Friday, June 28, 2013

Book Tour & Review: Branded

Hello and welcome to the Branded book tour!! This book is a YA Dystopian Romance that came out today!!! Don't forget to scroll down for an excerpt — and I also had the pleasure of reviewing this book, so make sure to scroll down for that as well.
Branded by Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicicki
Twenty years ago the Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadliest sins were the downfall of our society. He created the Hole where sinners are branded according to their sins and might survive a few years. At best.
Now LUST wraps around my neck like blue fingers strangling me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit and now the Hole is my new home.

Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain.

Now, every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win.
The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me.
I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter.
My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.
Series: Sinners, #1
Age: Young Adult, 14 years and up
Review: 4 butterflies
I’ve never been much of a dystopian fan—I prefer to stick to my romance and fantasy genres. But something about this book brought me in. Maybe it was the gorgeous cover, or maybe it was the intriguing story line.

Whatever it was, I’m so grateful I gave this book a try. In a sad and gloomy world, Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki have integrated happiness and light. There are moments of despair and moments of hope, and there was just enough hope to keep everyone trying to survive.

The world that the authors created was really good. We get enough details throughout the book to piece together what happened in the past to make the world what it had become. It’s now post-World War V. You read that correctly, World War five. I liked the detail that they put into making this world what it became and the idea of brands for sinners.

Lexi is a strong girl. She’s been through a lot. And I mean, a LOT. When I started this book, I didn’t know just how much this poor girl had suffered—but she still has her spirit and she hasn’t let that bring her down. Lexi’s been handed the wrong side of everything, but she still manages to survive. I really respected that about her and it’s the reason that she’s one of my favorite characters in this book.

Cole is Lexi’s guard, who has strict orders to keep her alive and protect her at all costs. She is confused, naturally, because why would anyone care that much about a sinner?

I loved Cole and everything he did. I really, truly did. He was brave and was willing to risk everything for love. That, and his loyalty and care, made me like him even more. He was brave and really wanted to change things so that the world could be a better place.

There were some things that both Lexi and Cole did that were kinda dumb, but it was realistic and I completely understood why they did them.

One person that I didn’t like that I felt like I was supposed to like was Keegan. Pretty much every time he opened his mouth I felt like yelling “How dare he?!” He just bursts in, after leaving, and thinks he can boss Lexi around? Hell, no. And then Lexi pretty much forgives him. Yes, she admits that she doesn’t agree with everything he does, but come on, girl, he’s being a jerk. He “knows what’s best for her”? Ha! I couldn’t believe that Lexi forgave him that easily—but on the other hand I do understand why she did. I was slightly conflicted when it came to Keegan.

This story has many twists and turns—some you’ll see coming, and some will leave you with your mouth wide open staring at the screen (or page) while pretty much all that is going around in your head is “Holy crap!” I really enjoyed reading this story and finished it in one sitting. It had romance, action, slight mystery, and good guys trying to fight for justice. I’m very curious to see what will happen next. In other words, I’ll definitely be looking for the next book in this series!

A free copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Book links: Goodreads * Amazon * B&N
Watch the trailer HERE!

Excerpt

Chapter One

I’m buried six feet under, and no one hears my screams.

The rope chafes as I loop it around my neck. I pull down on it, making sure the knot is secure. It seems sturdy enough.

My legs shake. My heart beats heavy in my throat. Sweat pours down my back.

Death and I glare at each other through my tears.

I take one last look at the crystal chandelier, the foyer outlined with mirrors, and the flawless decorations. No photographs adorn the walls. No happy memories here.

I’m ready to go. On the count of three.

I inhale, preparing myself for the finality of it all. Dropping my hands, a glimmer catches my eye. It’s my ring, the last precious gift my father gave me. I twist it around to read the inscription. Picturing his face forces me to reconsider my choice. He’d be heartbroken if he could see me now.

A door slams in the hallway, almost causing me to lose my balance. My thoughts already muddled, I stand, waiting with the rope around my neck. Voices I don’t recognize creep through the walls.

Curiosity overshadows my current thoughts. It’s late at night, and this is a secure building in High Society. No one disturbs the peace here—ever. I tug on the noose and pull it back over my head.

Peering through the eyehole in our doorway, I see a large group of armed guards banging on my neighbors’ door. A heated conversation ensues, and my neighbors point toward my family’s home.

It hits me. I’ve been accused and they’re here to arrest me.

My father would want me to run, and in that split second, I decide to listen to his voice within me. Flinging myself forward in fear, I scramble up the marble staircase and into my brother’s old bedroom. The door is partially covered, but it exists. Pushing his dresser aside, my fingers claw at the opening. Breathing hard, I lodge myself against it. Nothing. I step back and kick it with all my strength. The wood splinters open, and my foot gets caught. I wrench it backward, scraping my calf, but adrenaline pushes me forward. The voices at the front door shout my name.

On hands and knees, I squeeze through the jagged opening. My brother left through this passage, and now it’s my escape too. Cobwebs entangle my face, hands, and hair. At the end, I feel for the knob, twisting it clockwise. It swings open, creaking from disuse. I sprint into the hallway and smash through the large fire escape doors at the end. A burst of cool air strikes me in the face as I jump down the ladder.

Reaching the fifth floor, I knock on a friend’s window. The lights flicker on, and I see the curtains move, but no one answers. I bang on the window harder.

“Let me in! Please!” I say, but the lights darken. They know I’ve been accused and refuse to help me. Fear and adrenaline rush through my veins as I keep running, knocking on more windows along the way. No one has mercy. They all know what happens to sinners.

Another flight of stairs passes in a blur when I hear the guards’ heavy footfalls from above. I can’t hide, but I don’t want to go without trying.

Help me, Daddy. I need your strength now.

My previous desolation evolves into a will to survive. I have to keep running, but I tremble and gasp for air. I steel my nerves and force my body to keep moving. In a matter of minutes, my legs cramp and my chest burns. I plunge to the ground, scraping my knee and elbow. A moan escapes from my chest.

Gotta keep going.

“Stop!” Their voices bounce off the buildings. “Lexi Hamilton, surrender yourself,” they command. They’re gaining on me.

I resist the urge to glance back, running into what I assume is an alley. I’m far from our high-rise in High Society as I plunge into a poorer section of the city where the streets all look the same and the darkness prevents me from recognizing anything. I’m lost.

My first instinct is to leap into a dumpster, but I retain enough sense to stay still. I crouch and peek around it, watching them dash by. The abhorrent smell soon leaves me vomiting until nothing remains in my stomach. Desperation overtakes me, as I know my retching was anything but silent. My last few seconds tick away before they find me. Everyone knows about their special means of tracking sinners.

I push myself to my feet and look left, right, and left again. Their batons click against their black, leather belts, and their boots stomp the cement on both sides of me. I shrink into myself. Their heavy steps mock my fear, growing closer and closer until I know I’m trapped.

Never did I imagine they’d come for me. Never did I imagine all those nights I heard them dragging someone else away that I’d join them.

“You’re a sinner,” they say. “Time to leave our society.”

I stand defiant. I refuse to bend or break before them even as I shiver with fear.

“There’s no reason to make this difficult. The more you cooperate, the smoother this will be for everyone,” a guard says.

I cringe into the blackness along the wall. I’m innocent, but they won’t believe me or care.

The next instant, my face slams into the pavement as one guard plants a knee in my back and another handcuffs me. A warm liquid trails into my mouth. Blood. Their fingers grip my arms like steel traps as they peel me off the cement. The tops of my shoes scrape along the ground as I’m dragged behind them until they discard me into the back of a black vehicle. The doors slam in unison with one guard stationed on each side of me, my shoulders digging into their arms. The handcuffs dig into my wrists, so I clasp them together hard behind me and press my back into the seat, unwilling to admit how much it hurts. My dignity is all I have left.

Swallowing hard, I stare ahead to avoid their eyes.

Did they need so many guards to capture me?

I’m not carrying any weapons, nor do I own any. I don’t even know self-defense. High Society frowns on activities like that.

The driver jerks the vehicle around and I try to keep my bearings, but it’s dark and the scenery changes too fast. Hours pass and the air grows warmer, more humid, the farther we drive. The landscape mutates from city to rolling hills. They don’t bother blindfolding me because they escort all the sinners to the same place—the Hole. Twenty-foot cement walls encase the chaos within. There’s no way out and no way in unless they transport you. They say the Hole is a prison with no rules. We learned about it last year in twelfth grade.

To the outside, I’m filth now. I’ll never be allowed to return to the life I knew. No one ever does.

“All sinners go through a transformation,” one of the guards says to me. His smirk infuriates me. “I’m sure you’ve heard all kinds of stories.” I don’t respond. I don’t want to think about the things I’ve been told.

“You won’t last too long, though. Young girls like you get eaten alive.” He pulls a strand of my hair up to his face.

Get your hands off me, you pig. I want to lash out, but resist. The punishment for disobeying authority is severe, and I’m not positioned to defy him.

They’re the Guards of the Commander. They’re chosen from a young age and trained in combat. They keep the order of society by using violent methods of intimidation. No one befriends a guard. Relationships with them are forbidden inside the Hole.

Few have seen the commander. His identity stays under lock and key. His own paranoia and desire to stay pure drove him to live this way. He controls our depraved society and believes sinners make the human race unforgivable. His power is a crushing fist, rendering all beneath him helpless. So much so, even family members turn on each other when an accusation surfaces. Just an accusation. No trial, no evidence, nothing but an accusation.

I lose myself in thoughts of my father.

“Never show fear, Lexi,” my father said to me before he was taken. “They’ll use it against you.” His compassionate eyes filled with warning as he commanded me to be strong. That was many years ago, but I remember it clearly. My father. My rock. The one person in my life who provided unconditional love.

The vehicle stops, and I’m jerked back to reality. “Get out,” the guard orders while pulling me to my feet. The doors slide open and the two guards lift me up and out into the night. A windowless cement building looms in front of us, looking barren in the darkness.

The coolness of the air sends a shiver up my spine. This is really happening. I’ve been labeled a sinner. My lip starts to quiver, but I bite it before anyone sees. They shove me in line and I realize I’m not alone. Women and men stand with faces frozen white in fear. A guard grabs my finger, pricks it, and dabs my blood on a tiny microchip.

I follow the man in front of me into the next room where we’re lined up facing the wall. Glancing right, I see one of the men crying.

“Spread your legs,” one of the guards says.

They remove my outer layers and their hands roam up and down my body.

What do they think I could possibly be hiding? I press my head into the wall, trying to block out what they’re doing to me.

“MOVE!” a guard commands. So I shuffle across the room, trying to cover up.

One.

Two.

Three.

Four.

Five of us sit in the holding room. One by one, they pull people into the next room, forcing the rest of us to wonder what torture we’ll endure. An agonizing amount of time passes. I lean my head back and try to imagine a place far away. The door opens.

“Lexi Hamilton.”

A guard escorts me out of the room, and I don’t have time to look back. As soon as the door closes, they pick me up and place me on a table. It’s cold and my skin sticks to it slightly, like wet fingers on an ice cube. Then, they exit in procession, and I lie on the table with a doctor standing over me. His hands are busy as he speaks.

“Don’t move. This will only take a few minutes. It’s time for you to be branded.”

A wet cloth that smells like rubbing alcohol is used to clean my skin. Then he places a metal collar around my neck.

Click. Click. Click.

The collar locks into place, and I struggle to breathe. The doctor loosens it some as I focus on the painted black words above me.


The Seven Deadly Sins:

Lust — Blue

Gluttony — Orange

Greed — Yellow

Sloth — Black

Wrath — Red

Envy — Green

Pride — Purple


“Memorize it. Might keep you alive longer if you know who to stay away from.” He opens my mouth, placing a bit inside. “Bite this.”

Within seconds, the collar heats from hot to scorching. The smell of flesh sizzling makes my head spin. I bite down so hard a tooth cracks.

“GRRRRRRRRR,” escapes from deep within my chest. Just when I’m about to pass out, the temperature drops, and the doctor loosens the collar.

He removes it and sits me up. Excruciating pain rips through me and I’m on the verge of a mental and physical breakdown. Focus. Don’t pass out.

Stainless steel counters and boring white walls press in on me. A guard laughs at me from an observation room above and yells, “Blue. It’s a great color for a pretty young thing like yourself.” His eyes dance with suggestion. The others meander around like it’s business as usual.

I finally find my voice and turn to the doctor.

“Are you going to give me clothes?” A burning pain spreads like fire from my neck to my jaw, making me wince.

He points to a set of folded grey scrubs on a chair. I cover myself as much as I can and scurry sideways. Grabbing my new clothes, I pull the shirt over my head and try to avoid the raw meat around my throat. I quickly knot the cord of my pants around my waist and slide my feet into the hospital-issue slippers as the doctor observes. He hands me a bag labeled with my name.

“Nothing is allowed through the door but what we’ve given you,” he says.

I hide my right hand behind me, hoping no one notices. A guard scans my body and opens his hand.

“Give it to me,” he says. “Don’t make me rip off your finger.” He crouches down and I turn to stone. I don’t know what to do, so I beg.

“My father gave this to me. Please, let me keep it.” I smash my eyes shut and think of the moment my father handed the golden ring to me.

“It was my mother’s ring,” he’d said. “She’s the strongest woman I ever knew.” With tears in his eyes, he reached for my hand. “Lexi, you’re exactly like her. She’d want you to wear this. No matter how this world changes, you can survive.” I turned the gold band over in my palm and read the engraving.

You can overcome anything… short of death.

“You’re going to take the one thing that matters the most to me?” I say, glaring into the guard’s emotionless eyes. “Isn’t it enough taking my life, dignity, and respect?”

A hard blow falls upon my back. As I fall, my hands shoot out to stop me from smashing into the wall in front of me. The guard bends down and grabs my chin with his meaty fist.

“Look at me,” he commands. I look up and he smiles with arrogance.

“What the hell?” He staggers a step backward. “What’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with your eyes?”

“Nothing,” I respond, confused.

“What color are they?”

“Turquoise.” I glower at him.

“Interesting,” he says, regaining his composure. “Now those’ll get you in trouble.”

Reality slaps me across the face. I have my father’s eyes. They can’t take them from me. I twist the ring off my finger and drop it in his hand.

“Take the damn ring,” I say. I walk to the door. He swipes a card and the massive door slides open to the outside.

“You have to wear your hair back at all times, so everyone knows what you are.” He hands me a tie, so I pull my frizzy hair away from my face and secure it into a ponytail. My neck burns and itches as my hand traces the scabs that have already begun to form. Squinting ahead into the darkness, I almost run into a guard standing on the sidewalk.

“Watch where you’re going,” he says, shoving me backward. His stiff figure stands tall and I cringe at the sharpness of his voice.

“Cole, this is your new assignment, Lexi Hamilton. See to it she feels welcome in her new home.” The guard departs with a salute.

“Let’s move,” Cole says.

I take two steps and collapse, my knees giving out. The unforgiving pavement reopens the scrapes from earlier and I struggle to stand. A powerful arm snatches me up, and I see his face for the first time.
~~~

About the Authors

Abi and Missy met in the summer of 1999 at college orientation and have been best friends ever since. After college, they added jobs, husbands and kids to their lives, but they still found time for their friendship. Instead of hanging out on weekends, they went to dinner once a month and reviewed books. What started out as an enjoyable hobby has now become an incredible adventure.

Yours,




This book tour was organized by CBL Book Tours.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Cover Reveal: Landlocked

Here is the cover reveal for Landlocked, a YA Paranormal that is the sequel to Surface! The cover is designed by Fiona Jayde Media and the book will be published this summer.
Landlocked by Tiffany Daune
 Blurb:
As if staying focused in trigonometry wasn't hard enough....Eerie visions are plaguing Theia's mind, driving her insane. Someone or something is reaching out to her, dragging her into a dark underwater world. And, to add to her metal delirium, she has no control over her newly awakened Siren senses. She thinks she can hear her cat's thoughts, she wants to pummel Sarah Collins, and she's trying to keep it together so she doesn't lose her scholarship. She needs someone who understands—someone bound to the ocean water she craves—she needs Luc. But contacting him is risky, and returning to the water a death sentence. She must find a way to harness her Siren senses even though the waves are calling to her. Denying her intended destiny may be the only way to stay alive.
Series: Surface, #2
Age: Young Adult
Add to Goodreads

About the Author

Tiffany Daune doesn't get why people want to grow up or why anyone would ever stop eating candy. Her purse is filled with books, lip gloss and a few pieces of Lego bricks. She writes best with a dish of chocolate chips on hand and finds licorice makes a better straw than plastic.

She lives on an island and believes mermaids may be raiding her candy stash, though she hasn't caught them, yet.

Surface is her first novel and pairs well with gummy sharks.

Yours,




This cover reveal was organized by Xpresso Book Tours.

Book Blitz: Vigilante Nights (Giveaway)

Welcome to the Book Blitz for Vigilante Nights!! This book is a YA contemporary with a light supernatural element :)

Vigilante Nights by Erin Richards
A “good boy” will do anything for vengeance when a gang rite kills his twin sister. Will Lucas win, or follow his sister Silver into the darkness?

After a hideous car wreck, Lucas wakes from a coma to find that his world is gutted. Not only is his beloved twin sister, Silver, gone forever, but Lucas is broken in body and spirit. He will never be a college athlete, and is robbed of what he now realizes was the most important bond of his life. Although they weren’t identical twins, Lucas and Silver shared a bond so fierce it defied reason, and was nearly supernatural.

After her death, that bond seems to endure when Lucas sees Silver everywhere he turns. Either he’s crazy, or Silver is trying to tell him something about the California gang initiation they stumbled into that cost Silver her life. Lucas is bent on revenge, turning on Raymond, Silver’s former boyfriend; the one Lucas never wanted her to date. He forms a posse of vigilantes to take out the gangsters responsible for Silver's death, but he risks not only his own life, but the love of the new girl on his block, who knows more about Lucas and Silver than can be accounted for by mere chance. 
Age: Young Adult
Book links: Goodreads * Amazon * B&N

Excerpt

Life seemed good again. Beranger reduced my head shrinking to once a week. At the same time, he doubled sessions with Mom and Dad. But I refused to think about it. Call me an ostrich. Everyone agreed that going to the dance was another step in my recovery.

I decided to go stag rather than bury my head in the sand. Whistling Skillet’s Awake and Alive, I crossed the driveways to the Harrison house, Alyssa shadowing me. My apprehension collided with my anticipation. CrimsonX liked dances. After busting the theft ring, CrimsonX and the Juggernauts, a rival gang, had issued an open call to war. I loved it, but it set CrimsonX on edge and they had crosshairs on trouble.

The door slid open before my finger touched the doorbell. Denny’s face lit up as he inspected—salivating a little—Alyssa’s tight black jeans, high-heeled black boots and a second-skin purple sweater. When I first saw her, my throat had grown chalky. Except for her auburn hair, she’d pass as Silver’s sister. My sister.

Oddly disconcerted, I sagged onto an ottoman in the living room. Alyssa crossed the room to check out photos on the wall above a weird medieval table with dragon legs.

“We taking the Camaro?” Denny scrubbed his hands together. “Man, I wish my parents would drop a Camaro in my lap.”

Alyssa turned, her jaw hanging. “Seriously?”

“Ah, dude.” He whacked himself upside the head. “I’m such an idiot.”

An awkward hush fizzled up to the vaulted ceiling. With a stiffness born of lingering pain, Denny sat on the floral loveseat and Alyssa sat next to him, her pinky grazing the side of his hand.

“Don’t sweat it.” I tossed a small pillow at him and he caught it before it thumped his skull. I gave him credit for trying hard to fit in. “I didn’t even want a replacement Camaro.”

“Talking cars again.” Tara glided down the staircase. Her virtual radiance unfurled a fire from my chest to my groin. Her silky voice set my heart fluttering. Douche-jerk Raymond.

The dance was informal, but she wore a short black skirt, a flowing pinkish blouse, tall black boots over black tights. Everything in the room vanished, except Tara. Stars exploded inside me, warm and tingly tumbling around the two of us.

My jaw seemed to thud on top of my best Nikes. “Sure you don’t want to go with me?”

As she descended the last step, her arm brushed against the back of my hand. Static burst between us and we both jumped a little, blinked back our surprise. We stood there, absorbing the heat of electricity.

Alyssa waved her hand between us. “Hello! Anyone home?”

I leaned around Alyssa. “Be careful with Raymond,” I murmured to Tara. When her brow crinkled, I added, “He used to date Silver. There’s a reason she dumped him.”

About the Author

After bemoaning the lack of young adult books to read, Erin wrote her first novel at the age of eighteen hoping to shift the tide. Then everyday life took its toll on her writerly dreams until 2003 when she couldn’t ignore the writing bug any longer. By then, she had immersed herself in reading adult fantasy and romance novels. Writing paranormal & fantasy romance was a no brainer. Erin has published two adult romance novels: CHASING SHADOWS, a paranormal romantic suspense (EPPIE award finalist and Night Owl Romance 5-Star Top Pick) and WICKED PARADISE, a fantasy romance, released in August 2012. Erin will finally realize her lifelong dream of publishing a young adult novel when VIGILANTE NIGHTS debuts in July 2013.

Erin Richards lives in Northern California. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, photography, and American muscle cars.

Pre-Order your copy of Vigilante Nights before its official hardcover release date of July 18, 2013 and get an exclusive gift! Details at: http://www.erinrichards.com.

Please read my giveaway policy before entering.
Grand prize giveaway
$25 Amazon or B&N CG (US & Int’l)
One autographed hardcover copy of Vigilante Nights (US & Int’l) with swag included
Three eBook copies of Vigilante Nights (US & Int’l)
Yours,




This book blitz was organized by Xpresso Book Tours. The giveaway is sponsored and administered by the author.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Cover Reveal Blitz: By Blood (Giveaway)

Welcome to the cover reveal blitz of By Blood, a YA paranormal that was published February 18, 2013!
By Blood by Tracy E. Banghart
Blurb:
For 17-year-old Emma Wong, spending a summer in England should be a dream come true. Gorgeous scenery? Check. Lots of hot guys with accents? Yes, please.

Throw in an estranged mom, annoying new stepdad, and drooling baby half-brother, and it’s a disaster even her favorite cherry red leather jacket can’t fix. Even worse, there’s (hot) live-in research assistant Josh to contend with. The only thing more embarrassing than drunk-kissing him hours after they meet? Knowing he’ll be witness to her family’s dysfunction all. summer. long.

But when Emma meets a mysterious girl who happens to be a Druid, her vacation suddenly promises to be far more intriguing than she anticipated. Powerful rituals, new friends, an intoxicating sense of freedom...and Simon, the sexy foreign stranger she was hoping for. It’s all a perfect distraction from dirty diapers and awkward family dinners.

Trouble is, intriguing doesn’t often mean simple. And Emma is about to discover just how not simple her life really is.

By Blood is a novel about the ways that blood can bind us to others – or tear us apart. 
Series: By Blood, #1
Age: Young Adult
Book links: Goodreads * Amazon 

Guest Post (with a teaser ;D)

One of my biggest role models when I was in high school was Buffy Summers, of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Growing up, I constantly felt like I had to prove I was just as strong/smart/brave as the boys. And here was Buffy, a short, dainty blond chick who was constantly underestimated…and then totally kicked people’s butts.

The truth is, being a girl can be awfully scary sometimes. It’s just a fact of nature that we’re often shorter or weaker than our male counterparts, and that can lead to moments where we feel powerless or out of control.

Emma, the main character in By Blood, is a short, curvaceous chick, but it was really important to me that she also be strong enough to take care of herself. Not with special powers, but with knowledge and a little skill. Her dad’s a cop and she helps him teach self-defense classes, so she has the tools to defend herself (which, yes, she has occasion to use in By Blood! ;-)). Here’s a little peek at one of these classes:

          Dad moved to stand behind me, then simulated a slow-motion attack so I could demonstrate as I explained the best techniques to evade or incapacitate an assailant. I walked the girls through “SING” – solar plexus, instep, nose, groin – and they laughed at the funny face Dad made when I pretended to hit him in the crotch.
          “Remember,” I said, “it doesn’t matter how tall or short you are, or whether you’re in shape.” I made a grand gesture that started at my black sneakers and swept up purple leg warmers, black leggings, to the loose gray tunic that clung to my curves. “I’m not exactly intimidating, right? I’m shorter than most of you for one thing. But that doesn’t mean I can’t protect myself.” I shifted my position, ready for the next move. “The more we practice, the more muscle memory we build, so our instincts when in danger will be the right instincts.”
          Now came the best part—the part that got the oohs and aahs. Dad reached over my shoulders and before you could say “speeding ticket” I had him on the floor, belly up on the mat. The girls started clapping and a couple laughed in surprise. Dad grinned up at me. I loved that he let me lead the class, and that he was okay with me throwing him around in front of a bunch of girls. Not all cops were cool like that. Not all Dads either.

There are lots of places to take self-defense classes, and resources online and elsewhere that can give you tips on how to protect yourself. As Emma says, you don’t have to be in great shape or a black belt to save yourself in a scary moment. All you need is knowledge – and maybe a little practice!

Here’s an example of some good self-defense tips! http://lifehacker.com/5825528/basic-self+defense-moves-anyone-can-do-and-everyone-should-know

About the Author

Tracy E. Banghart is a cheesy movie–loving, fantasy football–playing (go Ravens!), globe-trotting Army wife who began “practicing” her craft at the age of five, when she wrote her first story. She loves visiting the international friends she met while pursuing her MA in Publishing and spends a portion of every summer at her family’s cabin in Canada, where she finds inspiration and lots of time to relax on the dock. She lives with her husband, son, two lazy dogs and one ornery cat. When not writing or spending time with her family, she is on a mission to bake the perfect cupcake.

 Please read my giveaway policy before entering.
Giveaway Prize Pack #1 (US only)
Signed paperback copy of By Blood

Plus (all hardcover):
Beauty Queens, by Libba Bray
Starcrossed, by Josephine Angelini
The Body Finder, by Kimberly Derting
Jane, by April Lindner
By the Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead, by Julie Anne Peters
Sean Griswold’s Head, by Lindsey Leavitt
Under the Never Sky, by Veronica Rossi
Slide, by Jill Hathaway
Wither, by Lauren DeStefano
Imaginary Girls, by Nova Ren Suma

Giveaway Prize Pack #2 (Intl)
Signed paperback copy of By Blood + $50 Amazon Gift Card
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Yours,




This cover reveal blitz was organized by Xpresso Book Tours. The giveaway is sponsored and administered by the author.

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Hot sun, hot sand, cool drinks, dark tans. Ahhhh. But your summer won’t be complete until you land a new BOOK BOYFRIEND, right? Lucky for you, we’ve got you covered!

SUMMER BOOK CRUSH offers 50+ titles in many genres. This means 50+ chances to (fictitiously) fall in love. And the best part? Each of these gems is only 99¢, but for a limited time only.


The SUMMER BOOK CRUSH event starts on June 26th and ends (yes, even the best things in life end at some point) on June 28th. So don't wait up! Mingle with our BOOK BOYFRIENDS and invite all your friends to participate too. There are plenty of BOOK BOYS to share!


Find your summer’s fling between the pages of a book. And don't stop on one - after all we have many BOOK BOYFRIENDS for you to mingle with.

* HAPPY READING * HAPPY SUMMER *

Yours,

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Book Blitz: The Queen of the Realm of Faerie (Giveaway)

Welcome to The Queen of the Realm of the Faerie blitz! This blitz is to promote the dual release of The Dragon Carnivale (book 3) AND True Love’s First Kiss (the compilation of the first 3 books in the series). Both books were published June 18, 2013!

Guest Post

Fairy Tale Magic

Why fairy tales? It must have something to do with my shoe obsession.

When I was young, we had a Brother’s Grimm LP. There were many stories in the collection, but the story I remember most vividly is The Elves and the Shoemaker.

Every night, two elves sneak into a shoemaker’s shop. They use the last bit of leather the poor shoemaker has cut out for his next day’s work to craft an exquisite pair of shoes. The shoes command such a high price that the shoemaker is able to buy enough leather for two more pairs of shoes. The elves return again and again until the shoemaker and his wife are well off. When the couple discover the elves—naked or poorly dressed, depending on the version—they make each of the elves a fine suit of clothes. After that night, the elves never return, but the shoemaker’s business continues to thrive.

Something about that story of goodness being repaid by goodness captured my imagination. Perhaps it gave me hope.

Yes, the world can be a dark place, but by being open to unexpected generosity and trusting our impulses to give, things might be all right. And maybe better than all right.

And so a child’s mind works.

But that doesn’t explain my obsession with Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ recording of The Red Shoes when I was very much an adult.

A young girl, an orphan, is adopted by a wealthy patron only to become trapped in an expensive, seductive pair of red shoes. When the girl slips on the wicked shoes, she begins to dance. She dances until she becomes a wraith—the shoes can’t be removed. She dances until a kind woodcutter cuts off her feet. Now crippled and an orphan, life is more difficult than ever. One day, the girl dyes some strips of old cloth red. She wraps the tattered strips around her feet that have been mysteriously restored, as they are in these tales. No, her new shoes aren’t made of fine leather, but they’re hers. She made them. And so the story speaks to the hand-made life, the life that has meaning.

“If we hope to live not just from moment to moment, but in true consciousness of our existence, then our greatest need and most difficult achievement is to find meaning in our lives.” — Bruto Bettleheim, The Uses of Enchantment.

How is that done—finding meaning?

By keeping in touch with the natural world, by delving into the dark places within us, by trusting the goodness that presents itself in our lives… As metaphors for our inner life, fairy tales lead us through the woods, help us face our hungry wolves, and inspire us to find our own happily ever afters. That is their magic.
~~~
The books:
True Love’s First Kiss by Heidi Garrett
In the Enchanted World, true love’s first kiss is magic.

Nandana’s Mark, Book 1: When two half-faeries—Melia and her younger sister—are cursed under dreadful circumstances, true love’s first kiss is the remedy.

The Flower of Isbelline, Book 2: Nothing but true love’s first kiss can save Melia’s younger sister from blind ambition and ruin.

The Dragon Carnivale, Book 3: Melia must choose the freedom she cherishes or true love’s first kiss—and a relationship that promises to secure her place in the Whole.

The Queen of the Realm of Faerie is a fairy tale fantasy series that bridges the Mortal and Enchanted worlds. The main character, Melia, is an eighteen-year-old half-faerie, half-mortal. She lives in Illialei, a country in the Enchanted World, with her two sisters and their mother. Melia’s father has been exiled to the Mortal World, and her best friend is a pixie.

When the story opens in the first book, Melia is troubled by her dark moon visions, gossip she overhears about her parents at the local market, and the trauma of living among full-blooded faeries with wings—she doesn’t have any.

As the series unfolds, the historic and mystical forces that shape Melia’s life are revealed. Each step of her journey—to find the place where she belongs—alters her perceptions about herself, deepens her relationships with others, and enlarges her world view.

True Love’s First Kiss is a compilation of the first three books in this ongoing series.  
Series: The Queen of the Realm of Faerie, #1-3
Age: Young Adult
Book links: Goodreads * Amazon

The Dragon Carnivale by Heidi Garrett
Energies in the Enchanted World are shifting and new alliances are forming; the Battle of Dark and Light has begun. The half-faerie Melia is desperate to make things right with Ryder, the young priest from Idonne, but first she must warn the halfbloods in the Mortal World that Umbra is coming for them, and face the powerful Dragonwitch and her spectacular Dragon Carnivale.
Series: The Queen of the Realm of Faerie, #3
Age: Young Adult
Book links: Goodreads * Amazon * B&N * Kobo

The previous books:


About the Author

Heidi Garrett is the author of The Queen of the Realm of Faerie series. Her personal message to all her readers is:

Once upon a time, you lived in an enchanted world, too…

May you always see the magic in your life.

The Queen of the Realm of Faerie includes many strong female characters within an intricate fantasy land. It is also a fairy tale fantasy.

The first book, Nandana’s Mark, is one of those free ebooks; the second book, The Flower of Isbelline, is now available; and the third book, The Dragon Carnivale, will be released in June 2013.

Heidi’s hope is that when you read her books, you will rediscover the enchantment in your own life.

She currently resides in Eastern Washington State with her husband and their two cats. So far, she loves the snow. Being from the South, she finds it very magical.

 Please read my giveaway policy before entering.
(1) ebook copy of True Love's First Kiss + a silicone bracelet. Open internationally.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Yours,




This book blitz was organized by Xpresso Book Tours. The giveaway is sponsored and administered by the author.

Cover Reveal: Jump Zone

Welcome to the Jump Zone cover reveal!! This book is a New Adult Dystopian Romance that comes out September 9th, 2013! The cover was designed by Streetlight Graphics.
Jump Zone by Wylie Snow
Blurb:
All Cleo wants, all she’s ever wanted, is the acceptance of her tribe and the love of her family... and she almost dies trying to earn it. But the man who saved her, who found beauty in her flaws and loved her without condition, has cruelly betrayed her, and she’s dying all over again.

Was it all lies? His words, his promises, his kisses? Lost in unfamiliar territory, Cleo will fight the forces that conspire to destroy her homeland, even if she has to do it alone.

Libra longs for freedom—from prison, from pretense, and from his birthright... but he’s caught in a political game where only greed and power can win, and Cleo Rush is the pawn. How much is he willing to sacrifice for liberty? His morals, his principles, the woman he loves? No matter which path he chooses, people will die, their blood on his hands. And it could be hers.

To save themselves and their world, Cleo and Libra must overcome the double tragedy that binds their families in hatred. Together, they might live. Apart, Cleo will fall.
Series: Jump Zone, #1
Age: New Adult

Yours,




This cover reveal was organized by Xpresso Book Tours.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Book Tour: Shudder (Giveaway)

Welcome to the Book Tour for Shudder, a YA Paranormal novel that was released June 15th!!
Shudder by Samantha Durante
It's only been three days, and already everything is different.

Paragon is behind her, but somehow Alessa's life may actually have gotten worse. In a wrenching twist of fate, she traded the safety and companionship of her sister for that of her true love, losing a vital partner she'd counted on for the ordeal ahead. Her comfortable university life is but a distant memory, as she faces the prospect of surviving a bleak winter on the meager remains of a ravaged world. And if she'd thought she'd tasted fear upon seeing a ghost, she was wrong; now she's discovering new depths of terror while being hunted by a deadly virus and a terrifying pack of superhuman creatures thirsting for blood.

And then there are the visions.

The memory-altering "stitch" unlocked something in Alessa's mind, and now she can't shake the constant flood of alien feelings ransacking her emotions. Haunting memories of an old flame are driving a deep and painful rift into her once-secure relationship. And a series of staggering revelations about the treacherous Engineers - and the bone-chilling deceit shrouding her world's sorry history - will soon leave Alessa reeling...

The second installment in the electrifying Stitch Trilogy, Shudder follows Samantha Durante's shocking and innovative debut with a heart-pounding, paranormal-dusted dystopian adventure sure to keep the pages turning. 
Series: Stitch Trilogy, #2
Age: Young Adult
Book links: Goodreads * Amazon

The previous book:

About the Author

Samantha Durante lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband, Sudeep, and her cat, Gio. Formerly an engineer at Microsoft, Samantha left the world of software in 2010 to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams and a lifelong love of writing. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology, Samantha is currently working full time for her company Medley Media Associates as a freelance business writer and communications consultant. The Stitch Trilogy is her debut series. Learn more about Samantha at www.samanthadurante.com.

 Please read my giveaway policy before entering.
Tour Wide Giveaway
Enter the Giveaway HERE!!!
Yours,




This book tour was organized by CBL Book Tours. The giveaway is sponsored and administered by the author.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

FFT: Cheating Rafflecopter

Hi y'all. As many of you have noticed, there have been quite a bit of giveaways on this blog. Unfortunately, sometimes there are people who enter and then don't do the entries.

Um... I'm sorry, but if you don't want to do that specific entry, then don't enter! Pick something else. I'll have people who say they've commented, but there's no comment. Or people who say they followed the blog's Facebook page, but they don't follow.

I check every single entry. Yes, it's more work for me. But I'd like to think that the author who is giving away their book or something is worth the effort I make.

And they should be worth your effort. How hard is it to click "like" on a page. You don't want to "like" the Facebook page, then don't enter for that entry.

Common sense, people.

I do these giveaways for you. I don't have to give away books. And neither do the authors. Respect that.

So, yes, I check. And yes, if you don't complete the entry, you don't get the prize. Sorry, that's how it works. It's specified in my giveaway policy.

But seriously, please, please, don't enter if you won't complete the entry. It makes it harder for me (and honestly, it pisses me off). Don't put in the effort if you don't want to put in the effort. Just don't make it harder for the people organizing this.

Yours,

Friday, June 21, 2013

Review on Click To Subscribe

So I saw this book on Amazon and it interested me. A book about falling in love via YouTube? That’s new! So I clicked to buy (ha, get it?) and here’s what I got...
Click To Subscribe by L.M. Augustine
1,135,789. That’s how many subscribers sixteen-year-old West Ryder has on his web vlog series. But he only has eyes for one of them.

As one of the internet’s most prestigious video bloggers, West talks about high school relationships under the name “Sam Green.” As far as he knows, no one from school, not even his best friend, Cat, has seen his videos. But the highlight of the whole thing is Harper Knight, who comments every day at exactly 2:02 in the afternoon. He doesn’t know anything about her aside from the occasional deep philosophical messaging on why pizza tastes so delicious, but as stupid as it sounds, he might be falling for her. So when they finally agree to meet in real life, West’s hope for romance seems more and more in reach. But that all changes as soon as he arrives at their meeting spot and sees Cat walking toward him, wearing the same “I <3 Sam Green” T-shirt Harper promised she’d have on.

To his alarm, West realizes he is falling in love with the best friend who has always been a sister to him.
Age: Young Adult
Review: 3 butterflies
There’s West, a typical sixteen-year-old boy with a not-so-typical secret. He’s got a bunch of YouTube subscribers on his secret vlog. West has a lot of family issues, so to rant and let it all out he records his videos. It’s a type of therapy.

Then there’s Cat, West’s best friend. And surprise, surprise, Cat’s also “Harper,” the girl who’s been commenting on West’s vlogs every time at exactly 2:02—and the girl West’s fallen in love with.

This book had typical teenage drama. West’s super shocked because his best friend is the girl he’d fallen in love with. And he’s super confused because he has feelings for Cat but doesn’t want to lose her as a friend. This story was just teenage and love problems, plain and simple.

The story didn’t draw me in much and I really couldn’t connect with the characters (although, go Cat for going after for what you want!), but it was a nice story. I did feel like West over-reacted to a lot of things and was really stubborn, but I’ll make allowances for that considering at that age, I did that too.

To be honest, most of the plot is in the description. That’s pretty much all there is to it.

I would have liked to know more about West’s father. That part was left unresolved and it really irked me because I was really curious to learn the motives behind his actions. Cat was also left a little un-dimensional. I understand that this book was in West’s point of view, but it would have been nice to know more about them.

All in all, this was a nice book that was filled with regular teenage problems and love.
Book links: Goodreads * Amazon * B&N * Kobo * Smashwords

Yours,

Cover Reveal: Charmed

Welcome to the cover reveal of Charmed! This book is New Adult Paranormal Romance that will be published July 22, 2013! (that's tomorrow!!)
Charmed by Cambria Hebert 
Blurb:
Life or Death? Not many people would choose death. But what if death chooses you? What if death doesn’t mean the end of your life, but the beginning?

For a Death Escort, death is life. Death is your paycheck. Death is your job.

And Charming is the best Escort the Grim Reaper has ever had.

But when you piss off the Reaper, being the best doesn’t matter. So Charming is assigned a Target who is practically impossible to kill. He knows the Reaper hopes he fails—that he’s counting on it. So Charming vows to prove him wrong. He vows to make the kill.

But someone else vows to get in his way. Someone with a big mouth, a sugar habit, and blond hair. Someone who makes his heart start beating again.

And so Charming is left holding more than one person’s fate in the palm of his hand. He thought the choice would be easy, that there really wasn’t a question at all.

He was wrong.

Life or Death? 
Series: Death Escorts, #2; can be read as a stand-alone
Age: New Adult, recommended for people 17 years and up
Book links: Goodreads

Book Trailer


Previous book:
 

About the Author

Cambria Hebert is the author of the young adult paranormal Heven and Hell series and the Death Escorts series. She loves a caramel latte, hates math and is afraid of chickens (yes, chickens). She went to college for a bachelor’s degree, couldn’t pick a major and ended up with a degree in cosmetology. So rest assured her characters will always have good hair. She currently lives in North Carolina with her husband and children (both human and furry) where she is plotting her next book. You can find out more about Cambria and her work by visiting http://www.cambriahebert.com.

Yours,