Thursday, November 20, 2014

Review: Our Souls to Keep by Gary Caruso




Title: Our Souls to Keep

Author: Gary Caruso  

Genre: Dark YA, Romantic Thriller 15+

Blitz Host: Lady Amber's Tours

 Synopsis:

After seventeen-year-old Wake Reynolds agrees to sacrifice his soul to protect his suicidal mother from the fiery tortures of Hell, Satan strips him of his humanity and forces him to become a demonic collector of souls. With no memory of his human existence, Wake spends years in loyal service—but something within him is changing. His stolen human emotions are beginning to return.
As Wake struggles to keep his new sensations hidden, Satan orders him to corrupt the soul of a pregnant girl, Annemarie. Beautiful, gentle Annemarie. From the moment Wake sees her, she brings lightness to his blackened heart, dampening his loneliness, fueling his passion. If he chooses to defy Satan and spare the lives of Annemarie and her unborn child, his mother’s soul will writhe in Hell’s deepest pit for eternity. Annemarie or his mother? It’s a choice no one should have to make.


It took me a few chapters to get into Our Souls to Keep but once I get into it there was no turning back. This book was full of drama, excitement and so much more. I really loved Wake's character. I loved being able to see him transition as a person throughout the book. At first glance I thought he was a butthead but it turns out he really cares and isnt as bad as I first thought. I really loved Annemarie maybe its because I was a teen mom and her character really hit me especially with how much she cared for her unborn child. This is one paranormal book you cant miss reading, the twist and turns this story takes keeps the readers on their toes waiting to see what's to come of each new page. I really enjoyed reading this and cant wait to read the sequel.





Gary Caruso lives in northern Virginia with his wife Jill, but their favorite place is in Ohio with their three beautiful grandchildren. Although Gary is exhilarated when he sits down to write, teaching middle school science is his first love. He’s passionate about empowering students to make thoughtful decisions and positive choices in life. Gary enjoys reading, especially fiction that blurs the line between what’s real and what’s fantasy. He never imagined becoming a writer until an ordinary car ride on a spring day jolted an unlikely thought into his head. Gary’s early experience writing is a reminder that no matter how intimidating the challenge, action and determination are the foundations for fulfilling any dream. Gary has an insatiable love for writing, a blessing he’s excited to share with his readers.




Links:





The crowd thins, eventually leaving Annemarie and me alone in the hallway. She gathers her books and turns, quicker than I expect. I can’t maneuver out of her way. Our collision is mild, but jarring enough to dislodge the books from her hands.
“I’m so sorry,” she says as she kneels to pick up her scattered books.
I should be helping her, but my eyes are fixed on her graceful movements. Her long brown hair has fallen to the side, exposing the back of her softly curved neck, and every reach for a stray book lengthens her back and shoulders, inviting my touch. From the lowest point, just above the waist of her jeans, the tip of my finger would snake upward, navigating the gentle ridge of her spine until my hand laces through the richness of her flowing hair.
She tilts her head upward and grins at me. “Are you okay?”
Her voice snaps me from my fantasy. “Me? Yeah, I’m…fine. Oh, god. I’m so sorry. I should be picking up your books. You’re…you know.” I point feeble-mindedly at her extended stomach.
“Pregnant,” she says as she stands and straightens her blouse. “It’s all right to say it. I already know.”
The tip of her tongue unknowingly caresses her lower lip and the gentle arc of her full upper lip stretches, the smallest amount, as a smile slowly radiates across her flushed cheeks. These emotions, human, raw and…hormonal, forgotten for so long, now my only hope for clear thought is to suppress them. This has to be one of Satan’s sadistic jokes.
I laugh from embarrassment, but it’s the first time, in too long, that the sound of untempered, unrestrained joy bubbles from my heart. How can she have this warming effect on me? I want to say something cute and funny, but my mind is a hornet’s nest of scrambled thoughts.
“You look familiar,” she says. “Do we have a class together?”
I gaze into her hazel eyes. I must appear flustered because she tilts her head and grins.
“No. I mean, I don’t know. Today is my first day at this school.”
“Great. Welcome to Roosevelt High School. My name is Annemarie.”
“I’m Wake.”
“Wake? That’s an interesting name.”
“Yeah, I know. It sounds like a funeral.”
“I like it. But I have to go. My little guy keeps pushing on my bladder. Lately, I have to use the restroom between every class.” She covers her mouth as if she gave too much information to someone she just met, but her joyful eyes can’t hide the smile hidden behind her hand.
“I can’t believe I just told you that.” She starts to hurry away, but looks over her shoulder. “See you later, Wake.”
I wave like an embarrassed adolescent. What a lousy first impression. I sounded like a bumbling, immature little boy.
I watch as she continues down the hall. I’ve seen other pregnant women before. They were clumsy, out of balance from carrying extra weight in front. But not Annemarie. Her steps are graceful and refined, like she’s gliding on a frozen pond. The gentle curves of her hips have remained slender, and sway hypnotically side-to-side in a rhythm that matches the drumming of my heart.
What am I thinking? Mooning about like a lovesick teenager. I can’t let my physical attraction for Annemarie erode the resolve I’ll need to complete this assignment. Yet, she’s the most beautiful… Does she even know how she makes me feel…how human? I’m stuck in a moment reserved for young love. There’s nothing merciful about denying the uninhibited excitement coursing through every inch of my body, but my plan is already in motion. The fate of my mother’s soul is in my hands. As much as I hate myself for thinking it, Annemarie’s beauty has to be extinguished. I have to collect her. I know Satan is convinced these human emotions will help, but right now, I wish I was a stone-cold demon. It would make it a lot easier to incinerate her goodness from the earth.






~Release Day Blitz~ Enlightening Bloom by Michelle Turner


Title: Enlightening Bloom
Author: Michelle Turner
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Hosted by: Lady Amber's Tours

Synopsis:

Who knew finding out shifters are real would be the easy part?

Trying to finalize the bond with her mate, Pike, Bloom is struck with a mysterious illness that puts a strain on the newly mated pair. They’re forced to take off on their mating night to track down a long lost relative in hope’s she’ll have the cure and answers they desperately need.

Bonnie Harris took it in stride when her best friend hooked up with a wolf shifter. But can she do the same thing? Her mind is telling her no, but her heart is telling her yes. Which will she listen to?

The Masterson pack is thrown for a loop when a pack member’s past is revealed. Will they all be able to stand together and survive when one of their own brings an old enemy to their door?

Michelle is a native Ohioan who now finds herself in the mountain state of West Virginia. She lives with her husband, son, and three spoiled rotten dogs. When she isn't spending time with her family you can find her with her nose stuck in a book or her head in the clouds as she dreams up new adventures for her characters.

Author Links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/MichelleTurnerAuthor 



~Pike~
Bloom pulls back, and with passion burning in her hazel eyes whispers. “Mark me, Tennessee.”
I move us further into the room, press my lips to my favorite freckle right in the crook of her neck, and whisper against her skin. “As you wish, Darlin’.” I let my teeth sharpen into that of my wolf. I place one hand at the small of her back, holding her closer to me. The other is sifted into her hair at the other side of her neck. Her breathing is heavy against my own skin, from both fear and want. Or maybe more from need. A need so thick it’s pulsating around the room. We need each other. We’ve always needed each other, even when we didn’t know who the other was. And we always will need each other. It’s how we’re made. I give into that need I feel to the very core of me, and through the bond I feel to the core of my mate, and I sink my teeth into her soft flesh.
I close my eyes, letting the pure pleasure of the moment wash over me. She’s now unmistakably mine. I don’t want the moment to end but I know there are still good moments ahead of us, so I retract my teeth and lick the spot to clean it. She’s still in my arms, but now that my mind is clearing I feel how tense she is. I pull back, still holding onto her, and take in her face. It’s scrunched in to one of pain.
“Bloom?” I ask, confused as to what’s happening. She pulls out of my arms and crumples to the floor, letting out a blood curdling scream. 





Thursday, November 13, 2014

~Release Day Blitz~ Disturbingly Beautiful by J & L Wells



Title: Disturbingly Beautiful – A Paradox in Time
Author: J & L Wells
Genre: New Adult, Time Travel/ Regency Romance

Release Date November 2014


Synopsis:
The premeditated ripping of her dress seals her fate, and an intricate family plot slowly begins to unravel in which she finds herself centre stage. She was never supposed to leave Haunchcroft estate … and he will do everything in his power to keep her there.
Nell Dodsworth, a nineteenth-century governess, is seeking alternative employment following the tragic passing of her ward, Abigale. Her master, Mr Buchannan, suggests that she work for his elder sister, and until such time as she is able to take up the position, he insists that she remain at Haunchcroft Estate.

It is unheard of for a master to be so familiar with a member of the household as Mr Buchannan is with Nell, and after an uncomfortable encounter, he confuses her with his parting words … “My dear, I find you disturbingly beautiful.”

For reasons known only to her, Nell is anything but fond of Mr Buchannan and does everything in her power to avoid him. However, her avoidance tactics are usually unsuccessful, for it always seems that he has a way of seeking her out.

Upon overhearing a conversation between Mr Buchannan and his bedridden father, the Earl of Dulverton, Nell is unnerved by the revelation that her master intends to marry her. As the glass she is holding slips from her fingers, the noise alerts Mr Buchannan and she is discovered. While escorting her onto the landing, he requests that she join him in his bedchamber.       

Unnerved by a thief on the estate, Nell gives chase and in so doing manages to travel forward in time, finding herself in the 1960s. Having left her archaic existence far behind, her life is suddenly enhanced as she finds friendship, egalitarianism and true love. But complexities unfold, leaving her broken-hearted after finding the man with whom she hopes to share the rest of her life….

On finding that there is no future for her in that time period, Nell returns home, though all is not well. The ripping of her dress seals her fate, and an intricate family plot slowly begins to unravel in which she is centre stage….

It is all too much for Nell to comprehend, and once again, she runs away, only this time she finds herself in the twenty-first century. When she comes face to face with a broken family, she discovers that many of their underlying problems are the result of her actions from her visit to the 1960s. Where love flourishes it has the means of finding a way, seemingly allowing Mr Buchannan to travel to this era to be with her.

When he finally meets up with Nell he sets the record straight, leading to a night of passion under the watchful eye of the stars. Wanting to be together but unable to settle in the twenty-first century, they decide to travel home. When they return to the year 1813, a paradox is created-

Laura Wells is a swimming teacher, with a love of books, animals and, of course, Jane Austen. Once a national swimmer, she now runs three swim schools of her own. She enjoys spending her spare time with her family and two mad Shiba Inus. She lives in Staffordshire, England.

Judy Wells works at a school; in her spare time she enjoys writing poetry and novels, and spending time with her animals. She also lives in Staffordshire, England.

Laura and Judy are a mother and daughter duo; with Judy's love of poetry and writing and Laura's ideas, they work extremely well together. Time-travel and historical romance novels are their passion, and they hope that after you have read their books, you will feel the same.

Our website is: www.jandlwells.com
Why not come and say hello to us on Facebook - J & L Wells -

and have a look at our novels on Goodreads:
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23298081-disturbingly-beautiful

Buy Links:





Nell sighed as she entered the little girl’s bedchamber. The crisp cotton bedcovers were crumpled and misplaced from their usual perfection. Her long strands of chestnut hair, an interwoven decorative remembrance, lay across the pillowcases. The darkened room and its melancholic mood were now aglow as a powdery light filtered between an opening in the drapes, eerie in appearance. To her it looked as though minute crystals hung in a display of elegance.
Abigale was now a mere memory, though one held ardently within the fabric of Nell’s heart. The empty room, once filled with happiness and hours of laughter, was now an empty shroud of yesterdays gone by.
Nell ruched up the coarse material of her skirt between her fingers and knelt down, her knees instantly chilled by the stone hearth as she warmed herself before the open coals. She felt angered, for the winter months had been particularly harsh this year. Cruel, she thought to herself.
She gave a sideways glance and from the corner of her eye caught sight of winter’s first snowflakes. Abigale adored the snow, and had done from a very early age. Remembering that time, a shiver ran the length of Nell’s spine. Letting out a despondent sigh, she rose to her feet and straightened her clothing. It was a bittersweet emotion that surged inside her. In the next few days she would be leaving her post of governess and the life she had known for the past five years. She was touched by a pang of nostalgia as her eyes caught the black crepe band she wore around her arm in mourning for her ward. She paused momentarily to reminisce.
Abigale had been such a bright, pleasurable child to teach, her art in needlecraft commendable. It was such a pity that she had been a sickly soul, and from birth, Nell had been told.
With Christmas just over a month away, she was saddened by the realisation that Abigale would not be here to share this year’s festivities. Nell had spent many hours preparing her gift, but the embroidery would remain incomplete on the petite bodice of the dress, and now the garment lay with no purpose. She could envisage Abigale wearing it, the pretty little girl with a ribbon tied in her hair running towards her. Nell could still recall the pallor of her skin, like the virgin snowflake; it was long ago that the kiss of a rose had left her cheeks. The bitter weather had served Abigale no favours; her chest was her overriding weakness, and pneumonia her downfall. Even when the end was nigh and breaths were hard to take, she was still able to offer Nell a paper-thin smile as she sat holding her hand and watched her fade away. Words were not needed, for she knew how much she was loved.
Her mourning brought with it a cold reality that broke through the silence. How she would miss that beautiful girl, snatched from life so cruelly at only twelve years of age.
Nell meandered towards the window, and lifting her arm slightly pushed aside the heavy velvet drapes, allowing in more light which danced around the walls of the bedchamber, illuminating the bold wooden panelling and turning the numerous tapestries into a rich display of artistry.
She folded her arms neatly across her chest, pulling in her petite frame. A heavy sigh passed between her lips as she cast her gaze far out across the fifty-acre gardens. A three-tiered landscape opened up before her. Her eyes embraced an open fan of evergreens, their branches kissed by the frost, leaving only the briefest of imprints. Sporadic stepping stones weaved their way from one tier to the next, and a small stream appeared to join their divide where snowflakes fell, their individuality lost forever. Its dramatic incline gave the extensive gardens an illusion of endlessness.
Nell was overwhelmed by a sudden feeling of freedom. After all the heartache, how she relished the thought of what a new beginning would bring. Perhaps she would find employment as a teacher, a path she found to be most agreeable. In her opinion she needed a change; her role of governess was all played out. The position had brought with it much isolation; she was shunned by the servants, and not valued by her employers, so she found herself to be neither fish nor fowl in the estate. She was a middle-class lady, for all intents and purposes, and it was only due to her parents’ lack of wealth that she had to seek employment; but this had prevented her from being considered an equal alongside that echelon.
A warm glow inside ignited her imagination, throwing her into a fictional world where words, lines and chapters from the countless books she had read came to life, filling her mind with hope. How different her life could be if she were to become a leading lady in one of the novels she had read, how her dreams could lift her from the monotony of the life she led. The picture she painted in her mind was herself as a beautiful butterfly — a red admiral — hovering high above the world, visiting flower gardens. She had no intention of outstaying her welcome, or forming liaisons, remaining just long enough for her beauty to be admired, for the briefest of moments, for then once again she would be free, at one with herself and with nature. It was so very different from the constraints of Haunchcroft, where the walls held her deep within. It was only Abigale’s presence that had given the walls a warmth, allowing her to feel able to live happily inside.
Nell snapped out of her daydreams as footsteps entered the bedchamber, and she listened as they echoed over the polished wooden floorboards. The reflections of the frosted gardens were lost in an instant as her master stole up from behind. He was now the reflection staring back at her.
“Mr Buchannan, you startled me.” Nell breathed heavily.
A trickle of condensation decorated the glass pane as Nell did her best to compose herself. She did not turn to greet him, her backward stance hiding her unease.
“You rise early, sir,” she stuttered, choking out her words.
Although she had seen the gentleman at various times around the estate, she was not overly familiar with Abigale’s father, and whenever their paths crossed she felt uncomfortable in his presence. She took a breath, allowing her the courage to speak.
“I would just like to take the time to express how very sorry I am for your loss.”
There was an awkward silence as Nell’s eyes traced his reflection through the partially frozen windowpane; his facial outline looked angular through the icy glass, giving his distorted features a stern, unapproachable look.
Turning slightly, Nell said, “You will no longer be requiring my services.” Exhaling, she continued, “I shall send word to my father, who will arrange for my transportation home. All I ask is if you could possibly supply me with a reference?”
“That will not be necessary; my family do not wish you to leave.”
Nell was thrown off guard by his response.
“You see, Miss Dodsworth, my niece has outgrown her nanny, and my sister is seeking a governess as we speak. You need not worry your father; I assume that his parish requires his undivided attention. If you are agreeable to my sister’s offer, then I will provide your transportation to her home in Gloucestershire; your reference to her will be my word.”
“Thank you kindly, but since your daughter’s death, I have had a change of heart.” Nell could feel a pain rise within, and hurriedly blinked back her tears. “I cannot possibly put myself in the position to grow as close to, and to love another child as I came to love dear Abby.”
“My sister will be most displeased, for you know not how I have sung your praises. Please do not be hasty in your decision, and allow me to arrange a formal introduction. I have it on good authority that Catherine will be arriving in the coming weeks.”
“Sir…”
She paused, his fallen face showing the non-appreciation of her reply.
“Have I offended you, sir?” she enquired, looking up sheepishly, for eye contact with Mr Buchannan felt so demeaning.
Nell could not help but notice the confusion etched on his face, the rise of his dark brow. How much softer his features appeared in close proximity. Mr Buchannan was in his early thirties, a good few years her senior. A peppering of light auburn streaks highlighted his sideburns and deep-brown hair. She could feel his eyes as they penetrated her own, and their softness ebbed. His eyes were like dark pools of the most unusual colour, a gunmetal grey, deep set, cold and unfeeling. She held his gaze, difficult though it was. A silence fell, broken only by the constant tapping of Mr Buchannan’s shoe on the floorboards.
“No, my dear,” he said abruptly, taking a step forwards. “I find it hard to comprehend that such a handsome creature as yourself could be no more than a mere governess.”
Nell frowned; she felt his words to be both belittling and complimentary, if that were possible. His tone was harsh, and it held an annoyance that she was unable to read. His offhandedness forced her to lower her eyes, immediately returning her to her station. If anyone was capable of making her feel subservient, it was Mr Buchannan, and he had managed to do just that with one short sentence. Her eyes rose as she felt his hand brush against her face. She flinched at the feel of his smooth skin against her own.
“Sir!” Blushing, she gasped as his hand swept along her cheek, his index finger coming to rest softly upon her lips.
“You, madam, are my weakness. Believe me when I say that I did not seek you out, you just happened upon me.” His eyes widened. “You have not the slightest idea how I have tried to fight my desires long and hard, but I have to admit defeat; I have succumbed to your charms.” His words faltered as he continued. “I … I find you uncommonly…” With a shake of his head he corrected himself. “No, my dear, I find you disturbingly beautiful.”









Wednesday, November 5, 2014

~Book Blitz~ Tainted Energy by Lynn Vroman

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A Young Adult Fantasy Novel
TAINTED ENERGY
by
Lynn Vroman
published by Untold Press
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For seventeen-year-old Lena, living in the trailer park with the rest of town’s throwaways isn’t exactly paradise. Dealing with a drunken father who can't keep his fists to himself doesn’t help matters either. The only good thing in her life, other than track, is the mysterious man who visits her dreams, promising to find her.
When a chair burns her arms, Lena chalks it up to stress-induced crazy. Yet as bizarre incidents escalate, even being crazy can’t explain it all away… until one day dream guy does find her.
Tarek lost Lena seventeen years ago after she was accused of treason and marked Tainted. He finally discovers her reborn on Earth into a life of suffering as punishment for her crime. However, someone else has already found her… and wants her dead. Willing to sacrifice everything, he fights to keep her safe so she can live the only life she’s ever known—even if that life doesn’t include him.

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Born in Pennsylvania, Lynn spent most of her childhood, especially during math class, daydreaming. The main result that came from honing her imagination skills was brilliantly failing algebra. Today, she still spends an obscene amount of time in her head, only now she writes down all the cool stuff.

With a degree in English Literature, Lynn used college as an excuse to read for four years straight. She lives in the Pocono Mountains with her husband, raising the four most incredible human beings on the planet. She writes young adult novels, both fantasy and contemporary.

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Be sure to click the link below for a chance to win an Amazon gift card and E-copies of Tainted Energy!

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EXCERPT TIME!

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Nothing annoyed me more than crappy best friends. The type who did stupid stuff, like grab my shoulder and scream right in my ear, "Help me, Barbara!"

I jumped and a cloud of popcorn exploded above us. The kernels remaining in the tub I threw in Zander's face.

We sat in the back row, Night of the Living Dead on the screen. No emergency exit signs interrupted the darkness, adding a little more to the scare department. But Zander killed the mood as soon as the graveyard scene popped up.

"You promised to watch, now watch." I chucked the popcorn tub at him when he wouldn't stop laughing.

"Fine, but my hands are stayin' in my pockets this time." He rubbed the tiny crescent-shaped marks on his left hand. "I have no idea why you watch these things. You can't sit through one without a week of nightmares."

"Not true. The Ring was just extra freaky."

"Ah, and so were The Shining and Paranormal Activity..." His southern accent rolled off his tongue like sap from a maple tree. "I think you like bein' afraid all the time."

I hated it when he was right. "Shut up."

Fear triggered the fight-or-flight mechanism in our brains. The signal that proved we still wanted to live. That was my theory, anyway.

Maybe I was a masochist, but I did like experiencing the fear. It ensured the numbness hadn't completely taken over. Numb could be good. A takeover, though…not so good. Zander shoved that logic in my face and smeared my nose in it every time I decided to make sure fight or flight still worked.

"All right, but when you're lyin' in that floating bed tonight, don't expect dream guy to save you."
"Don't worry." I slumped in my chair, focusing on the screen. During a weak moment, and after a couple stolen beers from Dad's case, I told Zander about Him–my dream guy with gray eyes and dimples. He acted odd afterward, especially when I admitted what Him always promised: I'll find you.

Yeah, Him was what I called my imaginary guy. No one ever accused me of being creative. Point was, for the last month Zander decided to make a joke of it. I'd never told anybody about my dreams, and I guess I should've kept it that way.

Hey, self, remind me again why Zander held the bestie slot? Oh, right. He was the only one who applied for the position.

The next hour we watched in silence. I'd seen this movie at least ten times already, and so his concern of me mauling him never happened.

About the time Barbara annoyed everyone in the house with her relentless Where's Johnny question, Zander's constant slurping and ice-crunching crawled under my skin. "It's empty."
He took one last noisy sip and stood, blocking my view. "I'm gonna get a refill. You want one?"
"No. Christ!" I bent and twisted to see around him while he countered every move with a grin. I didn't want to admit it, but that grin always caused my brain to cloud. Hell, having him within a ten-foot radius caused a huge case of head fuzz. But to be clear, I wasn't the only mountain dweller who found that smile, or that accent, hot.

"Suit yourself. Be back in a sec." He gathered up some empty wrappers and went out the door, creating a quick flash of light in the room.

Once he left, it didn't take long for the dark to fold me into its arms as the moans on the screen grew louder. When a particularly menacing zombie ate Barbara, I let out a tiny yelp–even though I knew it was going to happen. My face heated, and I looked around, happy no one witnessed.
I'll go with coward for $500, Alex.

Sinking deeper into my seat, I watched the whole house get taken over by zombies, my heart pounding and the hairs on my arms standing at attention. Two minutes alone and I was already freaked out.

I gripped the armrests, stealing a glance at the exit. My nails dug into the plastic. Leaving was the obvious remedy, but my legs refused to walk toward the door.
A zombie eating black and white brains filled the screen.
Screw this.

I was out of there whether my legs were ready or not. Yes! Fight or flight still in perfect working order.

Zander was right. I had issues.

I planted my feet on the cement floor and tensed to run. As I hopped up, my arms refused to come with me. I made the mistake of looking down.

What the…?
The armrests curled around my hands, the plastic ends separating into thin, spider-like fingers. I screamed, trying to yank my hands away, but the armrests became stronger, forming rows of fingers that encased the whole length of my arms, burning them. Tears flooded my vision, the pain branding my skin.

Panic turned into terror when the theater filled with whispers that brushed through my hair like wind and hit me in the face like an open palm. The whispering slipped into my throat when I opened my mouth, gagging me while it pushed me back into the seat. I struggled as the chair sucked me in and gasped for enough air to yell, the sound coming out as a grunt.
My head stayed glued against the seat, my scalp searing as I tried to yank it free. Then the movie stopped playing. Total darkness swallowed me, the blackness stealing the last drops of my courage. No matter how hard I tugged, my arms refused to pull free. I strained to turn my head toward the exit, but it stayed nailed to the chair. All I could do was look forward and try to relax my arms to stop the burning.

The whispers grew quieter, and the hold it had on my head weakened when I stopped moving. I cleared my throat. "Zander!"
My arms loosened a fraction.

"Help me!"
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TEquote2b"You always smell like apples and flowers." She inhaled deeper, making it hard for him to breath.
"It's our orchard." The strain of control made his voice a whisper, and against his better judgment, he bent to kiss the top of her head, allowing his lips to linger in the softness of her hair.
"Our orchard? Is that where we're going?" She craned her neck, and green eyes shot him straight in the heart.
Mouth dry, he said, "Somewhere better."

"What about you? You immortal or something?"
His eyes hardened, the smile turning a little dangerous. "No, I'm just really good at staying alive."


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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

~Book Blitz! Hidden Monster by Amanda Strong

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Title:  Hidden Monster

Series:  The Monsters Among Us Book 1

Author:  Amanda Strong

Published:  November 4th, 2014

Publisher:  Clean Teen Publishing

Page Count:  297

Genre:  YA Mature Paranormal Romance

Content Warning:  Violence, minor language, and adult themes

Recommended Age:  16+


Synopsis:

For seventeen-year-old Samantha Campbell, running back woods trails usually means freedom from her less-than-perfect life. That is, until the day a morning run turns into a living nightmare. When Samantha wakes up to find herself bound to a dirty, pinstriped mattress, she realizes she’s anything but free. With a masked abductor repeatedly injecting her arm with an unknown substance while holding her captive, Samantha tries in vain to find out what he wants, but he refuses to speak. Until the day he breaks his silence and his twisted words are worse than what she’d imagined. He promises her one day she will fall in love with him but the best part will be that she won’t know who he is… until it’s too late.

Finding herself freed from captivity, with her captor still at large, Samantha is on guard against everything and everyone around her. Unfortunately, walling up her heart proves difficult when eighteen-year-old Blake Knightley moves in next door. When Samantha starts experiencing strange changes within her, she realizes her captor may have left her more damaged than she originally thought. Now she must turn to Blake for help in order to unearth the truth behind the monster who started this all… or risk experiencing worse things than just falling in love.


Excerpt: 

Step, step, breathe, breathe, step, step, breathe, breathe. My shoes kept a steady rhythm with my burning lungs. I veered off my regular path, opting to hear the crunch of the leaves beneath my feet. The image of my mom’s disapproving face was ignored as I leapt across a gurgling brook. Breathe, breathe, crunch, crunch.

            If I wasn’t mountain biking, I was running. I craved speed and freedom. I had to escape the oppressive perfection of living in the Campbell home. Thinking of my two older sisters, one model and the other a star volleyball player, my legs lunged, lengthening their stride. Not good at team sports and terrified by cameras, I knew my family felt my height was wasted on me.

            Even Jeremy gives me a hard time.

A stitch pinched my side. Breathe, breathe. I knew I was going too fast, not pacing myself right. Something was urging me on, pushing me to scale the hill before me, and plunge deeper into the woods. I refocused on my rhythm, my inhales and exhales, and my body realigned itself, goose bumps shooting across my arms. There it is. I’d hit my second wind and I surged on, not caring where my feet led.

It’s freedom! Complete and—

            There was a rush of air, a whistling in my ear, and a sting to the back of my arm. Instantly, I tumbled to the ground, sliding into the damp morning dew. Cold dirt filled my nostrils as blackness enveloped me.

------------------------------

             I heard my own labored breathing long before I realized I was somewhere in between awake and asleep. Forcing my eyes open, I gasped. My senses took everything in at once—the smell of wood shavings, the scratchy ropes on my wrists and ankles, and the pressure of the mattress beneath my body. I screamed, but the empty room with wooden floors and stacked logs for walls was empty. No one burst through the door in the corner.

Realizing it was useless and only making my throat raw, I fell silent. Panic flooded me. How did I get here? I pressed my thoughts to retrace my steps, but my mind felt sluggish. My last memory was running in the woods just before sunrise. I could still feel the burn from the autumn air hitting my lungs. Now the solitary window painted a yellow rectangle on the floor. The room felt stuffy. It’s probably late afternoon. But is it the same day?

The minutes rolled slowly into hours, the silence suffocating. What had my therapist said to do when I was scared? Breathe deeply and don’t panic. It was too late for that; all the years of therapy after my childhood accident were rendered useless. I’m drowning all over again. Only this time, it wasn’t water filling my lungs but pure fear and terror pressing down on my chest. I gulped in dry air, my eyes burning with tears.

No one’s coming to save me. A sob escaped me as the real horror of the situation washed over me. I’m tied up. Someone knows I’m here. What would happen when they came back? As the last rays of light were snuffed out by the shadows of the night, that someone came through the wooden door.


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About the Author:

Born in Dekalb, Illinois, Amanda Strong has called Utah, Arizona, Hawaii, Virginia and now New Mexico home. Amanda has been spinning tales since she was a child. Her family still remembers finding young Amanda with her bright pink glasses, hiding in random corners of the house while scribbling away in one of her many spiral-bound notebooks. You could say that some things never change since Amanda is still writing today. Amanda began her writing career when she uploaded The Awakener, her first full-length novel, on Wattpad where it received over 430,000 reads in four weeks. She was blown away and humbled by the reader support and feedback she received. Because of The Awakener’s success as a non-published book, she was asked to talk on 1400 KSTAR about her story.

In September 2013 Amanda Strong signed with Clean Teen Publishing. The Awakener is the first book in an all-new young adult paranormal romance series called: The Watchers of Men.

When Amanda isn’t writing, you can find her chasing her three rambunctious children around the house and spending time with her wonderful and supportive husband. On some occasions you can still find Amanda with her not-so-pink glasses, hiding in a corner reading her favorite young adult fantasy novels or working out only to blow her diet by eating ice cream.


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Clean Teen Publishing Links:



Giveaway Details:

There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:

  • A bookmark swag pack and winner’s choice of any Clean Teen Publishing eBook.

Giveaway is International.

a Rafflecopter giveaway




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Monday, November 3, 2014

~Blog Tour~ Until I Die Again by Gary Caruso




Title: Until I Die Again
Author: Gary Caruso 
Genre: Dark YA, Romantic Thriller 15+
Hosted by: Lady Amber's Tours

Blurb: In Until I Die Again, the highly anticipated sequel to Our Souls to Keep, Wake is alone in Hell, comforted and tormented by the memory of Annemarie. As session after session of torture on Bethany's table moves Wake closer to surrendering the last remaining fragments of his humanity, he receives information from an unlikely source. Nevin tells him that Annemarie's son Jacob is still in danger.
After discovering the true nature of Lucifer's plan for Jacob, Wake is determined to do the impossible—escape the Gates of Hell! He soon finds out that this unlikely task isn’t his greatest challenge. Wake learns the true meaning of self-sacrifice and the ultimate consequence of death as he searches for a way to break his contract with Satan. With an all-out war between Heaven and Hell in the near future, and the destiny of humanity at stake, Wake must decide who to trust as he battles to save a young boy from the powerful forces of Hell.


Gary Caruso lives in northern Virginia with his wife Jill, but their favorite place is in Ohio with their three beautiful grandchildren. Although Gary is exhilarated when he sits down to write, teaching middle school science is his first love. He’s passionate about empowering students to make thoughtful decisions and positive choices in life. Gary enjoys reading, especially fiction that blurs the line between what’s real and what’s fantasy. He never imagined becoming a writer until an ordinary car ride on a spring day jolted an unlikely thought into his head. Gary’s early experience writing is a reminder that no matter how intimidating the challenge, action and determination are the foundations for fulfilling any dream. Gary has an insatiable love for writing, a blessing he’s excited to share with his readers.

Links:

How much agony can a man endure before he surrenders every precious thought of the woman he holds most dear? I’ve lost count of the successive days of torture. Time after time, long, flat strips of glowing hot iron are pressed onto my exposed arms and legs. They sear away the flesh, layer by layer, almost to the bone, and the pungent smell of charring meat and the crackling of curling skin dominate my senses. I struggle to keep a lucid image of Annemarie’s beautiful smile in mind and remember the gentle touch of her soft fingertips as they glide across the coarse skin of my cheek. It’s the only string of goodness that remains from my vanishing humanity, but the torment of every exposed nerve scratches at my soul, seeking to push me beyond the edges of insanity.
Like a vise clamped on a piece of wood, my teeth clench into my lower lip until they eventually pierce through. I’m repulsed by the sour, metallic taste of my demon blood, but the pain refocuses my determination and keeps me from begging for mercy. The pain will stop if I surrender what remains of my broken humanity. As another bolt of pain tears at my body, I tighten my jaw again. I can’t crumble on Bethany’s table. I refuse to give her the pleasure.