Category Archives: book tour
Dead Jed/Dead Jed 2: Dawn of the Jed
by Scott Craven
Middle Grade Supernatural/Humor
Jed’s not your typical junior high geek. He is, to use the politically-correct term, cardiovascularly-challenged. And while his parents have attempted to shield him from the implications of being ‘different’ for as long as they could (Jed was 8 and at a friend’s sister’s birthday party when he blew his lips off onto the cake in front of everyone, finally prompting the “Big Talk” from his parents and an emergency SuperGlue repair by his dad), 7th grade at Pine Hollow Middle School as a target of Robbie the supreme school bully and his pack of moronic toadies is rapidly becoming unbearable.
From being stuffed in a filled trash can as “dead meat” and into a trophy case as the bully’s “prize,” to literally having his hand pulled off in the boys’ room (Jed’s always losing body parts. Luckily, a good stapler and some duct tape and he’s back in the action) and a cigarette put in it and try to frame him for the recent reports of smoking in the school, Jed’s had enough and is ready to plan his revenge. Besides, it’s awesome what you can do when you’re already dead!
The first part of seventh grade was rough on Jed, but things are looking up now that Christmas is almost here. As with past Christmases, Jed asks for the one thing he’s always wanted–a dog–and again, his parents tell him they’re not ready. But fate has a different plan when Jed sees a dog get run over by a car. Then, it happens. Jed suddenly has a pet, Tread, a zombie dog bearing his namesake–a tire tread down his back. Jed may have gained a dog, but he loses his best friend Luke, who fears the way Jed created his undead pet.
When Jed returns to school, he finds a mysterious group called the No Zombies Now Network spreading rumors of the dangers the undead pose to normal people. Forced to disprove Hollywood stereotypes, Jed has his work cut out for him as stories of a zombie dog begin to circulate. Jed could be expelled if he can’t expose the NZN Network as a fraud. Jed needs help from his kind of girlfriend Anna, especially after he discovers Luke has joined the shadowy group.
Once again navigating the treacherous waters of middle school, Jed does his best to stay in one piece. Only this time he’ll need even more duct tape and staples than usual.
NOTE: My thoughts are for both books in the series!
4 out of 5 fleurs de lis
Dead Jed was a pretty fun addition to the zombie genre! In this series, our main character Jed is a 12 year old boy who was born as a zombie. In this world, zombieism is considered a disease not unlike albinism…very rare but something that is generally accepted in society. Of course there are those who fear what they don’t understand, and as a result Jed’s seventh grade days are sometimes very difficult indeed.
Although Jed has a condition that means he regularly loses body parts and leaks Ooze, he mostly has a positive attitude about it. Like any 12 year old, he does have his mood swings though. I liked that he didn’t let his zombie status define him or keep him down; in fact, when he needs to, he uses it to his advantage!
I have to say, for a middle grade novel sometimes the language and situations are a bit abrasive. I’d almost recommend this for ninth grade and above. There is a scene where Jed is teased and called gay, among a few other awkward situations.
The addition of a dog to the second book made Jed a different person! The zombie dog does some hilarious things. Though he’s no longer tormented by overgrown bully Robbie, there is a new faction that’s out to get zombiekind. Jed much once again use his cunning to dispel all those old zombie myths!
I think the author has created a fun world and a fantastically spirited main character who readers of all ages will love.
About the Author
Proud graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, have one son who will turn 18 in March 2013, now a features writer for The Arizona Republic.
Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Dead Jed 2: Dawn of the Jed by Scott Craven (INT)
The Naughty List
by L.A. Kelley
Not your mama’s yuletide tale unless she drank too much egg nog or was born with a cheeky sense of humor.
Murder, mystical artifacts, an invisible demon with anger management issues, and an overbearing cupid—not what Rosalie Thatcher wished for on her Christmas list.
The holidays had always been a magical time for Rosalie, but not this year. Stephanie, her new manager at Penrose’s Department Store, is determined to make this season the most profitable in the store’s history, even if it sucks the life out of every employee. Introducing arbitrary rules and stealing the affections of Anthony, the cute temp Santa, were bad enough, but forcing Rosalie into the stupid elf hat was the worst. The worst, that is, until she meets a real E.L.F. (Elemental Life Form) named David and gets lassoed into a desperate hunt for the stolen Naughty and Nice List. Rosalie and David must dodge a murderous invisible demon and recover the missing artifact before hellhounds track them down. The couple race against time for without the magical guidance of the Naughty and Nice List, the world will tumble toward eternal chaos.
with the author, L.A. Kelley
Cocoa or coffee?
Cocoa…with marshmallows…and sprinkles…and more marshmallows…and cookies…but not any of those nasty cookies with jelly in the center. At least two varieties must contain chocolate.
Wrapping Paper or Gift Bags?
Gift Bags. Seriously, I didn’t know they still sold wrapping paper. People in my house are lucky to get a gift that’s not in a shopping bag and I’ve remembered to remove the tags.
Candy Canes or Christmas Cookies?
See answer to Cocoa or Coffee above
Spiked punch or nonalcoholic?
Nonalcoholic, but with bubbles please
O Holy Night or Silent Night?
O Holy Night done by a flash mob.
Socks or Slippers?
I live in Florida, so it’s bare feet, baby
Decorate early or last minute?
Christmas Eve…throw a handful of tinsel on the tree…Booyah! Done. Let’s have cookies.
Pie or cake?
Pie in any flavor except mincemeat. Even the name is gross. Also, no pie with raisins. They’re gross, too.
About the Author
L. A. Kelley is married with three children and lives in Florida where the heat and humidity have driven everyone slightly mad. She writers fantasies with adventure, romance, humor, and a touch of sass. She never cleans under her sofa. In her spare time she reports Big Foot sightings to the Florida Department of Fish and Wildlife. They are heartily sick of hearing from her.
by Jeff Gunhus
Ten years after her abduction and near-sacrifice to the Source, Sarah Tremont struggles to be a normal teenager. As much as she’s tried to suppress the power inside of her, it’s grown dangerously strong and has drawn the attention of those who want to possess her power for themselves.
The nightmare that she thought was long over starts again as powerful forces descend upon Prescott City to seek her out. With her parents and Joseph Lonetree’s help, Sarah must stand up to an evil much more powerful than the one she faced in the caves a decade earlier. But in the end, she discovers the greatest danger might come from the power living inside of her.
About the Author
Jeff Gunhus is the author of both adult thrillers and the Middle Grade/YA series, The Templar Chronicles. The first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. His book Reaching Your Reluctant Reader has helped hundreds of parents create avid readers. As a father of five, he and his wife lead an active lifestyle simply trying to keep up with their kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the City Dock Cafe in Annapolis working on his next novel.
His latest book is the thriller/horror novel, Night Terror.
For More Information
Visit Jeff Gunhus’ website.
More books by Jeff Gunhus.
Night Terror is available at Amazon.
The Heart Does Not Grow Back
by Fred Venturini
EVERY SUPERHERO NEEDS TO START SOMEWHERE…
Dale Sampson is used to being a nonperson at his small-town Midwestern high school, picking up the scraps of his charismatic lothario of a best friend, Mack. He comforts himself with the certainty that his stellar academic record and brains will bring him the adulation that has evaded him in high school. But when an unthinkable catastrophe tears away the one girl he ever had a chance with, his life takes a bizarre turn as he discovers an inexplicable power: He can regenerate his organs and limbs.
When a chance encounter brings him face to face with a girl from his past, he decides that he must use his gift to save her from a violent husband and dismal future. His quest takes him to the glitz and greed of Hollywood, and into the crosshairs of shadowy forces bent on using and abusing his gift. Can Dale use his power to redeem himself and those he loves, or will the one thing that finally makes him special be his demise? The Heart Does Not Grow Back is a darkly comic, starkly original take on the superhero tale, introducing an exceptional new literary voice in Fred Venturini.
MY THOUGHTS: 4 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
I can’t really say this book is ABOUT any one specific thing. The best way to describe it is that it chronicles the life of main character Dale Sampson from childhood to early adulthood. In middle school, he meets the guy who is to become his best friend and shape his life in unimaginable ways, Mack. Mack is a popular ladies man while Dale is the polar opposite, awkward and quiet. Mack is persuasive, especially so on his friend, and so he drives Dale to make a decision one night that changes everything–and leaves Dale with an inexplicable new ability–he can regenerate.
Dale is somewhat boring as a main character. He is in love with a single woman for most of the book, then when things are revealed to him he moves quickly to another. To me, it was as if he was in love with the idea of being in love. Even though he’s morose most of the time, you can’t help liking him and feeling for him when bad things happen, even though he seems to be responsible for most of them.
The friendship between Dale and Mack is central to the story, and sounds as if it is one sided most of the time. Dale is always there while Mack is womanizing, traveling, and trying to become famous. They even drift apart for a few years, but when Mack learns about what Dale can do they come back together. They seem to truly like each other, and I’m not sure why; each of them has characteristics that make them somewhat horrible.
I have to say I enjoyed the first half of the book a lot more than the second. Seeing Dale discover and test his ability, while coming to terms with how his life had changed, was absolutely beautiful. I couldn’t turn the pages quickly enough to see how he would make it through the earth shattering trauma that had happened to him. But once he got into show business, Dale became a completely different person, and he wasn’t as pleasant to get to know anymore. I just didn’t really love the whole reality show thing.
The ending of the book was definitely unexpected, and I’m not sure if I can say definitively that it was happy or sad…but it seemed to be the only way things COULD end. In the end, Dale learned that having himself would have to be enough, and that is a moral we all can take to heart.
About the Author
Fred Venturini grew up in Patoka, Illinois. His short fiction has been published in the Booked Anthology, Noir at the Bar 2, and Surreal South ’13. In 2014, his story “Gasoline” will be featured in Chuck Palahniuk’s Burnt Tongues collection. He lives in Southern Illinois with his wife and daughter.
Connect with Fred
The Last Changeling
by Chelsea Pitcher
Faerie Revolutions Series, Book One
Why I Chose to Write About Faeries
by Chelsea Pitcher
I’ve always loved faeries. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been reading stories about the different kinds of fae. Tall, elegant, soulless faeries. Elemental beings who resided in the petals of flowers and the trunks of trees. I read old, epic poems and modern interpretations. I read urban fantasy and magical realism and paranormal romance. And somewhere along the line, I started to get an idea of what faeries really were—I mean, if they did exist, I started to understand the “who” and the “why” of it.
Their origin story, if you will.
I also started to accept that some faerie stories made more sense to me than others. For example, the idea of faeries-as-elemental-beings resonated with me much more than faeries who didn’t have souls. And, in all of my readings, there was one theory I just couldn’t make sense of no matter how hard I tried: the high faerie courts.
Now, don’t get me wrong; the idea of faerie courts is incredibly compelling. But I never understood the reason for them. If faeries are anarchic, the physical embodiment of nature, why would they need rules? Why would they need courts?
In my idea of Faerie, the creatures are wild, streaking through the trees, eating, dancing, and making love as they please. To me, this was much more exiting than the idea of courts. Certainly, the gowns would be beautiful, but why bind yourself up when you could run naked through the forest? Why sit, with a rigid back and a stony face, in an uncomfortable throne, when you could be diving into icy waters and soaring through the sky? Why confine yourself when you could be free?
These were the questions that raced through my mind as I sat down to write THE LAST CHANGELING. On the one hand, I could’ve just written about these chaotic, free-spirited faeries from the start. But I didn’t want to discard hundreds of years of literature that spoke of faerie courts. I didn’t want to be disrespectful to the mythology. I wanted to understand it.
And so it went. Instead of writing about a faerie realm without courts, I started to ask myself questions: why did the courts come into being? Who did it benefit? Was it a communal decision, or were a few corrupt players pulling the strings? Soon, answers began to blossom in my mind, and my story unfolded. The courts were in place, and I understood the deep, dark secret that led to their creation.
After that, I just needed a faerie who wanted to take them down . . .
About the Author
Tracy Tam: Santa Command
by Krystalyn Drown
Middle Grade Fantasy/Christmas
Tracy doesn’t believe that Santa can deliver all of those presents in one night with out a little help from science. A flying sleigh can only be powered by jet engines, and Santa’s magical abilities can only be the result of altered DNA. In order to test her theories, she sneaks onto Santa’s sleigh and ends up at Santa Command, the place where a team of humans monitors Santa’s big night. When Tracy attempts to hack into their computers, she accidentally introduces a virus to their system. As a result, three states get knocked out of sync with the rest of the world. Before the night is over, Tracy has to fix time and help Santa finish his deliveries. And she has to do it all with Santa’s magic, which she doesn’t believe exists.
MY THOUGHTS: 4 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
This was a short and sweet middle grade story that is bursting with Christmas spirit.
The main character, Tracy Tam, is a logical girl who not only believes that Santa isn’t real–she’s going to prove it and make enough money to help her cousin with an operation. But when Tracy sneaks into the back of Santa’s sleigh, she finds that the North Pole isn’t what she expected and nothing is what it seems.
I thought Tracy was a smart, tough girl who was clever but was so single minded she couldn’t see the mistakes she was making. She did come to her senses though, and realizes how she may have been hurting others even when she was trying so hard to help someone she loved.
The Santa mythos is given a cool, unique twist in this book, and that is pretty hard to do. I enjoyed hearing about the original Santa’s backstory and all the magic surrounding him and Christmas.
I think this book will help get young readers into the Christmas spirit in the coming months!
About the Author
Connect with the Author:
Be sure to enter the tour wide giveaway to win one of 5 ebook copies of the book!
Little Dead Riding Hood
by Amie & Bethanie Borst
Middle Grade Supernatural/Fairy Tale Retelling
You know things are going to suck when you’re the new kid. But when you’re the new kid and a vampire… well, it bites!
Unlike most kids, Scarlet Small’s problems go far beyond just trying to fit in. She would settle for a normal life, but being twelve years old for an entire century is a real pain in the neck. Plus, her appetite for security guards, house pets and bloody toms (tomato juice) is out of control. So in order to keep their vampire-secret, her parents, Mort and Drac, resort to moving for the hundredth time, despite Scarlet being dead-set against it. Things couldn’t be worse at her new school, either. Not only does she have a strange skeleton-girl as a classmate, but a smelly werewolf is intent on revealing her secret. When she meets Granny—who fills her with cookies, goodies, and treats, and seems to understand her more than anyone—she’s sure things will be different. But with a fork-stabbing incident, a cherry pie massacre, and a town full of crazy people, Scarlet’s O-positive she’ll never live to see another undead day.
Not even her Vampire Rule Book can save her from the mess she’s in. Why can’t she ever just follow the rules?
MY THOUGHTS: 3.5 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
I do enjoy a GOOD retelling of a story, as they are often hard to get right or have so little to do with the source tale that they are unrecognizable. For the most part, LDRH succeeded as a retelling. But to me, it’s almost as if it could have been two separate stories.
Our little dead riding hood is vampire and unfortunately perpetual sixth grader, Scarlet Small. She has to move often, due to her dad’s military job and the fact that vampires just can’t stay in one place for very long. Just when Scarlet believes she is finding friends and fitting in at this new place, her secret is nearly exposed. It’s then she finds comfort at the home of a kindly old granny in the woods. But are granny–and her sweet treats–all what they seem?
As I read, I discovered that this book is the second in a series of fairy tale retellings by this mother and daughter team. I wish I would have known this–I don’t think it has any effect on my understanding of the plot, but characters from the first book are present in this one and I would like to know their backstories. Also, I’m just REALLY anal about reading books in the right order :/
Scarlet is a smart girl, but being a teenager forever does wear on a person. She’s moved around so many times, that she doesn’t really go out of her way to make friends, and she’s actually surprised when someone does act nice to her. Still, even though she’s over 150 years old, she makes some childlike decisions and doesn’t trust her gut when it matters.
The “red riding hood” part of the story doesn’t come into play until well over half the book is done. The first half focuses on Scarlet in school trying to hide her vampire existence, and her relationships with her family and friends. It’s not that this wasn’t interesting, but I think huge chunks of it could have been cut to get to the meat of the story sooner.
I definitely didn’t expect that the granny would be what she was revealed as, though I knew something was up with her. The villain of the story isn’t really explained at the end, and I wish that part would have been fleshed out more.
The authors have definitely created some original characters and they fit nicely into the fairy tale world.
About the Authors
Amie Borst still believes in unicorns, uses glitter whenever possible and accessorizes in pink. She enjoys eating chocolate while writing and keeps a well-stocked stash hidden away from her family. A native New Yorker she currently resides in Northern Virginia with her husband, three children and a cute dog named Lily. She wishes she had a hot-pink elevator with carnival lights to travel the world. But for now, her minivan will have to do.
Hi! I’m Bethanie. I’m 13 and enjoy archery, bike rides, swinging, climbing trees and studying plant life. My mom and I write books together. The Scarily Ever Laughter series features our first book, Cinderskella, and our soon to be released second book, Little Dead Riding Hood.
You could win a signed copy of the book!
The author is also hosting a scavenger hunt giveaway all week on her own blog!
The Divinicus Nex Chronicles
by A & E Kirk
Book One: Demons at Deadnight
For seventeen-year-old Aurora Lahey, survival is a lifestyle.
Aurora has the crappiest superpower on the planet. And it’s just unleashed a hit squad from hell. Demons are on the hunt, salivating to carve her carcass into confetti.
The Hex Boys—mysterious, hunky, and notorious for their trails of destruction—have the answers Aurora needs to survive. But their overload of deadly secrets and suspicious motives makes trusting them a potentially fatal move.
The battle to save her family, herself, and stop demonic domination may cost Aurora everything worth living for, and force her to reveal her own dark secrets. But no worries. She needs the Hex Boys to pull this off, and, chances are, teaming up with these guys will get her killed anyway.
Book Two: Drop Dead Demons
Survival. It’s an on-going battle.
GOING ON A TREASURE HUNT…
Aurora Lahey finally knows why supernatural slayers salivate to slaughter her, but how to stop them? Not so much. Sure, she’s discovered her own lethal powers, and has six sexy, super-charged, demon hunting Hex Boys watching her back–the hottest one watching every part of her. But when a seductive stranger delivers a deadly ultimatum, Aurora and the Hex Boys plunge into a do-or-die hunt for a legendary Mandatum treasure, which will finally shift power in their favor. Or unleash hell on earth.
NEX MARKS THE SPOT…
Pursued by demons of mythical proportions, Aurora and the Hex Boys race deeper into the shadowy world of a centuries-old mystery and brutal conspiracy, where no one and nothing is what it seems. Where love and betrayal go hand-in-hand, and trusting the wrong person not only breaks your heart, but gets you killed.
DEMONS ON YOUR TAIL…
Uncovering shocking secrets from the Hex Boys’ past, hiding her Divinicus Nex identity, lying to her pretend-wish-he-were-real boyfriend, dodging demons, breaking into ancient tombs, taking the unexpected side trip to the dark depths of the Waiting World, tracking a traitor, and passing Physics…Aurora could do that in her sleep. Or more likely, die trying.
DON’T GET CAUGHT!
About the Authors
This mother-daughter duo were in and out of inter-dimensional paranormal prisons until they finally quit making up cover stories for secret societies and started writing novels. The Supernatural Continuum Warlords of the Supernatural Continuum Warlordian High Command had pity upon them, and instead of having them slaughtered by the slow, tortuous flesh eating underwater, earthworm squid, they transported them into a habitationally friendly dimension called OOARCHTOHUTHLAMADILFRUMP, also known as 21st Century Earth.
Due to a demon infestation in their sleepy mountain California town, and a lack of sexy Hex Boys to stop them, Alyssa and Eileen were forced to relocate to Los Angeles. The Amazon best seller, DEMONS AT DEADNIGHT, is book one in the DIVINICUS NEX CHRONICLES series, and the first of their exclusive re-creations of supernatural society secrets. You can uncover more paranormal, inter-dimensional classified information at AEKIRK.com and Facebook.com/AandEKirk.com.
Citizens of Earth, you are welcome.
Logan, dancer Hextraordinaire, is the new pro on the Dancing with the Stars TV show and you are his partner! What is the dance you most want him to teach you?
Curse of the Granville Fortune
by Kelly Hashway
Middle Grade Adventure
Find the fortune, break the curse!
The hunt is on for an ancient treasure tied to nine-year-old J.B.’s family history. He’s been having visions that make him sweaty, lightheaded, and certain he’s turning into some kind of freak—or worse, going insane. But things are worse than he imagined. The visions stem from a family curse. An ancient ancestor was accused of stealing the massive Granville fortune, and now J.B.’s entirely family will suffer.
To break the curse, J.B. must find and return the Granville’s stolen property. But he’s not the only one searching for the treasure. As he sets out on his journey through a dark and foreboding forest, he’ll battle his worst fears and fight terrifying creatures along the way. And when he meets two others who share the missing pieces of his visions and suffer from the same curse, the three soon realize they need to work together to break the curse before it’s too late.
About the Author
Kelly Hashway grew up reading R.L. Stein’s Fear Street novels and writing stories of her own, so it was no surprise to her family when she majored in English and later obtained a masters degree in English Secondary Education from East Stroudsburg University. After teaching middle school language arts for seven years, Hashway went back to school and focused specifically on writing. She is now the author of three young adult series, one middle grade series, and several picture books. She also writes contemporary romance under the pen name Ashelyn Drake. When she isn’t writing, Hashway works as a freelance editor for small presses as well as for her own list of clients. In her spare time, she enjoys running, traveling, and volunteering with the PTO. Hashway currently resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter, and two pets.
Winner will be drawn November 21, 2014
· Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Curse of the Granville Fortune by Kelly Hashway (INT)
The Girl Who Came Back to Life: A Fairytale
by Craig Staufenberg
When you die, your spirit wakes in the north, in the City of the Dead. There, you wander the cold until one of your living loved ones finds you, says “Goodbye,” and Sends you to the next world.
After her parents die, 12-year-old Sophie refuses to release their spirits. Instead, she resolves to travel to the City of the Dead to bring her mother and father’s spirits back home with her.
Taking the long pilgrimage north with her gruff & distant grandmother—by train, by foot, by boat; over ruined mountains and plains and oceans—Sophie struggles to return what death stole from her. Yet the journey offers her many hard, unexpected lessons—what to hold on to, when to let go, and who she must truly bring back to life.
MY THOUGHTS: 3.75 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
When 12 year old Sophie loses her parents suddenly, her entire life is flipped upside down. She is forced to live with her cold grandmother, who barely acknowledges her existence. In the midst of this, Sophie knows she has to take on the monumental task of being the one to make the perilous journey North to lay her parents’ spirits to rest.
Sophie is a strong girl. Once she sets her mind to something, she sees it through, no matter what stands in her way. Though she makes some not so smart spur of the moment decisions, she is mature enough to deal with the consequences and set things right as best she can.
One thing I found intriguing about this story is that the only character who has an actual name is Sophie. Everyone else in her world is referred to as what they are: “the baker,” “the soldier,” “the grandmother.” They are also sort of anti-stereotypical of what you’d think the characters would be. Though you don’t get to know most of the other characters very deeply, you get to know enough to learn that everyone has more than one side.
There were some very touching moments towards the end, and though the story didn’t have a traditional happily ever after, you get the sense that everything will be OK for Sophie.
About the Author
Craig Staufenberg is a writer and filmmaker living in NYC.
Buy ‘The Girl Who Came Back To Life’: