Monday, October 15, 2018

Nerd Blast: The Lantern's Ember by Colleen Houck (Excerpt + Giveaway)


Title: The Lantern's Ember
Author: Colleen Houck
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: September 11, 2018

Synopsis: Welcome to a world where nightmarish creatures reign supreme.

Five hundred years ago, Jack made a deal with the devil. It’s difficult for him to remember much about his mortal days. So, he focuses on fulfilling his sentence as a Lantern—one of the watchmen who guard the portals to the Otherworld, a realm crawling with every nightmarish creature imaginable. Jack has spent centuries jumping from town to town, ensuring that nary a mortal—or not-so-mortal—soul slips past him. That is, until he meets beautiful Ember O’Dare.

Seventeen, stubborn, and a natural-born witch, Ember feels a strong pull to the Otherworld. Undeterred by Jack’s warnings, she crosses into the forbidden plane with the help of a mysterious and debonair vampire—and the chase through a dazzling, dangerous world is on. Jack must do everything in his power to get Ember back where she belongs before both the earthly and unearthly worlds descend into chaos.

About the Author: New York Times Bestselling Author Colleen Houck is a lifelong reader whose literary interests include action, adventure, science fiction, and romance. Formerly a student at the University of Arizona, she worked as a nationally certified American Sign Language interpreter for seventeen years before switching careers to become an author. Colleen lives in Salem, Oregon, with her husband and a huge assortment of plush tigers.


Excerpt:

CHAPTER 1: CROSSROADS 

Jack sat on top of the covered bridge in his favorite spot, his arm draped over his carved pumpkin. The gourd wasn’t his first choice to house the ember of his immortality, but then again, he’d never really been given a choice.

It wasn’t the first time he’d heard of foolish men who’d made deals with the devil. During every scary story he’d been told as a child on long winter nights, he’d clutched his covers to his throat imagining frightening specters, red demons, or wicked- clawed ghouls looming out of swaying shadows, ready to snatch up unmindful children and trick them with beguiling words. His imagination never came close to the truth. And he’d certainly never envisioned those devils walking earth as mere men, dressed as pirates, storing stolen souls in harvest vegetables.

The devil who’d conscripted him five hundred years ago was named Rune. Jack barely remembered the town he was attempting to save by negotiating with Rune, or the boy he’d been when he’d done it. Now all the villagers were long dead. But not Jack. He wasn’t so lucky. Instead, Jack was stuck in a monotonous job, the same job Rune once had. And Jack had the pleasure of looking forward to another five hundred years of doing exactly the same thing day in and day out.

It wasn’t like the job was too difficult. It was mostly quiet, but when it wasn’t, he did everything from exporting entire herds of gremlins, to clearing caves full of werewolves, to capturing a flock of Otherworld bats. Jack had even done the highly dangerous job of evicting a nest of half- breed vampires from an underground necropolis, entirely on his own.

Admittedly, the swaggering pirate Rune had come to Jack’s aid a time or two, helping him avert what could have been disasters. But Jack quickly learned he didn’t appreciate how Rune handled mortals. Too many of them died or went insane under his care.

Eventually, Jack ended up at his current assignment, a quiet New England town called Hallowell that butted up against one of the most boring, sleepy crossroads in the entirety of the Otherworld. Rune had probably thought Jack would complain about the placement, but the town was pretty, if small. There were plenty of large oaks and maples, elms and dogwood trees to offer him shade during the day. And in the fall the colors were beautiful. There was something to be said for a quiet life.

It was lonely, but Jack was used to being alone.

He was about to summon his horse so he could ride through the forest while the red, orange, and yellow fall leaves rained down upon his head, when he heard a noise.

“Must you sit all the way up there?” Rune groused, emerging from the covered bridge and looking up at him. Smoke trailed in after the large man, pooling around his polished boots and caressing his ankles with long fingers. Stepping forward, Rune peeled off black leather gloves and stroked his short, boxed beard, shaved in thin lines and curls. “Someone could get past you before you could intervene. Besides, I hate craning my neck to have a conversation.”

Jack shrugged. “I like keeping my pumpkin far from the road, so there’s no risk it could get trampled on. Besides, I’d hear someone long before they got close.” Jack’s pumpkin never aged or decomposed, but it could be broken, and that made his soul vulnerable.

“Yes.” Rune fingered his firefly- shaped earring, a far better choice of vessels for a lantern to hide his ember than a fat orange gourd. He smiled up at Jack. The shaggy hair that slipped from his careless queue hung down to his shoulders, dark, except for a white streak that fell across his eyes. “I suppose, then, that’s a wise choice.”

“What do you want, Rune?” Jack asked.

“There’s been a rumor.”

“About?”

“Your town. It would seem a witch wind is blowing and it’s coming from your crossroad.”

My crossroad?” Jack said, leaping down with his pumpkin and landing easily next to Rune, feeling thin and pale next to Rune’s sun- kissed tan and deep- V silk shirt. “Are you certain?”

All the lanterns were apprised when a witch wind blew. The Lord of the Otherworld gathered winds from the mortal world in a great funnel. Most of the time, the winds blowing through the crossroads were normal, but every so often, a special wind blew, indicating that a witch had grown strong enough not only to enter the Otherworld but to undo it completely. Unless the witch was captured and his or her energy contained, the Otherworld as they knew it could be destroyed. Only one witch was permitted in the Otherworld. She was trusted not just to avoid destroying it, but also to run it. She was the high witch, the Lord’s wife, and provider of all the magical energy in that realm. All others were a dreadful danger.

“There are whispers,” Rune insisted. “Whispers in the wind of a powerful witch. One much more skillful than any you or I have dealt with before.” Rune’s own light glowed brighter, his earring winking as his dark skin brightened showing the skeleton lying beneath.

Jack sighed. “You must be mistaken,” he said. “I’ve peered beneath the skin of every citizen of this town. There’s not a drop of witch blood among them.” He was relieved to be able to tell Rune the absolute truth for once. Hallowell was full of very content, happy mortals.

“It’s not that I’m doubting your abilities, Jack,” Rune said, giving him a meaningful look that made Jack wince. “I just need to verify it for myself. You understand.”

Jack waved his hand in resignation and Rune sent his firefly high above the town. It zipped back and forth, pausing occasionally while the lantern himself stared into space, seeing through the eye of his light. His eyes glowed with a silver sheen and then finally dimmed.

“Told you,” Jack said. “Do you think it’s possible she got the location wrong? You could tell the high witch to look again.”

“If a witch wind is blowing, you can be sure there’s a witch or warlock out there. Look, I’m just asking you to watch. Be on your guard. And, if you see something, let me know.” He clapped Jack on the back. “Don’t worry, son; if you can’t finish the job, I’ve always got your back.”

Jack frowned, bristling at the slight. “Fine. I’ll send word if I find any trace of a witch,” Jack said. 

“You do that.”

Rune left and Jack was too distracted to head off on his morning ride after all. Jack sat thinking about how strange it was for a witch wind to blow in his territory three times. Most lanterns never even had it happen once, but he’d been there when witches were detected at both Roanoke and Salem. It didn’t make sense. Perhaps he was just terribly unlucky.

He was thinking about it all day as he walked the borders of the town, and into the evening as he settled down for the night on top of his bridge. The light flickered in his pumpkin and he turned it so he could trace the eyes with his fingertip. He’d long ago hollowed out the orange globe and carved a smiling face. His only companion on long days and even longer nights. It comforted him to see his ember’s glow in the pumpkin’s expression. The light warmed him, giving him hope that somehow, somewhere, there was a spark of freedom waiting for him, even if it was at the end of a very long, weary road.

Jack had just fallen asleep when he heard the thunder of hooves on the road leading to town. Summoning his black stallion, he leapt off the bridge and onto the monstrous horse’s back as it materialized from the Otherworld, nostrils steaming and eyes glowing with fire. The horse reared and Jack, with the pumpkin tucked beneath his arm, kicked the horse’s sides, and they galloped toward the road.

He stopped on the hill and saw a carriage, shiny and new, a fine pair of horses pulling it quickly down the path. Jack chose not to show himself, but sent a moaning wind that frightened the driver who glanced right and left and cracked his whip to make the team run faster.

Jack, the lantern, sat and watched as the carriage made its way to town. Just as it passed him, the curtain moved and a small, white face was lit by a moonbeam. It was a wide- eyed little girl, her brown hair curled in ringlets. She pressed her hands against the glass and her pink mouth opened in a circle as she stared right at him.

Giveaway:

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-Kristen ♥

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Book Tour: Sweet Home Montana by Lynne Marshall (Giveaway)


Title: Sweet Home Montana
Author: Lynne Marshall
Series: Charity, Montana, #3
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Publication Date: September 27, 2018

Synopsis: Entrepreneur Wade Conrad is called home to act as a temporary guardian for his teenage half-brother, who’s acting out and needs strong guidance. Wade feels they are both floundering, so he seeks help for Brent at Healing Heart Acres, an equine therapy center.

Erin Chase has been working as an equine therapist since her fiancé called off their wedding with no explanation three years ago. She personally enjoys the peace found through animal therapy and believes in passing on the gift. When Erin meets Wade, she’s instantly drawn to his concern for his brother, as well as his kindness and charm.

Wade treasures time spent with Erin. They both long for more, but Wade’s leaving for California soon and his brother’s needs come first. Will he take a chance on love before it’s too late?


About the Author: Lynne Marshall used to worry she had a serious problem with daydreaming, then she discovered she was supposed to write the stories in her head. A late bloomer, Lynne came to fiction writing after her children were nearly grown. Now she battles the empty nest by writing stories which always include a romance, sometimes medicine, a dose of mirth, or both, but always stories from her heart. She is a Southern California native, married for almost thirty years, has two adult children she is super proud of, is a dog lover, cat admirer, a power walker, and fellow traveler on this wild road called life!



Giveaway:
-2 winners will receive ebooks of Her Baby, His Love and Their Christmas Miracle
-Open internationally, Ends October 17th



Check out the other stops on the tour:
Launch - Note from the Author
Uplifting Reads - Review
Wishful Endings - Excerpt
Hearts & Scribbles - Excerpt
Paulette's Papers - Excerpt
Colorimetry - Excerpt
Remembrancy - Review
Becky on Books - Review
Teatime and Books - Excerpt
-Kristen ♥

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Blog Tour: Frequency by Christopher Krovatin (Excerpt + Giveaway)


Title: Frequency
Author: Christopher Krovatin
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: October 2, 2018

Synopsis: Nine years ago, Fiona was just a kid. But everything changed the night the Pit Viper came to town. Sure, he rid the quiet, idyllic suburb of Hamm of its darkest problems. But Fiona witnessed something much, much worse from Hamm’s adults when they drove him away.

And now, the Pit Viper is back.

Fiona’s not just a kid anymore. She can handle the darkness she sees in the Pit Viper, a DJ whose wicked tattoos, quiet anger, and hypnotic music seem to speak to every teen in town…except her. She can handle watching as each of her friends seems to be overcome, nearly possessed by the music. She can even handle her unnerving suspicion that the DJ is hell-bent on revenge.

But she’s not sure she can handle falling in love with him.

About the Author: Chris Krovatin is an author and journalist of some ill repute. His past novels include Heavy Metal & You, Venomous, and the Gravediggers series. He is a contributor to Revolver Magazine and MetalSucks.net, and formerly sang in Brooklyn-based metal band Flaming Tusk. He is an avid fan of weird fiction, the occult, horror movies, heavy metal music, and Halloween. A native New Yorker, he now lives in Denver, Colorado.

Excerpt:

“It is you,” he said, his voice dark and smooth, like a black diamond, “isn’tit?”

Fiona wanted to play it cool, to pretend like she barely remembered him, but that was impossible. Her heart raced. Her head spun.

“Yes,” she said, her eyes locked on his. “Of course it is.”

A smile crept across the Pit Viper’s face. “I knew it wasyou,” he said. “At the party. I recognized you.”

She nodded. “And I recognized you.”

His smile spread wider. “I was worried you might have forgotten me.”

She bit her lip. Whatever he was making her feel, awe or excitement or whatever, she knew he was feeling the same. “How could I possibly have forgotten you?”

For a brief moment, they were silent, entirely lost in the energy flowing between them—and then Fiona realized, in a blast of cheek-burning embarrassment, that all eyes were on her.

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

-Kristen ♥

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Blog Tour: The Telling by K.J. Moullen (Guest Post + Giveaway)


Title: The Telling
Author: K.J. Moullen
Series: The Spinner Sagas, #1
Publisher: Mascot Books
Publication Date: April 4, 2018

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Blaine's life has been a string of new schools as she and her mother keep on the move. But when she begins seeing flashes of light and visions of a man's silhouette, her mom reveals that she is from Renault, a different realm in the universe.

Blaine is confused but there's no time for questions as she soon finds herself thrust into Renault and running for her life with a mysterious boy named Elian at her side. As evil surges in the heart of the universe, it's up to Blaine and Elian to conquer not only her mounting doubt but destiny itself.

About the Author: Kari J. Moullen was born in Whittier, California on August 4, 1971. Her love for books blossomed at an early age, for most toddlers carried around or slept with a favorite stuffed animal or blanket Kari slept with a small Mother Goose book. Watching and falling in love with Star Wars ignited her already active imagination. Upon strong support from her parents and Aunt, Kari finished her first novel, The Spinner Sagas: The Telling, in the spring of 2017. Kari still lives in the North Texas area with her husband and two children. She's diligently working on the second book in The Spinner Sagas and several other planned books in the works.


Guest Post: The Process of Creating a New Universe

With a stroke of the pen, the magic of creation begins. Words flow upon blank paper shaping and sculpting into life one world after another. Page after page a new universe explodes in to existence. Is this simply the results of an over active imagination or the outcome of a carefully mapped out and plotted outline? Perhaps it is a varying combination of both methods.

I know authors who spend weeks upon weeks mapping out every single little detail of their universe, from the type of worlds that will be artfully orchestrated down to the very last pebble that will be on the ground. Every character is dutifully jotted down and personality analysis is performed. Personally I operate on a more free form type platform, Kind of like jumping off a monstrous cliff and hoping my makeshift parachute holds together. Many times it is successful and the end results are fantastic but on occasions I have spent many a hours on mis-spun tales that ultimately end up as waded up piles of paper on my floor destined for the recycling bin.

In all seriousness, when I begin writing a story I do a lot of mental prep work. There is a loose concept of what I want to create but the development of the main characters has such a pivotal role in the whole process. They need to fit seamlessly into the universe that is being created. Their perception of the universe that they interact in is what the reader is going to experience. I am constantly running scenarios, scenes and conversations through my mind. Ideas are always evolving or changing. I often joke that if people could hear the constant dialogue that takes place in my head, I would probably be moved permanently into a padded room for my own protection.

Ultimately creating that new universe is different for every writer. There is no secret formula for success. There is no right or wrong way to conjure up the next plains of inspiration. We are only limited by the length of our imagination and our ability to follow it. Happy exploring everyone.

Giveaway:

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-Kristen ♥

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Book Blitz: The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox (Excerpt)


Title: The Witch of Willow Hall
Author: Hester Fox
Publisher: Graydon House
Publication Date: October 2, 2018

Synopsis: Two centuries after the Salem witch trials, there’s still one witch left in Massachusetts. But she doesn’t even know it.

New Oldbury, 1821

In the wake of a scandal, the Montrose family and their three daughters—Catherine, Lydia, and Emeline—flee Boston for their new country home, Willow Hall.

The estate seems sleepy and idyllic. But a subtle menace creeps into the atmosphere, remnants of a dark history that call to Lydia, and to the youngest, Emeline.

All three daughters will be irrevocably changed by what follows, but none more than Lydia, who must draw on a power she never knew she possessed if she wants to protect those she loves. For Willow Hall’s secrets will rise, in the end…

About the Author: Hester comes to writing from a background in museum work and historical archaeology. She loves the Gothic, the lurid, the dark...so long as the ending is a happy one. She has never seen a ghost, though she remains hopeful. Hester lives outside of Boston with her husband. THE WITCH OF WILLOW HALL is her first novel.


Excerpt:

“It’s too hot for coffee,” Emeline announces suddenly, even though she’s not allowed to have a sip of the beverage. “It’s too hot for dresses and shoes and hair and fingernails. It’s too hot for stockings and feathers and fur.”

Mr. Barrett and Father break off their conversation, and si¬lence falls over the parlor. Mother shoots our guests an apolo¬getic look and then a pleading one at Emeline. “I’m so sorry. It’s past her bedtime and she’s getting tired.”

But Emeline isn’t done. She’s goes over to Mr. Barrett and looks up at him. “It’s too hot,” she repeats. “And I’m not tired at all. There’s a pond behind the house, did you know? I want to go to the pond and see the mermaids.”

I should take her upstairs to bed, but I don’t move. Mr. Bar¬rett is looking down at her with a queer expression, a crease between his brows. She takes his hand in hers. His aren’t ta¬pered and elegant like Cyrus’s; Mr. Barrett’s hands are capa¬ble, strong, and Emeline’s hand completely disappears in his. “Please, let’s go to the pond where it’s cool and we can swim with the mermaids. I want to go play with the little boy at the pond.”

“What little boy? What on earth are you talking about, Emmy?” But Emeline ignores Mother’s question and her lip begins to tremble when it becomes clear that she isn’t going to get her way.

By this time even Catherine and Mr. Pierce have paused in their giggles and whispers and both are staring. Crimson spreads over Catherine’s face. “Really, Emeline. Leave poor Mr. Barrett alone.”

Mother gets up slowly, and I can tell she doesn’t have the energy for this. “It’s dark out, Emmy. And Mr. Pierce and Mr. Barrett have business to discuss with your father.” She reaches out to take her hand, but Emeline dives out of her grasp.

I’m mortified. I understand Emeline, but Mr. Barrett will never return to our house if she behaves like this. I try to catch her attention, but she misses the cautioning look.

“I don’t want to go to bed!” I’ve never seen Emeline in such a pout before. She must be tired beyond reason, and the heat certainly isn’t helping. Hands clenched at her sides, she looks as if she’s on the verge of bursting into tears. But instead she just stomps her little foot.

But just as her foot comes down on the carpet, both doors slam shut with a great bang.

Mother jumps, Catherine lets out a little cry and Father’s eyebrows look as if they are about to fly off his face. The room goes silent, the only movement the residual wobbling of a vase on the table. We all look at each other. Even Emeline looks surprised, because if we didn’t know better, it was almost as if she caused the doors to fly shut with her foot.

Father is the first to speak. He clears his throat and glances around. “Must be the wind,” he mumbles. “You think you have a house built new and it wouldn’t be full of drafts and loose doors, but I suppose there’s no such thing as peace of mind in New England construction.”

Mother is quick to agree with him, and Mr. Pierce gives a dubious nod. But we all know that there was no breeze, that it’s been so still that a feather would have hardly quivered, let alone two doors slamming. No one wants to say so though at the risk of frightening Emeline.


-Kristen ♥

Friday, September 28, 2018

Cover Reveal: Again, But Better by Christine Riccio

Title: Again, But Better
Author: Christine Riccio
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Date: May 21, 2019

Synopsis: Shane has been doing college all wrong. Pre-med, stellar grades, and happy parents...sounds ideal -- but Shane's made zero friends, goes home every weekend, and romance...what's that?

Her life has been dorm, dining hall, class, repeat. Time's a ticking, and she needs a change -- there's nothing like moving to a new country to really mix things up. Shane signs up for a semester abroad in London. She's going to right all her college mistakes: make friends, pursue boys, and find adventure! 

Easier said than done. She is soon faced with the complicated realities of living outside her bubble, and when self-doubt sneaks in, her new life starts to fall apart.

Shane comes to find that, with the right amount of courage and determination one can conquer anything. Throw in some fate and a touch of magic - the possibilities are endless.

About the Author: Christine Riccio has been on a quest to encourage more humans to read since the third grade. No one really listened until she started making videos about books on Youtube in 2010. Now her channel PolandbananasBOOKS has over 390,000 book-loving subscribers. She makes comedic book reviews, vlogs, sketches, and writing videos chronicling the creation of her own novel. She’s also one of the three YouTubers behind BOOKSPLOSION. Originally from New Jersey, Christine graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in Film and TV and now lives in Los Angeles, CA. Other hobbies include hot yoga and oatmeal.


AND NOW, for the super cute cover....


-Kristen ♥

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Book Review: A Nordic King by Karina Halle

Title: A Nordic King
Author: Karina Halle
Publication Date: September 21, 2018

Synopsis: A STANDALONE ROYAL ROMANCE

When I first applied for the job I thought it would be like all the others: working as a nanny for an aristocratic family.
Then I got the job and found out how wrong I was.

Now I’m the new nanny for two adorable little girls who happen to be princesses.

Their father is the widowed King of Denmark.
And my new home? The royal palace in Copenhagen.
Adjusting to my new life isn't easy but the hardest part hasn’t been the girls who still grieve over the loss of their mother.

It’s their father.
Cold, mysterious and moody, with an icy stare that seems to penetrate your soul, King Aksel may have hired me to take care of his daughters but he wants as little to do with me as possible.

Yet the longer I share these palace walls with this man, the more that I’m drawn to him. His chiseled face and sexual swagger are only part of the package. It’s in the long, intense glances at the dinner table, the way we’ll brush up against each other in the halls, the rare glimpses of the man deep inside, like the sun passing through clouds.
But no matter how I feel about him, we can never be together. 

You think it's bad enough being in love with your boss?
Try falling in love with a king.

Review: A Nordic King was a really perfect read for me! It had all the elements I love in a romance, with a few twists, such as the way the conflict was handled, that made it really refreshing. I completely fell in love with the characters, the story, and the romance. I had no idea I had a thing for Danish men, but thanks to Aksel, I certainly do now. The main cast was developed; you really get to know the two young princesses, Clara and Freja; Maja; and of course, Snarf Snarf! Our Australian heroine, Aurora, was sassy and kind. This book just hit me in the feels and has me excited to read more by Karina Halle.

An ARC was provided by the author.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

-Kristen ♥

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Cover Reveal: The Songs That Brought Me Back by Mylissa Demeyere (Trailer + Giveaway)

Title: The Songs That Brought Me Back
Author: Mylissa Demeyere
Series: The Songs, #2
Publication Date: December 4, 2018

Synopsis: Have you ever made a mistake? One so monumental you lost everything? I did, and I hate myself for it! All I want to do is close my eyes, and let the darkness consume me. Make it all go away. The end.

Ainsley is drowning in the depth of her despair. One wrong decision left her alone, with only regret as her constant companion. To escape it all, she makes another choice. One she hopes will end everything. Instead, she’s thrown into a whole new world filled with opportunities she doesn’t believe she deserves.

Ethan gives the appearance of breezing through life. But underneath his bright facade, he’s scarred by loss. When fate leads him into Ainsley’s world at the exact moment she needs someone the most, he can’t ignore the chance to right the wrongs of his past.

Ainsley and Ethan will struggle to help each other heal and start anew. They’ll learn that the secret to conquering their pain lies within their power, if only they can do it together.

Always together.

Sometimes the ending is really the beginning.

About the Author: Mylissa Demeyere was born in Belgium, and resides in the beautiful city of Ghent. She lives in a somewhat organized home with her four beautiful children and the love of her life. If she isn’t working, she’s writing, running, reading, or enjoying time with her kids, who are growing up way too fast. The Songs That Brought Me Back is her second novel in The Songs Series, with a third book releasing in the middle of 2019.


AND NOW, for the beautiful cover....


Trailer:


Giveaway:
$25 Amazon Gift Code or $25 in PayPal Cash
Ends 10/9/18 - Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal or gift codes via Amazon.com. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

-Kristen ♥

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Nerd Blast: The Iron Flower by Laurie Forest (Giveaway)


Title: The Iron Flower
Author: Laurie Forest
Series: The Black Witch Chronicles, #2
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: September 18, 2018

Synopsis: Elloren Gardner and her friends were only seeking to right a few wrongs, but their actions have propelled them straight into the ranks of the realm-wide Resistance against Gardnerian encroachment. As the Resistance struggles against the harsh rulings of High Priest Marcus Vogel and the Mage Council, Elloren begins to realize that none of the people she cares about will be safe if Gardneria seizes control of the Western Realm.

With tensions heating up in Verpacia, more and more Gardnerian soldiers continue to descend upon the university…led by none other than Lukas Grey, now commander of the newly rebuilt Fourth Division base. Though Elloren tries to keep him at arm’s length, Lukas is determined to wandfast to her, convinced that she has inherited her grandmother’s magic—the prophesied power of the Black Witch. As his very nearness seems to awaken a darkness inside her, Elloren finds it more and more difficult to believe that she’s truly powerless, as her uncle always claimed.

Caught between her growing feelings for the rebellious Yvan Guriel and the seductive power offered by Lukas Grey, Elloren must find a way to stay true to what she knows is right and protect everyone she loves…even if that means protecting them from herself.

About the Author:Laurie Forest lives deep in the backwoods of Vermont where she sits in front of a wood stove drinking strong tea and dreaming up tales full of dryads, dragons and wands. The Black Witch (Book 1.0, The Black Witch Chronicles – OUT NOW) & Wandfasted (Book 0.5, The Black Witch Chronicles Prequel) are her first published novels. Coming in 2018 are Light Mage (Book 1.5, The Black Witch Chronicles) & The Iron Flower(Book 2.0, The Black Witch Chronicles). She is currently ensconced in the woods, hard at work on The Shadow Dryad (Book 3.0, The Black Witch Chronicles).


Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

-Kristen ♥

Monday, September 17, 2018

Blog Tour: Love Spell by Mia Kerick (Excerpt + Giveaway)


Title: Love Spell
Author: Mia Kerick
Publication Date: August 2018

Synopsis: Having come to terms with being gay, Chance César is still uneasy with his gender identity, or, as he phrases it, “being stuck in the gray area between girl and boy.” This concern, however, doesn’t stop him from strutting his fabulous stuff on the catwalk in black patent leather pumps and a snug-in-all-the-right (wrong)-places orange tuxedo as the winner of this year’s Miss (ter) Harvest Moon Festival at the local Beans and Greens Farm’s annual fall celebration, serenaded by the enthusiastic catcalls of his BFF, Emily Benson. Although he refuses to visually fade into the background of his rural New Hampshire town, Chance is socially invisible—except when being tormented or beat up by familiar bullies. But when Chance, the Harvest Moon Festival’s mockingly-elected Pumpkin Pageant Queen, meets Jasper Donahue (Jazz), the legitimate winner of the Pumpkin Carving King contest, sparks fly. Chance wants to be noticed and admired and romantically embraced by Jazz, in all of his neon orange-haired glory.

And so at a sleepover, Chance and Emily conduct intense research on their laptop computers, and come up with an article in an online women’s magazine called “Ten Scientifically Proven Ways to Make a Man Fall in Love with You.” Along with a bonus love spell thrown in for good measure, it becomes the basis of their strategy to capture Jazz’s heart.

Quirky, comical, definitely “sickening” (this is a good thing), and with an inner core of poignancy, Love Spell celebrates the diversity of a gender-fluid teen.

About the Author: Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—a daughter in law school, another a professional dancer, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son off to Syracuse. She writes LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing English papers. Her husband of twenty-four years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it is a sensitive subject. Mia focuses her stories on emotional growth in turbulent relationships. As she has a great affinity for the tortured hero, there is, at minimum, one in each book. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of said tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to her wonderful publishers for providing alternate places to stash her stories. Mia is a Progressive, a little bit too obsessed by politics, and cheers for each and every victory in the name of human rights. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.



Excerpt:

At the end of the catwalk, I indulge the audience by providing them with their deepest desire. I stand there, still as a scarecrow—for ten seconds, give or take—so they can drink in the sight of me, from spiky glittering head to pointy patent leather toes. I allow them this rare opportunity for freeze-frame viewing pleasure. Whether they admire me for having the balls to strut around ultraconservative Fiske wearing a scandalously snug-in-all-the-wrong-(right)-places orange tuxedo and four-inch black pumps—which I will admit is a public first for me—or they wish the shining harvest moon would fall on my house and crush me while I sleep, what they all really want most is a good long moment to study me.

To twerk or not to twerk, that is the question.

Giveaway:

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-Kristen ♥

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Blog Tour: A Room Away From the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma (Excerpt + Giveaway)


Title: A Room Away From the Wolves
Author: Nova Ren Suma
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Publication Date: September 4, 2018

Synopsis: Bina has never forgotten the time she and her mother ran away from home. Her mother promised they would hitchhike to the city to escape Bina’s cruel father and start over. But before they could even leave town, Bina had a new stepfather and two new stepsisters, and a humming sense of betrayal pulling apart the bond with her mother—a bond Bina thought was unbreakable.

Eight years later, after too many lies and with trouble on her heels, Bina finds herself on the side of the road again, the city of her dreams calling for her. She has an old suitcase, a fresh black eye, and a room waiting for her at Catherine House, a young women’s residence in Greenwich Village with a tragic history, a vow of confidentiality, and dark, magical secrets. There, Bina is drawn to her enigmatic downstairs neighbor Monet, a girl who is equal parts intriguing and dangerous. As Bina’s lease begins to run out, and nightmare and memory get tangled, she will be forced to face the terrible truth of why she’s come to Catherine House and what it will take for her to leave...

About the Author: Nova Ren Suma is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling The Walls Around Us, a finalist for an Edgar Award. Her new novel A Room Away from the Wolves is forthcoming September 4, 2018, from Algonquin. She also wrote Imaginary Girls and 17 & Gone and is co-creator of FORESHADOW: A Serial YA Anthology. She has an MFA in fiction from Columbia University and teaches at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She grew up in the Hudson Valley, spent most of her adult life in New York City, and now lives in Philadelphia.


Excerpt:

In the Dark 

When the girl who lived in the room below mine disappeared into the darkness, she gave no warning, she showed no twitch of fear. She had her back to me, but I sensed her eyes were open, the city skyline bristling with attention, five stories above the street. It was how I imagined Catherine de Barra herself once stood at this edge almost a hundred years ago, when the smog was suffocating and the lights much more dim, when only one girl ever slept inside these walls of stacked red brick.

I was with my friend, if she could be called a friend, on the rooftop that night, close enough to pull her away or slip a word into her ear, close enough to push. I saw how far the gate was, how long the jump would be to reach it. I was there to witness how she flew.

It was dark, and I blamed the darkness. For those few moments, when she was midair and not even kicking, I practically became her. I grew her long legs and longer eyelashes, I lost the jumble of knots in my hair, I let the mistakes spill out of my suitcase and scatter without a care into the wind. I was falling, and falling fast. There was a hum in my ears like a song leaking through floorboards. The windows on the way down were all lit up, every one, people I didn’t know living their private lives inside as if no one could see. The skyline above sparkled the way stars used to at home, and I didn’t want to ever hit ground. I was someone here. I was someone.

Maybe that was what she saw, what she felt, what this house turned her into. She was out there beyond the ledge with nothing beneath her feet. She was high enough to clear the gate many times over. I swore she was out there. I swore the air had her, the night had her, the lights cast a ring all around her, and then the patch of darkness was empty.

I could see past where she’d been, as if I were sailing straight over buildings, beyond spires and scaffolding, past roof gardens and water towers, down through Lower Manhattan to the southern tip of the island, where the gleaming black bay took over. I saw the whole city spread out before me, sinister and strange and perfect. The air was clear, and she wasn’t in it. No girl was falling or flying. Every window was dark. And how oddly quiet it became, like a patch of forest where no person had set foot for what felt like days upon days.

When I remembered where I was, I crept closer to the edge, gripping the bricks to stay steady, and I did what I knew she wanted.

I leaned out into the vacant night—the air boundless, feathery gray, and blooming with possibility—and I looked down.

Giveaway:

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-Kristen ♥

Monday, September 10, 2018

Nerd Blast: The World of Aluna by Paula Garces (Giveaway)


Title: The World of Aluna
Creators: Paula Garces & Antonio Hernández
Authors: Ryan Galletta, Dooma Wendschuck, & Corey May
Illustrators: Adrian Barbu, Antim Marius, Casandra Ciocian, David T. Cabrera, & Tunon Benzo
Series: The World of Aluna, #1

Synopsis: A conquistador, Francisco Cortes, interrupts a ritual in the jungles of South America and encounters the powerful Goddess – Pachamama. Back in Spain years later, his young daughter, Aluna, would rather spend her time fencing with her friend Antonio than take dancing lessons. When Francisco gives Aluna a strange green gemstone, she discovers that she has supernatural strength. But is this a blessing or a curse?


About the Creator: The Colombian-born actress, producer and writer, Paula Garces has been breaking down barriers and opening doors for Latinos in Hollywood. In 2011 she co-created and became the voice behind the popular Latina Superhero character “Aluna”. Aluna to date is being chosen online for play more than 90 thousand times a day world wide. Due to high demand her NEW “Aluna” comic book series co-created by her and written by the Team behind the Assassins Creed Franchise, Batman: Arkhem Origins and Prince of Persia, was released at San Diego Comic Con 2017. Paula is currently developing Aluna’s TV pilot (based on her very popular Latina Super Hero game/comic books).


Giveaway:

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-Kristen ♥

Friday, September 7, 2018

Book Blitz: Garden of Thorns by Amber Mitchell (Giveaway)


Title: Garden of Thorns
Author: Amber Mitchell
Series: Garden of Thorns, #1
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: March 6, 2017

Synopsis: After seven grueling years of captivity in the Garden—a burlesque troupe of slave girls—sixteen-year-old Rose finds an opportunity to escape during a performance for the emperor. But the hostage she randomly chose from the crowd to aid her isn’t one of the emperor’s men—not anymore. He’s the former heir to the throne, who is now leading a rebellion against it.

Rayce is a wanted man and dangerously charismatic, the worst person for Rose to get involved with, no matter what his smile promises. But he assumes Rose’s attempt to take him hostage is part of a plot to crush the rebellion, so he takes her as his hostage. Now Rose must prove where her loyalties lie, and she offers Rayce a deal—if he helps her rescue the other girls, she’ll tell him all the Garden’s secrets.

Except the one secret she’s kept for seven years that she’ll take to her grave if she must.


Title: War of the Wilted
Author: Amber Mitchell
Series: Garden of Thorns, #2
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: October 1, 2018

Synopsis: Like flowers denied water, people are wilting under the emperor's tyranny. 

Rose will not rest until the Gardener is dead. But there are bigger battles to fight, and Rayce—leader of the rebellion and the only man Rose has ever loved—believes their best chance at winning the war is to join forces with her sworn enemy.

Saving innocent people is more important than her quest for revenge. But their new ally can’t be trusted—and he knows her darkest secret. One betrayal could leave the war and Rayce’s life hanging in the balance, and Rose will need to make the ultimate sacrifice to save them all.

About the Author: Amber Mitchell graduated from the University of South Florida with a BA in Creative Writing. She likes crazy hair styles, reading, D&D, k-dramas, good puns and great food. When she isn’t putting words on paper, she is using cardstock to craft 3D artwork or exploring new places with her husband Brian. They live a small town in Florida with their four cats where she is still waiting for a madman in a blue box to show up on her doorstep. Garden of Thorns is her debut novel from Entangled Teen.



Giveaway:

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-Kristen ♥

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Blog Tour: Nothing But Trouble by Ashley Bostock (Guest Post + Giveaway)


Title: Nothing But Trouble
Author: Ashley Bostock
Series: Irresistible Billionaires. #1
Publication Date: August 28, 2018

Synopsis: Billionaire CEO Michael Vilander needed just one date. Creating a fake profile on his own matchmaking website may not have been his brightest move. But then Sophia Baldwin’s arresting face pops up on his CHAT NOW feature. Not only is she gorgeous, but after spending half the night exchanging messages with her, he finds her to be naive, innocent and way too sexy.

Twenty-four-year-old Sophia Baldwin is barely able to make ends meet. Caring for her sick grandmother prevents her from having a normal life—aspirations of attending college full-time to become a nurse are on the back burner—but then she meets the charming and dazzling Clint on an online dating site. When he asks her to the Denver Arts Foundation’s Annual Valentine’s Day Gala, she’s confident things are looking up.

Once Sophia learns that her hot date is none other than website mogul Michael Vilander, she’s definitely not mentioning her night job. What’s a lie by omission anyway? After all, it’s only one date…Until Michael’s ex flaunts her fancy engagement ring in Michael’s face and something compels Sophia to announce her and Michael’s engagement. AKA, fake engagement. They agree on one month to pretend they’re in love before all bets are off.

Pretending to be in love with a sweet and sexy billionaire, but not actually falling in love, ahem, how hard could it be?

About the Author: Ashley Bostock was born and raised in Colorado where she currently resides with her husband, two children, her dog and two cats. She loves reading, writing, and music and is always trying to find more time in the day to incorporate all three. Seeking an outlet and pursuing her life-long passion for writing, she began composing her first novel in late 2013. She has traveled all over the world, but still has an extensive list of places she would love to visit. Anywhere near a sky-blue ocean will always be at the top of that list. She carries a Bachelor’s Degree in History with a concentration in Elementary Education from Metropolitan State College of Denver. While she loves children, she now fears teaching, which probably has something to do with being a stay-at-home mom.


Guest Post: A Day in My Life

A day in my life begins by waking my daughters up and getting them fed, usually cereal, and off to school. I’m one of those moms that I feel like are disorganized and all over the place and want to sleep as late as I possibly can before I have to get up. So that’s why it’s usually cereal and me telling them to hurry, hurry, the bus is coming! Once they leave, ahh, it’s bliss. I have my tea and I sit at my computer and check into my social media accounts as well as book sales, etc. Then, I write. I strive to write until eleven or noon and this is with multiple tea/coffee and bathroom breaks as well as letting the dogs outside. If I can get a thousand plus words in a day, I’m thrilled. Because like any other stay-at-home mom, there’s always house cleaning, laundry, organizing—things I could be doing besides sitting at the computer.

Then when noon rolls around, I go work out. If I know I have something going on later in the day, then this is all adjusted to that so I don’t miss my work out. Because if anything gets put on the back burner, it’s usually my writing time and working out. Cruel, right? I LOVE General Hospital and am currently 8 episodes behind so when I take a break or am trying to clean, I watch that. Let it run through the commercials while I switch the laundry. My day is probably no different than yours! I’m a mom! Take today for example: Not an ordinary day but I spent my entire day canning homegrown tomatoes and baking a six-layered cake and mixing 6 different colored frostings for my daughters 11th birthday party sleepover. I’m pretty proud of how the cake turned out! It’s 9:30 at night and I’m having a glass of wine and finally getting on the computer. So that’s my life on an ordinary day. Basic. No different than yours, I’m sure!

Giveaway:

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-Kristen ♥

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Blog Tour: Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake (Tens List + Giveaway)


Title: Two Dark Reigns
Author: Kendare Blake
Series: Three Dark Crowns, #3
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publicaiton Date: September 4, 2018

Synopsis: #1 New York Times bestselling author Kendare Blake returns with the highly anticipated third book in the Three Dark Crowns series!

Katharine sits on the throne, Mirabella and Arsinoe are in hiding, and an unexpected renegade is about to wage a war of her own. The crown has been won, but these queens are far from done.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

About the Author: Kendare Blake is the author of several novels and short stories, most of which you can find information about via the links above. Her work is sort of dark, always violent, and features passages describing food from when she writes while hungry. She was born in July (for those of you doing book reports) in Seoul, South Korea, but doesn’t speak a lick of Korean, as she was packed off at a very early age to her adoptive parents in the United States. That might be just an excuse, though, as she is pretty bad at learning foreign languages. She enjoys the work of Milan Kundera, Caitlin R Kiernan, Bret Easton Ellis, Richard Linklater, and the late, great Michael Jackson, I mean, come on, he gave us Thriller. She lives and writes in Kent, Washington, with her husband, their cat son Tyrion Cattister, red Doberman dog son Obi-Dog Kenobi, rottie mix dog daughter Agent Scully, and naked sphynx cat son Armpit McGee.


Trailer:



Top Ten Royal Decrees I’d Make As Queen:

1. Pasta must be eaten at least once a week unless you have a dietary intolerance.

2. If you are cruel to an animal I get to kick you as hard as I want, one time, wherever I want to.

3. Formal shoes must all be comfortable. I don’t care how you do it. Use magic.

4. No peanuts in coke! I’m just kidding. I’ve never even had peanuts in coke. I’ve just heard people have strong feelings about it.

5. Everyone who meets me has to compliment my dog. I will, in turn, compliment an animal or child of your choosing.

6. Green Day’s “Time of Your Life” may no longer be played at any kind of public ceremony ever again.

7. New seasons of Rick and Morty will be 25 episodes long.

8. September 23rd will be known as George RR Martin day, and we will all wear one of those little hats he likes. Not all of us will pull them off as well as he does, however.

9. Time will be set aside from all jobs once a week to go and learn something from an older person. Any older person, anywhere. They’ve got to have some nugget, of some wisdom.

10. Is Yoga Charades a thing? Because if it is I’m going to ban it.

Giveaway:

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-Kristen ♥

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Book Blitz: Jaclyn and the Beanstalk by Mary Ting (Teaser + Giveaway)


Title: Jaclyn and the Beanstalk
Author: Mary Ting
Publisher: Vesuvian Books
Publication Date: September 4, 2018

Synopsis: What fate awaits a girl who hears monsters at night… 

Sixteen-year-old Jaclyn looks up to her father. An honest man who once fought for the king, he now teaches Jaclyn how to use her wits—and her sword.

But he has a secret. And his secret may have a connection to the one thing Jaclyn is hiding from him. 

Upon hearing “monsters” are terrorizing the small villages around Black Mountain, Jaclyn’s father and his friends head out to hunt them … but they don’t return.

Armed only with her sword and three magic beans—a gift from a mysterious old woman—Jaclyn sets out for Black Mountain to save her father.

On her climb, one bean drops and grows into a beanstalk, catching her when she falls.

She isn’t the only one that takes the ride. Jack, her childhood friend and secret crush, is following her.
Jaclyn and Jack will have to work together to save not only their fathers, but the townspeople the beasts plan to lay waste to before it’s too late.

About the Author: International Bestselling Author Mary Ting/M. Clarke resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one-Something Great. Why the pen name, M Clarke? She tours with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children's chapter book-No Bullies Allowed.


Teaser:


Giveaway:

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-Kristen ♥
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