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Young Adult Book Review – MALICE by Pintip Dunn

MALICE by Pintip Dunn

MALICE by Pintip Dunn

5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
What I know: a boy in my class will one day wipe out two-thirds of the population with a virus.

What I don’t know: who he is.

In a race against the clock, I not only have to figure out his identity, but I’ll have to outwit a voice from the future telling me to kill him. Because I’m starting to realize no one is telling the truth. But how can I play chess with someone who already knows the outcome of my every move? Someone so filled with malice they’ve lost all hope in humanity? Well, I’ll just have to find a way—because now they’ve drawn a target on the only boy I’ve ever loved.

What Kirkus Review is saying about Malice:
Well-drawn characters and playful twists keep this thriller fully charged.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Review
I know it’s only February, but unless something exceptional lands on my iPad later this year, this will go down as one of my top reads of 2020. Anyone who reads my reviews knows that I love young adult, angsty romance, and time travel. Pintip Dunn is a master storyteller and she weaves these three elements flawlessly in a page-turning tale of impossible choices with the fate of mankind at stake. Yeah, talk about the weight of the world on your shoulders. That is precisely what 16-year-old Alice is facing when a voice from the future tells her she must kill someone in the present in order to save millions of lives in the future. It takes Alice’s older self awhile to convince her she’s communicating from ten years in the future and that she can only give her the very basic information necessary to save the world, but once Alice is on board, she must figure out how far she’s willing to go to prevent the atrocities she witnesses through her more mature eyes.

When her older self shoves her into the path of hot Bandit Skeda, she wonders if maybe there might be a silver lining in all of this, at least until she’s forced to betray someone she dearly loves. Everything comes at a cost, and the price Alice must pay might just be more than she’s willing to bear. Even if everyone’s future depends on her.

Plot
Wow. I don’t know how to accurately portray how amazing the plotting is. Dunn captured my attention in the first chapter and kept me turning pages late into the night. I devoured this story even as I very much wanted to savor it so it would never end. But I just couldn’t stop. I’ve read a couple of reviews where the reader said they knew who the virus maker is from the first chapter, but I only thought I did. Then I was sure it was someone else, and then I was absolutely convinced it was yet another person. The author does an amazing job of keeping the reader guessing. This is more mystery than romance, but not in your typical “whodunnit” sense. Instead, we’re trying to solve a “who will do it” without any evidence to follow, only cryptic clues from the future. The world building is fantastic, from the glimpses into the future to the science behind time travel, I was sucked in for a wild ride that did not disappoint. The twists are friggin’ awesome and left my mouth hanging open more than once.

The Characters
The characters are fantastic. Alice is amazing as our conflicted protagonist with a heart and conscious and intense sense of duty. Bandit is dreamy and sweet and hot and alpha, but did I mention sweet? And then there’s Alice’s family and BFF. Her future self is both the same and yet different. Dunn does a stellar job of connecting the two halves into one believable whole we can love and root for.

Top Five Things I Loved About MALICE
1. Time Travel. My all-time favorite subgenre. Dunn does it justice with intense emotion.

2. Alice. I love her honesty, her devotion to her family, the way she loves the important people in her life. My heart ached for her on so many occasions and I never stopped wanting her to get her HEA with every ounce of my soul.

3. Bandit. He’s so much more than a pretty face and a hot physique. Bandit’s as complex as Alice and I adored him from the moment he was pushed into Alice’s life.

4. Science. I love how much of this is a part of the story and not just to explain the time travel stuff.

5. Foodies. I used to have a gluten free comfort food blog, so I totally get Alice’s devotion to photographing and sharing pictures of food, and I laughed at her failed attempts to cook something photo worthy.

Bottom Line
Another epic read from Pintip Dunn and my favorite book of 2020 so far.

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book
Title: MALICE
Author: Pintip Dunn
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: February 5, 2020
Pages: 400
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction/Paranormal Thriller
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | Amazon IT |Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Entangled

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Author Pintip Dunn

Author Pintip Dunn

About the Author
Pintip Dunn is a New York Times bestselling author of young adult fiction. She graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B., and received her J.D. at Yale Law School.

Pintip’s novel FORGET TOMORROW won the 2016 RWA RITA® for Best First Book, and SEIZE TODAY won the 2018 RITA for Best Young Adult Romance. Her books have been translated into four languages, and they have been nominated for the following awards: the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire; the Japanese Sakura Medal; the MASL Truman Award; the Tome Society It list; and the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award. Her other titles include REMEMBER YESTERDAY, THE DARKEST LIE, GIRL ON THE VERGE, and the upcoming STAR-CROSSED and MALICE.

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Where to Find Pintip Dunn
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon | Entangled

 

Release Day – MALICE by Pintip Dunn

MALICE Release Day

Today is release day for MALICE, a stand-alone young scifi/paranormal thriller romance, by New York Times bestselling author, Pintip Dunn. See below for information on the book, buy links, and an exclusive excerpt.

MALICE by Pintip Dunn

MALICE by Pintip Dunn

About the Book
Title: MALICE
Author: Pintip Dunn
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: February 5, 2019
Category: Young Adult Science Fiction/Paranormal Thriller
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | Amazon IT |Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Entangled

Synopsis
What I know:
a boy in my class will one day wipe out two-thirds of the population with a virus.

What I don’t know: who he is.

In a race against the clock, I not only have to figure out his identity, but I’ll have to outwit a voice from the future telling me to kill him. Because I’m starting to realize no one is telling the truth. But how can I play chess with someone who already knows the outcome of my every move? Someone so filled with malice they’ve lost all hope in humanity? Well, I’ll just have to find a way—because now they’ve drawn a target on the only boy I’ve ever loved.

What Kirkus Review is saying about Malice:
Well-drawn characters and playful twists keep this thriller fully charged.

 

 

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MALICE Teaser

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Excerpt
Before I know it, I’m a foot away from the basketball court. The players are taking a break, and Bandit stands at the edge of the concrete, taking long pulls from a water bottle. Up close, his brilliant hair looks almost purple, and his T-shirt sticks to his back in sweaty patches, hinting at his solid muscles. 

Now what? Do I clear my throat? Tap his shoulder? Going for broke, I do both at the same time. 

He turns and lifts his eyebrows, as though wondering how a mere mortal such as myself dares to approach him. He’s tall—really tall. Almost a head above my five feet five. His jaw is chiseled, his shoulders broad. I’m so close that I can feel the heat rising off his body.

My brain scrambles. I forgot to check if I had any food in my teeth! Did I brush my hair this morning? Put on clothes?

Okay, so clearly I’m not naked, but for the life of me, I can’t remember what I’m wearing. Please don’t let it be the navy T-shirt with the faded splotches on the shoulder, from when I accidentally added bleach instead of detergent to the laundry. 

I glance down. Jeans and a white tank top—my favorite shirt because it has Lin-Manuel Miranda’s autograph. More than passable. 

“I, uh…” My entire vocabulary chooses that moment to flee. 

His lids lower, and he looks at me, decidedly bored. “Yes? Can I help you?”

Three, four, five of his basketball friends angle their towering bodies toward us, probably wondering what the interruption is about. 

Sweat gathers at the nape of my neck, and electricity hums along my skin. The Voice is about to zap me again. I just know it. 

“Running out of time,” the Voice pipes up, as if on cue. “Tell him.” 

Say the words and be done with it. Say the words. Say. The. Words

“I love you,” I blurt. “That is all. Goodbye.”

I wheel around, ready to sprint, when a hand snags my arm. His hand. 

“Wait a minute,” Bandit says, his eyes 2 percent less bored. “Are we in third grade? Do you want to give me a note asking if I love you back, so I can circle yes or no?” 

My cheeks burn hotter than the sun assaulting my skin. Hotter, even, than the flames that got me into this mess. 

I could really use that alien abduction right about now.

The object of my supposed affection smirks. “We can skip the note. Can’t say I blame you for falling for me. I mean, I’m a lovable guy. But have we actually met?” He lowers his voice. “Outside of your wildest dreams, that is.”

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MALICE Teaser

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Author Pintip Dunn

Author Pintip Dunn

About the Author
Pintip Dunn is a New York Times bestselling author of young adult fiction. She graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B., and received her J.D. at Yale Law School.

Pintip’s novel FORGET TOMORROW won the 2016 RWA RITA® for Best First Book, and SEIZE TODAY won the 2018 RITA for Best Young Adult Romance. Her books have been translated into four languages, and they have been nominated for the following awards: the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire; the Japanese Sakura Medal; the MASL Truman Award; the Tome Society It list; and the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award. Her other titles include REMEMBER YESTERDAY, THE DARKEST LIE, GIRL ON THE VERGE, and the upcoming STAR-CROSSED and MALICE.

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Where to Find Pintip Dunn
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon | Entangled

 

Preorder Blitz – Excerpt – MALICE by Pintip Dunn

MALICE Prerelease Blitz

Welcome to the prerelease blitz for MALICE, a stand-alone young scifi/paranormal thriller romance, byNew York Times bestselling author, Pintip Dunn, releasing February 5, 2019. See below for the cover, information on the book, pre-order links, and an exclusive excerpt.

MALICE by Pintip Dunn

MALICE by Pintip Dunn

About the Book
Title: MALICE
Author: Pintip Dunn
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: February 5, 2019
Category: Young Adult Science Fiction/Paranormal Thriller
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | Amazon IT |Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Entangled

Synopsis
What I know:
a boy in my class will one day wipe out two-thirds of the population with a virus.

What I don’t know: who he is.

In a race against the clock, I not only have to figure out his identity, but I’ll have to outwit a voice from the future telling me to kill him. Because I’m starting to realize no one is telling the truth. But how can I play chess with someone who already knows the outcome of my every move? Someone so filled with malice they’ve lost all hope in humanity? Well, I’ll just have to find a way—because now they’ve drawn a target on the only boy I’ve ever loved.

 

 

 

 

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MALICE Teaser

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Excerpt
A streak of electricity zaps through my head. 

My eyes pop open. What was that? I swear I felt my brain short-circuiting. 

Cautiously, I glance around. A couple of my classmates are biting into fat, foil-wrapped burritos, and a girl with a feather tattoo is stretched on the lawn, using her girlfriend’s stomach as a pillow. A group of guys throw a basketball around on the court,

Not a single person looks at me. Clearly, no puff of smoke billows around my head.

Okay, then. I was probably just imagining it. Lack of sleep and too much fatigue from carving all those veggies. That combo’s enough to make anybody hallucinate. 

Giving my head a firm shake, I start walking— 

Zapppp. 

My breath hitches.

The synapses inside my brain sizzle, as though they’re being held over an open fire. I grab my temples between my hands, but it doesn’t help. The pain intensifies, as though my brain is slowly being brought to a boil. 

My vision blurs, and I lurch behind a tree, dropping to my knees. A muffled voice rumbles. I don’t pay attention. I have more pressing concerns, like keeping the brain inside my skull. The voice rumbles louder. FLAMING MONKEYS. Can’t you see a girl is dying here? Go. Away. 

“Maybe I would if you would listen a moment,” the Voice snaps, much more clearly this time. 

What? Disoriented, I look up. But there’s no one around other than a butterfly flitting by my head. 

“I’m in here,” the Voice says, as though I’m a wayward two-year-old. “In your head.” 

The pain dials back a notch, but my stomach is still swirling with nausea. A voice…in my head? No way. I’m hallucinating. I’ve got to be. The chicken tasted worse than normal—maybe I have food poisoning. Any second now, I’m going to vomit or pass out. Probably both. 

“Focus,” the Voice barks. She sounds feminine, but I can’t tell if she’s young or old. “Do you want this pain to stop?” 

The flames roar back, burning even hotter. This is the worst food poisoning ever. I’m never cooking again. “Yes!” I moan. “I’ll do anything. Just make it stop.” 

The pain shuts off like a door being slammed, and I collapse against the tree trunk, panting. 

“Good. I’ll go away, once and for all. You won’t have to deal with this pain anymore. You just have to do one thing for me.” She pauses, as though gathering her thoughts. “Tell Bandit that you love him.”

“Huh?” The electricity must’ve fried my hearing. “Who?”

“Bandit,” the Voice bites out. “You know. The Thai boy playing basketball across the field?”

Pushing myself off the tree, I peer around the trunk. Across the courtyard, a guy with electric-blue hair raises his hands to shoot the ball, and his shirt rides up, revealing nicely defined muscles. 

“You’ve g-got to be kidding,” I sputter. “I don’t even know him! I’m not going to profess my love to some random guy.”

The Voice sighs. “Yes, actually. You are.”

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MALICE Teaser

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Author Pintip Dunn

Author Pintip Dunn

About the Author
Pintip Dunn is a New York Times bestselling author of young adult fiction. She graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B., and received her J.D. at Yale Law School.

Pintip’s novel FORGET TOMORROW won the 2016 RWA RITA® for Best First Book, and SEIZE TODAY won the 2018 RITA for Best Young Adult Romance. Her books have been translated into four languages, and they have been nominated for the following awards: the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire; the Japanese Sakura Medal; the MASL Truman Award; the Tome Society It list; and the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award. Her other titles include REMEMBER YESTERDAY, THE DARKEST LIE, GIRL ON THE VERGE, and the upcoming STAR-CROSSED and

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Where to Find Pintip Dunn
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon | Entangled

 

Young Adult Book Review + Giveaway – ROGUE PRINCESS by B.R. Myers

ROGUE PRINCESS Blog Tour

ROGUE PRINCESS by B.R. Myers

ROGUE PRINCESS by B.R. Myers

5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
A princess fleeing an arranged marriage teams up with a snarky commoner to foil a rebel plot in B. R. Myers’ Rogue Princess, a gender-swapped sci-fi YA retelling of Cinderella.

Princess Delia knows her duty: She must choose a prince to marry in order to secure an alliance and save her failing planet. Yet she secretly dreams of true love, and feels there must be a better way. Determined to chart her own course, she steals a spaceship to avoid the marriage, only to discover a handsome stowaway.

All Aidan wanted was to “borrow” a few palace trinkets to help him get off the planet. Okay, so maybe escaping on a royal ship wasn’t the smartest plan, but he never expected to be kidnapped by a runaway princess!

Sparks fly as this headstrong princess and clever thief battle wits, but everything changes when they inadvertently uncover a rebel conspiracy that could destroy their planet forever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Review
This futuristic, sci-fi, reverse Cinderella retelling is pure gold. B.R. Myers weaves a tale with fascinating characters, stunning world building, and a story that tugs at your heart and makes you care. Princess Delia is due to inherit the crown, but first she must a choose a prince to marry. And love plays no part in that decision. She must choose a mate from a neighboring planet with the resources her planet needs in order to survive. It’s purely a business transaction, and one she feels ill-prepared to make. Because although she’s been raised from the moment of birth to assume the throne and lead her people, no one has prepared her to be anyone’s wife. Aidan is a scavenger, taking what he can from the wealthy inhabitants of the palace to buy his way off the planet, a place that doesn’t hold much for a boy with no status. He lives with his stepfather and two stepbrothers who treat him as nothing more than their servant. When Aidan sees his chance to steal a ship and get off the planet for good, his plans are thwarted when the princess uses the same ship to attempt something similar. Sparks fly as these two, with their own secrets securely intact, must rely on one another to uncover a plot to bring down the monarchy.

Plot
The plot centers on discovering who is out to kill the queen and usurp power so they can be stopped, but there are strong subplots that involve the undeniable attraction between Aidan and Delia all while Delia is supposed to be choosing a prince to marry so she can save her planet. Everything is woven expertly together. The secrets both are carrying provide page-turning moments and the right amount of interpersonal conflict while the external conflict drives the main pulse-pounding plot. A clandestine rebellion, pirates, and amazing tech create a world rife with both danger and excitement.

Characters
Myers has created amazing, intense, likable characters. While Delia, as our main character and all of her conflicting goals and emotions, is intense and moody, her younger sister, Shania, steals the show. Shania is bubbly and effervescent, and finds the whole mating game romantic as she attempts to help her sister find the most swoon-worthy husband. Aidan is the yin to Delia’s yang as a jaded commoner with a sharp tongue and wit to offset her doom and gloom.

What I Loved About ROGUE PRINCESS
1. Shania.
 She’s so sweet, optimistic, and everything Delia needs.

2. Delia. Her sense of honor, despite everything she wants, makes her someone you can’t help rooting for.

3. Tech. Everything from wind-up homing birds to flying gliders makes this a world of both romance and futuristic elegance, with a healthy steampunk vibe.

4. World Building. The author creates vivid scenes, rich with sights, colors, sounds, and smells that bring them to life in even the most stubborn imagination.

5. Retelling with a Twist. I’m always a sucker for a good fairytale retelling, but this futuristic, role-swapping twist made this version a little different for me. The added intrigue meant that I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen, even though Cinderella’s ending is as familiar as almost anything.

Bottom Line
A thrilling, romantic space opera retelling of Cinderella.

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About the Book
Title: ROGUE PRINCESS
Author: B.R. Myers
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Release Date: January 21, 2020
Pages: 288
Genre: Young Adult SciFi Fantasy Retelling
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AUBarnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | GooglePlay

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Author B.R. Myers

Author B.R. Myers

About the Author
B.R. Myers spent most of her teen years behind the covers of Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, and Lois Duncan. When she’s not putting her characters in awkward situations she works as a registered nurse. A member of the Writer’s Federation of Nova Scotia, she lives in Halifax with her husband and their two children.

 

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Where to Find B.R. Myers
Goodreads | WebsiteFacebookTwitter | Instagram

 

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Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Blog Tour – Excerpt + Giveaway – KEYSTONE by Katie Delahanty

KEYSTONE Prerelease Blitz

Welcome to the blog tour for KEYSTONE, a standalone young adult scifi romance series, by Katie Delahanty. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

KEYSTONE by Katie Delahanty

KEYSTONE by Katie Delahanty

About the Book
Title: KEYSTONE
Author: Katie Delahanty
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: January 7, 2020
Genre:
 Young Adult SciFi Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | Amazon IT | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | GooglePlay

Synopsis
When Ella Karman debuts on the Social Stock Exchange, she finds out life as a high profile “Influencer” isn’t what she expected. Everyone around her is consumed by their rankings, in creating the smoke and mirrors that make them the envy of the world.

But then Ella’s best friend betrays her, her rankings tank, and she loses—everything.

Leaving her old life behind, she joins Keystone, a secret school for thieves, where students are trained to seal everything analog and original because something—or someone—is changing history to suit their needs.

Partnered with the annoyingly hot—and utterly impossible—Garrett Alexander, who has plenty of his own secrets, Ella is forced to return to the Influencer world, while unraveling a conspiracy that began decades ago.

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Excerpt #3
A reaction that existed before this time where knowledge rules and skill declines. Truth uncovered, recharged, raved, then buried in greed to protect fame. Taken from the hedonistic night; it is a giver of light. Break the world, make it shine, and take your place among the divine.

Slamming down my pencil, I read the riddle again. And again.

Existed before this time… Pre-Information Age…but how far back? Buried in greed to protect fame…hidden truth…someone else took credit… Recharged, giver of light… A power source? Taken from the hedonistic night… Stolen from an orgy?

I run through the possibilities I know exist in the vault: The Louvre… Museo Nacional de Antropología… Hmmm… Maybe something from ancient times? The Antikythera mechanism, one of the earliest analog computers, is in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens… Maybe I should start there? I concentrate, waiting for something to click, and come up empty. All the while the clock is ticking. At least I’m not alone. Sneaking a glance at Garrett with his head bowed over his cipher, a strand of hair falling across his forehead, I take consolation in the fact that he hasn’t figured it out, either.

Drawn to him, I take advantage of his closeness—and rare silence. Tracing his strong jaw and full lips, I feel heat build in my center. He’s perfect. As if he hears my thoughts, his eyes snap up, connecting with mine. They seem darker today, the usual gray-green reading charcoal. Rimmed with kohl to disguise their symmetry, they are like black holes, sucking me in, bending the light in the room, and I sit frozen, heart pounding, unable to look away.

Speaking of hedonistic nights…

I blink myself back into reality, and I’ve got it. Babylon. Symbolic of all that’s evil in the Bible, awaiting her fall in Revelation The answer is the Babylon Battery. The history lesson comes flooding back. Also known as the Baghdad Battery, it’s an ancient jar containing what was identified as an electric cell, dating back thousands of years before Alessandro Volta took credit for inventing the battery. It was looted from the National Museum of Iraq when the U.S. invaded in 2003, and then was later stolen by a Keystone alumnus and donated to the Vault. It now resides in the Pyramid. If only I can get there first… It’s clear on the other side of the Vault, and I don’t know how to get there from here, having only stumbled upon it once by accident.

A slow smile spreads across Garrett’s face. “Welcome back. You’re cute when you’re analyzing, but be careful not to chew that pretty lip until it bleeds.” 

My stomach drops, but I refuse to let him distract me.

“What’s this?” he asks, touching the tiger’s eye I wear at my throat. “Good luck charm?”

“I don’t need luck.” Making sure my glare is received, I leap out of my seat and rush to the door. Unfortunately, I’m no match for his longer strides, and he catches me, snaking his arm around my shoulders just as I’m about to exit.

“Fair enough,” he says. “Do you want to walk over there together?”

“Do you know where we’re supposed to be going?” I stare up at him, my head tucked perfectly against his shoulder. Holding my breath, I resist inhaling his spicy scent.

He laughs. “I think so, but just in case, why don’t you tell me where you’re going?”

“Not a chance.”

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Author Katie Delahanty

Author Katie Delahanty

About the Author
Katie lives in Los Angeles with her husband, twin daughters, and son. Growing up in Pittsburgh, she loved old movies and playing dress up, but never considered telling stories of her own until she was asked to start a blog for the sleepwear company she worked for. Unsure what to say about lingerie, she wrote a fictional serial about a girl chasing her costume design dreams who fell in love with a rock star along the way. And that’s when Katie fell in love with storytelling. That blog became The Brightside Series and she’s been waking before dawn to write ever since..

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Where to find Katie Delahanty
Goodreads | Website | NewsletterFacebook Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Amazon

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Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Release Day + Giveaway – KEYSTONE by Katie Delahanty

KEYSTONE Prerelease Blitz

Today is release day for KEYSTONE, a standalone young adult scifi romance series, by Katie Delahanty. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

KEYSTONE by Katie Delahanty

KEYSTONE by Katie Delahanty

About the Book
Title: KEYSTONE
Author: Katie Delahanty
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: January 7, 2020
Genre:
 Young Adult SciFi Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | Amazon IT | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | GooglePlay

Synopsis
When Ella Karman debuts on the Social Stock Exchange, she finds out life as a high profile “Influencer” isn’t what she expected. Everyone around her is consumed by their rankings, in creating the smoke and mirrors that make them the envy of the world.

But then Ella’s best friend betrays her, her rankings tank, and she loses—everything.

Leaving her old life behind, she joins Keystone, a secret school for thieves, where students are trained to seal everything analog and original because something—or someone—is changing history to suit their needs.

Partnered with the annoyingly hot—and utterly impossible—Garrett Alexander, who has plenty of his own secrets, Ella is forced to return to the Influencer world, while unraveling a conspiracy that began decades ago.

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Excerpt
“But doesn’t being a Disconnect mean no technology? How would anyone even know about me?” I ask.

“We may live off the grid, but it’s important we’re aware of what’s going on in the world. At Keystone, we’re a special legion of Disconnects. Our mission is to steal analog history—to preserve the truth—before corporations and the government can alter the past to benefit their personal futures. We’re in danger of entering a Digital Dark Age, where the only information available is digital. Tape recordings, printed books, films, photographs—proof of history—are decaying and becoming scarce. Digital information is easy to tamper with, and there are forces at work that want current society to reflect their version of the past.” Allard sips her tea before continuing.

“Often, we’re after priceless works that are protected by the latest technology, so we have to understand tech even though we don’t use it ourselves. We have internet access in the Crypt—that’s our code-breaking library—and the TMI-feed is likely a guilty pleasure for some of the girls. They watch the Networks—they have to. For your Initiation Heist, you’ll be asked to go under cover in Influencer society, and you’ll need to know how to fit in—and how to hide in plain sight.”

“Initiation Heist?” I almost choke on my tea, the cup rattling in my trembling hands at having to reenter society.

“It’s the final test before becoming a full-fledged Keystone member with access to our top-level secrets, but don’t worry,” Allard says. “You’ll have plenty of time to learn our ways—and you’ll participate in a heist as an assistant to an Initiate—before you’re asked to lead a heist the following year.”

“Lead a heist?” My eyes bulge. “Right.”

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Author Katie Delahanty

Author Katie Delahanty

About the Author
Katie lives in Los Angeles with her husband, twin daughters, and son. Growing up in Pittsburgh, she loved old movies and playing dress up, but never considered telling stories of her own until she was asked to start a blog for the sleepwear company she worked for. Unsure what to say about lingerie, she wrote a fictional serial about a girl chasing her costume design dreams who fell in love with a rock star along the way. And that’s when Katie fell in love with storytelling. That blog became The Brightside Series and she’s been waking before dawn to write ever since..

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Where to find Katie Delahanty
Goodreads | Website | NewsletterFacebook Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Amazon

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Giveaway
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Prerelease Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – KEYSTONE by Katie Delahanty

KEYSTONE Prerelease Blitz

Welcome to the prerelease blitz for KEYSTONE, a standalone young adult scifi romance series, by Katie Delahanty, releasing January 7, 2020. See below for information on the book, preorder links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

KEYSTONE by Katie Delahanty

KEYSTONE by Katie Delahanty

About the Book
Title: KEYSTONE
Author: Katie Delahanty
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: January 7, 2020
Genre:
 Young Adult SciFi Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | Amazon IT | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | GooglePlay

Synopsis
When Ella Karman debuts on the Social Stock Exchange, she finds out life as a high profile “Influencer” isn’t what she expected. Everyone around her is consumed by their rankings, in creating the smoke and mirrors that make them the envy of the world.

But then Ella’s best friend betrays her, her rankings tank, and she loses—everything.

Leaving her old life behind, she joins Keystone, a secret school for thieves, where students are trained to seal everything analog and original because something—or someone—is changing history to suit their needs.

Partnered with the annoyingly hot—and utterly impossible—Garrett Alexander, who has plenty of his own secrets, Ella is forced to return to the Influencer world, while unraveling a conspiracy that began decades ago.

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Playlist
Crawling out of the lake, I sprawl on the beach, sucking in precious air for as long as I dare. Still breathless, I limp into the woods. My temples throb and I long to return to the house and climb into bed, to huddle under the blankets until the shivering stops. Last chance to keep my old life. I could come out of this a survivor. My parents would be so proud… Once the story hit the Networks, my Influencer status would be reinstated—especially now that everyone who knew my family’s secret is…dead. 

Isn’t that convenient?

I don’t dwell on who’s behind the explosion. Maybe part of me already knows the truth, but I’m not ready for it. Instead, the final fleeting glimpse I had of my best friend, Deena, her blond hair whipping across her face right before the blast, assaults me. 

Doubling over, I swallow the sickness rising my throat, shutting my eyes against her. We weren’t speaking, but she didn’t deserve this. None of them did. Tears bubble down my cheeks. Dropping to my knees, I stare up at the starry sky, an irrevocable ache seeping through me. How can I be in this world without them? Wherever they are, can they see me? The universe is endless, and the stars shine down without even a wink.

A voice arrives on the breeze from the lake, its nearness sobering me. For the plan to work, the world needs to believe I’m dead. But if I stick to the plan I can never go back. That truth should terrify me, but I’m already overwhelmed. Besides, there’s nothing left to go back to. Not without Adam. He was the only one who made me feel like I mattered. Breathing deep, I heave myself to my feet and drag myself deeper into the woods. I have no home. I have to keep going.

The old me would have ordered a car to drive me from Lake Tahoe to the Sequoia National Forest, but the Disconnects offered me refuge on the condition I wouldn’t be tracked. Starting now, I’m invisible. They were supposed to send a guide, but he never showed up, and it’s pure luck I stumble upon the bikes, sneakers, and hooded sweatshirt hidden behind a tree. Taking it as a sign I’ve made the right decision, I yelp. Choking back the cry, I tug the sweatshirt over my dress with shaking hands. In the pocket I find a tube of glittery, gold paint and draw a haphazard zigzag over half my face to disguise my identity from facial-recognition cameras. The mark of a Disconnect.

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Author Katie Delahanty

Author Katie Delahanty

About the Author
Katie lives in Los Angeles with her husband, twin daughters, and son. Growing up in Pittsburgh, she loved old movies and playing dress up, but never considered telling stories of her own until she was asked to start a blog for the sleepwear company she worked for. Unsure what to say about lingerie, she wrote a fictional serial about a girl chasing her costume design dreams who fell in love with a rock star along the way. And that’s when Katie fell in love with storytelling. That blog became The Brightside Series and she’s been waking before dawn to write ever since..

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Where to find Katie Delahanty
Goodreads | Website | NewsletterFacebook Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Amazon

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Cover Reveal – METAL BONES by Kathleen Contine

METAL BONES Cover Reveal

Author Kathleen Contine is revealing the cover to METAL BONES, a stand-alone new adult science fiction, releasing March 17, 2020. See below for the cover, information on the book, and a link to add it to your Goodreads TBR.

METAL BONES by Kathleen Contine

METAL BONES by Kathleen Contine

About the Book
Title: METAL BONES
Author: Kathleen Contine
Genre: New Adult Science Fiction
Release Date: March 17, 2020
Links: Goodreads

Synopsis
Leo Spearman cares about one thing: getting a cure for Gaeth’s “Steel Elbow”. Yet, when they decide to leave Earth to cure him, they realize they may have to break galactic law to get it. Leo believes everything is going according to plan but when their new ally Sonja comes along, Leo becomes more and more dedicated to the resistance, a group set on stopping the Sol Empire from taking over the galaxy. As Leo and Sonja’s connection starts to grow, Gaeth begins questioning his brothers’ dedication to finding his cure.

Across the galaxy, an alien named Tank is determined to win The Ceremony, hoping to find out what happened to his father, who won before him. Only when he finds his answer, he is forced to escape his home, losing his hand in the process. After being saved by Enzu, she equips him with an arm cannon, the only expense being to work for her and protect a small boy named Myca at all costs. Tank is grateful of Enzu for saving him, but the more time he spends at Bisekt, it makes him question everything and who to trust.

However when an outside threat forces Leo and Tank to work together, they’ll discover if they’ll be able to save the ones they love or if it’s already too late.

 

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METAL BONES Teaser

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Author Kathleen Contine

Author Kathleen Contine

About the Author
Kathleen Contine is a New York-born author currently working on her debut Adult Sci-Fi novel.

Inspired by her love of reading and frequent trips to the library with her mom as a child, Kathleen graduated from Saint Leo University with a B.A. in English with a concentration in professional writing.

Today Kathleen is passionately pursuing the publication of her first book while also sharing her author journey and writing tips on her YouTube Channel and Instagram. You can also check out her Resource Library for more!

When Kathleen isn’t writing, she enjoys playing video games, spending time with friends, and playing with her dogs, Freddie and Pepper.

Where to Find Kathleen Contine
Goodreads | Website | FacebookTwitter | Instagram

 

Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – PANIC (Mass Hysteria) by Dawn Brazil

PANIC Book Blitz

Welcome to the book blitz for PANIC, the first book in the young adult science fiction romance series, Mass Hysteria, by Dawn Brazil. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

PANIC (Mass Hysteria #1) by Dawn Brazil

PANIC (Mass Hysteria #1) by Dawn Brazil

About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title:
PANIC
Series: Mass Hysteria #1
Author: Dawn Brazil
Release Date: October 29, 2019
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction Romance
Links: GoodreadsAmazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Synopsis
Mass Hysteria is a trilogy of young adult romantic/science-fiction serial novels that tell a continuous story. The books must be read in order, to fully understand the unfolding story.

High school can be hard, especially when your favorite horror movie becomes your reality…

High-School senior, Elizabeth calculates the likelihood of finding love to the probability of starring in a slasher film with her best friend, until she meets Brian Thompson. Love isn’t the only thing that eludes Elizabeth, however. Several threatening notes that promise her demise make a long life also questionable.

When Elizabeth’s best friend shares an article about the death of a girl in Italy, she dismisses it. As more girls are murdered, and cryptic messages are tucked in her locker, she realizes something sinister might be at play. Why? Each of the slain girls look like her.

 

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PANIC Teaser

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Excerpt
The single slip of manila paper says only two words: “your next.” 

Right away, a few things are apparent: this person’s command of the English language is severely lacking; the scrawl is most likely that of a teenage boy or a toddler of any gender; and thirdly, this note is different from the others. I glance around the brick pillar at the front of our house. The street is silent; not one person is outside from where I stand.

I ball the paper up and toss it in my purse.

I slide into the car beside Stacey and we head to the restaurant—in absolute silence. Silence has many forms. The form we exhibit is awkward—at least for best friends. 

We both know why we’re going today. Stacey doesn’t agree with my sentiment for the day, though. I’ve read that if you toss a being outside their natural habitat, one of two things will happen—they will rise to the occasion, or die. 

I’m a fighter. I should be able to master the social landscape of female teenagerdom, but it seems I can’t. I flounder—a lot. I cannot explain my high intellect and my innate ability to elicit cringes or gasps of shock when I speak.

Today, that changes. 

Once we’re at the restaurant, Stacey says only four words: “This is ridiculous, hon.”

I disagree and we head inside to meet the other girls. 

We arrive mid-joke. So, I time my laugh to spill from my lips at the perfect moment. 

Except, the sensation rises from my abdomen like gravel tumbling through my mouth. Stacey turns, her lips pursed tight. The other girls stop giggling. Their purrs of laughter are in deep contrast to my piercing cackle. 

They frown in unison—everyone but Stacey. She has an ‘I’m sorry I got you into this mess, hon’ look on her face. Though lacking in most social skills, I’m able to read their expressions: ‘What the hell was Stacey thinking, bringing the schizoid?’ 

I’m painfully aware something is off with me. On a scale of weirdness, I’m not Pinhead. I’m more Carrie, without the powers. I’d change this perception of oddness I convey, but I don’t know where to begin to work on myself. That’s why I’m here today. 

Glancing around the table, I attempt a quick recovery. Dogs. Girls like dogs. “I have a dog. He’s the cutest little Pomeranian.” 

My words are met with oohs and awws, but Stacey shakes her head once, slightly. I don’t know why she does it. I’ve hit a chord with these girls. I block her shaking head and the bombardment of senseless information streaming through my mind, and continue talking. “He’s a handsome little fur ball.”

“I love dogs,” one of Stacey’s friends says. “My Jax is too freaking cute.” 

“My FeFe is too adorbs. What’s your dog’s name, Elizabeth?” Melissa, the closest girl to me asks. 

“Norman Bates. He’s a—” 

“You named your dog Norman Bates?” Melissa asks. 

“Yes. He—” 

“Like, isn’t that the crazy dude from that movie? The one who cross-dressed like his mom and like killed everyone?” someone else asks. 

“Yes, it’s—”

“It’s kinda weird… well, a lot weird that you named your dog after a homicidal maniac,” Melissa says. No one speaks after her comment. They all stare in opposite directions. 

I almost laugh at their reaction, but stop myself. A rush of thoughts hurry through my head: Melissa’s eyes are the color of her heart—black. She’s a modern Cruella DeVille. She’ll trample over her own mother to get what she wants, which is always materialistic and selfish. She’s also beautiful, and she hates me but loves my best friend Stacey. 

I shake my head discreetly. They act like I told them I’m naming my firstborn Freddie Krueger. Which I would do, if I could have kids. 

I strum my fingers over my jean shorts and count in my head. Counting reminds me not to speak and further add to the awkwardness of the moment. 

“Norman Bates is the best dog name, ever,” Stacey says. She gives me a wink. “More importantly, has anyone seen that new movie? You know… the new romance?” Stacey snaps her fingers like she can’t remember. “Oh, I forget the name. But I heard it’s hot—full of steamy love scenes…” Everyone starts talking, each girl stumbling over the other to get a word in. Like if they don’t articulate what they have to say straightaway, their lives might be in peril. 

I don’t understand girls, even though I’ve been part of the gender my entire life. 

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Author Dawn Brazil

Author Dawn Brazil

About the Author
Dawn wants to live in a world fully inhabited by fictional characters. She thinks fictional characters are cooler than real people. Except herself, of course. But since the world is not comprised of dreamy book boyfriends, she creates them for everyone to fawn over. Her debut novel, Finding Me, book 1 in the Finding Me series, released on March 3rd 2016.

When she is not writing, she can be found with her nose in a book – swooning over another book boyfriend, drying up tears from a recent heartbreak, or shouldering a wound she received in battle. She also loves to create magic in the kitchen with an array of inspiring dishes she pulls from Pinterest. Dawn lives in South Texas with her sports obsessed husband, three technology infatuated teenagers, and her great, big, colossal imagination.

She is a master juggler and is working on two other Young Adult standalone novels – a high fantasy tearjerker and a science fiction story with a romance that will make your heart ache.

And she is passionate about superheroes – especially Wonder Woman!

Where to Find Dawn Bazil
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter 
| Instagram

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Young Adult Book Review – ISAN (International Sensory Assassin Network) by Mary Ting

ISAN (International Sensory Assassin Network #1) by Mary Ting

ISAN (International Sensory Assassin Network #1) by Mary Ting

5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
The world has changed.

Scientists warned it would happen.

Meteors devastated the Earth. World Governments developed plans to help surviving citizens. The United States disbanded and salvageable land was divided into four quadrants—North, South, East, and West—governed by The Remnant Council.

Struggling to survive, seventeen-year-old Ava ends up in juvenile detention, until she is selected for a new life—with a catch. She must be injected with an experimental serum. The results will be life changing. The serum will make her better. To receive the serum Ava agrees to join a program controlled by ISAN, the International Sensory Assassin Network.

While on a mission, she is abducted by a rebel group led by Rhett and told that not only does she have a history with him, but her entire past is a lie perpetuated by ISAN to ensure her compliance. Unsure of who to trust, Ava must decide if her strangely familiar and handsome captor is her enemy or her savior—and time is running out.

 

 

 

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My Review
Mary Ting’s dystopian world envisions a planet pummeled by meteors, destroying life as we know it. Two generations later and science has surpassed anything their ancestors could have imagined thanks to resources those meteors brought to the earth. Fragile governments have sprung up and a power struggle is firmly in place. Enter ISAN, the International Sensory Assassin Network. With a secret formula known as Helix, teenage assassins are sent out to eliminate any threats to peace before they become a problem. Pulling girls from foster homes and juvenile detention system, ISAN promises a better life for troubled youth, but they soon realize they’ve traded one hell for another. Ava is an orphan with a rough past, but she takes to the Helix serum especially well, giving her abilities the other girls don’t have, propelling her into a leadership position, one she doesn’t feel she’s earned. Still, she does her best to nurture and support her team on their missions. This is her life, training, eating, killing. At least until she starts receiving mysterious messages from someone on her computer. When she’s kidnapped while on a mission, not only is her world turned upside down, but her entire identity as she learns painful details about a past she can’t remember.

Plot
The plot is amazing. I couldn’t put this book down. It moves from the opening page through to the end. There were so many unexpected plot twists that kept me needing to find out what happened next. The primary plot isn’t really Ava’s, it’s Rhett’s. His goal is to get Ava back. But because it’s told through Ava’s point of view, the goal wasn’t completely clear until at least halfway through. By using this technique, the author keeps us in the dark, along with Ava, so we truly experience the backstory as it unfolds for Ava. This was a brilliant technique that kept me on my toes!

Characters
Ava is tough, but not to the point of being hard to like. From the opening pages, I loved her loyalty and her moral center. Even as an assassin, she has a conscious that tears at her. Her team is a blend of friends and adversaries that must form a cohesive unit during missions, which makes for some really great conflict. The leadership is intriguing and mysterious, meaning anything is possible at this point. As Ava learns the secrets of her past, readers are left to wonder who we can trust. Rhett, as the forgotten love interest, is everything you’d want for Ava. He’ll do anything to get her back, except put her at risk.

What I Loved About ISAN
1. World Building.
 The dystopian future Ting creates is a joy to behold. Rich details bring it vividly to life.

2. Kendrick. His toys for the assassins are a thing of beauty and straight out of the best spy movies.

3. Ava. She kicks butt and takes names, but she is loyal and has a strong moral code — everything I want in my teenage assassins.

4. Rhett. He’s tough and badass but his tender feelings toward Ava makes him swoonworthy.

5. Surprises. There were a lot of surprises throughout the book that kept me on the edge of my seat.

Bottom Line
A fantastic young adult dystopian with cool tech and swoony romantic subplot.

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About the Book
Title: ISAN
Series: ISAN #1
Author: Mary Ting
Publisher: Vesuvian Books
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Pages: 330
Genre: Young Adult SciFi/Dystopian
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AUBarnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | IndieBound | BAM!

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Author Mary Ting

Author Mary Ting

About the Author
International Bestselling, Award-Winning Author Mary Ting writes soulful, spellbinding stories that excite the imagination and captivate readers all over the world. Her books run a wide range of genres and her storytelling talents have won her a devoted legion of fans and garnered critical praise.

Becoming an author happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she had in high school. After realizing she wanted to become a full-time author, Mary retired from teaching after twenty years. She also had the privilege of touring with the Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book: No Bullies Allowed.

Mary resides in Southern California with her husband, two children, and two little dogs, Mochi and Mocha. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry..

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Where to find Mary Ting
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

 

Young Adult Book Review + Giveaway – HELIX (ISAN) by Mary Ting

HELIX Blog Tour

HELIX (ISAN #2) by Mary Ting

HELIX (ISAN #2) by Mary Ting

5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
Alliances are forming. The resistance is growing. Everything is about to change.

With her memory still fragmented, Ava returns to the International Sensory Assassin Network (ISAN) to find the twin sister she never knew she had.

But as Ava hunts for information, she finds herself tangled in a web of yet more lies and conspiracy. The Helix serum may not be required to access her superpowers, and the number of male assassins—previously considered too volatile to tolerate Helix—is growing in every territory.

The more Ava uncovers, the more of a threat she becomes to ISAN. Her only salvation may be to join the rebels—if she isn’t killed first.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Review
HELIX picks up where ISAN left off, but this time we get both Ava’s and Rhett’s points of view. Rhett is reeling from having to let Ava go, again, and Ava is still frustrated and confused from her three days with Rhett and his friends. Back at ISAN, she’s once again a reluctant assassin, doing what she’s been trained to do while seeking the truth, her memories, her father, and a twin she didn’t even know she had. With ISAN pursuing Rhett and the other rebels, life outside ISAN is no safer than it is inside for Ava. Although he let her go, Rhett is determined to get Ava back, and this time for good. With a perfected Helix serum, ISAN is now made up of both males and females, creating a more complex dynamic as Ava begins to untangle an intricate conspiracy. When her memories begin to return, emotions flood her, threatening to drown her and keep her from achieving her objectives.

Plot
War is coming. That much we know. But figuring out who is on which side and who can be trusted is just one of the many areas author Mary Ting excels at. The plot is expertly woven with backstory, major and minor subplots, and more than a few twists. Just as with ISAN, the story moves at a fast pace and kept me turning pages long into the night. I finished this book in just three days.

Characters
All the characters I fell in love with in book 1 are back with more depth and development as their stories continue. Getting Rhett’s point of view this time was an extra treat that I savored. New characters, including Zen, Chloe, and Payton all add so much to the complex relationship structure, driving conflict as well as contributing to some really great moments. One in particular between Chloe and Rhett early in the story was the perfect scene to show us everything we need to know about Rhett’s honor.

What I Loved About HELIX
1. Ava.
 I love her even more than I did in ISAN. She’s both tougher this time around and softer around the edges in a way she wan’t before.

2. Rhett. Sigh…. His love for and loyalty toward Ava are swoony, but he’s more than just a romantic lead. He’s got his own goals and arc beyond his feelings for Ava.

3. Tech. Kendrick’s Q-worthy tech would make James Bond weak in the knees.

4. Twists. Just as in ISAN, there are plenty of twists that take the story in another direction at the most unexpected moments.

5. Plot. Another page-turning story from Mary Ting that was impossible to put down.

Bottom Line
A pulse-pounding sequel in one of the best dystopian series out there.

Disclaimer
I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book
Title: HELIX
Series: ISAN #2
Author: Mary Ting
Publisher: Vesuvian Books
Release Date: May 12, 2019
Pages: 376
Genre: Young Adult SciFi/Dystopian
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AUBarnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | IndieBound | BAM!

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Author Mary Ting

Author Mary Ting

About the Author
International Bestselling, Award-Winning Author Mary Ting writes soulful, spellbinding stories that excite the imagination and captivate readers all over the world. Her books run a wide range of genres and her storytelling talents have won her a devoted legion of fans and garnered critical praise.

Becoming an author happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she had in high school. After realizing she wanted to become a full-time author, Mary retired from teaching after twenty years. She also had the privilege of touring with the Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book: No Bullies Allowed.

Mary resides in Southern California with her husband, two children, and two little dogs, Mochi and Mocha. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry..

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Where to find Mary Ting
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – MILLION MILES AWAY (Million Miles) by Alice Bane

MILLION MILES AWAY Book Blitz

Welcome to the book blitz for MILLION MILES AWAY, the first book in the new adult science fiction romance series, Million Miles, by Alice Bane, releasing October 5, 2019. See below for information on the book, preorder links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

MILLION MILES AWAY (Million Miles #1) by Alice Bane

MILLION MILES AWAY (Million Miles #1) by Alice Bane

About the Book
Title: MILLION MILES AWAY
Series: Million Miles #1
Author: Alice Bane
Release Date: October 5, 2019
Genre:
 New Adult Science Fiction Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Synopsis
For the past year, sleep paralysis has been little more than a thorn in Natalia’s side. That is, until she meets Korin, a strange but beautiful alien being who makes her question everything she knows about the universe.

Life-changing love almost feels like an invasion.

I won’t bore you with details about the mysterious medical issues I’ve had over the last year;

the sudden severe allergies to food and medication, the sleep paralysis. All I’ll tell you is that they turned my life upside down.

But I’m a rational person.

Naturally, I assumed that my mind was playing tricks on me when I saw the strange figures standing over me.

But it felt so freakishly real;

especially one face in particular that always stayed with me long after I woke up.

Something about him always drew me in and I knew he was different. He made me feel different.

All my life, romance has felt like something that was reserved for everyone but me. I’d accepted that the only love in my life would be experienced through my artwork.

Now I’m questioning everything I know about myself, about reality, and especially about love.

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MILLION MILES AWAY Teaser

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Excerpt
The girls would always tease me about how put together my life was. Sure, it looked good on paper; top-rated artist in my department, an amazing house which I always kept immaculate, and when I wasn’t working, I was at the gym. They seemed to think that I had a perfect life. They had no idea how much I envied them. They both had incredible relationships with gorgeous men who doted on them endlessly. They were always commenting on how jealous they were of my body, but they also never missed a chance to eat delicious foods that I couldn’t so much as smell without getting sick. They didn’t realize that my house was always clean because it was empty and sterile; just like the rest of my life. 

I didn’t even have a pet. Ever since little Ivan died, I accepted that I wasn’t pet owner material. If I couldn’t keep a goldfish alive, what chance did I have with a more complex and emotionally dependent animal? Besides, with my work schedule, it would be cruel to even try.

“Before we get started with what we’ve got on today, I need to ask you guys a really important favor,” Abiola said, circling the desk to take both mine and Laura’s hands in hers. “The two of you have been such a huge part of my life. You’ve been there for me through all my family drama and I couldn’t love you more if you were my flesh and blood sisters.”

“Abi,” Laura pushed out her bottom lip. “That’s the sweetest thing you could possibly say.”

“Well, I would be so honored if the two of you would be my bridesmaids this spring. Please say yes!”

The three of us all wrapped our arms around each other in a sickeningly sweet display of female solidarity. I forced a smile and swallowed the lump in my throat as I imagined walking down the aisle on the arm of some random groomsman who had a wife or girlfriend somewhere in the church. This would be the second time I was a bridesmaid at someone’s wedding. The old saying ‘three times a bridesmaid, never a bride’ rang out in my mind. 

“I would love to be a bridesmaid at your wedding,” Laura crooned.

I mustered the minimal amount of excitement I could get away with for the situation and said, “Me too. I love you, woman,” then patted Abiola on the back. 

Abiola nodded and wiped at eyeliner from beneath her watering eyes. She was an old soul with a soft heart. She spent her weekends volunteering at a children’s group home. That was where she met her fiancé Trevor, and they bonded over their dysfunctional family situations. They would probably adopt a bunch of foster kids right after their wedding and live happily ever after. She deserved that; it was all she ever wanted.

“Okay ladies,” Abiola clapped her hands. “Today we’re looking for something we can use for the promotion of the OSA campus, which will be opening next year in Portland, Oregon. Boss says our primary focus is to attract engineering and architectural students for the Lunar-retreat that’s in the works.”

“So, where do we start?” Laura said, looking right at me.

“I am going to need to work up some concept drawings for the Lunar Resort. Also, if you could give me the clearest photos of the most beautiful views the Lunar Surface has to offer, that would be cool to show exactly what the students should be aspiring to be a part of. I want to see some dramatic landscapes with visible craters, maybe some rock formations. Anything to pull people in.”

“I’m on it,” Laura nodded and sat down at her touch responsive computer.

“I’ll go to engineering to get permission to use blueprints of the resort that you can use to make the concept drawings,” Abiola said, then turned and headed towards the elevator. 

It was an exciting project. I used to fantasize that by the time I was ready to retire, I would be able to cash in on all the vacation time I had accrued and maybe even spend a few of my golden years at that resort. The thought of waking up in the morning and looking out the window to see the Earth just as we see the moon from down here always gave me a sense of calm.

Four hours later, all final decisions had been made on what I wanted to use on the project. Right on cue, my trusty assistants started complaining that they were starving to death.

“If I don’t get some corned beef nachos in me in the next ten minutes, I might actually die,” Laura said and stood up dramatically from her desk.

“I want waffles and bacon,” Abiola rubbed her belly.

I sighed at the memory of bacon; I would probably just have some raw vegetables and berries. I was still looking at my screen and inspecting one of the photos, trying to decide on how I would alter the image to bring it to life. My eyes burned. I clenched them shut and rubbed them, forcing them to rest. Eye strain was the enemy and this day was proving to be particularly difficult since I had hardly slept the night before. I couldn’t shake my anxiety about today’s social gathering after work. Stress and lack of sleep usually meant a big fat migraine, which was the last thing I needed at Laura’s party. 

“I’m going to head to the chill room. I need a nap more than anything.”

“You better be rested for tonight’s festivities,” Laura wagged her finger at me.

“I’ll bring my party face, I promise,” I said. I stood up but couldn’t stop the oncoming yawn. “The fatigue is killing me.”

“Yeah, no coffee or sugar in your morning will do that to you,” Abiola said with a shake of her head. “I don’t know how you do it.”

“Well, it’s easy since a cup of coffee could put me in the hospital again, I guess.”

“Jesus,” Abiola pressed her fist to her mouth. “I didn’t mean to…” 

“It’s fine, Abi,” I assured her. “I just need to get a little rest.”

The two girls headed down to the food court while I made my way to the sleeping pods. White, plush, and stacked like a honeycomb, they were an inviting image that screamed comfort. I smiled and breathed a sigh of relief to find my favorite lower level pod was unoccupied. Turning on the sound system, I selected a playlist I knew I could sleep through. Sometimes I would choose guided meditation tracks or audiobooks. Today’s selection was soft cello. Something about the deep tones helped me unwind no matter what was on my mind. I settled in, turning on the heated cushions and closing my eyes.

I practiced the deep breathing exercises the doctor had taught me as I pictured myself floating through a dark endless sky toward the moon’s surface. The pictures I had looked at for over four hours served to be the subject of my meditation. I inhaled deeply, focusing on relaxing my arms and legs. Exhaling, I imagined moving further out into space. In… and out… 

As soon as sleep found me, I was swept up in a flurry of blinding light. My stomach turned as the light began strobing violently, causing me to feel disoriented. My body tensed as I realized it had been several weeks since I’d had an episode. Right on schedule, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

Oh no, no, no, no… I can’t deal with this right now, not at work!

I struggled to wake myself, I couldn’t move. The cold sensation of a smooth metallic surface beneath me was confusing. I felt my fingertips twitch as I tried desperately to flail any and all limbs that might respond to my will, but my body remained where it was. I strained to sit up or scream, but I couldn’t even open my mouth. I was trapped, overwhelmed by the weight of my chest collapsing in on itself. If I didn’t put every ounce of will I possessed into sucking air through my nostrils, I had a very real fear that my body would simply shut down, leaving my body as a cold stiff corpse which might be found hours later in my cozy little pod. Filling my lungs with intention, I gasped for air, breath after panicked breath, hoping someone would notice and wake me.

The strobing intensified for what felt like several minutes and when it finally stopped, there remained a constant blinding light that made my eyes water. Tears streamed from the outer corners of my eyes into my ears.

“Help… me…” I managed to whisper to no one in particular. 

From the edge of my vision, a blurry figure leaned over me. 

“Please,” I sobbed, trying to turn my head to get a better look at who it was, but I couldn’t. 

My chest burned as my heart pounded out of control. I tried to calm myself by reciting the scientific facts about what I knew was happening.

During REM sleep, your muscles are essentially turned off to keep you from sleepwalking. When a person wakes up during REM, they are fully conscious but completely paralyzed. Usually, physical stimulation from someone rubbing or shaking them will pull the victim out of the purgatorial state. Unfortunately, living alone means I have no one to rescue me during these episodes, which can sometimes last for hours.

 “Just close your eyes. Everything will be okay,” a distorted voice spoke through the fog of my half-conscious state. 

Maybe my brain is morphing the cello music into a voice. Sleep paralysis is often accompanied by waking dreams or hallucinations, after all. 

I thought I could force myself to come out of it but, instead, I moved even deeper into unconsciousness. It wasn’t like falling, but more like being underwater and sinking slowly. I struggled against what felt like a chemically induced calm. I tried again to force myself awake but couldn’t. The darkness swallowed me up and I finally surrendered to it.

To my surprise, I suddenly found myself vividly aware of two things; one, the fact that I was breathing without much effort, and two, I was no longer in my cushioned sleeping pod, but rather stretched out flat on my back on a cold metal surface. All efforts to move just made me realize that what I was experiencing was very different from the sleep paralysis I was familiar with. I could move my fingers and flex my wrists and feet. There were actual physical restraints fastened around my wrists, neck, forehead, and ankles that were preventing me from moving.

Blinking hard, I strained to look around at my surroundings. The entire room was reflective as if every surface and object was made from surgical steel. It was shockingly cold, almost like the inside of a walk-in refrigerator. I grunted, twisting my wrists in hopes that I could slip out the straps. 

There was a continuous hum that was so low I didn’t hear it so much as felt it vibrating through my entire body. There was a spherical light that seemed to be floating in the air a few feet over me. The ceiling was high above that and almost too dark for me to make out anything but the vague shape of what might have been a reflection of myself and the rest of the room around me. I strained to see past the light so I could study what else I could make out in the reflective ceiling. My heart pounded in my ears as my attention was drawn to a distorted human shape in the darkness at my side.

A chill spread through my body as I realized that someone, or something, was quietly watching me struggle but I couldn’t for the life of me work out who, as the silhouette disappeared from my view the moment I noticed it. Even when I turned my eyes as far as I could, the dark corners of the room remained completely obscured. Regardless of the deafening silence and the fact that I couldn’t see anyone, I knew someone was there.

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MILLION MILES AWAY Teaser

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MILLION MILES AWAY Teaser

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Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – HYBRID by Rebecca Henry

HYBRID Book Blitz

Welcome to the book blitz for HYBRID, a stand-alone adult science fiction horror novel, by Rebecca Henry. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

HYBRID by Rebecca Henry

HYBRID by Rebecca Henry

About the Book
Title: HYBRID
Author: Rebecca Henry
Release Date: August 1, 2019
Genre: Adult Science Fiction Horror
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Synopsis
Agent Van of the CIA is sent to an Australian underground military surveillance base called Pine Gap. Agent Van finds himself thrown in a conspiracy cover up of an ancient alien race known as species X. Agent Van falls in love with Annika, a mysterious and uncommon woman who displays unusual abilities, leading Van to question her own origin. Mystery and horror explode around Agent Van during a cave diving exhibition to search for a lost colleague referred to as Agent One. The only clue for Agent Van and his team is a cryptic message carved on a wall inside the bleak cave that reads “Agent One is gone. No more Agent One.” Terror arrives as the agents are trapped inside the ominous cave. Agent Van soon learns that there is more to Pine Gap than Species X.

 

 

 

 

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Excerpt #2
I was the fourth in our group to go through the tunnel, and my insides twisted with fright. The Tomb lived up to its name. We army-crawled on our bellies through the hollow passage for what felt like forever, but was actually about ninety meters. There was hardly enough room to move; the space was so tight that there was only about three or four inches of extra space between by body and the sides of the Tomb I slithered through like a snake. I couldn’t imagine how the General was managing it. Sweat beaded on my forehead despite the cold. I stopped to gather my wits, preparing myself for the challenge ahead. 

Annika’s soft voice carried from behind me. “Take shallow breaths. And move slowly, the rocks are sharp,” she instructed, her voice soothing. “Don’t panic. You can make it out. Just keep calm and keep going.” 

I tried to duck my head to see her, but the space was too tight. I knew she was right; logically, I wanted to believe her words, but fear was tightening its grip. 

“Maybe you should go first?” I squeezed through the tightness of my throat. “I don’t like leaving you back there alone.”

I could hear the smile in her voice. “Don’t think I’d fit,” she said with a low chuckle. The thought of the smile I knew she wore in this dark hell was enough to get me through this tomb.

“Don’t worry about me, Van,” she continued, “Caves are a second home for me. Don’t worry, I’ll meet you on the other side.”

It was quiet inside the Tomb, no wind, no noise, only the sound of my breathing, the shuffle of my teammates ahead lost in the echoing dark. My head felt heavy, my neck stiff from being cranked to the side. There was no space to relax, and sharp rocks lay all around me. I kept my eyes trained on the wall to my right, its surface mere inches from my face. Looking ahead made me dizzy; I could see nothing but a void of darkness. I moved my left elbow forward two inches, then my right, dragging my legs behind me. Rocks scraped and stung as I forced myself deeper inside the Tomb. 

It was dead quiet; no other sounds accompanied me on my crawl, and it was easy to imagine I was alone—trapped. I fought the sensation and pushed down the fear. Is this tunnel getting smaller? I was breathing heavy from the effort it took to move. No breeze, no noise, no light, no other signs of life. Only the dark and my panting breath. Fear began to get the better of me, its icy finger trickling down my neck and back. What if I made a wrong move inside this death trap and unleashed a hell of rocks, and an entire mountain came down to crush me? 

I shook my head to dislodge the horror from my thoughts. I focused on Annika’s words: Just keep breathing and I’ll make it out. I concentrated on my crawling, counting each slithering movement. One, two, three. Keep crawling, keep moving. Four, five six. It’s only nine meters, not a massive stretch. Seven, eight, nine, ten. Wait—what was that noise?

A strange sound interrupted my counting. I paused to listen, but only heard my breath. I tilted my head searching for its source. Sliding rocks? That wasn’t right. The sound was too steady. I wanted to call back to Annika to see if she heard it, too, but I didn’t want to scare her. Maybe it was some rookie hazing, but the General didn’t seem like the type to tolerate that stuff. You are panicking, Van. Chalking up the sound to my imagination, I continued to move. Eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen. I stopped. There it was again. It wasn’t my imagination.

A sharp wind blasted my face, making me blink. How was that possible? The sound grew louder, and my heart raced as adrenaline flooded my system. I needed to get the hell out of there. I no longer cared about the dangerous rocks I was crawling through. I moved my arms faster and willed my body to get out of that death trap. The sound grew louder with each movement I made. Scrape… scrape. The sound was all around me. What is that? It sounded as if someone was in front of me scraping two stones together, but that was impossible. 

The strange wind blasted me again, a sharp wind as if it was mixed with ice. My frozen eyes stung, and I fought to keep them open. I drew my elbows close to my body to fumble with my headlamp, trying to aim it up ahead, but I couldn’t get it to work. The space was too tight, and I couldn’t reach to click it on. Scrape… scrape… scrape… scrape… scrape. The sound was everywhere; it rang in my head, setting my teeth on edge.

Behind me, Annika’s headlamp clicked on. “Van I’m right behind you. You’ve got to keep moving.” No longer calm and musical, Annika’s voice thrummed with urgency, and I knew we weren’t alone. Something else was in the Tomb with us—something threatening. I could feel its menacing presence as dread crept over me. 

“We’ve gotta get out of this tomb, Van! Go! Go as fast as you can!” Annika’s order kicked my ass into full gear, and I crawled as fast as the small space would allow, sharp rocks slicing my torso and forearms as I continued through the Tomb. I didn’t give a thought to my own safety— it was Annika. She was behind me, and if I didn’t get out of here, she’d be trapped behind me, like wine under a cork. Whatever was in the Tomb with us would get her soon. I had to get out—fast. Annika needed to reach safety. We were getting close; I could hear our teammates ahead of us, screaming for us to move, get out now! Behind me, Annika’s headlamp went out, and total blackness filled the space. I couldn’t see my hand one inch in front of my face. 

That’s when I felt it. I heard a hissing in my ear as a putrid stench invaded my nostrils. I froze, petrified in sheer terror. I could no longer hear Annika behind me. I lost sight of the opening, where I was, what was happening. I couldn’t breathe, the small space closed in on me, suffocating me. A slithering tongue touched my neck, tasting my skin. Like a deer frozen before advancing headlights, I couldn’t move as I felt whatever it was taste my perspiration. When its tongue danced across the pools of salt on my face, I sprang into frantic action. I pounded on my headlamp, begging it to turn on while I reached for the creature in the pitch blackness. I swung my fist but it found only rock. I craned around to try to see behind me, only to feel the creature lick the other side of my neck, hissing and clicking mirthfully. I jolted my head it its direction, ready to pound my fist in its skull. Nothing was there. 

From the opening ahead, Agent Austin lit a flare and shined it inside the Tomb. It was lit only a moment before it was snuffed out, but it was long enough for me to catch a glimpse of the creature. It happened in a flash, and I sensed it more than I saw it. It was behind my team members in the open space, a creature hunched on all fours. Not quite humanoid, but not animal either. Its ears were pointed up, as if it were listening to us. I couldn’t make out all its features, but it appeared to be hairless with shining, white skin. The creature dragged one of its claw-like hands against the rock wall—the noise I heard inside the tomb. It stared at me with white, bulging eyes. It drew back its hideous pale lips to drag a forked tongue over sharp dagger-like teeth.

The light blinked out, and we were again plunged into darkness.

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Author Rebecca Henry

Author Rebecca Henry

About the Author
Rebecca Henry is a newly published author. Her debut novel is The Lady Raven, A Dark Cinderella Tale, which was published in 2017. The Lady Raven, is for those Rebecca Henry is a world traveler living abroad in England. Besides being an American author of two published books, Rebecca is also a podcast talk host on the show The Latte Talk. The podcast was inspired by her novel, Louisiana Latte and her diva sister Deb. Rebecca is a serious vegan, gardener, wife and mom who practices yoga.

 

 

 

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Where to Find Rebecca Henry
Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Instagram

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Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – THE SIN SOLDIER (Fragments) by Tracy Auerbach

THE SIN SOLDIER Book Blitz

Welcome to the book blitz for THE SIN SOLDIER the first book in the young adult fantasy scifi series, Fragments, by Tracy Auerbach. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

THE SIN SOLDIER (Fragments #1) by Tracy Auerbach

THE SIN SOLDIER (Fragments #1) by Tracy Auerbach

About the Book
Title: THE SIN SOLDIER
Series: Fragments #1
Author: Tracy Auerbach
Release Date: July 23, 2019
Genre:
 Young Adult Fantasy/Science Fiction
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooksKobo

Synopsis
Red compound makes them angry. Yellow exhausts them. Blue drives them into a state of ravenous addiction. The thief Kai knows about the chemically controlled soldiers of the Eastern forces and their savage, deadly nature. When a robbery attempt at Club Seven goes wrong, Kai is captured by a handler and his bestial soldier-boy. She wakes up inside the military base with no idea what happened to her twin brother, Dex.

Things go from bad to worse when Kai is started on a drug and training regimen, and forced to take injections of blue compound. The scientists in charge plan to make her into a working soldier who will mine the mysterious power crystals beneath the desert. Kai becomes a victim of the bully Finn, a handsome but nasty soldier whose years on red compound seem to have erased his humanity. Still, she begins to pity the Seven Soldiers, including the monstrous boy who tried to rip her to shreds at the club. They appear to be nothing more than genetically enhanced, drug-controlled teenagers.

On the outside, Dex and his tech-savvy boyfriend try to crack the soldiers’ chemical code to find a weakness that will break the system. But Kai has already been drawn deep into her new world. Strong feelings for the soldiers she’s come to know have started to cloud her judgment. Can she escape and find Dex without becoming a monster herself?

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Excerpt
Chapter One

The strobe lights and blaring music made Kai’s pulse beat along to their frantic rhythms. She and Dex had worked for Leo before, but never on a hit this big. To steal the night’s earnings from Club Seven took more than the kind of finesse that she and her brother were famous for; it took balls. She looked over at Dex, who squatted in a small patch of shadow by the three steps leading up to the club’s first marble floor. Only he could make squatting look graceful. She strained to see him clearly while the blue-white lights flashed like a detonated bomb with a pause button. The strobes were replaced by a dim red glow, and she held up two fingers to signal the all-clear.

Dex responded instantly, their timing down to an art form. He hoisted himself onto the cold marble and did a quick military crawl to where she was lying flat on her stomach beside the liquor bar, propped on her elbows. His long, spiky hair brushed against her. He smelled like hair gel, but his closeness brought her comfort. No matter what sort of situation Kai found herself in, Dex made her feel safe. He looked up and smiled broadly, showing off teeth so bleached, they nearly glowed in the dark. She narrowed her eyes in warning, and he quickly closed his mouth. He could always tell what she was thinking. Twin power or something like that.

It was important to stay out of sight until they had scoped out the whole scene and gotten a lay of the land. The small service entrance they had used to access the club was situated directly across from the longer of two bars, which ran the length of the club on one side. This bar wrapped neatly along the perimeter, hugging the large entryway’s shiny black walls. It slunk down two steps and kept going all the way across the dance floor. With its white, rounded stone finish and polished glass casings to hold bottles upon bottles of alcohol, it looked pristine. But where Kai was lying at floor level, its façade was shattered by thick patches of dust and some unpleasant-looking stains. 

The crystals that powered the club, bringing it to life in all its pulsing, deafening glory, were housed in a nest of wires under the polished stone. They glowed through a transparent square in the bar’s surface with a soft, pale light that somehow stood out even in the midst of the chaotic strobes. Those crystals were the reason this club existed. The ongoing campaign for power over those precious fragments had made Seven Soldiers necessary. Sevens were the front line of the Eastern Forces; the heavy hand that held the public in place and kept all opposition at bay. At Club Seven they were paraded around as spectacles for citizens to gawk at. Kai glanced up toward the enormous body of a soldier walking by the bar, held tightly by his handler as they shoved through the raucous crowd of inebriated revelers. He was so large, he obscured the light from reaching down to where she lay in wait.

Kai shoved herself closer to the bar as a group of giggling women approached the protruding marble above her hiding spot. They surrounded the soldier and his handler, and she squinted up to see them running their hands all over the Seven’s body before leaning close to the bartender to shout for drinks. Kai pulled her hands out of the way of their high heels as they swayed and stepped in rhythm to the hypnotic movement, gyrating against the zombie-like Seven.

Dex reached a hand into his pocket and brought out the tiny camera he treasured. The crystal shard within it was no larger than a pebble, but it had worked for years. He edged his body along the floor away from the people around them and waited for the strobes to give way to red darkness again. When they did, he launched himself from the ground to his feet, fired off a round of pictures, and sunk back down. His movements were so quick, and so well-timed with the lights, that unless one of the clubgoers or bartenders who stood mere feet away were staring straight at him, they would miss his presence completely. Kai knew that from his vantage point, the arc of his leap gave him a clear shot of the club’s raised central stage. On the dance floor, a mass of writhing bodies clamored for a better view of the soldiers above them. 

Kai glanced around to make sure nobody had noticed. In the clear, she gave him a thumbs-up to take another round, this time to the left of the club stage where a smaller bar wrapped around a mirrored pole. Lastly, he took some quick shots of the right side’s wooden buffet tables and then crawled back to the shadows of the entryway steps. Kai joined him, and they opened the heavy stone door just a crack before slipping back out into the night.

“I think you got some good ones,” Kai whispered when they were safely outside the club and leaning against the exterior wall. She could feel the vibrations of the music through the stone, and her hearing seemed to have taken a beating as her ears throbbed. But her pulse relaxed as the cool night air and sky of the desert took the place of the stifling sights and smells of the club’s interior. 

“Let me have a look first.”

She studied the open plains before them while she waited for him to check out the shots he had taken. The halo of light that surrounded the throbbing stone edifice grew dimmer and dimmer until it faded into total darkness. The silhouettes of desert plants near the light’s border looked like shadowy sentries guarding the empty expanse of sand. Huge saguaros and short, thickly clumped agave cast a parade of midnight black shadows onto the scarcely-lit areas of sand beyond. Further in the distance, Kai could just make out the dimly twinkling lights of Eastern Pless. It was a few miles away, and night lights were a luxury that most couldn’t afford, but being the only other light for miles gave it the illusion of closeness. Above them, millions of stars blinked in and out of existence; only the small red moon and large orange moon remained constant. She shivered—a mixture of the cold air drying the sweat on her skin, and the thought of what could be lurking in all that darkness.

“Hold on a second,” said Dex, keeping the camera out of her reach as she tried to take it. Only a few inches taller, he was still skilled at taunting her by holding things just out of grabbing distance. He continued casually going through the pictures, one by one.

“I’m serious,” she said with a frown. “Give it to me.”

“Not yet,” he snapped. “I’m in man-candy heaven.”

She rolled her eyes.

“You disapprove, sister?”

“They’re Seven Soldiers, Dex. Barely even human.”

“That doesn’t mean they’re not fun to look at,” he protested. “I’m not going to date one. Just having a nice, long stare.”

She tried to glare disapprovingly at him, but he gave her the innocent grin that had always managed to keep him out of trouble. His big, dark eyes seemed to glow in the reflection of the moonlight, and the spikes of his hair cast a funny-looking shadow over his brow. Although they both bore the darker coloring of Northerners, their hair and eyes were so close to true black that their skin paled in comparison. Dex finally relinquished the camera, and she peeked. He wasn’t joking that the soldiers were hot. He nudged her, seeing her expression, and wiggled his eyebrows. She laughed. The two of them very rarely had the same taste in men, thank the Lord, but this was one of those times that it was hard to argue.

“Yeah, well I think the really attractive part of the scene is all the money being thrown at said man-candy,” she retorted. “It looks like the timing will work out in about five minutes. The collection crew should come through to get most of the crystal money out of the way of the dance floor. Clear enough path, right? And dark, so we should be able to blend.”

“Sure,” he agreed.

It was ladies’ night, and the whole thing was super creepy. Kai had known about the club scene forever, but she preferred to stay away. Not that poor-looking thieves like her were allowed in by the bouncers anyway, but it would’ve been easy to pass as a wealthy citizen and have a night out. Dex had done it often, and offered to give her a ‘Club Seven makeover,’ but the whole concept gave her the shivers. Her experience tonight served to confirm her instincts. There was a disturbing aspect to the pictures that sent chills up her spine. She couldn’t decide if it was the predatory, animalistic glare on the faces of the soldiers themselves, or the indifferent smirks of their handlers that unnerved her more. 

“Let’s just get this over with,” she sighed. “I don’t like it here.”

“Alright,” agreed Dex, getting serious. He was a great thief because, in the end, he easily shed his usual air of arrogance and got down to business. “Just like we planned with Leo. I’ll go around the side of the smaller liquor bar, and you sneak around to the other wall by the food. That’s likely where a lot of the swept crystals will accumulate since the collection crew hovers around there.”

“Got it,” she said as they slid back through the side door and into the awaiting sensory overload.

This time, Dex walked casually across the stone floor and down the two steps to the dance area. Upon reaching the back of the dance floor, he waited for the strobe lights to give way to dim redness, and ducked into a crouch. He skittered across the last few feet of polished wood, situating himself between the club’s back wall and the smaller, circular bar. Kai watched him disappear behind the smooth rock before she ducked and ran along the nearest wall, cutting close to the guarded front entryway on the right. She slithered through the undulating crowd of eager ladies, and toward the stage. 

She paused for a second to look at the young men being held there like circus animals. She had never seen actual Seven Soldiers this close before, and her curiosity got the best of her. Yes, they were attractive; perfectly built and handsome as hell. But they were dauntingly huge, and their eyes were empty; unseeing and unfeeling. Each one had a thick collar around his neck, buzzing with pale blue electrical energy. They were powered by a different sort of crystal, she assumed. Those collars were supposedly the only thing that could keep them docile. She shivered again.

Their handlers, who ranged in appearance from mildly attractive to downright ugly, had a wider range of facial expressions; some attentive and at-the-ready while others were apathetic and bored. The huge throng of screaming women threw small, flat crystals at the performing soldiers on stage, doling out more money than Kai had ever seen just for the chance to interact with a monster. The money they spent allowed them to climb up and pour a glass of liquor down a soldier’s throat or feed him food from the long table to the right of the stage. They could also have a dance with a chained, brain-dampened soldier, or do even less savory things in private rooms upstairs.

Supposedly the young men couldn’t resist the offerings. They were Seven Soldiers, which meant they were sinners, and this was a place to witness their unleashed gluttony. They opened their mouths each time, indifferent but accepting of the food and drink that gorged them through the course of the evening. Their rage, too dangerous to be put on display, was kept in check by the handlers, so supposedly they were as complacent as puppies in this state only. No sex, though. That was too much of a liability. That was the club’s cover story at least, but Kai knew that handlers could be paid off. She had even heard of women scoring tickets for backstage passes to the Eastern Fortress where the soldiers were kept. 

She shimmied along the perimeter of the club beside the stage, shaking her hips to the music’s frantic beat, trying to blend in. She darted under the long, beautifully decorated food table once the strobe lights started up again. With quick, fluid movements, she settled herself centrally under the table, where a hanging silvery cloth obscured her from view. She saw Dex across the way, sweeping up handfuls of the crystals that had fallen to the floor, putting them into his cloth sack. Perfect timing was critical, because there had to be enough money to be worth Leo’s while, but not so much that the club collectors noticed something wrong when they came through to bag it up. She pulled out her own sack and started brushing in money that had fallen or been swept under the table by the collectors. Simple. 

As she was shoveling the crystals into her take-away bag, the smell of the food on the table above hit her nostrils and her mouth began to water. The soldiers really did get the good stuff. What a waste. There was fresh fruit, cakes and chocolates, and platters of meat and cheese. She couldn’t remember the last time she had eaten something besides dry bread, and even that had been scarce lately. She continued to absentmindedly shovel money into the sack, but now her eyes were focused on a spot where the tablecloth had accidentally gotten tucked up in the corner, affording her a crooked view of the tabletop. There sat a huge piece of cake that hung precariously over the side, shaking as dancing women jostled by. Her breath caught in her throat as it slid off and landed on the floor about a foot to her left.

As her hand seemed to instinctively reach out and grab for the fallen treasure, she saw Dex shaking his head frantically out of the corner of her eye. She felt a boot-clad foot slam down hard on her hand seconds later, and a wave of pain shot through her body. Her head hit the underside of the table and food spilled all around her. Terror gripped her insides like a live wire, and she froze. Quickly, she shook herself out of it and tried to reclaim her hand, but it was too late. The black boot held tight, and she saw a hand reach under the tablecloth, getting ready to lift it and expose her completely. She had to think fast.

Kai shoved herself sideways, toward whoever was standing on her left hand, and bit into the person’s calf, right above where the boot ended. Her teeth sunk easily through the thin cotton uniform into skin and flesh. She didn’t hear any scream over the blasting music, but the booted foot slid sideways just enough as a hand clasped it defensively. That was all she needed. She saw the face of the person who had caught her for only a second. He was young and gaunt, with pasty skin and pointy features. A handler. He must’ve been in the process of escorting his soldier past the front of the stage when he had spotted her fool attempt to grab the damn cake. She could beat herself up later. Now, she had to run.

She darted past the table and away from the stage, choosing the back door across the dance floor as an exit point. She shoved around several club-goers, knocking a few to the floor as she fled through the crowd. She didn’t dare to glance at Dex as she practically jumped over him on her way out. The last thing she needed was the guilt of getting him busted, too. They could reunite back at the rendezvous point. She slammed into the door in her panic, frantically felt around, grabbed the exit bar and pushed, then bolted out into the night.

She was at least twenty yards from the building, sand rising to resist in slow, messy heaps with each crunch of her shoes, when she stole a glance behind herself. Her heart jumped into her throat. Not only was the handler chasing her; he had brought his soldier, too. The man-beast couldn’t have been more than seventeen or eighteen years old, but he was huge. He had to be at least seven feet tall and almost as wide, with muscles popping out everywhere as he bounded soundlessly after her. Taut muscles rippled over his entire body, highlighting the contrast of his distended stomach, and making him appear even more savage as he darted across the sand in his bare feet. He was clothed only in the gold loincloth that was his club outfit, but the blankness in his eyes had given way to something far more primal, his snarling face letting her know that the party was definitely over. Whatever the mental switch was that kept him calm—it had been flipped.

“Get back here, you biting little bitch!” yelled the handler. 

She froze for a second, hoping his limping from her bite would slow both him and his monstrous soldier-boy down, but to her horror, the glowing chain slipped out of his hand. He cursed and made a grab for it as Kai screamed. She picked up speed as she headed across the desert sand in the direction of the outer wall of the city. Eastern Pless would hide her in its cesspool of overcrowded streets. She could go back to Leo’s place. The soldier might get his hands on a citizen or two, but he would be stopped. They were always taken down if they got loose inside the city’s walls.

Kai still had her heart and eyes set on the safety of the city’s distant lights when the snarling soldier dove and grabbed her around the legs. She screamed as she fell, and tried to claw at his arms, but he didn’t seem to notice. His fingernails ripped her skin as he flipped her over and dragged her toward his waiting mouth. 

He’s going to eat me alive.

His face was very close to her now, and even in this dim light, she could see that he had the pale skin of a southerner, and ear-length blond hair. She was surprised again by how very young he looked. Then she saw his eyes. There was no humanity in the heavily dilated pupils; only death. His open-mouthed roar exposed a straight line of teeth, with four unnaturally sharp, piercing incisors. Now face to face, she saw that the tiny rings of iris around his pupils were light brown, but the pupils themselves weren’t black the way they were supposed to be. The spot in the middle of the brown glowed with an odd blue tinge that lit his face. 

Flinching, she prepared to be ripped apart. Instead, a huge jolt that rattled through her body, from the base of her spine to the top of her head, making her teeth clamp down on a shriek. Her eyes flew open, and she saw that the handler had regained control. He grabbed the chain leash around his charge’s neck and pressed a button. Waves of electricity rocked the giant, sending his body into spasms. Kai breathed a sigh of relief, even as she felt the power surge pass through him and into her own body. The last thing she thought before she lost consciousness was that it was far better to be electrocuted than to be torn to shreds by that monster.

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Author Tracy Auerbach

Author Tracy Auerbach

About the Author
Tracy Auerbach is an author of science fiction and fantasy for teens and adults. As an avid reader with a vivid imagination, she chose to study film, English, and education, and went on to teach and write STEM curriculum for the New York Department of Education. This helped to polish her writing skills and ignite her passion for science fiction and fantasy.

Her first scholarly article, published in Language Magazine, was about the value of active, creative learning in science. On the fiction side, Tracy’s work has been featured in the online literary journal Micro-horror, The Writing Disorder fiction anthology, and the “(Dis)ability” short story anthology, in addition to her novels.

When she is not teaching or writing, Tracy is usually reading or spending time with her family. She lives in New York with her husband and sons.

 

 

Where to Find Tracy Auerbach
Goodreads | Website Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – LADY LUCK (Harem Station) by J.A. Huss Writing as K.C. Cross

LADY LUCK Book Blitz

Welcome to the book blitz for LADY LUCK, the fourtth book in the adult scifi alien romance series, Harem Station, by USA Today bestselling author, J.A. Huss writing as K.C. Cross. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

LADY LUCK (Harem Station #4) by J.A. Huss Writing as K.C. Cross

LADY LUCK (Harem Station #4) by J.A. Huss Writing as K.C. Cross

About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title:
LADY LUCK
Series: Harem Station #4
Author: J.A. Huss writing as K.C. Cross
Release Date: July 8, 2019
Genre: Adult SciFi Alien Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Synopsis
KC Cross is the pen name of New York Times bestselling author, JA Huss.

Luck knew two things when he left Harem Station months ago. One. The silver-haired Cygnian princess Nyleena was still safely frozen in her cryopod. And two. There was a good chance she was his soulmate.

He left anyway.

Nyleena is what you might call feisty. Or sassy. Or maybe just… feral. She is wild. Much too wild for Luck’s taste. But now that he’s home there’s no way to deny it. Like it or not, she is his. Lucky for him, all Cygnian princesses have one true weakness. They cannot resist cooking up crazy plans to tackle unsolvable problems. And he’s going to use that irresistible urge to tame her savage spirit.

Nyleena has plans of her own and none of them involve Luck. She is out for blood. All the people who made her life hell will be dealt with, and she’s going to find every single one of them and take them out. Right after she solves this one last unsolvable problem…

How not to fall in love with your soulmate.

Lady Luck is a sexy hate-f*ck of a story about a wild princess, six hot brothers trying to tame her, bad relationship advice from killer sexbots, your favorite evil, but misunderstood, dragonbee bot, and a repentant AI trapped in a sex prison with a succubus.

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LADY LUCK Teaser

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Excerpt 2
NYLEENA

The only thing I hate more about Luck than the fact that we’re forced to fuck every day to keep our sanity is his lack of dirty talk.

He refuses to talk to me or let me talk to him.

That makes me ragey. Because dirty talk is my favorite and he won’t engage.

But one of these days…

“Come,” he commands me.

“Are you kidding?” I ask. “We just started.”

He slaps his hand over my mouth and the rage that was only imaginary two seconds ago manifests in all its glorious reality when I wrap my legs around his middle and squeeze him so tight with my thighs, he gasps. 

Take that, asshole. 

He glares at me, momentarily distracted. And I use that distraction to my advantage by twisting my body and flipping him over so he’s on his back.

He’s still inside me, the heads of both his cocks swollen in place. Locking us together until we come and relieve the lust hidden deep inside our genetically-matched souls. 

My tits bounce on his chest and he grabs my hair, shoots me a warning glare.

I know what that glare says. Don’t make me bleed, Nyleena.

He shoots this look at me every time, and every time I take it as a challenge.

I raise my hand up.

“Don’t,” he growls.

“Oh,” I say. “He can speak. Tell me more,” I purr.

“Do not—”

But I do it anyway.

I swipe my nails right down the side of his cheek and hiss at him like a feral cat.

He wraps his muscled arms around my upper body, squeezing me tight as he pulls me down on to his chest.

I’ll admit, Luck is strong. And when he gets me in a lock like this, there’s no way I can escape until he lets me.

But I don’t make it easy.

I squirm and twist in his grip. All the while his hips are thrusting up with powerful force. So hard that his balls are slapping against my clit.

This momentarily takes my mind off the forced submission and I float a little.

“Come,” he commands again, growling out the word in my ear. “Right. Fucking—”

I do.

I come.

The light locked up inside me pulses out in flickering waves at first. And then it stops just as his cocks contract inside me. My luminous flux holds steady for a moment so when his contractions are over, and his sperm is ready to explode into me, my flux knows what to do and it bursts into fractals of geometrically-shaped light that dance and crackle around our bodies. Electrifying them like charged ions flowing out from a sun on a matrix of deep, dark space-time.

He throws me over to the side, his cocks slipping out of me, dripping with our shared release, and breathes hard and heavy.

I lie there with eyes closed. Not caring that he just literally threw me away.

Because this is the best part.

I wait for him to tuck his dicks away, mumble out, “Thank you,” as he walks off and leaves me alone.

And then… I let out the last of my climax.

Because I never give him all of me. 

I have one little hidden, secret surprise that he will never know about.

I open my eyes and come for real. Silver-laced lavender light shoots up and out, bouncing off the UV reflectors above the grass and flowers, and comes back down to blanket my body, and this entire secret garden, in a soft, purple glow.

And all the plants around me grow ten times taller from my sexy, lust-filled, nutritious light.

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LADY LUCK Teaser

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Author J.A. Huss

Author J.A. Huss

About the Authors
JA Huss is the New York Times Bestselling author of 321 and has been on the USA Today Bestseller’s list 21 times in the past five years. She writes characters with heart, plots with twists, and perfect endings.

Her new sexy sci-fi romance and paranormal romance pen name is KC Cross and she writes novels and teleplays collaboratively with actor and screenwriter, Johnathan McClain.

Her books have sold millions of copies all over the world, the audio version of her semi-autobiographical book, Eighteen, was nominated for a Voice Arts Award and an Audie Award in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Her audiobook, Mr. Perfect, was nominated for a Voice Arts Award in 2017. Her audiobook, Taking Turns, was nominated for an Audie Award in 2018. Five of her book were optioned for a TV series by MGM television in 2018. And her book, Total Exposure, was nominated for a RITA Award in 2019.

She lives on a ranch in Central Colorado with her family..

Where to Find J.A. Huss
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Fan GroupTwitter | Instagram | BookBub

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Book Blitz – Interview + Giveaway – UNEXPECTED COMMANDER (Unexpected) by Layla Stone

UNEXPECTED COMMANDER Book Blitz

Welcome to the book blitz for UNEXPECTED COMMANDER, the third book in the adult science fiction romance series, Unexpected, by Layla Stone. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive interview, and details on her giveaway.

UNEXPECTED COMMANDER (Unexpected #3) by Layla Stone

UNEXPECTED COMMANDER (Unexpected #3) by Layla Stone

About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title: UNEXPECTEDCOMMANDER
Series: Unexpected #3
Author: Layla Stone
Release Date: June 24, 2019
Genre:
Adult Science Fiction Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Synopsis
She’s shy and timid. He’s unsocial and arrogant.

Yon’s past hardened him to the point that he speaks the raw truth without thinking about the consequences. He’s always been that way, but if he’s not careful he’s going lose more than the sweetest female he’s ever known, he’s going to lose a potential mate.

Yelena’s past conditioned her to be obedient and silent. She’s always been a loner, but when she meets Yon in the cages of Brica, she’s drawn to him and his strength. If only he’d notice she’s not as weak as he thinks she is.

Yelena has a chance to help find the Numan who turned her skin luminescent. During the mission something goes wrong and she has to rely on Yon once more… or is it Yon who has to rely on her?

 

 

 

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UNEXPECTED COMMANDER Teaser

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Author Interview:
Q: Are there any secrets from the book, you can share with your readers?

A: I don’t want to ruin it for anyone, but I will suggest to pay attention to Ansel in this one.

Q: Can you share a snippet that isn’t in the blurb or excerpt?

A: “Are you always like this?”

Yon placed her on the bed, took a pillow, and handed it to her. “Keep the foot elevated. And, no, I’m not always like this.”

She held up her hand, hoping he wouldn’t leave her yet. She wanted to understand him better. “And when you say, ‘not always like this,’ do you mean you don’t knock people unconscious a lot?”

His head tilted slightly. “No, I meant I don’t usually come down to the planets I hate just to find a specific female and bring her back safely.”

It took a half-second longer than it should have for her to process that. “You came for me?”

“You shouldn’t have been down here in the first place.”

Yelena didn’t know what to say to that.

“Good thing you didn’t like Lotus Adaamas, because it was the last time you’re going to see it.” Yon was still holding out the pillow. His tone didn’t sound angry, more matter-of-fact. 

She took the pillow and said, “Is it because of my skin? Or because of something else?”

“All of that and more.”

“What else could there be?”

“I will write you a list.”

Q: Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?

A: I’ve meet males like the hero before and I’ve always wanted to see him with a happily ever after, but more often than not, he can’t soften enough to be in a relationship.

Q: What do you hope your readers take away from this book?

A: I hope they are interested in the next book, to be honest.

Q: Can you give us some insight into what makes the hero tick?

A: He’s got a chip on his shoulder a thousand miles high, brought on by upbringing

Q: What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?

A: It was hard to soften the hero enough to make him a character my readers would enjoy instead of hate. I re-wrote this book three times just to get the romance right.

Q: What was the highlight of writing this book?

A: My favorite part of writing is sending 2-3 chapters to my beta reader and getting her thoughts via marco-polo app. 

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UNEXPECTED COMMANDER Teaser

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Get Caught Up on the Series:

Book 1: UNEXPECTED HOSTAGE
Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Book 2: UNEXPECTED DEMON
Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

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Author Layla Stone

Author Layla Stone

About the Author
Layla Stone is a Sci-Fi Romance author who is passionate about writing and reading romances. Her books are a blend of science fiction, romance and action adventure.

A business coordinator by training and a bookworm at heart, Layla makes her home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband, two children, and a trio of fur babies.

You can find more information about her characters and their races at www.authorLaylaStone.com

To learn more about Layla, her life and writing process, copy and paste this link into your browser and join her monthly newsletter.

 

Where to Find Layla Stone
Goodreads | Website | NewsletterFacebook | Twitter | Amazon

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Book Blitz – Teaser + Giveaway – SKIN HUNTER (Skin Hunter Series) by Tania Hutley

SKIN HUNTER Book Blitz

Welcome to the book blitz for SKIN HUNTER, the first book in the young new adult dystopian science fiction series, Skin Hunter, by USA Today bestselling author Tania Hutley.  See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive teaser, and details on her giveaway.

SKIN HUNTER (Skin Hunter #1) by Tania Hutley

SKIN HUNTER (Skin Hunter #1) by Tania Hutley

About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title: SKIN HUNTER
Series: Skin Hunter #1
Author: Tania Hutley
Release Date: June 18, 2019
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Science Fiction
Link: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Synopsis
She didn’t want to do it… But she was desperate.

Trying to escape the dangerous streets of Old Triton, the buried city, Milla takes the ultimate risk. Could a dead girl’s identity be her way out? A ticket to a richer, brighter world high above the muck and gloom of her old life?

Now she’s part of a high tech contest, with a prize beyond money, fame and everything she has ever known. A chance to become something… new. But if anyone finds out who Milla really is, she’s dead.

The other competitors come from privilege, their faces and bodies tweaked to perfection. Rich and handsome Cale could be the most dangerous of all. Why is he so interested in a scarred, ugly “sinker” like Milla?

To survive, she needs to be brave. To win, she needs to evolve.

Just try and stop her.

Skin Hunter is an upper YA science fiction novel – a futuristic, dystopian thrill-ride with a spark of romance.

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SKIN HUNTER Teaser

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SKIN HUNTER Teaser

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Author Tania Hutley

Author Tania Hutley

About the Author
Tania Hutley is a USA Today bestselling author who loves sci fi movies and wishes she lived in the Whedon-verse.

Tania also writes sexy contemporary romance using a top-secret pen name. She could tell you what that pen name is, but then she’d have to turn you into a chicken.

 

 

.

Where to Find Tania Hutley
Goodreads | WebsiteFacebook 

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Cover Reveal – THE UNADJUSTEDS by Marisa Noelle

THE UNADJUSTEDS Cover Reveal

Author Marisa Noelle is revealing the cover to THE UNADJUSTEDS, a young adult dystopian scifi, releasing November 1, 2019. See below for information on the book and preorder links.

THE UNADJUSTEDS by Marisa Noelle

THE UNADJUSTEDS by Marisa Noelle

About the Book
Title: THE UNADJUSTEDS
Author: Marisa Noelle
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian SciFi
Release Date: November 1, 2019
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | The Unadjusteds

Synopsis
Sixteen-year-old Silver Melody lives in a world where 80% of the population has modified their DNA. Known as the altereds, those people now possess enhancements like wings, tails, and increased strength or intelligence. Although Silver’s parents created the nanite pill used to deliver these genetic modifications, Silver is proud of her unadjusted state.

However, when the president declares all unadjusteds must take a nanite, Silver has no choice but to flee the city with her father and some friends to prevent the extinction of the unadjusteds.

With Silver’s mother in prison for treason, Silver’s father is the unadjusteds’ only hope at finding a cure. But time is running out as Silver’s father is captured by the president’s almost immortal army. Vicious hellhounds are on Silver’s trail, and her only chance to recover her father involves teaming up with a new group of unlikely friends before all humanity is lost.

 

 

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THE UNADJUSTEDS

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Author Marisa Noelle

Author Marisa Noelle

About the Author
MARISA NOELLE is a writer of young adult and middle grade novels. She leans towards grounded science-fiction, urban fantasy and paranormal but mental health issues are important to her writing too.

Her first book, THE SHADOW KEEPERS is due out JULY 30TH 2019 and her second, THE UNADJUSTEDS, NOVEMBER 1ST 2019. There is also a forthcoming series, THE MERMAID CHRONICLES: SECRETS OF THE DEEP, due at the end of 2019.

Marisa had plenty of ideas for career and still regrets not moving to Hawaii to train dolphins and pretend the real world didn’t exist. Struggling with anxiety led her to the field of psychology. Heavily influenced by underdog movies such as The Karate Kid she realized her mission in life was to help other people, through any medium. Embarking on a psychology degree, she wanted to emulate her hero, Jodie Foster, from Silence of the Lambs and actually tried to secure work experience at Broadmoor. Thankfully she left the idea of criminal profiling behind, but uses many of these aspects in her novels.

Now a full-time novelist, she lives in Surrey, UK with her husband and three children..

Where to find Marisa Noelle
Goodreads Website | Facebook Twitter | Instagram

 

 

Blog Tour – Excerpt + Giveaway – CONVICTION (A New World) by M.D. Neu

CONVICTION Blog Tour

Welcome to the blog tour for CONVICTION, the second book in the adult science fiction fantasy series, A New World, by M.D. Neu. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on his giveaway.

CONVICTION (A New World #2) by M.D. Neu

CONVICTION (A New World #2) by M.D. Neu

About the Book
Title: CONVICTION
Series: A New World #2
Author: M.D. Neu
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: March 25, 2019
Genre: Adult Science Fiction/Fantasy/LGBTQ+
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooksKobo | GooglePlay

Synopsis
A little blue world, the third planet from the sun. It’s home to 7 billion people with all manner of faiths, beliefs and customs, divided by bigotry and misunderstanding, who will soon be told they are not alone in the universe. Anyone watching from the outside would pass by this fractured and tumultuous world, unless they had no other choice. Todd Landon is one of these people, living and working in a section of the world called the United States of America. His life is similar to those around him: home, family, work, friends and a husband.

On the cusp of the greatest announcement humankind has ever witnessed, Todd’s personal world is thrown into turmoil when his estranged brother shows up on his front porch with news of ships heading for Earth’s orbit. The ships are holding the Nentraee, a humanoid race who have come to Earth in need of help after fleeing the destruction of their homeworld. How will one man bridge the gap for both the Humans and Nentraee, amongst mistrust, terrorist attacks and personal loss? Will this be the start of a new age of man or will bigotry and miscommunication bring this small world to its knees and final end?

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Excerpt #2
In this excerpt Todd is getting ready to meet the full nentraee Speaker’s House for the first time. It is a tense moment between Todd and Vi-Narm and a moment where Todd learns that not all the nentraee may think as highly of him as Mi’ko, the vice-speaker, and Mirtoff, the speaker general do. I hope you enjoy:

Todd finished reviewing the details on the ceremony before leaving his quarters.

Ceremony. Bullshit! It’s not a ceremony but an interview in front of the full Speaker’s House. Why didn’t Vi-Narm tell me? She made it out to be no big deal.

He rushed down the hall, his cloak, the Kap’erin, billowed out behind him. Several Nentraee stopped and bowed as he passed. He turned the corner and checked his datapad for directions. His palms were damp. His heart pounded, and not from rushing.

Vi-Narm waited for him outside large ornate doors decorated with carvings of gold and silver. The surrounding light bounced off the metals, creating shimmering circles of light on the floor.

“Todd.” Vi-Narm offered a stiff bow, her cloak shifting about her shoulders.

Damn it.

He should have been more diligent, not assuming that all the reports she gave him were the only ones.

We’ll learn to work together. If I survive this.

“Hello, Vi-Narm,” Todd said as he searched for a hint of a friendly greeting, but her face was stern and her lips a straight line.

“We will go in the council chamber where the Speaker’s House will be in session.” She eyed him coolly. “Once they address us, you will present yourself and answer their questions to the best of your ability. The interview process is simple, so you should have no trouble. But, do not be fooled. This will also decide if they will accept you.”

“Wait. Accept me?” Todd tried to process while catching his breath. “What happens if they don’t approve of me? Mi’ko didn’t say anything about that.”

What happens if I can’t understand their broken English and answer the question wrong? God, I hope it’s in English.

“Then he must believe you will be fine and not want to worry you.” The slightest suggestion of a smile reached her lips.

Sweat broke out on his forehead. Vi-Narm had sent him file after file last night for review. “There was so much information to review, and some of it made no sense until I researched it further, taking more time.” He frowned. “It didn’t help that you’ve been sending me a ton of information. I haven’t been able to sort through it all.”

“It’s not my job to help you sort through what I send.” Vi-Narm’s voice was calm. Cold. “I send the document that are required for all your different tasks. It is your responsibility to organize them and go through them and be prepared.”

Todd shook his head and stared at the floor. He inhaled deeply and met her eyes. “I would’ve appreciated you pointing out the information that was important for today’s events. I could’ve focused on it.”

“Perhaps you should organize your time better, or is that a failing of your character?”

“But I—”

“It was in the report I send to you this morning,” she interrupted. “You did read it? Did you not?”

“Today? This morning? As in, while I was still in bed, or while I was getting ready for this interview?”

Or when I was on the toilet?

Trying not to sound as pissed as he felt, he checked his pocket watch. Since getting it, he kept it with him as a good-luck piece. Now, more than ever, he needed the luck.

“Vi-Narm, how could you send it this morning? I didn’t have a chance—you made it sound like this was only my welcome ceremony. That was my impression from… I didn’t have a chance to…”

She hates me. That’s why she’s doing this. She hates me and is determined for me to fail.

He saw a hint of a smile, and he was sure there was a brief twinkle in her eyes.

God, she’s a total bitch. With luck, she’ll trip and fall on her way into the chamber. That might loosen the stick up her ass.

He took a breath and held back the frown that was stalking his face. “I’ll do my best.”

She watched the chamber doors open. “Let us hope Mi’ko’s faith in you is well placed.”

The soft ticking of his watch reminded him why he was here.

I can do this.

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Get Caught Up on the Series

Book 1: CONTACT
Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

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Author M.D. Neu

Author M.D. Neu

About The Author
M.D. Neu is a LGBTQA Fiction Writer with a love for writing and travel. Living in the heart of Silicon Valley (San Jose, California) and growing up around technology, he’s always been fascinated with what could be. Specifically drawn to Science Fiction and Paranormal television and novels, M.D. Neu was inspired by the great Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, Stephen King, Alice Walker, Alfred Hitchcock, Harvey Fierstein, Anne Rice, and Kim Stanley Robinson. An odd combination, but one that has influenced his writing.

Growing up in an accepting family as a gay man he always wondered why there were never stories reflecting who he was. Constantly surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, M.D. Neu decided he wanted to change that. So, he took to writing, wanting to tell good stories that reflected our diverse world.

When M.D. Neu isn’t writing, he works for a non-profit and travels with his biggest supporter and his harshest critic, Eric his husband of eighteen plus years..

Where to Find M.D. Neu
Goodreads | Website | NewsletterFacebook | Twitter

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Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – THE RULE OF MANY (The Rule of One) by Ashley and Leslie Saunders

THE RULE OF MANY Book Blitz

Welcome to the book blitz for THE RULE OF MANY, the second book in the young adult dystopian series, The Rule of One, by Ashley and Leslie Saunders. See below for information the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on their giveaway.

THE RULE OF MANY (The Rule of One #2) by Ashley Saunders

THE RULE OF MANY (The Rule of One #2) by Ashley Saunders

About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title: THE RULE OF MANY
Series: The Rule of One #2
Author: Ashley Saunders
Publisher: Skyscape
Release Date: May 3, 2019
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Synopsis
Born to a death sentence in a near-future America, rebellious sisters herald a revolution—if they can survive.

Twins Ava and Mira Goodwin defy the Rule of One simply by existing. The single-child law, ruthlessly enforced by Texas’s Governor Roth, has made the sisters famous fugitives and inspirations for the resurgent rebellion known as the Common.

But the relentless governor and his implacable Texas State Guard threaten that fragile hope, as Roth consolidates his power in a bid for ultimate authority.

As Ava and Mira relinquish the relative safety of their Canadian haven to stand against Roth, new allies arise: Owen, a gifted young programmer, impulsively abandons his comfortable life in a moment of compassion, while Zee, an abused labor camp escapee, finds new purpose in resistance.

The four will converge on Dallas for a reckoning with Roth, with nothing less than their destinies—and the promise of a future free from oppression—on the line.

Disobedience means death. But a life worth living demands rebellion.

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Excerpt #2
MIRA

Limos and luxury cars line the extensive circular driveway, stuffed with partygoers ready for the welcoming bash. Mrs. and Mr. Cross have already arrived with much fanfare from their son and his doting employees. I wonder if Ciro’s sisters are here.

I hear him get on the microphone, introducing his unwitting parents onto the stage of the overflowing banquet hall, the governor of Alberta and the mayor of Calgary looking on from the front row.

Everything’s falling nicely into place. If only the man of the hour would show.

I look at my watch: 7:30 p.m. He’s late. Ava’s knee bounces furiously, as if she can shake out her anxiety.

“He’ll come,” I say.

From our hideout in the corner of the foyer, shadowed and easily overlooked, we have the best seats in the house. A perfect vantage point to see and be unseen. Ava scans the budding festivities through the glass walls on our left. I keep my eyes on the glass windows straight ahead, seeing past the dazzling flares from the cars’ headlights, holding out for the first glimpse of the president.

A string quartet begins to play, and an electric energy pulsates through the hotel, enlivening the crowd around us with a giddy exhilaration, and I can’t help but feel it too. Eager, I spring to my feet. I pace up and down our tucked-away corner, checking the time, watching Emery from across the room, waiting on her signal.

“Do you hear that?” Ava asks. She stares up at the ceiling. I move beside her as we listen to the muffled roar of whirling blades slicing the air somewhere above the building.

“A helicopter,” Ava says.

“He’s here.”

We look to Emery, who stands near the entrance, her gaze locked skyward. Guests file past as she removes a headscarf from her pocket, drapes the silk over her distinctive curls, and pulls it into a tight knot at the back of her neck. She folds her right arm over her chest, our cue to move.

I feel, rather than see, Barend steal into place behind us, our long shadow, as we push to the end of the foyer. Pawel detaches himself from the crowd and crosses our path as he follows Emery out the front door. “Lots of luck,” he whispers earnestly. Like luck has anything to do with it. It’s all up to us.

Our target is the oversized clock that consumes the entire wall alongside the vacant concierge desk. Ava stops before the number six, and we slip behind a false door and stride side by side down an empty staff hallway. Three right turns, two left, a final door, and we’re outside.

There are no lights behind the hotel and no people. The night is chilly and moonless, but we find the footpath we were directed to take and make our silent way to the small grove of trees just twenty yards out.

Ten paces in, Ava and I turn from the path and weave through the evergreens until we spot the narrow clearing that is to be our stage. We position ourselves in its center, shoulder to shoulder, and wait. Somewhere to our right, concealed within the trees and darkness, Barend stands guard.

When told of the plan, Emery immediately authorized the private rendezvous. She knows pleading our case face-to-face with the president is the only way. Cameras and screens provide a barrier, Emery said. The media paints you solely as American rebels. Let him see how human you are. With Pawel at her side, Emery is to meet and escort the president here, while Ciro entertains his parents and guests, keeping them safely ignorant inside the banquet hall.

The minutes tick off, and Ava starts to shiver from either the cold or nerves. Or is that me shivering? Ava and I brought no weapons with us, to show good faith. No guns, no knives. Just us, with our naked conviction and hope.

This could be our last stop, a final end to the endless chase. A place to plan and plot and devise our crucial counterattack.

Ava nudges me with a sharp elbow. She points to the trees in front of us. Two distinct shapes emerge, a faint silhouette floating behind.

“Ready?” I whisper needlessly. Ava tightens her jaw, and I ball my hands into white-knuckled fists. I take a big gulp of air and exhale slowly. My breath comes out in swirling smoke, reminding me of a dragon. There’s a fire inside me, and suddenly I feel warm and calm. One look from Ava and I know she feels it too.

We’re ready.

The outlines become faces and bodies. Emery appears first, then President Moore, with Pawel a few steps behind. I stare at Moore, transfixed, my eyes glued to the man who can grant us refuge.

He stumbles forward, as if his own eyes have not yet adjusted to the dark. I search his every feature, looking for any hint of surprise, or shock, or understanding. But his face, though startlingly attractive in the starlight, is blank. Indifferent.

“President Moore,” Emery says, “this is Ava and Mira Goodwin.” He looks at us cross-eyed, his round eyes squinting as he takes us in. We all stand motionless, awaiting his response.

“You don’t look identical to me,” the president finally states, his thin voice magnified in the still night air. “One of you’s slightly taller, the other rounder.”

The leader of the free world opens with an insult. My first reaction is to defend my identicalness. Surprising, when all I’ve ever wanted is to be seen as different from Ava.

“Sir—” Ava and I speak at the same time.

The president laughs. “Ah, there it is.” The ground spins as he turns to leave. “This conversation will be moved to a different setting. Just the twins and me.”

Barend detaches from the shadows. Pawel and Emery enclose my sister and me. Ava grabs my arm, her grip tight enough to bruise.

“We do not agree to any change—” Emery starts, but Moore shouts over her.

“Security!”

Everything shatters, all plans and expectations smashed to pieces.

A gunshot rings out, then two more.

“Run!” Emery yells.

The last thing I see is Ava’s face, twisted in fear and fury.

Then something covers my eyes. My mouth.

I’m thrown over a bulky shoulder, the deafening sounds of a helicopter growing louder with every footfall. With every one of my muffled screams.

I’m shoved against something solid. I reach out, arms flailing, but there’s no one beside me. Ava.

I feel the chopper lift into the sky. Two spinning blades taking me higher and higher away from Common ground.

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Get Caught Up on the Series

Book 1: THE RULE OF ONE
Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

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Authors Ashley and Leslie Saunders

Authors Ashley and Leslie Saunders

About the Author
Hailing from the suburbs of Dallas, Texas, Ashley Saunders and Leslie Saunders are award-winning filmmakers and twin sisters who honed their love of storytelling at The University of Texas at Austin. While researching The Rule of One, they fell in love with America’s national parks, traveling the path of Ava and Mira. The sisters can currently be found with their Boston terriers in sunny Los Angeles, exploring hiking trails and drinking entirely too much yerba mate.

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Where to Find Ashley and Leslie Saunders
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

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