Tag: YA

Book Blast: Borrowed Magic by Shari Lambert

Borrowed MagicBorrowed Magic by Shari Lambert

After a three-year siege, Lord Kern, the dark mage, is dead. Magic has left Tredare, and life is almost back to normal.
For everyone except Maren, that is.
Before the siege, an attack by Lord Kern left Maren near death and with a sliver of magic buried deep inside her. Now, for reasons Maren doesn’t understand, that magic has been triggered, giving her the ability to “see” the truth: that her world is nothing more than a magical façade; and that the kingdom’s hero may not be a hero at all.
But this gift of sight comes at a high cost. Maren is in constant pain, and fears her own death is imminent. Plus, no one believes her suspicions that another Dark Mage has risen, and that Tredare may be in just as much danger as it was when Kern was alive.
With the country’s future in the hands of a man who’s vowed revenge on its king, Maren must convince someone else of the truth. Unfortunately, the only person powerful enough to help is also the one man she can’t trust; the man she almost married; the man who abandoned her and disappeared for three years: Kern’s son.
As Tredare crumbles around them, Maren must persuade him to help – before the king is murdered by the very hero he reveres; and before the same magic that gives Maren the gift of sight also takes her life.

amazonbarnes and nobleKobo * Smashwords * iTuneExcerpt from Borrowed Magic

The siege had ended. Lord Kern, the dark mage, was dead.

Maren pushed her forehead against the warm glass, straining for a better view of the commotion below. A cheer went up from the crowd, and she searched for any sign of the man making his way to the castle. The man who’d saved the city – and the kingdom.

All she could see was a mass of bodies, crowding the path leading up from the city gates.

It wasn’t uncommon to see people in the streets of Delorme. They’d come every day for the past two and a half years, standing in subdued silence as they waited for the daily rations that grew more and more meager as the weeks went by. But today the crowd wasn’t silent. Today was different.

The tent cities beyond the wall, once teeming with soldiers draining the city of life, were now abandoned, destroyed, thin plumes of smoke the only movement. What was left of the lush, green fields sat charred and barren. Desolate.

“Anything?”

Maren jumped back from the window and felt the color rise to her cheeks.

“It’s all right, Maren,” Adare said, trying to get her own view of the street below. “We’re all curious. And you have more right than the rest of us. You knew him better than anyone.”

The dull, familiar ache in her chest forced Maren to hesitate until she was sure she could speak without her voice breaking. Even then, she couldn’t meet the queen’s eyes. “I’m not sure I knew him at all.”

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Praise for Borrowed Magic

“I was enthralled from the very beginning up until the very end. This is one of those rare stories that has been created by a truly talented author, that captivates its readers and pulls them in. I felt every emotion as it reached its final conclusion, and I was able to breathe a sigh of relief that we were given the ending we so desperately hoped for.” -Tasha Williams, Red’s Midnight Readers

“Borrowed Magic is a spellbinding story, and the mystery kept me turning pages well after I should have gone to bed. Completely engrossing.” -Dawn Rae Miller, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of Larkstorm (The Sensitives Trilogy)

“Shari Lambert has a way of capturing your mind and transporting you into her fantasy world. Filled with royalty and dark forces at court, Borrowed Magic reminds me of a Phillipa Gregory novel with the bonus of magic.” -Jamie Blair, author of Leap of Faith

 

SeigeFREE EBOOK

Siege: A Borrowed Magic Novella

For six years, peace has reigned over the kingdom of Tredare. Lord Kern, the dark mage who murdered the king and queen eight years prior, is imprisoned in a magical tomb.

Or so everyone thought – until one night when Kern appears during a ball at the royal castle, and life in Tredare changes for the worst.

Especially for innocent Maren.

Unbeknown to her, Maren’s father has a past history with Kern, and now she’s crossed Kern’s path, getting in the way of something he wants. Angry and boiling with dark magic, Kern vows to destroy those who dare defy him – including Maren, who protects the current King and Queen.

Despite Maren’s best efforts, Kern lays siege to Tredare for three years. Years Maren spends plotting revenge on the man who’s determined to ruin Tredare.

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shari LambertAuthor Shari Lambert

Shari has always loved to read. “Bookworm” may even be an understatement. But when she discovered Georgette Heyer in high school, her love of reading exploded. Ms. Heyer’s books were not only entertaining, witty, and smart, but they saved Shari from the awkward, unromantic teenage years. To this day, Shari’s favorite books all have romance in them.

Although Shari spent a good deal of her time at Brigham Young University on the ballroom dance team, she did manage to get a BA in History and English before going on to get a Juris Doctorate. After graduation, she decided her first priority was to be a mom — a career she’s stuck with and loved.

In between cleaning, laundry, and homework, Shari writes. Just like with reading, she wants to get lost in a world, whether imaginary or historical.

She lives just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband and four children.

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BookBlast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 2/23/16

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. 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 enter for you. 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. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Book Blitz : Burning Bright by Chanda Stafford

 

 

Burning Bright
by Chanda Stafford
Release Date: January 25th 2016

Summary from Goodreads:

Three years ago, Samantha Gray killed her parents.

Haunted by their deaths, she hides her scars behind sarcasm and vintage t-shirts, counting the days until she can escape her foster home in Alegria, Arizona. Then she meets Ben, a California boy whose filmmaker parents constructed a big cat sanctuary outside of town. She’s hesitant to get close, terrified he’ll learn her secret.

When Ben introduces Sam to Solomon, a Bengal tiger on borrowed time whose gruesome history eerily mirrors her own, she must decide whether she’s strong enough to overcome her past and save not only Solomon’s life, but her own. And to do that, she’ll need to tell Ben the truth.

 

Buy Links:Amazon
Chapter One:
“Please listen to me,” my aunt Mary begs, clutching my uncle’s hand. “We love you, we really do, it’s just—” She glances at him for help, her dark brown eyes welling up with tears.
“You can’t handle me, right? I know how it is.” I scowl at her. The scars on my arms itch, but I ignore it to focus on my family’s betrayal. “You can’t even bear to look at me most of the time.” My face burns and moisture pricks my eyes.
My aunt’s shoulders bow and my uncle wraps his arm around her. “That’s not it, at all,” she says. “Please, let me explain.”
“Why? If it weren’t for me, mom and dad would still be alive.” My body thrums with adrenaline and pain and I stand up, unable to sit there any longer. “That’s why you’re kicking me out.”
My uncle raises his palm to stop my angry tirade. “Now Samantha, you know we don’t blame you for that. It was a horrible tragedy, but it wasn’t your fault. We love you very much, but we just can’t tolerate your behavior any longer.”
“So that’s your excuse?” I pace the faded living room, anger propelling me forward. “What exactly am I doing wrong?”
My uncle holds up one finger. “You skip school.” I snap my mouth shut, unable to deny his accusation. I can’t stand being trapped inside those walls with everyone staring at me all the time, the girl who murdered her parents.
Another finger pokes skyward. “You’ve gotten in two fights this year because of your temper.” My fists ball at my sides, proving his words. “You also lied to us about your whereabouts several times since you’ve moved in with us, and we’ve caught you sneaking out to do God knows what. You stole money from your aunt and me.” He takes a deep breath. “And last night we found drugs under your bed.” He sounds weary now, as if this is taking all the fight out of him.
I freeze mid-step. “What are you talking about?” I can’t deny the rest, but it takes a few seconds for me to remember the little sandwich bag tucked under my mattress. He holds up the offending narcotics. “Oh, that.”
My face stings in humiliation and I grab on to any wisps of anger I have left. “I can’t believe you searched my room! And for your information, it’s just a joint. Lexi asked me to hold on to it for her until tomorrow. I wasn’t going to smoke it, I swear.” I cross my arms in front of my chest. “It’s not like it’s cocaine, or meth, or anything.”
Disbelief stretches my uncle’s eyebrows until they disappear into his receding hairline. “It’s still drugs.”
“But it wasn’t mine!”
My aunt stops sniffling and raises her watery gaze to mine. “We wish we could believe you. We really do.”
A sharp knock on the front door ends our standoff. My aunt draws in a shaky breath and glances toward the other end of the house. “I’ll get it,” she says and flees the room, her mincing steps quickly fading down the hall.
I turn the full force of my fury on my uncle. “Do Toby and Delilah know what you’re doing?”
My uncle stares at the faded brown carpet. “Your aunt thought it would be best if they weren’t here for this.”
“She’s right!” I bark out a laugh. “They’re just little kids and they’ve been traumatized enough.”
The front door closes, and two sets of footsteps approach the living room. My body stills, something’s wrong. If it was just the pizza guy, my aunt wouldn’t have invited him in.
My uncle’s lips thinned. “Just remember, you pushed us to this point. We only want to help you. Where you’re going, they have doctors and therapists. We can’t afford all that and we can’t have your negative influence around your brother and sister.”
“Who’s here?” I turn toward the doorway as the footsteps pause, just outside. “What’s going on?” My heart lodges somewhere in my throat.
Aunt Mary hurries in first. She tries to take my hands in hers, but I jerk them away. “Please understand that we only want what’s best for you. We love you and this isn’t good-bye. We can still talk as much as you want. We can call each other on the phone, email, text, anything. And—and they said that we can come visit, maybe even with Toby and Delilah.”
“Where are you sending me?”
Our visitor clears her throat as she crosses the threshold into the room. She’s a middle aged woman with red hair straight out of a bottle and an unfortunate purple pants suit. She nods at my aunt and uncle before sticking her hand out to me. “Hello Samantha, I’m Madeline Monroe, from the Department of Child Safety. I’d like to talk to you.”
 

About the Author

Chanda Stafford teaches middle and high school English. She loves traveling and currently lives in Michigan with her husband and a menagerie of rescued dogs and cats.

When she’s not reading or writing, Chanda enjoys old zombie movies, authentic Italian food, and comic books.

 

Author Links:

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Giveaway Info:

  • $20 Amazon Gift Card
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Blog Tour: The Uprising by T.H. Hernandez

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Title: The Uprising The Uprising FINAL cover

Author: T.H. Hernandez

Synopsis:
Recovering from a near-fatal gunshot wound, eighteen-year-old Evan Taylor must find a way to stop the Uprising, an underground movement committed to destroying the Union, before her homeland is attacked.
After spending the last four months in the Ruins trying to get back to the only girl he’s ever loved, nineteen-year-old Cyrus needs to get past his jealousy over Evan’s involvement with Bryce or risk losing her again.
Together, Evan and Cyrus join with their friends to devise a plan to save both the Ruins and the Union, but when the pressure’s on, bickering and infighting threaten to undermine their goals. New information revealing a weakness in the Uprising is uncovered, forcing them to act quickly or risk losing everything.
With the help of old friends and new allies they set out to make history, but it might just take a miracle for everyone to make it out alive.
THE UPRISING is the third book in THE UNION series, a young adult romantic adventure set in the near future.

Buy Links:
Amazon

The Uprising Teaser 2

Catch up on the series:
The Union: Goodreads | Amazon

The Ruins: Goodreads | Amazon

Dreamcast

The Uprising Dream Cast

T.H. Hernandez Bio:

THHernandez
When not visiting the imaginary worlds inside my head, I live in San Diego, California, with one husband, three children, two cats, and one dog. In addition to my day job as a technical writer and editor, I write young adult fiction. I love the intensity of teen emotions and the way they’re still figuring out life.

When I’m not writing, you can find me with my nose in a book, hanging out with family and friends, hiking, or knitting. I’m obsessed with Facebook, young adult novels, bad lip reading videos, pumpkin spice lattes, microbrewed beers, and the San Diego Chargers.

Links:
Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Author Amazon Page

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Cover Reveal: An Eclipsing Autumn by Adelle Yeung

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An Eclipsing Autumn (The Cycle of the Six Moons #2)
by Adelle Yeung
Release Date: March 25th 2016

Summary from Goodreads:

Deciding last minute to stay in Starrs, Michelle continues her epic adventure as Goddess. After all, learning how to save the world sure beats a year of pre-calculus. With her friends by her side, Michelle travels to a city of scholars to learn the lore of the Cycle of the Six Moons.

At first, the exotic retreat turns romantic, as Michelle spends her free time exchanging sweet letters with the crown prince, Jayse. But, during her studies, Michelle learns something that drastically changes her game plan. Powerful blood must be spilled to end the Cycle…blood that only runs through her veins and the prince destined to fall in love with her.

During a celebration honoring their enlightenment, Michelle and Jayse are whisked off to a rogue city as trophies of a tournament, where only the strongest can claim a taste of their blood. Gallant as ever, their guardian, Gediyon, enters to prevent harm to his friends. Unfortunately for the contestants, the Cycle’s latest trial prevents everyone from waking from a cursed slumber…

Book One (click on image for Goodreads link):

 
About the Author

Adelle Yeung is the author of The Cycle of the Six Moons trilogy, a young adult fantasy adventure.

She is also a voice-over artist who can’t go a day without a cup of tea. When she’s not writing or recording, she enjoys sewing costumes, baking sweets, and escaping on video game adventures. She lives in California with a cat that dreams of eating the pet bird.

She has provided script supervision for the independent animation, Shattered Heaven, and is head script editor and one of the co-writers for the upcoming game Fiona Frightening and the Wicked Wardrobe.


Author Links:
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Blog Tour: Stormwielder by Aaron D. Hodges

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Hello Readers

Welcome to the Stormwielder Blog Tour. To see the full tour schedule, click on the banner above. Read on for my review and don’t forget to enter the Giveaway for your chance to win!

 

Stormwielder stormwielder_cover_for_kindle
by Aaron D. Hodges
Release Date: December 1st 2015

Summary from Goodreads:

For five hundred years the Gods have united the Three Lands in harmony.
Now that balance has been shattered, and chaos threatens.

A town burns and flames light the night sky. Hunted and alone, seventeen year old Eric flees through the wreckage. The mob grows closer, baying for the blood of their tormentor. Guilt weighs on his soul, but he cannot stop, cannot turn back.

If he stops, they die.

For two years he has carried this curse, bringing death and destruction wherever he goes. But now there is another searching for him – one who offers salvation. His name is Alastair and he knows the true nature of the curse. Magic.

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FOR A LIMITED TIME – STORMWIELDER IS ON SALE FOR $0.99 ON AMAZON!

My Review

Wow! Just Wow! Stormwielder has all the tried and true elements of fantasy which if done right scores time and time again with readers and which I am always excited to find when reading fantasy.

We have a young man with powers that he is afraid of, yet he has to learn how to harness before he destroys everything and eveyone who crosses paths with him.
Burdened with guilt, after incinerating a whole village, with bounty hunters on his trail, he is thankful that magicker Alistair found him before they do, for he will need his training if he is to control that beast called magic, which resides within him and would be master if it could, to the detriment of him and everyone around him!

I loved the elements of magic present in Stormwielder; that they’re linked to the elements, and how its wielded by the characters. Demons and dragons also make appearances which adds to that dark element that I love in fantasy and kicks the awesome factor up a notch.

The main character is Erik whose character development was interesting to see unfold as the story progressed. He went from being a young, insecure, uncertain man afraid of his magic and thinking it a curse, to one who becomes one with his magic is and is able to control it to an extent where he can now use itin defence of innocents.

The author writing style is perfect for keeping the reader engaged due to it being easy to read and well-paced; slower when necessary for worldbuilding/character development and fast-paced for action-scenes.  I especially loved that Hodges uses just the right amount of detailing to keep the novel imaginative and captivating without overwhelming the reader with mindless info-dumping. This, combined with his creative  storytelling capabilities makes Stormbringer a page-turner.

Overall, a really great fantasy with dark twists, intrigue, a dash of romance and a riveting plot to keep you turning the pages until the end.

My Rating

 4 hearts

 

About the Author

aaron2bd-2bhodges
Aaron Hodges was born in 1989 in the small town of Whakatane, New Zealand. He studied for five years at the University of Auckland, completing a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and Geography, and a Masters of Environmental Engineering. After working as an environmental consultant for two years, he now spends his time traveling the world in search of his next adventure.

Author Links:
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Week In Books #15 (Jan 25 – Jan 31)

Hello Readers

Welcome to my weekly feature “Week In Books” where I showcase the books I’ve read, received and or hauled each week. I got a good amount of  reading done than I had planned which should mean that my TBR shelf is shrinking; right?  That is a discussion for another time , now on to what my week looked like in books:

Ebooks Read

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Stormwielder

At Water’s Edge

The Legend of Eli Monpress

Evanescent

 

Received For Review

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Chasing Azrael

Curse Of The Sphinx

The Lingering Grace

The Looking Glass

 

Mini Book Haul

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The Bands Of Mourning

The Dark Days Club

The Evening Spider

The Love That Split The World

The Masked City

The Brimstone Deception

Daughter Of Blood

Shearwater Part One

There! That was my Week In Books and I daresay it was a great week. Thanks as always to all who provide review copies and to all my readers.

In other news, I am in the process of setting up a WordPress.org website and plan on importing the content from here to there. Now this is not an overnight process and I am attempting to import my wordpress subscribers there too, but feel free to go and check it out and subscribe via email. I plan to keep the name Cover2Cover and unfortunately I can’t import this theme (pfff), and don’t have the money as yet to buy a really cool theme, so I’m limited in terms of the look but it is a work in progress.

Once my content has been imported I will be sure to make a post here to inform you guys. So please check out My WEBSITE and subscribe. Thanks for your support!

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Release Day Celebration : Darkness Fair by Rachel A. Marks

I’m so excited to be participating in the release day celebration of DARKNESS FAIR (The Dark Cycle #2) by Rachel A. Marks. Take a moment to check out this awesome Young Adult series, and while you are here don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

About The Book

DARKNESS FAIR
The Dark Cycle #2
Author: Rachel A. Marks Pages: 333
Amazon | Goodreads

Against the backdrop of an ancient battle between the forces of Light and the forces of Darkness, Aidan struggles to control the newly awakened powers that seem to be his only hope for rescuing Ava, his little sister, trapped somewhere beyond the Veil. As he gravitates to Kara, the dangerously unstable girl who helped him realize his abilities, a terrible mistake of fate is revealed that points him back toward Rebecca, whose role is becoming more critical to the battle. And no matter what his heart wants, it might be too late to stop the pieces already in motion.

Without knowing the sacrifices that will be required of them, Aidan and his motley crew of friends—each with their own role to play—must face the demon threat head-on. They’re the only ones keeping the growing army of Darkness at bay, and if they fail, the future of humanity could be lost.

About The Author

Rachel A. Marks is an award-winning author and professional artist, a surfer and dirt-bike rider, chocolate lover and keeper of faerie secrets. She was voted: Most Likely to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse, but hopes she’ll never have to test the theory. Her debut novel DARKNESS BRUTAL is due out from Amazon/Skyscape July 1st. Visit her on her website:http://www.rachelannemarks.com/

 

 

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Blitz : City Of Legends Series by Cheyenne Young

 
Check out the promo event for all three books in Cheyanne Young’s YA superhero series and enter to the awesome giveaway.
 
Series: City of Legends
Publisher: Alloy Entertainment
Release: February 2016
Purchase series: Amazon

Book One: City of Legends

Maci Knight has grown up in the shadow of legends. Her father and her brother, Max, are Heroes, worshipped by humans and Supers alike for their strength and valor. All she’s ever wanted is to follow in their footsteps, to fight villains and protect humankind. But Maci has a secret—one that could change everything. 

Maci had a twin sister who died the same day they were born. In their world, one twin is always good, while the other always eventually turns evil. There’s no way to tell which twin will go rogue . . . which means no one knows if Maci will suddenly become a villain. 


The closer she gets to her eighteenth birthday, the more she has feelings she can’t control: Violence. Rage. Revenge. Maci wants to be a Hero. But she may not have a choice . . . 

The first in a trilogy, City of Legends introduces a new superhero mythology and an unstoppable heroine.

Purchase: Amazon

~EXCERPT~
 
Crimson throws an arm over my shoulder, the scent of her cherry lip-gloss briefly overriding the stench of fish tanks. “So, Maci Knight . . . think you have what it takes to pass your Hero exam?”
I know she’s not talking about the hours of training I’ve endured over the last decade and this last week of performing skill tests for the examiners to prove I’m ready. Crimson’s question goes deeper than that. She’s talking about the core of being a Hero. Placing my life on the line to save people I don’t even know. Throwing away the idea of a normal life, all to uphold an oath of protecting those who can’t protect themselves.
The Hero Brigade is the most elite group on the planet. I meet her gaze and the corner of my mouth twists into a grin. “Hell yes.”

BOOK TWO: The Valiant



After the most vicious villain attack in centuries, Maci Knight is struggling to put the shattered pieces of her life back together. She survived, but barely, and her family will never be the same. The only good thing to come out of the attack is that the Elders have granted her probationary Hero status. Now she’s desperate to prove that she has what it takes to shine in the field.

Maci gets her first chance when she’s called in to stop an illegal fighting ring where humans are battling to the death. But when she goes toe-to-toe with the fighters, she’s shocked to discover that even she can’t contain them. The humans are strong—supernaturally so. Maci knows that this is the work of the villain underground and is determined to put an end to it. But how do you fight an enemy who won’t show their face?

In the second installment of the City of Legends trilogy, Maci Knight will find out what she’s truly made of.


Purchase: Amazon

~EXCERPT~
 
“Something strange is going on,” Katia says.
“It’s almost like they have power,” I say.
The two Heroes look at me like I’ve lost my mind. “They’re human, Maci,” Katia says. “They can’t have power.”
 “I know,” I say quickly, feeling the sudden need to defend my intelligence. But something about my words rings true. Even with dedicated strength training, humans are weak. If I hadn’t seen firsthand what happens when a Super and human breed, I would have suspected that these humans were some kind of half-Super. But this . . . well this, I don’t have an explanation for. And if we don’t figure it out and put a stop it, it could bring unsurmountable chaos into the human’s worldand ours.

BOOK THREE: Empire Rising

Eighteen years ago, Maci Knight’s family was destroyed when Aurora Falcon killed her mother. Now Aurora’s partner, Felix, has kidnapped Maci’s brother. For five long months, there’s been no sign of Max. His Codex is offline and she can’t feel even the slightest trace of his power. Maci refuses to give up hope, but when a new threat on King City emerges, Maci is ordered to abandon her search. 

Somehow Felix has managed to do the unthinkable: repower all the villains that Central has depowered over the years. Now they’ve banded together to get revenge on the Supers who wronged them. What feels like an arduous mission becomes an opportunity when Maci realizes that if she can stop the villains, she can get them to lead her to Felix—and her brother. 

In the action-packed conclusion of the City of Legends trilogy, Maci vows to save her city and bring her family back together—no matter the cost.

 

Purchase: Amazon

~EXCERPT~


Evan approaches and slides his hands around my waist. A chill goes through me at the feel of his touch and the familiar tingle of his power so close to mine. Heroes train hard to hone and strengthen their power more than any other Super, so it has a distinct and dominant feeling. Evan spent a few years in Hero training, but his power isn’t like that. It doesn’t burn like Crimson’s power when she’s in a frenzied fight, and it doesn’t intimidate like one of the older Heroes might. It encircles my body the same way his arms do, bringing me closer to him spiritually and physically.

Desire courses through my veins. I grab his shoulders and lift up on my toes. Evan grips my waist and lifts me into the air. I close my eyes and kiss him. His lips taste salty and perfect. My fingers slide up through his dirty blonde hair. He deepens the kiss and I hold onto him as if I need his lips to stay alive. I want this moment to last forever. 




Cheyanne YoungABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cheyanne Young is a native Texan with a fear of cold weather and a coffee addiction that probably needs an intervention. She loves books, sarcasm, and collecting nail polish. After nearly a decade of working in engineering, Cheyanne now writes books for young adults and is the author of the City of Legends Trilogy. She doesn’t miss a cubicle one bit.
Cheyanne lives near the beach with her daughter and husband, one spoiled rotten puppy, and a cat that is most likely plotting to take over the world.
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Book Blitz : Sing Sweet Sparrow by Angela J. Townsend

Sing Sweet Sparrow
Angela J. Townsend
Publication date: January 12th 2016
Genres: Historical, Romance, Young Adult

With the odd disappearance of her parents, Gussie Gibson has lived her entire life with her granny on a peaceful pecan orchard, owned by the meanest man in all of Georgia—Mr. J.P. Combs. Granny teaches Gussie many valuable life lessons as a black woman growing up in the still-segregated south. Mr. Combs is an evil underhanded banker who takes liberties beyond his privilege. When Granny dies, Combs informs Gussie she owes him back rent—but he wants much more than money for payment—and more than Gussie can live with.

After defending herself against his sexual advances, Gussie flees to escape certain vigilante justice when she meets a charming, handsome stranger, Sam Johnson, who is just returning from World War II.

Gussie and Sam’s friendship is short-lived when Mr. Combs hunts her down and drags her back to Green Ridge, driven by his craving for revenge and a grudge too deep to comprehend. Gussie fights to return to Sam and his love, but it seems, no matter where she runs, danger follows close on her heels, in the troubled South where cruelty disfigures the human spirit and love is a dim beacon of hope.

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EXCERPT:

1945

No one on this earth deserves to die more than Mister J.P. Combs.

Mister Combs is the vice president of the Green Ridge Union Bank, and the nastiest man in all of Georgia. He robs from the old, the poor, the sick, and the weak. Granny and I been working for the Combs family for as long as I can remember. Granny taught me how to wash their silver and fancy china so it comes out shiny, how to iron the tablecloths, and how to fold the napkins just how Missus Combs likes it done.

Missus is a nice woman. She treats Granny and me right. On Sunday she takes her coffee into the kitchen to visit with us after church. But not Mister. He hates colored folks. He says we don’t know our place.

Mister never takes his eyes off of me. It’s like he’s making sure I don’t stop to take an extra breath while I’m working, so he’s getting his money’s worth. Granny and I tend the Combs’ house for just sixty-nine cents an hour. That’s a lot less than most maids. The trouble is that Granny is old, tired and slow. Her feet don’t work so good no more. We got to take what work we can get.

Mister comes home early every Friday. He likes to lean against the stove while he peels an apple with a buck knife. He chews the pieces and leers at me while I polish the silver. I’d love to stuff that apple in his mouth and stick him in the stove. I gotta learn to control my temper, sometimes it’s hard, especially when Mister’s at me. Don’t know from one day to the next what’s gonna happen. Somedays I wish I could explode and blow up the whole world.

Granny knows I got a bad temper. It worries her. She takes me into Mister’s parlor and stares at me with her brow all crinkled up. “Gussie child, you keep outta Mister’s way,” she whispers. “I don’t like how he looks at you.” Granny shakes her head in disgust. “You’re only sixteen years old. Don’t you let him get close. You stay by me—you hear?”

I can’t look at Granny. My cheeks burn with shame.

Granny takes hold of my hands. “You listening to me, child?”

I nod. She leans in real close, her bottom lip quivers in a two-tone brown. I stare at the wrinkles around her mouth, and at her bottom row of teeth all worn down. I worry about how much longer she’ll live. I don’t want her to leave me. “I see the way he’s been looking at you,” Granny says. “Like you the hottest thing on the lunch menu.” Granny lifts my chin so that our eyes meet. “If he comes round, and you alone—you tell him you got chores to do.” Granny squeezes my hands tighter. “His heart ain’t nothing but a thumpin’ gizzard. He’ll hurt you if he has a chance. You stay away from him. You understand me, child?”

I nod again. “Yes, Ma’am.”

The lines around Granny’s eyes soften. She cradles my head in her knobby hands. “You the only thing I got in this world, Gussie. I done lost my boy. I don’t plan on losing you too.”

My lips tremble. “I know Granny, I’ll be careful.” I cross my heart. “I promise.”

She hugs me round the waist, but I don’t hug her back too hard. She’s so frail, I worry that she’ll break. I press my face into her chest. Her heart pounds against my ear and I feel her shaking. All this worry isn’t good for her old body. I don’t want to let go of her. I bury my head into her shirt collar. She smells like shea butter and sweet ginger. Granny runs her hand over my head. Her fingers untangle the curls in my hair, the ones she makes with the pressing comb heated on the stove every morning. Granny pulls away from me and sits down. She never sits at Mister’s house. She looks so tired.

“Granny, you okay?”

She closes her eyes for a moment, placing a hand on her chest. “Take me home, child.”

I help her up, and hold tight to her thin hand as she walks unsteady beside me. My heart twists over Granny working so hard at her age. How she worries over me.

We head outside and make our way down the path through the pecan grove. The path is uneven and it’s hard for Granny to walk. Her toes are twisted like tree roots with arthritis. I wish I could carry her home so her feet don’t have to hurt. She holds onto my arm as I help her up the front steps of the shack we rent from Mister.

We go inside but Granny won’t rest. She puts supper on the stove, and waves me away when I try to help. She lowers herself onto her rocking chair while the beans boil on the back burner. Granny releases a heavy sigh, closes her eyes and stops rocking. I touch her hand and she don’t move. I can’t breathe. My soul dissolves into darkness. I know she’s gone but I can’t face it. I run to Mister’s house. Missus lets me use their telephone and I call for help.

Half an hour later, Granny’s church ladies come and take her away while my heart rips into pieces. I sit in the dark staring at her empty chair, at her shoes, at the knitting needles sticking in the ball of yarn. I close my eyes willing it all to be gone, for the day to start over with Granny alive. I wish life could be like a chalk board where you can erase the bad parts and start over. Hours pass with nothing but the ticking of the clock. I look out the window surprised to see the world still going on even though Granny isn’t.

After the funeral, I lay up in the bed and pray that God kills me so I can be with my Granny—the only mother I’ve ever known—the only person I ever loved. I don’t sleep. I don’t eat. I don’t go to work. I just don’t care about living anymore. When Granny died, something came apart and broke inside me. Fell off a shelf and shattered to the floor. And I just can’t put all the pieces back together.

A week passes and Mister comes looking for me. He’s mad that I haven’t been to work. He yells his fool head off, saying I gotta pay the rent or get out. I don’t got no money and nowhere to go. I don’t know why God don’t come down and take me to Granny. What kind of a life do I have to look forward to anyhow. I don’t want to be stuck in some white man’s kitchen the rest of my life.

Mister comes back the next day, but I already got my bags packed. He looks at me and frowns. “Where you think you’re going?”

I just shrug.

“You come on home with me. You can have a room in exchange for looking after the house. You got that, girl?”

I nod my head. I don’t know what else to do.

I don’t got no choice.

A lonesome sparrow hatches inside of me, flies out my mouth, and pulls out my insides as it leaves, taking all my happiness with it.

*****

Missus shows me to my room. Mister follows and stands in the hallway, watching. Missus hands me a washrag and towel, shows me where to put my things, and then pulls back my bed sheets.

“I’m so sorry about your Granny. She was a good woman and I‘ll miss her,” Missus says. “Try to get some sleep, child.”

She closes the door behind her, but I hear Mister breathing through the thin wood. I get undressed and slip my nightgown on as quickly as I can, wash my face and jump into bed, hoping he’ll go away. As I close my eyes I see Granny, smiling at me. Tears fill my eyes and roll down the sides of my face into my ears.

Later that night, the feeling of being watched startles me awake. In the moonlight, Mister stands in the doorway. Clamping my eyes tight, I try to shut him out. The wood floor groans as he creeps closer. The smell of whiskey and cheap cologne fill the room. His cigar breath comes in rapid, short bursts, followed by a wheezing rattle. My heart jumps like a cricket and blood pulses in my ears. The bed shifts under Mister’s heavy frame. I lay still as death, petrified, pretending to be asleep.

Mister leans over me, dripping sweat from his forehead onto my face. I fight to keep my eyes closed. I don’t want to look at him. He flips back the thin sheet. The bedsprings squeak like a flock of birds.

“J. P., are you coming to bed?” Missus yells.

Mister lets out a grunt and curses under his breath. The bed squeaks again as he moves away. The sounds of his heavy footsteps echo across the floor and the smell of whiskey grows fainter. Springing from the covers, I close the door, lock it and slip on my clothes. I climb back into bed, pull the blankets up under my chin and try to erase what just happened from my mind. I stare at the moonlit ceiling, praying that God will keep me safe or take me to heaven so I can be with Granny.

A few hours later, the grandfather clock in the hallway strikes midnight, waking me up. Heavy footsteps shuffle outside my door again. The doorknob moves slowly from left to right then rattles fast against the lock.

I don’t sleep the rest of the night.

The next day Mister slinks up behind me in the kitchen, grabs my shoulders and yanks me backward until his big gut presses against my backside. My legs tremble when his hot breath brushes my ear. “I can get into that room anytime I like, so you better be ready” he growls. His rough tongue flicks at the base of my neck. I swing my elbows back hard and pull away. I return to my chores, paying him no mind at all. I may be his house girl, but he don’t own me. I won’t give in without a fight.

 

Author Bio:

Angela is a multi-published, award-winning author of young adult and middle grade books. She has a motion picture based on her award-winning novel, The Forlorned, coming out soon, and a second motion picture project in production for River of Bones.

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Book Blitz: In The After by Elisa Dane

In the After
Elisa Dane
Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: February 2nd 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Sadie Reynolds is a liar with secrets. At school, she’s part of the popular crowd known as AE, despite being broken inside. She hides it well. She has to. The slightest bit of imperfection will land her in the same shoes as her Geeky neighbor named Ian.

Ian and his only friend are the object of Sadie’s friends’ ridicule, ire, and entertainment. The AE rule the school with intimidation and retribution against anyone who would dare question their supremacy.

Sadie steers clear of most of it, terrified someone will find out her secret. She isn’t the least bit perfect. In fact, she suffers from PTSD stemming from the murder of her mother right before her eyes when she was a child. She can barely cope from day-to-day, hiding her truth and trying to fit in. But she knows it’s only a matter of time.

Hayden is a “Waverly,” a kid with the misfortune of living in the small farming town of Waverly that borders the very affluent Lexington Parrish. The AE doesn’t mix with “Waverlies.” Ever.

Desperate to get away from her oppressive friends, Sadie crashes into Hayden at a bonfire and the attraction that sparks between them is nothing short of electric. But Hayden’s an outsider and when things heat up, Sadie will be forced to choose between her friends and her new boyfriend.

Only Queen Bee Britt isn’t having it. She will not allow Sadie to cross her. Sadie can either do what Britt wants her to do or she will reveal Sadie for the PTSD freak that she is.

Sadie does some soul searching about who she is and who she wants to be. She can’t live her life like this. Not any more. One fateful night will help her see how much things have to change.

She’s determined to no longer allow the AE to rule her life. She will be strong, stand up for Ian and love who she wants in Hayden. Determined and invigorated, Sadie goes to school feeling hopeful for the first time in forever.

But, the unthinkable happens.

Shooters attack dozens of students before the two eventually take their own lives, leaving the school a decimated shadow of what it once was.

Suddenly who lives where, wears what or loves whom seems like the least of Lexington Parish’s problems as everyone and everything changes forever in the after.

IN THE AFTER by Elisa Dane is a hard-hitting and heart-warming story of tragedy, love, loss and redemption. It is recommended for readers 14+.

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EXCERPT:

“No! Stop it! Don’t hurt her. Mom! Mommy!”

I thrashed awake, my throat on fire, my skin cold and soaked with sweat along with my pajamas and sheets. That damn, fucking night. That final image of my mom bleeding out across our hardwood floor before the monster tied me up and locked me in the closet—it wouldn’t disappear. Burned into every deep, dark crevice of my mind, it haunted me daily, and replayed itself on an endless loop every night while I slept.

The three night lights dousing my room with a soft, warm glow, failed to provide the sense of safety and comfort they normally did and I hugged my blanket to my chest in a vain attempt to chase the chill away. My room wasn’t cold. The chill lay deep inside me in the place the darkness had taken up residence. Dying of thirst, I reached for the glass of water sitting on my nightstand.

“Sadie!”

My body seized, my arms flew up with a scream, and water rained down over everything within a five-foot radius as the glass tumbled through the air. It shattered upon impact with the wood floor. Mocha went crazy. The fur at the nape of her neck standing on end as she paced back and forth at the end of my bed, growling and barking.

Barely able to control my limbs they were shaking so badly, I floundered around for my cell phone, which had gotten lost somewhere between my sheets.

“Sadie! Let me in.” The window shook each time the attacker rammed his fist against the glass and panic spiked, a high-pitched wail blowing past my lips as I ripped apart my bedding.

I found my phone buried beneath the blanket near my feet. Dizzy and hyperventilating, I fumbled with it, repeatedly stabbing the touchscreen in a vain attempt to unlock the damn thing.

“Come on! Come on, you stupid thing.” My heart felt like it was in my throat and my chest felt like it was going to explode any minute.

“Ginger! It’s me, Hayden.”

It felt like I’d been trapped under water and was finally able to surface and take a deep breath. The thick haze of fear slowly dissipated, the fog inside my head clearing enough for me to recognize his voice. “H-Hayden?”

Hot tears trickled down my cheeks as I stumbled out of bed and made my way over to my window. I grappled with the extra locks my dad had installed when we first moved in, unable to contain the loud sob that blew past my lips when the window finally slid open.

Hayden was in my room with his arms around me before I had a chance to draw breath. “I heard you screaming and I got scared.” His body stiffened and he pulled away, his gaze scanning the room. “Did you hear something? Is that why you were screaming?” He took a step toward my bedroom door, stopping when I caught his wrist.

“It’s okay, Hayden. No one’s here. I had a nightmare.”

He stared down at me with narrowed eyes, then closed the gap between us, drawing me into his arms again. His arms felt warm and strong, the space at the center of his chest where I laid my head as though it was made for me and me alone. As if on autopilot, his hand found its favorite spot on the side of my neck, his touch both soothing and electric as he peered down at me with concern. “Nightmare? You were screaming like someone was trying to murder you.”

I flinched.

His eyes grew wide for a millisecond, realization and understanding warring for dominance behind his eyes. Thankfully, the gentleness I craved in his deep blues returned as quickly as it had left. He swept me off my feet without warning and carefully placed me on my bed, sliding between the sheets right along beside me. I rolled onto my side, my body shuddering in relief when he pulled me against him and wrapped his arm around me. “Sleep, princess. You’re safe. I won’t let anyone hurt you.”

Safe. It was such a small word with such a big meaning. Lives either flourished or fell apart in search of it. I’d known the warmth of safety. Taken it for granted. Wasted the warmth and comfort that came with it like a spoiled child. I also knew the festering terror that came with the absence of safety. I walked in its darkness. Choked and smothered beneath it nightly. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever believe I would truly feel safe again. But, for reasons I couldn’t explain, that’s exactly how I felt in Hayden’s arms. Completely safe.

And so very tired. Too tired to care about my dad’s warning about talking to Hayden and letting him in the house. My lids grew heavy and I was asleep within moments.

 

Author Bio:

ELISA DANE is a self-proclaimed book junkie. A lover of handbags, chocolate, and reality television, she’s a proud mother to three All- Star cheerleaders. Writing is her absolute passion, and it’s her mission to create stories that will not only take you on a romantic journey that will warm your heart, but help you find a new respect and interest in the sport of All-Star cheerleading.

Elisa is no stranger to the publishing world. She writes steamy paranormal romance under her real name, Lisa Sanchez. Her adult works include the Hanford Park series (Eve Of Samhain, Pleasures Untold, and Faythe Reclaimed), Obsessed (an erotic suspense), and a paranormal novella, Cursing Athena. Elisa lives in Northern California with her husband, three daughters, and a feisty Chihuahua who stubbornly believes she’s human.

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  • $10 Amazon Gift Card + eBook copy of In the After

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