Tuesday, April 21, 2015

New Release: Healing Rain by Katy Newton Naas - Excerpt & Trailer

Happy Release Day!!


Healing Rain

Katy Newton Naas

YA Contemporary Romance
Clean Reads
April 21, 2015


Some people just naturally seem to have it all. Until five months ago, sixteen-year-old Rain Sawyer was one of those people. She had the perfect life, with a loving, wealthy family and a strong Christian faith, complete with popularity, sports, clubs, and good grades.
When one tragic incident shatters everything Rain thought she knew, she finds herself five hours away, starting over in a small town very different from her glamorous big-city life.

Armed with a different outlook on life – one that no longer includes her faith – she struggles to create a new identity for herself.  Determined to keep her dark past as secret, she navigates through a new school year, a new town, and new relationships while trying to figure out who she wants to be.


Excerpt

Prologue
            The smell of blood – sickeningly thick, fresh blood – filled my nostrils before I ever opened the door. I didn’t recognize that smell at first; I had never encountered that much blood in one place before. But I knew that the smell was off, somehow. The room
usually smelled just like my dad – a mixture of pine trees and cologne, a combination of aromas that I had never quite understood but they belonged to him. I knocked, but no one answered. Cautiously, I pushed open the door. “Dad?” I whispered as I entered.
            That’s when I saw his legs. His signature khaki pants and brown loafers stuck out from behind his desk. He was on the ground and didn’t move when I said his name, didn’t even twitch as I opened the door and walked inside. “Dad!” I called again,
louder this time.
            Oh no, he’s had a heart attack, I thought. I rushed over to the desk to see his face. But what I saw stopped me in my tracks like a deer in headlights.
            I was frozen. My brain screamed at my body to move, to get away from the sight, but my feet were glued to the floor. My arms and legs suddenly felt like sandbags, and I collapsed.
            This is not my dad. There was no face, no way to identify him for sure. But it was him. I knew the shape of his body, the clothes he wore. But the pool of blood under his neck took my breath away.
            Who did this? Who did this to my father? I heard violent, blood-curdling screams, which I quickly realized were coming from me. I pleaded for help, still unable to get up off the ground, but it was useless. No one else was home.
            Or was someone else in the house? My heart stopped beating as I considered this. Someone had broken in, had murdered my father in cold blood. Maybe I was next. Maybe my whole family was next. At that point, I almost wished for it. Death would be a
welcome release from the idea of losing my dad, the man I admired most in the world. My funny, loving, attentive, adoring father. My best friend. And now he was gone.
            And that’s when I saw it. The gun. The murder weapon that was used to kill my father was still lying on the scene. I stared at it, too shocked to cry or get scared or have any of the other normal reactions I should have had.
            My mind was racing but remained blank. I had to get up, had to call for help. Move, I commanded my feet. Get up and go call 911. Tell them there’s been a murder, get the police to catch whoever did this and make them pay.
            And that’s when my brain began to truly process the scene. The gun – the murder weapon – was in my dad’s own hand. Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. And then the tears came, slowly at first before gushing out of my eyes until I couldn’t see straight anymore. I curled my legs up to my chest and hugged them, putting my head down on my knees as my shoulders shook uncontrollably. Oh, no,
no, no, no, no, no, no, no.
            I forced myself to look back at my dad one last time, just to make sure my mind wasn’t playing tricks on me. He couldn’t have done this. He couldn’t have.
I looked up toward the sky and asked one simple question: Why?

About the Author


Katy Newton Naas currently teaches middle school reading and high school English in southern Illinois, as well as children's church. She graduated from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale with a bachelor's degree in English Education and a master's degree in Reading and Language Studies. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, including her husband, her young son, Aven, and her four-legged sons, Shakespeare and Poe.

From a young age, Katy was always an avid reader and writer with a big imagination. Though she continues to grow older, her true literature love is and has always been young adult fiction. She loves creating both realistic and futuristic stories about teenagers, and feels so fortunate to get to work with them every day as a teacher.

Connect with Katy Newton Naas:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/katynewtonnaasauthor
Twitter: @KatyNewtonNaas
Instagram: https://instagram.com/katynewtonnaas/
Blog:
https://katynewtonnaas.wordpress.com/

Monday, April 20, 2015

Do You Think this Fish is Fresh? by Shereen Vedam, Author of A Devilish Slumber


I'm so pleased to welcome Shereen Vedam, author of A Devilish Slumber, to the blog today. Ms. Vedam pens fairy tale inspired Regency paranormal romances. This latest was inspired by Sleeping Beauty and is the first book in a three-book series.

Do You Think this Fish is Fresh?

Hello! First of all, thank you very much to Kimber for inviting me into her on-line home. My name is Shereen Vedam and I write fairytale-inspired Regency fantasy romances. Today, I’d like to discuss Lady Roselyn Ravenstock, the heroine of A Devilish Slumber, the first of a 3-book series. This one was inspired by Sleeping Beauty.

I’ve done 4 historical novels inspired by fairytales so far, and I have to say, Sleeping Beauty was a challenge. In today’s world, even if we are reading a historical, we want the heroine to be feisty, kick-butt, take charge, almost an alpha-female. And no matter how I might spin this story, the inclusion of the word “Sleeping” does not envision an assertive confident female heroine.

So, as the synopsis suggests, the story actually begins the moment Beauty awakens. And what stirs her awake is not the kiss of her true love (that comes later), but the prod of a stranger at the marketplace – a woman about her mother’s age – who asks Rose, “Do you think this fish is fresh?” while holding up an apple.

It’s true that a deliciously sensuous kiss can shake a woman up royally, but it’s a quirk of humor that stirs this sleeping beauty out of her private world of anguish and back into society’s dangerous embrace. However, when that stranger, who cared enough to want to help Rose, is brutally murdered, she refuses to back off, return to her safe quiet world, and hibernate. Oh no! This time, Rose’s anger erupts at the injustices of her life, and she decides that someone will pay for disturbing her peace.

So begins A Devilish Slumber, a fairytale-inspired tale of magic, in a historical setting and, yes, even a hint of horror, as a young lady uses an ancient family talent to help her bring a murderer hiding in the perilous dockside of 1813 London, England to justice.

How do you deal when sorrow drapes too heavily over your shoulders? What are your tricks and tips to bring yourself back into the flow of life?

I love Sleeping Beauty and can't wait to read this novel. It sounds like it has something for everyone!

How do I deal with sorrow? I sing. Singing fills me with joy and endorphins. So, yes, I may look a tad silly dancing around the house belting Disney tunes. But I feel worlds better when I'm through :)



A Devilish Slumber
The Rue Alliance, Book One

Shereen Vedam

Regency Paranormal Romance
ImaJinn Books/Belle Books
February 19, 2015


Beauty awoke, and then the trouble began . . .

Since dealing with the death of her sister and her abandonment by Sir Phillip Jones, the man who professed to love her, Lady Roselyn Ravenstock has lived as if sleepwalking. Mired in grief, she sequestered herself in her home, avoiding all callers. Then she meets Mrs. Helen Beaumont, and Rose starts to come to life . . . until Helen is murdered. But this time, Rose isn't going back to sleep. Vowing to avenge her friend, Rose dons a costume and goes out into the night looking for a killer.

Sir Phillip, the Regent's favored spy, returns from war determined to win back the woman he was forced to leave three years ago. But when he witnesses Rose covered in blood, racing from a brutal scene while gripping the murder weapon, he goes on a desperate mission to unravel what he hopes is a case of mistaken identity.

The investigation leads Rose into a world of enchantment, where people can re-shape their features, fires are begun with a snap of fingers and objects move of their own accord. But the real magic is the blazing attraction that is re-awakened between her and Phillip.

Will Rose ever get her happily-ever-after? Possibly. But first, she'll have to convince Phillip of her innocence-before the killer strikes again. . . .


Excerpt

Midnight, Wednesday, April 8, 1813, London, England
A SCREAM RIPPLED across the misty, dockside air.
Sir Phillip Jones's pulse lurched at that mournful cry. Gripping his walking stick, he raced down the hilly road of the deserted warehouse district in Wapping. A second muffled scream rang out and was then abruptly cut off. No longer concerned about keeping his movements covert, he ran toward those terrified shrieks. Rounding a corner, he tore past a man staring toward where the screams had come from.
"Imbecile," the large man grumbled from behind him.
Phillip was ten feet away before it registered that the man had sworn in French. By then, the woman who ran out of a warehouse gripping a bloody dagger had captured his focus. For a split second, her face was clearly highlighted by a stray shaft of moonlight piercing the mist. He stumbled to a halt, his chest heaving for air as stunned recognition sank in.
Rose?
The lady started and swung toward him. Had he spoken aloud? Pulling her hood up, she then sprinted off into the night.
Phillip instantly gave chase, but when he reached the open warehouse door through which she had fled, he pulled back. If that had been his Rose, he knew where she lived.
Rapidly retreating footsteps behind him suggested the irate Frenchman, probably a sailor, was also prudently withdrawing from this possible crime scene.
Inside the warehouse, despite the wide open door, it was pitch black, but that coppery scent of fresh spilled blood was unmistakable in the chilly sea air. Instead of blindly stepping in, Phillip pulled out his candle and circular silver tinderbox from his pocket. He had not survived the dangers of being an intelligence officer for the past five years by acting foolishly during a crisis.
He methodically placed the candle's wick end into the hole on the lid and struck the flint until the candle lit. Then, with flickering candle attached to the tinderbox's socket, he cautiously proceeded inside, his walking stick, with a sword hidden inside, raised to act as a club. If someone lurked within this warehouse, he would need blunt force, not blade finesse.
The warehouse was empty except for the victim who was slumped on the grimy floor, blood pooling at her side. Her throat had been slit. Her eyes were wide open as if in shock. He lowered his weapon, placed his candleholder on the ground, and knelt to check for signs of life. Her arm was limp and there was no pulse at the wrist, and not even a hint of a breath. Her skin was still warm, but her spirit had been effectively extinguished.
With a defeated sigh, he searched her reticule and found calling cards which confirmed her identity. This was indeed Mrs. Beaumont, the woman he had come to meet tonight. Not many from this riverside section of London could afford the luxury of calling cards. Her gown was serviceable, but not of high fashion. He strode restlessly around the empty warehouse, kicking aside empty crates and litter, poking at the walls in search of a hidden door, anything to prove that Rose was unlikely to be the culprit of this crime.
Anger built as he returned, empty handed, to the body. With a grunt of frustration, he flung his weighty walking stick across the room. It struck the wooden wall with a satisfying bang and then clattered as it rolled across the hollow chamber.
Shoulders set with resolve, he proceeded with his last distasteful but necessary search. He examined the underside of Mrs. Beaumont's sleeves and delved into her bodice. Nothing. He then lifted her gown in case she had strapped something to her limbs. Disappointed there too, he removed her boots and stripped off her stockings. Finding nary a clue, he carefully redressed her, making sure she would be respectably covered before the river police arrived. All the while, words rang through his mind. That cannot have been Rose running away.
As he re-positioned her arms at her side, he noticed one of the lady's clenched hands. Pulse speeding in anticipation, he raised her fist for closer study. Probing with his forefinger revealed something held inside her fist. He pried her fingers apart until they revealed a scrunched-up handkerchief. Drawing his candle holder closer, he carefully spread apart the material on the floor. There, on the top right, was a small, black, neatly embroidered crest of a raven.
That further evidence of Rose's guilt left him in choking silence as he battled the urge to compare it to the handkerchief now burning a hole in his breast pocket. Finally, knowing he had no choice, he pulled out the other and gently unfolded it beside the crumpled one. The two crests were a match. His handkerchief had been a gift from Lady Roselyn Ravenstock.



About the Author

Once upon a time, Shereen Vedam read fantasy and romance novels to entertain herself. Now she writes heartwarming tales braided with threads of magic and love and mystery elements woven in for good measure. She’s a fan of resourceful women, intriguing men, and happily-ever-after endings. If her stories whisk you away to a different realm for a few hours, then Shereen will have achieved one of her life goals.


Blog (A step beyond the ordinary): http://shereentwo.livejournal.com/


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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Q&A with Dale Ibitz, Author of Kiss Me Dead


A warm welcome to Dale Ibitz, author of Kiss Me Dead, a new adult urban fantasy! Here's a quick Q&A with the author:

Please tell us about yourself using 3 verbs, 1 quirk and a pop culture addiction
I’m a disorganized animal lover who’s addicted to the outdoors and chocolate and passionate about The Walking Dead series.

Who do you consider the most swoon-worthy man in the literary world? How about on tv/in the movies?
Without doubt Damian from the Vampire Diaries, Ian Somerhalder
I totally agree! *sigh*

What’s the last song you listened to?
Take Me To Church, Hoosier
Something Different by Godsmack is playing right now as I prepare the post.

What are your thoughts on book covers- in your opinion do they make or break a book?
They definitely make a book. People need to be attracted to the cover before they even read the blurb.
I admit- I do judge a book by its cover. Perhaps its human nature.

Do you have any advice for anyone that would like to be an author?
Take classes, be persistent, and keep writing. The more you write, the better you get.

There you have it. Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today!



Kiss Me Dead

Dale Ibitz

New Adult Urban Fantasy/Romantic Suspense

One curse . . .

Christian, a nineteen-year-old reaper-human hybrid enslaved to the Other World to harvest souls, earns his freedom by making a bargain with the Goddess of Death. As part of the bargain, he’s been cursed with the kiss of death.

One kiss . . .

The only way Christian can break his curse is for an angel to kiss him. Willingly. He finds Brooke, a nineteen-year-old descendant of a Naphil whose destiny is to hunt rogue reapers, suffocating in a semi-agoraphobic cocoon since witnessing a reaper steal her brother’s soul.

Two destinies . . .

Christian has found the angel who can break his curse, and the seduction begins. To break her phobia’s hold, Brooke embraces her angelic role and makes it her mission to kill rogue reapers to avenge her brother’s murder. Christian can break his curse by kissing Brooke dead . . . but will she figure out his game and kill him first?

  



About the Author-

Dale Ibitz was born in Connecticut, grew up in the state of Washington, and then re-located back to Connecticut as an adult, where she studied English at Central Connecticut State University. Always a lover of books, she spent much of her childhood reading, visiting the library (her best friend’s mother was a librarian), and writing. In sixth grade, she placed 3rd in a writing contest, and she’s never stopped.
Dale’s a fan of hiking and the outdoors, seriously good writing, and she never, ever starts the day without chocolate and coffee (preferably together). Music inspires her, and she likes to listen to alternative metal.

If you were to visit Dale’s house, you'd meet her husband, 2 kids, their dog Lea (most people simply refer to her as The Beast...and for good reason), their cat Luna (affectionately known as Loony Luna), and a couple of loud-beaked parakeets.

Links-
Twitter: daleibitz

Friday, April 17, 2015

Pigsty Princess by Nancy S. Brandt - Excerpt

I'm so happy to welcome Nancy S. Brandt, author of Pigsty Princess, to the blog today. This looks like a great novel-- and I just love the cover!


Pigsty Princess

Nancy S. Brandt

YA Fantasy
Clean Reads
February 3, 2015


In a country where Elemental Sensitivities determine a person's place in society, Mariana, fourth child of King Jonathan and Queen Alexandria, was born an Insensitive. She is given the made up title of Progenna, because she can't be in line for the throne and therefore, can't be a Princess. All her life, she is reminded that she isn't quite good enough. When her father decides she is to marry Pir Leo Valentine, an eighty-four year old man with a scar across his face that took his eye and only one hand, she runs away from the palace.

Orlando of Talla is a pig farmer and former soldier who served the King until he watched his Sovereign burn an entire harbor town rather than lose a battle. Now he tries to live a quiet life while leading a band of rebels who steal from the nobility to bring prisoners home from that war.

Orlando is also the bastard son of a nobleman, and therefore, he has a Sensitivity, one of Blood that allows him to feel the Sensitivities of others.

He finds the injured Progenna in the forest and immediately realizes that the stories about Mariana aren't true. Rather than being an Insensitive, Mariana may be the most powerful Sensitive in Valborough.


Excerpt

Mariana sniffled. “He said I was a commoner, and that I’m not Father’s daughter by blood.”

Ramone sighed and shook his head. “Gossip only. Not even worthy of the servants, and for it to come out of the mouth of a Rieravo and a Presumptive…I am surprised he would suggest that out loud to you.”

She adjusted herself so she was off her brother’s lap and faced him. “Ramone, what if what Darius said is right? What if Father isn’t…my father? No nobleman will ever want to marry me if that’s true.”

“First of all, it’s not true, and second, even if it were, Father has claimed you as his daughter. He will take care of you.”

It didn’t make her feel any better.

“You mean he’ll force someone into marrying me.” She got off the loveseat and went over to sit at her mother’s writing desk. Picking up one of the quills, she glanced at her brother in the mirror.

“It might not be like that,” he said after a moment of silence. “There must be some man who doesn’t care about bonding. Someone who will be content with having only his own magic.”

She spun around to stare at him. “Name one person you have ever heard of, male or female, who was willing to throw away the potential power of their Sensitivities to bond to someone with nothing. What do your history and peerage books say about that?”

He said nothing, but he didn’t meet her eyes.

Mariana nodded. “Just as I thought. I was stupid to think being a Proge…the daughter of the King would be enough. No one with any Sensitivities wants to wed someone they can’t bond with.
I wish Mother and Father would have prepared me for this.”

“What could they have done, Mariana?” He walked over to her and, taking her hands, brought her to her feet. “You are special, one of a kind. You are my beautiful baby sister.”

“But I’m not like the rest of you. Father and Mother are strong Sensitives. By definition, Father is the strongest in thekingdom. You, Liliana, and Ursula have sensitivities in three areas.. Me? You know what the Abilities Master said when I finished my testing.”

“It doesn’t matter.”

“Do you remember? Father came out of his meeting with Kylan and said, ‘It is as we thought.’ Mother cried.”

He took her in his arms. “She loves you. She was crying because she knew your life would be harder because of this.”

“Was that it?” she asked. “Did Mother cry because I don’t have any Sensitivities or because Father found out about my true parentage? I have to know if I am a Princess in truth or just the result of some mistake Mother made.”

About the Author

Nancy S. Brandt is a stay-at-home mother of two children, a daughter, 25, who is an appointment's clerk at an orthopedic clinic and an editor and book reviewer; and a son, 12, who studies karate, and wants to be either an historian or an artist. Nancy's husband, Steven, is also an author and an adjunct professor of computer science at Louisiana State University.

In about sixth grade, an English teacher gave an assignment to write a descriptive essay. Nancy's was all about a wonderful cave filled with diamonds, emeralds and other precious gems. From that experience, she walked into every English class hoping to get to write something, and she learned three things:

1. The difference between stalactite and stalagmite,
2. That fantasy was probably the genre she should concentrate on, and
3. Never end a story with "It was all a dream."

Nancy is a kidney transplant recipient (her husband was her living donor), a thyroid cancer survivor, and an Army veteran. She is currently working on the sequel to Pigsty Princess, called Questionable Queen.

Social Media Links:
Twitter:  @NancySBrandt
Instagram: nancysbrandt
Pinterest:  nancy_s_brandt

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Alice in Wonderland High by Rachel Shane - Excerpt & Giveaway


Welcome to the promo event for Rachel Shane's YA Contemporary Retelling Alice in Wonderland High. I love Alice in Wonderland retellings and can't wait to read this one :)

23111784Release date: April 18th 2015
Publisher: Merit Press

Purchase: Amazon | B&N

Synopsis via Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Alice suppresses her need for rebellion after a petition to start a farmer’s market receives more snickers than signatures. That is until Whitney Lapin, a girl who speaks in cryptic riddles and spends her free time turning abandoned warehouses into beautiful gardens, leads her on a rabbit trail into the underground–aka secret society–of Wonderland High. Curiouser and curiouser.

Even though Whitney’s group of teenage environmental vigilantes operates on the wrong side of the law, Alice has never felt more free to be herself. Soon she stomps on her good girl image by completing a series of environmental pranks to impress them: flooding the school and disguising a pig as a baby in order to smuggle it out of a testing facility. But the group refuses to help with the farmer’s market or reveal their hidden agenda. She wants to trust them, and she especially wants to trust (or maybe kiss) Chester Katz, a boy with a killer smile, a penchant for disappearing, and a secret that will really turn Alice‘s world backwards. When one group member tries to frame Alice for all the pranks, she must figure out their secret before she ends up in front of a jury that’s screaming, “Off with her head!”


~EXCERPT~


The plan had seemed utterly attractive while lying in bed. Foolproof, even. Take the keys. Go inside. Find the information to link someone to the crime. Sole the case. What I hadn't factored into everything was guts, which happened to be something I lacked.

I paced in front of Town Hall, my heart pounding as if it was ready to escape my chest and ditch me completely. I paused in front of the rows of white rosebushes lining the entrance and took a deep breath.

You're not breaking and entering, I liked to myself. You have a key.

I counted to three and yanked the keys out of my pocket, but my hands were too clammy. The keys leapt out of my fingers and hit the ground with a metallic clink. 

I should go home and forget about Kingston's stupid-as-hell plan. I tried to move, but my feet wouldn't budge, weighed down by cemented desire. As scared as I was, I wanted to do this. I fumbled for my phone. 3:10 blinked back at me on the LED screen. If I had Chess's phone number, I would call him. Accomplices equaled encouragement.

But it wouldn't have mattered; Chess had refuted Kingston's idea. So had Whitney. If I called her, she'd try to talk me out of this. I knew what a bad idea it was. I'd broken up with my sense of reason when I first followed Whitney through the woods. Might as well descend even farther down the path of wrong and stupid. I let out a crazy laugh that echoed in the silent darkness.

Morality bites.

Before I could stop myself, I flipped through my cell phone until I found Kingston's number. It was absurd that Whitney had made me add my least favorite person's number when I still didn't have my own boyfriend's. Tonight, though, it came in handy.

"What?" he said when he picked up. He didn't sound tired, more like…prepared.

"Hey, it's Alice. I have a weird question."

"Wow. Didn't strike me as the booty-call type."

My nerves erupted out of my mouth in a laugh that sounded almost flirty. I covered it up with a cough. He was calling me crazy, and this was the first time he made sense. "I'm outside Town Hall."

"Keys?"

"Yeah." The word came out all choked.

"Be right there."

"As soon as I hung up, the gravity of what I'd done hit my stomach like a cartoon anvil. I'd just committed to committing a felony. With my enemy.



Rachel ShaneABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rachel Shane studied Creative Writing at Syracuse University and now works in digital publishing at in New York City. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, young daughter, and a basement full of books. ALICE IN WONDERLAND HIGH is her first novel.

www.rachelshane.com | twitter.com/rachshane

instagram.com/shanasilver




~GIVEAWAY~






Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Finding My Voice Again by Zen DiPietro, Author of Seeking Sorrow + Giveaway


I'd like to extend a warm welcome to Zen DiPietro, author of Seeking Sorrow. I love the guest post she penned for us today. It's rather inspirational-- ugly socks and all :)

Finding My Voice Again

I used to have an ugly sock collection. When I was a kid, I loved the most horrid patterns and designs on socks. I had one that was mustard yellow and covered in little embroidered outhouses. They were the crown jewel of the collection.

When I was in grade school, the other kids didn’t care but once I got into middle school, believe me, the unsolicited reviews on my socks were not favorable. I didn’t care. I was a veritable honey badger of footwear choices.

I’ve always had my own ideas and ways of doing things. I don’t have an ugly sock collection anymore (unless you count my new cyborg knee-highs, which I don’t because they’re awesome), but I still have my own whimsical way of experiencing the world. I was at my kids’ swim lesson one day when I noticed a small spider on the wall, very near an ant. I wondered if the spider felt the way I do when the Krispy Kreme truck drives by me on the road. All of that proximity euphoria. So much yummy nearby, and yet just out of reach.

I started thinking that I should get back to writing, with all of the little stories like these that wrote themselves in my head. But it wasn’t until a few years later when a friend wrote a book that I finally started writing again. I’d taken a 10-year hiatus from writing books, but I’d had a story fleshing out in my head for several of those years. Once I resolved to push it into text, it all poured out, and the product was Seeking Sorrow. And then Facing Fortune. And now the not-yet-named Book 3 of the series.

I think things happen the way they need to, as long as you keep your mind open to the possibilities and refuse to let yourself be pinned down by others’ opinions.

GUARDIANS OF TERATH- SEEKING SORROWAbout the Book:


An earth-like world of high-tech humans faces the reality that their world is not as safe as they thought it was. Five people are thrown together to quietly get to the bottom of an unfathomable mana event that must stay quiet. If the population of Terath becomes aware of the truth,
it will spark a civil war. That war would pit the majority of the population against the powerful minority with the ability to harness and manipulate mana. The resulting cataclysm would decimate the population and tear apart the foundation of society.

The five people chosen for this must reconsider everything they thought they knew about manaeven as they learn to trust one another’s abilitiesThey must embrace everything they never wanted in order to prevent the devastation of their world. One of them will be forever changed. Love will be denied, badassery will be unleashed, and Terath will never be the same. 

Even success comes at a price.

 

About the Author:


Zen DiPietro is a lifelong bookworm, a fantasy/sci-fi writer, a dancer, and a mom of two. Also red-haired, left-handed, and a vegetarian geek. Absolutely terrible at conforming. Particular loves include badass heroines, Star Trek, British accents, baba ganoush, and the smell of Band-Aids. Writing reviews, author interviews, and fun stuff at www.womenofbadassery.com. Very active on Facebook, Twitter (@ZenDiPietro), and Pinterest.  






Giveaway:
$10 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
Ends 4/28

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Review: Cracked by Janine A. Southard - Excerpt



Cracked
A Magical iPhone Story

Janine A. Southard

Contemporary/Humor/Slight Fantasy
Cantina Publishing
January 2015

Amazon | Smashwords | Goodreads

What can your phone do for you?

This is the story of a girl and her iPhone. No, that’s not quite right. This is the story of a middle-aged statistician and her best friend. Though she didn’t consider herself middle-aged. And the best friend was more of a roommate-with-whom-she’d-developed-a-friendship. And this description completely ignores the 6,000-year-old elf with whom the woman and her best friend enjoyed story gaming.

So let’s try this again.

This is the story of a woman who wished to find love, but who would rather play story games than actively look for it. Especially in the wake of a horrid break-up six months before from a man who had never sent her a single gift.

Until this Valentine’s Day, when she received a brand new iPhone in a box with his name on it.
Between story gaming and succumbing to the phone’s insidious sleekness, she learns that friendship trumps romance.

In Cracked! A Magic iPhone Story, award-winning author Janine A. Southard (a Seattle denizen) shows you how the geeks of Seattle live, provides a running and often-hilarious social commentary on today’s world, and reminds you that, so long as you have friends, you are never alone.

Excerpt:

     This is the story of a girl and her iPhone. No, that’s not quite right. This is the story of a middle-aged statistician and her best friend. Though she didn’t consider herself middle-aged. And the best friend was more of a roommate-with-whom-she’d-developed-a-friendship.
     And this description completely ignores the 6,000-year-old elf with whom the woman and her best friend enjoyed story gaming.
     So let’s try this again.
     This is the story of a woman who wished to find love, but who would rather play story games than actively look for it. Especially in the wake of a horrid break-up six months before from a man had who never sent her a single gift.
     Until now.
     That man, who is otherwise unimportant to this narrative, had no sense of timing.
     He had, foolishly perhaps, expected something different from their three-year relationship. He’d been after crazy spontaneity and over-sexualized Carnivale stereotypes from his Brazilian-American girlfriend, whereas she’d merely expected companionship and a proposal.
     So when the breakup arrived instead of a ring box, it came as quite a shock to Morena (for that was the woman’s name). And on this day, when she saw a package on her kitchen table sporting his return address (likely carried inside the night before by her staggeringly drunk roommate), she almost took it down, unopened, to the recycling bin in her apartment building’s garage.
     But she didn’t.
     In a fit of whimsy disguised as righteous fury, she wielded a utility knife and tore into the obviously reused box with Amazon.com emblazoned on the side. She slashed at the cardboard and threw packing peanuts all over her matted beige carpet, which had witnessed many a discarded packing peanut before.
     The carpet didn’t mind, but it would have worried about usually sensible Morena’s mental state if it had the kind of mind that knew how to worry. But it was a carpet, so it didn’t.
     If this book were a movie, the non-trash-bound contents of the box would now be surrounded in a soft yellow glow. There would be swelling music whose pulsing undertone would let the viewer know that this, THIS, was a significant moment. But since this is a book (and, for Morena, this was real life), these things did not happen. Instead, she got a paper cut from the crumpled newsprint that cushioned a very ordinary-looking iPhone.

My Review: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

Cracked was a fun, fast-paced story with rather endearing characters and an unusual plot. The narration was interesting, almost like the author was talking directly to the reader with a bit of a fairy tale cadence. Though babbling at times, it became rather enjoyable once I was used to it. Though, I will admit, it had me scratching my head at the beginning.

I enjoyed the humor, the light fantasy elements, and especially main character Morena. The setting- Seattle- was perfect for this story. I can just imagine something crazy like this happening under those dreary skies (I lived near Seattle for a couple years... strange things happen there). I wasn't a huge fan of the head-hopping in third person POV, but it didn't keep me from enjoying this cute story. If you're looking for a light, humorous diversion, Cracked fits the bill.


About the Author
Janine A. Southard is the IPPY-award-winning author of Queen & Commander (and other books in The Hive Queen Saga). She lives in Seattle, WA, where she writes speculative fiction and reads it aloud to her cat. She’s story gamed a few times and hopes to someday make a tie-in game for this novel, but first she needs to finish writing all the other books on her list. Besides Cracked! A Magic iPhone Story, she is also the author of:

Queen & Commander (The Hive Queen Saga, #1) – IPPY award-winner for Science Fiction (2013)
Hive & Heist (The Hive Queen Saga, #2) (2014)
“The Robot Who Stole Herself” (A Hive Queen Tie-In Short Story, 2014)

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