Category Archives: books

BOOK TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Tracy Tam: Santa Command by Krystalyn Drown

 Tracy Tam: Santa Command

by Krystalyn Drown

Middle Grade Fantasy/Christmas

Book Description

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.

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MY THOUGHTS: 4 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS

Tracy Tam: Santa Command by Krystalyn Drown

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!

View all my reviews

About the Author

Krystalyn spent thirteen years working at Walt Disney World in a variety of roles: entertainer, talent coordinator, and character captain. Her degree in theatre as well as many, many hours spent in a dance studio, helped with her job there. Her various other day jobs have included working in zoology at Sea World, as an elementary teacher, and currently as a support technician for a website. In the evenings, she does mad writing challenges with her sister, who is also an author. Krystalyn lives near Orlando, Florida with her husband, son, a were cat, and a Yorkie with a Napoleon complex.

Connect with the Author:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Available for Purchase:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | TBD | IndieBound | iBooks

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Be sure to enter the tour wide giveaway to win one of 5 ebook copies of the book!

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Chapter by Chapter

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Little Dead Riding Hood by Amie & Bethanie Borst

Little Dead Riding Hood

by Amie & Bethanie Borst

Middle Grade Supernatural/Fairy Tale Retelling

Book Description

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?

3 fleur

MY THOUGHTS: 3.5 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS

Little Dead Riding Hood by Amie Borst

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.

View all my reviews

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 can find Amie and Bethanie Borst online here:
Facebook
Twitter
Website

PURCHASE:

Amazon

B&N

Goodreads

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The author is also hosting a scavenger hunt giveaway all week on her own blog!

Go here to check it out.

SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: Sanctuary by Pauline Creeden

 Title: Sanctuary

Author: Pauline Creeden

Genre: Apocalyptic/dystopian, clean NA

 

 

Book Description

In a heart-racing thriller described as Falling Skies meets The Walking Dead, Jennie struggles to find a safe place for what’s left of her family. But it seems as though there is no place sacred, no place secure. First the aliens attacked the sun, making it dimmer, weaker, and half what it used to be. Then they attacked the water supply, killing one-third of Earth’s population with a bitter contaminate. And when they unleash a new terror on humankind, the victims will wish for death, but will not find it…When the world shatters to pieces around her, will Jennie find the strength she needs to keep going?

Purchase:
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Jennie filled the
glass and set it on the counter. She needed an ibuprofen.
As she reached up
to the top shelf in the pantry, a vibration started in her chest. Holding the
white bottle in her hand, she turned around confused.
Like a jet when it
flew too low, the rumble increased in intensity as it approached. Jennie
watched the glass tremble on the counter top for a moment before fear clenched
her stomach. “MOM!?”
She rushed to the
sink and looked out the window, but her mother wasn’t in the garden any more.
Jennie barreled through the kitchen, the vibrations in her chest like bass on a
stereo. “MOM?”
When Jennie
reached the back door, she saw them. Four large dog-like creatures with pinched
faces like bulldogs and lion-like manes. They snarled, and one of them leapt at
the window on the top half of the door when it saw her. Jennie jumped back and
fell hard on the cold tile floor. The bottle of painkiller bounced across the
kitchen tiles. The creature slammed against the window a second time, cracking
it. She blinked hard. Her heart sunk, and the hairs on her arms stood on end. A
horrendous gargling howl rent the air, causing a shiver down her spine. She
held her breath and waited for the creature to slam into the door again.
“What on earth?”
she whispered to herself.
When the third
attempt never came, she scrambled toward the door. Blinking hard, she used the
door knob to help herself stand. Out the cracked window, her mother was still
out of sight, but the last of the dogs headed across the field behind her
backyard.
“MOM?” Jennie
called out.
The rumbling
faded, and the vibrations in her chest receded with the dogs. She pulled open
the door and rushed onto their back deck. “Mom, where are you?”
When she reached
the banister, she looked over the side. Her mom lay sprawled with one hand on
the lattice. Blood gushed from Mom’s leg and her opposite arm. Jennie’s ears
rang and flooded with every beat of her heart.
Jennie didn’t know
how she got to the second floor of her house, but she found herself shaking her
sleeping father. How had he slept through the rumbling? “Outside, it’s Mom…”
Her father leapt
from the bed. Mickey, her little brother, lay asleep and undisturbed. Dad ran
down the stairs and outside in his flannel pajama bottoms and white t-shirt. He
scooped Mom up to his chest and carried her inside. Blood stained his shirt in
crimson.
“Jennie, call
911!”  Her father had said it at least
three times before it finally registered in her brain.
She pulled the
cell phone from her pocket, but it refused to connect. With a groan, she
grabbed the cordless from the wall receiver, glad her heart stopped pounding in
her head so she could hear.
“All operators are
busy at this time,” a mechanical voice deadpanned, “Please stay on the line,
and the next available operator will take your call.”
“They have me on
hold, Dad. Should I hang up and try again?” She held the phone in both hands
away from her face.
“No, just stay on
the line.” Her father lifted the shredded jeans from Mom’s leg. “It looks like
a shark bite. What on earth happened?”
Jennie took in the
damage through tear-filled eyes. A huge chunk was taken from her mother’s calf,
exposing the fibrous tendons that covered the bone in her leg. A bloodstain
grew on the beige couch. Was she going to die? Panic rose up.
“What happened,
Jennie?”
“I…I…They
looked like lions, or dogs, or something. The rumbling shook the whole house…I
tried to go outside to get Mom, but—” A sob blocked her throat.
Her father grabbed
a throw pillow and held it against the leg. Mom’s exposed forearm laid across
her chest in much the same condition as her calf.
“Grab me the duct
tape.”
Jennie suddenly
remembered the phone, put it back to her ear, and headed to the hall closet.
She reached for the shelf above the jackets and grabbed the junk basket next to
the toolbox.
“Please stay on
the line. An operator will be with you shortly.”
She shoved the
phone in the crook of her neck and fished through the box.  Half the contents dropped around her feet. Who cares? When her fingers wrapped
around the silver duct tape, a short-lived relief sent prickles down her arms.
But the urgency gripped her chest in less than a heart beat, and she threw the
junk basket on the ground with the rest of the items.
“Hurry, Jennie!”
her father called from the living room. “And turn on the TV. Maybe they’ll have
something about what’s going on.”
She handed her
father the tape and turned toward the TV. The mechanical voice on the phone
came through again, followed by more easy listening.
When she clicked
on the TV, the shouting and wailing began before the picture warmed up on the
screen. A sideways picture of New York
City broke through, with the shaky voice of the
newscaster voicing over.
“What we are
watching now – I can’t believe it – is live footage of Times
Square,” the newscaster’s voice paused for a deep breath. “We’ve
lost our man on the scene and his camera man to what appears to be some kind of
new alien creature. Just a short half-hour ago, the doors to the ship that
hovered above Central Park opened and these
dog-like creatures flooded out.”
Jennie couldn’t
pull her eyes from the screen. She straightened and dropped the phone on the
hardwood. The battery popped out and skidded across the floor.
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About Pauline

In simple language, Pauline Creeden creates worlds that are both familiar and strange, often pulling the veil between dimensions. She becomes the main character in each of her stories, and because she has ADD, she will get bored if she pretends to be one person for too long. Pauline is a horse trainer from Virginia, but writing is her therapy.

Armored Hearts, her joint effort with author Melissa Turner Lee, has been awarded the Crowned Heart for Excellence by InDtale Magazine. It is also the 2013 Book Junkie’s Choice Winner in Historical Fiction. Her debut novel, Sanctuary, won 1st Place Christian YA Title 2013 Dante Rosetti Award and 2014 Reader’s Choice Gold Award for Best YA Horror Novel.

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Giveaway
You could win a $20 Amazon gift card!

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SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: Ten Thankful Turkeys by Angela Muse

Ten Thankful Turkeys by Angela Muse

About the Book

Title: Ten Thankful Turkeys | Author: Angela Muse | Illustrator: Ewa Powdles | Publication Date: October 4, 2014 | Publisher: 4EYESBOOKS | Pages: 32 | Recommended Ages: 2 to 8 Summary: This colorful autumn tale follows ten turkeys as they get ready for an important celebration. This story teaches about gratitude. There are also fun turkey facts in the back of the book.

Kindle version available for only 99 cents from Amazon on October 24 & 25, 2014. Grab your copy now!!

Amazon (Kindle) * Amazon (Paperback)

 

About the Author: Angela Muse

Angela Muse, Author

Angela Muse

Angela Muse was born in California to a military family. This meant that she got used to being the “new kid” in school every couple of years. It was hard trying to make new friends, but Angela discovered she had a knack for writing. In high school Angela began writing poetry and song lyrics. Expressing herself through writing seemed very natural. After becoming a Mom in 2003, Angela continued her storytelling to her own children. In 2009 she wrote and published her first rhyming children’s book aimed at toddlers. Since then she has released several more children’s picture books and released books in her first young adult romance series, The Alpha Girls, in 2013/2014. Her husband, Ben Muse writes suspense/thriller books that can also be found on Amazon.

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter

 

* $50 Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon $50 Gift Card Prize: One winner will receive a $50 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)

Contest closes: November 23, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open to: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the Angela Muse and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

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SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: The Divinicus Nex Chronicles by A & E Kirk

 The Divinicus Nex Chronicles

by A & E Kirk

YA Paranormal

Book One: Demons at Deadnight

Book Description

For seventeen-year-old Aurora Lahey, survival is a lifestyle.

DEMONIC DESTINY

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.

CHARISMATIC KILLERS

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.

LETHAL ALLIES

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

Book Description

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!

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From DEMONS AT DEADNIGHT:

Like a mini-firework, a glittering orb of pale purple burst above Tristan’s head. From the sparkling puff, a lavender fairy materialized and flitted in spastic figure-eights, dust flying, tiny wings humming a nervous beat.
“Her dad’s coming,” she said, voice shrill.
“What?” we all said in unison.
Tristan, Ayden and the fairy looked at me and said, “What?”
“What?” I repeated, panicked and irritated at my lack of control in responding to a fairy I wasn’t supposed to see or hear.
“What?” came their reply.
“What?” I continued the theme of repetition because I lacked any form of explanation.
Ayden held up a hand for silence. “Why are you ‘whatting’?”
“What?”
The hand again. “Okay, stop that,” Ayden said. Tristan smirked. “Why did you just say ‘what’?”
“Beeeecaaause,” I stalled. “I want to knoooooow,” pause, “whaaaaaat,” another pause, “you thought I saw?” The last came out in a rush as I finally thought of a sensible thing to say.
“Aurora, dinner!” Dad called from the garage. He saw our group and headed our way before I could stop him. “Oh, hi, Tristan.”
Super. “Nothing about the…thing,” I whispered.
Dad shook Tristan’s hand and Ayden offered his. “Hi, Mr. Lahey. I’m Ayden Ishida. You probably don’t remember me.”
Dad took his hand. “Of course I do. You’re one of Aurora’s old boyfriends.”
Oh, just tie on the anchor and throw me overboard.
To his credit, Dad quickly discerned my embarrassment and did his best.
“Well, not boyfriend-boyfriend.” He twirled his hands in a backward rotation like he could erase his error in word choice and my mortification. “You know, just a friend. Just an old friend.” He clapped his hands and rubbed them together. “So what’re you guys up to?”

 

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.

Website | Twitter Alyssa | Twitter Eileen | Facebook | Pinterest

PURCHASE:

Demons at Deadnight:
Drop Dead Demons:
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Be sure to enter the tour wide giveaway for the chance to win books, an Amazon gift card, or even a character named after you in the next book!

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Daily Question:

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?

 

 

 

Kismet Book Touring

SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: The Beginning is the End by Cara Davis

 
Welcome to the Cara Davis promo event hosted by IFB Tours. This is to celebrate the release of the first book in her YA Zombie series. Check out the excerpt and author playlist below, and enter to win awesome prizes!
 
23155228Series: Reset #1
Release date: October 20th 2014
Publisher: Big Moon Press
Purchase: Amazon 
 
Synopsis via Goodreads:
Jack Sunshine’s life is chaos. She’s seventeen and the head of her household following the death of her mother and the disappearance of her stepfather. Having to balance work and home at her age gets further complicated with her forays into dating. And to top it all off, the dead are returning to life.
Jack now has the added responsibility of ensuring her family and friends are safe and sound during this outbreak. It’s almost doable until the tiny enigma of a girl named O comes along. It becomes a question of whether the sick will kill them or they’ll kill each other.
EXCERPT==================

 
Frances Hopkins, who lived across the street from the DeCoudreauxes, stood in the doorway of the library with heaving shoulders and some kind of internalized grudge against every one of us. Her low growl reverberated, and none of us moved a millimeter as we debated the next move. Frances seemed to be calculating her next move as well, and I couldn’t help but hear Old West showdown music in my head. 
 
“Shoot. Her.” Alexandria gritted her teeth.
 
“She isn’t doing anything,” Miles argued.
 
“Let’s just try and skirt past her,” I suggested. It couldn’t have been too difficult; she wasn’t taking up too much room in the rather large doorway.
 
An argument from Alexandria later and we found ourselves trying to walk past Frances without alerting her. Since it was my idea, Alexandria insisted I go first. I took Lucy’s hand and held her close to me, starting to side-step Frances while holding my breath. I covered Lucy’s eyes with one hand, her mouth with the other; she was starting to cry, and I didn’t want her to get too loud.
 
I tried to think of everything I possibly could aside from the situation right in front of me. It would only take about five seconds to get past her, I knew, but they would be appallingly long seconds. My grip on Lucy tightened once we found ourselves inches from Frances. I scooted as quickly as I could and was relieved that we made it out into the hallway without incident.
 
Summer, O and the others followed suit, each without incident, until only Alexandria remained inside the library. She locked eyes with me and I contemplated leaving her behind, given how rude she’d been to Aylen. Instead, I gave her my most reassuring smile and nod, gesturing for her to join us. Miles whispered a few words of encouragement as well, and after a few false starts, Alexandria made her move to shimmy past Frances.
 
She hugged the wall, her back to Frances and eyes shut tightly. Her spiked heels made the faintest scritching sounds as she shuffled. My sigh of relief at all of us passing by Frances unharmed was interrupted, as Frances whipped around with alarming speed to once again grab hold of Alexandria’s hair.
 
Before any of us could get close enough, Alexandria was heels over head and slammed against the ground, Frances on top of her and shredding her clothes. There was no way Miles could’ve gotten in a clear shot, both women’s limbs intertwining as Alexandria tried to fight her way out. Miles screamed to me, gesturing for me to kick while he aimed. I looked back to Frances and hesitated before steeling myself and slamming my foot as hard as I could into her face.
 

 

AUTHOR’S PLAYLIST=====================================

[click title to listen]

GossipHeavy Cross

Nine Inch NailsThe Great Destroyer (Modwheelmood Remix) 

DeftonesDiamond Eyes

Northern KingsCreep

Yeah Yeah YeahsHeads Will Roll

Miss ATouch

About the Author


Cara Davis is a weirdo. She has lots of partially-written stories that one day will become actual stories. A northern-born southerner, she has the most eclectic tastes you can imagine. Most of her writing is within the paranormal realm, but occasionally she dabbles in fantasy, sci-fi, and contemporary. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Memphis that’s going unused.

 

 
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SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: Curse of the Granville Fortune by Kelly Hashway

 Curse of the Granville Fortune

by Kelly Hashway

Middle Grade Adventure

Book Description

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.

sshexcerpt

“What was that?” Holly stepped behind me and buried her head between my shoulder blades.

I was afraid to think of what it might be. I didn’t know if the forest only made the things said out loud come to life or if it could read thoughts, too. I moved the branches of the bush to get a better look. A deer ran through some fallen trees. I let go of the breath I’d been holding.

“Is it bears?” Holly asked.

My whole body tensed. Holly had volunteered another scary suggestion to the forest. I looked around, but I couldn’t see a bear anywhere. Leaves rustled and another cracking sound came from high in a tree. Three large branches fell to the ground in front of us. Only these weren’t normal tree limbs. They were shaped like bears. Big green, leafy bears! Once again, our imaginations had turned the forest into living creatures ready to devour us.

 

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.

 Author Links:

Website  | Twitter Facebook | Goodreads

Purchase Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | TBD | iBooks

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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)

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

 

Chapter by Chapter

SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: Dead New World by Ryan Hill

 Dead New World 

by Ryan Hill

YA Zombie/Horror

Book Description

Zombies aren’t mindless anymore.

Before the world fell into chaos, the undead existed only in the imagination. Now, more of them walk the earth than living. Zombies move about freely, while humans entomb themselves inside concrete barricades to stay alive.

All that, while the leader of a powerful cult – known only as Reverend – becomes the next threat to the rebuilding United States. Believing zombies to be God’s latest creation, making humanity obsolete, he wants to give every man, woman, and child the chance to become one. With his combined army of humans and zombies, he may well get his wish.

Best friends Holt and Ambrose went up against the Reverend once. Holt lost a foot and a zombie bit Ambrose…though he survived the virus, only to become a human-zombie hybrid, reviled by the living and unwelcome among the dead. When the Reverend kidnaps the woman Holt loves, the race is on to save her from a fate worse than death.

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Behind the Scenes: Writing DEAD NEW WORLD

DEAD NEW WORLD had an interesting journey towards publication. I’d actually written it before my “debut” novel, THE BOOK OF BART. After BART was picked up by Curiosity Quills, I dusted off DNW and asked if they were interested. They were. And the rest is history.

Wait.

That’s not a very interesting journey.

Let me back up a bit.

I feel most comfortable writing fun, silly stories in the vein of Christopher Moore, like BART is (it’s a twisted buddy cop tale about a demon forced to work with an angel to find a powerful relic). I don’t just want to write those kinds of tales. I want to write a little of everything. For me, writing one particular genre over and over can lead an author to become complacent, unwilling to venture outside of their bread and butter. Sadly, that’s not going to help an author expand their skills. In my opinion, you need to write all sorts of different things to stretch their muscles. DNW was the first exercise in that.

After abandoning a silly manuscript (several parts of which were retooled for BART), I wanted to do something different. Something dark. Scary. I’d never tried to write something like that before. I also wanted to do my take on the zombie genre. There were so many things I dreamt of seeing in a zombie story, but never saw them. This was my chance to put those things into a story myself. Once I was able to put those two ideas together, DNW was born. I spent almost a year writing and editing the manuscript, then set about trying to find a home for it. I’d submit the manuscript to agents and publishers, many of whom liked the book, but didn’t think they could sell it (this happens A LOT, so get used to it). At one point, I traveled up to Connecticut for a writer’s conference to pitch DNW in person. Again, I got some nibbles, but nothing concrete. During this time, I did get some interesting feedback on the story.

I wanted DNW to be dark. Like… really dark. I also wanted it to end on a massive cliffhanger, leaving the reader with this feeling that they have to read the sequel (there will be three) as soon as humanly possible. It was great. Only… it wasn’t.

The ending, which couldn’t have been more pitch black if I’d tried, had to be lightened up. Not a lot, just enough to where the reader wasn’t left feeling like the world was a terrible place. The changes were made, and to make it work I even went back and created a new character to help with the ending. When it was all said and done, I still had a dark ending, just one that didn’t leave readers in a place where they’d want to listen to a lot of music from The Cure. I also pulled in part of what was supposed to be the start of DARK NEW WORLD (the first sequel) and tacked it on to the end.

Everything was worth it in the end, as the retooled and improved DEAD NEW WORLD was picked up by Curiosity Quills, and now my zombie epic is being unleashed upon the world!

 

About the Author

Growing up, Ryan Hill used to spend his time reading and writing instead of doing homework. This resulted in an obsession with becoming a writer, but also a gross incompetence in the fields of science and mathematics. A graduate of North Carolina State University, Ryan has been a film critic for over five years. He lives in Raleigh, NC, with his dog/shadow Maggie. Ryan also feels strange about referring to himself in the third person.
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REVIEW: The Girl Who Came Back to Life by Craig Staufenberg

The Girl Who Came Back to Life: A Fairytale

by Craig Staufenberg

Fantasy/Fairy Tale

Book Description

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.

4fleur

MY THOUGHTS: 3.75 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS

The Girl Who Came Back to Life: A Fairytale by Craig Staufenberg

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.

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About the Author

Craig Staufenberg is a writer and filmmaker living in NYC.

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BOOK TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Charming by Krystal Wade

Charming

by Krystal Wade

Upper YA Thriller

Book Description

Sixteen-year-old Haley Tremaine had it all: top-notch school, fantastic family, and a bright future, but all of that changed when an accident tore her family apart. Now, an alcoholic father, a bitter younger sister, and a cold headstone bearing her mother’s name are all she has left.

Chris Charming has it all: a powerful CEO for a father, a prestigious school, and a fortune at his fingertips, but none of that matters when he lands a reputation as a troublemaker. Struggling to follow in his father’s footsteps, he reaches out to the one person he believes truly sees him, the one person he wants: Haley.

Little do they know someone’s determined to bring the two together, even if it means murder.

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Chapter 1, part 1

Thirty-two steps until Haley Tremaine entered hell. Thirty-two steps until she walked into the smell of alcohol and burned microwaveable meals, into a place where fear overwhelmed. Fear of whether Dad would go on a rampage and hit her, or maybe even her little sister Jocelyn, the girl Haley protected at the expense of her sanity, her safety. Even if that sister didn’t appreciate it, or have a clue.
Before Mom died, Haley would have called this home.
But not anymore.
Now? Now, this was definitely hell.
“You punishing your palms with that anger, or are you having a stroke?” Even in the darkness blanketing the empty streets, Haley couldn’t mistake the slight smile toying up the side of Christine’s long, slender face. She walked home with Haley every day after their shifts ended at the Berkshire Candle Company and knew all the horrid details about the broken family life inside the Tremaine household.
Haley unclenched her fists and shook them out, allowing the chilly October air to whisk the sheen of sweat into the night. Nothing more nerve-wracking than going to hell. “Sorry.”
“Since you’ve refused all offers to run away and leave this town behind, you could try this.” Christine took a hit of her thinly wound joint, winked, then held it out for Haley. Like tonight would be any different from the other five hundred times Christine had offered.
“Not happening.” But maybe, just maybe, being high would make walking through the squeaky front door hurt a little less. Maybe the pot would snuff out the anger and fear that burned and spread like uncontrolled wildfires in Haley’s head when Dad yelled, when he grunted disgusting noises because she took too long to clean his mess or get him another beer, and when Jocelyn just sat there and watched.
Dad’s favorite. Dad’s favorite because he thought she chose him instead of Mom the night she decided to leave. Dad didn’t know the truth.
Jocelyn didn’t either.
“Not today, anyway.” Hopefully that day never comes.
“Always helps me get over my issues, but suit yourself.” Tucked into her too-large, red and black flannel jacket, Christine finished off the awful-smelling joint with a shrug, then jogged across the cracked asphalt, hundreds of jagged tar lines holding the road together like band-aids. She forgot to say goodbye. As usual.
Haley stood on the side of the street between the power lines and her yard covered with a thick layer of pine needles and red leaves, the closest thing Deerfield Massachusetts had to a sidewalk. She stared through the yellow glow of the streetlamp Christine ran under, waiting for her to walk into her house. Once she did, Haley jogged up the few steps to her front porch, pulled open the screen door, took a calming breath, then walked in.
No one was waiting. The only greetings she received were sounds of the late-night news reporting the most recent murder, the smell of stale beer, and that ever-unsettling panic in Haley’s chest, the panic that never went away while under the same roof as Dad.
Backpack slung over one shoulder, she ditched her plain black work shoes next to the pile of others by the door and crept through the house that didn’t appreciate anyone creeping around. The worn floorboards rattled with every step, despite Haley’s efforts to place each foot gently in front of the other. She passed the kitchen on her way down the long hallway. The cramped space was a mess of dirty pots and pans sitting and crusting on the stovetop, trash overflowing the can and spilling onto the floor, empty plates scattered on the table. All left for Haley to clean. All left for Haley to worry over.
On the way to her room, Haley paused by the arched opening leading to the den. Dad and Jocelyn sat in each other’s company, watching TV as so many normal families would. But did all those families take advantage of one member? Did they pretend like that member didn’t exist unless they needed help with something? Or was Haley the only lucky one?

 

About the Author

Krystal Wade is happily married to the love of her life (don’t gag) and raising three beautiful children in the gorgeous state of Virginia. They live just outside Washington, D.C., and every day she wakes up to find herself stuck in traffic trying to get there.

The horrid commute gives Krystal plenty of time to zone out and think about her characters in full, brilliant details (she’s a safe driver; don’t worry). Stories give her a way to forget about the sometimes smelly strangers sitting next to her on the fifty mile trek into town (she picks up hitchhikers every day. True story. Check out http://www.slug-lines.com if you don’t believe us).

Krystal has been a part of organized hitchhiking for nearly fifteen years, but that’s just one small aspect of her oh-so-large life. When she’s not working, commuting, or chasing after her three children (four if you count the man), you can usually find Krystal outside talking to her chickens like they’re the cutest things in the world (they are), or training her amazing dogs how to herd said chickens (which they love), or curled up on the sofa with a good book (why can’t that be 100% of the time?).

 

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