Wednesday, August 30, 2017

BOOK BLITZ for "Escape from Heartland (Heartland Cove, #2)" by Jacquie Gee

Escape from Heartland 
(Heartland Cove, #2)
by Jacquie GeePublication date: August 22nd, 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
We hardly know each other, yet somehow, on some unexplainable level, it feels like we’ve known each other forever. 
Jules Bates is a fish-out-of-water in conservative, small town, Heartland Cove. A modern girl with modern dreams that have so far taken her all the way to father’s bait shop at the end of town. There, she spends her days, elbow-deep in worm dirt. She can’t remember the last time she’s been on a date, or dressed in anything but a lumberjack shirt and hip waders. Her life seems to be at a stalemate. It’s like her best friend said, “The perfect guy doesn’t just walk through your door and sweep you off your feet, you know?”

Or does he? 
Jayden Sievert is on a mission, to solve the mystery of his life. But first he needs to track down a ghost. One in particular. The legend of Heartland Cove. Arriving in the small town, with his ghostbuster wannabe equipment in hand, he purchases the Caldwell place, much to the horror of the townsfolk—a stately Georgian Manor overlooking the sea, with a less than pleasant past. No one’s been brave enough to set foot in that place for over a decade. 
Is this man mad? Or perhaps just a little crazy? 
Jayden ignores them all. He knows the key to his success lies in his ability to minimize distractions, but then he meets Jules. Could she be the answer to the long-buried secret that Jayden’s spent a lifetime searching for? 
The second in the series of sweet romances set in fiction Heartland Cove, this contemporary coming-of-age romance features a deliciously unexpected paranormal twist!

EXCERPT:

“Maybe she was here and left. I was supposed to be here sooner. Maybe she thought I was a no-show.”
“Maybe. But she would have texted. Anna’s not one to give up that easily on a sale.”
“Well, then, I guess we’d better keep looking for her.” I lean against the doorjamb, feeling the cold air encroaching on us again.
The muscles along the sides of Jules’ jaw twitch, as lightning snakes across the front bay windows. Then, without warning, the air hits Jules in the back, tossing her forward into my arms. I instinctively catch her as thunder strikes and it appears she’s leapt into my arms because of it, but it’s actually the ghost at play. He’s tossed her into my arms.
“What was that?” Jules cranks around looking very distressed.
“I dunno for sure.” I shake my head. “But you better stay close.”
She clings to my chest. No argument there.
Lightning strikes again and thunder crashes. “She’s an angry one and she’s close.”
“Ridiculously angry,” Jules adds.
“Is this a typical Maritime thing?”
“No,” she snaps, trembling. “I don’t remember rain even being in the forecast!”
Another crash of thunder and she scowls, looking deeply troubled. It sounds like it’s hitting right outside the door. “You’re right.” Jules’ eyes look like they’re about to pop from her head. She talks a mile a minute. “Anna must have left. Otherwise, we’d have seen her jeep. She can’t be here, or she’d answer me. We should go.” “She whirls around, ready to bolt from the building, and I catch her by the waist.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa…” I say into her ear, pulling her to me, her feet still kicking. “No sudden movements, my friend. Besides, we can’t go out there right now in the middle of all this.” I look again to the lightning streaking the panes of the windows, like fireworks now. Every window of the house is affected, illuminating in rapid sequence. Thunder booms all around us, shaking the rickety old structure.
“Well, we can’t very well stay here.” Jules glowers into my eyes, as I lower her to the floor. “I’ll take my chances.” She turns, about to bolt again, and a particularly loud crash of thunder sends her screaming back into my arms.
“I think it’s best if we let things die down out there a bit.”
“I think you’re right.” She buries her face in my chest. Her skin is warm and soft in contrast to the cold air around us, closing in tighter with every moment.
Jules looks up as lightning slashes the windows again. She lets out a small shriek and digs her nails into my chest.
“It’s only a storm,” I say, trying to comfort her.
“I don’t think so,” she gasps. The lights above the staircase flash on and off again. A strong crack of thunder hits, driving a gasping Jules to crawl the fronts of my shins. “Okay, look,” she says, breathlessly, fearfully, staring up into my face. “There’s something I should have told you. This place is haunted, okay?” Her words come out fast and slightly garbled, her voice trembling as hard as her hands. “I probably should have told you that on the drive up here, but Anna said she really needed the sale, and there was the possibly of her winning the trip to Hawaii to consider and—”
“I know.” I gaze down at her.
“You know about the trip to Hawaii?”
“No.” I laugh. “I know about the house.”
“You do? And you came to look at it anyway?” Jules scowls. Her voice cracks.
“Call me crazy—”
“Evidently!”
“And you’re a very good friend, by the way.”
“Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.”
Thunder crashes again and she snuggles close. The cold air presses us even closer.
“I’m… ah…” I start, feeling as though I owe her some sort of explanation. I can’t tell her all of it, but I should tell her something. “I sort of fancy myself a bit of a paranormal sleuth,” falls out of my mouth. It’s not completely the truth, but it’ll have to do for now. I feel guilty lying to her, but I swear when this is all over, I’ll tell her the truth.
“So, like a ghostbuster wannabe, is that it?” Jules pulls back, her voice nearly shrieking.
“Something like that—”
“You knew this could happen, and you dragged me up here?”
“No!” I frown. “I—I had no idea this would happen.” I run a flustered hand through my hair. What does she think I am, a monster?
“Unbelievable.” She drops her hands from my chest. “I knew this was too good to be true.”
“What was?”
“Never mind.” She turns her back to me.
“Look, i-if it’s any consolation, this is not what you think.” I move closer. “It’s not voluntary. I have a gift or something. I—I see things—”I stammer, trying to explain the unexplainable.
“Omigawd, you see dead people?” She melts away from me.
“No, no—not like that. Well, sort of—”
She glares back at me, panicked.
“Okay, no, that’s not it.” I put up a hand. “No, that’s exactly it.” Jules gulps. “But only sometimes, and especially when they’re related to me—”
“Fantastic. So, what? You know the guy that haunts this place?”
“In a roundabout way, yes.”
The wind picks up, throwing the chimes that hang on the porch outside sideways into the wall, causing both our heads to snap around. A second gust of wind drives the chimes into the door and Jules back into my arms. The cold air intensifies, engulfing us like a blanket.
“It’s a long story,” I whisper in her ear. “Maybe I’ll tell you sometime over a beer—”
“I don’t drink beer.”
“Okay, fine, what do you like? Wine?”
“Moscato.”
Another resounding crack.
Jules screams. “I have to get out of here!”
“No, wait!” I reel her back when she tries to run again, catching a flash of green glowing light out of the corner of my eye. I pull her even closer than before.
“So, let me get this straight,” she clings, her breath jagged. “You make a living by talking to dead people?”
“No, not usually.” Gawd, I hate lying to her.
“But that’s why you’ve come to the Cove. To talk to a dead person.”
“One in particular, yes.”
“Why is that?” She glares up at me.
“Well, I was hoping this could wait till our second date, but, okay …” I glance briefly at the floorboards then back up into her eyes. “I came to talk to a ghost about my heritage. I’m hoping to find out exactly who I am.”
Thunder cracks so loud it drowns me out. I’m not sure that she’s heard me.
“And this ghost, he’s here, now?” Jules voice wobbles.
“I dunno for sure.” I glance around.
Thunder booms and lightning flecks like a light show. Hinges creak, and both our faces snap around and stare at the door, gape-mouthed and terrified, as it grates slowly open, revealing the raging storm outside. Wind howls within. The door gasps open and closed.
“I think it wants us to go.” Jules swallows as lightning wildly stripes the sky.
“I think you might be right.” A blast of thunder shakes the floorboards, and I grab her hand and step forward, as the door slams furiously shut, and the lock falls with a clunk. Jules’ body shakes at the end of my arm. “What do we do now?”


Author Bio:
Jacquie Gee is the alias of Jacqueline Garlick. Maybe you’ve read her?

We are one and the same. Two faces of one author with very different writing styles. That way, I keep readers happy by keeping my writing passions separated.

On a personal note, I love to talk… strange for a writer, I know, but I do. I’m told I can be pretty funny, though, my kids see things in a different light. I love to write romances with a strong, sassy, heroines, and scrumptiously, gorgeous leading men. I write sweet romance surrounded by chocolate and an overweight sheltie. Neither of which are related. And there are always with fresh flowers in the room. Raised in a small town in the country myself, I like writing about them best. I mean, who doesn’t love a small-town? Enough about me, what about you?

Drop me a line and let’s get to know each other: jacqueline@jacquelinegarlick.com. I love to hear from readers! 
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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

BOOK BLITZ for "Swim (Mermaid Royalty, #2)" by M.E. Rhines

Swim
(Mermaid Royalty, #2)
by M.E. Rhines
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: August 29th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
A mermaid has no fear of the deep… 
Angelique is not your typical fairy tale mermaid. She’s edgy, with a quick temper and intense personality that sometimes leave her feeling like an outsider even among her own clan. Reeling from the recent changes in the Mer-world hierarchy, Angelique is struggling to find her place in the ocean. But a chance encounter with a handsome two-legged Fin-man will leave her questioning more than just her place in the underwater order. 
Packed with adventure, romance and drama, Swim continues the compelling story of life and love in the magical underwater realm of Atargatis.

Book #1, Sink, is currently on sale for just 99-cents!

EXCERPT:

Would they serve me on a platter, or just toss me in tank and use me as an exhibit? Some of the humans Mother captured spoke of places where even the ocean’s greatest predators were put on display for the amusement of the young and hardened of heart. An aquarium they called it. Manatees, dolphins, sharks. All subject to the degradation of living in a box for the rest of their days.
Oh, Poseidon help me, I’d rather die right now.
Almost as soon as my body contacted the sea floor, the rope connecting me to the human vessel tightened. An illusion of weightlessness befell me as it pulled me up. Despite already feeling drained, I swam against the pull right up until my entire body left the water. Suffocating aridness strangled me. I danged inside the net a good ten feet above the water, swaying along with the howling wind as if it was dancing with me.
I scanned the rough waters below, desperate for a trace that Lennox was around. But the sea was fuming. Furious, whether at me or the fisherman I didn’t know. Already turbulent waters intensified, until waves the size of small squalls slammed into the boat from all sides.
Even if Lennox was down there, and I doubted he was, there would be no way to see him through the chaos on the ocean’s surface. I didn’t waste much time searching. He’d said it himself; he was a warrior, a killer at heart. It wasn’t in his nature to go around saving anyone or anything unless it served his king. He was long gone, left me for dead.
“You see,” I heard the horrible man shout. “Look at that tail.”
“I’ll be damned. You weren’t seeing things after all, Reggie.”
“Yep. Heard stories about mermaids in this area. Didn’t much believe them. Until now, of course. She’s awfully pretty, too. Prettier than I ever imagined a mermaid could be.”
“What should we do with her?”
“Are you kidding? People would pay a fortune to just take a quick look at her. Mortgage their own houses, I bet. We’re gonna be rich!”
The blond man tapped his chin with his index finger, pondering the idea. A small, naïve part of me hoped he might listen to that slight little voice in his head, the one that should tell him I was a living thing. A sentient, conscious, and intelligent living thing and should be treated with common decency. His conscience should’ve told him to put me back in the water and drive his boat far out of here and leave me be.
Then this human, the one who moments ago seemed so kindhearted and eager to help me until my tail was exposed, reminded me of that one ever-important detail I managed to allow myself forget:
Humans have no conscience.



Author Bio:
ME Rhines a southwest Florida native currently living in North Port with her two beautiful children and a third, much larger child whom she affectionately calls husband.

She writes young adult paranormal romance to feed her belief that fairy tales are real and nonsense is necessary.
She also writes adult romances under her edgier alter-ego, Mary Bernsen. 
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Monday, August 28, 2017

BOOK BLITZ for "Ivar's Prize" by Amy Pennza

Ivar’s Prize
by Amy Pennza
Publication date: July 10th, 2017
Genres: Adult, Romance,
Science Fiction
Nadia Green has everything – power, prestige, and a fiancé. That all ends when she’s sentenced to life on the prison planet Tolbos. Within hours of landing, Nadia finds herself captured, stripped, and placed on an auction block, where she’s purchased by Ivar Holok, a brutal warlord with golden eyes and an ability to wield kaptum with a mastery unlike anyone she’s ever seen. 
Ivar is instantly attracted to the beautiful slave, but he suspects her presence on Tolbos has sinister implications. The Council wants him dead, and what better way to achieve its goal than by planting an irresistible assassin in his bed? No matter how much he wants to trust her, Ivar has to protect his people – even if it means denying Nadia her freedom. He vows to keep her enslaved and at his mercy until she confesses her involvement in the Council’s schemes, but he didn’t count on the slave enthralling her master.

EXCERPT:

Ivar Holok watched the auction from the edge of the crowd. All around him, men cheered and laughed as the woman on the platform twisted and fought to free herself from the manacles.
Ivar could have told her that was pointless. He knew they were reinforced with kaptum. Dario might look like he was short on brains, but he was a savvy businessman. He took no chances with his merchandise.
And this female was a prime specimen. Taller than average, she had long, lithe legs that flared into gently curving hips. Her full breasts were proud and high, her small nipples a becoming rose color. His cocked twitched as he watched her breasts bounce with her movements.
Dario faced the crowd as he rattled off the woman’s attributes. An appreciative murmur ran through the assembled men when she aimed a kick at his ass, her booted foot nearly connecting with her target. She threw her head back and screamed.
Ivar winced. Healthy lungs.
“Better watch out, Dario!” a man near the front called. “If looks could kill, you’d be a dead man already!”
The merchant gestured to Axos, who grabbed her legs and jerked off her boots and socks. He sailed the boots one by one into the crowd, followed by the pants that had puddled around her ankles. One man brandished them in the air like a trophy.
Now fully divested of her clothing, the woman gazed across the crowd, her eyes searching and desperate. Her long red hair had fallen over her shoulder in her struggle with Axos, and one dusky pink nipple peeked through the bright strands. The sleek muscles of her legs flexed continuously as she struggled to remain on her toes. Even after such a short time on the pole, Ivar knew her arms had to be on fire from bearing almost her full body weight.
Dario sidled up to her and swept her hair away from her breasts. “As you can see, gentlemen, this one is hot as flame!” He moved his hand to her flat belly, then slid it lower and cupped her bare sex. “As to whether she’s a natural redhead, you’ll just have to take my word for it!”
The woman jerked away from his touch, giving the men a look at her shapely ass as she twisted sideways. Her chest was a mottled red, and her breasts heaved as though she’d just run a long distance. Ivar discreetly adjusted himself.
He looked out over the crowd, which had swelled with the nude woman displayed on the platform. She raised up higher on her toes, her small, delicate features twisted in obvious pain. Dario attempted to pry her lips apart to show the men her teeth. She snapped at his hand, and he danced back. The crowd guffawed.
Ivar narrowed his gaze. She didn’t lack for courage. Most women would be weeping and begging for mercy by now. Most men too. But she kept her head high as she looked over the leering, boisterous crowd.
Her gaze connected with Ivar’s, and it was like a punch in the gut. He sucked in a breath. It was impossible to see her eyes clearly from where he stood, but he couldn’t look away. It was as though she held him captive with her stare. He crossed his arms over his chest and glowered at her, then watched, astonished, as her chin rose a notch higher.
“It’s a shame such beauty fell into Dario’s hands,” Porter said next to him, ending the unsettling moment. “He’ll sell her to the highest bidder without a second thought.”
Ivar looked at his second-in-command and grunted. “That’s the way auctions generally work.”
Porter gestured with his chin toward the other side of the crowd. “Not this one. Not with him here.”
Ivar followed the direction of his gaze. A small group of men strode to the edge of the crowd and began shoving their way to the platform. Their leader punched a man in the back of the head, making him crumple to the ground and then kicked him out of the way and kept moving. The crowd immediately parted. The leader swaggered toward the platform, his long black hair loose over his shoulders.
Dario’s face split in a broad smile that didn’t fool Ivar. The fat little merchant made his way down the steps, moving quickly despite his girth. “Raddoc! We are honored by your presence!” He bowed, his nose almost touching his knees.
Behind him, the woman stilled, her gaze now fixed on the huge man dressed all in black. The long column of her throat convulsed as she swallowed.
“How much?” Raddoc asked in a deep voice, his gaze never leaving the woman. One hand rested on a broadsword at his hip.
Dario wrung his hands. “Ah…well, we haven’t started the auction yet. If you wish to bid—”
“Five liters.” Raddoc snapped his fingers, and one of his men flung an old rucksack to the ground. It fell open on impact, revealing five canisters beaded with condensation.
The crowd gasped. The men closest to the canisters jostled each other as they tried to get a better look. One man crept close, his hand outstretched, only to be sent sprawling to the ground by another of Raddoc’s men.
“I do believe that’s a record bid,” Raddoc said, gesturing to the precious water.
Dario stared at the canisters, and Ivar could almost see the gears turning in his brain. In a blink, his expression changed from subservient to calculating. He glanced back at the naked woman. “It’s a princely sum, to be sure. But as you can see, this slave is fit for a king. Everyone should have a chance to bid—”
A meaty hand fastened around his throat. Raddoc lifted him off the ground, the muscles in his arm bunching. Dario’s legs flailed.
The merchant sputtered and coughed. “P-please.” His eyes bulged.
Raddoc paid him about as much attention as a gnat. Still clenching the merchant’s throat, he pivoted slowly, his black-eyed gaze falling on the crowd. “Who here can match my price?”
A tense silence fell over the crowd, the only sound Dario’s gurgling protests. All around, men lowered their eyes. A few turned and shouldered their way out of the gathering.
Ivar glanced at the platform and caught his breath. The woman was staring at him again. For the first time, she looked afraid. She sagged against the chains.
Raddoc pulled Dario forward until they were eye to eye. “Looks like I won your auction, fat man.” He opened his hand, and the merchant fell to the ground, his face an angry purple. His mouth gaped as he sucked in air. Raddoc snapped his fingers at one of his men and pointed to the platform.
“Go fetch my new slave.”
Ivar uncrossed his arms. “Ten liters!”
* * * *
Nadia watched as heads jerked toward the warlord standing on the edge of the crowd. Up until now, he’d been so still, she’d wondered if she was imagining him. The only thing he’d seemed to move were his eyes, which occasionally roved down her body with a heat that made her cheeks burn until she was certain they were as red as her hair.
Even with the distance between them, she could tell his eyes were an unusual color—a pale, glowing gold that reminded her of the holo-vids she’d seen of lions that had once roamed Earth. His hair was shaved so close to his head it was impossible to tell the color, but everything else about him was golden, from his strange eyes to his tan skin.
He shouldered the men in front of him aside. Murmurs rippled through the crowd as he and another man moved toward the platform, their pace unhurried.
Raddoc scowled and put his hand on his sword hilt. “The auction’s over, Ivar,” he growled. “The slave is mine.” The wind caught at his long mane of hair, sending the lank black strands whipping around his shoulders. At first, she’d thought his face was dirty, then she’d realized it was tattooed with strange swirling symbols a few shades darker than his skin. His men bore the same markings, although none had his monstrous teeth, which were filed to sharp points.
When he’d grinned at her, she’d felt truly hopeless for the first time since the head magistrate had read her sentence back on the starship. Until that moment, she’d thought that being stripped naked and chained to the pole was the worst thing that could happen to her. Then the black-haired warlord had flashed his razor-sharp smile, and she’d nearly given in to the blackness that beckoned at the edges of her mind.
For some reason, she’d sought out the golden warlord on the edge of the crowd. Their eyes had locked, and he’d stepped forward just as she’d begun to slump into a faint.
Now he and his companion had reached the space in front of the platform where Raddoc stood surrounded by his men. The golden-eyed man stepped deliberately over the canisters and stood over a still-gasping Dario. He gave the little merchant a considering look, then lifted hard eyes to Raddoc.
“Ah, Raddoc. You never did like playing by the rules. You heard our friend here. The auction hasn’t started.”
Raddoc’s hand tightened on his sword, and he took a step forward, bringing the two men toe to toe. Seeing them like this, there was no question they were both warlords. If Axos and his men were giants, these two were inhuman. They towered above the men around them, their big bodies roped with muscle. More than that, they practically bristled with weapons. Sunlight shined off the edges of blades tucked into belts and pockets. Like Raddoc, the golden warlord had a broadsword, but he wore his strapped to his back, its thick hilt a visible reminder that this was clearly not a man to be trifled with.
“I bid five liters,” Raddoc said, his eyes glinting. Metal flowed down the insides of his arms and formed into knives. His men stirred but didn’t pull any weapons.
The warlord he’d called Ivar leaned into him. “And I bid ten.” Behind him, his companion drew a short sword from a sheath on his leg. It rippled and sprouted a jagged edge where it had been smooth a moment before. Nadia gasped. Kaptum could transform, yes, but the transition had been flawless—like living art.
“You’re outnumbered, Ivar.” The pointed teeth flashed. “I could kill you where you stand.”
Ivar’s reply was so quiet, Nadia had to strain to hear it. “Do it. You and your people will be dead in a week.”
Something on his arm drew her eye, and she squinted as she tried to make it out. At first, she thought it was an insect, but that was impossible. There were no insects on Tolbos. A darkly-inked tattoo slid from his biceps to his forearm, where it curled around his skin like a snake. She blinked and shook her head, trying to figure out what she was seeing.
The wind whipped around the platform. Nadia sucked in a breath, waiting for either man to make the first move. Raddoc stepped back, and she exhaled on a shudder. He glanced at her, then leaned to the side and spit. A wad of glistening saliva hit the ground with a wet smack. Without another word, he pivoted on his heel and walked away, the knives dissolving and slithering back up his arms. His men gathered the canisters and then hurried to catch up to him.
Ivar watched them go before casting his gaze over the crowd. “Does anyone else wish to bid?” Men shuffled their feet and kept their eyes trained on the ground. Seemingly satisfied, he reached down and hauled Dario to his feet. “You know where to find me. I’ll have your ten liters waiting.”
The merchant massaged his throat and nodded, his bald head shiny with perspiration.
The golden eyes fixed on her. She tensed. The weight of his stare was even more intense up close. He strode to the platform, planted a hand on the wood, and vaulted his body over the edge. He stopped in front of her, and she fought the urge to shrink away from him. Instead, she forced herself to look at him, craning her neck back as her eyes traveled up and up his body. He stared down, his cruelly handsome face a mask that revealed nothing of his thoughts or feelings. His gaze dropped to her breasts as he reached a long arm up and tapped the manacles. The metal bracelets snapped open, startling her.
She fell forward, and he caught her, mashing her breasts against his chest. Big hands massaged her arms and shoulders.
“How…” She stared at his chest. “How did you do that?”
“Do what?”
She tried to pull back, but he held her in place, his fingers still kneading her arms. “The manacles. You just touched them and—”
“Ask your questions later.”
She snapped her mouth shut. His order rankled, but she was hardly in a position to argue with him.
He stopped kneading and slid a hand to her wrist. “Come.” He pulled her to the platform’s steps.
“Wait!” Her bare feet skidded on the rough wood.
He rounded on her. “What?”
She stepped sideways so his body blocked her from the crowd’s view. “I…I’m not wearing any clothes.”
His gaze flicked to her chest. “I noticed. Now, come.”


Author Bio:
Amy Pennza is an author of romantic fiction that’s not afraid to turn up the heat. A lawyer-turned-copywriter, she’s much happier behind a keyboard than she was in the courtroom. A mom of four, including a set of twins, she always has a granola bar and a package of baby wipes handy. After years in Tornado Alley, she now makes her home in the Great Lakes region with her husband, kids, and one very persnickety cat. You can visit her at amypennza.com. 
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BOOK REVIEW for "The Changed (Hunter Circles, #3)" by Jessica Gunn

****(4) out of 5 stars!

SYNOPSIS:

I’m Krystin Blackwood, and for the past three months I’ve been locked in Ether Circle Prison.

Luckily for me, the Leader of the Fire Circle knows I’d never willingly kill all the people I did when confronted with Kinder’s magik at Cianza Boston. Although it’s certainly taking him long enough to rescue me.

But even when I finally escape, it’s only to find that someone’s going around killing Hunters using Giyano’s M.O.: tongues torn out, magik shorn from their bodies. And with Giyano as MIA as his loyalties, there’s just one other suspect: me.

If I don’t prove my innocence and defeat the person responsible, I might be headed right back to prison, unable to help the Fire Circle win their war against Lady Azar… and barred from completing the Alzan prophecy when Lady Azar succeeds in my absence.


REVIEW:

I really hated both the beginning and ending of this book, but everything in between sure kept me reading along at a crazy pace!

This tale starts off three months after the end of "The Traitor," but finds Krystin still in Ether Circle Prison being tortured.  I hate the fact that her team just leaves her in there for so long, even though they (supposedly) were not able to do anything to free her before then.  Basically, she's given the short end of the deal, and I'm surprised that she is even willing to help anyone do anything after that. 

There are some new characters introduced, mostly just the kind that you love to hate though, rather than any sympathetic ones.  Some meet with an untimely end, which may seem harsh to some, but really isn't anything more than they deserve.  

Unfortunately, Krystin basically gets used by one person or group after another in this volume, and doesn't ever manage to come out ahead.  No one seems to be on her side or believe her version of things, which only serves to push her farther away from those who could help her and toward those who would use her for their own evil purposes.  That nothing in their world seems to be as it first appears, only adds fuel to the fire of her own mistrust of others.  

The ending of the book is even more depressing than the last one, and I didn't think that was going to be possible.  I just hope that future volumes in the series will provide Krystin some measure of relief, resolution and absolution.

I received a free eBook copy of this novel from the author, 
and have willingly provided an honest review.  
~

Book #4 in The Hunter Circles series, The Hero, releases Monday, August 28th, 2017!
~
Read my review of prior volumes in the series:
"The Hunter (The Hunter Circles, #0.5)"
"The Hunted (The Hunter Circles, #1)"
and "The Traitor (The Hunter Circles, #2)"
here on the So Few Books blog!

COVER REVEAL for "Sunburner (Moonburner, #2)" by Claire Luana

Sunburner 
(Moonburner, #2)
by Claire Luana
Publication date:
September 25th, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Kai, the newly-crowned queen of Miina, finds her reign threatened by a plague of natural disasters that leave death and destruction in their wake. Are the gods truly angry at the peace between the moon and sunburners, or is something more sinister to blame? Kai’s throne and her very life may be forfeit unless she can appease the gods’ anger and her peoples’ superstitions. 
Determined to find a solution, Kai and the Sunburner Prince Hiro embark on an extraordinary and dangerous journey to discover the true cause of the plagues. What they find is an ancient enemy determined to plunge their world into eternal darkness—and one desperate chance to save it.


Author Bio:
Claire Luana grew up reading everything she could get her hands on and writing every chance she could. Eventually, adulthood won out, and she turned her writing talents to more scholarly pursuits, going to work as a commercial litigation attorney at a mid-sized law firm. While continuing to practice law, Claire decided to return to her roots and try her hand once again at creative writing. She has written and published the Moonburner Cycle and is currently working on a new trilogy about magical food. She lives in Seattle, Washington with her husband and two dogs. In her (little) remaining spare time, she loves to hike, travel, binge-watch CW shows, and of course, fall into a good book. 
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Saturday, August 26, 2017

BOOK BLITZ for "False Awakening (Lucid Dreaming, #2)" by Cassandra Page

False Awakening
(Lucid Dreaming, #2)
by Cassandra Page
Publication date: August 26th, 2017
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy

How can you fight your nightmares when they’re real? 
Melaina, half-human dream therapist, just wants her life to return to normal. Yes, her Oneiroi father is in prison and, yes, the place she worked burned down, but she has a cute boyfriend and a new house. She beat the bad guy. She’s earned a break. Right? 
Unfortunately for Melaina, people are still getting possessed by nightmare spirits; the police are investigating her past; and the bad guy’s brother, the Morpheus himself, is coming to town to demand answers. When a deranged ex-nurse checks himself out of hospital on the same day her cousin runs away from home, Melaina is dragged into a fight not just for her life but for her soul.

EXCERPT:

Usually when I stepped into someone’s dreams just after they’d fallen asleep, I didn’t arrive in an active dream so much as in a place of significance in their subconscious. The kind of place they’d have recurring dreams about. As a lucid dreamer, I didn’t have true recurring dreams—deliberately conjuring dreams of my favourite places didn’t count. But I was familiar with the concept. Jen had told me that, usually, those dreams she remembered contained elements of her family home. Brad often dreamed of his grandparents’ house, where he’d spent a lot of time as a child.
That was why, when I appeared in a brightly lit department store, I raised my eyebrows. Huh. First job, maybe? I stood in an aisle full of bags of confectionary: liquorice sticks, mixed lollies, chocolate drops. But everything was slightly off. When I focused on a rustling purple and yellow packet, trying to make out the brand name, the logo slid away from my gaze as if it didn’t want to be nailed down. Price tags were illegible: smeared or written in gibberish characters. And when I looked between the packages I didn’t see a backboard filled with mounting holes but sheer, impenetrable darkness.
The darkness gaped back at me.
With goosebumps shivering along the length of my forearms, I took a moment to prepare myself, sparing a thought and a shred of energy to conjure a set of trusty motorcycle leathers. I didn’t have any such thing in the real world, but in dreams I’d found they served quite well as armour against the barbs on a blight’s tentacles. A clear-faced, round helmet made me feel like an idiot but protected my eyes. I didn’t know for certain that there was a blight here, but something was definitely not right. Even if it was just a creepy manifestation of Daniel’s subconscious—even if he was indeed going crazy—it paid to be careful. Ephemera could still have teeth.
I crept towards the end of the aisle, leather squeaking faintly as I listened for the telltale bubbling hiss of a blight. Peering past a stand of round-bellied plastic animals stuffed with jellybeans, I saw a row of unattended registers to my left. To my right, clothes swayed in a breeze I couldn’t feel. In front of me was the store’s main entrance: the roller shutter was down, allowing only a vague impression of a darkened mall beyond.
Deserted apartment stores were bloody creepy. Even ones with the lights on. Still, this didn’t look like a place a blight had trashed. Brad’s had shredded the surface of his dream, tearing holes in walls and coating everything with a mess that would do a slimy Ghostbusters spectre proud. This store was creepy, sure, but trashed? No.
Like my thought made it happen, a corner of the store went dark as one fluorescent light, then another, went out with a pop and a tinkle of glass on tile. “What the…?” I whispered, looking up.
That was when I spotted the blight.
It hung upside down from the ceiling, somewhere above the menswear section, like a deranged bat a few feet wide and made of smog. Its tentacles were jammed deep into the rectangular ceiling tiles; the tiles themselves were slick with an oily coating of blight ichor that dripped downwards, spattering across a garish display of novelty ties that hurt my eyes.
“Gross,” I said, my voice somewhat muffled behind the helmet’s faceplate. The blight turned, rotating slowly until its stained yellow eyes glared down at me.
“Oneeiiiiroi,” the creature hissed.



Author Bio:
Cassandra Page is a mother, author, editor and geek. She lives in Canberra, Australia’s bush capital, with her son and two Cairn Terriers. She has a serious coffee addiction and a tattoo of a cat — despite being allergic to cats. She has loved to read since primary school, when the library was her refuge, and loves many genres — although urban fantasy is her favourite. When she’s not reading or writing, she engages in geekery, from Doctor Who to AD&D. Because who said you need to grow up? 
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Friday, August 25, 2017

BOOK BLITZ for "H.A.L.F.: Origins" by Natalie Wright

H.A.L.F.: ORIGINS 
by Natalie Wright
Publication date: August 24th, 2017
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
A deadly alien virus spawns an epidemic. Predators attack Europe. And a clandestine organization conspires to profit from chaos and forge a New World Order. 
In this heart-pounding finale of the award-winning H.A.L.F. series, Tex, Erika and the rest are in a race against time. They fought for their lives. Now they battle to save our species.   
Tex and Erika are fugitives and running for their lives. But when Tex falls gravely ill, a Navajo healer is his only hope for survival. Tex emerges from the ordeal changed in body and mind and with vital information: how to stop the predatory M’Uktah from overtaking the human population and destroying those he has come to love. 
Erika Holt seeks a respite from the constant threats to her life but she’s not about to give up. As she and Tex launch a mission to shut down the intra-galactic highway used by invaders who prey on humans, she grows closer to her troubled half-human companion. But what about her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Jack? 
Jack Wilson, with his friend Anna Sturgis, is on a mission of his own. He’s determined to destroy The Makers, an illuminati-like organization behind the H.A.L.F. program. It’s time to put an end to their schemes for world domination. Complicating matters, an anti-viral that could save millions from an alien virus has been stolen. As both alien and human forces line up against them, the destiny of all mankind is hand the hands of these young warriors. And time is running out.

EXCERPT:

1
ERIKA

Raindrops pelted the windshield of the rust-bucket truck Erika had borrowed from Ian’s dad. Nearly an hour had passed since she’d seen the lights of the last police car recede in her rearview mirror, but her fingers still shook as she turned on the windshield wipers. They were little help. The spittle of rain turned the dusty windshield into a muddy mess, and the sun-rotted rubber of the wipers streaked the glass.
The jacked-up truck tackled the harsh terrain of the desert like a pro. The police cars were no match for barrel cacti and creosote bushes as large as small cars. The local Ajo police that had tried to stop them likely didn’t know that they were chasing a human-alien hybrid that had escaped, again, from a secret underground lab controlled by the clandestine organization known as The Makers. The Makers had surely spun the lies necessary to convince local law enforcement that Tex was a dangerous fugitive. Ironic. The lie had become the truth. Erika and Tex were, in fact, fugitives on the run and again fighting for their lives. It was like déjà vu all over again.
Erika’s bottom was bruised from bouncing on the seat. Her wrists ached from gripping the wheel. After nearly an hour of rough riding, they hit a two-lane road going east. Erika was heading to New Mexico, where her Aunt Dana, her father’s sister, lived. Without complications, they would get to Aunt Dana’s in about eight hours. If she’ll have us.
Tex had been quiet but awake as Erika navigated the bumpy ground. Once they reached the smooth pavement, he tucked his knees to his chest, hugged his arms around his legs, and became a silent egg-shaped blob on the seat next to her. Erika had seen him withdraw into himself before, but he was even more quiet and still than usual.
Erika wished he’d have stayed awake longer. She wanted to pry answers out of him. She had questions about his time with the Conexus, when he had been linked directly to their hive-mind collective. Ever since Dr. Randall had unhooked Tex from the Conexus, he was acting distant and short-tempered. Erika wondered what had really happened to him during his time with the Conexus. And what did he mean when he spoke of struggles for humans to come and the knowledge he got from the Conexus? She hoped he would answer these questions and more when they got to Aunt Dana’s.
The dribble of rain became a hailstorm. Peanut-sized ice balls pinged the metal roof of the truck. Within minutes, the hail turned into a deluge. Erika turned the wipers to full blast, but that only smeared the windshield faster. The Tex blob remained eerily quiet and unperturbed.
Erika’s swollen right eye, a gift from one of the Makers’ guards during their escape from the school, made it difficult to see. Both eyes were heavy with fatigue. She blinked rapidly and shook her head, trying to clear the drowsiness. She switched on the radio, and raucous Tejano music blasted. She wasn’t a fan of the accordion-heavy genre. The ancient truck speakers distorted the sound, making it nothing but noise to her ears, but at least the booming music helped keep her awake.
Erika had never been much of a life planner. Her current situation of living day-to-day did not bother her as much as it might have irritated some people. She was focused on her current task, getting Tex safely to a location where he could heal. She’d help him find a place to stay hidden from the Makers and Sturgis. She wasn’t sure what came after that. Just stay awake. And alive.
Tex didn’t stir or acknowledge the radio. Is he dead? She poked at him with a finger. “Tex? You okay?”
With his head still to his knees, his voice was muffled but cool and even. “I am alive if that is what you mean.”
“You’ve been so quiet. With the escape back there at the school, the dogs, and now the rain… I was just hoping that you’re all right.”
Tex raised his head slightly and turned toward her, his large eyes peeking over his arm. “I have been through worse.”
The understatement of the century. She’d been through worse, too: the days of fever she endured after the Conexus gave her the virus, the long hours of watching Ian wracked with pain when she could do nothing but watch him inch toward death, weeks of hunger and thirst. She had been forced to take the lives of others or lose her own, and she had watched her mom breathe her last breath. They’d all been through hell and back.
Tex’s indifference was still better than silence between them. The tinny horns and the beat of the music stopped abruptly.
The radio announcer broke in, speaking in Spanish. “There has been a massive terrorist attack in Europe. The entire continent is without power. Communication systems are down. Though reports are sketchy, US authorities state that the attacks appear to be focused on London and Paris.”
Erika’s chest tightened. For a moment, she forgot to breathe. “He said that communication systems are down in Europe and there’s been a massive terrorist attack. The terrorists hit London and Paris.”
Tex unwound his arms from around his legs. “I understood what he said.” He sounded condescending, as though everyone could understand Spanish as well as English.
“Oh. I just assumed that—”
“You assume a great many things.”
Erika didn’t know what he meant, but she was more worried about what the heck was going on in Europe than her traveling companion’s surly attitude. The radio announcer spoke of the apparent sophistication and coordination of the attacks. He stated that the terrorists had clearly used an advanced technology that took out the power grid across Europe. Terrorists with advanced technology? Could the Makers be behind this?
Continuing in Spanish, the announcer said, “The US has raised the terrorist alert level to high and has closed all borders, effective immediately. There are reports of disruption to GPS and cellular service in the United States, indicating possible destruction or interference with multiple satellites.”
“Just what we don’t need. First the virus to deal with, now terrorists run amok.”
“It is not a terrorist attack,” Tex said with total conviction.
“You just heard the guy say it’s a terrorist attack. He said the report came from NORAD.”
“Then this NORAD fellow is wrong… or lying.”
During her time at Casa Sturgis, Erika had lost most of her faith in the authorities. Getting locked up in an underground city run by crazy government scientists and black-budget military would do that to you. Even if The Makers were behind AHDNA, that didn’t negate the fact that, somewhere along the line, some important people were very corrupt. Maybe even a lot of people.
Even after all she’d seen, though, she still believed most of the people working for the government weren’t crooked, self-serving traitors who would sell out the lives of millions just for their own little piece of the post-virus pie. People like Dr. Montoya worked for the government. Dr. Montoya had risked her life to help them to keep the antivirus out of the hands of the Makers so it could be synthesized to help the masses rather than the elite few chosen by William Croft and company.
“Why would the military lie about terrorists?” she asked. “And if it’s not terrorists, then who would cause a massive power failure?”
“Something far worse than extremists with a vendetta. Pull over. I will drive now.”
“Have you ever driven before?”
Tex shook his head. “Pull over,” he repeated.
“And what do you mean ‘worse’?”
“Erika, I tire of questions every time I ask something of you. There is a helicopter on its way. You did not think that the Makers would send only a few local law-enforcement vehicles after me, did you? Shall we argue further? Or shall I attempt to lose those that tail us?”



Author Bio:
Natalie is the author of the award-winning science fiction series H.A.L.F., and The Akasha Chronicles, a popular young adult fantasy trilogy with over 2 Million reads on Wattpad. She lives in Tucson, Arizona with her husband, teen daughter, and two cat overlords. 
Natalie spends her time writing, reading, geeking out over nerd culture and cool science, and meeting readers and fans at book festivals and comic cons throughout the western United States. Natalie appears frequently on radio, podcasts and vlogs such as The Speculative Fiction Cantina, Front Row Geeks and iHeart Radio. 
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Thursday, August 24, 2017

COVER REVEAL for "Heathens" by Amanda Richardson

HEATHENS (Heathens Duet, #1) by Amanda Richardson
Genre: Stand-alone Dark Romance
Cover Design by Amanda Richardson
Release Date: September 14, 2017


Synopsis

Paris is home to runaways and lost souls, romantics and artists. A lover’s paradise. For Lilith Damewood, Paris is tainted, tarnished, corroded. Trying to claw her way out of her dark memories, she channels her vitriol into her photography.

Salem Tempest is a seminary student entrusted with the souls of Notre Dame de Paris—even the dark ones. When an unlikely friendship forms between the two of them, and a revelation shakes them both to their core, Lily and Salem find themselves connected in powerful and unexpected ways.

Lily risks his ruin—and her own.

After all, even holy men can fall. And salvation may be closer than they realize.

HEATHENS is a dark romance that connects five souls in a web of choice, sin, revenge, and redemption. It may be considered blasphemous to some. It is intended for mature readers.

HEATHENS is book 1 in the HEATHENS duet. BELIEVERS, book 2, will be releasing early 2018. Both books can be read as a standalone.


COVER REVEAL for "Spell Book & Scandal" by Jen McConnel

Spell Book & Scandal
by Jen McConnel
Publication date: October 31st, 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Shelby King is tired of living in her sister’s shadow. Just because Christina is the most powerful caster in school doesn’t mean Shelby’s any good at magic; she’s a scribe, like her mom, and everyone expects her to write spells for her sister, the way her mom always has for her dad. But Shelby’s spells fail spectacularly, and by the time she’s a sophomore, Christina won’t touch them with a ten-foot-pole; their parents aren’t much better. Shelby is fed up, and she decides to show the world she doesn’t care if she isn’t as good as her stuck-up sister, or as talented as their powerful parents. In fact, she decides it’s time to break all the rules, magical and otherwise, and she starts sneaking out to meet Jeremiah Smallwood, the second-best caster in school at illegal pop-up spell battles around town. She may not be able to scribe for him, but she doesn’t mind letting him think that she could; Shelby’s been half in love with Miah as long as she can remember, but he’s never paid attention to her until now, and she’s not going to risk her chances worrying about a pesky thing like the truth. But when Christina rats her out to their parents, Shelby can’t control her anger, and words come pouring out of her that she can’t take back even if she wanted to, threatening Christina’s future…and Shelby’s own chances with Jeremiah. It’ll take more magic than Shelby’s ever dreamed of to set things right, but no scribe has that much magic…right?

Author Bio:
Award-winning author Jen McConnel writes NA, YA, and nonfiction. When she isn’t writing, she can be found on her yoga mat or wandering off on another adventure. Visit www.JenMcConnel.com to learn more! 
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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

BOOK REVIEW for "Shag Lake" by Susan McEachern

*****(5) out of 5 stars!


SYNOPSIS:

Geri McKenna hasn’t seen her brother’s best friend, Sean Eastman, since he graduated high school. Sean left their little town of Pembroke just hours after she nailed him with a kiss behind the shed, never to be seen or heard from again. No calls, no texts, no social media to stalk online.

Eight years later, Sean shows up in their hometown unannounced. Blinded by his looming height, crystal blue eyes and the guns he’s grown since high school, Geri thinks it’s just a happy coincidence that he’s back at the same time she’s taken leave from her dead-end job to come home for her brother’s wedding. It doesn’t even enter her mind that Sean’s return coincides with the mysterious disappearance of a woman in the vicinity of Shag Lake in nearby Algonquin Park.

Until she bumps into him at the crime scene.

Determined to revive her flagging career in journalism, Geri’s investigation into the missing woman leads her into the clandestine world of an alien cover-up, with Sean Eastman at the center of it all. So when he comes to take her into hiding from a corrupt shadow government that wants to permanentlyshut her down, Geri must decide if Sean is a trustworthy friend or one of the people who wants her dead. 

~
REVIEW:

I have been lucky to read a number of really good books lately, and this one is by far my new favorite!  This may very well be my all-time favorite book!  I don't know that I can even do it justice in a review.  I’ve already reread it about six times since when I first completed it.  That’s how much I love this book!

It has got everything you could possibly want in a story!  Or at least everything I want: There’s intrigue, fantasy, mystery, sci-fi, action, suspense, romance, cover-ups, etc; everything for which a dedicated nerd could wish.  Even Bigfoot and Bigfoot hunters!

The characters from the prequel novella “The Kiss” return in this delightful tale.  Only Geri is no longer just the awkward almost 16-year-old sister of Sean’s best friend; instead she’s a frustrated journalist, looking for a big story; but she’s still carrying a torch for her first kiss.  Sean is a successful researcher, who suddenly gains a much deeper appreciation for Geri than what he experiences at the end of the prequel novella.  He’s definitely torn between what he wants and what he thinks he needs to do. 

Susan McEachern does a masterful job of making all the disparate, unique characters appear believable, even in the face of some generally not-too-believable situations.  Each character definitely has their own incomparable personality as well; not just the main players, but also many of the periphery individuals.  The story is full of their distinctive personalities and interactions. 

I'm generally not a fan of dual-perspective novels, but again the author really made it work.  Geri and Sean each had their own distinctive voice, so there was never any question as to who was speaking.  It was nice to see the different attitudes and perceptions that each of them had about the same events.

The writing in this tome was just spoke on in every way really.  The dialogue and interactions seemed genuine, the premise basically created its own validity, and the words just flowed from one point to the next.  I found myself rereading multiple passages throughout the book that just spoke to me because of how lovely the words were or how vividly the scene was presented.  I honestly just lost myself in the story and didn’t want to find my way out.

I so hope that the author creates more tales in this series!  I’d love to learn more about the world that Geri and Sean are a part of, and with any luck, see more of them and their associates, and learn what the future holds for them, either as the main players in future stories or even just as background characters.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 
~
Read my 4-Star review of "The Kiss (the Shag Lake prequel)"
HERE on the So Few Books blog!

This prequel FREE short story is available on most ebook retailers,
including Amazon!
~
Words of wisdom from Geri's Dad:
The key to happiness is very simple.  Get your head and your heart in sync.