Friday, August 31, 2012

Blog Tour: Review & Excerpt of The Immortality Virus by Christine Amsden

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Welcome to my stop on the Virtual Book Tour for
Christine Amsden's 
amazing dystopian/sci-fi thriller,
The Immortality Virus!

I'm crazy excited because this book is rocking!!!
So let's get started by introducing the book...



In the mid-21st century, the human race stopped aging. Those who know why aren't talking, and the few who are brave enough to ask questions tend to disappear. To an elite few, The Change means long life and health, but to the increasing masses, it means starvation, desperation, and violence.Four centuries after The Change, Grace Harper, a blacklisted P.I., sets off on a mission to find the man responsible for it all and solicit his help to undo The Change - if he's still alive. To complicate matters, Grace's employer is suspected of murdering his father, and when the police learn of their connection, they give her a choice - help them find the evidence they need to convict Matthew Stanton, or die. But if they discover Grace's true mission, they won't hesitate to kill her in order to protect their shot at immortality.


Just a teasing sneak peek (a flash back to when Grace first was a police officer before her life as a PI):

“Check him for an ID chip,” McMillan said. 

Grace checked both wrists, but didn’t find the tiny metal button that acted both as tag and as a neutral interface for portables. She also did not see any sign that such a chip had been ripped out of his skin by the same people who had stolen his clothing. This man had probably been born on the streets. “Nothing.” 

“Good,” McMillan said. He subvocalized an instruction to his portable. It must have opened up a com link because a moment later he said, “Send a cleanup crew to my location beacon…no ID…10-4.” 

McMillan turned to Grace. “All right, let’s go.” 

“W-wait! Shouldn’t we find out what happened here? Someone murdered this man.” 

McMillan actually laughed, a sound that infuriated Grace. He caught a glimpse of her face and the laughter died immediately. “Just like me. I bet I said all the same things my first day. It ain’t fair, is it?” 

“So you’re just going to accept it? Accept a man being murdered in the middle of a crowd of witnesses? You’re going to accept not knowing his identity and not letting his family know he’s dead?” 

“The cleanup crew will take fingerprints,” McMillan said. “The census gets almost everyone’s fingerprints. If they come up with a contact, they’ll let them know.” 

“And if not?” Grace asked. 

“Then he’ll join the ranks of the nameless, faceless dead. C’mon, let’s go.” 

Grace didn’t move. 

“Look, before the day’s out we’ll handle a dozen more like this. We don’t have time to ask questions or take statements. We don’t have time to properly examine the body or the area for clues – most of which have been taken away by other unfortunates.” 

It took her a moment to find her voice. When she did, her words dripped out like acid. “Would we have had time if he’d had an ID bracelet?” 

“We would not have. We’d have called in the homicide team and they’d decide. Get in the car.”

This time, Grace complied, but she sat in stony silence as McMillan lifted off and began circling the area anew. 

“It helps if you don’t think of them as human,” McMillan said after a while. “More than one officer has called this job pest control.”"

Genre:  Sci-Fi/Dystopian Thriller
Publisher Type:  Small Press (Paladin Timeless Books)
Literary Awards: EPIC (Eppie) Award for Science Fiction (2012)
My Rating:  *  *  *  *

My Review:
Have you ever pondered if society's dream of eternal youth was achieved?  Ever considered the consequences?  The overpopulation?  The rich and powerful having an endless supply of days to become more so?  This is the setting of this amazing thriller.

Christine Amsden builds an incredibly interesting and quite frightening world.  Without getting overly philosophical or boringly deep, Amsden tosses her reader head first into a world out of control where people had mysteriously stopped aging for the past 400 hundred years.  This world is literally brimming over with people, both the powerfully rich and the starving enslaved, all with their own agendas.  Enter our heroine who only wants to make a difference.  She's been beat down both in love and in ideals.  She's tough and wary from living in this bleak dystopian society.  Between the proverbial rock and hard place, she takes an assignment that might make a difference or might get her killed.

This is very much a thriller complete with nail biting suspense and plot twists and turns.  Poor Grace doesn't know who she can trust and she's pretty justified in her wariness.  There's a smidgen of romance throughout the book which fits perfectly with all the other mysteries that abound.

I so enjoyed this book and had a hard time putting it down.  My only complaint is that the characters weren't quite what I'd consider to be well-rounded.  I liked them all and really cheered for Grace throughout, but never connected with her or any of the other characters in a way I would with one written with great dimension.  Regardless of this one complaint, I highly recommend The Immortality Virus for those seeking some high-intensity thrills!

Cover Art:
I can't say I'm a big fan of this book cover.  It's just too CGI for me and I fear it hurts the book more than helps.  Truthfully, the cover made me leery of reading this outstanding book and I would've missed out on a great story. 

Now a chance to meet the author:

Christine Amsden has been writing science fiction and fantasy for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone. 

At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a condition that effects the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams.

When she's not writing, Christine teaches workshops on writing, usually at Savvy Authors. She also offers professional editing services. She maintains a book review blog on her website with occasional writing tips thrown in for the fun of it.

Christine lives in the Kansas City area with her husband and two children.

Get to know her better on her blogtwitter and facebook!


Can't wait to read it?  Buy it at Barnes & Noble (paperback and nook)
Amazon (paperback) or Amazon (kindle).

I'd love to hear your thoughts!  
Please comment on my post!!!  Thanks!!!!

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. 
Although payment may have been received by Reading Addiction Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorcements and Testimonials in Advertising*

Cover Reveal: Tirade by Cambria Hebert

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE cover reveals!  It's especially exciting to do cover reveals for series you love.  And I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Heven & Hell series!!!  You've just gotta read this series!!!!

So I'm especially excited to reveal the newest book of the Heven & Hell's series, Tirade, to you today!!!  YAY!!!!

Let's build the suspense first with about Tirade...


Author: Cambria Hebert
Genre: YA paranormal
Publisher Type: Yup another FAB-U-LOUS Indie author!!!
Release date: November 30, 2012
Formats Available: Ebook and Paperback

Blurb:
Betrayal burns. Death hurts and the clock ticks… 


Minutes and hours stretch into days. How long can Sam survive being confined in Hell? I have a plan… a plan with a lot of holes. I need someone who can make up for my weaknesses, someone who possesses the power that I lack. Riley is supposed to be off limits. He’s dangerous, he’s mean and he’s not to be trusted. But I do. 


Beelzebub is on a tirade, bent on revenge. I took what he wants and sent him into the flames. I will wear the scars of his punishments forever. But scars don’t scare me anymore. 


On my way to free Sam I find my true path, a secret place and new allies. But in Hell nothing is easy… and everything is cruel. The only thing left to do is survive.

So..... are you ready????  Are you excited???  Okay, no more being a tease.  Here it is, featuring resident bad boy, Riley, the newest cover of the Heven and Hell series by Cambria Hebert....




Ooooooo.... What do you think of Riley?  What might he be like? Hmmmmmm....

So want a trailer?  I know you do!!!  So here it is...


I also know you want to get to know our super cool Indie author, Cambria Hebert, so here's a bio and some links...

Author. Blogger. Latte Sipper.
Cambria Hebert is an author who wrote her first book at the age of fifteen. It was terrible. But the passion for writing never went away so years later when she opened her laptop and started typing she worked until she wrote a book that she hopes everyone will be as excited about as she is.

Cambria is obsessed with werewolves and is terrified of chickens (they are creepy!)She is an animal lover that would choose coffee over food and her favorite TV show is the Vampire Diaries (Hell-O Damon!)

Please visit her on: 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Review: Charlie Bone and the Time Twister by Jenny Nimmo





Time is running out for Charlie Bone . . .

Charlie hopes that the new term at Bloor's Academy will hold no nasty surprises. But then Henry Yewbeam appears, twisted through time from the icy winter of 1916.

With the scheming Yewbeam aunts on the prowl, and the Bloors out to catch him, Henry will need Charlie's help just to stay alive. Bloor's Academy can be a very dangerous place . . .


Genre:  Middle Grade Fantasy
Publisher Type: Traditional (I listened to the cds)
My Rating: *  *  *  *

My Review:
I am so hooked on this series!  Book 2 starts with the new term at Bloors and all the amazing creativities and quirkinesses of book 1 are returned to us two-fold.  We get to see even more back story to the characters we have grown to love or those we love to hate.  And we get to meet new characters with their own special back stories.  I especially enjoyed seeing the Flames again and  meeting Cook.  

There's a new mystery to be solved and an old mystery that continues to haunt Charlie.  I loved the unique situation that brings Henry into Charlie's life and I was completely caught up in wondering how it would work out.  It didn't seem there was a happily ever after to be had.  I was pleasantly surprised how it did conclude.  I also enjoyed the beginnings to the Red King mystery.  The only issue I had was the continuing mystery of Charlie's missing dad.  From book 1 I had pretty much settled on the answer to where Charlie's dad is and book 2 confirmed this.  The only problem was that I felt it should be painfully obvious even to the characters by this point.  Alas, I just need to learn patience.  And who knows, maybe I'm wrong.

I did listen to the audio cd and found it just as engaging as the first book.  I'm looking forward to reading/listening to book 3!

Cover Art:
I love this covers to this series!  There's so much to them.  I love the little details and the use of the blues with just a touch of yellow and the use of deep shadows.  Good art makes me happy :)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Cover Reveal: Blood Fugue by E. J. Wesley

So you know just how much I love a cover reveal
 ....and.... 
I am also a big fan of parites
 ......and..... 
I'm an absolute super fan of giveaways. 
 So I'm crazy happy to announce that author E.J. Wesley is throwing a blog party to celebrate 
the release of his new book cover and wants you to join in the fun. 
Jump over to his blog to learn about how you can win some awesome prizes, 
including $50 toward a cover of your own and advance reader copies of Blood Fugue.  Woo hoo!
But before you go, check out this anazing cover!!!

Blood Fugue
Moonsongs Book 1 
by E.J. Wesley 
Cover Reveal Party



Cover work by Sketcher Girl, LLC - http://sketchergirlstudios.com/

What's the Story About? 

Some folks treated the past like an old friend. The memories warmed them with fondness for what was, and hope for what was to come. Not me. When I thought of long ago, my insides curdled, and I was left feeling sour and wasted.”

Jenny Schmidt is a young woman with old heartaches. A small town Texas girl with big city attitude, she just doesn’t fit in. Not that she has ever tried. She wears loneliness like a comfy sweatshirt. By the age of twenty-one, she was the last living member of her immediate family. Or so she thought…

“We found my ‘grandfather’ sitting at his dining room table. An entire scorched pot of coffee dangled from his shaky hand. His skin was the ashen gray shade of thunderclouds, not the rich mocha from the photo I’d seen. There were dark blue circles under each swollen red eye. A halo of white hair skirted his bald head, a crown of tangles and mats. Corpses had more life in them.”

Suddenly, instead of burying her history with the dead, Jenny is forced to confront the past. Armed only with an ancient family journal, her rifle, and an Apache tomahawk, she must save her grandfather’s life and embrace her dangerous heritage. Or be devoured by it.

BLOOD FUGUE by E.J. Wesley, is the first of the MOONSONGS books, a series of paranormal-action novelettes. At fewer than 13k words, BLOOD FUGUE is the perfect snack for adventurous readers who aren’t afraid of stories with bite. Available wherever fine eBooks are sold September 2012. 

Join the Party!

The Open Vein, E.J.'s blog - http://the-open-vein-ejwesley.blogspot.com/

E.J. Wesley on the Twitter - https://twitter.com/EJWesley

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Blog Tour: Review, Excerpt & Giveaway of J. K. Hogan's Fire on the Island



(Vigilati Series #1)
by J. K. Hogan

“She who wields the mark is the barrier between man and monster.

She is the daughter of gods, the mother of man, protector of all.

Vigilati Usque Ad Mortem”

All Isla Macallen wanted was a simple existence on her little Scottish island, free from her mother's insanity and the prying eyes of neighbors. What she got was embroiled in a war for the souls of mankind. A war of good versus evil, of witches versus demons, and Isla learns that she alone can end it.

Dr. Jeremiah Rousseau was a self-proclaimed nomad, traveling the world researching paranormal phenomena. He doesn't expect his research to lead him to Scotland, and to the woman who will turn his world upside down.

Together with a facetious shape-shifting animal spirit guide, Jeremiah and Isla discover that she is
part of an ancient bloodline bred to protect the gateways between the human world and the spirit
world, to keep evil demons from destroying them. They must find the key to defeating Alastore,
the demon king, and closing the gate before Samhain, when the veil between the worlds is lifted.
Alastore does everything in his power to eliminate them but, unbeknownst to all of them, Isla is
the only one with the ability to stop him for good.

Genre:  Paranormal Romance
Publisher Type:  Small Press (Sapphire Star Publishing)
My Rating:  *  *  *  *

My Review:
This, my friends, is a great read.  It's unique and creative, full of heart-stopping action and sizzling romance.  I love witch and magic books because you never know what to expect from them, more-so than books of other paranormal creatures.  I love the history that is built for the Bruixi witches and how it unfolds throughout the story.  I found all the hiking, rock climbing and other outdoorsy activities to be a fun addition to the story line.  The island sounds like a place I'd love to visit and the author did a great job of making me feel as if I were there.

There's so many great characters in this book.  Isla is strong and independent; you really hurt for her as you learn her back story and feel all that rejection.  Then there's Jeremiah who is driven and tenacious and is such a rock for Isla.  There's definitely some insta-love going on between the two, but as you begin to understand the story premise, it makes sense.  Their romance is beautifully written.  I do have to say that the prolific amount of sex scenes is probably overkill (and did slow the plot a tad) but these scenes were written in a way you felt the love the characters had for one another.  The friends surrounding Isla and Jeremiah are also well written with ample back stories of their own.  I can see these characters taking lead in future installments.  I enjoyed getting to know these characters, worrying about them throughout the suspenseful scenes and cheering them on in their budding romances.

There were a couple things that kept this from being a five star book for me.  The pace got a bit bogged down at times.  As much as I loved all the outdoorsy references I fear they may have slowed the book some.  Then there's the aforementioned prolific sex and some details that were redundantly recounted which also contributed to the slowdown.  The other thing that bothered me was the police questioning scene.  I know the justice system may be different on our island than here in the States, but I had a hard time buying the threatening to lock up our protagonist just because of some rumors and a lack of an alibi.

Despite these issues, this was a fabulous read and one you should be sure to check out!

Cover Art:
It's just so very pretty!!!  I wanted to read the book even before I got to the blurb it's so gorgeous!  There is the unfortunate disconnect of Isla never dressing like that, but I love a good dress especially when it's juxaposed with the natural setting.


*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Reading Addiction Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorcements and Testimonials in Advertising*
* * * * * * * * * * * *

Got you drooling yet?  Want some more?  Here's an excerpt to whet your whistle:

Isla had stopped at the edge of the porch and stood, frozen, staring out into the rainy darkness. Beyond her, Jeremiah could see the silhouette of a man. His face was in shadow, but from the luminescent eyes swirling with shadows, he knew it was Alastore.

When the man stepped forward into the dim light cast through the open door of the house, it became clear that he had a victim. Mhairi Mackay stood in front of the demon, and he had a strong arm locked around her neck.

Jeremiah surged forward, determined to protect Isla's only remaining family, but Marduk stopped him with a hand on his shoulder. With a silent shake of his head, Marduk encouraged Jeremiah to think first and act with care.

Trust nothing, question everything, because things will most definitely not be as they seem. Marduk's earlier words came back to him, and Jeremiah gave the man a quick nod to let him know he understood.

Isla lifted a foot to step down off the porch. "Think, Isla. Breathe. That's not really Mhairi. She's at Sacred Hearts, guarded by doctors and nurses that didn't even want to let us in at first, remember?" he said in a low tone.

He saw a shudder rack her slender body but, much to his relief, she stayed put. Three pairs of eyes fixed on the pale, glowing arm that had the projection of Mhairi in a headlock.

Alastore threw his head back and cackled, before pinning each of them with a hard glare. "You think you can defeat me? I will lead you to your graves like lambs to the slaughter." His voice was demonic, and they could hear the echo of pure evil behind it. It sounded like a dozen demons living inside one body, speaking in unison.

Without warning, he wrapped his free hand around Mhairi's head and twisted in opposite directions. They heard a gruesome snap before the image of Mhairi crumpled to the ground.

A strangled cry ripped from Isla's throat as the three of them bounded off the porch. They ground to a halt as Alastore threw his hands up toward the sky, and the pelting raindrops burst into incandescent flames.

The pellets of flame singed their skin, forcing them back to the shelter of the porch. Isla wailed as the spectre of Mhairi seemed to dissolve under the onslaught of fire and rain combined. Alastore’s head swiveled back to face them, his eyes gleaming with madness and hatred, pierced through to Isla’s soul.

“The little witch thinks she can defeat me! I, who can make the sky rain fire?” He took a step forward and Isla stood her ground. He glared at her with his mouth turned up in a gruesome sneer. “I will burn your life!” he spat at her.

“You’ll watch everything you care for turn to ash if you fight me!” He turned his cutting glare to the two men standing shoulder to shoulder on her right and absently gestured toward them. “These will die. Everyone will die.”

Facing Isla again, he gave her a sickeningly sweet smile. “And you, my dear…You will watch things fall apart. And then, you shall be mine.” She shuddered when he licked his lips and leered at her.

Isla would never be able to explain what came over her in that moment. As she focused on the images the demon pushed into her head—the pain and suffering, the dead and dying—it was the thought of Alastore turning his wrath upon Jeremiah that sparked the bone-deep anger inside her.

Storming off the porch into the maelstrom of fire and rain, she felt the breeze on the nape of her neck, when Jeremiah reached for her and missed. Storming toward Alastore, she stopped a few feet in front of him.

The balls of fire raining from the sky seemed to roll off an invisible shield around her and fury radiated from her body. "The hell I will!" she growled at him, gathering her energy low in her chest, preparing for a strike.

Marduk's deceptively calm whisper drifted over to Jeremiah. "He's goading her for a reason. Pushing her buttons. He may be trying to funnel her energy into himself, leaving her vulnerable for him to take her. Alastore does nothing without reason. Stop her."

Jeremiah palmed the shotgun and whispered back to Marduk. "If I shoot him, it's not going to stop him, right?" He waited for the other man to nod before continuing. "But it'll hurt."

Giving him a devious grin, Marduk nodded again. "It sure will. When he's in corporeal form, he'll feel the same pain a human would, he just won't die. It will send him back to the locus to recharge."

"Good enough for me." Jeremiah pumped the forestock of the shotgun, drawing Alastore's attention. The demon snarled at him but didn't seem overly worried. That didn't bode well.

Bracing the buttstock of the twelve gauge on his shoulder, he took aim and pulled the trigger. Nothing happened. Cursing, he expelled the dead round and pumped again. Trigger pull, nothing.

Howling with laughter, Alastore returned his attention to the 110 pounds of livid woman that stood in front of him. He cocked his head, like an animal hearing a strange sound. "So pretty, and yet so easy," he began, "just like your mother."

"Christ," Jeremiah hissed as he saw flames spike out from Isla's fingertips. She was playing right into Alastore's hands, but she just couldn't see it. Shoving the shotgun into Marduk's hands, he turned toward the house.

"I think he's somehow jamming the gun. Maybe if I find something with no mechanics, he won't be able to stop it." 


"Hurry."
********************

Here's your chance to get to know the author:

J.K. Hogan has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, beginning with writing cast lists and storylines for her toys growing up. When she finally decided to put pen to paper, magic happened. She is greatly inspired by all kinds of music and often creates a “soundtrack” for her stories as she writes them.

J.K. resides in North Carolina, where she was born and raised. A true southern girl at heart, she lives on a farm with her husband and their three horses, one miniature donkey, one cat, and two champion agility dogs.


In addition to writing, she enjoys training and competing in dog sports, spending time with her large southern family, camping, boating and, of course, reading! Please feel free to visit J.K.’s contact page—she’d love to hear from you!

Get to know her better on her Author's PageTwitter and Facebook.

Want to read Fire on the Island? 
 Find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.
And don't  forget to add it to your Goodread's TBR!

And here's your chance to win it....

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Timeless by Michelle Madow

I love cover reveals!  They make me twirl around in utter happiness!!!  It's just so much fun when 2 of my passions -Art & Fiction- collide, exploding in a firework-like creative display! 

And today I get to share with you (albeit a couple days late), yet another beautiful and intriguing new cover.  This one's part of the Transcend Time series by Michelle Madow.  Here's the first 2 books...


I know you are Oooo-ing and Aaaahing right now!  They are quite awesome!!!  So now on to the main attraction **loving the suspense** here's the final book in this trilogy, due to be released November 20th, designed by the author herself...


And you thought you were Oooooing and Aaaaaahing before!?!


If you haven’t started the Transcend Time Saga yet, the e-version of Remembrance is only $2.99 and can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and Kobo.

So now onto the giveaway, hosted by the author.  Stop by her author's page to enter for a chance to win this...

Awesomesauce, am I right?!?  Have fun and good luck!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Cover Reveal: Bewitched by Cambria Hebert

I am so freaking excited to share with you this gorgeous and amazing cover 
from a favorite series of mine, 
Heven & Hell by Cambria Hebert!!!  
And NOT ONLY that, I have a trailer and excerpt, too!
**Fan Girl Squealing**
**Much Hopping for Joy**

So first the details...


Bewitched (Heven and Hell #2.5)


Genre: YA paranormal

Publisher: Cambria Hebert (Indie Author)

Release date: October 5, 2012
Format: Ebook only


And now a little bit about this sure to be 
FAN-TAB-U-LOUS novella....


For years, I accepted that Heven was more popular than me. I never liked it but I lived with it. I walked in her shadow, I stood by her when no one else would. When I finally thought her spotlight was mine things began to change. She began to change. Now she hardly ever calls me back, she spends all her time with her hot new boyfriend and everyone at school thinks she’s back on top. She had it all. But apparently she wants more. She wants Cole – my boyfriend. What’s worse is that it looks like she got him. I’ve had enough and she’s going to be sorry. Why?

Because I am bewitched.

Chill bumps, right?  I know!!!
So without further ado ......drum roll......
Ta- Da!  Isn't it beautiful!


Want more?  I know you do!  
So here's the book trailer.  Woo hoo!!!!



And if that's still not enough, here's an excerpt!  
Oh yeah!  Life is good!!!

Working out was for jocks. Homework was for nerds and I wasn’t a jock or a nerd. Yet, here I was, sweating through my favorite Victoria Secret yoga pants and tank with a headache the size of Macy’s. Learning about my powers was hard work. I thought it would come naturally. My brain was hurting from concentrating and my muscles were actually sore from effort. I thought longingly of the potion in the green bottle that Hecate had given me—a little sip would make it that much easier to use my powers, but she took it away. Apparently, I had all the power she wanted me to have. It kind of pissed me off.

In fact, I was feeling pretty disgruntled all around.

I was hot, I was sweaty, my head hurt and my hair was frizzy. Not to mention I had been wearing sneakers far too long. Thank goodness Hecate was gone. I actually had been glad not to be alone after the “bone incident,” but now I was ready for some alone time. I felt stronger.

Feeling strong plus feeling disgruntled equaled somebody was gonna get hurt.

I was standing in my yard near the lake and I glanced up at the moon before heading inside. It was low and swollen tonight—a haunting moon. It sent a shiver up my spine. I thought briefly about going to Heven’s and treating her to a little of what she deserved. I even looked toward the driveway as I walked, but I wasn’t going anywhere looking like this.

I went into the house and began climbing the stairs. Halfway up, I heard a noise in the kitchen and I paused. My parents were still out of town. It wasn’t the maid’s day to be here… unless she came early. Another thud in the kitchen had me spinning on the stairs to see what it was.

“Mary?” I called out. “Is that you?” Maybe she switched her schedule around and I didn’t know about it. Maybe I could get her to make me a latté.

No one answered, and the noises in the kitchen fell silent. I stopped at the bottom of the stairs and listened, wondering if I had heard anything at all. “Hello?” I called again, this time more unsure. This time a fine chill raced up my back.

Suddenly being alone in this big house was scary.

Clink, clink, clink.

Okay, I wasn’t hearing things. Someone was there.

I stepped off the stairs and walked through the foyer in the direction of the kitchen. I heard the cat hiss and I paused again. Clover was too lazy to hiss at a mouse. Something in my stomach turned cold and hard.

I looked over my shoulder at the massive front doors to the alarm keypad and the distress button.

But it was too late for pressing buttons.

Clover burst around the corner with a hideous screech and barreled into me, hitting me in the knees and causing me to stumble. The cat didn’t even stop. I could hear his claws scraping frantically across the tiles. “What the…” I began as I straightened, but then something lurched around the corner after the cat.

It was hideous.

It stood about a foot taller than me with wide shoulders that were uneven looking—one was lower than the other—and a wild mane of bushy orange hair that seemed to create a cloud around its pasty, white face. Its lips were black and it had a nasty row of teeth that had seen a lot of decay. It had large purple circles around its eyes, which seemed to have no color at all.

It looked like a psychotic clown.

I screamed and took a step backward, and the thing grinned. I went running but it lunged and caught me around the wrist, pulling me back. I struggled, kicking out, but it was no use, his grip was too strong.

Without any warning it reached up and snatched my silver pendant right off my neck. “Hey!” I screamed as it shoved me away. I fell onto my butt and stared up at the glittering silver heart as it dangled from the nasty clown’s hands.

Cole had given that to me. It was the last gift he had given me before we broke up.

Anger surged into my chest, making me hot. “Give that back.”

Freaky Clown gave me another frightening grin and ran back into the kitchen, disappearing from sight. I ran after it, running into a solid wall of… offensiveness.


Get to know Cambria better...

Tuesday nights at 9pm (EST): http://www.blogtalkradio.com/journaljabber

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Promo & Giveaway: Lancaster House by Taylor Dean



Today, I get to share with you a snippit from Lancaster House 
and you even get a chance to win yourself a copy 
of this interesting and fresh paranormal romance!  Yay!!!


Lancaster House

Zoe Grayson needs a change. So, she moves to another state, purchases an old, dilapidated 1920s Victorian Mansion, and sets out to restore it to its former glory. As she begins the restoration, she finds herself falling in love with the old house . . . not to mention its illustrious builder, Mr. Lancaster. Zoe becomes obsessed with the house as she discovers its secrets; hidden rooms, secret passageways . . . and a mysterious man who seems to think the house is his. Who is he? More importantly, how does he live in her home unseen and unheard?

The unexpected answers leave her reeling—and questioning everything she’s ever known. To her dismay, Zoe’s actions land her in the local psychiatric hospital, scheming for ways to return to Lancaster House . . . and the love of her life.


Excerpt from Lancaster House:

Note: While Lancaster House tells the story of a heartfelt romance, the scenes that propel the story forward are the scenes between Zoe and her psychiatrist, Doctor Channing.


“What would you say if I told you there is no such thing as ghosts?”Doctor Channing wanted to get a rise out of Zoe again today. Her answer would be telling. Had she seen the error of her ways all on her own? Had she realized the extent of her delusions?

“You don’t beat around the bush, do you?” Her hands gripped the arms of the chair until her knuckles turned white.

“No.”

“What would you say if I told you they do exist?”

His hopes for an astounding recovery plummeted. “I would have to disagree.”

“Then we have nothing more to talk about, do we?”

“Sorry, you’re not off the hook, Zoe.”

Zoe’s demeanor changed and her eyes stared into the distance, as if she was lost in thought. “It’s real—it’s all real,” she whispered, her eyes haunted.

“Tell me, Zoe. Start with the purchase of Lancaster House.” Several minutes ticked by and he began to think she wouldn’t answer, but then, in a timid voice, her story began to spill forth.

“It’s a stunning house, everything I’d ever dreamed of owning . . .”


Get to know our author:

Taylor Dean lives in Texas and is the mother of four grown children. Upon finding herself with an empty nest, she began to write the stories that were always wandering around in her head, quickly finding that she had a passion for writing, specifically romance. Whether it’s paranormal, contemporary, or suspense—you’ll find all sub-genres of romance in her line-up.
Get to know her even better on her website and her facebook.

Here's you chance to win your very own copy of this very cool book...
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Want it now? 
Pick it up at Amazon or Smashwords!  
And don't forget to add it to your Goodreads TBR.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Review: Genesis by Christie Rich



Having just escaped the nefarious plans of the Order, Rayla Tate thinks all she has to do now is rescue her family and sort through her feelings, but bonding with five men might just be her undoing. Not only does she have to deal with all of them reading her mind, Rayla must choose a bondmate before she will be allowed to venture into the mortal realm to save those she loves most.

She has three weeks to get to know each lord, but her journey turns into far more than a simple choice of the heart. Rayla comes face to face with the underhanded dealings of the fae political system where good is a matter of taste and evil lurks under beautiful shells. Long held judgments crumble when she discovers the heart beneath the men she has come to count on. Rayla must overcome long held fears, discover the truth behind the creatures of the dark realms, and conquer her greatest weakness before she can take her place as the new queen of the fae.

However, her world crumbles when she discovers following her heart’s desire might just mean the destruction of the world. Will Rayla have the courage to choose the man who has risked everything to win her, or will she succumb to the manipulations of the fae council and those who would use her power for evil?

One choice: five men. The stakes have never been higher, but which one will prevail?


Genre:  YA Urban Fantasy
Publisher Type: Indie
My Rating:  *  *  *  *  *

My Review:
As Junie B. Jones would say, "Wowie-wow-wow!"  If you've read this far in the series you know what to expect from Christie Rich:  amazingly descriptive scenes, crazily creative characters and sizzling, smoking chemistry!  And Genesis does not disappoint!  Yummy, yummy, yummy!  

I love, love, love the absolute depth of each character and we get to really know each of the lords in Genesis ... and each and every one of them are a surprise!!!  It's amazing how much emotion you feel along with Rayla: fear, uncertainity, compassion and lots of frustration.  It seems crazy that she could be feeling so much and for so many guys, but it just so works in this book.  Truly my only complaint is that the book has ended (and ooh-ooh-ooh what an ending!) and now I must wait for book 4.  Please write faster, Ms. Rich!  I must know what happens!!!  

Cover Art:
The covers just keep getting more and more amazing!  Love the nod to each elements!  So beautiful!

I know you want it, so here's where you can get it:
Add it to your Goodreads TBR, too!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Review: Fire in the Blood by Dale Ibitz



Global warming is playing havoc on Earth, and when 17 year-old Haley tumbles to a parallel world, she discovers that Earth’s issues stem from a war between the Eyids, the gods of nature. Because her necklace is a stone that holds the power of the Air Eyid, Haley is called upon to stop the war

But Haley has a problem. Actually, two problems. One named Tuggin, and one named Ian.

Both lie to her. Both have secrets. And neither are who they say they are. With her stone of power, Haley’s forced to make a choice that will decide the fate of all the worlds. But who should she trust, who should she fight, and who is the one with fire in his blood bent on betraying them all?


Genre:  YA Fantasy
Publisher Type:  Indie
My Rating:  *  *  *  * 

My Review:
While reading Fire in the Blood, my rating of it fluctuated between 3 and 4 stars, finding it pretty much settled into a 3.75 by the end.  This is really an amazing and fun read, but it does have some rough spots that need addressing.

So what did I love?  The beautiful and creative world Ms. Ibitz creates in Fire in the Blood is simply outstanding.  Eyidora is so unique!!!  I love the premise of the book, the use of element-based gods and the twist on global climate change.  It's fast paced with crazy suspense and action.  Poor Haley seems not to have anyone she can trust!  There's a solid plot with enough resolution to feel satisfied but still hungry for the sequel.  And I do eagerly await the sequel.

My only complaint is with the characters needing to be fleshed out more.  Haley's "teen speak" is a bit over the top and she seems shallow and whinny at points.  She's still a fairly likable character and shows some growth throughout, but these issues did hurt the book.  Then there's Tuggin, that snarky guy who might have a heart of gold.  However he's a bit too snarky to be sexy and comes off just hateful at times.  This results in Haley seeming shallow or even a bit neurotic for being so into him.  I understand where the author was going with Tuggin, but she missed her mark a bit here.  With Ian, I'm missing his back story in order to understand his motivation.  That back story may be lurking in a future book, so on him, I withhold judgment.

I have complete faith that as this series continues and as our author hits her stride, these issues will resolve themselves and I so look forward to reading the rest of this story.  This is definitely one you'll want to pick up!

Want to read it?
Put in on your tbr on Goodreads.
Buy it on Amazon.  

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Review: What Kills Me by Wynne Channing


 
An ancient prophecy warns of a girl destined to cause the extinction of the vampire race.

So when 17-year-old Axelia falls into a sacred well filled with blood and emerges a vampire, the immortal empire believes she is this legendary destroyer. Hunted by soldiers and mercenaries, Axelia and her reluctant ally, the vampire bladesmith Lucas, must battle to survive.

How will she convince the empire that she is just an innocent teenager-turned bloodsucker and not a creature of destruction? And if she cannot, can a vampire who is afraid of bugs summon the courage to fight a nation of immortals?

Genre:  YA/New Adult Urban Fantasy
Publisher Type:  Indie
My Rating:  *  *  *  *  *

My Review:
This was such a great read!!!  **happy squeals**  This was crazy hard to put down, the action just hits you from get get-go.  We barely meet Axelia, whose friends call her Zee, before she meets a mysterious and quite yummy looking stranger, but all is not what it seems.  Then like tsunami waves, the action just keeps coming.  Insane crap keeps happening to this girl, she just CANNOT catch a break!  And you are left in shock going, "NO FREAKIN' WAY!!!"

Axelia is believable and super easy to connect with.  You like her right away, even when she does something stupid.  Then your heart breaks for her as she copes with becoming a vampire and the severing of human ties.  You're outraged at the unfairness of it all.  Her reactions are in perfect tune with how you'd think someone would react; she's brave but not suddenly a kick-butt heroine out of nowhere.

Then there's Lucas.  Perfect!  Sure he's a jerk at first and stays pretty abrasive, but you understand who he is and where he's coming from and what type of man he is underneath the burliness.  There's a good amount of back story letting you ...and Axelia... warm to him.  There's some great chemistry between the two!

I love all the crazy and creative happening in this book.  I love that I kept thinking that it just couldn't get any worse and then it would.  I love how surprised I was throughout the book.  I love the great twist that comes at the end and how it's open to more, but enough closure that you can sigh that happy sigh of a book well concluded.

The only complaint I could make is that everything happened so quickly, that I wish I could've gotten to know all the characters, especially the peripheral ones, better.  I'm torn on this point.  On one hand, if Axelia spent a few days at each location, we would all know each other much better and the feeling between our MCs could grow at a more natural pace.  On the other hand, the crazy pace is what makes this book special.  Hmmm.  Guess I can't have my cake and eat it too, can I?

Cover Art:
This is they type of cover that gets me to read a book without so much as reading the blurb!  It's just that freaking beautiful!  See the butterflies?!?  I love little details like that!  And I love the title as well; it's a perfect tease for what we'll find inside and yet still quite mysterious.

Wanna read it?  Find it here:  Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords
Add it to your Goodreads here.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Double Review: Five and Dark Matter by Christie Rich



Genre:  New Adult Urban Fantasy 
(meaning our mc is just starting college)

Publisher Type:  Indie

Rating:  *  *  *  *  *


Rayla Tate’s life is about to turn vertical…again. As if it wasn’t bad enough her mother disappeared under questionable circumstances leaving Rayla to be raised by her aunt in a horrendously small town. Her overprotective guardian is determined to ruin Rayla’s life. She refuses to let Rayla out of her sight or out of the state. Provincial living might be what her aunt demands of her purposely sheltered niece; but, Rayla has other ideas. In a desperate attempt to follow her dreams she flees the safety of her home and runs away to college with her best friend toward a bright future in the art world.

However, excitement over her newfound freedom turns into terror when she is chased by a mysterious stranger on her way to school. When his motorcycle suddenly morphs into a fire-breathing pegasus, Rayla questions her sanity. Worse, the man riding next to her stirs a burning desire in her soul she has never known or could have ever imagined. Using all the will she owns, she manages to resist the compulsion she feels; yet, as he disappears into the night, she is certain he hasn't gone far.

Rayla quickly dismisses the encounter to her overactive imagination. She is determined to settle into her new life, yet the images and feelings of that night still haunt her. To make matters worse, her aunt seems to be in on the act, insisting that Rayla will soon be hunted by a pack of fae lords for a power over the elements she never knew she possessed—a power that could change the world. Quicker than she ever thought possible, she finds herself surrounded by stunning men that all seem determined to win her heart. Why does she feel drawn to each one of them? More importantly, what dark power do they hold over her? Rayla must quickly learn to fend off these beautiful and seductive pursuers using whatever means necessary or find herself lost to the fae world forever.



Dark Matter (Elemental Enmity #2)

Rayla Tate’s dreams for the future shattered when she discovered she was an Elemental capable of manipulating matter. Thrust, once again, into the magical fae realm of Faeresia, she has an important choice to make. But now that she has Heath to contend with, deciding between Zach and Luke is the least of her concerns. Tall, dark and lethal to her will, her attraction to Heath eclipses all she has experienced with any other lord, but he is using compulsion to wear her down. If only she could trust her feelings?

In a desperate attempt to escape Heath, she accepts the help of a little troll and finally gets what she wants; however, her relief is short lived. Things go terribly wrong when a dark force closes in on her, threatening to steal her burgeoning power before she even has a chance to test her abilities. Now, with Rayla as their captive, the Order will stop at nothing to create a male Elemental, and willing or not, Rayla is the key.

Caught up in the age-old battle for dominance between human and fae, only one question matters to her now—will she be able to save those she loves most without losing herself in the process? Or will she be forever haunted by the choices she alone can make?




My review:
...never fear, no spoilers will be revealed from either book in this review...

Being a blogger has some wonderful perks!  One of those perks is the chance to read a book that an author has generously offered in exchange for an honest review.  Back in September I had the opportunity to read Five and have just recently been blessed with book 2, Dark Matter.  As the later half of Five was complicated (in a good way) and I have a poor memory, I thought I'd skim the last few chapters of Five to reaquaint myself with the details.  I ended up rereading the whole thing.  It just sucked me in; I couldn't help myself!!!  It's simply an amazing read and I liked it even better the second time through.


So what did I love?  The plots of each book are complex, mysterious and intriguing.  I love Ms. Rich's striking verbiage. She paints the most beautiful scenes, ones of which you can practically feel the texture without being bogged down with useless details.  Her stories ooze with creativity and magic!


Then, the characters: Rayla is the perfect protagonist.  Likable from the start, but with room for character growth, I immediately connected with Rayla. That character growth (which I love) is steady, believable and well written.  The characters surrounding her are well-rounded with their own back stories and issues.  The antagonists (and those we aren't sure are which they are) are dimensional, not merely evil with their own inner struggles.  


Then there's the sizzling chemistry between Rayla and these mysterious fellas hanging around!  You'd think that having so many men involved would not gel right with the reader, but Ms. Rich has an incredible way writing each of these characters in a way that you completely empathize with Rayla in not being able to choose.  I was 100% Zach, but then came Luke ... and in book 2, there's even more!!!  It's hard to express how well Ms. Rich writes chemistry.  And the crazy thing is, there's never anything more than kissing.  Rayla has standards (good for you, girl!).


Book 1 is full of the excitement and mystery of discovery.  Rayla's best friend Cassie doesn't act much like a best friend, but -as it turns out- there's a pretty good reason behind that.  Jessica's strange animosity makes sense later as well.  Nothing is as it seems for poor Rayla.  Rayla goes along trying her best to deal with these changes.  I admire her tenacity.  I did think there should have been more if an internal struggle when she decided to share with Zach the crazy details of what was going on, but that's really my only complaint.  The book does end in a cliff hanger, but it's a good stopping point (except that I hate to be left wondering and tend to want that next book IMMEDIATELY and when I first read this, I had to wait and I hate that ... tee hee hee).  

Book 2 picks up right where book 1 left off.  Thrown right into the action, I read this book cover to cover in 2 days.  Sleep's overrated anyhow.  I was shocked that there was still even more sexy men introduced and found myself rooting for Heath in no time flat.  Poor Rayla just doesn't know who to trust, and who to let in to her heart.  The whole compulsion thing makes everything all the more confusing.  This makes for some crazy good reading!  Then, just when we've gotten deep into fae issues, BOOM we are hit with the human bad guy side and again nothing is as it seems.  Hmmm... crazy intriguing!  I must read book 3 ... which came out just last month ...  right away!


Cover Art:  
I love these covers!!!  Purple is my favorite color and covers that really reflect the book content always score high with me.  These covers just get better as they progress with each book, too.  It's like they slowly grow closer to the subject matter, just as the reader grows closer to the truth.

These are totally MUST READ books.  Here's where you can buy all 3 books....
Add them to your Goodreads TBR list here.