Sunday, 31 January 2016

Excerpt! Marked - Amy Saunders


Marked
Amy Saunders
(The Birthright, #2)
Publication date: January 31st 2016
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Starting over for Rosamund Brandt is more complicated than it sounds. Especially when the past keeps coming back to haunt her. As she and her mom and brother try to pick up the pieces in a new home, the universe seems determined to tear them apart even more as secrets multiply, and distrust grows.
While new threats and unknowns emerge, Rosamund struggles with her own inner battle. Her new powers are growing whether she wants them or not, and their origins and nature are sketchy at best. The more that’s revealed to her, the more uncertain she feels.
Choosing allies and facing new and old enemies alike may not be their biggest problems. Not if Rosamund’s worst fears come true. Could she be the one they should fear the most?

Sequel to:
25799251


EXCERPT:

Xavier turned his back to me, disappearing among the students walking in all directions. I gulped down the lump in my throat, and headed toward my locker on autopilot. I walked straight down the middle of the hallway, students veering around me one way or the other. Each step was like the last, until gravel crunched beneath my boot.
I stopped walking and glanced down. Instead of tile, I saw charred black gravel. When I looked back up, I was standing in a virtual field of the stuff. There was nothing else around me except some hills the same color. The sky was gray and wind blew strands of my hair across my face. When I brushed the hair away, I saw something glint among the rocks near my feet.
I bent down, brushing the blackened dirt away, revealing something silver. I grazed the edge of it with my fingertips, then plunged my fingers into the gravel, pulling out the object. I stood again, my hand wrapped around it. When I glanced up, I was back in the hallway, students parting around me.
Another memory. Each one seemed to get more vivid and real.
But then I felt something cold in my hand.
I slowly unwrapped my fingers, and charcoaled dirt sifted between them onto the floor, leaving behind a 3-D silver serpentine object the size of my palm. My hand shook. That wasn’t just a memory. I’d physically done something. Or, more to the point, I’d gone somewhere. And I was pretty sure it wasn’t on Earth.
I covered the object in my hand again. I took a step forward, totally ready to skip class to go have a meltdown in the bathroom, when someone grabbed my arm, dragging me across the hall into an empty classroom. I wrenched away, facing the guy from detention–who didn’t exist in school records.
“What are you doing?” he hissed. “Didn’t you grow up like this? I thought you’d know better.”




Author Bio:
Amy is a sci-fi/mystery addict with a soft spot for humor and romance. She lives in Massachusetts, and loves to bake and watch movies. Learn more about Amy and her books at http://amysaundersauthor.com.







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Saturday, 30 January 2016

Blitz! The Prophecy of Shadows - Michelle Madow


The Prophecy of Shadows
Michelle Madow
(Elementals #1)
Published by: Dreamscape Publishing
Publication date: January 26th 2016
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Filled with magic, thrilling adventure, and sweet romance, Elementals is the first in a new series that fans of Percy Jackson and The Secret Circle will love!
When Nicole Cassidy moves from sunny Georgia to gloomy New England, the last thing she expects is to learn that her homeroom is a cover for a secret coven of witches. Even more surprisingly … she’s apparently a witch herself. Despite doubts about her newfound abilities, Nicole is welcomed into this ancient circle of witches and is bedazzled by their powers–and, to her dismay, by Blake–the school’s notorious bad-boy.
Girls who get close to Blake wind up hurt. His girlfriend Danielle will do anything to keep them away, even if she must resort to using dark magic. But the chemistry between Blake and Nicole is undeniable, and despite wanting to protect Nicole from Danielle’s wrath, he finds it impossible to keep his distance.
When the Olympian Comet shoots through the sky for the first time in three thousand years, Nicole, Blake, Danielle, and two others in their homeroom are gifted with mysterious powers. But the comet has another effect–it opens the portal to the prison world that has contained the Titans for centuries. After an ancient monster escapes and attacks Nicole and Blake, it’s up to them and the others to follow the clues from a cryptic prophecy so that they can save their town … and possibly the world.

“Elementals is going to blow your mind!”
-Crossroad Reviews, ★★★★★
“Five glittery stars for being such a compelling read!”
-Andrea Heltsley, Goodreads Reviewer ★★★★★
“A perfect mixture of magic and mythology. An entrancing story of trust, friendship and well naughty boys. WITCHES are not the only thing walking the earth!”
– BenjaminOfTomes, BookTuber ★★★★★



EXCERPT:

Everyone stared at me, and I looked to the front of the room, where a tall, lanky man in a tweed suit stood next to a blackboard covered with the morning announcements. His gray hair shined under the light, and his wrinkled skin and warm smile reminded me more of a grandfather than a teacher.
He cleared his throat and rolled a piece of chalk in his palm. “You must be Nicole Cassidy,” he said.
“Yeah.” I nodded and looked around at the other students. There were about thirty of them, and there seemed to be an invisible line going down the middle of the room, dividing them in half. The students near the door wore jeans and sweatshirts, but the ones closer to the wall looked like they were dressed for a fashion show instead of school.
“It’s nice to meet you Nicole.” The teacher sounded sincere, like he was meeting a new friend instead of a student. “Welcome to our homeroom. I’m Mr. Faulkner, but please call me Darius.” He turned to the chalkboard, lifted his hand, and waved it from one side to the other. “You probably weren’t expecting everything to look so normal, but we have to be careful. As I’m sure you know, we can’t risk letting anyone else know what goes on in here.”
Then the board shimmered—like sunlight glimmering off the ocean—and the morning announcements changed into different letters right in front of my eyes.






Author Bio:
Michelle Madow grew up in Baltimore, graduated Rollins College in Orlando, and now lives in Boca Raton, Florida. She wrote her first book in her junior year of college, and has been writing novels since. Some of her favorite things are: reading, pizza, traveling, shopping, time travel, Broadway musicals, and spending time with friends and family. Michelle has toured across America to promote her books and to encourage high school students to embrace reading and writing. Someday, she hopes to travel the world for a year on a cruise ship.
Visit Michelle online at www.michellemadow.com, and be sure to sign up for her newsletter and follow her on Amazon to get instant updates on her books!




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Friday, 29 January 2016

Excerpt! State of Destruction - Summer Lane


State of Destruction
Summer Lane
(Collapse #7)
Publication date: January 29th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
The destruction of California is at hand.
Cassidy Hart and Chris Young have survived a dangerous mission into the heart of Sky City, a secret Omega base hidden deep in the mountains, but their vengeance has come with a price. The dark, ominous cloud of nuclear war threatens to destroy everything they love, and they are forced to make one final stand against Omega’s western invasion force.
San Francisco.
Cassidy and her friends retreat to Alcatraz Island, regrouping with their lethal strike team, the Angels of Death. Their mission: infiltrate the most important Omega base on the west coast, and assassinate everyone they find there, including a new and dangerous enemy, the ruthless Omega leader Veronica Klaus.
The clock is ticking.
Ashes rain from the sky. Cassidy Hart must make a choice.
What is more important? Victory, love or revenge?
Omega is the enemy’s name.
Survival of the fittest is their game.
Cassidy Hart will not stop until she has saved California…but will she be too late?
Book #7 of the Bestselling Collapse Series by Summer Lane




SNEAK PEEK:
The dark, dank smell of the cave seeps into my bones and chills my soul. Dim, flickering firelight crawls up the walls, throwing a shadow across my face. I hug my blanket tightly around my shoulders, shivering. It is painfully silent.
There are people everywhere—about thirty of us—but there is no talking. No whispering, no laughing. We are too tired to talk. Too cold. Small fires have been lit here in the cave, but it is hardly enough to remedy the cloying chill of the winter storm.
It is all sharp angles and rocky slopes in here. There is no soft surface, no privacy. Most people are asleep right now. It has become the only way to make the time pass quicker. Waiting, as we are, for the storms to end. For this harsh winter to be over.
But it is not getting better.
It is getting worse.
I cough and shudder. We have been trapped here for weeks. I feel as if the walls are falling down around me, devouring me. I close my eyes tightly, brushing my calloused fingers over the familiar, worn grip of my rifle.
Soon, this will all be over.
Soon, we will all be dead.





Summer Lane is the #1 Bestselling Author of The Collapse Series and the compelling tie-in novella books of The Zero Trilogy, as well as the upcoming Bravo Saga (releasing Spring 2016). She is also the author of Collapse: The Illustrated Guide, a #1 bestselling graphic companion to her phenomenal original series.
She is the owner of WB Publishing and Writing Belle, an online magazine. Summer is also an accomplished journalist and creative writing teacher.
Summer lives in the Central Valley of California, where she spends her days writing, teaching, and writing some more. When she is not writing, she enjoys leisurely visits with friends at coffee shops, movie dates, reading and spending the day at the beach or mountains.



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Thursday, 28 January 2016

Spotlight! The Secrets of Lizzie Borden - Brandy Purdy

The Secrets of Lizzie Borden
by Brandy Purdy

Publication Date: January 26, 2016
Kensington Books
eBook & Print; 384 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

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In her enthralling, richly imagined new novel, Brandy Purdy, author of The Ripper’s Wife, creates a compelling portrait of the real, complex woman behind an unthinkable crime.

Lizzie Borden should be one of the most fortunate young women in Fall River, Massachusetts. Her wealthy father could easily afford to provide his daughters with fashionable clothes, travel, and a rich, cultured life. Instead, haunted by the ghost of childhood poverty, he forces Lizzie and her sister, Emma, to live frugally, denying them the simplest modern conveniences. Suitors and socializing are discouraged, as her father views all gentleman callers as fortune hunters.

Lonely and deeply unhappy, Lizzie stifles her frustration, dreaming of the freedom that will come with her eventual inheritance. But soon, even that chance of future independence seems about to be ripped away. And on a stifling August day in 1892, Lizzie’s long-simmering anger finally explodes…

Vividly written and thought-provoking, The Secrets of Lizzie Borden explores the fascinating events behind a crime that continues to grip the public imagination—a story of how thwarted desires and desperate rage could turn a dutiful daughter into a notorious killer.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | KOBO



Brandy Purdy (Emily Purdy in the UK) is the author of the historical novels THE CONFESSION OF PIERS GAVESTON, THE BOLEYN WIFE (THE TUDOR WIFE), THE TUDOR THRONE (MARY & ELIZABETH), THE QUEEN’S PLEASURE (A COURT AFFAIR), THE QUEEN’S RIVALS (THE FALLEN QUEEN), THE BOLEYN BRIDE, and THE RIPPER’S WIFE. An ardent book lover since early childhood, she first became interested in history at the age of nine or ten years old when she read a book of ghost stories which contained a chapter about Anne Boleyn haunting the Tower of London. Visit her website at www.brandypurdy.com, you can also follow her on Facebook as Brandy Purdy aka Emily Purdy.


Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Kindred Passage - Gregory Gourlay


This was a book I was hesitant about at first glance. It took some time for the cover to grow on me, but only a moment for me to become immersed in the story.

Two stories that are set one-hundred years apart, running parallel until they finally converge; the past foreshadowing the present, and the present echoing the past. Kindred Passage is the tale of Ken Mallory and Aaron Pritchard in 1960's Africa, and Lucas Lindsay and Adrian Reese in 1860's Africa. Following a family tragedy, Mallory moves himself to Zambia, as his great-grandfather had before him. Soon partnered with Aaron Pritchard out of necessity, Mallory discovers a mounting depravity that makes the wickedness of 1960's Zambia pale by comparison. Meanwhile, Lucas Lindsay and Adrian Reese twist through disturbingly analogous circumstances a century beforehand, against a backdrop of war, ivory hunting, and human bondage.

Kindred Passage pushed me outside of my comfort zone with its authentic and unapologetic depiction of Africa during both the 1860's and 1960's. The dialogue is frank and all portrayals are wholly credible to the time, which lends to both the integrity of the story and its author. Gregory Gourlay is a master of description, making Africa itself a virtual character in its own right—as absorbing and detailed as Mallory, Pritchard, Lindsay, and Reese. Kindred Passage balances perfectly between bold and beautiful, gritty and gripping. It is absolutely riveting and I wholeheartedly recommend this book, giving it an easy five stars.

FIVE STARS

Amazon Link: Kindred Passage




This post contains an affiliate link, which means that if you click on the Amazon link and buy the book, I may receive a commission.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Spotlight! The Prophecy of Shadows - Michelle Madow


The Prophecy of Shadows
Michelle Madow
(Elementals #1)
Published by: Dreamscape Publishing
Publication date: January 26th 2016
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Filled with magic, thrilling adventure, and sweet romance, Elementals is the first in a new series that fans of Percy Jackson and The Secret Circle will love!
When Nicole Cassidy moves from sunny Georgia to gloomy New England, the last thing she expects is to learn that her homeroom is a cover for a secret coven of witches. Even more surprisingly … she’s apparently a witch herself. Despite doubts about her newfound abilities, Nicole is welcomed into this ancient circle of witches and is bedazzled by their powers–and, to her dismay, by Blake–the school’s notorious bad-boy.
Girls who get close to Blake wind up hurt. His girlfriend Danielle will do anything to keep them away, even if she must resort to using dark magic. But the chemistry between Blake and Nicole is undeniable, and despite wanting to protect Nicole from Danielle’s wrath, he finds it impossible to keep his distance.
When the Olympian Comet shoots through the sky for the first time in three thousand years, Nicole, Blake, Danielle, and two others in their homeroom are gifted with mysterious powers. But the comet has another effect–it opens the portal to the prison world that has contained the Titans for centuries. After an ancient monster escapes and attacks Nicole and Blake, it’s up to them and the others to follow the clues from a cryptic prophecy so that they can save their town … and possibly the world.

“Elementals is going to blow your mind!”
-Crossroad Reviews, ★★★★★
“Five glittery stars for being such a compelling read!”
-Andrea Heltsley, Goodreads Reviewer ★★★★★
“A perfect mixture of magic and mythology. An entrancing story of trust, friendship and well naughty boys. WITCHES are not the only thing walking the earth!”
– BenjaminOfTomes, BookTuber ★★★★★



EXCERPT:

Everyone stared at me, and I looked to the front of the room, where a tall, lanky man in a tweed suit stood next to a blackboard covered with the morning announcements. His gray hair shined under the light, and his wrinkled skin and warm smile reminded me more of a grandfather than a teacher.
He cleared his throat and rolled a piece of chalk in his palm. “You must be Nicole Cassidy,” he said.
“Yeah.” I nodded and looked around at the other students. There were about thirty of them, and there seemed to be an invisible line going down the middle of the room, dividing them in half. The students near the door wore jeans and sweatshirts, but the ones closer to the wall looked like they were dressed for a fashion show instead of school.
“It’s nice to meet you Nicole.” The teacher sounded sincere, like he was meeting a new friend instead of a student. “Welcome to our homeroom. I’m Mr. Faulkner, but please call me Darius.” He turned to the chalkboard, lifted his hand, and waved it from one side to the other. “You probably weren’t expecting everything to look so normal, but we have to be careful. As I’m sure you know, we can’t risk letting anyone else know what goes on in here.”
Then the board shimmered—like sunlight glimmering off the ocean—and the morning announcements changed into different letters right in front of my eyes.






Author Bio:
Michelle Madow grew up in Baltimore, graduated Rollins College in Orlando, and now lives in Boca Raton, Florida. She wrote her first book in her junior year of college, and has been writing novels since. Some of her favorite things are: reading, pizza, traveling, shopping, time travel, Broadway musicals, and spending time with friends and family. Michelle has toured across America to promote her books and to encourage high school students to embrace reading and writing. Someday, she hopes to travel the world for a year on a cruise ship.
Visit Michelle online at www.michellemadow.com, and be sure to sign up for her newsletter and follow her on Amazon to get instant updates on her books!




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Cover Reveal! Death to the Undead - Pembroke Sinclair


Death to the Undead
Pembroke Sinclair
(Life After the Undead, #2)
Publication date: February 16th 2016
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult, Zombies
The battle that began in Life After the Undead continues.
Zombies changed her life completely…
Tough teenager Krista escaped to the safety of Florida after her parents were killed by the zombie horde. She united with General Liet, a distant cousin, and moved with him to North Platte to help build a wall to keep the zombies in the West. Krista fell in love with Quinn, a survivor and fighter from the zombie-infested wildlands of the West, and together they freed the garrison at North Platte from the power-hungry Liet.
But zombies aren’t the only enemy they have to face…
Now, North Platte is free, but Liet was not the only one using the zombie apocalypse to control their people. Florida is ruled by five ruthless Families, who use intimidation and the threat of the zombie horde to coerce their populace. Krista and Quinn hatch a desperate plan to run guns into the state and help the people revolt. Krista and Quinn, labeled as rebels run for their lives when the Families attack North Platte. The Families want them captured, the zombies want to eat them, and other survivors want them dead. Caught in between powerful forces, they must survive long enough to devise a new plan and put it into action, all while trying to solidify their new relationship and trying not to self-destruct in the meantime.
Sequel to:
13008385


Author Bio:
Pembroke Sinclair is a literary jack of all trades, playing her hand at multiple genres. She has written an eclectic mix of fiction ranging from horror to sci-fi and even some westerns. Born in Rock Springs, Wyoming--the home of 56 nationalities--it is no wonder Pembroke ended up so creatively diverse. Her fascination with the notions of good and evil, demons and angels, and how the lines blur have inspired her writing. Pembroke lives in Laramie, Wyoming, with her husband, two spirited boys, a black lab named Ryder, and a rescue kitty named Alia, who happens to be the sweetest, most adorable kitty in the world! She cannot say no to dessert, orange soda, or cinnamon. She loves rats and tatts and rock and roll and wants to be an alien queen when she grows up.


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Monday, 25 January 2016

Spotlight! City of Roses - Donovan Pruitt

A young man ventures to his lost love’s childhood home in the abandoned city of Pripyat, Ukraine. When a sudden accident puts him off-course, he awakes to discover a lively and vibrant culture living in a nearby village and a woman who reignites his heart. But something sinister lurks in the shadows, and he must face the terror and help defend the village from evil before it is lost forever. Go beyond the tragedy of Chernobyl and discover the magic in the City of Roses.


FOUR STAR AVERAGE ON AMAZON!






Donovan Pruitt has a passion for science fiction and fantasy, especially those titles that trend toward young and new adult storytelling. City of Roses was his first standalone book as an indie author, though he has also written for video games and was previously published as a co-author in the fantasy genre. You can visit him online at www.KalaEmpire.com or join the discussion on Twitter @KalaEmpire.

Website
Goodreads
Twitter




This post contains an affiliate link, which means that if you click on the Amazon link and buy the book, I may receive a commission.


Spotlight! Viscountess of Vice - Jenny Holiday

VoV_500

Title: Viscountess of Vice
Author: Jenny Holiday
Genre: Historical Romance
Secrets and lies, scandals and spies.
All Lady Catharine, Viscountess Cranbrook, wants is a little excitement. Bored of playing the role of the ton’s favorite slightly scandalous widow, she jumps at the chance to go undercover as a courtesan to help with an espionage mission. After all, beneath her outrageously low bodice beats the heart of a patriot.
Social reformer James Burnham is conducting a study of vice in England’s capital. Driven by his own secrets, he is methodical, intelligent—and wickedly handsome. Catharine is the last sort of woman the upstanding James should want. But want her he does, though she stands for everything he opposes.
When Catharine and James are forced to band together to advance their causes, they’ll be drawn into a web of secrets and lies that endangers their lives—and their hearts.

JennyHolidayJenny Holiday started writing at age nine when her fourth grade teacher gave her a notebook and told her to start writing stories. That first batch featured mass murderers on the loose, alien invasions, and hauntings. From then on, she was always writing, often in her diary, where she liked to decorate declarations of existential angst with nail polish teardrops. Later, she channeled her penchant for scribbling into a more useful format, picking up a PhD in geography and then working in PR. Eventually, she figured out that happy endings were more fun than alien invasions. You can follow her on twitter at @jennyholi or visit her on the web at jennyholiday.com.





Spotlight!! The Improper Bride - Lily Maxton


TIB_500Title: The Improper Bride
Author: Lily Maxton
Genre: Historical romance
Cold, arrogant, and demanding Henry Eldridge, Marquess of Riverton, would never dally with a mere servant. But when Henry is injured in a horrible fire, his pretty housekeeper Cassandra nurses him back to health, throwing them together day and night. As he slowly heals from his burns, their friendship blossoms, and the class walls between them start to crumble. Cassandra is surprised by glimpses of a kind and thoughtful man beneath her employer’s hard fa├žade—and even more surprised when she develops tender feelings for him. But anything between lord and servant is impossible…and besides, as a widow, she knows love only leads to heartbreak.
Henry is changing, as well. His close brush with death has opened his eyes to his self-imposed emotional isolation…and has urgently reminded him of his duty to marry a well-bred lady and produce an heir. Determined to do right by his family name, he immediately begins searching for a suitable bride. But Cassandra is the only woman who is never far from his mind or his heart. Contrary to everything he’s been taught to believe, he realizes his lovely housekeeper might just be his perfect match. Now, if only he could convince everyone else of that. Especially Cassandra…


Lily Maxton Profile PhotoLily Maxton grew up in the Midwest, reading, writing, and daydreaming amidst cornfields. After graduating with a degree in English, she decided to put her natural inclinations to good use and embark on a career as a writer. When she’s not working on a new story, she likes to tour old houses, add to her tea stash, and think of reasons to avoid housework.
You can find Lily at www.lilymaxton.com, on Twitter (@LilyMaxton), or on Facebook (facebook.com/LilyMaxton).





Friday, 22 January 2016

Oh Ship! Tales of a Cruising Chick and Other Travel Adventures - Lori Moore


Title: OH SHIP! TALES OF A CRUISING CHICK AND OTHER TRAVEL ADVENTURES
Author: Lori Moore
Publisher: Tate Publishing
Pages: 134
Genre: Travel/Humor
Reading Lori A. Moore's true tales of things that happen on the high seas will have you saying, "Oh Ship!"  
From stories of passengers pepper-spraying other passengers to grown men fighting over glass figurines of penguins, you'll laugh until your ribs hurt.

For More Information

  • Oh Ship! Tales of a Cruising Chick and Other Travel Adventures is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
  • Watch the book trailer at YouTube.


PLEASE PASS THE BOOKS REVIEW: 

Oh Ship! is a short compilation of travel clips, written by the globetrotting Lori A Moore. Filled with bite-sized stories, Oh Ship! is less of a traditional book or travelogue, and more of a micro-story collection—easy to pick up for a quick taste of the author's experiences, and delivered with interesting quips at the end of each tale with a handy travel tip.

As a prolific traveler myself, I enjoyed some of Moore's experiences and perspective. We all view the world (and everyone in it) through different sets of eyes, and I understand the outlook will be angled based on our own personal upbringing, culture, and exposure to life outside the one we were raised in. Early on in the read I realized Oh Ship! wasn't really for me...but that doesn't mean it isn't for you. I personally found the tone of many of the stories to be a bit acerbic, to the point (sometimes) of condescension. I know the intent is to be silly and sarcastic, but it went beyond that for me. Moore's perspective rings as generally conservative (ie: some shock over nudity, correlating short haircuts to being mistaken for a lesbian, etc), and that was where I felt like I needed to jump ship.

But here's why you might not:

Oh Ship! will definitely appeal to more conventional cruisers over the backpacking explorers—as it well should. There is a great deal of difference between those who enjoy hitting "a country per day" on a dreamliner, and those who prefer to immerse themselves in a single spot for longer periods. My grandmother, a retired travel agent, has toured most of the world as a cruiser, and this is a book I would absolutely get her as a Christmas gift. For me, it didn't tickle my fancy in the same way it would her. That, again, boils down to perspective—and Lori A Moore does a pretty darn good job portraying her own in Oh Ship!.


I rate this THREE STARS, but Gran would probably give it FIVE. So let's say FOUR, shall we?

Thank you to Pump Up Your Book and the author for providing a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, which this is.
Book Excerpt:
          As security was escorting the middle-aged woman from the second floor of the formal dining room, my friends overheard the woman saying, “But I only maced her once!”  Curious, they followed behind and sat nearby to eavesdrop on the conversation while security questioned the woman whom they had just sat down in an empty lounge area. 
          Of all the things you could imagine one woman macing another woman for, what do you think this incident was over?  A man, perhaps?  Not even close.  It was over a cup of hot chocolate!  Yes, apparently this woman’s tablemate had drank her hot chocolate at dinner, so she pulled out her pepper spray and maced her with it. 
          Why it didn’t occur to the woman to just order another hot chocolate is beyond me.  What further boggles my mind is why she thought just macing someone once was so much better than having maced her multiple times. 



Book Trailer:





Lori A. Moore is an award-winning author and professor who doesn’t take herself too seriously and believes her greatest gift to be silliness.  A public speaker and consultant, Lori has four graduate degrees in business.  Lori, her husband, and their four-legged child live in Louisville, KY.  An avid traveler, she has explored much of the globe, finding and bringing silliness to all places. 
For More Information


Thursday, 21 January 2016

Face Paint: The Story of Makeup - Lisa Eldridge


Synopsis: Makeup, as we know it, has only been commercially available in the last 100 years, but applying decoration to the face and body may be one of the oldest global social practices. In Face Paint, Lisa Eldridge reveals the entire history of the art form, from Egyptian and Classical times up through the Victorian age and golden era of Hollywood, and also surveys the cutting-edge makeup science of today and tomorrow. Face Paint explores the practical and idiosyncratic reasons behind makeup's use, the actual materials employed over generations, and the glamorous icons that people emulate and how they achieved their effects. An engaging history of style, it is also a social history of women and the ways in which we can understand their lives through the prism and impact of makeup.

Review: Visually stunning with sharp, colorful images alongside famous artwork and masterful paintings, Face Paint by Lisa Eldridge is as much a fascinating picture book as it is an encyclopedia of makeup. Eldridge applies her extensive knowledge throughout with easy to read, interesting, and accessible facts and her expertise on both the how and the why. It was the history of makeup that intrigued me the most, its evolution from lead-based Elizabethan white paste, to the popular organic and mineral make-ups of today. I would recommend this book not only to beauty enthusiasts, but anyone interested in history, entertainment, fashion, and science.

I'd like to thank Net Galley and the publisher Abrams Image for providing an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion, which this is.

FIVE STARS

Amazon Link: Face Paint: The Story of Makeup



This post contains an affiliate link, which means that if you click on the Amazon link and buy the book, I may receive a commission.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

The Comedy of Everyday Life, a guest post by Nitin Deckha!

The Comedy of Everyday Life
Guest post by Nitin Deckha, author of The Real Estate of Things

I have long loved comedies. Perhaps it was due to my upbringing with its copious doses of television comedies from I Love Lucy, The Carol Burnett Show, Mary Tyler Moore and Rhoda in the 1970s to the madcap British ones piped in via PBS, such as Are You Being Served? and much later, Keeping up Appearances. In terms of international cinema, one of my favourite directors is Pedro Almodovar. I’d like to think, though, that my draw to comedy was its ability to emerge from the prosaic bits of everyday life that we all experienced in some way of other, unlike so much of the legal, criminal, medical, Sci-Fi, and AI elements that shapes today’s television drama. I also think I was fascinated by comedy’s ability to take uncomfortable contemporary issues and respond to social change in ways that were both vivid and entertaining; indeed, the comedies I mention, as I reflect now, tell the story of the transformational impact of feminism and ‘women’s voices’ and/in popular culture that has lasting effects.


I see comedic moments daily and everywhere: in my classrooms where I teach, in the mall, at the gym, at social gatherings from holiday parties to hockey arenas and certainly amongst my family members.  When I see comedic moments, I don’t necessarily mean that I burst out laughing. For me, it’s subtler than that. It’s as if through a gesture, a phrase, a behavior, something or someone makes me break into a grin which etches into my memory. I cherish those moments, not only for their ability to punctuate and refresh the fatal business of our lives but to remind me that I’m still alive and I’m still curious about the world around me. As a result, I often find these comedic moments as points of entry into the people’s lives, real and imagined that then may stir into a desire to spin a story. Indeed, my current novel, The Real Estate of Things, emerged from precisely one of these moments. I’ll say more about what inspired me to write The Real Estate of Things in a future post.


Nitin Deckha is the author of a collection of short stories, Shopping for Sabzi (2008). His fiction has been published in magazines, edited collections, and chapbooks and he has read his work across Canada, the US and India. In 2010, he was featured as part of the Canadian Writers in Person lecture series at York University, Toronto. Nitin holds a PhD in Anthropology and has taught social sciences for over a decade. More recently, he completed certification in Adult Training and Development (MCATD, CTDP) and crafts and leads learning and organizational change. He lives in Toronto. Contact him at @RealEstateofThi






Title: The Real Estate of Things
Author: Nitin Deckha
Genre: Literary Fiction

The Real Estate of Things is a comedic story about real estate, spirituality and politics in the sprawling, multicultural suburb of West York.
Fifty- ‐something Shaku Sehgal is looking for a new lease of life. With two grown kids and a supportive accountant husband who gardens, she’s followed her best friend, Neelam, into the exciting world of real estate. While she dreams of becoming the premier realtor of West York City, a position currently held by the much envied, Ruth Leslie, Shaku’s languishing at her current brokerage, SuperStar Realty.
To jumpstart her career, Shaku sneaks into a real estate conference and learns about a new redevelopment contest for a local derelict site. Part of the prize is to be an exclusive broker for the chosen new development. Shaku successfully pitches it to her brokerage, teams up with the young up- ‐and- ‐coming realtor, Jason Sevende, and they throw their hat into the contest.
Soon, Shaku and Jason find themselves competing against teams across the city, including Shaku’s friend, Neelam and the doyenne of luxury realty, Ruth Leslie. Not only that, the contest draws the attention of global spiritual guru, Chakra Sahib, and the ire of a seemingly anonymous movement protesting and threatening to derail the whole redevelopment.
Join Shaku, Jason and the band of realtors as they confront obstacles and reflect on the meanings of success, love and friendship in this epic race amongst realtors, The Real Estate of Things.


Links

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Spotlight! Kahayatle - Elle Casey


Kahayatle
Elle Casey
(Apocalypsis #1)
Publication date: June 22nd 2012
Genres: Horror, Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Young Adult
After a wedding filled with werewolves, fay, and vampires, Vicky is lookia
NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR, ELLE CASEY, brings readers Book 1 of 4 in the YA Dystopian APOCALYPSIS Series, suitable for older teens and adults. 
KAHAYATLE. My name’s Bryn Mathis. I’m seventeen years old, and I live in a neighborhood outside of Orlando, Florida. I live alone because my dad died almost a year ago, along with all the other adults in the world. I’m almost out of food and the gangs of kids that roam around my town are getting more vicious by the day. It’s time for me to leave and find another place to live … a place where I can find food and shelter … a place where they won’t be able to find me. Alone, it might have been possible, but now I’ve got company. I’m worried that I don’t have what it takes to get from here to my final destination, and I have no idea what might be waiting for me when I get there. 
Content Warning: Mild violence and some foul language. Meant for older Young Adult readers (age 15+). This book is in the Dark Science Fiction / Horror / Post-Apocalyptic genres, featuring teen characters only. 

APOCALYPSIS SERIES READING ORDER
Kahayatle (Apocalypsis Book 1) **Special introductory ebook price**
Warpaint (Apocalypsis Book 2)
Exodus (Apocalypsis Book 3)
Haven (Apocalypsis Book 4)
This series is dedicated to the amazing, wonderful Native Americans who populate our nation, continuing their traditions and reminding the rest of us that sometimes, progress isn’t always the best thing for our people. I invite you to learn more about the Miccosukee tribe, their history, culture, and lifestyle by visiting this website: http://www.miccosukee.com/indian-village/
ng forwards to a nice, quiet honeymoon away from the chaos of Darien’s daily life. But nothing is ever simple with an Ancient Vampire around.
When the Vampire Council of Hawaii finds out Darien and his new bride are coming, they are determined to see that Darien is honored properly. But vampire etiquette isn’t for the faint of heart.
The nights could burn when lines are drawn… and Darien finds himself in a turf war he never intended to start.
Currently available for FREE!


Prologue
I STUFFED THE SLEEPING BAG down into my backpack with angry, punching motions, sick and tired of having to be here and having to do the same thing over and over again. I hated camping, I hated being organized, and more than anything, I hated what this exercise stood for.
“Don’t do it like that. I told you – you have to conserve the room as best you can. You have to travel as efficiently as possible. Take it out and start over.”
“I don’t see what difference it makes.”
“Trust me, it’s going to be a really big deal to you in the not so distant future.” His voice sounded hollow.
“Says who?” I was being ornery. I knew the answer to the question already.
“Says me, Bryn. And the news. Look around, would you?” He sounded like he was pleading now. “Stop defaulting back to the rebellious young teen act, and get serious. We don’t have enough time to play those games anymore.”
“They’re not games, Dad. I am a teenager. I don’t care what the news jerks and the government say.” I threw my backpack down on the ground. “And it’s not rebellious to not want to play friggin’ survivor in the backyard every day.”
My dad looked at me with a sad expression and sighed, reaching over to pull me into a tight hug. He dropped his nose to my head and inhaled deeply.
My face was pressed up against his shirt, and I could smell his sweat mixed with the sweet scent of his aftershave. My dad always said he was the last of a dying breed, using that stuff. He couldn’t have been more right.
“Maybe it’s not going to happen here … to us.” I said it just to hear the words, but I knew it was only wishful thinking.
I could tell he was getting choked up again when he started talking, his voice now hoarse.
“I wish, more than anything else in this world, that you didn’t have to be standing here with me in this backyard playing survivor.” His whole body started to shake with silent sobs. “Oh, God, Bryn. If I could do anything to change this, anything at all, I would. I swear to God I would. But it’s happening. No one can stop it.”
I put my arms around his waist, letting go of my earlier stubborn anger, now choking back my own tears. “I know, Dad. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it.”
“Yes, you did,” he said, sniffing hard and clearing his throat, shifting to hold me at arm’s length. He was staring at me while he smiled through his tears, giving me that look. The one that always made me confess.
“Okay, so maybe I did mean it. But I’ll shut up about it for a little while.”
“Not for too long, though. You wouldn’t be my daughter if you weren’t complaining about something.”
I tried to slap him playfully but he moved too fast for me. My dad is light on his feet, an expert level-one practitioner of krav maga – a certified badass. He’d only recently taken up camping.
“Pick it up,” he ordered, now back in control of his emotions. “Do it again. Only this time, get the air out of that bag first, condense it down …”
I cut him off. “I know, I know … ‘down into the smallest footprint possible.’ Geez, Dad, I’m not an idiot.”
I shook the sleeping bag out and started rolling it up quickly, using the moves I’d been practicing for four months straight to squeeze it down into a lump the size of a small loaf of bread. I folded the whole thing in half, pushed it to the bottom of the backpack, and then let it unfold itself one time, before putting the other items in on top of it: unbreakable water bottle, half-liter of bleach, square of plastic, cup, hunting knife, and various other tools my father was quite certain I would need … once all the adults in the world had died off, leaving us kids alone to fend for ourselves.


Author Bio:
Elle Casey is a prolific, NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling American writer who lives in Southern France with her husband, three kids, and several furry friends. She writes in several genres and publishes an average of one full-length novel per month.




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Monday, 18 January 2016

Spotlight! Mayan Blood & Interlude - Theresa DaLayne

Their empires have fallen, but their mythology lives on…

Zanya Coreandero is a seventeen-year-old orphan with only a single friend and no hope for a normal life. Diagnosed with anxiety and night terrors, no one believes her cuts and bruises are a result of an evil entity, and not a brutal case of self-harm. With the only home she’s ever known being the isolated institution—where breakfast is a handful of medications, the psychiatry sessions are mandatory, and her every move is watched—the only relief is her red-haired roommate named Tara, who’s more like a little sister than her best friend. Free will is strong, but destiny is stronger… When Zanya is kidnapped, she meets a group of gifted Mayan descendants, each with a unique ability. Gone from a nameless castaway to the only hope of mankind, Zanya is forced to make a grueling decision: bond with an enchanted stone and save humanity from rising underworld forces, or watch helplessly as Earth falls victim to a familiar dark deity from her dreams. This time, he’s playing for keeps. A wicked secret hides behind a handsome face… When Arwan, a dark-eyed timebender, takes interest in Zanya's mission, it's unclear if his intention is to help, or if he's on a hell-bent mission for revenge. Wary of falling for another guy with major secrets and a tainted past, Zanya fights to keep her distance. If only her heart gave her a choice.





Dropped in Moscow with a the group of enchanted Mayan descendants, seventeen-year-old Tara is forced to wait on the sideline while her best friend—the Stone Guardian— battles to reclaim a friend’s soul trapped in the underworld. It sucks being ordinary when everyone else is superhuman… A mortal girl with a tainted past, Tara is left to deal with an overwhelming sense of inadequacy. Her boyfriend, Peter, is a healer. Her best friend is The Guardian, and everyone else is a powerhouse of awesome strengths. Meanwhile, she struggles to leave her childhood of abuse in the past, and while Peter picks her up every time she falls, it becomes clear he deserves better. When they opened Pandora’s Box, hell came pouring out… When she’s given a chance to aid in the group’s mission, Tara is eager to pull her own weight, even if it means uncovering buried memories of being held prisoner by the underworld general. Now haunted with flashbacks of torture, Tara wanders from the safety of Peter’s arms into a city of depravity and corruption. And amidst all this evil is a young man with an agenda of his own, who leads her down a road that will either prove she is a hero at heart, or drag her into a world she’s always feared. He wants revenge, she wants redemption. And in an underground ring of missing girls and bloody sacrifices, only the fearless can survive…

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After living her entire life in an orphan asylum, Zanya fears she may actually be losing her mind.

Following the discovery of her ancient Maya bloodlines, eighteen-year-old Zanya Coreandero is faced with a daunting responsibility. She must protect the relic stone while Sarian, the underworld general, ceaselessly drives her to the brink of insanity. With the approach of an ancient bonding ceremony, Zanya struggles to control her abilities—and her desires… As the winter solstice approaches, it brings an onslaught of unexpected side effects. While Zanya struggles to seize control over her supercharged powers, she must also face an overwhelming suspicion that her boyfriend, Arwan, is hiding a secret so dark it could destroy them both. And with her powers finally taking root, the struggle to pace their relationship takes on a life of its own. Just when she thought life couldn’t get more complicated… With the arrival of a surprise houseguest, Zanya’s deepest fears about Arwan are confirmed. And when middleworld deities intercede, the group of gifted Maya descendants are confronted with hardships they never saw coming—including an enemy more deadly than they have ever faced. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. And when that woman has no soul and a taste for revenge, they will need the powers of every surviving ancestor simply to stay alive.

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ENTIRE FIVE-BOOK SERIES COMPLETE IN APRIL 2016!

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A long-time enthusiast of things that go bump in the night, Theresa began her writing career as a journalism intern—possibly the least creative writing field out there. After her first semester at a local newspaper, she washed her hands of press releases and feature articles to delve into the whimsical world of fiction.
 
Since then, Theresa has been married, had three terrific kids, moved to central Ohio, and has been repeatedly guilt-tripped into adopting a menagerie of animals that are now members of the family. But don’t be fooled by her domesticated appearance. Her greatest love is travel. Having traveled to over a dozen countries—not to mention an extended seven-year stay in Kodiak, Alaska—she is anything but settled down. Wherever life brings her, Theresa will continue to weave tales of adventure and love with the hope her stories will bring joy and inspiration to her readers.



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Friday, 15 January 2016

Spotlight! The Lost Heir - Allison Whitmore


The Lost Heir
Allison Whitmore (with Erin Virginia & Grace Arden)
Published by: Booktrope Publishing
Publication date: December 8th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Isabella Foxworthy was just another girl…until she learned she was an empath, able to read the energy of others. A secret world known as the Violet City lies beneath her family’s hotel in Los Angeles. Through this discovery, Isabella is catapulted into a whirlwind of magic, adventure, and danger. The Violet City holds the key to protecting her stability; her family hotel, her friends, and her very sanity.
With morphlings, empaths, and fair folk also comes a powerful entity that twists her mind into knots, threatening everything she loves. Now, Isabella and her new friends—a guitar-playing jock, his gifted but neurotic brother, and a set of over-indulged twins—have until her 16th birthday to save her world with the help of someone who’s been lost for a very long time…the lost Foxworthy heir. But will they find him in time? And will he be a friend or foe?
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EXCERPT:
The sun was beginning to set and the bright day had begun to dissipate as dusk slowly fell over the Culver Hills village center, if one could really call it a village in the middle of Los Angeles. The air grew dense and musty. All the street lamps were off except one, which flickered in a slow, steady beat. Only a small number of cars cruised the road as the kids walked down Main Street toward where the Foxworthy Hotel was perched at the top of the hill. This dark stillness was not usual for this time of day. Something was off.
“Get off me!” The voice filled Isabella’s ear a block away from the hotel trolley stop. Her gut tore in two with fear. ”Give that back.”
Isabella slowed down to see Cleo marching back toward the same two bullies she’d rescued Pythian from the other day, one of whom had Xander by the shirt collar as the other was rummaging through Xander’s backpack. Cleo’s shoes lay in a clump.
“There are so many goodies in here. Gum drops. Chocolate snatches. Debbie cakes. And my personal favorite—this camcorder. Oh, wait… no. There’s a little digital camera, too. Looks like Christmas came early for us. Isn’t that right, Sloane?”
“Put my brother down, or you’ll be sorry,” Cleo shouted.
As requested, the boy shoved Xander, sending him tumbling into a nearby thorn bush. “Ahhrrk!” Cleo went straight to his side.
It looked like the kid with Xander’s backpack might consider going for Cleo’s purse, but before that could happen, the other boy, Sloane, said, “Dude, let’s get outta here.” Seth, who was bigger and taller than both of them, and Isabella, whose nostrils flared like a lion, hustled after them.
“I know those guys,” Isabella told Seth.
“Go back and stay with Cleo,” he said.
“Watch me, Superman.”
They looped around the corner as the bullies flew up the service road that led to the back of the hotel. Before they could get too far, four figures in black appeared; from where, Isabella could not tell. Two grabbed the boys. Another took Xander’s backpack. Seth and Isabella both stopped. Cold licked Isabella’s heart. Not an eerie cold, but like a soothing glass of cold lemonade on a scorching day in July.
“What do we do?” Isabella whispered.
“I would tell you to go back, but you’d just make too much noise arguing with me, so I say just shut up.”
“If you tell me to shut up one more time…”
“Not now.”
“Right.”
The two figures holding the boys seemed to melt into the darkness of the trees.
“Where the hell did they go?” Seth asked, protectively pushing Isabella behind him.
She did not fight it. She was starting to become frightened, less of the situation and more of herself. Things had been off more than usual today. For the first time since her parents’ death, she’d felt completely protected, and she wasn’t sure it was all due to the necklace she had been wearing. It was so bizarre.
She was attuned to Cleo and Xander, who were usually never around at the holidays because, like her friend Lana, their parents traveled at that time. She’d felt everything from them: Xander’s exhaustion; Cleo’s boredom and overprotectiveness of her brother. The Logan brothers, however, were different. One minute, she felt Micah’s agitation with Xander, but the next, it would grow cold. And Seth—that boy, she couldn’t get a handle on at all. The only thing she got a sense of was fierce protection, particularly for Micah, but for her as well. She really did not know why.
That was never part of it; she had never felt the direction of a person’s emotions until now. She’d never felt so hot and cold about it. The five of them, connected by a string. It made no sense. Why would she be connected to these random kids?
The two figures in black who had stayed behind whispered to each other. Seth stepped to the side, taking Isabella with him. ”We should go back.”
But he was too late. The men had spotted them and were heading their way. Neither Seth nor Isabella dared to move. In an instant, the tallest of the figures, a young man of about twenty, stood before them. His skin was a beautiful caramel color, his eyes a startling green, and his hair—Isabella saw, as he pushed the hood off his head, he had a nest of shiny curls. He wore a goatee, and his eyes drooped with intellect.
“Declan Timothy. This is Max.” He thumbed at the guy behind him. “Just wanted to give this back to the kid.”
He pushed the backpack into Isabella’s arms. Her vocal cords decided to twist into a knot, so she was unable to say thank you.
“And to tell you to be careful. Tonight is going to change things for you.”
That did it. No more evil cats holding her tongue hostage. “What the heck does that mean?”
“You’ll see. If you need us, ask Theophilus where to find us.”
“Wait a minute,” Seth said, pinning Declan with a heated gaze. “Who are you guys?”
“The Midnight Brotherhood. Be careful, Isabella. And you—make sure she listens.”
“Sure,” Seth replied.
Then they, too, faded into the night.
Seth and Isabella looked at each other, not saying a word. For some reason, words did not seem appropriate at that moment.
When they returned to their friends, Seth spoke quietly as Isabella returned Xander’s backpack to him. “Let’s go home.”
The trolley was nowhere in sight, which was more evidence to Isabella that something was not right. From the bottom of the hill, the hotel was as dim and desolate as it had appeared from the center of the village. With heavy legs, they began up the hill. They climbed the front steps and walked into the lobby. Candlelight dotted the room. Elyse was the first person to approach them; her waitress apron was undone, her hair out of place.
“Thank God you’re all right.”
“What’s going on?” Isabella asked.
“I…” Elyse burst into tears.
“Elyse, tell us now! What happened?”
Elyse wiped her face. “I don’t really know. Everything blacked out for a while. It went cold, and I got really tired. It almost felt like I fell asleep for a while, but then when I woke up, I was standing in the same place I had been before. Right inside the Lily Field ballroom. And then—”




Author Bio:
Allison Whitmore was born in Los Angeles and loves to tell good coming-of-age stories with a hint of romance. You will find her characters going on an adventure or two as well. Outside of writing, Whitmore enjoys classic films, hiking and spending time with family and friends. She loves it when fans reach out to her. You can reach her at allisonwhitmoreauthor@gmail.com, follow her on Twitter: @alli_whitmore or join her on Instagram @allisonwhitmoreauthor.


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