Recent Reviews...

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Book Review: Savor by Megan Duncan

Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal Romance)
Published: September 28, 2011
Publisher: Self

The Blurb:
When Claire Miller turned eighteen all she wanted to do was celebrate her birthday, but after a night on the town with her best friend she awakes to a visitor she never expected. The rulers of her region, a vampire royal family, have chosen her to be turned as their new heir and vampire princess. Claire quickly discovers the royal family is not what they seem and that she has secrets in her past, she never knew existed.

My Review:
Savor is the first book in the Warm Delicacy Series by Megan Duncan. This book was completely engrossing. Sure, it started off a little slow as you are getting introduced to Claire and her world, but when it gets going, it really goes! The vampires are royalty. The ceremonies and traditions of the vampire royalty were different, and I found them interesting. I enjoyed all the characters tremendously. Claire's new friend, Robin, is a hoot. When it comes to love interests for Claire, I completely fell for Dmitry. Then Arrick enters the scene and ...swoon!! I couldn't tell you which one I like best. They both are completely different and completely wonderful. There were twists and turns and the ending was completely unexpected! Just when you think there couldn't possibly be anything new added to the world of vampire books, here comes Savor by Megan Duncan to prove me wrong. 

To learn more about Megan Duncan and her books, visit her blog. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Check out my review of Indulge, book 2 in the Warm Delicacy Series!

I won Savor by Megan Duncan from the author through a giveaway on her blog. The opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Promotional Event!! Of Blood and Bone by Courtney Cole

Genre: Adult Fiction (Contemporary/Dark Romance )

Guest Blog Post for Courtney Cole
 * * *
Courtney Cole as You’ve Never Seen Her

So, you may know that my Twitter handle is @CourtwritesYA.  The YA, of course, stands for Young Adult.  I’ve written ten books and all of them are YA and NA.  EXCEPT for my newest release, Of Blood and Bone.

What the heck?  Courtney Cole wrote adult fiction??  This seems to be a common question that I’m hearing this past week or two.   And the answer is…. Heck yeah, I did.   Of Blood and Bone contains a LOT of adult content…racy sex, seduction, violence.  There’s even some blood.   You know, the good stuff.  And it is not PG-13 in any way, shape or form. 

Why did I do this?   Well.  Simply put… I wanted to. 

One day, a couple of years ago, I was watching Dexter (the Showtime series about a serial killer) and for some reason, a storyline popped into my head about a woman who fell in love with a serial killer.  The more I thought about it, the more I tweaked it.  It would be a dark romance, not a thriller.  The MC wouldn’t be a serial killer, but he would be someone with dark issues.  He would be good on the inside, but he would be ‘damaged’ and he would hate himself because of this’affliction.’ I eventually decided that he would have some sort of a Dr.Jekyll/Mr.Hyde complex.  The story kept evolving. 

And eventuallyOf Blood and Bone was born.  But I didn’t write it right away.  I put it off because it is so not something a YA writer should write. To do it up the right way, it should contain everything that YA shouldn’t.

But with the release of so much darker stuff this year, I decided that now was the time.  And so I wrote it.  And I love it.  In my opinion, it’s the best thing I’ve done so far.  The two things that I hear the most about it are:  “Wow!  I’ve never seen Courtney Cole like that!”  and “It was amazing-- I thought about that book for days after I read it.”  Both things make me smile…because you truly haven’t seen Courtney Cole quite like this.

Here’s the blurb:

Love is dangerous…

“I’m a monster, Eva. There is no saving a monster. But I love that you want to try.”
My heart constricts at the expression on his face. He has no hope for himself, so I have to hope for him.
“You’re not a monster,” I argue softly. “You’re a man, Luca. A man like any other, you’re made of blood and bone.”

As a little boy, Luca Minaldi was told he was a monster.
As an adult, he knows it is true.

He lives in Malta, a fairytale-like place filled with sunshine and sea, beauty and secrets. And Luca’s darkest of secrets is the best kept of them all.

Eva Talbot is spending the summer in Malta to finish up her doctoral dissertation. When she meets Luca, a mysterious and handsome shipping tycoon, there is an instant attraction, a disturbing and beautiful energy that she has never felt before. But she senses the darkness that lives within him.

Eva is hired to care for his mother, who suffers from dementia, but it is Luca who Eva will eventually risk everything to save. Her life becomes a swirling chaos of darkness and romance, of secrets and mystery. And the question that emerges will become the most important answer of all.

Can she save Luca from the darkness that plagues him without losing herself?

The answer is a matter of life or death.

And a short excerpt (from Eva’s point of view):

“Evangeline,” he says softly, his dark eyes glued to mine. “I’m so sorry about the other night.  I wish I could remember.  I wish I could take it back.”
“I don’t,” I tell him honestly.  “I really don’t.”
He gazes out the window for a scant moment more, seemingly deep in thought, before he crosses the room to me.  He kneels in front of me and looks into my eyes.  In this moment, he is as vulnerable as I’ve ever seen him, as I’ve ever seen anyone. He’s completely open to me, hiding nothing.
I want so desperately to kiss him.
“I can’t,” I tell his dark eyes, praying that I don’t fall into them.  “I want to kiss you right now.  But I can’t. You’re my patient.  There are ethics…”
Luca shakes his head, his hands on my knees and his gaze upon mine.  “You aren’t my doctor, Evangeline.  You’re my friend.  I’m simply talking to a friend who wants to help me tonight.  You’re not licensed to practice medicine in Malta, remember?  So where does that leave your ethics?”
He smiles wolfishly and waits without moving.  He’s offering himself to me.  I know that.  And it is against his better judgment. He has told me that, as well.  Yet here he is, on his knees in front of me.
I suck in a breath and inhale the air that is so charged with everything that Luca is.
Whatever that is.
It is dangerous on many levels.  I know that.
I reach out unsure fingers and trace the top of his shoulders, moving over the contours.  They are so broad, yet so slender at once.  He’s perfectly built.  Strong, lithe and powerful.  I drop my head.  I know that I don’t want to resist him anymore.  For the first time in my life, I’m going to do something that my heart wants to do, not what my head tells me to do.
I grip him tighter with my fingers and pull him to me.  He folds in between my knees, pressing me to his chest.  I can hear his heart thumping rhythmically against mine as my fingers linger on his warm back.
He dips his head and presses his forehead to mine, staring into my eyes.  His are a smoldering and stormy black.
“I’m afraid to get close to you,” he tells me.  “I’m afraid for you.”
“I’m not,” I whisper.  “I’m not afraid of you.  Kiss me, Luca.”
Even I can hear the thick desire in my voice and Luca hears it too.
He groans and covers my mouth with his own, muffling the sound with my lips.  He is pressed so close that he seems to absorb me.  Every plane of his body is against every plane of mine.  I don’t know where he stops and where I start, but it doesn’t matter.  All that matters is him and me and this.
* * *

That scene continues on to become quite steamy.  Seriously, I had a fan on my desk for writing moments like those.  Haha.  I’m just kidding.  Or am I? 

Of Blood and Bone is the first book in new trilogy, The Minaldi Legacy.  It is available here on Amazon and here on Barnes and

Check it out and see why people are saying, “Holy moly!  I’ve never seen Courtney Cole like that!!” 

I really hope that when you do, you’ll like what you see. 

The Giveaway:
(3) Swag Packs that includes a $10 Amazon gift card, a t-shirt, as well as misc. Courtney Cole swag. Open to US/Canada. Each blog use the Rafflecopter code below only. Giveaway ends 10/6/2012. a Rafflecopter giveaway

To read more about Courtney Cole, visit her website. You can also find her on Twitter.

Release Day Blitz!! Derailed by Alyssa Rose Ivy!

Today's the day! Derailed is here, and we've got your chance to win a print or ecopy!

The Blurb:
When you're lost, sometimes the only place you can go is home.
Broken over the death of her fiancé, Molly leaves law school to return to her childhood home in North Carolina. Expecting to lay low until she can figure out what else to do with her life, she finds herself in the arms of her high school sweetheart, the boy who represents everything from the past she tried to leave behind.

Looking for an escape, she instead finds a way back to the girl she almost forgot existed and a future she never dreamed possible.

Alyssa Rose Ivy is also the author of Beckoning Light and Perilous Light of The Afterglow Trilogy. To read more about the author, visit Alyssa Rose Ivy's Blog. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

The Giveaway!
Please fill out the Rafflecopter form below to win one print copy (U.S.) or 2 e-books internationally.
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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Concilium Book Blast!

About Author Michelle Pickett:

Michelle has been an avid reader since a young child.  She began writing for personal enjoyment in college, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in accounting.  Deciding sitting in a cubical all day was her form of cruel and unusual punishment, she decided to do what she really wanted to—share her passion for reading and writing with others.

She wrote her debut novel Concilium in 2010.  It was released July of 2012 by MuseItUp Publishing.  The sequel, Concilium: The Departure will also be published by MuseItUp Publishing with scheduled release date of November 2012.

Her Debut young adult novel, PODs, will be published by Spencer Hill Press and is scheduled for release in paperback June 4th, 2013.  Milayna, a young adult paranormal romance, will be released through Spencer Hill Press March 2014.

Michelle was born and raised in Michigan.  She now resides in a small community outside Houston, Texas with her incredibly supportive husband, four wonderful children, a 125-pound lap dog, a very grumpy cockatiel and a cat that thinks it's queen.

Michelle writes adult and young adult Sci/Fi and urban fantasy romance.

Links and Contact Information:

Concilium by Michelle Pickett

A tale of deadly creatures and forbidden romance...

Leslee hit a strange animal with her car. Now she’s marked for death.

It was a simple car accident – the animal didn’t even die – but it drew the attention of the Cruor Imbibo. Driven by their insatiable need to feed, the secret society of Imbibo has devoured the dregs of civilization for centuries. Afraid Leslee will expose them, and put an end to their meal ticket, the Imbibo want her dead.

The Concilium is Leslee's only protection. Guardian of the ancient secret and the protector of humans, the Concilium fights to control the Imbibo and end their feeding frenzy. Miller works for the Concilium. Keeping Leslee alive is his next assignment.

Now Leslee is on the run, and the only thing between her flesh and the snapping jaws of the Imbibo is Miller. He and Leslee quickly form a bond, but will falling in love make Miller’s job more difficult? Because if he fails, Leslee will be next on the Imbibo menu.

The Cruor Imbibo are coming, and they're coming for Leslee.

Buy Links:   

Book Blast Giveaway:
$50 Amazon Gift Code
Ends 10/2/12
Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Tour! An Excerpt of Sophie's Turn by Nicky Wells

The Blurb
Slapper. Slut. Adulteress. These are hardly words that Sophie Penhalligan would normally use to describe herself. Yet this is exactly how she is behaving, all things considered, even if she isn’t quite married to Tim yet. And it’s all happening because her past is coming to tempt her! Nine years ago, she met her teenage idol and rock star extraordinaire, Dan, up close and personal. Well, almost. Now Dan has crash-landed back in her life. How could Tim ever stand a chance against the charming, handsome singer? How could she?

Sophie, now twenty-eight and a budding newspaper journalist, is happily embroiled in a relationship with Tim, her boyfriend of two years. Until recently, she was confident that Tim would eventually propose—probably as soon as he could get his act together. But just as Tim’s persistent inaction is beginning to cast a cloud over their relationship, Dan’s sudden reappearance turns Sophie’s world upside down. Thus unfolds a roller-coaster of events including an ill-fated trip to Paris with Tim, a night of unfulfilled romance with Dan, Sophie and Tim’s engagement party gate-crashed by Dan, and Sophie’s professional secondment to accompany Dan’s band on their revival tour—at Dan’s special request and very much against her will.

And then, one fine day in Paris, Sophie suddenly finds herself engaged to Dan while her erstwhile fiancé Tim is... well, doing whatever it is Tim does back in London. What is she to do now? Who wouldn’t give anything to meet their favourite star, let alone marry him?

Find out how Sophie gets into this impossible situation, and how she turns it around, in Sophie’s Turn, the honest, funny and sometimes bittersweet story of one woman’s entanglement with a rock star.

 The Excerpt
“What the hell is going on here?” I hissed, trying to prevent others from hearing our exchange.

“Oh, Sophie, Dan’s turned up. Isn’t it amazing?” she beamed at me.

“I can see that,” I kept hissing, “But what is he doing here?”

Rachel was quite drunk herself and looked at me with those bleary eyes that usually meant she was up to no good. “Sophie,” she declared solemnly and rather loudly, “you have broken the man’s heart. He has come to reclaim you.” She wobbled unsteadily and I gripped her arm. Usually one to hold her liquor, party-girl Rachel had clearly gone too far tonight.

“Shshshshshshshsh!” I admonished. “Will you keep your voice down? What are you talking about?”

“Dan is completely besotted with you, and he said he couldn’t bear the thought of you getting engaged to Tim so he had to…hic…come and check him out…hic!” Oh God, she had the hiccups. She would have to spend the night in the guest room. Once Rachel got the hiccups, she was beyond salvation. I gave her twenty minutes before she collapsed. I had to extract critical information fast.

“Why did you introduce him to Tim?” I continued my interrogation. “Couldn’t you have sent him away?”
“Oooh noo, Sophie. I couldn’t turn this lovely, heartbroken man away.” She looked at me with big, innocent, and totally unfocused eyes. “In fact, we were just looking for you. You seemed to have… hic… hic… hic…disapp-hic-eared.”

“What did you say to Tim about who Dan was?” I needed to know.
“That he was Dan, of course. Your boy-hic-friend from Tusk!” She dropped this bombshell completely nonchalantly.

“You what?” I squeaked. “Please tell me you’re joking.”
“Noooo, I’m s-hic-erious! Ti-hic-im thought it was very funny. Hic.”

I wrung my hands and barely prevented myself from tearing at my hair. If Tim had thought it was funny, he must have thought Rachel was being facetious or winding him up. He had seen her drunk before (and the experience hadn’t done anything to endear her to him in any way), so it was likely that he hadn’t paid the slightest bit of heed to the truth she was spouting. But I had to move, and fast.

“You,” I said to Rachel, grabbing her by the shoulders and steering her toward the stairs.
“You have had enough to drink. You are going to bed.”

“I hic-am?” Rachel asked, surprised.

“Indeed,” I confirmed grimly and marched her up the stairs. “Right, here you are. Guest room. Bed. Now.” I propelled her forward and she flopped on the bed like a rag doll.

“Very ti-hic-hic-red,” she mumbled before passing out.

I, on the other hand, had sobered up dramatically and had only one thought left: damage limitation. I blundered back downstairs, racing quite unladylike in my high heels, and skidded to a halt in the lounge. There they were, companionably sitting in front of the stereo, playing DJ.

I clattered across the floor, grabbing a bottle of champers and three glasses off a table as I went. Tim looked up, and then sprang to his feet.

“And here she is,” he announced to Dan with no small measure of proprietary pride.
“Doesn’t she look gorgeous?”

Dan rose to his feet, somewhat unsteadily, and looked me up and down. A sad smile played on his face for just the briefest of moments.

“She looks stunning, indeed. Congratulations to you both.” He walked over to me and planted a chaste kiss on my cheek. “Well done,” he said softly, and Tim beamed gratefully, completely unaware that the comment was aimed solely at me. In fact, he seemed completely besotted by Dan’s manly, famous presence.

“Dan here and I were just discussing rock music,” he informed me as though Dan were his new best friend.

I shuddered for a moment. God forbid.

“Dan has some very interesting views about the movement, you know?”

I winced and smiled a secret apologetic smile at Dan, but he was too drunk to notice anything patronizing in Tim’s comment. I had to separate the two before things got out of hand. Luckily, one of our other guests absolved me of thinking up more ruses by descending on Tim and whisking him away to the kitchen.

Dan and I regarded each other in silence.

“You do look beautiful,” Dan repeated, suddenly sounding a whole lot more sober.

I wanted to cry. “What are you doing here?” I whispered, not trusting my voice.

“I don’t really know,” he acknowledged. “I just felt…lonely. At a loose end. I had to see you and convince myself that…well, that it really is too late. You know?”

I was simultaneously touched and petrified. “I thought we’d agreed…,” I started, but Dan interrupted immediately.

To learn more about Nikky Wells and her books, visit her blog, and Goodread's page. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.
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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Væmpires Bloody Chunks Tour! Read Chapter 6 Part 2!

The Vaempires: Zombie Rising Bloody Chunks Tour

Hello everyone. Welcome to the Bloody Chunks Tour!

I’m Thomas Winship, author of Vaempires: The Evolutionary War—a vampire series that explores the question: what if vampires evolved?

For this book tour, I decided to do something a bit different. Instead of sharing excerpts, reviews, interviews, and all the usual accompaniments, I’m giving you the book itself—piece by piece.

Or chunk by bloody chunk!

This tour is the only place where you can read Vaempires: Zombie Rising, the next chapter in the vaempires saga, before its official release!

The tale of The Evolutionary War resumes in Væmpires: Zombie Rising.Væmpires have taken control of twelve major cities. Their leader, Vielyn, seeks the atomic weapons that will bring the rest of the world to its knees.Vampire forces are reeling. As Linq and Ray race to the royal estate to rendezvous with Cassandra and Daniel, the princess is captured and Daniel falls.With the fate of world shifting to their teenage shoulders, Linq and Ray must deal with tremendous losses while battling a most unexpected—and undeadly—new foe.
This tour wouldn’t be possible without the time and efforts of a very special group of people, beginning with Silvia and Franny at Dark Mind Book Tours and including everyone on the list below. Please show your support by stopping by, commenting, and spreading the word!

Tour Schedule:
September 10th Darkest Sins / Book Trailer Reveal
September 11th GraveTells / Chapter 1
September 12th Mind Reader / Chapter 2
September 13th Fictional Candy / Chapter 3
September 14th Words In Sync / Chapter 4
September 17th Chapter By Chapter / Chapter 5, Part 1
September 18th Picked By Poison / Chapter 5, Part 2
September 19th Reader Girls / Chapter 6, Part 1
September 20th What’s Beyond Forks? / Chapter 6, Part 2
September 21st Sweet Southern Home / Chapter 7
September 24th TToria / Chapter 8
September 25th Kindle and Me / Chapter 9
September 26th S.M. Boyce’s Blog / Chapter 10
September 27th Happy Tails and Tales / Chapter 11
September 28th Darkest Sins / Reviews

I hope you enjoy Væmpires: Zombie Rising!

Check out the trailer!!

Ready for more?? Check out Chapter 6 Part 2 from Væmpires: Zombie Rising below! If you haven't read them already, you can catch up by reading the previous chapters at the blogs all along the tour listed above. Enjoy!

Chapter 6 Part 2
“This stinks,” Ray said, his voice devoid of levity.

Linq agreed, but didn’t respond. The stench of blood and decay was thick in the air. Væmpire blood, for the most part. The smell of so much of it should have bothered him. Two days earlier, it would have. Now, he found that it pleased a savage part of him, a part that reveled in it. A part that sickened him. A part that he wished had never been awakened.

“Be careful what you wish for,” Ray cautioned.

“Who says I’m wishing for anything?

Ray’s gaze was level. His eyes were concerned but steady. “We’ve been friends forever. I can read your expressions like my favorite book. I know when there’s something crazy going on in that genius brain of yours. I know when you’re angry. I know when you’re scared. I know when you’re daydreaming—yeah, it doesn’t happen often, but I’ve seen it enough to know. Hell, I know when you’re hungry. And I know when you’re wishing for something to be different than it is.”

Linq’s silent agreement seemed to be enough for Ray, who nodded once before turning toward the tower that lay to their left.

The blond teen sighed. “Cassie and Daniel aren’t here,” he said, giving voice to the obvious.

“Which is disappointing, but not unexpected,” Linq countered. He sniffed, testing the air. The scents of the missing teens were vague but distinct among the aroma of spilled blood. “At least we know they were here, and not that long ago, either.”

The two friends gazed at each other, neither letting the concern they felt show in their eyes. Without a word, they turned and headed toward the familiar hill and tower that dominated the landscape.

They were young, but they had already spent years of their lives in that building. Sitting atop a hill that formed a natural amphitheater, the round tower before them served as the base of operations for the royal guard. Within its walls of concrete and stone were the guard’s main offices, a small detention area, living quarters, and facilities for eating, training, and entertainment. The facility was so self-contained that some guards rarely left its confines.

A door at the base of the tower was ajar. The way it hung open, as if only half committed to any course of action, suggested that it would’ve swayed in the breeze if given the choice. And a breeze.

Upon closer inspection, though, the door didn’t give the impression that it wanted to welcome the teens into its dark folds. It had a sort of hangdog look, as if it had been charged with a serious responsibility and failed. The subconscious message it sent Linq was that there was nothing there for him to bother with.

“It’s obvious what happened here,” Ray said. “The grass outside the door is trampled. In fact,” he added, drawing an imaginary line with his finger, “it’s trampled all the way down the hill. Either someone came rushing out of the tower and ran into trouble or trouble came rushing out of that tower to meet someone.”

“Or both,” Linq added. “And it wasn’t just one or two people,” he noted, his heart sinking into his stomach.

“Remember your training,” Ray cautioned, his eyes meeting Linq’s. “Yes, the grass is matted, even tore up in places, but I don’t see any marks indicating bodies have been dragged away. Seems like a pretty good sign to me.”

They drew closer.

“Christ, there’s blood everywhere!” Linq exclaimed. The hill resembled a grass canvas with red paint splashed across its surface. In places where the blood splatter fanned out in widening arks, the summer sun had already dried it to the color of rust. In other areas, spilled blood had cascaded down to form pools in the dirt, where it glistened as it slowly thickened.

“Blood everywhere,” Linq repeated, “but no bodies.” He looked at Ray. “Where are the bodies?”

“There are plenty of tracks leading that way,” Ray said, pointing toward the west ward. “And you can smell the stench as well as I can. Unless I’m wrong, there’s a mountain of bodies waiting for us over there. Maybe no one died here.”

“At least one person did.”

How do you know?”

Instead of answering, Linq walked a dozen yards east, toward the object that had caught his eye. It was nestled between two large tufts of grass, as if trying to burrow to safety, but it couldn’t escape the blowflies and other insects attracted to dead flesh.

It was a severed head, lying facedown in the grass. The long brown hair splayed around it meant it was probably a woman’s.

Ray’s sharp intake of breath startled Linq, even though the muscled teen knew Ray was there. There was something unsettling about seeing a severed head anywhere, but this one was in a place where Linq and his friends had enjoyed countless hours of frivolity.

“It isn’t Cassie,” Linq assured him. The color was close, but the princess had long curls and this hair was straight.

“I know,” Ray said. “Thank God. But it’s still unnerving.”

“My thoughts exactly.” Linq squatted next to the head, but couldn’t bring himself to touch it. He imagined the hair feeling brittle and the flesh beneath it rubbery. “Should we turn it over?” he asked, although he realized that, by virtue of asking, he had taken ownership of the act. He clenched his stomach.

“No. What good would that do?”

“So we can see who it is,” Linq replied, although he was so relieved he probably wouldn’t be able to bring himself to do it even if Ray changed his mind.

“Doesn’t matter who it is. Her identity is of no use to us.”

Linq stood. “You’re right, of course. But there is one thing I’d like to know. Where’s the body?”

Ray shrugged. “Maybe someone cleaned it up.”


“Royal housekeeping.”

“Not funny,” Linq intoned, but his attention was already elsewhere, on something else his eyes had spotted in the grass.

Ray didn’t follow him as he walked toward the object. Ten feet away, near the base of the hill, there was an area that was particularly trampled. It was more than just trampled; in several places, the turf was gouged away in divots. Scattered among them were fingers—four, to be exact. He found the remaining two a few feet away.

“Jesus,” Ray hissed, stealing Linq’s attention.

Linq looked up as Ray came loping over with a disgusted look on his face. “Someone’s face is lying over there,” Ray said.

“Another head?”

No. A face. Just a face. It’s been … I don’t know … stripped away or sliced off or something. It wasn’t a clean cut.” He used his hand to indicate a line that started behind the temple and angled down the cheek to just miss the corner of the mouth. Then he ran his hand through his spiky blond hair.

“It kind of looks like a holiday mask lying there, with grass sticking up through one eyehole. The other one, though …” He didn’t finish, shuddering with the memory and giving a nervous laugh.

“I know,” Linq said. “Despite the inherent danger, I’d rather be killing them than running into their remains after the fact.”

Ray gazed at him and didn’t say anything for a moment. Then his face broke into a smile and he chuckled. “That’s a helluva way of looking at it,” he offered. “But I have to agree.”

“Well, as far as clues go,” Linq said, “let’s see what we’ve got. The place seems deserted, but there’s plenty of blood and trampled grass. We also have a head, six fingers, and most of a face. Not much to go on, I’m afraid.” He sighed.

“Not much to go on,” Ray said, snorting. “You recite a list of body parts and complain that it’s incomplete. Is that supposed to be funny?” He started laughing.

Amazed, Linq stared at his friend for a few seconds, wondering if the teen had lost his mind. But Ray only laughed harder, which proved infectious. Before he knew it, Linq was laughing, too, all the harder because of the absurdity of the situation.

“Body parts … incomplete.” Ray huffed between bouts of laughter. He fell to his knees, laughing harder—so hard that tears ran from his eyes. He tried to say something, his mouth opening and closing like a fish out of water, but he couldn’t stop laughing.

For Linq’s part, every time he thought he had regained control, he’d see images of someone checking off items on an inventory list and the laughter would resume.

So, in a surreal moment, the two teens sat on a bloodstained hill on a beautiful summer day and laughed as if they hadn’t a care in the world. It was cathartic. It was also natural—they were only fifteen years old, after all.

If an enemy showed up at that moment, both teens would die, but their luck held. Little by little, the laughter subsided, moving from violent explosions to mild outbursts to intermittent chuckles, as the ill-timed humor ran its course.

When it was over, they composed themselves and stood, looking at each other with equal parts relief and curiosity. Their hearts were a little less heavy, and their faces, although streaked with tears, were a bit less careworn.

Linq cleared his throat. “Well, that was unexpected.”

“Even when facing the end of the world, laughter is still the best medicine.”

Linq grabbed his friend in a headlock. “If we’re facing the end of the world, then I'm glad to be with you, Raywise Gamgee, here at the end of all things.”

“Hey,” Ray cried in mock outrage, “copyright infringement aside, leave the comedy to the professionals, you big—”


Both boys froze on instinct.

They waited—one second, two seconds—for the sound to repeat.

It didn’t.

Linq released Ray.

“Was that what I think it was?” Ray whispered.

Linq nodded. It had been a heartbeat. Faint, coming from the other side of the tower, but within range of vampire senses.

“Why wasn’t there another one?”

Linq didn’t answer. He could offer guesses, but nothing certain. The only thing he knew was that it wasn’t Cassandra or Daniel. Vampire hearts didn’t beat.

“What the hell?” Ray asked, wide-eyed. “One beat? There’s no way we missed one before it.”

“Who cares about that? All I know is that we may have found someone who can tell us about Cassie and Daniel,” Linq said, setting off at a fast jog. “Let’s go get some answers.”

 Don't forget to stop by Sweet Southern Home tomorrow to read Chapter 7!

Check out my reviews of: Væmpires: White Christmas and Væmpires: Revolution as well as an interview with the author, Thomas Winship.

About the Author:Thomas Winship was born in Middletown, NY (USA) and still resides in Orange County. He holds an MBA in Management from St. Thomas Aquinas College, where he serves as MBA Director and adjunct professor of courses in English Composition, Communications, and Business. He also spent fifteen years working for a global pharmaceutical company, specializing in organizational development, talent management, and training.
Tom writes in his spare time. His first novel, a mystery/legal thriller entitled Temporary Insanity (a.k.a. Case Closed), was a 2008 finalist in a national contest but failed to garner industry attention. His second novel, Væmpires: Revolution, was published in October and a follow-up novella, Væmpires: White Christmas, was published in December.

He is an avid collector of books, comic books, music, and movies. His interests are diverse: on any given day, Tom is likely to be found watching a horror movie, attending a hard rock concert, or enjoying a Broadway show.
He is currently working on the next installment of the “Væmpires” series, which is scheduled for a 2012 release.
To learn more about Thomas Winship and his books, visit his website. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Cover Reveal! Abandon (Possession #3) by Elana Johnson

The Blurb:
seduced by power,
broken by control,
and consumed by love...

Vi has made her choice between Jag and Zenn, and the Resistance may have suffered for it. But with the Thinkers as strong as ever, the rebels still have a job to do. Vi knows better than anyone that there's more at stake than a few broken hearts.

But there is a traitor among them...and the choices he makes could lead to the total destruction of everything Vi has fought for.

Pinterest contest: Elana is running a Pinterest contest for the cover. She wants to get 500 pins (or repins) over the next  two days. If we can get that many, she'll pick someone who pinned the cover to win a $50 Amazon gift card. It's so easy to do this. All you have to do is click over to Elana’s blog for details.

To learn more about Elana Johnson, check out her blog. You can also visit the author on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

This event made possible by: AToMR Tours 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dust Tour! An Interview with Devon Ashley

Thank you for stopping by for our date on the Dust Tour. Devon Ashley will be joining us today. We are so excited that she took the time from her busy schedule to answer some questions for us!

What inspired you to write your first book? 
I had always been good at creative writing, even when I was little. I actually started off writing screenplays for fun. When Ordained placed in a competition and I was given some one-on-one time with one of the judges, she actually suggested I take the story and write fiction. A few years later I did. J Now I can’t seem to stop.

When you first started writing Dust, did you plan for it to be a series? 
Honestly, no. Originally I thought it would be a dark, stand-alone novel about a pixie irritated over being stolen and determined to break free at any cost. But as I was writing, I really wanted to create the character of Jack, one of her captors, just to work in a little forbidden romance . Dust is all the better for it, and now that Rosalie’s determined to free all the slaves, it’s now become a trilogy.

What can you tell us about the next installment? 
Hmm…hard without putting some spoilers out there about Dust. I can say that in book two, a couple of pixies from Rosalie’s Hollow will find themselves stolen for faerie slave labor as well, which only infuriates our passionate heroine even more.

Which of your characters do you relate to most and why? 
Rosalie, hands down. I’ve always been a leader and someone others come to help them deal with their problems. I love to write about strong female leads that are kick-@ss when it comes to getting the job done, but always have a hint of vulnerability that makes them realistic and likeable.

What is a secret about you that nobody else knows?
 I have a massive yarn stash. Little balls of fluff, fuzz, beaded silk, and chenille stuffed in every hidden nook this house has to offer. Seriously…I have a problem. But I can whip up some wicked knits.

If your real life as a teenager was a Young Adult book, what would you, the main character, be like? 
A lot like the heroines in my novels. Strong-willed, hard-headed, walls a little tough to break through but lots of love to give, and maybe just a smidgen of stubbornness. Okay...maybe an ounce.

What book have you read too many times to count? 
Pride and Prejudice. I just can’t get enough of the tension between Lizzy and Mr. Darcy. Sigh…

If you could hop into the life of any character for a day, who would it be, and why? 
Hermione Granger, cause she’s freakin’ awesome. And because she managed to snag Krum. Did I mention I like jocks? J

What is the best piece of writing advice you ever received? 
Never read a review with one star. No author is immune to them, and most are just mean-hearted instead of offering up useful criticisms.

What do you like to do when you're not writing? 
Play and read with my two year old boy, Riley.

To learn more about Devon Ashley and her books, visit her blog. You can also find her on Facebook and GoodReads.

The Giveaway!
Devon Ashley has put together some pretty snazzy prize packs for you to win! Click on the image for a larger look at the goodies then enter by filling out the Rafflecopter form below! Good luck!
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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What Kills Me Tour: Review & Excerpt!

Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal Romance)
Date Published: June 6, 2012
Publisher: Jet & Jack Press

The Blurb:
An ancient prophecy warns of a girl destined to cause the extinction of the vampire race.

So when 17-year-old Axelia falls into a sacred well filled with blood and emerges a vampire, the immortal empire believes she is this legendary destroyer. Hunted by soldiers and mercenaries, Axelia and her reluctant ally, the vampire bladesmith Lucas, must battle to survive.

How will she convince the empire that she is just an innocent teenager-turned bloodsucker and not a creature of destruction? And if she cannot, can a vampire who is afraid of bugs summon the courage to fight a nation of immortals?

My Review:
What Kills Me is the debut novel by Wynne Channing. The cover is what initially attracted me to this book and it only got better from there. When I started reading, I was completely drawn in from the beginning. With it's humor, suspense, drama, romance, and non-stop action, the story offers a little something for any audience. The author did a wonderful job creating a world within What Kills Me that was easy to visualize. Each character had a story that made them come to life..even those who weren't 'technically' alive. I'm not sure if a sequel is in the works, and even though it stands on its own just fine, it certainly could be turned into a series.

What Kills Me by Wynne Channing was provided to me by the author for review. The opinions are my own.

The Excerpt:
A human girl will be re-born a vampire. She will shed the blood of all who walk in darkness and bring about the death of the entire vampire race.
—Ancient vampire prophecy
Chapter 1
The sun’s down. I am so dead.

I walked out of the bakery with a box of cannoli balanced in my hands and when I saw the dark sky, my smile faded.I shouldered my way through the crowds and rushed into a piazza. The clock on the church tower read 9:25 p.m. I rounded the fountain in the center of the square, my flip flops slapping at my heels. I shifted my box of pastries so that it was under my arm like a football and quickened my pace.

Sofia is going to kill me. When I left the house at 7:30 p.m., I had told her that I’d be only twenty minutes. But I’d lost track of time wandering the narrow cobblestone streets, snapping pictures. So far, I wasn’t being a good guest in her home. Two days ago, I had accidentally used dishwasher soap in her laundry machine, producing a titanic bubble bath. This was not the way to redeem myself.

A few people sat on the stone stairs around the fountain. A bearded man plucked at a guitar and nodded his head. A woman reclined against her boyfriend, her hands on his knees as if they were the arms of a chair.
One young man stood alone on the top of the stairs. His hands were in the pockets of a charcoal coat with an asymmetrical zipper that cut across his chest. His face was backlit against the street lamps, but I knew that he was staring at me. He had such rigid posture that nothing but his head moved as he watched me cross the square.

I dropped my gaze. The straps of my backpack dug into my shoulders and shifted my T-shirt. I tugged at the hem so that the Canadian flag was centered in the middle of my chest. He probably wants to rob me. My father had warned me about pickpockets in Rome. A few days before my trip, he had come into my room with a bulgy blue fanny pack: “To keep your valuables safe.”

From the corner of my eye I could still see the man’s face pointed in my direction, and I heard my best friend’s voice in my head. Zee, he’s checking you out. See if he’s hot. Ryka had encouraged me to have a summer fling. The only fling I’d ever had with a guy was when Felix Lewis flung me in the air during cheerleading tryouts. “Find someone and have fun,” but avoid the bad guys, she had said. She wanted me to keep my other valuables safe.

Pretending to look back at the clock, I glanced at the fountain. The guy was gone. I searched the piazza but didn’t see him. Too bad. He might have been cute. Would his trying to pick my back pocket count as second base?

I turned down a lane sandwiched between two square buildings and wove through a group of men in soccer jerseys. An old man in an undershirt and house slippers stood in the street with a dusty poodle, and I returned his sullen glare with a smile and a nod.

After walking several minutes, something seemed wrong. Okay, I remember passing this restaurant with the row of people eating on white linen tablecloths under white umbrellas. I remember this tight street with the parked cars on my left. But I don’t remember the street opening into a parking lot and this giant purple bush.

A mass of fuchsia flowers cascaded down the side of a building, like a purple monster arm, reaching for the ground with its branchy fingers. I would have remembered this. I doubled back through the dim streets but then couldn’t find my way to the piazza. Don’t panic.

I took a mental inventory of the contents of my bag: a journal, my wallet, my passport, my digital camera, a bottle of water. Of course, I didn’t take the note card with Sofia’s address and phone number on it. It’s on my dresser. Of course, I didn’t take a map. I could see Sofia’s round face, scrunched with disapproval, the creases on her frowning forehead. I performed a frustrated pirouette.

“Come on,” I said, exasperated with myself.

“Excuse me?” A voice said behind me.

I spun around, and there he was in the middle of the road. The guy from the fountain. I recognized his jacket and his tall, stiff stance.

“Sorry. I was talking to myself,” I said.

He took a step toward me and his face shocked me. He had high cheek bones and clean-shaven, pale skin. His deep-set blue eyes were in shadow under thick, dark eyebrows, but they were luminous.
I realized then that I was staring with my mouth ajar.

“You’re American?” he asked in his Italian accent.

“No, I’m from Winnipeg. It’s in Canada,” I said, pointing to my T-shirt. I glanced away, feeling weird that I had just directed his attention to my chest.

He nodded. “You are on vacation?”

“I’m living here for two months studying Italian.”

“Well then, welcome to Italia,” he said, and his pale pink lips smiled. “Do you like it here?”

“I’ve only been here for about a week and I love it.”

“What do you love most?” The word, “lah-ve,” filled his mouth thickly.

“I love the architecture, the food,” I said. “If I could eat gelato every day for the rest of my life, I would.”

“Then you must be sweet.”

His smile widened and I felt embarrassed. To quash my anxiety, I thrust my hand at him. “I’m Zee,” I said.

He seemed startled, tucking in his dimpled chin to gaze at my hand. “Zee?”

“My name is Axelia but everybody calls me Zee.”

“Paolo,” he said.

He slipped his smooth, cool hand into mine. I gripped his palm and shook it vigorously.

“Eggs-ee-lee-ah?” he said, pronouncing every syllable of my name. “I like it.”

“Thanks. I like it too.  It’s spelled A-X-E-L-I-A; but the X is soft. Though I hated it when I was young. In kindergarten, someone spread a totally untrue rumor that ‘Zee likes pee,’ and then, you know, at recess, it was always ‘Zee likes pee, Zee likes pee.’”

I laughed and when he didn’t join me, I cleared my throat to silence myself. “And I have no clue why I told you that story, since we just met.”

Oh, Zee. Always babbling when you’re nervous.

He cocked his head and studied my face. “Zee, would you like to go with me for a gelato?” he asked.
Whoa. Is this beautiful guy asking me out? Ryka would be celebrating with corniness: “He doesn’t want to steal your wallet. He wants to steal your heart.”

“Uh, thank you, Paolo,” I said, relishing the opportunity to use his name. “But I actually need to get home.”

“Where do you live?”

“Good question. I mean, I’m not sure. I’m a bit lost,” I said with a shrug and something in between a grin and a grimace. “It’s on a narrow street around here. There’s a café on the street. There’s a pizzeria. I know—every narrow street has a café and a pizzeria. And I don’t have a map or an address. I might just have to live on the streets, survive on cannoli, and sing for coins.”

“You sing?”

“Yes but I’m sure people will pay me to stop.”

“Don’t worry,” he said. “I will help you.”

“Oh, I remember!” I exclaimed. “There’s a white church on my street.”

“Via dellaScala has a white church,” he said. “And a café and a pizzeria.”

“Via dellaScala, that’s it!” I said.

He put his hand over his heart and bowed slightly. “May I have the honor of walking you there, Zee?”

“That would be lovely.”

As we walked back to Sofia’s apartment, I chattered to fill the silence. I told him about the laundry fiasco and about my Japanese housemate, Miyuki. At one point, I realized that I was nervously swinging the box of cannoli while I walked. Paolo kept his eyes on me while I looked everywhere else. His suede coat sleeve would brush my bare arm, giving me goose bumps.

“How old are you?” I said.

“How old are you?”


“Me too,” he replied.

“I start university in the fall. I’m going to take general arts courses for now because I’m not sure what field I’d like to get into. My father’s an aerospace engineer and my big sister is studying mechanical engineering. But I almost failed physics and math in high school. So for the safety of mankind, I don’t think I should get a job building anything. I love taking pictures so maybe I could be a photographer. What do you do?”

“I’m a student.”

“What are you studying?”

“I’m a student of life,” he said. He pursed his lips when he smiled.

Was that code for unemployed?

“I see,” I said, instead. “And what have you learned so far?”

“I’ve learned that treasures present themselves when you least expect them,” he said. “And you? What has your life taught you?”

“That I shouldn’t walk around without a map,” I said. “And that dish soap doesn’t go in washers. Actually, I’m here because I want more life experience. I feel like I’ve been pretty sheltered in Winnipeg.”

“I’ve never been there. Is it nice?”

“Yes, but it gets cold.”

“Cold doesn’t bother me.”

“This cold would. Our winters are brutal. It’s so cold sometimes that my eyes water and then my wet eyelashes freeze together.”

He chuckled. His teeth were small and perfect. For a moment, I imagined walking with him through these streets, laughing and holding hands. I imagined him teaching me Italian. I imagined him kissing me. Then I could add “kissed a hot guy” to my experiences, right after “traveled outside of Winnipeg.”

Suddenly I recognized the square planters in front of Sofia’s apartment farther down the street.
“Thank God, we’ve found it!” I blurted. Then I turned to Paolo. “I didn’t mean thank God because I don’t like your company. You’re wonderful company in fact.”

“I also enjoyed your company.”

“Thank you so much. I owe you my life for helping me get back to Sofia’s.”

One side of his lips curled up. “Then repay me,” he said.

“Okay.” I channeled Ryka’s boldness. “I could buy you a gelato?”

“Yes. Let’s meet tomorrow at nine fifteen.”

“Where?” I asked. I could feel my cheeks flushing.

“Right here,” he said, pointing to the pizzeria to his left.

“Done,” I said. “It was nice meeting you.”

“Goodnight, Zee.”

“Goodnight, Paolo.”

Check out my review of the next book in this series!
About the Author
Wynne Channing is an award-winning national newspaper reporter and young adult novelist. She loves telling stories and as a journalist, she has interviewed everyone from Daniel Radcliffe and Hugh Jackman to the president of the Maldives and Duchess Sarah Ferguson. The closest she has come to interviewing a vampire is sitting down with True Blood's Alexander Skarsgard (he didn’t bite). She briefly considered calling her debut novel "Well" so then everyone would say: "Well written by Wynne Channing." Check out my interview with Wynne Channing!

The Giveaways!!
Wynne is kindly offering a signed bookmark with butterfly charm and e-copy of What Kills Me to one lucky winner! Please enter by filling out the Rafflecopter form below. (Open to US & Canada residents only.)

International Giveaway:Click here to enter the What Kills Me Tour Wide International Giveaway!!

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To learn more about Wynne Channing and her books, visit her website, blog, and Goodread's page. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Buy What Kills Me
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