Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Book Review: Prince of Air and Darkness by M.A. Grant

Title: Prince of Air and Darkness
Author: M.A. Grant
Series: The Darkest Court, #1
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: February 25, 2019

Synopsis: Phineas Smith has been cursed with a power no one could control. 

Roark Lyne is his worst enemy and his only hope.

The only human student at Mather’s School of Magick, Phineas Smith has a target on his back. Born with the rare ability to tap into unlimited magick, he finds both Faerie Courts want his allegiance—and will do anything to get it.

They don’t realize he can’t levitate a feather, much less defend the Faerie Realm as it slips into civil war.

Unseelie Prince Roark Lyne, Phineas’s roommate—and self-proclaimed arch nemesis—is beautiful and brave and a pain in the ass. Phineas can’t begin to sort through their six years of sexual tension masquerading as mutual dislike. But Roark is also the only one able to help Finn tame his magick. 

Trusting Roark’s mysterious motives may be foolish; not accepting his temporary protection would be deadly.

Caught in the middle of the impending war, Phineas and Roark forge a dangerous alliance. And as the walls between them crumble, Phineas realizes that Roark isn’t the monster he’d imagined. But their growing intimacy threatens to expose a secret that could either turn the tide of the war…or destroy them both.

Review: Prince of Air and Darkness absolutely hit the spot. It certainly has some Carry On vibes, but clearly stands on its own as a unique piece of work with distinct characters I couldn’t help but fall for, especially dear Roark, whose feelings for Finn made me giddy. I am completely fascinated with the world M.A. Grant has built and cannot wait to return to it in the sequel, where I hope Roark and Phineas will still have a prominent role. They were so fun together and there definitely seems to be more under the surface in terms of their magicks. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this start to a new and exciting series!

An ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

-Kristen ♥

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Blog Tour: Ruins of Stone Hill by F.P. Spirit (Excerpt + Giveaway)


Title: Ruins on a Stone Hill
Author: F.P. Spirit
Series: Heroes of Ravenford, #1
Publication Date: December 2016

Synopsis: Magic is easy.

That’s what Glolindir thought, until he came across his first real monster.

Luckily, he survived, thanks to his new “friends.”

Lloyd, the reckless young warrior with blades of fire.

Seth, the sarcastic halfling who might be an assassin.

Aksel, the genius little gnome whose very touch can heal.

Little did they know that things were about to go from bad to worse.

After one hundred and fifty years of relative peace, dark forces stir around the little town of Ravenford—monsters, black magic, creatures of the night.

The only thing standing between Ravenford and certain destruction is this band of young misfits.

About the Author: F.P. Spirit has always loved fantasy. From the moment he received his very first copy of Lord of the Rings back in high school, he was hooked. Today, somewhere between work and family, F.P. manages to write young adult sword and sorcery fiction. His series, Heroes of Ravenford, chronicles the adventures of a young band of misfits in the dangerous world of Thac. The last book in the series, The Baron’s Heart, is due out this fall.


Excerpt:

Glolindir spotted the monstrous orc at the same time as Seth. The wizard waited till it charged, then lifted his arm and pointed a finger at it. As he did so, mana, the energy that flows in and around all things, gathered within him. He drew the energy inward with concentrated will and focused it with a gesture. All that was needed now was a verbal command to trigger it.

The orc had closed half the gap to the lead wagon when Glo spoke the words that released the spell, “Nullam Telum.” A projectile of arcane energy leapt from his finger and spiraled out toward the charging creature. The purple missile met the beast in midstride and connected with an audible thud.

The monster appeared neither shaken, nor hurt. Instead it merely glanced down at its chest, reached up with its free hand, and touched the smoldering spot.

Glo’s eyes went wide. This huge orc was far tougher than he imagined—he had severely miscalculated. He watched in horror as the creature dropped its hand and turned its feral gaze toward him. An evil grin spread across the monster’s maw, then it charged.

Glo froze in place, unable to move a muscle. He had been so sure of himself. He had studied his spells and creatures and practiced his art tirelessly. Yet none of that had prepared him for this. Here was a real live monster bearing down on him, fully intent on ripping him limb from limb. It swiftly closed the gap between them and would be on him in seconds.

My father was right. He was woefully unprepared to cope with this. At that moment, he wished that he had listened to his father’s advice and stayed in the safety of their elven home.

Aksel climbed out of the wagon just in time to see the creature rushing toward them. “Well, that doesn’t look good.”

“Agreed,” Glo said through barely moving lips.

Giveaway:

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-Kristen ♥

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Book Blitz: False Memory by Meli Raine (Teaser + Giveaway)


Title: False Memory
Author: Meli Raine
Series: False, #1
Publisher: Prosaic Press, Inc.
Publication Date: November 13, 2018

Synopsis: It all started with the bereavement flowers with my name on them.

Not the best way to wake up, right? I work in a flower shop. I know a funeral arrangement when I see one.

I know a killer when I see one, too. And one is standing in my hospital room right now, straight behind the man who saved my life.

I can’t tell anyone the truth, because that’s the fastest way to really die. So I do the next best thing. I “lose” my memory.

I fake my amnesia.

Pretending not to remember a brutal attempted murder has its perks. The killer is backing down, spending less time around me, loosening the noose.

The less I claim to recall, the more my rescuer, Duff, works to help me “remember.” I hate lying to him.

But he doesn’t understand that my memory is dangerous. To me. And to him.

Fooling everyone isn’t easy. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Except it’s starting to look like I’ve been fooling myself.

In more ways than one.

About the Author: Meli Raine writes romantic suspense with hot bikers, intense undercover DEA agents, bad boys turned good, and Special Ops heroes — and the women who love them. Meli rode her first motorcycle when she was five years old, but she played in the ocean long before that. She lives in New England with her family.


Teaser:


Giveaway:

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-Kristen ♥

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Blog Tour: Releasing the Dragon by K.L. Bone (Excerpt + Giveaway)


Title: Releasing the Dragon
Author: K.L. Bone
Series: The Flames of Kalleen, #2
Publication Date: October 25, 2018

Synopsis: 7,000 years ago, an Amethystine dragon fell in love with a Kalleen princess, and nearly uncovered an unholy truth. As a consequence, to protect the status quo, the Amethystine were banished from the kingdom, their very existence wiped from the epics of history.

***

Plagued by inescapable nightmares, Amelia wonders if the unknown dragon in her dreams, whose boundless fury destroys all she loves, is a glimpse of an ancient past…or uncertain future?

Despite her fears, the newly crowned Dragon Queen must find the courage to face the kingdom’s darkest secrets. Evil truths that those who prefer the old ways, especially the temple’s powerful leaders, will go to any length to keep in eternal shadow.

Standing steadfast by her side, Amelia's Captain Gwain, and newfound love Conner, strive to assist her. In their quest to forge a new kingdom, one free from oppression of those not blessed with a dragon form, Amelia delves deeper into the temple’s corruption and uncovers the horrors wrought upon her kingdom’s children in the name of control and power. A necessary task, for a better future, but her revelations could spark a civil war between the temples’ devoted followers and those sworn to the royal dragon bloodline.

About the Author: K.L. Bone is the author of the bestselling Black Rose Guard dark fantasy series. The Rise of the Temple Gods fantasy series. And a stand-alone science fiction novel, The Indoctrination. Bone has a master’s degree in modern literary cultures and is working toward her PhD.. She wrote her first short story at the age of fifteen and grew up with an equally great love of both classical literature and speculative fiction. Bone has spent the last few years as a bit of a world traveler, living in California, London, and most recently, Dublin. When not immersed in words, of her own creation or studies, you’ll find her traveling to mythical sites and Game of Thrones filming locations.


Excerpt:


Giveaway:

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-Kristen ♥

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Book Blitz: Toxic by Lydia Kang (Excerpt + Giveaway)


Title: Toxic
Author: Lydia Kang
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: November 6, 2018

Synopsis: Cyclo, the first and largest biological ship of its kind, is dying. A small crew of mercenaries have handed over the rights to their life to document the death of the ship, but the abandoned ship is anything but abandoned―one girl has been left behind.

Hana has known nothing but the isolation of a single room and the secret that has kept her there for seventeen years. When she meets Fennec, the boy assigned to watch her, she realizes that there is a world she has yet to experience but she is doomed to never meet.

When crew members begin mysteriously dying, Hana and Fenn realize that they are racing against the death of the ship to find a way to survive―unless someone kills them even before Hana’s truly had a chance to live.

About the Author: Lydia Kang is an author of young adult fiction, poetry, and narrative non-fiction. She graduated from Columbia University and New York University School of Medicine, completing her residency and chief residency at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. She is a practicing physician who has gained a reputation for helping fellow writers achieve medical accuracy in fiction. Her poetry and non-fiction have been published in JAMA, The Annals of Internal Medicine, Canadian Medical Association Journal, Journal of General Internal Medicine, and Great Weather for Media. She believes in science and knocking on wood, and currently lives in Omaha with her husband and three children.


Excerpt:

My heart is beating so fast I can barely stay standing. I have clawed my robe until it has holes in the edges.

It has been six hours now. I am absolutely forbidden to leave my room, a room that does not exist in the consciousness of any crew member except my mother, hidden as it is in the most unused part of Cyclo’s body, the northeast quadrant, alpha ring.

For the last two hours, I’ve raised my hand countless times, poised a few inches from the door, before dropping it. Even touching the door is strictly forbidden. But I can’t wait here for much longer. Where is Mother? Where could she be? I’d even read the last entry in her diary, looking to see if anything was off, but there was nothing but our last discussion on why hedgehogs are not related to sea urchins. My eyes are full of tears, and I’ve already cried several times out of sheer panic.

I keep my voice steady and say, “Cyclo. Please open the door.”

Cyclo, not bothering to speak because the message is too urgent, blanches with white that moves in waves over the door.

Forbidden.

“Cyclo. Please open the door,” I say again, this time my voice cracking. I’ll only just peep my head outside, just a little look. I won’t step a foot out there. I know people will be walking the hallways. But if no one is there…maybe I can make my way to her lab and see why she’s delayed. I know exactly where it is. I’ve spent much of my life studying Cyclo’s every detail—the story of her birth, the way she harvests starlight energy, the layout of the ship down to every single storage vacuole and crew member unit.

Giveaway:

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-Kristen ♥

Monday, November 5, 2018

Blog Tour: The Dragon Tamer by Ava Richardson (Excerpt)


Title: The Dragon Tamer
Author: Ava Richardson
Series: Alveria Dragon Academy, #1
Publication Date: October 31, 2018

Synopsis: In Alveria, humans and dragons have existed side by side for centuries, but old tensions have grown and the kingdom is now divided between human nobles and the dragons that fear for the survival of their species. For the humans who serve the dragons, the future looks bleak: human Tamers outnumber the dragons and no viable eggs have been laid in over two decades.

For seventeen-year-old Kaelan Younger, growing up at the bottom of Alverian society has been hard, made even harder by the fact that she is loyal to the crown and has a habit of opening her mouth when she shouldn’t. But when her mother, dying of a mysterious disease, reveals the secret of her father’s identity, Kaelan is thrust into a world she was never prepared for – the opportunity to train at a prestigious school for those who share a dragon’s bloodline. The Alveria Akademy is a proving ground for humans and dragons alike, and could give Kaelan the chance to change her life forever. 

Faced with a new life, and the gradual realization that she is meant for something more, Kaelan must reconcile not only her past, but also the course of her future. When her responsibilities as a Tamer collide with her feelings for Lasaro, Prince of Alveria and a powerful dragon shifter, it will take a strength she has never known to prepare her for the coming danger, and the fate of the dragons she has been sworn to serve.

About the Author: Ava Richardson writes epic page-turning Young Adult Fantasy books. She creates lovable characters and drops them into intricate worlds that are barely contained within your eReader. Her current work is the ‘Return of the Darkening Series’, which features Seb, Thea and their shared dragon, Kalax.She grew up on a steady diet of fantasy and science fiction books handed down from her two big brothers – and despite being dog-eared and missing pages, she loved escaping into the magical worlds that those authors created. Her favorites were the ones about dragons; where they’d swoop, dive and soar through the skies of these enchanted lands.


Excerpt:

Kaelan’s hands trembled as she tore herbs ruthlessly from the ground of their little garden. She knocked a scrawny hen out of the way, ignoring the peck she received in retaliation and yanked a witch’s weed seedling up from its spot. The rich, earthy scent of it filled her nostrils as dirt clumps scattered outward from its curling white roots. What else did she need? She tried to recall the details of her mother’s teachings, focusing on the correct herbs for a healing tea, for waking a patient who slept too deeply.

"Redroot!" her grandmother shouted from inside the house. Kaelan scrambled over to the little flowering vines and yanked off three buds—her healer’s instinct, weak as it was, at least told her that was the right amount—and then carried everything inside to Haldis. The old woman took the plants but paused before turning away. "She will be well," she said gently. "It was only a faint. Your news was disturbing. She’ll wake soon."

Sagging with relief, Kaelan moved to her mother’s side and lifted her, placing her gently back into her bed. She tugged the threadbare blanket up to just under her chin, the way Ardis had always done for Kaelan when she’d been small.

Tears stung her eyes again. Her mother was okay, Haldis had said, but the truth lingered unspoken...for now. Ardis had caught a wasting illness from a villager she’d been trying to heal last year and nothing that Kaelan or Haldis could do would help. Her mother would wake from this faint, but one day soon, she wouldn’t.

Kaelan had seen how the stages of this illness went for the villagers. First, they’d waste away, getting to the point where they were hardly even able to stay upright for long. After a year or sometimes two of that, they would fall into a coma. About eight weeks later—if you could still get enough food into them to keep them alive that long—it was all over. Which was why, every time her mother had fallen asleep lately, Kaelan had lived in fear that this would be the day she wouldn’t wake. And at the same time, secretly, shamefully, she knew that at least then they would know how much time she had left. The waiting, the terrible uncertainty at this point in the illness... it was grueling for them all.

"What do you mean, my news was disturbing?" Kaelan asked, turning to her grandmother. Talking more about what had happened in the market was suddenly preferable to dwelling on the thin frame tucked under the covers.

But Haldis only tightened her lips as she retrieved a mortar and pestle from the cupboard. "This tea will help, but it won’t heal heal her," she reminded Kaelan instead.

"I know that," Kaelan snapped back.

"The energy of a dragon is the only thing that might heal her now," shewent on.

Kaelan gritted her teeth. She knew that, too. They’d all known it, but it was a pointless thing to say because, fascinated by the dragon-blooded nobles as Kaelan might be, she still understood that not a one of them would bother with healing a poor peasant woman. "Much good knowing it does," she muttered tightly.

But then she thought of the roar, and the skull, and the look on her mother’s face before she’d fainted. Something within her tightened and curled in on itself in fear. Suddenly, she didn’t want to talk about dragons at all.
______________________________________

-Kristen ♥

Monday, October 29, 2018

Blog Tour: The Art of Hero Worship by Mia Kerick (Excerpt + Giveaway)


Title: The Art of Hero Worship
Author: Mia Kerick
Publisher: NineStar Press
Publication Date: October 29, 2018

Synopsis: Saving the one who once saved me.

College junior Liam Norcross is a hero. He willingly, even eagerly, risks his life to save a stranger as a murderous, deranged shooter moves methodically through the darkened theater on the Batcheldor College campus, randomly killing innocent men, women, and children.

The stranger he saves is college freshman Jason Tripp. Jase loses everything in the shooting: his girlfriend, who dies on the floor beside him, and his grip on emotional security. He struggles to regain a sense of safety in the world, finally leaving college to seek refuge in his hometown.

An inexplicable bond forms between the two men in the chaos and horror of the theater, and Liam fights to bring Jase back to the world he ran away from. When Jase returns to school, they’re drawn together as soulmates, and soon Liam and Jase fall into a turbulent romantic relationship. However, the rocky path to love cannot be smoothed until Jase rescues his hero in return by delving into his shady past and solving the mystery of Liam’s compulsion to be everybody’s savior.

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:

Just like that, I’m in the cottage again...and I’m humiliated. I want to cry, but I’m determined to stop the tears that have welled up in my eyes from spilling down my cheeks. “I’m sorry...this has happened to me at home but it’s never happened when I’m out.”

“It’s all right...I think you had a flashback. No worries at all. I’m just glad I could be here for you.”

I turn toward him and hug him tight. “We were about to...to do something...weren’t we?” The dreamy romantic energy between us is lost, but I’m willing to try to retrieve it.

“If you don’t mind, I think I’ll just hold you for a while.”

Without letting go, I say, “Holding me is just what I think we both need and...and it looks as if you saved me...again.”

“It is my life’s greatest goal.” He says it with a smile and a wink, but I can tell he’s not joking.

Giveaway:

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-Kristen ♥

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Blog Tour: First Full Moon by Michelle Alstead (Excerpt + Giveaway)


Title: First Full Moon
Author: Michelle Alstead
Publication Date: August 28, 2018

Synopsis: More secrets. More lies. I'm going to die. 

She wanted a car for her sixteenth birthday, not magical powers… Candy McGregor is a teenager living in Sequim Falls, a small East Coast town, where the McGregors own just about everything. While her grandmother grooms her to run the family business—a pharmaceutical empire—Candy dreams of a life where she’s known as more than just a last name. When the monthly family dinner turns into a horror show, Candy discovers the McGregors aren’t so much blessed as they are cursed. At midnight on her sixteenth birthday, Candy inherits both the ability to do magic and the destiny to become a wolf on the next full moon. There is hope of a life that doesn’t require being chained up once a month. If Candy can undo the original spell that created the curse, she can rid the world of werewolves and remain a witch. But there’s one really big problem. Not everyone hates being a wolf. With the next full moon looming, Candy must take on forces that will do anything to stop her. Will she break the curse or surrender to life as a monster?

FIRST FULL MOON is 99 cents for a limited time on Amazon

About the Author: Michelle Alstead is a single, divorced mom of a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder, who tries to promote autism awareness and advocate for gender equality while raising Sheldon Cooper and searching for some semblance of a love life. Michelle's novels are frequently available for free on Amazon Kindle. All of Michelle's adult novels take place in the same universe. Characters cross over between novels, which makes for a more interesting world.



Excerpt:

The windows are shut and the blinds drawn. A space heater warms my bedroom to a balmy eighty degrees. As I stand in the middle of the room, a cold draft blows past me, raising the hair on my arms and neck.

Someone is watching me. 

Will it be my time soon? Will I be the next one taken? 

“That creepy frown on your face is going to cause premature wrinkles,” Larkin says.

My cousin lies across my bed, her black combat boots dangling off the edge as she scrolls through her phone without pausing long enough to read anything. She chews gum and blows a bubble that pops, covering her mouth. Larkin doesn’t seem to mind that strands of her long, raven-black hair brush the gum she pries from her face.

“I’m fifteen and too young for wrinkles,” I reply, moving to the window and opening the blinds. From the third floor, I can see everything and everyone in front of the house. The driveway and yard are empty. Not a soul to be seen anywhere.

“You turn sixteen in like five hours.” Larkin’s only a little bitter I’m the oldest grandchild.

Even though I can’t see anyone, there’s someone watching me. I feel it.

Giveaway:

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-Kristen ♥

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Cover Reveal: Storm and Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Storm and Fury
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: The Dark Elements, #4
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: June 11, 2019

Synopsis: From the #1 New York Times, USA TODAY and internationally bestselling author of the fantastical Dark Elements and the Lux series comes a new novel set in a world of gargoyle protectors, rising demons and one girl with an explosive secret. 

Eighteen-year-old Trinity Marrow may be going blind, but she can see and communicate with ghosts and spirits. Her unique gift is part of a secret so dangerous that she’s been in hiding for years in an isolated compound fiercely guarded by Wardens—gargoyle shape-shifters who protect humankind from demons. If the demons discover the truth about Trinity, they’ll devour her, flesh and bone, to enhance their own powers.

When Wardens from another clan arrive with disturbing reports that something out there is killing both demons and Wardens, Trinity’s safe world implodes. Not the least because one of the outsiders is the most annoying and fascinating person she’s ever met. Zayne has secrets of his own that will upend her world yet again—but working together becomes imperative once demons breach the compound and Trinity’s secret comes to light. To save her family and maybe the world, she’ll have to put her trust in Zayne. But all bets are off as a supernatural war is unleashed…

About the Author: # 1 New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout 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. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

AND NOW, for the beautiful cover....


-Kristen ♥

Blog Tour: Death by the River by Alexandrea Weis & Lucas Astor (Top Ten + Giveaway)


Title: Death by the River
Authors: Alexandrea Weis & Lucas Astor
Publisher: Vesuvian Books
Publication Date: October 2, 2018

Synopsis: A High School “American Psycho” 

Some truths are better kept secret. 
Some secrets are better off dead. 

Along the banks of the Bogue Falaya River, sits the abandoned St. Francis Seminary. Beneath a canopy of oaks, blocked from prying eyes, the teens of St. Benedict High gather here on Fridays. The rest of the week belongs to school and family—but weekends belong to the river.

And the river belongs to Beau Devereaux. 

The only child of a powerful family, Beau can do no wrong. Handsome. Charming. Intelligent. The star quarterback of the football team. The “prince” of St. Benedict is the ultimate catch.

He is also a psychopath.

A dirty family secret buried for years, Beau’s evil grows unchecked. In the shadows of the ruined St. Francis Abbey, he commits unspeakable acts on his victims and ensures their silence with threats and intimidation. Senior year, Beau sets his sights on his girlfriend’s headstrong twin sister, Leslie, who hates him. Everything he wants but cannot have, she will be his ultimate prize.

As the victim toll mounts, it becomes crystal clear that someone has to stop Beau Devereaux.

And that someone will pay with their life. 

WARNING: Readers of Death by the River will encounter situations of violence and sexual abuse which could be upsetting.

Abandon hope all ye who enter here ...

About the Authors: Alexandrea Weis is an advanced practice registered nurse who was born and raised in New Orleans. Having been brought up in the motion picture industry, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her award-winning novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story memorable. A permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Weis rescues orphaned and injured wildlife. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans.


Lucas Astor is from New York, has resided in Central America and the Middle East, and traveled through Europe. He lives a very private, virtually reclusive lifestyle, preferring to spend time with a close-knit group of friends than be in the spotlight. He is an author and poet with a penchant for telling stories that delve into the dark side of the human psyche. He likes to explore the evil that exists, not just in the world, but right next door behind a smiling face. Photography, making wine, and helping endangered species are just some of his interests. Lucas is an expert archer and enjoys jazz, blues, and classical music. One of his favorite quotes is: “It’s better to be silent than be a fool.” ~Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)

Top Ten Favorite Thriller Books:

1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson
2. The Silence of the Lambs – Thomas Harris
3. The Shining – Stephen King
4. The Bourne Identity – Robert Ludlum
5. A Time to Kill – John Grisham
6. American Psycho - Bret Easton Ellis
7. To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee
8. The Executioners - John D. MacDonald
9. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
10. The Bone Collector – Jeffery Deaver


Giveaway:

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-Kristen ♥

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 fiancĂ© 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:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

-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 ♥
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