with the battleship, Tak heard the faint ringing of alarm bells. The ship came to a full stop, propellers going still, sails slanting upward to create drag. Tak could imagine the startled looks on the faces of the men on deck. He was wearing such a look himself. Then the wind shifted and gusted again. The sky riders have an old saying: Our lives rely upon the wind, and the wind is not reliable. The saying proved true for the men on the battleship. The wind took hold of that bubble and hurled it directly at them.
Too late, the captain cried the order to turn hard to starboard, trying to veer away. Too late, the propellers leapt to life and the ship lurched, listing heavily with the effort of making the turn while men scrambled in the rigging to adjust the flapping sails. Large battleships like the Vigilance are known for their strength and forward speed, but they are not known for their maneuverability. The bubble hit the ship broadside and enveloped it entirely.
And then both ship and bubble exploded into a burst of fire that left a glowing yellow spot like the sun behind Tak’s eyes, which had snapped shut. When he opened his eyes, blinking, the bubble was gone and the ship was engulfed in flames. The sails were ablaze. Horrified, Tak watched as burning men leapt from the deck like showers of sparks, their flaming parachutes useless.
As Tak sat stricken in the stern of the Arrow, gaping in shock and disbelief, he felt the first rumbles of the giant explosion in his chest. He felt hints of its heat on his face. And then he saw the shock wave expanding in all directions from the ruined ship.
Including his. 



                                                                       Author Bio
Jeff Minerd thought he stopped writing fiction a long time ago until the story for The Sailweaver’s Son came to him not in a dream but after a dream. He is grateful for that, and for the opportunity to explore the world of Etherium and entertain others with what he finds there.

Jeff has a son, Noah, who is also a writer and avid reader. Jeff hopes to one day place in the top ten—or maybe even top five—of Noah’s favorite authors. But the competition is pretty stiff.

In a previous lifetime, Jeff published short fiction in literary journals including The North American Review. One of his stories won the F. Scott Fitzgerald competition, judged by former NPR book reviewer Alan Cheuse.

More recently, Jeff has worked as a science and medical writer for publications and organizations including the National Institutes of Health, MedPage Today, The Futurist magazine, and the Scientist magazine.

Jeff lives in Rochester, NY.





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Friday, October 28, 2016

Review: Crossing in Time by D. L. Orton

Title: Crossing in Time (Between Two Evils #1)
Author: D. L. Orton
Publisher: Rocky Mountain Press
Publication Date: May 1, 2015
Genre: SciFi, Romance
Rating: 4/5 "I liked it."

Description from GoodReads
Remember How It Feels to Fall in Love?

Race against the clock through a dystopian nightmare. Climb naked into an untested time machine (carrying only a seashell and a promise). Wake up twenty years younger on a tropical beach, buck naked and mortally wounded, with your heart in your throat.

This is a journey of love, loss, and redemption that will make your pulse gallop and your palms sweat, have you laughing out loud through your tears, and leave you flush with the sublime pleasure of falling in love.

My Thoughts
Before I discuss this book,I would like to point out that this book is rather mature and does contain some sexual content.

My absolute favorite thing about this book was the true effort that Orton put into making sure that all of the plot holes were sealed very tightly. Despite two different time travel trips, the story maintains a coherent sense of control and is easily understood. I liked this because it would have been very easy for other authors to lose their audience at these parts by making the story too confusing. Instead, Orton does a fantastic job pulling her audience closer and closer into her story until they are trapped by the sheer need to know what happens next.

Diego is, by far, my favorite character. He was easy to relate to as he reminds me so much of the man in my life, and I think that he will be easy for many other women to relate to. I loved how human he was as well as the amount of wit and sheer emotion that he brought to each situation. Tego, although a younger Diego from a different universe, demonstrates these same characteristics. I was impressed by Tego's qualities because they were truly the younger version of the Diego that we meet in the original universe.

Overall, I felt that this story was truly enjoyable. Orton creates terrifically realistic characters who draw the audience in. She keeps her audience interested in this story through sexual tension, true love, and a clean, well-written plot. I am looking forward to reading the second book in this series.






About the Author
AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR D. L. ORTON lives in the Rocky Mountains where she and her husband are raising three boys, a golden retriever, two Siberian cats, and an extremely long-lived Triops. In her spare time, she's building a time machine so that someone can go back and do the laundry.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Book Blitz! Concealed by Cristina Bauer


Concealed
Christina Bauer
(Beholder #2)
Publication date: October 25th 2016
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
As a Grand Mistress Necromancer, Elea’s a witch who commands the ultimate power over spirit and bone. It’s magic that she’ll need in order to stop the Vicomte Gaspard from killing her Sisters by draining their magic along with their life force.
To find and free her fellow witches, Elea must venture into some of the most dangerous places in the realm. What starts off as a rescue quest could easily turn into a suicide mission. And with the handsome warlock Rowan along to help, Elea may be risking more than her life. Her growing feelings for Rowan might put her heart on the line, too.



EXCERPT:
Rowan stepped into my path, forcing me to stop. “We can’t worry about the Tsar just now.”
“How can I not? This is the Tsar we’re talking about. The man killed off thousands of my people. If he comes back, I’m his top target.”
“No one is getting anywhere near you, Elea.” Rowan’s voice was a rough rasp. “You have my word. I know what you care about, and it’s your Sisters. That’s all you need to think about. At least, for the next two days. Promise me?”
Rowan’s words helped to center my thoughts. “You’re right. Little time remains to save Ada and the others. I need to stay the course. Thank you, Rowan.”
“I’ll always be here for you.” Rowan stared at me for a long moment. I thought he might have more to say. Instead, he shook his head, stepped across the cave floor, and picked up the loops of rope. “Any ideas on where your Sisters are imprisoned?”
“Amelia wants to check the Havilland mansion first.”
“I can send in someone from my team. They’re experts at subterfuge.”
“No. These are my people. I have to go.”
Once again, Rowan moved to stand so close our bodies were only inches apart. “Trust me on this. My people can handle the Royals.” He brushed the backs of his fingertips up my cheek and I melted into the touch. “I want you safe, Elea.” He leaned in until his mouth was only a breath away from mine.
This wasn’t the time for emotion. I couldn’t seem to stop my zuchtlos feelings, though. My heart thumped with such force I thought it might burst from my chest. Rowan’s voice became low and gentle. “Return to Braddock Farm. Stay safe. I will end this. Once it’s done, I’ll find you there. I swear it.”
My legs felt wobbly beneath me. In my mind’s eye, it all appeared so easy and clear. Rowan could handle this. I’d return to my farm and help the faithful servants who’d kept it thriving. Then one day, Rowan would arrive and we’d be together. How wonderful would that be?
I closed my eyes and stepped away from his touch. This was impossible. My people were my responsibility. No one else’s. And the idea that Rowan and I could be together? That was an illusion.
“It’s a sweet dream. We both know it isn’t the truth. You’re part of the Caster Imperial family. Your uncle is none other than Genesis Rex. You can’t have a life with me as a farmer, can you?”
Rowan’s gaze intensified. “No.” He stepped closer once again. “I’ll still find you, though.”
“And when you do, what will I be?” I wanted to touch him and to be with him. I knew that now. But not at any cost. “Your mistress? Your absentee wife?”
“You’ll be mine.” He pulled me into his arms. Every ridge of his hard body pressed against my soft curves. I’d never craved anything more in my life than I wanted to kiss Rowan right now. He leaned in closer than ever before. His warm breath cascaded over my lips. “Don’t fight this. Please.”
My control snapped, and I pressed my mouth to his. Yes. Our first few tastes were tentative. Gentle. Rowan was as delicious as I’d imagined, a flavor that was somewhere between musk and desire. Every touch of his lips sent spasms of want through my core.
Our kiss quickly turned rough. Rowan nipped my bottom lip, and I let out a rough groan. This kiss could go on forever. Still, some small part of my brain shouted for me to stop.
I didn’t know how I found the strength, but I pushed Rowan away. “I want you too. That’s not enough for me. We’re from different worlds. Your place is with your people. I need to save mine. Once this is over, we’ll never see each other again. I can’t afford to feel more for you than I already do.”
Rowan’s eyes took on that intense look I knew so well. A muscle worked in his jaw for a long moment. “I understand. We both have work to do.”
I exhaled. “I’m glad you can accept the truth.”
“I didn’t say that.” He scooped up the ropes and offered them to me. “This isn’t over.”
I stared at the green cords coiled around his palm. I wanted real ties between us as well. Yet wanting a thing wasn’t the same as having it. I pulled the rope from his hand and looped it around my shoulders. “We better get back.”


Author Bio:
Christina graduated from Syracuse University's Newhouse School with BA's in English as well as Television, Radio, and Film Production. Her day job is in marketing for companies like Microsoft, Cisco, and Zerto. Back in the go-go 90′s, she founded her own software start-up, Mindful Technologies. Christina believes that, upon close examination of Tolkien's text, it's entirely possible that the Balrog was wearing fuzzy bunny slippers.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Review: The Elf by Max Dune


Title: The Elf

Author: Max Dune
Publisher: David and Duke Publishing, LLC
Publication Date: October 2016
Genre: Holiday (Christmas)
Rating: 4/5 "I really liked it"

I received an eARC of this book  from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.


Description from GoodReads
Elves are dying in the North Pole, and none of their scientists can find a cure. They believe it’s a virus, unleashed by a powerful enemy. All signs point to Jack Frost, who’s been biding his time from afar. Watching. Waiting. Plotting. One brave elf, to save his kind, will venture out to meet evil in the eye. But he uncovers a mystery more dangerous than he could have ever imagined. Now Lucian must join a group of warriors and fight. Fuego; a flame-wielding pyro. Tiktok; a brilliant bomb expert, Yuriko; a deadly ninja assassin. And Bullets; a hot-headed gun aficionado. These unlikely heroes must learn to work together and defeat the rising evil. Or Christmas will soon be lost…forever.

My Thoughts
Halloween is my favorite holiday.  Halloween is in a few days.  Christmas is in a few months.  Christmas decorations have no flipping reason to be on the shelves this far in advance.  Christmas books should wait.  So, why the heck did I read The Elf so early?  Well, someone asked me to.  I didn't go into this thinking that I would be super excited about what I was reading.  I lost some interest when there was a large number of grammatical and typographical errors in the eARC that I received.  However, it is not my job to review according to typing expertise.  It is my job to post an honest review based on the plot, characterization, tone, and mood of this piece.  Which I LOVED.

When I started this novel, I expected it to be about the happy little elves with bells on their toes and tiny little bodies that need large stools to see over a regular kitchen table.  I was delighted when Dune started this book by throwing all of those ideas out the window.  That was the first thing that really grabbed my attention.  I love that he was willing to take all of the stories about Santa Claus and really make them his own.

Another thing that truly grabbed my attention was Lucian.  Dune did a wonderful job of not only making a unique main character, but of making one who was modest and believable.  While he grabbed my attention, it was truly Zeb who made this story unforgettable.  I loved that Zeb seemed annoying, idiotic, and too happy while being incredibly caring and energetic.  I definitely loved the best friend more than the main character in this novel.

What kept this novel from earning a 5/5 was that it is far too predictable.  You know what's going to happen way too often and the sense of surprise tends to be non-existent.  It seems that while trying to keep his novel interesting and fresh, Dune put a little too much work into the espionage side.  While it still creates an interesting story, I thought that there were other aspects that could have been better explained.

Overall, I am glad that I was willing to take a chance on this book.  Albeit in the wrong season.



About the Author
Max Dune is a Southern writer who spent most his childhood watching TV, devouring comic books and weaving magical worlds in his head. In his mid-twenties, he decided to follow his true passion. He has since created a number of short stories, novels, screenplays and TV pilots. To be alerted to future books and giveaways, please sign up for his newsletter at http://eepurl.com/b5Is91


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Frankenstein: Storm Surge

Title: Frankenstein: Storm Surge
Authors: Dean Koontz, Chuck Dixon, Rik Hoskin
Publisher: Diamond Book Distributors, Dynamite Entertainment
Publication Date: October 25, 2016
Genre: Comic, Graphic Novel, Horror
Source: ARC from NetGalley
Rating: 4/5 Stars "Liked it"


Description from NetGalley
From the celebrated imagination of Dean Koontz comes a powerful reworking of one of the classic stories of all time! Dynamite Entertainment proudly presents an all-new, in-continuity story set within the universe of Dean Koontz's Frankenstein novel series. While healing from a beating she suffered at the hands of Victor Helios (the madman once known as Dr. Frankenstein and her own maker), Erika Five decides to leave the comfort of her glassed-in porch and bottle of cognac to explore Victor's secret home lab, which she believes is an antechamber to something more sinister. With the help of a decapitated head named Karloff, Erika finds a secret lab and within discovers that Victor's experiments are not limited to his attempts at creating a race of super-immortals. No, he has constructed a mirror-like portal to another universe... one of infinite realities that Victor is trying to bridge for his own horrible reasons!

What I Liked
I loved the story line!  Although there isn't much space for words in a graphic novel, the story was told expertly by the combination of words and pictures!

I'm a total sucker for strong character development.  And this book definitely delivered!  I loved that every character was explained or had some layer of depth.  Like reality, many of these characters had an inner struggle that they were forced to face.  I admire the strong characterization!  I wish more authors would develop their characters as clearly.

What I Didn't Like
The only thing that I didn't like about this was that the end was very underdeveloped.  Where in the world do Frankenstein and Deucalion pop off to?  Does Frankenstein punish Erika?  What happens to the undead when Erika leaves that dimension?  I believe that at least one of these questions should have been answered in order to supply a better resolution to this plot.




Friday, October 21, 2016

Review: The Mark by Jen Nadol

Title: The Mark
Author: Jen Nadol
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication Date: January 19, 2010
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Fantasy
Rating: 4/5 "I liked it."

I purchased this book from a library sale.  Neither Jen Nadol nor Bloomsbury USA Childrens requested this review.


Description from GoodReads

Sixteen year old Cassandra Renfield has seen the mark since forever: a glow around certain people as if a candle were held behind their back.

The one time she mentioned it to someone else, the mark was dismissed as a trick of the light. So Cassie has kept quiet, considering its rare appearances odd, but insignificant. Until the day she watches a man die. Mining her memories, Cassie realizes she can see a person's imminent death. Not how or where, only when: today.

Cassie searches her past, her philosophy lessons, even her new boyfriend for answers, answers, always careful to hide her secret. How does the mark work? Why her?

Most importantly: if you know today is someone's last, should you tell them?

My Thoughts

I truly enjoyed the beginning portion of this book. Nadol definitely supplies her audience a wonderfully gripping exposition. It all starts with two deaths! Not one! Two! How could that possibly fail to reach an audience.

Additionally, I loved Cassie. Nadol truly did an amazing job describing her and helping the audience to watch her grow over the course of the book. I was definitely impressed with the way this was done. Even though she creates a sixteen year old who may act a little older than sixteen, it fits the story and is more meaningful than a truly sixteen acting character would have been.

However, I really didn't like that it focused on the theme more than it did on the story. The story should have been the way that the theme was taught, not just theme with a little story mixed in. Then again, I'm an English teacher and must always be overly critical of everything that I read. We'll call that an occupational hazard. I think that there is a lot to learn from this book, but strongly believe that the story line should have been more at the front line than sulking in the background.

Overall, I think that this would make a terrific addition to any classroom library and would be a high interest piece for low level readers.


About the Author

I grew up in Reading, PA, hometown of John Updike, Taylor Swift and fellow YA author A.S. King (nope, didn't know any of them).
I went to college at American University in Washington DC, graduated with a BA in Literature, then spent the next twelve years doing something totally unrelated to pay the bills.

Now I live north of NYC in an old farmhouse with my husband and three young sons. I am thrilled to finally be writing, the thing I always meant to do.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Book Tour: The After War by Brandon Zenner





Title: The After War
Genre: Dystopian, Post-apocalyptic







BLURB:

Two years have passed since mankind faced extinction.

Brain Rhodes and his cousin, Steven, are leaving the protection of their underground bunker for the first time, after a cataclysmic war and unrelenting disease ravaged the earth.

On the other side of the North American continent, young Simon Kalispell is leaving the safety and seclusion of his cabin deep in the woods, traveling with his aging canine companion, Winston.

For individual reasons, these men are traveling east, where the fragmented lives of a small number of survivors will soon be decided by the choices of a corrupt few.

Simon Kalispell and Brian Rhodes are not yet aware, but the strength that resides inside them will soon be tested, and destiny will call for their fates to be forever intertwined.





Excerpt
Brian lowered his gun. “It’s okay, Steve. He’s dead.” He looked around. “There’s no one here.”

Steven lowered his rifle, wiping his palms on his thighs and brushing the sweat from his eyes.

“I said he’s dead, Steve—”

“I reckon he’s dead, Brian. I see he’s dead.”

“Come on now. We’re right at town.”

They sidestepped the corpse until it was well behind them. If the body was someone they had once known, it was now impossible to determine who that person might have been.

“That won’t be the last of them,” Brian said. “You better get your head on straight.”

Steven opened his mouth to speak, but then shut it again.

They stepped onto the road as the first house emerged from the woods. They walked past it, taking careful notice of the blank windows—as black as the eye sockets of the corpse—and scanned for any sign of movement, like the fluttering of drapes, or the partially covered face of a person peering out from the darkness with a shotgun clenched tight in their hands. Anything.

But there was no movement.

“Think anyone’s left?” Steven said, with a crack in his voice.

Brian shrugged. “I know as much as you do.”

The yards around the homes, and Pearl Street itself, were spotted with litter and debris of every kind blowing in the gentle breeze. Overgrown tree roots buckled sections of the sidewalk and emerged from cracks in the pavement. They passed the police station bordering the center of town. The cruisers were vacant in the parking lot, and the building was cold and silent.



 Author Bio
Brandon Zenner is an American fiction writer and an Amazon best selling author. His short fiction has been published in both print and online publications, the first being submitted when he was 19 years old. THE EXPERIMENT OF DREAMS, his debut eBook thriller, has reached Amazon's best seller list many times. His second novel, WHISKEY DEVILS, was released in early 2016. THE AFTER WAR, a dystopian thriller, is available now as a pre-order, at 80% off the final sale price. You can follow the author on his Amazon page, or through his email list on his website. All email subscribers will receive his futuristic short story, HELIX ILLUMINATED, for free as a thank you. His genres of choice are thrillers,                                                                     crime, dystopian, and science fiction.


                               Facebook | Author Website | Twitter | Amazon






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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Review: The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman








Title: The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman
Author: Brady Stefani
Publisher: SparkPress
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: 4/5 "I liked it."





Description from GoodReads
Fifteen year old Courtney wants to be normal like her friends. But there’s something frighteningly different about her—and it’s not just the mysterious tattoo her conspiracy-obsessed grandfather marked her with before he disappeared. She's being visited in her bedroom at night by aliens claiming to have shared an alliance with her grandfather. And imaginary or not, they're starting to to take over her mind. “Mental illness is a slippery slope,” her mother warns her.

The last thing Courtney wants to do is end up crazy and dead like her grandfather did. But what about the tattoo? And the aliens trying to recruit her? With her new alien-savvy friend Agatha and her apocalyptic visions, Courtney begins connecting the dots between the past, present and future—of her bloodline, and the ancient history that surrounds it. Is she going insane, like her family claims her grandfather did, or is she actually a "chosen one" with ancestral connections to another world? Either way, Courtney has a mission: untangle her past, discover the truth, and stop the apocalypse before it's too late for everyone.


My Thoughts
I was a bit skeptical about this book at first.  Typically, I like my science fiction to be a little less alien filled.  But something about this cover drew me to it and I knew that I just had to give it a chance. I am glad that I followed my gut on this one.

First, Stefani did a terrific job bringing his characters to life.  I thought that Courtney was whiny, annoying, and a general pain in the butt.  However, I'm pretty sure that this is what Stefani wanted the audience to think of her.  It makes it much easier for us to see her growth that way.  She definitely goes from being a follower to being a leader and I enjoyed watching this transformation.

My favorite character, however, was Agatha.  I like the idea of having a kick-ass Goth/Metal chick also be an alien knowing, butt kicking psychic.  It is so unusual!  I love that her attitude and actions stayed true to her the entire time.  Even though she was a static character, the story would not have been the same without her.

Here's where the story got a three.  While Stefani did a wonderful job with his characterization, I felt that there were times when his explanations got a little too complicated.  This was most noticeable when it came to his plot twist.  I honestly think that he could have done more with the story had he done less with the aliens, as weird as that may seem for a science fiction novel.



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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Sci-Fi & Fantasy Book Party!

Welcome to the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Book Party!

Welcome to the genreCRAVE Science Fiction and Fantasy $1200 Giveaway! We have something really exciting set up for you. First, some KILLER Science Fiction and Fantasy books at a steal, and after that, a chance to enter our $1200 Gift Card Giveaway! Read on for more information, but first, check out the books from our sponsors at the link below!

VIEW BOOKS FROM THE SPONSORS HERE!

Here are a couple of sneak peeks!
Ambassador 1: Seeing Red
I had never been on first-name terms with the president, but while I sat there trying hard not to succumb to jet-lag, he chatted about my father, whom I had just visited, and who had finally retired from Lunar Base to his native New Zealand. Sirkonen opened the drawer of his desk and took something out, which he flipped across the gleaming wooden surface. I could do nothing but catch it. A datastick. I turned it over. The black plastic cover reflected the sunlight.
“What’s on it?”
“You might find it useful. Think of it as some . . . personal advice, from me to you. We’ll talk about it later, when you return for your first briefing.” He shut the drawer with a thud as if closing the subject.
This was highly irregular. “Mr President, can I ask—”
He shook his head, and offered me a drink—Finnish vodka, best in the world, he said. While he poured, his hands trembled.
I should have insisted that he tell me what was wrong, but who was I? An unimportant, sending-out-our-feelers type of diplomat, expendable and twenty years his junior. Not the type of person to draw attention to his problems—with alcohol or otherwise.
We made a toast. The heavy scent of the vodka did nothing to improve my alertness.
“Mr Wilson, when you come back in six month’s time, you must present your report to the general assembly. We need to know in detail what sort of regimes we’re dealing with.”
I didn’t understand why he spoke in such empty generalities; I wondered when he was going to open that folder on his desk and sign the contract. Nicha, my Coldi assistant, was waiting in the foyer. We had a whole heap of work to catch up on. I was annoyed that Sirkonen had changed our meeting time at the last minute—the original meeting had been scheduled for tomorrow morning.
Sirkonen stopped speaking.
I stared at him, realising with embarrassment that I’d been off with the fairies. Was I meant to have said something? Was I breaking rule number one of the diplomatic circle: never show any sign of sleep deprivation?
An attack of dizziness overtook me. My vision wavered, as if the world were painted on a silk flag that flapped in the wind, and all the furniture was rimmed in a red aura. “Mr President, I’m—”
I just managed to put my vodka down. The glass hit the wood with a soft clunk, the only sound in the frozen silence.
There was a small sound from outside, a click.
As if stung, Sirkonen turned to the window; his eyes widened.
“Sir?”
The president opened his mouth, but a sharp crack interrupted his words.
Releasing Rage
She stepped into the firewall square. The door behind her closed and she authorized the interior door to open.
A buzz swept over her. No, not simply over her. Into her. She gasped, her inhalation of air drawing more of this unknown presence inside her.
It was too much, almost suffocating. Joan swayed, lightheaded. “Do not faint. Do not faint,” she repeated to herself, closing her eyes.
The rolling under her feet gradually stopped. She opened her eyes and wished she hadn’t. Crimson spray covered everywhere she looked. Gore was splattered into the farthest corners, hanging from the ceiling. Cleaner bots scrubbed the walls and floor.
This was why she felt dizzy, she reasoned. She smelled and sensed this butchery.
C899321, the being she had been told was responsible, stood in his uploading dock, a cable inserted into his nape, his towering form naked, covered with blood, his long black hair dripping with it.
He turned his head, locked his gaze with hers and she sucked in her breath. There were worlds of agony, of rage, in those bright blue eyes. This was no rational, logic-driven cyborg. This was a man, an animal, crazed by bloodlust and pain.
“They thought to pacify me with the use of a human female?” he thundered, his deep gravelly voice clawing across her skin, awakening parts in her she didn’t realize slept. “I’d kill you before I allowed you to touch me.”
This insult didn’t hurt her the way he’d intended. Joan knew she wasn’t the slim tiny female males desired. She was solidly built, good breeding stock, as her mother had once said.
She discarded his words and focused on the torment in his tones. He hurt. Horrifically. Her fingers twitched, the urge to reach out to him, to comfort him, tremendous. Judging by the flex of his powerful biceps and thigh muscles, by the anger radiating from him, he wouldn’t appreciate that response.
He also wouldn’t listen to any command she issued. A reprimand, verbal or physical, would add to his hostility. Some being had already tried to restrain him and failed. The reportedly unbreakable wrist and ankle cuffs attached to the frame of the uploading dock had been shattered, rendered useless.
Joan discarded four solar cycles’ worth of theory on how to handle malfunctioning cyborgs, realizing now that the academy experts knew nothing.
Her late father, however, had taught her how to deal with wild beasts.
“I would never touch you without your permission.” She lowered her gaze, showing submission, recognizing C899321 as the dominant male he was. He’d seek to harm any aggressor, to protect himself and his territory. If she wasn’t female, she suspected she’d already be dead.
“I also would never hurt you.” Joan stuffed a couple of cleaning cloths into her pockets and dropped to her knees, into a puddle of red. The moisture soaked through her flight suit. “I’m here to serve you, to clean you.”

GIVEAWAY!
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Monday, October 17, 2016

The Harvesting Blitz!


I am so excited to share this series with you! It has been on my TBR for a few months now.  I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to read these books in the very near future!

The Harvesting
Melanie Karsak
(The Harvesting, #1)
Publication date: January 8th 2014
Genres: Horror, Young Adult, Zombies
It’s all fun and games until someone ends up undead.
Layla Petrovich has spent her whole life running away from her hometown of Hamletville. Raised by the town’s medium, and dubbed the “weird” girl for her fascination with swords, the last thing Layla wants is to go home.
But when she receives a desperate call to return just as a mysterious outbreak sweeps the country, Layla’s instincts urge her to go. Good thing, because the dead are rising.Layla, however, isn’t entirely on her own. With her psychic powers growing, surely everything will turn out okay, right?
Not so fast. Just when Layla believes she might survive the apocalypse, a sinister and ancient force rises from the shadows to finish mankind for good.Because the truth is, we were never alone in this world.
Begin The Harvesting Series with The Harvesting, Book 1.
tornworld-fb2
EXCERPT:
“If you ever need to slice someone’s head off, this is the blade you want,” I said as I lifted a curved sword off the table in front of me. “We’ve been practicing épée and foil so far, but tonight I want to introduce you to the sabre.” The practice sabre’s curved blade reflected the orange streetlight shining in through the window. A grant from the Smithsonian where I worked allowed me to teach my two passions: ancient weapons and their arts. “The sabre is a slashing weapon,” I continued and then lunged, showing the wide-eyed and excited students a few moves. “And in general, it’s my favorite,” I admitted with a grin.
The students laughed.
“Is that why you have it tattooed on your arm?” Tyler, one of my best fencers, asked.
My hand went unconsciously toward the tattoo. The ink was a sword interlaced with other once-meaningful symbols. “That’s not just any sabre,” I said, mildly embarrassed. “Here, let me show you. I brought something special tonight.” Setting the training sabre down, I lifted a rolled bundle. I laid it down on the table and unrolled it to reveal weapons in various elaborate scabbards.
“Some are épée, foils—you can tell by the hilt—a broadsword, a claymore, a katana, a scimitar, throwing daggers,” I said, pointing, “but this, this is a Russian shashka.” I pulled the shashka from the bundle. “It’s like a traditional sabre, but has no guard. She’s light, single-edged, wielded with one hand, and good for stabbing or slashing. Not awkward in close quarters like a Scottish claymore, but it will kill you just as dead,” I said with a smile. I unsheathed the weapon and gave it an under-and over-hand spin around my head, shoulders, and back.
The students grinned from ear to ear.
I put it back in its scabbard and handed the shashka to them. “Pass it around, but keep in mind it is sharp enough to cut a blade of hair in half.” I then turned my attention to Tyler. “Now, since you’re so interested, let’s see how you do with the sabre.” I tossed one of the training swords to him.
Tyler, already in his gear, jumped up and lowered his fencing mask. “But you’re not in gear,” he said.
I shrugged. “Hit me, if you can.”
We stood at the ready, made the ceremonial bow, and began. Tyler was not overly aggressive, which is partially why he was so successful. He waited for me, moving slowly. He was smart, quick, and often tried to over-tire his opponent.
I waited, dropped my sword a bit, and let him make the lunge. He took the bait.
The swords clanged together, and we clashed back and forth across the strip. He lunged and slashed while I dodged and blocked. He was fast. I was faster. When he lunged again, I ducked. With an upward movement, I went in.
“A hit,” Kasey called.
They clapped.
“Man, that’s what you get for taking on a former state champ—and the teacher,” Trey told Tyler with a laugh.
Tyler pulled off the mask and smiled at me.
Just then, my cell rang. I would usually ignore it, but something told me to answer.
“Everyone pair up and start working with the training sabers,” I said and pointed to the sword rack. I went to my bag and grabbed my cell.
Before I could say hello, she spoke.
“Layla, Grandma needs you to come home,” my grandmother’s voice, thick with Russian accent, came across through static. I was silent for a moment. My grandmother lived 500 miles away, and she never used her telephone. With the exception of her T.V., she hated technology. She’d cried and begged me to take away the microwave I’d purchased for her one Mother’s Day.
“Grandma? What’s wrong?”
“Come home now. Be here tomorrow,” she said. She hung up.
I lowered my cell and stared at it. Confused and worried, I dialed her back. The phone rang, but she did not answer. I had obligations: practice, bills to pay, groceries to buy, tons of work to do, and a date for god-sakes. But my grandmother was the only one I had left in the world.
“Sorry, guys. Emergency,” I called to my students.
Disappointed, they groaned.
“Sorry. Let’s pack it up for the night.” My hands shaking, I slid the shashka back into the bundle and rolled up the weapons. What had happened? Maybe Grandma was sick. Maybe she had some problem. Or maybe she had seen something.
i-am-nothing-no-one-i-am-a-ghost-inside-a-corpse-please-end-it


Author Bio:
Melanie Karsak is the author of The Airship Racing Chronicles, The Harvesting Series, and The Celtic Blood Series. A steampunk connoisseur, zombie whisperer, and heir to the iron throne, the author currently lives in Florida with her husband and two children. She is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College.

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