Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Sneak Peek: Path of Thieves by Sunniva Dee with Giveaway







Path of Thieves 
by Sunniva Dee
Publication date: June 27th 2017
YA Contemporary









Football hero by day and thief by night, Charles “Cugs” McConnely leads a double life in the small town of Newbark, Florida. At sundown, the seventeen-year-old turns burglar, forced into the business by the man who should be teaching him the difference between right and wrong: his father.
Cugs is a pro at both games, but only one can secure him a college scholarship. It should be an easy decision, a no-brainer—if Newbark hadn’t proffered the only life he knows.
After run-ins with Nadine Paganelli, his accidental victim and the sole person to have caught him in the act, Cugs starts to realize that hearts can be stolen too.
When his long-lost sister makes contact, lies are uncovered and truths revealed. Suddenly, Cugs finds himself questioning both plans and loyalties. Because sometimes the only way to move forward is by pulling the bottom out of the past.




SNEAK PEEK

Last night wasn’t good. Dad’s getting more eager. He wants to accomplish so much on his shopping sprees, blaming a more expensive life now that Step-Cynth’s with us. I’m not in a place to meddle, but it seems six-packs of aprons aren’t the only things she buys on his bill.
My father’s becoming sloppy. Yesterday, we returned in the early morning after hitting almost a dozen houses. The owners of four of them were still at home. Yeah. He isn’t doing his homework the way he used to.
Thing is I’m tired. I don’t see a change in sight. Now, I try to keep my eyes open as I drive the wreck to Orlando to meet up with Keyon. Which is going to come back and bite me in the ass. What other option did I have though, come off as a coward to, in the words of Liza, “freaking Keyon Arias of Alliance Cage Warriors?”
Keyon is already there when I enter the Hard Rock Café. He fills out his side of the booth with fighter shoulders and wide thighs. Elbows on the table and bent over a glass of water, he lifts a hand in greeting as soon as he sees me. My chance to chicken out just dissipated.
“Cugs,” he says, voice husky like it is after a fight. Maybe that’s his voice now. I remember it light, prepubescent, I guess, from back when my own had the pitch of a little kid.
“Keyon.” I tip my head, acknowledging him without a smile, and then I sit down in front of him.
“Soda?”
I think of the possibility of going to Gainesville for the tryouts. “Ice water.”
Keyon doesn’t need to do much to get the waitress over. Half-turned to our table, she’s hovering with a watchful eye. When he glances up, she meets his stare immediately and hurries over.
“How are you?” From his expression, he’s not just being polite. He wants to know. “It’s been so long since we’ve talked.”
“I’m good,” I lie.
“What have you been up to? Your sister has been trying to get a hold of you.”
I’ve steeled myself for questions, assuming they would come. I didn’t think he’d start with them right away though.
“Oh you know, living it up in Newbark.” I do a long, purposely fake nod hoping it will make him laugh. Instead, he studies me, starting with my eyes then traveling over my face.
“You liking it there? How’s your old man?”
I shrug, unable to lie about him. “Married again. To a girl Paislee’s age.”
His eyes widen a little. “Is that so?”
“Yeah, as of a few months ago.”
“Geez.” He blows air out his nose. “New stepmother, huh?”
“Yeah, she isn’t exactly Mom.” And there, I said it. I hope he doesn’t notice. I open my mouth to add something, whatever, to get us off the subject, but he jumps in before me.
“You miss your mother?”
Silence.
Snowmen. Hot chocolate. Cold summer lakes. Blue lips.





And here she is. . .


Between studies, teaching, and advising, Sunniva has spent her entire adult life in a college environment. Most of her novels are new adult romance geared toward smart, passionate readers with a love for eclectic language and engaging their brain as well as their heart while reading.
Born in the Land of the Midnight Sun, the author spent her early twenties making the world her playground. Southern Europe: Spain, Italy, Greece--Argentina: Buenos Aires, in particular. The United States finally kept her interest, and after half a decade in Los Angeles, she now lounges in the beautiful city of Savannah.
Sometimes, Sunniva writes with a paranormal twist (Shattering Halos, Stargazer, and Cat Love). At other times, it's contemporary (Pandora Wild Child, Leon's Way, Adrenaline Crush, Walking Heartbreak, and Dodging Trains, coming in late March 2016).
This author is the happiest when her characters let their emotions run off with them, shaping her stories in ways she never foresaw. She loves bad-boys and good-boys run amok, and like in real life, her goal is to keep the reader on her toes until the end of each story.

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Monday, June 26, 2017

Review: Meet the Bobs and Tweets Perfecto Pet Show by Pepper Springfield



MEET THE BOBS AND TWEETS
Book #2: Perfecto Pet Show
by Pepper Springfield
Illustrated by Kristy Caldwell
Scholastic Inc.
ages 7+
Page Count: 80

COMING. . .
JUNE 27th!!!


Last spring, debut author and illustrator team Pepper Springfield and Kristy Caldwell introduced readers to two distinctive families, the Bobs and the Tweets, in a new series BOBS AND TWEETS. In its enthusiastic review of the first book, Meet the Bobs and Tweets, Booklist said, “Antics abound, and kids will be eager for more in future adventures.” Now, just in time for summer reading, theescapades continue in BOBS AND TWEETS: Perfecto Pet Show (Scholastic; June 27, 2017; 9780545870733).

When last seen, the Bobs and Tweets had moved across from each other on Bonefish Street at the recommendation of Mo, a wacky and wise community leader with a sense of humor. The problem: The Tweets are super neat and the Bobs are just plain slobs, and there just may not be enough room for the two families on the same street. But not all Bobs and Tweets are exactly the same! The two youngest members of these outrageous families—Lou Tweet and Dean Bob—have personalities all their own. When Lou and Dean meet at the town pool they become fast friends.

In Perfecto Pet Show, everyone is super-excited because Lou and Dean’s teacher, Ms. Pat, is hosting an afternoon of entertainment featuring kids and their pets. Anything goes she says, as long as each act runs for just three minutes. Lou decides on a rock-n-roll number with her cat, Pretty Kitty, and Dean plans to play the banjo with his pitbull, Chopper. When a giant bikecollision and a case of stage-fright threaten to ruin the fun, the Bobs and the Tweets have to depend on each other and the differences they once thought were intolerable. Will both families put aside their stubborn ways and save the day?

Written in rhyming verse that is perfect for reading aloud, and clever four-color illustrations throughout, BOBS AND TWEETS is an excellent series for emerging readers. The friendship between Lou Tweet and Dean Bob is a wonderful example of how opposites acting together are stronger than they are apart. More adventures will be here soon!



MY TIDBITS


Flowing with quirky rhymes and tons of fun, this is a read sure to grab even more reluctant readers and keep them engaged until the last page.

Bob and Tweet can't wait to perform in the school's pet show, but it's not going to be as easy as it seems. Bob's family members are slobs, while Tweet's are neat. Somehow they need to come together to make the show a success.

The first, quick flip through the slender book makes it clear that this is not an average chapter book. The pages are chucked full of lively illustrations, accompanied only by a small amount of text. The words themselves are set in playful rhyme. The rhyme strikes odd at first, but sets the perfect atmosphere. The words flow and are as bouncy as the illustrations and adventure. It sneaks in a warm message about friendship and overcoming differences, but this more serious side lays under layers of silly fun.

This isn't a book for the youngest listeners but works well as a read aloud for ages 5+. Beginning readers will enjoy the quick paced tale, and even slightly younger middle graders, who simply want a fun read instead of diving into a deep adventure, will enjoy a flip through this zany tale. 





What Do Teachers and Kids Say About the Bobs and Tweets?

“My students absolutely LOVED this book!” – Jessie, Grade School Teacher


“I want to read more Bobs and Tweets stories, [they are] good for kids who like Dr. Seuss. It makes reading fun!” – Sophia, 3rd Grade




All About the Author. . .

Pepper Springfield (aka Judy Newman to close friends and family), was born and raised inMassachusetts. She loves rock ‘n’ roll and chocolate, just like Lou Tweet. And, like Dean Bob, she loves to read and do crossword puzzles. Over the years, Pepper has loved all kinds of pets: dogs, cats, hamsters, turtles, fish, a bunny, and an imaginary monkey. Judy hates the spotlight, but Pepper is getting used to it! If Pepper had to choose, she would be a Tweet by day and a Bob at night.




All About the Illustrator. . .

Kristy Caldwell received an MFA in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts. She is a full-time illustrator and a part-time Tweet. While working at her art studio in Brooklyn, NY, Kristy gets her creativity on like Lou Tweet, drinks tea like Dean Bob, and hangs out with her energetic dog friend Dutch.



















Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sneak Peek: Gate of Air by Resa Nelson with Giveaway




GATE OF AIR 
by Resa Nelson
Dragon Gods, #1
Publication date: June 19th 2017
YA Fantasy





Frayka must find and convince the dragon gods of the Far East to appease the gods of her Northland heritage. If she fails, her own Northlander gods will destroy all the mortals who once promised to worship them.
The Far East is a mysterious place of legend to Northlanders like Frayka. Only an old map can show her how to get there. Once she arrives, all of Frayka’s sensibilities put her in danger. And every dangerous turn delays her from finding the dragon gods whose help she so desperately needs.
Although Frayka looks like a Far Easterner, she is a powerful Northlander warrior who is quick to voice her thoughts. She is trained to fight and won’t hesitate to do so.
But everything about Frayka puts her in deadly peril in the Far East, where the laws are strict and the punishment cruel.
Especially when the one being punished is a woman.


SNEAK PEEK
CHAPTER 1:
How did my life become so turbulent?
As the pale blue and pink light foretold the dawn of a new day, Frayka walked the narrow length of the Northlander ship, a long and sleek vessel that looked like a sea dragon slicing through the choppy ocean waves. The oars piled on the center of the deck rattled against each other. The scent of fish and brine permeated the air. The taste of salt in the air gave her a thirst that seemed impossible to quench. Frayka focused on the horizon instead.
She approached the rail and leaned on it, barely noticing the sound of her sweetheart Njall grunting while he adjusted the sail. After several days at sea, Frayka recognized the coast of her homeland, the Land of Ice, in the distance ahead. But instead of filling her heart with happiness or even meager content, the sight made her stomach twist into knots.
All her life, Frayka had given no thought to the fact that she looked like no other Northlander. Everyone in her homeland—including her own family—stood tall with long blond hair and blue eyes. While Frayka stood as tall as any Northlander woman, she inherited her looks from her father’s grandmother, a woman from the Far East who must have died many years ago.
Although Frayka’s skin looked similar to everyone else’s during the winter months, too much exposure to the sun simply turned Frayka’s skin a golden brown while the skin of all other Northlanders burned bright red. And her long black hair, straight as rain, made her stand out, as well as her dark brown eyes.
Njall joined her side and draped an arm across her shoulders. “Home at last.”
Exhausted from the journey and lost in worry about the days ahead, Frayka didn’t respond.
Njall squeezed her shoulder. “Why so glum?”
“No one told me I’d be meeting a Northlander god,” Frayka said. “I’m still reeling from what the All-Father told me.”
Weeks ago, a shaman led Frayka to the ethereal world of the gods. The god of all Northlander gods—the All-Father—singled out Frayka because she dared to live as a Northlander despite her Far Eastern looks.
To appease the anger of all Northlander gods, the All-Father tasked Frayka with the duty of finding the dragon gods of the Far East. The All-Father told Frayka she then must figure out how to make peace between those dragon gods and the Northlander gods. If Frayka failed, the Northlander gods would kill her.
Why did all gods have to act so foolish and petty?
Why should it be her problem that Northlanders had once worshipped the dragon gods instead of their own gods?
Why should the Northlander gods involve her just because they felt angry and rejected by the mortals who adopted the dragon gods in their absence?
Frayka knew the dragon gods destroyed the Northlands and surrounding countries, even though she’d been an infant at the time. The full blame for that destruction fell on the true Northlander gods, who were enraged first for being ignored and then for being faulted for something they didn’t do.
Why should I care that mortals blame the Northlander gods for the sins of the dragon gods?
The task given to Frayka by the Northlander gods overwhelmed her. Frayka wished she could crawl below deck, curl up in a corner, and sleep until her life felt normal again.
But Northlanders never talked of such feelings. If Frayka admitted to any of them, she would appear weak in Njall’s eyes. He loved her because of her strength and courage. And right now, only Njall knew about the task she’d been given. If no one else believed her, she’d still have Njall by her side.
I can’t afford to lose him, too.
Njall laughed. “You’re spoiled by your own portents. Welcome to the ordinary world that the rest of us live in.”
Frayka knew Njall was right. Since birth, her portents gave her regular glimpses into the future, something no other Northlander could do. She’d known for years that Njall would someday marry her, and her faith never waived. Years ago, he teased Frayka about her portents. Thinking about those days, she said, “Remember when you used to call me Frayka the Freak?”
“Be fair,” Njall said, failing to hide his shame. “I don’t call you that anymore.” He ran his rough hand against her silky black hair. “Not since I saw you become a brave warrior. Not since you saved my life. Once I tell everyone what you’ve done, everyone will love you as much as I do.” Njall hesitated. “Wait. That’s a terrible idea. Someone might try to marry you before I can.”
“If anyone tries to get between you and me, I’ll kick him in the shins.” Frayka laughed briefly before worry overtook her again. “But it’s not my portents I’m worried about. It’s what the gods want me to do. What I have to do.”
“This isn’t like you. You never worry.”
Frayka cleared her throat, knowing the time to keep secrets had to end. “I had a portent last night after you fell asleep. A portent about the gods.”
His arm tensed. “What kind of portent?”
Frayka looked at the sea. “I saw what will happen if I fail. If I don’t do what the gods ask.” When Njall stayed silent, she continued. “They will kill every Northlander who still survives. They will kill you and me and our families and everyone in the Land of Ice.”
“But your portents,” Njall said. “Sometimes they give you an idea of the future. They’re not always exact.”
“This one was,” Frayka said. “Very exact and very clear. I have to find the dragon gods and figure out how to make peace between them and the Northlander gods. Otherwise, we all die.”
Njall shifted his weight when the ship tilted. “Then let’s fight the Northlander gods. Let’s kill them before they can kill us.”
Frayka shook her head. “You don’t understand. All the stories we heard about gods are lies. Northlanders thought the dragon gods were their gods, but it’s not true. Mortals thought the Northlander gods forced the dragon gods to destroy our homeland, but that’s not true either.” She frowned. “Not entirely. Even if we could find the Northlander gods—which is impossible—it wouldn’t solve anything. The All-Father told me what I have to do, and nothing else will satisfy him.”
Njall wrapped his arms around Frayka and held her close. “You’re not alone, you know,” he said. “You’ve got me, and I’ll walk by your side every step of the way.”
His words comforted Frayka. For a moment she found hope and felt excited about the chance to make a difference in the world. She felt no fear of the danger she might face.
Njall pointed at the coastline, now close enough that Frayka saw its black sandy beaches glitter and sparkle in the sunlight. “We’re home,” Njall said. “Look how beautiful it is.”
Taking his advice, Frayka stared at the waterfalls falling from the high cliffs standing behind the beaches. Pointing, she said, “There’s Blackstone.” The settlement of small stone houses rested a short distance from the shore, and grassy hills stretched behind it. In the far distance, a mountain of ice glinted. “What are we going to tell them about why we left?” Frayka said.
“The truth always strikes me as a good idea,” Njall said.
But the truth would involve stories about Frayka’s portents and gods and strange lands.
“What if they don’t believe me?”
“Be yourself!” Njall said. “This is your home! Your family knows you. Everyone in Blackstone knows you. And I know you, too.”
But I befriended someone who suffered because she looked different. Because she came from a different world than the people she lived with. Because she walked with one foot in each world: the one she came from and the one she lived in.
And if I do what the gods ask me to do, won’t I have to do the same?
“Frayka?” Njall said. “Did you hear me?”
“Of course.” Frayka straightened her spine and drew again on her new-found hope. “Let’s go home.”


And here she is. . .
 
Resa Nelson is the author of the 4-book Dragonslayer series: The Dragonslayer’s Sword (nominated for the Nebula Award, finalist for the EPPIE Award), The Iron Maiden , The Stone of Darkness , and The Dragon's Egg . Her 4-book Dragonfly series takes place after the Dragonslayer series.
Her standalone novels include the mystery/thrillers All Of Us Were Sophie and Our Lady of the Absolute .
Resa has been selling short stories professionally since 1988. She is a longtime member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America), and she is a graduate of the Clarion SF Workshop. Resa was the TV/Movie Columnist for Realms of Fantasy magazine for 13 years as well as a regular contributor to SCI FI magazine. She has sold over 200 articles to magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom.

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Review: Welcome Home, Beaver! by Magnus Weightman


WELCOME HOME, BEAVER!
by Magnus Weightman
Clavis
Picture Book
ages 4+ 
32 pages 


COMING. . .
NOVEMBER 1st, 2017!!!


Beaver is seeking adventures, but he has lost the way. Now he wants to go home again. Does he live in that hidden hole underneath an oak tree? In the nest high up on the roof? Or in that big tower of mud? Architect Magnus Weightman takes you along on a visit of numerous fabulous animal dwellings. Will you help Beaver to find his own home?



MY TIDBITS


It's 'up and away' in a wonderful exploration to some of the less known animals of the world and their exciting homes.

Beaver is floating down river but finds himself in the middle of a big city. . .no where near his home. Luckily, Akita, the adventure dog, spots him from her hot air balloon and offers to help get him back to his warm abode. The trip takes them to many new places to meet animals around the world.

What a lovely trip! There is so much to love in this picture book, that I had to read it several times before writing this review. 

The text is fairly simple and flows with a great repetition, exactly the kind which kids enjoy to hear as they go from one scene to the next. Akita and Beaver take off to the North Pole, to deep Africa and beyond. Each time Akita asks if the animal's home they happen across is Beaver's. Of course, it isn't. This is where the play between word and text perfectly weave together. Although the text only makes a general statement, the illustrations are packed with details. There is so much to discover at each animal's home, fun things. There's always something new to discover every time kids flip through, which will definitely keep them coming back for more.

These animal homes aren't the common well-known ones, but rather introduce young listeners/readers to some 'homes' they haven't necessarily run across before. Storks, foxes, termites, and weaverbird are only a few of the creatures visited. Even adults will discover a few things they might not have known before.

Warm feelings of security and comfort close off the tale as Beaver finally finds his own home and is glad to be there. But this isn't a book that will be set down after that last page and forgotten. It's one to flip through and read time and again.


Sneak Peek: Gears of Fate by Wilbert Stanton with Giveaway




GEARS OF FATE
by Wilbert Stanton
Forgotten Gods #1
Curiosity Quills Press
June 20th 2017
YA Fantasy, Mythology





Centuries have passed since the Fey conquered Earth, forcing mankind and gods alike to flee to the sky city Olympus. Forgotten gods walk amongst man, lost and powerless. Little do they suspect a second Fey war looms, and an unlikely duo will set in motion the gears of fate.
Zak Walker is a fringe rat living in the slums who would do anything to protect his sister, Alice. His neglectful father threatens to consign him to a life away from home on an airship, but he yearns for his life to mean something more than drudgery.
Princess Seneca Rose is the last surviving member of the Seelie royals. They tried to establish peace with mankind, but fell to the forces of Queen Mob and the Unseelie Court. Fleeing for her life, Seneca arrives on Olympus in hopes of uniting the forgotten gods against the oncoming Fey.
Zak couldn’t care less about the fate of Olympus, until faeries kidnap Alice. He doesn’t believe Seneca’s stories of faeries or gods, but soon has no choice but to accept their lives are intertwined. All his life, he’s dreamed of something more. If he cannot face the dangers that await down on Earth, the gods, mankind, and his sister Alice are all doomed.



EXCERPT

I watched helplessly as we flew further away. Alana and Gharis, fighting furiously side by side, hadn’t noticed me getting snatched. Seneca still struggled with Francis’s pack. I had to take matters into my own hands. I struggled under my attacker’s iron grip. He had me in a tight bear hug rendering my arms useless. I thrashed about until I broke free. The rust bucket flew away, and for a moment, it felt like I could fly. Gravity had a different plan in mind.
I’m going to die.
Clouds swallowed the world; the white darkness devoured me, the gushing air made my ears pop. I’d never get to kiss Abby; I’d never become a man; Most importantly, I failed to keep Alice safe. Alice, I’m sorry.
I closed my eyes and prepared to die. Until I heard laughing. I’m cogged. The wild laughter of a maniac got closer, closer, and closer still. Seneca burst through the clouds head first, her body straightened with arms pressed tight at her sides. Goggles covered her eyes, and her smile seemed to go for miles. She caught up and wrapped her arms around me, locking her body against mine.



And here he is. . .
 
Wilbert Stanton was born and raised in New York City. From an early age, Wilbert decided he would either write books or take over the world; everything else was just a precursor to his end game.
Along the way, he has studied Psychology, English, and Computer Science. He's held jobs in a wide range of fields and met people from all walks of life. Wilbert is constantly learning and growing as a person, in order to solidify his dreams.
In the end, world domination was a bit tedious, so he decided to focus on writing books.

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Cover Reveal: Rogue by Jaci Wheeler

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ROGUE
by Jaci Wheeler
YA Dystopian
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR


COMING. . .
July 23rd, 2017!!!



I’ve spent my whole life training to be in the Elite Squad, and I left it all behind without a second thought. I don’t fail. My father made sure that it wasn’t in my D.N.A. to fail. So, I will take him down. I will make him pay for his lies and deceit…but first I will get my son back, or die trying.
"Will I be able to expose Edward and the Academy? Will I be able to turn to the one person I’ve always trusted or after working in the darkness so long, is Van just as twisted as my father?
This is book two and conclusion to the Academy Series.






I have been married to my very supportive husband for 8 years and we have two amazing Autistic kids!I always dreamed of being a writer, but life got in the way. Going through my kids different therapies and special schools and one meeting after the next I needed a way to get away from it all and find my perfect Utopia! This is how the United Series was born. Writing has always been cathartic to me. Who wouldn't want to leave their world for a while and step into a new one? I have so many stories and characters just waiting to find a place on your shelf! I'm hoping to come out with a few more Trilogies very soon. For Updates and information please go to my webpage at www.jaciwheeler.com

Author Links:
Buy Links:
Operation Child Soldier: http://amzn.to/2t3t2Wh
Rogue (Pre-Order): http://amzn.to/2rZBjuA




Friday, June 23, 2017

Happy Book Birthday, Torched by Liz Long with Giveaway





TORCHED
by Liz Long
 Urban Fantasy
Cover Designer: Indie-Spired Design
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR









Blurb: Lucy Sullivan and her circus family are finally back where they belong - in the spotlight and with each other. Even ringmaster Sheffield Donovan is in good spirits as their show delights audiences each night. Life is almost back to normal.
Until the US government appears in the form of one General Baker and his army of soldiers. At the threat of worldwide exposure, life as the Donovan Circus knows it is over. Cornered into the General’s terrible experiments, they have no rights, no friends, and no hope of escape. Lucy will lose more than one loved one, and perhaps her own life, in the process.
The Donovan Circus will face the worst danger yet - can Lucy take down an entire government sector, or will the gifted world finally be destroyed once and for all?









Liz Long is a proud graduate of Longwood University and author of ten novels. Her inspiration comes from action and thriller genres and she spends entirely too much time watching superhero movies. Her day job as Associate Editor includes writing for a magazine publisher in Roanoke, VA. She is also the director of the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference and the annual Roanoke Author Invasion.
Comic book readers and fans of CW Network smash hits Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Netflix’s Daredevil will root for Liz Long’s bestselling YA summer series as the HoA’s gifted teen superheroes attempt to save their city from its impending demise. The Donovan Circus series has best been described as "X-Men meets the circus." Adult horror story Witch Hearts tells the tale of a serial killer hunting witches for their powers. New Adult PNR A Reaper Made is about a teen Reaper who gets caught between falling in love or saving her sister's soul. All titles are available for paperback or ebook on Amazon.
To learn more about Liz (including more information on her books, plus writing, marketing, and social media tips), visit her website: http://lizclong.com.

Author Links:
Newsletter signup (new subscribers get 2 free ebooks, including DC #1): http://www.subscribepage.com/lizlongauthornewsletter

Buy Links:

Torched Buy Links:

One of our tigers roared, triggering Suzy the elephant to release a trumpet of warning. These strange men were probably stirring up circus members who weren’t already at the party, scaring them half to death. My stomach clenched at the thought; my whole family, practically everyone I knew and loved, was right behind me in the Big Top.
I have to protect them. It was the only thought I had, the only one that mattered. I would do whatever it took to keep my people alive. The soldier directly in front of me snapped to get my attention, instantly annoying me. “Where is Sheffield Donovan?” My chin jutted out. “Who’s asking?”
A new, strong voice answered behind the soldier. It definitely belonged to a man of authority. “The United States government.”


Review: The Fallen Gatekeepers by C.R. Fladmark


THE FALLEN GATEKEEPERS
The Gatekeeper's Son, Book Two
by C. R. Fladmark
Shokunin Publishing Company
YA Fantasy
390 pages





Family expectations. Japanese girl-warriors. Alternate worlds. Shape-shifting lizard-men. Epic sword fights. It’s all a day in the life of Junya Thompson.

It’s been months since sixteen-year-old Junya survived his savage battle with the Evil Ones, but now that he’s back in San Francisco he's still feeling the effects. His limp is slow to heal, his shoulder aches from the bite that should have killed him, and black poison lingers in his blood, tainting his life energy.

The Gatekeepers of Izumo Oyashiro, land of the gods, fear he’s been permanently affected and are reluctant to allow him to return to their realm. His own mother, once a Gatekeeper herself, seems guarded and suspicious around him.

The only one not keeping Junya at arm’s length these days is Shoko – the deadly warrior who dresses like a Japanese schoolgirl – and despite his worries, Junya can’t help thinking of ways to introduce this ancient guardian of the gods to modern romance.

But when someone in Junya’s world begins brutally slaughtering the shamans of the Earth’s ancient religions, Junya and Shoko realize the Evil Ones are back, apparently stronger than ever. And without the shamans’ worship, the gods grow weak and the gateways between worlds are left unattended. Soon the entire realm of Izumo and the very existence of the Gatekeepers are in jeopardy.

Junya and Shoko devise a bold plan to save Izumo, but it means changing the rules that have governed Gatekeepers for centuries. Even if they succeed, nothing will ever be the same.

Will it be worth the cost?
 



MY TIDBITS


I was excited to get my hands on this book after reading the first one in the series. I would strongly suggest that readers start with the first book, since the second book builds on the events and characters of the first without taking the time to re-explain things. In other words, this is not a stand alone.

Again, the author builds a rich world full of interesting characters and lots of action. Although the main focus is on Junya and Shoko, the other members of Junya's group and several other side characters are not shoved off. This gives a nice rounded story with several layers, which make it a joy to read.

The world building is even better in this book than in the first. Small confusions are avoided as the world and layers of mystery and information flow smoothly and form an intricate world. There's action and magic and a wonderful amount of adventure, but this doesn't over power the emotional end. The thoughts and feelings of the characters come across clearly, add depth, and make this feel more like a young adult read than the first book did.

A variety of cultures and countries are whisked through in these pages, and, unfortunately, this could have been better done. The visits to each country are quick and give little insight on real life or true cultural aspects, but rather stick to stereotypes.  This superficial sweep over also seeps into several character attitudes, especially in the way females are handled.

All in all, this is a solid fantasy read for teens and holds all the adventure, magic and tension to keep the reader hooked until the very last page.

Cover Reveal: Carry Me Home by Jessica Therrien





CARRY ME HOME
by Jessica Therrien
 Acorn Publishing
September 26th 2017
YA Contemporary, Thriller

COMING. . .
SEPTEMBER 26th, 2017!!!




“A riveting page-turner… Jessica Therrien broke my heart into a million pieces — and then put it back together again. This book will haunt and uplift readers long after they turn the last page.”
-KAT ROSS, best-selling author of The Midnight Sea
CARRY ME HOME is a fictional novel inspired by the true story of a teenage girl’s involvement in several Mexican gangs in San Jose and Los Angeles. The members of her crew call her, Guera, Spanish for “white girl” and it doesn’t take long for her to get lost in their world of guns and drugs.
* * *
Lucy and Ruth are country girls from a broken home. When they move to the city with their mother, leaving behind their family ranch and dead-beat father, Lucy unravels.
They run to their grandparents’ place, a trailer park mobile home in the barrio of San Jose. Lucy’s barrio friends have changed since her last visit. They’ve joined a gang called VC. They teach her to fight, to shank, to beat a person unconscious and play with guns. When things get too heavy, and lives are at stake, the three girls head for LA seeking a better life.
But trouble always follows Lucy. She befriends the wrong people, members of another gang, and every bad choice she makes drags the family into her dangerous world.
Told from three points of view, the story follows Lucy down the rabbit hole, along with her mother and sister as they sacrifice dreams and happiness, friendships and futures. Love is waiting for all of them in LA, but pursuing a life without Lucy could mean losing her forever.
Ultimately it’s their bond with each other that holds them together, in a true test of love, loss and survival.

And here she is. . .

 
Jessica Therrien is the author of the young adult paranormal fiction series Children of the Gods. Book one in the series, Oppression, became a Barnes & Noble best-seller shortly after its release.
Aside from her Children of the Gods series, Jessica’s work can also be found in a published collection of flash fiction stories called Campaigner Challenges 2011. Out of over 350 submissions her story, The Soulless, won first place for people’s choice and fourth place in the judging round of Rachael Harrie’s Writing Campaign Challenge. Her story, Saved, is also available as part of the anthology.
Jessica spent most of her life in the small town of Chilcoot, California, high up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. In this town of nearly 100 residents, with no street lights or grocery stores, there was little to do but find ways to be creative. Her mother, the local English teacher, inspired her to do all things artistic, and ultimately instilled in her a love for language.
In 2003, Jessica attended California State University Long Beach where her passion for language found her studying Chinese, and in 2005 she moved to Taiwan to study abroad. From 2005 to 2006 Jessica was fully immersed in the Chinese language as she attended National Taiwan University, and in 2008 she graduated from San Diego State University magna cum laude.
Jessica currently lives in Irvine with her husband and two sons. She is working on an adult novel and a children's picture book.


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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Sneak Peek: Lost and Found by Sharon Ledwith


Fairy Falls was bores-ville from the get-go. Then the animals started talking... 


LOST & FOUND
Mysterious Tales from Fairy Tales
by Sharon Ledwith
Mirror World Publishing
YA Fantasy/Fairy Tale
June 17, 2017
203 pages






The Fairy Falls Animal Shelter is in trouble. Money trouble. It’s up to an old calico cat named Whiskey—a shelter cat who has mastered the skill of observation—to find a new human pack leader so that their home will be saved. With the help of Nobel, the leader of the shelter dogs, the animals set out to use the ancient skill of telepathy to contact any human who bothers to listen to them. Unfortunately for fifteen-year-old Meagan Walsh, she hears them, loud and clear.

Forced to live with her Aunt Izzy in the safe and quiet town of Fairy Falls, Meagan is caught stealing and is sentenced to do community hours at the animal shelter where her aunt works. Realizing Meagan can hear her, Whiskey realizes that Meagan just might have the pack leader qualities necessary to save the animals. Avoiding Whiskey and the rest of shelter animals becomes impossible for Meagan, so she finally gives in and promises to help them. Meagan, along with her newfound friends, Reid Robertson and Natalie Knight, discover that someone in Fairy Falls is not only out to destroy the shelter, but the animals as well. Can Meagan convince her aunt and co-workers that the animals are in danger? If she fails, then all the animals’ voices will be silenced forever.


Mirror World Publishing: Paperback / Ebook


Amazon US /Amazon CA / Kobo / Barnes & Noble



EXCERPT


“Silly, stupid humans!” Whiskey hissed.
Creeping through the ductwork was becoming harder on her old bones. Layers of dust tickled her pink nose and made her facial whiskers twitch incessantly. Her stomach retched at the stale odors. However, Whiskey, a fifteen-year-old calico cat, ignored these annoyances and persevered. She had to, knowing that she was the only link, the only form of communication, between the cat floor and the dog floor at the Fairy Falls Animal Shelter. This was what made her special, gave her life purpose. This quiet night was no exception.
What the humans called a crisis had happened at the shelter today and Whiskey had to relay this information to the canine pack leader. Nearing the entrance above the dog floor, the thick fur on the back of her neck rose. Some of the dogs she tolerated, some she abhorred. Her ears flattened. Whiskey knew she would have to scale across the top of Mary Jane’s gate in order to get to Nobel’s cage and deliver her report. She also knew to be extra careful not to shake the little bells attached to her red collar that would jingle out her presence. Reaching the opening, Whiskey extracted her long claws and pushed the dusty register aside. Looking down, she sighed, thankful that Mary Jane, a black and white pit bull terrier, and a long time resident of the shelter, was asleep. Carefully, Whiskey jumped down, balanced on the top of the fenced gate that faced the hallway, and started to slink across it. Then she sneezed and her bells jingled.
A growl and a snort sounded from below. “Who dares to wake me?”
Whiskey peered down. Mary Jane’s eyes were rolled back, her tongue hanging limply out one side of her mouth. A quilted blanket on the cement floor was half-shredded and inches away lay a rubber toy, which would normally be stuffed into Mary Jane’s powerful jaws to exercise the constant frustration of being incarcerated for so long. Whiskey watched Mary Jane lunge for the toy, shaking her thick head and neck in anger.
Whiskey leaned over into the cage and purred, “Someday, I hope you choke on that thing.”
Mary Jane dropped the toy and lunged at the smug cat. Whiskey had just enough time to recoil and land feet first on the hallway’s cement floor. She groaned, feeling her arthritic back legs cave slightly. She was not a kitten anymore, that was for sure. Mary Jane rattled the kennel door, snapping, growling, and barking. Slobber ran down the white patch on her neck and dribbled onto the floor, making it too slippery for her to balance on her hind legs. She slipped and fell with a loud thump and knocked the water bowl, spilling water all over. Whiskey flattened her ears and shook her head. This dog could easily have been the pick of the litter when it came time to receive the sleep needle, but since this shelter had a ‘no kill’ policy in place, all of its residents, including Mary Jane, remained safe and alive.
Suddenly the kennel next to Mary Jane’s came alive and the one after that. Whiskey heard a whimper from the cage down the hall where the new dogs were kept. These were the dogs whose owners would either still rescue them or would condemn them to live here in the shelter until they were adopted by a new human.
“You sure know how to make an entrance, Whiskey.”
Whiskey’s ears pricked up. The right ear had been badly frostbitten once upon a time, but her left ear was still intact. Half her face was masked in black; the other half a mixture of white and orange. The rest of her small body was a patchwork of black and orange fur, with the exception of a white belly. She preened her whiskers, licking the pad of her front right paw until she realized all she tasted was watered down bleach. Cringing, Whiskey slowly sauntered over to Nobel’s kennel—the biggest—at the very end of the hallway. She plopped her bottom on the cool concrete floor and stretched.
“You’re certainly a deep sleeper, Nobel. Are you sure you used to be a watchdog?” Whiskey asked, preening the area above her yellow eyes.
There was a low growl, and then a high pitched bark. It was Nobel’s way of laughing. “I’m part Husky, part Doberman, and part mystery mutt, so sometimes I get all messed up about my job. Do I run as fast as I can or do I stand and fight? It’s darned confounding, I say.”
Although it was dark, Whiskey could see the amusement in Nobel’s light blue eyes. His fur was a mixture of black, tan, and grey, and standing on all fours he would be at least three cats tall. Nobel’s kennel was well-kept, with a thick, comfy blanket set up in front and a pan full of water at the back. He’d been at the shelter for as long as she had, so Whiskey felt a sense of oneness with Nobel, even though he was canine.
“I smell feline! Feline! Feline! Feline!” a dog from the middle cage barked.
Nobel rolled his eyes. “You’re dreaming again, Louis. Go back to sleep!”
Whiskey heard a snort from the big Rottweiler mix, followed by a whine. “Dreaming? Hmm, yup, silly me. Must be dreaming. No felines on the dog floor. Silly me.”
She heard Louis yawn, fart, and then settle back down on his papered floor. Louis tended to pee in his kennel, so he wasn’t afforded the luxury of a cushy blanket like Nobel’s.
“Dumb as wood, that one,” Nobel muttered.
“Yet he trusts you completely,” Whiskey mewed, scratching her chin.
“That’s because I’m the pack leader. It’s not a choice, you know.”


And here she is . . .




Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, GOOGLE+, and GOODREADS.

Author Tagline:

Escape to the past and have a blast.

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