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Monthly Archives: July 2018

Book Blitz ~ Paralucidity by Stephen H. Provost: Excerpt + Giveaway!


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Paralucidity by Stephen H. Provost

Publication date: July 15th 2018

Genres: Fantasy, New Adult, Romance

Somebody wanted Minerva Rus dead. They succeeded. But Minerva isn’t letting a little thing like death stop her.

After the dangerous adventure that killed her in Memortality, Minerva Rus has reconciled herself to being dead. She and her also-dead boyfriend Raven share an amazing gift that allows them to bring the dead back to life―including each other. Now that Jules, their most dangerous enemy, has been banished from reality and trapped inside her own mind, Minerva and Raven plan on enjoying the eternity of their unnatural lives.

But immortality isn’t safe. Minerva and Raven’s life-giving powers mysteriously fade, forcing them to take refuge in The Between, a shadowy realm of memories that lies between life and death. What’s more, their old adversary Jules is on the loose, partnered with a resurrected Nazi scientist planning a monstrous experiment that will change the destiny of the human race. And now it’s up to a 21-year-old dead girl to save the world―again.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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~Excerpt~

Maybe Raven shouldn’t have been so confident. Sure, he could get them back to his parents’ home in the Between. No problem. What could go wrong?

Distraction was one thing that could go wrong—very wrong, as it turned out. As he focused his memory on his parents, he was reminded of a story his mother had read to him when he was young. His parents didn’t just read him normal bedtime stories; they read him detailed biographies, historical accounts, ancient myths. The goal wasn’t merely to entertain or send him off to sleep: They were ways to exercise his memory. His parents knew about his gift, and they needed it to stay alive, but they had also wanted him to know as much as he could about the world. “You’ll have an entire library inside your head!” his mother had once told him.

It had seemed like a good idea at the time. And it had been. But now it had caused his mind to wander at precisely the wrong time. His parents had once read him a series of stories that seemed, in the present moment, to have diverted him from his intended destination to … here.

Just like the first time he’d entered the Between, he found himself in a forest. But unlike the first visit, when the forest seemed to shift and shudder, this one seemed very much like a real place. The ground felt firm, the sky blocked the sun with a shield of gray clouds, and beside him stood an enormous oak tree spreading in all directions.

“Okay, what just happened?” Mineva asked.

Raven shook his head as he looked around, trying to get his bearings. “I’m not quite sure, Min.”

“Where are we?”

Raven didn’t answer because where he thought they were didn’t seem possible.

“I don’t know, exactly,” he said. “How are you feeling?”

“Better,” Minerva said. “You were right. I think coming here might have allowed us to save some of our strength.”

There was a rustling in the underbrush off to their right. Raven looked over in time to see a brown hare scurrying away. The hare appeared to have been startled by a rapid, rhythmic tapping from high up in a nearby birch: the sound of a woodpecker announcing its territory. A nuthatch in a nearby rowan tree abandoned its perch, as did a jay, which began chasing it for sport.

A moment later, there was another rustling nearby, and Raven realized it might not have been the woodpecker that had spooked the hare and the other birds. This rustling seemed farther away, but grew louder as something trampled on fallen leaves. The sound seemed to rip through the thick woods.

Raven and Minerva instinctively took a few steps backward, sheltering under the massive oak As they did, a twelve-point royal stag burst through a thicket off to their right, bounding past them in a rush of hooves and antlers. Raven found his back hugging the tree as he watched the animal fly past, turning his eyes again toward the place where it had emerged as he heard the sound of branches breaking. Something, or someone, was in pursuit.

An instant later, a small man wearing a dirty green cloak over a brown shirt emerged from the thicket. The horse he rode, an unremarkable light brown steed of average size, hadn’t been prepared for the sight of Minerva and Raven just a few steps off its intended course. It reared and nearly threw the man from its back, breaking off the chase. It danced nervously in a circle, backing away from the two strangers.

“Wearg rounsey!” the man said under his breath in a voice that, even in just those two words, they could tell was thickly accented. He dismounted hurriedly and stomped to the place where his hat had landed in the dirt. “Wearg haet!”

The man seemed scarcely to be paying attention to them. Raven took Minerva’s hand and started inching toward the other sideof the tree. If they could get clear of his field of vision, they could perhaps go unnoticed. He obviously had a temper, and there was no use antagonizing him.

“What language is that?” Minerva asked, leaning in to whisper in Raven’s ear.

“English, I think. He said something that sounded like ‘hat,’ and ‘rounsey’ … I think that’s a kind of horse.”

The man walked up to the horse, which had calmed and stood minding its own business. He swatted at its hindquarters with the cap. The horse, taking offense, whinnied loudly and ran off.

Minerva continued her conversation with Raven mind to mind. Better not to draw any more attention than necessary. That’s not like any English I’ve ever heard. What does “wearg” mean?

Probably dammit, or maybe something worse.

“Incer! Astende!”

The man had turned and was staring straight at them, pointing with a drawn word. He approached in a measured stride that was as ominous as it was methodical.

Minerva looked at Raven.

I have no idea. Either he wants us to stand where we are, or he thinks we’re astounding. Maybe both?

“No comprendo,” Minerva ventured.

That won’t work. He’s not speaking Spanish.

Well, it’s the only other language I know any words in. You got a better idea?

Raven had to admit he didn’t. What was bothering him was the fact that he’d obviously taken them someplace in the Between where he didn’t know the language. That meant this place somehow existed independently, at least to some degree. It was more a destination than a creation, which meant he had less control than he would have if they had landed in his own memory.

The man stopped a few paces away, looking them up and down. The anger seemed to have drained from his face as recognition dawned.

“By the beads of the blessed Mary, thou art one of those!”

Now he’s speaking like Shakespeare, Minerva offered.

Maybe he’s bilingual?

“I’d attempt no escape, were I thou. Anon, mine own men hast encircled this clearing.”

“We mean no harm,” Raven said, putting his hands down and opening his palms in front of him. “I don’t even know how we got here.”

“You got here by remembering, lad.” Now his language was closer to modern English, but still with the same thick accent. He stroked his scruffy chin. “I’d say … southwest side of the New World, about the nineteen-hundred and eightieth year of our lord.”

“Close,” Minerva said. “L.A. area, 2016.”

He put his cap back on without bothering to dust it. It was plain from his body odor that he’d gone without bathing for days. Or weeks.

“Can’t get ’em all right,” he shrugged. “The gifted and revived come here from all times. We try to make sense of their tongues when they land, and we do a fair job of it. Those of us who are gifted pick them up quickly enough.”

So, he’s gifted, Minerva commented.

Guess so. Looks like there are more of us than we thought.

The man turned and put two fingers to his lips, letting go a shrill whistle. Almost at once, three men emerged from the undergrowth. Two of them were shorter than Raven and Minerva, barely five and a half feet, but the third was a bear of a man who looked a full foot taller and significantly bigger around than either of his companions.

The man they’d been talking to, who appeared to be their leader, stepped toward Raven. “I believe introductions are in order,” he said, extending his hand to grip Raven’s. “I’ll begin with myself. Roger is the name, and these are my lands.” He made a sweeping gesture with his hand.

“Roger,” said Raven, more than a hint of skepticism in his voice. “I would have sworn your name would be …”

Minerva finished the sentence for him: “Robin Hood?”

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~Author Bio~

Stephen H. Provost is a veteran editor, reporter and columnists with more than 30 years of experience at daily newspapers in California. He’s currently the managing editor of The Cambrian on the Central Coast, as well as a columnist and assistant city editor for The Tribune in San Luis Obispo.

As an author, he has written historical nonfiction (“Fresno Growing Up” and “Highway 99: The History of California’s Main Street”), novels (“Memortality” and “Identity Break”), while also exploring the realms of mythology, fable and ancient history.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

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~Giveaway~

Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)

Signed copy of Paralucidity

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book Blitz ~ Dirty Little Desires by Cassie Cross: Excerpt + Giveaway!


 

Dirty Little Desires by Cassie Cross

(Dirty Little Series, #3)

Publication date: July 25th 2018

Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Oliver Warren is a man who seems to have everything. He’s rich, he’s handsome, and he owns of some of the hottest properties in the country. The only thing missing in his otherwise perfect life is the woman he’s been in love with for as long as he can remember, Felicity Williams. She just so happens to also be his best friend’s sister.

Felicity co-runs a successful lifestyle website with her sister-in-law, and she has a line of accessories in the works. Most of her dreams are well within her reach, except for one that she’s been keeping a secret, and she needs Oliver’s help to make it come true.

Felicity hatches a plan to attend a benefit that’s being held at one of Oliver’s properties, and brings Oliver as her date. After a long weekend of ups and downs, Felicity starts wondering if the feelings she has for Oliver aren’t as unrequited as she always thought they were.

When they get home, will love be enough to get them through the fallout of giving in to their dirty little desires?

Dirty Little Desires is a standalone story, no cliffhangers, and is the third and final book in the Dirty Little Series.

Goodreads | Amazon

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~Excerpt~

I push myself out of the water, contemplating another jump before dinner’s ready.

“Thinking of going again?” Oliver asks, handing me a towel. “I know you were scared.”

I shrug it off. “I just wanted to see what it was like.”

He grins. “I know. I admire that about you.”

“Which part? My recklessness where my own safety is concerned, or my swanlike grace while flying through the air?”

He laughs. “That you aren’t scared of doing things. That when there’s something you want, you go out and get it.”

He gives me a long, intense look that makes a ribbon of heat curl around my belly.

Oliver’s a gazillionaire who’s never met a person he couldn’t finesse, never come across a deal he couldn’t close. If there’s someone who has issues getting what they want, it certainly isn’t him.

“Oliver, what—”

“Want to go for a walk with me later? There’s something I want to show you,” he says, cutting me off before I can ask him what he meant just a second ago.

My stupid heart skips a beat when he asks. “Yeah,” I reply a little too quickly, like a lovesick moron.

He perks up. “Yeah?”

I smile. “Definitely.”

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~Author Bio~

Cassie Cross is a Maryland native and a romantic at heart, who lives outside of Baltimore with her two dogs and a closet full of shoes. Cassie’s fondness for swoon-worthy men and strong women are the inspiration for most of her stories, and when she’s not busy writing a book, you’ll probably find her eating takeout and indulging in her love of 80′s sitcoms.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

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~Giveaway~

Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)

2x $5 Amazon gift cards
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book Blitz ~ Veiled Waters by H.G. Lynch: Excerpt + Giveaway!


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Veiled Waters by H.G. Lynch

(Unfortunate Blood, #5)

Publication date: July 24th 2018

Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult

They’ve faced ghosts, fought witches, and escaped the clutches of a lunatic cult…but this may be their most difficult enemy yet.

The new girl. One girl with the power to take Reid’s eye away from Ember, the power to break friendships, the power to destroy relationships.

And to top it off? Something is drowning students in the local lake.

Goodreads | Amazon

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Previous books in the series:

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~Excerpt~

“REID!”

A sudden, familiar voice yelling his name from some great distance jerked him awake and he gasped. All he saw at first was endless, impenetrable blackness, but only for a second before his eyes adjusted and he was staring at the ceiling past Ricky’s concerned face. The younger boy’s eyes glowed blue-green in the darkness.

Slowly, Reid realized his heart was pounding on his ribs, he was gasping, and his hand was clenched tightly around Ricky’s wrist, so tightly he could feel it as a tiny bone snapped under his fingers. Ricky hissed in pain, but didn’t try to pull away, his mouth tight but his eyes gentle. With a shudder, Reid pulled his hand back to himself, and stared at Ricky with ghosts behind his eyes.

“Sorry,” he muttered apologetically, his voice hoarse. Had he been screaming in his sleep again? Most likely. No wonder Ricky had woken him. This was getting beyond ridiculous.

Ricky just nodded, rubbing his wrist as it healed swiftly and neatly. He was examining Reid carefully, kneeling on the floor by his bed. There was deep, serious worry in his face that Reid could read effortlessly in the dark. Not wanting to see it, Reid turned and glared at the useless dream-catcher on his wall. It hung there innocuously, the glass beads shining and the feathers still and pale against the dark wall.

“I guess I was right the first time; Feathers and beads do jack all to help nightmares,” he said shakily.

With a sigh, Ricky retreated back to his own bed and sat there, gazing evenly at Reid, who shifted uncomfortably. He noticed then that he was drenched in sweat and it was sending chills down his spine. His light hair clung to his forehead and ears, and his hands trembled on the mattress. He clutched the bed sheets to hide the shaking.

“They’re getting worse, aren’t they?” Ricky asked plainly, leaning forward to rest his elbows on his knees.

Not meeting his gaze, Reid nodded, running a hand through his messy, damp hair.

“There has to be something that would help. We could get you drugs, or Ember could make a potion I’m sure. We must have a recipe in one of the grimoires.Ember would have the power—”

“No,” Reid protested bluntly. The thought of Ricky going to Ember and asking her to make a sleeping potion or elixir to banish nightmares…her surprise and confusion, her hurt when Ricky explained what it was for…No.

Ricky started, frowning. “But why? It’s not like it’d put her out to do it. I’m sure she’d do anything to help you.” he insisted.

Reid just turned away, looked out the window as he got to his feet. He put his back to Ricky as he yanked his damp t-shirt over his head and tossed it onto his bed.

“Unless…” Ricky said slowly, and Reid could practically hear the gears turning in the boy’s head. “Unless she doesn’t know about this yet…”

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~Author Bio~

H.G. Lynch is a Paranormal Romance author from Scotland. She is an avid reader, and cat-lover. She spends most of her days writing, while wrestling her cat off her laptop. She loves horse-riding, Star Trek, and snow.

er books are dark paranormal romances.

Website | Goodreads |Facebook | Twitter

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~Giveaway~

Blitz-wide giveaway (US/CAN)

Flappy Vampire Bat Furry Bones Statue Display

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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{Review} Summer of Supernovas by Darcy Woods


26109094Summer of Supernovas by Darcy Woods 

Hardcover, 352 pages

Published May 10th 2016 by Crown Books for Young Readers

Goodreads

~Rating: 4/5 stars~

As the daughter of an expert astrologer, Wilamena Carlisle knows that truth lies within the stars. So when she discovers a planetary alignment that won’t repeat for a decade, she’s forced to tackle her greatest astrological fear: The Fifth House—relationships and love. But Wil must decide whether to trust her heart or her chart when she falls for a sensitive guitar player whose zodiac sign points to cosmic disaster.

If Wil’s fate is truly written in the stars, then this summer is about to go supernova . . .

~Review~

I absolutely LOVED this book! This book was one of the cutest contemporary novels I have read in a long time. I love contemporary books and this book made me realise why I love them so much.

Summer of Supernovas is a fun and flirty romantic comedy that will have you laughing on one page and tearing up on the next. 

Wilamena Carlisle or Wil who is an avid astrology buff. Wil believes she must find her true love in the next month…or else the stars will doom her to ten years of loneliness. The story opened up with Wilamena being confused for someone about to commit suicide. Her savior, Grant, and her later developed an interesting connection, but due to Wilamena’s insistence on finding the perfect guy with the right zodiac sign, and mistaking Grant for the sign that she was told to avoid, she ends up pushing aside her true feelings and gets involved with another, Seth.

Grant and Seth were brothers, and certain things could have been avoided had she been honest and not accept Seth’s advances in the beginning based on his sign.

Grant had me from the moment he overlooked his fear of heights to try and save Wilamena. That was very selfless of him. And more than anything I loved that he was a musician. Creative guys in books always wins me over. Seth however, I couldn’t warm up to him. When he and Wilamena met for the first time, it just seemed like he was trying to win over his brother or something. He just didn’t seem very genuine. I didn’t like how he was for the rest of the story. And when he revealed that to Wilamena in the end, I wasn’t even surprised. Seth seemed like that kind of guy.

Funny, sweet, fast paced, and packed full of awesome amazing characters this is a love story that is both realistic and sweet with a guy that every girl will want and will definitely make many peoples top ten list this year. I highly recommend it!

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~Author Bio~

Darcy WoodsYoung adult author Darcy Woods had three big loves in grade school: Reading, writing, and pizza day. Some things never change. She lives in Michigan with her madly supportive husband, two tuxedo cats (who overdress for everything) and a closet full of neatly organized shoes.

Twitter | Website | Goodreads

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Happy Reading!

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Book Blitz ~ Searching by Cindy Cipriano: Book Q&A + Giveaway!


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Searching by Cindy Cipriano

(The Fading Series, #2)

Published by: Clean Teen Publishing

Publication date: July 20th 2018

Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

A fast-paced fantasy romance with rich characters and immersive storytelling,Searching is the second book in theFading series by award-winning author Cindy Cipriano.

To say Leath is traveling light is an understatement. She’s only bringing three things on her trip. One is a silver heart locket—a gift from her longtime best-friend-turned-boyfriend Victor Santana. Next is a wedding token in the shape of a J, from James Turner. And of course, she’s packing her pistol. That’s it. She knows that when she leaves Woodvine, even her own mother may not remember her in the shifted reality that will be left behind. Bringing anything else would be pointless. But she’s driven now, by something that eclipses everything else, something she just got back: her memories. And now that she remembers James—she won’t stop searching until she finds him.

Goodreads | Amazon

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~Learn More About Searching~

One-liner for Searching?

How far would you search for The One?

More details?

Leath is packing light: just her two lockets (one from Victor, one from James) – and of course, her pistol. She knows that when she leaves Woodvine, even her own mother may not remember her in the shifted reality that will be left behind. But she’s driven by something that eclipses everything else: her recovered memories. Now that she remembers James—she won’t stop searching until she finds him.

Where did the idea come from for Searching?

Searching is the second book in The Fading Series. Searching takes up immediately where Fading left off, just as Leath puts her foot down inside Judaculla.

What genre is Searching?

Young adult.

But – the entire series crosses genres. It’s a paranormal, dystopian, young adult romance mash-up. Searching is also a crossover, appealing to young adults and up.

Who would enjoy reading Searching?

Fans of Fading who are waiting to find out if it’s Victor or James.

And, anyone who has ever been in love with two people at the same time.

Favorite lines from Searching:

  1. I wanted to touch him. So I did. (pg. 1)
  2. The first time I held hands with Victor Santana, it wasn’t romantic. Not at all. (pg. 3)
  3. Victor’s strong hand cradled mine, and he became my tether to reality. (pg. 3)
  4. His warm lips brushed against my ear as he whispered three little words. “I can wait.” (pg. 6)
  5. Name James Turner. Age 17. Parents Emancipated Minor. (pgs. 10-11)
  6. “I don’t usually get this close to a girl, unless I’m going to kiss her,” said the boy, giving me a playful grin. (pg. 23)
  7. When we were apart, it seemed as if all of eternity passed before I saw him again. (pg. 110)
  8. To one boy, I’d gladly give my heart. To the other, my life. (pg. 130)
  9. I wondered how long a person could live like this, so completely torn in half. (pg. 130)
  10. She could have any boy in the restaurant. Why was she falling all over mine? (pg. 147)
  11. But right now I had him. The boy of my dreams. (pg. 174)
  12. “I will never stop loving you,” he said. “Not even in death.” (pg. 268)

James is sort of a two-sides-to-one-coin kind of guy. Was it difficult writing his character?

Definitely, but so worth it!

*sighs*

He’s drop-dead gorgeous and funny, but he hovers over dark territory. It was a challenge writing him because I wanted my readers to see what Leath sees in James. In Searching, fans will see just how deep James’s feelings for Leath go.

And Leath’s other love interest, Victor, was it hard to write him?

Not a bit.

*sighs again*

Victor is the definition of the perfect guy. He’s good-looking, funny, confident and charismatic. Not to mention he has an exceptionally beautiful heart.

Who is your favorite character in Searching?

Ever continues to be my favorite character. She’s the girl you love to hate. I think we’re all hoping that in the end, she’ll do the right thing. The problem is we lose a faith in her each time she opens her mouth. As I continue writing the series, I’m currently working on book three and James is fast becoming a close second to Ever as my favorite character. I think readers will enjoy watching James’s growth from Fading to Searching to where I am now in writing the series.

Who designed the cover of Searching?

The talented Marya Heidel. Isn’t it stunning?!

How many books are in the Searching series?

There will be at least 4 books in the series.

How can readers keep up with you and the Fading series?

Anything and everything about The Fading Series can be found at Clean Teen Publishing or CindyCipriano.com.

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~Author Bio~

Cindy Cipriano lives in North Carolina with her husband, son and their 27 pets.

Not really.

Just three dogs who think they are children and three cats who think they are raccoons. It only seems as if they make 27. When Cindy isn’t writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and the avoidance of cooking.

Cindy’s first novel, The Circle, Book One of The Sidhe won the 2014 Moonbeam Children’s Book Silver Award for Pre-Teen Fiction – Fantasy. Other titles in the series include The Choice, Book Two of The Sidhe (2015) and The Lost, Book Three of The Sidhe (2017). This seven-book series is published by Odyssey Books.

Miller’s Island Mysteries #1 The Case of the Toxic River (2017) is the first in her eleven-book science mystery series (Vulpine Press). #2 The Case of the Catalyst will release in 2018.

Look for Fading, the first in her young adult series, in April 2018. (Clean Teen Publishing). Fading is the tale of first loves and the consequence of dreaming up Mr. Right.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

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~Giveaway~

Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)

Clean Teen Publishing Mystery Box (Intl winner would get eBook prizes)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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{Review} Shades of Darkness by A.R. Kahler


Shades of Darkness (Ravenborn #1)Shades of Darkness by A.R. Kahler

Hardcover, 294 pages

Published March 8th 2016 by Simon Pulse

Goodreads

~Rating: 4/5 stars~

Islington Arts Academy is not an average high school. Nestled in the forests of Michigan, surrounded by trees and nature and virtually no evidence of civilization, it is an oasis for those looking to get away. Perfect for a student like Kaira Winters, who wants nothing more than to put her past behind her and focus on the present…and her looming graduation, just a few months away.

But the past has a way of returning when least expected.

Kaira knows that what happened before, at her old school, wasn’t normal. She knows that what happened to her ex-boyfriend wasn’t natural. But she refuses to believe that the recent death on campus, the one that left everyone on edge, has anything to do with her. She refuses to believe that she could be at fault again.

But just as the past always returns, the truth can never stay hidden for long.

Even if Kaira didn’t cause the first death at Islington, or the second, or the third, she has the ability to find out who did. She has the obligation to stop whatever is coming to campus. To end the darkness that is falling with the same snow that once blanketed the woods in beauty.

But to embrace this power—to relinquish herself to the ancient entity that has been lurking in the corners of her mind–is to let go of her humanity…and Kaira doesn’t know how far she can go before she loses herself completely.

~Review~

Though this novel does begin a little slow, and drags a bit in the beginning, it ends with one hell of a surprise and bang. The characters are amazing and seem all to real.

Kaira sends herself to an art academy due to some supernatural events that happened during her freshman year of high school. Kaira is about to graduate and all the seniors are finishing up their art thesis’. The night before the first two thesis’ are due a student commits suicide. Kaira and her friends are shocked by the student’s death and Kaira realizes there’s more to what happened. A battle between the gods has started and several of the students are instrumental to the gods war.

This book will keep you flipping pages long into the night and the big reveal does not disappoint! You’ll never look at crows the same way again. I can’t wait to read book two! 

~~~

~Author Bio~

Alex is many things, but first and foremost he’s a Sagittarius.

Originally from small-town Iowa, he sent himself to arts boarding school to study writing at age sixteen. This school may or may not resemble Islington. He hasn’t stopped moving since. In the past few years he’s taught circus training in Amsterdam and Madrid, gotten madly lost in the Scottish wilderness, drummed with Norse shamans, roughed it in the foothills of New England, and received his masters in creative writing from Glasgow University. And that’s the abbreviated list.

When Alex isn’t writing or climbing things or studying some esoteric lore, he’s probably outside with a coffee in hand, trying to find a new adventure. As he currently lives in Seattle, there is coffee (and adventure) aplenty.

*Author bio taken from the book cover*

Twitter | Website | Goodreads

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Happy Reading!

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Book Blitz ~ The Gathering by Bernadette Giacomazzo: Excerpt + Giveaway!


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The Gathering by Bernadette Giacomazzo

(The Uprising, #1)

Publication date: March 31st 2018

Genres: Adult, Dystopian

The Uprising Series tells the story of three freedom fighters and their friends in high — and low — places that come together to overthrow a vainglorious Emperor and his militaristic Cabal to restore the city, and the way of life, they once knew and loved.

In The Gathering, Jamie Ryan has defected from the Cabal and has joined his former brothers-in-arms — Basile Perrinault and Kanoa Shinomura — to form a collective known as The Uprising. When an explosion leads to him crossing paths with Evanora Cunningham — a product of Jamie’s past — he discovers that The Uprising is bigger, and more important, than he thought.

Goodreads | Amazon

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Sign up for the blog tour here!

~~~

~Excerpt~

Jamie

I saw Emperor – looking like a hot air balloon, sounding as ridiculous as ever – blathering on about his personal Reichstag fire, and laying the blame of the explosion squarely at the feet of myself and my brothers-in-arms.

“…and it’s these traitors of the state – the threat to the security of my Empire of the United States of America – the defectors of the Cabal who go by Jamie Ryanand Basile Perrinault and, my greatest betrayal, Supreme Allied Commander Kanoa Shinomura…” he hollered into the microphone, which seemed to reverberate throughout the city.

At the sound of Kanoa’s name, the Cabal members below the balcony slammed the butts of their guns on the floor in rhythm. I knew that rhythm all too well – it was meant to be a war cry for those of us in the rank-and-file of the Cabal – but, to the untrained ear, it sounded like a machine gun going off…which was exactly the point.

But I couldn’t help but sneer at the accusation that the blast that nearly killed Evanora and Tommy was somehow our fault. He’d spent decades trying to catch us and failing miserably, yet in the same breath, believed we were inept enough to set off a blast that took no lives and could be cleaned up during a balmy New York evening. And he managed to sell this ridiculous belief to the crowd, no less.

“Let’s make something clear, asshole,” I muttered, “if it had been me and the boys that lit your shit up, you wouldn’t be standing here today.”

Despite the absurdity of the accusation – and despite the obvious absurdity of the accusation – the victims of psi just grunted along, agreeing with everything and anything that came out of Emperor’s mouth, in part because they didn’t know any better (they were psi victims, after all), and in part because any disagreement with what Emperor had to say was met with a fierce, painful punishment.

“His Word, Before All and Above All,” I muttered. “With liberty and justice for no one, so kiss my peasant Old New York ass and take a breath mint afterward, unless you like that funky aftertaste…”

My voice trailed off as my eyes focused on a strange woman on the balcony.

At first, I couldn’t discern who she was – she looked like someone I’d seen before, yet someone I’d never seen before.

Her hair was a garish white-blonde, stringy and lifeless, and pinned tightly behind her head with a set of black ceramic chopsticks. Her makeup was almost cartoonish – cat-like black eyeliner and matte black lipstick sat atop a ghostly white foundation. Even her outfit was a hideously hilarious cultural appropriation – a black silk kimono paired with a set of black stiletto heels. I’d seen Old New York 42nd Street prostitutes, with terrible heroin problems, sell the “Asian coquette” look better than what I’d seen before me now.

“Who the actual…” I began, hesitantly, unable to process who I was seeing before me.

And then it hit me, all at once, who she was.

For the first time in a long time, I was literally speechless.

When I could finally find my voice again, it barely came out in a whisper. “Rosie,” I squeaked.

I walked into the Ludlow Street apartment I shared with Angelique and was instantly greeted with the smell of a meat dish that, I would later learn, was called carne asada.

“Angelique!” I called out over the loud sizzling of steak as I kicked off my black Frye boots and set my matching acoustic guitar down. “Where are you, my love?”

“In here!” she called, out of sight, from the kitchen, where more clanging and banging sounds echoed over her voice.

I began walking through the apartment, shedding layers as I went along until I reached the kitchen wearing nothing but my black leather pants and a mischievous smile. I was hoping to have a little appetizer of crème d’Angelique before dinner, but when I reached the kitchen, I realized – much to my chagrin – that we weren’t alone.

Angelique, her hair tied back into a messy ponytail, was wearing a tight, white, see-through shorts jumper and a matching white apron. She was standing next to an unfamiliar-looking woman with a matching messy ponytail, but whose thick chocolate brown hair stood in sharp contrast to Angelique’s thin flaxen locks. The rest of her, too, was in stark contrast to Angelique, but not in a bad way – she was olive-skinned, in contrast to Angelique’s pale white skin; she was curvy, in contrast to Angelique’s ectomorphic figure; she was fiery, in contrast to Angelique’s ethereal nature.

They were standing side by side, working on something that smelled simply delicious. Angelique was mixing flour, sugar, and garlic powder, and her friend was adding melted butter and salted water to the resultant powder, then kneading it until it formed a dough.

“Am I interrupting something?” I asked as I walked behind Angelique, wrapped my arms around her waist, and kissed her neck, breathing in her scent of lilacs as I did so.

She smiled, then took her index finger and bopped the tip of my nose with the flour mixture. “Hey handsome,” she said, beatifically. “We’re making something special for you for dinner. We’ve got carne asada in the pan over there – we’ve got some arroz con gandules in the rice cooker – and we’re making…wait, girl, what’s this called?”Are

pas,” her friend said, smiling as she continued to knead the dough between her hands, her silver thumb ring glistening in the light of the dusk as she did so.

“Right, arepas,” Angelique repeated. “Ramira here is teaching me all her magic ways – she says this is the exact dinner I need to make if I want my man to marry me.” She giggled, then elbowed Ramira, who giggled along with Angelique.

I couldn’t help but giggle, as well, as I unentwined myself from Angelique and walked over to Ramira to properly introduce myself. “I’m going to be stuffed fordays with all this delicious food, so it’s only right that we become friends,” I began, extending my hand. “Hi there. I’m James Randall Ryan IV, I somehow lucked out enough to convince this lovely lady Angelique to be my girlfriend, and it’s a pleasure to meet you. You can call me Jamie.”

Ramira smiled, then shook my hand with two of her fingers, taking care not to smear the wet dough across my palm. “Well, my name is Ramira Diaz, Angelique is my best friend, and it’s a pleasure to meet you too. You can call me Rosie, though. Everyone else does.”

I sat under a wilting star magnolia tree and stared, intently, through the open window of a room that had to be Rosie’s dressing room. She peeled her black silk kimono off and turned her back to the frameless window, exposing her prominent ribs and shoulder blades as she did so. The sight of her suddenly-bare, emaciated frame shocked me, especially given how pronounced her curves were in our younger years, and tears welled up in my eyes yet again.

In the decades since Angelique and my son had died, I could count the number of times I’d cried on one hand. In the past 72 hours, though – as I realized that my best friend’s kid, and my best friend’s girlfriend, were alive and well, and that the Uprising was bigger than I’d ever imagined – the tears came quickly and flowed easily, and I couldn’t decide if this was a sign of strength or weakness on my part.

Rosie slipped a shimmering white camisole over her emaciated frame, which she then tucked into a pair of white linen slacks. I couldn’t get over how thin she’d gotten, then wondered if this was by her own design, or if she was under orders from that evil husband of hers. No way would Jordan be cool with this, I thought to myself. On his fucking grave would this go on. On his fucking grave. And wouldn’t you know it – here we are, on his fucking grave.

I saw Rosie leave the room and begin to head down a flight of stairs, and I took that as an opportunity to get her alone, away from the rabid Cabal and out of sight of the vainglorious Emperor. She’d taken a few steps away from her building, and into Emperor’s Park, before passing by the wilting star magnolia tree that I was hiding behind. It was only when I saw the back of her slicked back, perfect ponytail – what a difference from the one she was wearing when we first met, I thought – that I saw the opportunity to get her alone and began walking behind her.

“You’ve come a long way from making arepas on Ludlow Street,” I said, tapping her on the shoulder when I finally caught up with her.

She spun around, her face scrunched up in fear, and for a split second, I thought she was going to hit me. But just as quickly, she relaxed as her eyes registered who owned the disembodied voice. “Jamie,” she whispered tearfully. “You’re here. You’re alive. I didn’t realize…”

“How the hell did you not?” I asked, furrowing my eyebrows and side-eyeing her. “Your damned husband has been hunting me for decades.”

“I knew that,” she said, taking ragged breaths. “But just the fact that he was never able to take you alive led me to believe that you were…you know…” Her voice trailed off.

I wasn’t convinced, and I continued to stare at her intently as I scratched my left cheek, which was now beginning to show the first signs of salt-and-pepper beard stubble. “First of all, why the hell are you talking like you’re Queen Elizabeth? Second, let me just state it for the record: you give your asshole husband way too much credit if you think he can take me down.”

Rosie bit her lower lip, then shifted her eyes down. I put my hand under her chin and tipped her face up, forcing her eyes to meet mine as I tried, desperately, to search for a sign of the Rosie I once knew. “Rosie,” I whispered intently. “It’s me. You don’t have to hide from me.”

Her face was a blank slate. “My name is Rose. Rose Cunningham,” she said with flat affect.

“Oh, bullshit,” I whispered, even more intently. “Whatever happened to ‘call me Rosie, everyone else does’? What happened to that woman who was making arepas in the kitchen with my Angelique?”

That got her attention, and her deep brown eyes flashed with fire as she balled up her fists and began swinging at me. “You shit! You bastard! You did it! You almost killed my baby!”

I ducked, bobbed and weaved, avoiding each blow as I carefully tried to talk her down from the ledge. “Rosie! What the hell are you talking about? I didn’t do that shit! I swear!”

She continued to swing at me. “Yes! Yes, you did!” she squealed tearfully, repeating the same “yes, yes” with each swing, her voice getting louder each time.

“Do you want to knock it off before the fuckin’ Cabal finds us, Rosie? The fuck is wrong with you? Jesus Christ!” I was shouting despite myself and began scanning the landscape frantically for Cabal soldiers that would have undoubtedly heard us, all while bobbing and weaving like a prizefighter to avoid getting punched in the face.

She swung even harder and squealed even louder. “You tried to kill my baby! Just like you killed yours!”

That line finally got me to react, and I had to steady my breathing to stop from clocking her in the mouth. Even in the throes of the worst of my Faustian behavior, I never hit a woman, and neither did any of my bandmates – the thought of violence against a woman, let alone a woman we’d loved, didn’t even cross our drug-addled minds.

Instead, I grabbed her wrists and forced them down to her sides, holding them in place at hip level as she struggled, trying to hit me, until she finally began whimpering in defeat.

“Now you listen to me, Ramira Diaz, and you listen well,” I began, angrily. “You may have forgotten everything you were and are, but I sure as fuck haven’t forgotten a goddamn thing, and let me rest assure you, I never fuckin’ will.”

Her lower lip was trembling, her eyes were watering, and it became evident that she was on the verge of tears. Still, I continued. “So, let me get a few things out of the way now, so we’re not confused. Number one: that blast? It wasn’t me. It wasn’t anyone tied to me. It wasn’t anyone whose name I can even spell. Because let me assure you, again, that if it were me, or anyone tied to me, we’d have burned down the entire fuckin’ city, even if it meant killing ourselves in the process, and wouldn’t have left a survivor anywhere on this God-forsaken island.

“Number two: you know goddamn well I didn’t kill Angelique or our baby. Now I wear their death on my heart every. Fucking. Day. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in twenty fucking years, from the day they were killed, because I can’t get their murders out of my mind. There are times I wish I was dead, just so that I don’t have to live with the guilt of their murders, but no, here I am, and ain’t that a fuckin’ bitch from Hell. I’d give all the money in the world to have my Angelique back. I’d trade my life for Jordan’s any day of the week. And my son – my only legacy – never had a chance at life, and you think that’s all fair?

“Number three – and this is the most important part, Rosie, goddamnit, you’d better fuckin’ listen to this if you listen to nothing else: remember that promise I made to you in the hospital room? All those years ago? Because I fuckin’ do. And that’s why when Evanora and Tommy came down the Bowery after the blast, and I realized who she was, I made sure she was safe and clean and warm…”

Rosie looked shocked. “Wait. She came to you?”

I searched her face, trying to see if I could register where her loyalties lie before I continued to answer the question. For some reason, however, I couldn’t make it out. I even tried to read Rosie’s mind using a gentle form of psi, but I still couldn’t read her mind at all. It was like trying to probe a brick wall. So, to protect Evanora – and the rest of us – I chose to cover my tracks. “Yeah,” I said airily, “she mentioned something about listening to Uprising Radio.”

The name of Uprising Radio registered some type of recognition with Rosie, and her eyes lit up slightly. “My baby has heard Uprising Radio?”

“I don’t know for sure,” I continued, still adopting an airy affect, “but I’m pretty sure that’s what she said.” Using my Cabal training, I put a mental wall between my thoughts and Rosie, mostly because I didn’t know how much training she’d had in the psi arts, and I wasn’t sure if she, too, could read my mind. And if, God forbid, her loyalties lied with that pathetic excuse of her husband, I could at least protect, if not myself, then the whole Uprising movement.

I made sure the wall was firmly in place before I continued. “I think I’ve heard Uprising Radio a few times, but I don’t know much about it, who does it, or anything of the sort.”

“Yeah,” Rosie said, hesitantly, behind a mental brick wall of her own, “I have no idea, either.”

We were calmer, now – our breath was steady, our thoughts were collected, and Rosie’s fists were limp. I finally felt confident that she wasn’t going to try to hit me again, so I loosened my grip on her wrists.

But I suddenly found myself unable to let her go, so I slid my hands from her wrists to her hands and grabbed her fingers lightly. I was overcome with emotion.

“What is it, Jamie?” Her voice was cracking.

I exhaled loudly, then drew in a ragged breath. “Do you think about him, Rosie? Do you think about Jordan at all?”

She closed her eyes and allowed the tears to fall as she exhaled shakily. “Every day of my life,” she said softly. “There’s not a day that goes by that Jordan doesn’t cross my mind. Every time I look at Evanora – every time I hear her laugh – he comes to my mind. Sometimes, she gives me this look – you remember, Jamie? You remember when Jordan would hear something that was just too stupid for words, and he would get this look on his face, like, ‘were you dropped on your head as a child?’” – and to this, I gave a half-smile and a nod – “and now, she gets that look. And that one eyebrow” – she took her finger and drew on her left eyebrow – “it would just go up like…like…”

She dropped her hand as her voice trailed off, her eyes filling with tears.

I nodded my head, closed my eyes, and sighed. “Fuckin’ guy,” I said, opening my eyes and looking at Rosie. “So. You didn’t see me, right?”

Rosie smiled and winked at me. “Ivan Sapphire? Please. Get over yourself, rock star.” She squeezed my hands one last time for good measure. “I’m going to leave now. I’m not going to look back because I don’t want to see where you’re going. This way, if someone with bad intentions against you asks me if I know where you are, I can answer honestly when I say I don’t know. But just because I don’t look back, doesn’t mean I want to see you go. I need you to understand that, Jamie Ryan. I don’t need you to over-analyze things that don’t need over-analyzing. I need you to let me go, Jamie Ryan, and I need you to know that I love you, and I thank you, from the bottom of my heart.”

She finally let go of my hands, gave me a slight nod, then turned and walked back to her home. I watched her, silently, keeping the promise I made so long ago to Jordan Barker and didn’t leave what was once known as Central Park until I saw, for sure, that she was safe inside.

~~~

~Author Bio~

 

With an impressive list of credentials earned over the course of two decades, Bernadette R. Giacomazzo is a multi-hyphenate in the truest sense of the word: an editor, writer, photographer, publicist, and digital marketing specialist who has demonstrated an uncanny ability to thrive in each industry with equal aplomb. Her work has been featured in Teen Vogue, People, Us Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, and many, many more. She served as the news editor of Go! NYC Magazine for nearly a decade, the executive editor of LatinTRENDS Magazine for five years, the eye candy editor of XXL Magazine for two years, and the editor-at-large at iOne/Zona de Sabor for two years. As a publicist, she has worked with the likes of Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and his G-Unit record label, rapper Kool G. Rap, and various photographers, artists, and models. As a digital marketing specialist, Bernadette is Google Adwords certified, has an advanced knowledge of SEO, PPC, link-building, and other digital marketing techniques, and has worked for a variety of clients in the legal, medical, and real estate industries.

Based in New York City, Bernadette is the co-author of Swimming with Sharks: A Real World, How-To Guide to Success (and Failure) in the Business of Music (for the 21st Century), and the author of the forthcoming dystopian fiction series, The Uprising. She also contributed a story to the upcoming Beyonce Knowles tribute anthology, The King Bey Bible, which will be available in bookstores nationwide in the summer of 2018.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

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