Monday, November 19, 2018

MRS. MURRAY'S GHOST by Emily-Jane Hills Orford

MRS. MURRAY’S GHOST
by Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Mary’s family has moved into a huge Victorian mansion. She loves her gigantic new house, especially her room. But then she begins to meet the house’s other residents. Mrs. Murray was murdered in Mary’s new house. At first she tries to scare the new residents away, but there seems to be a force connecting the ghost to Mary. Even the stranded Brownies, the little people who live between the walls, feel that connection. When Mary becomes deathly ill, the Brownies and the ghost team up to try to rescue her, only to encounter a witch and her evil minions. Time is running out. They must rescue Mary from a fever-induced dream world before she is trapped there forever. As well as being a fun read for young readers, the story gives an historical perspective to childhood, as it dates to the 1960s. It also deals with some very current issues, specifically bullying.

EXCERPT
“Did you leave any lights on downstairs?” he asked as he seated himself at the table once again.

“No,” Mom answered. “I turned everything off.”

“She did,” Mary added. “I made sure.”

“The lights were all on in the kitchen,” Dad said. “Some of the cupboard doors were wide open. I closed them.” At that, the banging doors started up again.

“I guess it’s official,” David announced. “We have a ghost.” He made his move and passed ‘Go’. Holding out his hand to the banker (who was always Dad to ensure some modicum of fairness in the game), he demanded, “Two hundred dollars, please.”

“Sounds to me like the ghost is checking us out,” Dad said, handing over the Monopoly money. “It’s not hurting anyone, so let it be.”

“Spoooooky!” David howled, laughing.

Mary didn’t laugh. She wasn’t sure why they thought it was funny, but if no one else was afraid, maybe ghosts weren’t scary.

~Buy MRS. MURRAY’S GHOST on Amazon

~Follow the rest of the tour

GUEST POST

MY INSPIRATION?
I GREW UP IN A HAUNTED HOUSE!

My brothers would tease me relentlessly. They loved to sneak up on me and poke me in the back, usually shouting, “boo”, in the process. I jumped, of course, which made their sport so much more fun. For them. They didn’t believe in my ghost. Even though they heard the banging kitchen cupboard doors each night just like I did. In fact, no one really believed me. The ghost often stood at the foot my bed in the quietest part of the night, watching over me, particularly when I was sick. At first, I was frightened. Especially when things went missing, the floors creaked and the lights went on and off all night long. While other members of the family slept, I listened and watched.

Gran told me I had a vivid imagination and it was my imaginings that created my ghost. I think Mom believed me, though. Sort of. Later in life, when I married and had children of my own, we would return to what was then called Grandma’s house by my children and their cousins. And things would happen. If one of the grandchildren misbehaved, a clock would mysteriously fly off the wall. No one was ever hurt, but the message was clear. The ghost wanted the children “to be seen and not heard” – an old Victorian adage. It was a Victorian house, after all. And it made sense that the ghost was Victorian and strict in her beliefs of the position of children in the household.

The ghost was my inspiration. The house was my inspiration. And my vivid imagination and the dreams I had were my inspiration. My sister encouraged me to write stories about growing up in a haunted house. So, I did. And I’ve enjoyed every step of this journey through memories and fantasies.

My journey with “The Piccadilly Street Series” begins in Book 1, “Mrs. Murray’s Ghost”, with my memories of moving into this old Victorian mansion in 1967. I was ten, just like Mary in the story. And I was so overwhelmed with the fixtures, the wooden floors that creaked, the old 1920s telephones that connected to several rooms throughout the house, and, of course, the space. In my young eyes, the house seemed massive – like a castle.

There are three more books to this series, all which combine actual memories, dreams and that vivid imagination that Gran always told me I had. Book 2, “Mrs. Murray’s Hidden Treasure”, explores the theory I shared with my siblings that, being an old house, there must be a hidden treasure. We did find the odd old coin buried in the garden. Certainly not a fortune. Book 3, “Mrs. Murray’s Home”, challenges the ghost and the other characters to define what and where they believe their home is. This is something my Gran and I always discussed. For me, home was always that grand old house. For Gran, having left Scotland as a child, part of her thoughts of home remained in her childhood memories and a place across the ocean. Book 4, “Mr. Murray’s Gun”, takes the adventure even further with the discovery of a vintage World War I gun and ammunition in the attic. I remember when we found that gun, something that was forbidden in our home. Mom was terrified that we would accidentally set it off. Dad called the local police and had it taken away. My vivid imagination, even as a child, had the gun marked as a murder weapon.

The house was such a big part of my life. As was the ghost. It was only a matter of time before the ghost became the subject of a big writing project. My inspiration!

ABOUT EMILY-JANE

An avid gardener, artist, musician and writer, Emily-Jane Hills Orford has fond memories and lots of stories that evolved from a childhood growing up in a haunted Victorian mansion. Told she had a ‘vivid imagination’, the author used this talent to create stories in her head to pass tedious hours while sick, waiting in a doctor’s office, listening to a teacher drone on about something she already knew, or enduring the long, stuffy family car rides. The author lived her stories in her head, allowing her imagination to lead her into a different world, one of her own making. As the author grew up, these stories, imaginings and fantasies took to the written form and, over the years, she developed a reputation for telling a good story. Emily-Jane can now boast that she is an award-winning author of several books, including Mrs. Murray’s Ghost (Telltale Publishing 2018), Queen Mary’s Daughter (Clean Reads 2018), Gerlinda (CFA 2016) which received an Honorable Mention in the 2016 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards, To Be a Duke (CFA 2014) which was named Finalist and Silver Medalist in the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and received an Honorable Mention in the 2015 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards and several other books. A retired teacher of music and creative writing, she writes about the extra-ordinary in life and the fantasies of dreams combined with memories.

Find her online:

-website
-Facebook
-Twitter
-blog
-Goodreads

GIVEAWAY

Emily-Jane Hills Orford will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, November 18, 2018

EARTH QUARANTINED by D L Richardson


It’s release day for Earth Quarantined, a new alien occupation fiction novel by the author of Welcome to the Apocalypse.

If you like alien occupation fiction, then this book is for you. It’s like ‘The Expanse’ but played out on Earth. Aliens brought peace to Earth and promised us the technology for interstellar travel. 300 years later and they still haven't given us this technology. They're lying to us. What they don’t know is that we’re lying to them...



Book description:

World peace came with rules. We’ve just broken them.

In the year 2055, millions of humans were wiped out by a deadly virus known as EMB-II, a bioweapon strain of Ebola that could not be stopped. The need to get off the planet and into space was never stronger. Before the ships could be launched, First Contact was made. A dozen spaceships arrived, carrying twelve Criterion Advocates – peacekeepers of the universe – and thousands of Criterion soldiers, aides, workers, and engineers. To stop the virus getting into space, Earth was placed under quarantine and work begun to save the planet and humanity. Through tough control measures, world peace was achieved.

The year is now 2355. The virus is gone. Humanity is eager to get into space. Yet the Earth is still under quarantine. The Criterion are lying to us. What they don’t know is that we’re lying to them.

Kethryn Miller is an award-winning actress, but nothing will prepare her for the role she’ll take on when a strange woman who shouldn’t be alive turns up in the city, threatening to expose the lies that have kept peace on Earth for 200 years.


SPECIAL LAUNCH PRICE
$2.99 ebook for only $2.99
ENDS NOV 30
Also available in print


Earth Quarantined is available to buy at any of these great online retailers:






You can follow and contact the author at these sites:



Giveaway Giveaway Giveaway Giveaway Giveaway

The author is giving away to one lucky winner one $15 giftcard. Easy to enter. No purchase necessary. And you can choose between amazon, Kobo or Barnes & Noble giftcard.

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About D L Richardson:

D L Richardson writes speculative fiction, which encompasses science fiction, light horror, supernatural fiction, and fantasy. When she’s not writing, she can be found wandering in her yard waging war on weeds, watching back-to-back episodes on Netflix, playing her piano or guitar, curled up on the couch reading a book, or walking the dog.


Other books by D L Richardson:

Welcome to the Apocalypse - Pandora
Welcome to the Apocalypse - CyberNexis
Welcome to the Apocalypse - Primal scream
Resident Spy
One Little Spell
The Bird with the Broken Wing
Poison in the Pond – A Shivers Novella Vol 1
Evil in the Embers – A Shivers Novella Vol 2
Danger in the Dirt – A Shivers Novella Vol 3
Space Junk – 4 short sci-fi stories

AN EXCERPT FROM EARTH QUARANTINED
Damn world peace. It wasn’t worth her happiness.

Kethryn Miller drained the last of her wine before turning her scornful gaze to the shimmering lights below. City Prime was beautiful at night, yet the millions of lights, in every imaginable color, did little to stop the loneliness settling in.

Far below, lights blinked like neon lovers communicating in code. At least until midnight. After midnight, the power conserves came into effect, and buildings disappeared from the skyline as holo-advertisements and electricity mains shut down. Complete darkness lasted no more than the blink of a neon light; like children afraid of the dark, buildings flickered into life as insomniacs reclaimed the night.

As Kethryn watched over the world from the balcony of the forty-second floor, she wondered what kept her fellow insomniacs awake. She would swap her troubles for theirs any day.

A Criterion ship popped into view. Reflexively, Kethryn took a step back. The Divinity was gold and elliptical with sensor arrays that resembled incandescent roots reaching for the ground. One of a hundred border patrol ships, one for each Earth state, this alien hawk followed a pre-plotted course around the ten cities of State Seven. A citizen could tell time by the patrols. Each noon and midnight, the Divinity floated over City Prime. Each night when it hovered by, Kethryn sensed the co-operatives inside – humans who worked security detail for the Criterions – watching her watching them.

She reached for the bottle of wine on the table and the movement activated the Visual Imaging Device – VID – pulling her attention to the image projected onto the screen. It showed an invitation for the presidential inauguration in two weeks, one she couldn’t avoid since this was her inauguration. Spending her adult life dodging the inevitable now seemed like a waste.

She shifted her gaze from the lights to the full moon that sat to the right of the border ship. Long ago that moon had lured man to reach it. And they had. They lived in permanent habitats in self-imposed seclusion for three months at a time. It granted them little contact with family or friends, and when they returned to Earth they complained of the noise and begged to go back. Their bodies slowly decayed from constantly applying aluminum gel as protection against radiation. Their flesh festered from bedsores that never healed because of the implanted mood-gauging sensors that monitored their vital signs and mental stability. Mooners were a weird lot, and yet she envied them.

She took a sip of wine. Too sweet. It belied her current mood. The quarantine of Earth, placed by the Criterion three centuries ago, should have been lifted by now and the technology to launch a spaceship beyond the end of the Solar System granted. And yet it hadn’t. Why were humans still on Earth? Why had the Criterion not gone home after ridding the planet of the deadly virus? Why did nobody care that mankind’s peace and freedom came with chains?

These were questions to ask a Criterion advocate, and a wry smile tugged at her cheeks that she’d get her chance in two weeks.

Friday, November 16, 2018

HOUSE OF ASHES by Loretta Marion

HOUSE OF ASHES
by Loretta Marion

Thirty-seven-year-old painter Cassandra Mitchell is fourth-generation to live in the majestic Battersea Bluffs, a brooding Queen Anne home originally built by her great-grandparents, Percy and Celeste Mitchell, and still standing despite tragedies that have swept the generations. Local lore has it that there was a curse placed on the family and the house is haunted, though opinions are divided on whether it's by malicious or benevolent spirits. Cassie believes the latter―but now she stands to lose her beloved home to mounting debt and the machinations of her dream-weaving ex-husband.

Salvation seems to arrive when a nomadic young couple wanders onto the property with the promise of companionship and much-needed help―until they vanish without a trace, leaving behind no clue to their identities. Cassie is devastated, but determined to discover what's happened to the young couple...even as digging into their disappearance starts to uncover family secrets of her own. Despite warnings from her childhood friend, now the local Chief of Police―as well as an FBI agent who pushes the boundaries of professionalism―Cassie can't help following the trail of clues (and eerie signals from the old house itself) to unravel the mystery. But can she do so before her family's dark curse destroys everything in its path?

EXCERPT
Eighty years ago ~ Whale Rock, Massachusetts ~ Cape Cod Bay
Friday, December 13th

The fire bell was ringing, and someone yelled in through the tavern door, “There’s a fire up on the north end! Battersea Bluffs. We need all the hands we can get!”

“No, it can’t be,” Percy whispered. The Bluffs was his home. He leapt from the barstool and ran for the street, bumping into a stranger as he passed through the tavern door. The man’s eyes were ominously familiar to him, but with more pressing concerns, there was no time to bring to memory why. He had to get home to Celeste.

It sickened him to see the flames as his Ford pickup rounded the top of Lavender Hill. How hard he and Celeste had worked to build this house, a grand Victorian with a widow’s walk and a proud front porch facing out to sea. Fire trucks were already there, and men he’d known these many years were working hard to contain the blaze.

As he ran toward the house, it came to him who the stranger in the tavern had been, and later one of the firefighters would recount that Percy had screamed: “Damn that lighterman’s curse. Damn you to hell, Robert Toomey!” Nobody was quick enough to keep Percy Mitchell from entering the inferno. Moments later he emerged, his clothing and hair afire, carrying a charred human form. Any man would have been delirious from the pain, but as the firefighters looked on in shocked disbelief, Percy walked with a purposeful bearing and a swift gait toward the bluffs. A few men chased after their friend, but before anyone could stop him, Percy reached the ledge and cried out, “I am not finished!”

And then, with his already dead wife in his arms, he hurled them both into Cape Cod Bay.

~Buy HOUSE OF ASHES:

-Amazon
-B&N
-Books-A-Million
-Indiebound

~Follow the rest of the tour

ABOUT LORETTA

A true bibliophile, Loretta Marion's affection for the written word began in childhood and followed her like a shadow throughout her life as she crafted award winning marketing and advertising copy and educational brochures. She then applied her writing skills as a volunteer, establishing a Legacy Story program for hospice patients, which inspired her to create her own fictional stories. Her debut novel, The Fool's Truth, was a twisty mystery with whispers of romance. Her newest novel, HOUSE OF ASHES – A Haunted Bluffs Mystery, is the first in a series published by Crooked Lane Books.

When not whipping out words on her laptop, she is traveling, enjoying outdoor pursuits, or is curled up with a delicious new book. Loretta lives in Rhode Island with her husband, Geoffrey, and their beloved Mr. Peabody, a sweet, devoted and amusing “Corgador”.

Find her online:

-website
-Facebook

GIVEAWAY

Loretta Marion will be awarding a $50 mazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

SHADOWS OF AIZAI by Mary-Jean Harris

SHADOWS OF AIZAI
by Mary-Jean Harris

Wolfdon Pellegrin and Toulouse Saloman, two eighteen-year-old boys living in seventeenth-century Spain, have recently discovered they are to become founders of a future paradise called Aizai. It will be created by the Magicians, who form a secret society scattered throughout the world. However, they are threatened by dark magicians called the Magi, who have for many ages been impeding the Magicians’ success.

While Toulouse is initiated into an order of Magicians and must learn from a spirit-commanding sorceress and a misanthropic Magician, Wolfdon is trapped in the Middle Ages by the haughty son of a great Magician and must find a way to return to the present. Yet what he finds in the past may have great bearings on the formation of Aizai itself.

As the shadow world of the Magi encroaches upon them, Wolfdon and Toulouse must discover the remaining founders of Aizai and its magic before it is too late.

EXCERPT
“We’ve both read enough about alchemy to be masters. With some practice,” Toulouse added. “We’re in the right place. And perhaps…” Toulouse stroked Kosmos’s cool scales. “We just need to live.”

Wolfdon snapped his head up, the face of the goddess fading from his sight. “Live? I am living!”

Toulouse laughed. “I lived when my father was alive, or at least, he lived and I tagged along. He traveled everywhere and did real magic, and we still read books, but there’s more to it than that. We’re living in books, Wolfdon. Fascinating ones, but books nonetheless.”

Wolfdon scowled. Ever since he’d returned from the future paradise, Aizai, and had met Toulouse in Santamiguero, he’d committed himself to learn magic, to access that great power he’d been so exalted to in Aizai. He needed to, because he and Toulouse were to among the founders of Aizai. He had certainly read much about magic, but there was no instruction manual on becoming a Magician, and most attempts he and Toulouse had made to do even the slightest glimmer of magic had been unsuccessful. So Wolfdon read, as he always did. He’d managed to alight some gems with the power of illumination, though he suspected that they had magical qualities already. He’d also developed the ability to hear Sagittarius running a few miles away, the sound of his stallion’s hooves as he whisked through the Spanish plains. But Wolfdon was unsatisfied with this.

“We’ve tried already,” Wolfdon eventually said.

“And we’ll try again,” Toulouse chimed in. He took Kosmos from his shoulder and held him in his palm, closing his eyes. The sunlight flickered off Kosmos’s tiny scales, dancing as the snake shifted his position. The sunlight continued to intensify until Kosmos’s scales were flashing a brilliant gold, and the dark embroidery of snakes on the sides of Toulouse’s vest started to wriggle.

“Ha! They’re doing it again,” Wolfdon said.

Toulouse kept his eyes closed, his peaceful concentration never wavering, and the golden light from Kosmos flashed off his chin. Then Kosmos slowly lifted into the air and hovered above Toulouse’s palm, a brilliant twist of gold.

Wolfdon felt a stone in his throat. He swallowed, trying to ignore it. He remembered being trapped in the coffin in the crypt thousands of years in the future, and making the kitten Bastet float in the air.

Kosmos slowly lowered, and his scales returned to their ruby hue. Toulouse opened his eyes. “We’re not entirely helpless,” he said.

“But you can only do that with Kosmos,” Wolfdon pointed out.

“So?”

“So,” Wolfdon said, pushing his long, dark hair from his eyes, “floating snakes won’t form Aizai.”

~Buy SHADOWS OF AIZAI:

-Muse It Up Publishing
-Amazon
-B&N

AN INTERVIEW WITH MARY-JEAN
-What was your inspiration for the world of Shadows of Aizai?

Shadows of Aizai takes place in 17th Century Spain as well as (thanks to some unintentional time travel) 11th Century Scotland. The part in Spain follows one of the founders of Aizai, Toulouse, and primarily takes place in the fictional town of Boltorna in the north of Spain, a town where many magicians, both good and evil, dwell in secret. Much of the magic of the magicians was based off of what I’ve learned about Middle Ages and Renaissance magic and philosophy. In particular, I tied this into the group of magicians called the Iliaster (a term used by Paracelsus which refers to "prime matter, consisting of body and soul"). My “go to book” for magic from the 17th Century and earlier is Manly P. Hall’s The Secret Teachings of All Ages: and enormous book and certainly fodder for inspiring hundreds of stories!

For the parts of the book that take place in Scotland, I based a lot of it off my family history of the MacLeods from the Isle of Skye. I visited the Isle of Skye around the time that I was writing the book, and based the castle and many features of the land off places I went to. It started out as more of a whim to include this extra time period, but I learned a lot about Scotland, and in particular, Medieval monasteries, and I thought it tied into the story well.

-If you could visit the book’s world for a day, what one thing would you do? I would visit Rayventa and learn magic from her. She’s a sorceress who commands spirits through an enormous opal scrying mirror and is the leader of the Iliaster, arranging all the magicians of Boltorna to discuss important matters. I would (try to) convince her to teach me some of her magic and go inside the scrying mirror to visit far off spiritual worlds. Not very safe, as Toulouse found out in the book, but worth the adventure!

-It’s two in the morning, and your protagonist reveals something in confidence. What is it? (Don’t worry. We won’t tell.)

In this book, both Wolfdon and Toulouse are the protagonists, but I’ll pick Wolfdon because he can be a little brat at times (did I say that? Sorry, Wolfdon) so is more interesting, whereas Toulouse is honest to a fault.

What does Wolfdon say? There are a great many things he might say, but one thing is that he doesn’t belong in Aizai. This shows up more in the third book, but we get hints of it in the second too. Aizai is the future paradise Wolfdon and six other founders will form in the future, and, supposedly, the deepest desire of Wolfdon’s heart. He has been longing to return to Aizai, but as he learns more magic, he comes to realize that there is so much more out there, and Aizai is just a step on the bridge to the universe where he could be a Soul Wanderer. So why stop at Aizai? But then what’s the point of forming Aizai? Some obvious internal conflict ensues…

-You’re in a tavern, and a dwarf challenges you to a dual. What do you do?

Whip out my magical dragon talisman and look him in the eyes and say, “Are you sure you want to do that?” Better to avoid a duel than be in one! Though of course, I always like to put my characters up against as many duels and challenges as possible (watching from a safe distance, of course).

-What’s next for you with your writing?

My series The Soul Wanderers is a trilogy, and so the third and last book is next on the agenda. I have already written it but am still in the process of editing. It’s called Diamonds of Aizai and brings all seven founders together for the conclusion of the story. Another book is also in the works, as of yet untitled, which will be (almost) completely separate from The Soul Wanderers. Yet as I’ve found with much of my writing in the past few years, it all takes place in the same general universe, and so there are always some tie-ins from previous stories.

ABOUT MARY-JEAN

Mary-Jean Harris writes historical and other-world fantasy stories. She is a student in theoretical physics and has published various short stories in anthologies and online such as the Tesseracts anthologies, Polar Expressions, SciPhi Journal, and Allegory Ezine. Mary-Jean is also the author of the series The Soul Wanderers; to learn more, visit thesoulwanderers.blogspot.ca.

TEMPTATION TRIALS REVOLUTION by B. Truly

TEMPTATION TRIALS REVOLUTION
by B. Truly

There are always two sides to a story. Can love withstand the ultimate temptation?

A new Regime has arisen from the havoc and destruction of World War III. Society now has to follow the strict mandates, reign under the dictatorship of His Highest Eminence or suffer the consequences.

Tobias and Kincade are part of a cryptic organization that’s trying to uncover the secrets behind the Regime. Something is suspicious with the new world order—why else would they want to control the most powerful emotion of love? With mandatory arranged marriages at the age of twenty-one, the only way to fight for love is through the Temptation Trials—a government-sponsored reality TV show.

Kincade and Tobias know the rules, but after they meet the women of their dreams, they face a difficult decision. With their impending birthdays around the corner, the guys have to decide if they will bend to the Regime’s will or fight for their relationships.

Lust, mistaken for love, will lead to down a treacherous path. They soon learn that the spirit may be willing, but the flesh is weak.

Can love save their souls, or is lust too tempting?

EXCERPT
The hue of dark-gray clouds cast over the area. The dimness of the sky fit the situation perfectly—this protest for freedom of speech would not end well. It didn’t matter that Cindy was the governor of California’s daughter. No one was exempt to the new world order. She had turned twenty-one. Her time was up, so she would be married with whomever the government chose. Society didn’t like it. Hell, I hated how the world worked now. It was just better to try to accept the situation and make the best of it.

Cindy Johansson wasn’t hard to recognize, standing out in a crowd as she did. Her blonde tresses were the color of the sun. She was very tall, and her facial features were strikingly pretty.

Holding her sign high while she marched in front of the court house, Cindy shouted, “Fight for love! Fight for love!” Her sign said: No more arranged marriages.

Alongside Cindy was her boyfriend. He held a similar poster. “Trying to control our love lives has got to stop!” he yelled.

~Buy TEMPTATION TRIALS REVOLUTION on Amazon

~Follow the rest of the tour

REVIEW
Looking for a book with a Hunger Games premise but firmly for adults? Look no farther. The Temptation Trials are all about the competition. But instead of to the death, it’s to the loyalty. No violence, just lots of steam.

The idea behind this book is a good one—a dictator and his regime trying to show how powerful they are by putting so many restrictions on the most powerful emotion—love. Temptation Trials Revolution is a companion to the Temptation Trials, told from the perspectives of the two main male characters, Tobias and Kincade. Tobias is more of the rough-and-tumble type, who’s been with a plethora of women. Kincade is the sensitive one who doesn’t really take chances. This book has something, or someone, for all swooning needs.

While the concept is solid, the writing pulled me out of the story. It focused almost exclusively on how the guys feel about their women. I would expect this in a romance, but it was excessive. I didn’t get a clear idea of what this dystopian society looks like. Shining and clean? Run-down and neglected? The world was very underdeveloped. It’s perfectly natural for people who are in love to think about the person they’re in love with, but this was just too much. There were also some awkward terms. Men and women were often referred to as “males” and “females.” The dialogue read stilted in places, sometimes lacking contractions. The characters were supposed to be in their late teens or early twenties, but their speech patterns didn’t make this believable.

I also felt like some things just didn’t add up. Without spoiling, causes and effects would happen over and over. Characters would acknowledge the reoccurring theme but never put two and two together. Instead of ramping up the tension, I felt frustrated that the characters were ignoring this somewhat obvious thing. There’s mention in the book blurb about an underground organization that’s working against the dictator. The organization plays a big part in the beginning of the book, but it seems to fade off into the background quickly for having such a prominent place in the book’s description. The blurb also hinted at an almost religious aspect (love saving souls), but I didn’t get any religious tones from the story at all.

In short, while I love the idea here, the story didn’t feel fully realized. I wanted more about the setting and political strife. While this one didn’t quite click for me, this Is a perfect book for dystopia-romance fans. Also, 10 out of 10 points for cultural diversity.

ABOUT B. TRULY

B. Truly has wanted to be an author since she was fifteen years old and is grateful to have accomplished this dream. She has very vivid dreams and a wild imagination. She likes to read, watch tons of TV shows, and movies. She’s addicted to romance and gets a thrill out of action and sci-fi. She writes New Adult and Adult, Romance. Sci-fi, Dystopian, and Paranormal genres.

B. Truly likes to explore different elements of sci-fi romance, and create various realms of reality. She also loves creating impossible situations for her characters to grow from and try to overcome.

B. Truly has three wonderful children and a husband who defines the person that she is today. She works full-time as an Ultrasound technologist in Houston, Texas.

Find her online:

-Amazon Author Page
-Goodreads

GIVEAWAY GIVEAWAY

B. Truly will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC and a PDF, Mobi, or ePub copy of the book to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 12, 2018

SOPHIE WASHINGTON: SECRET SANTA by Tonya Duncan Ellis

SOPHIE WASHINGTON: SECRET SANTA
by Tonya Duncan Ellis

Christmas is three weeks away and a mysterious "Santa" has been mailing presents to sixth grader Sophie Washington. Her friends guess that the secret Kris Kringle could be either Nathan Jones or Toby Johnson, two boys in Sophie's class who have liked her in the past, but she's not sure. Sophie uncovers clues to find her secret Santa and the final reveal is bigger than any package she's opened on Christmas morning. It's a holiday surprise she'll never forget!

EXCERPT
“Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg!”

“Be quiet, Cole!” I put my hands over my ears to muffle my brother’s out-of-tune singing and focus back on my laptop to finish my English essay. It’s less than three weeks until winter break and my teachers have been piling on the assignments to make sure we get our end of semester grades in.

There sure is a big change between fifth and sixth grade, workwise, at Xavier Academy, the private school my brother and I go to. Between all the essays and projects and studying for final exams, I feel I can barely take time to pat my dog, Bertram, when I get home; whereas, my eight-year-old brother Cole acts like he’s already on vacation.

Since we got home from school an hour ago, he’s been living it up, shooting hoops in the driveway, eating a snack and now playing on the handheld video game player that my mother would make him put up if she were downstairs with us. I ought to tell on him now…

Ding Dong!

The doorbell interrupts my thoughts.

“Can you get it, Sophie?” Mom yells from upstairs. “I’m putting some clothes in the closet.”

I would ask her why she wants me to answer the door, and not Cole, but I already know the answer: “Because you’re the oldest.”

Of course, that logic doesn’t hold when it comes to who gets the first dessert or who doesn’t have to do the dishes at night. As the baby of the family and favored child, my little brother has got it made.

I trudge to the front door in time to see the mail carrier heading back to his truck. He’s left a medium-sized box on the porch. Wonder what it is?

My mother sometimes has holiday packages delivered to the house, but Cole and I haven’t made our Christmas lists yet, so I doubt it’s anything for us. I open the door, pick the package up, and check out the label. It’s got my name on it in bright, red ink, “Sophie Washington.”

Who could this be from?

I never get any mail, except for birthday gifts my Granny Washington sends to our house in Houston from Corpus Christi when she can’t be here, and I don’t remember my parents ordering anything for us online. Granny is driving up to see us tomorrow, so I doubt she would mail presents here when she could just bring them with her.

“Mom, I got a package!” I call out.

“What is it?” Cole bounds from the family room to stare at the box as I set it on the kitchen counter.

“Back off, Cole, it’s mine,” I move him to the side with my hip and take a closer look at the delivery. The box is wrapped in brown paper, and there is no return address. It looks difficult to open with my fingers, so I pull a butter knife out of a drawer in the kitchen and slit through the tape on the side. A sweet, sugary scent fills the air.

“Cool!” exclaims Cole in appreciation as the brown wrapping slides off to reveal a box filled with packages of licorice, gummy bears, gum, and red and green M&Ms. I notice a typed note underneath.

Dear Sophie,
Hope your day is super sweet! Your
Secret Santa

~Follow the rest of the tour

REVIEW
This is my favorite Sophie Washington book yet. Our fearless sixth-grader is back for a tale of holiday fun. This time, she’s receiving holiday packages from an unnamed sender. Is it one of the boys at school? Or is something else up?

Sorry, I’m not telling. Guess it’s a secret…Santa.

Seriously, though, this book is adorable. I loved seeing Sophie and her family around the holidays. Similarly, watching Sophie gear up for winter break with her friends was so cute. This book offered a glimpse into different cultures’ Christmas traditions, which was neat, too.

Something that really stuck out for me with this book was seeing Sophie truly be a big sister to her brother. They still fought, as siblings will, but when her brother got into a rough spot, Sophie was there to help make things better. I felt like a proud parent watching her.

I promised I wouldn’t spoil the secret, but the resolution of this story just warmed my frozen little heart. I was surprised in the best way. This book gets to the heart of what the holidays are all about, and I recommend it whole-heartedly to anyone wanting a beautiful story this holiday season.

ABOUT TONYA
Tonya Duncan Ellis is the author of the award winning, Readers' Favorite "Five Star" rated, Sophie Washington children's books series, geared toward readers ages 8 to 12, and is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She has received awards for literary excellence, worked as a journalist and freelance magazine writer, and is a graduate of Centre College of Kentucky and Washington University in St. Louis.

The Sophie Washington book series recounts the adventures of a precocious African American preteen from Houston, TX and her diverse group of friends. Each funny and heartwarming story teaches lessons about friendship, responsibility, truthfulness and perseverance. Books in the series include Queen of the Bee, The Snitch, Things You Didn't Know About Sophie, The Gamer, Hurricane, and Mission: Costa Rica.

Tonya loves to travel and has visited 49 American states and three continents, but some of her best journeys have been between the pages of a novel. As a girl she could always be found with a book in her hand, and reading is still one of her favorite hobbies. When she's not reading or writing, the author likes to ride her bike, swim, and spend time with her husband and three children. She lives in Houston, TX.

Find her online:

-website
-Facebook
-Twitter

GIVEAWAY

Tonya Duncan Ellis will be awarding $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 9, 2018

UNTIL WE ARE FREE by TM Blayte

UNTIL WE ARE FREE
by TM Blayte

Nyl Jayms is tasked with kidnaping the Elder princess, to force her brother, the king, to negotiate with humans. The alternative is a war that could lead to the annihilation of both humans and Elders.

A Rider Council faction, led by Nyl’s father, is opposed to any negotiations. They will do anything, including sabotaging his assignment, to trigger a war.

Nyl and his team have to outsmart the king’s elite Royal Guard, to get to the princess, and somehow stay one step ahead of the faction opposed to negotiations. Everyone will be forced to re-evaluate ideology they were raised with, as an impending war looms ever closer.

Join these elite teenage rebel warriors on a journey of war, betrayal, and political scheming, in Until We Are Free. In this debut novel from TM Blayte, faces of friends, family, allies and enemies will blur. Loyalties will be tested, until the determination to be free becomes the only thing that matters. After all, does one person’s freedom mean another person’s oppression?”

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT
Metal fragments of what were once cars, coatings of blood and fleshy bits are plastered to the walls. A couple of the trainees throw up. I don't blame them. I feel a little queasy myself. A familiar person now stands at the gate, face impassive.

“Deon?”

“Commander Jayms.” He nods.

“Are there even survivors around?”

He nods just a little inside the gates, “From inside. No one out here survived obviously.”

“Is your unit here?” I ask, as we start helping the injured to the truck.

Deon doesn't ask questions when I look for survivors among the new RG bodies.

“We were on standby. That's our baby.” He points at the destruction around us. His voice is flippant, but there is no joy or pride in his voice. He just sounds weary.

“I stayed behind because the guys inside couldn't spare a gate guard. Andria and the others left to raid private noble residences in Goldburg.”

“And the guy who was here?” I grab a Guard's feet, and Deon takes him under his arms. We manage to lift him, or rather Deon does. I'm simply supporting the feet. He takes the rest of the weight.

“He got caught in the blast,” Deon grunts.

“You didn't warn him?”

“We didn't know there was someone. They just told us to drop an explosive on the gates. We repeatedly asked before launching. Turns out the guy working the radio was not even here. Command station at HQ.”

~Buy UNTIL WE ARE FREE:

-Physical book
-Ebook

~Follow the rest of the tour

ABOUT TM
Aspiring journalist by day, reader by night, and author somewhere in between, TM Blayte is the author of Until We Are Free. He is published by Alban Lake Publishing. He is also the author of short works such as: Till Death Do Us Part, The Last Children, and The Power of Legend.

The Power of Legend is available for free reading on T’s blog at

T’s biggest dream is to … Nah, it’s personal!

Follow him on Twitter.

To hear more about T’s work, and receive exclusive content, subscribe to his free newsletter

GIVEAWAY

TM Blayte will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway