Blog Hop

Bitter Snow Series Review + Giveaway

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“We are the rulers of Midwinter. In the most powerful cold of the winter, in the deepest dark of the year, we hold sway, and all of your hearth fires cannot stand against us. We are the winds that howl down the chimneys and extinguish your candles. We are the northern lights and the hungry wolves; the bitter crack of ice and the killing frost. The raging blizzard and the deep, soft, final sleep of those lost forever in the snow.”

 

Bitter Snow is a modern retelling of the fairy tale “The Snow Queen,” in nine novellas. It’s my all-time favorite fairy tale, about a girl’s quest to save her childhood friend from the evil Snow Queen, through her courage, determination, and the strength of her love for him. Each volume is about 80-90 pages (32,000 words). The next three installments are scheduled for release in spring/summer 2014, with the final three to follow later in the year. 

 

Follow The Tour HERE

 

Bitter Snow

Bitter Snow Vol. #1

Lauren Sweet

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Release Date: December 5, 2013

ASIN: B00H2XXHVM

Pages: 85

Word Count: 32,000

Goodreads Rating:  4.00

My Rating: 4.5

 

Book Description:

Whatever you do, don’t open the door.

All Gilly Breslin wants for her sixteenth birthday is for her best friend Kai to see her as more than just the girl next door he’s known forever. So when she receives a mysterious, romantic invitation to meet him at midnight, she knows she has to go. 

But it’s St. Nicholas’s Eve, the ancient festival of Bellsnichol, when demons roam the dark winter landscape. Tradition demands that everyone in the tiny town of Bremerton stay inside, doors shut tight against evil.

Gilly thinks it’s just a quaint old superstition. She has no idea that a malevolent power has been unleashed in Bremerton—with Kai as its target. But when she answers her door at midnight, her romantic date turns deadly…and she’s drawn into an ancient web of fear and darkness that threatens everything she loves.

Amazon    BN

My Take On The Book:

 

I am a sucker for a good cover, that’s for sure. I was drawn in by the cover of a girl with these exotic yellow eyes, I scrolled down and read the synopsis. Holy cow, I was hooked, I needed to read this series. I love fairytales (I own a book with the real Grimm fairytales and I was morbidly fascinated with it) and modern retellings but the tale of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen has always captivated me in a creepy sort of way. So anywho, the cover is breathtaking and I definitely saw Gilly and her wolf eyes when looking at the cover.

So since this is a series of  books made up of 9 novellas with very close release dates (Thank God!) I decided to do a basic review on each book until I’ve read all three and can revisit this post with a more in depth review.

As I said earlier, I’m kinda a sucker for a good cover and anything fairytale so I squealed when I got invited to review it. So simply put it was almost perfect. Truthfully, I think the ‘almost’ comes from the unfinished feel. It might not make much sense right now when I explain it but, you can definitely tell it was cut and that there is another part yet to come. It feels more like a t.v. show. Also, there was a bit of description overload… not something I would normal complain about but I got a bit lost when reading the more thrilling scenes and I had to go back a reread it slowly so my mind could sketch out the scenes.

As for what I love, sigh, there is just too much. The intro was amazing and served to give me goosebumps to end all goosebumps and set the mood quite perfectly.  Next we have the characters, in this one we meet them all but the 4 that stand out most are Gilly, Kai (sweet, easily entrances, adorable Kai), Nelson and Annabel… I loved them, I even like Perchta ::shivers:: and Bran. This was a great introduction book, perfect for beginning the series.

 

4.5 Quills

This is a definite must read, compelling and mysterious, creepy and sweet and just a dash of sad. Grab a copy and see for yourself… but be warned, there is a cliffhanger ending. I kind of wish this story was in print because I would love to own a copy 

 

 

Dark Solstice

Bitter Snow Vol. # 2

Lauren Sweet

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Release Date: December 21, 2013

Cover Artist: Jeanne Gransee Barker

ASIN: B00HFKJDN8

Pages: 85

Word Count: 32,000

Goodreads Rating:  N/A

My Rating: 4.5

 

Book Description:

 

On St. Nicholas’s Eve, the festival of Bellsnichol, Gilly Breslin opened her door to an ancient evil. A demon queen who’s slowly destroying Gilly’s best friend Kai—the only guy she’s ever loved.

But it’s not just Kai. Every guy who falls in love with the Snow Queen turns evil—and every guy who sees her falls in love with her.

Gilly’s only hope is to enlist the secret guardians of Bremerton, who may hold the key to banishing the Snow Queen and her minions. But with the town erupting in violence and the demons’ power increasing as the winter nights grow longer, she’s in a race against time to stop them before it’s too late.

Amazon    BN

 

My Take On The Book:

 

I am completely and utterly heartbroken. January 5th is too far off and I need to read the last book now! Now while I am every bit aware that Kai is under a spell, his words are just devastating and my heart shatters for Gilly every time he speaks to her.

Gilly is an amazing main character, loyal and strong with a good sense of right and wrong and while she does notice the beauty of the other men in her life, she is loyal to her heart and so not wishy-washy like other young main female characters. I love that she isn’t caving because things are getting tough and a pretty boy is showing her some attention. She knows who she wants and who she cares about most and while she appreciates the other men she stay true to her heart.

Niko is another great character. I liked him in Volume One, but know he’s grown on me like a parasite and I want, no need for him to have a happy ending. Preferably with a beautiful blonde that I also love, Annabel. They are both such fierce and loyal friends to Gilly. While Annabel has no idea about the demons running amuck, she is still a great friend to Gilly when it comes to the evil Perchta and Kai.

Honestly, the only reason this one didn’t score a 5 was because the story is unfinished. This is an amazing retelling. Short, fast paced, easily to read, descriptive and most people can finish it within the hour.

 

4.5 Quills

January 5th, hurry up and get here please! I need to see how this story unfolds. Make sure you check back for my review on the final book once it becomes available and I read it.

 

 

Twelfth Night

Bitter Snow Vol. #3

Lauren Sweet

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Release Date:  January 5, 2014

Cover Artist: Jeanne Gransee Barker

Number of pages: 85

Word Count:  32,000

 

Book Description:

Winter demons have invaded the tiny town of Bremerton, and sixteen-year-old Gilly Breslin is the only one who can banish them. The only problem is, she doesn’t know how.

Digging through the town’s historical archives, she and her friend Niko piece together clues to an ancient ritual to send the demons back to the dark realm they sprang from.

But the Snow Queen has plans of her own. Her power is greatest at the darkest time of the year, and her evil influence is spreading insidiously through the town, leaving Gilly wondering if there’s anyone left who can be trusted.

The demons must be banished by Twelfth Night, or the town will be lost. But to do it, Gilly may have to sacrifice everything that matters to her—including her soul.

 

 

About The Author 

I was born and raised in New Jersey, and books were a big part of my childhood. When I was about three and a half, I became obsessed with a Little Golden Book about a goat that gets a bucket stuck on its head. Since no one would read me the goat book as often as I wanted, I learned to read it myself—and haven’t stopped reading since. It was only inevitable that I turned to writing, so I could create more of the kind of stories that I like to read!

My favorite genres are mystery, sci-fi and paranormal/fantasy. I’ve always been fascinated by myths and fairy tales, and I love incorporating elements of ancient lore into modern stories. I have a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from the University of Alaska Anchorage, and I currently live near Portland, OR, where I am a freelance writer and editor. My other esoteric skills include astrology, figure skating, and the ability to do a perfect split.

Twitter: @writerlaurens

Enter The Giveaway Here

 

Win Gilly’s necklace from Bitter Snow Volume Two: Dark Solstice!

In folklore, iron protects against the influence of evil spirits. Handmade from real horseshoe nails and sterling silver by Connie Pardini of Wirestorm Creations (www.wirestormcreations.com), this necklace is a replica of the one Gilly wears to protect herself from harmful spells and illusions.

 

Open to US Shipping, retail value of necklace $80

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Thanks for stopping by,

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“I received a free copy of the book from the author for my honest opinion. I was in no way compensated for this review and all opinions are expressly my own”

AFTER DARK Pre-Order Book Blast & Giveaway!

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The AFTER DARK Anthology featuring Gena Showalter’s The Darkest Angel and Kait Ballenger’s Shadow Hunter is being released in mass market paperback on December 31 and to celebrate we are giving away lots of goodies.

 

ENTRY RULES:

PLEASE BE SURE TO READ ENTRY RULES COMPLETELY!

 

In order to enter, you must email a picture, screen shot or attach a copy of your receipt from your purchase of either the MASS MARKET PAPERBACK or MASS MARKET EBOOK version of After Dark

 

PLEASE NOTE:   It MUST be the MASS MARKET format to be eligible for the giveaway.

 

Email your receipts to kaitballengergiveaway@gmail.com

 

PRIZE PACKAGES:

GRAND PRIZE:

Two (2) random entrants will each receive a $100.00 gift card to Amazon.

FIRST 10 ENTRANTS:

will receive a giant SWAG pack that contains a signed bookplate plus bookmarks from Gena along with SWAG from 50+ authors, courtesy of Book Monster Promotions.

FIRST 50 ENTRANTS:

will receive a goodie bag from Kait that includes bookmarks, magnets, pens and other goodies.

FIRST 500 ENTRANTS:

will receive the first chapter of Immortal Hunter, Book #2 in Kait’s Execution Underground series for an exclusive peek.

You have until 1/10/14 to purchase your Mass Market edition and submit your receipt.  Winners will be announced by 1/15/14.

 

 

AFTER DARK

Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages

Publisher: Harlequin HQN (December 31, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 037377852X

ISBN-13: 978-0373778522

A Timeless Seduction
A Unique Temptation
And a Whole World of Dark Desires…

From New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter….

The Darkest Angel

Winged warrior Lysander has been alive for centuries, and yet he’s never known desire—until he meets Bianka. Spawned from the bloodline of his enemy, the beautiful but deadly Harpy is determined to lead the untouched Lysander into temptation. He may try to evade her attempts, but even the most iron-willed demon assassin can resist for only so long….

And from debut author Kait Ballenger….

Shadow Hunter

Vampire hunter Damon Brock’s newest assignment with the Execution Underground is Rochester, New York, a city crawling with the undead. But he isn’t the only hunter in town gunning for vamp blood. Tiffany Solow is fierce and ruthless when it comes to slaying the monsters that destroyed her family—and she works solo. But being alone is no longer an option when she meets the mysterious hunter who wants more than just her turf. Forced to unite against the local covens, the line between good and evil blurs when they must decide between their lifelong beliefs…and their newfound desires.

MASS MARKET EDITION AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER NOW:

 

AMAZON KINDLE:  http://www.amazon.com/After-Dark-Darkest-Angel%5CShadow-Hunter-ebook/dp/B00EB3H9IS/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1384759881&sr=1-1&keywords=after+dark+kait+ballenger

AMAZON PAPERBACK:  http://www.amazon.com/After-Dark-Darkest-Angel-Shadow-Hunter/dp/037377852X/ref=tmm_mmp_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1384759881&sr=1-1

 

B&N:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/after-dark-gena-showalter/1113942026?ean=9780373778522

 Thanks for stopping by,

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Seeress (Runes Book 3) Cover Reveal!!!

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Seeress

Runes Novel #3

Ednah Walters

Expected Release Date: April 2014
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Firetrail Publishing
 
Presented by: As You Wish Tours
Banner Made by: Julia Hendrix

I love Torin St. James…

I crave his touch…

I need his strength…

Raine Cooper is certain of two things: her love for Torin St. James and her destiny to be a powerful seeress. But when she starts having premonitions, they are unclear and disturbing. Worse, they involve Torin. Not sure what to do, she keeps quiet.

 

But when the visions are about her and another man, Raine realizes she needs to talk to someone. Just her luck two new students arrive at her school and they seem to have answers. When with them, her powers are enhanced and her visions become clear. There is only one problem: Torin does not want Raine to have anything to do with the two girls but he won’t explain why.

 

Can their love survive the secrets they are keeping from each other?

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

EDNAH WALTERS grew up reading Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and dreaming of one day writing her own stories. She is a stay-at-home mother of five humans and two American short-hair cats (one of which has ADHD) and a husband. When she is not writing, she’s at the gym doing Zumba or doing things with her family, reading, traveling or online chatting with fans.

Ednah is the author of The Guardian Legacy series, a YA fantasy series about children of the fallen angels, who fight demons and protect mankind. AWAKENED, the prequel was released by Pill Hill Press in September 2010 with rave reviews. BETRAYED, book one in the series was released by her new publisher Spencer Hill Press in June 2012 and HUNTED, the third installment, was released March 2013. She’s working on the next book in the series, FORGOTTEN. Visit her at www.ednahwalters.com.

Ednah also writes YA paranormal romance. RUNES is the first book in her new series. IMMORTALS is book 2. She just released book 3, GRIMNIRS December 2013. Read more about this series and the world she’s created here www.runestheseries.com.

Under the pseudonym E. B. Walters, Ednah writes contemporary romance. SLOW BURN, the first contemporary romance with suspense, was released in April 2011. It is the first book in the Fitzgerald family series. Since then she has published five more books in this series. She’s presently working on book seven. You can visit her online at or www.ebwalters.com.

BOOK LINKS

Goodreads



Cover Reveal Organized By:

 

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ROMANCE THROUGH THE AGES – JUST 99 CENTS + $25 GIVEAWAY

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Romance Through the Ages

Coming February 1, 2014

Romance through the Ages brings you SEVEN NOVELS from 7 bestselling authors (including New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon bestsellers). Join us for a fabulous collection.

*7 Romance Novels, 7 Bestselling Authors, 1 Amazing Price*

99 cent Romance Boxed Set for a limited time only!

Running Barefoot by NY Times & USA Today bestselling author Amy Harmon!— Deeply romantic and poignant, Running Barefoot is the story of a small town girl and a Native American boy, the ties that bind them to their homes and families, and the love that gives them wings.

Masquerade by Janette Rallison, who has sold more than 1 million books!— It’s hard for a woman to keep up the masquerade when her boss is as handsome as Slade Jacobson and the job takes her to Hawaii with him. In between handling his whirlwind four-year-old daughter and dealing with a whole cast of Hollywood personalities, Clarissa has to keep a tight hold on her heart.

The Reluctant Bachelorette by Rachael Anderson, Amazon Bestseller!—Unknowingly cast as the bachelorette for her town’s charity event, Shelter’s Bachelorette, Taycee Emerson is in for the ride of her life. Especially when she discovers her old teenage crush, Luke Carney, is one of the bachelors and it’s up to the viewers—not her—to decide which bachelors stay or go.

Pride and Precipitation by Heather Horrocks, Amazon Bestseller!— Breezy Jones is crazy about the weather, rain or shine, which makes her job as the local television station’s meteorologist perfect. That’s before she meets the attractive new general manager, Noah Drake, who is determined to repackage everything—including Breezy’s down-home delivery.

My Own Mr. Darcy by Karey White, Amazon Bestseller!— Lizzie falls hard for Matthew Macfadyen’s Mr. Darcy character and makes a promise to herself that she will settle for nothing less than her own Mr. Darcy. When she meets two men, Chad—a science teacher, and Matt Dawson—who looks and acts like Mr. Darcy, she’s forced to re-evaluate what it was she loved about Mr. Darcy in the first place.

She Owns the Knight by Diane Darcy, Amazon Bestseller!— Why does Gillian Corbett have to travel seven hundred years through time to find a decent guy?… Why can’t Sir Kellen Marshall find a lady who is obedient, submissive… or at least not trying to kill him?

Heart of the Ocean by Heather B. Moore, Amazon Bestseller!— A dark secret . . . a grieving ghost . . . a handsome stranger . . . What more could Eliza Robinson want? Except for maybe her life. When Eliza discovers that Jonathan Porter’s dark secrets may be the link between the dead woman who haunts her and her aunt’s murderer, Eliza realizes that Jonathan is the one man she should never trust.

Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 2/1/14

Bloggers who put up a spotlight post about these books on their blog can enter to win an additional $25 gift card or paypal cash. See details in the Rafflecopter.

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, Not A Writer and sponsored by the authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Ominous Tour: Order of the Seers Book 1 & 2 Review + Giveaway and Never Before Seen Content

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On Tour with Prism Book Tours


What would you do if you held 

infinite power in the palm of your hand?


The Ominous Tour
We asked the hosts:
If you had a super-power, what would it be?
 
December Dates
4 – Launch
Read peoples minds
to know when people are liars
super-fast healing! 😉
shape shifting >^.^<
reading minds
13 – The Real Deal
see into the future
If I could have any super power I’d pick Mind Reading 
because I would love to know what everyone really thinks about me C:
To know when someone is lying!
Hmmm stopping time? I’m not sure lol
something that would get dinner on the table automatically, 
but I’m not sure what kind of power that would be 🙂
20 – AUDIOBOOK of Order of the Seers RELEASED!
22 – Colorimetry
I want to fly!
The ability to be in two places at once or to jump places
25 – Merry Christmas Grand Finale!

 

Order of the Seers (Order of the Seers, #1)  

Order of The Seers
(Order of The Seers #1)

Cerece Rennie Murphy

Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy
Release Date: August 30, 2012
Publisher: Lionsky Publishing
ISBN: 978-0985621001
ASIN: B0094IM4U8
Pages: 260
Goodreads Rating:  3.88
My Rating: 4.5


 

Order of the Seers begins with the journey of Liam and Lilith Knight, a brother and sister who are hunted by The Guild, a ruthless world organization that seeks to capture and exploit Lilith s unique ability as a Seer to envision the future. Soon after they are forced to leave their home, Lilith and Liam discover that she is not alone. Other Seers like Lilith are routinely kidnapped and enslaved by the Guild for the purpose of consolidating wealth and power around the world… 


But from within the organization, Marcus Akida, a captured Seer with powerful visioning capabilities, quietly plots his daring escape with the help of a beautiful and tortured Seer named Alessandra. When the escaped Seers are drawn to the same remote commune in Iowa as Liam and Lilith, they each find a place where they can rebuild their lives and rediscover their passion for life and love. As the Guild’s efforts to find them intensifies, the Seers ban together with outlaws from the commune to fight back against the organization that threatens their lives – setting off a chain of events that will unleash the full power of the Seers and change everything we know about the true potential that lies dormant in each of us.


Read Chapter 1 of Order of the Seers HERE.
 
The Red Order (Order of the Seers, #2)

The Red Order

(Order of The Seers #2)

Cerece Rennie Murphy

Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy
Release Date: June 18, 2013
Publisher: Lionsky Publishing
 
ISBN: 978-0985621025
ASIN: B0094IM4U8
 
Pages: 244
Goodreads Rating:  4.18
My Rating: 5


 

The Quest to Control the Power of the Seers Continues…


After successfully destroying the Guild’s Purification Center in Chicago, The Lost Seers, led by Joel Akida and Lilli Knight, embark upon a world-wide mission to save their kind from the tyranny of the Guild and unveil their greatest weapon – The Restoration Project. Developed in secret, The Restoration Project has the potential to awaken the supernatural ability within every man, woman, and child on earth and bring down the very foundation of the Guild’s power and authority.

But the Guild has other plans. Driven by the necessity for control, Crane Le Dieu creates The Red Order, a new league of clairvoyants whose sole purpose is to hunt down and annihilate the Lost Seers. Without the Guild’s mind-controlling drugs, The Red Order is able to develop its gifts far beyond the capacity to
see the future, honing their skills to become the ultimate threat against the Lost Seers. But the question remains – will the power of The Red Order be enough to defeat them?

The Red Order continues the epic battle for freedom which began in Order of the Seers, revealing the secret motives behind an organization that exists to exploit and a renegade movement that seeks to usher in the next phase in human evolution.


Read Chapter 1-2 of The Red Order HERE.

 




 
Review on Book 1: Order of the Seers
 

Reading this book was a refreshing change on the supernatural world and characters with some sort of magical ability. I loved the connection between all the characters. The author wove a web so pristine it was easy to connect each character together, good or bad.

It was an epic tale of dominance, oppression and magic, with sizzling romance and deep rooted family ties.  How can you go wrong with a combination of all those things? I loved how bad the bad guys were, author Cerece Murphy didn’t hold any punches there, the villains were disgustingly bad and perfect in their roles as oppressors, and I loved how good the heroes were. It was easy to tell who was who. My only complaint on this book would be the POV jumps. While enjoy reading and being in the mind of my favorite characters, it was frustrating in the beginning of the story because they happen so abruptly, sometimes mid chapter with little to no warning. I had a bit of trouble getting my bearings.

But back to what I loved about this book and why it scored so well on my rating scale. I loved the author’s ability to forge an emotional connection between us the readers and her characters. But mostly I was just so drawn in with the sibling bond between Liam and Lilli and the family connection between ‘The Lost Seers’. It was so intoxicating that I found myself turning the page regardless of the POV jumps. 
 
4.5 Quills
 
 
Truthfully, the book was so well done that I almost forgot to take pen to paper a jot down my notes and review before rushing to read book 2. A lot of missed sleep on my part due to this story and it’s sequel. Great job Cerece Murphy, I for one am hooked on this series.
 
 
Review on Book 2: The Red Order

 
Once again, Ms. Murphy has done the unthinkable. What you thought you knew about the seers and their oppressors, is brought into question. With the passing of old characters you are introduced to new ones that burrow their way into your heart with their bravery.

I’ve always believed that the talent. The measure of a great author is the ability to make readers care about each character and this author did just that. I’m wracking my brain and trying to silence it, there are so many possibilities and I am anxious to get my hand one the next book in this series.

This time my only complaints come from the lack of Lilli and Joel. Last book you got everything and then some regarding Liam and Alessandra and you get a glimpse at the connection between Lilli and Joel but this time with the exceptions of a few scenes at the end, there really isn’t any development on their part. As for the POV jumps that confused and irked me in the last book, this one is a considerable cake walk. Once you get your mind wrapped around the writing style of this author, its easy to fall into the rhythm. But my next complaint it more to do with the title. It’s a bit misleading as there is not much written about ‘The Red Order’. They appear as a group only a handful of times and individually. I was expecting more interaction between them and ‘The Lost Seers’ but sadly there was not.
 
5 Quills
 
I would recommend this series whole heartedly. I can’t really compare it to anything else on my shelves because it’s entirely unique. It was a fully engrossing and enjoyable read with tons of emphasis on family, a load of mystery. With every answer you’re given, a new question pops up. With Christmas just around the corner I know what I want to be waiting for me under my Christmas tree. 
 


Order of the Seers ~ The Lost Letters 
(Never-Before-Seen NEW content from the author of Order of the Seers)







Cerece Rennie Murphy lives and writes just outside of her hometown of Washington, DC. In addition to completing the Order of the Seers trilogy, Ms. Murphy is also developing a children’s book series titled Enchanted: 5 Tales of Magic in the Everyday, and a 2-part science fiction series set in outer space.


 

Enter The Giveaways Here:

1 free ebook of Order of the Seers to giveaway at each blog post

(That’s alot of chances to win!)

Raffle 1

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Tour-wide Giveaway:

Raffle 2

December 2 – 31. International giveaway. See Rafflecopter for restrictions.
Signed print copies of both books with an Order of the Seers reusable bag, bookmarks and signed poster.
1 Large Order of the Seers t-shirt – black with the anniversary poster image on it. 
1 Order of the Seers Audiobook.
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Tour Organized by,

Twisted Release Day Blitz

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Today is the release day of Twisted (Deathwind Triolgy #1) by Holly Hook!

Twisted

Deathwind Trilogy

Book #1

Holly Hook

 

Summary:

 

Sixteen-year-old Allie isn’t like other girls. Instead of spending her summer break sitting around on the beach, she takes the epic vacation of a lifetime.

Tornado chasing.

And she’s not disappointed. Just a few miles from the town of Evansburg, Nebraska, Allie meets her dream of seeing a tornado. In person. She can’t wait to tell her friends back home. Never mind that her parents are going to kill her.

But her dream soon turns into a nightmare, and a strange event leaves her shocked. Confused. When she returns home to Wisconsin, something’s…different. Allie now bears a curse so awful, it could destroy everyone and everything she’s ever known.

With her best friend, Tommy, Allie must return to the plains to find a way to reverse it. She enters a world that she had never imagined, where she becomes a pawn in a fight to save the people of Evansburg from her fate…or to destroy them.

Purchase on Amazon    Purchase on B&N   Purchase on Smashwords

Teaser 

My very first tornado touches the grass of the plains.

I stand next to the van, mouth dropping open, heart pounding.  It’s the moment I’ve been waiting for, saved money for, begged my uncle to book us for the Wild Weather Storm Chasing Tours for.

Uncle Cassius swears next to me, equally in awe.  It barely cuts over the wind rushing towards the distant funnel.  Waves of grass bow down to the twister, whipped down by the surrounding air flying in to feed it.  The perfect white cone stands out against the coal sky, slim and graceful.  A skirt of dust spins around its base, signaling its dance through a field a few miles away.

“Beautiful!”  Kyle, our storm chaser guide, snaps a photo for his website.  He steals a glance at me and smiles.  He’s all enthusiasm, joy that we’ve found our prey. “Don’t worry.  We’re safe.  It’s heading to the east.  It’ll pass no closer than a couple of miles to our north.”

I want his job someday.

“I’m not scared,” I said, but my shaky voice betrays me.  Who am I kidding?  Kyle’s an experienced chaser–twenty years–but this is a real tornado.  In person.  Live.  I never realized it would be this intense, this breathtaking.  A hollow feeling fills my stomach like I’m plunging down the first hill of a roller coaster.

The tornado curves, almost like it’s leaning to the side for a better look at something.  At us?  It’s a silly thought, one that makes me laugh.  The thunderstorm spins slowly above it, low and menacing.  Thunder claps.  It’s enough to remind me that the storm in front of me isn’t just beautiful.  It’s a predator, entrancing like a cobra and ready to strike.

Good thing there’s no houses or buildings in its way.  Only farmland stretches from horizon to horizon.

“Allie.  Forget your camera?”  Uncle Cassius slaps me on the arm, smiling.  It’s a tense smile.  So I’m not the only one with some nerves going.

Camera.

Yes.  Duh.

I pull it out of my pocket and fumble with the slim case, fingers hunting for the button.  The camera zings to life.  Behind it, the tornado looms a bit larger, gaining strength and racing across the ground.  More dust kicks up around the perfect white of the twister.

“Now I can really prove to everyone at school how crazy I am.”  I give Uncle Cassius a nervous chuckle.  The camera trembles in my hands as I catch the tornado in my view, click, and seal it in my memory forever.

I’m having the most insane summer vacation of my entire high school.

I lift the camera for another shot, backing up to squeeze the tornado into the viewport.  I click another picture and lowered the camera again for another look.

My heart jumps.

The tornado looms larger, taller.  Kyle holds his hand up to his face, squinting for a better view.  Even Uncle Cassius goes quiet, stiffening and taking a step back towards the tour van.

All at once I understand.

The tornado has changed course.

Kyle turns.  Real fear widens his features.

“Get in the van,” he shouts.

* * * * *

The one big thing I can recall from those first ten seconds is the roar, like a distant train growing closer.  The wind whips my hair back, trying to pull me back out of the van.  It feels like the twister’s right behind me already, coming down for the kill.

I slam the door on it.  The funnel’s much bigger behind the glass, so much that I can’t see the top of it anymore.

Uncle Cassius snaps on his seat belt next to me.  Kyle starts it up, punches the gas, and gets us back on the road to nowhere.

I toss my camera to the floor.  My hands fumble with the seat belt.  The van speeds up, slamming me into the seat.  The specter of the tornado closes in, whipping across the field towards us.  I’ve heard of tornadoes making sudden turns like this but I never realized it could happen this fast.  It rips across the field, coming straight at us.  My heart beats on a runaway course.  My mind locks into overdrive.  I feel like that news crew they always have on tornado shows, that one that survived by hiding under that overpass.  Will Kyle make us get out and climb under one?  They’re actually bad places to hide.  That news crew got off lucky.  Kyle knows better.  He’s been chasing storms longer than I’ve been alive.

Only green and yellow spreads out ahead.  No shelter for miles.  Worse, no ditches.  The radar on Kyle’s laptop is covered in ugly red and orange blotches like Nebraska has sores.

A hole of panic opens up inside me and for the first time, I regret coming on this vacation.

“Can’t you go faster?”  Uncle Cassius leans forward in his seat, gaze hard, arms trembling.

Uncle Cassius never loses his cool.

Ever.

Not even when I accidentally set his Persian rug on fire when I was seven and broke my arm at the age of nine.

Outside, the tornado grows so close that I could only see the bottom half of the funnel.  The van bounces along every speed bump on the highway, every uneven spot.  My stomach heaves.  I’m going to be sick right here.  It’s my stupid fault we’re in this mess.

“I don’t understand.”  Kyle punches the gas harder, making the van jump.  He turns his head like Linda Blair in the Exorcist, eyes widening.  “The tornado should not be moving this way.”

He’s right.  It shouldn’t.  But it is.

The funnel reaches the road behind us, twisting harder, kicking up earth higher and higher.  We’ve gotten out in front of it.  I breathe a sigh of relief.  Kyle and Uncle Cassius do the same.  It’ll cross the road and forget all about us.

Kyle lets off the gas a little and the whine of the engine calms some.  “We’re safe now.  That was highly unusual.  I’ve never seen a tornado turn like that in my career.”  There’s a hint of an apology in his voice.

“Well, that was a close one, wasn’t it, Allie?”  Uncle Cassius hugs me from the side.

“Yeah,” I say, willing my heart to slow down.  At least I can think straight now.  Can I even do another two days of this?

Wow, what a dumb idea this was.

But I still can’t resist another look at the storm.  I turn as far as my seat belt allows.

My guts fall out of me all over again.

The tornado’s still on the road, bigger than ever.  It can’t be.

The twister has turned again.  It’s coming right up behind us.  Rolling dust eats the entire highway.  There’s tornado taking up the whole view of the back window.  Dust rips to the sides.  The bottom of its funnel spins with fury, big enough to swallow a house whole.  Its roar screams against the outside of the van, shaking the seat, pushing the whole van to the side.

It’s no longer beautiful.

“Ohmigod,” I say, sucking in a breath.  “Um…Kyle?  Stomp on the gas.  Just saying.”

“I know!” he snaps.  His knuckles turn white on the steering wheel.  The van lurches again but he maintains control.

“Allie, get down!”  Uncle Cassius puts his huge hand on my back and pushes me towards the floor.  The seat belt cuts into my throat.

What good is it going to do?  If the tornado lifts the car–

I’m going to die.

I begged to go on this trip and now Uncle Cassius is going to die too.

The windows shatter with a deafening boom and the wind screams in my ears.  AllieAllieAllieAllie…

I can’t breathe.

We’re floating.

Uncle Cassius shouts something.  Kyle yells.  If I’m screaming, I can’t tell.  The storm’s sucking it right out of me.  Windy hands seize my arms, my legs.

They pull.

My safety belt snaps, whipping against my leg.  I cry out with the sting.  The seat disappears under me.

I’m flying.

The tornado’s ripping me right out of the van.

The world turns to a white and brown roar.  The van’s gone.  I have no time to cry out to Uncle Cassius before the world snaps to black and silence takes the place of all.

 

About Holly Hook

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Holly Hook is the author of the Destroyers Series, which consists of five young adult books about teens who are walking disasters…literally. She is also the author of the Rita Morse series, a young adult fantasy series still in progress, and After These Messages, a short ya comedy. Currently she is writing Twisted, a spin-off of the Destroyers Series due out in December. When not writing, she enjoys reading books for teens, especially ya fantasy and paranormal series with a unique twist.

Website    Facebook    Twitter    Goodreads

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Taken Book Review & Music Playlist + Giveaway!

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Title: TAKEN (Breaking the Darkness, #1)
 
Author: Felicia Starr
Expected Release Date: November 11, 2013
Genre: Fiction | YA | Paranormal
 

Opening her eyes to an imposing prison of complete darkness, Kasha is accused of possessing powers and abilities she had no previous knowledge of until the moment she comes face to face with herself while meditating. Haunted by memories strung together by lies and deceit, she soon discovers that maybe her beloved grandmother kept a few secrets she had not been aware of.

 Secrets that could be her salvation… or her undoing.As she struggles to control her newfound powers, only time will tell if they will be enough to help her decipher who has imprisoned her or what they want from her. She must search for the answers and the freedom she so desperately desires. Could a handsome guy whom vows to help her get away prove to be the man of her dreams… or perhaps her worst nightmare?




NOT KNOWING WHO TO TRUST, SHE MUST FIND A WAY TO ESCAPE BEFORE SHE PAYS THE ULTIMATE PRICE AND FINDS HERSELF TAKEN BY THE DARKNESS.
 

You must betray your heart and walk amongst the darkness in order to find the truest light.

 
 

My Review

 
First, I should admit that I almost forgot about this review and almost couldn’t make this post. But I’m so happy I proved myself wrong and finished this book in time to write this book. This was such an amazing read and worthy of any and all your shelves. Felicia Starr (awesome name btw) did such an amazing job throwing you into such a devistatingly nail biting story. The characters were so captivating and the scenes so enthralling. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t read something like this before. Sure I’ve read books on astral projection and enjoyed it fully but this took all that to a new level of enjoyment.
 
 
In a quick breakdown of this. I will say that I was a bit frustrated with the begining of this story as it focuses on the darkness surrounding the main character Kasha, literal darkness I mean not the hypothetical kind. But I enjoyed the connection the author forged between the main character and her late grandmother, that I kept reading and it was so enjoyable once you get down to the meat of the story. i admit that there is alot that is predictable in this story but Ms. Starr did such a stand up job delivering those scenerios I was just a shocked as the characters. I loved Graven, he is so swoon worthy and early this year I was asked who was my book boyfriend and I had responded that this year I was unfortunately single… I recant and say Graven hands down! Kaden made me nervous as did Phalea but regardless, I enjoyed their characters individually and for Ziona is worth she is a pretty kick butt villian. I put her up there with my all time favorite villian Maleficient from Sleeping Beauty, she was just a lot more modern, what with her killer wardrobe and all. I am completely enthralled with this story and I can’t wait for the next in the series.
 
 
 
Also. has anyone else noticed how awesome this cover is! I can’t stop looking at it. I have to have it in paperback like now! Its just mystically beautiful ❤ Keep reading for a sneak peak into this amazing story and see the playlist.
 
 
 http://grooveshark.com/playlist/TAKEN/92820228
 

A Note from the Author:

I did not listen to a specific play list while I wrote Taken. Sometimes I needed to write in the dark and be with the silence or what we think of as silence. I had to really heighten my hearing and tune in to what the darkness sounded like.

When I had to write or edit during the day, I would often plug in and listen to Pandora. This is a playlist of a hand full of songs that I either found myself listening to or that resinated with time and the story.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

                                                                                                          

Without the sun and moon to guide my inner clock, there was really no way for me to
distinguish how many nights or days had passed. The darkness was different from any I had experienced before. My eyes could not quite adjust.
 

Although I had a real bed and a partial bath with a toilet and small wash sink, there was no sense of comfort. What seemed to be the only entrance was   sealed so tight that no light seeped in from the perimeter. There were no windows; the walls were cold and barren. My hands explored my surroundings, yet I could not even find an outlet or light switch.
 

I tried to escape my fears by focusing on remembering less stressful times, most of which were with Gram. I replayed the past in my head, hoping that somewhere hidden in those memories might be a clue as to what happened and how I ended up in the dark.
 

When my fear and confusion subsided enough, I willed myself to sleep. It was my only escape from the heaviness the darkness imposed upon me. This didn’t help my capacity to estimate the length of my imprisonment. I didn’t know how long or how often I drifted off to sleep. There were moments I lay there struggling to determine if my eyes were open or closed.
 

One would think the quiet would be soothing, only it amplified every little thing. I realized there was no true stillness. I could envision the flecks of dust floating through the air, crashing into the floor like pellets of hail on a summer day. The anticipation of hearing footsteps approaching my room sent continuous chills up my spine with every little noise the silence allowed.
 

There was something about the smell in the air and the chill of the walls and floor that led me to believe I was still somewhere in the desert. The lack of moisture in the atmosphere left my mouth sticky and dry. Being dehydrated from lack of fluids wasn’t helping. I wasn’t sure if the faucet water was safe to drink.
 
The pains in my stomach reminded me how much I longed for a veggie-filled pita with hummus and feta cheese. My mouth watered at the thought of a guilt-filled bag of Doritos. I should have been grateful I wasn’t completely being starved in there. I don’t know how or when, but food did appear in my room from time to time—and I use the term food loosely. A couple of crackers or a piece of jerky doesn’t really constitute food to me. I had to take what I could since I still didn’t have a clue where I was, who was keeping me, or why.

Since Gram died, while I was away at college, there really wasn’t a home to go back to. I decided to take the small amount of money she left me and put most of it in the bank. I’d just moved to Santa Fe and
prepaid a year’s rent for a studio-sized house on a small side street. Santa Fe was appealing because it was close to the last place Gram lived, La Cienega, just outside the city limits. The sad thing is, without employment and friends or family in the new city, no one would miss me.
 

At this realization, my heart grew heavier. Although I could feel the burn in my throat, threatening the shower of tears, I choked it back. Tears wouldn’t fight off the shadows. Appearing resilient would help me keep up my strength.
 

I contemplated screaming out, demanding an answer as to why I was there. Trepidation brought that action to a silent halt. I didn’t want to face the potential terrors that stalked the future. I watched enough crime television shows to know how much worse this could get. I counted on my silence as my best defense.
 
I continued to make desperate attempts at feeling around the walls that encased me. Pressing my face against the cold surfaces, I struggled to hear a trace of someone, anyone, only my ears were denied. Could it be I was truly alone in this unwarranted exile? Perhaps this was it; in the end the darkness would consume me.

I dropped to my knees at the center of my prison. I could feel the surge of sadness and anger coursing through my body. My core heated and it felt as though my blood was on fire. I acknowledged each pore of my skin as the fine hairs stood at attention from the vibration that shook my extremities. With my teeth clenched and my eyes pressed shut, I tried to regain my breath and focus on Gram.
 

In a whisper, I called out to her. “Gram… Gram, I know you are out there watching over me. I just wish I could hear your voice.”
I continued to speak to her in my head. As much as I always wished something exciting would happen to me, being incarcerated in this godforsaken dark box wasn’t at all what I had in mind.

As I looked down toward the amulet resting on my chest, my fingers encased the charm. I closed my eyes, and memories of the time my grandmother draped it around my neck flocked to the forefront.

It was the summer I turned sixteen. Gram and I took a road trip to the Painted Desert, one of our favorite places to visit. I loved being surrounded by mountains made of rainbows of rock. Some people referred to this location as the “badlands.” When I was there, though, I felt filled with a unique sense of lightness that almost lifted me off my feet. Being there was effortless.
 

I could walk for hours, soaking in the beauty and freshness of the landscape. I felt connected, not necessarily to anything in particular; I just felt at one with nature. It was like the spirit of the earth moved through me. Even when I was alone on a trail, I never felt lonesome.

The day Gram gave me this necklace, it was as if the heavens had opened up and dumped colors all around us. The sun sank past the painted-rock walls that bordered our location. The sky swelled with layers of purple, pink, orange, and even a touch of gold at the tips of the earth. Gram always knew how to pick just the right moment and location to make a special occasion feel magical.
 

“Kasha, you are becoming a strong and beautiful young woman. The women in our family have always had a special bond with one another. You must always remember, even when we’re not together, we’re a part of each other, linked always.”
 

I knew part of what she was being at had to do with my mother. It had been many years since I saw her last, but now was neither the time nor place to start thinking about that. Squeezing the pendant in my hand, a giant, slow breath helped push her out of my head, for now.
 

Gazing back down at my necklace, I pretended to make out more than the silhouette in the darkness. In my mind, I could see the pentagonal piece of petrified wood encased in silver. The pie-shaped stones enhanced each point of the rounded pentacle. Beautifully etched floral designs in the metal surrounded the stones. A remnant of something engraved on the rear side was almost visible, but it had worn down long before I took possession. If only I could make out what had been there; I often fantasized about what it might have said.
 

I wasn’t sure if there was any significance to the markings, but they looked ancient. Maybe it once belonged to an Egyptian pharaoh or a Celtic princess. Too bad I never took the time to ask Gram if she knew the history of this piece. It would have been interesting to know to whom it had belonged.
 

“You have an intensity about you that is unrivaled. Keep this with you at all times. You will find it will keep you grounded and connected to what is important.”
 

Gram always said weird stuff like that. I’d gotten used to it and stopped trying to figure out if her comments had hidden meanings. As a kid I would get embarrassed when she talked like that in front of other people. I saw the way they looked at her, probably thinking, What a shame that beautiful woman is so crazy. It was that quirkiness I grew to love most about her when I became a young adult.
 

I guess Gram was at least a little bit right about this amulet. Holding it brought thoughts of her to me. It seemed to cool me down and calm my nerves. At the same time, it warmed me and gave me comfort. A brief moment of peace helped subdue the constant fear and avoid the panic that could set in at any moment.


 

 
 
 
 
 
December 9th – Angela at I Feel the Need, the Need to Read– Review, Top 10

December 9th – Kelly atKelly P’s Blog – Spotlight/Excerpt

December 9th – Cherry at Cherry Mischievous – Guest Post

December 9th – Chemistry at Books 2 Chocolates – Author Interview

10th – Taneesha at Kaidan’s Seduction– Review

December 10th – Diana Ramsey at Offbeat Vagabond – Spotlight

December 10th – Brianna at abookandalattee – Review

December 11th – Jess at Jess Resides Here – GP & Playlist

December 11th – Taneesha at A Diary Of A Book Addict – Review

December 11th – Laurie at Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews – Top 10 List

December 11th – Crystal at Book Worms and Couch Potatoes – Review/Interview

December 12th – Kim atLittle Red’s Book Reviews– Review/Playlist

December 12th – Kendall at Book Crazy – Review

December 12thRavenz Reviews – Review

December 12thalwaysjoart – Top Ten/Playlist

December 13th – Tiffany at Painted Words – Review/Playlist

December 13th – Adrian atAdrian J. Smith – Top Ten List/Other

December 13thKnock Your Books Off – Review

December 16thOzero – Review

December 16thPage Flipperz – Top Ten/Guest Post

December 16thUrban Fantasy Investigations – Top Ten/Guest Post
 
 
December 17th – Sarah at Literary Meanderings– Interview/Top Ten List

December 17thI Heart Books – Guest post

December 17th – abookandalattee – Review

December 18th – Our New Generation for Reading – Spotlight

December 18th – Becca at Becca the Bibliophile – Top Ten/Playlist

December 19th – Good Choice Reading – Review

December 19th – Katelyn – Kate’s Tales of Books and Bands – Playlist

December 20th – Tiffany at Bookish – Review

December 20th – Jayne at Fiction_TheNewReality – Review/Interview

December 20th – Kelly at Lisa’s Book Lair– Review/Playlist

December 20thScorpio’s Tantalizing Teasers – Review
 
December 20thMiscellaneous Thoughts of a Bookaholic – Review 

 
 


Author Felicia Starr lives five miles from her favorite Jersey Shore destination with her amazingly supportive family.  She loves to spend time creating special memories with her husband and two young boys.
 
Everyone expected her first publication to be a cookbook, but her love for writing has surpassed her love for cooking.

 Felicia graduated magna cum laude from Kean University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a post baccalaureate in elementary education. 

She is a licensed real estate sales person, a certified yoga instructor, and most importantly, a stay-at-home mom.  

 


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