Posted in Book Blast, Fantasy, Giveaway, Young Adult on February 28, 2015

Winter in the Soul Cover

Winter in the Soul by Jennifer Novotney

In a world divided by power and greed, seventeen-year-old Lilika harbors an intense desire to return to Winter in the Soul, the place her family left to escape the darkness that was manifesting from a coldness of the soul.

When she meets Talon, their connection is evident right from the start, and together they travel through the Black Kingdom to recover Lilika’s stolen locket. And in search of an answer to the mystery behind Winter in the Soul.

Lilika holds the key to stopping the darkness from spreading. The fate of their world lies in her hands. Will she stop the Black Kingdom before its darkness overtakes them all, or will they succumb to the darkness that is spreading across the land?
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Praise for the Book

“This book is original, cleverly written and most of all a great read.”

“This novel is very suspenseful and can be enjoyed by young and old alike.”

“I really, really liked the story line, it is fresh take in the high fantasy/magic genre.”

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Excerpt – Chapter One

Spring Bloom

Pulling her blond locks away from her face, Lilika headed outside her cozy house to do her morning chores. When she hit the doorway, she stopped and lifted her face skyward, soaking in the sun’s beams. She reveled in the heat beating down on her and the feeling of warmth that bathed her skin.

She walked to the garden and sat down. Lilika pulled the weeds with the sun shining on her. Her fingers ran across something smooth.

“What is this?” she muttered to herself, digging quickly to try to see just what was in there. She exposed something gleaming from underneath the brown soil.

What could be under the dirt here? She pulled out a gold heart locket from the garden bed. It glittered in an almost magical way, like nothing she’d ever seen before.

“Lilika!” Jet yelled through the open kitchen window. “It’s almost time for school.”

She shoved the locket in her pocket. “Okay! I’m coming.” Her little brother could be such a nuisance sometimes. She would have to wait until later to inspect her find up-close.

“Hello,” a female voice came from behind her.

“Hello?” She jumped up and turned around, shielding her eyes from the sun.

It was so bright, all she saw was a figure blocking out the light, a black silhouette outlined by the sun’s rays. As her eyes adjusted to the change in light, the figure became clearer and clearer: A beautiful, golden-hued woman stood before Lilika.

“Lilika,” the woman said.

How does she know my name?

“Lil! It’s time to go,” her brother yelled again.

She whipped her head around. “Okay, I’m coming.” By the time she turned back, the golden woman was gone.

She stood, walked to the side of the house, and peered around the corner, but the golden woman wasn’t there. She swiveled her head to each side, but didn’t see her. Could this all have just been a figment of her imagination? Maybe sitting in the sun was affecting her. Butterflies danced in her stomach at the thought of the locket she’d found, and she hurried into the house to get ready for school.

***

The mile-long walk to school was a quiet one except for Jet humming to himself. Children said goodbye to their parents and walked out of their rural homes surrounded by lush green grass and foliage, through the center of Spring Bloom. Boys in button down shirts and long pants and girls in light colored, pastel dresses lined the walkways when Lilika and Jet got closer and closer to their destination. Lilika walked along with a solemn expression on her face.

She couldn’t help but think about the golden woman, whether she’d simply imagined her or if their conversation had really happened. What did it mean? She couldn’t tell Jet or their mother or father. They wouldn’t believe her. Something was actually happening to her for a change.

The sun cast bright light over all the individual stone cottages and gardens.

“Good morning, Lilika!” Mr. Woodland waved from his garden.

“Good morning.” Lilika hurried toward school.

“Lil! Slow down,” Jet said.

“Come on,” she said with pursed lips, “we’re going to be late.”

More and more residents filtered out of their houses, tending to their gardens, trimming their bushes, and cleaning windows of their homes. With every stone cottage Lilika passed, the people smiled and waved. She greeted everyone with a wave and picked up her pace once she reached the hill.

Standing in front of the school, she paused and caught her breath before opening the classroom door.

“So, do you want to do something after school? Maybe we can go for a walk or something.” Bryony stopped her just outside the door. Lilika had been friends with her for as long as she could remember.

“Oh, I can’t.” Lilika sighed. “I have to do my chores right away when I get home since I didn’t have time to do all of them this morning.”

“Well, I found something I thought you might be interested in.” Bryony pulled out a big book from her backpack and wiped the dust off of it.

Lilika whipped her head around. “What? What is that?”

“It’s called The History of Winter in the Soul.” Bryony moved her fingers along the raised gold title on the front. “It’s all about Wits.” Bryony opened it and read from the book. “It was a cold that could only manifest out of the coldness in the soul. That is how Wits got to be known as the Winter in the Soul.”

“What are you doing?” Violet butted in. Great, she was always putting her nose where it didn’t belong.

“Nothing. Keep your voice down.” Lilika glanced toward the window to make sure no one was looking. Leave it to Violet to try and join in with them when they were trying not to bring attention to themselves.

“What do you have there, Bryony?” Violet put her hand on Bryony’s shoulder to get a glimpse.

“Nothing.” Lilika shook her head.

“Well, what is it? What’s so interesting?” Violet leaned in closer.

“Oh, please,” Lilika whispered, “just stop. Someone’s going to see, and then we’ll all be in trouble. Just mind your own business and leave us alone. Go, go on.” Lilika waved her hand at Violet.

“Fine.” Violet rolled her eyes and stormed off.

“Bryony, you really shouldn’t have that book. Where did you get it anyway?”

“I found it under my parent’s bed. Aren’t you curious about Wits?”

“I am, but…”

“But what?”

The golden locket popped into Lilika’s head. Who was she to tell Bryony not to ask questions about Wits? She had questions of her own.

“Nothing, come on, we’d better get inside. We’re going to be late.”

Bryony shoved the book back inside her backpack and followed Lilika into school.

 

JenniferAbout the Author

Jennifer Novotney was born in Burbank, California and lived in Los Angeles for most of her life until settling in North Eastern Pennsylvania with her husband and daughter. She attended California State University, earning a bachelors degree in journalism, and Northern Arizona University, earning a masters degree in English. After college, she spent several years writing and teaching, including at Pennsylvania State University.

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$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

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Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Posted in Fantasy, Giveaway, Kindle, Spotlight, Young Adult on February 27, 2015

Crystal Keeper 1 to 3

The Crystal Keeper by Laurisa White Reyes

Fourteen years before The Rock of Ivanore

Jayson lives among the shadows of Hestoria, his sole purpose for staying alive – to protect his half of the Seer’s crystal. Exiled from his homeland for loving the king’s daughter, Ivanore, Jayson is now pursued by two opposing factions: the Vatéz (League of Magicians) who intend to use the crystal for their own selfish gain, and the Guilde, the ancient guardians of the crystal.

Meanwhile, Ivanore flees from her father to Hestoria in search of Jayson. As the Seer, she is plagued with visions of him being tortured and is determined to rescue him. When the Vatéz capture her, however, she unwittingly jeopardizes everything Jayson has vowed to protect. He must now make a terrible choice: Should he save Ivanore or save the crystal?

The Crystal Keeper trilogy is available in print or digital formats.

Crystal Keeper 1-3

Grab your FREE copy of Exile (book 1) Now!

Betrayal – book 2

Vengeance – book 3

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Excerpt

Ivanore hunched over the parchment, the tip of her quill flicking above her hand like a trapped bird desperate to escape. The tallow candle cast a cramped circle of light across the table, hardly enough to see by. If only the night would last a little longer. Perhaps then she would have enough time to write everything she needed to. But alas, time was one thing she had too little of—that and light.

An older man with long, gray-streaked hair and piercing gray eyes waited beside her. The stone bungalow, their most recent of many hiding places, boasted the barest of furnishings: the table, stool, cot—and a plain wooden chest, its key held tightly in Zyll’s fist.

A sudden thump sounded at the door, startling them both. A strand of Ivanore’s hair, gold as the candlelight, fell across the page. She quickly tucked it back into place and wrote faster.

Zyll laid a hand on Ivanore’s shoulder. “They are here,” he whispered.

Ivanore finished the document and handed it to Zyll unbound. Turning to the chest, he carefully laid the pages inside.

“Wait,” said Ivanore. “Will you keep this as well?” A flat circle of pale green crystal lay in her open palm.

“But you will need it. I mustn’t—”

“Please,” she insisted, pressing it into his hand. “I can’t risk losing this one.”

Zyll reluctantly folded his fingers around the cool stone. “Of course, milady,” he said. Then, adding the crystal to the parchment, he laid a plate of thin wood atop them both, sealing the chest’s false bottom. He closed the lid and locked it.

The pounding at the door grew more insistent. Whoever stood outside was using their full weight against it in an effort to break through.

“We must hurry,” said Zyll.

Ivanore allowed herself a quick glance at the chest, offering the briefest of prayers that the gods would keep it safe until her return. Then, taking her by the arm, Zyll led her through the low archway dividing the bungalow’s front room from the back.

A loud crash of splintering wood resounded through the bungalow. Their visitors had finally broken in.

“Find her now!” a deep voice bellowed.

Grateful for the trousers she now wore instead of her usual cumbersome skirts, Ivanore clambered onto a stool and through a narrow window, lowering herself as quietly as possible to the ground outside. Once Zyll had done the same, they stole away across the rocky field. Though the sky was black as ink, their path was illuminated by the amber glow of volcanic fissures scoring the area for miles around.

“There she is!” a man’s voice shouted behind them. The words sent spasms of fear through Ivanore. She glanced behind her and saw three soldiers emerge from the bungalow, wearing the gold and red cross of her father’s crest. They had tracked her even here, to the remotest corner of Imaness. Would Fredric ever let her be?

Ivanore stopped running. She looked at Zyll, her trusted guardian and ally these past months since she had fled Dokur, and knew her time with him had come to an end.

“You’ll watch over them until I return?” she asked, out of breath. “Keep them safe. Don’t let my father find them.”

“You have my vow,” Zyll whispered, his voice tight with emotion.

Ivanore’s eyes welled with tears as she pressed her lips against the calloused skin of Zyll’s hand.

“Go,” said Zyll. “Go now before it’s too late.”

Ivanore released Zyll’s hand and sprinted forward alone. As she ran, she cupped her hands around her mouth and let out a loud, sharp call, much like that of a hawk or an eagle. She risked another glance over her shoulder and watched as Zyll turned to face their pursuers. As the soldiers neared, their swords glinting in the fire glow, Zyll held up his hands. A horizontal bolt of cerulean lightning shot out from his palms, striking the oncoming soldiers. The men recoiled, their bodies instantly singed and bloody.

Ivanore ran on. In desperation, she repeated her call, and this time another voice called back. A dark form appeared on the horizon, silhouetted against the light of the volcanic fractures and growing larger as it approached with tremendous speed. As it neared, the creature’s massive feathered wings moved the air around Ivanore in warm, powerful gusts. Ivanore saw clearly its eagle’s head with a beak large enough to break a man in two, paired with the muscular, furred body of a lion. As she ran toward it, the gryphon lowered its head, waiting.

Behind her, the soldiers reeled in pain, but they did not forget their duty. One man struggled to his knees, grunting from the effort. Reaching over his shoulder, he slid a short bow and arrow from his pack and swiftly took aim.

Ivanore reached the gryphon and in one smooth motion hoisted herself onto its back, twisting her arms deep into the feathers on the creature’s neck. In that same moment, a single arrow found its mark in Ivanore’s shoulder. She cried out before her body slumped forward and her mind went dark. The gryphon took flight then, and in less time than it took to draw another arrow—or a breath—they had vanished into the night.

 

About the Author

laurisaAfter spending more than a decade as a newspaper editorialist, magazine staff writer, and book editor, Laurisa finally started living her dream of being an author. She is the author of three novels for younger readers, the editor-in-chief of Middle Shelf Magazine, and Senior Editor of Skyrocket Press. She lives in Southern California with her husband and five children.

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$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 3/15/15 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in Fantasy, Spotlight, vampire on February 27, 2015

Velicious Cover

 

Synopsis

Justice Morel always had her life perfectly planned. Her goals were to graduate from the University with exceptional grades and get into the best law school Canada has to offer.

Then one day, Justice tried to kill herself. Well, not her technically. It may have been Justice Morel’s body, but those actions weren’t intentional and the suicidal thoughts were not hers. Or, so she keeps telling her therapist and family.

Justice is afraid she’s losing her mind and just wants to forget everything. But when her best friend is murdered, another one is being mind-screwed by a Vampyre, and her ex is back in town, looking as scrumptious as ever and very suspicious, maybe she isn’t all that crazy!

Just when she thinks that life couldn’t throw her anymore curve balls, Justice figures out that she is Vampyre Doll and there’s a vampyre who seems very familiar to her, but she can’t figure out from where.

Justice is suffocating and drowning in a dark world she’s been tossed into, forced to survive. It’s a world she never wanted to know about and would love to ignore, like it doesn’t exist. But, with every passing day, she’s pulled deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole, wishing for everything to go back to the way it was.

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Excerpt

“Press your lips against mine,” Dante commands and with a quick movement, he wrapped the necklace around his wrist with the searing still persisting and, of course, shortening the chain around my neck, which inevitably drew me closer into him. He informed, “Every moment you do not kiss me, the poison seeps into my flesh, into my bloodstream, and will kill me.”

Was he serious? Dante could not be seriously poisoning himself because I was not going to kiss him. Shaking my head nervously, I was annoyed at what he was doing. “This isn’t fair, Dante. Back off.”

”I don’t like playing fair woman,” And he winced momentarily, with the pain I could hear and smell. We were too close, I can’t be this close to him.

“What is wrong with you?” I breathed.

“Some say many things.”

“Da—”

“—Kiss me.” He leaned in closer.

“Please,” I pleaded in a whisper, shaken.

“Justice, kiss me,” and those beseeching words, connected our eager lips.

The kiss started slow and soft, and my skin caught on fire. That kiss was just what I wanted to avoid. But when Dante grimaced, it reminded me of his burning flesh and I disconnected our lips.

About the Author

Awesome mother of two beautiful baby girls and wife to the luckiest man on the planet. I love anything to do with the paranormal world. Author, reader, blogger. Inspirational quotes, meditating and photography I appreciate. Sailormoon, movie-holic and hopeless Romantic. Lactose intolerant but I loves cheese pizza. Shopaholic and I’m an Aries.

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Posted in 5 paws, excerpt, Giveaway, Review, romance on February 26, 2015

Wife Maker (1)Blog Tour Schedule

Wife Maker

The Wife Maker by Karey White

Charlotte has spent years as the husband maker, sending every guy she dates off to enjoy marital bliss with the next girl he dates. But things have now changed, and she’s determined to use her husband-maker abilities one last time–on herself. And she finally knows exactly who she wants.

Angus has loved Charlotte since they were teenagers, but he’s tired of waiting for her to realize how good they could be. She’s broken his heart one too many times, and it’s time to move on with his life. Maybe a position halfway across the country will be just what he needs to get over her. But when Charlotte won’t let him go without a fight, Angus has to decide if he’s willing to let her in again or if she’s too late.

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Excerpt

My phone rang before six the next morning. Who would call that early on a Sunday? I rubbed my bleary eyes and looked at the screen. The number was unfamiliar and a strange configuration. I almost shut it off, but on a hunch, I answered the call.

“Charlotte, it’s Flynn.”

“Flynn? Is everything okay?”

“Aye. I think we should talk. Turn on your computer and call me.”

Ten minutes later, Flynn appeared on the screen of my laptop.

“What’s going on?”

“I think you should move to Kansas City.”

I laughed. “What are you talking about?”

“Don’t laugh. I’m not jokin’.”

“I can’t move to Kansas City. My job’s here. My family’s here. And I don’t think Angus would even want me to.”

“Ah, he’d say he doesn’t want ya to, but I’d wager that what he wants and what he says he wants are two different things.”

I shook my head. “You’re crazy. This is what you wanted me to call you for at this hour of the morning?”

“Aye. And hear me out. I’ve been chewin’ on this all day.”

I was touched that he’d been trying to figure out a way to help me, but this idea was insane. “I’m listening.”

“You say you’ll wait for him to come back.” I nodded. “What about him? You might be willing to wait for ten years, but what about Angus? He’ll be meeting new people. He won’t be waiting around. If ya want to cook a chicken, ya have to put him in while the water’s boilin’.”

I snickered. “I don’t even know what that means, Flynn.”

“Sure ya do. If ya wait ‘til the water’s all cooled down, good luck cooking the bird. Right now the water’s boilin’.”

“No it’s not. He doesn’t want anything to do with me.”

“That’s ’cause the water’s boilin’. If it weren’t, he’d talk to ya all day long. He’s just tryin’ not to get burned.”

There was an absurd and comforting logic to what he was saying. “Keep going.”

“There’s not much more to say. Move to Kansas City.”

“That’s easier said than done, Flynn.”

“Tell me this. What needs more attention? The things in San Francisco? Or the thing in Kansas City?”

I didn’t answer him. I didn’t know what to say.

“Charlotte, give him a grand gesture. Show ’im he’s more important than the things you’ve left behind.”

“Wow. I should never have answered the phone this morning.”

We laughed. “Think about it. It might work.”

“It might not. And then I’ll be two thousand miles away from my family and I’ll have given up the best job in the world and . . . It’s all so scary.”

“But you’re brave. And if it doesn’t work out, you can go back.”

“I thought you were my friend.”

Flynn didn’t say anything right away. He just smiled. When he finally spoke, his voice was soft. “I am.”

Review

What a great conclusion to this trilogy! I think we all figured that Angus & Charlotte would get together but it was interesting to see how it played out. Each had to give in a little to make the situation work. It was also interesting to see how it worked away from friends and family, they only had each other (and their jobs). I think they both grew as individuals and realized that all they needed was each other.

great series, one to check out!  We give it 5 paws up!

pawprintpawprintpawprintpawprintpawprint

Karey WhiteAuthor Karey White

Karey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist.

She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.

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$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 3/22/15

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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Posted in Book Blast, Giveaway, suspense, Thriller on February 26, 2015

third Twin

The Third Twin by C.J. Omololu

When they were little, Lexi and her identical twin, Ava, made up a third sister, Alicia. If something broke? Alicia did it. Cookies got eaten? Alicia’s guilty. Alicia was always to blame for everything.

The game is all grown up now that the girls are seniors. They use Alicia as their cover to go out with boys who are hot but not exactly dating material. Boys they’d never, ever be with in real life.

Now one of the guys Alicia went out with has turned up dead, and Lexi wants to stop the game for good. As coincidences start piling up, Ava insists that if they follow the rules for being Alicia, everything will be fine. But when another boy is killed, the DNA evidence and surveillance photos point to only one suspect—Alicia. The girl who doesn’t exist.

As she runs from the cops, Lexi has to find the truth before another boy is murdered. Because either Ava is a killer . . . or Alicia is real.

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Praise

“[An] original, riveting thriller.” — Melissa Marr, New York Times bestselling author of Made for You

“Delicious and deceptive, The Third Twin is a twisty-turny thrill ride! I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough!” –Kimberly Derting, author of the Body Finder series and The Taking

“A classic whodunit.”–Kirkus Reviews

 

CJ

About the Author

CJ OMOLOLU is the author of the ALA-YALSA Quick Pick Dirty Little Secrets and several other YA novels. She loved to read but never thought to write until she discovered that the voices in her head often have interesting things to say. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and their two sons.

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$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 3/19/15

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Posted in Book Blast, chick lit, Giveaway, Spotlight, women on February 25, 2015

The Marrying Type Cover

 

Synopsis

Always the wedding planner, never a bride, Elliot Lynch is famous for orchestrating the splashiest weddings in Charleston, South Carolina. When her father’s sloppy management practices leave them on the brink of bankruptcy, Elliot will do whatever it takes to save the family business. When asked to appear on “The Marrying Type,” a reality TV show about the people behind the scenes as couples exchange I dos, she says yes to the invasion of privacy (and the hefty paycheck that comes with it).

With a camera crew capturing every detail of her life, Elliot faces her most challenging contract yet: planning a wedding where her ex is involved in every part of the process. Add in a lazy assistant, liquor-loving bridesmaid, and rival planner encroaching on her turf, and Elliot’s wedding season goes from high-end to high-stress.

Forced to confront her past, Elliot must live out her troubled present on national TV if she has any hope of saving her future.

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About the Author

laura-chapmanLaura Chapman is the author of The Marrying Type, Hard Hats and Doormats and the Autumn and Tuck series, which appear in Merry & Bright and A Kind of Mad Courage. A native Nebraskan, she loves football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Until she fulfills her dream of landing a British husband or becoming a Disney princess, you can find her in a bar penning her next novel.

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Posted in Christian, excerpt, Spotlight, Young Adult on February 25, 2015

faith seekers

Young Adult Christian Fiction
Date Published: December 2014

Synopsis

She raised her head when she felt the warmth. A violet cloud poured into her hands and over her head. He spoke like water falling into a deep pool. “The sapling belongs to me.”

When Hannah’s family loses their home, she drops out of college and joins them as they take their RV on a journey through fractured America. Struggling with her loss of identity, she attempts to embrace her new life as a nomad until a California campground unveils a nightmare that only she can see. She questions her sanity as her family continues on their journey, and her unearthly visions increase.

Miguel, a young photographer traveling with his uncle, helps Hannah discover her true identity and the roles they will all play in unveiling the truth about the ever-present good and evil surrounding them. Join Hannah and Miguel as they try to piece together their broken hopes and dreams amidst looming darkness. Will Hannah find her faith, embrace the light, and trust in the God that she thought had abandoned her?

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Excerpt

The Trailer smelled like last night’s onions and morning breath. Hannah cracked the window and coiled her dark hair away from her face. Her dad’s snores from behind the sliding door were getting softer—he and Mom would be awake soon. she glanced at her brother, still asleep in the bed above hers. she needed to leave before he woke. Ian didn’t need to come this time.

The rolled-up mat sat between the door and kitchen cupboard, waiting to resume its post in the ever- revolving landscapes of America. she grabbed it and slid outside into fresh air. Welcome, it said, in large black letters. Only two months old, it looked like it had seen a lifetime—a lifetime of sun and the treading of unsettled feet. Hannah placed a heavy rock on either side to keep the edges from curling.

Her mother was convinced no home was complete without that offer, even for the simplest of visitors.

Hannah stepped onto a tree-lined trail. The textbook under her arm was the last one she had left. American history. Although her dad considered it the keystone of the future, Hannah found no solutions within the pages. As the trail faded into wilderness, she found a tree scorched to death. At its blackened base, Hannah dug a hole and laid the book to rest. Damp soil invaded her nails as she scattered the last of it on top of her old college book.

The ground cradled her sorrow when she stretched out beside the new grave and searched the heavens above the arms of the forest. The ache in her chest rose to meet her tears as they slid into the earth. How do I find answers from a silent God?

A sudden whisper danced from branch to branch and flowed around her for a moment.
Perhaps the forest still remembered the earliest inhabitants that took less and lived more freely. Or maybe it was God’s voice, indecipherable, like always.

Noises of a waking camp interrupted her peace. she hungered for solitude like a woman craves chocolate. she searched the ground until she found the path that led to the shore. Hannah quickened her pace when salty air joined the trees. Starfish accented the rocks like God had decorated, but Hannah didn’t want to sketch this time—she wanted to run until her legs shook.

The wind loosened her hair, whipping it into tangles. she pumped her legs until the sand began to dissolve beneath her feet and then faced the waves, returning their roar. When she ran out of breath, she collapsed into the sand.

Hannah hugged her knees and caught sight of her hands. These aren’t nails, these are claws. The jagged edges on her fingers framed the dirt from the burial of books and dreams that had been her life over the past few months. Up until her family had lost everything, Hannah had kept her nails in perfect condition—a French manicure one month, custom airbrushing the next. If my friends could see me now, they wouldn’t recognize the hobo I’ve become.

About the Author

sherry rossmanSherry wrote children’s books before digging into genres for older audiences. She has published short stories for The Relevant Christian Magazine and Wordsmith Journal Magazine, as well as guest blogging for Life Upside Down and Christian eBooks Today. She lives in Northern Arizona with her husband and children.

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Posted in excerpt, fiction, Spotlight on February 24, 2015

This is a new release today!

trip down reality lane

 

Synopsis

College life can be tough…

For a junior pursuing a degree in English with no plans for his future, living in the present is far better than the alternative.

One morning he wakes up and embarks on an acid trip to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts with two of his friends.

A step outside reality might be the best way to come back down to earth…

Along the way, the three friends discover what matters most to them, and more importantly, that life is not so much about answers as it is about the exploration of the questions.

When the real world doesn’t quite cut it, take a journey down the rabbit hole.

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Excerpt

The bathroom shouldn’t have become a part of the adventure. It’s not like you forget how to do absolutely everything when you’re tripping. But this was a modern bathroom, which was fitting given the part of the museum it was in. This wouldn’t have been a problem for most people, but the modernity of the bathroom created an issue for James and me.

Taking care of business wasn’t the issue, thankfully. We ran into trouble when the time came to wash our hands. But even stoned people care about hygiene. The faucets looked like they were from an episode of Star Trek. There was no sign of the little black sensor that you usually put your hands under to start the faucet. I waved my hands under the faucet a solid ten times with no luck.

James’ luck was no better than my own. “I can’t get this damn thing to work,” he said. “This faucet is broken.” I wasn’t willing to give up.

“We’re not doing it right. Let’s try it together,” I suggested, and I moved over to his faucet. We waved all four of our hands in every position under and over the faucet, to no avail. Two college students who can’t even tag-team a faucet was about as demoralizing as it gets. My feelings of self-confidence about the future were in serious doubt. What could the future possibly hold for a man who cannot make water come out of a sink?

About the Author

Ian Thomas Malone is an author and a yogi from Greenwich, CT. He is a graduate of Boston College, where he founded The Rock at Boston College. He is the grandson of noted Sherlockian scholar Colonel John Linsenmeyer. Ian has published thousands of articles on diverse subjects such as popular culture, baseball, and social commentary. His favorite things to post on social media are pictures of his golden retriever Georgie and his collection of stuffed animals.

Ian believes firmly that “there’s more to life than books you know, but not much more,” a quote from his hero Morrissey. When he’s not reading, writing, or teaching yoga, he can probably be found in a pool playing water polo. He aspires to move to the Hundred Acre Wood someday, though he hopes it has wi-fi by then.

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Posted in 3 paws, Fantasy, fiction, humor, Review, women on February 24, 2015

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Title: Cracked! A Magic iPhone Story
Author: Janine A. Southard
Publisher: Cantina Publishing
Pages: 265
Genre: Contemporary Lit/Humor
Format: Paperback/Kindle

What can your phone do for you?

This is the story of a girl and her iPhone. No, that’s not quite right. This is the story of a middle-aged statistician and her best friend. Though she didn’t consider herself middle-aged. And the best friend was more of a roommate-with-whom-she’d-developed-a-friendship. And this description completely ignores the 6,000-year-old elf with whom the woman and her best friend enjoyed story gaming.

So let’s try this again.

This is the story of a woman who wished to find love, but who would rather play story games than actively look for it. Especially in the wake of a horrid break-up six months before from a man who had never sent her a single gift.

Until this Valentine’s Day, when she received a brand new iPhone in a box with his name on it.

Between story gaming and succumbing to the phone’s insidious sleekness, she learns that friendship trumps romance.

In Cracked! A Magic iPhone Story, award-winning author Janine A. Southard (a Seattle denizen) shows you how the geeks of Seattle live, provides a running and often-hilarious social commentary on today’s world, and reminds you that, so long as you have friends, you are never alone.

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Excerpt

This is the story of a girl and her iPhone. No, that’s not quite right. This is the story of a middle-aged statistician and her best friend. Though she didn’t consider herself middle-aged. And the best friend was more of a roommate-with-whom-she’d-developed-a-friendship.

And this description completely ignores the 6,000-year-old elf with whom the woman and her best friend enjoyed story gaming.

So let’s try this again.

This is the story of a woman who wished to find love, but who would rather play story games than actively look for it. Especially in the wake of a horrid break-up six months before from a man had who never sent her a single gift.

Until now.

That man, who is otherwise unimportant to this narrative, had no sense of timing.

He had, foolishly perhaps, expected something different from their three-year relationship. He’d been after crazy spontaneity and over-sexualized Carnivale stereotypes from his Brazilian-American girlfriend, whereas she’d merely expected companionship and a proposal.

So when the breakup arrived instead of a ring box, it came as quite a shock to Morena (for that was the woman’s name). And on this day, when she saw a package on her kitchen table sporting his return address (likely carried inside the night before by her staggeringly drunk roommate), she almost took it down, unopened, to the recycling bin in her apartment building’s garage.

But she didn’t.

In a fit of whimsy disguised as righteous fury, she wielded a utility knife and tore into the obviously reused box with Amazon.com emblazoned on the side. She slashed at the cardboard and threw packing peanuts all over her matted beige carpet, which had witnessed many a discarded packing peanut before.

The carpet didn’t mind, but it would have worried about usually sensible Morena’s mental state if it had the kind of mind that knew how to worry. But it was a carpet, so it didn’t.

If this book were a movie, the non-trash-bound contents of the box would now be surrounded in a soft yellow glow. There would be swelling music whose pulsing undertone would let the viewer know that this, THIS, was a significant moment. But since this is a book (and, for Morena, this was real life), these things did not happen. Instead, she got a paper cut from the crumpled newsprint that cushioned a very ordinary-looking iPhone.

Review

This is a rather bizarre book. It is told from a narrator’s point of view, which was quite humorous at times with some of the comments. The story hits on some really good points – that we are too tied to technology (Morena’s obsession with the iPhone – even if it was magical), you don’t have to have a boyfriend/girlfriend to be happy and that sometimes friends are all you need.

I did like Magic Guy – an elf that has lived for centuries and was the only person that could see the damage the iPhone was doing. Suzyn was a fun character and despite her problems, was a very talented artist. With this bunch of quirky characters it is no surprise that they became friends.

The overall story was good but it did take me a bit to get into it…not sure if it was my mood or something else.

We give this 3 paws up – if you are in the mood for quirky this might fit the bill!

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About the Author

Janine A. SouthardJanine A. Southard is the IPPY award-winning author of the Hive Queen Saga, as well as other science fiction and young adult novels and novellas.

The Hive Queen Saga books blend cultural experimentation with epic as they follow a formalized Hive of teenagers on a voyage to new lands and new cultures where their own ways seem very strange. The first novel in the saga, Queen & Commander, has been described as “like Joss Whedon’s Firefly but for teenagers” by the YA’s Nightstand. The second book, Hive & Heist, is a classic heist tale set on a space station.

Queen & Commander received an IPPY (Independent Book Publishers) Award for science fiction ebooks in 2013. Outside the Hive Queen Saga, the science fiction novella These Convergent Stars was selected as the short ebook recommendation of the week at Tungsten Hippo on 29 January 2014.

All Southard’s books so far have been possible because of crowdsourced funds via Kickstarter. She owes great thanks to her many patrons of the arts who love a good science fiction adventure and believe in her ability to make that happen.

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Posted in Giveaway, romance, Spotlight on February 24, 2015
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Synopsis

Would marrying Jacob be the craziest thing she’s ever done, or divorcing him?

Realist Dr. Carla Harris believes that people create their own fate through hard work and careful planning. She believes in playing things safe. But, while preparing for her upcoming nuptials, she’s forced to confront the most reckless thing she’s ever done…her estranged husband, Jacob.

Idealist Jacob Moreau believes in soul mates as much as he believes in saving endangered companies. When his long lost wife reenters his life seeking a divorce, he is convinced more than ever they are meant to be together. And he will do—and lose—anything to have her again.

She thought she had her life planned to perfection. He thought they made perfect sense together.

Would marrying Jacob be the craziest thing she’s ever done, or divorcing him?

About the Author

roeRoe Valentine was born into the right family. Not only does the name Valentine suit her, but her grandmother, unknowingly, introduced the young Ms. Valentine to her first romance novel. She hasn’t read anything else since. She calls herself a romantic at heart and believes that love conquerors all.

The San Antonio native, who now lives in Houston, attempted to write her first contemporary romance novel when she was nineteen years old. That attempt didn’t take, but her story has a happy ending. She kept pursuing the dream until she landed her first publishing contract in 2013.

When not busy writing or reading love stories, Roe can often be found in a yoga class or chatting with friends at her favorite coffee shop. Enjoying margaritas with some girl-talk isn’t unusual for her either. For a night in, she watches reruns of her favorite TV shows and, of course, romantic comedies on her Roku, usually with a glass of wine.

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