Category Archives: reading

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.
Author links:

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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.

sshexcerpt

 

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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REVIEW: Made for You by Melissa Marr

Made for You

by Melissa Marr

YA Thriller

Book Description

When Eva Tilling wakes up in the hospital, she’s confused – who in her sleepy little North Carolina town could have hit her with their car? Before she can consider the question, she finds that she’s awoken with a strange new skill: the ability to foresee people’s deaths when they touch her.

As she recovers from the attempt on her life, an old flame, Nate, turns up. Eva must traverse their rocky past and figure out how to use her new power – while the killer grows increasingly frantic. Can she stop him, or will he claim her?

3 fleur

MY THOUGHTS: 3.5 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS

 

Made for You by Melissa Marr

Made for You was a nice combination of a thriller with a little paranormal. The main character, Eva, darling of southern society, gains the ability to foresee people’s deaths after she is struck by a car one night. This new skill comes in handy as her friends start turning up dead after her accident.

The killer/stalker, Judge, was definitely creepy, especially for someone so young. I knew he had to be someone in Eva’s circle of friends, but that circle is so large that I didn’t really predict him until just before his identity was revealed. He has a singular fixation on Eva and believes what he is doing was told to him by God. His creepiness lies in his total belief that what he is doing is right and his calmness as he murders one girl after another.

Eva is alright as a main character. In the beginning of the book, right after her accident, I didn’t like her very much because she only seemed to be concerned about the fact that she was “not going to be pretty anymore.” She’s very vain and this continues throughout the book, even after several people tell her she’s still beautiful. As the book goes on she started to grow on me, and I like that she didn’t need a guy to fight for her.

There is of course a romance that blooms very quickly. Though Eva has a popular boyfriend when she is hit by the car, he doesn’t come see her in the hospital even though she is there for several days! But her old childhood friend Nate happens across her while visiting his little brother, and before long it’s the two of them together. I did feel this was sort of fast considering that they hadn’t spoken to each other in years. Not to mention the fact that she kept insulting him, calling him a “man-slut” over and over. I can only assume that he was giving her some leeway because of her brain injury, because she was pretty mean to him sometimes and he never really said anything to her about it.

I wish the book would have explored Eva’s death foreseeing ability more. The reader learns nothing about why she got it or if it will continue. I also felt the story presented some characters as rather one-sided. I definitely would have liked to learn more about Nate’s background and current family dynamics.

If you enjoy a thriller with a villain that will make your skin crawl, as well as a side of romance, you should give Made for You a try.

View all my reviews

About the Author

Melissa Marr is the author of the internationally bestselling Wicked Lovely series (currently available in 26 languages). In adult fiction, she is the author of the award-winning novel, Graveminder, and the newly released, The Arrivals. With Kelley Armstrong, Melissa is the co-editor of two anthologies and co-author of the Blackwell Pages trilogy (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), a children’s series about the Norse myth of Ragnarök. Her upcoming HarperCollins 2014 release, Made For You, utilizes both her graduate degree in Southern Literature and her personal experience with stalkers in a story about a killer who terrorizes a small North Carolina town.

Melissa lives in Virginia with her family. You can visit her online at www.melissamarrbooks.com or on Twitter (@melissa_marr), Tumblr, or Facebook.

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SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: Splinters by FJR Titchenell & Matt Carter

Splinters

by FJR Tichenell and Matt Carter

The Prospero Chronicles, Book One

Book Description

Under ordinary circumstances, Ben and Mina would never have had reason to speak to each other; he’s an easy-going people person with a healthy skepticism about the paranormal, and she’s a dangerously obsessive monster-hunter with a crippling fear of betrayal. But the small town of Prospero, California, has no ordinary circumstances to offer. In order to uncover a plot set by the seemingly innocent but definitely shapeshifting monsters-that-look-like-friends-family-and-neighbors, the two stark opposites must both find ways to put aside their differences and learn to trust each other.

About the Author

F.J.R. Titchenell is an author of Young Adult, Sci-Fi, and Horror fiction. She is represented by Jennifer Mishler of Literary Counsel and lives in San Gabriel, California with her husband, Matt Carter, and their pet king snake, Mica.

Along with Goodreads, you can also find her at www.facebook.com/FjrTitchenell andtwitter.com/FJR_Titchenell.

Matt Carter is an author of Horror, Sci-Fi, and yes even a little bit of Young Adult fiction. Along with his wife and frequent co-author, F.J.R. Titchenell, he is represented by Jennifer Mishler of Literary Counsel and lives in the usually sunny town of San Gabriel, CA.

His first book, The Prospero Chronicles: Splinters (the first of a five book series), was released on September 23, 2014, through Jolly Fish Press.

You can find F.J.R. Titchenell online here:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FjrTitchenell
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FJR_Titchenell
Website: http://fjrtitchenell.weebly.com/

 

You can find Matt Carter online here:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mattcarterauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MCarterAuthor
Website: http://mattcarterauthor.weebly.com/

PURCHASE SPLINTERS:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Splinters-Prospero-Chronicles-Matt-Carter/dp/1939967392
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/splinters-matt-carter/1118877645?ean=9781939967398

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COVER REVEAL: Stars by Madison Louise

It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for!

I’m now going to reveal the cover of my upcoming YA standalone, STARS.

Are you ready?

Summary first, as always:

After the death of the King, Myra knows what she has to do. His son, Torren, Myra’s past best friend, will take the throne. But first, he has to marry Princess Arora, and Myra. His Mistress. Things have been like this as long as Myra can remember, there was a Mistress before her, and so on. The Queen doesn’t have the children, the Mistresses do, and then they get stars. One for marrying, one for completing the marriage, and one for bearing an heir. Myra’s known her fate from the moment she was taken into the royal family after the rebellion years ago.
 
After they marry, things start to change. The way the royals live is different now, less old fashioned, more modern. Myra is excited for this change, maybe things will be different, maybe she will be able to keep her future child instead of having to give it over to Arora like she should. But after a trip to Arora’s family, Myra finds out something that will ruin her forever.
 
She tries to hide her fate from Torren, and from Arora. And with a new rebellion rising up at the same time, it’s easy to. But when a rebel by the name of Carter says she’s the key to helping restore the former royal family back to the throne, Myra is faced with an impossible choice.
 
Stay with Torren and die with him and the Senile when the rebels attack, or join the rebels, and fight for a future that she never thought she’d be apart of.
 
Will Myra choose love, or duty?
 
And here is the cover! Hope did such a great job with the cover!!
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-Madison xoxo

SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: Ice Massacre by Tiana Warner

Ice Massacre

by Tiana Warner

YA Fantasy

Book Description

A mermaid’s supernatural beauty serves one purpose: to lure a sailor to his death.

The Massacre is supposed to bring peace to Eriana Kwai. Every year, the island sends its warriors to battle these hostile sea demons. Every year, the warriors fail to return. Desperate for survival, the island must decide on a new strategy. Now, the fate of Eriana Kwai lies in the hands of twenty battle-trained girls and their resistance to a mermaid’s allure.

Eighteen-year-old Meela has already lost her brother to the Massacre, and she has lived with a secret that’s haunted her since childhood. For any hope of survival, she must overcome the demons of her past and become a ruthless mermaid killer.

For the first time, Eriana Kwai’s Massacre warriors are female, and Meela must fight for her people’s freedom on the Pacific Ocean’s deadliest battleground.

sshexcerpt

 

 

Somewhere on the Pacific Ocean
The young man aimed his crossbow at the water, ready to fire a bolt of solid iron at the first glimpse of flesh beneath the surface.
“Sir,” he said, “shouldn’t we have seen one by now?”
The captain turned his back to the salty wind, jaw tight. “They know we’re here.”
“So what are they doing?”
He followed the captain’s gaze. Blackness merged with the empty grey horizon in every direction. A long silence passed, filled only by gentle swells lapping against the ship.
The captain drew his own crossbow.
“Forming a plan.”
All twenty men aboard the ship readied their weapons, reacting in a chain until the last man at the stern took steady aim at the waves.
“Make ready your iron, men,” shouted the captain. “We have ripples approaching off the port side.”
A handful of places in the water puckered, as if something lingered just below the surface. The sea was too black to tell.
Then it happened. Fifty, maybe sixty sea demons burst from the water and slammed against the ship. The men wasted no time. They reacted with trained speed and agility as the demons thrust stones and jagged shells into the wood, both to break holes in the ship and to scale the sides. The men picked them off with bolts of iron and watched them fall one by one back into the sea.
But they were outnumbered. Soon the demons were upon the ship, pulling themselves across the deck with bony arms.
The young man had already shot a dozen and the water reddened with each passing second.
Slow scraping sounds threatened him from behind. He whirled around, crossbow ready. Burning eyes met his, and sharp teeth, bared to rip into his flesh. He gripped the trigger, felt the bow tighten—
And the demon was gone. The young man stared into the wide gaze of a girl his own age. With a startled cry, he jerked his aim so the bolt barely missed her.
She held a black shell in her hand, sharp at the edges and ready to use as a club. But she didn’t raise it. She just looked at him.
He lowered his crossbow.
Her blonde hair fell heavily over her shoulders, dripping beads of water down her naked chest and stomach, pooling where her torso joined her tail.
He blinked, but made no other motion—where her torso joined her tail. Scales faded into flesh like some sort of beautiful, green and tan sunset.
She pulled herself closer.
“Stay back,” said the young man, unsure what prompted him to hesitate.
He looked into her eyes—emeralds surrounded by pearl white—where moments ago they had burned red. Her sharp teeth had retracted behind rosy lips. The seaweed-coloured flesh of her upper body was now olive and raised with goose bumps from the icy wind.
“Hanu aii,” she whispered. Do not fear. She spoke his language.
He loosened his grip on the crossbow, studying her. She lifted a frail arm and pushed the hair from her eyes, then motioned him forwards.
His pulse quickened as he stared at the beautiful girl.
“Hanu aii,” she said again, her voice resonating sweetly, as if she sang without singing.
Suddenly, he was kneeling in front of her, level with her luminous eyes. The sounds around him faded but for the soft purr in the base of her throat.
She reached up and held an icy hand to his cheek, not for a moment breaking eye contact. The hand slid behind his head and pulled his face towards hers, slowly but firmly. He inhaled her sweet breath.
“No!”
He flinched. He turned to see the captain racing towards them, aiming his crossbow at the maiden.
The young man grasped the scene around him. The ship was empty. A few stray weapons and barrels bobbed serenely in the water. Blood soaked the deck in places, and even the main mast had a splatter across the bottom.
The captain fired wide. Before he could reload and aim again, the sea demon put a hand on the young man’s chin and pulled his gaze back to hers.
Her eyes blazed red. Her skin rippled into the rotten colour of seaweed. Her ears grew pointed and long like sprouting coral. She opened her mouth to reveal a row of deadly teeth.
The young man screamed.
The demon pulled him against her with more strength than three men combined, and they dove headfirst off the side of the ship.
They disappeared into the blood-red water.

 

About the Author

Tiana Warner was born and raised in British Columbia, Canada. She enjoys riding her horse, Bailey, and collecting tea cups.

Author links:

 

Xpresso Book Tours

SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: Roxy Rogers: Your Destiny is Calling by Emily Siskin-Toy

Roxy Rogers cover

 

About the Book

Title: Roxy Rogers: Your Destiny is Calling | Author: Emily Siskin-Toy | Illustrator: Brian C. Krümm | Publication Date: August 24, 2014 | Publisher: Three-Bug Books | Pages:32 | Recommended Ages: 6 to 9

Summary:

What happens when a young girl with a Hall of Fame baseball pedigree breaks the family mold and follows her dream to become a soul singer? “Roxy Rogers: Your Destiny Is Calling”, a picture book for ages 6 – 9, lets children see that their families will love them just the same when they pursue their true passions in life.

Everybody in Roxy’s family–from her great-grandpa (played with Lou Gehrig), to her grandpa (played with Jackie Robinson), to her mother (super-star college softball player), to her father (was a Los Angeles Dodger), to her sister (won a Gold Medal for Team USA Softball, and so on)–famously played ball, and Roxy is next in line. The only problem is that Roxy dreams of singing soul music like her idol, Aretha Franklin!

A historical addendum provides information about the Hall of Fame baseball players who turn up in the book, as well as Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul music. Additionally, a fun treasure hunt for clues about Roxy’s true destiny runs throughout the book, giving readers an enhanced, interactive experience.

 

Sneak Peek

Roxy Rogers Inside Page 3

Roxy Rogers Inside Page 2

Roxy Rogers Inside Page 1

 

Purchase

Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Print) | Kobo | iTunes

 

The Early Buzz

“I just LOVED this little book. Empowering for young girls, and at the same time powerful for young boys… The illustrations are perfect for this book: fun and eye-grabbing, and I also love that it includes facts about popular icons like Aretha Franklin and Baseball legends. Well done! ” ~ 5 Star Review, Mariana L., Amazon

“Roxie Rogers is an inspiring read for all ages, truly. It speaks to that little voice inside all of us telling us “come out” to the real you. The artwork brings the story to life, and the text is great for read-along or for young readers on their own.” ~ 5 Star Review, Laura, Amazon

“I just read Roxy Rogers to my 5-year old daughter and we both loved the book! The story was fun and engaging filled with dynamic illustrations. Besides the great life messages woven into the story, I really like how the story reads. It is really nice to experience a children’s book that is not mind numbing in its repetitiveness (you know the type) with words that flow easily off the pages. ” ~ 5 Star Review, Wendigo, Amazon

 

About the Author: Emily Siskin-Toy

Emily Siskin-ToyA U.C. Santa Cruz banana slug alum, Emily Siskin-Toy launched her writing career with posts at various film and television magazines in Los Angeles. After a break in the action to raise her daughter, Emily and her college sweetheart founded WOW! Music Studios, a successful children’s music instruction school in Mill Valley, California.

But just like the character in her book, Emily’s true passion was something entirely different; she always dreamed of writing children’s books. Inspiration was everywhere for Roxy Rogers: Your Destiny Is Calling. While coaching her daughter’s youth softball and basketball teams, Emily eventually came to realize that the world of sports was a passion of hers, not her daughter’s, who really wanted, of course, to be a singer. The plot of the story was right in front of her, and the surrounding details would be cultivated from her lifetime of love for the rich history of Major League Baseball and her daughter’s love of music.

 

Website | Author Blog | Pinterest | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 

* 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: October 30, 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 Emily Siskin-Toy 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.

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