Thursday, November 21, 2019

EXTRANORMAL by Suzanne V. Reese

EXTRA NORMAL
by Suzanne V. Reese

When 17-year old Mira Johns travels from the Planet Nreim to Earth, she wastes no time blowing through a long list of rules, including the requirement that she stay away from the planet’s teenage males. But when it appears that her actions have put her new friends in danger, Mira must figure out who is behind a series of violent attacks before the agency figures out her secret relationship and sends her back home.

DESCRIPTION

They told me it would be easy—just blend in, observe, and keep to myself. They didn't tell me that failure would cost me everything.

Mira Johns is pretty much like any other teenage girl. Which is why it's a shock when she's selected ahead of six hundred other candidates to be the first student ever to travel from the planet Nreim to Earth. Even though she’s only there to observe, she’s given what feels like a million rules that are mostly intended to keep her away from the planet’s primitive males. But after she finds one mysterious boy too irresistible for stupid rules, she realizes they have a connection that transcends their two planets—and puts both their lives in danger. When a series of serious accidents makes it clear that someone wants to force her return, Mira decides her only hope is to uncover the truth to why she, the most mediocre of candidates, was actually chosen for this assignment—before the agency discovers her secret and sends her back home.

EXCERPT
A short time later, however, while entering the classroom to my next period, I gained an appreciation for those rules. I timed my entrance poorly and found myself wedged between two males in the choir room door.

Keddil, my trainer, had warned me about primitive neo-human male pheromones. Repeatedly. I’d thought he was just exaggerating to make sure I kept my distance. Which I definitely would be doing in from now on. I gasped, which filled my mouth with the most offensive odor I’d ever encountered.

I wriggled forward until my shoulders released so I could lunge out of the way. I paused to allow the haze in my head to clear, but I was still too close.

Several females were gathering on the far side of the room, so I hurried in that direction and climbed to the top row, where I plopped myself into the first available seat. A female sat down beside me and smiled, displaying a jumble of metal and pink bands on her teeth. I smiled back but didn’t want to stare, so I turned my attention to the odd parade of bodies entering the room: hair colors and skin tones by the dozens. Spots on one: freckles? Wounds on another…blemishes. No, pimples. Maybe zits?

It was the most beautiful display of diversity I’d ever seen. Even with their flaws, every single neo-human had something distinctive, something that made them who they are. I would have killed for that.

~Buy EXTRANORMAL on Amazon

From Suzanne: “Because this is my ten-year cancerversary, I will be donating author proceeds during launch week to cancer research. (The Huntsman Cancer Research program, where 100% of donations go towards research. They are also the center that treated me.)”

~Follow the rest of the tour

ABOUT SUZANNE

A decade ago, author Suzanne V. Reese had a string of land-mark events—published her first novel, outlined her second novel (while daydreaming in a university science class), graduated from that university, became a grandmother, and then topped it all with a late-stage breast cancer diagnosis.

That second novel, ExtraNormal, YA speculative fiction, became her therapy during a long and difficult treatment program. It was published a few years later with the encouragement of her incredibly supportive friends and family. Despite little marketing, the book quickly became an Amazon best-seller.

Suzanne then made the difficult decision to ensure her long-term existence by focusing on her health rather than continue with the series. Happily, to celebrate her ten-year survival and end-of-treatment mark, she is releasing an updated version of the best-selling novel ExtraNormal, this time to be soon followed by the remaining books in the ExtraNormal Chronicles.

Suzanne has a degree in communications from Utah State University, as well as certifications in nutrition and holistic health. She is the founder of Story Igniters, which offers courses that help readers find their real-life superpowers. She lives with her husband in Draper, Utah, where she enjoys doting on her seven grandchildren.

Find her online:

-website
-Goodreads
-Twitter
-Instagram
-Facebook

GIVEAWAY

Suzanne V. Reese will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

KING HENRY'S CHOICE by Emily-Jane Hills Orford

KING HENRY’S CHOICE
by Emily-Jane Hills Orford

There are powers at play that continue to seek amalgamating Scotland to England – powers from the past and powers from the future. It’s the late 1800s and Queen Victoria wants more than mere access to the Scottish retreat at Balmoral Castle. But King Henry I of Scotland, direct descendent of Queen Mary Elizabeth I, the time traveling royal daughter of Mary Queen of Scots, is determined to keep Scotland free and independent and a powerful, progressive nation in its own right. The struggle to protect what is his by birthright becomes a battle that must be fought in the past, the present and the future and in other parts of the world. And, in the midst of each battle, there are choices to be made. Very difficult choices.

EXCERPT
Henry caught the piercing gaze and held it with one of his own, equally piercing. “I do dare, Madam!” He snapped back. “This is my realm. Not yours. And it never shall be yours!” He almost spat out the last few words. He was adamant to make his point: Scotland, his country, would remain free and independent, for now and forever, as his countryman’s rallying cry firmly stated.

“Then Isabel comes home to London with me.” The English queen sniffed in a deep breath, feigning a sense of pride being wounded. “It’s where she belongs.”

“I think not!” Henry held his ground, glancing first at his wife then at the English queen.

“Why ever not, Henry?” Bertie gently challenged Henry. “She is obviously not wanted here.”

“Bertie’s right, Henry.” Isabel finally spoke between sniffles and catching little coughs, feigning an upset constitution. “I should return with my English cousins. London is my home. It always has been. Not this barren, cold north land.”

“No!” He glared at both women, then at Bertie who had moved closer to his mother during the interchange. “The last time a Scottish queen sought refuge in England under the protection of the English queen, the Scottish queen lost her head.”

~Buy KING HENRY’S CHOICE on Amazon

~Follow the rest of the tour

REVIEW
I enjoyed this more than I expected to. Historical isn’t my usual stomping grounds for fantasy, but this had some really interesting elements. The time travel, in particular, fascinated me. It presented a lot of complexities and challenges that kept the story moving and me guessing.

I did feel a bit overwhelmed by the amount of characters. Maybe it’s because this is a spin-off from the author’s other work, but I had a tough time keeping who was related to whom straight. While the backward and forward through time was one of my favorite things about this, I also found myself a bit confused about what was being affected where/when. I’ve never been very good at that kind of round-about temporal thinking, and I’ll admit that may play a decent part in my confusion. Those more familiar with time travel elements will probably have no trouble.

In closing, the concept behind this is solid and presents a lot to think about. One of the characters is sick, but there are advancements far in the future that could help. Of course, there are the challenges of the space-time continuum to consider, but little things like this added a lot to the overall mystery. If you like time travel, fantasy, a mix of the two, and/or a well-realized historical setting, give this a try.

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 King Henry’s Choice (Clean Reads 2019), Mrs. Murray’s Ghost (Telltale Publishing 2018), Mrs. Murray’s Hidden Treasure (Telltale Publishing 2019), 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
-Goodreads

GIVEAWAY

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 18, 2019

HAUNTING THE HAUNTED by E.C. Bell

Haunting the Haunted
by E.C. Bell

In the sixth book in the Marie Jenner Mystery series, life is finally starting to look up for Marie. Her brand-new business—moving on ghosts for actual money—is taking off. Her relationship with James Lavall is rock solid. All she has to do is find the last two poltergeists from the ball diamond and move them on to the next plane of existence and, as far as she’s concerned, life will be perfect.

The problem is, life has a way of kicking Marie in the teeth. Patrick Whitecroft, professional psychic debunker, shows up at the Jimmy Lavall Detective agency. He’s out to prove that she’s a fake—live, on TV—and he doesn’t care who he hurts to do it. Even worse, he has over a hundred desperate spirits bound to him, and they want something completely different. They want to be saved.

As Marie tries to help the spirits and keep Patrick from dismantling her life, she finally finds the poltergeists. But they’re not interested in moving on. They want Patrick Whitecroft’s spirits for themselves. If Marie can’t figure out a way to move all the spirits on to the next plane of existence, the poltergeists will happily take them, so they can create an army bent on revenge.

Looks like Marie’s life is going to get interesting. Again.

EXCERPT
I heard footsteps out in the hallway outside the office. “Looks like we’re going to get more work,” I said.

“Oh, for heaven’s sake!” Karen snapped. “Blow them off. You have to take care of business. My business.”

“This is my day job,” I said. “Get over it.”

I went back to my desk and slapped my receptionist smile on my face as the footsteps stopped in front of our door. The doorknob slowly turned, and through the frosted glass of the door, I could see glowing. It got so bright I couldn’t look without squinting.

“You see this?” I asked Karen, and pointed. “Do those look like ghosts to you?”

She gasped. “Maybe it’s Rita and Joanne, the poltergeists,” she said. “How would they have found you? Found us?”

“It can’t be them,” I said. “They don’t know where the office is.”

The door opened, and a man walked into the office. He was surrounded by ghosts, so many of them I couldn’t even begin to count. I did not recognize him. Heck, it was hard to even see him through the writhing spirit mass.

“What is going on here?” Karen asked.

A fair question, to my mind. I’d never seen anything like this before in my life and I felt my receptionist smile fade. Something told me that he was not here to see James Lavall.

He was here to see me

~Buy HAUNTING THE HAUNTED:

-Amazon
-Kobo
-Nook/Apple

~Follow the rest of the tour

ABOUT E.C.

E.C. Bell is the author of the award winning paranormal Marie Jenner Mystery series. She lives in Alberta, Canada, and when she’s not writing, she’s scouting out new locations for her upcoming novels or renovating her round house where she lives with her husband and their two rescue dogs.

That’s right. Her house is round.

Join her mailing list on her website at eileenbell.com for news about new books, upcoming appearances and, occasionally, recipes.

Follow her on Facebook and Twitter

Marie Jenner Mystery series books, in order:
Seeing the Light
Drowning in Amber
Stalking the Dead
Dying on Second
Hearing Voices
Haunting the Haunted

GIVEAWAY

E.C. Bell will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 15, 2019

THE DEVIL AND DAYNA DALTON by Brit Lunden

THE DEVIL AND DAYNA DALTON
by Brit Lunden

Reporter Dayna Dalton's reputation has been ruined since birth. The daughter of wild child, Becky Dalton, is expected to follow her mother's footsteps; never given a chance to prove she's different. Dana's been in love with Clay Finnes since she was a teenager. Her unrequited love for Sheriff Finnes leaves her empty. He's happily married and unavailable. Instead, Dayna finds herself stuck in the revolving door of bad relationships. But this is Bulwark, Georgia, a town where strange things are always happening. Dayna is doomed to this loveless life until she can find someone who will appreciate the depth of her character. Can she overcome her fears and look beyond her own perceptions to accept a greater love?

EXCERPT
“I am good, but not an angel. I do sin, but I am not the devil. I am just a small girl in a big world trying to find someone to love.” Marilyn Monroe

The crisp, clear sunlight was not her friend. Dayna Dalton winced at the bright light that squeezed in through the slats of the venetian blind. She reached over and gave the cord a hard tug, sending the pint-sized bathroom into near darkness. Behind her, the shower head dripped with a steady plop, plop that reminded her of the exposé she did on water torture in Guantanamo Bay that never got published. It was deemed too harsh to print.

The Bulwark Advance preferred her to write…fluffy pieces. She sneered thinking of the crap on her computer, the half-written article about the elusive Easter Bunny that awaited its final edit. She hung her head in shame, thinking of what her sorority sisters from Georgetown would feel if they knew where Dangerous Dayna Dalton had ended up. There’d be hell to pay in the form of eternal humiliation.

Dayna twisted the faucet, her freckled knuckle turning bone white from the effort. It was no use; the leak continued relentlessly, driving a hole in her throbbing head. Oh, that last round of shots was totally not necessary.

~Buy THE DEVIL AND DAYNA DALTON on Amazon (99c during the tour)

~Follow the rest of the tour

ABOUT BRIT

Brit Lunden is a prolific author who’s written over 50 books in assorted genres under different pen names. Bulwark was her first effort in adult fiction and was chosen by several of her fellow authors as the basis for a new series, A Bulwark Anthology. Using her characters, they are creating new denizens in spin-off stories to this bizarre town. Brit Lunden lives on Long Island in a house full of helpful ghosts.

Find her online:

-website
-Twitter
-Goodreads
-Facebook

GIVEAWAY

Brit Lunden will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

HAMARTIA by Raquel Rich

HAMARTIA
by Raquel Rich

Grace’s nine-year-old son, Jordan, is dying. First, the Metagenesis disease will tear his soul from his body, and then it will kill him. Desperate for a cure, Grace agrees to take part in an illegal clinical trial cloning souls. Supported by her best friend Kay, the two embark on the ultimate “Vegas Vacation” to the past in search of the right soul to clone, racing against time to save Jordan’s life. But someone is trying to stop them and when they discover why, Grace must make a choice: let her son die or kill her husband. If she kills her husband she triggers widespread Metagenesis, sealing the fate of the human race with a new plague. Humanity is counting on Grace choosing to let her son die.

EXCERPT
Chapter 1 Now

For the tenth time, Kay nervously looks up at the departures hologram as we pass through security. Our flight details haven’t changed since the last time she looked: Toronto to Las Vegas. It’s like she’s expecting them to spell it out: “Destination: 2000.” What part of “secret mission” does she not understand? Everyone else is actually going to Las Vegas, as the hologram says. They’re just not going back more than eighty years in time like we are. I wipe my sweaty palms on my sweater, again.

“So... You’d think when you’re travelling back in time, the means of transportation would be futuristic,” Kay says. “Where’s my shiny golden hovercraft time-warp machine, emerging from the clouds?”

“Ya, I was thinking the same thing,” I respond to Kay absently as I press my fingerprint to the scanner and smear it with sweat. I sigh. The screen directs us to Gate 47. We go directly to the gate, anxious to get started on this journey. My stomach churns as I think about what cloning a new replacement soul for my son, Jordan, actually entails. I bite my lip, hard, trying to stop my fear from taking over the rest of my body as it has my empty stomach and nervous system.

“I don’t get it,” I say. “We’re boarding the plane with regular people? Where’s that assistant? She’s supposed to be here,” and just then, she surfaces from the gate, tucking her hair behind her ear.

She’s outfitted in an all-white dress suit, directing people to their seats on the plane. As we approach and she sees us, she smiles, winks and re-tucks her hair. I notice she’s wearing a nametag and shake my head in amazement when I realize it’s blank. “We’re all anonymous,” she had told Marc and me when she greeted us at Dr. Messie’s home office, right before we were given a chance to save our son’s life. But the blank nametag seems to intentionally rub in our faces that we don’t even know her name. This whole process has felt like a secret gamble rather than a mission. We’re not entitled to know anything, yet we’re expected to go along with everything. We’re just supposed to trust that a bunch of strangers hold the miracle cure to a disease no one has even figured out the cause of. Metagenesis.

Buy HAMARTIA on Amazon

~Add it on Goodreads

~Check out the book trailer

REVIEW
This is one of those stories that really makes you never want to be its protagonist. Grace is faced with a truly impossible choice—lose her husband or her son. What kind of choice is that? Who could make that kind of choice and keep their sanity intact? Not to get all philosophical here, but if the afterlife is where souls wait to be reincarnated into the pages of a story, I hope Rich doesn’t get her hands on me. While readers would be riveted by the character arc, I would suffer a lot.

I actually found Grace to be both Hamartia’s best and worst quality, which is a bit ironic considering the definition of hamartia (a fatal character flaw). On the one hand, she is under an amazing amount of stress and faced with the above-mentioned impossible choice. It’s understandable that she’d be indecisive to a point. On the other, I found some of her reactions to things a bit over-the-top, even for her situation. This is due in part to not feeling like I understood her past enough. She and Kay (the friend she travels with and hasn’t spoken with in a while) have some kind of history in casinos that I was unsure about. And then there is a situation with how Grace’s father died (not spoiling). While I understood how he died and Grace’s reaction to said how, I felt like I never knew quite why he died in this way, and I feel like knowing that would have helped me understand Grace better. It also seemed like Grace wasn’t a surprised as she should have been to some of the major reveals—like she saw them coming, which didn’t feel quite right.

The book description seemed to do the story a disservice. It gives away some major points that we don’t actually read about until pretty late in the story. As a result, I spent much of the beginning wondering what was taking so long to get to the crux of the matter. When I got there, I wondered what was going to happen next and how things would get resolved with so little of the book left. Turns out, things were resolved in quite a fascinating way, and the ending left a plethora of interesting questions open for the sequel.

Overall, I really did enjoy this. There were some things I wish had been explained better so I could connect more with the story and characters, but I found myself turning pages, regardless. The only other minor thing that tripped me up was that the first chapter took place ahead of where chapter two started, and that didn’t seem to serve a real purpose I could determine. Once I realized that chapter two was a jump back on the story timeline and not just a flashback, I got over any confusion and went on my merry way. I encourage fans of real emotional struggles and time travel stories to give this a try. There are some neat concepts packaged in this story of one woman’s impossible choice.

AN INTERVIEW WITH RAQUEL
-What inspired you to become a writer?

This is a “chicken or egg” scenario for me. I didn’t mean to become a writer; Hamartia inspired me to give it a try. Hamartia was the result of an idea I couldn’t shake out of my head until I wrote it down, and when I did that, another idea emerged. This process awakened a long lost dream of being a writer and that’s when I decided once and for all to chase after it.

-If you could visit your book’s world for a day, what one thing would you do?

Hamartia is a time travel thriller. If I could time travel, I’d check out the 70s. I think it’s a cool era; disco, high boots with bell bottoms, roller-skating on the streets. Of course I’d stay out of sight so as not to compromise the future—something Grace should’ve considered before taking part in that illegal clinical trial, time travelling to the early 2000s (though if it were my son’s life hanging in the balance, I might’ve done the same).

-It’s two in the morning. What does your protagonist reveal in confidence? (Don’t worry, we won’t tell.)

“This pillow sucks. This blanket sucks. Even if we save my son’s life, I could never sleep a wink in this bed. Wait, is Kay … snoring? How dare she sleep so peacefully in that bed while my world falls apart! Also, I want chocolate, but if she sees me getting up for it, she’ll find some stupid idiom to spark up a conversation and I’m in no mood for her positivity. Oh, who am I kidding? A hurricane wouldn’t wake her. I’m getting chocolate.”

-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks with?

Definitely Grace’s best friend, Kay. She’s hilarious! I love her carefree attitude and ability to make the best of any situation. She’s super chatty and fun. Her easy way of bringing people into her world is admirable. Everyone loves her. Going for drinks with her would turn into an event for the whole bar.

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

Laugh. Then maybe offer him/her a drinkie-poo.

-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?

There are many genres I could never write. Topping the list would be romance, hard sci-fi, and fantasy, for the same reasons I don’t read them: I hate them. I tried to read a romance novel once. I got five pages in when I made a sour face and tossed the book aside, fearing it had the cooties. As for fantasy and deep sci-fi, I just can’t suspend my disbelief to truly get into them. Fact: I hated Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and especially Star Wars.

ABOUT RAQUEL

Raquel Rich is a full-time sci-fi writer and occasional blogger. She loves to travel, suntan, walk her dog, and is obsessed with all things Beauty & the Beast. She despises cold weather, balloons, and writing about herself in the third person but noticed all the real authors do that. Born and raised in Canada to Brazilian parents, she lives in the Toronto area with her family. She’s married to the guy she’s been with since she was fifteen (her baby daddy). Her superpowers include being a mom to their two awesome grown-ass boys and one fur baby.

Find her online:

-website
-Facebook
-Twitter
-Instagram

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

STEAMED from Perfectly Poisoned Anthologies

STEAMED
Published: November 12, 2019 by Perfectly Poisoned Anthologies
Steampunk Fiction

Welcome to STEAMED! Featuring stories of romance, fantasy, and science fiction featuring the tinkerers, dreamers, and inventors of Steampunk.

A collection of eight amazing stories by some of today’s most talented and adored authors of Steampunk. It’s sure to get you Steamed.

~Buy it:

-Universal link
-Paperback

THE STORIES
Jennie L. Morris – Heirs of the Sky
New Albatross, Ester Grailings’ home, jets off the side of a mountain like a metal tumor. Her whole life spent in the air; she views the valley below between steel grates. To live on the ground is dangerous, the people immune to the Old Plague, but carriers of a disease capable of killing everyone in the sky cities. An unfortunate accident, a tumble over the railing, and Ester finds herself injured and at the mercy of primitive Nomads. Her new friend Bram reveals details about the past and the sky cities. The truth weighs heavy on Ester’s conscious. Desperate to return home, Ester hails a dirigible airship as her last hope.
Bram, a curious young man by nature, seeks learning over agriculture. When Ester offers a trip on the airship with a promise to return home, he doesn’t hesitate. But the flight to New Albatross turns precarious, an attack by sky pirates may be the least of their worries.

T. Elizabeth Guthrie – The Salt Mines
Caelan and Issa, labeled as ‘borgs, have to work in the salt mines. Trapped during a cave in they are left to die along with their co-workers, but they manage to get themselves and everyone else out.
After alerting the townies to the safety issues at the mines, they decide to ‘storm the gates’ and take down a corrupt company. Tables are turned when the owner disappears. Where is he and what is he up to?

Casia Courtier - Through the Veil
In this steampunk Alice in Wonderland retelling, Elise Bennington embarks on a journey to find her fiance’ and return home. But the people in this dangerous world are deadly and she may need to save more than just the two of them.

Lorah Jaiyn - Trouble with the Mechanist’s Daughter
Calliope Cline’s whole world is turned upside when her father is killed in a horrible accident. Murdered, as she claims, by Nicholas Primrose, his new partner. Barrister Abraham Maycock is her trusted friend and guide in the turbulent waters that follow the death.
When true colors are shown, Cally’s entire livelihood is destroyed. She must decide who to trust and where to turn in order to make things right.

Joshua Ian - Barren Strawberry
The immortal woman is back. The woman of countless names. The woman who first taught Agnes to embrace magick has returned to London. And Agnes is determined to get repayment of the debt owed her. Long ago an act of magick left Agnes maimed and scarred. Since that fateful day, for so many years she cannot count, she has thrown herself into her work, ignoring the calling within her, ignoring the dreams that have haunted her. Now she wants her former self restored, no matter the cost. She wants to be whole again. But as she comes to accept the truth about the dark secrets of magick, she realizes that the thing she may want most of all is revenge.

J. V. Stanley - Chasing Time
Kiera wasn’t one to waste time. No one in her society was, for that matter. She, like the others were destined to walk through the lines and life staring at a spot on the ground, unable to observe the world around them. There were no nights under the stars, no sunbathing on the beach, and no scenic drives admiring the change of colors on a crisp fall afternoon. After a boy caught her eye as she dared look up, Kiera and her brother, Catfish were forced to make a decision that would change the lives of those around them—by changing time. By chasing it’s source.

Vanessa Ross – Gear Reaper
Gear Reaper is the first in a series about Angels and Mages. This series mixes the two races in an action packed battle between sins and virtues. Join Emma as she embarks on the creation of the Coven of the Damned Academy.
While traveling the European Coven’s Emma Stowell receives a letter from her father that she needs to come to New York due to the fact that her mother and her are in danger. On board the ship she meets Azrael, an Angel sent to Earth with his brother Michael to start a new life. The night before they reach New York, Emma comes face to face with a wicked power. Having hidden on board, Emma's power awakens with the help of Azrael. Starting an epic battle of good and evil, Emma knows she must start a school to help other Mages like her to take down a power just beginning to rise. Know one knows when they will strike, but they do know they have wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing.

Kendra Moreno – Gears of Winter
Skadi preferred the snowy tops of her mountains to the glittering mechanics of Asgardian life, but she never could avoid the reaches of Odin and his all-seeing eye. When the Allfather orders her to Midgard to track down Loki and Thor, the threat of Ragnarӧk on the horizon, she begrudgingly sets off on her task.
The only problem, the two gods don’t want to be caught and something far more sinister is in London. Not only are there steam-powered machines on the streets, but creatures lurk waiting for a chance to strike.
Can Skadi convince Thor and Loki to return to Asgard before it’s too late, or will they all drown beneath the coming dark storm? Ragnarӧk is coming. . .

ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Jennie L. Morris
As a self-proclaimed Anglophile and research geek, it's no wonder Jennie L. Morris writes Romance and Historical Fiction with a flair for realism. Her love for learning led her to obtain degrees in Anthropology and Biology, which she often relies on during her writing process. Coming from NE Ohio, and raised on a small beef cattle farm, life was anything but ordinary growing up.
Jennie now resides in rural Kentucky, among the bluegrass and dazzling horse farms, with her amazing husband and their boxer Archie. When she isn’t reading or writing, she is feeding her tea obsession or perfume addiction, letting the scents and flavors fuel her creative fires.

T. Elizabeth Guthrie
T. Elizabeth Guthrie is the mother of two beautiful grown daughters, BamMaw (grandma) to two handsome young grandsons and one beautiful new granddaughter. She’s happily married to her best friend and works alongside him building their own line of live edge furniture. Look them up at Phunky Junk Alley.
She started writing when she was young after the passing of her mother. She said it was and still is a great way to escape to other places real and imaginary. She writes all genre's but her favorite to write are the same as the ones she loves to read, horror, science fiction and romance.
She currently has four paranormal romances published, Irish Love, Scottish Love, Chocolate Peanut Butter Delight and Mated by Prophecy. She also loves to create fantasy jewelry and has a whole line of pieces that are inspired by the stories she publishes and ones she wants to publish someday.

J.V. Stanley
J. V. Stanley is an award-winning, hybrid, multi-genre author and holds a BA in English and Communication. Her debut novel, “Faces In Still Waters” and poetry collection, “Chasing The Red” won second and first place in the 2016 Summer Indie Book Awards hosted by Metamorph Publishing. J. V. Stanley has the heart of a poet who revels in human emotion and connection while channeling that into her writing. She strives to fully immerse her readers into her worlds. Her work can be seen in various formats including her blog, articles, columns, and editorials. Some of her publication credits include the anthologies “Siren’s Lullaby” by Enchanted Anthologies, “Forest Of The Dark” by Enchanted Anthologies “Campfire Tales” by Crazy Ink, “Devious Ingenues” by Perfectly Poisoned Anthologies and several others. She is also an IDPA Nationally Ranked Pistol Competitor-thus making her a warrior poet. She currently lives in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with her daughter (who is also a writer) and her son and spends a copious amount of time drinking over-sugared coffee while daydreaming on her keyboard.

Joshua Ian
Joshua Ian can easily be captured by a witty turn of phrase or a low-bottomed electronic bassline. If you manage to combine the two, then you have his heart forever. He lives in New York City and writes mostly historical, speculative, and sci-fi/fantasy fiction but he does love a good mystery. He watches too many movies, eats too much dark chocolate, and falls into way too many Wikipedia rabbit holes– but it’s all in the name of research (or so he tells himself). His short stories have appeared in Twist in Time Magazine, Coffin Bell Journal, Chaleur Magazine, Enchanted Conversation eZine, and the 5th Annual Queer Sci Fi Fiction Anthology 'Impact.' His first book-length collection of steampunk & gaslight fantasy stories entitled 'Through the Spindle' will be publishing in late 2019. He recently published the novelette ‘The Harvest Moon,’ the first in his Darkly Enchanted Romance series.

Casia Courtier
When Casia isn't perfecting a new story, she is rubbing elbows with great literary minds and soaking up their advice for her blog. She has been published in numerous anthologies and will soon have a full length novel(la) of her own. She enjoys dabbling in different genres, spending time with her family, and computer design.

Lorah Jaiyn
Lorah Jaiyn focused on her writing career after a nasty case of empty nest syndrome, followed by the dreaded absent-Gramma disorder due to her son-in-law’s Air Force career. One novel, many anthologies, and several novellas later, she still hasn’t figured out her favorite genre. Her projects range from horror to romance, with a little fantasy thrown in for good measure.
Lorah lives in North Central Florida and enjoys exploring the great outdoors and creating with polymer clay. She fosters baby squirrels when needed and credits her Jack Russell as both her muse and biggest distraction, with a close second being her Hallmark Channel addiction.

Vanessa Ross
Vanessa Ross is a service dog trainer, writer, mother, and wife. Her passion is aiding others that have fallen on hard times. She comes from a military family and loves her country. She started out as an avid reader because she was told she would not succeed as a reader due to having severe dyslexia. Vanessa refuses to let her disabilities stop her and read 550 books the first year. Then she was told she could not write because she has dysgraphia, she had a new goal. She has published multiple books, in the paranormal romance and mythology genre.

Kendra Moreno
Kendra lives in Texas where the summers are scorching, and the iced tea is straight sugar. When she isn't writing, she likes to go on real life adventures with her husband and son and hopes to one day scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef.

Friday, November 8, 2019

CALICO THUNDER RIDES AGAIN by T. A. Hernandez

CALICO THUNDER RIDES AGAIN
by T. A. Hernandez

Three years ago, the Ban changed everything, outlawing certain forms of magic and bringing about the rise of powerful crime syndicates. Now, speakeasies in every city sell illegal charms and jinxes, and bootleggers traffic restricted potion ingredients across the country. But even in this changing world, the magic of the circus still acts as a wondrous escape and provides entertainment for all.

Jake Strickland owns one such circus, inherited after an accident ended his career as a rodeo dragon rider. He also inherited the circus’ financial troubles, but since the show became his, he’s slowly managed to turn it into a profitable business once more. Or at least, that’s what he thought.

When a dangerous mobster comes to collect an old debt, Jake resorts to desperate measures to get the money before a strict deadline. With lives and livelihoods at stake, he battles the clock, his responsibilities to the circus, and a longstanding personal grudge that has festered for years. Can he pay back the mob before it’s too late? And if so, what will it cost him?

Content warning: This book is intended for a new adult or adult audience but would also be suitable for YA readers. There is some swearing as well as mild depictions of animal abuse.

EXCERPT
They sat in the front row of the grandstands under the canvas of the big top, just two ordinary spectators in a crowd full of smiling faces. The boy was wide-eyed and silent, but Harvey found himself humming along to a familiar, bouncing tune as the rich tones of the brass band filled the air. A half-eaten bag of roasted peanuts lay on the bench beside him, and occasionally, a whiff of their warm, hearty smell found its way to his nose, evoking memories of his own childhood visits to the circus.

Ah, to be a boy again, if only for a day. Inside the tent, none of his problems mattered, and just being here made him feel decades younger. At his age, despite the circumstances had brought him here in the first place, that was good enough.

He glanced down at his companion, who reached for a handful of peanuts as he craned his tiny neck to watch the agile trapeze artists soaring overhead. The lithe man hanging upside-down from a swinging bar caught his partner by the arms and held her for the space of a heartbeat before sending her flying again.

The center ring below them suddenly ignited with dancing purple flames, and the crowd let out a collective gasp. The hanging trapeze artist continued to swing back and forth like a pendulum as the flames reached higher, lapping at his dangling hands.

His female companion timed another swing and leaped from her raised platform. She passed right over the fire once…twice…then launched herself into the air and pirouetted so fast it seemed impossible for her partner to catch her.

Harvey gripped the edge of his seat and leaned forward, certain the poor young woman was about to plummet to a fiery death in the flames below.

At the very last second, the man caught her. As her body swung down through the heart of the fire, the violet flames burst into hundreds of white flower petals that fluttered harmlessly toward the grandstands and drifted down, carrying with them the sweet scent of caramel and vanilla.

The petals disappeared before they hit the ground, but the magical illusion had ignited the crowd. Harvey applauded and whistled with the rest of the onlookers as the trapeze artists finished their act and bid them all farewell with waves and a few blown kisses.

Beside him, the boy shoved another handful of peanuts into his mouth. His wide eyes scanned the canvas sidewalls of the tent, but when he didn’t see who he was looking for, he turned his attention back to the center ring for the next act.

Harvey shifted uncomfortably in his seat and loosened the tie around his neck. The boy seemed like such a sweet, endearing child. A shame that, like the circus, it was all just an elaborate act.

~Buy CALICO THUNDER RIDES AGAIN:

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REVIEW
Ever since I read The Night Circus, I’ve been a sucker for anything that has the words “magic” and “circus” in the same sentence. So when the opportunity to read this book came up, I jumped on it like a bunny on carrots.

A circus…with a dragon!

I repeat. A circus…with a dragon!

The only thing I hesitated over before reading this was the 1920s setting. I don’t usually go for historical books, but literally everything else about this was right up my alley. I am beyond glad I didn’t let that little reservation win. I enjoyed this from start to finish. I even nearly forgot it was historical. That’s not to say that the setting wasn’t fleshed out—it was. It’s that I didn’t get bogged down in the details of the time period. I got caught up in a tale of magical performances, potions, mythical creatures, and mirror communication. And to top it all off, all the magic was rooted in one man’s very real financial struggle. I was hooked.

The book was on the shorter side, which leads me to my only real complaint—if it can even be called that. I didn’t feel like some of the secondary characters got enough screen time. I wanted to know more about how some of them came to the circus, why they were so dedicated to the circus. There was a little, but I felt there could have been more. There is an entire universe in here that we only scratch the surface of.

On the flip side, the story is tight and compact. I got a very clear picture of who Jake was and the struggles plaguing him. I won’t spoil the ending, but it didn’t go in the direction I expected. I wound up loving it, and I’m always for shouting about books that surprise me. If this at all appeals to you, give it a try. I hope to see more from this author, circuses with dragons or something else.

ABOUT T. A.

T. A. Hernandez is a science fiction and fantasy author and long-time fan of speculative fiction. She grew up with her nose habitually stuck in a book and her mind constantly wandering to make-believe worlds full of magic and adventure. She began writing after reading J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings many years ago and is now happily engaged in an exciting and lifelong quest to tell captivating stories. She is a clinical social worker and the proud mother of two girls. She also enjoys drawing, reading, graphic design, playing video games, riding her motorcycle, and making happy memories with her family and friends.

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