Monday, July 9, 2018

Book Blitz: The Changeling's Fortune by M.C. Aquila and K.C. Lannon (Excerpt + Giveaway)


Title: The Changeling's Fortune
Authors: M.C. Aquila and K.C. Lannon
Series: Winter's Blight, #1
Publication Date: May 25, 2018

Synopsis: When optimistic seventeen-year-old orphan Deirdre travels to Neo-London, a city created after a near-apocalyptic attack by Unseelie faeries, she is caught in the tension between faeries and the Iron Guard, a militarized faction created to keep the peace. After a banshee tells her fortune, Deirdre develops destructive magical abilities but quickly discovers she cannot control them. These powers soon make her a target of Alan Callaghan, an extreme anti-faery general.

His sons, Iain and James, cross paths with Deirdre. Iain is a rookie soldier in the Iron Guard trying to atone for past mistakes and keep his younger brother from harm. James, a fourteen-year-old aspiring scholar fascinated by faeries, becomes fast friends with Deirdre. They soon plot to escape the barriers and lies of the city to find answers about her magic and James’s disappeared mother.

However, when Deirdre is framed for a treasonous crime, their search for answers soon becomes a quest for freedom. Beyond the iron walls of Neo-London that protect the city from the Winter Court lies a landscape of unchecked magic, faeries, and monsters.

The Changeling’s Fortune is the first installment in the six-book YA Urban Fantasy series, Winter's Blight.

About the Authors: M. C. Aquila graduated from Winthrop University with a degree in English. She grew up in Pittsburgh, PA but currently resides in South Carolina. When she is not co-writing the Winter's Blight series, she tutors both native and ESL students in English, giving her a renewed love for the strange wonderfulness of the language. She also enjoys drawing daily, baking recklessly, hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains, searching for the best red wine in existence, and reading any story with a villain she loves to hate.


K.C. Lannon graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts in English. When she is not co-writing the Winter's Blight book series, she tutors English, walks dogs, and dabbles in painting, drawing, or just making a general mess on paper. She enjoys cooking vegetarian meals, daydreaming she is a Gothic Heroine, and playing tabletop RPGs.




Excerpt:

Kallista Callaghan had heard the rumors: there was a faery in the Neo-London Hospital. In all her years of working as a nurse, she had never had a faery patient before. She was determined to see if there was any stock in the whispers that circulated the building. If what she heard was true, then Kallista had to act quickly.

Where are you, Marko? You’re late…

She tapped her foot impatiently and gazed out the wall of windows at the cityscape while she waited. A spring shower dotted the windows with rain, distorting the view of the city that had once been known as Portsmouth forty years ago, built up into a grand city that mirrored its namesake in small ways. The lights of Neo-London winked in the darkness, and the city was quiet. The maternity ward was also absent the usual cries of pain, cries of joy, cries of relief. Tonight only one infant was delivered. Tonight there was only stunned silence.

Hearing footsteps, Kallista looked up to see Marko, a fellow nurse, walk down the hallway to meet her, still in his hospital scrubs despite his shift having ended.

“I was about to go in without you,” Kallista informed him.

He placed his hand on her shoulder, squeezing reassuringly. “Maybe you shouldn’t go in at all. Maybe you should go home to your husband and son, Kalli. Don’t get mixed up in this.”

“So what they’re saying is true.” Kallista rubbed her hands furiously on the front of her scrubs as sweat bloomed on her palms.

Marko nodded. “Supposedly, the mother threw half the staff against the wall when she went into labor—without even touching them. It was magic.”

“What business does a faery have at a maternity ward? They have their own healers, their own ways of doing things.”

“The father is human,” Marko answered. “You might’ve heard of both parents, actually. Aino and Oliver Windsor. They were just on the radio the other night, pushing for faery protection laws.”

Kallista’s eyes widened, and she nodded in understanding. This was not the first time she had heard of such a thing, a faery and a human marrying, but it was rare. She knew of the Windsor couple and of their outspoken criticism of the military system, only because her husband had been fighting against their proposals for years. Oliver’s relation to the king, his cousin, protected the couple’s objections.

“Do you really want to get involved?” Marko asked. “Chances are, we’ll have to smuggle the infant out of the city to get medical attention.”

“I told you before,” Kallista said. “I want to help.”

For several years, Marko had also been practicing medicine outside the hospital, offering his services to those who could not afford it. While he rarely brought up faeries around her, Kallista knew that his help often extended to them—even though human medicine could not help much in some cases. Still, Kallista wanted to be a part of that.

Marko smiled at her faintly. “You have a family. People who need you. People who would hate to see you in prison.”

She took his hand. “You have family too.”

“Not one that depends on me.” Marko gently pried her hand away; she pretended not to notice. A few of Marko’s relatives still lived in Neo-London after the government policies forced most of the Roma and Travellers away. His mother and father and a few cousins remained.

He looked her in the eye. “Kallista, are you sure?”

“I will see the baby. Then I will decide if I will help or not.” But she already knew her answer.

Giveaway:

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-Kristen ♥

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Blog Tour: Kiss of the Royal by Lindsey Duga (Teaser + Giveaway)


Title: Kiss of the Royal
Author: Lindsey Duga
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: July 3, 2018

Synopsis: In the war against the Forces of Darkness, the Royals are losing. Princess Ivy is determined to end this centuries-long conflict once and for all, so her new battle partner must succeed where the others failed. Prince Zach’s unparalleled skill with a sword, enhanced by Ivy’s magic Kiss, should make them an unstoppable pair—but try convincing Zach of that.

Prince Zach has spent his life preparing for battle, but he would rather be branded a heretic than use his lips as nothing more than a way to transfer magic. A kiss is a symbol of love, and love is the most powerful weapon they have—but try convincing Ivy of that.

With the fate of their world on the line, the battlefield has become a testing ground, and only one of them can be right. Falling for each other wasn’t part of the plan—but try convincing their hearts of that.

About the Author: Lindsey Duga is a middle grade and young adult writer with a passion for fantasy, science fiction, and basically any genre that takes you away from the real world. She wrote her first novel in college while she was getting her bachelor’s in Mass Communication from Louisiana State University. Other than writing and cuddling with her morkie puppy, Delphi, Lindsey loves catching up on the latest superhero TV show and practicing yoga.


Teaser:


Giveaway:

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-Kristen ♥

Monday, July 2, 2018

Book Blitz: Game of Secrets by Kim Foster (Excerpt + Giveaway)



Title: Game of Secrets
Author: Kim Foster
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Publication Date: July 3, 2018

Synopsis: Felicity Cole sells flowers in the streets of Victorian London to feed herself and her young brother. But she has a close-guarded secret—her brother is a Tainted, born with special abilities that society fears and a shadowy organization called the Hunstsmen scours the country to eliminate. When Felicity becomes the target of one of these individuals, she discovers something horrible: she’s Tainted, too.

Rescued by a mysterious gentleman on the eve of execution, she's whisked away to a school funded by Queen Victoria, established to train selected Tainted into assassins in service of the crown.

Struggling to harness her incredible strength, speed, and agility, and despised by her classmates, all she wants is to use her new position to find a cure so she can be normal and reunited with her brother.

But with the Golden Jubilee fast approaching and the discovery that there’s a traitor in their midst, she has no choice but to embrace the one thing she’s been fighting all along.


About the Author: Kim Foster is the author of the Agency of Burglary & Theft series for adults and GAME OF SECRETS, her YA debut. She has a typical background for someone who writes thrillers about thieves and spies and criminals: she has a degree in medicine and is a practicing family doctor. (Don’t worry, it doesn’t make much sense to her friends and family, either.) She's addicted to yoga, loves to travel, and has a clinical weakness for dark chocolate with sea salt. She lives with her husband and their two young sons in Victoria, British Columbia.


Excerpt:

Movement around me slows. The mist from the horses’ nostrils hangs suspended in the air. Carriage wheels on cobbles and the bells from St. Paul’s Cathedral sound stifled—dampened and low.

I see everything at once. Time bends, curving around me.

Locals and customers cower in the market, screams frozen on their faces. They crouch behind carts. A surge goes to my muscles and somehow I know—I just know—I can do impossible things. I am not thinking. I am pure rage. A deep burning takes hold of my bones.

I reach Kit’s murderer in a heartbeat. Impossibly fast. Before he can fire his pistol again, I punch forward, catching him square in the throat. His eyes pop wide. I chop the hand that holds the gun and it skitters away on the ground. He staggers. I punch him again, smashing his nose, and blood spurts everywhere. I kick at his knees, sending him to the ground. I don’t know what I’m doing, or how I’m doing it, only that it’s coming from somewhere deep inside.

Everything around me is slow, like it’s moving through water. Sliding like molasses. But I am a spark. Fire. Lightning.

I hear the report of a gun—a dull, low rumble, not the sharp crack it should be—and I have time to spin. The bullet tears from the footman’s weapon in a plume of smoke. But I don’t feel the sharp agony of the shot. Instead, I see the bullet as it comes toward me. It moves through the air trailing a spiraling smoke wisp behind it like a comet. I slide out of the way, ducking easily underneath it.

With a slow, deep thud it slams harmlessly into a vegetable cart behind me, smashing into the cabbages and sending a fountain of dusty hay into the air.

And now the footman is mine.

Giveaway:
- One winner will receive a $20 Amazon eGift Card
- Open internationally, Ends July 5th

a Rafflecopter giveaway

-Kristen ♥

Friday, June 29, 2018

Blog Tour: Moonlight Seduction by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Excerpt)


Title: Moonlight Seduction
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: de Vincent, #2
Publisher: Avon Books
Publication Date: June 26, 2018

Synopsis: The de Vincent brothers are back—and so is the intrigue that surrounds them—in New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout’s sizzling new novel...

Nicolette Bresson never thought she’d return to the de Vincents’ bayou compound. It’s where her parents work, where Nikki grew up... and where she got her heart broken by Gabriel de Vincent himself. Yet here she is, filling in for her sick mother. Avoiding Gabe should be easy, especially when so much of Nikki’s time is spent trying not to be stabbed in the back by the malicious hangers-on who frequent the mansion. But escaping memories of Gabe, much less his smoking-hot presence, is harder than expected—especially since he seems determined to be in Nikki’s space as much as possible.

Gabriel spent years beating himself up over his last encounter with Nikki. He’d wanted her then, but for reasons that were bad for both of them. Things have now changed. Gabe sees more than a girl he’s known forever; he sees a smart, talented, and heartbreakingly beautiful woman... one who’s being stalked from the shadows. Now, Gabe will do anything to keep Nikki safe—and to stop the de Vincent curse from striking again.


About the Author: # 1 NEW YORK TIMES Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. She spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.


Excerpt:

He moved forward, maybe a foot or two, but stopped like one would if they were approaching a rabid dog. A heartbeat passed. “Your hair . . .” He tilted his head to the side. “It’s different.”

“Yeah, it is.” Her hair used to be a rather dull medium brown, but then she found this amazing hair stylist in Tuscaloosa and turned her brown hair into this array of blondes and browns, using some weird technique called balayage. “It’s basically just highlights and stuff.”

“Stuff.”

His gaze flickered over the bun. Uncomfortable, she scanned the kitchen. “And my hair is longer. A lot longer.”

His brows lifted.

Was she really telling him the length of her hair? This was the most strained conversation she’d ever had in her life. And that was, well, it was sad. She peeked at him. It used to not be this way. Back before . . . well, before she ruined everything, he’d be teasing her and asking about her college. He’d be talking to her like he could actually stand being in the same room with her.

She needed this conversation to be over like it was yesterday and she also needed to figure out how she could work here and not run into Gabe. The house was big enough that it should be possible. “I need to get back to—”

“Planting your face against the over door?”

Her shoulders slumped. “Actually, I need to finish the potatoes. So, if you’ll excuse me.” She started to turn away, praying that he’d just leave.

“That’s it? That’s all you have to say to me? Because I have a lot I need to say to you,” he said. “Never in a million years did I think I’d see you here again.” Nikki’s spine stiffened like steel had been poured into it. Oh God. Her throat spasmed.

“We need to talk.”

No we don’t,” she said quickly. “We do not need to talk about anything.”

“Bullshit,” he snapped, and his voice was so much closer that she turned to him on instinct.

Gabe was now at the edge of the massive island, only two or three feet from her. She stepped back into the counter. Her heart thundered in her chest as her gaze flicked to the kitchen door.

“No one is coming near here,” he said as if reading her mind. Her gaze flew back to his. “Dev is in his office on the second floor, in a meeting and your father is out with the landscaper. No one is going to hear us.”

A weird mixture of sensations assaulted her. One was a chill that skated down her spine. The other was a tight, hot shiver that danced over her skin.

Gabe kept coming at her, not stopping until he was right in front of her, separated by a few inches. She sucked in air, catching the crisp, clean scent of his cologne. It reminded her of storms, of that night.

That was the last thing she wanted to be reminded of.

Like his brother, he was a good head and then some taller than her, so right now, her eyes were fastened to his chest.

Thank God he was wearing a shirt.

“I . . . I don’t want to talk,” she managed to say.

“I do.”

“Gabe—”

“You owe me this.”

Her body jerked as she pressed her lips together. He was right. She owed him a conversation. “Okay.”
There was another beat of silence and then he asked in a voice so low she almost didn’t believe she heard him right.

“Did I hurt you that night?”

__________________________________

-Kristen ♥

Blog Tour: A Cowboy's Sweetheart by Crista McHugh (Excerpt + Giveaway)


Title: A Cowboy's Sweetheart
Author: Crista McHugh
Series: Rodeo Academy, #1
Publication Date: June 25, 2018

Synopsis: Pampered New York Socialite and dressage rider, Kensington Pope, has been exiled by her jet-setting parents to her aunt’s Rodeo Academy in Wyoming. She wants nothing to do with the rough and tumble students there, especially one particularly handsome cowboy, Javier. But she won’t be there for long. She has a plan in place to break out after her next international competition.

Javier Cruz takes one look at the spoiled city girl and instantly dismisses her. The school of tough knocks has already educated him on what the important things in life are, and he has bigger things on his plate. He’s counting down the days until his eighteenth birthday when he can pull his younger siblings from the foster care program and reunite his family. But as he gets to know Kensi, he sees a kindred spirit and discovers there’s more to her than meets the eye.

Kensi begins to question her desire to flee the ranch as her relationship to Javier deepens and she learns the importance of family. But when he discovers her escape plan, will he be able to trust her again? And when tragedy comes to the ranch, will Kensi be able to step up and take her place in the family?

About the Author: Crista McHugh is a NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY BESTSELLING author of fantasy and romance with heroines who are smart, sexy, and anything but ordinary. She also writes fantasy with less kissing and a lot more action as C. A. McHugh. She currently lives in the Tesla-filled suburbs of Seattle with her husband and two children, maintaining her alter ego of mild-mannered physician on the weekends.


Excerpt:

The clock on the hand-me-down microwave read 2:43 a.m. Dawn was still a few hours away, but it was rise and shine time for him. Once again, his sleep had been cut short.

Javier poured a glass of water and had guzzled half of it when he noticed a light on in the horse barn.

His gut clenched. There was no reason for anyone to be in there at this time of night.

He slid his feet into the pair of boots he kept by the door, not bothering to grab a shirt to protect him from the chilly night air. Even though they were miles away from the main roads and any neighbors, it wouldn’t keep some no-good thief from prowling the ranch. Bobby and Tammy’s horses were as much rodeo champions as their riders were, and people around these parts knew it.

He sprinted toward the barn, slowing his steps as he neared it to stay as silent as possible. The last thing he wanted was trouble, but as Bobby always said, “If you’re going to get into a scuffle, make sure the odds are in your favor.” He shook out his muscles like a boxer preparing to enter the ring, pressed his body against the outer wall, and peered over his shoulder into the barn so he could gauge his opponent.

Only, instead of the horse wranglers he’d been expecting, it was the new girl.

Kensi was wearing skin-tight shorts that outlined her tempting behind, a thin-strapped tank top that exposed plenty of tantalizing skin, and flip-flops. But as much as her appearance threatened to send his hormones into overdrive, he realized he was witnessing something else.

She stood outside of her horse’s corral, rubbing the bay’s nose for what seemed like half a minute before saying, “I wish there was some way to make this easier. I know I don’t belong here, and everyone else here knows it, too.”

Gone was the snooty rich city girl who lorded over everyone like an ice princess. In her place was someone scared and uncertain. The note of yearning in her voice pulled at something deep inside his chest. He knew what it felt like to be an outsider. He’d been treated like one for most of his life. It wasn’t until Bobby brought him to the Double Buckle Ranch that he finally felt like he was home.

“Thank you for listening,” she added before throwing her arms around the horse’s neck.

The horse appeared to return her affection by resting his chin along her back and giving her a comforting nicker.

Kensi pulled back and smiled. “You’re my best friend, Westley, and I promise I won’t let anything happen to you.”

The horse tossed his head as though he was agreeing with her.

Kensi produced some sort of treat for Westley and fed it to him. “Rest up. We have a grueling day of practice tomorrow,” she said before turning in Javier’s direction.

Javier ducked out of sight, his heart beating even faster than before. It was one thing to take on a thief or a trespasser. He knew he would be in the right in those kinds of scenarios and could, therefore, stand his ground with a clear conscience. But spying on such an intimate moment between Kensi and her horse felt wrong, like he was intruding on something he had no business being a part of.

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

-Kristen ♥

Cover Reveal: We Told Six Lies by Victoria Scott

Title: We Told Six Lies
Author: Victoria Scott
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: March 5, 2019

Synopsis: Remember how many lies we told, Molly? It’s enough to make my head spin. You were wild when I met you, and I was mad for you. But then something happened. And now you’re gone. 

But don’t worry. I’ll find you. I just need to sift through the story of us to get to where you might be. I’ve got places to look, and a list of names.

The police have a list of names, too. See now? There’s another lie. There is only one person they’re really looking at, Molly.

And that’s yours truly.

About the Author: Victoria Scott is the acclaimed author of nine novels including FIRE & FLOOD, THE COLLECTOR, and the upcoming WE TOLD SIX LIES (January 2019). Victoria’s books have been YALSA-nominated, have appeared on the prestigious Spirit of Texas Reading Program, and have been included on Bank Street College of Education's Best Books of the Year list. She’s been featured in USA Today, Girls’ Life Magazine, and Glitter Magazine, and her stories have been translated and sold in fourteen countries across the world. Victoria is also the owner and founder of Scribbler, the only subscription box for writers, which has been featured as a best box for creatives by BuzzFeed. Victoria holds a master’s degree in business management, and plans to expand Scribbler into an all-inclusive resource for novelists.


AND NOW, for the beautiful cover....


-Kristen ♥

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Release Blitz: Moonlight Seduction by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Teaser)


Title: Moonlight Seduction
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: de Vincent, #2
Publisher: Avon Books
Publication Date: June 26, 2018

Synopsis: The de Vincent brothers are back—and so is the intrigue that surrounds them—in New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout’s sizzling new novel...

Nicolette Bresson never thought she’d return to the de Vincents’ bayou compound. It’s where her parents work, where Nikki grew up... and where she got her heart broken by Gabriel de Vincent himself. Yet here she is, filling in for her sick mother. Avoiding Gabe should be easy, especially when so much of Nikki’s time is spent trying not to be stabbed in the back by the malicious hangers-on who frequent the mansion. But escaping memories of Gabe, much less his smoking-hot presence, is harder than expected—especially since he seems determined to be in Nikki’s space as much as possible.

Gabriel spent years beating himself up over his last encounter with Nikki. He’d wanted her then, but for reasons that were bad for both of them. Things have now changed. Gabe sees more than a girl he’s known forever; he sees a smart, talented, and heartbreakingly beautiful woman... one who’s being stalked from the shadows. Now, Gabe will do anything to keep Nikki safe—and to stop the de Vincent curse from striking again.


About the Author: # 1 NEW YORK TIMES Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. She spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.


Teaser:

-Kristen ♥

Release Day Blitz: Quinsey Wolfe's Glass Vault by Candace Robinson (Excerpt + Trailer + Giveaway)


Title: Quinsey Wolfe's Glass Vault
Author: Candace Robinson
Series: Glass Vault, #1
Publisher: June 26, 2018
Publication Date: The Parliament House

Synopsis: Some see it… Some don’t…

People in the town of Deer Park, Texas are vanishing. There is a strange museum, known as Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault, that appears overnight. Perrie Madeline’s best friend and ex-boyfriend are among the missing. Perrie and her friend August go on a pursuit for them in the mysterious museum. Could the elusive Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault have anything to do with the disappearances?

Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault is the start of a thrilling duology full of magic, danger, and romance.

About the Author: Candace Robinson spends her days consumed by words. When she's not writing stories, she maintains a book review blog—Literary Dust. Her life consists of avoiding migraines, admiring Bonsai trees, and living with her husband and daughter in Texas—where it can be forty degrees one day and eighty the next.


Excerpt:

Maisie takes Oak Street, which I have always found ironic. The street is lined on both sides with tall trees, each one reaching toward the other as if longing for their touch. For a town called Deer Park, I have seen more trees on a street corner than actual deer. Not. One. Single. Deer.

Suddenly, Maisie slams on the brakes and my chest strikes hard against the seat belt. Then I smash back into the seat just as hard. The only thing I can think is, are my organs still intact? Seriously, they feel like they’re bleeding profusely.

“What the hell?” August and I say at the exact same time. Maisie is staring across the street to the left.

“Look!” she exclaims.

Now I see what Maisie is pointing at. Across from us stands an enormous stone building, unbelievably tall, and its walls are lined with huge rocks all along the base. Among the rocks, it appears there are absolutely no windows of any kind. The entrance has an archway that frames one of the tallest wooden doors I have ever seen. It’s creepily unusual.

“Impossible,” I breathe.

“This has never been here before.” August appears flabbergasted.

He’s right. He’s beyond right. There’s no way this place was just magically built overnight. Even if it were possible, it’s obviously old. It has to be over a hundred years old.

“Maybe we never really noticed it before.” Maisie unbuckles herself and opens the car door, completely taken by the sight of this building.

I throw my hands up hysterically and wave my hands around like a lunatic. “Never noticed it before? This giant stone mansion?”

“Perrie has a point, Maisie.” August stares up at the building in shock.

Hesitantly, I step out of the car and August follows. We walk around to stand beside Maisie, completely speechless as we continue our staring marathon at the place. It’s really an unusual structure to be sitting in the middle of our town. One would think something like this would have drawn major attention from the locals.

“We should investigate!” Maisie is moving before either of us can protest.

“Just a quick look,” I say, falling into step beside her, fingers itching with curiosity.

We walk to the door at a leisurely pace, as if we have all night to see what’s going on. As we inch closer to the arched doorway, where overgrown grass meets a block of cement, two things pop into my line of sight. First, there’s a plaque on the door that reads:

Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault 

It’s written in an elegant, yet outdated script.

Maisie tilts her head to the side, skeptical of the plaque. “Not sure what a glass vault is.”

I point at a sign to the right of the door. Moving closer to see what it says, I read it aloud:

The illustrious Quinsey Wolfe presents a wonder of the world, a true sight to behold in his infamous glass museum. A forewarning to onlookers and wonderers, beware of your imagination and curiosity. This is not for the faint of heart.

Trailer:



Giveaway:

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-Kristen ♥

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Blog Tour: Dive Smack by Demetra Brodsky (Excerpt + Giveaway)


Title: Dive Smack
Author: Demetra Brodsky
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: June 19, 2018

Synopsis: Theo Mackey only remembers one thing for certain about the fire that destroyed his home: he lit the match.

Sure, it was an accident. But the blaze killed his mom and set his dad on a path to self-destruction. Everything else about that fateful night is full of gaping holes in Theo’s mind, for good reason. Maybe it’s better that way. As captain of the Ellis Hollow Diving Team, with straight A's and solid friends, he's only one semester away from securing a scholarship, and leaving his past behind.

But when a family history project gets assigned at school, new memories come rushing to the surface, memories that make him question what he really knows about his family, the night of the fire, and if he can trust anyone—including himself.

About the Author: Demetra Brodsky is an award-winning graphic designer & art director turned writer. She has a B.F.A from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and lives in Southern California with her family of four and two lovable rescue dogs. Dive Smack, her debut novel, is dedicated to Pumpkin, the monarch butterfly she once saved from the brink of death. Once you read the book, you’ll understand why. She is a first generation Greek-American and a member of International Thriller Writers. Dive Smack is a 2018 Junior Library Guild Selection.


Excerpt:

I wipe my arms dry with a shammy and rub my feet across the springboard’s pebbled surface. Diving is also like slipping through a door into another world. Everything goes hush quiet after entry, and for a few seconds I can pretend life is back to normal. Mom is watching, Dad is watching. And all is right with the world. But reaching that door in just the right way takes practice, hours of twisting and turning just to whoosh through that addictive portal for less than a minute.

“You need more height,” Chip announces.

I didn’t see him coming and the surprise of his voice makes me circle my arms for balance so I don’t fall into the pool. “I’m already six feet tall.”

“Hilarious.” He straddles a lounge chair by the edge of his family’s pool and takes a seat. “You need another six inches on your flight if you want to make the last twist.”

“How long have you been out here watching?”

“Long enough to see you eat shit on your last two dives. Where’s your girlfriend? You know my mom would freak if you got hurt.”

I fling the shammy over a diving rail and search for his dog from my 3-meter height advantage. “She was here a minute ago. Maybe she saw you coming and gave up her post to look for a bone.”

“Or she got tired of watching you almost crack your skull open.”

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

-Kristen ♥

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Book Blitz: The Final Lesson by Shakyra Dunn (Excerpt + Giveaway)


Title: The Final Lesson
Author: Shakyra Dunn
Series: The Final Lesson, #1
Publication Date: June 13, 2018

Synopsis: "Trust none but yourself."

Leilana Erovina's got a bid for power as she takes the final test to become one of her realm's Warlords. As such, she sets out to travel the lands of Adrylis and log magical totems from respectful folk with only one hitch—no ancestral help. The quest is a pilgrimage to learn the basics of human nature. Some would call concepts like gentleness and passion fables of the heart.

In another perspective, war brews in the kingdom of Linmus, throwing Adrylis into chaos. Prince Remiel Vesarus finds himself in exile, vengeance on his mind for those who tore his life asunder. His attendant Solus Brenner at his side, they plan on restoring their kingdom against all odds.

Fate has drawn these two parties together. Conjoined at the hip, the traveler, prince and right-hand will learn the old saying of magic: "It always comes with a price."

About the Author: Shakyra Dunn can't stray away from the impression that there is always an adventure around every corner! When she isn’t playing the role of the Creator, she is marching through the worlds of her favorite video game characters or taking drives around her city to see the sights. Born in Chicago, Illinois, she currently resides in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, striving to experience more than the little town.


Excerpt:

“U-Um, Leilana?” Leilana glanced up, finding the girl with lavender hair reaching the middle of her back, her bangs covering her forehead, nearly reaching her cerulean eyes. Her cheeks were coated pink, rivaling the shade of her knee-length dress. “There aren’t, um… there’s only a few of us left. Do you want to pair up?”

“Sure thing, uh…” Leilana glanced up at the sky in thought before holding up a finger in realization. “It’s Amelia, right?”

“Amiria,” she corrected sharply, her face reddening more at the affliction of her voice. Sure, the pronunciation had its similarities, but the syllables differed. And that passion of wanting her name to stick was working its wonders in Leilana’s mind. “Amiria Farone.”

“Sorry, sorry,” Leilana interjected, waving a hand in dismissal. “Didn’t mean to upset you.”

“O-Oh!” Amiria held up both hands and took a step back from Leilana, trembling a bit. “It’s fine, you didn’t! I-I’m sorry if I made it seem like I was angry, I’m really not, I promise-”

“Hey now, Amiria, no need to be so scared.” Kindall wrapped an arm around the girl’s shoulders, smirking. “Lei doesn’t bite, not usually.” Amiria held her arms behind her back and turned her head to keep from looking him in the eye.

“It’s Leilana,” Leilana said abruptly. “Not Lei, not Leila, it is Leilana. Live it, learn it, love it.”

Kindall raised an eyebrow at her words as he set Amiria free and allowed her to run off towards Hinju to prepare for her own duel. “Geez, no need to be so crabby. It was just a little fun with friends.”

“We aren’t friends, Kindall.” He jumped back at the proclamation. “We’re students at the same school fighting for the same goal. That doesn’t make us friends, does it?”

“Well, I, uh… I guess not…? But don’t you think it’s better for everyone that we tried to get along and be friends? You’re right, we’re all fighting for the same goal. Some of us are going to be Warlords someday, and we can all support each other until we get there. Right?” Leilana pondered his words before she cleared her throat.

“…I’m sorry. I’ve got a match.” She stepped past him, and Kindall stared at her back a moment longer before sighing, reclaiming his spot on one of the logs.

“You really are just a kid after all,” Kindall mumbled.

Leilana stood opposite Amiria, revealing her grimoire for her opponent to view. Amiria clutched the silver flute in her hands for dear life but kept her attention on the girl and even managed to narrow her eyes to try and stir up some intimidation.

“Come to think of it,” Lancett whispered to Kindall, “I’ve never seen Amiria fight before. She doesn’t seem like she’d hurt a fly.”

“No, she doesn’t,” Kindall replied, retaining focus on the two. “But Amiria has skills that a lot of people don’t understand.”

“Begin!”

Leilana rapidly flipped through the pages of her grimoire and an array of fireballs shot out at the girl. Amiria put the flute up to her lips and closed her eyes, playing out a small melody on the instrument before reflecting the magic back in Leilana’s direction. Leilana side-stepped out of the way, her eyes darting between the singed grass and Amiria herself, who was starting up another melody on her flute. She scoffed before flipping through the grimoire, stopping on a page, mumbling a scripture.

From the book, a pair of teeming hands cloaked in shadows emerged, grabbing the flute from Amiria’s grasp and snapping it in half before her very eyes. Amiria blinked away the tears starting up as she stared at her destroyed instrument, collecting the fractured pieces. With each passing second, her eyes grew dark and clouded. Leilana outstretched her right palm, sending the hands propelling towards her. Before they could reach her, Amiria inhaled deeply and closed her eyes, belting out a single high note in a pitch of middle C.

The single note, prolonged over several seconds, caused the hands to shatter away. Leilana froze as the note progressed, the ground around her beginning to tremble before giving way under her. She let out a shriek as the chasm opened, reaching out a hand as she fell. Amiria gasped when she realized what was occurring, covering her mouth with both hands.

“Leilana!” Lancett raced forward, sliding on his side as he ran, grabbing her by the arm. Several other students rushed to his aide, helping the girl out of the chasm. Leilana laid a hand on her chest, finding it difficult to regain herself, her frame quivering from shock. Lancett gently placed both hands on her shoulders, forcing her to face him. “Are you all right?”

“Y-Yeah, just… just a little shaken up…”

He bowed his head, hands still on her shoulders, sighing heavily. “Good. I’m glad.” Hinju was still in a bit of shock himself, his gaze reflected on Amiria now, who continued to put the pieces together in her mind about what she had done. After coming to his senses, he held up his staff, moving stalagmites of the earth back into place to mend the open crater, sealing it shut.

“I-I… I am so sorry, Leilana!” Amiria choked out, taking one step back after another. “I-I don’t… I don’t know what happened, I just…! I’m sorry!”

“It’s okay,” Leilana replied softly. “I’m not dead or anything.”

“B-But-”

“Hey, don’t beat yourself up over it,” she interjected, “Don’t worry. I’m fine. I promise.” Leilana heaved a sigh. “Okay, maybe not completely true, I’m a little bummed that I lost so terribly, and so fast. After all that work I put into learning the concepts of the Lasette…” 

“Remember what Master said,” Lancett told her, smirking. “It’s all a learning experience. You can definitely do better next time.” She averted her gaze from him.

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-Kristen ♥
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