Welcome to the book blitz for A TOUCH OF BRIMSTONE, the first book in the new adult fantasy romance series, Magic of the Damned, by McKenzie Hunter. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
A TOUCH OF BRIMSTONE (Magic of the Damned Series #1) by McKenzie Hunter
Synopsis They say you should never make a deal with the devil, but what about with the Prince of the Underworld?
Fresh off a breakup and an eviction, I started my day like any other: a book in one hand, a coffee in the other, and faking that can-do attitude inspirational memes are made of. I was ready to take on the world—and I did.
Unfortunately, it was the Underworld.
One freak accident later, I’m standing face to face with the sexy-as-sin and dangerously powerful Prince of the Underworld. He has a few burning questions for me—like how a mere human unlocked the door to the Underworld’s prison and released its prisoners.
I’d sure as hell like to know, too, because I have no freaking clue.
Now, instead of a forgettable bookstore clerk, I’m newly famous for doing the impossible. The wrong people want to thank me, and the rest want me dead. Spoiler alert: The Dark Prince definitely doesn’t want to thank me.
I’ll do anything to get my life back to normal and he’ll do anything to recapture the escapees. We make a deal: He’ll keep my enemies at bay, and I’ll find a way to return the prisoners.
Excerpt “I’ve been pulled into something that I definitely don’t want to be in, dealing with people I hope to never encounter again. I want it to be over. I want to have nothing to do with this situation or you dreadful people.” I lifted my hand, presenting the markings. “If working with you is the only way, then I’m in. If we are working together, no more threats. I don’t care how thinly veiled they are. You will not bully me. Are we clear?”
His expression changed but it was still indecipherable. Understanding? I don’t think that was it. Amusement? Definitely. Portentous? It better not be.
His lips curled slightly into a small, tight, mirthless smile. He looked over his shoulder at Anand who flashed a grin. “I’ve been commanded to behave,” Dominic said to him. The laughter in his voice made its way to his eyes.
“It’s just Luna,” I shot back.
“Luna. You are correct. I want to find the person behind this, especially if it is a Dark Caster. I know their history and the chaos and destruction they enjoy. It needs to be stopped. And to do so, we will have to work together.”
I’d been abducted and attacked by a vampire, sniffed by a lion, interrogated by a witch, and nearly devoured—or whatever his intentions were—by a wolf. I had every right to be overly cautious and I didn’t like the subtle undertones in his response. A limited alliance.
Author McKenzie Hunter
About the Author McKenzie, as a child, discovered that her life could be a whirlwind of adventures by simply opening a book. To this day, reading is still her favorite activity. She has a fondness for fantasy and mystery, which is probably why she writes urban fantasy.
When McKenzie isn’t working on her next book she is usually binge-watching paranormal and comedy shows, maintaining her title as “favorite auntie”, or trying to create a tasty low-calorie pizza. McKenzie loves to hear from her readers. Feel free to contact her via her website, Facebook, or email.
Welcome to the book blitz for CHARM WARS, the first book in the young adult fantasy series, Charm Wars, by Dan Lutts. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on his giveaway.
Synopsis Welcome to Caldon, a land of mages and magic, where the noblesse possess massive political and magical power and destroy anyone who threatens the noblesse way of life—especially the commoners.
Rill Larkin, the son of a commoner blacksmith, has high ambitions. To be a mage, join the exalted ranks of the ruling noblesse, and establish his own noblesse family. Defying both the system and his family, Rill becomes the apprentice of Deuth Estati, a powerful archmage. But appearances deceive. As training progresses, Rill learns of decades-long secrets and manipulations that threaten his dream. And Deuth might not be as benevolent as Rill thought.
Alyse Dejune despises magic, even if she does belong to one of the oldest and most powerful noblesse families in Caldon. The deceits and treacheries of noblesse life and the loveless marriage alliances among the noblesse families disgust her. Her family however has high expectations: that she fulfill her role as a noblesse girl by marrying Troy Estati, an arrogant, selfish noblesse boy she does not love. And Alyse harbors a secret—the potential to become one of the most powerful mages in generations and wield forbidden magic—that, if revealed, could mean her death.
In this deadly game of ever-shifting alliances, where the state wages perpetual war against an ancient enemy, Rill and Alyse are thrown together in a land where magic is failing. And as greedy noblesse families raid surrounding family compounds for powerful charms, Rill and Alyse are left standing at a terrible crossroads.
Excerpt #2 Chapter 14
A deafening explosion shook the back courtyard.
Alyse jerked into a sitting position in bed, her heart frozen and her mind whirling in confusion.
Kate’s connecting door with Alyse’s burst open. The meager flame from the finger lamp Kate held illuminated the sword and dagger buckled over her white cotton nightshift. “Get up! We’ve been attacked.”
Alyse scrambled out of bed, fear billowing up her throat, expanding with air until she almost choked.
Wild shouts, clangs of swords clashing, and voices crying in pain attacked her ears through the partially open window shutters. Alyse’s mind turned as blank as a parchment sheet. She strained to recall where she had put her dress. No! There wasn’t time to grab the dress because the cardinal rule had been drummed into her head since childhood. If the compound is attacked, go to the safe shelter immediately because even a moment’s delay could end with her death if the raiders quickly overwhelmed the family’s defenders.
Kate eased the door open and peeked into the family area.
Her heart hammering in her ears, Alyse peered over Kate’s shoulder.
Servants were racing through the family area lighting torches set in sconces along the walls to provide light for the defenders if the raiders should make it into the house. Backwatchers were sprinting toward the adults’ bedrooms on the side opposite Alyse’s to escort the other family members to the safe shelter.
The ring of sword against sword and ear-piercing cracks of spells and shouts of attackers and defenders moved into the peristyle garden just outside the family area.
Another blast shook the front courtyard.
“Come on!” Kate said.
They ran toward the dining room. Before they’d covered two spear lengths, the door to the garden burst inward with a deafening roar that made Alyse’s ears ring. A huge wood splinter whizzed by Alyse’s head as attackers charged into the family area.
“Back!” Kate cried. “Into the bedroom.”
They dashed inside. While Kate locked the door, Alyse closed and bolted the window shutters, then took the dagger from her dresser drawer and unsheathed the blade.
A sharp burst, followed by something crashing onto the floor. Booted feet pounded and swords clashed.
“Jade! Oh, Goddess—no! Help! Somebody, help!”
Alyse’s breath caught in her throat as she imagined her sister being hacked to pieces by the raiders. “Mora!” She charged toward the door.
Kate yanked her arm so fiercely that Alyse almost lost her footing. “We have to help ourselves.”
Shouting raiders raced past their door toward the receiving hall.
“Listen,” Kate said, her voice tight with urgency. “We don’t need to worry about the mages. They have to see their targets to cast spells. As for the bladeswomen, the door’s only wide enough to let in one or two at a time.”
Alyse’s nerves twitched as if they were being pricked by dozens of sharp-pointed pins. She gulped a deep breath that reached the bottom of her lungs, and nodded. She wouldn’t get out of this if she panicked.
Kate stoked the hearth to create a low flame, then drew her sword. “If they come in, let me do the fighting. Use your dagger only to defend yourself, and don’t hesitate to strike. Understand?”
Alyse’s fingers tightened around the dagger’s leather-wrapped grip. The weapon, puny though it was, gave her strength. “Yes.”
Kate extinguished the finger lamp. Alyse waited tensely in the shadows near the hearth while the sounds in Mora’s room subsided.
“The other’s in here.”
An earsplitting blast blew the door off its hinges.
A woman wielding a sword rushed over the shattered wood.
Kate cut her down.
A man and a woman leaped over the body. Kate met them face on, parrying their blades with both sword and dagger. The fight took them toward the sleeping alcove. Alyse beat down the urge to attack the raiders while their backs were to her.
A mage stepped over the body sprawled by the door. “Give me a clear cast!” he shouted.\
The two attackers split apart, exposing Kate to full view.
The mage pointed his staff at her.
Horror sealed off Alyse’s throat, threatening to choke her. Don’t hesitate. Kate’s injunction sliced through her brain like a knife cutting through bonds.
Alyse screamed and charged the mage.
Whirling, he swung the staff at her head.
Alyse ducked and plunged the dagger into his chest.
The mage dropped the staff and staggered backward.
Alyse scooped up the staff and smashed his skull with the orb.
He fell to the floor, dead.
Breathing hard, Alyse retrieved her dagger and turned toward the three shadowy figures battling. Part of her mind was mesmerized by Kate’s deadly skill—the first time she had ever seen her cousin fighting for real. The other part was terrified one of the raiders’ swords might slip through Kate’s guard because Kate was maneuvering to keep the attackers away from her.
A murky figure in the doorway blocked the torchlight from the family area. A bladeswoman holding a bloodstained sword.
Author Dan Lutts
About the Author Dan Lutts was brought up in Quincy, Massachusetts, and began addictively reading Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman comic books at an early age, much to his mother’s distress. In junior high school, he switched to reading science fiction novels. While in high school and college, he wrote science fiction short stories.
Dan taught history and archaeology in high school for ten years. After being laid off because of budget cuts, he used his love of writing to retrain and became a software technical editor and writer. He worked for several computer companies, taught technical writing at the college level, and worked as a freelance writer. Now, combining his love of history and writing, he works at a World War II museum doing research and writing.
Dan loves to read and has varied tastes, including Young Adult, historical fiction, mysteries, 18th-century sea epics, and history. He especially enjoys Young Adult fiction and decided to try his hand at it. Charm Wars, Dan’s first novel, is the result.
Dan lives in rural Maine with his wife, Lisa. When he’s not working or writing, Dan can be found reading, making and shooting medieval arrows with his longbow, or playing with his two dogs and two cats–all rescue animals.
You can learn more about Dan and the world of Charm Wars at https://www.danlutts.com/.
Welcome to the book blitz for A BREATH OF SUNLIGHT, the first book in the adult fantasy romance series, Sunlight and Shadows, by Sydney Winward. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
A BREATH OF SUNLIGHT (Sunlight and Shadows Series #1) by Sydney Winward
Synopsis Don’t show compassion for men. Never save a man’s life. And no matter what, never fall in love with someone you must ultimately kill. But some rules are meant to be broken, even if it means risking your life by betraying your valkyrie sisters.
The plan was simple—attack the Pits, kill the male slaves, save the women. But when Skaja runs into a fae man she can’t kill, she instead breaks all the rules to save him.
Prince Calle was sold into slavery by his jealous brother, and he would do anything to taste freedom again, even put his trust in a dangerous valkyrie. To protect his people and gain the throne, he and Skaja must trust each other. But neither of them expected trust to turn into something more, and the cost of love has a much steeper price than either of them anticipated.
Excerpt #3 A wide stretch of muddied water slithered across the road ahead, and he released a weary sigh. His body wanted to collapse and sleep for a few years rather than finish the journey to meet his trusted family friend. His determination and need for survival were the only things that fueled him and kept him going forward.
But he wasn’t sure how much more he could endure.
He took one careful step and used a rock as a foothold, and then another step on a patch of muddy grass. On the next step, his foot slipped, and instead of catching himself with his left hand, he shifted his body at the last second, so his shoulder took the brunt of the fall.
Half his body lay soaked and muddied, and he wanted to lie there and rest despite the fast-approaching evening and the dangers lurking within the woods. He cursed his weak body. Six years ago, he would have made this journey easily. But now it felt as if he were crossing oceans rather than journeying to a nearby town.
“Get up.” Skaja’s voice broke through his haze of exhaustion.
The long stretch of clouds above shifted to allow the sunlight to break through. The rays stroked his skin, but it wasn’t enough to give him the energy he needed to continue forward. If he just had his magic…
She grabbed his chin, and he wearily opened his eyes to meet her brown gaze. Pretty eyes. Brown with flecks of gold to match her hair and wings.
Author Sydney Winward
About the Author Sydney Winward is a fantasy and paranormal romance author who dabbles in the occasional historical fiction. She loves building complex worlds filled with magic, strong characters, and emotional stories that can make you laugh and cry.
Sydney is the author of The Bloodborn Series, and when she’s not writing, she’s reading, thinking about stories, or going on adventures with her children. She lives in Utah with her husband, two amazing kids, and one stubborn fish.
Welcome to the book blitz for TEMPEST, the first book in the young adult fantasy romance series, The Veil Chronicles, by C.J. Campbell, releasing August 31, 2021. See below for information on the book, preorder links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis To unearth the truth, she must embrace the legend within.
For eighteen-year-old Lexi, freedom is a luxury. She’s spent her life evading capture for a genetic gift that feels more like a curse. Her bulletproof immunity and monstrous disfigurement is of great interest to a secret organization, but they aren’t the only ones. A cryptic tip alerts Lexi that something else hunts her–something darker.
Desperate to enjoy her life before it’s too late, Lexi leaves the protective cocoon her parents created for her and signs up for art classes at her local college. There she meets Conner, who is confined to a wheelchair, and they become friends who are willing to share each other’s secrets. But a chance encounter with Connor’s foster brother Killian changes everything.
Killian shares the same mysterious secret within his blood as Lexi. Their fateful meeting sets off a chain reaction of catastrophic events that exposes the terrifying truth–Lexi is a celestial queen of a bygone race. Connor is their last royal heir, and Killian is a half-breed abomination hated for his very existence. With Connor kidnapped by an ancient god determined to rid the world of the stain of humanity, Lexi and Killian find themselves under the protection of the secretive Order of Kings.
Lexi believes she’s been thrown into a world of myths and legends, but things are not as they seem. Lexi becomes convinced the Order is keeping dangerous secrets that threaten not just her but all of mankind.
Excerpt #2 A sound like a cannon boom follows.
The house rattles.
I jump and spin to face the window. A thrill of fear races up my spine. The hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.
“Scared of a little thunder and lightning?” Connor cocks a brow.
“No.” I wring my sweaty palms. “It just caught me off guard.”
Connor sniggers as his fingers brush the keys. A whisper of notes lull together, an eerie contrast to the brattle. But I can’t focus on the music. Something doesn’t feel right. Shadows loom on the lake from beyond the window. A familiar fear snakes its way into my heart, and I start to tremble. A memory of a shadow in the garden enters my mind, and with it, the whisper of other shadows and memories that’ve long evaded me. It’s like my heart remembers something my head forgot. Whatever it is, I now understand the fear etched in my parent’s faces. It isn’t a good feeling.
Another strike of lightening and a bang of thunder sounds. I step closer to Connor. My fingers dig into the back of his wheelchair. He plays on, not even noticing that I don’t follow his soft, melodious tune.
Killian appears on the other side of the room. His eyes wide and focused on the lake beyond the glass. He starts to walk toward me. He opens his mouth, but before he speaks, an impatient tapping echoes. I twist in its direction. It’s the front door.
“Dang, that’ll be the pizza delivery guy,” Connor says and ceases his playing. “Guess my one-man concert will continue after dinner.”
I don’t answer, I just watch Killian. He frowns, following the direction of the sound too. Nothing about his manner comforts me.
“Dad!” Connor throws both arms up in exasperation and starts to swivel the wheels of his chair. “Dad, get the door. We’re starving.”
“It’s okay, I’ve got it,” my mother’s voice calls.
“Mother.” I breathe her name and notice the urgency in Killian’s face. He doesn’t need to say another word. “No! Stop!”
Both Killian and I move in tandem. I’m faster though, as I race the length of the conservatory, back through the lounge and aim for the entrance hall.
Mother pauses, palm reaching for the door handle, when she stops to glance toward me. She frowns. I open my mouth to warn her, but father shouts something that distracts her, and she turns away, putting her back to the door.
The lock clicks, and cold air blasts into the front hall.
The room turns blue with another crack of lightening. I lift my arm to cover my eyes.
“Lexi!” Mother screams.
“Mother?” I try to blink vision back into my eyes.
A howl answers. A horrible, bone-shattering, menacing, wrong sound. Like a wolf’s cry, but guttural—wrong—monstrous.
My eyes refocus.
There, in the doorway, Mother stares at me, clutching a length of metal skewering her blood-soaked belly—a sword, not dissimilar from the ones my father owns.
Crimson spouts from her lips.
Frozen in fear, I watch as Mother’s body slips off the blade, like hot butter falling off a knife. With a deafening thud, she hits the ground.
The creature wielding the bloody sword howls again. A long-limbed humanoid with gray skin and a dark, tattered hood.
My eyes fall back to Mother. I can’t look away. My heart is dying—it aches with each beat, threatening to give out.
My knees buckle. I brace myself for the fall. But I never hit the ground.
An arm circles my waist.
My captor forces me down, their weight pinning me to the floor.
I should struggle, but I’m frozen. Instead, I look up into gray-green eyes that lock onto mine, willing me to remember.
Author C.J. Campbell
About the Author Clare is a successful and highly popular author of award winning Fanfiction, with thousands of online fans and over 2 million reads on her Lord of the Rings Fanfic epic. Clare has also won several writing awards within the Fantasy, Inspirational, and Short Story genres. Her story Refuge was a top prize winner and as a direct result published in Faith & Freedom anthology by EA books. She has recently been shortlisted for Writer of the Year 2019.
As well as writing, Clare is an experienced Occupational Therapist, with a passion for enabling people. She has contributed articles for online organizations aimed at highlighting disability as a positive influence in modern literature. Her love of storytelling, merged with her positive messages inspires her to create meaningful narratives that represent diversity, and promote unity.
You can learn more about Clare by visiting www.CJCampbellOfficial.com
Synopsis A young witch tries to unravel the mystery of who is framing her for dark magic in Georgia Bowers’ creepy YA debut fantasy, Mark of the Wicked.
Magic always leaves its mark.
All her life, Matilda has been told one thing about her magic: You use only when necessary. But Matilda isn’t interested in being a good witch. She wants revenge and popularity, and to live her life free of consequences, free of the scars that dark magic leaves on her face as a reminder of her misdeeds.
When a spell goes awry and the new boy at school catches her in the act, Matilda thinks her secret might be out. But far from being afraid, Oliver already knows about her magic – and he wants to learn more. As Oliver and Matilda grow closer, bizarre things begin to happen: Animals show up with their throats slashed and odd markings carved into their bodies, a young girl dies mysteriously, and everyone blames Matilda. But she isn’t responsible — at least, not that she can remember. As her magic begins to spin out of control, Matilda must decide for herself what makes a good witch, and discover the truth…before anyone else turns up dead.
My Review I had no idea what I was getting into with this book, but I’m so glad I requested a review copy! MARK OF THE WICKED is enthralling, impossible to put down, and filled with the types of characters that are so complex, you don’t know whether to love them or hate them. I started off not much liking Matilda. She uses her magic to harm those she considers her enemies. The only problem is, if she harms someone with magic, she is scarred for life; their name carved into her face. But Matilda has learned how to hide her scars from everyone, so at the outset, it seems like she suffers no consequences for her actions. She’s angry, spiteful, and nearly impossible to sympathize with. At first.
When she meets Oliver, though, we get to see a side to Matilda that was missing — the reasons for the things she does. She reveals her deeper fears and her darker pain that she resorts to magic to help her cope, the way an alcoholic turns to booze to numb the pain. But there is something more sinister than Matilda afoot, with grisly animal deaths that somehow keep pointing to Matilda. But with her mother acting suspicious, her grandmother not having spoken in three years, and Matilda’s blackouts, anything is possible.
Plot MARK OF THE WICKED is superbly plotted, with intertwining plots. Debut author, Georgia Bowers, creates intrigue with her storytelling. The pacing is perfection. Set in a small town in England, with a dark history, similar to that of Salem, Massachusetts in the states, her backdrop comes alive, becoming a part of the story as much as the characters.
The Characters Speaking of characters, for me anyway, the ability to create an antihero like Matilda, and make us root for her the way we rooted for Walter White in the first few season of Breaking Bad, is a rare talent and Bowers does it masterfully. Supporting characters, like Matilda’s classmates, Erin, Oliver, her mother, and grandmother, are more than just cardboard cutouts and stereotypes. It would have been easy for the author to make someone like Ashley a less than sympathetic character, but even she has more depth than just the class queen bee.
Top Five Things I Loved About MARK OF THE WICKED 1. Magic. The magical world building is amazing and really adds to the plot and character development.
2. Characters. Their depth and complexity made this a book I couldn’t put down.
3. Plot. The story is unforgettable, with a number of twists and turns that made this a book I couldn’t put down.
4. Redemption. Matilda’s character arc is the opposite of Breaking Bad as she learns some brutal, valuable lessons about life, love, and what it means to be a good citizen.
5. Storytelling. The author does an amazing job of weaving in threads that stick with you, gnawing in your brain, that keeps you reading to find out what they mean.
Bottom Line A stellar debut novel by an author I cannot wait to read more from.
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author Georgia Bowers lives in Bedford, a small market town in England. When it was time to decide what to do with her life, she was obsessed with two things: books and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It seemed sensible to follow in the brogued footsteps of Rupert Giles, so she became a librarian, though sadly not the demon fighting kind. But there’s still time.
Ever since her mum told her that witches used to meet in the woods near their village, she’s been obsessed with witchcraft and the paranormal. When she was a teenager, a weekly habit of Point Horrors satisfied her thirst for chilling tales before she moved on to reading Stephen King. These days she likes to give her nerves a break every now and then with a good YA romance.
After completing a course in writing YA fiction she was a winner in the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Undiscovered Voices. Since then she has dabbled with stories of chosen ones and ghostly best friends until she conjured up the magical ingredients for her debut novel, Mark Of The Wicked.
Author John Peragine is is revealing the cover to MAX AND THE ISLE OF SANCTUS, the second book in the middle grade fantasy series, Secrets of the Twilight Djinn, releasing October 19, 2021. See below for the cover, information on the book and series, a link to add it to your Goodreads TBR.
MAX AND THE ISLE OF SANCTUS (Secrets of the Twilight Djinn Series #2) by John Peragine
Synopsis In this second book of Secrets of the Twilight Djinn, Max Daybreaker faces new adventures like never before.
Max battles a kraken, rides a fire-breathing dragon and must defeat the evil djinn whose powers are growing every day.
The stakes are high for Max as he tries to protect his friends from angry sea gods and a vengeful sultan while also saving his mom from a terrible curse! With magic up in the air and foes on all sides, Max must reach the Isle of Sanctus before time runs out.
About the Author John Peragine is an author of over fourteen books. The Secrets of the Twilight Djinn series was written as a bedtime story for his son Max to cope with medical issues he was facing as a little boy. John is a full-time ghostwriter who lives with his son, wife, and a menagerie of animals on his vineyard overlooking the Mississippi River.
Author Alexandria Warwick is is revealing the cover to THE NORTH WIND, the first book in her new adult fantasy romance series, The Four Winds, releasing January 13, 2022. See below for the cover, information on the book, preorder links, a link to add it to your Goodreads TBR.
THE NORTH WIND (The Four Winds Series #1) by Alexandria Warwick
Synopsis Lush. Dark. Romantic. Introducing a newly reimagined tale written in the vein of Beauty and the Beast and Hades and Persephone.
Long before civilization, there were the gods. And before the gods, there was the earth, the celestial bodies, and air given flesh. They are the Anemoi—the Four Winds—and they have been banished to the four corners of the world.
Wren of Edgewood is no stranger to suffering. Her parents are gone. Survival is all she knows. For three hundred years, the land known as the Gray has been encased in ice, surrounded by a great barrier called the Shade, which protects the townsfolk from the Deadlands beyond.
But day by day, the Shade weakens.
Only one thing can stop the Shade’s fall: a mortal woman taken captive across the barrier, bound in wedlock to the dark god who reigns over the Deadlands. He is the North Wind, the Frost King, an immortal whose heart is said to be as frigid as the land he rules.
And the time has come for the Frost King to choose his bride.
The North Wind is a standalone, enemies-to-lovers fantasy romance, the first in a series sprinkled with Greek lore. Perfect for fans of Jennifer L. Armentrout, Laura Thalassa, and Scarlett St. Clair.
Author Alexandria Warwick
About the Author Alexandria Warwick is the #1 fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender. She is the author of The Demon Race and the North series.
Welcome to the blog tour for CONSTELLATIONS OF SCARS, a standalone adult dark fantasy, by Melissa Eskue Ousley. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
“An indelible story of loving yourself in a world of dreadful realities.” – Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Not all gifts are a blessing. Some are a curse.
When Amelia turned 12, she began growing pearls. Every month, a crop of beautiful pearls bursts from the skin on her back. Her mother, Denise, believes her daughter is blessed, and sells the pearls to put food on the table. Amelia sees her condition as a curse. As the pearls form, her body aches and her skin grows feverish. The harvest of pearls brings temporary relief from the pain, but leaves her back marred by scars. Denise hides Amelia away from the world, worried that Amelia’s gift will be discovered and she will be abducted for the wealth she can provide. Now a young woman, Amelia realizes she has become her mother’s captive, and plans her escape. When she runs away from home, she finds a new family in a troupe of performers at a museum of human oddities. She soon discovers the world is much more dangerous than her mother feared.
Excerpt #1 The pearl looked luminous—it seemed to glow under the harsh light of the bare bulbs in the rusty fixture over the mirror. There was something almost magical about it. It had come from my body, which was a revolting yet thrilling thought. I slipped the pearl into a cabinet drawer, hiding it until I could figure out what to do with it.
Two days later, other lumps on my shoulders and back swelled and festered. I would have wondered if they too contained hidden treasures, but my body ached so bad, I could barely think. The slightest movement sent tendrils of pain down my spine. I stayed home from school.
Mother drew me a hot bath and was helping me undress when it happened. The sores opened, one after another, spilling new pearls to the floor. Mom jumped back and shrieked. I groaned with relief as the blinding pain suddenly eased.
Mom picked up one of the pearls, still slick with blood. “Is this what I think it is?”
I nodded. “I’m a human oyster.” I didn’t feel human though. I felt like a sideshow freak.
Mother’s eyes were fearful, but her tone was angry. “Don’t be ridiculous.” She gingerly placed the pearl on the countertop, as though it might bite.
“It’s true.” I opened the drawer where I’d stashed the first pearl. I held it out to her.
She touched it and then shook her head. “No, they’re not pearls. They’re part of the infection you’re fighting. Some kind of organic…” She didn’t finish the sentence. She just stared at all those pearls on the floor. Including the one I held in my hand, there were 43 of them.
Mom decided to have the first pearl assessed. It was the only time she took me with her.
Mr. Whittier, the jeweler, studied it, gauging its worth. “Big one, isn’t it? Fourteen millimeters. High luster…round…free of any defect I can see. Where’d you get this, Denise? Indonesia? The Philippines? Looks like a South Sea pearl to me.”
“How much is it worth?” Mother asked. There was a hunger in her eyes I’d never seen before. It scared me.
Author Melissa Eskue Ousley
About the Author Melissa Eskue Ousley is an award-winning author living on the Oregon coast with her family, a neurotic dog, two charming cats, and a piranha. Her suspense novel, Pitcher Plant, is set in Seaside, and won a 2018 Independent Publisher Book Award. Her young adult novel, Sunset Empire, debuted in a bestselling boxed set. Her short stories have been included in Rain Magazine, The North Coast Squid, and various anthologies. When she’s not writing, she can be found volunteering for her local wildlife center, caring for injured owls and hawks.
Welcome to the blog tour for THE GOD QUEEN, the first book in the new adult scifi fantasy series, The Rebirth Saga, by M.L. Tishner. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
THE GOD QUEEN (The Rebirth Saga #1) by M.L. Tishner
Synopsis The God Queen returns. So, why is everyone squelching her power?
In a backwater Earth town, Rei Ettowa dreams of traveling across the stars to destroy Infiernen – the knight who murdered her brother.
When Rei discovers she is the reincarnation of the prophesied God Queen, she relishes her newfound ability to channel lightning for revenge. Unfortunately, blazing through a battlefield clashes with the Federation’s plan for Rei and the others like her. All the gods are to be trained as diplomatic figureheads to sway voters, not agents of war. Infiernen must remain untouched.
Unable to let go of her brother’s murder, Rei finds Infiernen. But instead of killing him, Rei discovers a secret the Federation has been keeping from her about her brother.
Now Rei is mad as hell. Her enemies must pay. But who are they? And what else is the Federation hiding from her?
Bronx stood in a golden forest. Shimmering leaves that reflected the sunlight covered the ground around him, yet he saw no sun. Black tree trunks reached the height of at least three men before the first golden branch appeared. A gentle breeze moved through the woodland, carrying with it the soft scent of lavender. He took a few steps forward, daring to venture in further. The soft ground absorbed the sound of his footsteps. He didn’t see a single living thing around him, and the silence wrapped him like a cocoon.
The crack of a branch echoed in the distance, and Bronx whipped around but saw nothing. He wasn’t alone.
He snapped awake. Crona peered down at him. He must’ve dozed off. Documentation was the most boring part of being a combat medic for the Federation, but Bronx preferred the monotony over returning to the battlefield. He wasn’t ready for that yet.
“Interesting read?” she asked, gesturing to the mountain of paperwork.
“Yeah, the snoring was a good indication.” She pulled out the chair opposite him and sat down.
He chuckled. “It’s the only way to let people know. In case they’re curious about what I’m reading.”
“I’m well aware of the practice. I believe I have done my fair share of snoring after reading some captivating reports on supply chains.” She snorted, taking a handful of papers and placing them in a folder.
“Must run in the family, then.”
“At least on Mom’s side. From what I knew of your dad, he would have actually stayed awake for this sort of thing.” She cocked her head to the side. “Professor of Anthropology, right?”
Bronx nodded but bit his tongue. Crona never met his father, but he knew hers. He never got along with his half-sister’s father and was quite certain that anything he said in his presence would come off as an insult.
He returned to his paperwork.
From where they were stationed on the planet Gliese VI, they saw little action in the current civil war with the Dominion. However, they were close enough to get the wounded from nearby planets, the ones still fighting to be free of the hold of their leader, Sovereign Anekris Praymer. Bronx currently filled out a form in the medical wing for a soldier who was flown in the day before. First Petty Officer… something Prue; he couldn’t recall the soldier’s first name now. He’d been brought to Gliese VI because it was the closest facility and currently lay in a bed, the steady beep of his heart monitor the only sound that echoed in the medical wing.
It wasn’t a very large facility with its six beds and various monitors and machines, with desks for the medics on the far end. Despite being underground, the shiny metal plating surrounding them made it easy to keep clean and avoid infection.
“Manca! Sandern! I was just looking for you two. I have news!” Kazimir Ettowa entered the medical wing with a large piece of paper. He ran a free hand through his unruly black hair, his blue eyes bright.
“Your family, Kaz?” asked Crona.
Kaz nodded and handed the message to Bronx.
Found them. Had a little run-in with Negander while on Earth. Will be arriving on Gliese VI within the hour. Have Bronx bring a stretcher.
“What does it mean?” asked Crona, who read it over Bronx’s shoulder.
“Obviously, someone’s hurt,” Kaz said.
“Or worse,” said Bronx quietly.
“No need to be negative just yet.” Crona pointed at the time stamp on the message. “Let’s go. They’ll be here soonish, and I want to welcome our new friends to the party.”
“I’ll help with the stretcher,” Kaz offered.
Bronx threw other necessary supplies—a pulse scanner, gauze, and tools for stitches—into a bag and slung it over his shoulder. He joined Kaz in helping with the stretcher
The beeping from Prue’s heart monitor grew erratic, and the petty officer breathed irregularly with labored and painful sounds that stopped as quickly as they began.
Bronx dropped his bag, sat down at the edge of Prue’s bed, and took off his gloves, unsure why he did it, as if his actions were not his own. His heart hammered in his chest, knowing what was about to happen, and yet he didn’t fight it; some part of him knew this was the right thing to do.
“Uh… Bronx—” began Crona as she approached him, but it was too late.
Bronx reached out and took the man’s hand. Some force pulled on what felt like a string. Teasing him, taunting him. He tugged on it hard and everything unraveled. Dread pooled in his core. He knew what he’d freed—a soul. A plume of black smoke appeared above Prue’s body, curling upwards before it dissipated in the air. Prue took one last deep breath and with a heavy sigh, he died.
“Shit,” muttered Bronx as he regained control of his body, releasing Prue’s hand like it burned him. He leaped from his seat and backed away, knocking over a tray of scalpels and tongs. The metal clanged as each of the pieces hit the ground. This was not the first time, but he always prayed it would be the last. He looked over at his sister; Crona said nothing as she put a hand to her mouth, stunned.
Bronx felt his sister approach. “Are you alright?” she asked.
Bronx’s eyes darted in her direction. His face lost all feeling, his legs weak. He’d done it again, and this time, there’d been witnesses. Shit.
Bronx rubbed his face. “I—I don’t know what happened. I don’t know what I was thinking.”
“I’m sure you had a good reason,” Kaz said.
“That’s the thing.” Bronx paced, adrenaline rushing through his legs. “I didn’t have a good reason. I just felt compelled. Like I could ease his suffering if I did something.” He rubbed his face again’.
“Well, you certainly eased his suffering. As well as any other ailment he would feel in the future,” mumbled Crona, leaning on the bed next to Prue’s.
Bronx glanced back at his sister. “You’re not funny.”
“I’m not trying to be. This is serious.”
“Of course this is serious. A man just died.” Bronx’s voice shook. He took a deep breath. “Sometimes I wonder what I’m doing here. Everything I touch dies.” He sat down in a chair next to Prue’s bed and put his head in his hands.
“That’s not true!” Kaz said.
Crona approached him, getting as close as she dared. She reached out to him, but he pulled back. “Bronx, I’ve managed to hug you loads of times before, and you haven’t killed me yet.” She pointed to her eyes. “I can see the future, remember?” She reached out quickly and pinched his cheek. “See? Haven’t killed me yet.”
Bronx pulled back and swatted her hand away. “Stop it.”
“No, you stop it.” She tried to lock eyes with him, but he refused to meet her gaze. “I’m sorry Prue died. I know you didn’t do it on purpose, but face the facts. Look at the bigger picture. You kill people with a touch—that’s your gift. I know you have no idea what you’re doing, but we will get through this, and you will learn how to control it.”
“Your sister’s right, Bronx.” Kaz hadn’t moved from his position at the foot of Prue’s bed. “We’re all still figuring things out. I know we sound like we don’t understand since our powers aren’t as deadly, but we are on your side.”
Bronx stared at his sister, his pulse rising. He knew she was right, and he hated it. It frustrated him. He wished she would just leave him alone on the subject. He may no longer wear the uniform, but his own Daer instincts still kicked in.
He took a moment to take several calming breaths before responding. “You’re both insufferable.”
Crona shrugged. “And you’re acting like a little shit. What do you want me to do? Agree with you? Oh, woe is you, Bronx! Yes, everything you touch dies. Maybe you are a freak.”
“That’s a bit much, Crona,” muttered Kaz.
“Stop it!” Bronx snarled.
“No,” she said flatly. “Because it’s not true. You are not a freak; you are doing so many good things here. Not everything you touch dies. You’re the one with the magic touch. You have a higher success rate of saving people than any other corpsmen. I know, I’ve seen the stats.”
He refused to meet her gaze. He knew he was being stubborn, but he didn’t want to listen to her.
Crona rolled her eyes, then turned to Kaz. “Come on. He stops being fun when he’s like this.” She walked to the stretcher. “I’m sure Manden and the others will be here soon.”
Bronx removed his other glove and threw both away in the trash with enough force to tip it over. “I’m coming.” He grabbed a second clean pair, put them on, and stood to help Kazimir once more with the stretcher.
“But first, can you help me put him into cold storage?” He gestured to Prue. “I’ll worry about the paperwork when we get back.”
The medical wing sat at the end of a long and shiny metal-plated hallway where the Federation soldiers slept. This floor was only for women, while the men stayed below.
Bronx and Kaz carried the stretcher down the hall as Crona ran ahead to a different tunnel to grab the keys to their vehicle for the long drive to the hangar. The tunnel to the hangar was still underground, but without the metal plating. Its long row of UV lights along the low ceiling was the only hint of technology present, aside from the few cars parked at the entrance. The musty smell of fresh earth and car exhaust was more pungent here, but the stench lessened once they started driving.
As Crona drove, Bronx decided to push his current problem out of his mind and tried to think about what awaited him at the other end of the tunnel: Rei Ettowa.
When he had apprenticed with Niklaryn all those years ago, he frequently saw his mentor sneaking glances at a picture of his little sister. Niklaryn never told a soul about her, but he trusted Bronx. Bronx had heard so much about her that he felt he already knew her, yet he never thought that he would meet Rei after what happened.
Part of him expected to see the same young girl from the photo—with pigtails and missing front teeth—but he knew she was only a few years younger than him and was prepared to meet a young woman. What he hadn’t prepared for were the questions she was bound to ask about the day her brother died.
“Bronx?” Crona’s voice rang through his head like a bell. “Oy! Wake up!”
Bronx snapped out of his reverie to find that they had already arrived at the hangar. It was hidden deep within Mount Environ, several kilometers away from their base. The underground tunnel they had just traveled through allowed a veil of secrecy for the comings and goings of their soldiers. Bronx jumped out of the bed of the vehicle and approached Manden’s ship.
According to their friend, the Luciernaga was several thousand years old and resembled a hodgepodge of scrapped ships, metal pieces—some of them gold—and a few ion cannon stations that appeared to have been placed randomly, yet had been essential. Bronx swore the end result made Luciernaga look like a face with the cockpit as the eyes and the front hatch as its mouth.
The hatch opened like a long tongue, and their redheaded friend strode out to greet them. Crona ran to Manden and almost knocked him down with a big hug. Kaz followed with a hand extended.
“Are you kidding?” Manden pulled Kaz in for an embrace. “Come here, you.”
Bronx stayed behind as usual.
“Bronx,” Manden said, giving the medic a nod.
“You look familiar,” said a young man who came into view from the hatch. He was as tall as Bronx with brown hair and light eyes. For a moment, the medic thought a ghost had come back to haunt him. Niklaryn? he wanted to ask. The newcomer’s violet eyes flashed. He was someone different, and yet it still took several moments for Bronx’s heart rate to return to normal.
“Do I?” asked Bronx. “I’m sorry, I don’t know your name.”
“Arram Bronto.” The young man extended a hand to Bronx, who only stared at it.
“Bronx, doesn’t do hand shaking,” muttered Manden.
Arram pulled his hand back. “Sorry.”
Bronx shook his head. “I’ll explain later.”
“Okay.” Arram stepped out of the way, clearing the path for Kaz and Bronx to enter the ship. “You’re a Daer Knight, right?” he continued.
“I was once.” Bronx readjusted his grip on the stretcher, his heart pounding in his chest. This was the moment; he was going to meet her. The stretcher must be for either Bernie or Rei.
“He still is a Daer,” added Crona.
“Well, I-I’m sure Rei will be excited to meet you,” was all Arram said as his eyes stared at the floor, the muscles in his jaw flexing.
“Where is she, by the way?” interjected Crona.
“She’s probably with Bernie,” Manden said, walking toward his ship.
He, with Kaz helping on the other end, continued hauling the stretcher up the ramp into the first room of the ship—the cargo hold.
“We’re in the infirmary.” Manden’s voice echoed from the belly of the ship. The infirmary sat behind the cargo hold, currently filled with plants from every corner of the star cluster. A mix of lilac and magnolia filled Bronx’s nose.
The men maneuvered the stretcher around the mesh metal staircase that led up to the rooms, kitchen, and cockpit.
Bronx sneezed as they ventured through what appeared to be a small forest, lightly brushing against several pots of vines overflowing onto the floor. He continued to the infirmary where Manden and Bernie stood on either side of a bed.
“I didn’t want to leave her alone in case she suddenly woke up. That’s why I didn’t come out earlier,” Bernie said quietly. She turned and saw that the combat medic had entered. “Hey, Bronx, Kaz.”
Bronx didn’t answer. All his thoughts focused on the unconscious woman lying before him in blood-splattered clothes. Rei Ettowa appeared to be asleep, her dark hair framing her face. His pulse raced.
Not long after Niklaryn was gone, he dreamed about a beautiful woman who made his heart stop with a smile. Time had since obscured many of the details, but he clearly remembered Rei’s face.
He never told anyone about it, thinking that she was some subconscious fantasy. But somehow his brain must have created the woman of his dreams from memories of Rei. Thank the gods Nik wasn’t here. He knew he shouldn’t have impure thoughts about his mentor’s kid sister—no matter how attractive she may be.
He pulled the pulse scanner out of his bag, placed it on her neck, and read the little screen. The lines blipped, showing a strong and steady heartbeat.
He lowered his face toward hers to better hear her breathing—slow and steady. He pulled away, using all his willpower to not lean in closer. His eyes glanced over the rest of her body, trying to the find the source of the blood on her clothes.
“I don’t see a wound,” he said.
“Just a graze from a bullet. I already patched her up.” Manden pointed to Rei’s other side.
“Very nice.” He admired the tiny stitches. It was no surprise knowing Manden’s history on the battlefield. “And the rest of the blood?”
“Unlucky victim,” Bernie said.
Bronx helped Manden move her to the stretcher; he double-checked that the gloves reached his sleeves so that not an inch of skin was exposed. One could never be too careful.
“What happened?” Bronx took one end of the stretcher while Manden held the other, leading it out of the infirmary and through the cargo hold.
“As I said in my message,” Manden said, “we had a run in with the Negander. They attacked the town, trying to get to Rei and Arram. Bernie, Hotara, and I managed to save them in time; however, the Negander had already killed Sagitan and his wife.” He gazed down at their unconscious newcomer. “This little lady was angry. Her powers came out for the first time and fried them.”
“It was quite a sight,” Bernie said.
“She used too much energy and passed out,” Manden said. “It happens to people like her at some point in their lives.”
“Where is Hotara?” Kaz asked.
“I sent her to Tas’und’eash. With any luck, she can rally the rest of the Volocio to help with our cause.”
The group continued out of the ship and back toward the vehicle. Arram took Rei from Bronx and helped Manden carry the stretcher.
They brought Rei to the medical bay and laid her down on an empty bed. Bronx made sure it was far away from where Prue had passed earlier.
He placed a heart monitor on her finger and waited for the steady beep to fill the silence in the room. Arram stood nearby, his eyes never leaving Rei’s face. Bronx imagined how concerned he must have been.
“Come, Arram.” Crona linked arms with him. “They’re still serving dinner in the mess hall. You look like you could use some food.”
“I feel uncomfortable leaving her here,” he said quietly.
“I’ll stay,” offered Bronx. “I’m still on duty here.”
Arram nodded and allowed Crona to lead him out the room with Kaz following.
Crona stopped at the door and quickly glanced in Bronx’s direction. “Should I bring you something, too, Brother?”
Bronx shook his head. “I know where Ayres hides his snacks. I’ll be fine.”
Manden stayed behind, watching Bronx thoughtfully. The redhead always did that when he studied one of them—as though he were trying to see more of Bronx than what was there.
He cocked his head to the side. “I’m desperate to know what you’re thinking.”
“About her.” Manden gestured to Rei lying between them.
Bronx couldn’t shake the feeling of having met her before, but that was impossible. “Well,” he finally answered, “she’s a great conversationalist.”
Manden chuckled. “Jokes aside, smart ass. I really want to know. I’ve been looking forward to the two of you meeting for a long time.”
The medic shrugged. “Kind of hard to have a meeting when one’s unconscious.”
Manden waved his hand dismissively in Bronx’s direction “Bah. Details.”
“Does this have to do with him?”
Of course it did. Everything in Bronx’s life the last few years always came back to that man, and a part of him resented it.
“I’m sure you’ve felt some of his memories. As dreams, perhaps?”
Bronx clenched his sweaty palms, which stuck to his gloves. “Dreams?”
“Your sister once told me about dreams she had before her powers manifested. Kaz, too. That’s what they are. Memories. I watched Rei go through hers, so I’m just taking a leap here.”
It was bad enough Bronx shared the same gift and the same face as the man in question. But Manden suggested they had the same taste in women. The idea didn’t sit well with him, but his body already betrayed him whenever he looked in her direction. His pulse elevated and his mouth had gone dry.
Manden still watched him, waiting for a response. But Bronx didn’t want to talk about that, so he stuck with a truth he was comfortable with.
“I’m relieved she’s here and she’s safe.”
“You remember me telling you how I knew Niklaryn? We were close friends. Close enough that I was the only person he told about her. Not everything—only that she needed to be protected. He made me vow to protect her if something happened to him.”
“You’ve done a great job doing that all these years,” Manden said dryly.
“Niklaryn forgot to give me the minor yet crucial detail of where she was hidden. I knew Earth, but that was it. Then there was the problem that no one else knew about her, so who could I ask? It turned out your wife hid her all along.” Bronx laughed. The universe really wanted them to meet. He believed it was some cruel joke.
“You’ll have a chance to uphold that vow now, Bronx. I don’t know how she’s going to react when she wakes up. The last few days have been overwhelming for her. You saw how Arram is handling things and he just lost his grandparents. Rei lost everyone she knew and grew up with. Infiernen and his Negander destroyed her entire town. Her powers manifested out of pure rage. She brought down countless Negander and turned them into charred husks.”
Bronx’s eyes widened, and his heart stopped at the mention of Infiernen. He hunted her, too? It made sense. The Negander had been hunting Bronx and the others for years now.
He studied Rei. He didn’t think she would be so dangerous—almost as dangerous as he was. The idea of no longer being the only one with lethal gifts gave him a little comfort, especially if it meant protecting the others against the Negander.
“You and I are the ones with the most battle experience,” continued Manden. “We’ve seen the most. We also know what happens to those who experience trauma and have no support group to help them through it. These two are the only survivors of that massacre. Just be prepared.”
“Of course.” Trauma was something Bronx knew plenty about.
Author M.L. Tishner
About the Author Mari, a native Hoosier, currently lives in southern Germany where she entertains people with her adventures as an American expat in the Land of Beer and Pretzels on her blog adventuresoflamari.com as well as the adventures of her pugs, Abner and Roxy. When she’s not writing, Mari cooks, snowboards, dances to the beat of her own drum, reads late into the night, and binge watches Netflix with her husband. The God Queen is her debut novel.
Welcome to the book blitz for THE HIDDEN PRINCESS, the first book in the young adult fantasy series, Princess League, by Mira Crest. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
THE HIDDEN PRINCESS (Princess League Series #1) by Mira Crest
Synopsis Penny is an ugly princess born to a family known for its beautiful offspring. To protect the royal bloodline’s reputation, the king proclaims her dead since birth and locks her away in the castle cellar.
But unbeknown to most, including herself, Penny has a gift: she can see the darkness within one’s mind through touch.
Everett is a dragon prince whose land is plagued by a deadly sickness in the form of black mist, capable of turning any fairy being it touches into stone. He comes to Penny’s kingdom seeking the one princess foretold to end the darkness.
The choice is clear, it’s either Penny’s cynical eldest sister, Tatiana, or her kind elder sister, Sarah, because Penny does not exist, not officially. But a twist of fate and Penny’s gift bring her to Everett’s attention, and she takes on a secret identity to aid him to trace the origin of the black mist.
What follows is a journey into a dark magical world within the minds of the corrupt, ruled by demons that plague on the dark aspects of the human psyche.
With the clock fast ticking, the prince must discover who the chosen one is in order to defeat the black mist before it turns him to stone and spreads to the rest of the world. But there are those who will do anything to keep Penny’s identity hidden.
Excerpt #2 The noises of the tavern drained away, and a gloom fell over the place. It reminded her of what happened at Marvin’s store. She was back in the Eternal, though, this time, she was at the tavern. All the people around her had frozen. She walked across the still crowd and saw Everett protecting Sarah from several Brutes. The other dragon warriors were busy keeping any hostiles from getting near Tatiana, who was lying on the ground. She had one eye slightly open to peek at her surroundings. It was pretty obvious she was faking unconsciousness.
When all seemed still and quiet, she caught sight of something stirring in the darkness of the tavern’s interior. Black mist! It was dripping from the ceiling, rising from the floor. Mist from different spots rushed to the center of the tavern and merged. Something grotesque was forming from it. Penny quickly hid behind the tavern counter and observed the transformation. A wolf took shape, only this time it was nearly thrice as large as the previous one.
Was this new mist form a manifestation of the head Brute’s anger? If it was, it was a clear indication of how much it had grown. Could this huge wolf be the cause of the mist, and defeating it would destroy the mist altogether? There was only one way to find out.
Penny readied herself. She checked her feet and saw the shiny red shoes were back. She peered out from the side of the counter, but the wolf was no longer at where it had stood. Carefully, she emerged and took cover under a table. Bit by bit, she advanced closer and closer. She needed to be close enough to open the portal and bring it to reality.
“Penny, you can do this!” As she moved to the next table, the wolf turned wildly with its eyes fixed on Penny.
She put out her hand and a fireball shot out, hitting the back of the wolf. Its bellow shook the tavern. More fireballs hit the body of the wolf, but they only made the demon angrier. It leaped and crashed down on the tables before Penny.
It sank its terrifying misty black fangs into the table, concealing Penny and crushing it into debris. Penny ducked away in time. She was then lying on the floor as the wolf turned toward its attacker. Penny willed her mind and conjured as much power as she could, igniting blast after blast. The wolf roared as the fiery magic engulfed its front body.
She got back on her feet and backed away, but the wolf clawed at her, slashing her shoulder. Penny suddenly felt drained, wincing at the searing pain in her shoulder. That voice, she heard it before. It was the most familiar voice; it was hers. Immense rage came flooding through her all of a sudden. Thoughts of her staring into the mirror at her ugly reflection and trapped inside a cell rushed into her mind.
The wolf closed in as she crawled away and hid beneath another table. The wolf clawed under the table, barely missing her as she moved out of range. She tried to conjure magic, but every blow she delivered hit the wrong places and missed its target.
“What’s going on?” It was like her magic was malfunctioning. It must have something to do with her getting slashed by the wolf’s claw. She was going to die if she didn’t find a way out.
The wolf smashed the table to pieces. She had nowhere to go, nowhere to hide. The wolf’s snout was before her. Anytime now it’s going to devour her.
She struggled and gathered her thoughts, focusing instead on the happiest memory buried within her. She closed her eyes. The wolf’s mouth closed in, ready to consume its helpless prey.
About the Author Since young, Mira loves fantasy romance with strong female protagonists and perilous adventures to magical realms and parallel universes to visit dragons, witches, shifters, and fairy tale creatures, bringing heroes and heroines together and aiding their epic fantasy battles against dark enemies so they can have the happily-ever-afters they deserve.
When she grew up, she takes a liking to young adult stories, which explains her passion writing in the young adult fantasy romance genre. Her books are clean romance with character development as the prime focus. Even now, she still journeys to fantasy realms whenever she’s not writing.
Welcome to the blog tour for THE IMMORTAL GAME, a stand-alone young adult fantasy by Talia Rothschild and A.C. Harvey. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on their giveaway.
THE IMMORTAL GAME by Talia Rothschild and A.C. Harvey
An exiled goddess goes on a quest to clear her name and save Mount Olympus in Talia Rothschild & A C Harvey’s action-packed young adult debut, The Immortal Game!
Galene, daughter of Poseidon, desperately wants to earn her place among the gods. But when a violent attack leaves Mount Olympus in chaos and ruins, she is accused of the crime. Banished from Olympus, Galene sets out to prove her innocence and discovers a more deadly plot—one that threatens even the oldest of Immortals.
Fortunately, she has allies who willingly join her in exile:
A lifelong friend who commands the wind.
A defiant warrior with deadly skill.
A fire-wielder with a hero’s heart.
A mastermind who plays life like a game.
All-out war is knocking at the gates. Galene and her friends are the only ones who can tip the scales toward justice, but their choices could save Olympus from total annihilation, or be the doom of them all.
Excerpt I will walk off that battlefield a victor.
She crossed into the stadium.
The crowd erupted into a roar, and Galene blinked in the sunlight.
The massive amphitheater stretched one hundred and fifty feet wide and twice as long. A wall encircled the dirt grounds, and above it, packed stands rose into the sky, a mosaic of dully colored tunics with spots of shining armor. It roiled as the crowd rose and fell, waving arms and cheering. Every god on Mount Olympus must have been there, along with visiting gods and goddesses who’d turned up for the event.
The sound was deafening, exhilarating. Jeers mingled with the revelry, but Galene ignored those. She pulled back her shoulders and lifted her chin, turning to find the small section of her fellow Unnamed—the young gods and goddesses who were still mortal. Iyana would take her seat there soon. She raised her hand toward them in acknowledgement.
In the front rows of the stands closest to her, on elevated seats, were the most powerful of all the gods: the Twelve Olympians. The rulers of both Mount Olympus and the humans below.
They watched her, glowing with power, the only silent spectators. Four decks of cards sat on a table before them, glowing like the Olympians themselves.
The Decks of Fate.
Despite the clear sky, a crack of thunder echoed throughout the stadium.
The crowd hushed instantly, and the King of Olympus, God of the Sky, stood. Above his trimmed, dark beard, Zeus’s storm-gray eyes scanned the crowd.
“Six months ago, the council of the Twelve Olympians enacted a new requirement: Poseidon’s children and my own are to take their Immortality Trials three years early, at the age of eighteen.” Zeus did not shout, but his words carried clearly to all listening. “With the powerful gifts bestowed upon our children, they are fit for this greater challenge.” He fixed his eyes on Galene. She inclined her head in deference. “Galene Unnamed is the first to face this new requirement. Today she will prove whether she is worthy to join the pantheon.”
The crowd cheered once more, and chills raced down Galene’s arms. She was ready—this was an opportunity. The Fates were giving her a chance to prove herself.
Zeus’s eyes focused solely on her. “Choose your terrain.”
Galene held his gaze. “Water.”
Zeus nodded, unsurprised, then turned to Poseidon. “If you will.”
Galene’s father stood. The Earth-shaker, God of the Seas, was tall like his brother, but not as broad. His long hair and beard were dark gray and unkempt, and a wild spark kindled in the sea-green eyes Galene had inherited. He looked at her only for a moment, offering barely a nod before turning away. She steeled herself.
Poseidon raised his arms, and the ground shook.
Widening her stance, Galene looked down. The dirt fractured, creating a circle around her a few paces in diameter. Cracks shot outward, webbing across the arena floor to break up the smooth, packed dirt. Clumps and boulders of loose earth trembled beneath Poseidon’s power, then tumbled downward, into the gaping fissures.
Piece by piece the arena floor fell away, crumbling until Galene was standing on a pinnacle, staring into an abyssal pit. Her stomach lurched at her sudden height, but Poseidon was not done. Through the rubble far below, water rose. It sloshed over the rocks and boulders, climbing rapidly until it surrounded Galene, leaving only a short drop between her and its settling surface.
She looked back to the Olympians. Her father’s face was grim as he retook his seat.
“Now let the Fates choose your opponent.” Zeus flicked his hand, and one of the Decks of Fate scattered forward, as though blown by the wind. Tumbling through the air, the golden cards spun toward Galene, slowing as they approached. Most of the deck came to a stop, hanging in the air like leaves on an invisible tree. Five cards, however, came closer, aligning themselves at Galene’s eye level.
“Choose three,” Zeus reminded her.
Galene reached up and hesitated. Don’t overthink it. She touched two on the left and one beside the far right. They glowed brighter, hanging there until all the other cards drew back, returning to a neat pile on the table.
The gold coating on the first card dissolved to reveal an image and printed words.
It depicted a whale-like sea creature with a gaping mouth lined with rows of long teeth.
Body of Cetus, the card read.
Galene swallowed. She had expected one of the cards to be monstrous—at least now she’d gotten the worst out of the way.
She turned to the second. Its golden coat, too, disappeared.
A giant gryphon was emblazoned on it, the fur and feathers shining with gold.
Hide of the Gryphiekin.
She blinked in shock. The King of the Gryphons’ eagle-and-lion hide was like armor, nearly impenetrable. This card was as bad as the first—drawing blood would be formidable, let alone killing whatever hybrid creature these cards would create.
Turning to the third and final card, Galene sent a silent prayer to the Fates. Please be something to balance these out—sight of a cyclops or something.
The gold disappeared, and she felt the ichor drain from her cheeks.
Heads of Scylla.
Galene looked between them again. She had to have misread them—there had to be a mistake. But no: Body of Cetus, Hide of the Gryphiekin, Heads of Scylla. Each individual card could change any two basic creature qualities into a deadly beast, but all three together . . .
She clenched her fists, digging her nails into her palms. This six-headed monster would be huge, smart, and nearly impossible to wound. I don’t know if I can do this. Her legs trembled, and she hoped the Olympians couldn’t tell.
The cards flew back, presenting themselves to the Twelve. Behind them, gods and goddesses leaned forward to get a look at the cards. Shocked murmurs rose, rippling around Galene as the word of her opponent was passed around the stadium.
Excitement began to vibrate through the crowd, people realizing that if nothing else, they were about to get a show.
Author Talia Rothschild
About the Author Talia Rothschild, Italian American, is passionate about stories in many forms—music, dance, photography, film and, of course, great novels. She believes in thick hot chocolate and creamer in your tea. When she’s not happily writing, she’s mothering the sweetest baby girl and making memories with her husband. Her debut book The Immortal Game, coauthored with A. C. Harvey, hits the shelves May 2021.
About the Author Ashleigh Harvey is teaching high school physics and bringing her writing dreams to life. English-born and world-traveled, she loves filling her life with new adventures, such as visiting a new country or exploring the Wild West with her husband. She also finds escape in movies, music, literature, and yearly comic conventions. The Immortal Game is her debut novel, created alongside Talia Rothschild, her close friend.
Welcome to the book blitz for SEDITION, the first book in the young adult steampunk series, Children of Erikkson, by E.M. Wright. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
SEDITION (Children of Erikkson Series #1) by E.M. Wright
Synopsis She was created for more than slavery; she was built for rebellion.
In an alternate Victorian England, clockwork cyborgs provide the primary source of labor for the upper class. Known as biomatons, they are property by law and have been manipulated and mind-controlled into subservience.
Taryn Roft, a 17-year-old girl, attending classes at Grafton’s School of Mechanicks in London has a secret. What’s even worse—she cannot remember anything before her twelfth birthday.
When a mysterious privateer discovers her secret, he offers her an ultimatum: accompany him to his airship, or her secret will be revealed to everyone. For Taryn, it’s not much of a choice. Facing prejudice and cruelty may be nothing new to the only girl at an all-boys’ school, but the further from home she gets, the darker her situation becomes.
Author E.M. Wright
About the Author E.M. Wright is an author from Portland, OR. She writes science fiction and fantasy novels set in original worlds.
Welcome to the book blitz for THE MIDNIGHT LIE, the first book in the young adult LGBTQ+ fantasy romance series, The Midnight Lie, by New York Times bestselling author Marie Rutkoski. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
THE MIDNIGHT LIE (The Midnight Lie Series #1) by Marie Rutkoski
Synopsis Set in the world of the New York Times–bestselling Winner’s Trilogy, Marie Rutkoski’s THE MIDNIGHT LIE is an epic LGBTQ romantic fantasy about learning to free ourselves from the lies others tell us―and the lies we tell ourselves.
Where Nirrim lives, crime abounds, a harsh tribunal rules, and society’s pleasures are reserved for the High Kith. Life in the Ward is grim and punishing. People of her low status are forbidden from sampling sweets or wearing colors. You either follow the rules, or pay a tithe and suffer the consequences.
Nirrim keeps her head down, and a dangerous secret close to her chest.
But then she encounters Sid, a rakish traveler from far away, who whispers rumors that the High Kith possess magic. Sid tempts Nirrim to seek that magic for herself. But to do that, Nirrim must surrender her old life. She must place her trust in this sly stranger who asks, above all, not to be trusted.
Author Marie Rutkoski
About the Author Marie Rutkoski is the New York Times bestselling author of several books for children and young adults, including The Winner’s Curse. She holds a BA from The University of Iowa and a PhD from Harvard University. She is a professor of English literature at Brooklyn College and lives in Brooklyn with her two sons and two cats. Her most recent book is The Midnight Lie, which will be published in March 2020.
Author H.B. Reneau is revealing the cover to HAVEN ENDURING, the second book in her young adult fantasy series, The Legion of Pneumos, releasing July 15, 2021. See below for the cover, information on the book and series, and preorder links.
HAVEN ENDURING (The Legion of Pneumos Series #1) by H.B. Reneau
Synopsis That which was undone may be reborn, but only at the price of chaos.
After losing the one person she could always depend on, Keira Altman has fled the Capital and its deadly dance of political intrigue, finding herself instead amidst the perilous jungles of the Southern Shield. Looking for respite and peace from the guilt that haunts her, Keira instead finds a world still on the verge of chaos. Try as she might to avoid the coming onslaught, her fate remains tied in service to Pneumos, a calling she can never truly escape.
Guarded against further heartbreak, Keira ventures back into the vipers’ den. But when long-held secrets come to a head, she discovers that the key to restoring order and reclaiming all that she has lost may be far closer than expected. With the help of some new and unexpected allies, Keira is determined to unravel the mysteries the Legion has buried deep over the centuries. Yet perhaps some questions are best left unanswered.
In this epic, action-packed sequel to the hit YA Fantasy Chaos Looming, Loren stands upon the edge of a knife, with paths diverging to order or chaos. Time will tell what fate has in store.
About the Author H.B. Reneau is an emerging author of YA fantasy and contemporary fiction. Author, medical student, and proud dog mom, H.B. Reneau is known for her character-driven, genre-crossing fiction that draws on her experiences in both medicine and the military. She has a particular love for strong female characters who face up to adversity and manage to subvert some expectations along the way. When not writing or at the hospital, she can be found hiking, drinking coffee to excess, and getting lost in new cities.
To learn more about her, head over to her website at www.hbreneau.com. There you’ll find her books, blog, and fun extras. Or reach out directly! She loves connecting with readers through social media and email so be sure to follow her and sign up for the monthly newsletter to receive receive free gifts, awesome discounts, and updates on all her latest projects!
Author Dani Hoots is revealing the cover to TARTARUS, the first book in the young adult fantasy series, Queen of the Underworld, releasing July 13, 2021. See below for the cover, information on the book, preorder links, and a link to add it to your Goodreads TBR.
TARTARUS (Queen of the Underworld Series #1) by Dani Hoots
She will stop at nothing to bring her father back.
Chrys has searched all of the Underworld to find a way to open Tartarus and bring her father, Hades, back to life. It was her fault he was sent there and she doesn’t care if she begins the end of the world to save him. Finally finding a clue on how to open the gates to hell itself, she leaves the Underworld and searches for the god Aether.
Will Chrys get the answers she is looking for? Or will she have to live with the guilt for the rest of her eternal life?
About the Author Dani Hoots is a science fiction, fantasy, romance, and young adult author who loves anything with a story. She has a B.S. in Anthropology, a Masters of Urban and Environmental Planning, a Certificate in Novel Writing from Arizona State University, and a BS in Herbal Science from Bastyr University.
Currently she is working on a YA urban fantasy series called Daughter of Hades, a YA urban fantasy series called The Wonderland Chronicles, a historic fantasy vampire series called A World of Vampires, and a YA sci-fi series called Sanshlian Series. She has also started up an indie publishing company called FoxTales Press. She also works with Anthill Studios in creating comics through Antik Comics.
Her hobbies include reading, watching anime, cooking, studying different languages, wire walking, hula hoop, and working with plants. She is also an herbalist and sells her concoctions on FoxCraft Apothecary. She lives in Phoenix with her husband and visits Seattle often.
Welcome to the book blitz for THE OTHER SIDE OF MAGIC, a standalone young adult fantasy by Ester Manzini. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis For fans of Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
In a world inspired by 16th century Italy, magic is a common occurrence. Everyone in the realms of Epidalio and Zafiria is gifted with it at birth, but with every spell cast, their power wanes.
Gaiane Asares is the result of an accurate selection by her mother, the queen of Zafiria. She’s infinitely powerful; a weapon of mass destruction kept segregated in a tower and used against her will to conquer Epidalio.
Meanwhile, in Epidalio, Leo was born with no magic at all, a rarity. She lost her home and family when Zafiria attacked, and her resentment toward the invaders still burns.
Gaiane manages to escape her gilded cage, and the two girls cross paths. But when war threatens the land again, their loyalty will be put to the test. Will they manage to overcome their differences in the name of freedom?
Author Ester Manzini
About the Author Ester Manzini has always had a passion for books, stories and mythology. When she attended University, she took advantage of the opportunities to travel abroad to experience new adventures and cultures.
In 2019, under the nickname Valpur, she was added to a team behind Dorks, a collection of LGBTQ+ centered illustrated short stories, and has been a selected author in an international independent anthology, To Ashes. Currently, Ester is working as lead scriptwriter for Bad Seed, an indie Italian Game Studio..
Welcome to the blog tour for ORIGINS, the first book in the young adult fantasy romance/magical realism series, The Grimm Cases, by Lyla Oweds. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, and an exclusive excerpt.
Synopsis The things I see aren’t for the faint of heart.
And I am no longer willing to ignore them. Not even when my family, and my best friend, tell me to keep quiet about what’s happening. They say people will think I’m crazy.
Maybe I am.
But the spirit haunting my professor’s house is definitely trying to tell me something, and I’m the only one who can see it.
The one person who can help me is my best friend’s brother. But I don’t know if I can trust him or his friends. Or if I can step outside the protective bubble I’ve built around myself.
At this point it’s a toss up: the ghosts will kill me or my panic attacks will.
Either way, I figure I’m going to die.
Excerpt Then there was my second reason for being at the library today. If I truly wanted to help this ghost-girl, then I needed to learn more about my sensitivity and any abilities that gave me—and people like me.
I frowned down at the top of my white coffee cup. Remembering this topic made me recall the events of the night before—
“Bianca?” Finn’s shocked voice broke through my thoughts. My eyes shot up. The blond-haired man was pushing past students in line at the coffee shop in order to reach my small, round table. “What are…”
“Hello, Finn.” I smiled at him, hoping the guilt from my lies didn’t show on my face. “How are you? What are you doing here so early in the morning?”
Finn’s mouth dipped, and he didn’t respond at first. Instead, he set his leather backpack on the floor and sat down in the seat across from me. “It’s not early. And I come here every day—to study. But”—he leveled a suspicious look at me, his gray eyes calculating—“you don’t.”
I raised an eyebrow in response, but he continued, “I got your message last night. Why did you cancel our meeting? What’s going on? I was worried.”
Sure. I could tell how worried he was when he didn’t even care if the ghost killed me.
I picked up my cup and blew on the rising steam before I answered, trying to sound nonchalant. “I do have homework too. Plus, I like reading. It’s not unheard of for me to come to the library, you know.”
“All right,” he conceded as he continued to study me. “But you only come late at night, when most people are partying. In fact, how can you even stand to be awake before ten in the morning?”
Darn him, he was right.
“The magic of caffeine.” I sipped on my coffee again, as if to prove my point. “Lots and lots of caffeine.”
His lips thinned, but he nodded. From the wary look in his eyes, he knew I was hiding something. But he seemed inclined to let it drop.
Instead, he pulled out his laptop and opened it—ready to do his technology thing.
That was kind of nonsensical. “Finn, why are you setting up? The library opens in less than ten minutes. Won’t you just move again?”
“Yes.” Finn began typing. “But that’s ten minutes worth of work that I’ve gotten done. I am busy right now, and I’m behind…” His voice trailed off as he frowned at the computer.
He was weird.
“I thought you finished your work for the semester already.”
Finn distractively waved his hand. “It’s not that. Don’t worry, it’s nothing that concerns you. I’m working on family stuff. My mother needed me to check into something. Where did you go last night?”
I ignored his question. “Your mom has you doing corporate work?”
“Something like that.” He looked up finally, his gaze meeting mine. My heart suddenly jerked—he was displeased. But about what?
After a silent moment, the look passed and he grinned warmly at me. “I’m glad you are here with me,” he said. And in an unexpected move, he shut his laptop and pulled one of my hands into his own. “I work better with you around. You inspire me. I don’t know what I’d do without you, Bianca.”
I almost choked, and my face exploded in heat. This was the side of Finn that always managed to catch me off guard—the one that made me think I meant as much to him as he did to me.
And every time, I acted like an idiot. “I do? I—I’m glad I could help.”
“You do.” He traced his thumb over my knuckles. My face grew warmer at the action and his grin grew. “We should work together today. Are you going to be in the library all day? Sit with me.”
My warm feelings vanished.
I averted my eyes, unable to stand his intensity. He couldn’t know what I was researching. “Maybe…”
“Maybe?” Finn sounded surprised, and when I looked up, he was watching me with raised eyebrows. After our gazes met, he let go of my hand. “You don’t want to sit with me?” He paused, and an expression that I had never witnessed from him before shone in his serious eyes. “Bianca, are you meeting someone else?Have I done something?”
“No!” I vehemently denied, somewhat frightened at the intensity of his reaction. He was being terribly possessive. Especially for someone who had never even asked me on a date. I would have remembered if he had done so, because it was, after all, an event I had been dreaming about for years.
Or, was he only upset because he was afraid I had replaced him as a friend?
I was so confused.
I fidgeted as I tried to think of a way to redirect his attention. “I have research to do today. In fact, I might not even be here all day. I planned on going back and forth between the library and greenhouses.”
He rested his chin on his fist as he watched me. “You’re a terrible liar. The greenhouses are on the other side of campus, and you’re wearing a skirt.”
I froze, the fabric he mentioned clenched in my fist. Finn was right, of course. I never wore skirts when working in the conservatory. “Um…”
“What have you been up to—today and last night?” Finn studied me, his eyes demanding answers. “Are you lying to me about something?”
I grew more flustered as the seconds passed. I had to think of something!
He had made his point clear two days ago, and I couldn’t bring up that topic again. Even outside of meeting Damen, he’d never believe what Damen had said about me being a sensitive. Plus, if he knew I was involved in anything paranormal—especially trying to talk to a ghost—not only would he get involved, but so would my parents.
I couldn’t go through that confrontation with him again. Even if he—and everyone else—thought it was for my own good. It would break me this time.
So I had to think of something that would guarantee Finn would have zero interest in being anywhere near me today. A topic that would make a male flee in terror. Something awful.
“I—” My mental resources screamed out ideas, but nothing brilliant came to me. Lacking anything else, I blurted out the first thing that came to mind. “I’m doing a research paper on how human placenta usage in gardening may or may not be nourishing to the soil.”
Finn’s mouth was opened in shock, and my face burned. But I couldn’t stop now. “I have a theory that if you grind up the pla—”
“Stop!” Finn’s complexion was slightly green as he watched me in horror. “That’s great for you, but I really don’t need to know anymore. Please.”
Crude, but effective. It had worked.
Don’t Miss the Rest of the Series – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
About the Author Lyla Oweds is an Amazon bestselling paranormal romance and urban fantasy author who resides in the beautiful Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania. She grew up near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and is a native of Baltimore, Maryland, and has a deep appreciation for the paranormal, hauntings, and Edgar Allan Poe. As such, she loves all things fantasy, mystery, crime, and horror.
When not reading, writing, or working as a web programmer, Lyla can be found doing adult-y things such as being a mom to small children, cleaning, and gardening. She also frequently enjoys makeup videos, massages, wine, and coffee...
Welcome to the blog tour for DARE, the third book in the young adult fantasy/paranormal romance series, Pixieland Diaries, by Christina Bauer. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
DARE (Pixieland Diaries Series #3) by Christina Bauer
Synopsis What happens when a pixie outcast seizes the throne of Faerie… while her beloved elf prince becomes a wanted criminal?
Sassy pixie Calla loves the prankster life, even if it does make her an outcast among other fae. But everything changes when Calla’s magic erases an evil blight destroying the Faerie realm. That’s when the pariah pixie becomes something unexpected: a Fae Queen.
Yet no sooner does Calla take the crown than a new and unstoppable plague appears. Things get even worse when Calla’s longtime crush, the elf Prince ‘Dare’ Darius, appears to have masterminded the outbreak before fleeing to the mountains. According to the Faerie elders, there’s only one way to end this disease…
Calla must hunt down Dare and destroy him.
Yeah. Like that will ever happen.
Instead of killing anyone, Calla vows to cure the plague while proving Dare’s innocence. And if she must pull a few mega-pranks to make it all happen? Not a problem. Even so, the path ahead is still fraught with trouble. Secret enemies scheme to manipulate the outbreak—as well as Calla’s feelings for Dare—in order to bring our favorite prankster down, once and for all.
Pixieland Diaries Series
1. Pixieland Diaries
4. Winter Prince
5. Ley Queen
Day 95 Dear Diary,
The next thing I know, Ghost Dare visits me in my room. Technically, this is a spell where Dare projects his astral body across space, but calling him Ghost Dare is just more catchy-sounding. At this point, I’m lying in bed and happily tucked under my covers while a hazy white cloud becomes a semi-transparent version of my boyfriend.
Life is getting good.
Little by little, Ghost Dare turns to me. Our gazes lock. My breath catches.
Even as a kid, Dare wields what can only be called an icy stare. Mind you, this isn’t a serial killer type of thing. It’s more that Dare’s a prince of the winter court and that place is a political battlefield. To survive, Dare always plays dozen games of three-dimensional chess at once. It enough to make anyone’s irises a little chilly.
But in this moment? Dare’s intensity holds a different edge. Although the prince may be semi-transparent, there’s no missing the desire that fires through his vision. He’s thinking the same thing that I am.
I blush my face off.
When Dare speaks, his voice holds a husky tone. “Hello, Little Hob.” The prince crosses the room, leans over the bed, and brushes ghostly kiss on my lips
“I hate it when you call me that. But that kiss was cool.”
“I’ll join you tomorrow.”
“Ghost you or real you?”
“I’ll take whatever I can get.”
Dare gives me another kiss before fading from view. And I fall asleep with a smile.
About the Author
Christina Bauer knows how to tell stories about kick-ass women. In her best selling Angelbound series, the heroine is a part-demon girl who loves to fight in Purgatory’s Arena and falls in love with a part-angel prince. This young adult best seller has driven more than 500,000 ebook downloads and 9,000 reviews on Goodreads and retailers.
Bauer has also told the story of the Women’s March on Washington by leading PR efforts for the Massachusetts Chapter. Her pre-event press release—the only one sent out on a major wire service—resulted in more than 19,000 global impressions and redistribution by over 350 different media entities including the Associated Press.
Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby..
Welcome to the book blitz for TRISTAN, the first book in the adult fantasy romance series, The Hawks, by Jennie Lynn Roberts. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
TRISTAN (The Hawks Series #1) by Jennie Lynn Roberts
Tristan has nothing left to lose. His best friend’s betrayal cost him everything. Now, he’s going to take it back. All he has to do to get the Hawks reinstated to their rightful position at the palace is track down the traitor’s younger sister and turn her over for execution. But Nim’s not the girl Tristan left behind years ago; she’s a stubborn, loyal, beautiful woman, and he can’t stop himself from wanting her.
Nim fled with nothing when the king’s favorite came for her. All she has left is the conviction that her brother is innocent—and her determination to free him. She’ll do anything…even if it means convincing Tristan to help her. But the man he’s become is a far cry from the boy she fell in love with so long ago. He’s formidably stern and deeply untrusting. She’ll just have to hope he still has a heart under that battle-scarred exterior.
When love and duty collide, will Tristan follow his orders or follow his heart?
Tristan, book 1 in The Hawks series, is a sexy, steamy, adult fantasy romance full of swords, shifters (kind of), and tons of action. But fair warning: This book is intended only for readers who love slow burn romance, fast-paced adventure, soul mates and found family—and characters who curse when they fight for survival. If that’s you, happy reading.
Excerpt #1 Her wings hurt.
Not just a low background thrum. Nor the deep throbbing ache she’d left behind hours ago. No, this was constant, stabbing agony as something wrenched deep inside her with every flex of her right wing. The rest of her was faring only slightly better—throat and wrists bruised to deep purple, a clump of her long dark hair was missing. And, down her right side, a blistering burn surrounded by pits and pockmarks, flanked a deep laceration through her wing. The harsh results of catching herself against the blazing rafters in her frantic flight to freedom.
Nim flew in a haze of pain, hardly aware of her surroundings. Focusing everything she had on moving forward. Staying low against the trees. Eventually she had to take a break. The frantic pace and constant pain were making it hard to think, and she needed a moment to assess and plan. She had fled into the sky, taking nothing other than the clothes on her back and Val’s ring clenched in her fist. No thought other than to get far away.
She had flown at least a mile before she felt safe enough to hover, just for a few seconds, and tuck the ring into the small pocket in her waistband. But now she was past the initial rush of panic, and tiring fast. She desperately needed a moment to regroup.
She allowed herself to drop down a few feet so that she was in amongst the top of the trees and flew jerkily toward a massive beech, thankfully still thick with leaves in reds and golds as autumn approached. A good place to hide. The kind of place she and Val had loved to play when they were children, pretending to be warriors with Tristan. Hurt followed the thought, swift and brutal. She pushed it all away—there would be time for self-pity after she survived.
Author Jennie Lynn Roberts
About the Author Jennie Lynn Roberts believes that every strong, kickass heroine should have control of her own story, a swoony hero to support her at every turn, and a guaranteed happily ever after. Because that doesn’t always happen in real life, she began creating her own worlds that work just the way they should. And she hasn’t looked back since.
Jennie would rather be writing than doing anything else—except for spending time with her gorgeous family, of course. But when she isn’t building vibrant new worlds, she can be found nattering with friends, baking up a storm, or strolling in the woods around her home in England.
If you want to talk books, romance, movies, reluctant heroes, or just about anything else with Jennie, feel free to contact her atwww.jennielynnroberts.com. But be prepared to settle in for a long chat if you bring up shifters, vampires, Star Wars, or The Princess Bride….
Welcome to the book blitz for THE UPSIDE DOWN OF NORA GAINES, a standalone young adult paranormal fantasy by Cathrina Constantine. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
THE UPSIDE DOWN OF NORA GAINES by Cathrina Constantine
Synopsis Nora has visions of horrific things. Things that lurk in the shadows and feast on bones. After moving with her mother into an old farmhouse, Nora discovers a blank journal that fills itself with an ominous warning. A cursed beast is coming for her and time is running out. When the blood moon rises, so shall the beast.
Local teen, Rebel, has his own trepidations about the house. His parents, both paranormal scientists, were investigating it when they died under mysterious circumstances. His growing feelings for Nora motivate him to battle the ghosts of his past, if it means keeping her safe.
Allies turn to enemies. Fiction turns to fact. The past and the present collide. All in an epic battle to claim unfathomable power. Can Nora unlock the secrets buried within the farmhouse in time to save herself and those dear to her from a grisly fate?
Excerpt #3 “He’s here.”
“The beast.” Nevaeh picked up the pace, covertly hastening up the narrow attic stairs, taking a submissive Nora with her. “We must hurry.”
The attic door squeaked open. It resembled a preamble to a horror movie in the throes of reaching its climax. A plethora of pillar candles dotted the periphery of the largest circle of the pentagram. Flickering light heightened shadows, ghostlike on the attics planks and beams. The aroma of melting wax, sulfur, and pluming smoke plugged her nose. But there was something else. Something much worse.
Nevaeh slammed a hand over her mouth, suppressing Nora’s scream.
“Don’t. He knows you’re here. You’ll make it worse by screaming. Keep your head.”
There, in the middle of the pentagram, was her mother’s body. The beast was kneeling over her, lifting her head to his mouth.
“Taran, I wouldn’t do that,” Nora’s vocal cords vibrated, but it wasn’t her voice coming from her mouth. Swift and precise, Nevaeh readied the bow.
An aberrant kink of his head shifted his shoulders. “Who are you?” he asked, his bass-like voice remarkably inoffensive.
“It’s me, Nevaeh.” She lowered the arrowhead but kept it secured on the cord.
“You’re not Nevaeh, but you sound like her.” In a gradual guarded stance, he rose.
Nora widened her eyes and terror slithered along her spine. The beast was massive, all encompassing. When she’d fallen into Nevaeh’s journal, she’d lived the fable, an inexplicable nightmare. This wasn’t a dream. She was conscious, awake, and this was transpiring in her own home.
Browsing his stalwart form, her vision skipped past him to assess her mother. Her auburn hair was fanning the floorboards and she was wearing the same clothes she’d worn for her date with Mr. Larsen. No sign of blood or bruising. No twisted or broken body parts.
Nora wished her mom would move, even a finger, to let her know she was alive. Then she perceived her chest was rising and falling. She was breathing.
“I’m here with Nora, my human host,” Nevaeh said, leveling the arrow at him. “We are one.”
His lips parted, shards of teeth glimmered in the candlelight—his body all pulsing sinew and galvanized steel. “You’ve come to kill me, my daughter?”
Author Cathrina Constantine
About the Author I am blessed with a loving family and forever friends. My world revolves around them.
I grew up in the small village of Lancaster, NY, where I married my sweetheart. I’m devoted to raising 5 cherished children, and now my grandchildren.
I love to immerse myself in great books of every kind of genre, which helps me to write purely for entertainment, and hopefully to inspire readers. When not stationed at my computer you can find me in the woods taking long walks with my dog.