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I read and review all YA books and also adult paranormal/fantasy/chick-lit. I love to participate in author interviews, guest posts, blog tours, and giveaways.
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1. Soul Taken: Release Week Blog Tour


After-life just got a lot more complicated

Maggie is a Soul Collector. It’s her job to transport souls from the Living Realm to the After – but during a mission to find a stolen soul, she ends up stuck in a teen mean girl’s body.

Trapped, Maggie’s soul is catapulted into Ally’s life – and the human world she hasn’t experienced for one hundred years. But, as a descendant of the most powerful beings in the After, Maggie must rescue Ally before the girl’s soul dies…

To survive, Maggie must uncover devastating secrets – because with one soul taken by a terrifying enemy, Maggie’s could be next!


For more information follow me here: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Google+


I am kicking off the countdown to the release of my debut novel on June 4th with a blog tour!! Each day from now until next Tuesday the following blogs will be hosting me for the day to promote Soul Taken, the first book in The Life After trilogy, published by Carina UK. This is truly a humbling experience and I hope you will join me for the ride. Check out each blog for your chance to win a copy of Soul Taken or a $50 gift card to an online book retailer of YOUR choice. Spread the word through Twitter by using  #SoulTaken in your tweet or changing your profile picture to the Soul Taken cover. Enter below and follow along with the tour, counting down to June 4th!!
6/4: Release day!! Several blogs will be promoting Soul Taken, I will post them here!

Enter to win...a Rafflecopter giveaway



3 Comments on Soul Taken: Release Week Blog Tour, last added: 6/27/2013
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2. Amazing news

Hello again! It's been quite some time since I've been on the blog. I just wanted to share some amazing news with those of you who are still following the blog or happen to stop by to read one of my reviews.

Last year I went through some rough personal issues and I needed to step back from a few things in my life, blogging included. But from the dark came a shining light and that was... A BOOK DEAL!

I've signed with Carina UK, Harlequin's newest digital imprint, with a YA paranormal novel. I initially submitted for feedback and I got a three-book deal!! This is like a dream come true and I would love for you all to come join me on my path to publication on my new website/blog. Over the years, blogging as brought me closer to my dream and I am so grateful to now share it with all of you.

I thank you for your support and I hope to see you over at my new home!

Thank you,
Katlyn

PS. Here are some of my other social media links:
Twitter
Facebook
Google+
Goodreads

24 Comments on Amazing news, last added: 4/28/2013
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3. Hiatus..

Thanks to everyone who has followed my blog for the past three years. Due to personal reasons I will be shutting down the blog. I would like to focus more on my writing and other aspects of my life at the moment.

Again you all have been fantastic and I am sad to stop posting but I feel it is the best for me at this time. I wish you all the best in the future!

Kate & Jess

5 Comments on Hiatus.., last added: 9/28/2012
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4. Wife for Hire by Christine Bell: Review

Wife for Hire
Publisher: Entangled Publishing (Indulgence) August 18, 2012
ebook: 133 Pages
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Christine Bell's Website | Blog | Twitter

From Goodreads. He needs a wife for three weeks…

Owen Phipps is out for revenge. His mission? To expose the man who stole his sister’s money and dignity. All he needs is a “wife” who can play along. Too bad his last best hope is an actress who tries to mace him with perfume when he offers her the role of a lifetime.

Lindy Knight is a real sap. She loves too hard, feels too deep, and often finds herself saying yes when she should be saying “Let me think about it.” She can’t believe her good fortune when Owen offers her more than enough money to hold off foreclosure until she can find a job. Three weeks at a resort, money she desperately needs, and she gets to help bring a criminal to justice? Score.

It seems easy enough until the first time a couples bonding game turns intimate, and they realize how dangerous their mutual attraction could be. Can they keep their hands to themselves long enough to find the evidence Owen needs? Or are the close quarters more temptation than they can handle?

Review by Kate
WIFE FOR HIRE, by Christine Bell, is a fun contemporary romance that I enjoyed from the start. Even  though a bad situation brought these two together, they definitely made the most of it!

I enjoyed the characters that Bell created. Lindy is an extremely kind and quirky woman who can't say no to a lost cause (and $20,000 didn't hurt either), and Owen is a hot accented alpha male who will stop at nothing to hurt the man who wronged his sister. This book jumped into the action right from the start and I loved how these two characters fell for each other in the process.

At times novel was a bit wordy but Bell definitely has her own voice to share with the reading community. She has a gift of creating likeable and sexy characters that keep fingertips glued to the book. I will definitely be checking out more titles from her in the future. For anyone looking for a romantic read from this amazing Entangled line, Wife for Hire is the next book for you.

1 Comments on Wife for Hire by Christine Bell: Review, last added: 9/19/2012
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5. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker: Review

The Age of Miracles
Publisher: Random House (June 26, 2012)
Pages: 269 Pages
Genre: Science Fiction
From Goodreads. Luminous, haunting, unforgettable, The Age of Miracles is a stunning fiction debut by a superb new writer, a story about coming of age during extraordinary times, about people going on with their lives in an era of profound uncertainty.

On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, 11-year-old Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. The days and nights grow longer and longer, gravity is affected, the environment is thrown into disarray. Yet as she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia is also coping with the normal disasters of everyday life—the fissures in her parents’ marriage, the loss of old friends, the hopeful anguish of first love, the bizarre behavior of her grandfather who, convinced of a government conspiracy, spends his days obsessively cataloging his possessions. As Julia adjusts to the new normal, the slowing inexorably continues.

With spare, graceful prose and the emotional wisdom of a born storyteller, Karen Thompson Walker has created a singular narrator in Julia, a resilient and insightful young girl, and a moving portrait of family life set against the backdrop of an utterly altered world.

Review by Kate
THE AGE OF MIRACLES, by Karen Thompson Walker, explores a disturbing possibility of surviving the earth as its spinning slows down. This book is from the point of view of 11-year old Julia, which makes it all the more interesting.

This book was an unexpected surprise. While I was reading I dug myself deeper and deeper into the story and in my mind something like this was completely plausible. When I put it down I had to remind myself that the world was still spinning properly. For an author to bring out those types of emotions from me is the mark of a good one in my mind.

This book was really effective from the point of view of a middle schooler. Because while the world was changing, Julia's life still went on. She was still bullied, unpopular, and crushing on one of her classmates. There wasn't much "conflict" in this book to keep the tension high. This book was more of a character study in the midst of a world-wide panic.

I liked how Walker explored the different ways that people would deal with the repercussions of the world changes. Society was initially split in coping with the time change creating mini-societies within the whole. Also, a new host of sicknesses and exposure warnings were brought to light. I loved the world-building in this novel, another thing that made it one of a kind.

I highly recommend this book to book clubs (because there is definitely a lot to discuss afterwards) and those looking for something different!

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6. Shifted Perspective by J. Bridger: Spotlight & Giveaway {Bewitching Book Tours}

Genre: paranormal young adult
Number of pages: 192
Cover Artist: Rebecca Weaver
LinksAmazon | Smashwords

Caleb Byrne is a bright high school senior who has enough to deal with between college choices, taking care of his single dad, and dealing with his headstrong girlfriend Joanna and an eccentric set of cousins in California. He was managing to get by until the day he woke up a Cocker Spaniel. Even if it only happens monthly and is more embarrassing than painful, the so-called ability is something that he's anxious to be rid of.

He didn't realize his transformations would drag him into a hidden society of canine and lupine shape shifters as well as a family legacy he hates. To make matters worse, after moving to Los Angeles to learn more about his heritage from his Aunt Moira and his cousin Kalista, Caleb now struggles through life-and-death matters. He keeps angering the werewolves in charge of the shifter world, especially Kalista's boyfriend Peter, the Southern California alpha's son, who also happens to be grade-A sociopath. Worse, Caleb's floundering to keep his secret from Joanna.

While his family offers him some support, they may not be enough as Caleb realizes that the rules in shifter society---number one being don't kill humans---are not so ironclad. Some werewolf out there is leaving a blood-soaked trail across the Midwest and it might just be with the alpha's blessing...

Author Bio: J. Bridger has had an eclectic life. She’s worked in the psychiatric ward in a hospital in La Paz, Bolivia, been a veterinary intern giving all sorts of better-left-to-the-imagination exams to dogs and cats, and had her own spate in creating and running a television ad campaign. Currently, in her day job, she is getting her certification as a medical Spanish interpreter in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina.

By night, she’s a fledgling author, who has just penned her debut novel, Shifted Perspective; she is currently working on its sequel, the next installment of The Tails of Change Series. J.’s always loved things that go bump (or that howl) in the night and devoured Stephen King, Anne Rice, and Clive Barker starting in middle school. Her favorite shows are no less preternatural and include Big Wolf on Campus, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Teen Wolf. While she’s been writing fiction for eight years and been published in several academic journals for her psychological research, this is her first venture into published original fiction.

J. Bridger lives in Raleigh with two Yorkies, a beagle, and a Schnauzer-Yorkie mix (as well as far too many dust bunnies). Blog | Twitter | Tumblr

Excerpt:
Things were good for a while.

School got back to session, I exchanged a few polite emails with Kalista, and Joanna and I went back to keeping The Gazette afloat even if it was far from popular. It was also a great relief and thrill to be able to send my uncle's check to my new alma mater. Duke class of 2016 that was me.

Then, about a month after finals, maybe the sixteenth of January or so, my hearing got worse. It was so bad that when I woke up in the morning, it felt like the morning news dad was watching over coffee was going to kill me. That or someone was taking a railroad spike to my skull every time the anchor talked. Rolling over, I pulled the pillow over my head and hoped I'd die. I'd never had a migraine so severe before that I was seeing auras; I wondered if something was wrong with me like a tumor.

When dad knocked on my door, I shuddered. "I can't go to school today," I said under my nest of pillows.

"Son, look up at me."

I did as I was asked, even if it was reluctant about it. "My head is staging a revolt. I have a migraine."

My dad came to sit at the chair by my bed and frowned. "Your pupils aren't the same size and your eyes are pretty bloodshot." He reached up and put the back of his hand to my forehead. "Do you have a fever?"

"Do I feel like it?"

"A little warm. You haven't missed since a cold in September, so I think it's alright. You're not exactly pulling a Ferris Bueller. I want to give you a day to get better, but if you don’t, you’ll have to go to Dr. Seiberman."

I shuddered. “No, I’m not that bad off, just hurts. Besides, that's great. A day off from the school grind and I just want to curl into a ball and die. I...my hearing is awful. Everything's too loud, like a throbbing all over. Can you not have the TV on for a while?"

He blinked back at me, dumbfounded. "It wasn't that loud downstairs."

"It was bad enough, definitely. I just think I'm going to pass out with the curtains drawn and see how it goes from there."

I guess sometimes pillows can be good for more than comfort because after my dad left, being careful not to stomp his boots on the way out, I managed to fall to sleep, my dreams odd for me, about running through the woods by Pilot Mountain, chasing something that remained mysterious throughout the day and night.

Even now, I have no idea what it was, can only guess.
**

When I woke, I knew something was off. The sun was just rising over the horizon and I had no idea how I'd managed to sleep almost for twenty-four hours. My hearing didn't pound in my head, but that wasn't reassuring. Shaking my head, I shivered with the cold. I'd slept walked again and of all things come to rest on the sofa downstairs.

This was getting ridiculous but at least it didn't involve waking up tangled in drying deer hide. Thank God for small favors.

"Christ this is pathetic," I said to no one in particular. Then I froze, everything muscle in my body taught.

I hadn't heard my voice, not at all.

But I had heard a series of plaintive barks.

What in the world?

Scared, I started just trying something simple, starting into the alphabet, but it was just more barking. I gulped and braced myself. Looking down, all I saw were four modest-sized black paws.

I could only hope I was hallucinating.

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2 Comments on Shifted Perspective by J. Bridger: Spotlight & Giveaway {Bewitching Book Tours}, last added: 9/15/2012
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7. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater: Review

Publisher: Scholastic Press (September 18, 2012)
ARC: 408 Pages
Series: Raven Cycle # 1
Genre: YA Paranormal
Maggie Stiefvater's Website | | Twitter
From Goodreads.“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

Review by Jess
THE RAVEN BOYS, by Maggie Stiefvater, is a new kind of paranormal story that is so realistic it is hard to tell what is fiction and what isn't. With a cast of such real characters and a new kind of plot this book is impossible to put down.

I was immediately excited to read this book, I mean it's by Maggie Stiefvater, it did not disappoint. This was such an original story with realistic...everything. Part of me wonders if this was a part of Maggie's past or something. The plot was so beautifully constructed, there wasn't a single thing I was confused about. The alternating viewpoints were very beneficial. It added depth to the characters.

Speaking of characters! What a cast! Upon reading the synopsis, I figured Blue meets a snobby rich boy, but there's more to him than that, but I was pleasantly surprised that another boy was added to the mix and she isn't insta-love with the boy, Gansey, in the synopsis. Every single one of the characters had such depth, and were so believable. I can't say that enough. I can honestly say I have never read a book where the characters were so realistic.

As usual, the writing was beautiful, the plot was well constructed and the imagery was great. I could easily imagine the characters and their surroundings. There are twists and turns and I love the bit of edgy family drama going on with each of the characters. They all have some pretty dramatic family issues. Overall, I loved this book, it was a fast read and I am highly anticipating the next installment of the Raven Cycle!

1 Comments on The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater: Review, last added: 9/14/2012
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8. The Angel by Tiffany Reisz: Review

The Angel (The Original Sinners, #2)
Publisher: Mira (September 18, 2012)
Netgalley: 400 Pages
Series: The Original Sinners #2
My review of The Siren (book #1)
Genre: Adult Erotica
Tiffany Reisz's Website | Twitter
Purchase Links: Kindle | Amazon

2 Comments on The Angel by Tiffany Reisz: Review, last added: 9/14/2012
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9. The Blue Straggler by Kathy Lynn Harris: Spotlight {Sizzling PR}





A blue straggler is a star that has an anomalous blue color and appears to be disconnected from those stars that surround it.

But this is not a story about astronomy.

Bailey Miller is "disconnected" from the cluster of her rural south Texas family. She has never quite fit in and now in her early 30s, she finds herself struggling with inner turmoil and a series of bad choices in her life.







"... The characters made me laugh, cry, and wish that the story went on forever."
Bailey's drinking too much (even for a member of her family), has a penchant to eat spoonfuls of Cool Whip, works in a job that bores her beyond description and can't keep a relationship longer than it takes for milk to expire in her fridge.
Even with the help of her two outspoken friends, Texas lass Idamarie and her quirky college pal Rudy, she's having a hard time.

"... every single Texas reference Kathy Lynn Harris made was so descriptive that I knew exactly what she was talking about. I felt as if I was living the story."
So she packs up her Honda and heads out of Texas in search of herself and answers to secrets from her great-grandmother's past. The novel takes readers on a journey from San Antonio, Texas, to a small mountain town in Colorado and back again, as Bailey uncovers not only the secrets of her great-grandmother's life, but also some painful secrets of her own. All while finding love along the way.

"... both thoughtful and laugh-out-loud funny! I also hope that the author is working on a sequel."

"... I laughed till I cried, then cried till I laughed. This is one I will read over and over again."

If you have ever wondered why you got stuck with the family you did, what you are doing with your job and your life, or had a sudden desire to run off to the mountains, sit back and join Bailey for this laugh-out-loud, yet poignant ride.
"... Ms. Harris ⚊ I'm ready for the next installment!"


About the Author: Kathy grew up in rural South Texas — and comes from people who work hard, love the land and know how to have a good time on a Saturday night. As a writer, Kathy was lucky to have been surrounded by exceptional characters throughout her life, many of whom have lived their lives exactly the way they wanted. The rest of the world could take `em or leave `em! Inspiring, to say the least.

In 2001, Kathy made the move from Texas to the Colorado Rockies to focus on her writing and soak up All Things Mountain.

By day, she works for a relationship marketing agency. By night, she lives in an authentic log cabin near the southernmost glacier in North America, at 10,500 feet above sea level, with her husband and son, plus two fairly untrainable golden retriever mixes.

Mountain lions, bears, foxes, coyotes and other high-country animals are her neighbors, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. It is there that she writes — Kathy has completed two novels and three children’s books. She has also published hundreds of magazine articles, poetry, short fiction and essays. Her work has appeared in numerous published anthologies. Blue Straggler is her debut novel.


0 Comments on The Blue Straggler by Kathy Lynn Harris: Spotlight {Sizzling PR} as of 9/12/2012 8:42:00 AM
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10. Racing With the Wind by Regan Walker: Guest Post & Giveaway {Innovative Online Book Tours}


I'd like to welcome Regan Walker to the blog today with her novel, Racing With the Wind. Enjoy!

Weaving History Into Romance Writing

The novels I love to read are historical romances, the deep ones, the keepers. And, for me, they must include real history and real historic figures, not merely some vague background of an historical time (like a contemporary dropped into the Scottish
Highlands—I’ve read those). The same is true for the books I write. I love the research, diving into the past to learn its secrets. All my stories weave history into the romance.

I do a lot of research before and during the writing of a novel. One of my novels still in progress is a medieval set in 1067, THE RED WOLF’S PRIZE. The prologue is a wolf attack in the woods of Normandy in 1063. It’s only 3 pages long, but I spent 3 days researching that scene. I had to understand the battles the Duke of Normandy (later William I) was fighting then, the weather that winter (because I wanted snow on the ground), what kind of wolves were present in the forests, and whether a lone wolf would attack a man and under what circumstances. And that was after I’d done the basic research on knights, their horses, the Duke of Normandy, etc. The prologue is an exciting, short scene, but behind it is a solid wall of research. To the educated historical romance reader, it is more real, more authentic, because of that research. I’m writing for them.

For RACING WITH THE WIND, I spent hundreds of hours researching Regency England
and France, especially Paris after Napoleon was exiled to St. Helena. Even though
Napoleon is not a character in my book, there are many, many references to him and what he did while the Emperor; they all had to be correct. I wanted to give the reader a sense of what it was like to be in Paris in the early 19th century so they could see it though the heroine’s eyes. There are scenes in buildings, including Notre Dame and the restaurant La Tour d’Argent. They had to be described accurately, and I had to be certain they were open in 1816. Originally, I intended to have a certain scene in the Sainte-Chapelle church in Paris, as it’s one of my favorites, but my research disclosed it was closed in 1816 for renovation. So I switched the scene to Notre Dame. For one dining scene, I communicated with La Tour d’Argent to ascertain if they were serving their current specialty, duck, in 1816. They weren’t, so I had to change the menu. But in the end, my novel is better for it.

Buy Links: All Romance | Amazon | Apple iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

The intrepid daughter of an earl leaves Regency London for the Parisian court of Louis XVIII, where she finds adventure, mystery, and above all, love.

THE NIGHTHAWK Hugh Redgrave, marquess of Ormond, was warned. Prinny had dubbed Lady Mary Campbell “the Swan,” but no ordinary man could clip her wings. She was a bluestocking hellion, an illadvised match by every account. Luckily, he sought no bride. His work lay on the continent, where he’d become legend by stealing war secrets from Boney. And yet, his memories of Lady Mary riding her stallion were a thorn in his mind. He was the son of a duke and in the service of the Prince Regent…and he would not be whole until he had won her hand.

THE SWAN It was unheard of for a Regency debutante to postpone her first season, yet Lady Mary had done just that. Far more interested in politics than a husband, she had no time for foolishness or frippery. Already she had assisted her statesman uncle in Paris, and she swore to return to the court of Louis XVIII no matter the danger. Like her black stallion, Midnight, she would always run free. Only the truest heart would race beside her.

Author Regan Walker's Bio: As a child, Regan loved to write stories, particularly about adventure-loving girls. But by the time she got to college, more serious pursuits were encouraged. One of her professors thought her suited to the profession of law. Regan says, “I became a lawyer because I thought it would be better to be a hammer than a nail.” Years of serving clients in private practice and several stints in high levels of government gave her a love of international travel and a feel for the demands of the "Crown" on its subjects. Hence, her first romance novels involve a demanding Prince Regent who thinks of his subjects as his private talent pool. Regan says her stories will always involve adventure as well as love.

Regan lives in San Diego with her Golden Retriever, Link, who she says inspires her every day to relax and smell the roses.


Excerpt:
Chapter 1

London, 1816

Standing at the edge of the ballroom, Lady Mary Campbell smiled to herself, thinking it was a bit like standing on the edge of a cliff. Stepping forward would bring a drop into the unknown. It was a step she had no desire to take.
But, then, she had no choice. She’d postponed her dreaded debut as long as possible, and at nineteen she was well past the age most ingénues greeted their first season. Dressed in ivory satin she was, but she could hardly wait for the day she could wear red. And though she would have preferred her long hair down and flowing free, tonight it was drawn up into a pile of curls.
Gazing into the immense room with its crystal chandeliers, hundreds of candles, and men and women in elegant finery, Mary let out a deep sigh. It was all very glorious, of course, but it wasn’t the Tuileries Palace where she had waltzed last December. It wasn’t the world she loved, the world in which she thrived, the world of books and ideas. It wasn’t the countryside, where she could ride her horse and forget everything. It wasn’t even her uncle’s world of statesmen.
Those men, she was certain, would not give a thought to the gowns or balls for young women entering London society, and she wished she could follow their example. No, Mary was not at all at home in this place where young men mingled with their future wives—wives they would dominate and keep from truly seeing or enjoying the world.
That was one reason she was not anxious to wed, and she had several. But at the request of her mother, the dowager countess of Argyll, she had come to this ball and would dance with the young men. And when her sweet mother insisted her only daughter go to court and curtsey
before George, Prince of Wales, the Prince Regent, Mary had bowed to the gracious request and sweetly obeyed.
Her best friend, Elizabeth St. Clair, bubbled on at her side about the grand decorations and the pretty gowns, but Mary’s mind was on the Times article she’d read at breakfast describing Napoleon’s exile on the island of St. Helena. There was a small note at the bottom of the article saying recent information suggested Napoleon’s defeat in Russia was, in part, due to the legendary Nighthawk. She longed to meet the mysterious man, that stealer of secrets, if indeed he existed. But if he did, she was certain he would not be wasting his time at some tedious London ball. The world did not revolve around a dance, not even the waltz.
Elizabeth tugged on her glove. “I say, Mary, do you agree?”
Mary realized she had missed what her friend was saying and tried to recall the original question. She wanted to show support for Elizabeth, whose blue eyes were wide with wonder at the beautiful gowns and the handsome young men; her older sisters had already taken their place in London society, and Mary knew Lizzy was anxious to join them.
“Well, it is rather as I expected, Lizzy. It’s like being offered up to the highest bidder, is it not? ’Tis strange so many go so willingly to the auction block.”
Elizabeth’s side-glance stopped Mary’s reflection. “Oh, do try and enjoy yourself, Mary. It’s not so bad. Besides, you’re gathering many admiring looks!”
“I think you are imagining that. Recall the conversation of the Baroness Johnson in the retiring room we overheard. She could barely wait to tell her friends that the Campbell hoyden who reads philosophy and rides horses like a man is here.”
“Actually, you were most gracious to her, Mary; more the lady than she. I rather think she’s just a jealous old biddy. Besides, I wasn’t talking about the women. It is the men who cannot take their eyes off you.”
Mary’s cheeks warmed. Her friend was exaggerating again out of kindness and loyalty. Her mother, too, remarked in a caring way about her appearance, and her uncle complimented her gowns, but Mary knew their words were merely encouragement to wear
disdained. Her heart seized with a pang of regret as she wondered if her father would
thought her pretty. He had not lived to see her blossom into womanhood.
“Lizzy, I am not seeing what you are, but since you asked, I will do my best to be happy.
After all, you are here, and I do love to dance.”
As if summoned, two young men approached and asked for the first quadrille. Mary
resolved to be nice.
So it begins, she thought to herself.
One young man offered an arm. Green eyes met blue. His kind face was framed by light
brown hair, and he smiled, leading her smoothly out into the room. They were soon
across the polished wood floor. To her surprise, Mary’s spirits lifted.
As the dance took a turn, Mary’s gaze drifted over her partner’s shoulder, drawn
two men standing in front of a pillar. She did not recognize them, but the dark stare
man pierced her gown, corset and chemise and touched her very skin. Feeling exposed
she never had, she shivered, and she was glad when her partner whirled her away.
And yet, she continued to surreptitiously watch the man, drawn to his overwhelming
presence. He wore black, his white shirt and cravat the only contrast to the dark
fell in waves to his nape. He exuded a kind of power unlike any other male in the
was nothing the dandy about him.

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Check out the next three stops on the tour:

9 Comments on Racing With the Wind by Regan Walker: Guest Post & Giveaway {Innovative Online Book Tours}, last added: 9/14/2012
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11. Hidden by Sophie Jordan: Review

SPOILER ALERT: If you have not read Firelight or Vanish, there will be spoilers ahead.

Publisher: HarperTeen (September 11, 2012)
ARC: 274 Pages
Series: Firelight #3
My Reviews of Firelight & Vanish
Genre: YA Fantasy
Sophie Jordan's WebsiteTwitter
From Goodreads. Jacinda was supposed to bond with Cassian, the "prince" of their pride. But she resisted long before she fell in love with Will—a human and, worse, a hunter. When she ran away with Will, it ended in disaster, with Cassian's sister, Miram, captured. Weighed down by guilt, Jacinda knows she must rescue her to set things right. Yet to do so she will have to venture deep into the heart of enemy territory.

The only way Jacinda can reach Miram is by posing as a prisoner herself, though once she assumes that disguise, things quickly spiral out of her control. As she learns more about her captors, she realizes that even if Will and Cassian can carry out their part of the plan, there's no guarantee they'll all make it out alive. But what Jacinda never could have foreseen is that escaping would be only the beginning....

Loyalties are tested and sacrifices made in the explosive conclusion to Sophie Jordan's Firelight trilogy.

Review by Kate
HIDDEN, by Sophie Jordan, is the final installment of the Firelight series. For me these books have been a series of ups and downs. The first book was just okay for me but because of the unique fantasy aspect so I kept reading. I absolutely LOVED the second book and started shipping Cassian at that point. With this one, it took me a while to figure out how to review this book without sounding negative, but personally I jumped back on the fence after reading it. Let me explain...

THE BAD (I like to end positively). I felt there was a lot of buildup in this series that didn't deliver. At the end of this book I was like, "oh..that's it?" Also, Jacinda was all over the place with her feelings. I understood her love for Will and bond with Cassian was confusing but when it came down to it, her not being able to choose drove me insane.

THE GOOD. The action! This book started off with insane action and I found myself speeding through the pages trying to figure out who would make it out of the compound alive. I liked the introduction of some new characters and the realization of some old ones that we hadn't explored fully in the past.

I don't want to ruin too much of the story so I will end it with this... I liked this series more for the draki aspect which I found fascinating. Jacinda's indecisiveness drove me crazy which took me out of the story more often then not. Fans of the series will get closure with this book, but personally it just wasn't to my liking.

Side note: I do have to say though that these books have the most beautiful covers!

4 Comments on Hidden by Sophie Jordan: Review, last added: 9/13/2012
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12. She Wulf by Sheryl Steines: Excerpt {Novel Publicity Tour}

Please enjoy this excerpt from She Wulf, an action-packed urban fantasy by Sheryl Steines. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of She Wulf, and 5 copies of its companion, The Day of First Sun.

Someone screamed; a terrified, naked shrill cry in the distance. There were sounds of hollering, screeching, grunting, stomping. The ground rumbled under Annie as she threw several layers of animal skins to the ground.

Spencer jumped up; the coven roused themselves.

“The mead hall,” he said as they threw open the door and ran to the village center.

Chaos turned to determination as the coven traveled through the forest toward the mead hall. Annie knew the Vikings were running, screaming, panicked— but all she could hear were footsteps, and her heart pounding in her chest. Spencer had come with her; she didn’t know where he was now. She only knew the steady rhythm surrounding her as the coven followed the trail. Instinctively she went into battle mode. This was what had brought here. Her adrenaline pumped through her, her heart beat quicker, her blood boiled with rage, and she ran faster.


They were through the forest and into the clearing that surrounded the mead hall. Annie’s senses changed, grew clearer and louder. She heard terrified voices; smelled fear hanging in the air. The anxious cries of the Vikings moved through her. She listened to the growling and grunting and the rage and horror the demons brought forth. It crowded her as they broke through the wooded area.

Swords swished in the air; metal sliced through flesh. Anxious, chaotic screams greeted them as they entered the massacre.

Blood covered the earth and stuck to their shoes and clothes. Large dark patches already drenched the ground around the hall and rolled off the dead bodies that littered the ground. Annie was sick. Women and children ran from the mead hall in the direction of the coven village, away from the demons that had overtaken them.

She reached down and pulled a small boy out of the way as a demon lunged for him. She threw her first jinx at the demon, surprised by the strength of her magic. The creature flew through the air and landed on another demon. The demon on top grunted, punched the beast below it and stood up. The one on the ground rose and looked around, confused at first until it focused on a Viking running past. It reached its large hands over and plucked the Viking from mid-run and held him in the air.

Terror filled the night; panic surrounded her as she conjured a small fireball. It hovered above her palm; it grew in size and strength, and she released it toward the demon. Its lightweight clothing caught fire easily. The demon hopped around in one spot, patting down the fire, but the flames grew and inched their way upwards before consuming the demon’s skin. It screamed; pain mixed with terror. The battle stopped around them and the warriors watched, entranced by the only known means to kill the demons.

“Fire!” Annie yelled to them. “Kill them with fire!”

As if the coven awoke from a trance, fireballs lit up the night, flying through the air and consuming the demons. Fire ate away at Annie’s demon’s flesh and crackled its bones. They popped until there was nothing left but ash. The last of the monster’s scream reverberated in Annie’s ear as the wind picked up and scattered its smoking remains in the air. She lit another ball of fire above her palm and threw it in the pile of ash, burning any possible traces of the demon. The blaze flashed and died down to nothing. She ran toward another creature.


*****

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the She Wulf eBook edition is just 99 cents this week--and so is the price of its companion, The Day of First Sun. What’s more, by purchasing either of these fantastic books at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment--easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:
  1. Purchase your copy of She Wulf for just 99 cents
  2. Purchase your copy of Day of First Sun for just 99 cents
  3. Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity
  4. Visit today’s featured social media event HERE
About She Wulf: Annie is sent through an ancient time portal with only a prophecy to guide her; she struggles with a new destiny as she tries to figure out a way to destroy an un-killable demon and return home. Get it on Amazon.

About The Day of First Sun: A vampire, a rogue wizard and an army of soulless zombies are par for the course for Annie Pearce and Bobby “Cham” Chamsky of the Wizard’s Guard. But when the non-magical princess, Amelie of Amborix, is murdered by magical means, a deeper plot unfolds. Get it on Amazon.



About the author: Behind the wheel of her ’66 Mustang Convertible, Sheryl is a constant surprise, using her sense of humor and relatable style make her books something everyone can enjoy. Visit Sheryl on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

3 Comments on She Wulf by Sheryl Steines: Excerpt {Novel Publicity Tour}, last added: 9/11/2012
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13. The Zombie Always Knocks Twice by E. Van Lowe: Interview & Review {Bewitching Book Tours}

I'm so happy to host another book post with E. Van Lowe. Enjoy the interview and review of his newest release. 

Why Zombies?

The Zombie Always Knocks Twice is not a zombie book and the word “zombie” in the title might be a bit misleading. It’s a paranormal romantic mystery. One of the paranormal creatures in the book is a zombie. But he’s not your typical zombie-book zombie. This series is about raising the dead and laying the risen dead to rest. The zombie in my universe is the result of a raising gone bad. I have nothing against zombies and zombie books. As you know, I wrote Never Slow Dance With A Zombie. But this isn’t anything like that.

Why do you write YA?

I was a TV writer/producer before I dove into writing novels. I had developed a series for Disney called Even Stevens. I enjoyed writing younger characters and felt more at home writing younger voices and issues, so when I made the leap into books I naturally chose YA. And I LOVE it!

If you could jump into the life of any of your characters in this book who would it be and why?

Wow! That’s a tough one. I guess it would be Anne Marie, Kris’ hateful older sister. I think with my giving nature inside Anne Marie’s mind, she’d become the terrific older sister she was when Kris was a kid. I’d like to see that.

How do you get into the mind of your teenage characters?

It feels natural for me. I don’t even think about it. Partly, I remember my teenage years as though it was yesterday (which, of course, couldn’t be further from the truth. LOL!) but also, looking back I am able to add some perspective. So it works for me, and so far, readers seem to feel it works for them, too.

Did anything from your real-life inspire you for any characters or situations in this book?

Yes. Sort of. Kris is a gifted child. Her gift is paranormal, but lots of kids are the brothers and sisters of gifted children. I was one of those people. My older brother was gifted. It didn’t bother me. We had a great relationship, but I understand how it could bother a sibling when one sib was getting lots of attention. And that’s how I created the dysfunctional relationship between Kris and Anne Marie.

Who was your favorite character to write? Who was more difficult?

My favorite character in this book is Kris. I love how loyal and duty-bound she is. The most difficult to write were the four cheerleaders. Most times we see them they’re together, and it was difficult trying to give each of them a special voice.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently completing the third book in The Falling Angels Saga, Heaven Sent. When that’s done, I may get away form series for a while and write a one-off. You heard it here first ☺

Thanks for stopping by E.!

Series: Hollyweird #1
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publisher: Imajin
Cover Artist: Ryan Doan
Page Count: 177 pages
Hollywood California, Swimming pools, movie stars… and now the risen dead

Hollywood can be a difficult place to grow up, especially if you’re Kristine Golden, a fifteen-year-old necromancer with a sworn duty to lay the risen dead back to rest and no desire to be in the movie business.

When handsome deadie Alex Romero swaggers into her life, Kris must keep her promise, despite her growing feelings for him. If that’s not enough to give a girl a headache, a murderous zombie comes knocking at Kris’ door, rocking her world and threatening her family.

Can Kris solve the mystery of the rampaging zombie before someone else winds up dead? Or will the walking dead take over Hollywood and turn it into… Hollyweird?
Review by Kate
THE ZOMBIE ALWAYS KNOCKS TWICE, by E. Van Lowe, is a hilarious paranormal novel that deals with a young necromancer living in Hollywood. While the title suggests a full-blown zombie book there is more than meets the eye. Kris has been given a "gift" (a curse in her mind) that tends to put her in crazy situations involving the recently dead. In this book, two dead kids want Kris's help to put them in their final resting place.

In typical E. Van Lowe fashion, this book was hilarious but still had a lot of heart. It boggles my mind how well he gets into the mind of a teenage girl, but he does it well. He gives a lot of depth to his characters and that's one reason why I will always pick up a novel by E! Kris was a great narrator and her special qualities, besides her "gift", are under appreciated by everyone around her. I wanted to jump into the book and make her my BFF! I loved her connection with Alex and the lesson that no one is always as they seem.

Fans of the paranormal genre will love this book, and since it's around 170 pages, it's not too long but it packs a punch on each page. There is a romance element to this book that is absolutely sweet. I am excited to read the next book in the Hollyweird series!!

Excerpt
The man coming up the block toward us in the hooded sweatshirt stopped directly in our path, about ten feet away. The hood dropped revealing his face. The hair on the left side of his head had been shaved off revealing tiny bits of bony white scalp. Huge staples held his crooked jaw in place. There was a large indentation in his forehead from some sort of blunt force impact. His left eye was covered with a milky, white cataract, and the right drooped unnaturally into his cheek.

My breath caught yet again. Standing before us was a zombie.

‘LEAVE US ALONE!” the zombie screeched.

Then he took off on a dead run and plowed into Alex with the impact a freight train.

Just great, I thought. Hollyweird—where the dead come out to play.

Zombies aren’t what the movies make them out to be—slow moving, brain dead, brain suckers. They’re the result of a raising gone bad. They can be strong, and fast, and very dangerous. Also, a bite from a zombie won’t make you a member of the living dead, although I’m sure it must hurt like hell.

The one that plowed into Alex was almost six feet tall and about seventeen years old. He hit Alex with inhuman force, propelling him backward. They slammed into a parked car that seemed to explode on impact. The twisting metal and shattering glass sounded like a horrible automobile accident. The car was totaled, and Alex was embedded into the passenger side, like a toy soldier into a wad of Play Doh.

“Oh, God!” I screamed.

Alex’s eyes were closed. He wasn’t moving… but the zombie was. He peeled himself away from Alex and the wreckage.

“Zombie!” I called at the top of my lungs. “I command you to tell me who raised you and what you are doing here.”

The zombie faced me, a puzzled look on his distorted face. It dawned on me he hadn’t known I was a necromancer until then—not that it made a difference. He wasn’t bound to me so he didn’t have to answer my questions.
I was bluffing.

“LEAVE US ALONE!” He screamed in response. He started for me and a wave of fear rippled my gut.

“I command you to stay back!” I called, but my voice was cracking, my words lacked conviction. I took a few shaky steps backward. The zombie continued toward me.
Just then the sound of twisting metal snagged both our attention. Alex’s eyes were open, and he was separating himself from the wreckage. He shed the automobile with the ease of a snake shedding an old skin.

He began advancing on the zombie.

“What’s going on down there?” We all looked up and saw three men, all Johnny do-gooders, running up the block in our direction.

“Leave her alone,” one of them called.

The zombie looked from the advancing men to Alex and me.

“Hhhhh!” Hot breath hissed angrily at us. Then he took off past us like a deer, bounding up the block. By the time the men reached us he was nowhere in sight.
“You ok?” one of them asked.

“Yes. He… attacked us?”

“What the heck happened here?” Another of the men asked. He was staring at the twisted pile of metal that used to be a Buick.

Before I could open my mouth, Alex launched into an explanation.

“My girl and I were out for a stroll, and he was taking a sledge hammer to that car when we happened upon him. Guess it was some kind of vendetta. And when he saw us he decided to add us to the list.” The lie flowed from his lips effortlessly.

“Hey, aren’t you on that TV show?” the third man asked.

Alex smiled. “The Beloved. Yes. You watch it?”

“No, but my girlfriend does. She can’t get enough of you vampire guys.”
Any suspicions the men may have had about our presence on the street or Alex molesting me immediately vanished. Alex was a bona fide Hollywood star. I guess they thought all stars were boy scouts. Where have they been?

Several minutes and three autographs later the men were gone, and Alex and I were walking back to the party.

“You told that lie like you do it all the time,” I said.

“I’m a dead person among the living. I do do it all the time.”

That wasn’t what I was talking about, but I didn’t push it. He seemed annoyed. I guess being attacked by a zombie wasn’t an everyday occurrence for him either.

“If it makes you feel any better, I memorized the car’s plate number. I’ll take care of the damage,” he said, his words softening.

“Thanks. That does make me feel better.” I wanted to hold my tongue, but I couldn’t. “So, you have any enemies who’d want to send a zombie after you?”

“I don’t have any enemies. I’m a lover not a fighter.” The annoyance was back.

“Maybe you loved the wrong woman.”

“I’m dead. I can’t love any woman,” he replied. The words were seething with anger or pain. I couldn’t tell which.

“He said ‘leave us alone.’ Who’s us?” I asked.

“I don’t know!”

He was getting agitated again so I dropped the subject. But not without noting there was more to Alex than he was telling me. A vindictive zombie had been set loose in Hollywood. It was something I needed to look into along with the deadie from the diner. My, my, I was suddenly a very busy girl.

About the Author: E. Van Lowe is an author, television writer, screen-writer, playwright and producer who has worked on such TV shows as "The Cosby Show," "Even Stevens," and "Homeboys In Outer Space." He has been nominated for both an Emmy and an Academy Award. His first YA Paranormal novel, "Never Slow Dance With A Zombie," was a selection of The Scholastic Book Club, and a nominee for an American Library Association Award. His Best Selling novels, “Boyfriend From Hell” and “Earth Angel,” are the first two books in the Falling Angels Saga. “The Zombie Always Knocks Twice” is the first book in his Hollyweird series.

E lives in Beverly Hills California with his spouse, a werewolf, several zombies and a fairy godmother who grants him wishes from time-to-time.

3 Comments on The Zombie Always Knocks Twice by E. Van Lowe: Interview & Review {Bewitching Book Tours}, last added: 9/10/2012
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14. Passion Creek by Avery Flynn: Author Q&A & Giveaway

Thank you so much for having me over at your place today!

Your alarm clock goes off at 5 a.m., what do you do next?
If my alarm went off at 5 a.m. I would still hit snooze about twelve times before I even realized what I was doing. I am a really hard sleeper - as in I slept through a tornado once - so getting up in the morning is hellish. A roommate in college once threatened to kill me if I hit snooze one more time. I couldn’t even hold it against her because I am that bad about getting up.

What do you write and what is it about that genre that calls out to you?
I write steamy romantic suspense with a sense of humor. I can’t imagine writing anything else. Man, I love the heart-pounding intensity of mixing suspense, humor and sex into one fast-paced, thrill-a-minute ride. It’s what I like to read and what I love to write.

What is it about your current hero that is crush worthy?
Picture Indiana Jones with washboard abs and a bit of a cranky attitude and you have Sam Layton. He is so crush worthy. Damn, he’s really yummy - don’t tell my husband I said that.

Why would a reader want to be best friends with your latest heroine?
You know those friends that you have who always have your back, make you laugh when you need it, tell you to suck it up when you deserve it and would bring you Ben & Jerry’s and a copy of Bridget Jones’ Diary in times of need? That’s Josie Winarksy. Plus she drinks my favorite drink: a vodka gimlet. :)

Tell us a little about Passion Creek.

Uptight history professor Sam Layton may have the abs of a movie action hero, but he stopped believing in the joy of adventure a long time ago. However, when a one-night stand with a tattooed bombshell leads to a treasure map for the long-buried Rebecca’s Bounty, the call to action is too strong to ignore.

All Las Vegas cocktail waitress Josie Winarsky wants to do is paint. But when she lands smack dab in the middle in a mob plot, she has to push aside her dreams to find a treasure in Dry Creek, Nebraska and save her family from harm. With Sam at her side and a Vegas loan shark on her tail, the treasure she finds turn out to be much more valuable than emeralds and rubies.

Thanks for stopping by Avery!!!

Watch the book trailer:


About Avery Flynn: Avery Flynn has three slightly-wild children, loves a hockey-addicted husband and is desperately hoping someone invents the coffee IV drip. Evernight Publishing released the first two books in her Layton Family series, Temptation Creek and Seduction Creek. The third book in the series, Passion Creek, released on Aug. 31. Find out more about Avery on her blog (www.averyflynn.com), follow her on Twitter , like her on Facebook or friend her on Facebook. Also, if you figure out how to send Oreos through the Internet, she’ll be your best friend for life.

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3 Comments on Passion Creek by Avery Flynn: Author Q&A & Giveaway, last added: 9/10/2012
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15. Pulled by A.L. Jackson: Spotlight & Giveaway {RABT}

Photobucket

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Sapphire Star Publishing (4/5/12)
Publisher WebsiteAmazon
Melanie Winters and Daniel Montgomery shared a love most only dream of, a love they believed bonded them together for life. When their world is shattered by the tragic loss of their daughter, overwhelming grief and misguided guilt distorts the truth, and their relationship ends in uncertainty and unanswered questions.

For nine years, they drift through life, each unable to forget the one who holds the strings to their heart. In an attempt to escape the pain of her past, Melanie finds herself trapped in a loveless marriage, while Daniel loses himself in a career that means nothing without Melanie by his side.

Now, when their lives again intersect, neither can deny the connection they felt so long ago.

But will the power that drew them together be enough to heal the wounds from their past, and will they have the courage to overcome the insecurities and fears that threaten to keep them apart?

Pulled is a story of attraction and separation, of destiny and duty, of a love so strong it refuses to give up even when all others have.

Author Bio: A.L. Jackson first found a love for writing during her days as a young mother and college student. She filled the journals she carried with short stories and poems used as an emotional outlet for the difficulties and joys she found in day-to-day life.

Years later, she shared a short story she’d been working on with her two closest friends and, with their encouragement, this story became her first full length novel. A.L. now spends her days writing in Southern Arizona where she lives with her husband and three beautiful children. Her favorite pastime is spending time with the ones she loves.

Excerpt:
I glanced at the clock.
Shit—nearly six o’clock. I needed to hurry. I’d lost track of time and Nicholas would be home soon. I wiped the tears from my face before carefully gathering the pictures from the bedroom floor. My chest weighed heavy as I collected each one, cherishing the memories a moment longer as I tucked them away in the envelope.
The memories were all I had and I clung to them as if they were my last breath, knowing that once they faded, there would truly be no reason to go on. I hid the envelope at the bottom of the large jewelry box in the back of the closet, mindful to spread the necklaces out over the hidden compartment. Nicholas had never found them, but I was certain he would destroy them if he ever did.
Drawing in a deep breath, I ran my hands through my hair and dragged myself from the past I had immersed myself in for the last two hours and forced myself downstairs.
My footsteps echoed against the marble floor, each an accent of emptiness. I entered the kitchen, the only sanctuary I had. Every room of this house was gaudy and overdone, designed by the pompous for the pompous, except for this haven. It was no less extravagant, but held a warmth missing from all of the others.
As I worked, my thoughts inevitably wandered back to those beloved pictures hidden away in the back of my closet, but even they weren’t enough to ward off the anxiety steadily building within me as the passing minutes warned of Nicholas’s arrival. At six thirty-one, I heard the garage door open. Bile rose in my throat.
“Melanie?” Nicholas called from the entryway.
“In the kitchen,” I called weakly. Maybe he would go upstairs and spare me a few more minutes, but of course, I never had that kind of luck. I heard his footsteps approaching and prepared myself.
“Dinner ready?” He yanked at his tie as he came through the door.
“Um, not quite, just a couple more minutes,” I said, not meeting his face.
I felt him pause, though I refused to look up. I’d learned a long time ago how to survive in hell. The less I interacted with him the better.
He snorted through his nose, muttering, “Worthless whore,” under his breath.
I gritted my teeth, holding in the anger his accusation triggered.
He set his briefcase on the island next to me and tossed his tie over the top of it. “What time do I get home from work, Melanie?” Nicholas dipped his head, forcing me to look at him.
“Six-thirty.”
“Is it too much to ask that dinner is ready when I get home?” he said, “or do you have something better to do with your useless life?”
I cringed but said nothing. He was the one who didn’t want me to work.
“I didn’t think so.” He leaned in closer, his words a low warning. “When I tell you dinner needs to be ready at six-thirty, it means dinner is to be ready at six-thirty. Do you understand?”
I saw the threat in his eyes. He had never hurt me physically, but he made sure I knew who was in charge. I’d given up any control nine years ago when I’d followed him here to Chicago, looking for an escape from the pain.
I knew then what this life would be like. I’d met him at the airport when I’d fled Colorado that final time, the trip that severed the last thread holding my heart together.
Nicholas hadn’t seen the broken girl who sat numb with nothing but pain swimming in her eyes. He saw the young, beautiful girl, the one who said nothing at all but seemed to be willing to do whatever he said.
I wasn’t stupid. I had known exactly what he wanted, but I could never go back to Colorado Springs to face what I could no longer have, and I refused to stay with my mother in Dallas.
So I left all of it behind, moving with Nicholas to Chicago just days after I returned from Colorado.
I knew then Nicholas would never bring me happiness. That had never been the point. My heart belonged to another and would never be his. All I wanted was a way out, while Nicholas got the trophy wife he thought he deserved. The only thing I hadn’t anticipated was how the numbness I felt for him would evolve over nine years into bitterness and loathing.
“I’m going upstairs to change, and I expect dinner to be on the table when I get back down here.” He had been this way since the first day I arrived; I had a role to play, and he expected me to play it well.
When he left the room, I gathered our plates and took them into the dining room. I wasn’t really afraid of Nicholas, but I didn’t want to fight. It was exhausting and got me nowhere, and even if it did, I still wouldn’t be happy, so it really didn’t matter anyway. It was just easier to do what he said.
Ten minutes later, I heard him returning. Just the sound of his heavy steps made my stomach turn. It still shocked me that I could feel so much hatred for one person. I watched him bound down the stairs, his tall body well muscled and agile for his forty-four years. His black hair hadn’t thinned and it was usually meticulously styled, though he obviously had run his hands through it. His eyes were nearly as dark as his hair and filled with unmerited pride. He may have been attractive, though that was something I could never see. His mere presence warned my instincts to escape, always smarter than my head.
“About fucking time,” he spat, letting me know just how disappointing I was.
Asshole.
Taking a seat across from me, he lifted his fork and began to eat. I picked at my chicken, pushing it around my plate. I could rarely stomach anything when he was around.
As he ate, I lost myself in the silence, my mind drawn back to Colorado.
“We have a dinner Thursday,” he abruptly broke through the quiet, pulling me from my daydream. I had to run his words through my mind again before I realized what he had said.
I closed my eyes, suppressing a sigh. Great. Another business dinner. It was the perfect time for me to play my part—the perfect wife with her perfect smile plastered across her perfect face, nodding mindlessly while her husband gave his proposal as if her presence would somehow change the outcome. The whole thing was ridiculous. It was part of my job though, so I nodded that I’d heard him and looked back to my plate.
“This is a huge account, Melanie.” He sat back, eyeing me critically as if I didn’t already understand my role in this little charade. “It’s a medical complex that’ll bring in a couple million in profit, so I don’t want you fucking this up for me.”
I almost laughed. Did he really think that my presence would sway the decision?
Nicholas went on about details I really didn’t care to know, about how much money he would make and how much recognition his company would gain if they built this complex.
The only comfort I found was in knowing Shane would be at the dinner. Shane Preston was Nicholas’s business partner and the nicest guy I knew. While Nicholas was cocky and arrogant and felt the world owed him, Shane was modest and thankful for all he had. He continually cleaned up the messes Nicholas caused, soothing clients’ nerves and regaining their trust after Nicholas had done something unethical.
The dinner also meant that Katie, Shane’s wife, would be there. She was the one friend I had in this world. She knew the real me and was the only one I had ever taken into my confidence since I’d married Nicholas. Shane and Katie’s presence there would at least make the evening bearable.
Nicholas finished his food, while I cleared the table and took the dishes into the kitchen. I was exhausted. I wondered how much more of this I could take. Surely, I would never survive this life sentence I’d imposed on myself. I loaded the dishwasher and went upstairs to take a bath.
Turning the hot water valve full blast, I let it run, anxious to feel the heat relax my muscles. I unbuttoned my pants and slid them down, shrugging them off my feet. As I pulled my shirt over my head, my gaze reflexively dropped to my stomach as I caught my reflection in the mirror, my first instinct to seek out the marred skin that bore her wounds.
I caressed along the puckered, angry scar that slanted in a long, jagged line across my lower abdomen, wishing she could somehow find comfort in my touch. Chills shook my body as I ran my fingers over the still sensitive skin and, just like every night, the bitterness and anger I found myself feeling faded away into sadness as I lost myself in this tangible reminder of my child. I loved her so much.
Steam filled the room, and I eased myself into the water and allowed myself to drift back to Daniel. I missed him, almost more than I could bear. This was never supposed to have happened to us. We were supposed to make it—we should have made it.
“Melanie, hurry up and get in here!” I cringed as Nicholas yelled from the bedroom.
Shit. I’d hoped he’d be asleep by now.
Reluctantly, I rose and pushed the memories aside. I wrapped myself in my robe, slow to finish my normal routine. I shouldn’t have been stalling; he’d wait. Still, I took my time as I brushed my teeth and ran a brush through my long brown curls. I inhaled deeply and took one last look at myself before going into the bedroom.
“Don’t keep me waiting like that,” Nicholas rebuked from his place under the covers.
This was by far the worst part of our arrangement. I couldn’t help but feel like a prostitute, cheating on my own heart, when I lay beneath this man. I crawled into bed next to him, praying he would at least have the decency to turn off the light.
He untied the belt on my robe and groped my breast with his callused hand. My body roiled with disgust that he mistook as anticipation. “You like that, don’t you,” he growled as his foulness spread across my face. I fought against my instinct to flee and, instead, reached over to the bedside table and flicked off the lamp.
The blackness enveloped the room, allowing me to remove myself mentally from the sick situation. I closed my eyes to find an image of Daniel—a flash of messy blond hair.
“You’re mine.” Nicholas’s voice jerked me back into reality, making me acutely aware of his sweaty panting body hovering above me. I closed my eyes tighter, willing my mind away.
“Melanie, my love. You’re so beautiful,” he said as he held my body against his, tender caresses igniting a fire deep within me.
“Daniel,” was all I could manage as he made love to me, each touch a whisper across my skin. He gently kissed my neck as he moved against me, and I felt the pressure build with each stroke of his body.
“Melanie, you feel so good,” he ground out, his voice rough with emotion.
I couldn’t help the little moan that escaped my lips, the flash of desire that washed over my body as it remembered the way only Daniel could make me feel.
“That’s right. I feel good, don’t I?” Nicholas grunted as he finished and collapsed with all of his weight on me.
The nausea swept through me, and I pushed Nicholas away. “I need to clean up,” I choked over my standard excuse as I rushed to the bathroom. I fell to my knees at the toilet, desperate to purge away the hate I had for myself. The act only left me feeling more empty and alone.
Holding onto the vanity for support, I pulled myself up to stand. I rinsed my mouth and splashed water on my face—anything to make me feel clean again—but there was nothing that could wash away the shame.
I stared at myself in the mirror, the reflection no longer one I recognized. The girl I remembered was seventeen—full of life and love. The one staring back at me may as well have been dead. The only life left flickered in the periphery of my consciousness where a familiar comfort waited in the darkness. As I climbed into bed, I grasped for it, desperate to feel him for one moment more.

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5 Comments on Pulled by A.L. Jackson: Spotlight & Giveaway {RABT}, last added: 9/11/2012
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16. Books 4 Bunnys {Innovative Online Book Tours}


Books for bunny’s is an event set up by the blogger over at The Bunny’s Review and coordinated with the help of blogger Alchemy of Scrawl.

These two ladies have worked tirelessly in getting authors to donate eBooks’ for the event. Currently there are over 100 eBooks that have been donated. Along with over 30 print books donated. Some of the print books are even signed by the author’s themselves.

The event is to help raise money for the House Rabbit Society. The House Rabbit Society or HRS is a 501 non-profit organization to help raise awareness and to rescue rabbits from animal shelters. Below is a little about the background of the HRS.

House Rabbit Society Background: House Rabbit Society is a national, nonprofit animal welfare organization based in Richmond, California. Our mission has two parts:

• Through our fostering program, volunteers rescue abandoned rabbits and find permanent adoptive homes for them.

• Through education, we seek to reduce the number of unwanted rabbits — and to improve bunnies' lives — by helping people better understand these often misunderstood companion animals.
In line with our mission, we are against the exploitation of rabbits.

Since HRS was founded in 1988, over 25,000 rabbits have been rescued through our foster homes across the United States. Many of these bunnies had run out of time at animal shelters and were scheduled for euthanasia; others had been deemed "unadoptable" because of age, health, or disposition. Because there is no time limit on our rescued rabbits, HRS foster parents are able to spend time getting to know each individual bunny and can then match him or her with an appropriate home. We  neuter/spay all incoming rabbits, obtain any necessary veterinary care, and attend to their social needs.
In caring for so many diverse bunnies, our all-volunteer organization has learned a tremendous amount about their social, behavioral, and medical requirements. By sharing the collected information these rabbits have taught us, we are able to help other people improve their relationships with their rabbits. HRS provides educational materials to veterinarians and humane societies and helps individual rabbit people solve behavior and health problems, primarily through our web site, www.rabbit.org, and our quarterly publication, House Rabbit Journal.

Over the past 20 years, HRS has grown from 300 to more than 8,000 members, with local chapters and educators in over 30 states plus Canada, Italy, Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore. Our web site, www.rabbit.org, is accessed over 100,000 times a day by people in dozens of countries around the world.





We are asking people to donate money to the HRS at this link through Network for Good. The person that makes a donation will receive either an eBook or print book equal to the amount donated. There are books ranging in price from 99 cents to $27.00. There are several print copies of the books that have been autographed by the author.

The person that donates will receive an email thanking them for donating. That email needs to be forwarded to books4bunnys@bunnysreview.com. This will show the amount that has been donated. Please remember there is not any donation that is too small. Any amount will be greatly appreciated. The HRS will use the money to either help pay for vet bills or help in finding a forever home for the hundreds of bunnies in their care.

Please if possible take a moment to donate a couple of dollars to the HRS you never know what bunnies life you might be saving.

Suzie & The Bunnies - CupCake & Coale (Website for Books 4 Bunnys)

Books for Bunnies


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17. The Book of the Night by Pearl North: Guest Post

Thank you, Kate, for having me as your guest today. It’s a pleasure to share a little bit about my writing process for Libyrinth, The Boy From Ilysies, and The Book of the Night.

“How did you go about writing this series?”

It really all started with the idea of a girl who could hear the voices of books. That is how my main protagonist, Haly, happened. And then, what better place to put such a person than in a library so vast that people sometimes get lost inside it and never come out again? I wrote a very early draft of Libyrinth many years ago and then set it aside. When I picked it up again, the story just took off. That happens sometimes. Coming back to a project with fresh eyes can be really helpful.

“Was the idea always three books long or did it start off as maybe one book and evolved while writing?”

When I wrote Libyrinth, I had no idea it would become the first book in a trilogy! My editor really liked the world and urged me to do more with it. I had to really get creative for the second book because at that point, I felt that Haly had accomplished her growth arc. So I decided to take a minor character from Libyrinth and make him the protagonist of the second book. Enter Po, The Boy from Ilysies!

What was your process like for each book to keep the reader engaged?”

My general rule of thumb is that if I’m engaged with the story, the reader will be too. So I kept the focus on conflicts and topics that are of personal interest to me. Fortunately, with a big, world-spanning story like the one I took on in this trilogy, I was able to examine a lot of themes that are near and dear to my heart – Literacy, censorship, peace, gender, equality, and of course, love.

Book of the Night (September 4, 2012)

The world of the Libyrinth has experienced a series of wrenching changes. After the Libyrarians and their longtime foes the Singers discovered their common heritage, a young healer named Po found the Lion’s Bloom, an ancient and enormously powerful artifact capable of rewriting reality.

Behind the mysteries of their shrouded past has always been the legendary Book of the Night. Sought for generations, both feared and revered, it is the key to this world of wonders. When vain, grasping Queen Thela steals the Lion’s Bloom and imperils the very reality of the world, only the Book can heal what she has rent asunder. An epic journey through strange lands, a perilous encounter in a clockwork city, and the revelation of the truth beyond reality will lead those who find the Book to a moment when their world will either be saved...or cease to exist.

Told with the grace and skill that only Pearl North can bring to the tale, The Book of the Night is a breathtaking adventure that will linger in the memory long after the final page is turned.

Pearl North is the author of a trilogy of YA science fiction novels: Libyrinth, The Boy From Ilysies (a Norton Award Finalist), and The Book of the Night. A firm believer in human decency, she loves writing and reading about characters that transcend the limits of who they think they are and what they think is possible. She mentors graduate students in Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction MFA program, and writes in other genres under different names. A native and life-long resident of the Detroit area, she has never lived more than two miles from Woodward Avenue in her life.

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18. The Red Serpent Trilogy by Rishabh Jain: Spotlight & Giveaway {Tribute Books}


Paperback
Price: $12.99
Publisher: AJ International Press
Pages: 131
Release: 2007
Buy link
Rishabh Jain's Website | Facebook
Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook
The Red Serpent Trilogy blog tour site
The Red Serpent Trilogy presents a highly evolved vampire to fear: cold and callous, powerful and dangerous, possessed by mystic promises and destroyed only by silver. It is the year 2021 — the human world has degraded, its inhabitants unworthy of the supernatural gifts bestowed upon them. Compelled by ancient prophesy, an ancient vampire army takes the human race by force, sparing few lives. They await the second coming of their king, Anaxagoras, which will hurl the world into a final battle that will free the vampires from their infinite hiding. But by the hands of fate, there is one human who may save his entire race.

The Red Serpent Trilogy is a celestial fusion of science fiction and fantasy, unfolding conflicting intentions for the survival of both the human and vampire races. But in a world ruled by supernatural and mythological forces, there is only room for one race, and neither will go easily. The few survivors of the fatal vampire onslaught escape to an asteroid space station, Regnum, where they thrive as they keep an attentive watch on the vampires on the earth below. But unbeknown to himself or anyone else, Alex, half human half vampire, holds the keys to secrets that will help him realize his duties and cement his fate as either a human or a vampire.

Rishabh Jain's Bio: Rishabh Jain was born in India. He is currently a mechanical engineering student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Excerpt:
Chapter 1
Blessed Mother and Child
The year 2025

It was past young Alex's bedtime and his mother came by his room to tuck him in. He said to his mother, "Mom, since it's my birthday, will you tell me a story, please?"

"Yes, dear, I will," she said sweetly to him, patting his back as he lay down on his bed, and she tucked him in. "This is a legend about a world different from ours. It was a world filled with people like us, and was bigger than the Monolith of Faith, and had a great big round shape."

Alex's eyes widened; he had never known of anything bigger than the Monolith of Faith. It was the largest monument in his world.

"It had large amounts of water, which separated places as big as our world. The people there were many, who dwelled in peace and harmony, until one day flying humans, the vampires, killed them and took over their world."

"Mommy," interrupted Alex, "What are vampires?"

"They're these monstrous creatures, who have long teeth and—"

"As long as my teeth?"

"No, even longer." Alex was perplexed. Everyone at his school made fun of him because of his long teeth, but now he was amazed that there were people who had longer teeth than his. Unfortunately, such people existed only in his mother's myths and legends, not in real life. "Anyway, they also were able to use powers, which burned the trees, and kill humans by drinking their blood."

"Wait a minute, what are trees?" he asked in confusion.

"They are like O2s*," answered Minerva.

"Are they still alive?" asked Alex curiously.

"Yes, they are," said his mother, with anger and sadness in her eyes.

"What happened to the other humans?"

"Go to bed, it is too late now," she said in a hushed voice, and then kissed him on the forehead.

* In Alex's world, the trees were given a special name due to their extraordinary properties.

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19. Suck It Up and Die by Brian Meehl: Review

Publisher: Delacorte Press (August 14, 2012)
Pages: 416 Pages
Series: Suck It Up # 2
Genre: YA Fantasy
Brian Meehl's Website | Facebook
From Goodreads.Nearly two years after Suck It Up, all Morning McCobb wants is to complete his training at the NY Fire Academy and to stay head over heels in love with Portia for as long as the chronology-crossed lovers can, given that she's now eighteen and he's stalled at sixteen.

It's nearly the first anniversary of American Out Day, the historic day on which the Leaguer vampires of America began going mainstream without going bloodstream on their fellow mortal citizens.

The tension between Morning's wish for a simple, out of the spotlight life, and Portia's cinematic obsession with historic events escalates to the breaking point when a super-sinister vampire rises from the grave with a powerful thirst, for revenge.

Review by Jess
SUCK IT UP AND DIE, by Brian Meehl, is the second installment of the Suck It Up series and follows the character Morning McCobb who is a mainstreaming vampire out and about in America. Diving deep into topics not really covered in the first, this is a good read.

I was unsure about reading this at first mostly because I felt the first one was a bit of a slow read AND it ended pretty tight knit, lacking unanswered questions or expectations for a second book but my curiosity for a continued story got the better of me. Suck It Up and Die definitely dove deeper into the details of the mainstreaming...

I know you are thinking, mainstreaming, vampires coming out, American Leaugers, a really bad vampire coming out of no where wrecking havoc (cough Russel Edgington cough) ...this is not True Blood, I assure you. Though if you are a True Blood fan, you can't help but compare the two mainstreaming stories and characters.

Something that stuck out to me as very different was the characters and a lot of the subject matter. The characters have matured A LOT and I didn't find that there was the light comedy there so much anymore. Also, there was so much politics involved that it was confusing, especially for a younger audience.

Overall this was a cute read, much like Suck It Up was, I think this one got a little beyond itself for it's intended young audience but still a good, easy read.

1 Comments on Suck It Up and Die by Brian Meehl: Review, last added: 9/1/2012
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20. The Stars Fell Sideways by Cassandra Marshall: Cover Reveal & Giveaway!!

Alison Arroway takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’. She has to, or she won’t get paid. Alison is a stunt double for pampered teen actress Pomegranate and when the director takes the shoot to Portugal, Alison is anything but thrilled to be rooming with Pom. But getting to hang around teen hearthrob Erik? Now that’s a plus.

Erik invites both girls on a sunset boat trip and Alison manages to have a decent time. Until the storm hits and the boat is shipwrecked on a small island, leaving Erik missing and the boat captain dead.

In the morning light, Alison and Pom find themselves on the lost island of Atlantis. Only one problem: now that the girls know the secret of the island, the Atlanteans don’t want them to leave. They're stuck with corsets, full-skirted dresses, and the strange steam-driven contraptions that are just a way of life for the islanders.

When a plot by the ruthless army Captain to take over the island and declare himself General over all emerges, an underground group promises to return the girls to the mainland if they can help stop him. They'll go through a mountain, literally, to find the Book of Blue, a book that will explain how to make ‘the stars fall sideways' in order to save the day and earn their freedom.

THE STARS FELL SIDEWAYS, a YA Steampunkish fantasy, coming October 1st from MolliePup Press!

Cassandra Marshall is giving away a signed pre-order of THE STARS FELL SIDEWAYS! To enter, visit each of the blogs below to find special inside info about THE STARS FELL SIDEWAYS and Cassandra Marshall. The special inside info for this blog is [Corben, a local Atleantean boy that catches Alison's eye, is named after Corben Dallas from 1997's The Fifth Element with Bruce Willis because Cassandra thought the similar themes of stars and adventures to new places was neat.]. Be sure to visit all of the blogs to find all of the insider info and then visit thestarsfellsideways.com to enter to win a signed pre-order! You can gain additional entries by sharing links to the cover reveals!


2 Comments on The Stars Fell Sideways by Cassandra Marshall: Cover Reveal & Giveaway!!, last added: 9/1/2012
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21. The Zombie Always Knocks Twice by E. Van Lowe: Cover Reveal

Series: Hollyweird #1
Genre: YA Paranormal
Page Count: 177 pages
Hollywood California, Swimming pools, movie stars… and now the risen dead

Hollywood can be a difficult place to grow up, especially if you’re Kristine Golden, a fifteen-year-old necromancer with a sworn duty to lay the risen dead back to rest and no desire to be in the movie business.

When handsome deadie Alex Romero swaggers into her life, Kris must keep her promise, despite her growing feelings for him. If that’s not enough to give a girl a headache, a murderous zombie comes knocking at Kris’ door, rocking her world and threatening her family.

Can Kris solve the mystery of the rampaging zombie before someone else winds up dead? Or will the walking dead take over Hollywood and turn it into… Hollyweird?

Excerpt
The man coming up the block toward us in the hooded sweatshirt stopped directly in our path, about ten feet away. The hood dropped revealing his face. The hair on the left side of his head had been shaved off revealing tiny bits of bony white scalp. Huge staples held his crooked jaw in place. There was a large indentation in his forehead from some sort of blunt force impact. His left eye was covered with a milky, white cataract, and the right drooped unnaturally into his cheek.

My breath caught yet again. Standing before us was a zombie.

‘LEAVE US ALONE!” the zombie screeched.

Then he took off on a dead run and plowed into Alex with the impact a freight train.

Just great, I thought. Hollyweird—where the dead come out to play.

Zombies aren’t what the movies make them out to be—slow moving, brain dead, brain suckers. They’re the result of a raising gone bad. They can be strong, and fast, and very dangerous. Also, a bite from a zombie won’t make you a member of the living dead, although I’m sure it must hurt like hell.

The one that plowed into Alex was almost six feet tall and about seventeen years old. He hit Alex with inhuman force, propelling him backward. They slammed into a parked car that seemed to explode on impact. The twisting metal and shattering glass sounded like a horrible automobile accident. The car was totaled, and Alex was embedded into the passenger side, like a toy soldier into a wad of Play Doh.

“Oh, God!” I screamed.

Alex’s eyes were closed. He wasn’t moving… but the zombie was. He peeled himself away from Alex and the wreckage.

“Zombie!” I called at the top of my lungs. “I command you to tell me who raised you and what you are doing here.”

The zombie faced me, a puzzled look on his distorted face. It dawned on me he hadn’t known I was a necromancer until then—not that it made a difference. He wasn’t bound to me so he didn’t have to answer my questions.
I was bluffing.

“LEAVE US ALONE!” He screamed in response. He started for me and a wave of fear rippled my gut.

“I command you to stay back!” I called, but my voice was cracking, my words lacked conviction. I took a few shaky steps backward. The zombie continued toward me.
Just then the sound of twisting metal snagged both our attention. Alex’s eyes were open, and he was separating himself from the wreckage. He shed the automobile with the ease of a snake shedding an old skin.

He began advancing on the zombie.

“What’s going on down there?” We all looked up and saw three men, all Johnny do-gooders, running up the block in our direction.

“Leave her alone,” one of them called.

The zombie looked from the advancing men to Alex and me.

“Hhhhh!” Hot breath hissed angrily at us. Then he took off past us like a deer, bounding up the block. By the time the men reached us he was nowhere in sight.
“You ok?” one of them asked.

“Yes. He… attacked us?”

“What the heck happened here?” Another of the men asked. He was staring at the twisted pile of metal that used to be a Buick.

Before I could open my mouth, Alex launched into an explanation.

“My girl and I were out for a stroll, and he was taking a sledge hammer to that car when we happened upon him. Guess it was some kind of vendetta. And when he saw us he decided to add us to the list.” The lie flowed from his lips effortlessly.

“Hey, aren’t you on that TV show?” the third man asked.

Alex smiled. “The Beloved. Yes. You watch it?”

“No, but my girlfriend does. She can’t get enough of you vampire guys.”
Any suspicions the men may have had about our presence on the street or Alex molesting me immediately vanished. Alex was a bona fide Hollywood star. I guess they thought all stars were boy scouts. Where have they been?

Several minutes and three autographs later the men were gone, and Alex and I were walking back to the party.

“You told that lie like you do it all the time,” I said.

“I’m a dead person among the living. I do do it all the time.”

That wasn’t what I was talking about, but I didn’t push it. He seemed annoyed. I guess being attacked by a zombie wasn’t an everyday occurrence for him either.

“If it makes you feel any better, I memorized the car’s plate number. I’ll take care of the damage,” he said, his words softening.

“Thanks. That does make me feel better.” I wanted to hold my tongue, but I couldn’t. “So, you have any enemies who’d want to send a zombie after you?”

“I don’t have any enemies. I’m a lover not a fighter.” The annoyance was back.

“Maybe you loved the wrong woman.”

“I’m dead. I can’t love any woman,” he replied. The words were seething with anger or pain. I couldn’t tell which.

“He said ‘leave us alone.’ Who’s us?” I asked.

“I don’t know!”

He was getting agitated again so I dropped the subject. But not without noting there was more to Alex than he was telling me. A vindictive zombie had been set loose in Hollywood. It was something I needed to look into along with the deadie from the diner. My, my, I was suddenly a very busy girl.

About the Author: E. Van Lowe is an author, television writer, screen-writer, playwright and producer who has worked on such TV shows as "The Cosby Show," "Even Stevens," and "Homeboys In Outer Space." He has been nominated for both an Emmy and an Academy Award. His first YA Paranormal novel, "Never Slow Dance With A Zombie," was a selection of The Scholastic Book Club, and a nominee for an American Library Association Award. His Best Selling novels, “Boyfriend From Hell” and “Earth Angel,” are the first two books in the Falling Angels Saga. “The Zombie Always Knocks Twice” is the first book in his Hollyweird series.

E lives in Beverly Hills California with his spouse, a werewolf, several zombies and a fairy godmother who grants him wishes from time-to-time.

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22. Sea Bride by LaVerne Thompson: Guest Post {Sizzling PR}


End of Summer ‘12 by LaVerne Thompson

The end of summer always means a lot of different things to different people. Here in the US, for those with school age kids, that probably includes thoughts of getting back to school clothes and supplies. With Labor Day of course marking the official end of summer and the beginning of a new school year. In years past for me this was always met with a sense of excitement, an anticipation for the change of seasons, and the kids back in school and not so much under foot. This year all of that’s still there but also something more. A sense of a true ending and beginning.

This summer brought a lot of changes for me, and I’m sure for others whose first child left for college. It was hard helping my daughter pack up her things knowing that in a very real sense she was not only moving out and away from home, but also that she would never truly ‘live’ at home again. At least she better not. I know she’s ready for the next phase in her life. I’ve made sure as best as I can that she has a solid foundation to stand upon so she can function without me hovering. But for me, well, it’s still pretty raw walking into her room and knowing not only will she not be home soon, but I don’t know exactly where she is or what she’s doing. But in time I will adjust. Meanwhile I write. And thank you God for Smartphones, Text, Facetime and Skype. lol

Have a great fall semester.

LaVerne Thompson
Aka
Ursula Sinclair

Thanks for stopping by LaVerne!!

For two hundred some years Xavior, a child of the waves, has searched the seven depths for his bride only to find her on land. How could a landwalker be his Queen, the one destined to stop the wars among the sea tribes? But one touch and he knew he’d defy Poseidon himself to make her his.

Cori Daniels hated the water; she’d been on board the luxury ocean liner for two days and hadn’t left her cabin. But when she finally ventured on deck, she met a man who looked like a sea god and tempted her like no other.

Could he tempt her to follow him into the depths of the sea?

About the Author: LaVerne Thompson is an award winning, best-selling, multi-published author, an avid reader and a writer of contemporary, fantasy, and sci/fi sensual romances. She also writes romantic suspense under the pen name Ursula Sinclair.

She is currently working on several projects. She has a freshman in college and a senior in high school, so technically she has more time to write. Visit her website at http://lavernethompson.comto read excerpts of her books. She's recently discovered the world of interactive storytelling and can also be found online at http://rpworldgroup.org as herself.




Excerpt:
Xavior left the party and went for a walk around the boat, hoping to clear his head and maybe get a sense of this bride he needed to find. He’d ventured on land often in the last twenty years and met many human women over the years he hadn’t slept with, so he had no idea which one of these his bride could be. But if the tales were true, he would just know her, because he would be so drawn to her, the pull would be irresistible. After walking around for an hour he returned to their cabin, but too restless to sleep he made his way out to their private balcony.

The evening sky remained clear, the glittering points of light soothing, and the sea appeared calm, but he could smell a storm coming upon them. It would arrive soon from the east. Until it did, he would take advantage of the calm. Sitting back in one of the lounge chairs, he put his feet up on the railing, closed his eyes, and turned his face toward the half moon. A familiar clicking noise made him open them again. The shadows of dark fins in the water caught his attention. He stood up and placed his hands on the railing, watching the dolphins play as they swam alongside the boat.

They spoke to him, wanting to know how his quest went. Did everyone know he was on a bride hunt? Of course they did. Not so good, he told them.

We’re rooting for you, Prince Xavior, young lord of the sea. She is right under your nose. Beware, though. There is a storm coming not of nature’s making. Good luck!

As one, all six dolphins leaped into the air in a salute to him before swimming away to spread the news that after over two hundred years their prince remained unsuccessful in finding his mate. He would be the first heir to lose the throne.

Pathetic. What did they mean she was right under his nose? The sea witch was right? His bride was truly onboard? He just needed to have patience and he’d find her. But their words about the storm made him frown. Someone playing with the elements was never a good thing, and only one would dare. For the moment, he could do nothing about the white witch and her plots to keep him off the throne and continue the wars among the tribes. He had enough to concentrate on. He’d deal with her later.


2 Comments on Sea Bride by LaVerne Thompson: Guest Post {Sizzling PR}, last added: 9/3/2012
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23. Wrong Bed, Right Guy by Katee Robert: Review

Wrong Bed, Right Guy (Come Undone, #1)
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC (July 20, 2012)
Series: Come Undone #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Katee Robert's Website | Facebook | Twitter
From Goodreads. Seducing Mr. Wrong has never felt so right...

Prim and proper art gallery coordinator Elle Walser is no good at seducing men. Heck, she’s been throwing hints at her boss for months, but he’s completely clueless. Desperate to escape her mother’s matchmaking efforts, she comes up with a plan—buy some lingerie and climb into her boss’s bed. The plan goes brilliantly…until she accidentally seduces a sexy stranger instead.

Bad boy nightclub mogul Gabe Schultz just had the best almost-sex of his life. Too bad the smoking hot blonde thought he was his brother and bolted before he could finish what they started. Though her holier-than-thou attitude puts a serious damper on his mood, Gabe’s never been one to give up on something he wants. And he wants Elle. But does a man who lives on the dark side really have a chance with a proper lady?

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24. Timeless Desire by Gwyn Cready: Review

eBook, 384 pages
Published: August, 2012 by Pocket Books
Purchase Links
Two years after losing her husband, overworked librarian Panna Kennedy battles to distract herself from crushing grief, while she wrestles with yet another library budget cut. During a routine search within the library’s lower levels, Panna opens an obscure, pad-locked door and finds herself transported to the magnificent, book-filled quarters of a handsome, eighteenth-century Englishman. She soon recognizes the man as Colonel John Bridgewater, the historic English war hero whose larger-than-life statue loomed over her desk.

However, the life of the dashing Bridgewater is not at all what she imagined. He’s under house arrest for betraying England, and now looks upon her—a beautiful and unexpected half-dressed visitor—as a possible spy. Despite bad first impressions (on both sides), Bridgewater nonetheless warms to Panna, and pulls her into his escape—while both their hearts pull the other headlong into their soul-stirring secrets.

Very quickly Panna is thrown into a whirlwind of high-stakes intrigue that sweeps her from Hadrian's Wall to a forbidding stone castle in Scotland. And somewhere in the outland, Panna must decide if her loyalties lie with her dead husband, or with the man whose life now depends on her.

With wit, insight, and plenty of fun, Gwyn Cready produces yet another fast-paced thrill-ride of a time travel romance, the genre she has quickly come to master.

Review by Kate
TIMELESS DESIRE, by Gwyn Cready, is one of the most fun and romantic time travel books I've ever read! Right from the start I loved Panna and her secret obsession with the Bridgewater statue at the library she works at. This book jumps right into the story without a lot of set-up which is always fun! Panna finds a secret entrance to another time and immediately meets the man of the statue. The dialogue and chemistry between the two absolutely sizzles, making me want more! Cready takes the reader on a wild and dangerous adventure through different times which dazzled me.

There is more than meets the eye with this book and I would highly recommend it to romance readers of all genres, especially those who love historical. Cready is one of my new go-to romance novelists and I will definitely be picking up more of her works in the future!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gwyn Cready is a RITA Award Winner (Best Paranormal Romance 2009) and the author of several beloved paranormal romances including Tumbling Through Time, Seducing Mr. Darcy, Flirting with Forever, Aching for Always and A Novel Seduction.

Highly regarded by fans and peers alike, Gwyn has been called, "the master of time travel romance," and her writing described as “sexy,” “delightfully original” and “wickedly witty.” Timeless Desire is her latest foray into the time travel genre and men in kilts. She still finds both eminently satisfying.

Gwyn lives in Pittsburgh with her family.

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25. Yesterday's Heroes by Heather Long: Guest Post & Giveaway {Sizzling PR}

"Even when I'm playing a superhero, it has to be steeped in reality." – Michael Fassbender

First I wanted to say thank you to my hosts for letting me come and hang out today and talk about superheroes and romance. I am a big ol' comic book nerd. I read them in elementary school, junior high, high school and college. I continued to read them in graphic novel format throughout most of my twenties and only began to slack off some in my thirties – not from lack of interest, but from lack of time. I still keep my toes in the water so to speak—by the way, have you seen the super hot cover of Superman and Wonder Woman making out? I totally need to buy that – why? Well as some people are relationship 'shippers' for their favorite television series, I have been rooting for Diana and Clark to get it together for thirty years.

I have to know what happens!

Some of my favorite stories in the 1980s were tales of romance among these super powered heroes who sacrificed to protect the innocent. One story that stands out for me was Garfield Logan – also known as Changeling when he was in The New Teen Titans (formerly known as Beast Boy in the Doom Patrol and later redubbed Beast Boy again because of the Teen Titans animated series. Told you I had a geek card!) and his love for Tara Markov also known as Terra, the earth powered sixteen year old psychopath who infiltrated the Titans to learn all their secrets and sell them out.

Gar experienced first love with all its awkward pangs for Tara and when she betrayed them all, she broke his heart into a million pieces. Now why would that story stand out to me? Because at its core, it was a coming of age story for Gar, the story of a love a man (Slade Wilson) had for his son and the blind honor to avenge him even though he didn't do the 'honorable' thing and the devastating loss that occurs when love goes wrong.

For everyone who asks me why I married superheroes and romance, I didn't have to—the comics got there long before I did with couples like:

• Lois Lane and Clark Kent
• Bruce Wayne and Selena Kyle
• Reed and Sue Richards
• Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson
• Scott Summers and Jean Grey
• Dick Grayson and Princess Koriand'r
• Oliver Queen and Dinah Lance

The list goes on and on. So when the opportunity arose for me to write my own superhero romance, I jumped in full throttle. Behind every mask is a person with needs, desires, and emotions. The best superheroes are not black and white – they are a myriad of layers – good and bad, who still make the conscious choice to sacrifice and use their abilities to help others. They inspire and they lead the charge and like the military heroes we honor – they don't ask for anything in return. That's why those who wear capes and dog tags are referred to as heroes.

Like the great stories of heroes from mythology, comic book superheroes provide us with a pop culture mythology so rich it created a billion dollar film this past summer. Yesterday's Heroes challenges our concepts of time travel, fate, and the effect of one choice on millions of lives, but at its heart, it's also a love story between Rory and Michael.

I hope you'll check it out. Do you have a favorite superhero or superhero romance?

Thanks for stopping by Heather! My favorite would have to be Peter and Mary Jane!



Aurora “Rory” Graystone
Codename: Halo
Abilities: superior reflexes, I.Q. and aptitude for calculating probabilities
Mission: find missing teammates

Rory knows she’s being watched, and she’s not about to let the hunter catch her in his trap. She’ll confront her stalker, a man she suspects is involved in the disappearances of other superheroes--if she can ignore the sensual heat that fills her every time he’s near…

Michael Hunter
Codename: Hard Target
Abilities: expert tracker and sniper
Mission: kill Rory Graystone

One of five desperate men sent back in time to save the future, Michael believes eliminating Rory is the key to his mission. But even as he takes aim, a split second of doubt causes him to miss his shot.

Drawn together by passion, and on a collision course with fate, can Rory and Michael work together to change the future? Or have they set in motion the horrific history the time-travelers are trying to prevent?

Heather Long lives in Texas with her family and their menagerie of animals. As a child, Heather skipped picture books and enjoyed the Harlequin romance novels by Penny Jordan and Nora Roberts that her grandmother read to her. Heather believes that laughter is as important to life as breathing and that the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus are very real. In the meanwhile, she is hard at work on her next novel. Website / Facebook / Twitter






Excerpt:
He missed.
He never missed.
Michael stared at the sidewalk swarming with citizens and shopping debris. His bullet had hit one of the shopping bags, turning it into scraps of leather, metallic buckle bits and paper drifting in the air.
How the hell had he missed?
Michael allowed himself the twenty seconds it took him to collapse the rifle back into his bag to analyze. But it was twenty seconds too long.
Her slender, lithe body appeared over the roof’s edge and landed, one knee and one foot down for balance. Power coiled through her body’s compact musculature. Intelligence shimmered in her violet eyes. Danger sheathed her like a halo.
She was absolutely magnificent.
“Going somewhere?” Her voice undulated, low and husky, the sardonic notes pinging his nervous system as though they were played on a too-tightly-strung guitar.
“Unfortunately, no.” A flick of his wrist dropped the small-caliber weapon into his hand, but the woman rolled, twisting and turning through the air as she avoided his bullets.
Incomprehension tangled with irritation. He never missed.
Until today.
Twice in as many encounters.
“Tsk, tsk. Didn’t your mother teach you not to play with guns? If you’re going to shoot at something, hit it. Otherwise, what’s the point?” The come-hither voice was close and the liquid heat in her tone tormented his cock. He narrowly jerked his head back, avoiding her fist whiffing the air just millimeters from his nose. But he had no time to savor his victory as her arm completed the arc, punching down on the crook of his elbow.
Nerves screaming, he released the gun and jerked himself to the right to avoid the blow of her leg lashing out at his knee. He struck back, unsurprised that she avoided the strike. She used her forearm to send it wide and swiveled so that his own mass and velocity sent him flying over her shoulder.
An unexpected grin turned up the corners of his mouth. Despite her slighter frame and fragile appearance, the she-vixen offered him a challenge.
God she’s fast.
He slammed against the rooftop and rebounded to his feet, pivoting to face her. Gone was the sweet white t-shirt that hugged her breasts. In its place was an almost-white body suit that lingered like a lover on every curve. A rainbow swath of color wrapped around her right thigh, cut up across her hip and over her abdomen to blaze a trail of treasure to her left breast. The Kevlar-based polymer shimmered in the morning sun.
It was both practical and erotic.
Deep within his brain, the microchip he’d thought dead flared to life. Data scrolled across his internal eye, a mechanized voice reciting the information
Target acquired: Codename Halo.
Abilities: Superior reflexes, high I.Q. and an uncanny knack for discerning the possibilities
Suggested defense: Unknown
Suggested offense: Unknown
Computers were not meant to be sarcastic, but the advice carried the weight of dry humor that Michael associated with the programmer it imitated.
“Got a name big boy?” Her words were a provocative tease and his body tingled in response.
Her voice spawned a physiological side effect on his anatomy. It must have a correlation with her ability, but the chip remained silent on the matter. Her second attack came in a flurry of kicks and palm strikes.
Michael could take a man down with three moves or less. She was slender, slighter in build, and he should be able to snap her in two. Instead, he blocked, evaded and turned her blows until he was able to capture a wrist and spin her back against his chest, his arms coming down to cage her. She turned her palms down, her suggestive little ass rubbing his crotch as she tried to break the hold.
Using his size and associated muscle mass, he bent with her, his fists shackling her wrists, his knuckles brushing her firm breasts. She twisted her hips, going for the side spin. Michael moved with her, boxing her tighter to his body. The motion brought the rich, velvet of her hair to his nose. He drew in a lungful of her scent. The tart lemon was a top note, but beneath the citrus was a distinctively musky, feminine scent.
Blood surged into his cock and she stilled as his arousal pressed solidly against her backside. The teasing curve of her body was soft against his hardness, filling his mind with erotic images and the desire to determine just how the sexy little body suit came off.
Had any battle been more fun?
Or more exciting?
“Done?” He touched his lips to her ear, stealing the smallest taste of her flesh. Her tender skin tasted of schnapps and cool malt, both decadent and sweet.
“Nope.”

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